December 2008 - Posts
The Australian cricket team must be sick and tired about the curse of sixteen on them. First it was the record of consecutive test match wins which was stopped at 16, twice, by those wily Indians. But the one that will hurt the most at 16 comes in the form of South Africa which is on the verge of winning a test series on Australian soil after 16 years of that 'masters of what they surveyed' feeling.
One can watch the final rites of the previous defeat against Curtly Ambrose's Windies, here.
A lot of players in that Australian team have become commentators now. Even they may have forgotten how it felt that time, especially given the way they commentate currently. One (Craig McDermott) is facing bankruptcy. But it's the bankruptcy of fresh ideas from the captain and selectors that is hurting the Strayas.
No one in the current side has seen a series defeat on home soil. So Ricky Ponting and team will have every thing to play for in the 3rd test to get back at the SAfricans. Whether it involves changes in the team, a more positive attitude, whatever it takes. Australia will have its chance for revenge instantly as they travel to South Africa next month. And one has to bear in mind that Australians were on top for quite long periods in both tests that they have lost. It just seems that they are missing their mojo at the moment.
Well its the lost Mojo that the Australians need to rediscover and rediscover quickly.
As one writes this South Africa needs another 30 odd runs to win with 6 wickets in hand in what will be a historic win and a serious dent in Australia's pretence to the top spot in World cricket. ICC rankings may be one thing but there is going to be enough self doubt and tentativeness in their future approach. If South Africa makr iy today, 2 teams would have chased down huge totals in the 4th innings in 1 week. And Australia will be the loser in one of them. Maybe more analysis can be done later but one wanted to point out an interesting (?) article in Hindustan times today.
If one can't access the link here are the key takeaways - "South AFrica found themselves in a similar situation at the WACA but failed to unearth the belief they could pull off a stirring victory......... India has displayed the nerve and skill to win matches against Australia on their turf and in the most daunting of venues, the WACA. South Africa also had their chance but they didn't have the self belief."
Well I hope Chappelli has a word with his ghost writer after this tremendous blooper and hopefully finds new ghosts to exorcise.
Well after all the noise and excitement and paranoia and disgustment surrounding Mr. Alan Stanford, and with the current global financial crisis, one is not surprised to read this (unconfirmed) report.
And after the blitzkreig a couple of days back, one read this rather old blog which reaffirms one's views on Sehwag. Many will find enough reasons to blast the conclusions on the site, but these are the same guys who are giving us the current ICC rankings. Enjoy
With the final call on England's test tour of India to be taken in a few hours, a nagging doubt which one has, is about the wisdom of playing the first test match at Chennai.
Here is the recent weather status in Chennai:
12 killed as heavy rains lash TN
26 Nov 2008, 1319 hrs IST, TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES
Even today, that city is the recipient of heavy rains. How much time has the groundsman had to even dry out the pitch, leave alone making a decent one fit for a test match.
The question to be asked is why Chennai? It was pouring there even as the decision was being taken. The entire South India has been experiencing heavy rains recently and if there is very little test cricket due to weather conditions, England's brave decision (in case they say Aye) to go ahead with the tour will prove futile.
Here is the weather forecast for Chennai for the next 10 days:
So if anyone is planning to catch a flight to Chennai to watch the test match (if ECB decides to go ahead with the tour), take a deep breath, uproot the mere thought from the bottom of the mind and stay put wherever one happens to be.
Excerpts of Yuvraj Singh's interview in the DNA today:
You will have to fill the big shoes’ of Sourav Ganguly…
I don’t have any shoes to fill. When I played that was my own place. Whenever, I have played there were big players who haven’t played because I played and performed. If a certain place is mine, I will surely take it and I will make sure I earn my place.
But with seniors like Ganguly hanging up boots the expectations on you will be greater?
There is pressure whether you are performing or not performing. When you are performing there is pressure to perform better. What matters is fulfiling my commitments to the team. If I am not performing somebody else will take my place. So rather than living up to media’s expectations and people’s expectations it is better for me to live up to my own expectations.
You wanted to prove something with those back-to-back hundreds against England?
You are talking as if I am 35-years-old and I have no legs left to perform. All batsmen have one or two bad series. The problem is sometimes the press chooses to highlight something and everything that is wrong. For me, it was always just a matter of one or two good knocks. I just missed out on one series now. I am back in form and I have nothing to prove to anyone. One can read the full interview on the following link.
Yuvi has made some brazen comments in the interview to put it mildly. The one about age rankles the most as he is aware that it has been an ongoing debate in the media and can't claim to have made it innocently. Also his point about being in the (test) team because of his performance nudging some big player out of the team is questionable. The tone of the entire interview seems to reek of arrogance. To put things in perspective, here was a man who was not even a part of the ROI team in the Irani trophy a month back. Pujara is already knocking heavily at the doors of the selection committee. Yuvi will be far better off to let his bat do the talking.