Monday, October 30, 2006

Champions Trophy 2006 - India hit a dead-end

At the end of England tour in April, India was rated as one of the top contenders for the World Cup 2007 to be played in WI.... Now with just couple of months to go before the cricket's extravaganza takes place..they seem to be tumbling out of the race.

Graham Gooch in one of his columns had made a good observation that the Indian team was peaking too soon before the WC and that surely seems to be the case.. After curtains came down on their involvement in champions trophy, India has nothing positive to take home.

In all the three matches played in the Champions Trophy, India did not look confident nor convincing. In their only win agains England, the win was a laboured one rather than a comprehensive one. In their second game, it was only WI Players who made the match interesting with their 'hara-kiri' tendencies and gave the diwali crowd something to cheer about. And in the do-or-die match, India did not put any kind of effort to stop the rampaging Australia

After the debacle performance in the Champions Trophy, it was expected that scissors would be out in open. But the selectors have opted to stay calm and not follow the cut n chop policy as their predecessors. Well whatever step selectors take in India it is welcomed with a skeptical view and it was nothing new this time round.

This time round, the selectors made the 'critics' jump in joy with their continuing faith in 'Raina' and 'Pathan'. Both of them seem to be out of sorts and with age on their side it would not done their career any harm by dropping them for SA tour. Why is different ball game for different people...Zaheer sat out and is now back in reckoning after performing well in county n domestic season. The other 'shock' inclusion seems to be 'Jaffer' who himself is shocked of his inclusion in ODI team. Players already knocking on the doors like Uttapha or Gambhir would have been a better choice and given 'think tank' options for WC-2007. The only positive outcome, has been the inclusion of 'kumble' in ODI team. Though he was injured, personally feel and looking at the pitches a three spin attack of Bhajji, Jumbo n Powar would have been hard to tackle for WI and Aussies.

Other thing which Indian team must be ruing about would be the scheduling of its matches....BCCI must now be wondering if they should have given 'host' team a 'walk-thru' to semi-finals, just to keep the fans come in to watch the final matches...

Jokes apart, semi-finals matches would be would be a great fun to watch and follow. Aus v/s NZ and SA v/s WI..May the best team won..

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Champions Trophy 2006 - Naaya Saal Mubarak, Indian Team

Diwali, ahmedabad and gujaratis is NAAYA SAAL MUBARAK and Indian cricket team must now be awakening to these words literally as they have their jobs cut-off.

Indian team had a roaring season last year, but in this 'naaya saal' they are facing slump in their batting and bowling departments. Nothing seems to be going their way. Suddenly the boy from 'vadodara' has lost his bowling spark, virubhai seems to have lost his swings arms, their twins of 'yuvi' and 'kafi' out of form. Above all they seem to be 'hooked' on experimenting at all games with the composition of their team. Today was no difference, you find 'powar' sitting out and India going in with 4 fast bowlers. With the festive season lingering in the air, there was no way one can mistake onself to think he is playing outside sub-continent. Powar is known to have scored runs in the domestic season and is known for his batting. With all due respect to RP Singh's batting prowess, Powar would have definetely brought in India the 15-20 runs that could have made the difference in the final result.

Feel India made the mistakes even before the ball was bowled, but don't understand what WI was hell-bent on doing. They just seem to get 'hooked' on doing the 'harakiri'. Cruising along at 200-3 and with plenty of wickets in hand they suddenly end up looking down the gun. Gayle had given them the start they required, sarwan n morton kept the good work by building on the platform. Bhajji was really turning it on and giving nothing away. This was when it was required that WI squeeze as many runs possible of the part time bowlers. But that is where they lost the plot and we had a 'thriller' on our cards with the match going down to the wire.

Result would really turn the WI into a positive frame while Indians r back into their sulking mood. Will have to wait n see what experiment 'ausie' is going to come up with against his own country. This situation is nothing new for Indians who like to keep their fans biting the nails till the end.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Whirlwind week - Diwali, Don and Cricket

It has been a whirwind week with lots of things happening at a high speed...

