Ravi Shastri was the last of the legendary commentators seen in a comm box. His grace, poise, mannerism reflected the Indian side of how a Boycott, Tony Grieg, Richie Benaud, Mark Nicholas would do it. With the passing away of Grieg and Benaud and Shastri now being the coach and manager of the Indian team, those remaining are mere shadows of what commentary is supposed to be. Nicholas doesn't come too often as well.
The current ones have no vocal variety, and tend to forget their own follies and act as if they were perfect and had no chinks when they played. The broadcasters have been forced to recruit those who lack a certain sense of respect for the game, instead they keep using the term modern without any understanding of it. They are stuck in their own egotistical and maniacal world and praising heap on the past, showing contempt for the those who are playing.
With an experience of 5, 10 matches, they give their philosophy on those who are more talented, more experienced, and definitely mature. It is like a 5th grader trying to stamp authority on a Post Graduate. The current commentators have the mind of a 5th grader, conversing about all and sundry. There is too much fixation on statistics and seeing numbers as the ultimate hallmark of the players’ prowess. Just as players play local and domestic matches to improve, commentators should go to a journalism school on their expenditure and learn how to say it in the right manner.
Just as players play local and domestic matches to improve, commentators should go to a journalism school on their expenditure and learn how to say it in the right manner.
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade worked brilliantly for England all-rounder Moeen Ali who after a 5-match hiatus took 9 wickets, an eerie reminder of 2014 where he turned out to be the breakout star and in 2018 along with fellow all-rounders Stokes and Curran took their team to a much-needed series victory.
The ongoing debate that why a more qualified and skilled Ashwin wasn’t able to take wickets with one hand tied behind his back, while his less illustrious competitor took 9 is more noise than substance. These two are as different as chalk and cheese and being compared is unfair to both.
Though it is disappointing that a 2-2 result was looming before they went into a free fall like a meteor, the series score line 3-1 is ambiguous. Indian fast bowlers since the South Africa tour performed in a manner which has not been achieved before. They rivaled their more overrated counterparts in this particular tournament and now 3 fast bowlers have 5 wicket hauls while only Anderson has 5 wickets not counting Moeen Ali.
There were not many scores above 300 and the highest was 396 but average remained between 150 and 250 and that all 4 matches had results irrespective of who it favored. Even the argument that batsmen are not patient enough to bat for hours and get affected by ‘white ball’ in the ambiguous modern era won't cut it out. If scores of 600 had been made, it would become boring; the argument would have flipped that the pitches are flat, boundary ropes shorter, a bowler's nightmare; either way it is difficult to please anyone.
Print and Electronic media kept reiterating that only one team had come back from behind to win a series after being 2-0, it being Australia in 1936 and they kept on beating the drum - it seems a little unwise - while the achievement in 1936 sans any rules and regulations is praiseworthy, they are different eras- more than 90% of players involved weren't born so they wouldn’t care about this record and 3-1 or 2-2 are just numbers – they do not tell the full story. Sport in that era was not bound by hardcore rules and regulations- it was a free for all, so it does not make sense to rub it in.
Adil Rashid's inclusion in the Test team has led to a war of words between the bowler and retired cricketers; Rashid who chose the 50 and 20 formats over the puritanical 5-day format defended his actions by putting the onus on the administration.
However, his exploits in the ODI series, now re-labelled as 'white-ball cricket' and with virtually no faith in 20-year-olds, made the administration choose him. The argument from many corners who opposed his selection was that he had not played domestic test cricket to be potent in this format and therefore will not have had the skills to be penetrative.
Red ball, white ball, finger spinner, leg spinner or wrist spinners are just jargons and make up for a dull and a bland conversation; this is due to lack of creative content, skill, knowledge and training by commentators and other stakeholders.
The Indian team management on the other hand chose to err on the side of caution by not selecting Chahal in the test team and instead sent him to play domestic red ball cricket so that he can adjust accordingly. Modern day sport and life is another cliché used habitually by all and sundry without understanding that these terms are relative, cosmetic and shallow.
