Sunday, May 28, 2006

Indians lose convincingly


For a team that started out as favorites to lose 1-4 is nothing less than disgusting. I think India is back at what it has been know for over the years that I have been following their game at least – that of losing outside the sub-continent, through their inability to adapt to local conditions, inexcusable extras, shambolic fielding and not-to-be-mentioned batting. In summary as Rahul Dravid stated earlier “ it was a collective failure”. What else would you accuse this lose to?

When India came to the West Indies they were being looked at the side that could finally win a series abroad. Well, the Test match has not even started, and the Indian team already looks in utter disarray. The bowling has failed them completely with so many extras. Batsmen have failed to come to grips with the pitch condition and the fielding has just not been up to the marks.

And of course – we may all be too inclined to say – well everyone on Team India just caught up with the law of averages – but I would just say – India’s strength continues to be in the sub-continent, but outside of it, it’s the same old story!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Windies bring India to Ground Zero

And so we have it again. One more series outside the sub-continent. One more lost series to cherish about. Before this series, there was a lot of talk about India having won 19 of their last 26 games, and were deemed favorables to win the ODI series at least, if not the test series. But since the first ODI, they have not looked like the team we have known for more than 6 months now. Is it the sub-continent factor again, and tbe load of an overseas series, or is it just that we tend to make heroes out of zeroes way too soon and too early.

I had predicted much before the series was underway that no one should put their money on Team India based on the sub-continent laurels only. It is not as if the Windies have played exceptional cricket, but it is just that we have not played good cricket. Adapting to overseas playing conditions has always been a problem with the Indian team - across all generations. It just seemed to have surfaced here again!

Looking at the current form and adaptibility of the players, I doubt any of the test matches will even go into the fifth day with India succumbing to the Windies too soon too quickly!

I am not against this team or any of its players, but am just a true and sincere critic. Lets see if India can turn around things in the Test series. They have never dissappointed me in the past, and so, I don't see any dramatic change in performances or form!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Windies End Indian’s run-chase juggernaut


It finally ended. India’s ability to chase down totals is under scrutiny again. A couple of months ago, when we were playing against the Pakistanis, everyone seemed to suggest that this was a new Team India – one that had learnt the ways to win a game from any position, specially when they were chasing totals.

Well, at that time too, I mentioned that of all the run chases that they had been doing, they had all been in the sub-continent. There was not one of them away from the subcontinent. The first time that India had to chase the total was in the first ODI against the Windies, and almost lost that game. I guess, they just carried some momentum and some luck with them into that game. But with the second game that momentum was all lost, and the luck also deserted them this time around.

Chasing or setting targets outside the sub continent has always been a problem for Indian cricket. This is their last chance to learn and get adapted before the World Cup next year. Its going to be the same conditions, and I think this is really an ideal platform to get adapted.

Whether India will bounce back, or will the loss just start India’s valley – well, there has been a peak in the current season, and as expected a valley was just round the corner. That’s how Team India plays its cricket – right? Full of peaks and valleys, and no consistency ever! But, let’s see, if this team has the courage and the attitude to bounce back and win the series from here!

Monday, May 15, 2006

Master Returns to the Academy


With the Indian team due to play its only warm-up game before the ODI series in West Indies, the Indian ace batsman has returned to the MRF academy to get some serious match practice, and to test both his recovery and fitness before he embarks on yet another Test series against the WI. Among the only 4 other cricketrs in the current team to have ever played in the West Indies before, I am sure that he must still be nursing the injury of the last defeat.

I can only hope that he will come back much stronger, not only to defeat the Windies, but also silence all the critics who have been suggesting about his retirement from the game. There is still a lot of cricket left in this man, and I am sure he will showcase the same to all his critics in the years to come by.

Here is wishing Sachin all the best with his game!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Famous Cricketing Sledges

--- Contributed by my friend Ravindra Aute, and several others .....a little lengthy, but fun all along!!!

Best Cricket Sledges

Wiki refers to sledging as 'exchanging words with opposition player(s) which can put him(them) off their usual game; it is an attempt to "psych out" an opponent'. Cricket is a very interesting game, and sledging adds to it the extra spice that make it much more than just game. Here is a compilation of the best sledging related incidents, witnessed in the history of cricket...

History

Sledging has always been a part of cricket.Even the great WG Grace did it. Once in an exhitbition match given

out leg-before, he refused to walk and told the umpire: " They came to watch me bat, not you bowl". And the innings continued.

