Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pardon the French Spanish

With all the lousy stuff swirling around in the world of Test cricket, it is wonderful to have the Rajah show me why I love watching sports.

Here's reason number 7,235,897 that Roger Federer is the greatest player in the history of tennis (in my opinion and that of a few others, of course, so if you disagree that's okay).

I watched this as it happened and a full day later, I still cannot get enough of it.

Proof positive

I do not know a lot of things about cricket. I am sure Test cricketers have forgotten more stuff about cricket than I will ever learn in my lifetime.

But I do know one thing: if I am fielding at short mid-off and a fast bowler is bowling, at the point of delivery I will be watching the batsman and NOT the bowling crease.

Dear Salman Butt,
I was hoping against hope that the bookie was making stuff up and that maybe, just maybe, there was some semblance of respect left in the actions he claimed were fixed. After seeing photo reproduced below, I have given up on that hope.

(Sky News 2010)

You have a lot of explaining to do, Mr. Butt. I just hope the Anti-Corruption Unit of the ICC has the guts (and the brains) to ask the right questions.

(Strangely though, for a body designed for the express purposes of weeding out just this type of riff-raff, they are a lot like the cops in the movies, showing up after all the damage has been done.)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Say it ain't so, Joe

Mohammad Aamer may have over-stepped (pun intended) the boundary that separates the could-have-beens from the never-weres. (If true) Why, oh why, did he have to do it? A sensational spell of fast bowling that I felt privileged enough to watch has been tainted forever.

(News of the World, UK, 2010)

Somewhere, a fellow-blogger must be sharing the shock I am feeling, coming as this does just days after he wrote a loving tribute to this skillful southpaw.

As the world turns

While I have been missing from this blog, a lot has happened and at the same time nothing much has happened:

The Indian ODI cricket team is coasting along while 4 of the players who will walk in blindfolded into the team - SRT, GG, Plaha, and ZAK - are nursing their wounds or, in the case of the Golden One - enjoying a vacation with his family. So, with only 7/11ths of the team in play (and even among the 7 folks like Yuvraj are living off of potential than performance), the Indian team is displaying the schizophrenic nature that is typical of teams that are about average, which is what the ODI team is.

By the way, losing just before the World Cup is good for the Indian team. Trust me. If you don't, think 2003.

Roger Federer comes into the Fall of 2010 in an eerily similar state to where he was in 2008 - Rafael Nadal had just completed the summer double - he had been losing to everyone and their grandmother and his tennis obituary was printed and posted. In 2008, he mowed down Andy Murray to win the title. Will 2010 be a similar story? If it happens, what will people remember of 2010 - that Federer lost his stranglehold on Wimbledon and appeared mortal or that he won as many Grand Slams in this year as Nadal did?

A new batch of students have come to my College and the excitement on campus is one that I have not felt in a few years. There's a buzz in the air and classes have been a lot of fun so far, even when on the first day the computer refused to cooperate and I resorted to the old-fashioned style of lecturing.

After an inauspicious start to the cricket season (our team was bundled out for 83 in the first match), we have now won 6 of the last 8 games and are beginning to resemble the juggernaut that we were expected to be based on our dominance of the past two years. Strangely, though, it has coincided with a series of single-digit scores by me even as my wicket-keeping has improved by leaps and bounds, especially down the leg-side. As long as we win, I can deal with that, I think.

After weeks of resembling a tropical island, it has finally stopped thunderstorming and raining in Nebraska. However, the temperature has also started dropping to more manageable proportions. Maybe there's a connection between the two. Who knows which butterflies are not flapping their wings in Nicaragua to cause this to happen?!

Will we ever go back to such innocent times again, where two characters could cavort this way and no one raised eyebrows, least of all their girlfriends?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Strange stories, amazing facts

Exactly one year ago today, Tiger Woods did something he had never done before - lose a Grand Slam tournament after taking a lead into the final round. That too to an unknown player named YE Yang. On that day, right after he lost, if you had told someone that losing to Yang would probably be the high point of Tiger's life in the next 365 days they would have laughed at you. But incredibly, that's what happened. Whodathunkit?!

One month ago, if you had told someone that the #1 ranked Test team in the world would be bowled out for 88 in an ODI and that the #1 ranked ODI team would be bowled out for 88 in a Test match, they would have laughed at you. But incredibly, that's what happened. Whodathunkit?

If two weeks ago, you would have told someone that Virender Sehwag would be batting on 99 and facing an off-spinner (not named Murali) in his rookie year on two separate occasions and would fail to get 100 both times, they would have laughed at you. But incredibly, that's what happened. Whodathunkit?

Truth is, often times, stranger than fiction.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jumping Jacks

I am speechless.

I do like the cliffhanger ending, though.

P.S. AV/BRB offers up the following video as a response to the one above.

The Sultan of Strokeplay

(AFP 2010, via CricInfo)
The first time I watched VVS Laxman bat was in 2001. I had followed his career as closely as one could in the pre-CricInfo days from across the Atlantic. After the Indian team changed the course of world cricket at Kolkata in 2001, expatriates in the US were treated to the first web stream of a cricket match on the last day of the Chennai Test as India were in the midst of pulling off the heist of the century. While the audio was uninterrupted, the video was a series of images 3 seconds apart. Such was the excitement at the computer lab (that us Indian graduate students had taken over) that we did not care that we were watching a game in 3 second intervals.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A thousand words of pleasure

Happiness comes from watching moments such as this:

(AFP 2010, via CricInfo)
Much, much more to come in a day or two after I am done basking in the after-glow of a very, very satisfying Saturday.