Day: January 17, 2006

Lahore Fiasco…

I never thought that post 6 centuries in a match I would be bored to death. Of all the dull draws witnessed this should take cake! Even Virender Sehwag’s blitzkrieg did not pull the match from the depths of boredom it plummeted to. Let me get this right; ever since I started watching this game and understood it; I was told it is supposed to be a fair contest between the bat and the ball. Contest? There was none here! At Lahore, the pitch-curator probably thought that only the batsmen would be in the playing eleven from both sides!

I’m sure the bowlers would have preferred to not play at all after seeing the pitch at Lahore. It simply would not have mattered; be it a Shoaib bowling or Irfan or some local bowler. Even if you called upon the greats like Denis Lillee, Jeff Thompson, Richard Hadlee, Glenn Mcgrath, Brett Lee, Shane Warne, Allan Donald, The Fearsome Foursome of WI, India’s Spin Quartet or Pakistan’s very own Imran, Wasim, Qadir, nothing would have changed! The goddamn pitch was as dead as a dodo! I kept waiting for that one odd ball to speed up, to bounce, to turn, to stop awkwardly at the batsman, to skid, to stay low, to do something! Damn nothing!

How on earth can you prepare such a wicket when you are bragging about your speedsters? And by the way a message to Inzy and all his Pakistani supporters, Shoaib Akhtar makes no difference to India. Every time you hype him, we go ahead and tackle him extremely well. So for a change stop doing that. He is fast, super-fast but he is not accurate and I’ll trade McGrath’s accuracy for Shoaib’s pace. His resilience atleast pays me rich consistent dividends. Shoaib gives me no guarantee, especially against India. Too early to say? Okay. We saw how Sehwag and Dravid handled him (on a dead pitch you might say). I think they are ready to take the bull by the horns and the earlier Pak realizes the better for them.

On a comparative note, India got 7 wickets in 2 days compared to Pakistan’s one wicket in 2 days (I’m accounting for the session’s lost). On a pitch like this, I think it’s worth a mention. The curator sure had great faith in Pakistan’s bowling attack to prepare such a track or rather they were petrified of giving us some advantage.

I’m glad Sehwag and Dravid took full advantage of the lifeless track and made the most of it. I liked every bit of Dravid’s captaincy. Today when they needed just 13 runs to break the 50 year record, he saw to it that he got the Pakistani players out on the field; despite light being worse than yesterday. As soon as Sehwag got out (I wish he had showed a little more patience. Greedy aren’t we! Come on, they were only 4 runs short!), Dravid was offered the light and he took it, adding more irritation to the Pakistanis. Inzy tested his patience during the press conference when the cup was displayed to the press, made him wait for some half-hour. Dravid gave back very well in the match and not only by way of his batting. India pretty much got the psychological advantage in the manner they posted a reply to Pak’s total.

Now for something important, I don’t know how many of you agree but I felt it was huge injustice to Gambhir and Jaffer, two genuine openers in form. Neither is Sehwag an opener nor Dravid or Ganguly or Yuvraj. I don’t want to see Dravid open; it’s neither fair to the two openers waiting in the wings nor to the team and Dravid. There isn’t much to choose between Ganguly and Yuvraj. So take a tough call and drop Yuvraj. Ok stop blasting me for thinking so. Give Ganguly the ultimatum. See how he performs at no.6 in the series throughout. If he comes out with flying colours works well for the team; if not you have legitimate reason to drop him for the next series and have Yuvraj fill in. No point axing openers and shuffling with opening combination. I never agree with middle-order batsman opening the innings. It’s a goddamn specialist position and India should learn to deal with this perennial problem. Not everyday do we get a Sehwag. Who, by the way I think however successful, has his flaws as a test opener. He too will face some music as he matures in his cricket career.

What’s the point in taking both Yuvraj and Ganguly and having Dravid open? It’s silly and it’s pointless. We are doing no one any good. Asking Ganguly to open is unfair and too open a ploy to get him out of the team, so the team management can’t ask him to open however ready he might be. In his heart though, he must be dead scared to go face a racing Shoaib with the shining new red cherry. He would have liked doing that on this dead Lahore pitch, but him being successful here as an opener would have been a false alarm.