Grace's ability to stand his ground would have done Sunil Gavaskar proud. Once, when the ball knocked off a bail, he replaced it and told the umpire: " Twas the wind which took thy bail orf, good sir."

The umpire replied: "Indeed, doctor, and let us hope thy wind helps the good doctor on thy journey back to the pavilion ."

The best WG Grace sledge was on him, though, not from him. Charles Kortright had dismissed him four or five times in a county game - only for the umpires to keep turning down his appeals. Finally, he uprooted two of Grace's three stumps. Grace stalled, as though waiting for a no-ball call or something, before reluctantly walking off with Kortright's words in his ears: " Surely you're not going, doctor? There's still one stump standing."


The Prasad Vs Sohail Incident : Hero to Zero in 3 easy steps

Chasing India's score of 287-8, pakistan got off to a flyer of a start, Amir Sohail and Saeed Anwar went about tearing the Indian bowling attack. Pakistan looked all set to win as they reached 110 odd for the loss of just 1 wicket within the 15 overs.

1. Play a Great Shot: Amir Sohail was completely bent on demolishing the Indian bowling to pieces, charging down the track to the faster bowlers (if u can call Prasad that) in this particular case he came down the ground (a good 4-5 steps, anymore and he would have hit Prasad too) and slashed the bowl over vacant off side area... the ball disappeared into the fence in a flash ... what followed has since been etched in the memories of every cricket fan in the subcontinent.

2. Act Oversmart: Amir Sohail is no Miandad. But he tries to be,and fails miserably. Sohail after hitting the shot pointed his bat the area where the bowl had disappeared and then towards Prasad apparently gesturing where he will send the next one .

Its not everyday that you see a batsman sledging the bowler, and Sohail was about to learn just why.


3. Get what you called for: Sohail attempting to repeat the shot (albeit with his feet stuck to the ground this time) made room and exposed his stumps, and his weakness, and in return lost his wicket and his face.

As the wicket lay uprooted, Prasad returned the favour to Sohail, pointing to the pavilion this time. The comeback was truly remarkable, almost a miracle .... Prasad has bowled thousands of deliveries and taken hundereds of wickets in his career but, it was this one granted him a place in the History of Indian Cricket .. for ever... the ghost of Miandad's last ball six was exorcised, once and for all.

You can also watch the video of the incident.


Steve Waugh Vs Curtly Ambrose Episode.


It really does not get any bigger than this, the two legends of cricket came face to face, literally and engrossed in a verbal duel in a test match in Trinidad. All the juicy details were not to be known until Steve Waugh came out with his autobiography.

Ambrose repeatedly stared Waugh down during a searing spell, and Waugh, who sized up the towering Ambrose, said: " What the f*ck are you looking at?” Ambrose was stunned because, as Waugh says (in his Autobiography), "no one had ever been stupid enough" to speak to him like that. Ambrose replied, "Don't cuss me, man", before Waugh's response, which had nothing to do with bowling. Unfortunately, nothing inventive or witty came to mind, rather another piece of personal abuse: 'Why don't you go and get f*cked.' " The Windies skipper Richie Richardson had a hard time keeping Ambrose from hurting the Aussie.


McGrath Vs Brandes(the Best one till now….)

In a showdown of best pacers of two countries, Brandes made up for his complete absence of batting skills by some displaying some great sense of humor and presence of mind. Aussie paceman Glenn McGrath was bowling to Zimbabwe number 11 Eddo Brandes - who was unable to get his bat anywhere near the ball. McGrath, frustrated that Brandes was still at the crease, wandered up during one particular over and inquired: " Why are you so fat?" Quick as a flash, Brandes replied: "Because every time I make love to your wife, she gives me a biscuit ." Even the Aussie slip fielders were in hysterics.


Viv Richards v Greg Thomas

This incident took place during a county championship match between Glamorgan and Somerset.

Glamorgan quickie Greg Thomas had beaten Viv Richards' bat a couple of times and informed the legendary West Indian ace: " It's red, round and weighs about five ounces, in case you were wondering."

The very next ball was given the King Viv treament and smashed out of the ground, into a river - at which point Richards piped up: " Greg, you know what it looks like. Now go and find it."


