Category: Sports

Will the real Pakistani team, please stand up ?

As Ramiz Raza tried his best to establish the failings of the Pakistani side, one could easily sense the disappointment in his voice. And why shouldn’t he?

Pakistan lost to India by 124 runs!

This Pakistani side is the weakest one in a long long time. An unforgettable one, indeed.

Being a 90’s born, we’ve seen how tough it used to be to beat the Pakistanis. We still trail them by a 72-52 win-loss margin in ODIs and 12-9 in Tests! Going by how our neighbor has performed in recent years, just goes to show how strong they were!

As hard it is to admit, their bowling attack used to scare most of our batsmen back then.

When I looked at their playing XI the other day, I was like, who are these people? Apart from a couple of familiar faces, they all looked like a team that Bangladesh could beat with ease. And I’m not being arrogant here. Apart from the first bowling spell by Mohammad Aamir, they confirmed this feeling of mine. There’s just nothing there in the Pakistani bowling side. To top it all, they have a spinner wearing colored goggles bowling. Thank you Pandiya for those 3 sixes in whatever-is-his-name’s over!

Sure, I don’t follow their cricket and don’t have much idea on what they did but at least earlier the side at least used to put up a fight.

Where is that Pakistani team?

The fast bowlers. The batsmen who could hit sixes at will. That sledging which makes for such good TV.

I feel so sorry for their fans. And so many of them still came to the stadium. Probably because their NRI neighbors from India were going to cheer for their team. Their flag waving appeared just to be akin to saving face in social meetups in the desi community. The ones who had seen the glory days might just be looking at these players and be going, ‘What have you done to the Pakistani team?’

There used to be so much fun to argue with their supporters with match stats. Sure, for most of their queries, Sachin was our only answer, but still, we managed!

Will the real Pakistan team, please stand up?

The Combo_Yuvi_Dhoni

The Combo: Yuvi-Dhoni

Oh, what a day it has been! From watching Morgan put up a brilliant show of batting and take England really close to the total and then replaying the Yuvi-Dhoni batting. Splendid.

But the favorite moment of the day was when Yuvi scored that Century. His emotion at the end of it, says it all. I mean, the guy made another comeback. To think that at one point this guy was diagnosed with cancer and then bat like this. Wow!

What are we doing with our lives, huh?!

Apart from the vintage Yuvi-Dhoni partnership, it was good to see Dhoni play those shots! A hint of the old Dhoni, which seems to be coming back? That Six to reach 99 sure looked like one. Meanwhile, he completed 200 Sixes. Highest for any Indian.

And doesn’t he look younger when not captaining the side?

Even though this happened to be a delightful game. Looking at the length of the ground and the flat pitches, this is akin to the masala film culture. It all comes down to entertainment and giving the audience something more to cheer about.

In the end, what was the difference between the two sides? What if Morgan was not run-out in that unlucky fashion?

Your Thoughts?

MS Dhoni world cup 2015

A Different Stroke

When people ask me, “So.. Where are you from ?”. On hearing Jamshedpur, in case they look perplexed I add on “Jharkhand” to answer. Each time, that confused look on their faces change to a slight elation, and they go like, “Oh.. Dhoni’s state”.

Thank you for Putting our state on the Map.

The news of MS stepping down isn’t shocking. It was expected. Captains in the Indian Cricket Team follow the same trajectory. Would have loved to watch him lead the team in the next world cup before stepping down, but well, not everything can be perfect as we wish it to be. Right?

I wrote this “Fan-letter” when he retired from Test Cricket and when I reread it, the emotions don’t seem to change a bit. Or to this post I wrote on his Birthday, which I rehash every year btw can tell you a lot.

MS made everyone proud. Sure, he has his share of haters as well, who might be elated at this news as well. Of course, To each his own.

Dhoni isn’t just about the Cricket he played. He’s every small-town boy’s (or girl) icon on dreaming of making something of themselves. When you watch the movie, MS Dhoni, which is, of course, dramatized to an extent, you’ll see the thought process of us, the small-towners. The makers never had to exaggerate that! Dhoni is just one famous example.

I’m sure we’ll get to see more of you as a batsman without the burden of captaincy. I don’t know if you’ll get back to your pre-captaincy swashbuckling self or maintain the captaincy cool. Or maybe a different stroke, altogether?

