Thursday, Apr 27th

Last update:02:31:00 AM GMT

You are here: Blogs ICC World Cup 2011

ICC World Cup 2011

India Wins against Netherlands and Sachin scores 2000 World Cup runs

Sachin becomes first batsman to score 2000 world cup runs    Today’s match against Netherlands was match number four for India. Like the previous one with Ireland this one was also supposed to be a cake walk for India. But again, our batting order incomprehensibly made a meager total almost look like a small mountain. Thanks to a steady hands of Yuvi and some sensible batting lower down the order by Dhoni, India at the end, reached the target relatively easily and registered 3rd win in 4 matches.
    Even though Dhoni lost the toss, India ended up getting what they would have opted to do anyways. Netherlands decided to bat first. I am almost certain that given our performance in the last two matches, every time we lose the toss, our opponents are going to put us in to bowl first. India will have to watch out for that.
    The Dutch got off to a slow but steady start. As far as India’s bowling was concerned it was a mixed bag. Nehra – mildly put – proved again that he is not only physically unfit but also on criteria of quality (or lack thereof) of his bowling, doesn’t belong at this level. Dhoni was quick to put an end to his misery. In the 3rd over, Dhoni handed the ball to Yusuf. And he bowled his first 4 overs better than any of the new bowl bowlers so far. In that first spell, he only conceded 9 runs with a maiden. Harbhajan was introduced early on too, however, even in this match, he went wicket-less. In the last 4 outings, he has taken only 2 wickets. If India has to go anywhere in this world cup we have to get more out of our strike bowlers. Chawla was disappointing too. Yes he took 2 wickets, but honestly, only the first one seemed like a wicket taking delivery. The second one was a Dutch gift from Kervezee and judging by Chawla’s reaction, he wouldn’t disagree. He still has long way to go to be a strike bowler at this level. I am worried that against good batting side like he might be a liability. Zaheer, as usual, got the ball to reverse-swing and ensured that the tail did not wag much. Yuvi, got the wickets when needed the most but with an average of 4.77 runs per over he was the most expensive bowler today. One can only expect the similar trend when India starts playing the major teams.
    Our innings started with swashbuckling batting from Sehwag and Sachin. Their fluent stroke play ensured that we had our highest score in the first power-play. While they both were at the crease, it seemed like the game could get over much sooner. Sehwag, as usual, threw his wicket. In the last couple of years it has been a welcome sight to see Sachin hit those lofty sixes again, but sometimes, like today, he can get caught out at the deep and with that India were 80 for 2. Yusuf’s soft dismissal was the saddest one to watch. He lost an opportunity to build a solid innings and stay through the end. Kohli, was probably the only batsmen who lost his wicket to a good ball that cut in sharply and took his off-stump. In the last match, Gambhir didn’t know where the fielder was, in this match he didn’t know where his leg stump was. He sure needs to get a grip on his batting.
    Yuvi again played a restrained inning. He seemed determined to stay through the end and sure enough scored the 3rd consecutive fifty. Dhoni played patiently too. Towards the end he played out few dot balls and allowed Yuvraj to hit the winning boundary and get to his fifty. I think that was good gesture of camaraderie . One can only hope that Yuvraj, doesn’t get complacent with his accomplishments against 2 of the weakest sides.
    India’s spot in the next round is all but assured irrespective of the outcome of the next 2 games. However, as a die-hard fan, I would love to see team India to remain undefeated. On that note … watch out this space for my blog after Saturday’s match.



