Archive for the ‘south africa’ Category

OK, I’ll be really honest here.

There’s going to be nothing in this post about any fire or water in my belly.

The reason I put that as the title was only because that was the first phrase that came to my mind.

Anyways, it’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve put up a proper post on this oft-neglected blog, the main reason being that I always had to carry my laptop outside my apartment to surf the net (off someone else’s Wi-Fi connection).

Well, the next para’s going to be a quick re-cap of the happening in the cricket world during the last 4 months:

India pWNed Australia once again, Dhoni lost a series in Sri Lanka for the first time, Pakistan cricket fucks themselves in the ass once again, Ijaz Butt can’t keep his mouth or his butt (sorry for the pun) in check, Bangladesh clean-sweep New Zealand in the ODI series (who would’ve thought that the Banglas would get their first ever ODI series win against a major test-playing nation by way of a cleansweep?), West Indies name the royally-named Darren Julius Garvey Sammy as captain, Suresh Raina breaks his Test Duck, BCC!‘s batsman Cheteshwar “Chѐ” Pujara impresses all in his Test Debut, Sachin Tendulkar continues to score runs as easily as me taking a shower, Lalit Modi is kicked out of IPL, Preity is kicked out of IPL, Shilpa is kicked out of IPL, Australia’s reserve bowler (James Pattinson) gets injured, lalalalalalalalaaaaaaaa…………..

Phew! That was quite an exhaustive paragraph! πŸ™‚

Onto more serious things.

Sangakkara has started off the Australian tour in style with a really good 110 off 95 balls against a full-strength Queensland side. Thank goodness for that…at least we don’t have to rely solely on Dilshan for some aggressive innings. Chamara Silva also did well, playing at more than a run-a-ball.

Mahela impressed today with a good 58 off 35 in a T20 against a depleted NSW side. However, Angelo Mathews played the type of innings which makes you think, WTF? 24 off 33, especially against a second-string NSW side, isn’t really a very good performance, but, heck, I’m just hoping that the real Angelo Mathews turns up against Australia!

Moving onto Pakistan vs. Australia, it was a real shame that Pakistan had to lose yesterday. If only the damned Pakistani batsmen had showed some more balls (not literally, of course! πŸ˜› ), they’d have stood a chance of winning, especially after a double-wicket maiden from the Grandpa of international fast bowlers, Shoaib Akthar. Hmmpphh!!

Well, other than that, Kochi have officially been terminated. WHOOOOOOOPPPPPPPPEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!

….

….

….

Oops! I just read the fine print. Apparently, they have 30 days before they are actually terminated.

BOOHOO!!

I just hope that the BCCI is able to find some fault with 5 other franchises as well, so that we’d have just 2 franchises playing each other in 3 matches (one home, one away and the final) to decide the winner of the IPL. It’ll be done and dusted in 1 week, max! πŸ˜€

Firstly, a heartfelt apology for disappearing once again! I was planning to write a post about 2 days ago but I suddenly re-discovered the wonders of tweeting (I say re-discovered because, about 6 months ago, I was tweeting) and found it easier to do rather than having to write posts every day or so. However, seeing as they only allow 140 characters (that’s not even 30 words!), I’ve come up with a post! πŸ™‚

Yesterday was a special day. As far as i can remember, since the 2007 T20 World Cup, yesterday was the first day that 3 test matches were being played. This meant that I’d have a full day of test cricket. This is how it worked out:

5:00 AM – 12:00 PM : Pakistan vs Australia @ Hobart
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM : India vs Bangladesh @ Chittagong
1:30 AM – 9:30 PM : England vs South Africa @ Johannesburg.

Since I sleep at around 11:00 in the night, I’ll be deprived of just 2 hours of test cricket!

Pakistan vs Australia was plain frustrating. It’s one thing to see the team you support surrender meekly. When West Indies lost to Australia in the first test, I wasn’t too depressed, just disappointed a bit because West Indies didn’t put up a semblance of a fight.

However, when Pakistan had a good chance to make a fairly decent score (considering at least 4 out of those 6 batsmen were quite good) and didn’t do so, it was just outright disappointing. Moreover, it is quite befuddling to hear MoYo say that he wanted help on captaincy! It seemed more like he was asking for a ‘Captaincy Coach’!

I don’t think that any captain has ever said that they want help openly. Going and asking successful captains for tips is one thing, asking them how to captain is just plain tomfoolery! All this is made worse when you remember how MoYo openly craved for the captaincy!

Moving on to the England South Africa match, it was quite dejecting. The writing was on the wall once England got shot out for under 200 in the first innings. Smith, once again, played an ugly but magnificent knock (now, how many times do you hear ugly & magnificent in the same line?). Boucher continued his rich form in the series to prove that there’s still some fuel left in the old man’s tank.

I was personally gunning for South Africa to lose all 3 series so that Mickey Mouse could shut his mouth once and for all. After the T20 series, I was hoping for at least 2 series losses to SA but that didn’t materialize as well! Pity!

