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    Away from the body

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    Pix Credit: Ananya Ghosh

    When a batsman gets out playing a shot away from the body (more often than not, caught behind square), he gets castigated to no end for being careless. But if he connects well and sends the ball crashing into the fence, people go ga-ga over the same "going down on one knee and driving it square" shot. How unfair?

    Yeah, I know. The kid in the pic doesn't really care whether he is playing away from the body or not - all that he cares is to put bat on ball.


    The reluctant maiden

    Monday, August 28, 2006
    Both test cricket and ODI cricket had maiden overs bowled in their inaugural matches. But it took 8 games for the maiden to finally smile in the 20-20 internationals variety. Mohammed Asif finally delivered the reluctant maiden over today at Bristol and also picked up 2 wickets in the bargain (KP and Strauss - both went for a blob each).

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    Dhoni Tappebaaz and Dhoni Dhamaka

    Friday, August 25, 2006
    Courtesy: TechTree
    Nazara Technologies, a mobile content developer, has announced the launch of two new games based on the country's heart-throb, cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The two games have been developed for Qualcomm's BREW solution.

    According to the company, the two games titled "Dhoni Tappebaaz" and "Dhoni Dhamaka" are designed to bring the fun and excitement of cricket to mobile phones. Nazara also plans to release Mahendra Singh Dhoni wallpapers and screensavers.

    Dhoni Tappebaaz requires the player to keep the ball off-the-ground by striking it with the bat. The game includes a community-based feature that allows users compete with each other, and participate in contests. Users also have the option of downloading different levels of the game, plus adding unique features.

    Whereas, Dhoni Dhamaka is based on Dhoni's hard-hitting batting style, and requires the player to score maximum number of runs by hitting as many sixes and fours as possible.

    Qualcomm's BREW (Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless) is a pretty cool solution for wireless applications development. With the launch of "Tappebaaz" and "Dhamaka", it has just become a lot more coooooooler in the eyes of all Dhoni's fans.

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    No Lightmeters

    Pix Credit: Bishan Samaddar (taken on a misty morning on the ghats of Benaras)

    Seems like a regulation catch to the slips (Hope there is a fielder out there). If the batsman gets out, he can always blame the light. Couldn't he?


    The Warrior Prince

    Pix Courtesy: Ananya Ghosh (Photo taken in SouravLand)

    Ananya calls him the "Warrior Prince" for the way he is carrying his bat and the stumps. You've to agree with her. Don't you? There is something majestic (and that says a lot for a pic that has been taken from behind) about the way the kid is walking onto the ground. Imagine a batsman (say, an international cricketer) walking all the way to the crease with the bat on his back and unleashing it out just before taking guard (like the way He-Man from the Masters of the Universe would unleash his weapon). Now, wouldn't that be really cool?


    Just 500k?

    Darrell Hair sent an email on Tuesday to the ICC officials offering to resign for USD 500k. After a few exchange of emails and probably some clear thinking time, he revoked the offer. Cricinfo has the full transcript of entire email-thread.

    Key excerpt from the first email:
    A one-off payment to compensate the loss of future earnings and retain a payment over the next four years which I believe would have been the best years I have to offer ICC and world umpiring. This payment is be the sum of [US dollars] 500,000 - details of which must be kept confidential by both parties. This sum to be paid directly into my account by 31st August 2006.

    Darrell will turn 54 in September and though his current contract with the ICC ends at the end of March '08, he would have fancied to continue atleast for 4 more years. Given all that, 500k does seem like he was selling himself short. With legal battles to fight and bodyguards to hire, he would definitely need much more than half a million bucks. I'm sure that he wasn't really thinking right when he sent that first mail out and he has rightly revoked it since.

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    Expensive Hair

    Thursday, August 24, 2006
    Courtesy: Fox Sports
    Hair, now a resident in Lincolnshire in eastern England and an occasional umpire in English county games, had been due to preside over reserve-grade fixture between Derbyshire and Gloucestershire from next Wednesday.

    But the England and Wales Cricket Board is considering removing him from the game because of the cost of employing security to protect him from potential riled Pakistani fans - security that would not normally be used for a second XI match.

    Sad, if it really comes to that..


    Sachin, Lara and Sushmita Sen

    Courtesy: PTI/HT
    World's premier batsmen Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara will feature alongside former Miss Universe Sushmita Sen in a Bollywood movie that will be part-filmed in Trinidad later this year.

    'Dulha Mil Gaya', which will also be shot in India and cost $two million, will hit the screens in March, coinciding with the cricket World Cup.

    Sachin and Lara would probably guest-star for a few secs, but still Lara Dutta would have been a better choice to play a role alongside Brian Lara (just to be able to have a duet which goes "la la la ra ra ra").

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    Etiquette means behaving yourself a little better than is absolutely essential.
    - Will Cuppy

    There has been lot of talk about "Cricket Etiquette" this week following the Oval fiasco. Frankly, I've become a bit too tired of reading all those opinion pieces. So tired that, I've tried to list down the different ways that a batsman could possibly react after getting out in an "Etiquette-Free" world.

