Monday, December 22, 2008

IPL trading

The trading is now open for about a month and there is no salary cap restrictions for trading - I think this really throws the notion of salary cap out of the window.

However since this is a league in its nascent stage, the trading won't be as interesting as say an NBA - I would love to see a 3 player trade between 3 teams but that is unlikely.... Already there are rumours that Gibbs, Afridi and Akhtar are up for trade. Gibbs/Afridi was bound to happen, they are too much in the same mould... So now you wonder who will pick them up and at what price? And a team that picks up Akhtar will need to take the risk of his fitness and form.

I think DD needs bowlers while McGrath has agreed to return for one year, Asif is in doubt so that leaves a small question there of opening bowlers. Similarly Pollock not returning means that MI need a strike bowler as well. So the Feb. auction should be a good place for bowlers that were unsigned as yet.

For CSK, I would like to them to pick up an Indian bowler since the dynamics of the 4 foreign players means you need atleast 2 good Indian bowlers (How did Balaji and Gony perform in the Ranji season?). Also given Hayden's form and the difficulty CSK had with the other opening slot, I think they need to sign Murali Vijay or some other opening batsman.

So who do you think will be traded? Who would you like to see in your team? Who will Mallya trade?

edited: Barely 30 mins after typing this, I see a news report that Mallya has put the entire team up for trade excluding Dravid who he is unable to remove due to the iconic status. Let the tamasha begin :)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Lets forget all the world's problem and send Asif to a neutral venue-- perhaps to Burkina Faso, Timbuktu, Ulan Bator or the most neutral of all places Switzerland :) You wonder what has taken the IPL to long to handle what I believe is an open and shut case? During the same time, Harbajjan has been suspended, recovered, danced, played matches and won and has started chirping again. Shree, the slapee has been on a mysterious injury sabbattical, only to arise for dancing, and some (un)neighbourly chit-chat. Usually, by this time, someone would have been suspended, written a book, reinstated and it would be time for the next offence. So IPL, don't lag behind --- and on a serious note, I hope there is zero tolerance drug policy and hold a video conference with Asif and get this resolved. This no action for 6 months sends out a very poor precedent.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dravid - What now?

Looking back at this post written in July, things have continued to slide down further for Dravid - and I think it is time to drop him or for him to retire. As a sincere fan of Dravid, it pains me to watch him - I think luck has totally deserted him and if he does not want to quit, it is time for him to wait in the sidelines for his form, luck and confidence to return and not at the crease.

The other day my nephew tells me aunty (ok, the tamil equivalent), Dravid is a "bad player". I was shocked, and try to tell him that he is legend...

-That he is one of a handful of players with over 10,000 runs in both forms.
-That he has opened when the team asked him to when he is not an opening batsman.
-That he kept wickets just so that India could play the extra batsman.
-That he changed his game to suit ODIs more.
-That he has had many match winning patnerships.
-Why he got the nickname "the wall".

But my nephew remained unconvinced -- the bottom line is in the year or so that he has been watching cricket, he has not a seen a single memorable, authoritative performance from Dravid.

So already we are talking to the next generation about Dravid's past achievements and not his current form - the last hurrah does not appear to be in the cards. Perhaps he needs to think that his is no longer a prized wicket for opponents. And perhaps he needs to think whether he wants to be dropped and never recalled or retire now.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Doctorate - why?

Continuing the why series, I was quite surprised to hear that Sania Mirza has been granted an honorary doctorate. Why? She is in her 20s and has had a career marred by injury. I do believe she is a good sports person and needs to rewarded with appropriate sports awards, sponsorships etc. But a doctorate ??!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Zaheer - why?

I have been distressed by hearing about this news item about Zaheer Khan. Why the hollow sentiment of giving match fees to mumbai victims and cops if we cannot first follow basic rules and respect security staff? This is not the time for exceptions and as cricketers they need to remember that the security is trying to protect not only them but others around them as well. There are armed escorts for the teams and apparently they manage to traverse the distance between the hotel and stadium in 10 mins which for normal folks takes nearly 45 mins!

