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Showing posts from January, 2008

Pathan promises in Perth

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.

Test cricket is the best

The Perth Test just keeps getting more exciting. If day one was an interesting one, day two was exceptional. Fifteen wickets in a day! Ten of them Australian! Who'd a thunk it?

All this proves is that India is the only team in recent times to get under Australia's skins. India have Australia pinned down and this time they are not going to get away. It seems the incidents of the last ten days has got to them, not to India. It must've come as shock to the Australian team to see their own public and press going against them.

This is going to end a fascinating Test.

And what about Anil Kumble reaching 600 Test wickets? Has this man got his due yet? Untiring, unflappable. Hats off, AK.

Perth musings

A 50/50 day of cricket in Perth and India have three stupid shots that may have cost them the game ... Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman .... all needless and the score could have been 315 for three or four instead .. what were Laxman and Dravid thinking? Sachin wasn't out, but thats the game, and Dravid was dropped on 11 too, so ...

Pathan and Dhoni can get the total up near 400, if not a little more, and there's Kumble too.

This Shaun Tait was thoroughly disappointing. All the hype for his inclusion in Perth, and then he bowls very average. The pitch wasn't the hellish track it was tipped to be. Interesting to see how India bowl. Zaheer and Sreesanth would've been a major lift.

Yuvraj has gone and injured his troublesome left knee playing football during practice. Do you need to play football, volleyball and kabbadi to stay a fit cricketer?

Sehwag? No dilemma

Virender Sehwag should play in Perth. There's no point picking him for the tour of Australia - after he wasn't even included in the probables - and relegating him to tourist guide duty. Sehwag was presumably included for his success in Australia and the undoubtable X factor. He's not going to offer that sitting on the bench, as a 73-ball hundred against an ACT XI in Canberra indicated.

First things first, it wasn't a good bowling attack. But time spent in the middle is a good indicator of what a batsman can bring, and judging by his strokeplay, Sehwag can currently offer more than Wasim Jaffer and Yuvraj Singh. Jaffer has failed in two Tests and though he did score 92 in the first innings of this tour match, he's under pressure from Sehwag and Dinesh Karthik, who scored 97 and added 158 for the opening stand with Sehwag. Karthik won't usurp Jaffer as opener, but Sehwag will fit in smoothly to the line-up. And Sehwag says he's hungry for Perth. Take his word …

Taare Zameen Par

A brief sidestep from cricket.

Watched Taare Zameen Par last week. Everyone had raved about it, which can often influence how you go into a movie. I expected a good film, and wasn't disappointed. Aamir the director trumped Aamir the actor by some distance. He's clearly been handed a fine script - credit goes to Amol Gupte here - and he handles it so magically. Its not without stereotype - the staff at the boarding school are dripping in cliches and the father breaks into hives at the drop of a hat - but Aamir's shepherding of young Darsheel Safary and the camera is superb. He shows he can narrate a story very, very well and does so without any glam, thankfully. Its a touching movie, expertly handled and I hope it does plenty to make people aware of children with dyslexia.


Safary is wonderful. TZP is about him, not Aamir, thankfully, and this kid does full justice to the role. Hindi movies have never had good child actors - the girl in Black was exceptional - but Safary has…

A failure to communicate

"But who is Ricky Ponting anyway?"

The question, from a very naive instructor at the gym, had me slow down the speed on the treadmill.

We'd been discussing the whole Harbhajan-Symonds racism controversy for a few minutes, and I'd fielded his questions comfortably. This guy followed cricket but wasn't a big fan and didn't know a lot about the game, evident from his questions, but this one came out so innocently and simple.

I wanted to reply, "he's a f**** cheat" but that would've confused this guy further. So I explained the scenario to him, as I saw it, that the laws of cricket had been sidelined, that there was clear-cut evidence showing Ponting was wrong with his "I play fair" claims on international television, and that Australian cricketers have gotten away with close to murder in the past, while subcontinental players received fines and bans and what not.

Clearly, this Sydneygate has gripped India like nothing else matters.

And wha…