Tag Archives: cricket

Oman falters

Oman cricket team is almost full of expat cricket players from India and Pakistan. That’s an eye opener because being team mates, both Indian and Pakistani players have to jell well, play as a team, bond together, smile and encourage each other.

Which would be an anachronism if you ask ordinary Indian or Pakistanis to do the same to each other. Its an eye opener – bringing rivals together in a team would solve many of the acrimonious issues plaguing both the nations. Food for thought.

Anyways, Omani players had buttered fingers in the beginning, as they dropped as many as three catches, and as they say in cricket, catches win matches, those three drops, proved too much for them.

Mohammad Naim (pictured above) controlled the proceedings for Bangladesh and with a good score on board, bowlers did the rest.

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Sri Lanka stutters

Uncharacteristically Sri Lanka stuttered while chasing 96 of Namibia. But their experience took them through with Avishka Fernanda and Bhanuka Rajapaksa taking them through. Mahela Jayawardene had a glum look on his face when two wickets went down in quick succession, raising hopes of another shock win by the minnows following that of Scotland over Bangladesh.

Sri Lanka had a good team in the past but successive retirement of their greats Mahela Jayawardene, Kumar Sangakkara, Chaminda Vaas left a void in them for a long time. I hope they fulfill their immense potential, seen in them winning the ODI world cup in 1996 with Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva at the helm.

JJ Smit of Namibia (pictured above) is supposed to be an exciting batsman as per the commentators and he was playing along the line, unlike other Namibian batsmen whose footwork was all over the place. I hope he and some other players get noticed to be taken in by one of the T-20 leagues around the world. That will do them a world of good.

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Scot stunner

Who would have thought Scotland would stun Bangladesh, a reputed test playing nation in the T-20 world cup in Oman.

Yet that is precisely what happens in practically every world cup, when at least one among the minnows of the cricketing world stuns the arrogant overbearing gtest playing teams.

Now that Scotland has beaten Bangladesh, they should be given official T-20 status and allowed to play alongside the big daddys. Otherwise how will cricket spread to other nations, when now it is a preserve of only 9 or 10 countries. Any of the minnows team which beats the Big Daddys should be given automatic progression to the upper class berth.

Talking of the game, why are the wicket mics so loud that we are forced to hear the mindless chatter of the wicket keepers. Save us from that trouble ICC.

Chris Greaves, pictured above, held out for a resolute 45 in the lower stages and Brad Wheal showed the zeal to pluck Bangladesh out with his 3-24. Well done Scots.

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Juhu Beach

Juhu Beach on a Sunday evening setting sun as the shimmering rays of the sun touches the water.
Game of volleyball being played on the beach without the net, but the spirit is very high.
Helicopter doing patrol, don’t know if it is coast guard or regular helicopter services.
Game of frisbee played, the throwing was very accurate.
Palm trees fringing the neighbour hotels.
Football on the beach, player preparing to kick in from the sideline.
And cricket of course, that was a smashing hit, you could see the ball careening towards the third man boundary.
Man selling his wares for the kids’ enjoyment. He needs to make enough money so that he can go home and feed his own kids. That is life.
Man flying the kite with his kid holding the thread for him. There were quite a few kites being flown on the beach.
The Juhu beach and skyline, being a Sunday, there were good crowds on the beach with families and kids galore.
Throngs of people on the Juhu beach enjoying a relaxing Sunday evening.
And the sun goes down on another day on the shores of Juhu Beach, Mumbai

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W.G. Grace

Unarguably one of the best biographies on one of the greatest all rounders of cricket ever.

Simon Rae has done full justice to the man, a colossal of his times, the man singularly responsible for making cricket popular in its initial stages of development of the game. He was in one part responsible for the bitter rivalry between England and Australia and the Ashes urn, when he taunted Fred Spofforth during the 1882 test series when England required 85 to win and could not make it because of the some defiant bowling by Spofforth.

This book gives a detailed account of practically all of W.G. Grace’s first class matches including some club matches as well, his keen interest on developing Gloucestershire as a cricket team and later Crystal Palace, which did not fructify. Grace was involved in some of the rule changes in the initial era of cricket such as number of balls per over, declaration etc.

Grace started playing cricket even in his pre teens and went on to play it well unto his 66th year just a year before his death. Apart from cricket he was vigorously involved in fishing, shooting, golf, and in his later years lawn bowling and curling. The man had a massive appetite for sports and indefatigable strength to pursue it day after day.

The book also mentions some delectable innings by Ranjitsinghji the famous Indian prince who was unarguably India’s best batsman overseas and after whom the primary cricket tournament in India is named viz. Ranji Trophy. Ranji was a brilliant batsman in his own right until he lost sight in one eye due to a shooting incident and his later responsibilities as a prince of Jamnagar.

This book took a long time to read as Simon Rae has meticulously compiled each aspect of Grace’s life from his early years to his first class career, test career, sibling rivalry, personal life, personal tragedies etc. Grace was a phenomenal all rounder in cricket, more than even Gary Sobers, i would assume. He could grind the attack to pieces, defend it vigorously when the situation demanded and bowl over after overs sometimes the whole day. He was also a brilliant fielder at point position, his overall persona dominating the cricket field like nothing else.

