Thursday, March 29, 2007

where are my sodden posts?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Privileges of a guest house

Living in a guesthouse in a different city has its own distinct privileges. No cleaning, no tidying up to do. No washing clothes, no hassles about rations and provisions and most importantly, no headaches of cooking and cleaning dishes.

Everything done for you to enjoy and savour.

Its been 2 weeks in Pune and I am enjoying it immensely. And the air conditioning is like manna from heaven.

The downside ? Totally cut off from local friends in Delhi and missing the sumptous gourmet delights of Delhi/Noida streets terribly.

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

World Cup - Its all over

We are out of the ICC World Cup 2007. Abject surrender to the Lankans. It is inexplicable the way this Indian team has played in this World Cup. Did anyone even realise the significance of the event? Or were they thinking of group games are more warm-ups, with no bearing on Super Eight standings?

A classic example of the whole not being even close to the sum of its parts.

Sachin, Kumble, Sehwag and Bhajji must go. Immediately.

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Friday, March 23, 2007

World Cup - New Zealand win in style

New Zealand are clinical. Can they do it this time?

Big day today. Millions in sponsorship, billions of hopes and countless dreams are riding on this one. Hope India pull it off.

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Thursday, March 22, 2007

World Cup - SL thump Bangladesh

As Bangladesh lost comprehensily to SL, I couldn't help wondering that they don't look half as good playing others as they do against India. Strange, and a sad comment on India's preparedness and ability.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

World Cup - Bermuda demolished

With a world record to boot.

One job done. One more to go. Fingers still crossed. Can they put it across SL in style? Please, please, please.

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Monday, March 19, 2007

What a day yesterday was.

As if the Indian defeat was not enough, Pakistan lost to Ireland ???

Both India and Pakistan headed straight out. Meanwhile, Australia munch on Holland.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

World Cup - Are we out ?

So we lost. Well, again at risk of stating the bleeding obvious, shouldn't we have? Absolutely appaling batting and fielding worse than the UP Ranji team of the 80s, and that is saying a lot indeed.

India looks headed out of the World Cup 2007 at the group stage. Or are the men in blue going to stage another 2003?

Fingers crossed but hopes sinking.

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Saturday, March 17, 2007

World Cup - England are duffers

England are confirmed as no-hopers at WC 2007. They might as well pack up and go home now instead of making us suffer through their sheer ridiculousness for a month more.

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Saturday, March 10, 2007

World Cup - Group predictions

A quick summary of the groups and the teams likely to advance from them.

Group A (Australia, South Africa, Scotland, Holland)

The group of the biggies. No surprises here. The kangaroos and the springboks are going to make it to the next round. The only question of interest, what will be the outcome of the match between them? That match is likely to give an indicator of the things to come.

Group B (India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bermuda)

The group that will have maximum TV viewership by far. Sri Lanka are sure to advance. So would have been India, if they had not shown clear signs of discord within the team. And their fielding is decidedly the worst of all teams in the group, Bermuda pointedly not excluded. Will Bangladesh spring a surprise? I don't think so.

Group C (England, New Zealand, Canada, Kenya)

New Zealand will top the group. England will be distant second. Period. TV viewership likely to be in single digits. Even if Canada or Kenya upstage England, the rest of the world will most probably not know, or care, until the super eight round has started.

Group D (West Indies, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Ireland)

Clearly the group of death. West Indies, Zimbabwe and maybe even Ireland have a tough fight for the top spot. Pakistan can rest content with the second. Just Kidding! The Pakis should top this group comfortably, unless they choose to implode spectacularly and scrape through barely, only to go on to lift the cup. They've done it in 92 and are the only ones capable of doing it again.

My Super Eight line-up -

South Africa
Sri Lanka
India/Bangladesh, I hate being ambivalent but Bangladesh look likely on current form but I am keeping fingers crossed
New Zealand
West Indies

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Friday, March 09, 2007

World Cup - Initial thoughts

The coming World Cup is sure to generate a lot of heat and attention, both among fans as well as the media. I will also be contributing my two pence worth of opinions as the action ensues. Please bear in mind that I am as good, or bad, an armchair expert as any and hence feel free to discount my opinions, hopes and predictions to the maximum extent. For those of you who are rabid cricket-haters, I shall be prefixing the titles of all my World Cup related posts with, what else, "World Cup -" so you can safely skip those without missing out on the usual heavily insightful commentary on life and its vicissitudes that I usually do not provide on my blog. Comments, while usually read with a lot of scepticism, are most welcome and might even be allowed to see the light of day if they do not rub me the wrong way.

With this, as Brokerage houses would say, I initiate coverage of the World Cup with sedate "NEUTRAL with a Negative Bias" rating.

First and foremost, I would like to state, at the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, that this forthcoming World Cup is very likely to be the boring-est ever, both in terms of the sheer number of pointless matches as well as the relative lack of quality in the various line-ups. Barring the usual suspects Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and to some jaundiced extent, India, there is no team that looks as formidable as it did in the previous edition of the world's most overambitiously titled sporting event.

In the last WC,Pakistan had Shoaib Akhtar at his prime bowling form, forget any other bowler they might have had, he was way more than enough, and Inzamam, Youhana, Afridi and RAzzaq at their batting best. This time, Shoaib and Asif are out and the batsmen are mere pale shadows of what they were in their heydays. And their fielding has dipped distinctly.

Sri Lanka had Jayasuriya, Atapattu, Jayawardane and Sangakkara in decent, if not good, batting nick and Vaas and Murali were ably supported by the Chandanas of this world. This time around, Atapattu doesnt exist and Tharanga is clueless while the others are clearly struggling to stay at the crease. So much so that Jayasuriya had to be recalled from retirement to shore up his team's fortunes. On the bowling front, while Murali remains his miserly self, Vaas has lost his pace and hence his sting and the pitches in the Windies are not going to do their pacers any good. The rest of the bowlers are not worthy of any mention. Their fielding, always a strong point for the islanders, has held them in good stead but with oldies like Jayasuriya, Jayawardane, Murali, Vaas etc in the lineup, it surely wont have the zing of 2-3 years back.

England is a team that I would rather not write about at all. Barring those 3 exceptions in the series down under, when they inexplicably managed to put it across both New Zealand and Australia, with two victories incredibly coming in the finals, they have been a bunch of strugglers the world over. Apart from Pieterson, they have no batsman who can lay claim to greatness in the future and honest triers that Flintoff and Colingwood can be, they do not have the look of men who can take a fight to the opposition and wrest the initiative. And a team dependent on one batsman to fire consistently, as England are on Pieterson, is akin to a certain team dependent on a little chap from Shivaji Park in the 2003 WC. The only difference being that Pieterson is no Tendulkar.

West Indies, hmm..well..err.. I cant find words to describe them, they are just pathetic. And its made worse by the fact that they are the hosts. Even Zimbabwe, as co-hosts the last time around, had a better chance.

Bangladesh, all talks of Asian tigers notwithstanding, the only team in the big league they are capable of beating is India, due to sheer hubris, if nothing else. Apart from that, if our neighbours manage to defeat any other top team, it will either be a miracle or a fixed match.

Zimbabwe and the rest, well unfortunately I can not even name 3 players in their line-ups. Suffice to say, they are all there to boost the numbers, of both teams playing and matches played, of course leading to higher revenues to broadcasters. Make no mistake; the turnstiles will remain barren as the Sahara desert. World Cup or not, no one is going to shell out a hundred dollars to watch Holland take on Australia in a mockery of a match.

My Semi-finalists -

Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England

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