Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Having seen Mohammad Yousuf back in the news, this is the train of thought that went through my mind:

“He’s been out for nearly 18 months, but still feels he has plenty to offer to the Pakistan cricket team…I’ve been out for nearly 9 months, but I still feel that I have ‘plenty’ to offer to the cricket blogosphere”.

Yes, I’ve never really been a very regular blogger, largely due to the fact that I’ve been too lazy to do anything whole-heartedly.

Also, it’s always been a little dispiriting, churning out posts but having only a handful of people viewing them, let along commenting on them.

However, looking at the success of fellow bloggers like Jarrod and Leg Side Filth, and having followed their blogs even during the times when they were not so famous, I realized something….these guys kept churning out good content, even though, initially, there weren’t a lot of people commenting. However, due to the fact that they never gave up and continued, they are where they are now.

Therefore, this shall be my last comeback…I promise to update this blog at least 2 times a week, though the possibility of more posts is likely.

Therefore, I’ll start with a short note on the West Indies-Australia test series:

I couldn’t really catch any of the action on TV, largely because of the late nights spent at work.

However, I was eagerly following the live commentary, and the signs were encouraging from West Indies’ point of view.

They seem to have a very very good bowling attack, with Fidel Edwards, Kemar Roach, and Ravi Rampaul leading the attack with Darren Sammy, the unassuming skipper, for support. They also have some good spinners in Shane Shillingford and Devendra Bishoo (the potential of Sunil Narine is unknown since he’s at the IPL, but from the amount of spin that he imparts on the ball, it can be confidently said that he will be a more successful mystery spinner than Ajantha Mendis was). 

However, as has been the case for quite a  long time, their batting has been disappointing, with the exception of Shiv Chanderpaul and, to a certain extent, Narsingh Deonarine. They seem to be prone to frequent collapses. 

To a certain extent, such shoddy batting was covered up, during the limited over series, by some superb power-hitting from Sammy, Kieron Pollard and Andre Russell.

However, I don’t think that such power-hitting would cut it in Test Matches, where you need guys batting for longer periods in order to get good totals.

Therefore, if West Indies are to have a chance of at least winning a Test in the upcoming tour of England, the batting definitely needs to pull their pants up. It’s not gonna’ be any easier there, with England’s highly competent bowlers and the balls swinging in all directions.

Though the WI bowlers will have a good time there (not so sure about the spinners), the onus is gonna’ be on the batsmen, who will have to deliver if WI are to put up a fight!

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The return of Sourav Ganguly to the IPL …

Let me tell you one thing…

Sourav Ganguly is the KING of comebacks!

You have someone like Ajit Agarkar, who has made so many damn comebacks to competitive cricket that everyone keeps calling him the King of comebacks.

But this guy, Sourav Chandidas Ganguly, when he makes a comeback, he makes it count! (go back to December 2006 and IPL 2010)

His recall in December 2006 to international cricket coincided with one of India’s greatest moments in test cricket (India winning their first ever test match in South Africa) and his recall as captain of Kolkata in IPL 2010 saw him become the 4th highest run-scorer with 493 runs in 14 matches and saw the team missing qualification to the semi-finals due to net-run rate.

However, his reputation was tarnished big-time earlier this year when he went unselected in the auction (despite fellow old-timers like Dravid, Gilchrist and Laxman being selected). To rub salt into his wounds, this was after he had jacked up his starting price to $400,000 (from $200,000) after having been promised by a certain franchise owner that he would be picked up by them.

It all descended into a farce when someone wanted his name to be put up for a second round of auctions but no-one bid for him then as well. Subsequent attempts by Kochi to rope him in was also dashed by the other franchises.

However, he’s now back in the IPL, albeit with the man that ‘disgraced’ him, Subrata Roy. Funnily enough, as one article on Yahoo! Cricket mentioned, he’s back in the team which is being captained by a player who was brought into the Indian team by him!

Bengal’s love for Ganguly

I had the good fortune of working with a person from Kolkata on a project. When I asked him whether the public disappointment and outrage over Sourav Ganguly’s non-selection by any franchises was real or whether it was just over-hyped by the Indian news-channels.

He said that it was very real and that there were actually protests against Ganguly’s non-selection by the franchises.

He then told me of a match he had attended in the currently ongoing IPL. When I asked him whether it was easy to get tickets, he said that it wasn’t a problem at all. I was surprised at this. He then mentioned a line which showed how much Bengalis really loved him.