Had W.G. Grace not been around in that era, cricket would have assumed some other milder form, i presume. Goodreads 5/5

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Viv Richards – King of Cricket

A 1987 documentary on the king of cricket – Viv Richards, the legendary batsman of West Indies, Antigua and Somerset. Viv has undoubtedly been the best batsman of my era, the 70s and 80s with his hard hitting explosive batting much before the advent of the hard hitting batsmen of the T-20 era. He had lightning quick reflexes and good eyesight as it has been confirmed by his father, Malcolm Richards in the documentary. The documentary talks of only his brief period in the mid 80s when he was appointed captain following Clive Lloyd’s retirement. There is no mention of his innings in the World Cup of 1979 when he along with Collis King massacred the hapless English bowling or of his magnificent innings of 192 in New Delhi. Nor of the famous scrap with the Aussies in 1975 and of Clive Lloyd rebuilding the team following that defeat. But still its a good documentary with good video footages, lots of sound bytes and overall you get the feeling of greatness in the man, even when he is down on the village ground or at the beach playing with his local friends or the kids in the village. It did mention at the beginning that only few bowlers troubled him and one of them was the legendary Indian leg spinner B.S. Chandrashekhar.

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Ian Botham, the legend

BBC Sport documentary on Ian Botham, the legendary cricketer, all rounder who played for England between 1977 and 1992. England i guess never had a kind of swashbuckling allrounder before him, and his arrival changed the stakes for England. He took 5 wickets in his first test match against Australia and was made captain soon after, but a bad patch leading into the 1981 series saw him lose the captaincy after two tests of that series.

In 1980 he came down to Bombay to play one test against India to commemorate the 50 years of Indian cricket and that test match was his own. He took 13 wickets in all and scored 114 runs in one innings that he played in that match. But by 1981 he had lost his form completely. The 3rd test at Headingley was famous for Botham’s century and Bob Willis scintillating bowling in the 4th innings to turn the match around completely for England. I remember listening to this match on the BBC World test commentary with the likes of John Arlott, Christopher Martin Jenkins, Henry Blofied among others.

The 4th and 5th match in that series went completely Botham’s way. He dominated the 1981 series in the same way Ben Stokes completely dominated the 2019 Ashes against Australia in England. In between England had Andrew Flintoff who started off flamboyantly like Botham but somewhere down the line, injuries put paid to his efforts.

Ian Botham was truly a great allrounder on the same likes of Kapil Dev, Imran Khan & Richard Hadlee, all of whom played around the same time. Ian Botham later became a commentator, but he used to just mumble into the mic, so we did’nt know what he was talking about, but that’s what he is – original. Nice documentary to watch for those who like cricket. It is available on youtube at this link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZN6B1ulxWU

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1999 series India – Pakistan

Interesting documentary on the 1999 India Pakistan cricket series in India. I missed this series because i was abroad during that time, so missed the excitement of Sachin century in Chennai and Kumble 10 wickets in an innings in New Delhi. This series was held after a 10 year hiatus and then there was the hugely popular 2004 series in which India went to Pakistan, which was extremely popular and well received. Indian seam bowler Balaji was the pick of the bowlers during that 2004 series and India had unarguably one of the best line ups during that series with Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Virender Sehwag in that team.

Between 1978-79 which was Kapil Dev’s first test and series and 1989-90 there were seven series and then followed a 10 year gap, which was filled with this series and then there were 5 more series upto 2007-08 which was the last of the test cricket played between these two countries. The terrorist attack on India’s financial capital in November 2008 put the final nail in the coffin of the test relations between these two countries. Subsequently they have only met in world championships. Pakistani players played in the first ever edition of Indian Premier League which had a huge following in Pakistan, but subsequent editions saw them being left out of selections due to government orders.

Now a world test championships in test cricket is taking place and it is to be played on a league basis with every test playing nation playing the other twice, i think, but if India and Pakistan are not playing test cricket, then the credibility of the world championships test cricket is at stake. For a long period of time, no test playing nation visited Pakistan due to security concerns but recently Sri Lanka visited that country for a short tour and followed by Bangladesh for another short tour.

In the meanwhile Pakistan have their own T-20 league but no Indian player goes there but several world players do take part in it for commercial reasons.

I feel test cricket should restart between the two nations, maybe in a neutral country if the government of both countries agree or don’t agree. Sports should not hijacked for political reasons. Sports should not be used as a tool for solving political battles.

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My Autobiography by Dickie Bird

Just finished reading an absorbing, engaging and enthralling autobiography of Dickie Bird, the most loved and most famous cricket umpire in the world, well, at least in my living memory. It is a first time that i am reading an autobiography of an umpire and obviously he is the most loved one. Therefore it was a completely different perspective to look at cricket from the point of view of an umpire. The narrative is brilliant and flowing and he talks of his early childhood playing cricket in Barnsley in Yorkshire and thereafter his progression to a cricket umpire. There are little anecdotes of match situations thrown in liberally throughout the book. He talks of rain hit matches, sun hit matches (yes, there was one match which was stopped momentarily because the sun’s rays were being reflected upon the eyes of the fielders through the glass box of corporate boxes) crowd booing, state of the pitches, use of technology in cricket, decisions etc. The man virtually lives and breathes cricket and therefore it was an entirely refreshing book. That he has umpired some of the most famous matches in the 24 years that he was an umpire and stood when some of the most famous bowlers of the time were bowling, such as Holding, Roberts, Garner, Marshall, Lillee, Thompson, Kapil Dev, Hadlee, Botham, Underwood, etc. is by itself a sheer tribute to the man’s greatness. Highly recommended for reading for all cricket fans. 

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