Friday, April 2, 2010

IPL -- Players vs Spectators

I had the privilege of watching the ChennaiSuperKings vs Royal Challengers Bangalore game in MAC last Wednesday and i just loved every movement of the match. CSK victory made things even better :-)

I really pity for the cricketers to toil in such hot and humid conditions, we were not even able to sit in the stands in the heat.It easy to comment and blog all that we like sitting in the comforts of the AC rooms !!!!. The great MAC stadium which has produced some exciting games was changed into an Live Rock Concert show stage, with full fledged bands (with Sivamani in full swing),lights of all colors, mega size speakers and not to forget the cheer girls dancing through out the match.

For each and every ball, the speakers will open up and shout the latest Tamil fast track song in full sound not to mention when a four or six is scored. Not sure how batsmen call for singles and two's when the speakers are barring all ends. Its just great to notice that in spite of so much noise and distractions (read cheer girls) the players get to concentrate and perform. As you know, in T20 even a few balls can change the course of the game, its too much pressure on the players and I feel its very very tough on the players. As expected we have already faced many players burn out. Vijay played his best in the recent past and was exhausted in just 4 overs from the start and needed assistance at the end of every over is the clear sign that the players are taxed too much with back to back games and excessive travel.Its just too much pressure with excessively hot conditions are not good for the players.

For the spectator, yes its just great. Finish your work by 7-7.30 (there are few lucky ones like me who can squeeze time to catch up with 4.00pm games also :-)) in the evening and enjoy the game like a evening movie show. I can see crowds in all ages, i saw a 60+ old lady walking with a stick coming to the stadium just to enjoy the atmosphere. I could also see full family in attendance from grandson to grandfather making it to the match. It was great ... Go to the stadium at least once to experience the atmosphere.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sack TN Players ....

I am just tired of watching CSK's inconsistent display, specially with the Chennai players. Match after match our TN players are failing with the bat & ball and display pathetic performance in the field. There can be many many factors for our defeat against RCB but i will attribute the lose to the catches dropped by Ashwin and M.Vijay.

The catch dropped by Vijay is a absolute sitter and 99 out of 100 times, even a school boy cricketer will catch them with ease. I would like to see minimum of 4 changes in the side for the next game. Drop Vijay,Ashwin,Baily and Parthiv and bring in Dhoni,Kemp (hopefully he is fit),Jakati and Badani. This may sound little radical but if Dhoni and Kemp are fit they pick themselves,jakati brings variety with Murali and need not say anything on Badani's experience and skills to force the pace. Vijay is not a player for this format and lets not take chances and doom his carrier playing him. Both Ashwin and Vijay needs a break and also expect the CSK cricket management talks to them and make sure that they realize that their place is not for granted.

CSK is in its familiar position as ever fighting for a spot in the top 4. CSK needs to win minimum of 6 in the remaining 9 games and that's not easy task. RCB,DC,MI have won 3-4 games and sitting pretty and DD is pushed to make sure that they win, so you can expect some fighting display from them and not to forget KKR and KXI punjab both the teams will get the best players for this format in McCullam,Marsh,Lee and David Hussey. M.Hussey will add instant balance in CSk middle order but since he is expected only in the last leg, its going to be a tough long haul for CSK. Lets hope a fit Dhoni and Kemp bring fresh momentum to CSK.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

CSK plays like Team India

Chennai Super Kings lost the game against kingsXI Punjab from a stage where they could not have lost. CSK performance somehow mirror's team India's performance in ODI and T-20's in the last season. One given day the team will produce some terrific performance and the next day some dreadful cricket, this is what is happening for CSK. CSK pulled a brilliant victory against Delhi chasing 185+ and losing here chasing a paltry 130+ score that too when the asking rate at the final stages were just run a ball.

On the whole, CSK started positively with some disciplined bowling performance from both seamers and spinners. Murali and Balaji were exceptional in picking wickets at the right time and at the same time containing the run flow. Fielding was also good if not great. CSK is said to be a strong batting unit but has not yet fired collectively, once Haydan and Raina were gone the batting looked a little suspect in the middle. In my view Parthiv is not the right choice for opening or for this format. Even though he got runs, i would say he took too many balls for his runs and most important thing in the version is to rotate the strike, if u can not force the pace give strike to the other person. Haydos did not get much strike in the early part, parthiv was kind of playing almost 4 balls of every over and leaving haydos under pressure. But then if the lower order with Morkel in strike, it is pathetic to see Ashwin trying to take control of the situation, the best thing would have been to give strike to morkel and watch the proceedings.

