Friday, October 31, 2008

Daily Court

Just like we have a pre-game and post-game show, it is time to have a daily court session to handle disciplinary incidents between the two teams.

I am sorry Gambhir and Zaheer - I cannot condone your behaviour. Much of the time, I watch the matches with my young nephew and his friends, and what Watson said could not be heard or copied by them, but they very much see your actions. Being provoked does not make this right - it is upto you to have handled this better. If it was accidental, an immediate apology would have been better.

Just because the Aussies use abusive and offensive language, there is no need for you to do the same. Atleast use your mother tongue - that is bound to annoy more than an English swear word. Imagine, Watson says something to you, you turn to the batsmen at the other end, and simply but loudly say something generic, not targeted at anyone, something meaningless -"tamatar phenkege to kitni dor jayegi", or "Gadha acha jaanwar hai", "dimag ke andar kuch nahi hai" and laugh. (I am sure more pertinent lines can this be used that can allow you some relief) This is bound to be more infuriating and definitely smarter and nothing to offend even if it is translated.

To the Australian team, you are the inventors of this entire sledging business - and playing hard but fair is the most hypocritical statement. You say that you don't cross the line - but whose line it is - because you crossed my line of acceptable behaviour a long long time ago.

The ICC, please note that Watson getting a 10% fine and Gautam penalized for a match, simply indicates that you believe folks need to be clever at sledging and that verbal abuse is acceptable. This does nothing for the spirit of the game as they both offend in equal measure. Have a more balanced system for penalizing all offenders, as otherwise this will eventually blow into another Sydney test at some point.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anand a draw away from the world title

Anand is a draw away from winning the world title in chess. The next match is today.

Looking back, I wonder when I lost interest in chess and I think it has to do something with explaining chess like this report on Monday's match below.

"1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. Nf3 c5 5. g3 cxd4 6. Nxd4 O-O 7. Bg2 d5 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Qb3 Qa5 10. Bd2 Nc6 11. Nxc6 bxc6 12. O-O Bxc3 13. bxc3 Ba6 14. Rfd1 Qc5 15. e4 Bc4 16. Qa4 Nb6 17. Qb4 Qh5 18. Re1 c5 19. Qa5 Rfc8 20. Be3 Be2 21. Bf4 e5 22. Be3 Bg4 23. Qa6 f6 24. a4 Qf7 25. Bf1 Be6 26. Rab1 c4 27. a5 Na4 28. Rb7 Qe8 29. Qd6 1-0"

"Kramnik adopted an aggressive posture in the Nimzo Indian defence from the Indian. The game went into the three knights defence"

Just the fact that you can have a three knight defence when you have only 2 knights stuns me.
And the fact that you have an upper case and lower case B to explain moves is alarming.
That you have N,Q,R etc. when you have a-h 1-8 on the board only

It is a brutal blow to the ego that I am unable to fathom this. I console myself with the fact that I am unwilling to take the time to understand what on earth they mean. A humble request to the chess fraternity to communicate moves and technique in a more understandable form.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Champions League in Chennai

The champions league is going to be held from Dec 3 - Dec 10 with several matches in Chennai including the final.

Now has anyone from the organzing comittee visited Chennai in the past week - are they hoping that the monsoon ends before December first week?

Why now?

Dear Gilly,
At the outset, let me say that Harbajjan, Zaheer, Sreesanth, Hayden, Symmonds etc. are not angels. Nor I am about to defend Sachin's character. But I have a few questions to ask of you in response to this.

Why now?

Gilly, if you so strongly believed that your teammate was wronged in a manner that could not be justified:
  • how easy would it have been to speak then?
  • how easy would it have been to step down 2 matches early in a show of solidarity for your mate.
  • how easy would it be to stand for the IPL auction, but then make a statement by turning down the offer, saying you wanted no part in an event that is primarily organized by a board and largely involving players that you believe hold the game to ransom.
  • how easy would it be not to allow anyone to hold the game to ransom (since you are in a free country, not being held at gun-point, not in slavery).

