Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

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!

Well, it wasn’t really a retirement in the Mohd. Yousuf style. Nevertheless, the main reason for my not posting, as I mentioned in my last post, was because the IPL was too congested to actually dedicate seperate blog posts to it. Instead, I went for tweeting for the course of the tournament.

So, what happened between that post and today?

1. Lalit Modi is suspended/fired/(you name it)

Well, after my short campaign to get rid of Lalit Modi, it seems to have bore fruit. Lalit Modi has, according to the BCCI, been suspended.

But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that he will actually be back. The charges laid out against Lalit Modi sound serious and, even if one of those charges are proved to be true, you can be rest assured that cricket won’t be infected by Lalitmoditus again. Heck, he might even migrate to the US and try to take over cricket there!

However, anyone reading this (yes, even the current cricketers and administrators) should realize that I have a power.

We all know that Purna, of Cricket Minded fame, has the power to get cricketers back into the team.

However, with my power, I can screw the person concerned in a big way.

Look at LKM. He was going “Wow” to a Pollard six in the IPL final and, now, there’s a decent chance he might be going into jail.

So, the moral for the day?

Don’t mess with Thiru Cumaran!

2. Chennai SuperKings win the title

Most consider this a big anti-climax since there was a chance that CSK would not even reach the semis after just 2 wins in the first 7 games.

However, with 7 wins in the last 9 games (including the finals), MSD taught us all one thing.

Make sure you win the games that matter.

I’ve always been a firm believer of this concept. It’s no point winning all the league games, only to stumble when it really matters.

A case in point is India. India started off fairly scratchily in the first couple of matches in the 2003 World Cup. However, since they had 7 matches in the group stages, they managed to rediscover their mojo and reached the finals.

Come 2007, the same thing happens, but, TBH, it’s worse. They lose to Bangladesh and find themselves on a sticky-wicket. They have to beat SL to advance to the next round. However, SL was in really good form and knocked them out before the Super 8s.

The point I’m trying to make is, if the 2003 World Cup had a format similar to the 2007 WC, India may not have made it to the Super 6s.

It’s all a matter of who turns up on the particular day. I just had a gut feeling that Mumbai, having not experienced any pressure whatsoever during the tournament, may not be able to withstand the heat.

On the other hand, Chennai had already been through plenty, having had to make 52 runs in 4 overs to get to the semi-finals. Therefore, there was no question of Chennai not being able to soak the pressure. Heck, even S. Badrinath managed to let off a whole load of pressure by sweating a lot! XD

Pollard, IMO, is over-hyped. Yes, he’s changed games, but look what happened when the team really needed him.

Tendlya deserved better. Yes, I am a Chennai fan, but who couldn’t feel sympathy for the only ODI double-centurion, the only 600+ run scorer this year?

3. Zimbabwe beat Australia, again

In case you were polishing your specs and looking at this post again don’t be too worried. It’s true. The Zimbos beat Australia again. After beating them in the T20WC 2007, they’ve beat them again in the Caribbean.

Yes, it was a 15-a-side game, but, still.

Despite Australia being really mediocre when compared to the class of, say, 2005, why do I still get a smug smile on my face when I see the words “Australia” and “defeated” in the same sentence?

4. The T20 World Cup starts tomorrow

Well, this isn’t exactly something that already happened. However, I am genuinely happy to see international teams taking on each other.

Yes, most people are complaining of T20 overburn after having watched a mind-boggling 60 games between 8 “domestic” Indian teams.

However, it isn’t the domesticness of the tournament which has left a sour taste in the mouth for me. It’s the crass commercialisation. I mean, the finals was as crass as it could get, with 2 ads within an over.

That’s right, 2 ADS! The collection of logos on the uniforms also makes it sickening to watch.

However, ICC-sponsored tournaments provide a rare spectacle in that there are no sponsor logos on the tees. Barring a max of one, there is barely anything (some regulations by them which stipulates that teams can’t put the name of their sponsors on their tees).

It is truly refreshing. There’s less nonsense from the likes of Ravi Shastri & Sunny Gavaskar. Instead, we have more of Anil Kumble, Shane Warne (hopefully), Ian Chappell and David “Bumble” Lloyd.

I’d like to raise an issue. Could we not have any more ICC-sponsored events in the Carribean?

