If the Spirit of Cricket were a kite, then we all know who should be holding the strings, sending it soaring into the stratosphere.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni made Indians (and connoisseurs of the game) proud with his decision to rescind the contentious appeal made against Ian Bell at the break of tea on the third day of the third Test at Trent Bridge on Sunday, the 31st of July, 2011.
The contrast between the two sides was not more readily apparent than last evening.
One side has gone to town with allegations about ‘bat-fixing’ with Vaseline to fox ‘Hot-Spot’, the other exhibited that the spirit of the game was more important than winning at all costs.
If it had not been the BCCI that first linked him to the Sri Lankan Premier League (SLPL), his recent disclosures about the Indian Cricket League (ICL) could have been construed as yet another attempt by Lalit Modi to turn the spotlight back on him.
The ex-IPL honcho projects an impression of missing the glory, accolades and kudos that came his way when he was the high-flying architect of the biggest organizational success story in international cricket since Kerry Packer‘s World Series Cricket (WSC).
The Indian television media, as expected, went overboard on his revelations. Arnab Goswami of Times Now button-holed the IPL founder on prime time. Lalit Modi flatly denied any connection with the Sri Lankan league—direct or indirect.
To attribute altruistic considerations to Lalit Modi’s revelations—as Arnab rightly pointed out—is foolish. However, to dismiss the allegations as ravings of a disgruntled ex-BCCI employee or to term him a liar is foolhardy.
"This is not a family if no one plays soccer. No one is asking what can be done to improve soccer. There are motorcyclists, swimmers, race car drivers, but there is not one soccer player that can give advice."
Diego Maradona refuses to be part of the FIFA family.
What he really meant:
"At least, I played the game. These guys treat players like we do footballs."
What he definitely didn’t:
"FIFA, live and learn from the BCCI."
(Assuming, of course,that Maradona follows cricket—Indian cricket.)
The Indian Test team for the West Indies tour has been announced.
In a surprise move, Indian selectors rested Sachin Tendulkar. The master batsman will not feature on the entire West Indies tour. West Indian cricket fans are denied an opportunity to catch one last glimpse of Tendulkar before he bids farewell to the game.
The controversial shoulder injury to Gautam Gambhir and the sudden illness of Yuvraj Singh mean that this is one of the weakest batting sides to tour abroad in recent times.
Fast bowling legend, Michael Holding, set the cat among the pigeons with his comments regarding the legality of the ‘doosra’ during the second ODI between Pakistan and West Indies at St. Lucia.
It is not the first time that old-timers have questioned the legality of the delivery.It will not be the last.
India’s Bishan Singh Bedi is another rabid critic of the off-spinner’s googly.
There are more rumbles within the IPL.
The franchisees are not all pleased with the auctions. Though teams have largely grabbed the players they short-listed, the team owners feel that they should have a say in the appointment of curators and groundsmen especially at their home venues.
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When I think of Yuvraj Singh, I recall his unbeaten 84 in just his second one-dayer against the mighty Australians facing quality fast-bowling in the form of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Brett Lee.
His knock powered India to an unlikely win. A star was born.
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For Indian cricket fans who prefer to catch World Cup updates on the telly rather than on the internet, there exists one show that differentiates itself from the rest.
It is CNN-IBN’s Kings Of Cricket—featuring Sir Vivian Richards, Imran Khan, Allan Border, Chris Cairns, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Abbas, Murali Kartik, Kirti Azad and Harsha Bhogle.
The term ‘Kings Of Cricket’ is apt when applied to Richards,the original Khan,Allan Border and maybe even Anil Kumble. The former three are legends of the game and have played in and/or captained World Cup winning sides.
Two days to go to the India-Australia quarter-final at Motera, Ahmedabad and the Indian media has already begun to hype the meeting as an opportunity for the men in blue to wreak revenge on their counterparts in yellow.
It would be sweet payback for the loss in the 2003 World Cup final.
Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Some random thoughts on India’s mesmerising loss to South Africa on a Saturday evening:
The word is mesmerising because that’s exactly what it was. Despite a feeling of deja vu—the Indian fan felt that it was the same old story—that it was the same old capitulation of a much-vaunted batting line-up in the face of disciplined bowling.
Yet, the South African attack was disciplined, not hostile.