Archive for the 'World Cup' Category

World Cup dreams (football)

footballThe following is a true story… well actually, it is true that I dreamed this dream last night.

As Brazil was losing to Netherlands in the World Cup third place match (they were 2-0 down at that time) , I fell asleep and I dreamed that I was in the Brazilian team, as a defender (no joke, I really dreamed this! I don’t even like football that much, and so it was all the more crazy.)

Anyway… I was a Brazilian defender… and another team (not necessary Netherlands) was on the attack. A foul led to a free kick near the goal box. And I was marked to stand in the defensive line on the far left of the line. The kicker kicked and the ball flew past me on my left… the kick was not that fast… but I just missed it… and the ball rolled pass the goal line. Interestingly, even as I was dreaming… before the kicker kicked… I remember thinking that the kicker will try to kick past me on the left… even before it happened. However, when it happened, I was still unable to stop it.

Then… goal number two… another attack on the Brazilian goal… this time… as a defender I stood at the goal line, to the left of the goal-keeper to cover the goal as the attackers grew close enough to shoot. I remember thinking that they will probably kick straight towards my right and that’s exactly what happened… and even though I knew what was going to happen, again I saw the ball go past me, and to another goal. I missed.

When I woke up… Brazil had lost 3-0… but it really felt like I was “living” the moment of Brazil’s loss. I had seen the 7-1 humiliation to Germany. And now this 3-0 loss was just more pain. So dreaming this dream was probably expected… I had taken the loss a little personally… and had empathised with the Brazilian defenders.

But I also remember thinking that failure sometimes happens even when you know the answers… when you know what to do. In my dream… I could pre-empt the attackers… I knew what would happen… and yet I was not fast enough to execute that defence… I was not able to stop the ball. I obviously felt sympathy for the actual Brazilian defenders.

But this also reminded me about how (in theology) we aim to know/speak the right answers, but that is so very different (even hard) to actually perfectly follow the right answers. We may know what to do, but so often we are unable to do what we know we should do.

Anyway… that’s enough world cup theology for now. At least I had another sport to talk about other than cricket! :)

No more cricket! And I mean it (after India’s world cup exit)

Well… that’s it. I had said that I would retire from cricket writing if India did not make it to the Super8s… well India didn’t. So that’s it. From now on, this blogsite will talk about anything BUT cricket. All worldcup related tags (except cricket and worldcup) are being removed… and the entire look of this site is being changed.

I must say that I enjoyed Fjords theme for this site. Since my site was a more newsy theme, the four columns worked. But not anymore.

Now it’s time for happier things… maybe a story about a little elf, perhaps?

Oh the horror! India lose and face possible early exit!!

I didn’t think it was possible. But it happened. And now… India is paying for it’s cautious defensive mindset… by losing to Bangladesh! And facing the prospect of an early exit. Because of Sri Lanka’s demolishing of Bermuda… the chances for India making it are not that easy.

Anyway, I am so upset… that I am retiring from cricket-oriented blogging until… only until India makes it to the second round. If not, then good bye cricket writing! This blog will then talk about better, happier things!

Never say Never: 6-sixes in one over

Just yesterday I said to myself… that it would never happen. I really believed that no one would hit 6-sixes in a one-day international… at least not this world cup. And in 24-hours I was proved wrong. This is how it happened… according to cricinfo.

Herschelle Gibbs’s six sixes off Dan van Bunge’s fourth over was a record for international matches. Below is the ball-by-ball description of the mauling
29.1 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Violence! Gibbs charged down the track and hoicked it over long on.
29.2 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Murder! Floated on the leg and middle stump line and Gibbs sends it soaring over long-off.
29.3 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Carnage! Flatter one this time but it makes no difference to Gibbs. He just stands there and delivers. This one also has been sucked over long off
29.4 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Wah Wah! Low full toss and guess where this went Yep. A slap slog and it went over deep midwicket! He is going to go for 6 sixes in this over!
29.5 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, Short in length, on the off stump line and Gibbs rocks back and swat-pulls it over wide long off. SImply amazing. What a batsman. This is pure violence!
29.6 van Bunge to Gibbs, SIX, He has done it! One-day record. No one has hit six sixes in a row. GIbbs stands alone in that zone. And the minnow bashing continues! Full and outside off and bludgeoned over long off

Well there this company that owes 1milliondollars to some charity now… since that was the prize for the first person who hit 6-sixes. Wow, south africa have a knack of doing the unbelievable!

