The roller-coaster of Pakistan cricket has reached another low. Just last week after victory in the 3rd Test against England, there were people commenting about the revival of Pakistani cricket. At Lords with England at 102/7 everything seemed to point in the right direction with the talks of a series equalling win going on. Since then everything changed. Trott & Broad's world record partnership for the 8th wicket, followed by another Pakistani collapse ad England were on top in the match. However it wasn't the match as such which depressing. It was the off-field revelations which caused the more serious damage. Allegations of spot-fixing surfaced with the arrest of a bookie. It was alleged that Asif and Aamer had been bowling no-balls deliberately while the skipper Salman Butt was also involved, as were a few other players. It was also revealed that the players had been questioned by Scotland Yard.
Worse than the loss has been the questions of the integrity and character of the players. Spot fixing is just a way to make quick money without really fixing the overall result. If involved the players are cheating the genuine cricket lovers. It is sad to see hugely talented players like Asif go from one controversy to another. And if an 18 year old like Aamir is involved in these murky underhand dealings then something is terribly wrong with the entire Pakistani setup. The worst part is these allegations surface with too high a frequency in relation to Pakistani cricket.
When the match-fixing scandal broke out in 2000, many players were found to be involved. And every country took steps to clean up their act. Since then there hasn't been a single allegation against any other team's national squad members. But this isn't the case with Pakistan. Every few months some other scandal breaks out.
Something is truly rotten with the state of Pakistani cricket. And it needs to be cleaned up. Soon. The cricket playing world is too small to lose Pakistan.
India win comfortably by 6 wickets with almost 15 overs to spare and also earning a Bonus Point in the process. The game would however be remembered for the deliberate no-ball bowled by Suraj Randiv to Virender Sehwag with India needing just one run for victory. Sehwag, who was on 99, hit the ball for a six. But given the current laws of the game, the game was deemed over with the no-ball as India had got the run needed for victory. The runs were not awarded to Sehwag and he finished with 99 denying him a well deserved century.
The no-ball was deliberate. No doubts about that.The runs were not counted. However the ball was counted in Sehwag's tally. Sehwag's career tally is now missing a century, a six and has an extra ball. There was a big hue and cry over the incident, specially in the Indian media. The issue might come up again if the qualifications boil down to net run rates. The 6 runs could make a big difference then.
Now just consider this hypothetical scenario. 1 run is needed off the last ball. The batsman hits it in the air and the fielder takes a catch. However during the time the ball was in the air, the batsman have completed a run. So what happens now? Shouldn't the match be over as soon as the first run is completed. Even if the ball had crossed the boundary the batsman would only have been awarded one run. So would he given out? My opinion he is out. But the law is vague enough to keep lawyers busy for ever.Just goes to show the Law is an Ass.
P.S. It seems Sri Lanka Cricket and Suraj Randiv have apologised for the incident. But this was a golden opportunity missed. Enough outrage has been generated to call for banning cricket ties with Sri Lanka, But alas this does not seem to be happening.
August 14 is a pretty historic day, specially for Indian cricket fans, though not many may be aware of the signficance of the day. I learnt this via cricketwallah's posts on twitter yesterday only. On August 14, 2010, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar scored his first test century. Who would have thought then that 20 years down the line he is still not finished yet.
Dedicating this post to mark the 20th anniversary of the great event.
Here is the link to the highlights of that innings.
On a 5th day pitch India chased down a tricky target quite comfortably. VVS Laxman added another Very Very Special hundred to his CV (I am considering now putting him in my all time Test XI at the no. 5 slot). Sachin played cautiously to anchor the chase while Raina finished off the match in style with a six. Also in the process cementing the no. 6 slot in the current lineup for himself.
It was a pretty good victory. And the euphoria spilled over to the Twitter world. India was as usual showing its internet population might. Laxman, VVS & Raina were in the top 10 trending topics worldwide. This did create some really funny situations. Especially with regards to Raina. Quite a few foreigners confused Suresh Raina for the Korean singer Raina. And they wondered what she had done to be trending (no birthday, boyfriend issues). And Indians were left explaing it was a cricketer.
P.S. My prayers for Indian victory answered but SRT's hundred replaced by VVS's Hundred. Not that I mind :)
Friday, August 5th, 2010
India vs Sri Lanka, 3rd Test, Day 4, Colombo
Its days like today that make Test cricket such a beautiful game. And really missed watching it due to being at work. The day was worth using up a CL though (not that I used it). Followed the scores throughout and sometimes listened to the radio commentary on FM (which was pathetic).
But what a day. The match was evenly poised with India maybe marginally ahead having taken 2 wickets on Day 3. Sri Lanka leading by 34 with 8 2nd innings wickets in hand. Indian spinners struck early and the Lankans were reduced to 87/7. India were looking set to finish off the a series levelling victory today itself. And then started the fightback. Samaraweera alongwith Malinga and Mendis foughgt back. A 50+ partnership for the 8th wicket and then a century partnership for the 9th and India were set a target of 257 to win. Not impossible but pretty difficult. And having lost the first 3 wickets for 53 its become more difficult for the Indians. Sri Lanka who were looking buried in the first session are now back on top. India now we head into 5th day needing 204 more runs with 7 wickets in hand.
This match has certainly got a result (unless it rains) but at this stage its not easy to predict who will win. Any thing can happen. And it would be an exciting 5th day for sure. I guess we can say the pitch was perfect for a Test match. Lasted for 5 days, was helpful enough for the bowlers but did not destroy the batsmen (unlike whats happening in England).
Praying for an Indian victory tomorrow (and another SRT century as well)
Cricinfo has been picking the all time greatest Test XIs for all countries. And after an endless wait today they have started the process for picking the Indian Test XI. Here are my picks for the all time best Indian line-up for test matches.
1. Sunil Gavaskar
2. Virender Sehwag
3. Rahul Dravid
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. Mohammed Azharuddin
6. Kapil Dev
7. Syed Kirmani
8. Anil Kumble
9. Javagal Srinath
10. Bishan Singh Bedi
11. B Chandrasekhar
This was a pretty easy selection. I guess most would agree with at least 9 spots. The only really debatable ones are Azhar & Bedi's spots.
Now for the captain.
India's best captains Nawab Pataudi Jr. & Saurav Ganguly have missed out being selected in my lineup. 8 of the 11 have captained India in Test cricket. So just going in for Azharuddin as captain. (Hardly lost in India, hardly won abroad)