Here’s to a great 2017, MS!

Thank you Sehwag

Thank you Sehwag

First ball of every innings kisses the boundary ropes, like it was a rule. Part of a ritual and accepted match routine.

The first few overs were a treat to watch because of this man. A flurry of fours, stand and deliver, and most often play a careless shot to head back to the pavilion. Yes, we hated it when he got out, but like those bowlers we expected him to get out after a few hits. But even in those few overs, he would ensure that the team got a flying start. He was a far more consistent than Afridi, but was known to follow a similar line of thought. Hit the ball, or get out of the way.

He was Sehwag. Virender Sehwag.

Thank you Sehwag

[Image courtesy: Telegraph.co.uk]

The guy with hand-eye coordination so perfect that he didn’t required any footwork. People talk about techniques, but surely had something of his own. The flair with which he batted, and when on a song, is the most musical thing you’ll ever watch it on the 22 yards.

People who have grown up watching cricket, can hardly hate this man. He was a treat to the eyes. Those swiftly timed hits on the offside, where the ball reaches the fence at lightning speed or a few on-side flicks. He even perfected Sachin’s cheeky over the keepers’ head 6 onto his own. (Remember when Sachin Hit one on a Shoaib delivery in the ’03 WC?). After, Sachin-Saurav, probably one of the best opening pair that I’ve seen, has been Sachin-Sehwag’s. 

Sachin Sehwag

 

[Image courtesy: sportkeeda.com]

He admired Sachin like a hero. One famous incident which probably many know is when Sehwag sledged back Shohaib with , “Baap baap hota hai” in reference to Sachin. Such was his admiration and confidence on the man.

Sehwag Shoaib Baap Baap hota hai

 

[Image courtesy: CricketCountry]

Generations which is going to hear about him, will assume him to be a typical ODI player, assuming they still play ODI’s then. But his innings in Tests, where he was surprisingly far more effective, are something that his stats also shout aloud.

It is like an era, Sachin, Saurav, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman, Zaheer and now Sehwag, has finally come to an end. I feel old. Seriously. A couple of days back when Zaheer announced his retirement, reading his letter was so heartwarming and pleasing. His humbleness was something that made me miss his bowling even more. Yesterday, when there was confusion on whether Sehwag has quit or not, I was hoping (like others who love him) that I’d see him again in India colors. Of course, I do accept that the Sehwag we once knew, had lost a bit of touch over time, yet being a fan, you do expect things like these to happen. Don’t you ?

Alas, that wasn’t supposed to happen. And he finally retired from all forms of International cricket effective today.

He was a visionary, probably the first person who said scoring a Double Century in an ODI is achievable. Of course, Sachin achieved the feat before him, but I’m pretty sure that if Sehwag would have been able to play till the 50 overs, he would easily have achieved it before itself. But then, he was not a guy who stayed long at the crease.

The time when Sachin used to close in on centuries and suffer the nervous 90s, I still remember Sehwag hitting a 6 to complete his centuries. And this is much before, Dhoni made finishing innings with a 6.

First Test : Pakistan v India

 

[Image courtesy: wisdenindia.com]

Coming from Najafgarh has made his own mark in the history books as far as cricket goes. Opposition was most concerned to get him out than any other in the Indian Line-up. I strongly believe, that one of the biggest reasons our batting line up became such a perfect fit, was because of starts which Sehwag gave.

We can remember him as the first Indian to score a Triple century. We can remember him for providing quick starts to the Indian bowling or simply destroying the opposition new ball bowlers on every occasion. Even when he would be in a bad patch, at least a couple of boundaries were expected to come off his bat.

He has been my favorite batsman and will always be. Yes, it is definitely true that each batsman does lose his way after a while, but in the time he has played and entertained us, he has become a legend for us. I still possess the scrapbook made of newspaper clippings and magazine cutouts of Sehwag.

The Viv Richards of our generation. As people who had witnessed him play, referred to Sehwag. Time will tell, whether we’ll have another Sehwag or not. But this moment, when you hear that this man won’t be playing for India again, it feels like something is lost. A Glorious chapter of Indian Cricket has ended.

