Monday, April 27, 2009

Work gets in the way of cricket

Curses. Work kept me busy this morning (yeah, I mean, come on, working on a Monday morning?), and its prevented me from being able to watch the SRT-Jayasuriya partnership, which has apparently put on 111 runs in the first 10 overs for the Mumbai Redskins versus the Kolkata Dark Knights. With my bloody luck, this silly tactical break will now get one of them dismissed - just as I've managed to take a break. Fingers crossed.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hopeful cricket-related slogan

Back in January I posted some cricket-related photos from my last trip to India. Here is one I'd forgotten about. No cricket action, but a reasonably sensible (albeit slightly cheesy) slogan to think about in these days of the IPL. This was taken at a coffee shop in Candolim, Goa. I've forgotten the name of the chain. The coffee (a double-shot latte) was very good.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cleaning up the blogroll

Subash pointed out that my blogroll linked to a few dead blogs. I've known about that for a while, but hadn't done anything about it. Today I have. Eight blogs are gone. My criteria for deletion was simple: if you hadn't blogged in 2009, I removed you. If you want to come back, please start blogging!

Dubai dhamaka

I've just woken up and checked out the Pakistan-Australia one-day international in Dubai. First impressions: beautiful stadium, great outfield, real noisy crowd, tons of atmosphere. This could be a good place for Pakistan to play their international games during their 'exile'. The stadium isn't full by any means (there are lots of empty stands), and its not clear the attendance will be sustained over all games, but the feel of the place is good. And as I've been watching IPL over the past couple of days, the comparison between the two is fairly easy to make: there is a crackle in this game that hasn't been available in any of the IPL games. (Marsh's runout has just sparked a huge roar - don't think I've heard a Pakistani stadium this noisy in a while!).

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Monday, April 20, 2009

How many ways do I dislike thee, Lalit Modi?

Reader Subhash asks (in a rather irate tone of voice) in response to my post below complaining of having to put up with too much Lalit Modi on the television during the IPL:
you have to explain your hatred for Lalit Modi...The man has turned an idea in to a money printing machine. He seems to find ways out of tight corners...Don't give me cop out reasons like, "Oh! It has become all about the money!".. Whether people like to believe it or not, Cricket is a business. People need to get off their high horses!
Phew. Where do I begin? I feel like responding "No, you explain your liking for the man". But let me try. First off, money-making talent is no particular reason to like someone. None whatsoever. Some acknowledgment of talents, perhaps, but liking them? No sir. Donald Trump is a freaking millionaire. But he is an arrogant twat. Steve Ballmer is a billionaire. But he is, guess what, an arrogant twat. I know professors who've published dozens of books and are geniuses. But plenty of them are arrogant twats.

Modi is a zamindar incarnate. If he didn't have to wear a suit, and be bound by law, he'd be running around flogging peasants and repossessing their homes. He doesn't give a rat's arse about test cricket. He doesn't give a rat's arse about developing cricket at the grassroots level in India. Why doesn't he, rather than concentrating all his energies on the IPL, put up a cricket net in every single residential neighborhood in all major metropolitan centers in India? Modi is a corporate suit, who happens to be running a game. He'll make money. Good for him. And his family. If he happens to shit all over the game that matters the most to me, he wouldn't give a damn. Don't expect me to like someone who sounds like a prick, talks like a prick, walks like a prick. Even if he happens to be a rich one.


Silly prizes, silly presenter

A prize for the most wickets and runs so far? And the prizes given out by that prize twat, Lalit Modi? Please IPL, more cricket, less Modi, please.

I'm English - whats that bright light in the sky going around me?

If the earth stopped spinning, who would get it moving again? Eng-er-land!
If the sun don't shine, who lights the fires? Eng-er-land!
If the rains don't fall, who makes the raindrops come down? Eng-er-land!
Who are the champions, my friends? Eng-er-land!

OK, I admit it, I'm being juvenile. I'll stop. But honestly, m'lud, I plead extenuating circumstances. For this morning I arose to read the following headline in the The Times: Kevin Pietersen vs Andrew Flintoff should give kickstart (to the IPL). And I read the following:
After a haphazard start, a meeting of the two most costly players in the IPL should ignite the tournament It was apposite that Kevin Pietersen should have taken the plaudits on the first day of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Where most IPL players content themselves with being bought by reality TV stars, Pietersen goes that step farther and lives with one. He is the DNA of the IPL...The tournament needs someone to make South Africa sit up and take notice. Enter Pietersen.
I wanted to deliver a swift kick to the Rick Broadbent's chauvinistic arse, but I've contented myself with a little ditty. Is that OK? More charitably, m'lud, I'd admit that this is pure genius. You don't need comedy writers for this kind of writing. All you need is an English journalist writing on cricket.

IPL Balance Sheet - II

Yesterday was the first chance to see whether I would start caring about teams in the IPL. So far, not so much. Delhi played yesterday and it didn't really register. The rain interruptions and the asinine time-out didn't help. Too early, I know, so lets see how it goes.

In the second game, I thoroughly enjoyed the little Edwards v. Ganguly matchup. And watching RP Singh bowl: that lad is a good 'un. How I wish we could get him back in the Indian side soon. His passion is great to watch, and makes for a pleasant change from looking at mope-all-day Patel.

Continuing the theme of "what I don't like": images of team owners. I don't like them in the NFL or MLB either.

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Saturday, April 18, 2009

IPL Balance Sheet

Thus far:

What I like: the little matchups like Flintoff v. Tendulkar; the improbable scorecard lines like Dravid c Warne b Patel.

