This blog attempts to function as a confluence of thoughts from the blogosphere on any matters pertaining to international cricket.
September 2008 - Posts
Looks like the new broom will be sweeping out the Fab Four some time soon. Straight Point doesn't think much of Srikkanth's apparent plan to make the retirement process public:
i don't have problem with...that knowing their future plans they will
groom certain set of players which they deem fit as their reasonable
i don't even have any problem with management
planning their farewell...befitting their stature and the services they
rendered...and i sincerely believe...without an iota of doubt
that......if we are treated as some force in world stage...most of that
credit should go to them...
but what you get in return...this media trial?
Who is the most under pressure. The Press Trust of India reporter thinks Ganguly might be the first to go:
Will Srikkanth and co-selectors Yashpal Sharma,
Narendra Hirwani, Surendra Bhave and Raja Venkat pull the rug on the
career of Ganguly is the big question ahead of one of the most
interesting selection panel meetings.
36-year-old Bengal stalwart, who staged a spectacular entry into Tests
with a debut ton at Lord's in 1996, made a storming return to the
five-day game in South Africa [Images] in late 2006 after losing his place earlier that year.
classy left-hander amassed over 1100 runs with 239, his career-best
score, against Pakistan in Bangalore in late 2007, at a fantastic
average of 61.44 last year which compares very favourably with his
career average of 41.74 in 109 Tests.
has been unable to maintain that high in the current year though he has
come up with important knocks like the 87 he made against the visiting
South Africans at Kanpur that helped India level the three-Test rubber
This, however, was followed by the left hander's poor run in Sri Lanka where his best score was 35 in six innings.
And Dileep Premachandran puts in a strong defense of Laxman:
Ganguly's time already appears to have run out, and it will be
interesting to see if either Rahul Dravid or Sachin Tendulkar stay on
past the tour of New Zealand next April. Laxman isn't even 34 yet, and
calls for his head are utter nonsense. Against his favourite opponents,
he may just prove why.
Here's an old post of mine defending the Fab Four as a whole. Finally, in some good news for Ganguly, a new type of reverse swing specifically for medium pace bowlers!
Durham are county champions! Not just that, but the manner in which they won is compelling:
Durham's route to the title has been due to their excellent team
spirit, with various people stepping forward to take responsibility and
few stand-out performers. Only Michael di Venuto, and he only just,
passed 1,000 runs in the Championship and only three batsmen who played
more than half the fixtures finished with an average above 22. In
bowling, they relied on Mark Davies, Callum Thorp and especially
Stephen Harmison for most of their wickets but their rotation system
brought forth other wicket-takers. They claimed fewer batting points
than four of the eight teams below them and fewer bowling points than
five others. But most importantly they won more games than anyone else.
Tooting Trumpet has the individuals' review run down for the division one county season as a whole.
And, of course, Kris Srikkanth is now the chief selector. Sandeep Patil reckons changes are afoot. Straight Point kicks off the analysis of his chiefness' intentions. Finally, Mohan gives us the new look BCCI, complete with a review of the official BCCI website.
Edit: More on the BCCI's website.
Brett Lee says that playing in the IPL has resulted in the Aussies gaining a greater understanding of Indian culture:
HARBHAJAN SINGH is not the only one to have said he will turn
over a new leaf. The leader of the Australian attack, Brett Lee,
last night pledged the Australian team will be on its best
behaviour for the sequel to last summer's explosive Bollyline
In a concerted attempt to consign the acrimony between the
Australian and Indian teams to history before the series begins,
Lee said many of his teammates had benefited from experiencing
their opponents' culture in the Indian Premier League.
Is that really true? Or even possible? Perhaps cricket is now only about money, or are these entirely false opposites? Meanwhile the money at stake certainly keeps on increasing. The Royal Bank of Scotland have signed up Sachin Tendulkar as a brand ambassador and sponsored the Twenty20 cricket in Pakistan (no security scares for them, I guess):
The PCB recently launched the Royal Bank of Scotland 20-20 Cup that will kick off on 4th October in Lahore.
