Monday, February 23, 2009

Big Withdrawals

First Ricky Ponting, then David Hussey and now the pressure is on Andrew Flintoff to pull out of the IPL.

I think I see a lot of Aussie domestic politics and competition at play here. Michael Clarke first withdraws in doubtful circumstances. We know he is the captain in waiting. We know Australia is on a losing streak and the captain's position is especially precarious. This leads Ponting to go the extra mile to show his commitment to Aussie cricket and withdraw from the IPL. On a lower level, the contest for the wide open slots now hots up with David Hussey, Cameron White, James Hopes all trying to establish themselves - and Hussey tries to make a point by emulating his skipper.

I am all for the sanctity of Test cricket and strongly believe that the country comes first. But for God's sake get rid of these stupid ODIs ! They have no role in modern day cricket ! If we get rid of this menace we shall not only have enough time and space for T20 and Test cricket but we can also have sufficient warm up games and first class cricket !

On another note, I wonder if the recession is going to hit the IPL ... people who willingly shelled out Rs. 1000 for a ticket last year - might think twice this time around. It would make sense for Modi to lower the prices - will his shrewdness prevail over his greed ?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

IPL Schedule ?!?!

We are presumably less than a 100 days away from the proposed start of the IPL and yet Mr. Modi hasn't found time from his egoistic fights with his own people in Jaipur, and with the members in Cricket Club of India and with just about anyone on the planet .... to come up with a SCHEDULE !

We don't know when the first game will be played, we don't know who will host it and we have only a very sketchy idea about the finals ! Talk about not caring about the consumers !

I raise this at this point - because Cricinfo has just announced that they are looking for volunteers who will be in stadiums to report on IPL matches - they will be given tickets sponsored by Cricinfo - all you need to do is send them a couple of paragraphs about yourself and tell them what matches you plan to attend. How Cricinfo expects people to know of their plans before the schedule is announced - I don't really know.

Meanwhile I will most likely not be in India during the IPL this year but if only this was last year ...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Chennai To Hose Semis, Mumbai The Finals Again ?

That's what the early indications are - it seems Rajasthan Royals had the choice of deciding the venue for the finals - and they chose the Brabourne Stadium Mumbai ! However as expected Modi has some issues with someone at the CCI - something to do with seat allocation for members - so that choice is subject to clearance. The Royals could opt for the wonderful DY Patil Stadium, also in Mumbai.

The runners-up Chennai Super Kings have been given the right to pick the venue for the semi-finals and not surprisingly they have chosen to host BOTH semifinals !

No idea yet who will host the opening game !

Monday, February 16, 2009

Modi Barks !

Lalit Modi has THREATENED to take away IPL matches from his home city Jaipur. I face such a quandary here - on the one hand I hate Modi, on the other hand I love his product. I wonder if Warney and the others can stand up against Modi and say they want to play in Jaipur and nowhere else. Ah I wish !

What do you guys think ?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Returning ....

... the IPL resumes in less than 2 months ... and we shall be back on this blog soon with early analyses and takes on the news ... Watch out this space for more !

Monday, June 2, 2008

Winners All

We may have received the runners-up trophy in the inaugural DLF IPL Trophy, but make no mistake, we played like winners and bowed out as winners should. Cricket was the ultimate winner in yesterday's heart-racing clash between two great teams led by the most charismatic leaders in the cricket world.

All said and done, Rajasthan Royals throughly deserved this victory. Theirs was the fairytale script - underdogs to the core, if ever there were any. But the fact that the match went to the last ball in such a tense finish was sufficient testimony to the fact that both teams were so evenly matched that only the tiniest of differences separated them on the given day.

We can be proud of our team and the way it represented Chennai on and off the field. Not only did we take the fight to the Royals till the very end, we also bagged the Kingfisher Fairplay Award. And we the fans deserve kudos too for several surveys showed that ours was the most cohesive and loyal fan-base out of all 8 teams.

Coming to the game itself, I back our captain when he said we played as a team throughout and lost the finals as a team. It would be easy to point out to certain individuals and certain moments - Balaji's wide ball, Parthiv's mess-up, dropped catch by Raina, Kapugedara failing to get going, but truly the fact of the matter is the entire team fell short by that tiny minuscule margin. It was so great to see the team forming the huddle and Dhoni delivering his few last words just as he had done after the victory in Bangalore at which point Hayden, Hussey and Oram had left the team.

I would say we weren't quite able to up the tempo when we needed it in the second half of the innings. Raina seemed like the guy who could do it, but Kapugedara failed to get going and Dhoni couldn't get too much of the strike. In hindsight, maybe it was the wrong decision to send Kapugedara ahead of Badrinath. With the ball I think we were quite good keeping the pressure on through, except that Balaji had a forgettable night and the pressure got to Murali too. Of course that dropped catch by Raina was a big moment. But after every setback, we fought back with the wicket and in the end it was only a matter of inches that the Royals beat us by.

For the Royals it has to be said that Yusuf was extraordinary. What can you say about such a fabulous all-round performance except that hope he goes on to translate it at the international level ?

The campaign in the inaugural DLF IPL is over. But we shall be back again next year - with a big BANG - and hopefully with that little extra to take us over the line. I am not sure where I shall be next year. It was just luck that I happened to be in Chennai at a time when the IPL came about. And it has been one joyful experience becoming a fan of this team of wonderful players, but more so getting to be a part of the fan club that includes great guys like you all. Through the year I shall keep in touch off and on if anything interesting comes by.

Cheers !

Saturday, May 31, 2008

THE MEGA-FINALS - Rajasthan Royals v Chennai Superkings

The two best teams in the inaugural DLF IPL will be going head-to-head in what promises to be a mouth-watering, heart-stopping climax. Don't go by the one-sided matches in the semi-finals ! Just think back to the last time these two great teams met in Chennai to remember what a superb game of cricket it was. Here's to a repeat of such a game - with one key difference - the end result !!!

Not only are these the two best teams - they are also the two best-led teams. Warne and Dhoni are the two magicians who will conduct the show. It's one of India's most charismatic and successful limited-overs captain against arguably the greatest captain the World never had !

Rajasthan have truly been a great team - a worthy opponent to face in the finals - unlike say, Punjab, who were more pretenders than anything else. They have given us some wonderful cricket, some delightful memories - the way Shane Warne has led this team has been simply inspiring.

Strengths - Batting order with well-defined roles, Tanvir, Warne, Watson - the best all-rounder
Weaknesses - Will miss Smith, Perhaps the seamers to backup Tanvir and Watson ?

Chennai - we have displayed the one great trait of a champion side - the ability to lift our game when it matters most. We peaked at the start of the tournament, went through a bit of a lean patch but are just beginning to bring our best at the climax. You can rely on the captaincy of Dhoni to handle situations like these.

Strengths - Raina striking some serious form, Dhoni, Morkel - an all-rounder not quite as good as Watson, but a fair competitor, Ntini striking form, Gony
Weaknesses - Opening - remains the Achille's heel of our team, back-up bowling.

League Record 2-0 in favor of the Royals
First game we were blown off by the Sohail-storm, but in the home game we gave a memorable fight. However, Watson did not play that game. But the main backbone of the batting in that game Graeme Smith is out injured, so that could be a huge bonus

Royal Contests
Akmal v Ntini
Asnodkar v Gony
Watson v Morkel
Yusuf v Murali
Raina v Tanvir
Dhoni v Warne

So let's get the party started ! Bring out your drinks, put out your tents and start pouring in your rants and opinions on this mega-blockbuster !