Wish you a great life ahead Viru. The Sultan of Multan, will always rule our hearts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the best entertainer of the game. There will be players, but I doubt there will be another Virender Sehwag.

Cheers!

Zaheer Khan Bowling Action

Thank you Zaheer!

India were being crushed by the Kiwis. Low scoring games in the fast and bouncy tracks of New Zealand and even though our bowlers were bowling well, our batsmen were not able to contribute much. The Test series was lost. The one-off t20 match, perhaps India’s first, was also lost even though Sachin scored a great knock and even won the MoM. We even lost the first two ODIs.

I remember the DD News anchor reading the headline, “Bharat ne jeet ka swaad chakha” (India finally tasted victory?). The person responsible for that ODI-win was the tailender, Zaheer Khan.

Zaheer khan batting

[Image courtesy: Sportskeeda.com]

It wasn’t the only time that he made it happen. The famous Natwest ODI chase, where Kaif and Yuvi got India home, and is more famously known for Dada’s antics in the Lord’s pavilion. The winning shot was also hit by Zaheer Khan.

Of course, he isn’t known for his batting, but these were some memories that are entrenched in many Cricket lovers’ mind.

It was around the same time when a new team India was formed. The Men in Blue team led by Saurav Ganguly came into being. The rise of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Mohammed Kaif and Zaheer Khan had all happened at the same time. Indian Cricket which was in deep trouble post the Match fixing scandal, was finally being rebuilt. Zaheer Khan was one among the many heroes which made it possible.

As Dhoni rightly pointed out, Zaheer is the Sachin of Bowling. No other words are fit to describe his contribution and stature.

I still recall how while playing as kids, would try to copy his bowling style. In my head I was trying to take a run-up like him and leap right at the crease and bowl. Of course, I did looked funny and nothing like him and probably the time my bowl reached the wicket, Zak would have already bowled two deliveries. Not just me, many who have played around the time when Zaheer was at his peak, have tried to do the same.

Zaheer Khan Bowling Action

 

[Image courtesy: Yahoo Images]

He had that effect on a lot of cricketers. He had a certain charm and style to his action and you ended up feeling that you ought to be like him. At least try to.

Years later, when he was out of the Indian team, he went back to basics. Got his fitness back, played in the English county and finally got back to the team.

In his retirement note, clearly mentioning that winning the World Cup was the most cherished moment of his cricketing career.

Zaheer Khan World Cup

 

[Image courtesy: Daily Mail]

He was a hero of Indian bowling, a mentor for many fast bowlers and I do wish that sooner than later, he gets associated with the Indian team in mentoring our fast bowlers.

Thank you Zaheer khan, for being an inspiration for many. No matter how much I write, it won’t be enough to thank you.

Have a great life ahead.

Indian fans for world cup

Thank you, Team India!!

Just when MS Dhoni got run out. The final nail on India’s world cup campaign was bolted and put to rest. It was not as if after a mammoth total of 329 was comfortable to be chased from the start, but till he was at the crease, there was little hope left in all of us, cheering from our homes and the huge numbers at the stadium itself.

MS Dhoni world cup 2015

We lost to a better team. We did everything right in the whole tournament. Surprisingly, our bowling attack was the superstar of the lot. We fielded well and most of our batters also got good runs on the board. This, coming from a team which was not in the list of favourites of hardly any. Even when it was the defending Champions.

Perhaps the game against Pakistan set things up. The passion rose and so did the performance. Beating South Africa and in the manner which we did ? Well, the hopes of 1.2 Billion were now scaling new heights.

Nasser Hussain made a statement the other day, actually putting a question to Rahul Dravid while in the commentary box, “ Did India peaked too early?”. Along came the cheeky reply from Dravid, “It is better to peak early then not peak at all”. Of course, it was a friendly jibe by Jammy. Now, I do wonder, did we peaked too early ?

I’m no expert. Just a cricket fan and hence reading too much into all this, or about the momentum would be wrong.

Anyways, as we stand now, we lost our first game in this world cup. Heartbreaking ? Yes.

