SRT Fans Blog

A blogging zone for all cricket buffs. esp. those who are awestruck by one Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

SRT Fans Blog

He has done it before - he had missed the trip on India. On that occasion too, he had flown back before the international matches had started. He knew very well that the team was in trouble, having lost Vaughan, Jones and Giles (though I don't consider Giles as any sort of threat, England certainly does).
Still he flew back. I had thought him selfish at that time, and was gleeful that one of our main threats were destined to be absent (it's another issue that we underperformed and drew the series 1-1).
He has repeated it now, in the series that England had promoted as their premium campaign. He's definitely not one of those who flinch from fast bowling or hostile sledging - he has withstood loads of it during his career. Scoring 5,000 test runs in 5 years is no joke.
It cannot, simply CANNOT be selfishness. No one would go ahead and lose his reputation in such a way. He's not a fool.
He's stressed, definitely, and mentally broken down to such an extent that he's risking his career, and he's turning away from the honour of representing his country in their most important battle.
We're on the verge of losing a batsman destined to play for several years for the simple sake of over-employing him. A few of us might jeer at him, but I'm sure the jeer shall not sound as prominent as the victims increase in count...

Monday, April 10, 2006

The Best Of Dhoni

The best part of Dhoni according to me is not his average wicket-keeping or his audacious strokeplay or his great ability to chase down mammoth asks with ease or even his new found adaptability.

The best part of Mahendra Singh Dhoni is his attitude to the game which is symbolised by the smile he always sports even when sharing the success of his teammates as was evident when he took the men of the matches for a ride (literally, not figuratively).

In fact this attitude of Dhoni is shared by almost all young members of this Indian side. Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj Singh, Mohammad Kaif, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Harbhajan and others - they all seem to thrive in each other's success and really seem to be enjoying themselves. This is quite a change even from the immediately preceding generation - we all know what great cricketers and human beings Sachin, Rahul, Srinath, Kumble, Laxman are and how sincerely they played the game with great passion but somehow this freewheeling attitude is a thing of this new generation. And Indian cricket is the better for it.

That is what makes me fully sympathetic towards Sehwag and Kaif and no matter how many chances they are given I feel they deserve them because they are team-men to the core, through and through. Not a long time ago they were piling on the runs when someone like Yuvraj was going through a lean trot and now the situation has been reversed. Maybe it will reverse again some time in the future. But that important thing is the team work. When one guy is out of form the other contributes and compensates for him and vice-versa.

Originally posted on Outside Edge.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The unwanted habit

How often have seen the Indian team collapse in the 4th innings and suffer brutal thrashings? While, we came to expect it from our team overseas, at home we were the Final Frontier for all.
there was a time over the last 10-15 years, when beating Pakistan in Pakistan was easier than beating us.
Let us have a look at the series we have played in the last 16 years. Coincidentally, we have had 4 captains since then.
I will give the year, opponent, scoreline, captain and the test-by-test scoreline in the following list.
Disclaimer - This is not to target any certain captain (as it is quite possible to get misinterpreted by some people)

