Congrats T20 Pakistan

pakistanFor the country torn by terrorism and internal turmoil,victFor the country torn by terrorism and internal turmoil,victory at the T20 world cup comes as a great moral booster. Congrats Pakistan. The Hindu editorial writes (23 June 2009) Pakistan’s triumph in the second ICC World Twenty20, aside from being richly deserved, expressed the essence of sport, its wondrous capacity to upset conventional calculations. But it was more than that, a redemption moment. Caught in the crossfire of global politics and terrorism, the country’s cricketers had become the unwanted of the cricket world. They entered the tournament undercooked. There was little in their early performances to suggest a campaign so uplifting, so transforming that many Pakistanis see it as bigger than the triumph in the 1992 World Cup. The fear that the country would be marginalised was real — it would have intensified had the side bowed out early. But sport offers those looking for salvation every opportunity, often investing them with the ability and the nerve needed. So although Younis Khan’s men were defeated by England (which despite inventing the format has never come close to mastering it), they found a way of making the semi-finals. Pakistan, traditionally, is at its most dangerous in the knockout stages of a tournament, for it is a side nearly impossible to arrest once possessed of momentum. The team’s transformation, in many ways, was epitomised by Shahid Afridi, its talisman. He had failed with the bat early in the tournament, justifying his place in the side with his canny, under-rated bowling. Recognising the moment, as big-game players do, he asked to be promoted in the semi-final and promptly turned in a match winning half-century. In the final, he was mature, calm-headed, and clinical without compromising on his mercurial talent — everything that can be said of Pakistan in the title clash. Sri Lanka’s brave cricketers, led magnificently by Kumar Sangakkara, must not be forgotten, however. Victims of a heinous terror attack outside the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore earlier this year, they overcame mental and physical scars to emerge the best side of the tournament before the final. The Sri Lankans play a brand of bright, vibrant, inventive cricket, and it was no surprise that the innovation of the tournament, an outrageous stroke over the wicketkeeper, was supplied by Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was justly adjudged Player of the Tournament. Pakistan and Sri Lanka might appear tied together after the incidents in Lahore, but it was no coincidence that the finalists were the sides with the best bowling attacks of the tournament. In the event, it was Afridi & Co. who lit up London, and in so doing lifted the spirit of a struggling nation. The cricket world is unlikely any time soon to heed Younis Khan’s impassioned plea to visit and play Pakistan, but the triumph has resuscitated cricket in the strife-torn land. ory at the T20 world cup comes as a great moral booster. Congrats Pakistan. The Hindu editorial writes (23 June 2009) Pakistan’s triumph in the second ICC World Twenty20, aside from being richly deserved, expressed the essence of sport, its wondrous capacity to upset conventional calculations. But it was more than that, a redemption moment. Caught in the crossfire of global politics and terrorism, the country’s cricketers had become the unwanted of the cricket world. They entered the tournament undercooked. There was little in their early performances to suggest a campaign so uplifting, so transforming that many Pakistanis see it as bigger than the triumph in the 1992 World Cup. The fear that the country would be marginalised was real — it would have intensified had the side bowed out early. But sport offers those looking for salvation every opportunity, often investing them with the ability and the nerve needed. So although Younis Khan’s men were defeated by England (which despite inventing the format has never come close to mastering it), they found a way of making the semi-finals. Pakistan, traditionally, is at its most dangerous in the knockout stages of a tournament, for it is a side nearly impossible to arrest once possessed of momentum. The team’s transformation, in many ways, was epitomised by Shahid Afridi, its talisman. He had failed with the bat early in the tournament, justifying his place in the side with his canny, under-rated bowling. Recognising the moment, as big-game players do, he asked to be promoted in the semi-final and promptly turned in a match winning half-century. In the final, he was mature, calm-headed, and clinical without compromising on his mercurial talent — everything that can be said of Pakistan in the title clash. Sri Lanka’s brave cricketers, led magnificently by Kumar Sangakkara, must not be forgotten, however. Victims of a heinous terror attack outside the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore earlier this year, they overcame mental and physical scars to emerge the best side of the tournament before the final. The Sri Lankans play a brand of bright, vibrant, inventive cricket, and it was no surprise that the innovation of the tournament, an outrageous stroke over the wicketkeeper, was supplied by Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was justly adjudged Player of the Tournament. Pakistan and Sri Lanka might appear tied together after the incidents in Lahore, but it was no coincidence that the finalists were the sides with the best bowling attacks of the tournament. In the event, it was Afridi & Co. who lit up London, and in so doing lifted the spirit of a struggling nation. The cricket world is unlikely any time soon to heed Younis Khan’s impassioned plea to visit and play Pakistan, but the triumph has resuscitated cricket in the strife-torn land.

