Saturday, April 30, 2005

Home disadvantage!

The Chelsea-Liverpool second leg is going to be a cracker of a game. Chelsea was a big disappointment in the first leg, though Jose Mourinho (Chelsea coach) seems happy that he has not conceded an away goal to Liverpool. Now what makes the Champions League so interesting and special are the concept of home & away ties. An away win is considered more important (rightly so, since in any game/sport winning away from home is tough. The universal rule is “tigers at home…”)

Now this is the interesting part. The second leg is being played at Anfield (Liverpool). If the Chelsea vs Liverpool game actually finishes in a 1-1 draw; Chelsea goes through to the final because they have scored the all important away goal! So the home team (Liverpool) will have to win with a 1 goal margin. Now do you understand why Jose Mourinho sounded confident even after the disappointing first leg? ;-)

As, I have told you earlier, I am not a Chelsea or Liverpool fan, but swear by Sir Alex Ferguson (coach of Man Utd). But I am still rooting for Chelsea in the Champions League for two reasons. One is that I am an English football supporter and second I think only Chelsea can beat AC Milan in the final (now why do I hate AC Milan? cos AC Milan beat us…so enemy’s enemy is my friend! :)

God Bless the Queen!

With the Champions League semifinal having 2 English teams, 1 Italian & 1 Dutch, the question doing the circles is: “Which is the best footbal league in the world?”

I think the 4 best leagues in the world are English Premier League (Premiership), Spanish League (La Liga), Italian League (Serie A) and German League (Bundesliga). The German & Italian leagues are too technical and they tend to play more defensive football. They rely more on counter attack. If you remember you would have seen a lot of 1-0 scorelines in a German or Italian games. Spanish & English play the more attacking & innovative football. But I think the English league (EPL) is more fast & flamboyant than Spanish. There is action all the time. There is a lot more urgency & the team is usually looking to score all the times. So to me, EPL is more attractive & more entertaining. I do not know if it’s the best, but it certainly is more captivating than the rest.

What do you think?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Price for honesty! or Punishment for Stupidity?

Rediff reports that Shoaib Malik could face disciplinary action after he admitted that his side threw a game to knock another team out. Read the entire article here

My initial reaction was...what’s wrong with it? He did not bowl underarm or bat with an aluminum bat or tamper the ball? He did not do anything illegal. He just circumvented the rules so that he could seek his revenge.

Reason for revenge, according to Cricinfo..

Malik claims he was protesting against an earlier result in the tournament, when the Lahore Eagles were controversially awarded a victory against his side due to a penalty imposed for slow over-rates. Newspapers reported that Malik had constantly asked the umpires whether they were behind the over-rate and had been told they weren't. It was only later, after the match was over, that the Lahore Eagles manager complained to the match referee, who then overturned the verdict.
The entire article can be found here

I was thinking that just because he accepted the truth, he was going to be penalized. The only thing that looked stupid to me was that he actually admitted it. What would have happened had he kept quiet or said that he actually tried hard, but the bowling was good, ball became slower, etc.? Australia & New Zealand have both done exactly the same thing (remember Aus Vs WI in the world cup and also remember NZ’s revenge..when they made sure that Aus does not make the VB final) It was defined as Strategy when they did it.

Now just imagine this scenario. Sialkot Stallions (Shoaib Malik’s team) require 200 to win in 20 overs so that Lahore Eagles do not advance to the next stage. Now if Shoaib Malik makes a 100 of 30 balls and inspires his team to win and then goes on to say that the reason he played such an aggressive knock was because he did not want Lahore Eagles to go to the next stage....Will anyone then accuse Shoaib Malik’s of bringing the game into disrespect?

Also, this guy has actually made 88 of 53 balls (see the complete scorecard here) Now wait…there is a new controversy that has come up.

According to Cricinfo..