1989/90 NZ 0-2-1 Azharuddin 0-0-1 0-1-1 0-2-1 A
1990 E 0-2-1 Azharuddin 0-0-1 0-1-1 0-2-1 A
1990/91 SL 1-0-0 Azharuddin 1-0-0
1991/92 A 0-1-4 Azharuddin 0-0-1 0-0-2 0-1-2 0-1-3 0-1-4 A
1992/93 Z 0-1-0 Azharuddin 0-1-0 A
1992/93 SA 0-3-1 Azharuddin 0-1-0 0-2-0 0-2-1 0-3-1 A
1992/93 E 3-0-0 Azharuddin 1-0-0 2-0-0 3-0-0
1992/93 Z 1-0-0 Azharuddin 1-0-0
1993 SL 1-2-0 Azharuddin 0-1-0 1-1-0 1-2-0 A
1993/94 NZ 0-1-0 Azharuddin 0-1-0 A
1993/94 SL 3-0-0 Azharuddin 1-0-0 2-0-0 3-0-0
1994/95 WI 1-1-1 Azharuddin 1-0-0 1-1-0 1-1-1
1995/96 NZ 1-2-0 Azharuddin 1-0-0 1-1-0 1-2-0
1996 E 0-2-1 Azharuddin 0-0-1 0-1-1 0-2-1 A
1996/97 A 1-0-0 Tendulkar 1-0-0
1996/97 SA 2-0-1 Tendulkar 1-0-0 1-0-1 2-0-1
1996/97 SA 0-1-2 Tendulkar 0-0-1 0-0-2 0-1-2 A
1996/97 WI 0-4-1 Tendulkar 0-1-0 0-2-0 0-2-1 0-3-1 0-4-1 A
1997 SL 0-2-0 Tendulkar 0-1-0 0-2-0 A
1997/98 SL 0-3-0 Tendulkar 0-1-0 0-2-0 0-3-0
1997/98 A 2-0-1 Azharuddin 1-0-0 2-0-0 2-0-1
1998/99 Z 0-0-1 Azharuddin 0-0-1 A
1998/99 NZ 0-1-1 Azharuddin 0-0-1 0-1-1 A
1998/99 P 1-0-2 Azharuddin 0-0-1 1-0-1 1-0-2 (i have clubbed the 2 tests and ATC test)
1998/99 SL 0-1-0 Azharuddin 0-1-0 A
1999/00 NZ 1-2-0 Tendulkar 0-1-0 1-1-0 1-2-0
1999/00 A 0-0-3 Tendulkar 0-0-1 0-0-2 0-0-3 A
199/00 SA 0-0-2 Tendulkar 0-0-1 0-0-2
2000/01 Z 1-1-0 Ganguly 1-0-0 1-1-0
2000/01 A 2-0-1 Ganguly 0-0-1 1-0-1 2-0-1
2001 Z 1-0-1 Ganguly 1-0-0 1-0-1 A
2001 SL 1-0-2 Ganguly 0-0-1 1-0-1 1-0-2 A
2001/02 SA 0-1-1 Ganguly 0-0-1 0-1-1 A
2001/02 E 1-2-0 Ganguly 1-0-0 1-1-0 1-2-0
2001/02 Z 2-0-0 Ganguly 1-0-0 2-0-0
2001/02 WI 1-2-2 Ganguly 0-1-0 1-1-0 1-1-1 1-2-1 1-2-2 A
2002 E 1-2-1 Ganguly 0-0-1 0-1-1 1-1-1 1-2-1 A
2002/03 WI 2-1-0 Ganguly 1-0-0 2-0-0 2-1-0
2002/03 NZ 0-0-2 Ganguly 0-0-1 0-0-2 A
2003/04 NZ 0-2-0 Ganguly/Dravid 0-1-0 0-2-0
2003/04 A 1-2-1 Ganguly 0-1-0 1-1-0 1-1-1 1-2-1 A
2003/04 P 2-0-1 Ganguly/Dravid 1-0-0 1-0-1 2-0-1 A
2004/05 A 1-1-2 Ganguly/Dravid 0-0-1 0-1-1 0-1-2 1-1-2
2004/05 SA 1-1-0 Ganguly 0-1-0 1-1-0
2004/05 BD 2-0-0 Ganguly 1-0-0 2-0-0 A
2004/05 P 1-1-1 Ganguly 0-1-0 1-1-0 1-1-1
2005/06 Z 2-0-0 Ganguly 1-0-0 2-0-0 A
2005/06 SL 2-1-0 Dravid/Sehwag 0-1-0 1-1-0 2-1-0
2005/06 P 0-2-1 Dravid 0-1-0 0-2-0 0-2-1
2005/06 E 1-1-1 Dravid 0-1-0 1-1-0 1-1-1

against decent opposition we have failed to win the rubber.

of the 8 series played in the last 2 years, we have lost the series by losing the crucial game 4 times. v Pak 2, v A and E once. SA were beaten comfortably. SL are beated comfortably everyhwhere except in Toadland. BD/Z not worth the consideration.

the scores -

I v A - Nagpur -
LOST 342 runs.

Aus 398 & 329/5d
Ind 185 & 200

Yet another hopeless bowling display on Day 4, followed the usual caving in.

I v P - Bangalore -
LOST 168 runs.

Pak 570 & 261/2d
Ind 449 & 214

another inexplicable batting collapse.
87/0 to 214. thanks to Sehwag/Gambhir/Kumble we managed to get those. another pathetic bowling display on Day 4.
337/3 - Sehwag OUT(201). 449 all out (thanks to VVS 79*)

I v P - Karachi -
LOST by 341 runs.

Pak 245 & 599/7d
Ind 238 & 265

Pakistan recovers from 39/6 in 1st innings. Ind 65/4 and 74/4 in their two innings. hopeless bowling display on day 4.