Finally some cricket!
Who would have thought that the global financial crisis would affect cricket in Pakistan.
Amro has sponsored domestic cricket in Pakisan for the last 3 years,
however with its take over by RBS, all cricket in Pakistan will now be
sponsored by them.
Royal Bank of Scotland sponsoring cricket in Pakistan. That sounds strange doesn't it?
And, finally, Neo Sports expect to make Rs 285 crores this year, with RBS a leading purchaser:
The sports broadcaster has managed to lock in 70% of its
advertising inventory for the season. A deal has been finalised with telecom
company Airtel which would be the co-presenting sponsor for both the
India-Australia and India-England series.
Royal Bank of Scotland
(RBS) and Toyota have also come on board as associate sponsors. Fosters is the
third associate/beverage partner, but will not get the same benefits as the
other two associate sponsors.
They will utilise the partnership to
popularise the brand on ground. The deal was closed by the World Sports Group
(WSG), the ground right holders for an estimated Rs 3.3 crore per match. India
and Australia will clash in a four-match series beginning October 9 in
This is RBS’ first investment in cricket and the
bank is using cricket as its launch vehicle in India. Toyota on the other hand
is using cricket as a platform to market and advertise its latest launch, the
Will the Stanford 20/20 even be played? Mike Selvey put it as pithily as ever a while ago:
I don't know whether the cricketers of England or West Indies are in
the habit of perusing the website of the London high court for its
daily list of causes, but they might do so for September 18, when an
injunction is due to be brought by Digicel against the West Indies
Cricket Board. If it goes unresolved, all bets could be off, at least
in the short term.
The issue seems quite straight forward.
Digicel, the Irish telecoms provider and main sponsor of the West
Indies until 2012, has taken umbrage that its business rival in the
Caribbean, Cable & Wireless, a former sponsor of the WICB, is
believed to be climbing on board the good ship Stanford to sponsor the
Super Series for its five years. "We have an exclusive deal with WICB,"
says Digicel. "Not with us though," is the Stanford rejoiner. And so
Digicel and WICB will repair to the high court.
First, Digicel put in a compromise offer (i.e. everything they wanted), then Stanford made a counter-offer—basically everything Digicel wanted except putting their logo on the Stanford players' shirts, which Digicel promptly declined. And now the media battle is heating up.The High Court injunction kicks in on October 3rd.
Lovely. But it won't matter to these two cricket players at least.
Meanwhile, back on planet cricket, Darren Gough is retiring: King Cricket's Darren Gough tribute.
Arjuna Ranatunga the administrator is carrying on the mysterious ways he developed as captain. I can't begin to imagine what has possessed the man, especially given that SL's current players are still agitating for playing in the IPL next year, not touring England. Good luck to him anyway!
Having predicted the creation of a Sri Lanka team in the ICL, which looks one giant step closer to happening now, Soulberry is now thinking ICL tie-ups with Stanford:
ICL comes that much closer to recognition/acceptance and a possible tie-up with Stanford at some point in the future may not be a pipe-dream anymore.
SL has solved the problem of keeping its players well-paid and happy with one stroke. Others are sure to follow.
Jrod puts it in the way only he could:
But say what you will, it takes a fair man to stick his middle digit up at a millionaire kidnapper.
I cannot believe me and Arjuna agree on anything.
If Arjuna had a blog, oh the angry comments he would get.
That would teach him for this anti establishment behaviour.
Finally, Kartikeya gives us a run-down on the Irani Trophy, both review and preview.
Those busy bodies at the ICL have taken another big step in the direction of a challenge to the ICC itself, not just the BCCI. As Soulberry puts it:
So there are three international teams so far in the ICL - India,
Pakistan and BD. New Zealand and Sri Lanka cannot be far away and it
must be a cinch to whip up an Australian or Saffer team - there are so
many players in those ranks who are "out of the loop" so to speak.
