Archive for April, 2008

IPL Analyzer

The IPL tournament started a couple of weeks ago, as it is progressing it needs some introspection from the organizers point of view and debate from the spectators, viewers and bloggers point of view. Not just about the cheerleaders but, also about the other incidents that are taking place and getting more attention from the public. You as bloggers need to say how you feel about its progress, you are the analyzers of this tournament even halfway though this tournament you can make your own predictions and pass verdicts.Someone on this blog said IPL is creating jingoism and regionalism. That was obvious when Sehwag was demanding from the crowd to clap and applaud for his 50 and no one clapped, there was dead silence. Because, he was playing against the home team. Someone else responded that city vs. city or province vs. province rivalry is common and it happens even in domestic cricket. Yes, thats true but now there is a mix of national and international players in this league. Also, there is something called sporting spirit which is lacking among the Indian spectators.
And look at what happened to personal rivalry between the players? Harbhajan slapped Sreesanth and got a 11 match ban. The picture we have used above is an indication of how friends can become foes. Is it the money, fame, or the spur of the moment of madness that makes it happen?

Hotheadedness and madness may have a place in other games like, ice hockey, rugby and even to some extent in soccer but not in cricket. Sledging and rude behaviour is often punished whereas, slapping another player on his face is way out of the decorum and conduct of the game. Hence severe action needs to be taken and not just one person but, the so called victim needs to be admonished and we all know that Sreesanth is not SaintSanth. As the name implies Sree or Saheb or Mr. and the meaning of Santh is Guru or a teacher of the highest esteem. But, Shanta Kumara Sreesanth is not a teacher or an innocent bloke, he provokes, abuses and instigates his opponents and that is his first nature. This time he mistook and underestimated his opponent Harbhajan Singh. “Bhajan” means spiritual song. “Singh” means a lion. A lion who recites a spiritual song of “Har.” That is the literary meaning of his name. But, he too is a headstrong character and responded instantly without thinking.

After the ban Sreesanth is claiming that it was a “friendly” altercation between two “brothers.” Now, they can say whatever they feel like. The irony is this incident did not happen in the dressing room but somewhere in the dugout or wherever but, they have a video evidence and good enough for the match referee to impose a ban.

The question that is being posed on you is: Does Harbhajan deserve this ban? In that case he loses his millions. And, don’t you think that Shanta (peaceful) Kumara Sreesanth (Saint or Sainyee) also deserve some punishment? In Zidane’s case he was first banned but then he became a hero. Do you think the same will happen to Harbhajan? It is for you to decide. And below is something for you to cheer up as someone is definitely being lifted up and cheered.

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IPL Buzz, Glitz, Glamour & Cricket

Whether to call IPL a real cricket feast, glitz, glamour or, a multi-million dollar business or an extended Bollywood Showbiz? This is a question that needs to be answered by the readers. Because, Bollywood is taking over the IPL in more ways than one. Apart from Shahrukh Khan owning the Night Riders team along with Preity Zinta, Padukone aur na janay kone kone, more new faces are constantly appearing on the cricket screen. Bollywood director Sanjay Gupta was shooting in Bangalore doing the promo reels and Shahrukh Khan is promoting himself along with Zinta and whatnot are they really doing it for the promotion of cricket?.

The business tycoons like Ambanis, the Mallyas and the Modis are trying to maximize their profits and working on the ROI and also speculating about how much more should they invest to get a bigger slice of the pie? The way the owners picked up the players was not so appealing to a normal cricket fan. They lined up all the players on a stage and then there was bidding and auction just like a cattle farm and a bawdy house. Cricket players are very often referred by commentators as “good hookers” of the ball, but not in real terms. But, asking them to line up or parade on a stage just like models displaying their clothes and cleavage and, then sold to the highest bidder is something very degrading and humiliating for a player. After all these international players are known to everyone and their stats on cricinfo is like their CV’s, so whats the point of parading them like hoochie mamas? But, the irony is the players themselves have allowed this to happen, they have accepted it gleefully for the sake of money.

Now, the IPL inaugural ceremony has kick started the glamour, the cheer girls have come all the way from the USA to add some more colour, glamour and glitz into the stadiums to add attraction as well as distraction. For an average Indian who wants to enjoy his evening, the least he could do was spend three hours in aMmultiplex or a Cineplex, for him IPL is even better, this is live entertainment combined with cricket. So, cricket in fact is a side-kick here. If IPL is glitzy why not add more glitter to it?

Some people may not agree with this view that cricket is not in the forefront of IPL’s agenda but it is a fact. Although on paper and in reality it is a cricket match, but it has more to do with business, glamour and entertainment. Yes, cricket is an entertainment, that is true but, cricket when it is played between national teams bring out a lot of passion and emotions are is missing here. So far we have witnessed that IPL is creating regionalism and jingoism. People in the same country do not applaud at the achievements of their national heroes because, they are not from their city or province. Come on, if you consider it as entertainment then applaud on every occasion and be sporty or admit that it is not cricket. It could be like that wrestling competitions well known as WWW a couple of decades ago, which we call it as “noora kushti” which was very popular until the Internet exploited its abbreviation www or worldwide web and people have forgotten about that fad of World Wide Wrestling, because it was a fad.

