Cup within cup!

I thought that the World Cup was “the cup that mattered”. Definitely not to Australia or New Zealand. Australia has mastered the art of putting down the event or series or tournament they are playing in. When they were playing India, the “focus was on the Ashes”. During the Ashes, the “focus was on the World Cup”. And now, during the World Cup, they want to play for the Chappel-Hadlee trophy.

I think this has a deeper reason. I think Cricket Australia is being miserly and wants to save money by not having to advertise for the CH trophy or host the visitors. They last went to NZ and won it there and figure that doing it at someone else’s expense will save money. Sure, they say that they are doing it because the two teams won’t be meeting in 2011. So do it in 2012. And if it’s a matter of just the one match, they could just fit it in anywhere.

What also baffles the mind is this statistical insight by Cricinfo:

The New Zealanders should be happy with the move, as they have beaten Australia in nine of 21 Chappell-Hadlee matches, but have lost all 12 of the other ODIs the teams have played during the same period. The trophy has been contested every season since it began in 2004-05, and is currently held by Australia after they won 3-2 in New Zealand last March.

Are they trying to say that because this match is now considered the CH trophy New Zealand become favourites? What about the head-to-head of the actual tournament they are playing? Or the head-to-head when the two countries have played at neutral venues or in India? This is some seriously cockeneyed statistic!

Which brings us to the point, what are NZ’s chances in the CH trophy in day/night games when they bat first? Never mind the pitch or the venue or the main event!

Michael Clarke will be the next Tendulkar

Michael Clarke is all set to become Australia’s next ODI captain. At present, he is the only batsman apart from Ricky Ponting and occasionally Mike Hussey who looks like they belong to the international stage. Over the next 2-3 years, he will be the only one left. Ponting and Hussey will eventually — sooner than later — retire.

Around Clarke is currently a mediocre collection of domestic players. Fitness apart, they don’t offer much on the field. They are seen to be woefully lacking in some basic skills and unfortunately for them, won’t have a wealth of experience or the ‘winning mindset’ around them like Clarke did when he started out.

As a result, this team can only go from its current worrying state to a confirmed state of worry. A la the West Indies. In such a scenario, Michael Clarke is the man on whose shoulders will rest the burden of the entire Australian team. With a weak back, he may or may not be able to handle that! Who knows. But his situation will be similar to that of Sachin Tendulkar’s until about 3 years ago when his wicket would trigger an astonishing collapse on the field and an exodus in the stands!

The exodus notwithstanding, the collapses are already evident. Only now, they are happening after Ponting’s wicket. But Clarke is set to replace Ponting. So in two ways, now, we can be certain that he is up against it for the next decade of cricket of his international career. If he lasts that long.

Sachin only had weak elbows. His back was is strong!

So the Aussies are coming

Andrew SymondsAnd as you’d expect, the oral diarrhea from either side has begun. Taking the lead was Harbhajan Singh who was soon out-talked by Mike Hussey (albeit against his own team!) and just this morning, Ricky Ponting perhaps woke up and realised he hadn’t said much. Now he has.

“But one thing I have noticed is that Sourav hasn’t been named in the initial squad and that I think is going to be interesting for me during the tour,” said the Australian, recovering from a wrist surgery.

It’s unfortunately, quite predictable what will happen. And if he thinks India has things to worry about, well, he would be surprised to know that his own team-mate thinks that Australia doesn’t have a balanced or ready team.

And then of course, there’s the issue of the chap who went fishing and may never return! Well, boo! hoo!

Photo: Cricinfo.com

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New additions to the dictionary…

Here are some new interesting suggestions for the 2008 dictionaries.

Disclaimer: (esp. for Cricket Australia, Ricky Ponting, Andrew Symonds and Steve Bucknor): This is just a joke. Please don’t report me for racism. Please, I beg you!

Bucknor: (n) (adj)
1. Temporary blindness leading to missing out on the obvious.
2. To be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
3. Situations leading to grave judgemental errors.
Usage: I feel bucknored by my boss;
Life often throws a bucknor at you.

Benson: (n) (adj)
1. Something that legitimises a severe bucknor.
Usage: First they bucknored me and then they bensoned it! I am toast.
[Also see: bucknor]

Ponting: (n) (adj)
1. A substance or entity or even a person of unquestionable integrity
2. An act of uncivilised behaviour. [Also, pontingness (n)]

Symonds: (n):
A subset of the monkeys, Symonds are long-tailed primates found in the interiors of Australia known for wailing and crying at being called names. Symonds are extremely sensitive creatures and need to be handled with extreme care or else they’ll break down at the mere exposure to the Indians (who happen to be higher up in the food chain). They are usually nestled by them Pontings in their little chest pouch which gives then additional protection against the Indians.

Symonds: (v):
Randomly wail and weep at every whichever chance one gets.
Present Continuous: symonding
Usage: The child took to symonding when the mother denied him money to buy a kite.

Hat tip: Rohit Hardikar

The double standards are startling

I can’t see how these various explanations from past Australian greats is helping improve the situation that has now turned into a stand-off.

Take Steve Waugh’s words for example:

Nevertheless, he doesn’t believe Australia should apologise for their attitude. "Teams playing against Australia fail to understand that banter, gamesmanship, sledging or whatever anyone would like to call it is just the way Australian kids joust and play in the schoolyard and backyards. On the other hand, Australian teams can’t stomach time-wasting and perceived manipulation of the rules, including calling for runners, over-appealing and the alleged altering of the condition of the ball."

So the point to be noted here is that the Australians only indulge in "banter, gamesmanship, sledging or whatever anyone would like to call it" while all the other teams are cheaters since they waste time, manipulate rules, call for runners (if it’s Hayden, it’s ok), alter the ball and over-appeal (Ponting may have picked up the bad habit due to excessive touring).

Continue reading “The double standards are startling”

Not quite the start, eh?

One more wicket that wasn't 2008 promised much for India’s cricket fans. Sachin Tendulkar gave them a 100, as did VVS Laxman; they had Australia at 134/6 but then something went wrong. Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson thought, “Hang on. India can’t beat Australia. West Indies and England have been battered by the Aussies. India must suffer the same fate.” And so it began. One long, never-ending string of bad decisions (that even the Australian media slammed) and India had lost a Test they deserved to at least draw. The ICC has since withdrawn Mr Bucknor from the third Test at Perth. After India put pressure on them. Which means that he is incompetent and the ICC should not have fielded him in the first place. Continue reading “Not quite the start, eh?”