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Ranabir Majumdar
Saturday , July 23, 2011

Dhoni didn't make a mockery by bowling

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Cricket legend Kapil Dev had strong words for MS Dhoni after the Indian skipper brought himself on to bowl on day two of the Lord's Test. In fact, it is difficult to digest the 'making mockery of test cricket' statement from the former Indian captain, especially because everyone knows that Dhoni is generally not given to such antics. By day two of the Lord's Test, India were facing a double blow. First, Zaheer was out of the attack due to an apparent hamstring injury and two, none of the Indian bowlers were proving to be a thorn in the flesh of the English batsmen. Dhoni is an astute strategist and reader of the game and his decision to bowl himself can be backed on two grounds. Desperate times call for desperate measures. And considering the conditions prevalent, it probably wasn't a bad call to try out some seam up medium....

Thursday , May 12, 2011

A film on what makes a great team

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There have been many individual sportspersons who have ruled the collective imagination of the masses, but no other team apart from the West Indies cricket team of the 1970s has been admired, loved and spoken of for generations despite being a ruthless, winning machine. It's not that they were a mean unit to begin with and as a new film - Fire in Babylon, scheduled to hit the screens on May 20, documents it was the physical and verbal hounding the team received during the tour of Australia in 1975-76 that led them to forge such a strong unit. The movie, which premiered at the London Film Festival this month, has received rave reviews and cricket writers who had the good fortune of witnessing the preview have written how the movie is more than just a highlight package of the team's 29-Test series winning streak that goes on to....

Tuesday , March 02, 2010

The conflict between letter and spirit

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The International Hockey Federation's decision to ban Shivendra Singh for two games reeks of a bias and points to an inflexibility that does not augur well for the game. Shivendra, who was banned for three games for "deliberately" hitting a Pakistani player during India's World Cup opener on Sunday, had his ban reduced to two games on Tuesday following an appeal by the team management. The decision is not only harsh but completely unfair. It is shameful that none of the other teams have voiced their concern over such unilateral calls. Perhaps they are unaware that they could face such an action tomorrow. While it is a given that laws and rules are to be followed, what is most important is to uphold the spirit of the law and in this case - of the game as well. According to the rules of the game, players....

Thursday , February 18, 2010

What an agonising wait!

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As the players and the fans filed out of the Eden Gardens earlier than the scheduled close of play on day two, three and four, the floodlights were switched on. Prior to the start of the series, there had been questions raised over gardening plans at the Eden. There were plans alright, but not to work on the pitch but on the absent stands that will emerge and bear the load of expectations during the 2011 World Cup games there. As unseasonal rains descended over Kolkata on day four, my dreams of seeing an Indian victory were held by a thin strip of hope. But more than frustration, it was anger that was the overcoming emotion. The BCCI had hurriedly put together this Test series after India dislodged South Africa from the No. 1 Test spot on December 6. But somehow in their infinite wisdom, the BCCI had....

Tuesday , February 16, 2010

India No. 1: I'm lovin' it!

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I was sitting at the Manesar McDonald's and digging into a meal on Sunday when a friend sms-ed me saying my predictions of India winning the Kolkata Test were all wrong. Alviro Peterson and Hashim Amla were going great guns and the garden of Eden was going to be a 'thorny affair'. Within 10 minutes of that SMS, the slide had started. As I ordered for more goodies, Zak and Bhajji put on a lip-smacking show. Every delivery had the Proteas frying for cover. Every wicket celebrated with a dip of the bar-be-cue sauce. Over the next six sessions, there was unbridled joy as India's top and middle order fired in unison. It's a sight to behold as Sehwag cuts loose, Tendulkar matures another, Laxman caresses one and Dhoni plays as a captain who's determined to set the record straight. After being down and out almost exactly....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

10 reasons why India will square the series

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It's a Valentine's Day special as India take on South Africa in the second Test at Kolkata on February 14. After disappointing their fans at Nagpur, the team is all set to make up to them and ensure there's no love lost. And what better place than the garden of Eden to prove themselves. Here are the top 10 reasons why India will square the series and retain the No. 1 spot in ICC Test Team rankings. 10. Rewind to 2001 and to the Eden Gardens. After a three-day thrashing in the Mumbai Test against the Aussies, Team India defied everyone to script a memorable win at Kolkata. Eden Gardens is India's den. It's the turnaround venue for India, for all times. South Africa be afraid. Be very afraid! 9. You got that Very Very Special feeling when a certain VVS Laxman played the innings of his....

