world champions

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Graeme Swann: What he said, really meant and definitely did not

Graham Swann at Lord's Cricket Ground 20th Jul...

Graeme Swann reflects on his former, ‘loony’ self.

What he said:

"Graeme Swann the captain would never pick Graeme Swann the kid.”

English off-spinner, Graeme Swann, while thrilled to lead national T20 side, believes that his younger self would not have found a place in the side—under him.

Swann added:

But the one regret I have about the young lunatic Graeme Swann is that there was not much Twenty20 around then. I’m sure I would be pretty good at it because I could bat in those days. I would have had a way of staying in the England squad for a few years while I developed my skills in the longer form.

The T20 skipper admitted that "the young lunatic is still in there, but I manage to hide him most of the time."

On the captaincy allowing him to exhibit his mind’s keen edge, Swann said,

No one would have believed this five years ago, least of all myself. It’s surreal in a way, but I have always harboured ambitions of captaining at first-class level and it is nice that I have got a chance if only for a couple of games to show the inner workings of my mind.

On leading in the abbreviated format:

It’s a reactions game. You can start with grandiose plans about how you want to start and they can change quickly. I am not sure it will be too maverick or out of the box, but I like to think I will be attacking. It is important in this form of the game to take wickets. That is what won us the World Twenty20.

Swann feels T20 games should replace ODIs:

It is the biggest game in the short format and somewhere down the line we will have to treat it a bit more seriously and play series of Twenty20 games.We are world champions but going into Sri Lanka we will only play half a dozen games or so in this format before that World Cup starts. For every touring team that comes over it will not be frowned upon if there was a three-game ODI series and a three-game Twenty20 series. That makes more sense than five one-dayers.

Swann disclaimed that his opinion coincided with those of the English Cricket Board (ECB), saying, “These are my views, not the views of my employer.”

What Swann really meant:

“Graeme Swann, the kid, would be such a pain in the butt for Graeme Swann, the No.1 off-spinner, skipper and elder statesman.”

What Swann definitely didn’t:

“There is a Graeme Swann in the younger lot.”

Test cricket and life

I’d say Test cricket grows on you.

In the beginning, there was only Test cricket, you knew of nothing better. Tests were cricket, cricket were Tests. Then India won the World Cup in 1983, and you realized that there was an exciting, faster-paced brand of cricket, a form in which India were world champions, a form that could bridge the gap between good teams and great.

And if you were a schoolkid, Test cricket paled in comparison. Who had the time to follow five gourmet meal of a game over 5 days, when you could get instant Maggi and masala?

But you grew older, and just like your appreciation of music finessed, so did your appreciation of the nuances of the longer version of the game.

Sure, you still found it difficult to find time to enjoy 30 hours of timeless cricket but you discovered that it mirrored life. That patience pays more, that it’s about plugging away and hoping that things will turn around.

It’s life, in a microcosm.

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India cricket: Closing out games, a matter of intent, not skill

Ishant Sharma at Adelaide Oval

If you don’t play to win, can you triumph?

The Indian team, in the 3rd Test, accepted a tame draw instead of grasping a victory within reach.

Much has been said and written about the Indian batting line-up’s unwillingness to take up the challenge of scoring 180 runs in 47 overs.

Not much has been made of the Indian bowling’s lack of incisiveness and penetration when they should have gone for the kill. The last five West Indian wickets added 121 runs between them.

The Indian and international press have unflinchingly condemned the No.1 team’s tactics.

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Outplayed, Outmaneuvered, Outwitted

Carles Puyol Celebrates Scoring Winning Goal Spain World Cup 2010 Germany V Spain (0-1) 07/07/10 Semi Final in Durban FIFA World Cup 2010 Photo Robin Parker Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

Germany was outplayed, outmaneuvered and outwitted by a Spanish side that believed that slow is good, slow is nice, and that slow can win. The battle between the two teams was less about attractive football and more a war of attrition, of nerves, and mostly, of patience. The Germans were unable to play the free-flowing, counter-attacking style of football that brought them this far to the semifinals.

The Spaniards on the other hand, stuck to their strengths, backing up their defense with tie-clinching goals at crucial junctures. On the eve of the match, I felt  that if both teams played attacking football, Germany stood a better chance. The Spanish however, were resolute in defense and stuck to their game plan of making their midfield superiority pave the way to victory.

Quote of the day:
"There are 350 varieties of shark, not counting loan and pool." – L. M. Boyd

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