The debate about flat pitches and no help for the bowler rages on, with references to recent scores of 450+ by teams in 50 overs, which makes a few killjoys lament the good old days of good fast blowers and spinners and a game of balance which according to these very killjoys is a zombie. Perhaps these same killjoys have intentionally forgotten when a team made 950 runs in a test match and its opponent made 540 as a grueling example that these pitches as flat as a pancake did not just erupt today but is as old as the sport.
It is like asking which is better between a degree or a diploma in academic terms. If the person has the skill, knowledge and comprehension, degree or diploma becomes negligible.
25/6/2018 0 Comments
Australian cricketers, Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft who were charged with ball tampering bore the brunt of not only the local media but their home board Cricket Australia, retired players and world media; their actions were scrutinized the same way as one would for match fixing, an eerie reminder of Pakistan players Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif who were suspended for 5 and 10 years respectively and even jailed for a short period for the no-ball controversy.
This also accentuates the quasi power of the umpires; should the umpires have the same discretion and judgement as those of Hockey and Football for player suspension, that is handing out red and yellow cards on the spot for any offenses or be mere figureheads waiting for the match referee's decision.?
Cricket Australia Officials had no alternative but to take matters into their own hands; avoiding further humiliation not only did they suspend the trio for 12 months (9 months to Bancroft), but stripped Steve Smith and David Warner of Captaincy and Vice Captaincy respectively which clearly underlines the emotions of a sport and how invested one is.
The suspension of the Australian cricketers might act as a deterrent to future players but in the hindsight, it was still harsh. Cricket Australia Officials took this decision to preserve their reputation and credibility and never expected the sport in their country under their supervision to fall below certain standards.
The case of Sri Lankan Captain Dinesh Chandimal is in stark contrast; he was suspended for one match, but unlike Cricket Australia, the Sri Lankan Cricket Board without any fuss quietly announced an interim captain. They seemed untroubled by the whole situation and complied with the International Cricket Council's decision and saw no reason to add anymore punishments and hostility from their side.
Ball tampering unlike match fixing is still vague as a concept. If electronic devices are not permitted to be with the players and officials in the duration of the match, then ' foreign substances' which can alter the shape or condition of the ball should have similar restrictions. It is paradoxical that players carry along with them jelly or sandpaper nonchalantly to the ground and then we expect them not to use it.
If Indian Football captain Sunil Chhetri was born in another country and had scored over 100 goals, he would be mentioned in the media a gazillion times, earned a fortune by being brought one of the various European clubs and experts and alike would have reiterated that his team had a chance in the World Cup.
Instead he has to be content to be playing for India, who on the verge of their rankings is not eligible for football world cups, play second fiddle to a country obsessed with Cricket and where its citizens and media during the football world cups eulogize Argentina, Brazil, Messi, Ronaldo. He does play for Bengaluru FC in the Indian Super League but even this tournament all of 4 years old, does not find a mention in the same breath as European and South American leagues by our own media. Chhetri had to literally plead through a video message to the people to come and watch the football team play this tournament which had by default been overshadowed by the Football World Cup.
The Indian Football team convincingly won the Intercontinental cup which for its being telecast was not even worth a mention by electronic and print media, and who instead extolled Nadal for winning his 11th French Open on the first page and Indian teams' win got a paragraph on the last page for the sake of it. The look of the jersey of the Indian team is least to say unimpressive. No names are printed on the back of the shirts, making it difficult for anyone watching to recognize names except for Chhetri who has been there for decades. The fact that opponents of the Indian Football team in various tournaments they play do not raise an eyebrow and are in the same boat make it even more difficult.
Even the Afghanistan and Bangladesh tournament, countries dominated by one sport got a mention for its 'close encounters'. It is not about glorifying the sport or its players but rather giving it the respect and as far as Indian Football is concerned it gets a raw deal and the footballers are treated as second class citizens and if we had the power we would adopt the likes of Messi and Ronaldo and the rest.
