Monday, March 20, 2006

Sachin is booed at Wankhede.

As unrealistic as it may sound, there happened this very strange thing at the Wankhede on Sunday. By now, you all must have read about it in the news papers and heard about it on TV, so I would just post here a few conversations out of a debate that I sparked off on my class yahoogroup. Firstly, I post here, my initial message which started the debate. Please do give in your opinions as l keep updating the responses from my classmates.
When Sachin got out, very obviously, there was immediate silence. This was immediately followed by the mass exodus of the crowds out of the stadium. But, if you noticed it, there was something more too. People started booing at him and even shouted slogans. Now, that is something that I feel is quite serious.

Never had I thought that a Mumbai audience would boo at Sachin Tendulkar or shout slogans at him. Leave apart the fact that he scored just 1 run today or even that he hasn't scored too many runs of-late. But a Wankhede crowd shouting slogans at Tendulkar was completely unheard of. I have been at Wankhede everytime India has played since 1993 and even to many first class games, and I don't need to say that Sachin is considered GOD here.

And giving him the kind of reaction that he got today has left me thinking about the cricketing interests of our public. Have we come to a point where a cricket match is considered just a day-out with friends (or maybe family, but then surely not at North Stand) ? Or is it just like going to a movie and having some fun?

No matter what, but what happened today is a great mark of dis-respect towards apna Sachin and I am sure that must have hurt him a lot, though I am even more sure, that the kind of nobleman that he is, he wouldn't utter a word about it.

Surely, it was kinda fun! with all the abusing and anti-Monty shouting and all that, but I now feel quite strongly that Mumbai is providing a very wrong example of what a cricketing audience should be like. Something needs to be done before Mumbai loses its honour of being called the Mecca of Indian Cricket.

Maybe shifting venue to Brabourne might help, what with no North stand existing. But, having a decent cricket-loving audience in Mumbai, who enjoys just the Cricket and somewhat cuts down on the abusive fun, seems to be a very remote possibilty to me.

What say?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

A Fifty-50 Match!

It was a historic day in International Cricket History. It was a Fifty-50 match, a new format just introduced as a joint venture by Cricket Australia and the South African Cricket Board! The whole world was witness to something aforeseen. The game was much on the lines of the recently successful Twenty-20 format of the game, however it stuck to the old length of 50 overs a side. The first such match was played at the Wanderers, Johanassberg, South Africa.

The rules of the game are simple: Just have a flat pitch, surround it by a small patch of grass, pick up about two dozen die-hard warriors who can wield a cricket bat as hard as a blacksmith would hit a piece of hot iron piece on his anvil and call out, PLAY! Then, just be ready to watch the cricket ball get a hitting of its lifetime. Be it Brett Lee, Jacques Kallis or Roger Telemachus no bowler would ever have seen his efforts proving more futile. If there ever can be any 'highlights' of the match, there have to be 99.5 overs in it, what say? Yet I try here to re-capture a few moments, with some help from Andrew Miller.

After a momentous 434 by Australia, at the halfway mark of the day, South Africa had been reduced to a near laughing stock. Ponting had been the kingpin as he reprised his
World Cup-winning innings on this very ground in 2003, but every one of Australia's batsmen had taken their pound of flesh as well. Adam Gilchrist lit the blue touchpaper with an open-shouldered onslaught that realised 55 runs from 44 balls; Simon Katich provided a sheet-anchor with a difference as he creamed nine fours and a six in a 90-ball 79, and Mike Hussey - in theory Ponting's second fiddle in their 158-run stand for the third wicket - hurtled to a 51-ball 81. Australia's dominance seemed so complete that Andrew Symonds, the most notorious one-day wrecker in their ranks, was not even called upon until the scoreboard read a somewhat surreal 374 for 3.

