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Archive for the ‘SPorts O Mania’ Category

His silence provoked a quiescent nation,
His army’s dark side remained exposed,
He stares at an early exit,
For India cannot ‘Singh’ along anymore.

His resurrection is keenly observed,
His attitude reinforced a million hopes,
He stares at a fortunate rebirth,
For India awaits to ‘Singh’ along endlessly.

His incompetence raised countless fingers,
His demeanor cuts a sorry figure,
He struggles to combat troubled waters,
For India cannot ‘Singh’ along anymore.

His extraordinary spirit accumulated plaudits,
His style and grace reflects a matured revival,
He seeks for renewed vigour,
For India awaits to ‘Singh’ along endlessly.

His leadership attracts sole mockery,
His muteness spells no less than tragedy,
He remains a voiceless puppet,
For India cannot ‘Singh’ along anymore.

His cancerous battle shocked one and all,
His recovery bagged heaps of applause,
He returns in colours of Blue,
For India awaits to ‘Singh’ along endlessly.

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Rahul Dravid announces his retirement from International cricket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16 year-long journey saw a bumpy end for this fighter,
Yet countless fairytale innings will shine brighter,
He remains cricket’s most earnest student,
Forever he will be the great ‘Wall’ of India.

Focus, determination & class oozed in his game,
Putting a price on his wicket got him immense fame,
He remains cricket’s most earnest student,
Forever he will be the great ‘Wall’ of India.

Elegance and style captured his batting antics,
At odd times he effortlessly shifted game tactics,
He remains cricket’s most earnest student,
Forever he will be the great ‘Wall’ of India.

Mr. Dependable’s greatest virtue was his fortitude,
Even troubled waters never shook his sturdy attitude,
He remains cricket’s most earnest student,
Forever he will be the great ‘Wall’ of India.

Deserved to have bagged the ultimate team man title,
He calmly helped clinch many a half-lost battle,
He remains cricket’s most earnest student,
Forever he will be the great ‘Wall’ of India.

Leaving behind fond memories of an era he dominated,
Dignity & grace he lent to the game will be celebrated,
He remains cricket’s most earnest student,
Forever he will be the great ‘Wall’ of India.

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A billion dreams accomplished.
A zillion hearts won.
Indian tigers roared aloud.
All for the love of cricket

The dawn of April 3, 2011 marked the emergence of a revived India. An epic night where the Men in Blue brought the entire world to their feet, gave every cricket loving soul ‘moksha’. For 28 years a nation, where cricket is religion, waited for Gods above to bless them with World Cup glory… And what a time did the blessings shower!

The eyes of captain MS Dhoni following the ball, after he smacked it over the stand for a maximum, said it all. An expression of victory, an expression of retribution, an expression of pride… so fitting was it for Mr. Ice, Mr, Midas Touch to clinch the winning runs for his nation.

Despite all the criticisms he faced for his captaincy, his batting etc, Dhoni remains the master of his own destiny. MSD, who is the owner of many firsts, has won the Cup that counts and has ended a nation’s 28-year-old wait.

Being the leader that Dhoni is, he dedicated this win to every Indian around the world, but most importantly to the God of cricket in India — Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

The legend, the icon, the master… rejoiced a long pending dream last night. Images of the Little Master with tears of joy in his eyes will be embellished in the minds of every single Indian cricket fan for years to come. Winning the coveted glory on his home turf — what more could Sachin have asked?

The memory of Sachin Tendulkar being chaired around the Wankhede by team mates, while he waves the Indian tricolour, will go down in history as the master blaster’s cherished moments.

“Sachin has carried the burden for Indian cricket for 21 years and it’s time we carried him on our shoulders,” young Virat Kohli put it aptly.

This very attitude by Kohli gives Indian fans an assurance that future of cricket in the country is in secured hands. For boys who have grown into men overnight – courage, grit, maturity and substance reflects in their personalities and they surely have it in them to keep India at the No.1 spot.

What’s encouraging for us is that gone are the days when the Indian team would choke while chasing and gone are the days when TV sets would get switched off after Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. The likes of Kohli, Raina, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Gambhir etc have given a new dimension to this team, which will leave millions with the hope of India carrying on this dream run.

At this juncture, I cannot help applaud one man’s effort, who was nearly written off by many. Yuvraj Singh — the man who has emerged as India’s ‘definitive’ allrounder this tournament, will be the one to watch out for in the coming season. For a player who has shaped into someone who can score a century, bowl 10 overs and field like a champion — he surely deserves all the applause today. Without his purple patch this season, I am not too sure if we would have witnessed history unfold. Kudos to him!