That sports persons retire eventually is nothing unusual and the most common reasons are- personal, family time , injuries etc., but De Villiers announcement was out of the MS Dhoni book to announce it from nowhere, not telegraphing it and keep the reasons as vague as possible. He cited 'fatigue' as the reason this time and it came after his Bangalore T20 Indian domestic team failed to make it to the semi-finals and 4-time semi-finalists South Africa failed to make it to the finals in the 3 World Cups he has been a part of.
The reason of tiredness and fatigue will kick of a debate which cricket conservatives and purists have been waiting to pounce on for decades. These people have been saying that T20 begets tiredness and should be eliminated and here comes De Villiers who has played into their hands. He retires at 34 and will be inadvertently compared to those who retired between 36 and 40- Tendulkar-40, Misbah Ul Haq-42, Lara 37, Jayasuria 41, and the fact that T20 hadn't spoilt the game and pockets of players in the good old 80s to 90s era. It won't be surprising if he joins commentary panels very soon. Commentary is basically a handout to players who retire and apart from a few who deserve it and this individual does ; the commentary space is filled with unskilled and unqualified players who have atrocious communication skills, poor command over a language be it Hindi, English or any other due to lack and paucity of trained personal in this domain.
One shouldn’t be surprised if Dhoni follows him very soon and the likely scenario will be on the last match of World Cup 2019- it could be the league stage, semifinals or finals, one does not know but rest assured it is coming and Dhoni has started throwing bread crumbs regarding this already.
The last two World Cups in 2011 and 2015 were won comprehensively by the host teams in India and Australia respectively. What is more interesting is that their opponents were their neighbors- Australia and New Zealand 2015 and in 2011 it was India and Sri Lanka. So, it was money's worth as the audience got to see their local superstars in the Main Event.
Will 2019 continue to march in favor of the home team? - this time England -who have never won a World Championship of this magnitude, excepting Champions Trophy 2004 and World T20 2010. But if there was ever a re-birth needed, it happened to the England limited overs team, and it was of some measure. Since the 2015 debacle, they have done what no other England limited overs outfit has done in over 47 years and pipped India to be No 1 in this format. The World Cup returns after 20 years, though in the interim there have been a few World T20 Championships and Mini World Cup tournaments.
Australia with 5 championship titles, will look for a record 6th and it will be helped by Smith and Warner's return who have been grounded for one year. Pakistan will want to prove that the 2017 Champions Trophy (mini world cup) after a disappointing start and an exhilarating finish- was just a preview in lot of ways.
India, under a new captain will want to win so as to make a grand homecoming after 36 years to the country where they got their maiden title in 1983. 4-time semifinalists South Africa will want to at least enter one final for the gold quest. A few teams have been close but not enough so as to win the tournament, while others have been the favorites all the time. West Indies just literally crawled into the tournament while Afghanistan who has nothing to lose could play spoilers for the big teams. Each team will get 9 opportunities to get into the knockouts and laxity will be a bane.
16-time WWE World Champion John Cena currently tied with Hall of Famer Ric Flair will be looking to register himself in the record books to become a 17-time world champion. Tuesday night's Smackdown Live pay per view event Fast Lane gives him the chance. He will have to compete with 5 other wrestlers to achieve that feat and all 6 including current WWE World Champion AJ Styles will want to main event WrestleMania for a showdown with Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura.
This is his second pay per view opportunity in space of a 3 to 4 weeks after he didn’t go through the Monday night Raw's elimination chamber match which ultimately went to Roman Reigns who would resume his rivalry against Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. After a 7 men elimination chamber match, Cena cannot take it easy as his opponents at the 6-pack challenge match will be equally formidable. Cena achieved his 16th World Championship by defeating AJ Styles at Royal Rumble 2016 and to enter the Fast Lane pay per view, he again defeated AJ Styles after Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan set up the stipulation.
