23 Jan 2012


Courtesy : http://cricketnext.in.com
Ahead of the Perth test, Rahul Dravid said "we are looking for inspiration". During the Perth test he was looking for his stumps which were getting rattled as frequently as Ajit Singh has changed Political Parties. If “the wall” doesn't plug the gaps in his defence, the day will not be far when the likes of Wasim Jaffer and Abhinav Mukund may start calling him "The hole". That the Indians are burning a hole in the pockets of Cricket Australia by ending all test matches in 4 days is altogether a different story. We have information that Cricket Australia is not stocking any 5th day tickets in the Adelaide test to at least cut the printing expenses.

If the Indians made their first innings look like a one-day international, David Warner made his look like a T20 innings. A century on the first day and that too in 69 balls made the Indian team as clueless as Munaf Patel would be in an astrophysics class. Warner lifted the Indian bowlers just like Anu Malik lifted tunes in the ’90s and like Anu Malik's music, the sounds of bat hitting the ball was certainly not music to the ears of Indian players. Indians prayed that if Friday the 13th was not unlucky for Warner at least Saturday the 14th would. But Warner was relentless and butchered the Indian attack. Its really difficult to  call it an attack when R. Vinay Kumar is your bowler but then, don't the Aussies call Lyon a spinner?

But one guy who bowled his heart out was Umesh Yadav. He was quick and bagged a fiver. Regardless of whether Ponting is in form or not, it does warm the cockles of your hearts to see Ponting's stumps do a cartwheel. Faced with a substantial lead, both Gambhir and Dravid lived up to the expectations of their fans by nicking and getting bowled respectively. Sehwag still bats as if he hasn't gotten over the Indore hangover.

Sachin missed yet another opportunity to score his 100th international hundred. This has prompted the shopkeepers of  "Buy anything for Rs.99/-" shops to use Sachin posters to promote sales.

With VVS going for a blob, it was left to Virat Kohli to stop the fall of wickets and he did by scoring a gutsy half century which meant that Virat, for a change, showed his bat and not the finger to the Australian crowd.

Courtesy : http://reviews.in.88db.com
Dhoni has lost his touch so badly, even his iPhone 4S refused to respond to his touch  when he wanted to call up  Srinivasan of CSK, but help came in form of Virat Kohli once again who used his middle finger, this time to dial the number. Elated Dhoni said he had never seen a player who could put his finger to so many uses. Despite the media, former players and critics breathing down her husband's neck, Mrs. Dhoni went ahead and got  "MAHI" tattooed on her own, along with his lucky number – seven. An elegant choice considering the Perth test was the 7th consecutive test match lost overseas.

With Australia taking an unassailable lead of 3-0, the Indian critics and experts are coming down heavily on Dhon i& Co. Incidentally, there are more critics and experts in India than "Being Human” t-shirts.

Speaking of experts, there is a remarkably hilarious show airing on one TV channel. At first glance, it looks like a normal post match analysis show. You want to know what's funny about it? Well, the experts on the panel are Vinod Kambli and Saba Karim.

16 Jan 2012


The century of international centuries waited for Tendulkar at the Sydney Cricket Grounds (SCG) where India was supposed to avenge the Melbourne defeat. After all, Tendulkar himself had said that the SCG was his favourite ground away from home. This test was also the 100th test between both the countries and Zaheer, Yadav, Ishant and Ashwin celebrated the occasion by conceding more than 100 runs each in the 2nd innings.

Courtesy : www.thatscricket.com
Gambhir was out cheaply. After Gambhir’s concussion after the fall while going for the catch off Pieterson in England, he is not the same person on and off the field. We were informed that the resulting blurred vision was creating a big problem for him and he was not able to recognize people in the dressing room, in the streets and almost everywhere. He confuses the senior members of the team with coach Duncan Fletcher, as they are almost the same age now. The last time the West Indian Team was touring India, the problem was so bad that he mistook Kangana Ranaut for Michael Holding.