Daryl Harper has copped enough stick from everyone, so I don’t think I need to say any more. All I have to say is, ‘RETIRE DARYL‘!

The presentation of a fridge to Ashwell Prince was strange, to say the least. He didn’t do much of note in the series, but he wasn’t to be blamed. What can you expect when you put a player, who is very successful at No.5, in the opening slot? It’s disaster in the making. Perhaps it was a “We’re really sorry about all this” gift from CSA to Prince.

Last, but not the least, is the Bangladesh India match.

Sehwag, with typical candour, said that Bangladesh was an ordinary side and couldn’t take 20 wickets. The ‘quotable quotes’ have been summarised by someone from BCC!

Shakib (the Superman of Bangladesh Cricket) and Shahadat Hossain picked up 5 each to get halfway to the target. Though they’ve lost 3 wickets, they’re still in the hunt, IMO, and it has the makings of a fascinating competition, light permitting.

We really should encourage candour from more players like Sehwag. England is set to tour Bangladesh later this year without Andy Strauss and so this is what we can expect from the stand-in skipper, Mascaraman:

“Yea, Bangladesh are an improving team. We’ve seen how they played against West Indies last year and how they took the fight to India. They have a very good bunch of players, especially Tamim Iqbal and Shakib Al Hasan. Mashrafe Mortaza’s coming back from an injury and so he’d be raring to play. It would be dangerous to take them lightly as they are a <i>very</i> good side.”

Now, I’m not trying to say that Bangladesh are a bad team. In fact, they really <i>have</i> improved in recent times, shown clearly by the fact that they crossed 250 in 3 out of the 4 matches in the tri series.

What I’m coming to say is that captains and players should be honest. They should be taught to speak their mind rather than vomit some diplomatic garb.

Of course, this should be done in moderation. You don’t want to have situations like what was seen with MoYo, where he publicly castigated Salman Butt for his poor running. Though he did score a century the next day, I’m sure Salman would’ve appreciated it if MoYo hadn’t done that. It’s akin to your parents scolding you in front of your guests when you were young!

That’s it for now, hang on to my tweets to hear more from me!

http://twitter.com/crickettragic

Flower-"Barbie, did you intentionally step on the ball?" Broad-"No, Eastwood sir....I mean, Flower sir"!

Well, well, do we have something on our hands?

The South Africans have unofficially complained against Stuart Broad, saying that he’s purposely applied pressure on the ball with the studs on his boots.

It does sound like something trivial but when you consider the fact that England had a long and hard day yesterday for just 2 wickets, there is good reason for Broad to try out something like that. A bit of damage to the ball can do wonders as far as reversing the ball is concerned.

Watching the video of Andy Flower at the press-conference, his tough expression is Clint Eastwood-esque! The only thing lacking is that snarl which Eastwood generally gives when he doesn’t like something.

As expected, Flower was supporting Broad all-out, saying that he hadn’t heard of it before the press conference. This guy’s tough, I tell ya!

Anywayz, it’ll now be interesting to see what the match ref, Roshan Mahanama, says about this.

Sunny Gavaskar‘s article on Stuey getting preferential treatment due to his dad being a match ref is not one to be taken lightly.

Yes, Sunny is given to hyperbole at time and can get extremely emotional when it comes to talking about Westerners, but he’s got a point here.

I suppose if it was, say, Billy Bowden‘s son, I don’t think match refs would’ve really hesitated to take action against Bowden Jr.

However, knowing Chris Broad and his antics as a player, I can suppose that he’d do something along the same lines if one of the match refs did anything to Barbie.

Anywayz, Pakistan seem to be coasting to victory now. My heart is finally at ease after the quick wickets of Sizzle and Bolly, so I’m off for now.

C y’all later in the day!

No, my silence hasn’t been due to Sri Lanka being on the brink of elimination from the Champion’s Trophy, but due to an excess load of work, I haven’t been able to post. However, that hasn’t stopped me from keeping track of the Champion’s Trophy, so here’s what’s been happening.

The fact that England are the 2nd team to have qualified to the semis have baffled everyone, including yours truly. After getting a right-royal drubbing from Australia and nearly got swept away 7-0, I did not, in my wildest dreams, expect England to play like they were the best team in ODIs ever.

Morgan, who looked a bit out of his depth, sizzled. Shah suddenly remember how to run and Collingwood realised that he could play big shots with the ‘Blockingwood’ bat!

As for SL…sigh! I really had high expectations for SL for the first time in a world tournament because I felt we had the best batting order in nearly 3 years. Our middle order had always been a problem. However, in Samaraweera, Kandamby and Mathews, we had a middle order which could bail us out in case Jayasuriya and Dilshan both failed. However….I just can’t point the finger to what went wrong…

West Indies haven’t done a bad job at all, bringing both matches really close till the class of the better team shone.

