" Cricket Etcetera was voted as the Best Cricket Blog by Google during the World Cup 2007 "

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

The World Cup doesn't make a difference to the Indian captain

rahul dravid, india cricket captainAddressing a press conference in Mumbai, on the eve of Team India's departure for the West Indies, Dravid said he would not be under any added pressure because he was leading the side in this, his third, World Cup. "I've never viewed going into a tournament as being under less or more pressure. Obviously as captain there are some more responsibilities, the hunger to perform and to do well for the team does not matter if I am a captain, vice-captain or just a player," he said. "It does not make a difference to me. "

Dravid also dismissed the idea of the World Cup being "a final frontier", a term made much famous by the very successful ex-Aussie captain, Steve Waugh.
Just as the Indian captain was giving this soundbytes to the Indian media in Mumbai, a few hundred miles up northwest in Varanasi, a crowd of a thousand plus were participating in a "Shubhkamna Yatra". The procession moved towards the Ganges where they offered prayers to 11 cricket bats.

Now I'm not justifying the actions of these Varanasi crowd or anything, but the Indian captain needs to understand that he is not just leading any other nation into the Cricket World Cup - but India, which is home to close a billion cricket fans including millions of cricket fanatics like the ones at Varanasi. Even outside home, the stadiums in quite a few other countries are filled up with more Indian fans than locals. The Indian team doesn't need a Barmy-Army to travel across the world supporting the team, there is one, often more than one in every cricket centre across the world. Dravid needs to factor this in before speaking - he has a responsiblility, unlike any one else in the world.

Even if I were to remove the above factors for the sake of an argument, Dravid's words were unbecoming of any leader. How can the World Cup not make a difference? How can his being the captain not make any difference to him? Shouldn't it goad him on, motivate him only that much more. Can you even imagine Mike Brearley or Saurav Ganguly or Mark Taylor even saying that?

A World Cup win can stir the nation, leave a billion people happier, i would daresay that - even if temporary, the Sensex will rise. It makes a difference to me, Mr. Dravid and it makes a difference to a billion more like me. And I'm sad that we have chosen someone like you to lead us - someone, to whom it doesn't make a difference.
Read this quote by Dravid to see for yourself how amibitious / aspirational / inspirational my cricket captain is:
" India is one of the most dangerous ODI teams. There will be 7-8 teams that will be capable of winning the World Cup, and I want India to be one of them."
Now who can stop India from being one of the top 7 or 8 ? Is he fearing Bangladesh whom me see in our first match on the 17th March or Bermuda?!!
Want more gems from Dravid? I quote the Indian captain again.
" The World Cup is a big event, but i don't think you can base your career on winning it. There's a lot more you can achieve. You can't judge everything from one tournament."

Monday, February 26, 2007

Cricket Dollars for Pakistan

Did the PCB get a whiff of the secret Cricket meet in Kolkata, or what? ( the one i discussed yesterday in my post titled "Cricket worth...") The Pakistan Cricket Board has announced a whopping bonus of US $ 1.2 millions for the Pakistan team, should they win the World Cup. That works out to a cool 84,000 $ for each player. (almost 5 million Pakistani Rupees). Even if they make it to the semis, each Pakistani cricketer stands to earn a bonus of 42,000 $. Some money, that!!
Actually the net expense of the PCB won't be much if they just look at the odds that are available on Pakistan. Bookies are offering odds of upto 14 on Pakistan taking home the World Cup. So all that the mandarins at PCB need to do is take a risk of about 100,000 $. That shouldn't be too much for them.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Cricket worth US $ 600, 000 millions

Not too far away from the famous Eden Gardens in Kolkata, a few days back, Cricket experts from 4 different important cricket centres in India (Jaipur, Indore, Guwahati and Kolkata) met for a very important meeting. However, this meeting was different from almost all other cricket meetings in one important way - this one was illegal.
The 4 gentlemen, after due deliberation and after factoring in past data and trends, arrived at the whopping figure of Rs.25,000 crores - yes, that's the amount of business that they expect that the betting trade will handle during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007. Compare this to the total prize money that was distributed during the 2003 South Africa World Cup - US $ 5000,000 - an otherwise decent sum of money, but compared to the other figure that's almost measly - under 1% of the betting business!!