Virender Sehwag's abysmal performance with the bat was a cause of concern, for which Fletcher decided to rekindle his form by showing him some old footage of his previous tours of Australia, but Viru being Viru concentrated on the part of the video focusing on the thick mop of hair he had then. This ultimately aggravated things for India, with his getting out just as he was looking good. Viru has been inspired by the video, however, and it will be used at his next hair transplant. Sachin dragged his 100th century further by dragging a Pattinson delivery on to his stumps. It looks like Afridi has got some prophetic powers, for he was the one who said that "Sachin's century will have to wait" just before the World Cup 2011 match against Pakistan. Now only if  miya Afridi could tell us when Sachin will score his 100th International 100 and while he’s at it, he could also tell us when baby Bachchan will get a name, and when Arjun Rampal would start acting. In return we promise that we will not laugh at his English at the next post match presentation party.

Rahul Dravid showed tremendous improvement in his batting by not getting bowled this time, thus silencing his critics that he had chinks in his defence after having been bowled three out of four times in this series.
 Zaheer, Ishant and Umesh got out on ducks as they thought that it was better if they could get Australia in to bat while the wicket still had some sting in it. Team India took it upon themselves to aggravate the miseries of Cricket Australia who were waiting to drop Ponting and Hussey by allowing Ponting and Hussey to  regain  their form. Clarke's 329 not out meant that Indians got out in the pavilion itself in the 4th innings.
Ashwin batted well though, and looked good enough to replace Laxman, whose  "vanvaas" from the team looked more imminent until he scored a half century in the 4th innings and his "maryada purushottam" elder brother Dravid kept getting foxed by Ravan Hilfenhaus and his gang. 
After the humiliating defeat Dhoni looked as cool as Munaf Patel would when asked to calculate the asking rate. Dhoni opined that, “…the team was improving by the day. In the 1st match we could not manage to score 400 runs in an innings and  we  managed to do it here. Its  a psychological victory over Clarke who managed only 329 as  opposed to our score of 400 in 2nd innings. If we were to play a 10 match test series, we would definitely draw the last match."

Courtesy : www.webmallindia.com
Ever the optimist, Dhoni continued: “Even though Gambhir mistakenly said "Hi Mr. Holding" again today, this time it turned out to be Mugdha Godse, thus showing remarkable improvement in his vision. Mughda  was quite flattered. Also, these matches getting over in 4 days has helped the team to be a cohesive unit" , said he, dismissing the claims of a rift in the team. He said the extra day was spent in some team bonding exercises where Gambhir and Sehwag went to deliver a DVD of the Hindi version of the flick "Dunston Checks In" to Andrew Symonds sent specially by Bhajji as a goodwill gesture. Apparently Symonds is trying to learn Hindi as it is going to help him understand the Mumbai Indians think tank better. Viru told him the Hindi version is titled "Ek bandar hotel ke andar" and went to translate it but timely intervention in form of an elbow nudge by Gambhir prevented the Indian opening pair getting socked by the burly Australian. In retrospect, Dhoni felt that perhaps Gambhir need not have been so concerned, going by their unimpressive opening performances in the test series so far.
Dhoni rubbished my suggestion that Ishant does not use his height to get that extra bounce. “Ishant's height  is  an asset to the team. The last time the light bulbs in the high ceiling hotel room fused we didn't have to call the electrician or send for the ladder. And when we travel, who do you think puts the cabin luggage in the overhead compartments?"

12 Jan 2012


The way India succumbed in the Sydney Test made everyone remember
Harbhajan Singh.

courtesy : sportydesktops.com
"What if Bhajji was there... would Clarke have managed to score a triple ton?”
"Would he have allowed Ponting and Hussey to regain their form?
Would he have been as aggressive as before, now that he has lost his "doosra" and  that Symonds has lost his place in the team?”

And most importantly, where was he?

All these questions made us head straight to Mohali.

Finding Bhajji amongst the other Turbanators in the nets, was like finding an English speaking player in the Pakistan cricket team. Finally we zeroed down to the nets, where we heard the resounding thuds of the ball finding the sweet spot of the bat. "Harbhajan must be bowling there" I said to myself. After the exchange of pleasantries I asked Bhajji if I could get some juicy insights into his daily schedule so that we could publish it here. After some heated negotiations (involving, at some stage, requests for complimentary passes for next year’s "Sunburn festival" in Goa) Bhajji agreed to share an account of one day in his life for an undisclosed sum. The sum is undisclosed on Bhajji's request but we can inform you that it is anywhere between Gautam Gambhir's test average on the recent Australian tour and Munaf Patel's IQ. 