To begin with, it was DIWALI weekend and wish all the viewers of this blog


Diwali the 'festival of lights' this year was celebrated on 21 Oct all over the world. Diwali symbolizes the 'victory of good over evil'. People celebrate this festival with lots of fun n frolick where the houses are light up, kids burst crackers and lots of goodies to savour on. And this time round, had the pleasure of celebrating Diwali in US with my close ones by savoring on all goodies, dressed up to kill and playing 'teen patti'.

Every year Bollywood marks the Diwali calendar with release of major attractions to take advantage of the vaccation season. This year was no different, we had two releases 'DON - a SRK starrer' and 'Jane-man - a SK n AK starrer'.

I had the opportunity of catching "DON" on the first day, first night show (12:00am to 3:00am). And being a die-hard 'Big B' fan I was really disappointed with the remix. Not sure, why are the bollywood directors going into making remixes. Have we run out of creative script writers. And this movie comes from a director who stirred the box-office with his first movie - Dil Chattha Hai. Even small twists in the story cannot stop this movie from being termed as 'average'. The locations and sophistications are definetely in tune with the generation... nothing can overcome the storyline or the charishma of 1978 DON - who @ 6'2" still stands tall over everyone. "Badshah" of the industry has definetely lost this 'bazi' and would not like to be called 'Bazigar' for this matchup.

And coming back to my favorite sport - 'Cricket and Champions Trophy' things r really hotting up in the group B where the matches r really going to the wire. It all boils down to the match between Pakistan v/s South Africa to decide the last four placeholders in the tournamnet from group b. New Zealand with their win over Pakistan @ mohali have confirmed their place in Semi-Finals.

India play WI tonight (US- PST) @ Ahmedabad and this could decide the fate of the group A. With WI in good form, it looks to be seen how India face-off this challange. A win here for any of the teams would definetely harness their chances for a berth in Semis.

Everyone would be hoping 2 c a blazing innings from Virubhai....a magic spell from Pathan... a spin web from Bhajji...long overdue... But who knows we may have GAYLE force waiting to sweep thru Ahmedbad along with the 'New' Big Boy of WI the Bravo.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Champions Trophy 2006 - West Indies on a roll

WI are really turning the things on...except for the match against SL where they were totally outplayed they seem to be on the roll..

Beating Australia is not something which can be taken lightly. If they keep up the form they probably could be trotting away with 'champions trophy' for second year running. They are a team in building and some of the players are coming good at the right time. Lara seems to be getting the disbanded team together again. WI did not do anything great against Aussies but just kept doing the basics. They did not panic when Gilchrist was jogging along and taking Australia towards the goal. With Lara gone due to cramps, the stand-in captain Sarwan handled the situation well. Even in the death, Australia had the upper hand. But the "TAYLOR" special really turned the tables on them. A 'hat-trick' in the final overs when the opposition team is on top is really worth a mention. Even while batting WI followed the basics and build up a good score around partnerships.

With this win WI have really given Indian team lot to think...though the Indian team may be enjoying the 'diwali' break but the result of this would be definetely playing on their minds. Now the fight for the top position in the group would definetely be between IND/WI/AUS... assuming Eng go thru motions and donot cause any upsets.

Again a low scoring match @ Mumbai but the match was a thriller with batsman n bowlers both having a go at each other.

Champions trophy has finally come alive...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Champions Trophy 2006 - Pakistan on a ' high'

Pakistan cricket team must be on real 'high' after their match against Sri Lanka.

As stated earlier, Pakistan team cannot be written off lightly. They are team that would definetely create flutter in the tournament. This is a team which would be raring to show the world that they can put all the sideline 'tamasha' at back of their mind and play with 'spirit' on the field.

Pakistan team is one of those teams in the tournament that has everything to prove for. They would luv to win this for their banned captain 'Inzi'.

Sri Lanka might just be hoping that the law of averages caught up with them early in the tournament. They came thru the qualifying rounds with flying colors but a need to note that they put on huge scores against medicore bowling of Bangladesh n Zimbawe. The match against WI cannot be really treated a match of equals as the pitch had a role to play. It will be interesting to see how SL performs going forward in the tournament.

But the day definetely belongs to the 'green brigade' and their spirits n confidence would be really 'high'.

Group 2 would be the group to watch where in the matches will be fight till the end and very nail-biting..

