Sunday, April 24, 2011


New game. Devised by me, myself and I. Only for Limited over formats.

Rules :-

To be played in a ground of minimum dimensions of 100m.

Both legs of batsmen to be tied together.

Batsmen not allowed to wear pads on their legs.

17 fielders allowed.

Chucking allowed.

There will be 5 stumps at both ends of the wicket, each 3 feet tall.

The crease will be 1 foot thick, and it will belong to the umpire as far as batsman's foot is concerned. It will be a no ball only if the whole of bowler's foot is beyond the crease.

Bat size => 18 inch long, 3 inch wide, and maximum 2 inch thick. handle = extra 8 inch length.

Same rules as cricket for modes of dismissal.

If a batsman misses 3 balls, it is a FREE HIT. The batsman stays away from the pitch and the bowler has a free go at the stumps. if the ball hits the stumps, the batsman is out.

If the batsman inside-edges, the bowler has the option of choosing a golf ball to bowl the next delivery.

If the batsman hits a six, the runs will be counted only if he can repeat the same shot. The runs for the 2nd shot will not be counted, unless the third one is also one...

Mercifully, no such rules for a 4.

Don't worry guys, power-play will be there in the One Day format too.

Power Play rules -

2 bunches of 5 overs each constitute the power-plays, and like in cricket, Greedyket power-plays can be called once each by the fielding and batting captain.

During power-plays, a left handed batsman must bat right-handed, and vice versa.

Let's play.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Sparkling Minnows

When I had finished my schooling, the IITs (leading engineering institutes in India - Indian Institute of Technology) announced that, that year (2006) would be the last chance for all those people who finished schooling one or more years ago to sit the exam. The exam was then made open only to the ones who have completed their schooling successfully in the year of exam or the year before.

It was a similar announcement that the ICC made during the course of this World Cup, when they said that the next CWC will have only 10 teams, as it wanted to shorten the length of the tournament. Indirectly, they said that they don't want the Associate Nations playing in the world cup, because : 1. THAT was what made the tournament longer, 2. reduced their income (note, this is the main reason) and also, 3. caused upsets which even resulted in expulsion of major teams (and hence, all over again). The tournament organisers were frank enough to tell that they had planned the 7-team group stage so as to not eliminate any "big team". Frankly, I call that cheap!

How the hell can you call it a "World Cup" if the world doesn't get a chance to play in it? I don't play cricket amongst my friends here and call it a National tournament... I won't, because I can't.

Jonathan Agnews has shown the way to a much better tournament organization with the same format, so that the tournament is shortened and the interest is maintained. A four-pool of 4 teams is another good way to go, but alas, ICC is much worried about its money churning teams, rather than cricket. Very nice, ICC, I hope you choke on the money you eat.

All said and done, ICC has pushed the button. And, while on the chair, The Minnows did show a lot of heart, courage and cricketing beauties for us to remember for quite some time.

I bring you 6 of them.

6. Ashish Bagai vs New Zealand

Bagai is a diminutive man by size, but a big man by heart. He has quite some experience on and off the field of cricket. Having had some injuries dogging him down throughout his career, which has hampered his running, the wicketkeeper-batsman-captain turned his volume up during the high-scoring encounter vs New Zealand. His team was already 2 down with not more than 4 on the board. And he played one of his most memorable innings (along with Hansra) to take Canada to a position of respect at the end of the day. NZ were unable to bowl them out after Ashish Bagai's 84.

5. Ryan ten Doeschate vs England

The Indian crowd got its first good look at their going-to-be IPL player, Ryan ten Doeschate, when he got the better of England in a complete all-round performance. The wise and experienced Dutchman took the attack to the English camp with the bat as he scored massive against the likes of Broad, Andersen and Swann. He scored 119 (109 balls) to take Nederlands up to 292. RtD returned to take team-best (and most economical) 47/2 off his 10 overs. One man could only do so much. His teammates couldn't help carry on the momentum given by his efforts as Ravi Bopara took England to safety in the end. But, this was surely RtD's game.

