Thursday, October 28, 2010

And the 8th team on IPL4 is....

Which team will be selected to feature in the IPL4?

IPL4 was supposed to have 10 teams... But too much of Gandhiji, Benjamin Franklin and the Queen's face on paper had been flooding in and out of the business... SOOOOO, some teams have failed to make the cut... The event which might have been longer than an Indian summer, was hit by a speed bump! Now, the IPL roster is down to 7 teams, and is desperate to have 8 on it... It was an emotional termination of the Kochi team. Terminating it and asking it to return with a convincing statement on "why it shouldn't be scrapped"...

Assuming BCCI is on the lookout for a new franchise, which one can it be?

Let me help you with a few options...

1. Ziro pointZero
2. Viruddhachalam Captain(s) (to be pronounced as "Gabtun(s)")
3. Udupi Caterers
4. Tirupur Adidas
5. Tezpur Snails
6. Salem Witches
7. Ranchi MSDs
8. Kavaratti Islanders
9. PortBlair Andamans
10. Patiala Paaji s
11. Ooty Coolers
12. Nangal WaterPowers
13. Mambalam Mosquitos
14. Moradabad BrassSmiths
15. Mahabalipuram Rockers
16. Leh SnowLeopards
17. Ludhiana Sweaters
18. Kota wannabe-IITians
19. Karaikkudi Chettiyars
20. Jallandhar Lions
21. Howrah Bridgies/Bridgemen/Bridge Players
22. GANGtok Policemen
23. Dholka Dhoklas
24. Dhanbad Miners
25. Cuddalore SeaMonsters
26. Bhuj Earthshakers
27. Nagari Trekkers
28. Anand Milkmen
29. Aligarh Grads
30. Nilgiri Rangers
31. Mughal-e-Agra
32. Secunderabad Seconds
33. Queens of Jhansi
34. Cuttack Kathaks
35. Darjeeling Chaiwalas
36. Rampuri Churis
37. Lucknow Badshahs
38. Ujjain Observers
39. Allapuzha (coco)nuts
40. Panaji (Cashew)Nuts
41. Patna Farmacies
42. if Jaipur comes back, it'll be Jaipur Pinkies
43. Chandigarh TriStates
44. Madurai BullFighters (or, Jallikattu)
45. Porbadar Peacemakers
46. Kolar Goldies
47. Chandrapur Powerplays
48. Cochin Backwaters would've been nice... but, unfortunately, buri nazar lag gayi
49. Shimla Capsicums
50. Konark Suns
51. Kharagpur Platforms
52. A foreign team on IPL4 will be "Burma Bazaar"
53. Kanyakumari Ocean's11
54. Trichy 128
55. Tanjore Thangams
56. TrichyTerrors
57. Nanha Jaisalmer
58. Surat Sweets
59. Guwahati Mountaineers
60. Cherrapunji Rainmen
61. Srinagar Dals
62. Bhopal Gases
63. Trivandrum Kathakalis
64. Mysore Kings
65. Vizag Steels
66. Nagpur Oranges

Hmmm... So, which one is it going to be. Let's give BCCI some time to think and select one...

Please add on to the list, if I've missed some other franchises.

Hope the BCCI can find the task easier now!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Style Statement

Here is my Style-XI, a pick of the most stylish cricketers of the 21st century!

1. Virender Sehwag
2. Hashim Amla
3. Ross Taylor
4. Md. Yousuf
5. V.V.S. Laxman
6. Dwayne Bravo
7. Adam Gilchrist
8. Daniel Vettori
9. Graemme Swann
10. Jerome Taylor
11. Dale Steyn

Rest of the "Squad" -

Openers - Shaun Marsh, Brendon McCullum (+wicketkeeper)

Top order - Rahul Dravid, Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Yuvraj Singh

Middle order - Umar Akmal, Saurav Ganguly

All Rounder - Jacques Kallis, Jacob Oram

Bowlers - Md Asif, Nuwan Kulasekara, Jimmy Anderson

Your XI?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Lakers. Mission ThreePeat

Viva Los Lakers!

We are back! The time has come to officially start the journey for the pinnacle of the mountain named ThreePeat.

Three consecutive trips to championship rounds, two consecutive titles (The Repeat), and the Lakers couldn't be in better shape to be the team to beat this season, no matter who or what is happening in the East!

First things first - Phil Jackson expressed his willingness to coach the Lakers for one more season, before seeking retirement owing to his health. And he is on the lookout for his 4th Threepeat! There you go, a legend, isn't he?

