Mar 4, 2007

World Cup Cricket on My Mind

Its time for the Cricket World Cup and this time it is in the tiny island paradises of the West Indies. There is palpable excitement in the air as India goes into the World Cup after winning two home series against the Windies the Sri Lankans – once again reinforcing the view of being tigers at home and pussies abroad. But all this is forgiven as we make the bid yet again for winning the World Cup only for the second time after Kapil’s Devils won it way back in 1983 when most of us were either not born or were in our diapers or were in school.

The biggest dampener is the timing of the matches. As the West Indies is on the other side of the earth, people in the Indian subcontinent will be watching the day matches at evening primetime on their televisions staying pretty late into the night to see the outcome. I am yet to study India’s schedule. I just hope our matches are scheduled for Saturday nights (IST) so we can wake up late on Sunday. I wonder how the Aussie and Kiwi fans are going to mange – there the matches will be aired live at dead of the night!

Due to the ugly reality of jihadi terrorism - a gift from Pakistan to world cricket - we are forced to a
send a NSG commando team to protect our players.

I am not very happy with the Indian World Cup team’s composition. One look at the list and you can clearly see petty politics written all over it.

To start with Sehwag and Pathan who are in very poor form were included.
Press reports have proved that Sehwag is in the team only because Dravid wants him because - as he claims - of his off spin ability. Now is Veeru a better spinner than Romesh Powar who currently is in terrific form and additionally being a pretty good lower order bat would have been a great asset to the team. With Robin Uthappa and Sourav Ganguly in excellent from, is anyone going to miss Virender Sehwag? By pandering to the interests of a few individuals, Rahul Dravid is gambling away the interest of one billion plus people. Someone should ask this ‘Gentleman’ why he is behaving this way.

Irfan could have been replaced by the Bengal paceman
Ranadeb Bose who performed terrifically in the Ranji final or the Delhi teenage pace bowler Ishant Sharma who was to fly to SA to replace Munaf Patel. In a world cup situation a rookie who can be fast and unpredictable, can be a tricky customer to opposing teams. I am okay with the rest of the team but would have loved to see VVS Laxman included instead of Dinesh Karthik.

It is a grievously wounded Australia that is coming to the World Cup. England wounded them and the Kiwis added insult to their injury by rubbing salt into their wounds. The wounds are slowly healing and the Aussies will be looking to regain the lost pride. This makes them deadly dangerous even when Brett Lee is out with injury. Another team that we need to watch out for is Pakistan. With the
drug addicts out and some other too out with injury, Pakistan will be under great pressure and under pressure they are a dangerous team. South Africa have peaked at the right time. After rubbing the Aussies’ nose in the mud, England and Kiwis are brimming with confidence.

The last time we were in the Windies the slow pitches did us in. I hope we keep that in mind. Lara was not happy playing the recent series here but
he wanted to play the series in the WI to try out the new pitches which will be firm now. I think that’s what BCCI should have done.

Anyways, I am looking forward to a month of exciting cricket and I am obviously rooting for my India to lift the Cup. If India for some reason can’t get into the final, then I am rooting for Sri Lanka if they get to final.

Mohali’s Gift to Vizag?

On March 2nd, BJP and Akali vandals supporters vandalised the “most beautiful” Mohali Cricket stadium and the ground during the swearing –in ceremony of Akali’s Badal as Punjab CM. Cricket experts believe that irreparable damage could have been done to the pitches. At first I was very angry when I heard the news but soon realised that my city could benefit out of this. We in Visakhapatnam are thankful to these vandals for destroying the Mohali ground. Now the most beautiful cricket ground in India is ours – the ACA-VDCA stadium with the greenest outfield with a wicket that is a batsman’s paradise. Cricket fans were able to see this stadium - which can seat about thirty thousand spectators - on TV when India played SL recently in Vizag. This is also the stadium where Dhoni took the Pakistani bowlers to the cleaners two years ago when he scored 148 runs off 123 balls. The Andhra Cricket Association (ACA) should get BCCI to allot more matches – every year- to Vizag. If this fructifies, then life will be jingalala!

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