Odds decided by the 4 cricket-experts for the World Cup 2007:
Australia still rules: 2.6
SA should challenge the Oz in the finals: 4.3
WI: 9.0, Sri Lanka:9.4, India:9.5
England:10.0, NZ: 10.25 and Pakistan:12.0
sources: Hindustan Times, Cric Info and a friend

Cricket's Eye-Candy

Mandira Bedi,Cricket Expert on Set Max
Guess what's the surest sign that cricket's mega-event is round the corner?

Yes, when Mandira Bedi begins to be seen in the glossies and on your daily's Page 3 every other day, you know that the World Cup can't be too far off now and that noodle-strap Bedi will soon move from the glossies into your drawing room very soon - and for a whopping one and a half months this time.

Excerpts from an interview she gave to Hindustan Times ( HT City, the Delhi city supplement)

> Mandira says she loves it when people call her Cricket Candy

> For the Caribbean calypso, we will be spared the noodle straps, i think. In Mandira's own words, her wardrobe this time is full of sassy clothes from tubes to corsets and some Satya Paul Saris. Phew.

> "I plan to have a ball at the Caribbean. I will play holi...."

> Cricket is her passion!!


if you are dumb-founded about who Ms Bedi is, well she is one of the regulars on the expert panel on Set Max, the TV channel that will be beaming the Cricket World Cup live to billions of cricket fans in India. She is already a veteran with a couple of World Cup and 4 ICC Trophies to her name. And yes, i like that skirt!!

Remember the other beauty?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Cricket Funny, ICC Funnier

Now, cricket fans like me and you have known this for quite some time, and discussed it and rubbished it a thousand times already - that the likes of Bermuda and Canada stand no real chance of making it to the second stage of the ICC Cricket World Cup. All cricket experts (except the ones at the International Cricket Committeee) agree that the World Cup will not be richer, but poorer by the presence of so many winnows - that the league stage is no more than an extended warm-up before the action hots up in the Super Eights. Funnily, the ICC too agrees with us now - and it's official and you it's for everyone to see, on the ICC official website .........

Now, i don't know why they needed to do these, but the collective wisdom at ICC being what it is, decided to do just this - the super eight schedule actually goes on to mention the likely participants for these matches. For example, the ICC tells us that in all likelihood, on the 27th of March, Australia will take on the West Indies in the first Super Eight encounter, and so on and so forth!! Luckily, they have not extended the generosity of their prophesies into the Semi-Finals and Finals - thank God for small mercies.
Now, you may accuse me of over-reacting because there is a small disclaimer at the bottom explaining the raison d'etre behind ICC's latest foray into fortune-telling. But it's there that I learnt of another most bizzare new rule for the ICC Cricket World Cup's Super-Eight stage. You may need to read this twice or thrice over before you understand/assimilate it - and this has nothing to do with your IQ. I quote from the ICC's site.

" Team names for the Super Eight stage are indicative based on the top two teams from the Group Stage qualifying. If these two teams do qualify they will be seeded in position 1 or 2 as specified regardless of whether they finish first or second in their group. For example, if South Africa wins Group A and Australia comes second, for the purposes of the Super Eights, South Africa will still be A2 and Australia will be A1. If, for example, Scotland qualifies instead of Australia, Scotland will become A1 "

There can be only way of explaining this most-weird rule - that the ICC is suddenly seeing a potential goldmine in the ICC Cricket Ratings and would like each cricket fan to know and remember the rankings of each team - and not the current one, but the rankings on the date ICC has decided. For your ease of convenience, they have put it on the official website - all you need to do is click, go, memorize!!

anyone aware of the amount which LG has paid ICC for becoming the exclusive sponsor of the ICC Cricket Ratings, please enlighten us by leaving a small comment - the figure may well explain the reasons behind this brilliantly confusing new rule.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Who will win the World Cup of Cricket?

Suddenly, the cricket's become more exciting...