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Glamour & Ladies in IPL

glamourDiamond shining, Gucci flashing Bollywood heroines walked with pomp and show into the Indian Premier Leauge (IPL) auction venue. Preity Zinta, Juhi Chawla and Shilpa Shetty are the star attractions in Goa. Along with the beauty ladies industrialists paraded their wealth. Blackberrys, Bentleys, Mercs and no doubt unstoppable flow of money brought IPL once again into the limelight. In this game war superstition was not staying back. Preity Zinta wore her lucky red every time she came to the bidding process. Raj Kundra sponsored his girl friend Shilpa the bid amount as valentine’s day gift. All those entered for auction were cross fingered and waiting for the luck at the end.

Defeating the popular expectation that this year 20-20 cricket show’s player hunting auction will be a flop, IPL surpassed last year’s target. In a single day it made $ 8 million worth business. Cash strap King Fisher chairman Vijay Mallaya paid $1.55m for Kevin Pietersen. This selective showering of money by Mallaya mocks his claim that King Fisher is seriously crushed by recession.

Team Chennai
Adrew Flintoff (1.55m)
Thilan Thushara (1,40,000)
George Bailey (50,000)

Bangalore Royal Challengers
Kevin Pietersen (1.55m)
Jesse Ryder (160,000)

Mumbai Indians
J.P. Duminy (950,000)
Kyle Mills (1,50,000)
Mohd Ashraful (75,000)

Kolkata Knight Riders
M. Mortaza (600,000)

Team Jaipur
Shaun Tait (375,000)
T Henderson (650,000)

Delhi Daredevils
Owalis Shah (275,000)
P. Colingwood (275,000)

Team Mohali
Ravi Bopara (450,000)
Jerome Taylor (150,000)

Team Hyderabad
Fidel Edwards (150,000)
Dwayne Smith (150,000)
All figures in US$

The spenders
Rajasthan $1.25m out of $1.87m
Chennai $1.6m out of $2m
Mumbai $1.17m out of $1.76m
Kolkata 650,000 out of $1.21m
Punjab 600,000 out of $1.4m
Hyderabad 250,000 out of $1.9m
Delhi 550,000 out of $1.45m

In the last one year of its origin IPL has glamourised and totally commercialized cricketing in the country. Adding entertainment to the game the league is spinning dollars in revenue. One has to wait and watch how far it is going to improve the cricket quality and inspire youth of India become best cricketers. IPL should focus its attention in other games to make India a formidable player in the world.

Dhoni’s army conquers

The usually traffic snarling roads in Delhi were empty on Monday. The odd people in the cricket loving country were wondering for the reasons. Few minutes close to 9 p.m there were bright fireworks on the capital’s dark sky. It was accompanied by rhythmic beatings of dhoolaks matched by bhangara and all forms of body movements. Chake de india! was the common  greetings doing the rounds with a lavish distribution of sweets. The occasion was not to celebrate diwali or to welcome the Lord. Ram’s army home but to enjoy the triumph of Dhoni’s men in the first ever twenty 20 world cup. The fairytale final against its archrival Pakistan was bone chilling.

Winning the toss, Mahendra Singh Dhoni decided to bat according to the pre-decided script. The start was shaky. The sudden replacement for Virender Shewag  – Yusuf Pathan was unable to run promptly between the wickets. Pakistani fielders were quick to throw the ball at the stumps immediately after it was hit. Million hearts got broken till the screen boarded displayed “not out”.  The loud cheering sound of 32,000 spectators in Johannesburg must have tensioned Yusuf who was playing for the first time in an international match. Then he recovered from the initial moments of pressure and nervousness. He hit the ball for a six and announced his entry with a big bang. Unfortunately he could not stay for a long time. After scoring fifteen runs in eight balls, Pathan exited. Robin Uthappa, Yuvaraj Singh and the Captain Dhoni followed his way. Gautam Gambhir in association with Rohit Sharma pushed the total of the Indian team to a decent number. In the final count, India scored 157 for 5 at the rate of 7.85 per over. Umar Gul bowled in a disciplined way for Pakistan claiming three wickets in four overs giving twenty eight runs.

