GOD SPEAK

February 24th, 2010

I wonder myself how it would be to listening to God’s voice? And then I get the answer this morning. It sound sweet, sweet as in when Sachin hits a cover boundary, a roar like an exquisite straight drive, sublime like an backward punch to extra cover, rhythmic like an exceptionally timed flick and dominating like an fiery pull over mid-wicket.

AND GOD SPOKE TODAY!

My friends tell me (they actually taunt) that comparing Sachin to God is little overboard, he is not that great and sometimes its not right. And, personally I think they are ignorant. Did they see God anytime, do they know what he did, do they really think that God is about lifting mountains with his little finger, killing the demons with the blink of an eye, drinking an ocean full of water in one gulp and endless other mysterious and superlative deeds? Well then they got is absolutely wrong, as it proves that not only they do not know anything about God but they pretend that God exists. God is about doing right and more so with an unconditional love and nothing else.

Sachin is not great because he plays every shot in the dictionary of cricket and he scored tons of runs and milestones just feel at this feat with relative ease. He is great because he LOVE the game, he is great because he RESPECTS the game, he is great because he believes what he do is right, UNCONDITIONALLY. I am blessed to have seen him play today, not because this is one of his best knocks, not because how he approaches the game, because he made me forget for a while, what the greatest sorrow a man has, DEATH. My cousin husband’s untimely death has left me with a sorrowed heart and spending that last 4 days until they were aboard a flight to India was a lifetime experience. Her life has changed forever and there is nothing but time, that can heal the wounds and but for lending my deepest sorrows, I am humanely mortal to give her life back.

Having deep love towards the game of Cricket made me woke up today morning although my wife didn’t like the fact that I was putting myself out of rest from the last 4 days or so. I told her, I would only watch Sachin’s batting today and will go back to sleep after that. God had other plans today, he wanted me lighten up my heavy heart with his words (strokes). He wanted me to witness the truth, he wanted me to watch doing right and….I had.

Critics are ordinary humans, who paint their failures often on one’s success. But when you talk about God, you are often left with one side and one choice, YES!

Today, the God spoke and I listened.

The curry and the kangaroo – Conclusion

November 9th, 2009

Wondering why there is no Part 6 and 7 as we have one more one dayer to go? The reason is simple, India have lost the mantle in Hyderabad, let alone the Guwahauti match.

In any sport there are two ways to win, one by out-playing the opponent and the other being rewarded by a bad play from the opponent. For materialistic geeks and number buffs, this might sound crazy, leaving aside that they always draw the same conclusion in their personal lives.

India lost the Hyderabad game not because we gave too much runs to Australia or they have batted better than us, it is because of the fact that with 6 wickets in hand and a power-play left and to get to 40 odd runs was a small task for a team like India. Sachin was hardly supported from the other end as getting to the target was always at hands reach when he was in the crease. The wicket had played beautifully during the course of the innings and you don’t have excuses for committing mistakes. Few of my friends think that we lost because Sachin palyed a wrong shot and got out, reiterating their ignorance towards the sport as well as understanding the game. I tried to explain the sport in vain but their brains were pre-occupied. There is a saying that you can take an horse to water, but drinking is always in its hands.

Guwahauti match is more of retrofitting cricket than actual one-dayer, a most unfortunate event that India had to face. Dhoni concluded that the pitch did not behave badly and he is more than right in giving that statement. However, if he thought that the first 30 minutes were such crucial he should have opted for bowling rather than batting. If Johnson can induce swing on that pitch, Praveen Kumar would have been virtually unplayable. I do not blame him for choosing batting as he had to assert his confidence in that formidable batting lineup. But for Sachin all other batsmen got out for choosing wrong play. The ball that Sehwag and Gambhir got out was hit for a boundary by Sachin crying out loud that there is a way to negate the swing. Unfortunately for Sachin, the ball that he got out had stopped on him and there is little or no-credit given to bowler (sorry Bollinger!).

Giving no disrespect to Australia for putting up such a brave display of Cricket, the biggest reason for loosing the series is not because they played better Cricket but we played bad one. Agree or not, this is the fact and more than often you will agree with me when YOU face that in your lives.