You can see people out with swords, blaming one or the other. To the bizzare extent that people have been blaming Anushka Sharma whole throughout the day, just when Kohli got out!! Call it “Just Kidding” or anything, it just goes to show how we are so used to blaming something on others. Especially, Women. Not just that, the “Most watched English News Channel” in India says, ” Shamed in Sydney”?!!! I mean shame on you for even bringing such words out of your sensationalizing news channel only looking for TRPs. Stand by your country, not just when they win, but also when they lose. More so, when they’ve played exceptional cricket in the whole tournament. And they were not bad even today!!

I enjoyed the Australian tour, even though we couldn’t win. I enjoyed this World cup, when we won. Today, I am definitely sad that we couldn’t reach the finals, but I’m content that we could reach this far.

Indian fans for world cup

I would just like to say, Thank you Team India for putting up a good show. Hope you’ve learnt a lot and in future, you’d make us proud, again.

Dhoni, you fought hard. But then there’s only so much a man can do. You are the hope for us and I’m glad that you are not retiring now. That statement at the presentation ceremony that you are not retiring brought a smile, and I’m thankful for that.

Thank you, Team India.

Thank you Dhoni

To MSD: A fan-letter

There were no “news leaks” floating around about retirement, there was no marketing to make a full-house farewell and nor there was any photo-op to bid farewell to the longer format of the game. Everything was same as it has always been.

A silent march, with stumps in his hands, and the same attitude which he has always carried on, he called it a day.

MS Dhoni retirement press conference

[Picture Courtesy: Crickradar.com]

I won’t argue with people on whether he was better in tests than One dayers or he wasn’t in any or any random accusation which the anti-dhoni brigade will come up with.

You die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Was he slowly inching towards that ?

For someone who has admired him from the time he played in the India-A squad in Zimbabwe, and then being called in for the Bangladesh tour, it is difficult to imagine him being the villain. Not now, not ever.

It is not just the aggressive batting style, or his captain cool avatar but also the way he has carried himself off the field. He is an icon.

Its a little unusual to take in, that he has retired. But with him still being there for ODI’s is a relief.

 

Kohli is amazing batsmen and it would be great to see him lead the test side with his brand of aggressive captaincy.

To the captain, who carried the team of veterans as well as youngsters.

Thank you Dhoni

[Picture Courtesy: India.com]

Cheers to Mahendra Singh Dhoni!! You’ll always remain an icon.

MS Dhoni 183 runs knock

Happy b’day MS!!

A young boy from a city in Jharkhand, a newly formed state struggling to keep up after its divorce from Bihar, was making some waves in the domestic circuit. A (thumbnail) picture. with a lanky sunscreen laden face, adorned one small section of the sports column in the morning  newspapers’ local edition.

After century knocks against Zimbabwe, Kenya and Pakistan- A teams, this India-A player was slowly getting his due attention. Although the Indian Team selectors picked Dinesh Kartick as the wicket keeper, the one year started off with a series of great performances by this Jharkhand lad in the domestic circuit.

And after a year, he was finally chosen to be in the ODI team travelling for Banagladesh.

A Dream come true.

Not just for him, but for a state trying to make its presence felt. We all felt like our dream was getting realised.

But it didn’t came without disappointments. He got out to a duck.

In the second match he played, of the two balls that he faced, one went for a Six. This six against the Bangladesh attack was the signal of what was to come later.

Next series, it was Pakistan

148* laced with 4 mighty sixes and 15 powerful 4s in just 123 balls, was when the world came to know of Mahendra Singh Dhoni!!!

This was not the end; this was a start to the storm that had made its way into the Indian Cricket team.

Innings of 182 against Pakistan by MS Dhoni at Vizag

The Pakistan series got him, his first Man-of-the-Series award and was followed up by the Sri Lankan series.  Promoted up the order, chasing 299 against Sri Lanka, with 10 sixes and 15 fours, he stood up high in the record books as the highest score by a wicket-keeper batsman as well as by an Indian. 183*.

MS Dhoni 183 runs knock

Rest, as they say is History. History which is glorious and promises to add more laurels in the coming years.

T20 world cup, ODI World Cup, Champions Trophy, IPL championship, Champions League are just a few of the trophies that the Indian Cricket Team or the Chennai Super Kings have won. This has been possible because of just one man. The captain marvel or the Captain Cool, as many call him. Giving coolness a whole different meaning.