Perhaps it is an inconvenience, perhaps it is confining, but this is needed at the present time. It is no pleasure either for the fans to leave water, snacks, mobile at home, and be frisked several times to watch a match. The only consolation is that it will safe within a crowded stadium if everyone is scrutinized in the same way (if we start having exceptions - the security is pointless).

Zaheer, put yourself in the cop's shoes - how would it feel to be scanning baggage after baggage not knowing what is in it, or screening irate visitors. Would you trade your shoes for the theirs? So how about an apology? Hope every member cuts off the "prima donna" stuff if not for their own sake atleast for others around them, simply allow the security team to do their job.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The sun is out

There is bright sunshine in Chennai today, so that perhaps bodes well for the match. You wonder how it is so sunny in Chennai for most days in a year and for the few days it rains, a match is scheduled! I am interested in seeing how many people show up, given a chance of rain, the additional security checks, diminishing interest in test matches, and the economy (I doubt very many working folks will decide to take time off - I am checking to see if any friends/family are interested and at this point there are no takers). I personally am keeping Sunday as an option though even that is unlikely (the only reason I am still even considering it is to show solidarity and applaud the teams for coming back :))

This was my experience of going to the stadium during IPL, and is just one of the reasons why you think twice about going to a match. MRTS is an option for the test matches though (not really for the late night matches unless you live right next to the station). Also once upon a time, you would look at your fellow spectators and wonder if their snack was more interesting than yours, now you watch them for odd behaviour :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saina breaks into the top 10

Quietly she has made her way to the top 10. At the start of the year, I did not know who Saina was, but have since then followed her tournaments online. The road will be tougher from here on it but she is aiming for the top 5 and then even the number one. Well done!. And in the news reports and the interviews I have seen, she seems to be dignified about her success and celebrations. Hope endorsements come her way! Perhaps also the Indian sports channels will showcase more of the badminton tournaments featuring her.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What to write about?

I have tried many posts in the past few days but nothing seems to be able to express half of what I felt (shock, anger, outrage, sadness...). Recovering from relentless rain and power cuts from cyclone Nisha (since when did cyclones start having names?) to reading and watching about Mumbai. It is seems inconsequential to talk about sports now but now that news reports are coming in of Chennai being a test venue, I wonder if I should invoke "the so called Indian spirit" and go and watch it just "because". As I have mentioned earlier, watching test matches or ODIs live is not really an option given the time-off needed from work.

So while I ruminate that option, I am also appalled at the state of television journalism in India. Besides the ball-by-ball or blow-by-blow coverage of the events, they completely lost focus of alternate news (the cyclone with a loss of life in TN did not even feature for a few minutes).

However, looking back I am glad they did not because this is perhaps how they may portray it. All the English news channels I saw were guilty of one or more of the following.

This is a parody.

Talking to people on the streets to get the human side of the story: "How will you feel if you are rendered homeless by this cyclone"? To a man wading in the water, "have you considered that you might be electrocuted by falling lines".

Non-stop reporting of same event: (the pitch has to be atleast five decibels higher than normal speech). What is happening now? the reporter, "it is still raining non-stop, the water level has risen by 0.01 mm since the last time I spoke" which was 1 minute ago. Anchor to reporter, make sure you are safe and follow it up immediately with questions contrary to safety statement.

Breaking unconfirmed news: "Another cyclone that has struck. There is extensive damage from this. Take shelter...". Then sheepishly and somewhat carelessly acknowledge that it was an error.

Sensationalize: Come up with catchy phrases, sensationalize everything. Ask leading questions and answer them yourself. If the answer is not what you would like to hear, cut off the conversation.

I am now tuned to good old newspapers for more responsible journalism. While so much of the talk is centred on the government and the politicians and rightly so, I hope the media and I&B ministry discuss Ethics in Media and improve the quality of reporting.