I do not want to write about the bowl out, which to does not make much seance, that to in a league format, why can't we share points ? Both the teams do not deserve a win in this game, both played poor cricket.

As a CSK fan, i wish CSK play's consistent cricket in the coming matches and makes sure we enter the semi-finals with out a struggle. I would also like to see Badani in the middle order in place of Vijay, who i my view is a player for the longer version of the game and badani is solid batsmen and superb fielder and can also chip in with few overs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dhoni out of action !!!

Dhoni played one of his best knock's in T-20 cricket in the recent past. The partnership with Badri made sure that CSK reached a respectable score. Dhoni's innings was a gem, the way he pulled Bond for a flat six was the pinnacle. As a CSK supporter, i was tense watching the proceedings and after he got hit in the hand, i thought its all over but i think that ignited the old dhoni with those punishing hits to the fence.

CSK bowled brilliantly in the initial overs or i should say it was poor batting from KKR that led to their slide. O.A.Shah's wicket was a beauty from Balaji, he looks a bit more confident and also fit than the previous 2 seasons. Good for him and CSK. Kemp is real good addition to the side, his nagging slow bowling (poi bowling in tamil slang) adds variety to the attack.

On the whole, this win should have grouped the team well and the confidence should be high but for the big blow of dhoni being ruled out for the next 4 games. Dhoni out of action means, that parthiv is in and that does not really sound good, i would have loved to see Badani in action. Also i would have expected Badri to lead the side with all his experience in leading the India A side,SouthZone challenger sides etc but not sure from where did Raina emerge as a captain.. lets see how he performs as captain. Haydos is due for a big one and if badani replaces Vijay that will give options in the top and we will also get a extra bowling option. Vijay some how is struggling to force the pace and i fell he is best suited for the longer version of the game.

On the favourites for lifting the IPL-III, i feel MI is the best balanced side with the additions of Bravo and Pollard both are capable of big hitting and most importantly both are nagging slow bowlers best suited for T20. With the local talen in Rayudu and S.Tiwari playing some good knocks at importants stages of the game, i would say MI is the favourites. I am a great fan of Sachin like millions of cricket loving people around the world but i am not a fan of sachin's captaincy for obvious reasons, if he can pull this up and win the trophy for MI it will be great.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Australia back on Top

It was great to see Australians back to their best with resounding win over the depleted NewZeland. Ponting and his team once again proved they are champs and deliver when it matters most. This victory means a lot and must be sweet for Ponting and Australia after the bitter Ashes loss and test series loss against South Africa at home. Even Team India was compared with Australian's almost all the time when ever India won a single outing against them and was written that India will replace the Aussies in the top, which till now is only on papers.

I am a great fan of the few modern day batsmen like Steve Waugh,Ponting,Lara and my favorite of all Sachin. I think Ponting has performed exceptionally well when it comes to the big stage and the finals, even though he had a strong team when he came into the side and his success was attributed to mostly because, he was playing for Australia. Now with all the big guys out and shouldering the young team and most importantly carrying the team with him and scoring big in the big game shows that he has been more successful than any one in this era, even more than our own great Sachin.

On Team India's performance in the championship, it was ordinary and i feel it will stay like this in the future for various obvious reasons. I can kind of relate English football with our cricket team, england used to be a big force in football until the cash rich EPL took the center stage and after that you all know that England has not been able to even reach the semi-finals of the WorldCup even though they had great players in the side. I can see the same happening to Indian cricket, lot of quick money is in the table through IPL and sponsorships and the pride for playing for India is there only till you play the first few seasons and after that its like you consolidate and get yourself picked for one of the IPL franchise. Its really good to see that our players are paid well and secured for the future and with great infrastructure in place we should see the team raise their level of professionalism and perform consistently at the top level and not settle with IPL. Australia benefited most from IPL re-discovering players like Shane Watson,Marsh etc but we have lost more players than discovered.