Yuvi saves team India from the blues …

Yuvraj singh 5 wickets haulMatch number 3 for India was against Ireland. Yes that same Ireland who caused a famous upset against England just a few days ago. So a lot of folks were looking forward to this match and how team India – the mighty contenders for the World Cup this year, would fare against the so called “associate” team. If one were to look at just the score card, they’d think India overhauled Ireland’s modest score of 207 with 4 overs and 5 wickets to spare. “A good work out” for our boys as Ravi Shastri opined at the end of the match… but for those of us who happened to watch the match, would think otherwise. If I have to sum it up like Ravi Shastri I would have said “A good wake-up call” for our boys.
 It is important to note the things that went right for team India, for the first time in the 3 matches - Zaheer took 2 wickets with the new ball, Bhajji bowled tidy 9 overs with an average of less than 4 runs per over, India managed to ensure that no Irish player scored a run away century and only one of their batsmen scored more than a fifty, Yuvraj, one of the regular bowlers took a five wicket haul and net result was Ireland could only score 207.
But I think that is where the good things ended ..  India’s batting showed the soft underbelly that worries me ….
At one point India were reeling at 24 runs for 2 wickets. 2 of the best batsmen in the business lost their wickets to careless shots. After scoring 9 runs of the first over, Sehwag again wanted to hit a boundary of the first ball of the next over… why? Gambhir, did not know where the fielder was and he converted a wide ball into a ball that gifted the 36 year old Johnson a 2nd wicket in as many overs.
When will Indian batsmen make the bowlers earn their wicket rather than gifting it?
Sachin showed some determination and discipline but he too perished to an irresponsible shot. I was actually happy that, unlike Dhoni, atleast he did not waste a valuable option of reviewing the official decision by asking the system to reiterate the obvious decision.
Kohli was the next one to go. He was the victim of poor running between the wickets. The running between the wickets was not only abysmal when Kohli got run out. There were just too many lost opportunities when Yuvraj didn’t apply himself  and didn’t care to take his first run fast and to create an opportunity for the second run. In fact, Yuvi was often converting easy doubles into singles and frustrating Kohli and then later on Dhoni. I would have imagined that Indian batsmen would have, by now, known the value of taking each and every run as if it was the winning run… after all,  in the tie with England last week, one “short run” on the last ball of the innings could have potentially given India its victory. But I did not see Indians learning from their mistakes.
Dhoni and Yuvi kept toiling for runs on a wicket that had completely changed in its characteristic in just the last few days. The pitch that has produced over 1300 runs in the last 4 innings, today it seemed like a slow and difficult wicket to bat on. Add to that the Irish gritty defense. Dhoni aptly pointed out during the presentation ceremony, Ireland made their 207 look like it was 240 runs by fielding and bowling tightly and to send a chill down India’s batting order… Thanks to a last minute cameo by Yusuf India finally completed the required runs to score a victory.
So for those people who will only look at just the score it is important to know the details. All in all I am glad that Yuvi got a good work out he converted his opportunity into a winning performance with ball first and then by bat too by scoring the vital, unbeaten 50 runs.

I hope India learns from this outing / workout and start to get their act together or else I am afraid some other professional and disciplined side will take home this world cup,



TGFT - Thank God For the Tie

Sachin - the Master Blaster“Move over Sheila Ki Jawani, Men in Blue are here” read a home made poster in the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru where the nail biting match between India and England ended in a Tie. Thank God for the Tie, if it wasn’t for the tie in these matches, India would have lost the match since India had lost all 10 wickets.

What a match Bhaisaab; what a match!!! An excellent knock of 120 by the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar was a treat to watch. At a moment it seemed like the English captain Strauss could not get a control of the field placements. Nothing he tried could stop the amazing shots flowing from Sachin’s bat. At the same time the grit in Strauss’ eyes was an indication of what was to come.

If there was any one person responsible for the tie, it was Strauss. From the moment England walked on the pitch with Strauss as one of the opening pair batsmen, I was busy trying to put any and all possible spells on the man to become out. They didn’t work too well now, did they? He made a splendid 158 that kept the match in England’s reach. The non-dismissal of Bell will be talked about and hopefully debated to make necessary changes to the rules of the game. Let’s not forget Zaheer’s bowling that swung the pendulum back in India’s court when it seemed like England had the upper hand.

The pundits will continue to dissect the match on what the Dhoni Brigade did right and what they did wrong, what bit Piyush Chawla (kay chaw-la Piyush Chawla la) in that penultimate over. Did calling in for a power-play right after Tendulkar’s 100 work or not? The important thing is to try things different.

Now just bring the cup home boys. Chak De India!!!

ICC Cricket World Cup…Chak De! India

ICC Cricket world cup 2011Hello hello dear cricket lovers, fans and crazies….. It was a perfect World Cup opening ceremony filled with sheer enthusiasm and passion with which Bangladesh put this together even though it is a small cricketing nation but growing strong in cricket by the years, well done Bangladesh!! Now, are you ready for the 6 weeks vibrant battle of champions at its most loyal constituency? Yes, co-hosted by India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the game’s biggest, noisiest, yet wealthiest neighborhood…

Before I write further, to be fair to those who might be new to cricket… The Game of Cricket gives a quick understanding and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cricket explains it in depth. World Cup is played every 4 years with 14 countries competing this time for a US$ 3 million prize. The first round of the tournament will be a round-robin in which the 14 teams are divided into 2 groups of 7 teams each. The 7 teams play each other once with the top 4 from each group qualifying for the quarter-finals.

1983 World Cup ChampionsI hardly knew cricket when India won the 1983 World Cup championship. I had no idea of Kapil’s knock of 175 and how it transformed our team then. I had no idea who West Indies were and how fiery and deadly they were but yet beaten by India…I just wasn’t there to cherish those glorious moments but I am excited we have a great chance this time around.

India has begun several World Cups wearing the favorites tag, but never has that label been more authentic than now. Over the last few years, India has steadily grown stronger and #2 rank in ODI format speaks for itself. Hey, we are no dominant like West Indies or Aussies like they were; such is the competition between teams now rather than one-sided boring games, which is good for cricket. India has more on-field rivals than any other country…Pakistan, Australia and now South Africa!! No wonder why India has fans all over the world. We have top ICC ranking players in Kohli, Dhoni & Gambhir. We have demolishing players in Sehwag, Sachin, Yusuf, Dhoni & Yuvi that other teams fear. We have never say die players, especially our lower order contributions of late. We have aggressive players in Gambhir, Harbhajan, Zaheer, Sreesanth & Yuvi, yes I mean those who dare to make eye contacts with opposition players (hats off to Ganguly “Dada” for seeding this in our team!!). We have highly regarded Mr. Cool captain. And to top it all, India is playing in home grounds with the vociferous support of home crowd. This is why Team India has the best ever chance to lay hands on the coveted cup once again. So, there is no doubt even cricket pundits are tipping India as No.1 favorite.