4. Collins Obuya vs Australia

Australia had set a massive target against Kenya, and right from the start, it only started to grow bigger. The innings was steadied a bit by the Obuya brothers. After David was run-out in a mis-hap, Collins saw what a big mistake he had made. And then on, he took the responsibility. He settled himself down, and then took the attack to the Australian with some of the best pieces of timing one would see against the Australian pace battery. That he didn't get two more runs will be the only thing that might've saddened him, but that is one innings the Australians will not forget, as Aus failed to bowl Kenya out, managed only 6 wickets actually).

3. Hiral Patel vs Australia

Nineteen year old Canadian, Hiral Patel gave the Australians a nightmare of a jolt when the pace battery of Lee, Tait and Johnson were briefly reduced to ashes (no pun intended). That was an innings of courage, and brute power. I've only seen David Warner hit Shaun Tait in front of the square better than that. It was an innings that showed that Canadians are not here just to party around, but to play some serious cricket.

2. Jimmy Kamande vs Cameron White

One fine day, Cameron White was playing an off spinner named Jimmy Kamande, whom I guess he rarely heard of. 5 minutes later, that line would read "One fine day, Cameron White played an off spinner named Jimmy Kamande, who he will never forget". Captain of the Kenyan team, Jimmy Kamande bowled the ball of the tournament around the best defense of Cameron White, which turned a nautical mile to beat the Great Barrier of White and hit the middle and off. Though the video suggests it might've clipped the inside edge of White's blade, all commentators said there was none, after watching multiple videos. That look on Cameron White's face is going to become a poster and will be hung in Kamande's living room.

For video of that magic ball, please click HERE .

1. Kevin o'Brien vs England

Kevin o'Brien played the mother of all resurgent innings in that one pulsating night against England, when Ireland turned the tables around on ICC and smacked them hard at their decision to do away with the minnows. After throwing away the game against Bangladesh hardly a week before this innings, KoB made sure that he stuck around this time, in his own style. Crucial partnerships with able men, Cusack and Mooney helped him score the fasted century in the World Cup. That century brought Ireland to the fore, and almost got rid of England from qualifying to the knock out round later on.

So, the ICC wants to now have a 10-team world cup, which will have less probability of extincting a top notch team than what it has been all these years. Top teams can play absolute crap, and still manage to qualify, unlike what England, WI or India had to do this time (all 3 were biting fingernails at some point of the time... England had even resorted to toe-nails once finger nails disappeared).

I will miss these teams, and their bullets that dented some teams on or off the chart.

You might also like to read : With Love, Minnows

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Synergy leads to Victory

Two days ago, early in the morning, I was watching my favourite basketball team, Los Angeles Lakers, play against the Dallas Mavericks. And when one of the Mavs shoved a Laker (Steve Blake) to the floor, there were a few Lakers stepping up in Blake (and later, Pau Gasol)'s defense, risking their own ejection. The post match interviews had one phrase common in their speeches - "brotherhood".

It was the same kind of stepping-up and love for each other that was seen yesterday night when India defeated Sri Lanka to win back the ICC Cricket World Cup in their own back-yard, in their most beautified son's home. It was a team, hunting as a unit, telling everyone that it is that brighter light on top of the tree which they want to reach, and they will sacrifice their body for their team to climb on each other and win it.

As soon as the SF was over, for me, the World Cup was over. India playing SL doesn't excite me. But, India winning the title does. To not risk myself getting squished into a 2D body, I left my hostel and its living cannibals to watch the game in a theatre. The atmosphere in the theatre helped me get into the grove for the finals. And it was worth a finals. Duh, 60 foot screen, Air Conditioned, theatrical sound effects, 200 fans, good food, what did you expect? Of course it excites you!

After a gritty innings by Mahela Jayawardene, duly supported by his best man Sangakkara, and others (Samaraweera, Kulasekara and Perera), India was set a BIG total to chase. And when the famous openers of India fell, it was time for the nation to look at what the team was really about - a team.

Gambhir posted one of the most beautiful innings in sheet-anchor role, Kohli gave him the company he needed while he settled down, while Dhoni took the attack to the Lankans.

In the end, it was the captain who smashed the ball out of the park, and the Lankans out of the tournament. And fittingly, along with him out there in the middle was the man of the tournament - Yuvraj Singh.

