Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why am I living my life for others??

Every now and then I feel I am living for someone else. That’s not such a good thing when the other person gives a damn about you. I need to learn to say no and not care about hurting others feelings. I have started feeling alive in the past few months and have found a new zest for life. This speed breaker is not what I need. Just let it go buddy, let it all go. It was not right the first time and its not right now either.

On a side note I loved watching the movie Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara. It taught me to enjoy every moment. It’s very rare that I watch a Hindi movie twice in a theatre. I hope this movie has come at the right time for me.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dashed hopes

The day couldn't have begun any better. Got two fantastic ideas, something to keep the day from stalling. The sooner you think you have found your El Dorado, the faster it runs away from you. Maybe its a Mirage. Maybe I should not have chatted with her. But then again I would never have known the reality. It's great to fall once again, but rise I shall. A phoenix never accepts defeat. Sometimes things strike you late, sometimes they are too early, sometimes you dont know its the next big thing. You just need to keep waiting and fighting. The great Michael Jordan comes to the rescue,

"I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed"

Tomorrow is another day and I will be there.

Monday, July 18, 2011

India vs England

As India head to the Blighty, a mouth-watering treat awaits us. The big news coming from India is the lack of fitness of Sehwag and the possibility of him missing the 2nd test and the entire series perhaps, rumours floated by a much favoured Hindi channel in India. Sehwag being out of the first two tests might actually do good for India. He has never been known to be a great player of the swinging ball and all the more considering the fact that he hasn’t played since his IPL injury. The first two tests will be at Lords and Trent Bridge, two historic English venues where the cricket ball performs ballets and you can expect Anderson to be the chief orchestrator. In such conditions India would need more assured openers, someone who can let the new ball go through to the keeper. If the going gets tough, Gauti is always there to counterattack and keep the English bowlers from entering into a rhythm. Imagine Tendulkar, Dravid and Laxman entering after a good platform, its Doomsday for the bowlers. The number 6 and 7 could be crucial positions for India in England. As it happens more often than not in foreign conditions, the top order packs up early on a seaming wicket and a rescue act has to be done. Dhoni will sleep well knowing that Raina and Laxman are in prime form and he himself is a tough nut to crack in difficult conditions.

Graeme Swann vs Harbhajan Singh has been the contest which people are looking forward to. It could turn out to be a dampner if Harbhajan forgets to flight the ball. Recent years has turned Bhajji from a wicket taking machine to a containing bowler, T20 Effect perhaps. Swann on the other hand has never been scared to flight the ball, he generates just enough drift to keep the batsman from using his feet and is capable of giving the ball a good tweak. The differentiating factor in favour of Harbhajan is the amount of top spin he is capable of generating and on good bouncy wickets he can be a handful.

I think Praveen Kumar can be a differentiating factor in England if Sreesanth doesn’t bowl to his capabilities. England haven’t seen Praveen and his ability to swing the ball late and both ways can be crucial. Plus he has an uncanny ability to pick wickets with ordinary deliveries.

Enough has been said about Strauss, Cook, Pietersen and their batting abilities but I believe India’s challenge lies in getting Trott and Bell out. Their batting techinques date back to a more orthodox and conservative style and they lack flamboyance and elegance which has been a hallmark of great English batsmen such as Gower or Atherton. Trott is self assured on the wicket, rarely plays a bad shot and is the go to man for England in a crisis. Ian Bell never gets a chance to show his worth by virtue of him batting lower down the order but there is a sense of grittiness about him which would irritate India if they manage to rip through the top order. Raina vs Bell should be another battle to look out for.

Man for Man, India looks better but on present form England might be up a notch considering they are playing at home and have played a good series against Sri Lanka. Cant wait for it to start.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A long way to go for Team India

Not so long ago, the Indian supporters would run with joy and celebrate the fact that we have won another test series that too in a foreign land. But Indian Cricket is not the same anymore. We have a bold captain leading a talented set of players who believe nothing is impossible. Considering this fact it was surprising that India chose to “Shut Shop”. 86 runs of 90 balls were required. A gettable target under easy batting conditions especially playing against moderately talented bowlers. This is a challenge which I believe the present Indian team has thrived upon in the past. Being the number 1 side in the world naturally raises expectations but even if we weren’t why would you want to throw away an opportunity to win a series 2-0. We boast of having the best T20 and ODI players in the world and surely less than run a ball is not a big ask. If India wants to stay on top then they need to develop the Killer Instinct and the hunger to win dead rubbers. Lack of innovative thinking from the bowlers allowed Fidel Edwards to “Setup Shop” in Dominica. Why do we always end up trying for Bouncers and Yorkers to get tail enders out. Everyone can bat nowadays, and its important sometimes to stick to bowling the ball in the right areas to even the lower order. It bodes well for Indian cricket that the press chose to criticize the fact that India didn’t flex their muscles in the chase. Imagine the chill down Strauss’s spine if we chased the target down. We would have had a psychological advantage in England considering the fact that our big guns weren’t available in WI.