There is no chance for India to go into the contest with an iota of complacency just because we are No. 1 favorite because it is a tough path to glory whether we are playing against minnows (not to forget Bangladesh crushed our dreams in 2007 edition!!!) or a strong team. World Cup is a different stage and brings in a pressure of tremendous weight of expectations. Never before in the history of World Cup so many teams have been favorites to win. 5 favorite countries which are almost half of 14 participating countries, WOW!! So this means we are up for close contests with nail-biting and heart breaking finishes, which is why this game is becoming more and more exciting as it grows.

I certainly miss enjoying the games gluing to the TV with room full of friends and family back in India. Miss those high pitch noises even from neighbors for every wicket, a 4 or a 6!! Wish I had taken my India vacation now rather than couple of months back…

Team INDIA… we love you, we believe in you, we support you every moment and we wish you the best to make our dreams come true. Team India, you deserve the cup, whole India deserves the cup and last but not the least we need it when Master Blaster Sachin is still playing, an ultimate gift to a great cricketer...

Let’s Go For Glory!!

Baar baar haan, bolo yaar haan

Apni jeet ho, unki haar haan

Koi humse jeet na paave Chale chalo, chale chalo….

JavaScript is disabled!
To display this content, you need a JavaScript capable browser.

The Game of Cricket

CricketThe men in India breathe air, cricket and politics. I learned this early on when as a child I found young men and boys huddling by the pan shops to listen to the five day cricket test match. There were no televisions and radio sets were big and bulky. For those unfamiliar with cricket here’s a little introduction to it.

Cricket is played kind of like baseball. Instead of 4 bases, there are just two. Each of the bases has three sticks called stumps in the ground with two small sticks called bails placed on top. One team bats and the other team throw the ball and fields just like in baseball. The ball can bounce once before the batsman hits with his bat. Batsmen man each of the bases and hit the ball and run between the bases to make runs. Additionally they hit very far and make four runs or six runs or sixers very similar to home runs. The aim of the balling team is to get all the batsmen out while the aim of the batting team is to make maximum runs. The team with maximum runs wins.

You may think cricket as just another game but believe me it is more than a game. It is tool of diplomacy and rivalry. The most celebrated international cricket rivalry is “THE ASHES” cup. It dates back to 1882 between Australia and England when Australia beat England at The Oval. A local British news paper printed an obituary saying cricket in England had died and was going to be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia. A terracotta pot was presented to England captain with the ashes of cricket equipment by some Melbourne ladies. The most famous rivalry was between Douglas Jardin of bodyline fame and one of the greatest batsmen of all times Sir Don Bradman. The bodyline basically attacked the batsman with ball. The rules were changed to prevent bodyline. Douglas Jardin had gone to Australia to win the Ashes. After his infamous bodyline tactics lead to a media furor, he said “I haven’t traveled 6,000 miles to make friends. I have come to win the Ashes.” Cricket is not just a game.

This tool of diplomacy was used against apartheid in South Africa. The South African cricket powerhouse was barred from playing any international cricket. Strict fines and sanctions were put in place against other teams that played with South Africa. With the end of apartheid this ban was also lifted.

India’s greatest rival is of course Pakistan. The two countries have fought 3-4 wars and the warmth or coldness of the relationship can be gauged by the number of cricket series the two countries play. One of easiest ways to show diplomatic success in cooperation and understanding for the politicians is to hold a cricket series. Both countries produced some great crickters Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Tendulkar, Dhoni, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram to name a few. These commonwealth countries received the game from British when they had their colonies in the 18th and the 19th century.

The unifying power and the magic of cricket is captured in the Bollywood movie “Lagan” or the Tax. Set in the 18th century, this fiction story is set in a small agricultural village in India. After a particular bad harvest and an increase in tax, the local British administrative officers propose to “let go” of the tax if the local villagers beat the local British team at the game. Riddled with caste system that divides the village folks, the film captures how the game inspires the villagers to raise themselves above their caste beliefs. This movie was nominated to the Oscars under the foreign film category.

Over the past century the game has changed. Growing up I remember the 5 day test matches were the norm. The game was played for 5 days. Each side played 2 innings each. Most of these test matches always ended in draw. As television got more popular, the 5 day test matches gave way to the one day test matches, each team played for 50 overs. With the proliferation of cable television, which made most viewer attention deficit, the one day matches gave way to 20/20. Each side played for 20 overs. With Facebook and Twitter, the attention of the viewers is competing with Tweety bird, I can only wonder the future cricket matches.

Page 2 of 2