After the 2007 World Cup, Indians felt that our cricket team would achieve nothing enormous. The faith was just lost forever. Cut across to 2011 and we are ruling the game in Tests as well as ODIs, all thanks to two men — MS Dhoni and coach Gary Kirsten.

If ever I meet the two of them I would like to tell them, “Thanks for being such selfless people. It makes a huge difference to us that icons like you are leading the game in India.”

I will for one be ever indebted to Kirsten. He changed the face of this team and he changed the personalities within them. He got the best in each and every one of our players and silenced many critics. Thanks Gary for sharing your cricket dream… every Indian will miss your services.

As the song ‘I got a feeling… that tonight’s going to be a good night’ was being played at the Wankhede stadium on Saturday, flashes of priceless moments surface in my mind.

The controversial toss, Zak’s dream first spell, Sangakkara’s classic coverdrive, Yuvraj Singh’s crucial 2 wickets, Mahela Jayawardene’s century under pressure, Sri Lanka’s powerplay magic, Viru-Sachin’s quick dismissal, Gambhir’s gritty performance, Kohli’s matured innings, captain Dhoni’s game changing move, the final six of the match, Yuvraj Singh breaking down into tears, Sachin running in from the pavilion, tears of joy in the eyes of many, Yuvi bagging man of the tournament trophy, Dhoni & Co lifting the World Cup, Celebrations across the world… every single second of April the 2nd is picture clear.

I am absolutely certain that these memories will be engraved in every Indian’s mind. Forever will this nation be grateful to Dhoni and his men. I am proud to say that the ‘World’ has finally come to India’s feet and I belong to a nation where cricket is RELIGION!

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A Wednesday!

Age old politics assumes back stage,
Cricket fever spreads across borders,
Unmatched passion colour enthusiasts,
With bated breath two nations await… A Wednesday.

The moment Yuvraj Singh smashed a boundary off Brett Lee to clinch India’s quarter-final clash against Australia, national euphoria sparked across borders.

Come Wednesday… passions will be running high on both sides of the border, when India take on Pakistan in the 2011 World Cup semifinal at Mohali.

The drums of war are being heard again as the subcontinent virtually prepares to come to a halt for the game this Wednesday.”

The hype and anticipation over the match has surely converted the status of the first semifinal clash between Sri Lanka and New Zealand as that of a ‘sideshow’.

For two nations who take their cricket way too seriously, this high-voltage contest assumes an undertone of antagonism that flows from the tension in ties since the Mumbai attacks of 2008.

The Indo-Pak clash will be the first in India since the 26/11 Mumbai carnage, which was carried out by Pakistan-based militants.

Ever since the dastardly attack on India’s financial capital, tension between the two countries has been unimaginable. And with Pakistan PM accepting Manmohan Singh’s invite to watch the clash — all of us wonder if this is the right time for cricket diplomacy?

On the cricket pitch, rivalry has always been fierce and intense for eternity now.  Without concrete statistics I can very well claim that the number of people who would watch the mouth-watering clash on Wednesday between the likes of Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar will exceed the entire population of possibly Europe!

The batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar is one century away from 100 international tons and on March 30th,  30000 fans who will occupy the seats of the PCA stadium and millions of viewers across the globe will be hoping for the ‘God’ of cricket to come alive again!

The combination of Sachin & Virender Sehwag will be keenly watched by every Indian citizen and hopes to thrash the Pakistani bowlers out of the park are soaring high.

As for Pakistan, every citizen across the border will be hoping that skipper Shahid Afridi continues to carry on his sparkling form with the ball.

With players from both sides backed by unimaginable support, billions will look heavenwards for a peaceful, yet special game.

Yes for every Indian and Pakistani, this match will be the virtual final of the World Cup. However, what will matter is the gesture on-field amongst the players… something that should leave an example for every citizen of both India & Pakistan.

Lets hope that divided borders & egos are left aside come Wednesday… all for the love of cricket!

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Will India lift the 2011 cricket World Cup for the first time in 28 years? My answer would be — I would want them to, it is possible, but I am not too sure. Looking at the current form of the team, which has been struggling to gain momentum just ahead of the competition, a lot of prayers will be offered for Dhoni and Co. when they take field from February 19 onwards.

Barring the team’s performance at the 2003 WC and the our triumphant streak at the first T20 WC, Team India have not really shined at the global stage. The worrying point this time around is the lack of a concentrated effort to build a complete team for the mega event and considering that the sub-continent is playing hosts to the WC, a lot will be expected out of the Men in Blue.