I thought of writing a special article for Sachin on completing 17k runs and producing one of the finest knocks in the history of one-day Cricket, but refrained from doing so. The reason is simple, neither he would celebrate nor do I. His passion is to play for India and not for himself and the team let him down, more so than any player in the history of the game. For Cricket lovers (who know the game of course), his batting was more than a privilege and when the ball strikes the bat, you will know why?

I conclude this series of articles with this one by wishing my team India best of luck for all the future matches and tours and hope that they always loose a match FIGHTING HARD and always win a match by FIGHTING HARD.

The curry and the kangaroo – Part 5

November 5th, 2009

“Commit all the crimes you can, God is busy watching Sachin Tendulkar bat”. It is not unusual to see comments like that when a great man is at crease. Brilliant knocks from Watson, Marsh and White has seen Australia post a mammoth 350 on the board and chasing that score is a near impossible task. One man on the brink of making 17000 runs in his ODI career stood alone in what has world witnessed a spectacular display of sublime cricket and a splendid display of how its played. If passion can take human form, nothing better than Sachin would justify it. His disappointment was more than visible in his tear filled eyes not being able to take his team home, ALONE.

A depleted Australian team has pulled more than a win today, they will take confidence and momentum further into the series and coming back is India’s gargantuan task. The scoreboard was reduced to mere numbers today, but the cricket that was played today was in volume and spectrum. Australia won the match well before India started their innings, as too much was given away and too much was at stake.

The loss of Indian team doesn’t speak of what the spectators go to witness today and being an avid Sachin follower, I cannot fall short of writing for him. Its an innings that was ‘privileged’.

My take

Australia – 5 stars
India – 3 stars

Kangaroo stars: Watson, Marsh, White and McKay
Indian stars: Sachin, Bhajji and Raina

The curry and the kangaroo – Part 4

November 2nd, 2009

I guess I won’t be able to present a clear picture as I am unfortunate to have missed the proceedings having buried myself deep into work-meetings. However, based on the commentary and have watched India’s batting till Tendulkar was departed rather hastily, I would bet that Australia had bowled wonderfully and suffocated Indian batting line up.

Some events are rather strange and hard to believe and they do work as domino affect. I guess Tendulkar’s dismissal is one such thing. With Sehwag looking as dangerous as he is, Australia would have guessed that the match would be finished before the second drinks break. Sachin was cool, calm, respecting good balls, punishing bad balls, driving confidence over the partners and his presence would be immensely needed at the time of the hour.

I was totally surprised by the fact of how he was given lbw by the same umpire who almost denied closed to 8 lbw decisions when India was bowling. Anyway, there is no point in hanging around one single point, things happen.

Full marks to Australia as they have pulled up a game that had India written all over it. The wicket was playing nicely and opportunities were in plenty. Not every day we should expect Yuvi and Dhoni to pull the plugs and fill the gaps, its simply not fair. Having said that,  Australia on the other hand were simply more disciplined although at times plans may not work the way they are laid out; they did today for Australia (much for the explanation of why Siddle was not given a second spell).

My take (again, is totally unfortunate to have missed the main part of the game)

Australia – 3.5 stars
India – 2.5 stars

Kangaroo stars: Watson, Ponting, Siddle, Bollinger, White and Hauritz
Indian stars: PK, Nehra, Bhajji and Sachin

5th ODI Preview: With the series pretty much in re-start mode, anything can happen moving forward. Australia will have lot of momentum taken from this game but they will be cautious as they knew that the more than their game plan it was the way things have fallen into place by themselves, not denying any credit to the team however. India on the other hand I would think will not be too worried as they know what exactly went wrong. Dhoni had the courage to take on the field winning the toss keeping due condition in mind, but the matter of fact has suggested otherwise.

This will turn out more fiercer as it proceeds but I would still bet on India as they are simply the better team at this time. Keeping my fingers crossed.

The curry and the kangaroo – Part 3

November 1st, 2009

Predictions are always predictions and the good part is they are always backed up by a guarantee, the 50-50 rule. Seldom it happens that they come true and man thinks that he got it right. The beauty of Cricket is that it is a complete game, played by brain and body equally. Loosing the toss to Australia in a third trot was not easy for Dhoni and neither winning in succession. There is a good reason for the team rankings more than ever, two most complete teams with respect to playing capabilities and application of wit.