I v E - Mumbai -
LOST by 212 runs

Eng 400 & 191
Ind 279 & 100

chasing 313, we collapse from 75/3 to 100 all out in little more than an hour.
horrendous batting display. equally shocking fielding.

what concerns me is the bowling on the 4th day. though in the Mumbai test we bowled better than the first innings and should have had England out for 100-110, had it not been for the guys eating lots of Butter Roti and Butter Chicken at TAJ.

jokes apart, look at the score of opposition in the 3rd innings. they have the audacity to declare their innings and go on to win.
261/2, 329/5, 599/7.

this needs to be rectified immediately, else we will keep getting into these situations.
missing from the list of losses are 2 matches - one where VVS made sure we drew the match againt Kiwis in 2003, and one against England 2001 where the weather saved us.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dream Teams

Here is an interesting exercise. I try to come up with 4 different teams to play 5-day cricket consisting of current players only but these are not your usual World X1 teams - their selection criteria are quite different and hopefully, very interesting.

I have tried to keep the teams disjoint, so while some of the players might fit in more than one team I have put them in the team that they fit best in and put in other players more suited in the other team.

My first team will consist of cricketers who are not very elegant, not superstars nor have outstanding career records. Yet, they are tough fighters and you can bet they will fight every team you put up against them by sheer bloody-mindedness and determination. These are the ones who have often performed rescue acts, while letting others hog the limelight.

So here goes:
Justin Langer
Andrew Strauss
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (captain)
Paul Collingwood
Jacques Rudolph
Mohammad Kaif
Kamran Akmal
Abdul Razzaq
Ashley Giles
Rana Naved
Matthew Hoggard

My second team is the team of the most supremely gifted elegant players. These may not have career records as outstanding as some of their peers but have often delighted crowds with their fantastic artistic skills. Well this list also includes a couple of names (note fast bowlers, wicketkeepers) who may not conventionally make the list, but it is so much more difficult to talk of these in terms of art than just batsmen so I have allowed myself the luxury of including some cricketers with supreme skills in their field.
Salman Butt
Marwan Atapattu (captain)
Yousouf Youhana
Mahela Jayawardene
VVS Laxman
Damien Martyn
Andrew Flintoff
Irfan Pathan
Tatenda Taibu (Difficult to classify a wicket-keeper batsman as an artist but whatever)
Shane Warne
Shane Bond

Now come the power merchants. They too do not rewrite the record books nor are they necessarily a delight to the eye. But they are great entertainers in their own right in that they can be brutal.
Virender Sehwag (captain)
Chris Gayle
Kevin Pietersen
Shahid Afridi
Andrew Symonds
Jacob Oram
Mahendra Dhoni
Brett Lee
Shoaib Akhtar
Steve Harmison (or Ntini ? Lost for a choice here)
Anil Kumble (as close to powerful as a spinner can get)

And now the World Beaters. The record holders. The prolific run scorers and wicket takers. The one with the greatest averages.
Matthew Hayden
Rahul Dravid (captain, opener (SORRY) had to fit in 4 other players)
Ricky Ponting
Sachin Tendulkar
Brian Lara
Jacques Kallis
Adam Gilchrist
Shaun Pollock
Chaminda Vaas
Muttaiah Muralitharan
Glenn McGrath

Even after asking Dravid to open I still cannot accomodate Inzy !! Wow that's the only team that I faced a problem of plenty. Also I put Dravid ahead as captain over Ponting. Whew ! Eagerly awaiting your thoughts, suggestions, criticisms, better balance ideas ...

Originally posted on Outside Edge.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Ominous signs

Australia 434/4 off 50 overs
Ricky Ponting 164 (105) 13x4 9x6
Michael Hussey 81 (51) 9x4 3x6
Simon Katich 79 (90) 9x4 1x6
Adam Gilchrist 55 (44) 9x4
Andrew Symonds 27* (13) 3x4 1x6

South Africa 438/9 off 49.5 overs
Herschelle Gibbs 175 (121) 21x4 7x6
Graeme Smith 90 (55) 13x4 2x6
Mark Boucher 50* (43) 4x4
Johan van der Wath 35 (18) 1x4 3x6

Cricketers, critics and fans from all over the world have said in unison that this is the greatest match of all time. But was it?

435 off 50 overs is a score for which any adjective is possibly an understatement. Words like "formidable" lose their meaning in front of such a number. You get the feeling of standing at the base of Everest, too intimidated to start climbing. And yet... two teams managed to do this on the same day.

Yes, this was an achievement - definitely something really unprecedented. But how good was this for cricket? Was this really the greatest match ever played?

Well, people from all over will tell you - this was a great match. 872 scored off 599 balls, 87 fours, 25 sixes - two 150+ scores, can it really get any bigger than this? There were a couple of outstanding performances from Ponting and Gibbs, arrogant strokes from Gilchrist and Symonds, calculated risks from Katich and Smith, the sheer delight of watching Hussey cut loose, the patient single-mindedness of Boucher and an unexpected onslaught from van der Wath. Ponting and Gibbs were simply brilliant, with dazzling strokeplay marking every over of their existence. They did whatever they wanted to do with the bat, and that too over non-negligible lengths of time.