England beats Australia (fluke), England beats Australia (fluke), England beats Australia (fluke), Newzealand beats Australia (fluke), Newzealand beats Australia (fluke), Newzealand beats Australia (fluke)
England, and not Australia win the VB series (surprise), Australia are dismantled from the top of the ICC One-day Cricket rankings (surprise) and the Blackcaps black-wash the Ozzies 3-0. (surprise)
So is it time to stop getting surprised by yet another fluke? Are Australia no more invincible? Is it just a passing fad? Afterall Symonds is injured, and Ponting & Gilchrist were not in Newzealand. But how do you dismiss the fact that NZ were playing without Oram, Bond & Vettori. That on a list of the top 3 run chases in one-day history, suddenly there is one common name now - Australia, on the losing sides! And if Symonds alone decides the fate of Australia, then it hardly deserves to be called the world's best, afterall which team today is not saddled with injuries.
Post this World Cup, Australia will no more have the services of Glenn Mc Grath. Warnie is already gone, and Gilchrist will not be around for long. Are we finally going to see the end of the unipolar cricket world? The timing couldn't have been better - the World Cup is suddenly wide open. England is suddenly a contender, the Kiwis look more than just dangerous, India have bounced back and their top order looks back in form, Sri Lanka is my favourites to lift the Cup, South Africa is the official no.1 team in the world and the West Indies will be a potent force in their own backyard and Pakistan, well you should never rule out the world's most talented bunch..and of course, there are defending champions Australia, i had almost forgotten them! Except for some really boring one-sided encounters in the league phase, I am waiting for my life's most exciting Cricket World Cup. Just that this time, i am no willing to put any bets on any team and i will be enjoying all the action with my money firmly in my pockets. What are your plans?
For complete information on the Cricket World Cup 2007 match schedules, venue details, tv & radio schedules across the world, check out the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 blog.

Monday, February 12, 2007

India announce World Cup squad

So this is what it's finally like:
Rahul Dravid (capt), Ajit Agarkar, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), Sourav Ganguly, Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Virender Sehwag, Sreesanth, Sachin Tendulkar, Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh
I don't know what Dileep Vengsarkar exactly means by back-ups, anyways the selectors have announced that Rudra Pratap Singh and Suresh Raina will be that - i guess the BCCI has been encouraged by ICC allowing Cricket Australia to include Symonds subject to fitnesss ( he may be replaced if he's not declared fit in time for the World Cup)
This is exactly the same 15 that I had mentioned in my blog a few days back, which makes one wonder whether the team had been decided a few days back and like everything else, this too had been leaked to the media.
In the poll that we had conducted on this site( see poll on the right), an overwhelming 78% of the voters wanted to see Sewhag in the team. So i guess Vengsarkar & Co. have taken a pretty populist decision..hope their faith in Sehwag is rewarded.

Friday, February 09, 2007

England vs Australia, Word vs Excel

If the world can be divided into just 2 kinds of people - the ones who like Microsoft Word and the ones who prefer Microsoft Excel to Word, I would count myself amongst the later. At the job, people like me are often asked by our colleagues to look beyond numbers - at the softer, non-numerical aspect of things. They do have a point, or do they?
As i write, England is playing Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the first of the VB Series Finals. The scoreline reads 127/3, and it's the 28th over in progress. Two of England's more successful (recent) batters in Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood are at the crease. The last few overs have been particulary good, with England scoring at a rare 6+ rate, and the asking rate has been brought down to a very realistic 5.90. In modern day one-day cricket, that's not much of a ask as one enters the final 20 overs, with 7 wickets still in the bag. (you can actually check that by Duckworth Lewis, if the match is called off now, England might actually win the match)
Everything suggests that England should win the match, but when i say everything there's that slight problem - it's a very Excel Sheet summary of things. Bring in more subjectivity, and the analysis may change dramatically. England have a sudden way of collapsing, like they did a mini one at the start of this very innings. (they were 15/3 before the revival) Australia are the World Champions and England is especially vulnerable against the Aussies. A psychollogically scarred English team versus Ponting's super-confident men - and if you look at it like that, the odds would change. Little wonder then that the bookies are still giving you better odds for Flintoff's team than Ponting's.
That's where I wonder, how is Flintoff looking at things. Only a m-word analysis could lead to a loss. The more logical path suggests victory only. I don't think we would have given England any chance if Australia had been chasing - with the remaining data unchanged. All that Flintoff and the rest of the non-Aussie cricket captains across the world need to do is throw the damn word files and psychological discourses into the dustbin and pick up those spreadsheets. Cricket is ultimately a simple game of bat, ball and a little logic. If any captain can do that in the Caribbean, he will pick up the trophy - else Ponting will likely get Australia a hat-trick of World Cups and that won't be healthy for cricket.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

