Friday, October 26, 2007

Feel like joining in?

If you dear reader, are a blogger, writing on cricket and resident in the US, will you please drop me an email at samirchopra1 AT yahoo DOT com? I'd like to compose a joint email sending some advice to the folks at on how they can best organize their cricket telecasts to make them more attractive to US viewers. I've been a customer of theirs for years, and am still disappointed at how much the final product varies from the advertised offering. And how the various glitches detract from the pleasure of viewing cricket, and how finally, the possibilities of the medium are not being exploited. I aim to draft a letter, and to pass it around for comments and then hopefully, if folks are in consensus, we can sent off this joint letter, with the attendant promise that if Willow. tv delivers on the changes, we'll praise them to the high heavens on our blogs :)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Two idiotic headlines

Faithful readers of this blog (all three of them) will have noted that I'm not particularly fond of Cricinfo. (I'm going to go ahead and flatter myself into thinking the feeling is mutual). But in keeping with my slightly forensic tendencies, I present some more evidence for the conclusion that CI is a pretty crappy news organization. The headline for Jenny Thompson's piece on Dilhara Fernando (which is titled "Fernando relishing Australian Challenge" on the page inside), reads "I want to target everyone". When you read the piece in question you find out that Fernando said that as a joking response to the question of who he would be targeting a la McGrath. Next, the headline for the piece written by Kumar Sangakkara is simply "We need to annoy the opposition". When you read the piece, you find out it occurs in the following context:
An ugly fifty or ugly hundred when you're struggling is more valuable than a century in a session. We need to take up time and annoy the opposition.
(Ah, and you were thinking it was about sledging?). Sigh; with friends like this etc.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Proteas and Aussies

I was just sitting around thinking what a pity it was that South Africa and Australia have never fielded a joint team. (Come to think of it, what a pity that England and Australia have never fielded a joint team - the 'home country' that still contributes the Union Jack to the Australian Flag, and its favorite son, but I digress). The two teams have so much in common; they speak the same language (English; some speak Strine and some speak Afrikaans, but thats only a minor difference); they both like to sledge a lot; they both field well; they both come from a culture that likes rugby (well, in New South Wales they do); they even share a religion (minor denominational differences aside). Frankly, South Africa and Australia have more in common than India and Pakistan (Australia and England have even more in common; why don't they field a common team?). So, I go to thinking, and came up with the following XI. Comments are welcome, but I'm not sure I'll make any changes.

Captain: Hanse Cronje (only a rogue would keep this lot in check)

Wicketkeeper: Ian Healy (only because Warne is in the team: see below)

Allrounder: Shaun Pollock (Australia are good at everything but they can't produce an allrounder)

Pace Bowlers: Alan Donald; Glen McGrath;

Spinners: Shane Warne

Batsmen: Jacques Kallis, Ricky Ponting, (Matthew Hayden and Graeme Smith will open given their intense rapport)

Specialist Fielder: Jonty Rhodes

I challenge you to pick a team to beat that. What a combination. And all that Christian goodness on the ground. Mmmm...makes me want to go watch this team right now.

Coming soon - the Mightiest Anglo-Australian outfit of all time.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Not mutual

Matthew Hayden says beating India is almost as good as beating England. Thanks Haydo. Wish we could reciprocate the compliment. But we can't. Beating Australia comes a distant third to beating England and Pakistan (preferably away, but I'll settle for home as well; and no order implied in there for me; oh, fine, have it your way, nothing quite like beating Pakistan, and then England, and then, perhaps Australia, though I have to tell you South Africa is fast catching up). Some day, perhaps, you'll catch up. Till then, keep trying.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Shame indeed

Check out the photo over at My Two Cents. And take a look at the grinning morons on display. I wanted very much to believe that the stories about Symonds being abused were not true; but it seems like they are, and to make things worse, its almost certain that these idiots heard about the incidents at Nagpur and decided to copy the fools out there. I hope these images are run on television on India. Public shaming seems in order. At least.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The ground you walk on

All hail thee, Ricky Ponting. Thou art master of the bat and the mind. Or so think your courtiers - the cricket writers at Fox. In the US, we have the White House Press Corps (funnily, Fox distinguishes itself out here as well with its "Fair and Balanced Coverage"). In Australia, we apparently have the Australian Captain Press Corps. Is this really the defiance of authority, the larrikin spirit that distinguishes the Australian character? Sorry, I forgot; its the grand, cosmic, collective sledge, delivered by paper, television and whites-wearing sportsmen.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm shocked, just shocked

Well, well. Isn't this surprising. Freddie Flintoff out for seven months. Gee, so that playing in the Twenty20 didn't help the healing process, like it was supposed to? Or that playing in the seventh one-day international with injections before the game, that didn't help it either. While they're looking for doctors to check out his ankle, can they also find a neurophysiologist to examine the brains of all those managing this cricketer?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

And meanwhile, across the border

In the midst of all this talk about sledging in the India-Australia series, a very interesting test series has been taking place in Pakistan. South Africa seem poised to win the series 1-0 or 2-0. They've done it through attritional batting, and their usual high-quality outcricket. Pakistan have suffered from not having Yousuf (I still don't understand his excuses for not playing in the first test), the Inzi return, the strange selection of two spinners (does anyone else think that a bowling line-up of Gul, Asif and Tanvir would have been a real handful?), and some shaky captaincy. Fortunately for the quality of the test series in India, I expect all these problems to have been sorted out by the time Pakistan arrive in India. The timings of the tests will play havoc on my body but its hard to miss tests against Pakistan. India will need some battle-hardening in test matches before they head off to Australia, and they couldn't have asked for a better match-up than against Pakistan. The conditions will be very difficult but hopefully, the new captain will get some experience under his belt in the often cauldron-like conditions of home games.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

On and on and on...