On the other hand, WrestleMania's stakes just got higher when the newly signed and former UFC and MMA wrestler Ronda Rousey teams up with Raw General Manager Kurt Angle against Triple HHH and Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon in a mixed match challenge. Triple HHH saves his best for WrestleMania- in 2017 he faced Seth Rollins, when their supposed relationship got heated and now with Kurt Angle completing a year as Raw General Manager Kurt Angle, things are back on the boil again. Whether Angle gets an extension remains to be seen.
The other elimination chamber competitors too got their matches with Intercontinental Champion Miz will facing Seth Rollins and Finn Balor in a triple threat match., who too looks to equal Chris Jericho for a 9th title reign.
The women's matches are also not without any drama. Maiden Women's Royal Rumble Winner Asuka will go one on one with Raw Women's Champion Alexa Bliss, who also survived the Women's elimination chamber match. From the USA champion to the Tag Team championship, the pay per views and WrestleMania will and have given us some scintillating matches.
Einstein of Sports Reviews.
Unlike Football or Hockey, the role of a coach in Cricket has always been one-dimensional. He/she is more of a facilitator and a strategist behind closed doors just like the executives of a company or bureaucrats in a government. The former is the CEO and in the latter is the PM or the President but they are elected or appointed people just like the Captain. Once the game starts, the Coach- batting or bowling or anything like hides in the shadows.
If one has to go into the intricacies of coach appointments, considering that the so called Kohli-Kumble argument or disagreement was a fictional story by the media due to the lack of concrete stories and it was unnecessarily made a hash of. Had this been any other sport, no one would have bothered or even thought about it. But Cricket brings monetary gains along with for all- the government, people and the media so everyone jumps the bandwagon. Zaheer as the bowling coach was inevitable- he is the most experienced and talented 'retired fast bowler' after Kapil Dev so his appointment is a calculated move since he has been a contemporary of the current bowlers so this becomes official.
Rahul Dravid, well he too was a contemporary for most players and since Laxman is part of a recruitment panel literally, they choose Dravid and we should understand that none of their predecessors were any good. The media and others too impulsively decided to have this big three name attached.
The only loss will be in the commentary panel- where Shastri was a notch above the rest and it will be reduced to a bunch of peduos- who speak because they think have a superiority complex but lack empathy. Just like the coach, there should be a rigorous process for the commentators and not just recruit because they played once upon a time in medieval times. The journalists who report this story cannot pretend as if they have never argued or disagreed with their editors or fellows on which topic to highlight, which one to discard.
Championships- (individual or team) are won and lost, more importantly they are defended when the time comes. Over time one has seen teams or individual defend championships in a facile manner but a lot of baggage comes with it. There is a lot of external pressure; people tend to go over the top on swot analysis, questions are asked whether the said individual or team is competent enough to repeat last time heroics
The CHAMPIONS TROPHY of 2017 can be expected to be a close one, as there are going no favorites this time. While in 2013, one could have brushed off England (they made it to the finals) and Bangladesh, 2017 is up for grabs. No champions advantage this time.
If the DRS- Decision review system had been brought into effect even a decade ago, the bowlers (retired and still in service) revered so much today would have had half their wickets negated by this.
It is strange that though the HIL (The Hockey India League) is in its fifth edition, it is getting the attention and glamour only now. Born in 2012, it has produced players who have gone on to play for their respective junior and senior teams and today are a name to reckon with at par with the overglamourised and overrated cricket.
From Manpreet Singh to Gurbaj Singh who have become prominent members of the National Team to Sardar Singh who has become mature in their style of play, this league has transformed the way Indian Hockey is played- from the Indian defense to European attacking mindset.
While the 2010 World Cup and the Commonwealth Games gave India its first ever-artificial turf, the game has now spread to different parts of the country, coming out of the Delhi shell, to hosting the World Hockey League and the Champions Trophy.
It has added the colour the game lacked and one hopes that new players from each and every team perform for a reckoning in the national squad. Until now in memory, no other country has initiated such a league so it becomes a golden opportunity for all and sundry to shine.
