Thursday, July 9, 2009

Buchanan questions Tendulkar in Twenty20

It seems one of the ways in which you can attain instant recognition for a book you have authored is by creating a controversy by belittling a well known personality. To me Mr. Buchanan has resorted to that only. He says he has just voiced his opinion on some players but not disclosed why he chose those players only.

If Sachin Tendulkar is a misfit in twenty20 cricket what about Saurav Ganguly on whom Mr. B has heaped a lot of praise. I don't think I need to present the statistics because it is obvious to any rational cricket fan that Tendulkar is a much better player than Ganguly in twenty20. If he commented on Ganguly he should have mentioned his dismal performance in twenty20 format. What is pretty clear from the two editions of the IPL is that Mr. B is a misfit for this format of game. But still I should not say that because cricket is a team game and ostracizing a coach or a player for loss is not fair. VVS Laxman looked a misfit for the Deccan Chargers in both the editions of the IPL but he gave a scintillating performance for Lancashire last fortnight. Who knows Laxman turns out to be a star performer in the next edition of the IPL.

Getting cheap popularity by devalueing a popular figure doesn'y suits someone of Mr. B's stature. Please dont read a book that is full of hatred for one player. I would not have used the word hatred had Mr. B been consistent in criticizing players for he might have set some standards and Tendulkar might be below those. Obviously this is not the case and therefore I request you not to read this book by a garish former coach.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bring on the Ashes

It has been long since we had a riveting test series. As far as I remember the last such series was held in March this year between Australia and South Africa. Now the oldest rivalry resumes this Wednesday when England take on Australia in the first Ashes test starting surprisingly in Cardiff. Maybe England are buoyed by weakest Australian spin attack in two decades. The warm up games should encourage England as both the bowling and batting spearheads of Australia were found wanting in those games. Phil Hughes who is the youngest player to score a hundred in each of the two innings of a test struggled against the short stuff from Steve Harmisson. But having seen him play against South Africans this year, I believe he can play short stuff well. May be Harmy was too good that day. Mitchell Johnson also struggled in the first innings and hemorrhaged runs with little reward. However, Mitchell now is a much better bowler than he was a year ago. He now swings the ball both ways and is not limited to reliance on pace and bounce.

However, Australia had some positives in Mr. Cricket and Brett Lee finding form and Marcus North finally showing his batting skills on this tour. The opening combination of Katich and Hughes is very good and with the exception of spin department where Hauritz has looked woefully out of depth Australia are strong in all departments. Despite a slow pitch expected at Cardiff they may play 4 seamers encouraged by Brett Lee's reverse swinging abilities. Their batting has become stronger with Hussey finding form.

England are no less than Australia in their opening combination. Both Strauss and Cook are going through purple patch and Ravi Bopara seems intent on securing his place as number three. Kevin Pieterson at number 4 is England's best batsman. But then the trouble starts. Bell has not fulfilled the promise he showed on his arrival. I am amazed why England don't have a better batsman than Paul Collingwood. He is so good in ODIs but looks out of sorts against quality attack in this version of the game. England bowling has looked good this summer and with success of England Lions bowlers in warm up game we can expect similar performance from other bowlers. England are pretty strong in the spin department and Swann may prove too hot to handle.

I am looking forward to this series because even though lesser men are playing from both teams compared to 2005, this series promises to be as exciting as 2005 one.