Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unendulkar, the Timeless

The quote below, amongst all I have read in past 5 years that praise or criticise him, best sums up the single biggest quality that defines the Sachin Tendulkar of today. Slyly, slowly and singlemindedly he has gone for the 10th mode of dismissal. Sachin has 'timed' everyone out through his continued love affair with Test cricket.

21 years after debut, it is quite extraordinary that he is likely to score as many centuries (6 achieved, 7 possible) in the current year as he got in 2 seasons even at the peak of his powers in 1998-99. To put in another yardstick, Sachin got as many tons in the first 4-5 years of his career and we all know how unimpressive he was in those days....

I won't be surprised if 40 years hence people start questioning the records when they chance upon this passage of his career. "This guy's incorrigible," the Mask would have remarked. Or in Boycs-ology terms, "it would take 10 horses to pull him off a cricket field."

Quite aptly, this quote has come up on Time magazine - or so I am told (apologies for not verifying). Enough of banter - 'time' to enjoy the quote:

"When Sachin Tendulkar travelled to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race a F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Diego Maradona was still the captain of a world champion Argentina team, Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam.

When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters. The Berlin Wall was still intact, USSR was one big, big country, Dr Manmohan Singh was yet to "open" the Nehruvian economy. It seems while Time was having his toll on every individual on the face of this planet, he excused one man.

Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Pollock, the emerging commentator

Instance 1: Robin Jackman was discussing a replay of Ishant's reprieve last nite (3rd day close of play of Ind-vs-SA 1st Test at Centurion). Ishant, after apparently being cleanly caught of Morkel's bowling, was called back by umpire Ian Gould after he chose to check foot position of Morkel at delivery with 3rd umpire under the new regulations and uncovered a no-ball.

Jacko then went back to the days of back foot no-ball rule. "Shaun, why do you think it got changed?" Apparently Shaun was off the mike for some reason, so Jacko himself went on explaining how some of the older quicks had metal toes in their shoes and would drag their feet ending up bowling from close to 18 yards. "That is where the front foot rule came into picture, to ensure everyone bowls from 22 yards." after a a while of silence Jacko adds :

"Shaun Pollock observes that since then the bats have got bigger and better, boundries have been pulled in, batsmen can jump to other side to bat left handed in themidst of a delivery but bowlers STILL have to declare the hand with which they are bowling and from which side of the wicket."

Instance 2: Sometime later Shaun Pollock is on the microphone. Ian Gould is flashed on screen at square leg, seen attending to some 'cramp' in the index finger. Off goes Polly in a flash:

"Ian Gould with an itchy finger - hasn't given anyone out since this morning."

[quotes are not exactly reproduced - but you get it I guess]

Being a top team is all about commanding an expectation

Reproducing a Facebook conversation with my friend Bikash Tewari:


wht do u feel , india has any chance in this test, in my view tomorrow is going to be the last day of this test, nomore 5th day is required.


@Bikash: Sharing my thoughts: India being a top Test team does not depend on what the ICC ranking says, or whether the Indian team does Eden 2001 in the next 2 days. It is mainly in what we (supporters) and they (all opponents) EXPECT the team to do.

From what we saw in Sri Lanka and Ind-Aus series, India are deserving no. 1, depending on individual brilliances at key points (to counter upsets) but not too much. If they are as good as I expect them, they should get to a position after the end of the test where they have made SA bat again and taken 3-4 opposition wickets in their paltry chase. In other words, to surprise them the wrong way. That sets up the rest of the series.

Coming back to expectations, even those who were saying Australia were finished are not REALLY surprised that they have come back from the ashes into the Ashes. Irrespective of their ranking, we EXPECT that from them..that is what makes them a top team