It was a reachable target for the determined Pakistan team with full of young energy and combating skills. Rudra Pratap Singh opened the Indian bowling attack. To everyone’s expectations he struck in the very first over to claim Mohammed Hafeez’s wicket. Hafeez returned to pavilion after Robin Uthappa caught him brilliantly. Soon, Kamran Akmal was bowled out by R.P.Singh. The run making of Pakistan team was slow and the wicket loss was fast. Shoaib Malik the Captain and Shahid Afridi the expected performers disappointed after falling quickly to the Indian attack. Younis Khan and Mishab-ul-Haq redeemed the lost hope of their team. Both of them stabilized and started giving jitters to the men in blue.  In the seventeenth over, Mishab hit three sixes consequectively off the Harbhajan’s over. The tables were turned towards Pakistani side. Dhoni signaled Harbhajan to bowl off side and at the edge of the crease. This sudden diversion of concentration gave Pakistan 30 crucial runs. The final over was due. Joginder Sharma was getting to ready to decide the fate of the match. A wide and a six narrowed down the victory target of Pakistan. The third ball was bowled with all hope lost. The lady luck suddenly turned towards the Indian side and landed the ball into the hands of Sreesanth. Billion people jumped over to celebrate the victory of the Indian team.

It was 24 years after the win in the prudential cup, india won the first ever Twenty 20 world cup on 24th September. Is 24 a just number coincidence or numerological victory?  Whatever may be the argument, the cricket lovers of the subcontinent are completely overjoyed. Thanks to the Dhoni’s army for giving a billion population a reason to be happy.

Sixer Raj

Yuvaraj Singh has become synonymous with sixers. He hit the longest six of 119 metres against the mighty Australians in the ongoing Twenty 20 tournament. The semi final was a magical treat for the cricket watchers. The huge presence of Indians in the gallery doubled up the spirit of Yuvaraj and his teammates. Of course that also put them in tremendous pressure. But  Dhoni’s men were carefree and unleashed their skills without any frills attached to their cricketing abilities. Most of the Indian supporters belong to the Diasporic community in South Africa. A country known for the large scale presence of Indians, South African fields resembled home ground for the men in blue.

Despite hurting his elbow, Yuvaraj got into the field with the willow. The starting was as per the calculations of Dhoni’s team India. First the toss turned to India’s side. But the run making was a bit slow. It seems that the team decided not to lose quick wickets while trying to score big initially. The slow and steady approach was adopted to stabilize the order. After estimating the pace of Australians, they went on for a rampage. A decent score was made when Virendar Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir were sent to the pavilion. Now the turn of Sixer raj in Durban arrived. Yuvaraj swash buckled sixes all over. He hit fours in the same fashion but rarely he ran for singles. It was the Indian tricolor fluttering all over the mammoth stadium. The meager presence of Australian flags was submerged by thousands of tricolurs.

Audience was awe-struck. They saw Yuvaraj coming, hitting and reaching half a century in minutes. In an eye-blinking moment Yuvaraj crossed his fifty. In the line of Indian firing the Kangaroos were clueless. They bowed down to the new found master cricket men from India. For the second consequective match  Yuvraj had exhibited his gladiatorial skills. Every one was wondering where was this six hitting skils all these years? Why Yuvaraj failed to show it on the ground? Nevertheless the Indian cricket lovers are happy to embrace their new hero.

Now the bar is high for Yuvaraj. His willow needs to swing the ball to sixes otherwise the audience will be disappointed. As the team for the tournament without any bigger expectations the performance has scintillated the nation. Even if they failed to win the world cup they will be lifted and celebrated as the heroes. The killer instinct, worriless gaming, cool handling and giving fitting action replies to the critics proved the younger team very tough.