    1. Walk as soon as the fielders appeal (the "Gilchrist" type)
    2. Walk as soon as the umpire raises his finger (How boring is that?)
    3. Stand your ground until the umpire rejects the appeal and then walk (much to the umpire's embarrassment - You've to really hate the umpire to do that)
    4. Break the stumps with your bat and then trudge along (You wouldn't do that if you love your bat)
    5. Throw your bat hard on the ground, then collect it without any remorse and then walk.. (What did the poor willow do?)
    6. Keep shaking your head repeatedly.. (don't hurt your neck)
    7. Let all the fielders and the umpires know what you think of them and their families.. ( $%#@***%)
    8. Say, "I've had enough" and then drag the non-striker along with you (Sunny did it - why can't you?)
    9. Thank the umpires and the opposing captain for giving you the opportunity to let you play at this level.. (Can't get any "suckier" than that)
    10. Tell the non-striker that everyone has to leave at some point, that your time is up and that he could be the next to go (for the philosophical types)
    11. Run as fast as you can and dive across the boundary rope (you've to be really nuts to do this - but I 've been told of an instance in club cricket where the batsman did this after being pissed at being given runout)
    12. Uproot the stumps, tell everyone that there is no game without you at the crease and walk away with the stumps. (Now how many of you haven't done that as a kid?)
    13. Say, "thooch.. I wasn't ready.. bowl again" (I still do it)

    Feel free to add to the list..

    (from Angshu)
    - Look at the umpire quizzically and ask “what on earth happened to your finger?”
    - bring out a pistol from behind the thigh pad (resembling a holster) and fire the hat of the bloody umpire’s head before walking off. (That takes care of your future matches with that guy officiating.)
    - chase the bowler around the park brandishing your bat till both of you are tired (you are going to get rest after that, remember?)


    What about Bob?

    Tuesday, August 22, 2006
    I'm sure Bob Woolmer has more than just "player curfew" (watch the video plug-in) to worry about.. But he isn't quitting just yet..

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    Hairy Decision 2 - Law 21.3a,b

    Law 21.3a,b

    (a) A match shall be lost by a side which either (i) concedes defeat or (ii) in the opinion of the umpires refuses to play and the umpires shall award the match to the other side.

    (b) If an umpire considers that an action by any player or players might constitute a refusal by either side to play then the umpires together shall ascertain the cause of the action. If they then decide together that this action does constitute a refusal to play by one side, they shall so inform the captain of that side. If the captain persists in the action the umpires shall award the match in accordance with (a)(ii) above.

    Darrell Hair would again say that he was following the rule book. But the problem here is that Pakistan players did eventually come out onto the field and showed enough willingness to get on with the game (and England at no point refused to play). It was Mr. Hair who claimed that he had already awarded the match to England and that he cannot overturn his decision. This is where ICC (read Mr. procter) failed miserably. Now how hard is it to over-ride a decision. When a batsman can be recalled onto the field (understand that the batsman should not have crossed the boundary rope) by the fielding captain after being adjudged out by the umpire, why can't the match referee recall the whole Pakistan team after the umpire had made his own mind about the forfeiture.

    As Tim de Lisle aptly points it out in his article, all that happened on that afternoon shouldn't have led to the way the match ended in the end - the show must have gone on.
    Sport increasingly recognises that it is part of the entertainment world, and the first rule of entertainment is that the show must go on. The International Cricket Council exists to stage cricket matches. Here, it ended up calling one off when nearly all parties were willing to get on with it. Something went seriously wrong.

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    Hairy Decision 1 - Law 42.3d

    Law 42.3d

    In the event of any fielder changing the condition of the ball unfairly, the umpires after consultation shall
    (i) change the ball forthwith. It shall be for the umpires to decide on the replacement ball, which shall, in their opinion, have had wear comparable with that which the previous ball had received immediately prior to the contravention.
    (ii) inform the batsmen that the ball has been changed.
    (iii) award 5 penalty runs to the batting side.
    (iv) inform the captain of the fielding side that the reason for the action was the unfair interference with the ball.
    (v) inform the captain of the batting side as soon as practicable of what has occurred.
    (vi) report the occurrence as soon as possible to the Executive of the fielding side and any Governing Body responsible for the match, who shall take such action as is considered appropriate against the captain and team concerned.

    After figuring out that the ball had been tampered with, Darrell(I'm-the-law")Hair did exactly what a good "stickler for the rules" would do. No complaints there. The only question that needs to be asked (and is rightly being asked) is how he arrived at the conclusion that the ball had been tampered with. You just don't call someone a cheat without knowing for sure that he has cheated - that is basic civic sense. If there was really no evidence to prove that someone had really screwed with the ball, the best option would have been to alert the captain and change the ball without awarding those penalty runs. But by awarding those 5 runs, Mr. Hair acted like a prejudiced teacher who would fail his student just because he suspected foul-play and not because he caught the student cheating red-handed. With the number of cameras on the ground these days, it really is hard for someone to tamper with the ball and go unnoticed. Even if someone pulls it off without being noticed, you just can't go call him a cheat without having proper evidence.