Merv Hughes and Viv Richards:

Merv Hughes usually never short of a word while on the field, rarely keeps quite. During a test match in the West Indies Hughes didn't say a word to Viv, but continued to stare at him after deliveries. " This is my island, my culture. Don't you be staring at me. In my culture we just bowl." Merv didn't reply, but after he dismissed him he announced to the batsman: " In my culture we just say f*ck off. "


Sachin Tendulkar Vs Abdul Qadir

The year was 1989, the little master had recently made his debut in Pakistan. Sachin not even old enough to get a driving licence Sachin Tendulkar was facing the best bowlers in the business. As the Pakistani crows jeered and mocked Sachin holding out the placards saying "" Dudh Pita Bhachcha ..ghar jaake dhoodh pee", (hey kid, go home and drink milk), Sachin sent the then young leg spinner Mustaq Ahmed hiding for cover (he had hit two sixes in one over. The frustaded mentor of Mustaq Ahmed the legendary Abdul Qadir challenges Sachin saying " Bachchon ko kyon mar rahe ho? Hamein bhi maar dikhao` (`Why are you hitting kids? Try and hit me.`).

Sachin was silent, since then we all have come to know that he lets his bat do the talking. Abdul Quadir had made a simple request and Sachin obliged, and how. Sachin hit 4 sixes in the over, making the spinner look the kid in the contest. The over read 6, 0, 4, 6 6 6, David had felled Goliath ... and a legend was born.


Ian Healy Vs RANatunga

Ian Healy's made a legendary comment which was picked up by the Channel 9 microphones when Arjuna Ranatunga called for a runner on a particularly hot night during a one dayer in Sydney... " You don't get a runner for being an overweight, unfit, fat c*nt!"


McGrath to Ramnaresh Sarwan:

Sarwan, the West Indies vice-captain, and McGrath went toe-to-toe in an ugly shouting match in Antigua in May 2003, The incident was sparked after Sarwan, on his way to a match-winning second-innings century, reportedly reacted to lurid taunts from McGrath by telling him he should get the answers from his wife, who was recovering from radiation therapy for secondary cancer. The details :

McGrath: "So what does Brian Lara's d*ck taste like?"

Sarwan: "I don't know. Ask your wife. "

McGrath (losing it): "If you ever F*&king mention my wife again, I'll F*cking rip your F*fing throat out."


Mark Waugh Vs Adam Parore

Mark Waugh was standing at second slip, Adam Parore relatively new to cricket came to the crease played & missed the first ball.

Mark Waugh- " Ohh, I remember you from a couple years ago in Australia. You were sh*t then, you're fu*king useless now".

Parore- (Turning around) "Yeah, that's me & when I was there you were going out with that old, ugly sl*t & now I hear you've married her. You dumb c*nt ".


Ravi shastri v/s Mike Whitney:

Its common knowledge that Indian's usually don't resort to sledging, and the Aussies swear by it. In this rare ocassion the tables had turned and it was the Aussies who were at the receiving end.

Shastri hits the ball towards Mike Whitney (the 12th man in the game) and looks for a single, this guy gets the ball in and says

Whitney: "If you leave the crease i'll break your f***ing head"

Shastri didn't bat an eyelid before replying : " If you could bat as well as you can talk you wouldn't be the f***ing 12th man "


Merv Hughes Vs Cronje

Merv Hughes was one of the greatest exponents of the fine "art" of sledging. Once during a tour game in South Africa Hughes was bowling to Hansie Cronje . It was an especially flat wicket and Cronje was hitting Hughes for fours and sixes all over the place.

After the umpteenth boundary, Hughes headed down the pitch, stood near Cronje, let out a fart and said: "Try hitting that for six." It was five minutes before the guffawing stopped and play could resume.


Robin Smith and Merv Hughes

During 1989 Lords Test, Merv Hughes said to Robin Smith after he played and missed: " You can't f*cking bat".

Simth replied, both with the bat and with words, he smashed Hughes to the boundry and said " Hey Merv, we make a fine pair. I can't f*cking bat and you can't f*cking bowl ."


Team mates Sledging :S

England were playing Pakistan and, at what turned out to be a crucial moment later on, Frank Tyson managed to get an outside edge off a Pakistani batsman after the batsman had been frustrating them on a hot sweaty day. The ball went right through the hands of Raman Subba Rao who was standing in first slip and through his legs. After the over Raman heads over to the bowler and says, "Sorry Frank, I should've closed my legs." Frank Tyson, who didn't find any of this amusing, quipped back, "No, you bastard, your mother should have ."


