Saturday, August 21, 2010

Rankings and rants

The Dambulla stadium is Sri Lanka's Sharjah
Before the Asia Cup began, Aakash Chopra said that India will be playing Sri Lanka for the millionth time this year. It was casually mentioned on Twitter, but I think it was retweeted several times. And why not?
Right now, I'm bored of watching the Tri-Series. I follow the game on CricInfo, but that is also limited. I'd rather follow the score for the England-Pakistan test match, which looks to be another good game of cricket.
Dambulla has become the Sharjah of Sri Lankan cricket. Every limited over or T20 game played in Sri Lanka seems to be in Dambulla.'s understandable, as it is probably the only sporty wicket Sri Lanka has, considering their rubbish test match wickets.
So how do two teams deal with strategy when they meet each other so often in a year? It eventually comes down to luck on who wins the toss in the shorter version of the game. In the longer version, especially in the subcontinent, you need to bat first, put up a total of 600-plus and play out a draw. Unless of course, you're Virender Sehwag, who decides to make 288 in a day.
The boards need to be criticized for this. They schedule so many matches with the same side during the year, that most of the players find it hard to adjust to alien conditions when they play in countries like Australia and South Africa. India's record abroad has improved over the last few years, but it's still a long way from giving us the Number 1 test ranking. We're good, I agree, but we need to be more consistent.
I tend to agree with Kumara Sangakkara about the ICC rankings. If we play in subcontinent-like conditions throughout the year, barring a series abroad, then on what basis are we judged? India has been doing well in tests, but its ODI and T-20 (which I don't even count as proper cricket), haven't been the best in a while. Yet we're number 2 in the ODI rankings. The biggest tournament that we won in the last three years is the VB Series in Australia, which was three years ago. We haven't reached the semi-final of any major tournament involving all the cricket playing nations in the last two years.
My only theory is that since we play so much cricket, the probability of us winning more matches is greater. It's probably why the BCCI decided to work on the test itinerary for 2010, fearing that India would lose the Number 1 ranking. More matches played means the probability of more wins. Thus the ranking. If that is the case, then the ICC has some serious rethinking and restructuring to do.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Why is Pakistan playing test cricket?

I can picture a scenario where Salman Butt tells his batsman, "Come soon. I'll see you before lunch!"
Right now, the Pakistani batsmen are playing shit.
I don't think there's anything else to describe their game right now.
And the funny thing is that people were after Bangladesh's throats when they would consistently lose to sides all over the world.
Pakistan is doing pretty much the same thing. In fact, they're playing worse than Bangladesh right now. It's ridiculous because James Anderson is taking 10-wicket hauls. That's just wrong.
I'd understand if Graham Swann or Graham Onions did something like that, but Anderson?
Even Broad seems to be bowling well.
For England's sake, I hope they don't take this victory as overconfidence during the Ashes. Although Australia isn't playing their best cricket, it's a home series for them and that will always work in their favour.
But Pakistan? They need a lot of work to do.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pakistan needs help

Like the Joker, the Pakistani team doesn't
have a plan. It's just plain chaos!
Currently Pakistan is playing like we did in the 90s.
Test cricket is about playing in sessions, they say. Pakistan plays like a team possessed in one session. They have a pace attack which I believe is the best in the world right now. Their bowling today is what Ambrose and Walsh were when West Indies started declining as a side.
But the batting is rubbish. It's even worse than the West Indies batting. At least they had Lara, who could do awesome things sometimes.
But these guys need a lot of working to do. They nearly killed the match against Australia and managed to win by three wickets at the end.
I thought that they would repeat a Sydney or a Sri Lanka in that test match, but they managed to survive.
Not in this one though.
It's sad because you have a side that bowls brilliantly and the batsmen throw their wickets away and make a mess of themselves.
What's different from the way we played and the way Pakistan plays now? At that time, we would play badly in all the sessions of a test match, so the whole world knew that we would invariably lose. Here, there is a shimmer of hope for Pakistan when their bowlers bowl like that. Unfortunately for them, the batting is too weak. Quite the opposite of the present Indian team that has a very impotent bowling lineup.
My brother and I were having a discussion when England collapsed in their first inning. He asked me, "How much do you think Pakistan will make?"
"77!" I said.
He laughed and said that they'll make less than 200
"We were laughing today about how they made less than 250 in the entire match!"
They're in need of help. Maybe Inzy should come out of retirement and take over the middle order.
Pakistani cricket is in shambles. It's crazy and it's retarded.
It's probably why I like watching them play.
They're like the Joker. There is no plan. Only Chaos!