Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The World Test XI

Cricinfo has decided to pick an all time world test XI from the national all time XIs which have been picked by them. Here is my selection of the all time Test XI.
1. Sir Jack Hobbs - the highest scorer ever in first class cricket
2. Virender Sehwag - batting appears different when he is on the pitch
3. Sir Don Bradman - 99.94 enough said, also the captain of this team
4. Sachin Tendulkar - Sir Don has said & he is God
5. Sir Viv Richards - the destroyer
6. Sir Gary Sobers - the all rounder
7. Adam Gilchrist - redefined the qualities being looked in a wicketkeeper
8. Wasim Akram - the best fast bowler I have seen; toe-crunching reverse swinging yorkers & left armer also
9. Malcolm Marshall - the best from West Indies
10. Shane Warne - the greatest ball ever bowled (ask Mike Gatting)
11. Harold Larwood - the only bowler to have kept the Don under slight control.

And just for the fun of it I pick a second XI to face this team
1. Sunil Gavaskar
2. Gordon Greenidge
3. Brian Lara
4. Zaheer Abbas
5. Wally Hammond
6. Imran Khan (captain)
7. Allan Knott
8. Fred Trueman
9. Michael Holding
10. Dennis Lillee
11. Muttiah Muralidharan

A match between these two would be pretty interesting to say the least.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sir Jogi

Joginder Sharma
Player - India, Haryana, Chennai Super Kings
Winners Medal - T20 World Cup (2007), IPL (2010), Champions League (2010)

Joginder Sharma (or Sir Jogi as he is affectionately referred to) will go down in all Indian cricket fans' memories as the person who was entrusted with the job of bowling the last over in the T20 World Cup final. Misbah-ul-Haq somehow managed to get out on the 4th ball and India became the first T20 world champion. Sadly this was the last time Sir Jogi played for India (so far). He went on to represent Chennai Super Kings in the IPL(Irony - this is a team from which many players went on to represent India but Sir Jogi went out of the nationalsquad). He went on to get the IPL winners medal, though was dropped in the later stages of the tournament. And now has the Champions League winners medal (without playing a single game).
Thus Sir Jogi is now the most decorated Indian T20 player (alongwith Dhoni) with 3 winners medals (Aside - between them Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly & Kumble have none. So now we know whom to select to have a better chance of winning the tournament :P)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Mess Gets Messier

Finally the Pakistani tour of England has come to an end. With the aid of a superb century by Eoin Morgan, England beat Pakistan by 121 runs in the 5th ODI to win the series 3-2. But will anyone remember Morgan's performance. Already ball tampering allegations are coming in. Apparently TV cameras spotted Shoaib Akhtar running his thumb over the seam. It was most likely innocent. But would anyone believe that? This tour reached a series of low lower depths. Spot fixing, Suspicious scoring patterns, the needless fight between Wahab Riaz & Johnathon Trott, Ijaz Butt's allegations and now ball tampering.
Cricket was still played but will be forgotten. In fact, now everything which happens on the cricket field would be looked at with suspicion. Who is to say yesterday's Chennai SuperKings - Warriors game in the Champions League was not fixed? Both teams got the desired result of qualifying for the semis, match was played till the lost ball. I can go on and on. here. I am not saying that this game was fixed. And no reports have come about that either. But who are you going to believe when allegations of fixing come about?

P.S. Waiting for the start of some real cricketing action. The Australian tour of India.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Mess

Pakistan's trip to England started with a "Spirit of Cricket" Test Series. But the events which have taken place, "Spirit of Cricket" is the last thing which will be associated with this tour. Spot Fixing allegations, the Yasir Hameed video sting, the suspicious scoring patterns and now Ijaz Butt's claims.
Ijaz Butt accuses the English players of accepting bribes to lose the match. These claims are made on the basis of what he has heard from bookies. Now the question comes, is he in contact with bookies himself? In one statement he has ensured that ECB would think twice, maybe a million times, before having anything to do with Pakistan. Its a surprise that England havent called off the series as yet.
And what about the Pakistani cricketers. If they lose, they are supposed to deliberately underperforming, if they win, their own chairman says the opposition have been bribed.
Ideally this series which should have been remembered for some of the best fast bowling spells witnessed. (Aamir, Asif, Gul, Shoaib). But all it would be remembered for is match fixing.
There is still one more ODI left. Going by the way events are happening, there is a prety good chance of things becoming gloomier. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Dan the Man

New Zealand Cricket announced the winners for the 2009-10 season in various categories. (Full list is here) And Daniel Vettori is once again the Player of the Year. Given the number of roles he performs for New Zealand cricket - Left arm spinner, middle order batsman, captain, selector, maybe even coach, NZC should start a totally new category, "the Daniel Vettori of the Year" award.

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Pakistan Mess

After the latest "revelations" about the Pakistani team. (Yasir Hameed's videotape), the only conclusion I can draw is that the whole Pakistani cricket is full of a bunch of morons. What was Hameed doing talking about the match fixing to people who video taped him, just days after the Spot Fixing scandal was revealed. He talks about his own cleanliness and claims other members have fixed matches. And after the video is released, he denies all this. Apparently the entire tape was taken out of context!!! And the reporters just put words in his mouth. Not easy to believe. Add to this the various conspiracy theories suggested by PCB and the Pakistani High Commissioner. Either they take the entire world to be idiots or are a bunch of morons themselves. 
I really feel sorry for the Pakistani fans who have to support this team. This text from the cricinfo commentary for the T20 match played today sums it all.

An early shout from Andrew Miller, who is at the ground: "Just been speaking to some fans. Three Pakistanis in green wigs, and carrying banners. One of them read: "Floods killing people in Pakistan. Pakistan cricket team killing fans," and while we were speaking it was confiscated by a steward. They've been allowed to keep the other one: "We're only here because we bought our tickets two months ago"...
"The three of them paid £55 a head for their tickets. "Never again," adds Younis, the eldest of the trio. "I read in the newspaper, pick the bad apples and throw them out. I say pull the tree up at the roots, and throw the tree out. Pick a new team with a new board, new management, everything new ..."
Also feel bad for MCC and England players. ECB hosted Pakistan with a neutral series against Australia and now have to suffer this. While the England players have to play in such circumstances where the focus is definitely not on the cricket.
Here is the video of the Yasir Hameed sting.

Friday, September 3, 2010

No Balls - The ICC Acts

Post the "Spot Fixing - No Ball" scandal there has been a lot of reactions. Most of them have been on predictable lines.
The concerned players (Butt, Aamer, Asif) have been proclaiming their innocence.
PCB taking no real action.
ECB wanting the trio to be taken out of the ODI leg of the tour.
Pakistani fans protesting.
Ex-players calling for life bans if guilty.
Pakistan government officials claiming it to be a conspiracy to malign Pakistani players. And blaming it on India as well.
The trio withdrawing themselves from the rest of the tour blaming it on the ongoing "mental torture". This in itself was a good sign. At least the heavy scrutiny was gone from the remaining matches.

ICC suspending the trio till further notice. Now this was one development which was not really anticipated. ICC has never shown any inclinclination to take a firm decision on any matter till date (chucking issue,Darrel Hair controversy at Oval, Zimbabwe come immediately to the mind in this regard). However this time they have acted very firmly. Match fixing is really the biggest crime for a sports lover as it takes out the element of uncertainty from the game. ICC has acted tough in this regard. Have to applaud the actio. Hope to see such decisive actions in the future as well.