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Monday , April 30, 2012

Cricket can learn from Berbou's failure


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This is the story of Alexis Berbou at the municipal Hippodrome in Nouma, the capital of New Caledonia. Berbou is an automobile rallying enthusiast who is immensely popular among the 2,50,000 people of this little island in the southwest Pacific Ocean. He was driving in the special stage of the Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie in the Asia Pacific Rally Championship series last weekend. Now, what has this to do with cricket? - please read on. To showcase the sport of rallying, the New Caledonia rally puts out a special section inside the racecourse in the middle of the town and everyone who is free sort of turns up in the evening to watch the car maniacs display their extreme driving skills in fancy cars made to take all the punishment nature and man can give a vehicle with four wheels, and Berbou was doing fine to general applause as his....


Tuesday , April 24, 2012

Accept a fielder's word? Never!


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Cricket lost its tag of the gentlemen's game long ago. No amount of anguish over this is going to restore the pristine image of the once genteel game played on the village green for sheer joy. The IPL, however progressive it is made out to be, is probably quite the obverse of what the game was when it was played innocently in villages. We are now far removed from the bucolic roots but then this is a small price to be paid for progress. Shaun Marsh is an idealistic youngster who may have paid a small price for believing cricket is still in the age of the knights. At Kings XI Punjab, his IPL career is now under the Adam Gilchrist influence, as it was in Western Australia too, which means he may have thought it right to ask the wicketkeeper whether he had taken the catch cleanly and....


Tuesday , April 17, 2012

Fair play not sighted yet


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There is a 'Fairplay' award in the IPL but few remember it because it does not come with a juicy cheque for a couple of million dollars or so. No one remembers who won the trophy on the first four occasions. No wonder player behaviour in IPL 5 has been less than satisfactory. Frequent arguments among the antagonists betray the fact that tensions are getting under the skin these days. And the captains are not helping either because they are under pressure like never before as result after surprise result was thrown up in the early stages. None would begrudge Sachin Tendulkar the pressures that come with the perquisites of just being who he is in the world of sport that idolises the achievers. There would only have been sympathy for him when he decided to hand over the captaincy at Mumbai Indians after what can only be termed as....


Tuesday , April 10, 2012

IPL business model here to stay


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It is not the critics who count. Some of their views on the premier league may be very negative but the fact remains that the IPL is here to stay as a successful business model. It's time to examine the issue in some detail since IPL 5, the first of 10 in the initial series, has got off the ground. While varied opinions are part and parcel of the game, what's happening is that it is becoming fashionable to knock the IPL for all the ills that beset the national team in the disastrous season. The attitude of the players who prioritise the league in their career plans may have clouded the issue. But why blame the league for being such a valuable asset as to impel cricketers to monetize it to make and secure their lives? There may be issues of temperament brought on by over exposure to limited-overs....


Tuesday , April 03, 2012

In club vs country, cash comes first


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It's a long way to fly to enjoy a Johannesburg thunderstorm. That's exactly what India did in the most curiously scheduled one-off Twenty20 the cricket world has ever known. The modern day Indian cricketing millionaires have as good a reason to feel cheated as those who went out from India as indentured labour 150 years ago and found the living conditions tough in a land dominated even then by the colonial masters and white supremacists. The necessity for scheduling a match just days ahead of IPL 5's opener was never clear even if the deeds of Jacques Kallis for South Africa in all the formats are a cause worthy enough to celebrate anywhere at any time. There has never been a more committed cricketer to new nation's cause once India opened up the gates for the cricket world's reconciliation with South Africa after 21 years in the wilderness thanks....