India vs Sri Lanka / Cricket Selectors

Saurav Ganguly is back with a bang, and India plays cricket today in his backyard today at the famous Eden Gardens... a mouth-watering prospect for Ganguly fans like me.
Latest media reports suggest that Irfan Pathan & Yuvraj Singh are unlikely to play today on account of a sore shoulder and a stiff back respectively. In an ideal world, neither should expect to be an automatic selection for the world cup..one was dropped from the team for acute lack of bowling form and has done nothing since then to merit a call for the world cup, the other has been out of the team due to injury for a long time now, and it's not always easy to make a swift comeback. ...and post this match, Vengsarkar & co. get just one more chance before they need to decide the final Indian 15 for cricket's mega show in the caribbean.
It'd be an interesting wait-n-watch this one. Starting from the 1987 Cricket World Cup ( don't remember much before that), I don't think the selectors would have ever had such a problem as far as World Cup selections are concerned. A core 12 would have always been beyond doubt - all that the selectors needed to rack their brains about was about the bench warmers, people like sanjay bangar and parthiv patel. This time it's going to be a tougher one though..let's see how the colonel performs.
India vs Sri Lanka, Eden Gardens, Kolkata. Thursday, 8th February 2007
Match live on Neo-sports from 1:00 pm (including pre-match nonsense) and on Doordarshan from 2:30 pm IST

Monday, February 05, 2007

Irfan Pathan, a Woman & a few anonymous bloggers

I had written a post titled "Indian team for the Cricket World Cup" on the 7th of January, and funnily and interestingly enough the comment-box now seems to have become a warzone between a couple of Irfan Pathan fans... someone saw Irfan with some woman in South Africa....read on, it's as interesting as it can get out of the cricket field...
Anonymous said...
it was very unfair 2 send Irfan Pathan back from SA, especially as he did so well in Potchefstroom. I think Dravid and Chappell have something against Irfan and if so, rather come out in the open and say what it is. so that Irfan can carry on doing what he does best and that is play cricket. perhaps Irfan has some personal issues to deal with? i mean the guy is only 22 years old - perhaps he has girlfriend problems - pretty much like Zaheer Khan came under the spotlight when he returned home frm SA - it was all in the news about him living with his girlfriend Isha Shirvani? to spread this kind of news, cannot be good for a cricketer's careeer.

