Monday, July 27, 2009

Hamare Zamane Mein

Aisa nahi tha! Seriously, I dont understand how Wasim Akram could call today's bowler's lazy, or lacking ambition (read it in the Indian Express this morn). While I respect his point of view on most things, as a detached observer, I do feel that things may be totally different now than what they were a decade or so back. 20/20. IPL. Money before country. Coaches galore. Media scrutiny. Match after Match.

I dont know if things have remained the same anymore for fitness levels- and I mean mind as well- take Trescothik's plight for example. What would you have done, Wasim Bhai, if you faced these temptations and hurdles? Would you still go to the nets and practise hard- what you recommend- or would you rest your weary body and mind?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Having a ball

So the BCCI is thinking about replacing the SG Test balls with another brand in all forms of domestic cricket. What I have not understood thus far is why does India actually use the SG at all?
Bowlers say that it as a more pronounced seam, which helps create early reverse swing and spin / bounce on lifeless tracks. That's why they want to continue with SG. I say that it's time we start using the Kookaburra balls on a regular basis. This will force bowlers either to develop the ability to bowl fast (as opposed to the countless trundlers we seem to have presently e.g. Praveen Kumar, Irfan Pathan) or start to really spin the ball (as opposed to lob it up as does Amit Mishra).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The 'Ban'

Guys , this might ruffle a few feathers, but I for one, sincerely feel that we need to ban the 'match referee' if anyone at all, reason : We are watching a very natural game played in an unnatural way.
I have this memory of watching a certain Dennis Lillee charging in to bowl the first ball of a test match to a another certain Roy Fredricks , wearing the 'Maroon' baggy on a hard Waca/Gabba/Sabina park wicket ,He lets go a quick mid pitcher, Fredricks hooks over long leg for six ............Lillee almost kissing distance to Fredricks ,frothing in the mouth letting go mouthfuls a plenty and Fredricks not valuing his life at all giving him the 'two finger salute'such similar 'friendly gestures' all this after the first ball of a test match is on. Consider the slippers then Ian and Greg Chappell, Doug Walters and of course the keeper Rodney Marsh not the quietest lot ever,have you started expecting the drama to follow,the trend thats being set here, just the excitement of a heated battle between two very talented,proud and competitive sides. The thing i do not like to do is compare eras,but if you compare today's proceedings an equally quick bowler lets it rip,a batsman cuts or pulls for a boundary and the fast bowler smiles even occasionally taps him on the back or shoulder ,give me a break guys and these magnificent players too, just let them be.
I, as a spectator watch the game because of the massive entertainment factor is provides via talent and temperament of the players and Iwould not want to subdue it one bit.I do not believe in the old cliche that its just a game ,no one would tear a intercostal(abdominal) muscle were it 'just a game'.
This is entertainment and so it should be,a no holds barred contest, a complete freedom to win.
Then, in more ways than one ,we have a 'WINNER'.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Jump test

Do you think Shane Warne's right when he derides the modern cricketer and coach and their training methods? He says that if it wasnt for Jump tests, hell, he'll still play test cricket.

He must have been non- serious when he said this, but the point is worth considering. Or would journeymen cricketers be better off with the amount of training that they do unlike an obvious talent like Warne?

And then there are some salty olds like Boycott and Chappell who swear that all a bowler primarily needs to do to be match fit is to bowl a lot of overs instead of hitting the gym.

And these guys were batsmen. Everyone's talking for everyone else here!

Acceptable sledging.... there even such a concept? How do cricket teams and officials actually determine what is acceptable vs. what is not?
E.g. is calling someone a monkey (as was allegedly done by Harbhajan Singh to Andrew Symonds) racism and hence unacceptable? Is questioning some cricketer's wifes' / sisters' promiscuity acceptable just because it is part of some country's players aggressive upbringing?
Who draws the line in such circumstances? Are they umpires? Players who run to officials? Or the match referee? And who constitutes what is acceptable over what is not?