Gavaskar-Ponting verbal duel: another opinion

Here’s an interesting link to the ‘other’ side of the Ponting-Gavaskar debate.

http://i3j3cricket.wordpress.com/2007/03/15/gavaskar-ponting-war-of-words-aussie-views/

My own take is that Gavaskar is a TV commentator and Ponting a player. Two different sets of rules apply. A commentor can stay some stupid things and get away with it more easily than a captain of the premiere cricket team.

Regardless, now even commentators have to be careful, especially when racism and bigotry is involved and now, commentators need to understand that viewing the ‘australian’ team as a bad-behaviour team is also racism. Meannig, is Gavaskar saying that every single Australian has bad behaviour? What about Gilchrist’s unpopular decision to ‘walk’ every time he nicked a catch.

Such universal statements however are equally serious as Ponting’s verbal ill-informed joust against the Indian cricket team… and so, Ponting too is wrong.

Best response… would be to keep the issue between players… like one-two Australian players, and Gavaskar. Rather than bring the whole Australian cricket team (and the nation) or the Indian Cricket team (and the nation) into this.

Let Indians talk about Indians, and Australians about Australians. And when opinions to cross=over, don’t generalise!!!

Indian Cricket Team Batting Weaknesses… and suggestions

I know, I know… we all want India to win the world cup, and like millions others… I will NEVER bet against India. However, being a strong team doesn’t mean that we can’t be aware of our weaknesses. (Of course our assessment makes no difference… but when did that stop the common Indian fan from speaking!) See also Cricinfo’s much better (though later) analysis of batting/bowling strength/weaknesses of the Indian cricket team here.

We are currently familiar with this story of the batting performance of the Indian cricket team…

Opening Pair partnership…20-30 (in three/four overs)

Score at 15 overs about 80/2 (Uthappa is already out after making 20-30 quick runs)

Partnership between Ganguly-Tendulkar-Dravid: 120 (all three make 50s)

Score at 40 overs… 200-210 for 5 wickets

All down to Yuvraj and Dhoni… to bring the score up to 300!

Our tail (read Agarkar, Zak, Bhajji and Patel)… are probably worthy of a collective 20-30 runs.

And so, heavens forbid, if Dhoni fails… regardless of how good Tendulkar, Dravid batted… we may not even make it to 250!

*******

Thus, as I see it, our weakness are as follows:

Lack of stable opening partner to Ganguly.
Sehwag, Sehwag, whereforth are thou Sewhag? If Sehwag can guarantee about 35-40 runs per innings (not 10-20) then that is stable enough.

Lack of stable (read Ponting) number three
Uthappa is a strike batsman, not a pinch hitter. If we want a pinch hitter, we can recall Pathan and he might just bowl out 5 overs with a wicket! Uthappa has to plan to make a 100 at least twice this world cup…

Over-reliance on Dhoni
Let’s face it… if we were to choose between the batsman Dhoni and the batsman Yuvraj, Dhoni would clearly walk away the favourite. He has been more destructive and yet more consistent than the ‘senior’ partner… and we look to Dhoni, not Yuvraj, to finish well. If only Yuvraj can compete with Hussey, aim at high-score consistency… the pressure on Dhoni would be less, and the lower order a little more stable. Right now… Yuvraj is still a little too unpredictable.

Weak tail
Without Pathan, our bowlers are just not consistent with the willow. On average, my feeling is that our tail is worth 20-30 runs tops… if someone is with them… without guidance and time… they may just collapse. As always… we need Agarkar… to shake things up… become the batsman who is worth 25-30 runs consistently by himself.

Summary:

Ganguly… keep up the good work… hopefully you will stay in the middle overs to hit the spinners around…

Sewhag… get to 40 Runs!!! (not total World Cup score but in EACH INNINGS!)

Uthappa… you are not a pinch hitter! Remember you are batting in the same position as Ponting!

Tendulkar… please be the highest scorer in the tournament… please, please, please!!!

Dravid… don’t get bogged down in the middle overs… try to keep the run rate around 6 when you bat.

Yuvraj… more consistency please… be not-out… strike rate 100!

Dhoni… you are our big cricket’ hope… DON’T GET INJURED!!!

Agarkar… 30 runs please

Zak… 18runs… 2 sixes…

Harbhajan… 15 runs…

Patel… don’t get injured… and learn to take singles fast!!! give the strike to the other batsman.

Nobody listens! And that’s OK when we win

What this heading above is trying to say is that I tried to make recommendations for the team order, and obviously it doesn’t matter. However, we went on (or actually are going on) to win against Sri Lanka dramatically. So happily… all our ‘fan’ opinions don’t matter… especially if/when we win. And we usually have no problem with whatever combination etc is used. Ultimately… if the results are in our favour, who cares! :)


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Passage for this Season

Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.