Way to go Pakistan....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Champions Trophy 2006 - Captain's Knock is the difference

Stephen Fleming lead his team from the front... his knock of 89 was the difference between the two teams. If the scores in the last couple of matches are any indications then the pitches prepared for the champions trophy do not seem to be set for a high scoring chases. All the teams have chased or set a very low score. All the credit should be given to the NZ team for setting a stiff target on a un-even pitch and then bowling SA out.

NZ were lucky to have that xtra buffer of 40-70 runs which England failed to put in their match against India. The way India played another 20-40 runs would have been curtains for them.

Let's wait n c what is in store for us in the match between PAK v/s SL tomorrow... Will Pakistan come out of the 'sideline' tamashas and score over the 'in-form' SL team.. tomorrow's match is definetely going to be an interesting one..

Champions Trophy 2006 - Pakistan cricket team under 'cloud' again

Controversies go hand-in-hand with the Pakistani team...

Just a couple of months back Pakistan cricket team was caught in 'ball-tampering' turmoil... Even before dust had settled, we heard about the 'captainship' issue raising its 'serpent' like hood...And before the sting was nullified we hear of 'dopeing' scandal. This scandal may bring down curtains on the career of one of the most talked player off-the field. It is going to be very difficult for Shohaib Akthar to make a come-back from such a 'hurting'.

The new captain 'younis khan' would have his job cut-off. With all due respect to 'younis khan', does not have the charishma or powers like 'Imran' to carry the team to victory. At the same time, do not rule out the possibilities of the pakistani team create some flutter in the tournament. It would be interesting to see how Pakistan would fare under such circumstances in this tournament.

All the best to their team and as an ardent fan from the sub-continent would hope to see a INDIA v/s PAKISTAN finals....

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Champions Trophy 2006 - India Stutters in their chase

Being a day n night match in the Indian Continent means, its middle of night for an ardent fan to stay awake in US - on the west coast... As a result you end-up- missing ur precious sleep and it makes you feel really disheartened when the same old
seems to be repeating itself....Bowlers bowl their heart but the batsman almost make it a mountain climb of a mole ...

If India needs to act and play like a 'champions' then these small targets need to be accomplished with ease and confidence. You cannot have the fans biting their nails till the last ball of such chase is bowled. Experimenting with the batting line-up does not seem to end. Even a 'club' cricketer like me would have liked the 'captain - the wall' coming in at the fall of 'virubhai' wicket. In first match of such a big tournament, you expect the team to put its best foot forward and win in a convincing manner. Had India wrapped the match in a convincing manner, the Indian team n fans would have celebrated the 'festival of lights - DIWALI' with a bigger bang. But now everyone would be feeling bit hesitant in their expectations of India's performance against their next opponents - West Indies. West Indies cannot be taken lightly as they are turning in good performances since India played the humble guests in bringing them back to form from the depths of crevice.

But India can definetely take some positives out of the match
  • Pathan seems to be finding his rythm back
  • Pawar does not seem to have lost his loop
  • Yuvraj seems to be getting his touch back
But India has worries on their head before the next game against WI..
  • Dravid seems to be struggling
  • Virubhai seems to be throwing away a good start
  • Dhoni seems to carried away in the 'fast track'
If India needs to win...Consistency seems to be the key...All of them need to click at the same time..Bowlers n Batsmen together will have to make it happen...

Let's hope for the best that India comes good against WI at the MOTERA stadium in Ahmedabad. Motera Stadium brings the memory back when I had the opportunity to see my idol 'Kapil' bowl his heart out to take 8 wickets and bring India close to doors of victory in the first ever test match played in this stadium...Again the same old story :-)

A loss @ Motera ...and INDIA can say good-bye to their chances of qualifying ..


Monday, October 02, 2006

Check this out - Gilispie,Nel,Murali dancing to Indian Music

This is a really interesting video where you see the cricketers like gilispie, nel, murlai and veerubhai dancing to some 'hindi' music

All of them are shooting for the champions trophy ad...

Probably the let down in the whole sequence may be mandira bedi who after 2003 WC seems to have become a cricket expert and gone are our 'shanti' days...