One thing common to such sports is that the crowd no matter what the situation, their favorite team in a winning lead or on the defense continue to cheer, they don’t care or bother about the intricacies, the statistics, the minute details, a task left to the purists that include the coaches, players, statisticians and of course the commentators and columnists in the sports section of newspapers. The formers only moment of joy is when the camera is beamed on to them or is shown on the giant screen. It is possible that one or two might engage in deep analysis but when at the end of the game if questioned by media on how the game went, being on the TV is overwhelming enough to give a straightforward answer but they manage to string a few words and one sees the reporter telling his anchor at the studio that the crowd is delighted with the win.
Cricket is the only game in the world whose presence depends on external factors such as- Weather, pitch, condition of grass etc, toss and the longevity ranging from 5 days to 8 hours.
It never was a team game and at the most only 2 to 3 individuals are involved while the rest are in a state of inertia. Unlike Hockey, Football, Basketball where not only the players on the field are in action but the coaches, managers, substitutes are also eagerly egging on their contemporaries on the field and are constantly near the boundary giving advice and consolation at the same time.
While it does seem baffling to compare it to the rest of the games, the central idea is to understand how involved people are. The Coaches, managers are in a state of silent gazing from the rooms far away from the actual situation. The Umpires or the referees are equally static while those in the others are dynamic and in a constant state of motion.
For a team to achieve its ‘goal’, all the 22 players are involved and there is not a moment of dullness while in this one, we see the bowler and batsman/batswoman etc and probably the keeper in action while the rest don’t come forward unless they have to pick up the ball. Fitness levels required are much higher as one expends more energy in 70 or 90 minutes as compared to Cricket where you get break after every hour. Even in Chess we use our cognitive abilities more despite being in a stasis.
In the end it is all about individual performances that are glamorized and team contribution is hardly smiled upon or rather it is a pseudo contribution. Yes in Hockey, Football and Basketball at the end, only one player stands out due to their ability to outscore the opposition, still all the players are equally responsible because there is what we call partnerships where players pass or dribble the ball as per the required norms to the one closest to the basket or the goal and that sums up the definition of ‘team work’.
After a long time in the form of Ravichandran Ashwin, India has found a spinning all-rounder-someone who is consistent in all three aspects, since another Ravi retired two decades ago. When a team goes with 5 bowlers one of them has to be efficient with bat and ball. In the 3rd test, India have 4 all rounders, namely- Ashwin, Jadeja, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and Rohit Sharma, as well as the fifth one in Stuart Binny waiting for his chance. Ashwin will be competing with Shakib from Bangladesh for the same.
With Irfan Pathan not found to be fit-literally and metaphorically, Ashwin had to step as he was rightly and smarted promoted at no:6 ahead of Saha, who is not the right choice for wicketkeeper but is there so we have to be content. Ashwin today owes it to Dhoni, just as Sehwag has Ganguly to thank for who transformed his career by promoting him to open and we all know what happened next.
Batting with Dhoni in Tests, ODIs and T20 leagues, Ashwin learnt the art of playing chess in the cricket field. One can argue that the opposition is West Indies not as 'fearsome' as three decades ago but no one can blame . If young boys and girls decided to shift to T20 due to financial security or take up other sports, they are right and as they mature will understand to play Tests. The obsession with the players of 70s and 80s has gone beyond respect and now become sycophancy.
Kohli like Smith had a fairytale start to captaincy as both won handsomely at home but the latter(Steve Smith) and his team continued the past Australian teams fear of spinners and were mauled by the spinners from Sri Lanka. Kohli too understood that he needed a change of strategy as West Indies held out on a draw, the excuse of rain no longer withstanding.
New Zealand, England wont be easy oppositions to troll over because both have the right mix of fast bowlers who can play in India, spinners who are rising in ranks. Remember an unknown Moin Ali in 2014 who from nowhere took 19 wickets just as Randy Orton gives an RKO from nowhere. What about Santner and Sodhi who though it was only a 20 over game combined to rattle out India for 79 during T20 World Cup 2016.
In Tests, where there is no limitation in fielders around the batsmen and none either
on the number of overs per spinner,India have a tough task at home and should not go overboard with spin friendly wickets, as today no team has an all out home advantage.
