Thursday, January 13, 2011

KALLIS VS.SOBERS-DEBATE CONTINUES

Statistics are like bikinis.  What they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.  ~Aaron Levenstein

Harsha Bhogle argues in Cricinfo that the South African all-rounder Kallis is the Garfield Sobers of the present generation. Harsha uses statistics to show us the great similarities as far as the numbers go.

But he misses out on one crucial factor that made Sobers a completely unique player, who according to many (Australians apart) is the greatest ever to step on to the cricket field. People loved to watch Sobers play while Kallis does not have that kind of an attraction. Kallis is truly a great player but equating him with Sobers is taking the things too far.

I have not seen Sobers play nor might have Harsha watched him in his pomp. But from what I have read and listened to, Sobers did everything with a lot of flair and panache. In contrast, Kallis is someone who is efficient to the point of being robotic. There have been times when Kallis seems to be overawed by the opposition as was the case against the likes of McGrath and Warne. Could anyone say the same for Sobers?

It is only in the current context where anyone who can bowl and bat a bit is called an ‘all-rounder’ that the record of Kallis is something of a very tall mountain to climb. Make no mistake, Kallis is a true all-rounder.

It would have been kind of refreshing to see Kallis compete against the likes of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Ian Botham or Richard Hadlee leaving Sobers out of the equation. While Kallis keeps scoring runs, takes wickets and pouches catches, he does not qualify as a match-winner who can change the course of a match with the bat or the ball or even by holding a catch or affecting a run-out. Can Kallis do a Botham at Headingley or a Kapil a 175 not out while the team lost 5 wickets for a few runs on the board? Imran was very good with the both the ball and the bat against the top teams including the ones from the West Indies. Hadlee took wickets everywhere even when his team was not the best.

Kallis is a great player and Sobers is the greatest.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

IS WORLD CUP EVERYTHING?

 

Zico of Brazil was an extraordinarily gifted footballer from Brazil. He won many trophies but could not ever become a World Cup winner.

Socrates a teammate of Zico for many years also failed to win at the biggest stage of world football like many other super talented footballers of his generation from Brazil.

Michel Platini of France was renowned for his skills as a midfield maestro who could not take his team to glory at the World Cup.

Ivan Lendl won many tennis matches and was ranked the best player in the world for a long while but he could not win the trophy that matters- at Wimbledon.

John McEnroe could not win the French Open even after taking a two set lead in the finals once.

All these players are considered great even when they have not won perhaps the ultimate prize in their respective areas.

The achievements of Sachin Tendulkar are well documented and there is only one word to describe him- ‘great’. But Dean Jones argues that Sachin is not the greatest since the Mumbai batsman has never been part of a World Cup winning team.

Jones like many Australians is not able to live with the fact that an Indian is being talked as being equal or even being better than Donald Bradman. Even while he acknowledges the achievements of Sachin, Jones does not hesitate to drop the World Cup or the lack of it to downplay the greatness of the Mumbai maestro.

Cricket is a team game and it takes all the players in the team to perform in order to win a tournament that is spread out over a period of time. Jones was part of one Cup winning team in 1987.Most of the same team took to the field in 1992 and it was booted out of the event even in home conditions.

Brian Lara another great cricketer of his generation is also someone who could never be a part of any World Cup winning squad but this never diminishes the achievements of the left-hander from the Caribbean.

Sachin has scored the maximum runs in the World Cup and he even was the ‘player of the tournament’ in 2003 even when Australia won beating India in the final.

What more Sachin has to prove?

It is more of a case of sour grapes for Mr. Dean Jones.

It is time our media stopped giving the space to such ‘professors’.

There is more to cricket in general and Sachin Tendulkar in particular than the World Cup medal. The CV of Sachin does not require one such medal.

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ONE SIMILARITY

After Sachin scored his 50th test hundred, there was a lot of talk about his greatness vis-a-vis Donald Bradman.Indians, me including feel that Sachin is the greatest but the Aussies don’t want any of that.

 

To use a cliche, comparisons are always odious, especially, when it involves players belonging to different periods.But to be fair, while Sachin has played and scored in every test playing country, the Don played in just two countries.Of course, the supporters of the Don would be ready to show the statistics to justify their claim.

 

Let me move away from cricket and bring in what for me is something that is common to Sachin and Donald Bradman.Cricket writers/historians covering the times of the Don tell about how his cricket had a soothing effect on the public ravaged by the Great Depression and the Second World War.

 

The exploits of Sachin this year where the public of India was exposed to different kinds of scams and wrongdoings came as a refreshing change.The television channels and the media were forced to change tracks from the Rajas and Co. to Sachin.

Hope 2011 will be better for Sachin and India.

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