Taking decisions with the cool as a cucumber mind. Imagine giving the final over to a nobody like Joginder Sharma the final over in the 2007 WC or even persisting with Ishant Sharma, who was way too expensive the crucial death overs, and not to mention how well they worked!!

His having faith in the players even in times of terrible form isn’t limited to match-time situations. He is known to back Ravindra Jadeja and even Rohit Sharma. Notwithstanding the jokes, criticism and their visible bad form, he backed them all and we all can see the effects.

Ravindra Jadeja is the best example of how criticism can give rise to a hero. Imagine the “Sir” tag attached to his name just for ridiculing him is slowly turning out to be an honorary title. Who knows, the Queen might just make this come true!!

Of course, when you are doing well, in Dhoni’s case “Exceptionally well” where he is known to have a Midas touch, there will be haters. And yes, there are.

But deep down, even they agree on what this One man has achieved and is capable of achieving (Although there’s hardly anything left).

Proud to belong to the state from where you come. Blessed to have watched you play. Honored to have you as our Captain and Pleasure to be a Dhoniette.

Happy b’day Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the coolest captain to have ever lead an Indian Cricket team.

To CSK Haters

To the CSK haters!!

The final match is just hours away. Final of the Indian Premier League 6.

MI Vs CSK

Two teams, Chennai Super Kings, and Mumbai Indians have made it to the finals.

On one side, it’s the “yet-to-be-a-winner” Mumbai Indians and on the other is Chennai Super Kings, the two-time winner, and the ONLY team to have reached the semifinals or playoffs EVERY IPL season. And for a while, we may just leave Champions league out of this picture, where also this team has shown consistency.

Now, going into this final, there has been a lot of talks. Or to be a little more clear, a lot of BULLSHIT thrown around.

There has been of course big revelations on the betting scandal, where 3 Players from Rajasthan  Royals have been arrested, and the captain, team owners, officials questioned too. There has also been involvement of a “Bollywood connection” in the form of Vindoo Dara Singh, which has further opened many new “connections” of this scandal, including BCCI President N. Srinivasan’s son-in-law, Gurunath Meiyappan. This is how the stakes are stacked as of now. Just a day before the final of IPL6 scheduled to be held in Kolkata.

There is a significant question that I want to ask. Will you say this IPL was fixed if CSK wins it??

And is your answer influenced by recent happenings around cricket, where individual players have put this gentleman’s game to shame??

Well before you answer, let me just go back a year.

Same time, it was the final between CSK and Kolkata Knight Riders(KKR)!!

 

Instead of MI (this year), there was KKR. But this talk of it being fixed and CSK will end up winning, or “I’ll stop watching IPL if CSK wins” talk was still doing the rounds.

Was there a betting scandal unearthed that time as well?? Or were some players arrested??

So, why was there so much talk every time this Team called Chennai Super Kings does well??

The only logical answer that can come to my mind is, when you are at the top, there will be a lot of Dogs barking down there, to pull you down and that’s what is happening!!

I don’t have to say who the dogs are. Do I??

Isn’t it baffling that a team whose 3 players( Sreesanth, Chandela, and Chavan) were arrested, was hailed as the team of fair play and their captain holds the ultimate image of honesty continues to do so. And a team, whose owner’s son-in-law has been arrested, ends up becoming the team which fixes matches??

I agree that Dravid’s image makes it so and it very correctly shows a case of some rotten eggs.

But, when it comes to Mahendra Singh Dhoni, all of this just doesn’t have any significance. Hypocrisy at its very best!!

You point fingers at MS, just because of an alleged bookie sitting beside his wife during matches in the stadium?? Well, that same “Bollywood connection” has clicked lots of pictures with SRK, Preity, etc. Are they involved too??

Why just IPL matches, maybe, this guy fixed the World cup matches to bring in two effin trophies back home also??

 

You know what, haters will always remain haters, and I don’t give a rat’s ass, as to whether you guys stop watching IPL if we win this thing again,( as you have been claiming from many seasons) or NOT!!

We win the title again or not, depend on how we play out there at the Edens, and even if we don’t win this, we, the CSK fans will still always stand by it through its thick and thin.

I do believe that we will win this again, for the third time!!

CSK Haters

And yes, I don’t mean to be rude, but

#$%& YOU CSK-Haters!!!!! (Yea, I know you get that)!!

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