My Thoughts

Posts Tagged ‘Srilanka

Finally the fans have gotten what they wished for, an India-Pakistan game. Just two days to go for the mother of all games and the hype surrounding the same is unbelievable. An India-Pakistan encounter is a very rare occurrence these days, so every game carries huge expectations among the fans of both the countries. The politicians, the movie stars, the business tycoons all will be in attendance at Mohali on 30th of March for this mouthwatering contest.

The teams though would not want to fall into this hype. They would want to keep this game simple and concentrate on their performance on the field. They would want to stay away from all the commotion which surrounds this semi-final game. I pity New Zealand and Srilanka as they have hardly got any attention ahead of their semi-final game tomorrow. So let’s take a look as to how the two teams stack up for the game on Wednesday. Both India and Pakistan have had their ups and downs during this world cup. Pakistan though contrary to the pre-tournament predictions has had a wonderful world cup. Except for the one slip up against New Zealand, they have done exceedingly well. Their bowling has clicked almost in every game and their batting has contributed enough to take them through.

Their win against West Indies in the quarters shows how well they have gelled as a team this tournament after all the off field issues they had prior to the same. Gul and Afridi have been brilliant and the addition of Misbah and Younis in the middle order has given the solidity the team was lacking over the last few months. So the Pakistani team would be quietly confident regarding their chances in the Wednesday’s semi-final game. The batting will be under the scanner and they would know that their bowlers cannot have an off day.

The Indian team on the other hand has had a mixed tournament. Their bowling and fielding has struggled and the batting has been inconsistent during the course of the tournament. The bowlers have failed to defend 300 twice in this tournament and the batsmen have collapsed from great position twice. The Indian bowling has heavily relied on Zaheer Khan who has been brilliant in this world cup. He has been the second highest wicket taker in the world cup and along with Harbajan Singh has been India’s consistent performer. Ravichandran Ashwin’s inclusion though has given India a definite edge over the past couple of games.

The Indian top order has been in great form and Raina’s inclusion ahead of Yusuf has given the team the necessary depth in batting. India would take a lot of heart from their performance against the Australians where their bowling and fielding was top notch. The Indian fielders put on an incredible performance to restrict Australia to an achievable total. The bowling was also pretty consistent and it was probably their best performance on the field in the entire tournament. That shows that probably the Indian team is peaking at the right moment for an important tournament like this. The Indian batting too showed that they have the necessary depth and quality to chase down a difficult total on a tough wicket.

Sachin, Ghambir, Yuvi and Kohli all looked in excellent touch. Sehwag coming back from an injury did not look that comfortable against the Aussies but knowing him, he will be very much ready for a contest as big as this. Raina who was included at the last minute showed amazing maturity to play a great short innings under pressure to guide India to victory in the quarterfinals. The win against the Aussies for sure would have been a great confidence booster for Dhoni’s men. On paper though you would say that the Indian team should win 9 times out of 10 but strength or form counts for nothing in India-Pakistan encounters. It’s the performance on the day which matters.

Indian management’s decision to not allow the players to interact with the media is a masterstroke as this will keep them focused on the game. It’s unfortunate that the Indian government is trying to make this a political game by inviting the Pakistani prime minister. This puts a lot of pressure on the players in the middle. I don’t know when the politicians will realize that this is just a game of cricket and politics has no place in sports. The pressure on the players is enormous as it is and they would appreciate a little respite.

Just couple of days to go for the D-day and fans from both the countries would want their team to win this game. I don’t even think anybody is worried about the finals as of yet as this game is as good as the final for the people of both these countries. I just hope that this game lives up to its billing and produces a wonderful contest. C’mon India!!!

The first test begins tonight and the Indians will have some selection headaches. Dhoni and his team have had a fantastic one year in ODI’s but the same cannot be said in the traditional format of the game. Indian performance in tests last year has been patchy. The year 2008 began with India losing to Australia in the controversial Sydney game and followed that up with a fantastic win in Perth. The next series India played was against the South Africans at home which they drew 1-1.

The team under Kumble was very inconsistent in that series too. They had the highs like in Perth and lows such as the 3 day defeat in Ahmadabad. The Srilankan series also saw the Indians performing inconsistently and lose 2-1 to the home side. The year ended on a high note with the wins against the Australians (2-0) and against the English (1-0) under Dhoni’s captaincy.

Even though the year ended well, the performance of the team in test cricket was rather inconsistent overall last year. Now India plays New Zealand at the start of 2009 after winning the one day series convincingly. This is an important and most significant series for the Indian team in a long time. The scars of the 2003 series still fresh in the minds of the players and the fans needs to be erased. The team’s quest to become No 1 in all forms of the game can be majorly hurt if they lose here in New Zealand.

New Zealand though will be happy to be underdogs and let Dhoni face all the pressure. Daniel Vettori will be thinking that no one will blame them if they lose to the No 3 side in the world and a win will give them a huge push up in the rankings. Dhoni will know that this series very important for his team and his captaincy.

This Indian team though will be confident and would want to turn in some consistent performances in this series. Dhoni will know that if they play up to their potential then they should win this comfortably. The Indians though have few selection headaches before the start of the play tonight. The first one will be that of a batsman. It will be between Yuvraj and Vijay.
Yuvraj though will be the first choice but looking at his performance on the only pitch which aided seam movement is not that encouraging. M Vijay though made a solid 90 odd for the NZ state side in a domestic game. So the choice will be interesting but I feel that Yuvraj will be still selected for the first game. The second selection will also be an interesting one between Kulkarni and Balaji. Munaf probably will not be in the running for the third seamer spot after his inconsistent performance in the ODI’s.

