Thursday, June 29, 2006

Are We ...

... seeing an abrupt, premature, unfulfilled end to one of the more promising careers in recent times ?? This is pretty sad news.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Four Out Of Four

The Sri Lankan juggernaut keeps rolling. They have now taken a 4-0 lead with victory at Old Trafford. Most notably it is a second consecutive hundred for skipper Mahela Jayawardene, one of the most stylish and one of my favorite batsmen in World Cricket at the moment, not least because I believe he is grossly underrated and to be fair a huge underachiever, particularly overseas.

England meanwhile won't learn their lessons, 20 wides and a few no balls in a 33 run loss once again with Harmisson being responsible for 9 of those wides. Phew !

Monday, June 26, 2006

Interesting Questions

How many times has a batsman hit a bowler for 6 consecutive fours in an over?

Off the top of my head I can remember 3. Sandeep Patil off Bob Willis, Chris Gayle off Matthew Hoggard and recently Ramnaresh Sarwan off Munaf Patel. Interestingly, Willis was a really accomplished bowler and Hoggard as of now seems to be well on his way there. Munaf too has shown a lot of promise in his young career. Clearly being thrashed about once is not such a big deal, it seems.

Talking of Munaf, he seems to be taking a lot of his wickets either bowled or lbw. Who are the other bowlers in history to do this? Off the top of my head I can definitely remember Waqar Younis and to a lesser extent Shoaib Akhtar. To an even lesser extent, Wasim Akram. The key factor here? Reverse swing, a liking for Yorkers.

Staying with Munaf he definitely seems to be a long term prospect for India. Oh hang on. Haven’t we been down this path before? How many bowlers have in the recent past promised so much only to let us down? Off the top of my head and leading the list definitely Zaheer Khan closely followed by Ajit Agarkar and Ashish Nehra. One who seems to be going that way (I hope he doesn’t) is Irfan Pathan.

How many times recently have Sri Lanka beaten England convincingly? 4. The Trentbridge test and the 3 ODIs were as comprehensive thrashings as you can imagine. Throw in a close win in the 20-20 game in there as well. Sri Lanka are clearly a team on a high finally delivering the promise they have held and converting potential into performance in a foreign setting. England meanwhile have serious problems. The Ashes is now only a distant memory. Since then they haven’t managed to win a single test series and have lost ODIs faster than you can say … well ODI.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Munaf 3 out of 3

Munaf Patel was thrashed for 24 runs in 1 over including 6 boundaries in a row by Ramnaresh Sarwan yet he has been the most impressive Indian bowler in this Test judging by the fact that he has picked up all 3 wickets to fall. Interestingly, all 3 have been bowled or lbw. Munaf is a bit of an enigma for me. At times he looks to have it all, pace, bounce, length, seam and looks like a World beater. At other times he just seems disinterested which makes it kind of difficult to assert whether he is indeed the next big thing in Indian fast bowling. After all haven't we been flattered to be deceived so many times in the past ? Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan, Ajit Agarkar are the names that come to mind immediately.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Test Cricket Is Alive ...

... and kicking.

Meanwhile in ODI cricket, SL is on a rampage ... having been on a roll since the test at Nottingham, they now look well set to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Three In A Row

First in the test match, then in the 20-20 game and now in the ODI. From Nottingham to the Rosebowl to the Home of Cricket Sri Lanka have defeated England and seem to be on a roll.

Good job Lankans. Nice slap on the face for those critics who used to ridicule this team for being pushovers abroad. Let us not forget they also reached the finals in Australia earlier this year and gave the Aussies a scare.

Also an eye-opener for those who ridiculed our own series victories over Sri Lanka at home.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Cricket Was The Winner

It was bound to happen. A draw was probably the right result for this fantastic see-sawing game of Test cricket. Neither team really deserved to lose, nor win.

India, for one, had definitely gone in with a less than optimal combination. While the decision to play 6 batsmen (and hence to omit Harbhajan Singh) was understandable if not agreeable to all, the decision to omit Irfan Pathan was baffling to say the least. Agreed, he was off colour and looked out of form, but with him there is always a chance that he can return to form any time and when he does he change matches with a couple of wickets at any crucial time; something that for all promise shown VRV Singh cannot do as of now.

Then India capitulated for 241 on the first day. While the fightback was commendable indeed remarkable, it was not quite enough to seal victory. Nevetherless India can proudly claim the honors in the draw. Unfortunately honors do not count as far as series results go and India will have to put in strong performances up front in the next few games as opposed to come from behind efforts if they are to make sure they do not rue this very close miss.

For the West Indies too surely holding out for the draw was an achievement. When Sehwag nailed Ramdin there were a good 20 overs to go and with only 3 wickets in hand India were red hot favourites. But the efforts of Bradshaw, Mohammed, Edwards and Collymore deserve handsome praise. Havind said that it was pretty ordinary cricket that got the West Indies in a situation where they had to fight hard to save the match. Having taken a lead of 130 their bowlers failed to create any sort of impression in the second innings although it must be said Jaffer rode his luck well.

Even as one might argue that the few overs lost due to the Dhoni incident cost India valuable balls it cannot be forgotten that the West Indies got a couple of awful umpiring decisions on the last day - the wickets of Chanderpaul and Bradshaw. Then again the ball that got Dravid in the first innings was a no ball.

All in all, not the best of games as far as umpiring goes but a good example of how despite human errors cricket can still come out the winner. Indeed a great manifestation of the greatness of test match cricket. Is it conceivable to find such drama in an ODI ? Oh Long live test cricket.