Reads a sumptuous meal for the eye, right? If you think so, read the last paragraph again, more carefully this time.

Did you notice that this great match does not involve any achievement by bowlers?

They restricted their line, calling wides at obscenely low margins. They restricted their length, calling no-balls for bouncers, relaxing to one an over in the end. They restricted their spells to ten a match. They brought in heavy poly-armour bats and helmets, but said no to ball-tampering or chucking. They ironed the pitches. They brought the boundary ropes in. They restricted the fielding placements for fifteen overs, and then increased it to twenty. They took every possible measure to restrict the bowlers. And yet cricket was played, with people pouring in to watch flashy boundaries by tail-enders off genuine fast bowlers.

But now - it has reached to an extent of being unacceptable. We want to see the bowlers play a role as vital as the batsmen in this queen of games. We want to see stumps flying off inswigning yorkers, we want to see batsmen square up and caught behind off quality seam bowling, we want to see batsmen being bowled around their legs on vicious turners. We want to see tail-enders' feet moving meekly towards the square leg when an express bowler steams in.

Change the rules, guys. Let the grass grow on those tracks, let them crack before play starts. Put aside those restrictions on bouncers or field placements.

And oh yes, ban that ruddy helmet. If anything has ruined the pleasure of watching cricket, it has.

We need the changes, and we need them soon. Otherwise we might land up with teams comprising of eleven batsmen and a hi-tech bowling machine in near future.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Yet Another One - Post dedicated to Holding Gems!

Ok guys,

As discussed, we are starting off with the Holding Gemz post.

Here is the first one -
Occurence - SL v Pak - Nairobi 1996.

When Jayasuriya hit those 4 consecutive sixes off Aamir Sohail, Holding produced following masterpiece
1st six- Jayasuriya goes for the big one..its a six!!!!
2nd - Jayasuriya does it again!!!!!!!!!
3rd- Another one from Jayasuriya
4th- Yet another one from Jayasuriya..

the end.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Search for the rare commodity in Indian cricket

Who was the last genuine fast bowler to play for India?

Zaheer? - Was considered in that league till he got over-excited in the WCup final. he has not been the same bowler since.
currently - out of sorts - 125-130
Agarkar? - Very nippy, very quick. But suffers from consistency. first 50 wkts in 22 games, next in almost double that. then from 100-150 in 27, then the next in 30-odd.
currently - same inconsistency - 125-135
Nehra ?- less said the better. if Agarkar suffers from inconsistency, Nehra plain suffers. 5-6 matches on the trot he bowls well, more often than not we find his car parked in the hospital parking.
current - out of action.
Srinath - was real quick when he was raw. accused of bowling short. personally to me, the unluckiest seam bowler ever. how many times have we seen him beat the bat?
Kapil - never quick, but very good at seam and swing.

to get to real fast bowlers, we have to actually go back to India's first test ever. Lord's 1932.
Mohammed Nissar and Lala Amar Singh. the first 5-for was snapped by Nissar in the very first innings. in fact the two had England down to 3/19. Herbert Sutcliffe 3, F Wooley 9, W Hammond 35.

Why could we have two of the fastest bowlers at that time, but none after them? This is as much a mystery as our liking for spin.
Coming back to the present, we have a new bunch of guys doing the talking with the ball these days.
Irfan Pathan - undoubtedly a gifted young man. knows his limitations. bowls incredible bananas. gets those edges and lbws which elude others. batting is a plus.
current - 130-135
L Balaji - Balaji zara dheere chalo. was the song to which Pakistanis were dancing on our last tour. the biggest hit amongst them was Balaji.
current - on the injured list.
Sree Santh - deceptively quick. uses short balls, yorkers, late swing effectively. fastest of the current lot.
current - 135-140
R P Singh - young bowler. nice and smooth action. medium pace. 3 MoMs in 13 Matches.
current - 125-135.

so do we have anyone better? maybe. maybe the guys who restricted Eng XI to 238.
Munaf Patel - fast. played in a warm-up match against the Kiwis in 2003 alongwith SreeSanth and R P Singh. took 5 of the 11 Kiwi wickets to fall in both innings. been playing domestic cricket for Mumbai and Maharashtra since then. both the other bowlers made it to the national team. high time he makes the cut.
VRV Singh - another young and fast bowler. selected for the 1st test against England.