Archive for the ‘Cricket’ Category
This Saturday (yesterday) morning Nishanth and Abish left for India, and so that left us (Sridhar and myself) alone in the hotel. We decided to go visit the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. To go to the Opera House, you would take a bus that would drop you off at the Circular Quay (which is at the end of the land). From there to your North East is the Opera House and to your North West is the Rocks and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This was incidentally the first trip in a bus for us in Sydney.
We spent some time soaking in the beauty of the Customs House at the edge of the road where the bus stops. There is a huge courtyard in front and we could see some beautiful flowers in the mini garden in the front, and a couple of kids were playing hand-tennis (remember, hand-tennis, Ricebowl Avenue kids?).
From there we crossed under the Circular Quay Railway station to reach the Wharf and took the beautiful pathway that leads to the Opera House. The view on enroute is spectacular and the pix taken using the SE k550i doesn’t do justice to what we saw. I am not sure whether any camera could do 100% justice, but many would come damn close, I would have to say after checking out Apple’s pro-mode pix.
The Wharf was a flurry of activity with boats arriving and leaving and people hopping in and off. Then there was this AUD 60 per ride Oz Jet Boat ride. The driver who picked me up from the airport mentioned that the best place to watch the harbour was from inside out (from the sea). So I hope I will take a ferry boat one of these days to experience that as well.
After spending an hour or so at the Opera House checking it out from all possible angles, and soaking in on the beautiful view of the sea on either side of the Opera House, we walked down to the pier that is called the Man O War. This is now used as the landing point for the boats that has to reach this side of the Opera House or the Royal Botanic Gardens. We also saw how lucky the rich people here are. While we were there, a couple of beautiful girls came to the pier, and within a minute, a sexy boat came and their boyfriends were in that. Nice way to spend the weekend, I guess!
Next in line was the Royal Botanic Garden that is just opposite the Opera House. This is one beatiful natural park and the administrators actually request you to walk on the grass and to smell the roses! We would have walked a couple of hours inside that, and I guess we managed to cover about 25% of it. After all, the garden spans an area of 30 hectares.
The first stop inside the Garden was the majestic Government House in the Domain beside the Garden. It was designed by the architect who was involved in the design of the Buckingam Palace. Though we didn’t go into the building, the view through the glasses and the view of the House premises was beautiful. There was a nice looking sundial inside the premises, and it was showing the time without caring about sunlight savings!
It was well past the lunch time, we decided to take a break. It was after quite a long while that I was sitting in a garden to eat my lunch. After that we moved to a more sunny spot for a short nap of 45 min :). I was really thrilled to see that so many people pack their lunches and tiffin and head over to the park (since it is getting warmer here in Sydney) to spend more than a couple of hours. It is a perfectly great idea to pack your lunch and a couple of books (technical or otherwise) and lie down in the garden with the trees for shades and the sea breeze for keeping you cool. Of course, I forgot to mention about the almost unbelievable beauty of the harbour and the sea that is a few metres away).
After that we took the walk along the edge of the waterfront to reach the gate on the opposite side. The view from there was beautiful as well. We could see the whole City skyline plus the Opera House had the Harbour Bridge as the background!
Finally, after about 5 hrs of walking (a record for me this year) we decided to call it a day and returned back to the room. Thus ended a very very memorable day and the first trip to the Circular Quay. I am sure I will be back again to the place without worrying about taking pictures and to soak in the beauty and the serenity that the Royal Botanic Garden has to offer.
Here is the link to the pix:
Thanks for reading and have a great week ahead.
PS: Hey, did you notice that the Indian team is playing great cricket for a change? People here are saying that India is the next Australia, and they don’t think Aussies have the bench strength to regain the glories of the McGrath-Warne era.
It was with quite some amusement and disbelief that I read this entry in Prem’s blog. It looks like ICC had almost taken me (and most others) for a ride!
Here is the link to the story in Rediff that Prem refers to.
One must admit: Amazing marketing technique, ICC! Hats off!