If you decided not to speak then, you should not have spoken out now - a sale of a book more important? Otherwise what are we to make of the timing? People in glass houses should not throw stones.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Some IPL chitchat

While we were all busy watching the Aussie series, the Bangkok meet with franchisees has happened and here is the reported outcome.

Looks like there will be about $2 million additional salary cap to get the Pietersons and Flintoffs of the world. The trading rules have been setup as well (though I am confused by "This means that trading can be done for existing players with absolutely no budgetary limits." - can you buy an existing player from another team for over $7 million.) It is unclear on whether the icon players can be traded.

Another auction is setup for the new players on Feb 6th (more tamasha). And finally a performance clause has been added in - interestingly I wonder if the players will agree. You can have only 4 foreign players in the team while the squad contains 10. So at any point 6 of them will get penalized the 20%.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Interesting commentary

from behind the stumps (dhoni)... You get to hear what he is thinking at the moment... It is a lot of fun.

Wonder why I never heard him so much earlier or don't hear Haddin at all. Is Dhoni talking more now?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Where have all the crowds gone?

Where are the crowds in India for test matches? Mohali stadium despite the SRT record, is very empty. In Bangalore, the weekend crowd was good, but the rest of the time, it appeared to be empty as well. I think this does not bode well for test cricket. When I was in school, (I sound like my grandparents used to :) ) I remember the stadiums being crowded even during weekdays.

Even with my interest in sports, it is unlikely now that I will have 5 days off to watch an entire test match. If I did, I would have tons of other things to do. So most likely, if I could, I would go for only one day and most probably on a weekend. Also the ticket prices are not conducive to watching the entire match. Many times now, matches finish on the 4th day - so if you bought a ticket for the 5th day, and you don't get any cricket at all - don't you feel gypped? (btw, do you get your money refunded for rain or no play?)

It is not very easy to even watch the match on TV on all the days (though I have flexibility in work schedule). Mostly I catch glimpses and highlights during the week. Personally, I confess, I am now more likely to buy a ticket for an IPL match rather than a test match (for the simple reason that I don't have to take time off to watch it and because friends and relatives are likely to join in for an IPL match rather than a test match).

So are you able to watch a cricket test match on all 5 days?
Besides students old enough to go to the stadium by themselves and non-working folks (if they are able to afford the prices), who is the target market for test cricket? Is too much cricket to blame or the format? Can test cricket survive?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Double Standards

Just a few days earlier Vengsarkar had this to say about Ganguly's comments.

"I won't answer him now as this is not the right time because India are in the middle of a Test series and it might affect the focus of the team"

However, it does not stop him from criticizing Kumble, the captain, right in the middle of the same series. [PS: I think there should be ban in Indian media against the words lashes and lambasts - people are constantly lashing at one another - so much so that the word has lost its zing :)] Rightly or wrongly, Kumble has been selected as the captain of this series. If his shoulder injury is impacting his performance, the team management, physio, coach and senior players (we have plenty of them) should assess it and take a call purely on fitness at this point. Accusing him of not disclosing the injury or something to the effect is uncalled for. Would Vengsarkar ever say the same about Sachin? And what are the board guidelines to assess fitness of players?

On another note, has Sachin bowled much recently (SL series included) - even as a relief of a couple of overs to break a partnership? Why not?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Where to watch?

With the recent Tata sky switch and package changes, I currently don't have most of the sports channels (which makes it hard to blog about sports). I have not yet decided the package I want -- so that I don't get saddled with tons of other channels I don't wish to watch. And so I turned to trusted DD to watch the cricket match - alas it was not to be trusted. At least, as a reward for bearing the Olympic coverage , I should be able to see it there? What happened this time?

So which channel is it on? Who is in the commentary team?

But all is not lost - I am able to watch Colors though have caught this dance drama only once :) Does controversy follow Bhajji? Wouldn't discretion have been the better part of valour - given that he has had such a poor PR run this past year?

Oh well, I may just turn online for the match reports.