There are take-aways for both the teams from 3rd ODI, more so for Australia. What went wrong with their innings in my personal point of view is lack of trust. Their start was ideal for the conditions that they have batted on. With 3 debutantes, decision making was not an easy one for Punter. However for the first time, Australia had a mis-trust with the new players for which they had payed the price. When Hussey and Ponting were placing their innings candidly, they should have taken calculated risks and used power-play to its potential. I am not taking the credit away from India for the way they have bowled to Australia, but he fact of the point is that they were restricted more because of how they placed the innings. Why do you have 11 players in a team? A basic question. 229/5 is much worse a number than 240 all out in 48 or 49 overs. This thin thinking played against Australia.

Indian team is a ‘mature’ team. They play cricket and keep the rest of the stuff aside, completely away from the boundary ropes. Dhoni’s captaincy or players ability, the paraphernalia places itself meticulously in perfect harmony and piece by piece the puzzle is solved, if not always but most of the times.  Most of the hot-headed might ask then why would we even loose a match? For me playing the match with a spirit to win is more important than to actually win the match. The fans and the team would be happy for a win-win result, but more than happiness the team has to adapt that winning. Yesterday, the outside of off-stump like to Sachin has failed miserably for more than obvious reasons. He do not commit mistakes often and if he does, only he puts the next question as well as the answer. His run out was unfortunate as he would have easily anchored his innings and people would have watched flamboyance and cricket shots played at best. Nevertheless, Yuvraj and Dhoni were simply too much for Australia. Rome was not built in a day and both knew that better than most. Wickets in hand and power-play are two most potential weapons. Dhoni would not mind winning the game by 1 wicket; this is the very reason that separated the teams from winning and loosing.

Boundaries from Yuvraj were simply priceless, there is no cricketer that can equal his timing. It is simpler to watch and describe than play it so naturally, may be it is a gift from God, but to use it at right time for right deliveries is what makes him a great player. Dhoni was as usual a mason as he is. He places his innings by each ball and each run.

For the first part of innings, Punter’s boundaries were a treat to watch and  Hussey is and would always be a man of the moment for Australia and his takes that responsibility with gratitude and shoulder.

My take

India – 5 stars
Australia – 3 stars

Curry Stars: Yuvi, Dhoni and all the bowlers
Kangaroo Stars: Punter, Hussey and Siddle

4th ODI preview:
With confidence and so called momentum raiding on India’s shoulders and Mohali being such a wonderful track for cricket and cricket lovers, the game is on for sure. I would place my bets on India not because I am a supporter but for being advantageous of knowing the conditions better. If Dhoni wins the toss, the chances creep up more. The ground is a treat to eyes and the pitch will play its part swinging towards bastmen. India will mostly play with an unchanged side while Australia well, they do not have much choice. The due factor will come into play for sure in this part of the country and the wicket might just slow down during the second half. Advantage toss.

The curry and the kangaroo – Part 2

October 28th, 2009

For a moment, I had a gentle smile on my face. This good friend of my mine often exchange heated debates over Cricket with me and he normally supports teams playing against India, be it Australia or Zimbabwe. He plays good level Cricket but his problem is in understanding the game. I admit that I get little emotional when someone downplays Sachin or India, but I must be honest, it is totally natural. For one, I am a ‘good’ supporter of our team (emphasis: support) and second, Sachin is simply the best Cricket has ever seen.

The game is such a treat to its fans that it is totally unbelievable that for a good part of 8 long hours, it can keep your brain, eyes, nose and mouth blocked to it, not an easy thing to accomplish by any standards.

So the curry had its full blown flavor today while the kangaroo, well had slowed down. The Australians were little depleted and a wise opponent shall cash it and they did, not only wisely but with complete dominance and a strong fortitude. For a moment I thought having Jadeja instead of Kohli might be a bad idea, but keeping the conditions into consideration, it was indeed a wise move. There are two ways to hold a flag, with one hand holding the flag post or two hands grabbing the ends. The flag is our team and the pole is Sachin for me. For many years and for many a matches, he had been the post, alone and firm and the team waved happily with his support. Now that the post is on its culminating point, two hands or team-work is needed to up-hold the flag and they did. This win is a total team effort, but big credits to Dhoni, he have the best captain brain and he used it to its potential today.

