The World Cup is indebted to England

ICC Cricket World Cup trophy replica which is ...

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The World Cup is indebted to England for the quality of contests they have produced. Also, if you think of it – England has been able to defeat stronger teams (SA and WI) and tie with India. If they can continue the same, they can actually win the WC :)

It is about who you are

In the World cup match between India and West Indies, Sachin Tendulkar once again walked after given not out because he knew he had nicked it and was out. A debate that has come to haunt this game many a times. Last time it was with Gilchrist in WC 2003 and now this time in 2011 it has already happened with a few top notch batsmen – Sachin, Ponting and Jayawardena – the full story is here.

I see this as something you live you life – do you want to have integrity as a part of your life or not. There are many things you do in life only you know and there is no way someone else can find out. It is for you to decide how you deal with it. You can try and explain your scenario to others, and hope they understand you.

I am going through a similar phase and hope that the ones I love understand that my decisions may lead all of us though a tough patch in our lives, but it about integrity and legacy we want to leave for our child.

Decisions that are right are happy moments but we are defined by the way we stand by our incorrect decisions.

Cricket WC2011 – The end of the group stages

Starting March 23, it is going to be a very interesting stage and world-cup at this time is up for grabs. If I believe history repeats itself, then there are only 4 countries who can win this cup – Pakistan, Australia, New Zealand or West Indies. Wonder why – read why others are doomed because of the history of world cup.

Tomorrow is the last day of the group stages that has two matches which do not have any bearing on the qualifications on Quater-finals. However, the tussel between India and West Indies, will decide who plays who. The combinations:

  • India beats WI: they end up 2nd in the group and go onto play Australia
  • WI beats India: This will lead to a situation on where India ends up with their NRR and they could either be playing Sri Lanka or Pakistan

All those are very good sides and India will have to play very well to advance into the semi-finals. In last couple of weeks, I have heard many people saying, we should find the weakest of the opponents to play in the quarter. But, it is important for India to win tomorrow against the WI and get that confidence and momentum with them. In the entire group stages, India has not won even one match against the better teams and WI is still a formidable force that will give us the hope and confidence we have been looking for since the first day when we played against Bangladesh.

Lets focus a little bit on how the various teams fared and if I do look upto one such team as a winner at this stage. There is none. The group toppers – Pakistan and South Africa have also lost matched to big guns and in a very dis-heartening manner. Every team has just managed to qualify (more so in the Group B). No one team who is going to be playing in the quarterfinal, has looked formidable and un-penetrable. Looking back since 1996; we had certain candidates early in the world cup that had some indications to who may win the cup that year:

  • 1996: Sri Lanka came up very strong and were followed very closely by Australia and India. Sri Lanka eventually won beating India in semis and Australia in the finals
  • 1999: In England, Australia was followed closely by South Africa and Pakistan. Australia eventually won it
  • 2003: Australia and India were going all guns blazing. They met in the finals with Australia winning all their matches, and India only loosing one against Australia. Eventually, the final as predicted was between Australia and India, with India winning
  • 2007: Australia were closely chased by Sri Lanka and New Zealand. They went on to beating South Africa in semis and Sri Lanka in the finals.

But, this year there is no clear one side leading the groups and no clear winner for me. If you ask me south Africa and Paksitan have a great chance. However, South Africa has never won a single match in elimination stages – yeah NEVER – we will find out if their luck has changed when they play New Zealand in quarter-finals.  And, no host country has ever won the world-cup; so it rules out India and Sri Lanka. This time ICC’s decision of not allowing Pakistan to host the world cup may just turn out to be lucky for them.

CWC2011 – Dhoni comes back with a beauty

I love the guts on this guy – a beautiful answer to all the fans like me who have been hating him for last few games.

Enjoy this article.

 

Update: I did not realize at the time of posting the blog that Dhoni did not say all this and it was written by Anand Ramachandran

Cricket WC2011 – Dhoni’s Googly on Indian Spinners

Today finally Dhoni decided to reveal to the world what is happening in the India camp and giving rest to any speculations. Read the complete article here.