A lot of people say that the IPL &r ICL is not a fad, in fact they are changing the face of cricket. Actually the face of cricket is changing ever since it started, if one needs to read about it in detail, below is a very good link from cricinfo which highlights the time line and the way cricket has changed.

So, the other question that comes to mind is whether IPL & ICL is here to stay or is this another fad which is here to damage test cricket? Once again some people may not agree but, here is an example of how the New Zealand players reacted: “Look, if we are playing in the official Twenty20 league, we really don’t want to join the New Zealand team in the warm-up matches before the Test series with England in May, because if we stay an extra three weeks in India, we can earn far more money than by just playing in the warm-up matches for New Zealand.” And who are these olayers? Their skipper Daniel Vittori, their ace player Jacob Oram and their charismatic wicket keeper Brendon McCullum. There are a lot of players like them who are saying: “Hey, this can make me a millionaire, a multi-millionaire. This can seal my future, so to hell with Test cricket.” So, the answer is obvious these leagues will definitely hurt the test cricket.

It will also hurt the young Indian cricketers too, because some of them playing for ICL may never get a chance to play for India due to obvious reasons and even those rookies and uncapped players who are playing for the IPL may be ending their career in similar fashion. The difference between today’s egg and tomorrow’s chicken is like a lay person and a visionary. The businessman is certainly a visionary but, he is not a promoter of cricket which is played with a different passion. He is a businessman and he will make money and the same goes for those actors and actresses they are getting more publicity and money, thats what they want. The players too are getting more money but, at whose expense?

If cricket was just an insect hopping and chirping around and not a game then, I would have said, let it go down the gutters. But it is the game of cricket that WG Grace played in style and Don Bradman took it to the zenith followed by the Laras, Tendulkars and Inzamams and we are allowing these business tycoons, the actors and actresses to ruin this game in the name of entertainment, then cricket is the loser and we are all losers. It is up to you to decide where you stand, what are your loses and what have you lost?



The India-South Africa series was quite significant- as Javed A Khan commented in his thread previewing the series, it was a battle for title of no 2 in the world rankings. As it turned out the series was a draw. India are placed at no 2 in the Test ratings currently.

South Africa could not acclimatise to the spin friendly wicket in the third Test. After India were beaten comprehensively in the second Test the curator at Kanpur was under pressure to produce a pitch that would favour the Indian spin attack and produce a result. And as it happened, the pitch played according to script and granted a favourable result for India.

Ganguly played a gritty innings and looks in the best form of his life. Ever since his return to international cricket Ganguly has appeared as a match winner for India. What I have noticed is the change in his demeanour. He seems much more committed now and seems intent on proving his class every match. Ganguly was always considered to be a class act in ODI’s but a decent batsman in Tests. However for the past year or two Ganguly has been in imperious Test form and arguably India’s most consistent Test batsman.

It is always nice to come back from heavy defeat like this and square the series in such dominating fashion. Harbhajan Singh was crucial to India’s plans and acclimatised to the pitch like a fish takes to water. He bagged 19 wickets at an average of 26 and was hence awarded Man of the Series. Many people expected Harbhajan to not perform in this series and some thought he wouldn’t even feature in all of the three Tests. As it occurred Harbhajan appeared in wonderful form and and bowled some excellent spells.

From South Africa’s point of view, where the pitch helped their pacers were quite lethal. This series will be a memorable one for Dale Steyn who troubled quite a few Indian batsmen. It is strange how, when analysing the list of the leading wicket takers this series, after Harbhajan’s name you see the names of Steyn, Ntini, Morkel and Harris. The second most successful bowler in terms of wicket taking this series for India was actually Virender Sehwag. This is a clear indication that it was spin that drew the series for India.

In terms of batting Sehwag scored the most runs this series, but of course a large chunk of those 372 runs was that memorable triple century. All over this has been a good series for Sehwag and he has probably cemented his place in the Test squad for a while. After Sehwag India’s highest scoring batsman was Ganguly, who made 2 fifties and averaged 53 and who has already been discussed earlier.

India’s pacers were largely disappointing this series. Yes, one can say that 2 out of the 3 pitches the teams played on did not assist pace bowling but there is a huge discrepancy in terms of statistics between the South African and Indian bowlers. Sreesanth was the most disappointing of the lot, playing in all 3 matches. He averaged 69 with the ball and had an appalling strike rate of 122.

I believe with a little less complacency and more motivation India could have won this series. India have been in tremendous form for about a year now- batsmen like Dhoni, Ganguly and Laxman have been consistent and this series we even saw Sehwag returning back to form. In terms of bowling Harbhajan regained form and all of RP, Sreesanth and Irfan Pathan appeared in good nick before the series. Plus, India is always a very strong Test side at home, almost unbeatable. South Africa do get the credit for upsetting India in the 2nd Test and going neck to neck with them in the 1st Test, although they lost the 3rd Test miserably. In the end, because India came back from heavy defeat in the 2nd Test and beat South Africa convincingly in the 3rd, this series can be best described as an even contest, where both teams played some quality cricket but also demonstrated some weaknesses which they should recognise and attempt to address in the coming future.