6 am:   Woke up early morning after a nightmare. Dreamt of Kevin Pieterson hitting me out of the park again and again. My bowling figures read 10-0-100-0. While taking the cap from the umpire, I see Sachin giving me an envious look for the 100 against my name. It starts raining. I start running towards the pavilion, more with the fear of getting hit than getting wet...KP runs after me...I keep running...the pavilion seems miles away, the rain is pelting down... I am completely wet...and I wake up...Phew!! No rain, no match and better still no Kevin Pieterson...and it was the sweat that drenched me. 

7 am: I reach the Mohali Grounds. I meet my coach Arora, who takes me to the nets. He tells me not to get affected by what media is saying about my form. He says, "The key to success is to keep your mouth shut and let your game do the talking. When you open your mouth, you don't perform." 

8 am: I start bowling and get hit by these new Ranji players. This younger generation has no respect for age, experience, or stature of a senior player. "Turn the ball, Bhajji!" says my coach. "I can't" I reply. How can I? The only things I've turned over the last few months are the parathas on the tawa at home! One Under-19 Cricketer walks up to me and with a smirk tells me "paaji ab carrom ball chalta hai, doosra nahi". No respect for the senior members. I couldn't imagine talking to Bishen Singh Bedi like this in my younger days, even if I'd understood what he was saying. 

11 am: The carrom ball thing gets stuck in my mind and I slowly sneak into the Indoor gymkhana and play some carrom.  Maybe I should change with times if I want to make a comeback by displacing Ashwin. I don't want to lose my place in the team, I don't want to be an umpire, then a commentator and later end up hurting myself breaking window panes – in other words, I don't want to be a Maninder Singh. I just can't seem to pocket the coins. A decade back, I was pocketing Australian wickets. Cricket is a great leveler they say. 

1.30 pm: I am off for lunch at the players' enclosure. My favourite Maa-ki dal  and Sarson da saag is on today's menu. I order for more Maa-ki dal  and the waiter unfortunately hears only the first part and the atmosphere gets vitiated as all waiters are up in arms against me. I had forgotten that "maa-ki' is  a bad word everywhere except  Australia.  My coach tries to diffuse the situation and asks me to keep my mouth shut. as a result of which I can't eat further. I don't even ask for more makki di roti  to avoid further misunderstanding. 

2.30 pm: I get a phone call from my "just good friend" Geeta Basra. She  says we have to attend a film function. Good thing about these filmy people is that no one asks me about my lost form. Some don't even know I play for India. They think all India players play for the Kolkata Knight Riders. On the other hand the watchman at Mukeshbhai's Antillia mansion refused to recognize me when I was thrown out of the team. The same watchman had got his and his family's photos clicked with me when Mumbai Indians won CLT T20 trophy. How people change in your tough times. 

3.30: I am hurt by India's loss in Australia though my chances of coming back in the team look brighter. Today I heard some kids say that if I were there in Sydney Test then Clarke would have completed his 400 in lesser time. It hurt.  More than me Dada (Saurav Ganguly) must be more hurt looking at the debacle through the commentators' box. Today he called me up and I was emotional. He asked me to continue my net practice but emphasized that I should concentrate on batting as there are more chances of me replacing Laxman and Kohli than replacing Ashwin. 

5.00 pm: I am inaugurating “Maninder Tyre Shop” specializing in mending punctured tyres. The local media hound me and ask me if  Virat Kohli was justified in showing the finger to the crowd. I tell them apart from Kohli's finger nothing has stood up for the
Indian team in Australia. From the corner of my eye I can see my coach
signaling me to keep my mouth shut, but I am confident of handling the media well. Then someone questions me about the delay in Sachin's 100th International century and I say that he should get the monkey off his back. Oops. 

6.30 pm: Visited my family doctor on account of the terrible dreams I get every night of batsmen hitting me out of the park. Last night it was KP, Sometimes its Andrew Strauss and sometimes its Jonathan Trott. On bad days, my dreams feature Marcus Trescothik and Shivnaraine Chanderpaul. The doc asked me to watch "Singh is King" as a confidence builder but how to tell him that Katrina aggravates my situation and I have lapses in concentration when I bowl? 

