Friday, August 13, 2010

My World Test XI

I keep reading about All Time Test XIs on Cricinfo. I thought why not make one for myself. Here I will only consider players that I have watched i.e. those who retired after 1995. My team will consist of 5 batsmen, 1 all rounder, 1 wicket keeper and 4 bowlers. I will try not to over-represent a particular national team. Without further adieu, here is the shortlist (in batting order) --


1. Matthew Hayden
2. Virender Sehwag
3. Ricky Ponting
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. Brian Lara
6. Andrew Flintoff
7. Adam Gilchrist
8. Wasim Akram
9. Muttiah Murlitharan
10. Curtly Ambrose
11. Glenn Mcgrath


Openers :
It was an easy choice. Both of them are known for their murderous approach to test cricket. Hayden and Sehwag can be credited for redefining the role of a test opener. Although I was tempted to pick a more conventional opener but they dont just compare to these two. Not in this era.

Middle Order : The middle order picks itself. Ponting, Sachin and Lara - three of the best in the current generation of cricketers. One of them may even be the best ever.
A case can be made for Jacques Kallis, Rahul Dravid or even Kumar Sangakkara. However Sanga is not that good a keeper and his record outside the subcontinent is poor. Kallis provides you a decent bowling option but we have an all-rounder spot for Flintoff which more than fulfills the extra seamer's place. I chose the middle order, purely on the merit of batting skills.

All Rounder :
This was a particularly tough choice. I could have gone for another specialist batsman here, like VVS Laxman or Mike Hussey. But if the top 5 cannot get you the runs then who can? There were other all rounders too and good ones - Andrew Symonds and Shaun Pollock(He could be picked as a specialist bowler.More on that later). But Freddie Flintoff catches your eye like no other. His performances in the 2005 Ashes were epic.

Wicket Keeper :
Some might argue that Mark Boucher is a better keeper but Adam Gilchrist is only marginally behind. His superior batting skills cannot be overlooked. Btw Dhoni is a joke when compared to these two in the test arena.

Spinner : This was the toughest pick in my team. Both Warne and Murli are cricketing legends. We can argue for hours on who is a better bowler? I finally went for Murlitharan because of his ability to bowl long spells and winning matches almost single handedly for sri lanka. Warne's record against the sub-continent players, widely considered good against spin, was also a factor.

Fast Bowlers : Interesting..very interesting indeed. Look at bowlers who missed out viz. Shaun Pollock, Allan Donald, Waqar Younis, Shane Bond and Dale Steyn. I was tempted to pick Bond to represent New Zealand but his stop-start career and the sheer greatness of the other shortlists made it impossible. Dale Steyn is relatively new and I think if I redo this list after 5 years, he might be in serious contention. Donald faded in the later half of his career while Waqar Younis was touch inconsistent. Pollock..oh well he lost out to Mcgrath. Mcgrath and Curtly Ambrose were default choices and personal favorites. I chose Wasim Akram for the third spot because as a left hander he adds variation to the attack.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sarkar - 3

Ever wondered what Ram Gopal Verma would come up with as a sequel to Sarkar Raj? No? I have. My vision of Sarkar-3 might be vastly different from RGV but rest assured it wont be a disaster like Ramu ki Aag. First and foremost, the movie would be christened Sarkar Maata !!

Aishwarya Rai(Sarkar Maata) has grown old. She has a son from Shanker Nagre whom she fondly calls Kukur Nagre. If you are wondering that Sarkar Raj did not hint at this, well you were fooled. When Shanker was dying, he gave her a boon that she would beget a child. Do not forget that he was Sarkar at that moment, and he can take decisions which are against the system or even against God, in this case.

Cheeku is now in his twenties but is busy rolling his toy car on the floor. Taking inspiration from Baa in Kyunki Saas Bhi..., Shubash Nagre lives on but he has only one dialogue in the movie - 'Mere Vishnu aur Shanker aayenge'.

To make this movie an international hit, Ramu takes a leaf, rather a wand, out of J.K. Rowling's book. The storyline goes like this - In a bid to become immortal, Sarkar Maata wants to own the deathly hallows. Horcruxes sounds like a messy affair so she is content with becoming the vanquisher of Death. After reading the Harry Potter series a number of times, she decides that she has no use for the resurrection stone. Why bring back Shanker Nagre or her Dad? She does not want to share her powers. The invisibility cloak also does not intrigue her. She still thinks that she is Miss World and would like to show off her beautiful body than hide it. Sarkar Maata then sends her goons to London to bribe Potter for the Elder Wand. Potter protests but Kukur Nagre bites him and brings the Elder Wand to Mumbai.

Sarkar Maata is delirious with joy. She jumps around the house, cursing and hexing everyone. However, the poor soul does not realize that the Elder Wand gave its allegiance to Kukur Nagre. With the anxiety of the audience thus roused, the movies enters a cut scene, where Cheeku proclaims himself to be the Dark Lord. When affronted by Sarkar Maata and Kukur, he shoots them with a pistol. Note: A shield charm cannot save you from a muggle's weapon.