Tuesday , March 27, 2012

Bangladesh arrive in the big league


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Brave Bangladesh stumbled at the winning post. But had the team, which played so consistently right through the Asia Cup, so much as won the tournament there would have been wicked whispers. While Pakistan has a history of tanking against Bangladesh a millennium ago - well just 1999 actually - conspiracy theorists were also linking the India vote at the United Nations Human Rights Commission to Sri Lanka's lackluster show against the hosts. Truth to tell, the form book was not turned upside down. The hosts had played mighty well against Pakistan in the league game too and if not for Umar Gul getting rid of, in the nick of time, a partnership progressing dangerously and Aizaz Cheema bowling Shakib Al Hasan, Bangladesh may well have sprung an early surprise. The Indians were overwhelmed by the emotional occasion of Sachin Tendulkar's century of centuries to concentrate on winning the match.....


Tuesday , March 20, 2012

Latest model Tendulkar at crease now


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A brand new version of Sachin Tendulkar is about to unfold if he has not already done so. The freedom with which he batted against Pakistan suggests that the senior batsman with a new tousled hairdo is reinventing himself to be a more potent force in the winter of his career. Resisting the temptation to put a sell-by date on him because there are millions who showed a readiness to do just that, my resolution No. 1 in the wake of his 100th century is to sit back and enjoy his presence at the crease. Tendulkar batted with childish enthusiasm in a game in which many tend to tighten up because any match against Pakistan is too a big an occasion. Maybe, it suited him that to chase a target figure India had never touched before (330), he had to play with that degree of abandon that was missing in....


Tuesday , March 13, 2012

Forget fix claims, enjoy clean cricket


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The biggest turnaround for cricket in recent times was the fact that the Pakistan team began playing to win again and not to lose as per the dictates of shadowy figures from the world of bookmakers and match-fixers. When Pakistan beat England 3-0 on the desert sands there was rejoicing around the cricket world, not because the world's top Test side was humiliated but because cricket's most tainted side began playing honestly to win again. We would like to sincerely believe that nothing has changed since the mighty show of innate playing prowess - splendidly boosted by the ability of their bowlers to win matches - was put up by the much-maligned Pakistan players. Under Misbah-ul-Haq they are a reformed lot and it is in the interest of world cricket that it stays that way. It hardly matters if another bookmaker somewhere has boasted to undercover reporters of the power....


Tuesday , March 06, 2012

Sack the coach, change the Test captain


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An early exit from the tri-series in Australia is not by itself a low point in Indian cricket. It's happened before on a number of occasions when the team has not made a final or finals. The sum total of the performance on tour was what made it a nadir in the affairs of Team India. When the normally loquacious Kris Srikkanth, always thought of as media-friendly, tells a media person to 'shut up' when live on national television the reaching of a boiling point represents a state of mind in which the confidence and charisma of Indian cricket as a whole have been eroded by the pressures. A number of theories have been propounded on why India has been on such a long slide post-April 2, particularly from July 21 of last year. Many will point to the start of the IPL within days of India winning the World....


Tuesday , February 28, 2012

Tendulkar deserves a last hurrah


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Sachin Tendulkar's ODI career is on its last legs, if they haven't folded already. Those on the inside track say he was to announce his retirement as soon as India qualified for the tri-series finals, which would then have been his swansong. Since their chances of getting there are the same as Tendulkar finding his form to make another double hundred in an ODI, it can be assumed he would be inclined to take in the Asia Cup in Dhaka in March so that he can go out on a high. He deserves the chance to name where and when his last game will be. Regardless of the reduced circumstances Indian cricket finds itself in at the moment we cannot allow what happened to Ricky Ponting to be Tendulkar's fate too. India may have paid a high price already for a sentimental retention of the seniors until the top Test....


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More about R Mohan

Ramaswamy Mohan, one of the country's leading cricket writers, fell in love with the game after watching his first Test match in 1960 as a 10-year-old. So fascinated was he with cricket that he dedicated his early life to becoming cricket correspondent of The Hindu, a post he held with acclaim for close to 20 years while reporting live 130 Test matches, five World Cups and over 300 One-Day Internationals. Having risen to Resident Editor at the Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, he still remains a keen student of the game who follows the happenings in Indian cricket with a particular relish.

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