Once again, youth has been jettisoned, the system has been done away with, journalist's Saturdays have been ruined and, quite amazingly, Rahul Dravid is back in the one-day team. The same Dravid who was dumped twice over the last four years and overlooked for the World Cup, a chance he silently pined for. WTF? The decision, we are told, is a pragmatic, immediate one: the team is marred by injury and needs Dravid's vault of international experience - he is the seventh-highest run-scorer of all time, with 10,765 runs in 339 matches - and his innate ability to scrap and hold together an innings. But the man in question is 38 years and 207 days and hasn't played an ODI since September 2009, after being recalled two years from being dropped. The scenario then? India's young hopefuls had failed to cope in testing conditions in the lead-up to the Champions Trophy in 2009. The scenario now? Injury to Yuvraj Singh, Cheteshwar Pujara's absence through injury, the apparen
We each have our field of dreams. The space where we first really took to cricket, where we played the game because we just loved the sound of ball (rubber, tennis, cork, whatever) on ball, where we could square-drive like our heroes (Dravid, for me) and mimic bowling actions and try our hands at legspin or left-arm pace and try to intimidate and flourish, and where we could - for an hour, a day - escape the drudgery of school and chores. Maybe it was a parking lot or a sandlot, a maidaan , an open field, a side street, a gulli , a stadium, an terrace. You know what I'm talking about. For me, that field was a beaten up, run down former tennis court tucked away between the magnificent deodar and handsome Indian Chestnut tree and sturdy Himalayan Oak and serene maple trees. A little piece of heaven where in days of yore British, American and Canadian missionaries spent sunny summer afternoons playing tennis and rounders but which by the time my buddies and I took over had withered
Wow. Has there been a better advertisement for Test cricket in recent times than day three in Perth? Even West Indies' most endearing win over South Africa at the end of 2007 didn't come close. India pushed Australia into the ground today, thanks to VVS Laxman, RP Singh, and the hero of the day, Irfan Pathan. With five players over the age of 33, India will be heartened to see the performance of Pathan, with 74 runs and four wickets so far. And he's shown how much he's learned about the new ball, nipping out Chris Rogers and Phil Jaques before stumps. He's no means the finished article but he's a step closer to stamping his place in the side. He's seen the highs and lows already in a short career, and Pathan is better for it. Australia are battling to prevent their worst defeat since the 2005 Ashes and when India pull off this sweet win, it will be right up there with the best ever.