So the question is  — does this squad   — MS Dhoni (capt), Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Munaf Patel, Piyush Chawla, R Ashwin — have it in them to lift the coveted crown?

Being an Indian and being a Sachin Tendulkar fan, I would want this to happen.

Batting woes for India

At one point of time, cricketing experts always lauded the Indian batting line-up. While growing up, all I heard was that India had the perfect batting line-up on paper to combat any international team. Cutting across to 2011, with the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir and Tendulkar coming out of their injuries and with the rest of the batsmen letting the team down in their absence (especially during the South Africa tour), Team India surely have something to think about.

At the international stage, cricketing fans will hope that our one time star performer Yuvraj Singh, who has been having a tough run offlate, comes good. To be honest, I could not have imagined a team without Yuvi in the side — only because he has the skill to take any opposition to the cleaners and looking at his recent successful stint with the ball, I am sure the southpaw would bring in that confidence in his batting.

Even though a couple of our batsmen are struggling to find form, what is encouraging is the likes of Suresh Raina and Virat Kohli coming good at the right time. Raina and Kohli have the ability to build partnerships and also are clean strikers of the cricketing ball, but their inexperience on such a big stage should not put them under any pressure. If they continue to play their natural game, I am sure that India will hold a steady middle-order line-up.

However, what every Indian will be hoping is that the two big names, who are keenly watched  — Sachin Tendulkar and Yusuf Pathan — continue to create magic. We all know what both of them can do to any bowling line-up and their present form will definitely be a smiling factor for each one of us.

Will Sree’s non-inclusion hurt India?

Former Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly believes that dropping pacer S Sreesanth from the squad was a huge mistake by the Indian selectors. I may, unfortunately, agree to some extent. Keeping in mind Sree’s current form, I would have wanted him to be a part of the bowling line-up. However, our friend Munaf Patel’s 4-wicket haul against South Africa  just days before the final selection gave him an upper edge. 

Though some may feel that Sreesanth’s aggression is at times unwanted, I feel that a little bit of drama does irk the opposition. What India might just miss is his ability to strike early, hope the selector’s decision does not cost too much.

Barring this hiccup, our bowling line-up looks relatively competitive and balanced. With Zaheer Khan leading the attack from the front, a lot will be expected out of the pacers. The worry, ofcourse, is the fact that they have continued to struggle to get their act together during the death overs. If they manage to unleash the yorkers, the reverse swings and more during the last five overs of a match, India will surely be on their way to stop an all out opposition attack.

No matter how ‘notorious’ he may come across off the field, spinner Harbhajan Singh will hold the key to India’s overall success. His experience will definitely assist Ashwin and Chawla while they bowl in the crucial middle overs of a match.

Bhajji’s performance with the bat, which has made given him the title of a match-winner offlate, has given the team an added advantage. His heroics and guts will definitely boost the tailenders to perform well enough to save India some matches.

Allrounders in the squad — is there such a thing?

The perfect all-rounder is someone who has the ability to produce qualitatively with the bat and the ball and also hold the ability to produce the odd match-winning performance at any given time. The only name who comes to my mind is Yusuf Pathan. But is one all-rounder really enough?

We do have guys like Yuvi and Raina, who can bat well and bowl decently enough in the middle overs. But still they are not genuine all-rounders. With the shadow of explosive batting followed in a T20 format taking centre stage in a 50 overs match, playing a part time bowler may prove risky as well. At such a stage, is India ready to take a risk?

Where is our reserve wicketkeeper?

What if MS Dhoni injures his back or tears a ligament on the even of the World Cup. Who replaces him?

With no names of the likes of Parthiv Patel, Dinesh Karthik, Wridhiman Saha featuring in the final squad, India will hope that their only wicketkeeper in the line-up remains fit throughout. Guess the selectors literally believe that Dhoni is ‘Superman’.

Yes Virat Kohli can wicketkeep, but having a genuine wicketkeeper makes a huge difference — especially when you have stars like Bhajji spinning the bowl away to glory on various sub-continent tracks, which mostly favours spinners.

The final laugh

I would have loved to see more names feature in the squad, however, our selectors are restricted to only choosing a 15-member armoury. Though I am a bit unsure, if we have the perfect team, I will back our players to play to their skills and keep up the competition level throughout. Being a true Indian cricket fan, I would not want Team India to bag anything less than World Cup glory 🙂 after all Yeh Dil Hai Hindustani!