Yuvaraj has decided to play to the wishes of the nation. He understands his responsibility as the player who holds the emotions of billion plus population. The sixer king is keen to deliver with his entire cricket fraternity backing him up. There is a mutual admiration and support for the eleven blue men. Yuvaraj is one among the eleven and sure to do the fire works with Pakistan. The sky is clear to welcome the cool punching of the ball by Yuvaraj

The forgotten player

kumble.jpgThe Indian cricket team is on the overhaul. After the resignation of Rahul Dravid as the team India’s captain, the BCCI was put under tremendous pressure to choose the right man to lead the demoralized team. At this crisis hour of Indian cricket, the nation needs a player with high class maturity and toughness to handle various adversities to triumph on fields. Anil Kumble the veteran cricketer who never hogged limelight or the media ignored hero can be the best bet. Apart from Kumble’s professional qualities he can manage the many troubling sides of the Indian cricket very well. Although Kumble announced his retirement fromODIs, he can be pursued to take up the challenge. The choice of Mahendra Singh Dhoni may not redeem the lost prestige of the team. He will also follow the troubled path of his predecessors – Sachin, Saurav and Rahul.

 

Why suddenly the gentle star put down his papers? Rahul Dravid citied his personal underperformance as the reason for resignation. Of course this is valid cause of concern. Not only to the player but also to the team and the country. As there is no suitable alternative to take the command of the toughest cricket team, the BCCI was put in a state of total confusion. The timing of the Rahul’s step down had sent shock waves across the country. In fact it told that he wanted to announce this during the launching session of IPCL (Indian Professional Cricket League). When he whispered his decision to Shrad Pawar before taking the mike, the politician president of BCCI was clean bowled. Quickly he recovered from the dosra which Rahul bowled, Pawar requested him not to announce at that moment. The clever move to counter ICL (Indian Cricket League) will be lost if Rahul’s resignation takes the centre stage. It will also lead to commoner’s wrong perception about Pawar’s leadership. Bowing down to the President’s request, Rahul postponed his resignation announcement.   But after few days of the gala launch of IPCL,  Rahul spelled his disastrous decision through press to the public. People started thinking about the political interferences as the sole cause for the exit of a brilliant player as the captain.

Why the talented and tough cricketer Rahul failed to win India matches? Generally captaining the Indian team is not easy. Apart from the sound cricketing qualities one has to master many talents to discharge the duty as the captain of Indian cricket. Navigating through the troubled political waters of BCCI, managing the media, overcoming the audience pressure, meeting the off field expectations, harmonizing the team members, exhibiting professional abilities and taking quick decisions on field are the major essential factors. The first three reasons can be dangerous for the Indian captain to handle. Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid, the brilliant players of our time have failed to produce remarkable victories for the nation. Despite holding envious personal records all the three players failed miserably. Saurav Ganguly is better among the all three.

To save the Indian cricket from further decline, one has to consider these professional and sociological matters before going into the issue of captaincy. Unless this is done neither Mahendra Singh Dhoni nor god sent player can win cricket matches for India.

Depoliticisation

 Today the Indian cricket is controlled by full time politicians. They are giving constant headaches to the players and audience. Their involvement in the cricket management reduces the effect of the game. How can a powerful and significant union cabinet minister can allocate time judiciously to the game and his ministerial duty? The portfolio of the BCCI president as minister is very vital. Agriculture is the backbone of the country. Due to the irregular management of ministry, cricket of the country suffers and the improper lead of the cricket damaged the agriculture. His involvements in both the important fields have reduced two important areas of the nation to mockery. 

 Professionalization

Cricket is not only a serious game but it is also a national passion. The eleven on the field are playing over the millions of fans aspirations. Only professional and full time board administrators can save the Indian cricket. Those who have long standing experience and bitter and better taste of the country’s cricket should lead the team management. Sunil Gavaskar can be the good choice. Apart from the Office of Profit a separate rule should be formed to prevent politicians occupying professional posts. This will automatically change the contours of Indian cricket.

Reformation of the players

The Indian cricket players are spoilt a lot in the world today. Too much of honours, prize money and public recognitions have spoiled their abilities. There is little of urge left in them to win cups for the nation. A complete motivation tonic feeding is required to boost up their morale.  Much time has been spent by the Indian cricketer in endorsing commercial products. Their advertisement roles have reduced their concentration and abilities to perform on filed 

Minimizing the on field time

Many times the schedule of the Indian team is too tough. Without a gap the players are compelled to play. There should be an adequate time gap between one tour and the another. This will give them ample time to improve physical fitness and health standards. Frequent foreign trips too put them in trouble.

Once these issues are addressed the Indian team will be victorious wherever it goes. There is no lack of talents but the unprofessional management of the team is the prime reason for its downfall. A passionate team management can pull the boys in blue to perform. The sooner it is done the better the team and the nation’s official religion.