Instead of dropping Pujara, India could have dropped Saha, got in Vijay and Binny and asked Rahul to keep. Kohli going in at number 3 was the right decision as he has done the same in 50 and 20 overs and there is not much of a difference.
Move over Sachin, Dravid, Ponting, Kallis, the future belongs to current captains in Steve Smith, Kohli, Williamson and non captains in Root, Darren Bravo who along with their contemporaries are set to dominate the next 10 years.
India should also proceed in Rio Olympics and wishing the hockey team and the rest to go for gold.
6th April, Ipoh,Malaysia
After a nervous win over Japan by a margin of 2-1, India preparing for Rio Olympics will face nemesis Australia in a crucial encounter, which could be the break they need in the SULTAN AZLAN SHAH CUP
The Twenty over World Cup in its 7th edition is on, this time hosted by a third Asian country in a row- India. So it has travelled from South Africa, England, West Indies, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and now India. Australia is destined to host no:8. Except for Nepal, the whole of the subcontinent is participating from India to Pakistan to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
Unlike the 50 over version no team has won it twice, but in terms of region, the Asian Countries take the honors, first India, then Pakistan and recently Sri Lanka. In short twenty over matches are like the like chess game., which we prepare for with so much enthusiasm, , we plan, play against the computer, every scenario possible surprises are always there.
It is no more than entertainment, like going to a movie or a park. The crowd, except for a few who are too sentimental that they take every moment seriously, there are others who don’t even care who wins or loses.
T20 is fun for the players, the crowds, and the commentators because it entertains only. So why do we need to get so much into planning, strategizing. A bowler gets only 24 balls or 4 overs; a batsman or woman will get between 3o to 45 balls to score runs.
What is meant when it is said they need to bat through, it is just 20 overs, 90 minutes, a Sherlock Holmes episode is that long. It is all but the big bang theory. Since Hockey matches especially for Indians fail to arouse the same sentiment what can be said. Hockey as a sport is more demanding, even the referee or the Umpire gets his calories burned, and it can’t get more dramatic.
In the end, go to the stadium, dance, shout, and hoot and better not to get sentimental about it. Like a movie theatre, after the show is over, just walk out and go home and sleep. Emotional and sentimental involvement is ok but crying, accusing the players is unethical. Being detached and watching it serves the purpose.
There has been divided opinion that with more money being pumped into sports, the athletes become lazy, they only care about promotion and commercials. Those who oppose business houses being involved should watch baseball, and WWE; the finance there is beyond what one can fathom. It is a part of life remuneration in cash or kind was always part of human existence and will continue to do so till it doesn’t extinguish. Money and sports has nothing to do with culture, it is just there.
So enjoy the tournament and forget.
Hardik Pandya, the all-rounder in the Indian team has now been promoted twice ahead of the Captain MS Dhoni and different people see this in different contexts. The move certainly has worked because he has as Dhoni reiterated added those 30 runs extra, which has propelled the score from ‘par’ to one beyond reach of the opposition.
3/2/2016 0 Comments
By: Aditya Sharma
Published 29 January 2016
India for the first time in the tour is on the offensive but Australia are one of the few teams who take T20 as it should be taken- not so serious, fun and frolic.
The fact that they are able to rest two of their best players in the last 18 months- Warner and Smith shows that they don’t want to injure these two and make them available for more important matches in the near future or as they say manage the workload.
All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts-
If Indian Hockey Captain, Sardar Singh was ever to meet his cricket counterparts, Dhoni and Kohli they would have one common dilemma in mind: how to get the better of Australia, a team that has won the recent Hockey (2014) and Cricket World Cups,(2015) as well as Olympic Gold medals successively.
When India won the SAFF (South Asian Football Federation) cup beating Afghanistan by a margin of 2-1, there was hardly any mention by the electronic and print media in the same light they would do to similar sports where a team of 11 players compete with the opposing team, like Hockey and Cricket.