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    Long Live Cricket

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

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    30 years ago... Whispering Death

    Thursday, August 17, 2006
    Courtesy: Cricinfo
    August 17, 1976
    One of the most extraordinary pieces of sustained fast bowling ended with Michael Holding becoming the only West Indian to take 14 wickets in a Test. On an Oval pitch known as a graveyard for pace bowlers, he twice clean-bowled the England captain Tony Greig, who had suggested before the series that West Indies might "grovel". Holding lived up to his nickname of Whispering Death by taking 8 for 92 and 6 for 57 to wrap up a 3-0 series win.

    Here is the video clip of 3 of those wickets..

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    John Wright? Say Who?

    Wednesday, August 16, 2006
    Poor Kapil.. Old age seems to be catching up fast.. Can't seem to be able to remember easy things..
    When asked to comment on John Wright's book, he quipped, "Who is John Wright. I have not read the book and have no intentions to read it either,"

    It is ok, Paaji... We can easily help refresh those memory cells of yours.
    Well, John is the guy from outside who picked up the coach's mantle after you abandoned the team citing disillusionment with the game. He is the guy who made you look like a loser once he started producing results which you had never thought were possible.

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    "Wana win at the Oval?.... Pick me"

    Azhar Mahmood gives Woolmer and Co. some pointers to think about before the start of the final test at the Oval.

    Courtesy: BBC
    I have played at The Oval for the last five years and this season wickets have been quite flat with good bounce and some turn.

    To take wickets you need to be patient and find that channel outside off stump, rather than bowling both sides of the wicket.

    I would love to be part of the solution and I have no idea why I'm not in the team.

    I've been doing well here for the last five years and I know these conditions very well. I'm fully fit and I have been bowling really well.

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    Being gaurded by the primary targets..

    Tuesday, August 15, 2006
    Courtesy: SuperCricket
    But the problem with an 'upgrade' of security for the team to 'presidential' level is that presidential security is reliant on the military which is, of course, not just a target for the Tamils, but the primary target. So does surrounding the South African team with high numbers of primary Tamil targets constitute an increase in their safety, or a significant decrease?

    That is Neil Manthorp, asking the uncomfortable questions (rather the questions with the uncomfortable answers). Given that scattered thunderstorms are predicted on each day for the next couple of weeks, it doesn't really serve much purpose forcing the reluctant SA cricketers to stay put in Colombo.

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    The top 30

    Wednesday, August 09, 2006
    Pure Batsmen: Dravid, Kaif, Laxman, Rao, Uthappa, Gambhir, Badrinath, Rohit

    Batsmen who can spin the ball: Sehwag, Sachin, Yuvraj, Raina, Mongia, TP Singh

    Batsmen who can seam the ball: Sourav

    Spinners: Harbhajan, Powar, Kumble, Chawla

    Dhoni, Karthik, Parthiv

    Irfan, Agarkar, Sreesanth, Munaf, RP Singh, Zaheer, SS Paul, VRV

    The classification above might suggest Sourav belongs to a rare breed - a frontline batsman who can bowl useful seamers. Unfortunately for him, Irfan Pathan is now slowly fitting into that role.

    About the uncapped players, Rohit Sharma is the most promising of the lot. For me, he is sort of the right-handed version of Yuvraj. TP Singh has had a good season in the shorter version of the game (runs in the Ranji ODI, Deodhar and the Top-End Series) and deservedly gets a mention in the country's top 30. He did get a few wickets bowling slow left-arm orthodox in the Top-End Series, but he is essentially a hard-hitting batsman who can bowl 2-3 containing overs. Badrinath has been in the top 30-40 for a while, but hasn't really done anything extraordinary of late to merit a place in the top 20. Piyush did well in the Top-End Series and is getting better by the day, but he might have to wait a while for his turn.

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    Inzy Spinzy

    Tuesday, August 08, 2006
    Whether he is scoring those elegant shots or getting himself out in the bizarrest of ways, Inzy at the crease is always a treat to watch.

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    I'm back

    Monday, August 07, 2006
    After a hiatus of 4 months, I'm back to active blogging. Comebacks are always hard in cricket. Hope it isnt the same with cricket blogging. I was in India for 4 months and for some reason or the other never really got to blog. However, I did get to watch lots of cricket and cricket-based programs on TV. Now that I'm back in Virginia, normal programming on this blog will resume.

    Since I'm on a comeback trail, I'll start this new innings with a link about someone who is desperately trying to force a comeback into the Indian dressing room. Here is what Vikram Solanki has to say about this Worcs team-mate of his.

    "What has been a real asset is that he's made himself so accessible to the boys, He's spoken a number of times to all about aspects of reverse swing, how to disguise it, how effective it can be.

    "I've played with some very fine overseas players like Glenn McGrath, Tom Moody, Andy Bichel, Kenneth Benjamin, Chaminda Vaas, but I would not be speaking out of turn if I say that Zak ranks right on top. He comes as an ambassador, and the way he goes about what he does is a sure reflection of an Indian Test player. He hasn't let himself down."

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