- Exam halls are like toilets; the longer you sit there, the more the crap that comes out
- The best ideas always seem to come in the loo, Oh shit!
- Gravity is a myth: Earth sucks!
- Whoever said money can't buy everything didn't know where to shop
- You can't have everything;where would you put it?
Friday, March 24, 2006
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
India had probably done all the wrong it could on the first three days of the match and with the track assisting spinners somewhat here was a chance to redeem some pride in the match.
With my husband scheduled to fly home in the evening, I could only watch the first two sessions of the day. The two sessions yielded 3 wickets in addition to previous night’s two and somewhere there was an inkling that it would be very tough for us to come back.
It seemed that England was looking more to save the match than win it. Yes the pitch was making stroke play difficult (A fact Dravid should have taken into account when he went out to the toss) and any target above 250 would mean that India would be shut out of the match (Their batting wasn’t in the best form) A 121 run-lead proved handy and reaching close to 200 was just what England had hoped for seeing the nature of the track. So 312 to chase was a tough tough task.
Nevertheless the fan in me did not want to believe otherwise. I thought maybe on the last day:
- Sachin will grab the opportunity to shut up those who booed him. After all it was his home ground
- Dravid will be his solid self and hold fort
- Dhoni will produce the required blitzkrieg and get some assistance from Yuvraj
The whole of Mumbai seemed to think the same. The queues outside the Bombay Hockey Stadium (Where tickets for the match on that day are sold) stretched to the Asiatic Store and beyond! I know people are crazy but this crazy? To stand in queue for long hours and also incur a stampede! No thanks. Taking the season pass well in advance is the right decision else I’d rather watch the game at home. Though I had a fine brain wave to sell of one of the 5 tickets I had for a huge sum (which I’m sure any idiot would have paid for considering the situation of the match) but I did not! So we entered the stadium on day 5 amidst huge cheering and high security alert.
I didn’t quite get it why we chose to open with Pathan on day 4. Agreed that we have done it before, he was even successful, but Hoggard, Flintoff and Anderson are no jokers with the new ball! What’s worst he got out to a full toss! And who do we send in next? Anil Kumble. I fail to understand Dravid’s thinking.
Anyways as day 5 began I got the feeling India were playing for a draw. Now in all probability that means a good chance we will end up losing. It seemed so when Jaffer got out. In came Sachin Tendulkar and he changed the face of the match. Gone was the awkwardness and hesitation seen in the first innings. He was looking at ease and getting back to doing what he does best. On the other hand the worrisome factor was that Rahul Dravid had gone into his shell. 9 runs in 2 hours is not something the Indian captain will be proud of. Anyways 75/3 at end of first session. With Sachin playing well, and Rahul rock solid, India looked good to draw the match.
Post-lunch a lot more people poured in anticipating some good knocks. Ball 2 after lunch Rahul got an unplayable delivery from Flintoff. There was nothing he could have done and the only real award that delivery deserved was w wicket which it did get! The real shock came in the next over when Sachin got out to Udal (Of all the bowlers) playing forward. There it all ended. There was not a single batsman left who could put his head down and last the next 4 hours!
But what followed after that was highly unimaginable. I’ve not seen such poor capitulation by the Indian batting in a long time. Players simply walked in to declare their presence and walked back having done so. They had decided not to trouble the poor scorers much! How the hell can you get 100 all out after being 75 for 3 in matter of an hour! The manner in which we played was indeed shameful and England with half-their side out due to injury put up an extremely spirited performance. The track was difficult to bat on (How Bhajji and Kumble must’ve cursed Dravid for opting to bat first.) but certainly not one where a team could get 100 all out!
Seeing the luck the Indian team had at Wankhede, I won’t be surprised if the venue is blacklisted by the team henceforth! The performance on the final day was a huge let down.
The Mumbai crowd was harsh on Dravid during the presentation by chanting shouts of ‘We Want Saurav’. They seemed to have a short memory; they were the ones who had booed Ganguly post the defeat Vs Australia in 2001! It’s tough indeed to please the crowds!
In banter or good humor shouting, whether intending to mean it or not, “Flintoff is a B******, Hoggard is a B******, C****** Banaya Bada Maja Aaya” is definitely not in good taste. The behavior of the crowds in this match has gone a long way in tampering the image and reputation of the Mumbai crowd. It’s the worst crowd I’ve ever seen and I am definitely sad about it. Sorry I’m not impressed neither do I fail to see the ‘humor’ in these chants. I’m being a spoilsport, call me that, but if this continues it would mean going downhill for the Mumbai crowd. Please don’t set such precedence for the rest to follow.