Honestly we need to resolve this issue once and for all, come on drop the axe on Yuvraj for once, I’m sure we would not lose much! Get Jaffer or Gambhir to open, it’s simply not fair them. Let Yuvraj supporters shout ‘Unfair’ for once. Why am I not calling for Ganguly’s head? I think they guy has been treated badly enough, and this after all that he has done for Indian cricket. I think it’s been pretty unfair, so give him one last chance to prove his guts. He deserves at least that!

And to another important issue, can we have a change of commentators please? Rameez Raja gets my goat! He is so damn partial and biased! Nothing India does deserves any praise or are only Pakistanis the Kings of cricket? I thought India batted with more supremacy than Pak did and our bowlers atleast got more wickets in the same time! Somebody protest and get him off! His presence is not good for either teams and we could really do without his biased opinions.

To end, this comment stuck in my head today and unfortunately I can’t remember who said it.

‘Dravid played very well within his limitations’
What limitations? Getting 128 in 223 balls in a test match is playing within one’s limitation? Simply cause Sehwag got 247 of 240 balls at the other end at end of day 4. Do we even understand Dravid and Sehwag? Do we understand what test-cricket is all about? Dravid has limitations?

Dravid is the only batsman after Steve Waugh to have had a century in every country that has test match status. Every time Dravid has got a double century India has never lost! He has been involved in most batting records set by India.
Yes, the man with a 10-year test career, a career test average close to 58, regarded as one of the best players at the No.3 position, the man to step up every time India was in crisis, The impregnable WALL has limitations in test-match cricket! You bet he does.

Thanks for the enlightenment you cricketing expert!

Run Mumbai Run…

I wanted to write this little post before the Mumbai Marathon began but unfortunately bad health did not permit me to!

Since the Mumbai Marathon commenced, I often wondered why was ‘Aamchi Mumbai’ the chosen one of all the cities in India. I have finally come to the conclusion why we were the privileged ones. Mumbaikars are the best prepared for this Marathon. They prepare for it everyday, every minute of their lives and require no special preparation when the marathon arrives. All that they have to do is change into the right sporting suit and shoes and they are on their way.

You are wondering why? Well here are a few reasons to convince you of the supreme athletes we are:

  • We are running through our daily chores like brushing, bath, eating breakfast etc. in the morning so that we catch the train/bus in time to reach our offices/school in time. However early we try to get up time is simply not enough.
  • Women are running in the kitchen to get the meals and tiffins ready and then later running to get themselves ready to prepare for a tiring work day ahead.
  • Once out of the house we are either running to catch the auto-rickshaw or the cab to take us to our destination, which is the railway station, bus-station or our office if we are lucky enough to live near by, most of us are not!
  • On reaching the station we are running to catch the 7:57, 7:51 Borivali Train to Churchgate so that we are not late for office.
  • If we arrive well before time we are running to jump into the train to get the proper seat!
  • Once the train arrives at its destination and knowing well that it is the last station we are still running to get out first and running to get to the cab or the bus queue first.
  • If there is a queue it means some amount of rest to our athletic bodies else it’s back to the running and jumping into the bus before others can.
  • We run while crossing the road, waiting for the signal to turn green and walk at peace is something we do not identify with, especially during the peak office hours
  • Once we reach the office there is still some running to be done to get to the lift queue.
  • So you think we rest once we are in office? Think again. We are running to enter the boss’s office before the other colleagues can so that our work gets done faster.
  • We run to get to the canteen first to avoid long queues and spend lesser time at lunch.
  • We are constantly hurrying up our work so that we can pack up in time for the day and get to catch our regular bus/train home.

Even a moment of rest is a strict no-no. We can’t wait for the office to get over and begin our final lap home. We refuse to stop and take a breath. We are running, and running and running!

Now it makes sense to have the marathon in Mumbai, doesn’t it? Who else but the ever-running Mumbaikars would be better prepared for it? What’s your say?

Having lived my entire life in southern Mumbai, what they call the city, the townside;I never experienced this running till I shifted to the suburbs after marriage. The lives of people are tied to their watches, to the train timings and the bus timings. You miss one and life could go awry that day. I have consciously tried to avoid that and so far succeeded a little bit; but also realized that you can’t completely quit running in this fast-paced city!

Run Mumbai Run; no wonder that it is our motto:-)

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