Archive for the ‘Cricket’ Category
In Cricket, the decision to hang one’s boots is even more difficult to play 180 overs in 4th innings of Galle pitch, to survive and draw the match. Whether it is IV Richards, Border, or Waugh the only rule is performance on the field. Sports are not films where Amitabh can make a comeback after ten years. Once boots hanged, it is done forever, the whites are gone forever.
My first memory of SR Tendulkar playing is watching the Perth ODI in December 1991 where he famously took the last WI in his first over to tie the match at 126. Since then, it was always awe. To count the milestones is left for the experts; the fact is that it is time for him to let Indian cricket move.
Let us have a look at the how the modern greats scored in their last TEN matches before they decided to call it a day.
From these statistics of last 10 test matches of modern greats:
- IV Richards and Tendulkar are the only players who did not score a single 100
- Waugh’s average is boosted by not-outs and he had four test matches against ZIM/BD
- Lara’s last series was in PAK and he was exceptional
- Gavaskar’s last innings was a masterpiece
- Only Lara and Dravid scored three 100s (ignoring Waugh’s because his run was against BD/ZIM)
- Tendulkar’s average is the lowest
Considering all these, I guess this is the time that India play Australia in Feb-March without SRT so that the core prepares for harder assignments that begin late next year. Time for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar to call it a day. For my tributes to this legend, I need far more space and hence next post!
We would often open together. And would close together. Not always exactly at the same time, but one immediately following the other. That was the practice, as well as the requirement.
Nothing special by the carpenter; just an order of the day for HIM.
The first cricket match that I recall watching together was in Perth 1991, the famous 126-run tie when Azhar leaped on a catch in slip, off SRT. 20 years. The Calcutta-ed Hero Cup. The centenary cup in New Zealand 1995 (The joy of beating Australia in a match was altogether different those days). Bangalore 1996 was electric. Calcutta again, 1998-mauled and 2001-mesmerized.
Kids used to practice by giving Warne-air to the ball and dealing like Azhar-flick or Waugh-blocked.
One day in early decade, I pointed to a possible tube. Wings? Pellets? Was it a sign of swarmers?
We looked at each other and shrugged off the thought. It could not be.
The lock still needed both of us to be together.
A Crowe or a Robertson can have perfectly bonafide intentions. Nothing to worry. It was meant to *evolve*. So we did not trust IPL-2008 to rock *this way*, there are swarmers in cricket also. And we forgot it for a minute. And just a minute it takes.
Although there was again a Perth moment to rejoice (January 2008), it was destined to be last.
Swarmers had intruded. The game has lost its soul since then. The ecstasy and passion for *the next ball* is more out of *curiousity-satiating-and-knowledgebased-satisfying-feeling that I knew he would drive* and less for *the sport*.
The Kids now plan more for teesrah than length. A 75 off 43 is a huge success even if followed by 4 single-digit pokes behind the wicket.
Old order changes yielding place to the new.
We are no more together. One can work alone. Without any role of other.
The LOCK still works successfully though. However, locking one never guarantees that the other is also locked. And no glances exchanged. No giggles. Not even *that* silence.
And so Perth is never same again. The Australian was summer was different this year. We were not together. The whitewash (drubbing?) was on the cards.
But the cycle changes. It always has. And so the door too.
We can hope for another *Perth moment*. Why not?
Warner aims to be the new Gilchrist?
It is unfortunate that every budding cricketer wants to be a Gilchrist, Sehwag, Gayle or a Dilshan. This is primarily because this is the easy-route. The world knows that it is easier to ‘try’ to be a Sehwag than a Kirsten/Strauss/Atherton. Players today, are products of a society where falling in love with sport is ‘old fashioned’. They are here either to make money, to satisfy their ego, or to make a statement that they too can clear the fence.
I wonder where we shall see next generation of Steve Waugh, Kallis, Dravid, Atherton. Sadly, the game is not safe anymore!
Bradman rightly said as “First my parents taught me to be a cricketer off the field as well as on. It was not ‘did you win’ but ‘did you play the game’ that made the man… I have no doubt that it [cricket] moulds in an individual the right type of character better than any other sport. If that can be substantiated, no other recommendation is required, because character must surely be one of the greatest assets any nation through its citizens can possess.”
The way a cricketer plays the game tells a lot about his character. Of course when you think of Sehwag, Yuvraj or Dilshan, you can sense what kind of characters they are. And when you think of Dravid, Steve Waugh, Kallis, you can sense what kind of characters (humans) they are. And then there are Laxman, Azhar, Cullinan and Attapattu. And then Taylor and Peterson. McMillan and Chanderpaul. Tendulkar and Vettori. And S. Fleming. And Lara! God has been kind to me to help me understand the game.
Why only players? You can form some opinion of an individual based on which are his or her favorite players. I am sure that if two friends go to a restaurant to have food and they admire Sehwag/Dilshan/Gayle/ and Dravid/Kallis/Hussey respectively, they will order different dishes with a dislike of other’s taste. Try it.
Rob Steen provides an interesting insight into being neutral in sports, at: http://www.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/466286.html. His style of conveying a message is like Nasser Hussain’s cover drive. It is all poetry. Critics may sense the chances of ‘edge’, but it is a delight for purists.
While enjoying neutrality, I used to caught between whom to favor, for whom to want to win when South Africa plays in England or when England plays in New Zealand, or when South Africa plays in NZ. Any decisive result would make me feel upset and happy at the same time. Same way, when I see Dravid get out on 74 or 98, it ‘used’ to pain me; but not anymore. Now, I have realised that after all, ‘it is only a game’. The underlying objective of sports is entertainment and as followers of a game, we should love the game and appreciate it, and to flow with good things in game rather than being obstructed by negativity, or being distracted by what does not happen that we expect.
So what if Tendulkar is give out ‘wrongly’ on 91 or if Ponting pulls a blinder to get Dravid out on 92? It is only a game, and not a war. No life is being lost. No economy being affected. And no nation is attacked. It is only a game! And I am more at peace with myself when I watch live telecast of a cricket match now.
In decade 2000, look at comparative form and 50+ scores of some players who played at least 200 innings:
- Ponting: 79 times 50+ scores in 230 Innings
- Tendulkar: 70 times 50+ scores in 207 Innings
- Kallis: 69 times 50+ scores in 206 Innings
- Yousuf: 69 times 50+ scores in 235 Innings
Dravid: 67 times 50+ scores in 212 Innings
And few others who are considered as premier ODI batsmen of the decade:
- Sangakkara: 61 times 50+ scores in 245 Innings
- Gilchrist: 56 times 50+ scores in 205 Innings
- Yuvraj: 54 times 50+ scores in 225 Innings
- Jaywardene: 56 times 50+ scores in 258 Innings
- Jayasuriya: 56 times 50+ scores in 242 Innings
- Sehwag: 47 times 50+ scores in 209 Innings
- Gibbs: 52 times 50+ scores in 199 Innings (just on the verge of 200 innings)
And do not forget that most often, opening batsmen have more chance to score 50+ score (such as while chasing smaller totals, and of course field restrictions).
Please do not post comments on strike rates, fading age and similar-irrelevant factors.
Statistics reflect only the partial ability and skill. Look at the value such players add to the team and then justify rationally if you do not agree about Dravid’s place in Indian ODI team. Only 6 batsmen scored more than 10000 ODIs runs in the decade, INCLUDING Dravid. And that too when he is missing the action for last 2 years.