What I dislike: images of Lalit Modi; images of Lalit Modi; images of Lalit Modi.

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Mumbai v. Chennai IPL

My IPL posts will be quite impressionistic, pointillistic, a veritable montage of stream-of-consciousness reports. Gee, I sound pretentious - entirely appropriate when it comes to the IPL. What I meant to say was a little simpler: I'm going to hand out one-liners and soundbites.

My instinctive reaction on watching Mumbai v. Chennai is to cheer for Tendulkar. Pretty bizarre, the idea of cheering for any Mumbai team. But Chennai has Hayden. Count me out as a fan.

Gawd, I hate DLF Maximums. Aren't they sixes? And the commentators are playing along? I suppose they are required to call it that.

Nayar looks good.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Caring about the IPL

A new post on the difficulties of caring about IPL results is up at Different Strokes. I've already responded to one comment; you'll see why.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

I love looking at moi

The IPL is staging parades through the streets before the games even begin? Narcissus had nothing on these guys.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Following up (not on)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Dhoni's declaration

A new post on Dhoni's declaration at Wellington is up at Different Strokes. Given the large number of comments, I'll post a follow-up tomorrow.

Monday, April 06, 2009

The rains don't like missed opportunities either

Time to go to bed. It doesn't look like the Basin Reserve is going to get any drier. Miracles can happen, and hopefully, there will be time enough to get 2 more NZ wickets. Still, whatever the result, it shouldn't have been this close. NZ have only faced 94.3 overs thus far in their second innings. At tea-time on the *third* day India were 448 ahead. Why are they still hunting for two wickets on the fifth day?

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Well caught, Rahul

Rahul Dravid, India's best-ever slip fielder, now has the world record for the most catches in test cricket by a fielder. Thats a great record to bag, and a just honour for someone who has shone in that position over the years, displaying very good catching skills to a diverse attack. Well done Rahul. You deserve it.


Why not keep it simple, Part Deux

In the comments section of my previous post, Jaunty Quicksand, CricketAnalysis, and Cricket Tragic wonder about my take on India's possible tactics on day three of the Basin Reserve. I thought of responding in the comments but as this was something I was planning to write on today, I'll just respond to them here. First of all, I don't think Dhoni should be too worried about my criticism. I'm not a journalist, just a lame-ass amateur blogger. I doubt Dhoni reads this blog (though it would be cool if he did; Hi Mahi!). And I don't think the BCCI does either so there is no worry that he'll lose his job thanks to my blatherings. I'm only writing as a fan that would like to see the Indian team develop a habit of winning. I tend to think playing aggressively (or being an aggressive captain) in tests is a bit like doing drugs or having sex; it gets easier after the first time. Sometimes "Go on, take a hit" or "C'mon, lets do it" can be good advice. (Please, no complaints from the Morality Brigade).

I think not declaring quickly today would be poor tactics in the context of this test, and poor strategy in terms of India's aspirations to become a world cricketing power. It would be poor tactics because time could be severely limited in this test (thanks to rain and light), and a team should try and win keeping in mind the resources at hand. India could have declared yesterday but given the light situation, they were right to just carry on but now, they should either declare overnight or after an hour at most. Any more, and the suspicion they will be content with a draw rather than being really hungry for win will be confirmed. This isn't the time and place to think about inflicting more scars on the Kiwi bowlers (the series is over for them) or to give Yuvraj batting practice. The time is right to get on with the business of winning the game.

India already have a lead of over 500, which is more than enough to exert significant pressure on New Zealand. With all due respect to New Zealand, I don't think they can make 500 to win. (JQ: in the match that you linked to, NZ were 333-9 before Astle launched a once-in-a-lifetime attack; I don't think captains should plan for once-in-a-lifetime events, otherwise, they'd be too many to think about). Shoot, I doubt any team in the world today could make 500 to win against this Indian attack on any pitch. Its not because this attack is a consistently world-beating attack just yet (after all their averages are 34, 31, 36 and 30), but just because fourth innings of tests tend to be quite special affairs. Yes, sure, NZ made 600 in the last test, but that was in the first innings. In the first innings of this test, they made 197, and they won't be feeling too flash about themselves. And if India doesn' t think they can bowl them out for less than 500, then they have a severe confidence problem. New Zealand's batting has Taylor, Ryder, McCullum and Vettori as potential match-winners, sure; but India should back themselves; with Zaheer and Harbhajan bowling as well as they are in this test, they should really feel confident.

From a strategic point of view, winning needs to become a habit, and one way to do it is to put yourself regularly in situations where you can win, and win big. 2-0 just is better than 1-0, lets admit it. Sometimes this comes from turning around dodgy situations, sometimes from recognizing you have all the advantages you need. India are in the latter position; they should go for it.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Why not keep it simple?

I'm glad that it has rained a bit at the Basin Reserve. And I hope someone has pointed out to MS Dhoni that it'll get darker an hour sooner there. For hopefully, this lunatic suggestion going around that India should just keep on batting, and batting and batting will die the quick death it deserves. Get the lead to 500 and declare, and give yourself time and plenty of runs on the board to set attacking fields and get the 20 wickets to win. Why imagine the Basin Reserve will remain sunny and dry till the end of the fifth day? And if you don't think you can win despite setting a target of 500 I'd suggest a hunt for the proverbial chullu-bhar.

PS: Given the light situation at the Reserve, its not clear to me NZ will even be able to bat late today (especially as the quicks will be on).  Perhaps then India will bat on for as long as they can today and declare tomorrow.