Friday, April 18, 2008

FINALLY, IPL BEGINS

I wish I could greet the Indian Premier League with the anticipation of my first salary, or even the trepidation of my board exams.
Sadly, the main emotion is disappointment, as some rather Draconian accreditation regulations have restricted websites' scope of coverage to a bare minimum. Those who think that Twenty20 is the future of cricket are remarkably short-sighted when it comes to thinking of the future of the media.
The IPL was never going to die a quiet death. It may sound like a doomsday prediction, but the fact remains that irrespective of what emotion you address the tournament with – you may sing praises sky-high, or lambast it to the depths of disgust - you cannot ignore it.
You will mistake it frequently though. You will mistake it for a platform for the young hopefuls to make it, you will mistake it as a forum that will provide these youngsters with so much attention, that they would not die away as unknown also-rans.
You will also make a mistake if you think that cricket as we knew it will continue. Whatever be the fallout of this league, the world of cricket will never be the same again. That’s not to say that it won’t be an improvement. Only someone totally blinkered would assume that this is all bad. This is just different.
Once One-Day Internationals came into being, the fallout was the filtering of unorthodox shots, and even lesser patience, into the Test arena. That resulted in more matches being decided, and in the recent past, there have hardly been Test series which have witnessed draws and draws only. Call it the reflexes of instant cricket, or the shift in the attention and concentration span, it yielded results.
So what will Twenty20 do? Simple. It will ensure that we don’t need five-day Tests. As it is, not too many nowadays see the fifth day, and with the techniques and quick-fix of a 20-over game coming in, things will happen faster. So shorter Tests, leaving more time for Twenty20.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

SANIA CLIMBS TO THE 30 th SPOT

Sania Mirza, out of action with a wrist injury, has climbed to the 30th spot in the latest WTA rankings issued Monday.

Sania, now has 917 points while her doubles ranking too showed improvement as she moved to 19th position with 1830 points.

Meanwhile, Indian veterans Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi remained static in their ATP doubles' rankings.

Paes held his 24th spot while his Davis Cup partner Bhupathi was at 13th place.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

GRUELLING BATTLE AHEAD


Amid talks that the Indian team wants to field three spinners on what is expected to be a square turner in Kanpur for the final Test against South Africa, the hosts began their preparations early but were missing two of their tweakers here on Monday.


Captain Anil Kumble, who is still nursing a groin strain sustained during the first Test in Chennai, as well as off-spinner Harbhajan Singh (who has an upset stomach), were missing from the nets, while recalled Mumbai spinner Ramesh Powar is to reach Kanpur straight. Only Piyush Chawla was present along with local spinners.


Having spent the day following their innings defeat to the Proteas in the confines of their hotel rooms, they returned to Motera for an extended practice session, with a 16-man squad for the next match already announced.


The batsmen returned to the same square on which they were drubbed twice over – 76 all out in the first innings and 328 all out in the second – as coach Gary Kirsten Kirsten kept a close watch. Even Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who missed the fielding session due to a throat infection, came out for a knock in the middle.


Munaf Patel, who has also been recalled for the decider, was seen bowling to the batsmen, but S Sreesanth, who seems to have a shoulder niggle, was held back from bowling in the morning session. Gujarat fast bowler Siddharth Trivedi, who has been in excellent form with the ball for his state, was also seen steaming in.


Having got a clear mandate about the surface in Kanpur, it was surprising to see the Indian players sweat it out on a green Motera pitch. Not ideal preparation, one would say, as they could have asked the ground staff to shave off one of the adjacent turfs to simulate the Green Park Stadium pitch.


The Indian team is scheduled to fly out from the city on Tuesday to Kanpur, where Ishant Sharma, who will have his fitness reassessed on April 10 along with his captain, will also join them.