Here is wishing Dhoni and Co. all the best for their WC campaign. Chak de India!

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Agreed that India performed really well at the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games and I congratulate each and every athlete/sportsperon who made all of us absolutely proud. Though I am posting this blog late, there are several reasons for the delayed wishes. The biggest reason being the CWG mess that continued after the Games came to an end… It has not only increased the amount of work load I have, but also has made me feel angry about the fact that not a single event in our country can pass off peacefully without much of politics and negative hooplah!
 
A small mention here though… a breather definitely for me was our Very Very Special Laxman’s performance and also Sachin Tendulkar’s double ton against the Aussies.
 
Coming back — there has been utter chaos post the Games and at times I wonder with the number of scams surfacing by the day, will we have to even see a day where the headlines read ‘Fixing taint shrouds the Games’!!! The rate at which the mess is deepening, I would not be surprised at all. 😦
 
It is sad to say this, but the politicians, the officials and all those involved in the Games preparations give me the jitters coming to think of the mess that they have created in the past 7 years.
 
Nothing much can be said or done now. My job demands me to write about each and every revelation, even though my mind just refuses to imbibe any further negative information about the 2010 CWG. I am caught in this mess for sure. If we talk about Suresh Kalmadi, MS Gill and Sheila Dikshit being caught in the unfortunate chaos… I would say, I am also entangled in it – be if on or off work 😦
 
I wish I could get out of this.. but it looks like the politics of the same will not let me come out so soon. Alas! This is the life I’ve choosen for myself 🙂 However, I cannot deny one thing… being at the thick of things at times gives me this awesome rush of adrenalin and makes me feel that I am caught in a typical Bollywood masala flick where there is all sort of action and drama. 🙂
 
Lets just hope though that there is a logical end to the mess… I am sure after hosting a ‘successful Games’ (in the words of Mr Mike Fennell) we don’t want to emerge as a country that handles all its national matters amidst unaccountable corruption. That would definitely be a bummer — What say!
 
Cheers
Sunita Iyer

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It has been a while since I blogged about the ‘unpredictable’ game of cricket and considering the ongoing action with season 3 of the cash-rich Twenty20 tournament — Indian Premier League (IPL), I thought writing about this GAME itself won’t be a bad idea.


Let me begin by asking in lay man’s language: "Waise is ‘CIRKET’ mein aisa kya hai?" Yes we all wonder what is so special about this sport that leaves the whole nation or should I dare to say 80% of this world crazy? Being an Indian the thought of cricket being looked at as a religion too makes you wonder, what is so bloody special about this game? 

My dad would always say, "Cricket is a foolish game. The 22 players on the ground who waste as much as 3 hours to 5 days on the ground are FOOLS, and what is worse, those millions watching the game world over are greater FOOLS."

I get to hear this every time I sit in front of the ‘idiot’ box to watch the so called ‘idiotic and illogical’ game. And it is called the ‘Gentleman’s game’ !!!  

If the greatest scholars to have ever survived in this universe found out the widespread frenzy of this game, they would have laughed their guts out at the people who played the game and would have mocked every single fanatic who spends thousands and waste their time for just watching the game. However, they would have undoubtedly missed the ‘magic’ this game has… and maybe that is why Cricket is not for the ‘intellect’ 🙂 

So then what makes this game so special? Agreed one view says that it is a waste of time, money and energy… but on the other hand what those non-cricket lovers fail to understand that it is the importance given to the rules and the result of the game… that makes it so interesting time and again. 

No matter how well one single player plays, if the team loses by even a single run, every single player in the team and every single supporter will be left heart-broken (like in the case of Rajasthan Royals losing its opener against Mumbai Indians despite Yusuf Pathan’s smashing ton of 37 balls in IPL 3). On the flip side, someone who is from the winning team will be elated, even if his side played atrociously. 

So at the end of the day, it does not always matter of how this game is played, but what the final result is. That is where emotions soar high — classic case being a match between India and Pakistan. For many cricket lovers.. it does not matter if India won the World Cup or not, but yes it does matter if we beat the wits out of Pakistan in the same tournament!!!

In life the journey is important than the destination.. but in Cricket… the destination is more important than the journey. 

The game is illogical, not for the intellectual, at times unproductive… however, there is definitely something magical about it. ( the very fact that I am blogging on it speaks for itself).

A quote from Harold Pinter says, "I tend to think that cricket is the greatest thing that God ever created on earth – certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either."

Guess that sums up the ‘CRICKET MANIA’.

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