“When you’re fighting within the team, when you have a war to fight in your own camp, it is always difficult to win.”
Zaheer Khan describes the insecurity within the Indian cricket team during Greg Chappell’s tenure as coach.
What he really meant:
“The insecurity and politics within the Indian cricket team stifled players and prevented them from giving their best on the field.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Competition for a place in the Indian team helped me perform better.”
If the Indian cricket team had selected Baba Ramdev as the team physio, then the men in blue could have been as flexible on the field as the sadhu himself. However, his insidious influence would rub off on them and at the first signs of terror from pace bowlers, bruised batsmen would migrate to women’s cricket.
If Barack Obama were to lose the 2012 Presidential elections, he could always consider coaching the Los Angeles Lakers. “Yes, we can” would resonate with Lakers fans, too. “It’s not the economy, stupid” could do just as well.
The provocation for this act of ‘vandalism’ was the news that Duncan Fletcher has been appointed coach of the Indian cricket team.
It is learned from reliable, unnamed sources that the former Australian captain was in the running for arguably “the most difficult job in the sub-continent”. Negotiations with the BCCI were on-going—under the radar.
The Cricket Writers Association of India (CWAI) are up in arms.
The premier union of sports writers has written to the BCCI regarding the hectic Indian cricket calendar this year .
Beginning with the Ashes and the India-South Africa tour, followed by the World Cup and now the IPL, it has been one form of cricket followed by the other, with nary a break.
“What about the helpless journos?” cries CWAI president, Wicketless Witter.
Team India have played five games in the ICC ODI World Cup 2011. They have won three games, tied one and lost one.
The three victories have come against weaker teams—Ireland, Bangladesh and the Netherlands.
A tie with England and a loss to South Africa means that with one game left, India could either top the group or could , heaven forbid, not qualify.
The Indian cricket team laboured its way to a facile victory over the Netherlands at the Ferozeshah Kotla on the 9th of March, 2011. It was Ash Wednesday; the men in blue seemed to be aware of this.Indian fans had little to celebrate.
Though a quarter-final spot is now virtually assured, question-marks about India’s bowling attack persist.
It was expected that the pitches in this World Cup, especially the ones at home, would be batsman-friendly. That the very same dead pitches would draw the fangs of the Indian bowlers and render them venomless, even toothless, was probably not factored in by the Indian think-tank.
Saurav Ganguly is going, going, gone…
The Bengali player’s hopes of participating in IPL4 were dealt a death-blow by objections raised by Royal Challengers Bangalore,Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals. Team Kochi had evinced interest in the former Indian captain but could sign him on only if none of the other franchisees demurred. The iconic batsman remained unsold in the 2011 auction.
Although Ganguly fans—particularly Kolkattans—will be disappointed, bending over backwards to accommodate anyone is not the way to run a premier tournament. Accusations of ad-hoc decision making were leveled against Lalit Modi, the ex-IPL honcho. Modifying the rules to suit two interested parties is not in the best interest of the IPL. The IPL Governing Council is managing a business, not a charity.
Besides, if the Kochi team really needed the ex-skipper on their side, they ought to have purchased him outright when they had the opportunity. The chasing after Ganguly now smacks of ill-preparation. Verily, a case of putting the cart before the horse.
My dog, Bolshoi The Boxer, wants me to buy him a plane ticket to South Africa.
Bolshoi is a huge cricket fan and the performance of the Indian cricket team in the first Test at the Centurion has him worried.
“How can the No. 1 Test team in the world stutter to 136-9? And none of the batsmen could score a fifty?”
“That’s easy to answer. They were Morkeled and Steyned.” I reply.
Bishan Singh Bedi is never one to mince words—about his contemporaries, protégées, or administrators. He courts controversy like no other. He is the ‘enfant terrible’ of Indian cricket.
He is known to be a strict disciplinarian. He famously threatened to dump the Indian cricket team into the ocean in 1990 when he was the coach.
The BCCI, of late, are more than a little adventurous in their selection of the Indian cricket team for the ODIs.
The line-up for the India – New Zealand ODI series is along expected—and unexpected—lines.The resting of seniors for the ODI series—namely Sehwag, Tendulkar, Zaheer,Harbhajan Singh and skipper Dhoni— was expected.Unexpected is the naming of Gambhir to lead the ODI team and the drafting of Wriddhiman Saha as the sole wicket-keeper in the ODI side. The rumour mill had Sehwag in the captain’s role.