Monday , February 08, 2010

Tiger, Terry & accountability

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While the web was abuzz with 'Tiger' jokes, I came across a pretty smart line that for me outlined what it meant for a sportsperson to deviate from his pre-eminent position, whether on or off the pitch. "With Federer losing, Thierry Henry cheating and Tiger crashing his car, is Gillete still 'the best a man can get'?" Look at it closely and you'll see that it's the sponsors who are at the edge with allegations that have hit their celebrity endorsers. During the last decade, they put their money on Woods for his consistent below par performances. But such is the strength of an aphrodisiac cocktail containing money and fame that even Tiger gave in to his sponsor Nike's motto a tad too seriously, only to perform, as reports suggest, above par again and again. Former English football captain John Terry, who lost his arm-band in 720 seconds,....

Monday , February 01, 2010

Pakistan's captaincy quandary

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Stand-in captain Shahid Afridi has been banned. Regular skipper Mohammad Yousuf is already on his way back home with a knee injury. T20 World Cup winning skipper Younis Khan has retired from international Twenty20. The man who could have appointed an interim captain, chief selecor Iqbal Qasim has put in his papers after the team's whitewash in both the Test and ODIs. And guess what? The T20 game against Australia is just three days away. There's something about Pakistan cricket that never ceases to amaze you. Just how do they manage to dig a hole for themselves is worth being included in a book that compiles the unsolved mysteries of the world. This is the time the team should have been looking to play together as a unit and look to redeem themselves with at least a couple of consolation wins in the two T20 games. After all,....

Monday , February 01, 2010

11 at 36, what's next Lee?

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It's not about numbers. It can't be, for you can't measure a man's stomach for a fight. Least of all a man who goes by the name of Leander Paes. In an interview in 2006, barely a week after a Davis Cup tie, a senior tennis journalist asked him how many body parts weren't complaining. He reportedly answered with a laugh, "only the heart". It's that heart that keeps Leander going at an age where most tennis players retire. At a time when their bodies and their minds cannot take it anymore, Leander continues to amaze the tennis fraternity and fans by pulling off big wins regularly. The Australian Open mixed doubles crown on Sunday was his 11th Grand Slam win in 12 years. This was his fifth mixed doubles Grand Slam title. He's won six men's doubles Grand Slam titles and countless Davis Cup matches. But....

Thursday , January 28, 2010

Broken service, broken heart

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Just the other day, a colleague suggested to me to write a piece or rather an epitaph of Sania Mirza's tennis journey. After all, the lass from Hyderabad was all set to quit the game after tying the knot. But Wednesday's development means that piece will have to wait. While the earlier story would have been dotted with episodes of broken services, this one surely is about a broken heart. In fact, even before Mohammad Sohrab and Sania were engaged, there were questions asked whether he could cope with the life of a popular athlete. While changing partners on the court may be a done thing, it's not the easiest to do off the court. You can't put your career on hold if your partner is injured or unable to carry on with you. Some of the best on-court partnerships have wilted under pressures of the ego....


More about Ranabir Majumdar

Broken glass, furniture and clocks adorn Ranabir's Trophy cupboard. Benched time and again for his madness, he finally traded the bats and the raquets for the keyboard. And with almost all clocks at home out of the way, there has been no limit on the amount of sports he has consumed ever since. Despite his streak of madness, his friends and family continue to be amazingly tolerant of his sporting obsessions.


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