I think India has forgotten to play test cricket. If you cannot last 90 overs in both innings you certainly should not be playing it. And India did not deserve a win after dropping almost 12 catches in the field. Is Greg Chappell paying any heed? In their obsession to concentrate on the world Cup 2007, they have forgotten to play test cricket. Mumbai test match is ample proof of that following the recent Karachi debacle.
They will come back well in the ODIs, England is not the best team in ODI. They will even win the series but to me it won’t matter! Like it or not history remembers you more by the way you played test cricket and unfortunately India has been playing it pretty miserably in the last couple of series!
Boys are you listening?
Monday, March 20, 2006
Day one wasn’t perfect and gave the crowd all the more reason to show their disappointment with Dravid for depriving them of watching Sehwag and Sachin’s batting on a fine Sunday. Every mistake committed by the captain was followed by chants of ‘We want Dada or Saurav’. And believe me that was not music to Dravid’s ears.
All that India needed to do was show some patience, a lot of resilience and common sense. The wicket was not devilish. Dravid and Yuvraj started well but after half-hour of the morning play Yuvraj lashed out at a delivery outside off-stump and was on his way back. Then Dravid and Dhoni had some what weathered the storm but Dravid was out again to a brilliant catch by Jones on the leg side, this after being let off at gully in the previous over and it was the sign that this would not be India’s day.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
- Get to the stadium early to see the players practice
- On day one do not miss the toss
- Never ever miss the first and last ball of each day in the test match!
- On the last day don’t miss the presentation ceremony!
1. Rahul Dravid for his 100th test match
2. Sachin Tendulkar for becoming the most test-capped Indian player
3. Anil Kumble for claiming 500 wickets in test cricket, the first Indian bowler to do so!
You can see for yourself:
Year 2000: India Vs SA
Year 2001: India Vs Aus
Year 2002:Ind Vs WI (Exception)
Year 2004: India Vs Aus
Friday, March 17, 2006
Finally 13 years ago, India played host to a full fledged series with England and with the last test match scheduled in Mumbai from Feb 19-23 my father kept his promise. I went for my first live match at the Wankhede to watch the already shattered and cribbing English team under Graham Gooch; with no exciting players except Graeme Hick to watch. It was the series famous for Kumble’s rise as India’s strike bowler (He claimed 21 in that series and the Man-of-the-Series award) return to form by Azhar( his 182 in Eden Garnden was a delight!), young Tendulkar’s consistency and Kambli’s rocking debut!
13 years, many matches and teams later each moment of that match is vividly present in my memory. 3 Mumbai batsmen were part of the Indian batting order. Tendulkar–Kambli had a great partnership. Tendulkar played too patiently but Kambli brought the house down with his double hundred; Graeme Hick’ s 178 being clearly overshadowed in the process but good enough to earn him the Man-of-the -Match. The Indian spin trio then brought about the collapse of the England team in the second innings and India whitewashed England for the very first time!
Like one never forgets the first date, I don’t think I’ll ever forget the beginning of my love affair with Wankhede!
Tomorrow I get a chance to revisit those moments yet again. It’s the same team with much more exciting players, I don’t know the last time I was so excited about seeing an English team. Andrew Flintoff was around in the 2002 ODI and I distinctly remember his famous shirt-off gesture (I was in the stands near the pavillion at pretty close quarters when he chose to do what he did!) Though Ganguly does not make a pretty sight with his bare torso, I was ecstatic when he gave back the Poms in their own fashion 5 months later at Lords!
Only if you had been at the stadium, you would have realised how much it had hurt to lose a close game yet again and later see Flintoff dare to bare!
But Flintoff has come a long way from that episode and so has his team. I’m excited to watch some fireworks from the Pieterson-Flintoff duo. Though I’m a trifle sad that Pietersen has shaved off his hair. Now I won’t get to brag to my friends about how I got to see the famous skunk hairdo!
The only team that excited me was the Australian Team. They interacted amazingly well with the crowds. The crowds simply loved them. I remember distinctly in the 2001 test on day 2 when Gilchrist –Hayden hammered centuries, the Mumbai crowd was up on its feet cheering them. Allan Donald in the 1996 Titan Cup final and 2000 test also was a hit with the crowd while responding to the sounds of 'Quack Quack Donald'. I hope the English players have some fun as well. The crowd would love that.
I’m just too thrilled to witness important milestones in the careers of two of my favourite batsmen. When India takes field tomorrow Rahul Dravid will become the 6th Indian player to earn 100 test caps and Sachin Tendulkar will surpass Kapil Dev’s record of most tests played by an Indian. I’m hoping they decide to celebrate the occasion with some blitzkrieg attack on the English bowlers.
So there, it’s back to Wankhede and back to my love affair. It’s not the best stadium in the world and the security can get to you, but once you are in and you view the lush green ground; all you want to do is relax, grab a sandwich, shout yourself hoarse and yes enjoy the game of cricket!