As soon as the trade window opened, in came Steve Blake from the Clippers. A tall guard, good from range, capable of running plays, a good substitute for Jordan Farmar (NJ Nets, now), a good back up guard behind Fisher. He is a bit slower than Farmar, but makes up for his pace with better defense and lesser turnovers than Farmar. And from what I've seen thus far, "Blake's calling the play like he knows the Triangle inside out for years". Do I need to say more?

Also came in Matt Barnes, another nemesis of Kobe Bryant. After Raja Bell snubbed Lakers (and Kobe) with a chance to team up with Kobe, Lakers set their eyes on Matt Barnes, who has traveled with 7 teams in 7 season. Barnes has stalking defense, good role player, good from range (though he gets over confident on them), and good on boards, not to forget, athletic and dedicated. Barnes was in the Lakers radar ever since his match-up against Kobe, especially the one played in Amway Arena, Orlando. he actually texted Kobe to make sure he wanted him in his team, to which Kobe replied that he had no problem at all, and was looking forward to Barnes dressed in Purple and Gold. Barnes will be a good back up for Ron Artest. Last season, the SF spot, if not for Artest was filled by Kobe (4th quarters), or by Josh Powell and Adam Morrison (bench), both of whom have signed up with other teams since. So, Barnes continues to Defense that Artest had been doing on the floor after the substitution. Boy o Boy! D-fense it is!

Next new comer - Theo Ratliffe. A 15 year old veteran, will be mostly retiring with the Lakers, with the hope of a ring to his name, mostly this year. His main task will be to keep the defensive breath still going strong with his strong nature at the low post, to box out, to board and to block (most importantly, to block). He still seems very fit to play good minutes off the bench. In the absence of Bynum in the initial stages of the season, he might have to check in for a few extra minutes. In the pre-season, he sure has impressed. Much more experience (than Mbenga), and another coach for Andrew Bynum, who is likely to push for an all-star spot if he can be fit and in the same form as he started last season. The other coach, is, the legendary Kareem Abdul Jabbar.

What can be like a dream come true for kids? Get into the Lakers' roster, though they were 2nd round picks! Derek Character and Devin Ebanks are living their dream now, having been picked by the Lakers, in the 2nd round of 2010 Draft Picks. They played very well, and pleased the coaches in the Summer League (Vegas), though the Lakers lost all 5 games in it. And, they continued to do well off the bench with lungs full of energy and enthusiasm and confidence. And, finally, the two of them made it to the roster. Ebanks, in particular is playing very well and getting recognition for reasons more than one. His minutes off the bench in the pre-season have been very productive. He is fast, has a good range, but is not very consistent yet. He drives well to the basket, and has a nice clutch drive-in layup, and powerful dunks for the Lakers fans to enjoy (apart from, you know, Shannon Brown). He fills in at SF and is capable of keeping the defensive strength go on for a few more minutes when both Artest and Barnes want to spend some time chatting on the side-lines. Derek Character, a strong tall lad is beginning to be a better low-post player day by day. He is strong enough to press the defence, make quick spins and jump, make bank shots (a la Shaq, one handed) and is learning from the other big men in the team, including the coach, Phil Jackson.

The summer was a time to rest for almost all the retained players - namely, Kobe, Fisher, Gasol, Artest. Bynum went to South Africa to watch the football/soccer world cup. Walton was nursing his back, and is now nursing his hamstring (but this is listed as a day-to-day.) Walton did play in the pre-season and has been fine. Brown had been on the rest too, I presume, didn't hear much about him in the off-season. Pau Gasol skipped the FIBA World Championships this summer, but played one on one games with his brother, Marc in their backyard in Spain. Marc did play in the World's. Speaking of the World's, Odom was one of the two veterans to accompany Team USA for the FIBA World Championships, in which Team USA emerged winners. Odom was steady in all games, and steadied the team too, which was full of youngsters to say the least. Odom had an all important double-double in the finals of the championships. Odom played center in all games. He is now in mid-season form, showing no signs of tight muscles, and has much more decision making skills now, is more respected, and is much wiser than his usually high basketball IQ.

All in all, things looking so very good for the ThreePeat! I just pray it does happen! Cometh October 26th! Let's win this!

Viva los LAKERS!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Cricket Administration sure is funny

Mr B is attending a rapid fire word round with his friend Mr C. B has to let out the word that comes to his mind the moment he hears one from Mr C. I happened to eavesdrop on them...

C: school?
B: Interval!

C: Music?
B: Shakira!

C: Car?
B: Ferrari!

C: Food?
B: Italian

C: Cricket?
B: Ashes

Aahhhh.. The Ashes... the Marquee event of cricket... the trailer and climax of the movie named "cricket", the wrapper and core of the chocolate that's named cricket, the oxygen of cricket, without which the game is so incomplete!