As for South Africa…..dear, oh dear, do I have to mention the C-word again? I just don’t know what’s up with them. If I’m not mistaken, they are the only team to have a full-time mental conditioner but they still can’t get into a final, let alone win one. I just get the feeling that the Saffers are mentally weak! Full stop. It’s the same situation with the Bangladeshis. They have a good load of talent, but just don’t have the mental fortitude to win consistently.

IMO, Andrew Strauss was wrong in denying the South African skipper a runner. Yes, it is all about proper conditioning of the body, but still, it can be quite energy – sapping to bat 40+ overs.

I can understand ruthlesness, but there is something called the ‘Spirit of Cricket’. Yes, this has been a sticky point in many instances as it is hard to define what exactly this ‘Spirit’ is. Let me give you a simple definition:

The Spirit of Cricket is playing the game in a hard, yet fair way

It means that you play aggressive cricket, but play fair. I wouldn’t have recalled Mathews if I were Strauss. It was Mathews’ fault that he was ball – watching. There was no way Onions could have possibly seen him coming (he would have had to sprout eyes on the back of his head). However, Smith did nothing wrong and all player suffer cramps when playing for so long. It will become a sticky point when some of his own players, most notably Owais Shah (who does have a tendency to cramp quickly), suffer cramps and need runners.

On the subject of Powerplays, I’d like to refer to the first match of the competition, between Sri Lanka and South Africa.

The scenario is this: Dilshan is carting the ball around the park and the mandatory 10 over powerplay has finished. As the fielding captain, do you take the powerplay or not?

IMO, it should be a sure NO! The simple reason is, he’s obviously finding the boundaries easily because there aren’t enough fielders at the boundary. We all know that Dilshan doesn’t hit big like, say, a Morgan or a Symonds, but he hits them fast. Perhaps, the presence of more fielders on the boundary rope can stifle the runs and, perhaps, even get a wicket. I would’ve taken the Powerplay after Dilshan was dismissed.

SL also erred in not taking their powerplay immediately. It didn’t cost them in the end, but I feel that Sanga should’ve taken the powerplay immediately after SA’s one. It was clear that Dilshan wanted the pace in order to play his shots and Smith wasn’t willing to bring in the spinners during the powerplays, so we could’ve milked a lot more runs.

Well, that’s that! The CT has been an unqualified success in that it makes life difficult for a team when they have lost just once! It does bring me to the question which Mike Holmans raised in the Different Strokes blog in Cricinfo. Why do we hate the CT so much when the World Cup is such an elongated piece of shit?

CT FTW!

PS – Just saw that there’s been a mad jump in the number of unique visitors to this blog in the last 3 days…can anyone enlighten me why? πŸ™‚

It’s nearly a week since the Ashes ended, with Ricky Ponting mounting what seemed to be a reguard till the hulk, Andrew Flintoff, swooped in with a throw that put him among the all-time favourites of all England fans, and Michael Hussey making a century at the precise moment when Australia didn’t need it!

Meanwhile, last week was really busy for me, so I couldn’t really comment much on the Ashes, so here’s what I have to say about it!

The fact that England won seemed to be a travesty to everyone! I must be the umpteenth person reciting these stats like a trained parrot, but how can a team which scored 4 times the number of centuries, the team which had the most entries in the top 5 bowlers and batsmen lose to a team which, statistically, seemed inferior?

Yes, it’s true that stats don’t tell the full story, but England winning the Ashes was all due to England putting on some top-notch performances when it really mattered. Australia overslept at the moments when they had to keep their eyes open with 2 toothpicks each!

They failed to dislodge the last pair of Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson in Cardiff, bowled absolute nonsense in the first session of the Lord’s test and collapsed like a pack of cards in their first innings and, in the Oval, they, again, collapsed in the first innings. It was these pivotal moments that lost them the Ashes.

Looking at these takes me back to the two Twenty20 World Cup that have taken place.

In the first one in 2007, South Africa were cruising along undefeated and, in their last second round match against eventual champs India, their batting crumbled under the pressure (choking?) and they lost the match and exited the WC. Graeme Smith was incensed, no doubt, that his team had to exit after just one loss while a team like New Zealand got through to the semis even after they lost 2 matches. Smith’s boys just didn’t raise their game when it mattered and surrendered meekly to India.

Again, in this year’s WC, they really seemed to be the team to beat till the semis when Pakistan, who had lost 2 matches earlier in comparison to SA’s unbeaten record, put up a top-class performance to knock them over.

Again, Smith and Mickey Arthur, the coach, had to look back and see what went wrong. It’s simple. Again, they didn’t raise their game when it really mattered.

Therefore, it isn’t a matter of being consistent and winning most of the time, you have to win the matches that matter.

On a final note, the same happened to India in the 2007 WC when, despite being one of the favourites for the WC, got beaten by Bangladesh and exited. Yes, Bangladesh didn’t deserve to go to the next round but, heck, they won when it mattered!

Adios!