For every empty seat at Eden Gardens, there is a Ganguly fan out there who can’t accept a Kolkata team without Ganguly.

Be back in a bit…

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

My humble apologies for not posting in ages. As regular readers will know, even 4 months of inactivity on this blog is quite something, considering that 1 month used to be the norm.

Sudden work opportunities, work pressures, blah blah blah have been the reason for the inactivity and so I promise to put up a post by the end of the week.

There has been no shortage of activity in cricket, so you have every right to expect a really good post to compensate for the inactivity!

Cheers.

Well, it’s over a month since I’ve written a post. The last post was on Sri Lanka’s victory against Zimbabwe in the group stages of the T20 World Cup and my incredulity on the fact that Mahela was playing like a gem while the others were playing like a blind man groping around for landmarks by which he could identify the place where he is standing.

Between then and now, a lot has happened in Sri Lanka.

Selection Committee

The “legend”, Hon. C.B. Ratnayaka (Sports Minister), having possibly lived in a dream-world where justice is served to those who break it, declares Sri Lanka Cricket as the 3rd most corrupt institute, the first 2 being the education sector (Ordinary Level Exam papers have been printed with plenty of errors) and the police (I don’t think any explanation is required). He promises to clean up the board and appoint a new interim committee with non-corrupt people.

However, CB is forced to do a u-turn. He fires the 2 non-corrupt people in the committee, Pramodya Wickremesinghe (former Lankan fast bowler who played in the 1996 World Cup) and Ranil Abeynaike (former SSC curator and current commentator/journalist).

He re-appoints the 2 most corrupt people in the committee, DS de Silva (former Lankan leggie, married to a woman who’s family is in the gambling business. According to ICC laws, a director of the ICC cannot have any associations with any gambling/betting organisations. Since DS is the head of SL cricket, he automatically becomes a director. Of course, why he is still allowed to be an ICC director is beyond me) and Nishantha Ranatunga (ex-cricketer, brother of Arjuna, known to have taken 33 overseas tours on public expense since appointed last year).

CB also appoints some more corrupt people, details of whom I can’t be bothered to learn. Frankly, who cares? They’re corrupt, that’s all I need to know.

New selection panel appointed

However, one good thing CB has done is appoint a good selection committee.

It is headed by Aravinda “Mad Max” de Silva. I doubt he needs an introduction, but for the benefit of those who don’t know him, he, in his heyday, was the daredevil of Sri Lankan cricket. A flashy strokeplayer, he was the lynchpin of the Sri Lankan batting order in the 90’s along with Arjuna Ranatunga, Asanka Gurusinha and Roshan Mahanama. He was the man-of-the-final in the 1996 World Cup, having made a brilliant century after the openers (Sanath Jayasuriya & Romesh Kaluwitharana) were dismissed with just 23 on the board. Kent players were reportedly in tears when he had to leave after a stint with them!

Amal Silva, ex-keeper. Don’t really know much about him, except that he is one of a very few number of Lankans to have made a century on their Lord’s debut.

Shabir Asgerally. Have no idea about his credentials, except that he played just one domestic 50-overs match.

Ranjit Fernando. I don’t think he needs any introduction. For the uninitiated, pay a visit to this blog, Ranjit Fernando Sucks.

SL wins the tri-series in Zimbabwe

OK, let’s be honest. No-one was interested in this series. Even the Indians weren’t interested and sent a motley crew to the series. Sri Lanka sent a half-decent team headed by Dilshan.

As far as I was concerned, my only interest was seeing how Dinesh Chandimal, Jeevan Mendis and Lahiru Thirimanne played.

The interest in Chandimal is not new to Lankan fans, who have been speaking highly of him ever since his u-19 days. This dude can keep wickets and score big runs. Enough said about him.

Jeevan Mendis has been around for quite a long time, but has, sadly, never got the opportunities to showcase his potential. Though 42 runs in 2 innings and 4 wickets @ 29.75 aren’t exactly world-beating, it’s a good return for someone who’s waited for so long. Besides, he’s a LEGGIE. Currently, our top 3 spinners are all offies (Murali, Randiv and Mendis). Therefore, it’d be nice to have some variety with a leggie who can bat in the top-7.