In a further twist, the The News, a Pakistan based daily, reported that had Sialkot won, they would have reached the next stage of the competition thereby implying that Malik's move had backfired. Had Sialkot won, they would have been tied on points with Lahore, whose run-rate was significantly lower than Sialkot's - a point Malik seemed to be unaware of.
Read the entire article here

So he has actually miscalculated the whole equation and has lost the match & a place for his team in the next round AND has bragged about it in the press conference! Lol…wow! What an Idiot. Just imagine, how the Lahore Eagles team members & fans will taunt him in the future …hilarious…go ahead now and fine this stupid guy, even ban him…Strategists can be pardoned NOT stupids.

Indian team - Australian for Coaches

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that "Australians Steve Waugh, Greg Chappell, Tom Moody, Dav Whatmore and Dean Jones are all rumoured to be in the running to succeed New Zealander John Wright as India's cricket coach".

wow! thing is sure, the job is definitely lucrative & high profile.

Read the entire article here

P.S: (subscription is not required for the first time, but if you click other links, you need to subscribe)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Ball of the century

Check it out

Shane Warne Rulez. He gave 'Spin bowling' the second life.

In Defense

continuation from the previous post

This is pretty easy..if not Dravid, who else? Who in the current Indian team is assured of his place for the next 10 matches even if he scores a zero or does not take any wicket in all the 10 matches? Only three names come to mind..Sehwag, Sachin & Dravid. Sachin is ruled out. Everyone knows his captaincy record & how the team fares under him. So that leaves us with Sehwag & Dravid.

Sehwag is an unknown commodity. It would require a set of brave selectors to make Sehwag the captain. Dravid’s captaincy so far has been good, though the results have not come his way; he has at least looked to attack more and been more aggressive.

He has a very good cricketing knowledge, is a team man (I still remember that in Adelaide, with 2 to win, he took a single & gave strike to the non-striker. Any one else would have gone for glory), is liked by everyone (every one plays their best innings with Dravid at the non strikers end and complement Dravid for it…remember Dinesh Karthik’s 93 in Eden gardens against Pakistan), has been a good understudy to Ganguly & has stepped up when the situation warranted it and could very well be our Steve Waugh (might carry on till 38!),

For all you know Dravid could be the Hansie Cronje or Ricky Ponting…captains who have leady by example..taken the fight to the opposition and taken the game by the scruff of the neck.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Wall – build or break?

As India looks forward to (at least the next 4 matches) Rahul Dravid’s captaincy, is he the right man for India’s captaincy? We will look from the batsmen end (Anna Pavilion End) and the non strikers end (V Pattabhiraman Gate End).


For all his good looks and smartness Rahul Dravid is not exactly a teenager or a youngster as he would like us to believe. He is past 30 & pushing towards 40..okay okay….he is 32…what the heck…he is still pushing towards 40! ;-) At 32, how many years of active, good cricket does he have in him before he becomes a baggage and is kicked out? 2, 3, 4…max 5? For the sake of argument let us assume 4 years. So, in the best case scenario (Dravid plays well, India keeps winning, no one throws stone at Dravid’s house) we are looking at maximum 4 years of Dravid’s captaincy. Is that enough? Do we just plan for the next 4 years and go through this whole exercise after 4 years or after we have failed to reach the world cup final (whichever comes first)? (logic: if we don’t reach the world cup final, the blame is always on the captain, every tom, dick & tifoc will analyze every move of the captain & blame it on the captain)

But is age the only constraint against Dravid. Heck No. He is India’s current BEST batsmen. No arguments required. Does he need this additional pressure? Thank God, we have Dhoni now…but what happens if Dhoni runs into a lean patch & we have to play 7 batsmen, then Dravid also has to keep the wickets. So we have to rely on Dravid’s batting, keeping & captaincy to help India win. When did cricket become an Individual sport? ;-)

Arguments that Dravid is the most natural choice reminds me of how we appoint judges and army chiefs. After the old judge/chief retires, this is how the news about his successor always looks.

Mr Rathinder Thakur is 59 years and 7 months old. He will serve as the army chief/chief justice till he retries. my maths correct, did I hear ir right? who are they trying to fool…this guy will retire in 5 months..why the hell should I (tax payer) pay money for this ceremony every 5 months? At 59.58 what can he do..? The argument is that he is most senior most person available..spent 35 years in the army has done this..that..okay all that’s fine. Mr Thakur did not work for free all these years that we need to do this for him. He did his duty, we paid him back. The position has great respect and we respected/will honor him.