Monday, April 7, 2008

MASTER MAINTAINS SECOND SPOT


Injured Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar held on to his second spot, while his One-day skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni occupies the 10th spot in the ICC ODI Rankings issued on Monday.The master batsman, who jumped to second spot after his scintillating performance in the tri-series in Australia last month, has 777 rating points, 15 behind numero uno South African captain Graeme Smith.The 10th-placed Dhoni is followed by his deputy Yuvraj Singh at 17th. Off-spinner Harbhajan Singh, at 19th, is the only Indian bowler in the top 20.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

KUMBLE TO BE PRESENTED A GOLDEN BALL

Better late than never, and it seems that the wait will be worthwhile for Anil Kumble.
Kumble is no stranger to a cricket ball, but the orb to be presented to him on Tuesday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium is something different altogether.
Touted as the ‘golden ball’ to be handed over to the leg-spinner for his 600 Test wickets, this 280-gram creation is actually a combination of diamonds and rubies.
Created by the Orra chain of jewellery, the ball is supposed to be studded with 1500 diamonds and as many as 640 rubies.
While there are no confirmations about the actual price of the artifact, it is supposed to be somewhere in the range of Rs 27 lakh. It took the company nearly four weeks to complete it.
Kumble has had it all coming to him late in life. He got his maiden Test century after 17 years in the business, got captaincy too in the fag end of his career.
After he got 600 wickets in Australia, it seemed that he had been forgotten for a while, before the BCCI woke up and decided to felicitate their captain. But it seems all will be forgotten once the ball is handed over to the bowler.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

PANDAVAS OF INDIAN CRICKET




The celebrations are over, the cheques have been distributed and the players have been feted all over for their feats in Australia.It is time now to play some cricket again, and play some serious cricket. This is Test cricket and believe it or not, with due consideration to the popularity of the limited overs version, this is the cricket that matters. This is the cricket that counts and decides whether you are good or not.The South Africans have rarely made tall claims about their superiority. They have been one of the most consistent sides in international cricket after Australia and I would not like to take them lightly in the three Tests that are scheduled at Chennai, Ahmedabad and Kanpur.I am looking forward to watch the five Pandavas of Indian cricket_Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and V. V. S. Laxman. They have stood the test of time and served Indian cricket as diligently as one could have expected them to. There is no better sight for me than to watch them on the field.These seniors, or veterans, or performers, whatever you may like to call them, have sent a strong message that experience is priceless. Tendulkar and Kumble have been around for 18 years now, Dravid, Ganguly and Laxman for 12 years. It has been a wonderful journey for these sensational cricketers.That they still command their place in the team is a tribute to their character. At home and overseas, they have set examples, set new benchmarks, achieved greater heights. Their hunger, motivation, commitment has not waned over the years and these are the qualities that I would like the youngsters to imbibe. These stalwarts are too willing to share their experience and wisdom and pass it on to the next generation.

Friday, March 14, 2008

UNETHICAL MOVE BY FIH


Oh..........at last the dreaded thing happened. India, 8 times olympic gold medallist had failed to qualify for the olympics for the first time in 80 years. Were you surprised??? Course you must be!! Because only recently had India won the asia cup and also beaten Belgium quite comfortably.But certainly I was not. I felt this coming... What went wrong? The answer was as simple as that. We didn't change ourselves according to time. Out of our 8 golds 6 of them came when the game was held on grass fields. Ever since the intoduction of astroturf we have found ourselves wanting.The infrastructure is completely inadequate. The total number of playable astroturfs in India would be around 15, but the number of astroturfs in Stuttgart,Germany, a city of the size of mysore would come around 20. No wonder germany i the no.1. Leave them all. The recent decision by FIH not to hold the scheduled world cup in 2010 is baffling. Reason stated by them is that India has not lived up to its reputation of a traditional powerhouse an they have wasted the funds provided.If that is the case then it is the mistake of a few people at the helm and it is completely unethical to punish a average hockey fan for none of his crime. Again I reiterate that the only way to develop a game in the country would be to hold big events like the world cup andchampions trophy in the country. If the FIH's real motive is to develop the game in India, then they should conduct the hockey world cup 2010 in India