Unsurprisingly, South Africa's bowlers took a universal pounding. The team had squandered a 2-0 series lead and were staring at a 3-2 defeat, and not for the first time this year, Graeme Smith's penchant for speaking his mind was looking like backfiring. With the Test series getting underway in four days' time, the need for a performance of pride had never been more urgent. And so Smith took it upon himself to deliver, responding to his team's indignity with a brutal innings laced with fury. He made light of the early loss of Boeta Dippenaar, whose anchorman approach would not have been suited to the chase at any rate, and instead found the perfect ally in his former opening partner, Herschelle Gibbs. On a pitch that might have been sent from the Gods, the pair launched South Africa's response with a scathing stand of 187 from 121 balls, to send the first frissons of anxiety through the Australian dressing-room. Now it was Gibbs who took centre stage. The man who, memorably, dropped the World Cup at Headingley in that 1999 campaign has redeemed himself a hundred times over in the intervening years. But this was to be his crowning glory.

The dreamrun however did not get over there and it took a blistering intervention from Johan van der Wath to reignite the chase. He drilled Lewis over long-off for two sixes in an over then added a six and a four in Bracken's eighth, as the requirement dropped from a tricky 77 from 42 balls to a gettable 36 from 22. He perished as he had lived, holing out to extra cover, and Telemachus followed soon afterwards, but not before he had clubbed an invaluable 12 from six balls.

And so it all came down to the final over, just as it had done at Edgbaston all those years ago. Brett Lee had seven runs to defend, and South Africa had two wickets in hand. A blazed four from Andrew Hall seemed to have settled the issue, but in a moment reminiscent of Lance Klusener's famous aberration, he smeared the very next delivery into the hands of Clarke at mid-on. Two runs needed then, and the No. 11, Makhaya Ntini, on strike. Lee's best effort was deflected to third man to tie the scores, and it was left to Boucher to seal the deal with a lofted four over mid-on. The most breathtaking game in cricket history had come to a grandstand finish, and all that remained was for the participants to pinch themselves to believe something as unrealistic as this!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sorry, I have been away for too long.

It's really been a long time since I last posted. But, couldn't help it. My computer was down with 'viral fever' and had to be 'hospitalised'. I mean, it had been infected by some bug and I had to get the hard-disk formatted. And, as I do not have the adequate knowledge about the nitty-gritty of formatting a hard-disk, I had to send it to an expert. So, believe it or not, but I had to spend about 5 days without my PC. (God knows, why it took him so long to back-up my mere 40GB data and get the disk formatted, but he did it.)

And as fate might have it, around the same time, my cellphone got a "to be hanged till death" punishment for some apparently serious crime. I mean, it also had some software problem and had to be sent to the Nokia Care Centre to get it done alright. I was told I would get it in a day or so. But, the very next day I come to know that the phone has some 'major' fault which they cannot correct themselves and so have to send the piece to their head-office. This immediately meant a wait for about four more days. What! Four Days! Four Days without a cell-phone! Phew!

So here I was, with no computer at my home and no cell-phone in my hand. And don't even mention the truck-load of journal work that seemed to suddenly pop out of no-where. Do these professors conspire to give away all the journal work simultaneously, I don't know! It is so boring to even start writing an assignment when your daily schedule has been so disrupted, so I decide not to write anything and just kill time at college. But, everyone in the class seemed to have some writing work or the other, only, except me. So, all I did for refreshment was play carrom at the college gym. And those who know how good(?) I am at carrom, will tell you how much would I have enjoyed!!! it and how very refreshed!!! would I be after some games of carrom!

Add to this, my very smart professors who thought this would be the right time to get me prepare some seminars. So they call me over and give me some 'interesting' topics like 'LAN' and 'ISDN' to get done with a 'comprehensive' seminar with 'substantial' study material to support it. How ironic? Prepare a seminar on LAN without even a single computer at your end, great coincidence, should I say? And in short, my professors could also finish off with preparing their own notes, by making me prepare some 'study-material' for the class.

If nothing else, these past few days convinced me of the fact that we have become so "used to" having our gadgets and gizmos around us, that such situations in which you have to part ways with some of your best "pals" are really hard to deal with. Seriuosly, believe me on this! And just pray that nothing of this sort happens with you.

God save us, from becoming addicts to some never before known addictions!