Sunday, January 27, 2008

Adios Baggy Green Number 381...

The two formats of cricket have often led to players being tagged as a 'one-day' specialist or a 'test match' specialist. In the past we've also seen radically different teams and even different captains for the t85755 wo versions. However, for some players it just doesn't matter. Further, some have even gone a couple of notches ahead and through their incredible actions have managed to bridge a bit of a gap between the two. Fewer belong to such an exclusive league more than the man who's donned the baggy green 381 - Adam Gilchrist.

'Gilly' or 'Church' as he's also known, has probably been one of the greatest all time cricketers to have played the game. Without a doubt, the best wicketkeeper batsman of all times, he's redefined the position of a No. 7 bat in the team. No more can an opposition breathe a sigh of relief when they get the Aussies 5 down, coz' they know that the next man taking guard probably hits the ball harder than anyone else in the game. For the purists, he averages almost 48 with the bat. Did I mention his strike rate? It stands at 81.97 (courtesy Cricinfo stats). To drop a comparison factor, his skipper Ricky Ponting strikes at 80.68 in the ODI version of the game!

Almost everyone falls into the trap of labeling him as a batsman-wicketkeeper rather than a keeper-batsman, which baffles me to no extent, since here's a chap who's recorded the maximum number of dismissals in test cricket. Now, if he still belongs to the latter category, that's quite a hefty bonus, isn't it? They say that Warne could bowl a different delivery every over - leg breaks, zooters, wrong 'uns, flippers, fizzers, whatever. Realistically speaking, if its difficult for a batsman to pick them up, how 'bout the wicketkeeper who even has to anticipate the various edges of the bat that the ball can brush. Yes, he might have dropped a few, some even sitters, but that's what this sport is all about. In fact, to call him one of the chief architects of the Australian juggernaut in last decade or so wouldn't be outrageous at all.

Ian Healy was good, perhaps one of the greatest glovesman to have played this game. Filling his boots wasn't easy and now when Brad Haddin sees Gilchrist's boots, I'm sure he'll find them even bigger!

Thank you Adam Gilchrist, for it was an absolute privilege watching you play, be it  behind or in front of the stumps, for you never ceased to entertain us with the way you played the game. We've seen  you in whites and in the funky yellow, but its the the sight or your baggy green that will be sorely missed.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

The 39th Roar..

The first international match I watched live at the grounds was during the WC '96, when India played Sri Lanka in Delhi. I was lucky enough to be a ball boy in the game and unlucky enough to see Indians lose against a blinder of a counter-attack by Sri Lankans. It did hurt me, though just a little, for I had already witnessed a majestic 137 from Sach's blade. Its one thing to see the batsman murdering the opposition on the television, but radically different when you see it happening in strict real time from the boundary lines. I still can't forget his flick shot off Murali which just made the ball disappear somewhere over the deep mid-wicket fence. That experience of watching the master play barely a few 60 yards away (yeah, Kotla's pretty small) was quite unbelievable. Perhaps thats the reason he gets a standing ovation at whatever ground he plays on, and its all the more awe inspiring to see that happening when India is having an away game. Its the sheer joy and pleasure of watching this guy bat and play the way he does, for it so often results in a 'Whoa, beautiful" in unison from folks around you.

Adelaide was a belter of a pitch, the moment I saw the first ball, I knew that winning the toss and batting first on this beauty of a track was an absolute bonus. I know that teams in the past have posted huge totals batting first and yet faltered in their second stint. Last year's Ashes pays a testimony to that. But then, that was England, isn't it? ;) Collingwood did hit an incredible double ton, but the question pops up again - would you pay to watch a Sach ton or a Collingwood double? No offence to C'wood, but I'm sure the percentages would be tilted for the former and the great Sir Don Bradman would have been one of them. That's what he brings to the game - unbiased people who just want to watch him bat, even though it might mean getting runs scored against their own team.

