Sunday, December 25, 2011

When an old cricketer leaves the crease ...

I discovered this song by Roy Harper only a few days ago. I have rummaged YouTube and Internet so many times for cricket songs but somehow failed to dig this one out. Thanks to an article in Cricinfo I got hold of this. This song is highly philosophical and uses cricket as a medium to reflect on the inevitable in life. Departure.

Tomorrow a test series starts where legends Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Ricky Ponting will ply their trade for the last time. And since I have listened to this song I can't stop myself from reflecting on this line:

When an old cricketer leaves the crease, well you never know whether he's gone

I have imagined Sachin, Rahul, VVS and Ricky with this line in mind. There will be a time when we will see them for one last time. I know it will be very emotional moment for me and perhaps most cricket fans all over the world.

But as George Harrison puts it "All things must pass". And I hope we will see better players but these legends will have their own place in the Hall of Fame in heart of every true follower of this great game.

I end with the wordings of same song offering hope:

When the moment comes and the gathering stands and the clock turns back to reflect
On those years of grace as the footsteps trace for the last time out of the act
Well this way of life's recollection, the hallowed strip in the haze
The fabled men and the noonday sun are much more than just yarns of their days.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Yeh banda hai kaun?

"Ye banda hai kaun?"- This was Wasim Akram's reaction on hearing Eric Simmons' appointment as India's bowling coach.

If a bowler has improved during his tenure for India he has been out of team. Hopefully away from his tutelage. Ishant Sharma comes to mind but even Sreeshanth has done well on comebacks. I remember Zaheer and Ishant forming a potent pace attack under Venkatesh Prasad in 2008 home series against Australia. Then, that highly acclaimed coach of Australia Troy Coolie was not able to get the ball reverse swing from his wards but Indian pacers had started reverse swinging as early as 20th over.

But anyway Prasad was not thought fit for being India's bowling coach however I see Mr. Simmons being persisted with when the likes of Mithun, Vinay Kumar and Sudeep Tyagi seem to have stalled under him. My only hope is these guys going back to Ranji and then improving there instead of taking his useless guidance and warming benches.

When will good pacers grace Indian cricket like they have graced our neighboring country?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How can you rally round the West Indies?

West Indies have ignominiously crashed out of yet another world cup. This one is fourth such tournament. When I started watching cricket West Indies were already on wane but had some respect primarily because of their bowlers but also due to Lara. The quarterfinal against South Africa was not won by a team but a handful of individuals. Brian Lara and Curtly Ambrose were two shining stars of that victory. But it was a matter of time when even vastly talented individuals were not able to rescue them. It is not for nothing that Cricket is known as team game.

They kept on plummeting. In between there were flickers of hope. At least I was hopeful. I was wrong. Today West Indies have not only broken hearts but may be broken themselves too. I hope ICC splits WI into constituent island nations. Jamaica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago will give better performance than these jokers and mercenaries.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011 favorites

Here I am. Just a week before world Cup starts, I am ready with my predictions. Although I am a bit late this time but that has to do with my waning interest in one day cricket. It seems a misfit with tests and T20s. Somehow I like tests and T20s more than this format. The yawning middle overs really turn me off. OK sorry for being Mr. Grumpy. Here go my favorites.

1. Sri Lanka
2. India
3. Australia
4. Pakistan

No explanations are needed for the first 3 but you may be surprised by my 4th choice. Pakistan have a long batting line up although not very strong. But in ODIs even average batsmen can score handful of runs and having impact players in lower order is big help. Remember they have Razzaq and Afridi down the order. And Umar Akmal bats at no. 6. Talk of impact then.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Forgotten past of Indian Cricket

Hrishikesh Kanitkar will always be remembered for his four of Saqlain Mushtaq which fetched India a victory in independence cup final against Pakistan. Good that he also won a Ranji trophy and would be remembered for that in more keen followers of the game. But his achievement brought me memories of several other players who played just few matches for India and were forgotten thereafter.

So here I am, jotting down as many names as I can remember.

1. Vikram Rathore (chhote miyan who opened wih Sachin in 96)
2. Paras Mhambrey (disastrous introduction to international cricket in 96)
3. Ashish Kapoor (replaced Rajesh Chauhan in trinity)
4. Salil Ankola (these days I don't see any of his serials also)
5. Devang Gandhi (Steve Waugh's invincibles ended many careers like him)
5. Vijay Bhardwaj (unlucky with his eye-sight problem)
6. T. Kumaran (impressive debut in Australia 99 but somehow lost his way)
7. Tinu Yohanan (A keralite before Sreesanth)
8. Sairaj Bahutule (This guy replaced Anil Kumble :( )
9. David Johnson, Dodda Ganesh and Sujit Somsundar (Karnataka trio )
10. Nilesh Kulkarni (Wicket of first ball in a run marathon)
11. Abbey Kuruvilla (did well on WI tour 97 but faded away after that)
12. Avishkar Salvi (Still there in domestic circuit but limited international presence)
13. Amay Khurasia (one inning against SL in 99 series was very good)
14. Noel David (selection was more controversial than Doherty's or Beer's)
15. Gagan Khoda (for a long time only Rajasthan player to have played for India at least in my memory)
16. Sharandeep Singh (considered better than Harbhajan by people such as Prasanna and Bedi)
17. Sreedharan Sriram (yet another wud-be all-rounder explored by Indians)
18. Rahul Sanghvi (Unfortunate for having to compete with Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh for a spot in team)

And now the list of wicket keepers before Parthiv Patel rescued India!!!
1. Saba Karim (Unfortunate end of career)
2. MSK Prasad (keeping was good but batting was not up to mark)
3. Sameer Dighe (Age and performance both counted against him)
4. Ajay Ratra (same problem as MSK)
5. Vijay Dahiya (seemed better than all other alternatives. Don't understand why he could not play more)