P.S: Will try to post regular EOD updates of my experience at the Mumbai Test match
Monday, March 13, 2006
First the sensational final match of SA-Aus ODI series at Wanderers. Well I got home at 9.00 p.m. and switched on the TV set for surfing channels; I just stood still in my seat as I read the score of 392-7 and South Africa still requiring 43 runs to win in 26 balls on ESPN! I did not know how to react! How much did Australia score in the first place when South Africa was so close to 400 and still a fair distance from winning it! Now that Aus had scored 400-odd the first time ever in the history of ODI, how the hell did SA get so close to the target and also looked good enough to win it!!! Was I dreaming? What kind of a match is this! From then on I did not move from my seat till the final ball was bowled!!!
Excellent, excellent stuff! This is what ODI cricket is made of; nail-biting finish, fight to the finale, every ball being bowled just wrecking your nerves! The SA & Aus teams managed to give me a heart attack quite easily! Seriously, I could sense my heart skipping beats! I was ruing the fact that I had missed both Ponting’s awesome 105 ball 164 earlier in the day and later Herschelle Gibbs’ 175 to lead the South African valiant fightback. Boucher played a brilliant knock in the tense situation; he was really as cool as a cucumber! And he got some excellent support from Van der Wath, Telemachus, and Ntini! Telemachus hit some lusty blows along with Boucher and brought down the target from 30 in 18 balls to 13 in 12 balls. From there on it was going to be SA‘s game but Brett Lee and Co. had some other plans! With 3 balls left and 2 runs to get Lee had Andrew Hall caught at mid-on and the chokers tag began to haunt the SA again! If they were to lose this one by one run I doubt they would have come back strongly ever against any team in the world!
Ntini walked in with all the pressure in the world that is possible, on his head! Calmly he hit the ball down to the third man to grab a single and made sure SA would not lose! At that point I felt maybe a tie would be a befitting result but cricket can be a cruel game at times and Boucher’s four of the next ball sealed SA victory and slashed Aus’s hopes!
With that hit, not only did they win an enthralling match and create history but also wrapped up a keenly fought ODI series 3-2. The series going right down to the wire, the very last ball! South Africans were in nth heaven and deserve fully to be there. The Aussies left wondering what more could we have done? When Ricky Punting blasted that 164 and then had his men walk back o the dressing room having scored 434 , the first time ever a team had achieved 400 in ODI, he must have felt that his team had won the match and with that the series! What a fine comeback by Ponting’s men after being 0-2 down in the series! Little would he have imagined the SAs would chase this one successfully! Cricket can be a cruel, cruel heart-wrenching game!
And while this will go down as the greatest match ever; here are a few things to think about. Why were the boundaries shortened? To enable the batsmen get more runs? Does anyone care for the bowlers anymore? I think they will get extinct in ODIs if 300-350 continues to be an average score. Agreed that seeing a team bowled out under 100 does not make an exciting match but neither does a team getting 400 odd! Spare a thought for the bowlers. This is a game for both and lets not make it so batsmen-friendly! Bracken got 5 wickets in the match and yet his contribution amounts to zilch! For heaven’s sake what more must a bowler do?
But it was an exciting game and I loved the fight the two teams gave till the very end! Though I didn’t quite get the logic of bowling full-tosses and short pitch deliveries towards the end which were easy meal for the set SA batsman! Aussie will have to think about that!!
The other two matches were in the pure version of the game. Shane Bond and Anil Kumble both inspired their teams back into the game with their fine bowling performances.
What seemed to be heading towards a seemingly dull draw what with two days played not completed in Mohali; Kumble turned on his magic in the last session and had England on the back-foot. 112-5 out of which Kumble picked up 3 wickets to follow up his previous 5 in the first innings! What a lovely way to celebrate his 500 wickets in test cricket. He deserves a standing ovation for his grit and gumption shown throughout his career. He has been Team India’s silent warrior! There have been times when he has been criticized, yours truly being an equal accomplice! He has never been deterred though and gone about his game plan quietly, just like his nature. No controversies, no verbal attacks. He has achieved everything a bowler would wish for in his international career and done that without any hooplah or noise. Anil we salute you, and you have set affine fine example for youngsters to follow!
Kumble’s effort has set up an exciting 5th day’s play for Mohali. The 38 run lead could prove to be a handful if we are able to bowl out England cheaply and then chase around 150 -180 in the last two sessions! That should make for an exciting day and it’s pretty sad that it is not a weekend and I will miss the match live once again!
And now for the final hero among the three, Shane Bond. One of my favourite bowlers in the international arena. I still remember the VB series of 2001-02 when Bond shone into limelight. After Hadlee, New Zealand finally had a bowler who could bring the opposition down to its feet! Sheer pace again! Yesterday while chasing 290, WI looked good to win having started off at 148-0 but Bond came in and triggered a collapse and today morning NZ sealed their victory!
