the cup

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Some say that this past Saturday was one of the happiest days of the planet.

About one-fifth of the world’s population was celebrating. All at the same time.

48 hours after the event, it remains at the back of my mind… images of how it all happened, how it all came together, that final six, the sense of relief, the sense of euphoria at watching it happen the way we’ve dreamed of.. for a long, long time.

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sachinism, the current religion of the indi-net

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Stuff that struck me while reading about Sachin Tendulkar’s nearly unbelievable* feat, most of which will be repeated everywhere I look over the next few days/weeks:

  • On this day 21 years ago He completed a 664-run partnership with Kambli. Twenty-f*ckin-one.
  • His 200 contained 25 boundaries (the most by a single batsman in an ODI till date) and 3 sixes. The entire RSA team innings (in reply) had 30 boundaries and 3 sixes.
  • He has scored 93 international centuries (combining test and ODI cricket) until today. There was a time when He decimated an Australian team for a whole summer (yes, the great Sharjah innings), which was when I started believing that He would score over a 100 centuries before He retired. That day is nigh.
  • His closest competitors today (in terms of statistics) have to currently make
    • Tests: 1588 runs to catch up His total of 13447, 8 centuries to catch up His total of 47.
    • ODIs: 4170 runs to catch up with 17598, 17 centuries to catch up with 46.
  • He made an impeccable, near-perfect 175 while chasing Australia in Hyderabad last year.. only to have the Indian team let Him down and choke once He was out. I remember defending him when people said that the innings was typical Tendulkar – the century was great, but no use if He never finishes what He starts. I wonder if.. somehow.. RSA had successfully chased 400 (they’ve done it before), how sweet would this 200 be for the ungrateful Indian cricket fan?
  • The fact that He does not make the ICC list of the best players of all-time in either Tests or ODIs has to now rank as one of the biggest egg-on-your-face (or idiotic) statements until date for the ICC. For a man who is redefining every batting record there is every time He takes guard, a man who has surpassed His contemporaries in both longevity and performance… I guess He doesn’t need the ranking to make His mark in cricket history.

I ask you, does He really have to worry about never lifting a World Cup on India’s behalf? Can we quit wondering aloud about His performance every time He doesn’t make a century?

Will we ever get over Him?

Side note: I noticed that the statistically top batsmen who are still playing cricket today are all 34+ (age in brackets): Jayasuriya (40), Ponting (35), Tendulkar (37), Gibbs (36), Kallis (34). This is to be expected, given the amount of cricket these people have played in their lifetime… but it appears the old guard is never going to make way for a new one.

*I say “nearly unbelievable”, because it is Sachin after all. One can believe that He can pull it off.**
**Yes, the capitalization of ‘H’ is intentional. God, after all.

playing cricket in australia is impossible

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how the fuck is india supposed to win with umpires who refer decisions to the captain of the opposing team? in exact sequence: delivery is nicked by batsman, balls hits ground before entering fielders hand (who is, incidentally, ponting clarke), who then grounds the ball while catching it. the appeal is referred to the umpire. who then asks ponting whether it was out.
who obviously agreed it was, and hence another indian wicket fell. of course, this had to be the wicket of ganguly, who had barely set a foot wrong since he had walked out in the middle.

jesus fucking christ.

then of course, dravid’s pad is nicked… the appeal seems doubtful, but is given out anyway.

chanderpaul made a very true statement in saying australia probably gets most doubtful decisions in their favour. add to these three decisions the decisions in favour of australia through the remaining innings.. and one wonders whether the match was the umpires vs. india, or australia vs. india.

india didn’t help matters though, with sickly fielding, and very very uninspired batting. the indian attitude is summarized by ishan sharma. who should be lauded. the final wicket, 7 deliveries to go, it’s obvious australia will appeal for every delivery. first ball up, huge appeal, celebration, the umpire is unmoved… and ishan sharma walks.
thats right. he walked. he has no idea which end of the bat he’s holding… and he walked.

winning in australia is hard as is, india is not performing in a manner that points towards winning either, the umpires have pretty much managed to make this less a match, and more a farce.

and we have last men who walk.

cricket? gah.

long live the ODI

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..the ODI is dead.

given the response to twenty20, not least because the subcontinent made it to the final, and a team of 1 billion won it, i say the ODI will die its natural death in roughly two years. coming on the heels of an india/pak match-up prediction, i can be justifiably confident of making such predictions methinks πŸ˜‰

tests can never die, in my view, simply because they are the “classic” form of the game. and the ordeal of a test match is very different from the game in any shorter form. skills and abilities have to be stretched to very different limits. when one compares an 8 hour running time for ODIs and a 3 hour running time for T20 games, the choice becomes obvious -whether from a viewer perespective, or an economic (read advertisement) perspective. more games, more possible viewership for a quicker game, and a radically different format from the classic version of the game.

ergo, ODIs will eventually be taken out of the equation.

current styles of playing ODIs are pretty much to slam the ball around the park as far as possible, for as long as possible. and even during any mania i have had for the game, i’ve never managed to sustain myself for more than 10 overs at a time. overs 15-40 normally signify a drop in viewership during any such game. the natural successor to ODIs currently seems to be T20. however, it is possible that T20 is modified to have smaller teams, and the options of a couple of substitutions between innings. the choices would seem to make it more unpredictable.

the question is whether tests can ever be killed off as well. i would hope not, but i accept that following tests over 5 days is an ordeal. i have no clue about viewership, but i do know that tests have a different level of cricket that i wouldn’t want to lose. some of the most significant performances have happened in this form of the game.

for now, we celebrate. until team india breaks down given their schedule for the next 6 months: nearly 23 ODIs, two T20 matches and 10 Tests.

T20 poses some interesting questions for the team. will T20 players ever see a bigger stage with the big 3 hanging around ? will the BCCI manage to realise that different teams for different forms of the game need to nurtured ? and the biggest question is: how many of those 35 matches will be without a coach ?

on a personal note, it makes me want to go back to barely following the game at all. mismanagement, frustration, and bad attitudes can only be tolerated for so long.

and still we win.

we won

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funny that the team that crashed out the world cup a few months ago, has had a captain resign mid-season, no coach since the world cup debacle, and barely make it through an english summer of cricket is at the top of a points table. funnier that the other points table has a team under very similar circumstances.

now for the laurels, until the next time they screw up.

until then, india vs pakistan. here we come.

a pointless result

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india lost. india. lost. india lost. india lost.

have you got it yet ?
i met people who were depressed after yesterday’s match. i’m not ridiculing them, there was a time when such things would have affected me as badly, if not worse. indeed, even sampling the days’ indian newspapers laments the debacle that is indian cricket today.

we have all grown up worshipping the game of cricket. despite who any of us may like, the indian team playing out there – being heralded as one of the best teams in the world, and we puff and preen. i have jumped in the air when india hit that final winning run, off that final delivery. i have left the house, and found the streets agog with happiness that ‘india won the match!‘. i have been frustrated at the defeats that i have seen.. when india was sure to win.

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