Ian Healy Vs a Short chubby batsman:

In one of the tour matches in South Africa, Australia played Hansie Cronje's province. Cronje was at the non strikers end, there was a short chubby batsman on strike.

Ian Healy yelled to Warne, " Bowl a Mars Bar half way down...We'll get him stumped"

The Aussies and Cronje were all in hysterics, all this was before a classic reply from the batsman.

The exact words: " Nah, Boonie (David Boon) fielding at short leg will be onto it before I can move."


Miandad Vs Lillee: The 'brats' clash:



Miandad played Lillee to s quare leg and completed an easy run, with a collision taking place in the center. According to Miandad, Lillee had tried to block him in the path. After a verbal exchange, Lillee went ahead and kicked Miandad on his pads. Miandad, started charging towards Lillee with his bat lifted high above the head, as if to hit him. The umpire's intervention prevented what could have turned out to be a real assault had Miandad gone head with his plans. However, the picture of Miandad hurling his bat at Lillee made the whole incident look even worse, and was promptly declared as the most indignified incident in the history of Cricket.

Lillee's version, to this day, had Miandad first hitting him with the bat, and then swearing at him. He maintained that there was no contact from his side throughout the incident.

Note: The author is awsare if the fact that this incident has nothing to do with sledging, but found the temptation of mentioning the episode was too hard to resist.


The Frog Jumping incident, 1992 India Vs Pakistan:



India
vs Pakistan matches are always a treat to watch, and if its the World Cup its stakes are even greater. Javed Miandad, the Bad boy of cricket, at the receiving end for once. Miffed by the verbals from Kiran More, he complains " Insaan khel rahe hain janwaar nahin" (Human beings are playing not animals). And after a sharp run out chance, where Miandad closely survives Miandad starts jumping up and down, face distorted imitating Kiran More's appealing. A sight to behold. Pure comedy. Pakistan loses the match but go on to win the cup.

'I did it instinctively', Miandad later told. He added, 'Hey, is this the way you appeal for everything? Don't appeal like that '. You can also watch the video of the incident.

Dropped the Cup?

Perhaps the most famous sledge in a World Cup match took place the epic Super Six clash between Australia and South Africa (in 2003). South Africa looked on course to a routine victory with Australian captain Steve Waugh at the crease and on 56. At that stage, Waugh clipped the ball in the air straight to South African fielder Herschelle Gibbs. In his haste, Gibbs dropped the ball when attempting to throw it in the air in celebration as he had not fully controlled it. As he passed him, Waugh is said to have asked Gibbs: " How does it feel to have dropped the World Cup?". Waugh carried on to make an unbeaten 120 and Australia posted an unlikely win and won the World Cup a few days later.

Waugh has however denied that quote, instead claiming that he said " looks like you've dropped the match".


Hughes Vs Miandad

The inimitable Merv Hughes has forgotten more about sledging than most people will ever know, so he was more than a little miffed to be on the receiving end in the 1991 Adelaide Test against Pakistan. Hughes and Javed Miandad almost came to blows after the Pakistani batsman dared to call big Merv a " fat bus conductor". But revenge was sweet for Hughes. A few balls later he finally got his man and as Miandad walked past, he could not resist shouting " Tickets, please!"


Dennis Lillee Vs Sunil Gavaskar



Dennis Lillee and Sunil Gavaskar, were involved in a war of words in the 3rd Test, MCG, February 1981. A historic win for India in that Test would definitely not have taken place had Sunil Gavaskar not calmed down. He clashed with Australian

fast bowler Dennis Lillee, who Gavaskar claims abused him after claiming his wicket and the Indian captain asked non-striker Chetan Chauhan to walk off the field, forfeiting the match. Gavaskar was batting on 70 when Lillee appealed for a leg before decision. Gavaskar showed his bat to the umpire, indicating he had 'nicked' the ball before it hit his pads. Angry words were exchanged between the batsman and the bowler, and Lillee even went to the extent of pointing to the batsman the spot where the ball had his pads. The decision went in favour of the bowler and as Gavaskar started his long, dejected walk back to the pavilion, Lillee turned around and abused him. That was it. Gavaskar snapped, and decided to forfeit the match.

Later, Gavaskar was to write in his book 'Idols': "That (the walkout) was the most regrettable incidents of my life. Whatever may be the provocation and whatever the reason, there was no justification for my action and I realize now that I did not behave the way a captain and sportsman should ."


