Saturday, January 17, 2009

Catching up

Before I begin, belated Pongal/Makar Sankranti wishes to everyone!

So I spent my Pongal vacation and then some in a blissfully TV and Internet-free journey deep South, making a round of the Thanjavur temples and reconnecting with my roots (although I did include the fortunes of the Indian team in my prayers... >.> What can I say? You can take the cricket away from the fangirl, but...). I came back, eager and curious to know (among other things) the latest tamasha goings-on in cricket. Luckily, cricinfo and the cricket blogosphere obliged!

And as a tribute to my Anatomy Professor's incessant demands for a "concise presentation with bullet points", I will do so here, sans the long rambling paragraphs! (even if I can't guarantee the absence of Random Capitalisation and the even Randomer Rambling in Parantheses of Doom)

  • Mumbai won the Ranji Trophy. Uh, ok. I'm still not entirely sure of my reaction to this one (except, Mumbai again??) but hey, good for them. I could possibly insert some meta about how great this is post 26/11, but that's too pretentious, even for me, and I'm not even a Mumbaikar. Plus, I still haven't got over my disappointment at Tamil Nadu not making the final despite having a great team and being presented the opportunity to do so on a golden platter (and yeah, I still hate you, Dinesh Kaarthick).

  • Talking of the Tamil Nadu team, apparently I missed an episode of Coffee with Anu (a local rip-off of Koffee with Karan, which could be a rip-off of some random American show, I don't know) which featured Badrinath, Balaji and Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan! (oh Fate, why must you be so cruel?) Based on second-hand accounts of the show, apparently Kumble watches/used to watch Tamil megaserials, Muralitharan loves Rajnikanth and Matthew Hayden had some pretty entertaining nicknames in the CSK dressing room! So. Much. Joy.

  • Oh, and of course, Matthew Hayden's retirement! My first reaction was a giggle and a muttered "about time!" but hey. I never really disliked the guy, and enjoyed watching him bat in full flow. Plus, this means he is available to CSK for the whole of the next IPL season. Which is excellent. \o/

  • I also caught up with the whole furore over the ICC ranking of the All-Time Cricketing greats (or you know, whatever). Oh noes! Tendulkar at 26! Akram at 59! Who really cares?! (Except for papers like The New Indian Express to go about with huge headlines saying "10dulkar not in Top Ten" or some other shit like that with a blown up picture of a serious Tendulkar ducking a bouncer or whatever; come on, NIE!) I'm probably going to sound like a hypocrite, but why the insecurity? Anybody with half a brain would place Tendulkar above the likes of Hayden on any all-time list, we know that. (Which, huh, doesn't say much about the "ICC committee" that made up this completely unnecessary list, does it).

  • Bangladesh giving Sri Lanka a deserved ass-whupping the ODI tri-series in Bangladesh! Despite everything, however, SL mananged to scrape through a victory in the final, and even that took once-or-twice in a lifetime batting heroics from Muralitharan! I'm loving it. And Shakib-al Hasan? You've found yourself a new fangirl.

  • So we're off to play a five match ODI series in SL later this month and extra Test against New Zealand, apparently. Hm, all good, all good! Looking forward to seeing the Boys in Blue back in action. Will be crossing my fingers for a Balaji-selection, though that's not likely to happen. Hopefully Badrinath and Rohit will get opportunities too and capitalise on them.

I guess that's about it (for now), then. Funny that a lot of stuff that I mentioned actually had nothing to do with cricket played on-field. But hey. Business as usual, right?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Romantic with a capital Arrr

So I caught up with what happened in Sydney.

What is with that place, huh?

Second year in running where it's had a precariously balanced match decided in Australia's favour in the dying moments of the fifth day, but even that's not relevant now. Apparently a seriously injured Smith came out at number 11, and in spite of everything, very nearly managed to stick it out to the end and pull off a draw.

I never liked this man. But now a grudging respect burgeons.

I wish acutely now that I'd followed that match. Being a hopeless romantic, I'm a big sucker for drama on the cricket field.

See? No monkeys, no BensonnBucknor, no slapping butts with cricket bats and all that jazz, and you've got more Drama than you can shake a spoon at.

Sometimes people try too hard.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oh my god

Chuck all clever titles, this is exactly how I feel : Oh my god.

So I've been having a craptastic first week of the year, so there's not been much time to spare on cricket, but the Moores-Pietersen spat did serve as an amusing aside in the five minutes after dinner for the last few nights.


Until Moores and Pietersen decided to resign from their respective roles of coach and captain of the English team.

I was immediately motivated into cricinfo-ing the matter.

Moores leaving was seen by many as a foregone conclusion, especially considering how Unshakable Pietersen was just this much away from stamping his feet and throwing a temper tantrum if Peter didn't leave. Plus, Moores doesn't have a great track record as the English coach to back him up, either - some of which could be his fault, too. But for Pietersen, Harbinger of Fresh Hope for the English Team, to resign as well? That's... that's just a sucker punch for the ECB.

Apparently Pietersen resigned because the ECB didn't respond quickly enough to his demands. Uh... sure, KP. Rebel against the strongly-ECB backed coach and expect the board to immediately bend over. That's not whacked out at all. It's funny now to look upon all the flood of articles, opinion and conjecture that came out when Pietersen was appointed captain, following Vaughan's teary resignation. Funny that all of that seems to amount to nothing barely five months later.

What will the ECB do now? No captain, no coach, major leadership crisis, the Ashes barely six months away, and oh, look! Is that a kitchen sink I see flying toward Mr. Clarke and co.'s collective heads?

Whatever the outcome, the matter promises more delicious drama to come. :D

Plus, SA lost to Aussies in Sydney! By 103 runs! I don't know what to make of the result, since I didn't follow the match, but some obvious things stand out: Australia get to hold onto their official ICC no. 1 ranking for a little while longer, South Africa seem lost without Smith, the Saffers suck at playing dead-rubbers, and why the hell was McKenzie leading the team instead of Mark Boucher?

And also, coming to Ranji cricket? It's Mumbai v UP for the final.

Mumbai, going through? Okay. Fine.

Tamil Nadu, losing to UP after scoring 445 in the first innings (after being freakin 296/2 at the end of day 1), having UP 63/3 at one stage, Kaif and Raina in the hut, and allowing two players with first-class averages in the mid-20s to build a 300+ run partnership, dropping several chances along the way?


Of course, with Dinesh Kaarthick leading, I was surprised they even made it to the semis. What, DK, huh? Expecting Balaji to pull out another 5 for 7 spell like he did against Bengal from the Alternate Dimensions of Magical Matchwinning Spells? It ain't that easy, ya know. Sheesh, the awesomeness of MukundnVijay, Badrinath, Balaji... all of it is wasted on you. Utterly wasted. Don't even ask why I dislike DK, I just do. Urupudaadhunga. Cha!

What a first week. I hope things get better, personally and on the cricketing front.