In case you are wondering, what the heck this is all about, here is the gist: The acronyms A2 or D1 that you see in the WC Super 8 schedule are just dummy numbers, and they actually represent a particular pre-defined team!
“Team names for the Super Eight stage are indicative based on the top two teams from the Group Stage qualifying. If these two teams do qualify they will be seeded in position 1 or 2 as specified regardless of whether they finish first or second in their group. For example, if South Africa wins Group A and Australia comes second, for the purposes of the Super Eights, South Africa will still be A2 and Australia will be A1.“
India managed to save the Test match at Nagpur, thanks to a couple of splendid innings from Dravid and Jaffer. In case you are wondering why I am saying this, it is due to this post by Apple, who had the temerity to comment that “May be as a captain he would not want to squander is his record by registering one loss as against a draw”.
Oh! really! I never knew that or thought so! And, here is why. Clearly, as articulated by Prem Panicker of Rediff, had Dravid fooled himself and the team, and tried to pull of an improbable (nay, impossible) victory on that dusty, wearing fifth day pitch, Indians would have clearly lost the match, and probably with that, the series! Is that what you want as an Indian Cricket Fan?
A couple of interesting things related to this discussion, and both attributed to Prem. First, as part of his analysis of the post lunch session of the fifth day’s play, Prem writes about how both the teams played boring cricket (sorry Apple, this time you were darting the arrows blind-folded, and so was the venerable Tim de Lisle in Cricinfo). Excerpts:
“The scoring rate might seem, on the surface, to be a touch slow but one interesting aspect of this game has been how that rate has been even, for both sides, through the game with the possible exception of late yesterday evening, when Petersen pushed his shirt sleeves up, clenched his muscles and had a go.
“An example: At the 40 over mark, England in the first innings was 110/2, in the second innings 116/2; India in the first innings at that point was 119/2, in the second innings, looking to shut England out on a last day track, 97/1. After 50 overs, it was 133/3 and 140/1 England; India 140/1 and 121/1. A commentary, that, on a pitch that has forced batsmen, for once, to earn their keep through all five days of this game.”
Second, in his analysis of the last session’s play of the fifth day of the Nagpur Test, Prem has this to offer. Again, excerpts:
“”This morning, just before play began, I had a few mails all from die-hard fans all asking essentially one question can India save this Test?
“Yes, with some ease, was my response to which, one of them mailed back immediately with ‘You see India always through rose-tinted glasses, I’m sure once the ball gets a bit older, the quicks with their reverse swing and Panesar with that huge turn will do what Pakistan did to us in Karachi. India just doesn’t have the knack of batting last!’
“And at the tea break the sequel a mail, from the same friend, asking ‘why the hell didn’t India go for the bowling? It would have made a statement.’
Ummm, sure lose a few wickets, scramble to save the match, and the statement, from the gallery, would have been ‘They got lucky, but the team sucks.'”
Interesting, isn’t it? Clearly, had Dravid fooled himself and the team, and tried to pull of an improbable (nay, impossible) victory on that dusty, wearing fifth day pitch, Indians would have clearly lost the match, and probably with that, the series!
And with that I rest my case. Thanks for reading thus far.
Update: Just when I thought I had rested my case, I came across the latest post from Prem, where he ponders about how the Nagpur Test is in many ways similar to third test (played at SCG) of the 1994/95 Ashes series. Another gem of an article from Prem, and as always, here is the excerpt (mind you, this time the excerpt is actually from the great Richie Benauds’ book The Appeal of Cricket):
I have seen many games where the fourth innings has gone well for a time, very few where the impetus is maintained right through the innings for victory. It all comes down to fear. Not physical fear, but fear of losing and fear of the fourth innings syndrome in a cricket match. It’s all right being 448 behind when you start your own first innings; you have a second chance, but to be that many in arrears when you are playing your second innings is another matter. You have no second chance. It is this psychological block that poses problems as soon as a wicket falls. Two quick wickets and suddenly there is a mist across yourr brain as batting captain and you are becoming very nervous…
Definitely, the current Indian team is not (yet) as great as Taylor’s Ashes winning Australian Team. Amen!