The question is NOT what he has done. It is not an honorary post. What will he do now? Unfortunately we always think about the past glory & fairness to the individual rather than the main objective of the team/organization. In this case, had we selected an army chief/chief justice of 45-55, he/we would have achieved far more. Hare yaar…but then how will Thakur and his beloved family enjoy all the benefits that is awarded to the retired army chief/chief justice? :(

Have we been blind-sided in doing fairness to Rahul Dravid that we forgot the main objective (‘Indian WIN’)?

Do we need Dravid as a batsmen or a captain?

a quick single taken...


Will appear tomorrow

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Dada to Dawood

Event 1: John Wright quits as India coach.

Event 2: Saurav Ganguly suspended for 6 matches

Picture the events one by one and THEN together. Do you get it?

Yes the gods are smiling with sarcasm. What more do I need to do? Why on earth can’t these guys make the connection?

Thanks God. We finally got it. Yes …Ganguly must take over as the coach. Yes you heard it right & you first heard it here.

Ganguly has been the non-playing captain for a long time & it is no secret that the only reason he was kept in the team was because of his captaincy records. Now why on earth can’t he be made the coach? He has the passion, team spirit, knack of spotting talent, forging a fighting unit and is a non-partisan Indian.

Now the thoughts that immediately come to your minds are is that enough? Shouldn’t a coach be technical? Have coaching experience? Have knowledge on Physical training aspect? Etc.

But wait, we have seen Ganguly only as a player & have no idea whether Ganguly has it in him to be a coach. Remember a coach does not have to run 4 rounds in the cricket ground, does not have to work out for hours in the gym, does not have to undergo the batting, bowling & fielding practice. He must only participate & recommend all these to the players. Ganguly would be reluctant to carry drinks to the pitch, but he would be more than happy to order some one to do the same. Get the picture? ;-)

To Ganguly’s credit he has forged a fighting team which for the first time in a very very long time has only one objective: “Indian Win”. No regional politics. No individual records.

Who said coaches have to be old, have a paunch, played active cricket 15 years ago. This is the time to break the stereotypes. India needs to be innovative & think differently. Ganguly is the man..from King to Kingmaker.

and remember you first heard it here

The King is back!

(Please we are not talking here about Chandramukhi or Super Star Rajnikant! ;-))

He was on third. The Sun rose over the San Marino Grand Prix anticipating the coronation of the King…to welcome the King back to his original & rightful place. The lap started, his highness was still slower than the leader in the first sector and then the unthinkable happened. His Highness (HH) slid off the road in the second Rivazza corner and went sliding through the gravel. But just as only he could do, he was immediately back on track. Finished a disappointing 14 by his high standards. The race started.

For the first 20 laps, everyone except his legion of fans thought that the domination is over. Then as one by one the cars pitted, HH showed the class, speed & ability that propelled him to this place. If you need proof, just watch the overtaking maneuvers that he did. Awesome! HH tried hard, tried everything legally possible to overtake the leader. But the leader won. The leader was the deserved winner on the day.

But the MVP belonged to HH.

Ladies and Gentlemen: put your hands together for Michael Schumacher.

Money CAN buy love.

It can buy anything. It can buy the Premiership crown (it’s already in the pocket), it has already brought the Carling cup and it is about to buy the Champions League.

As I write this, AC Milan has won 2-0 against PSV. It’s definitely going to be Chelsea vs AC Milan final and Roman Abramovich’s bank balance will raise by 0.0001% after the final.

Red Devils will be back next season. We will then show them that the only thing that money can’t buy is dedicated passion!

P.S: Though I love to criticize Chelsea & pull their leg, I think they were the deserved winners of all the cups AND deserve to win the Champions league. But as a die hard Man U fan…it takes some time to get used to it. :(

Monday, April 25, 2005

BC to AD

Note to Historians: This is the start.

The counting starts now.