Cometh the southern summer, cometh the Aussie Ashes! This December, England and Australia will once lock horns and battle for pride. But this time, it is not going to be the real test of character, strength, skills or very many things of that sort. This must be one of the funniest sounding build up to the Ashes!

First thing first!
If I had an exam tomorrow, I would rather be preparing for it, than watch a movie, visit a theme park and go on a tiring ride for 100 miles down the countryside. If Australia were wanting to prepare for the Ashes, I do not see how they would do the same by playing in India just a month before the Ashes! Blows me down! The conditions are completely different. At Perth, anyone can send a sniffer ball at even Ishant Sharma. At Mohali we saw the Wester Australian all rounder, Marcus North, shouldering arms to a Zak delivery that sent a flying kiss to the bail, which was romantically stunned and fell down. If you wanted to give the comeback man, Hauritz, a chance to tweak his way to form from a back injury, INDIA was a poor choice of opponent. Sehwag, Sachin, Dravid and Laxman can milk most world class spinner as easily as Usain Bolt can win the 100m heat against Inzamam-ul-Haq carrying Arjuna Ranatunga on his shoulders with his legs tied together. Hauritz did get Laxman in the first innings but got "beat-up" by him in the second. He wished it was the other way round...

"He flicks the ball to the mid wicket for four, and then hits the same ball that pitched at the exact same point through the covers for four! How do you bowl to him and set a field to that ball?" - David "Bumble" Lloyd on VVS Laxman

Ah well, I don't know what superstition Cricket Australia were following to come to India and hold the second successive Indian Border-Gavaskar trophy, the fizz of the last 2-0 drubbing yet to die out. Having decided to tour their recent nemesis, why couldn't the two boards, CA and BCCI decide to have a 4 or 5 test series? Two test series? Border Gavaskar trophy? Sigh! I don't know how sad those two legends must be, their names tarnished, burnt in poor quality fuel, blown in the air to unknown land of pathetic decision making! A test series is a joke. It shows nothing. Its more of luck than anything. Players don't get chances, you can't learn. If you think your knowledge increased...too late, the series is over for yourself to find out for yourself. 1-0, or 1-1 says nothing. A 2-0 may show some resurgence. But a 5 test series with 2-0 after the first 2 games will still be interesting. There is so much drama after it. 2 test series...sigh! What prevented the two sides from playing a 4 or 5 test series? Aus were not busy. Nor were India.

Bangladesh ever played more than 3 tests in a series??? Ahh... yes, against the West Indies, the West Indies team that would've played better blindfolded than open eyes... Rather, we should've been blindfolded. No one could watch that squad, that made Tony Cozier almost cry in dismay.

Even in gully cricket, we played at least 3 matches a day!

And yes. No Slater, Taylor, Chappel, Border in the commentary box for this India-Aus series! Michael Bevan and Brad Hogg are novice. Talks about the level of interest that the Australians have lent to this series. And of course, we have to put up with Laxman Sivarama Krishnan who claimed live on air that the phenomenon of the ball moving to the rough side is called reverse swing. Dropped dead...twice!

As long as Wilbur Sargunaraj doesn't start commentating, I can breathe cricket.

And yes.
After India displaced Australia from the top for the first time in their last tour and then Aus hit their lowest position when South Africa beat them down under and when Pakistan made things worse for Australia sending them to 4th spot, Aus are just one point atop England. England would have a bucket party running for a whole week if Australia loses this test series 1-0 or 2-0, whichever is the minimum requirement to dock those point(s) off Australia. How would Australia feel to be fifth in an eight-man race? We will see...we may see. Their series in India is far from over.

KP might be telling his son. "look sonny, We are better than the Aussies. remember this moment. You tell your kids that you saw this happen". Or will he tell his son after the winter "You know what sonny, I grew up in an era when Australia were ranked better than England. hmmm... you won't be able to see that anytime soon, sorry"

As for England, they would rather try sending Jimmy Anderson to a flatter surface in a dry atmosphere as he can't carry the atmosphere of Trent Bridge everywhere he travels. And yes, it's Kookaburra. If you want to get wickets only by swinging the ball, you have five overs to live in a day.

In other news, Madhusudhan Panesar makes a comeback into the squad that travels to the Ashes. A squad to which KP did make it, despite his patweetic form off late, including that 80 runs that featured 3 drop catches, two UDRS survivals, 1 survival thanks to the unavailability of further UDRS appeals...after which he lifted his bat in appreciation of the crowd's patience to have put up with his show of "fortune favours the brave". KP is now in South Africa to get some form back on pitches that might resemble Australian pitches better than Indian pitches.

"I don't know why New Zealand charged Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag when they arrived at New Zealand with slightly unpolished shoes, but welcome Ponting every other summer despite watching him use his hands as his saliva's wash basin." - Bagrat