Tomorrow’s curtain raiser between Sri Lanka and New Zealand starts at 10.30 in the night! The next match is at 2 in the morning the next day!

!#$***$!#%%^

Hellos, everyone!

Yes, I’ve been extremely bad and haven’t been posting a lot lately, but with exams for 2 separate qualifications (over 3 days) coming next week, can you blame me? *putting on Bopara’s puppy expression*

However, I have to tell you, Jarrod‘s ‘When Freddie Became Jesus’ sure does serve a good purpose in keeping the mind away from all your stresses (including nagging friends).

I had started reading the first couple of pages when I got it in mid-January, but, for some reason or the other, I had stopped reading beyond the first 2 pages.

However, a couple of days ago, I opened the box which contained my ‘stash’ of cricket books and, my goodness, you wouldn’t believe the carnage that took place there!

Hoggy’s hair was in a mess (Welcome to My World by Matthew Hoggard), Gilly was in tears (True Colours by Adam Gilchrist) just like he was before WACA ’06/’07, Michael Simkins was half the size he was on the cover (Fatty Batter by Michael Simkins) and Warney had his latest range of ‘Spinners’ underwears on his head (Wisden 2007).

However, amongst the rubble, there he was. Jarrod Kimber, standing tall, grabbing Freddie by his cock and compelling me to read his book. He threatened that non – compliance would lead to Freddie’s cock becoming like a squeezed orange and, so, in the interests of Rachel Flintoff, I took it out and re-started reading it.

Anywayz, got through the first 50 pages and, I have to say, I do agree with Alex when he said the following in his book review of When Freddie Became Jesus

People always talk about the swearing and the sex references when they talk about Jarrod’s writing. Jarrod himself often plays up to this, but he’s doing himself a disservice in doing so. It makes it sound gimmicky, when it’s nothing of the sort. The truth is, he’s a sharp writer and the occasional ‘fucken’ is just window dressing.

Therefore, without further ado, *drumroll*, here are those absolute gems which I promised for yesterday, but at least remembered to post today! 😛

On seeing Richie Benaud for the first time in flesh in the media box

He was so close to me that I could have turned around and licked his trouser leg. And don’t think that it didn’t cross my mind

On the difference between the previous 2 ashes and the 2009 one

Where 05 and 06/07 had greatness, 09 had Ravi Bopara and Nathan Hauritz

His opinion on the Ashes as a whole

Like I said, the Ashes series is not between the best two team in the world, but between two teams that play the Ashes. Is it too late to invite South Africa and India?

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! 🙂

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

Punter’s punt must have brought back the ghosts of Edgbaston ’05 as he watched the carnage unfold.

For the uninitiated, it was the Ashes 2005, the series which many (including myself) consider the greatest test series ever.

The first test match resulted in a resounding win for Australia by 300-something runs.

On the morning of the 2nd test, Glenn McGrath, who took … wickets in the first match, was sent to the hospital after he slipped on a stray ball during practice.

Not realizing that his bowling attach isn’t the same without him, Ponting decided to put England in to bat in conditions which can hardly be described as challenging to the batsmen.

The English openers, Strauss and Marcus Trescothick, replied in kind by getting off to a rollicking start. England ended up with 408 on the first day, which was the 2nd most number of runs made by England in a single day.

It is believed that that was the moment when Australia gave away the momentum built from the first test.

Coming to Sydney ’10, Ponting must’ve been absolutely stupid to have opted to bat. Not having watched the toss, I was under the impression (for some reason) that MoYo won the toss and elected to bowl, which is pretty much a no-brainer, considering the fact that the pitch was lush green and might have a bit of dampness in addition to the possible moisture in the air.

Knowing that Asif could well exploit it, it came as a shock to me that it was Ponting who decided to bat first. It was a clear over-estimation of the capabilities of his batsmen (esp. Phil Hughes, the most overrated batsman in Australia).

This could also be exactly the point where he gifts the momentum to Pakistan.

Granted, Pakistan’s batsmen are liable to collapse any moment, but even if they do so for about 300 or so, they still have a hefty lead of 180. Considering that the bowling has been reinforced with the addition of Gul and Kaneria, I can’t imagine how Australia could possibly win this match.

BTW, for the curious bunch, Sami‘s average is still under 50 (49.85, to be precise)! 😛