In the end we played a dominant series and emerged victorious in all 3 formats. Well played Team India and Best wishes for England. You need all the wishes you can get. Continue making us proud.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A fresh new Djokovic

Novak Djokovic has always played under the shadow of Nadal and Federer, two of the greatest players in the Open Era. Little did he know that 2011 would turn his fortunes. The “Hand of God” is upon him and the Djoker has laughed his way to two Slams, the Australian Open and the Wimbledon. He has been in sublime form this year; forehands kissing the touchlines, backhands played at angles with a surgeon’s precision and aces at crucial points, hallmarks of a legend in the making. Here are some views of mine on how Djokovic has turned the tables on his opponents.

(1)Djokovic has always been someone who plays on flatter trajectories and likes hitting the ball at a ferocious pace but this year he has managed to hit the ball a lot deeper allowing him to put his opponents on the backfoot and take charge of the point. This is also the reason why the points are shorter with smaller rallies.

(2)There was an interesting stat in the Wimbledon Final which showed that Djokovic won 70% of the points on Nadal’s second serve. A direct corollary of this statistic is that once the point begins clearly Djokovic is the favourite to win it. Another pointer towards a better all round game.

(3)Fitness levels of Djokovic have improved considerably in 2011. There was a time when he had to pull out of matches sighting fatigue as the reason, (happened in Australian Open against Murray). He is more athletic now, anticipation levels have risen and you won’t be surprised to see him pull out some amazing points. The point against Nadal where Djokovic was on the baseline and reacted to Nadal’s drop with a cheetah like sprint and after reaching an impossible drop, he still managed to pass Nadal who was left watching like a policeman in the middle of the road.

(4)I have always noticed a direct correlation between a player’s backhand and the kind of form he is in. You would notice how Federer always messes the backhand, sometimes they end up in the crowd, on those rare occasions when he is out of touch. Nadal’s two fisted backhands which look like a frontfoot drive in cricket end up going long when things are not going his way. Djokovic has his own unique backhand, two fisted like nadal but with less spin imparted to the ball, which allows him to carve out angles and crosscourt winners. This aspect of Djokovic has been a delight to watch.

(5)Since Andre Agassi left the game, I believe there has been no better returner of serves than Djokovic. His closest competitor would be Murray with those long arms streched to meet any ball. Federer is lazy in chasing serves as he knows that once the ball is in play he would be the better player. Nadal puts the effort in reaching balls but the returns are on the slower side as they invariably have a lot of sidespin and topspin. The trademark of a great returner is the positioning on the baseline and the fleeting sideways movement which allows you to reach balls down the T and on the corners. Djokovic possesses both these skills and combined with his attitude, it adds up to a lethal combination.

We can continue to expect more chest thumping action from the Serbian in 2011 and he would do well to add to his titles given the form which he is in because “All good things must come to an end”.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Raina: India's Hussey?

Two dashing lefthanders, both indispensable members of their teams and possibly future captains of their countries. One started early whereas the other, in a true traditional Australian style, was brought in late. Both are heavy run getters and come from domestic teams which aren’t their country’s breeding grounds for talent. Not to forget, both play for the Super Kings and have been hugely responsible for their amazing success.

Hussey is renowned the world over for finishing matches with a plomp. He never sweats under pressure, shock absorber for Australia and rarely misses the plot. Raina seems to be following a similar path. He has truly become a trustworthy number 7. As a testimony to his prowess, He bailed India out twice in the World Cup against Australia and Pakistan with remarkable rear guard action considering the fact that he hadn’t played before that in the tournament. It also led Gary Kirsten to remark that it was Raina who had truly won the World Cup for India. A huge statement but a deserved one.

Limited overs are truly the forte of both players but their ability to play with the lower order has rubbed onto the Test arena as well. Hussey has had some remarkable partnerships with the tailenders; Jason Gillespie against Bangladesh comes to mind. The recent WI test comes to mind where Raina performed a rescue act with Harbhajan to save India. Another proof of how similar their game is.

Age is the competitive advantage which Raina has got over his counterpart. The India Australia series will be a spectacle between the two, as I am sure there would be countless situations where they would be called into action and who knows, they might even be asked to roll their arms over as they can be handy with their off spinners. Mouthwatering treats await us.

Hussey has proven his worth in Tests without any shadow of doubt. The England series could be the turning point in Raina’s career. Playing against the moving ball in helpful conditions will be a challenge he would never have encountered. I think he has got the skills in his repertoire to succeed in England and establish himself in this Indian test team. Raina along with Kohli and Gambhir hold the future of Indian Cricket.