However, poor Thirimanne didn’t get proper opportunities to display his potential. I really liked what I saw of him in his short maiden innings. However, it would’ve been better to just bench him rather than playing him at No. 7. I mean, what right thinking person would put an opener at No. 7?

Perhaps it would’ve been better to bench the perennially underachieving Chamara K’r’apugedara, who has a pathetic average of 22 after 73 games! I mean, even Rohit “Nohit” Sharma had an average of 25.something after 42 games (of course, he’s upped that significantly with some very good knocks). But, what to do? Politics, politics, politics…..

Chandimal not picked for the Asia Cup

There has been an uproar here in Sri Lanka over the dropping of Dinesh Chandimal, who scored an impressive century against India, for the Asia Cup.

Under normal circumstances, I would’ve joined the chorus. However, we all know that the Asia Cup is just like the Champions Trophy, an ugly sibling whose presence no-one wants to acknowledge but don’t want to insult.

Chandimal’s being sent to Australia with the Sri Lanka A side. Now, this will definitely help him with his development. It is common knowledge that Australia A is quite a strong team. That, coupled with the fast Australia pitches, will really contribute a lot to Chandimal’s learning curve.

The fundamental problem with most of our batsmen is an inability to play on fast pitches. Therefore, hopefully, Chandimal will learn a lot from this tour.

However, had he stayed, he would’ve played on the zombie-like pitches of Sri Lanka against India (OMG, I’m starting to see India-SL matches more frequently than porn), Pakistan (do I need to actually say anything?) and Bangladesh (hmm…). The learning from this tournament would’ve been next-to-nothing!

Sanath Jayasuriya

Ah, the main topic of this post.

Sri Lanka staggered and stumbled like a guy heavily on arrack and realized, “Hey, we are in the semi-finals? Now, how did that happen?”. Of course, their poor performances were bound to catch up and so, the alcohol wore off and Sri Lanka finally realized that they were in the wrong place and got duly thrashed by England.

Discontent among the public on Sanath Jayasuriya’s place in the side continued to rise as he ended up with a miserable average of 3.75 in 6 matches, a sorry average for a player who was declared the man-of-the series in the 1996 World Cup for his amazing average of … and SR of ….

It was well known that, just before the T20WC, Sanga had sent in his resignation after Upul Tharanga’s name was scratched out and Sanath’s pencilled in. The president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, got his son, Namal, to cool down Sangakkara.

It also came to be known recently that it was Namal who called up Sanga during the World Cup and ordered him to send Sanath up the order.

All this resulted in a lot of discontent among the Lankan public. This anger started to go towards the Rajapaksa. Realizing that this could potentially backfire on him, he asked Sanath, after the T20WC, “Didn’t you have enough? Don’t you want to retire now?”

Nooooooooo…….said Sanath. He wanted to play till the 2011 WC. Realizing the futility of this situation, he had ordered the selection committee, headed by Aravinda, to drop Sanath for the Asia Cup and not pick him for any future tournaments. He also told his son not to interfere in any cricket matters anymore.

So, that ends the career of a legend of the game. I still have fond memories of him, of those flicks off his legs, of those amazingly fierce cut shots.

More importantly, he changed cricket for the better. He was the first opener to hit out in the first 15-overs, and changed the ways captains looked at the fielding restrictions. Rather than it being a time where the openers took singles, it is now looked upon as the time when batsmen go hell-for-leather!

It could be said that the dare-devilry of Sanath’s batting spawned the likes of Gilchrist, Gibbs, Hayden, Gayle and Sehwag.

However, all this scorn and shame heaped upon him was of his own doing. He could’ve retired after the 2007 World Cup on a high, when he scored 467 runs @ 46.7 with 2 centuries…..

OK, I plead guilty for making a really bad joke with the title.

However, the man in question, Alan Tyers, is not as bad a joke as you may think.

In fact, he is the KING of Cricket Satire.

Here’s his latest post on the Wisden Cricketer, The Alternative Cricket Dictionary-Letter D

I thought of putting up some excerpts of it on this post. However, the whole post was so good that it would’ve been difficult to actually put an excerpt of the page on this post.

I had also started a Facebook Fan Page for him some time ago.

Join it so that you get updates on every cricket piece he writes.

Of course, this is under the assumption that he writes only for Cricinfo, Cricket365 and the Wisden Cricketer.

If anyone knows of any other website that he writes cricket pieces for, please do let me know in the comments section!