When Police comes to arrest Cheeku, he buys them off with his black money. The movie ends with a note that magic is shit compared to technology. Why use an old fashioned wand, Elder whatever, if you can afford a six-round pistol. The star cast rolls in, with a picture of Ramu in the background signaling _|_ to the audience.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Looking past the fab four

For over a decade, Team India had the services of arguably the best middle order in modern day test cricket. Famously known as the Fab Four - Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman have played a staggering 80 tests together, spanning over 1996 to 2008. India had won 26, lost 27 and drawn 27 of those 80 tests.

Here are the player-wise records in those 80 tests.
Rahul Dravid651827053.8617
Sachin Tendulkar6692248*53.5319
Sourav Ganguly 433414435.525
V.V.S. Laxman525328146.90

The batting average of Sourav Ganguly drops drastically from his career average of 42.17, while the rest have done well. Sourav however had a more important role to play as the captain of Team India. He should be credited for building a team which had the self-belief to win test matches on foreign soil. Nevertheless, he never did excel in tests as a batsman as he did in One Day Internationals.

Now lets have a look at the current Scenario. Ganguly has already retired and the rest are ageing. Laxman, who is the youngest of the pack will turn 36 coming November. The time is nigh, when the middle order would not have such big names and like all good things, the joy of watching Sachin and Dravid bat with the reassuring Laxman to follow, will come to an end. There are many batsmen who will finally have a chance to showcase their talent in test cricket. For many many years, it was almost impossible to debut in the middle order. Its time now to look for replacements. Here are a few probables who might bag a permanent spot in the side
  1. Yuvraj Singh - With 33 test matches under his belt and over 10 years of experience, Yuvi is a prime contender for a test spot. He is a natural stroke maker with a wide range of shots. Lack of patience has been his nemesis in the longer version of the game.
  2. Rohit Sharma - Monstrously talented, sound technique and wrist work which reminds of Azharrudin. Rohit Sharma has long been tauted as the next big thing of Indian cricket after Sachin Tendulkar. Though it is unfair to expect Sharma to fill the larger-than-life shoes of SRT, he does have the talent to excel in all forms of cricket.
  3. Suresh Raina - With 5 years and 93 matches of ODI experience, Raina should be a front runner for the number 5 or 6 spot, but he isnt. Reason being his less than stellar first class record and his 'block and slog' batting style. Still I feel the selectors would show faith in him.
  4. Murli Vijay - This tall TamilNadu opener has a solid technique and rather surprisingly, he exhibited murderous aggression in season 3 of the IPL. The selectors may look to him to become the next wall of Indian cricket.
  5. Virat Kohli - Many experts look at him as a future captain. He has a cool head on his shoulders, is aggresive yet mature in his approach towards the game. Kohli has done well in the ODIs so far and is an exciting prospect.
  6. Subramaniam Badrinath - Badri is a giant in the domestic circuit. He plays for TamilNadu and has an excellent first class record(6000+ runs with an average in late 50s). He featured in 2 tests in the Ind-SA test series, Feb 2010 and would be hungry for more.
  7. Cheteshwar Pujara - Not so much in the national reckoning, Pujara has knocked at the door several times. Someone who scored three triple centuries in a season cannot be ignored for long. A dismal outing for KKR in the IPL does dent his chances though.
It cannot be the denied that the team will have to undergo a phase of rehabilitation. Look what happened to the mighty Aussies after the retirement of McGrath, Warne, Gilly and Haydos. They suffered series defeats to India,South Africa and England. Will India, who relies heavily on its batting firepower, be able to cope with it? It is difficult, almost impossible, to replace a Tendulkar or a Dravid but cricket will not retire with these stalwarts. The show must go on and hopefully the young brigade would shine to make the loss bearable.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rated uncool: internet lingo

There was a time when proper English was written and appreciated. Now it largely fills newspaper columns. First sms and then internet chats have made it an even funnier language than Big B would have imagined in Namak Halal. Don't confuse me for a purist, I just lament the dissection beyond recognition of a popular language. Have a look.
  • roflmao and its derivatives : Did you seriously rolled on the floor and laughed your ass off? Fancy someone actually do that after reading a stupid facebook comment.

  • ma/mah : I find this irritating - 'ma bike/mah college/ ma friends' et cetera. There are better ways of paying tribute your mom. The word is my. Period.

  • eat your letters : Probably the person had nothing to eat so he ate his letters instead. Some examples: intrstd , skul, tok, cmps, 2de, actly/ashley, gn, tc ...
Maybe these words are 'in' and I am too old to appreciate them. Nevertheless everyone, including me, uses short forms in one avatar or the other. (I'm prone to gr8, lol, btw .. ).

The effects should not spill on to your professional life. 'Dear Sir, Can u plz find tym 2 sign ma report' is bound to displease your Professor. It not only reflects on your carelessness but is a sign of lack of respect as well.
Enough said.

First words

An attempt to do away with the sameness of summer afternoons.