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Archive for February, 2010

His Majesty, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar!

Wednesday, February 24th, 2010

A few years back, Adidas, the premier sports brand has kicked off their new campaign – ‘Impossible is Nothing’ to promote their new brand. None other than Sachin Tendulkar was chosen as the brand ambassador alongside other greats in the sports world. Just like Sachin’s other endorsements, his presence paved way for its success in India and Adidas went to become his sponsor ending his long stint with MRF. It was yesterday, that Ad caption really meant for a sportsman, that too for its endorser. Sachin broke the 200 runs barrier in One day Cricket, which most of peers and counterparts failed to achieve. It was one of the most astonishing moments of his illustrious career of 20 years and counting.

As most of us know, the initial few years of his ODI career was not that great. He scored ducks in his first two international matches and took 5 years to score his maiden ton. But it was not as bad as someone imagines. In that period itself, he scored one of the best innings in a test match at the WACA and some fine test centuries in England. Although Sachin didn’t scored any ODI centuries until 1994, He come up with a scintillating knock against Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup to demolish Pakistan. His half-century paved way for India’s first victory against the arch-rivals. The maiden century came up against Australia in Colombo in 1994, which was only a beginning. After 16 years, he tailored an elusive 200, the first time in the history of ODI Cricket, also went on to become the highest individual score in ODI’s. In those 16 years, 46 centuries were made in almost all part of the cricketing world and against all the teams. 9 ODI centuries against Australia itself is a testimonial of his performances.

The long 20 years hasn’t been easy for the ‘Little Master’. Plenty of injuries, surgeries, cramp and hits, but he rise to the top after fighting with all these. He might be the only cricketer in the world, who hasn’t been dropped from the team for lack of form or being charged for on/off field scandals. What makes him so humble or how can a man be so simple after achieving this much in his life? Sunil Gavaskar reckons there is still a 16 year old boy in Sachin, who has the hunger to score runs and the passion to play for India. Whenever we think he has reached the Everest, he would have started his journey to conquer another one. Yes, this it would be the World Cup in 2011. It is played in India and the finals are played at the Wankhade Stadium in Mumbai, where he started his cricketing journey. A World Cup triumph would be the best culmination of a legendary career, which has made the billions of Indians proud.

Rankings and Reality

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The test series between South Africa and India were considered as the fight for the world no:1 position for both teams. After the end of the first test, South Africa have gained an almost unassailable edge over the host – Team India. If South Africa manages to secure a draw or a win, they will be at the helm. For India, nothing less than a win will secure their top-spot. Australia, who are currently in the third position, is playing impeccable cricket on the other side of the globe, infact in all forms of cricket. So does this ranking system makes any sense for the spectators and others in the cricketing fraternity?

In the last 12 months, Australia have played 14 test matches, won 8 matches, drew 3 and lost 3matches. In the Same period, India have played 9 test matches, winning 5, drawing 3 and loosing one. South Africa’s performance is – Played 8 tests, won 3, lost 3 and drew 2. So the Winning percentage of Australia, India and South Africa is – 57.14, 55.55 and 37.50 respectively. That means according to the winning percentages, Australia stays at the top, then comes India and the South Africans are way down! According to the ICC Rankings, India have a rating of 125, followed by South Africa with a rating of 120 and Australia at the the 3rd position, with a rating of 118. Australia have played 5 tests against England, 3 each against Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies. India have played 3 each against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, 2 against Bangladesh and 1 (so far) against South Africa. South Africa have played 3 against Australia, 4 against England and 1 (so far) against India.

So, after seeing the aforementioned stats, Does this ranking system makes any sense? The points and ratings are given of the basis of the win/loss at home/away criteria.That’s simply absurd. If a team is playing against comparatively weaker opponents like West Indies, Bangladesh and New Zealand, the chances for getting all the points are much high. Instead, If the ICC implements a weightage system, then it would add some credibility to this ranking system, if they are really serious about this. In the weightage system, teams will get lesser points, when they play weaker oppositions like Bangladesh and will get higher points, when they play Australia. Based on the past 1 year’s performances, teams can be alloted specific weightage and review it after every season. This would make the ranking system more competitive.

Why India can’t produce genuine fast bowlers?

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
The bowling speed of the players who compete in the Duleep Trophy is a clear indication to India’s lack of ‘fast bowlers’ in the domestic circuit, despite having a state-of-the-art pace bowling academy in the form of MRF Pace Foundation. During the Duleep Trophy final, none of the bowlers could clock above 130 KMPH. Irfan Pathan, though picked up 5 wickets in the first innings, was bowling around the 110 – 125 mark. Dawal Kulkarni was bowling around 115-120 KMPH, though he swings the ball laterally. Shane Watson and Jaques Kaliis, the best allrounders of present, bowls at 140 mark. So What’s the real problem with the Indian bowlers .Let’s see some of the common issues.
‘Lifeless’ wickets
This has been a real problem for the fast bowlers, right from the legendary Kapil Dev. When India prepares for a test match, the first instruction given to the curator is to make a strip that turns from day 1. For that you really need a curator? Avoid rolling for a week and make it a dust bowl. It will have variable bounce and will turn sharply from day1. Winning in these kind of wickets will earn any appreciation?, rather the ground will be blacklisted and will be stripped off from conducting further test matches. When India outplayed the Aussies at the Perth in 2008, it was acclaimed as India’s one of the greatest win. Why it was considered like that? Simply because, It was played on one of the quickest and bounciest wicket on earth. So it is pretty clear that the temperament of team will only be tested, when they play on a sportive wicket. For a fast bowler, nothing more is annoying and demoralizing than playing on a wicket where the ball doesn’t bounce above the knee-roll. So, when you prepare decks that wont bounce and are graveyards for fast bowlers, then how can you develop genuine quicks?

Too many matches
Fast bowlers are prone to injury than spinners and slow bowlers. So we have to use them wisely and make sure that they get sufficient rest. Australia, now, have 8 fast bowlers in the reckoning, whom can be rotated. All these 8 bowlers have the ability to bowl at more than 145 KMPH. See the case of India. They have just 4 or 5 guys that too only 2-3 guys with some international exposure and the other factor is that India plays more international cricket than any other team! The result is India carrying a team of fatigued and injured bowlers, who are forced to play again and again despite being unfit.

So, If we have to come up with genuine fast bowlers, then we will have take a closer look at these factors and take necessary decisions. BCCI has ample money to provide facilities so it is up to them to make a move, otherwise we will be forced to go back to that time, where part-time bowlers ball with new-ball to take off the shine in the ball, before the spinners are introduced.


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