Wednesday, November 17, 2010

FULL FORCE GAYLE

My apologies to Van Morrison for using the title of his song and misspelling it.

Chris Gayle showed everyone once again his ability with the bat. It is not the number of runs that are important, but the way is which the runs are scored makes for a great game of cricket. The same can be stated of Sehwag. Despite the question marks over their technique and temperament, these two are only four batsmen to score triple hundreds twice in test cricket.

It is sad that Gayle has to play alongside far ordinary colleagues in the team from the West Indies. If he would have been part of a different and a stronger team, greater recognition would surely have followed.

Sometime ago the commitment of Gayle to test cricket was questioned following his confession of greater love for T20. But then that has not prevented his from scoring 333 runs at Galle. There is another interesting thing that I find common between Gayle and Sehwag. Both can strike the ball hard over long distances and yet they have accomplished more in the longer version of the game. Since Sehwag is in the company of really good players in his team, his knocks often turn out to be match winning ones. On the other hand, Gayle has to remain on the losing side. There is Shahid Afridi who has achieved a lot in the short and the shortest format of the game, without doing much of any substance in test cricket.

Looks like with the burden of captaincy gone and with no need to give politically correct statements, Gayle has discovered new ways to liberate his soul. No longer does his batting is tied with the word ‘responsibility’.

The longer form of the game which is not exactly in the pink of health, needs players like Gayle and Sehwag. More importantly, there is a place for characters and players with attitude like Gayle. Otherwise, test cricket would become boring.

I cannot desist myself from using some lines from the song of Van Morrison even though the same praises somebody else.

Like a full force gale

I was lifted up again

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Monday, November 15, 2010

CHANGE OF ROLES?

For the second innings in a row, Harbhajan Singh managed to upstage his more legendary teammates and scored a century.Harbhajan took four wickets in the first innings but could not make much of an impression on the New Zealand batsmen so far in the second innings.

Since announcing his arrival into the big league of test matches with a bang in Sri Lanka, Suresh Raina has failed to back his supporters. Even when he scored a half-century against the Australians, Raina looked extremely suspect when it came to the fast and rising balls. If one remembers correctly, Raina offered not so pleasant pictures when facing the short balls even in the IPL. What is worse is the fact that Raina tries a big shot and gets out as he did in the first innings of the Hyderabad test.But interestingly, Raina got the wicket of Ryder.

So is Harbhajan the new batsman and Raina the new off-spinner in the Indian team?

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NO CLEAR ANSWERS

Sharda Ugra tries to go into the minds of those who are alleged to have been involved in things like ‘match-fixing’ or ‘spot-fixing’ in this great piece in Cricinfo.

She cites people like Mike Brearley and Sandy Gordon to find answers to the question “why” or “what” motivates great sportspersons to take part in acts that are not sportsmanlike.

As an Indian and one who reads, hears about corruption and one who is also a victim of corruption, the reasons for going corrupt or bad are extremely complex.

There is a genuine feeling that when one is in the midst of corrupt people, the temptation to remain clean is extremely hard.Besides, the corrupt ones always try to enlist more members into their club, primarily to gain strength from larger numbers or to reduce the risk of being caught.But this hypothesis does not fit into the cases of sportspersons where most are clean.

It is mostly to do with greed and to nothing with the backgrounds-economic, social or religious. Even as sportspersons, especially, the cricket players of today are highly paid, the temptation to make that extra moolah without having to score runs or take wickets or grasp catches. The moolah is given precisely not to do anything of the above!

Personally, for me there is also a second factor that makes cricket players succumb to the lure of the lucre.There is no strong a deterrent or punishment that would discourage corruption.

There may be commissions and probes which can never conclusively prove the allegations and the whole thing repeats itself.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WHAT A 100

 

In the just completed test at Motera in Ahmedabad, India managed to stave off an embarassing defeat to lowly ranked New Zealand thanks to the efforts of     V V S Laxman and Harbhajan Singh.

Laxman once again showed everyone in very clear terms why he is really ‘very very special’.This statement is fast becoming a cliche thanks to the exploits of Laxman in the recent matches against Sri Lanka and Australia.

While Laxman’s abilities and credentials cannot be questioned, Harbhajan Singh demonstrated his attitude and brought up his maiden 100 in first class cricket when it really mattered most.Not to forget the half century in the first innings in the same match.

With the 100, Harbhajan joined 3 other Indians who scored their maiden first class 100 in test matches.One of them is the great Kapil Dev.Predictably, after the match, some managed to ‘unearth’ a new all-rounder in Indian cricket. Mercifully, no one has the gall to draw comparisons between Kapil Dev and Harbhajan Singh!Of course, Sunil Gavaskar wants the selectors to make a batsman make way for another bowler in the wake of the 100 from Harbhajan.

Even as praises are showered on the batting efforts of Harbhajan, we have ignored the most important contribution that the off-spinner has to bring to his team. It is a matter of concern that while Harbhajan’s batting has improved, his bowling has gone into downhill. It is a worry that Australia and New Zealand managed to score in excess of 400 runs in the first innings of the previous three test matches in India.The primary role of Harbhajan is to take wickets although runs from his bat are also welcome.

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