I was pondering over the last few days over having the right kind of people in a team, any team, including a Software Development team. It suddenly flashed in my mind that I had seen a quote attributed to Dravid somewhere on the same topic.
At last, I figured it out. Dravid had given a rather absorbing interview to the Cricinfo magazine that appeared in the inaugural issue (Jan 2006 issue that had Dravid on the front cover) of the magazine. This was what I was looking for:
“The right people – and I hate to say it – not have the wrong people around them. You don’t want people whose own insecurities, whose own problems and whose own fears drag everyone else down. That can be a big dampener in teams…
“…If you’re going to be spending time in the team always having to cajole and look after a few people, you’re doing a disservice to the rest because you’re wasting and investing too much time and energy in a few people who’re taking away from the group. Players need to understand that they need to give energy to the unit. There are times of course when you’re not doing well and your form’s not good and you’ll need the support of other people. But most of the time you’ve got to give to the team and make sacrifices to the team and give back to the team.”
Read it in full here.
Just finished reading this rather exhaustive interview with Sachin on Hindustan Times, published a week after Sachin broke Gavaskar’s record of 34 test match hundreds…
Part 1 [appeared on Dec 17, 2005]: ‘There was a moment when I just couldn’t talk’ – Sri Lanka in India 2005: HTCricket.com
Part 2 [appeared on Dec 18, 2005]: Unfortunately the direct link provided in HT website is not working [‘Captaincy affected me as a person’: HindustanTimes.com], and managed to sort of re-create the same in two parts from two sources — Page 1 from Google Search Cache and Page 2 from Yahoo! Search Cache.
Hope you too would find the interview interesting.
“From Prince to pauper?” wonders the Mumbai based newspaper Mid Day. I really liked the two contrasting photos they have published in that article, and these are pictures taken in a span of just three weeks. How the wheels of fortune change!
Ganguly is currently playing a Duleep trophy match against a second string Zimbabwe team, at Mumbai, and against his favorite opposition (Bangladesh might counter this claim) he might crack another ton or two.
India wrapped-up the series against Sri Lanka with a hard-fought victory at Pune. What is heartening — and different from the recent past — to notice was the way the juniors chipped-in at every stage of this series to ensure that the pressure on the Lankans was never getting released, thereby helping India to completely out-class the opponents. In this process Indians also proved that they do have the wherewithals to forge a win even when things are looking really bleak, as it was when the score read 180+/6 earlier in the day.
Kudos to GC, RD for bringing about this wonderful change in the attitude and the outlook of the team. Kudos also to the Five-Wise-Men for allowing the change to happen. What this performance has ensured is that the so-called established guys like MK and YS will have to fight for a place in the side in the future, and that in itself is a good sign for Indian cricket.
There are 3 more matches to go in this series. Indians must ensure that they don’t allow the psychological edge that they enjoy at this moment — that was build up by considerable hard work in the first place — to ebb away, and so they must thoroughly dismantle the Lankans in the remaining 3 matches. That will will augur well for the Test matches against the Lankans, not to mention the ODI series against South Africa to be played before that Test match series. By what we have seen about the think-tank, they too are probably thinking and planning along these lines. Indians might rest SRT for the next one or two matches, as has been hinted enough, probably against his wish. That will allow Sehwag to be more responsible as well as allow the team to have a look at Gambhir as an opener.
Where does that leave the heroes of the not-too-distant-past like SG, VVS, AK, AN and ZK? I believe SG might stage a come back, thanks to his impressive track record — both as a player in ODIs and as a captain — as well as the backing he might receive from the Dalmiya camp. For VVS it could well be the end of the road in ODIs unless he improves his fielding skills dramatically. AK’s place is not under too much threat since MK couldn’t make the most of the limited opportunity he got. AN and ZK are talented bowlers with a slightly lazy attitude (if media reports are to be believed), and perhaps this Indian performance would inspire them to sit up and take notice, and come back all guns blazing.
The future does look bright for Indian cricket!