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Monday, August 25, 2008

Howzzat Munaf??

Arjuna Ranatunga was not among the fittest of players to have graced a cricket field, actually he was pot-bellied. So was Inzy, even Boon and Warne. But I never had a problem with their rotundness - they were good at their craft, put in their best efforts always, and were deeply passionate about the game. Isn't that all that a cricket fan expects of his heroes? But can we say the same about Mr Munaf Patel?

As long back as January 2007, this blog had advocated for his non-inclusion in the team in spite of the fact that on the merit of his bowling skills alone, he was a shoo-in into the India team. Munaf is leaner, thinner and younger than the Ranatunga, Inzy and Boon I am talking about. Yet it is a shame the way he fields. It's understandable that everyone can't be a Jonty, but one does expect the player to put in his 100 percent, isn't it. Did you see the match yesterday? ( India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd ODI, 24th August, Colombo) This guy's absolute lack of passion drove me crazy. Munaf was bowling the 46th over of the innings; in the 2nd ball of the over he ran the non-striker Ajantha Mendis out (!), but didn't bother to make a real appeal. Granted, I have the advantage of the TV replay which he didn't and he may not have realized that Mendis was actually out, but he would have atleast realized that it was a close case. Isn't that when players all over the world appeal?? But not our man - just a faint howzatt and he was already trotting back to mark his run-up!!

In the very next over, he gave away an extra run where there should have been none. Both the mistakes didn't ultimately prove to be costly. In fact, Munaf himself dismissed the dangerous looking Jayawardene in the very over that we just discussed above. No one is doubting the quality of his bowling skills, but this man has no passion at all. Ian Chappell once commented, "How can you be playing for your country, and not get excited sometimes." I am not as big a fan of sledging as Ian though I do agree with the bit about getting excited. Surely a cricket team doesn't need a bowler who can't be excited about making an appeal. Howzzat?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Security disMay for Pakistan

Shouldn't the Indian cricket team be the most scared about travelling to and playing the ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan? Yet, we hardly hear of any concerns from the Indian players; instead it is the Australians who are getting all worked up. Now, the Australian Cricket Association (ACA) has even given its official recommendation to its players - "don't travel to Pakistan". And guess what is the BCCI stand - Niranjan Shah, the BCCI secretary says he sees "no harm" in Pakistan hosting the prestigious tournament.

Only recently Bangalore and Ahmedabad were targeted with multiple blasts in a single day; the next day, the news channels were busy reporting as the Surat police kept finding bomb after unexploded bombs across the city - so much so, the channels finally lost interest in the count. In almost all cases of terrorism in this country, the government points out to Pakistan's hand. Yet, we are least bothered or worried when our players are going right into the 'terrorist den'.

Are we a nation of the most courageous, or has the relentless exposure to terrorism at home made us indifferent to the prospect of another bombing? I think it is neither - the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is right when it says that the ACA stand is absolutely illlogical. The ACA has given more weightage to the report given by Reg Dickason, based on his short stay in Karachi. You can't blame the PCB for being unhappy as the ACA has largely ignored the more comprehensive report provided by Nicholls Steyn, the security experts hired by the ICC.

The BCCI's stand is not any show of bravado - it just shows a more intelligent understanding of the situation in Pakistan. Imran Khan does have a point when he points out that no cricket team or player has been the target of any terrorist activity ever. With the Australian players, it looks like their wives, girlfriends and the ACA have a bigger influence on their decision than an official ICC report. What remains to be seen now is how Cricket Australia reacts. Or will it be ICC that comes to its rescue?!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

One Kiwi searching for a billion new cricket fans

" Could you imagine that if cricket was in the Olympics, it might have been a catalyst for, let's say an example, a major ODI/Twenty20 or a Super Test series being played beside the Yangtze River in the picturesque Gorges region? Or perhaps a super series involving all major cricketing nations including China in the modern metropolis of Beijing itself? "

- That's not me, but an avid cricket blogger from the beautiful New Zealand, who seems to be right now obsessed with spreading cricket across the oriental. Click here to read more about cricket or the possibilities thereof, in China and Japan. Also, for an interesting field set-up in Mandarin.)

Monday, August 11, 2008

I am high on MSD, what about Nasser?

"If there is a better one-day keeper-batsman in the world at the moment I'd like to see him."
- Nasser Hussain sings the praises of James Foster, wondering why he has been kept out of the current scheme of things.

"He is called Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He is good looking too...here Nasser, just for you."
- Amit Bajaj

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Cute Cricket Pic

Cricket Picture
Cricket, cricket everywhere....