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Apr 30, 2007

Its over...! 4 years of waiting... and I hate cricket!

O India, India! Wherefore art though India?

After India's lame demise from the 2003 World cup, I decided to follow the general trend amongst fellow fans, and resort to another sport to get over the depression. About 2 years ago though, the hype started to kick in, and it was all Team India Go!

A pic from many moons ago. We'll probably not see anything like this in a long time, so consider Photoshopping this into colour

One can almost liken the situation to a tumultuous adolescence relationship. At first, its all systems go with the bond looking as strong as ever. Both sides aim to please each other through their actions (read: buying expensive tickets to watch Indian games, or skipping Calculus classes to watch the game on the big screen), with each of side working relatively hard to make it work.

Things are very touch and go at this stage, with both sides just hoping the other doesn't do anything wrong to break the fragile ice. Then, on that important occasion, the other side slips (read: 2003 WC final). The other side almost willingly messes up, and the bond breaks. The one side decides enough is enough, the heartbreaks were too much, things weren't working out, blah blah (catch the latest episode of Passions for more excuses)...

After a bit of away time, the heartbroken lass decides to give the casanova another go. Surely the same mistake cannot be repeated twice..? And it even looks like the other side has done something to mend its ways - like new friends (selectors and management), new qualities (players). Perhaps, things would change for the better... Maybe things might work out after all..?

Yeah right! The relationship was rekindled but unfortunately the after effects of the last breakup came back to haunt them. The other side started messing around again (India in SA, 2003), and when crunch time came, the true form came out. All is lost... The lass decides, enough is enough, and its time to move on. At least until the next World Cup.

Support the Aussies... they never disappoint

Thats my new outlook on life. Why would anyone want to seek disappointment? Surely, its the most feasible approach to take? I mean, the sports teams from this country never fail to please. Good at everything they do - be it cricket, hockey, swimming, rugby. Even the socceroos are doing well. Is there anything they're NOT good at? Hmmm... still thinking about that one...

Anyway, the final was a real thriller with the Sri Lankans showing a real competitive spirit clearly lacking in all the other teams in the tournament. If it wasn't for the wonder machine called Adam Gilchrist, perhaps the game would have turned out differently. It is my strong opinion that every international team's coach must have a checklist of all Aussie players that don't perform in a match - these players should be the ones who should be targeted on the next game, as they are the most likely to outperform the rest.

Its almost as if the Aussie management is hoping for a player to slump, so they could bounce back with venom in the next game. The Aussie 'keeper's batting will definitely be remembered as one of the greatest run routs in recent times. Any other game, and he would have probably crossed the 200 run barrier.

The Lankans showed some great fighting class, and looked really good at various stages of the game, but lady luck was working the morning shift, and had decided to call it a day by the second innings. The farce at the end at the closing ceremony is best not to be spoken about.

So now, 2 months later, things are the way it used to be. Where Aussie cricket ruled the world, where other players are just humans, where every action has an equal reaction. And where gravity brings us back to the real world...

Apr 13, 2007

Madam & Eve... another classic.

(Read: Cricket is generally a 'white' sport in ZA, while soccer a 'black' one... mostly due to the interests and past-times of the people that lived here pre-1994.)

Apr 12, 2007

Brian Lara retires... an ode to a legend.

After WI's huge defeat on Monday against SA in the Super-8 match of the World cup, I think it was much expectant that some sort of backlash would follow the 4 defeats in a row. Perhaps dropping the coach, or removing Lara from captaincy.

But it was really sad to hear that Brian Charles Lara, the kingpin of WI cricket for the last decade and a half, would be retiring from One Day cricket. A real mainstay of WI cricket, I believe he was one of the main reasons WI cricket hasn't fallen out of the face of the international media.

I remember his innings against SA (his favourite team) in the last 2 WCs. He's probably the reason SA hasn't taken the Cup yet (amongst other factors). His backfoot late cuts is probably one of the most stylish shots in World cricket. Hmm.. now there's a good tag... Maybe I'll work on it at the end of this post...

I've not been fortunate enough to watch him live. Hopefully he'll do a tour of SA sometime soon. But his legacy in ODI cricket as a batting star and a respectable captain will surely be missed. His role as captain in this latest ill-fated ODI was probably one of the most disastrous of his career, and there's little doubt his postponement of the Power Play against SA was the major factor in the opposition reaching that high score, and setting the team on the backfoot for the 2nd half of the match. Perhaps, he was imitating the wily Ponting's strategy from the game before that. Ponting's decision to postpone the last Power Play was sheer brilliance, Lara's looked like he was expecting a miracle. A real pity given his experience in the game.

Anyhow, his prowess was with the bat, in the middle of the field, with shots that made any opposition look tame. He's gonna be leaving a large vacant space in the ODI team, and its gonna take a real talent to fill his shoes.

Best cricket shots in the world:

1. Backfoot late cut to 3rd man:
Brian Lara's favourite shot. Very stylish, easy single, resonably safe... Don't recall him every inside edging it to his stumps. Very elegant.

2. Frontfoot/Backfoot cover drive to long off: Sachin Tendulkar's very best. The little master's massive bat made the shot look like a movement in a ballet. His backfoot drive must be the most difficult shot ever - to be able to place it through the gaps and follow through with that straight bat is pure elegance. Another of his classic shots is his lap of the ball on his pads to the mid-wicket boundary.

3. The hook/pull shot to the on-side: Definitely not Ricky Ponting's only weapon in his armory, but I really believe he's the only player that can pull (pun intended) the shot without any difficulty (or clumsiness). Its a very elegant shot, thats a definite winner especially when its sails over the rope. I'm sure many bowlers have reconsidered bowling the shot ball to him after nothing his prowess.

4. The sweep (6): The late Hansie Cronje's favourite shot. Down on his knees, neat swing of the bat - the sweep 6. A very difficult shot to pull off - especially since the one knee is on the ground while the hands do all the hard work. Its a really beautiful shot, and a real pity its not seen anymore.

5. The reverse sweep: I'll be honest, I don't think any player has mastered this stroke. Many players in Bob Woolmer's SA team were quite inept at playing this stroke, but I've not really noticed it being played with conviction (i.e. off the middle of the bat). Paul Nixon's 6 off Murali was a once off - doesn't count :)