BCCI and selectors need to look into team building from now on and save the players from injury by opting out from useless tours like the one we had in WestIndies and Srilanka to keep the team in good shape for the WorldCup. BCCI should look into the roles of the various coaches and support staff in the team to make sure they deliver and not travel like baggage. Paddy Upton's recommendations on performance improvement stimulants are the worst suggestions i have ever heard / read from any coach or support staff in any sporting field.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Will Pakistan get lucky twice ??

Cricket is best described as "game of luck" will Pakistan get lucky twice in a year ........ I know many people in this part of the world would not even like to imagine Pakistan winning the Champions Trophy-2009. Keeping in mind that Pakistan is the most unpredictable team in the draw and can win any team on a given day with some brilliant individual performance and at the same time lose games meekly. One big advantage Pakistan has is the limited number of games they have played this year and have not played many games after the T-20 world cup win, the fatigue factor is ruled out and the players are fit.

As always the cricket crazy Indian public is already in full expectation to see Dhoni and team to win the Trophy as a consolation for the T-20 lose. Team India's strength is in the batting and the bowlers can string some surprise if the wickets in South Africa . There is also lot of pressure on the top order batsmen to fire all the time as the bowling is considered as weak link. The opener for India will be a great match to watch with India locking horns with Pakistan. Pakistan would have played against the depleted West Indies team and would have won the match and should be in good frame of mind for the high voltage game. India on the other hand will be under immense pressure to start the tournament with a win specially against Pakistan.

I have a feeling, its going to be real tough for India to finish on top. We lack a bit in bowling and we have rarely chased to victory in the recent past. Our fielding is the most inconsistent. If our bowlers come good and the top 5 batsmen fires then we have very fair chance. Having said that the majority of the boys should have very fond memories of winning T-20 WorldCup here in SA and that should motivate them and make them believe that they can win the trophy.

My Teams for Semi-Finals

1. South Africa
2. India / Pakistan
3. Australia
4. SriLanka

Find the fixes for Champions Trophy -2009 here

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Aussies pushed to the wall .........

England made history beating Australia in the 2nd test in Lords breaking the long standing loosing streak.The England victory came at the right time of the series with 3 more tests the Ashes 2009 is wide open now. All credit to captain Strauss for keeping the team together and playing a wonderful captains knock in the 1st innings.

Man of the Match Flintoff bowled his heart out on the last session of the 4th day and the first session of the 5th day which changed the course of the match. Having said that i would have given Strauss the Man of the Match for his splendid 150 in the 1st innings. I would say J.Anderson bowled truly well in the 1st innings to stop the Aussies from getting the upper hand.Finally England has pulled their socks and played as a team go 1 up in the series to make the already hyped Ashes interesting and absorbing.Collingwood and Peiterson played their part well to make sure that they have enough runs on the board and the final spell from Flintoff was so fierce fast bowling which proved too much for Clark and Haddin.

Very little went right for Ponting here. He was given out caught when he did not hit it, he remains 25 runs short of passing Allan Border's Australian Test record. He was forced to juggle an attack in which the spearhead went over 5 runs a over and the spinner dislocated a finger on his bowling hand.

Its very tough to make a come back in a test where you receive 4-5 dubious decisions and that too 3 in the 4th innings of the match.I am not sure why this so called media kept silent when it comes to a english cricketer when it comes to some controversy. If Strauss decision to claim for Hughes catch, ponting confirming a catch against India is no different. I don't understand why the umpires resist from using technology when it is available on doubtful decisions.

The biggest problem with the current Australian team is the self-belief that they can win the series. There has been lot of doubting themself on various aspects and which shows on the field. I don't think that it will improve dramatically once Brett is back. Over the years it has been proved time and again that the team should belief they have it with in them to win. I am sure Ponting & the senior pros like Hussey will not let go easily and try to pull back things in Aussies way. I feel one good win here will make the total out look of the team totally positive.

Hoping to see a fighting display from the Aussies in the 3rd test, with Peiterson ruled out for the rest of the series its not going to be easy for England.