1:09 PM
Anonymous said...
Congratulations Irfan on being selected to play the 4th ODI against West Indies. Don't take any notice of what people are saying about u having a girlfriend in your life - so what if u do in any case? it is not a crime
4:53 PM
Anonymous said...
Irfan, you show them what u are capable of doing during the last ODI against West Indies, especially as it is being played in your home town. You will still come out on top and become one of the world's best all-rounders. God Bless You Irfan!
11:16 AM
Anonymous said...
Irfan Pathan definitely has a lady friend in South Africa, as friends of mine saw him with a girl during his tour of South Africa before he was sent back to India. Perhaps this is the reason he is performing badly? but it should not be; he should learn to deal with it and come out in the open and say what is worrying him.
4:09 PM
Anonymous said...
IRFAN PATHAN HAS A GIRLFRIEND! so what? i believe he was seen with a lady friend in JHB at his hotel - perhaps this is the same lady? but who really cares? good luck to him and her!
4:55 PM
Anonymous said...
not sure if it was the same lady in JHB - at the Inter Continental Hotel in Jhb South Africa. Anyway, good luck to him as u say. This surely cannot be the reason he was sent back to India in the middle of the tour? apparently, he was seen with a beautiful young lady in Port Elizabeth. There is no smoke without fire - this rumour is all over the Internet - have seen it a few times now
4:57 PM
Anonymous said...
I have it from a very reliable source that Irfan Pathan has a girlfriend in SA - in Port Elizabeth. There was no lady in Johannesburg. Obviously just a fan - you know how people gossip, but i do believe that he has a special lady friend in SA. Good 4 Irfan! and for her, whoever she may be!
8:28 PM
Anonymous said...
PLEASE leave Irfan Pathan's love life alone - the guy is entitled 2 have a special friend in his life - he should come out in the open and acknowledge her. She is a lucky lady whoever she is!
8:29 PM
Anonymous said...
OK, you guys, let me set the record straight - Irfan was seen in the company of a beautiful young lady in Port Elizabeth - this is the rumour doin the rounds at the moment. This is a fact! now let anybody dispute it. It will not upset his cricket - he has been chosen to play against Sri Lanka - u go Irfan and show them what u made of!
8:31 PM
Anonymous said...
really what does this subject have 2 do with Irfan's cricket? can anybody tell me this? i wonder if Irfan is aware of this on the Net? but even so, good luck 2 him and her whoever she may be. Irfan, if u have a girlfriend, a million hearts must be breaking right now all over India and the rest of the world.
8:46 PM
Anonymous said...
i have Indian friends in Port Elizabeth who saw Irfan in this young lady's presence, so what? i have the scoop on his love life, but will not say anything further. just want 2 see how far this rumour goes on the Net. But, apparently, she was very BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
8:48 PM
Anonymous said...
why don't we let Irfan answer all these rumours???? if he has a girlfriend, so what? good 4 him and 4 her, even if she is in SA - wonder how the relationship will work though with him living in India and her living in SA? anyway, Irfan, I wish u the best of luck - from a HUGE fan of yours
8:55 PM
Anonymous said...
i can tell u 4 sure that Irfan will not two time anybody - he was not seeing a woman in JHB; the lady friend he has, definitely lives in Port Elizabeth. Please stop spreading these terrible rumours about a girl in JHB. There is no girl in JHB.
9:05 PM
Anonymous said...
Sourav Ganguly, (in form)R Uthappa, (in form) Rahul Dravid (capt), (in form)Sachin Tendulkar, (in form)Virender Sehwag, (Out of form)Yuvraj Singh, (Out of form)MS Dhoni, (Out of form)Irfan Pathan, (Out of form)Ajit Agarkar, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan12th man : Dinesh Karthik (very good fielder and in form)Reserve: Munaf Patel, (Bad Fielder)Sreesanth, (Erratic)Anil Kumble, (Not really suited for ODI)
10:07 AM
Anonymous said...
i thought this was a forum about cricket - why is Irfan Pathan's love life being discussed here? surely there r other forums to discuss this kind of thing - if this person is so sure that Irfan has a girlfriend in SA, why not give us her name? come on. if u know so much about her.
12:04 PM
Anonymous said...
this person who has the so called SCOOP on Irfan's love life, why dont u come out in the open with it, or are u afraid 2 say something?
12:05 PM
Anonymous said...
well i sincerely hope that after all this news about a girl in South Africa on the Internet, that Irfan is able 2 concentrate on the forthcoming matches against Sri Lanka.
2:21 PM
Anonymous said...
there are some sites on the Internet that say that Irfan Pathan had a troubled mind in South Africa - perhaps this is the reason why he had a troubled mind? not so much a troubled mind as much as his mind was on this girl in South Africa?
3:17 PM
Anonymous said...
Well, i have spoken to my Indian friends again and they have confirmed that they saw Irfan in Nando's with a beautiful girl - they were not sure if she was Indian or not. they saw them together in Port Elizabeth.
3:33 PM
Anonymous said...
well if your friends saw Irfan with this girl in PE, tell us what she looks like? these stories r definitely going 2 get back to Irfan Pathan and one wonders how he is going 2 react when he reads these stories.
4:00 PM
Anonymous said...
All we can say is that she had long dark hair and was EXTREMELY PRETTY! A perfect match for Irfan. They also looked so happy together. Like a true couple in love!
4:53 PM
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Saturday, February 03, 2007

India Team for the Cricket World Cup

If recent media reports are to be believed, and suprisingly cutting across competition barriers they are all speaking the same language, the Indian team for Cricket's mega-event coming up in March has all but been announced, and it looks like this:
1.Saurav Ganguly
2.Virender Sehwag
3.Robin Uthappa
4.Rahul Dravid (captain)
5.Sachin Tendulkar
6.Yuvraj Singh
7.Dinesh Karthick
8.Mahendra Singh Dhoni
9.Anil Kumble
10.Harbhajan Singh
11.Ajit Agarkar
12.Zaheer Khan
13. Sreesanth
14.Munaf Patel
15.Irfan Pathan
In all likelihood, the media is probably right and that bring us to some obvious questions:
q#1 Is Sehwag seriously being re-selected because of his Ranji century, or was it more likely a pre-decided thing and he was dropped just to assuage the public at large?
q#2 Was Pathan that impressive while giving away more than six runs per over in his only showing that date ?
q#3 Why Munaf? Why not Romesh Powar instead?
q#4 Why are VVS Laxman and Mohammad Kaif not even being given a chance to prove themselves? What wrong did they do? Is it the fear that they may perform and the selectors then may find it difficult to justify Sehwag's inclusion?
What makes it all the more interesting is that I agree with the selectors here. Experience is very important going into the biggest event of them all. It would however be interesting to see how Vengsarkar and co. go about justifying their team!