Yeah, the fact that85606 his average of low 16s against the Aussies in the second innings is quite ordinary and that he should have indeed batted the Aussies out of the game at Perth and even perhaps saved the one at the SCG. Underachieved.. well, I have to agree on that. That's the perhaps the only blemish on an otherwise quite a 'wow' career and which might make the difference in him being called Sir Sachin in the future after all. But that doesn't matter at times like these, when you see a chap who's played and survived 18 years of international cricket, still come down the track and absolutely hammer that one on top of the sight   screen. I hope this is not his last hurrah down under. Its quite unrealistic and perhaps unjustified to ask this man to perform time and again and how often does he come out with flying colors. Biased or foolish or absurd, whatever, but I just don't want to see the master hanging his boots.. not now.. not this year.. perhaps never..

There are not many things that give me goosebumps. The national anthem with the flying tricolor would be one. Guessing the other is a little difficult - the choices being his trademark on drive.. or the tiptoed punch of the backfoot through cover point.. I guess I need more time to decide on that.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

"I Dream of Bangalore"

Well, not literally true for me, but these are the words of a song by Kevin Maney of According to him, "In case you haven't heard it, it is truly a song of its time", which puts it as a candidate for being perhaps the only love song about outsourcing. And for the records, its doing great off late, by climbing as high as #84 in the rankings, courtesy

You can listen the song here..

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Requiem for a Dream..

To unpathed waters, undreamed shores.
                                                          William Shakespeare

It took me a hard time to really nail down to this particular quote to define what I feel. If cricket was at its crossroads a week back and it was only a dreadful dream of landing up at the WACA, Perth and losing it well within the stipulated end of a Test match. Well, the game did end well before 5 days, but wait.. did someone say that Australians 17th consecutive win would be a walk in the park!

Whacked at the WACA or call it the Perth Punch, I'm sure they'll be tons of phrases which would be framed soon before the final test gets underway at the Adelaide Oval. But, for now, let's just live in this dream, for its not often that the hunters become the hunted in their own den.

Comebacks have always been a style statement, Irfan Pathan couldn't have asked for more, with a supremely confident 46 in the 2nd innings and his effort with the ball. The swing seems to be getting back and the consistency graph is on the scale upwards. The best feeling a new ball bowler can have is when he can make the ball really talk. The big 3 failed miserably when it mattered the most, but the Very Very Superspecial guy always reserves his best against the Aussies. There weren't any demons in the pitch and neither was the big Curtly firing those red cherries, but it still worked. That's why I call it a dream. I won't dare say bring on Adelaide, perhaps 'coz I don't really give a damn.. atleast for now..

Thursday, January 17, 2008

WACA and the Three de Bruijns in the Countin'

Just an interesting analysis about the dice sequence problem that I came across. Long but worth a read, since its bound to wake up a few dying cells in your brain.

Further, its an interesting day's play today at the WACA and it remains to be seen if India will finally seize the advantage against the Aussies or squander it away as it so often does. Call it paranoia, but I still can't count the Aussies out of this game. Even though they might be trailing by 170 odd, but how often have we seen this bunch assert themselves out of nowhere. No matter what happens, but leave all your bread and butter and stay glued to the television sets, coz its not too often that the wicked heat of Perth gets to the Australians. Rest assured, if its 41 degrees in the city, its way higher out there at the center. Somehow Sehwag seems all so crucial in this game and I'm not sure if Lee's faced a tighter test in the past year or so before. With WACA gradually getting close to its pacy prime and with virtually no hopes of an Indian win prior to the start, it'll be interesting to see if Lee delivers or the pressure of performing gets to him.

Whatever said and done, the game has been a surprise to most.. and a exciting one for me in a pleasant sense. :)

Sunday, January 13, 2008

TZP.. Shoot 'em up!

Well, first things first. I'm not comparing these two flicks at all. Taare Zameen Par has set standards which will take a lot of work to go past. All the brilliant and supremely intellectual directors step aside, lets roll the red carpet for AK. Looks like most of the people would have seen it and few would actually question the sincerity behind it. Be it the dialogues or the music or the lyrics or the direction or the script or whatever, it was all first rate and to top it all, it was first rate entertainment. AK, Take a bow!