Can't be long before all teams are represented, now that counties and
countries (1st world only at the moment) may not have problems fielding
ICL players...they may have problems fielding IPL players instead! Kapil tells us why - ICL plays better cricket and IPL plays better marketing.
Ottayan talks about the BCB's attempt to rein the players back in. And Samir Chopra claims it's all a miscommunication exercise. Here's Sandeep Patil's column on cricketnext:
players who come from Bangladesh bring a whiff of fresh air to the
ICL's campaign. They have strengthened our resolve to provide better
facilities and opportunities to those who have been denied. And this
number is only increasing and it is time the ICC and the BCCI took
notice of it.
ICL would only mean support to cricketers because we are only
concentrating on creating the infrastructure and competitions for young
players. We are not competing with the IPL or the BCCI. We have our
targets and have set benchmarks in terms of quality entertainment. By
denying us the authorities in turn are only denying the young players.
Finally, on a different note, here's Judhajit Basu on TV viewership across the different forms of cricket. No big surprises (excepting perhaps that the IPL beat the Twenty20 World Cup):
Rohit Gupta, SET India president for network sales, licensing and
telephony, says Twenty20 is a powerful format. "The audience
involvement is three-and-a-half hours compared to eight hours for a
one-dayer," Gupta told Cricinfo. "Though an over-exposed format,
Twenty20 offers huge excitement, which means the youth and females get
involved in large numbers. Understandably, viewership for Test cricket
and ODIs has dipped when we talk in relative terms. Hopefully, the
concerned authorities will take note of this trend and work on the
one-day format in the near future."
While ESS said "it was too premature to comment",
industry insiders believe the superhuman success of Twenty20 has
resulted in the others taking a beating. "It's a temporary state of
affairs and that if the hypothesis persisted for two years, it would
certainly a matter of concern. However, I believe one good Test series,
especially with the upcoming tour by Australia, will change the picture
completely," said a source.
My apologies for the lack on posts recently!
Sri Lanka Cricket and its players are still battling with one another. The brief summary: SLC granted permission to contract with the IPL teams next year; the ECB pulled out of their invitation to Zimbabwe to tour to England; SLC signed up to tour to England instead; and SLC now want their top players to go to England instead of playing for the IPL. The Daily News says the players are reluctant to meet the SLC:
The Minister of Sports and Recreation Gamini Lokuge yesterday
appointed Duleep Mendis Chief Executive Officer of Sri Lanka Cricket to
mediate and resolve the crisis between the SLC Interim Committee and the
players who have signed to play in next year’s Indian Premier League
The second session of the high profile Indian Premier League Twenty20
tournament will clash with Sri Lanka’s tour to England next year and the
Minister was expected to deliver the final verdict following a
discussion with both parties.
However the Minister was forced to delay the final decision as the
players had informed their inability to attend the meeting. As a result
Duleep Mendis former Sri Lanka captain and the Chief Executive Officer
of the SLC took over the responsibilities of finding a solution for this
The Daily Mirror writes that the players---Jayawardene, Muralitharan, and Jayasuriya, among others---are considering retirement:
SLC sources said that the cricketers had refused
to budge and had warned that they are ready to take even extreme
measures such as contemplating retirement from national team to honour
the IPL contracts they have already signed, if they have no other
choice. They have reportedly pointed out that the England tour was
hastily arranged later by SLC officials without consulting the
cricketers who were under IPL contracts.
The future of cricket will be about a combination of city based Twenty20 cricket and the occasinoal game of Test cricket. This is probably a good thing.
Ottayan has a thoughtful post on the treatment of Trescothick by the ECB:
In the macho world of sports, a
player who exhibits mental fragility more often than not is treated
dismissively and sarcastically. In
Trescothick’s case, the English team management could have taken a
similar path, treated his ailment flippantly, simply asked him to stop being a sissy and continue playing. Instead, they gave him the space to recover by keeping his ailment private. Sadly, he failed to overcome his neurosis.