The way a leader is taught

I , Have had the opportunity to captain /lead many a team in various formats and levels.
The experience I would like to share here is of leading a side which includes my friends,contemporaries and well wishers, but the description goes on as these people are also directors ,officers,clerks and workmen in their own professional lives. The Team , then has a very interesting twist and cocktail of personalities for e.g here is a guy who works on the shop floor of a engine making multinational sharing the pitch with a director of a software company,now the challenge for me is to keep them pursuing the same goal or we have a rudderless ship . The difference gets more evident as we field , here i want you to visualize the picture its usually sunny and hot so thats a factor we have to bear in mind,the shop floor guy is the wicket keeper and the director is say at third man or fine leg and I am the opening bowler so here is what i hear after i bowled the first ball ,WK: Ranjya , lai bhari ball ,tu ani me khelu ya bas (this is a response to a ball which pitched close to the stumps and swung away ,beating the batsman and ended in the keepers gloves ) this also is an encouragement for the bowler,on the other hand the Fine leg says remember Hadlee(in this case Richard or so i feel), I take this also as an compliment but he also means that,for the next ball I should plan and execute as Hadlee did......huh!!!!
The LESSON here is to understand where the two schools of thought are coming from, the WK is a shop floor guy has to do tough,physical work on his own and do a creative job (assembling an engine) while as the director has to do smart ,responsible work on his own while making his team do the complete job(whatever he does god bless him and his team).
In between these two different extremes, are nine more personalities , ideas and tactics in multiples of nine and players who all want the same result.......a win.
...................the reason for me not to dwell on it anymore is that I want to save some for my 'BOOK'....and the lord save you then...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sach vs. Sunny

I am sure this one will open a huge debate, but I am starting a thread on this nevertheless :)

Over the last 40 years, Indian cricket has seen many a gifted batsman. Rahul Dravid, Gundappa Vishwanath, Dileep Vengsarkar, Saurav Ganguly, Mohammad Azharuddin....the list goes on. Of course the two who have stood heads n' shoulders above the rest have been Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar. I want to try and understand who is the better batsman of the two. And open up what is seemingly an endless debate.

Sunny Gavaskar stands for all of what India in the 1970s and 1980s hoped to be. Defiant, independant and consistently excellent. He was probably hands down the greatest opening bat ever to have graced the game. 13 hundreds against the most fearsome pace attack of all time (West Indies), several astonishing innings on greentops, that 221 in an almost historic 4th innings chase at the Oval and the supremely crafted 96 as his last test match innings on a day 5 minefield against Pakistan.

Sachin Tendulkar has been voted (internationally) as the second best player to have ever wielded a bat on a cricket field. He holds almost all records there are to own in the game. He has, like Sunny, batted against the very best pace attacks - McGrath, Donald, Akram, Waquar, Ambrose, Walsh..the list goes on. He has also played against extraordinary spinners of his time - Murali, Warne, Saqlain. And he has scored against every single one of them. In all forms of the game. When his own team was repeatedly faltering in the 1990s.

So who do you believe to be the greater bat of the two? Can they even be compared? If yes, how should we go about that comparison?

Monday, July 20, 2009

The 'Essential' joy

Hi Guys,

This is my first blog of sorts after being convinced by Siddharth that I could write one , so here goes.....

The most basic of 'joys', as the name goes the 'joy' of cricket to me is more a passive one,

Don't get me wrong when i say this, having played the game at different levels and in different environments, conditions its given me enormous pleasure and enjoyment but I consider myself extremely fortunate to have played the game but there are a lot more people who could not play it due to various reasons ,My point: joys of cricket are not limited only players, certainly not the most basic and as I like to call it the 'Essential' joy , The sheer enjoyment of a heated discussion or potent mixture of extreme views of how the last match could have been won or handled better by the captain or even better if their personal favorite was the captain or included in the XI is what the most common 'joy' of cricket is and it is this passion and cauldron of extremes that make it the game that it is .

To me, if there weren't people at every nook and corner talking about cricket,how it could be bettered and how they themselves could serve the purpose better in the 'being discussed capacity' people who run the Paanchi tapri,Chai /Amrutulya stalls and Wada Pav stalls, would be out of business in a jiffy.So people , in these most recessed of times and of cautious spending please understand the need to keep the 'Essentials' going

A Body of Flint

Well, well, well. Wonder if it was just the psychological aspect of Freddie Flintoff knowing that he can push his body for this Lord's test that resulted in him becoming a match winning super quick?
I'm sure he was inspired by the Mecca of Cricket, but I think the reason that he forgot that he was retiring due to a body that was more broken than not was cause he got it right in his mind.

And by the way, what a nice way to start this blog: The Joy of Cricket with my fellow bloggers. Ranjit and Shree have joined up and we'll keep this running. Anyone else want to contribute, do apply to yours truly.