8.30: I am back at Mohali grounds for an ad shoot. I’m supposed to bowl the batsman with a classic off spinner's delivery and punch my fist through the air. The ball just refuses to turn. Finally the ball is bowled by a young Ranji probable who bowls "the one that comes in". I get to punch through the air, though. I am determined to make it large. 

courtesy :  Indiatimes,com
9.30 pm: Off to bed early. Lot of things cross my mind. What's the big deal about losing the "doosra"? I have Geeta Basra. I don't believe the coach when he tells me to keep my mouth shut. Umesh Yadav keeps his mouth open all the time and yet he performs so well. I thank my stars I am not in Australia with Australian batsmen milking the Indian bowlers. As I am falling asleep I hope I don't get dreams of bowling to Michael Clarke inching towards his 400.

2 Jan 2012


Just a few days before the boxing day test match at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG), the team India coach Duncan Fletcher called the Australian Captain Michael Clarke a "nicker" on account of his weakness for nicking the ball outside the off stump. Shane Warne got excited at what he heard was “knicker” and when it was explained to him that Duncan meant "nicker", Shane made a face similar to Ashish Nehra when he is been given out. Speaking of Shane Warne, his bronze statue was unveiled at the MCG  and the statue looked more capable of taking wickets than Nathan Lyon in real life.

It was perhaps India's best chance to win the Melbourne test and go one up in the series. The script was written for the Indians. Ponting had a poor run with the bat, Greg Chappell was engaged by Cricket Australia to "demystify" Tendulkar, No Harbhajan, Zaheer was fit. With all ingredients of sure fire success present, team India goofed up like only team India could. Sachin looked all set for his 100th international century until he decided to prove the "demystification” theory of Greg Chappell right and got out in the last over of the day in the first innings.  Century or no century, Sachin's knock of 73 was an absolute vintage Tendulkar innings which meant Ravi Shastri got enough opportunity to say  "punched off the backfoot" but since the boundaries at the MCG are long the ball couldn't go to the fence "like a tracer bullet".

Gautam Gambhir embraced the away going deliveries just like Vinod Kambli embraces controversies. His habit of fishing outside the off stump made the slip cordon look busier than the  Flinders Street Railway Station in Melbourne. His batting was like Russell Arnold's commentary; no one could understand what he was doing.  Sources on condition of anonymity revealed to us that Gambhir was practicing these shots for the next season of IPL for getting DLF Maximums in that area.   Sources also informed us that Coach Duncan has threatened Gambhir that if he doesn't stop playing that shot, he'll be asked to listen to Ishant Sharma sing by locking the two of them up in a room.

Zaheer Khan changed his hairdo and Ishant Sharma changed the spelling of his name but neither of them changed the bowling length enough to polish off the Australian tail. Duncan has warned Ishant not to lift heavy objects as he is more susceptible to injuries than any other player which means Ishant can't use a knife and fork at the dinner table.

There were two grounds that made headlines in this month.   The MMRDA ground where Anna Hazare began his fast and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) where there was no fast but pure fast bowling and Siddle, Hilfenhaus and Pattinson showing some insatiable appetite for Indian wickets. The only common thing between the two events was Anna's fast and Gambhir's innings, both of which ended sooner than expected.

Ed Cowans made an issue about the non-implementation of UDRS after he was given out and made it look like he would've broken Lara's record for the highest score. The Indian team revived the careers of two Australian batsmen namely Ponting and Hussey by allowing them to forge a partnership which took the game away from them. Virat Kohli gave some lip (in hindi) to the umpires after being given out and sadly for Rohit Sharma, the umpires didn't understand Hindi else Rohit would be in playing the Sydney test in place of Virat. After Ed Cowans called for the implementation of the UDRS, Rohit was heard rooting for umpires who could understand Hindi.

Since the match got over on the 4th day itself, Virat Kohli didn't waste time and started preparing for the Sydney test from the 5th day itself.  His preparations included going  out to get another tattoo on the other hand for that menacing look, which he thinks would help him deal with Siddle and co.

The cricket ball sneaked into Dravid's defence, not once, not twice but thrice in 4 days (once off a no ball) just like Ravinder Jadeja sneaks into the Indian team again and again. V.V.S Laxman couldn't reenact the magic of Calcutta 2001. Umesh Yadav bowled his heart out and looks unlikely to go the Ishant-Irfan way, by cutting down on his pace.

Finally looking at Sachin's scores it looks like Cricket Australia, actually may not have engaged Greg Chappell to "demystify" Tendulkar. The day Tendulkar scores his 100th international century, only then we will be sure that Greg is very much with the Australian team and wreaking havoc with the minds of the Australian team.