Sometimes, insanity also calls for brilliance, and when the two strike in balance, they call for a wow! Folks who've seen Shoot 'em up might differ in their opinions but it was great fun for me. Not since Kill Bill, have I seen such insane action and blood spattering with a subtle topping of humor. Action, which can't be described in words, but you've gotta see it to believe it. All in all, great entertainment! Never knew carrots could be that dangerous.. ;)

The Great American Vacation

"College is the longest vacation you will ever take"

                                               - Dan Indante and Karl Marks

I guess I would agree with that more often than not, but then during the semesters it can tend to get a touch too tedious and demand an actual vacation away from it. It didn't get off to the best possible start, but then as it turned out to be, it's been one of the best vacations I've had till now.

I've been IMG_0206to a few places up north in India in the past and seen some snow, but Madison, WI was a different experience altogether. Not that I'm comparing the two, but the scenes there were right out of some of the Hollywood flicks I've seen so far. White Christmas - well, I did indeed get to see one!


From up north here to the Gulf of Mexico the next daIMG_0565y, and I landed up at Corpus Christi. Though, its not the best time to hit the beaches 'coz of the cold weather, but nevertheless, it turned out to be a fairly good drive down there. Mexico remains one of my cherished destinations, but haven't been this closer to being there.

Microsoft entertained me for the interviews at just the right time, and I did get to hit SeattIMG_0674le the very next week. It did refresh my memories of my stay in Assam, India where it rained almost every other day.  But then, it didn't really stop me and a friend of mine from having fun out there. Well, if nothing more, but I guess it would take a lot to forget one of the best chocolate desserts and drinks that I've had in a very long time.

Well, though time to get back to the Spring Semester now and lets see what its got in store for me. 

'Cricket' at Crossroads

India arrived down under and its been a while since I've been so glued to the happenings since their arrival there. After all, it would perhaps be the last time when the great Indian middle order (at least on paper) would be taking on the baggy greens at their soil. Expectations were huge and fireworks beckoned and man.. have we seen them!

Benson-Bucknor, Roy-Bhajji, Kumble-Ponting et al - looks like the stars of this flick called 'Not cricket, but everything beyond' was a cracker, in literal terms, to the extent that the fissures and the cracks made to this game during the first week of this brand new year are bound to have the most defining repercussions the game has ever seen. Did I say fireworks? Try finding a better term!

The cricket was pretty exceptional with the majestic wrists of Lax and Sach providing to be an entertainment unmatched by any blockbuster. Lee continues to add on to my admiration for him and we all saw what Stuart Clark can do. Well, forgive me for not mentioning Hussey or Symo for the obvious reasons.

More than a week since the Sydney test, but the drama continues to unfold. Didn't I write earlier that the ICC have been increasingly getting better at writing scripts and they continue to do so.

Rewind the tapes to Oval last year when Pietersen was given out caught behind when the wicketkeeper claimed the catch when it clearly bounced before. Pietersen walks and the Sky Sports flashes the entire replay in slow motion from various angles that very instant, prompting the umpires to call him back. I wonder what was Channel 9 doing here! The walk from the center back to pavilion at SCG is a pretty long one, isn't it?

Anyways, how great it would be if India gets back really hard at the WACA..I wish Aerosmith's Dream On turns into Tony Greig's Its All Happening here!

Alas.. back to business

Its been quite a while since I've posted on this blog and I've been on a vacation for almost a month now. In fact, classes get underway tomorrow and its back to where I belong.

Seeing the boeings fly by at this Denver airport, I was so adamant in fixing the problems with my blog. If anyone of you had visited, it was bloody messed up. I really don't know where it started, but I wasn't able to fix it and in spite of reporting it to the help folks, nothing happened. Finally, I guess they have removed the bug and I had to add all the widgets, which was a pain. Damn, I better be looking for another blogging domain.