This thing was meant to happen. You look at Murali's figures - 39-0 after 8 overs. He neither completed his quota, nor got a single wicket. This was the most "in-your-face" send off that a great personality would least prefer having. His eyes were moist, not because he was leaving, but because he couldn't make a damn contribution in Sri Lanka's favour when it was needed the most.

No one feared Malinga. Sure, he troubled India early on, but confidence grew in the batsmen, the glory was within sight. Even if Raavan had 20 more heads, it wouldn't have mattered, if he had to be felled, he would be. Four changes made to a winning side, and surely Sangakkara had to be superman to get his armory right. He had no clue how to use his support bowlers. Kulasekara undid all his batting efforts, Perera was no threat at any stage (that Gambhir wicket was a gift) and Randiv came all the way from Sri Lanka to lose the only game he played.

Right from the start, the Indian fielding was at its toes. And the SL fielding was a bit sloppy. There, a few runs up and down, saved and leaked. And who was doing the fielding? Everybody! Raina-Yuvraj-Virat were electric, yes. but there were also Bhajji, SRT, Zak throwing themselves around. That catch by Sehwag which put an end to Tharanga's innings was a piece of classic. They were hungry, 28 years hungry.

If you looked closely into the eyes of the captain, you would've read what his heart said "There, I've proved myself, I've proved it to the world". Captaincy was born inside him. Fittingly, he saved his best innings for the last one.

Just as the umpire lifted both his hands up to the heavens, Yuvraj put his body down to earth in joy. MSD turned to claim his stump. Virat Kohli ran like a cheetah, grabbed a stump and religiously ran to Sachin Tendulkar and gave it to him. If that doesn't tell you something, then his speech said it all - "Sachin has carried the hopes of the Indian cricket team on his shoulders for 21 years; it was time we carried him on ours".

Sachin's contribution in the finals was little or negligible, but he was the one who laid the road to the finals this year, and all those tournaments day in night out decade after decade.

Everyone wanted to win this for Sachin, it was a gift, an honour. It is what boy-friends jump into the oceans for - to find their girl the best pearl. It is what first-time daddies go shopping for - to bring his wife and new born the sweetest gift. It is what India won the cup for - to dedicate this to the one whom they idolised.

Bhajji's tears and Raina's smiles all meant the same thing. Both meant how much they wanted this. Bhajji has been through more pain and drama. That was experience talking there. Raina is learning how to take major victories in his side (one BIG gazelle step ahead of CSK's twin-wins) with youthful exuberance. That was the Generation-X talking.

When India won the World Cup, it meant India won the Cup as a team. It all started with Piyush Chawla exposing the weakness of foreign teams' inability to play spin in the warm up games, and we saw Yuvraj playing like a champion, Kohli playing with grace, Gambhir bat like it was in his own back-yard, Viru being destructive, Zaheer showing experience, Bhajji-Yuvraj-Yusuf-Pathan-Ravichandran spin attack working as a single minded unit willing to sacrifice things for the greater good, Munaf bending his back bowling on a repaired ankle and a broken hip, and Nehra defying the foul-cry of billions and bowling India over Pakistan with a broken hand. If you've seen better captaincy, correct me.

Coach Gary Kirsten took the team into his hands after India were emotionally and physically (and unethically) beaten 2-1 in Australia. And he has grown the team into a brood of gladiators. It was the best way to repay him back - a crown on his last shift in charge of his pets. And nothing was possible without the able presence of bowling coach Eric Simmons, who not only brought the best out of PK, Sreesanth, Nehra and Ashwin in the past one year, but also managed India's bench strength. That back-room staff is the best India has had since John Wright days. And fittingly, they have been rewarded.

This is the Indian cricket team. Built on the principle of Synergy - the team is greater than sum of individuals. They positives added up, the negatives were complemented by teammates' positives, and that was turned into a plus all over again.

It was the last "World" Cup, and India has won it, to keep it...forever.
An emotional journey has ended for me. And I get a few good weeks off before the cricket resumes.

Hope you all enjoyed the world cup as much as I did. I broke my teeth in some crazy fashion, I had to sit through exams, I was taunted for my support for a few teams and players, I might've even seen a couple of UFOs... But for all I care, I enjoyed the tournament in the past few weeks in the country that won the tournament, by beating all the former champions on the road to the victory.