A few highlights and my take on those:

“We are still supposed to give Ashwin a chance, he deserves a place, so he will feature in one of the teams [that will play in the group stages].”

So we know now that Ashwin will get a chance and he is considered deserving. But, the question is is it being too late already? and will he be giving couple of chances just like Chawla has been given

“basically you have to see which was the player that needed this game most, rather than the team needing the player. I felt it was Piyush, who needed this game much more than Ashwin. You want your bowlers to be in a very good mental state in the second half of the tournament, where you play against the best teams and you will be participating in the knock-out stages – that was one of the main reasons why we picked Piyush ahead of Ashwin.”

Now this is a Googly I am talking about and everyone is thinking. Now this is where I see a leader is speaking up. Kudos to Dhoni, but the problem I see here is that he has already taken a huge risk by not giving Ashwin a chance to get valuable match practice. If I look at where India is in Group B, India is most certain to Qualify for Quarter Finals so Dhoni still has two games to try it with Chawla and Ashwin and he can see what works best for the team. The question is should he be experimenting in a tournament such as World Cup? What is all this experiemtn leads to team loosing the momentum or is Dhoni sure that we can get ourselves in the groove for last 3 vital games in knockout stages even with all this shuffling and experimentation?

He is the captain – Lets hope he knows what he is doing there.

 

Cricket WC2011 – What is Dhoni doing?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India in action during...

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Last 2 weeks, India got thrashed by England, and we were barely able to fetch a draw which was followed by a fight against Ireland. These two matches could have been easy for India, but they were not because of some decisions that M.S.Dhoni made with his captaincy; a few to name:

  • Continue to persist with Piyush Chawla
  • His assessment of Pitch in Bengaluru against Ireland
  • His defensive field placements against England and Ireland

But, we all understand there are times when they are going to get it wrong. But a third time – now that is a statement. Another match that should been a steeping stone for India to get some momentum behind them before big matches was against Netherlands and this time again Dhoni did many things that one can’t explain.

 

He played Piyush Chawla once again

Sourav Ganguly and some other commentators suggest it is good to see a captain behind young Piyush. But, are we here to groom people or win a World Cup. Piyush Chawla once again was the most expensive bowler in the squad. He was all over the place with his bowling. This also meant was that Ashwin still was on bench. If he gets a go in the match against South Africa, it will be after a break of over a month. That is something we do not want; we wanted some good match practice for him.

 

Tactics wanting to win the match in 20 overs

Sehwag, Tendulkar and Pathan were batting in a fashion as if India team has to be somewhere in a hurry. from 69/0 to 82/3 happened because they all played shots which were not required. A match that India could have won with 9 wickets and with 25 overs to spare went to 37th over with 5 wickets down and many Indians feeling we may loose. By promoting Pathan, it meant that Gambhir who has been a touch out of form did not get batting practice which was required. He came in when there with 2 wickets down and was under lot of pressure.

 

Raina still sits on bench

We have a genuine all rounder in Suresh Raina and this was the chance to see if he is in a good nick. Yuvraj is back in form but Pathan is scoring only 20s and 30s. Even if they are like a super sonic jet, they are not what we would need if we end up needing a consolidation in middle order. This match was a chance where we could have rested someone (Sehwag or Sachin a touch decision) and get a chance to Gambhir and Raina to get a knock in the middle.

 

I am not sure what India think tank is thinking, but it seems there are strategies that will lead us to winning the final. From here on, if India has to win they have to win at least 3 of their final 5 matches. The next matches will be against solid teams – South Africa and West Indies. And once we are in Quarter Finals, we need to be at the top of our game every single match day. One bad day in the office and they are fired and there goes the dream for so many of us.

 

The only silver lining is that no other team looks in solid form; Pakistan and South Africa lost matches in a dismissal fashion. Australia has not been tested and their test in pre-WC matches they crumbled under pressure too.

 

The team that can be focused from here will be the one to take it through, but for me there is no one ahead in this race.