I am sometimes surprised as to how in the world Praveen Kumar can generate that kind of swing, simple straight, seam up right and gentle flow, his bowling was very accurate with little or no width to offer. However the man who stole the show was Ashish Nehra, his nip deliveries were fast, quick and hard to read. He have a great smile, the smile of a winner and he came to terms with his strength today, a bad ball greeted with smile and  a wicket accepted in humble.

Dhoni’s batting reminds me of the great battle between Duryodhan and Bheem of Mahabharat. He holds his bat like mace and hits it hard. But don’t be mistaken with these words as he is most clever batsmen around who knows what to do when and where, more often than anyone.

My take

India – 4.5 stars
Australia – 2.5 stars

Curry Stars: Gambhir, Dhoni, Raina, Ashish Nehra
Kangaroo Stars: Hussey

3rd ODI preview:
Its even-stevens now and teams will mostly stick to their best combination. Kotla in Delhi is not a cool customer, the wicket is on the slower side with variable or low bounce. Of all the matches played out their during the Champions League, probably only Sehwag was able to play in that ground (his home of course). Spin will play its part, but quick bowling on stumps line can get you good LBWs. Delhi famous for its fog and due will play its part. Its good to win the toss.

Game On…

October 28th, 2009

I wonder myself that what it takes me to write so much about Cricket, passion or obsession, interest or madness, love or fan-ship and finally had to settle down on everything.

I woke up to my fate at 4:40 am this morning to catch the action on my computer and was disappointed that India lost the a crucial toss. Being a Day-Nighter the due factor in that part of the country and specially that ground (with new turf) will be a big problem for the team bowling second as it is not easy to grip the leather, no matter even if every fielder wraps around a towel around them, not joking.

So, as usual I have to leave my love and start getting ready for the office at 5:30 am and was optimistic that I can at least watch 6 or 7 overs. My optimism was completely put-out watching my favorite Sachin palying his shots. He was totally off, I seldom seen him playing cricket like that, unless something is bothering him; very much. Having watched his batting from such up close angles, it bothered me how he got out edging a wide off-stump ball, playing away from his body with full face to the ball. More than often, it is a symptom to get out easily. On a given day, he would have answered the same ball with a back foot punch towards squarish covers, normally kissing the fence for most part. It is his signature stroke and no one, no one can match his timing in that shot.

Dejected I was, but Sehwag on the other side was in his usual macho style whacking every ball like a free-hit. He simply doesn’t respect any one, leave alone the bowlers. His momemtum casted deep shadows on each of the Australian players and they were praying God to get this guy out in the pavilion as quickly as possible. In simple english, he is a question who doesn’t have an answer, PERIOD!

Gambhir and Sehwag went along nicely when the GODS were angry and Sehwag fell to his own instincts. Nevertheless, the runs flow did not stop really and India got to 354 in the end, which I think is a very hard total to beat, by any team.

I would still loved India to have bowled first, the hint of grass would have produced peach deliveries from Praveen Kumar’s fingers more often than anyone else.

Anyway, coffee break for me and lunch for the masters.

The curry and the kangaroo – Part 1

October 25th, 2009

And the series has started yet again, with a flamboyant style with almost a perfect end. India and Australia yet again face each other in this 7 ODI series true to their existing ICC ranking regards. The world’s No.1 team competing with No.2 team on turfs that are always witnessed in thousands and million across the tubes is nothing less than spectacular. The 1st ODI had all the ingredients of a brilliant drama with an exquisite screenplay. Both teams tried to put in their best possible combination forward; dis-advantage India as Yuvraj had to miss the game because of his injury. Zaheer’s absence will be felt by both teams.

