31 May 2007

Cricket's ultimate failed rockstar

Guardian carried an interview with Paul Smith, ex-cricketer who had to face a ten-year ban for recreational drug taking.

29 May 2007

Another English summer

I don't think there is anything quite like watching India tour England. The very first practice match itself will prick every optimistic bubble in my body when the Indian batting will fold before some dibbly-dobblers. And from then on until the first Test match, I will rejoice like a true Indian fan, looking for individual performances - a Dravid hundred, a century opening partnership, a Zaheer five-for, a belligerent rearguard from Dhoni, all interspersed with healthy amounts of rain and polite clapping.
And then the Test matches will begin. If it clicks, it is beautiful - like Leeds. If it doesn't, it is heartbreaking, because the batting would have very likely gifted wickets to a part-timer. Both teams, after having faced West Indies and Bangladesh respectively, know that they will be facing stiffer opposition. The currently wayward English fast bowling (Sidebottom notwithstanding) will be coached by one Mr. White Lightning. India will arrive in England with an as-yet-unappointed coach. We can watch KP against Kumble and Tendulkar against Monty. Hopefully Vaughan will be fit and that will raise Dravid's captaincy game as well - as one who does best when pitted against the best. I can't wait.

27 May 2007

Zak's back? Or another false dawn?

Zaheer has nailed a five-for. And four of them were top quality wickets from the top and middle order - two leg before's, one bowled and one caught behind. The fifth, Rafique, experienced and doughty, was out bowled as well. Prior to the WC, Zaheer's comeback performance in South Africa was an exhibition in left-arm swing bowling. After not having lived up to expectations in the Caribbean, and some unexceptional bowling in the one-day series in Bangladesh, this is a revival of sorts - a comeback within a comeback? Hopefully, his good run of form will continue, into England where he will be invaluable against Cook and Strauss.

Also read some criticism of Tendulkar's trudging, workmanlike hundred that followed Jaffer, Kaartick and Dravid.

22 May 2007

Is that why he was such a bad commentator?

Sometime stunning talent, one of India's many men-who-could-have-been-Bedi's, former coach in the Dilli circles, last man out in the last Tied Test, and now an NDPS accused. Wasn't he an umpire as well before he became such a bad commentator - in English and Hindi?

15 May 2007

Rock-paper-scissors hits the big time

An article in the Herald Tribue on some big-time Rock-Paper-Scissors.

12 May 2007

The Gautam Gambhir Problem

Gambhir just scored a good century. How does one rate a stop-start career like Gambhir's? When Ganguly returns to the sqaud, would Gambhir have done enough to dislodge Sehwag from the squad. The Test series against Bangladesh presents the ideal opportunity. With Jaffer having almost cemented his half of the opening riddle, Gambhir has the ideal platform to show that he can provide India with the same options that Sehwag did. A good show in Test matches will at the very least influence the selector's thinking when they pick the next ODI squad.

10 May 2007

Makes me sick!

Okay, so Bangladesh are a vastly improved team now. But it is not okay that India show the same weaknesses from the World Cup campaign: a brittle middle order and a bowling that lacked bite.
Did not see the match, so I was a little surprised when Sreesanth was not bowled again after five overs at an economy of 2 odd. Zaheer certainly never looked like breaking the opening pair. Why? What happened to the new and improved, leaner and meaner man we saw in South Africa? Come on, don't tell me that Zaheer is going to live out a career of unfulfilment: a bowling parallel to Shahid Afridi - brilliant one day and ordinary the next . Yuvraj was not even given a chance, slow gentle spin, and the expected mistake came beofre too long. Dravid, once settled in, should have taken his team across. Powar is the silver lining. He might have gone for five an over but he still attacked with every ball. Munaf seemed extremely tame. I think he needs to up his pace a bit, at least in subscontinental conditions.

So Dhoni and KDK are batting now. They can still take us to a win, but if we don't see significant progree on these two fronts before too long, then what's the point?

08 May 2007

Jayan tribute

Very few Malayalam actors could lay claim to some solid oomph factor. For years after his death, deep-red shirts with white pockets and collars continued to dot Kerala.
The 2-metre radius bell bottoms are still around.

Jayan tribute

Malayalam's first action hero.
Style icon, cinema martyr
Pop-culture legend.