Ok, so its official. Sreesanth has checked in and found a new home. Under the Australian captain's skin. (not that I think Sreesanth is handling this in the best way possible - I prefer more wickets, less lip). But its making Ponting's recollection of facts a bit foggy:
"By [winning this series], hopefully you are putting a dent in them," he said. "I think you've seen over the years that India aren't the best travelling team in the world."
As the Sydney Morning Herald points out, "India have won six of eight away Test series since 2003-04" (not Aussie standards, I agree), And of course, the last time India toured England, they won the series (they didn't lose the Ashes like Australia did; not that they were playing for them). And India's best bowler, Zaheer Khan, wasn't best friends with Pietersen (unlike Warnie). But seriously, I'm starting to suspect that Ponting and Sreesanth are in cahoots with Channel 9 to boost ratings for this summer's series in Oz. And I'm starting to feel worried about my safety at the MCG and SCG.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

One for the shrink

Its been a long time since I had one of these (so long that I'm not even sure I ever had one). I speak, of course, of a cricketing nightmare. Not the kind where you are actually playing a match and you drop the opposition's star batsman with one wicket to get. No, the kind where you're fast asleep at home, and the same thing happens in your dreams. Now, in this one, which occurred last night, I didn't drop a catch. But I did something that was guaranteed to bring out the cold sweats in me. So here I am at widish cover, watching as the bowler runs in, and delivers a ball, (short and wide crap), which the batsman lashes away square of the wicket. I run around in slow motion, and the ball slows up as well. But then as I reach down, I miss the ball completely. Gosh dang it. So I run after the ball (feeling like I'm running through molasses with all the grace of a pregnant emu) and catch up with the ball (I think; my memory fails me now). Then, I pick up the ball, and throw it. It flies away at a forty-five degree angle, and falls about 10 meters away. I wake up, before I hear the hysterical cackling from the galleries, and the curses from my team-mates. It was terrible; the whole thing was just one frozen tableau of singular incompetence.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


Shut up and play, Ricky. The Australian captain is talking, and he can't stop running his mouth. Now, its about India's 'fake' attitude, and about how the Indian captain "ran to the umpires" every time something happened on the field. And you're running for the nearest journo with a microphone. So why the halo and the wings on your back, Punter? Shut up and play. Get that 3-0 lead. Or not.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

True dat

Once in a while, you think of writing a little piece, and then you find out that someone has scooped you. And not just scooped you, they've done it the right way, which is to say, they've added some empirical heft to their piece. So, here is Siddarth Monga, describing the fearsome trio of Munaf Patel, Ranadeb Bose and Ishant Sharma who took the field for Rest of India in the Irani Trophy Final against Mumbai. The title of the piece, "Tall and Inspid" perhaps gives the game away a tad bit. But, honestly, my first reaction on seeing that this was the bowling-line up for the Rest of India side in the Irani Trophy was that, "The Mumbai lads are going to be chuckling at the thought of the runs they are going to make". I've said enough on Patel; Bose struck me as a bit of a trundler on the only occasion I saw him (I forget where, it was that memorable); and Ishant Sharma joins the small list of Delhi cricketers who I don't think will ever impress me (much as it pains me to say so). If this is the best that the Rest of India can come up with then India needs to work much, much harder at finding fast bowling talent (and at nurturing those that do rise to the top, which in this case, means taking good care of Khan, Sreesanth, Singh and Pathan for the time being).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Whole lotta talk going on

So I went to a sledging contest the other day, and a cricket game broke out. Wow. How much ranting and raving is going to happen in the press? I'm a fan of Harbhajan, but this moaning in the press about "vulgar" language is a bit precious. Hmmm..I seem to remember Harbhajan telling Pietersen to f**k off in an ODI a couple of years ago, and I seriously doubt the rest of his language is that of a choirboy. C'mon folks; if someone dishes it out, give it back. Otherwise, just play the game, and get on with it. And that goes for everyone, even the Aussie captain, who, I have to admit, does make a good point when he sayd ""Aggression doesn't mean sledging or giving personal barrage, it is having a presence on the field and playing good, aggressive cricket". OK, Punter, agreed. Now, can we just see that happening, please?

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

And before I forget

I have this theory. Its unscientific, and I'm not sure I have a sufficiently large number of data points. But there is a decent amount of confirmation for it, and any young, keen, student looking to write a masters thesis on this can contact me if they so desire. It is that no Pakistani cricket journalist can write a piece critical of Pakistani cricket without including a reference to Indian cricket, cricketers or administration (if the universal is too strong, this hypothesis can be amended to a statement including large probabilities). For the latest piece of evidence, check out an article on Kamran Akmal's poor wicketkeeping form.