Flintoff Vs Tino Best

Best, never short of a word or two when he is bowling, was done up like a kipper by the England all-rounder as West Indies slumped to defeat in the first Test. Flintoff saw his opponent preparing to face Giles' off-spin and shouted: " Watch the windows, Tino!" The wind-up had the desired effect, causing Best to come charging out of his crease like a man possessed. He took a wild swing at the ball, missed and was promptly stumped by Geraint Jones. Not a broken window in sight. Flintoff could not contain himself and spent the next five minutes giggling like a teenager, as Best sat on the balcony rueing his stupidity.


Viv Richards to Gavaskar:

Gavaskar had decided to relinquish his opening position and come in at no 4 for that test. But, Malcolm Marshall fired out Anshuman Gaekwad and Dilip Vengsarkar for ducks, setting the stage for Gavaskar to walk in at 0/2.And he thought there would be less pressure! Viv Richards says " Man, it don't matter where you come in to bat, the score is still zero."


Steve Waugh and Parthiv Patel

Amidst all the hype surrounding his farewell match, Steve Waugh had to contend with an unexpected dose of his own medicine from a player half his age.

As Waugh fought a grim battle to stave off defeat in the series-deciding fourth Test in Sydney, 19 year-old Indian wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel tried to unsettle the veteran batsman through some banter.

The baby-faced Patel egged on the 38 year-old stalwart to play one of his sweep shots one last time.

The India 'keeper was saying, 'Come on, just one more of the famous slog-sweeps before you finish'

Waugh replied: 'Look, show a bit of respect. You were in nappies when I debuted 18 years ago' .


Rod Marsh and Ian Botham:

When Botham took guard in a Ashes match, Marsh welcomed him to the wicket with the immortal words: " So how's your wife and my kids?"

Trueman and Aussie batsman

In an England v Australia Test during early 1960's Trueman was fielding close to the gate from the pavilion. As a new batsman came out he turned to shut the gate, Trueman said " Don't bother son, you won't be out there long enough."


Daryll Cullinan and Shane Warne.

As Cullinan was on his way to the wicket, Warne told him he had been waiting 2 years for another chance to humiliate him. " Looks like you spent it eating ," Cullinan retorted.


Adam Parore and Daryll Cullinan

Because Cullinan is well known for being Warne's bunny, New Zealand keeper Parore greeted the South African, carefully playing the first ball from kiwi Chris Harris, with a cry of: " Bowled Warnie!"


Malcolm Marshall and David Boon

Malcolm Marshall was bowling to David Boon who had played and missed a couple of times. Marshall: " Now David, Are you going to get out now or am I going to have to bowl around the wicket and kill you? "


James Ormond and Mark Waugh

James Ormond had just come out to bat on an ashes tour and was greeted by MarkWaugh……..

Mark : "F*ck me, look who it is. Mate, what are you doing out here, there's no way you're good enough to play for England "

James: "Maybe not, but at least i'm the best player in my family"


Waugh Vs Jamie Siddons

In a Sheffield Shield game between NSW and SA, a Waugh twin (not sure which) was taking an enternity to take guard, asking the umpire for centre, middle and leg, two legs - the whole lot. Then he steps away towards leg side and has another look around the field, before re checking centre.

Jamie Siddons is at slip, and decided enough is enough. He yells out."For christ sake, it's not a 'f*cken test match."

Waugh replies: "Of course it isn't ... You're here."


Mother (in law) of all sledges:

In the 1980's Ian Botham returned early from a tour of Pakistan, and on radio joked " Pakistan is the sort of country to send your mother in-law to ." Needless to say the Pakistanis did not find this amusing, and when Pakistan defeated England in the 1992 World Cup Final, Aamer Sohail told Ian Botham " Why don't you send your mother-in-law out to play, she cannot do much worse."


Barmy Army Vs Shane Warne

England's "Barmy Army" recently decided to sledge leg spinner Shane Warne musically, and it has been described as boorishly personal, but effective.

The sledge was based on Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep - the "Where's your poppa gone?" Song. It has been converted to " Where's your missus gone?" (Warne had recently been divorced ith ife)


Special Mention:

Inzamam-ul-Haq once told Brett Lee to " stop bowling off spinners".

In the recent Karachi Test when Irfan Pathan came to bat in 2nd Innings Afridi shouted two times " O mera Shehzada aaya ! " (Oh! my prince has come) .