Chasing 293 in never an easy task when you know for sure that you would be facing one of the best bowling attacks that come in 7 pack. With 7 for 210, the scorecard was anything but interesting for India. Australian quitely took a big nap and Indians quickly cashed on it. A fervor innings from Harbhajan and Praveen Kumar had lit the hopes of all the cricket fanatics and the match took an awkward turn again towards the end. The required run-rate at one time was more than 12, but the duo ensured that it comes down to 9 required in 6 balls. With everyone coming off of T20 style Cricket that was within the palm’s reach. Australia are deserved winners as they have put in an all-round effort but a win for India would have justified more at least for two persons, Harbhajan and Praveen.

The first ODI has more than winners and losers, it was a game that had the nostalgia of a curry, its effervescence and flavor; on the other end the speed of kangaroo, its protectionism and flamboyance. I had period of heart-attacks watching this game in awe, without anticipating the result. The perfect suspense was the best curtain raiser for this lively series between the best two. If there is any team that takes positives from this match, it would be India all the way, they are now sure what they need to move on. Australia will be left to answer their own questions, having 293 on board was less of an insurance than they thought and they had definitely learn a new lesson, its not over until its over.

Finally, my take.

Australia – 3.5 stars
India – 3 stars

Kangaroo Stars: Ponting, Hussey White and Hauritz
Curry Stars: Gambhir, Ishant, Harbhajan and Praveen

2nd ODI Preview: Yuvraj will most likely return to the side while Jadega shall be rested. It will bring a big boost to the middle order and if Yuvi sticks on for batting powerplay, Australia can forget the match, any day. Sehwag and Sachin do not fail often, one blitz will bring the opposition down like a pack of cards.

Australia will dig deep into its bowling and India can expect little more disciplined attack in the 2nd ODI. With respect to batting, nothing much will change on Australia side.

This may sound like I am biased to India, but in all honesty, India is a better team (equipped) than Australia for now.

The tale of two Gods

September 16th, 2009

Don’t expect anything close to mythology as my definition of God is a spirit who goes beyond divinity in what they do or perform.

As biased as I can be, nothing shall redeem my love towards Federer and Sachin, the two Gods of two worlds. Unlike any other persons in their era, they have cast huge clouds on all the rest with their love towards their individual games and over-shadowed everyone else with their huge but naturally bread talent and horned skills.

Federer’s loss in US Open final has yet to go down my throat. Not taking anything away from the young and brilliant Del Potro, I attribute his loss mainly to his 1st serve success percentage. We all knew why he is considered the greatest player ever to have played that game. The gamut and array of angles, passes, drops, spins, loops, serves and all the paraphernalia that surrounds tennis this guy possesses, intimidates his rivals to the core. His belief in tennis as his soul and body is simply unmatched. He is divine as he is to the sport and we are all fortunate to be in his era.

World’s apart there is Sachin, whom many consider as God in his own respects and made Cricket as a religion than ever, whose un-mistaken love towards the game brought him the status that no other sports person on this planet can ever have. Always wearing the burden of billion plus aspirations, he had not quenched his thirst to give us more and more and is a viewers delight.

It is not a surprise that he doesn’t have a signature shot as he has mastered everything in the book and has been a book by himself. There are two ways to score a run, hit the ball and run on the wicket and the other, play the ball and run on the wicket. The thin difference of hit and play is what makes Sachin the divine force. Technically he is perfect, aesthetically he is a treat, in execution he is exquisite and in stature he is God.

Words and thesaurus have shrunk my lines, sorry.

Arrogance Paid

August 24th, 2009

If there is one Cricket team that can only be more arrogant than itself, pat comes the answer as ‘Australia’ from any one. The team boasts itself of using ‘sledging’ as one of their main tactics and were always one step ahead of their opponents. This time around, the arrogance has been paid its due. Ashes defeat is not  just a display of two teams competing each other on Test Cricket and take the rubber away. England had proved what Australia in the end have lost more than what they have won. Individual players from Australia were so arrogant that their statements before and after the match were simply ridiculous. To say that I can definitely do a job is ‘confidence’ but to boast that ‘Only I can do this job’ is over-confidence and synonymous to arrogant stance.

I hope that Australia will learn its lesson that they have been the greatest team on earth not because of what they are but how they play. In the recent past, they have left this basic principle behind and came up with faces in front of Cricket.