The comments are worth reading, particularly scorpicity's. Is it possible that Andrew Symonds is in the same position. A man desperately in need of help as he wanders in the wilderness?
The Aussie press aren't exactly holding their punches. See Symonds' big-head and Symonds as a clowns. But, at the moment at least, the ACB will pick him for India on purely cricketing grounds and his teammates are supporting him:
Symonds' relationship with senior players and officials is icy
after he was sent home for going fishing during a team meeting, but
Bracken believes that a strong bond continues to exist between all
players, and has offered to hear any of the all-rounder's
"Whatever he is feeling, how he is, if he wants to give me a
call, I am happy to chat and talk about whatever he is going
through," Bracken said. "I have sent him a text this week and
received a reply, as have a lot of the other boys.
Australian selector Jamie Cox said Symonds' latest infringement
would not count against him when he does make himself available.
"As of now, Andrew has been given time to sort things out. But we
will make a decision (about his selection) when that time comes
around," Cox said.
"But the decision to pick him will surely be on cricketing
grounds. It will have nothing to do with whatever has happened
recently. Disciplinary issues will have no bearing on that
See also a wonderful article by Sriram Veera on Sadanand Viswanath on finding some stability in life.
Soulberry has put together a sort of tribute to Andrew Symonds:
People I have interacted with before on BBC's boards might recall of
those positive views of mine. They might recall my support for Symonds'
inclusion into the test team way back before he was actually inducted,
and my reasons thereof. They might recall my awe at his all-skills
prowess in the one-day game.
Things changed, Symonds became Symo
for some and Roy for others. Andrew began trying to men something to
everyone. And dissociation is a dark confusing world. But all this I
have gone over in earlier posts and is not the focus of this post.
just wanted to record my appreciation for Symonds, one of the most
complete one-day players ever....and who could have become a decent
test player if the devil times hadn't descended upon when he finally
had the chance. can you ever forget his WC innings and the all-round
performance in that.
The links he provides are very interesting. Meanwhile, The Age carries a story that Symonds falling enthusiasm for cricket can be dated to Bhajji abuse scandal:
To this day Symonds has not forgiven Cricket Australia for what
transpired in an Adelaide federal courtroom eight months ago. It
was there that he and three teammates were convinced to downgrade
an initial charge of racial slander against Harbhajan Singh to one
of verbal abuse, a ploy the Australians were advised would help
ensure a long suspension after the Monkey-gate scandal, but one
that eventually resulted in Harbhajan escaping sanction.
Harbhajan's reprieve infuriated Symonds, who felt abandoned by
administrators he believed were more interested in kow-towing to
India than protecting their own. Team sources say Symonds has
bluntly refused CA's attempts to resolve the issue, and the
lingering resentment has fuelled his deteriorating attitude to
Those close to the 33-year-old do not believe he will retire,
but there is grave concern about the way he feels.
And the Times of India has a pair of editorials on the basic question behind all this that could have been asked of any number of wonderful cricket players. Does team discipline trump individual greatness?
management felt that Symonds failed to recognise, and adhere, to the team ethic
so central to its success. Australia's success in the recent past is remarkable
when we contrast it with that of other teams. Team India, despite boasting of
some of the world's finest batsmen, have flattered to deceive. And Brian Lara's
brilliance with bat did little to help the cause of the West Indies. Simply put,
individual talent need not necessarily translate into success for a team unless
the team has a clear plan and will to achieve its goals.
The alternative point of view, that greatness is better than rules:
Cricket, like most other sports, is not your usual
nine-to-five job. At the highest level, sport is akin to art. Like artists,
sportspersons cannot always be bound by rules and manuals. Too much discipline
could stifle creativity and kill sporting genius. The trick is to get the
balance right so that a great athlete has adequate freedom but at the same time
doesn't fritter away his talent.
Meanwhile, Jrod reckons Symonds is really in trouble now:
Dean Jones, he of the self proclaimed legend status, is on his side.
Never a good sign in an argument.
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