A fine day for world cricket, savour it folks! There is a reason why test cricket is still the best form of cricket. Bowlers get their due; and more often than not, it’s the bowlers who win matches for their teams! Bond and Kumble have given some fine examples yesterday and on the other hand only batsmen dominate the ODI, there is no room for bowlers there. Don’t believe me? Go watch Ponting and Gibbs knocks of yesterday!
Don’t forget to stay tuned into the final day’s play at Mohali, let’s hope that the Indians don’t disappoint. Maybe they could draw inspiration from the NZ-WI game and the SA-Aus game. Fight till the last ball of the day is bowled! It surely ain’t over till the fat lady sings!
P.S.: I also thought it was a fine sporting gesture by Ponting to refuse the joint man-of-the-match award saying Gibbs deserved it as he not only got more but also helped his team to win. Excellent stuff Ricky and a good example set again!!
And on another note; highly, highly impressed by Munaf Patel! Where has he been for so long? He has wrecked England again!
Thursday, March 09, 2006
In the last five years we were not a strong force in the ODIs but those losses never hurt( the final at WC 2003 did, but that’s an exception!) as were building ourselves into a potent force in test cricket. Right from 2001 we played some super games in all parts of the world and earned victories across continents, though a series victory outside the subcontinent remains elusive (I do not consider the one against Zimbabwe recently anything to brag about!) So why this sudden loss of form in test arena? The loss at Karachi was heartbreaking because we did not even have the patience to pull off a draw! And Nagpur seemed no different!
How do you allow a team that steps in demoralized, to climb upto 393 after having 7 wickets for 240 odd? How do you manage to get yourself in a position of 190/6 against a team without their best bowler in Indian conditions? Only the India team has answers to these! And who were you trying to fool when you go for a non-existent win at the end of day’s play when all day you were clearly playing for a draw! Although the dash at the end was good to lift the spirits and to scare away the Poms (I cannot believe Flintoff actually got scared by India’s late charge and decided to play safe. Half the team was on the boundary!!! Oh for heavens’ sake it’s not an ODI where 8 an over is a very manageable target! There is difference!)
Though I did not see the match in its entirety, one person who needs to do some serious thinking is Harbhajan Singh. His performance in the last few series is dismal and unless he starts getting wickets I don’t see him keeping his place in the side for long, what with Piyuh Chawla following him on close heels. The little I saw of that lad in the U-19 World Cup Final I feel he will give these blokes a serious run for their money. The guy can tease, and deceive the batsmen with his turn and flight!
England won the battle in Nagpur 3 out of 5 days with India taking the honors on day 1 and day 5. When I saw the target of 368 in 90 overs it seemed so tempting; but there was a very slim chance that India would go for a win from the word go. However they did think of it later but then it should have come an hour earlier (Dravid candidly admitted that) and definitely not at the expense of sending Sachin Tendulkar at no. 6! Did anyone see the shots he played in his 28! The guy was on a roll and I hope he captialises on this form at Mohali and Mumbai. A century in his home ground is long overdue! He got one here way back in 1997 Vs SL and came tantalizingly close Vs SA in 2000. I’m praying he gets one and praying even hard that I get to see it live!
As I end this, something unexpected has happened or was it waiting in the wings for sometime now. VVS Laxman hasn’t been in great form with bat or in the field and this did come as a bit of a shock! In the larger interests of the team the move looks worthwhile, but I’m not too sure of roping Yuvraj in immediately and not giving him time to adjust after his injury! Kaif will rue his luck but he must realise he was never the first choice and to become that, he needs more 3 figure scores on the test arena when presented with the opportunity! He blew away one in Nagpur. And yes can anyone please dare to hang a sword on Sehwag’s head now? Why do I get the feeling he is taking his place for granted! That attitude will help none and as a senior player now he needs to show some amount of patience and steadiness in his approach!
Let’s see how the 5 bowler strategy works out, having Dhoni in the team sure gives Rahul Dravid that extra option and it seems a good move to go ahead with the 5 –bowler option when the situation seems right.
England might have it to their liking at Mohali but definitely not at Wankhede. Although I’m praying hard they do not prepare a minefield of a pitch as they did the last time around! For heaven’s sake the last time a game of test cricket last a full 5 days was way back in 1994 against the WI. Sanjay Manjrekar and Sachin Tendulkar had demonstrated the art of batting on wickets that did not suit the batsman at all! If you were getting cricket coaching your coach would have definitely taken you to show those innings live! I was there and the two were among the best knocks I have witnessed at the ground for their sheer technique, patience and brilliance! I’m hoping we get better this time around, Mumbai has been starved for a long time now!
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Happy Women's Day to all the wonderful women I know!
Wednesday, March 01, 2006