Kulkarni had a good spell in the domestic game in NZ where he picked up 3 wickets and Balaji also turned in decent performance in the game he played. So this is also going to be an interesting selection for the team management. I am thinking they might go with Balaji for the first game or probably even go with Munaf to see how he goes. We have to wait till the morning of the play to find out the same.

All in all rain permitting its going to be an interesting contest. I hope that we get a full game without any rain interruptions and may the best team win. I am just fed up of seeing high scoring draws, so hopefully this is not one of them.

The first test begins tonight and the Indians will have some selection headaches. Dhoni and his team have had a fantastic one year in ODI’s but the same cannot be said in the traditional format of the game. Indian performance in tests last year has been patchy. The year 2008 began with India losing to Australia in the controversial Sydney game and followed that up with a fantastic win in Perth. The next series India played was against the South Africans at home which they drew 1-1.

The team under Kumble was very inconsistent in that series too. They had the highs like in Perth and lows such as the 3 day defeat in Ahmadabad. The Srilankan series also saw the Indians performing inconsistently and lose 2-1 to the home side. The year ended on a high note with the wins against the Australians (2-0) and against the English (1-0) under Dhoni’s captaincy.

Even though the year ended well, the performance of the team in test cricket was rather inconsistent overall last year. Now India plays New Zealand at the start of 2009 after winning the one day series convincingly. This is an important and most significant series for the Indian team in a long time. The scars of the 2003 series still fresh in the minds of the players and the fans needs to be erased. The team’s quest to become No 1 in all forms of the game can be majorly hurt if they lose here in New Zealand.

New Zealand though will be happy to be underdogs and let Dhoni face all the pressure. Daniel Vettori will be thinking that no one will blame them if they lose to the No 3 side in the world and a win will give them a huge push up in the rankings. Dhoni will know that this series very important for his team and his captaincy.

This Indian team though will be confident and would want to turn in some consistent performances in this series. Dhoni will know that if they play up to their potential then they should win this comfortably. The Indians though have few selection headaches before the start of the play tonight. The first one will be that of a batsman. It will be between Yuvraj and Vijay.

Yuvraj though will be the first choice but looking at his performance on the only pitch which aided seam movement is not that encouraging. M Vijay though made a solid 90 odd for the NZ state side in a domestic game. So the choice will be interesting but I feel that Yuvraj will be still selected for the first game. The second selection will also be an interesting one between Kulkarni and Balaji. Munaf probably will not be in the running for the third seamer spot after his inconsistent performance in the ODI’s.

Kulkarni had a good spell in the domestic game in NZ where he picked up 3 wickets and Balaji also turned in decent performance in the game he played. So this is also going to be an interesting selection for the team management. I am thinking they might go with Balaji for the first game or probably even go with Munaf to see how he goes. We have to wait till the morning of the play to find out the same.

All in all rain permitting its going to be an interesting contest. I hope that we get a full game without any rain interruptions and may the best team win. I am just fed up of seeing high scoring draws, so hopefully this is not one of them.

The Indian team who has already won the series 3-0 would want to keep the momentum going by winning the final ODI at Auckland. The Indians probably will rest few of their key players but still would want to retain the core. Dhoni would probably want to rest Zaheer and give Munaf or Balaji or Kulkarni (If available for ODI’s) a chance as it will help him to decide on the third seamer for the first test.

I guess Ishant will still play as he looked very rusty in the 4th game. The batting though will be interesting but I would assume that Dhoni and Kirsten would not want to make too many changes in the squad. The Kiwis confidence has been dented in the ODI’s and India would want to leave it that way. Any let up in pressure would give the hosts enormous confidence for the upcoming test series. The Indians though would want to guard against complacency which could creep into their games.

In the past year or so they have not been that good in the dead rubbers. In Srilanka last year the Indians were leading 3-1 going into the final game and lost badly chasing a modest target. Earlier this year they repeated the same mistake as after leading 4-0 they let up the pressure in the final game. This series though is not just about the ODI’s but since the test series is just around the corner the Indians would want the New Zealanders to be under constant pressure to win.

This has been yet another great series for the Indians but there have been some flaws which were eclipsed by the batters. The fielding has been very poor, catches have gone down at crucial times, bowling has lacked discipline but in spite of that they have won which should give the team confidence. But to be at the top Gary Kirsten needs to work on ironing out the flaws. The Indian one day team is made of youngsters and should not be having any issues with fielding.

The New Zealand captain though would be looking for a win to end the series. They have been battered to submission by the Indian batting but would want to end the series on a high. The test series is just around the corner and a win here would give the team a lot of confidence. Vettori would know that and would want to reverse the trend a little bit. The key for the home team to win is to bowl with more discipline and get rid of the Indian openers fast which they haven’t been able to do since the Twenty20 games.

Once they do that the Indian middle order will be under pressure and would have to consolidate. Lets hope that this game is also as exciting as the previous ones and I am predicting an Indian win again.

The Indian team who has already won the series 3-0 would want to keep the momentum going by winning the final ODI at Auckland. The Indians probably will rest few of their key players but still would want to retain the core. Dhoni would probably want to rest Zaheer and give Munaf or Balaji or Kulkarni (If available for ODI’s) a chance as it will help him to decide on the third seamer for the first test.

I guess Ishant will still play as he looked very rusty in the 4th game. The batting though will be interesting but I would assume that Dhoni and Kirsten would not want to make too many changes in the squad. The Kiwis confidence has been dented in the ODI’s and India would want to leave it that way. Any let up in pressure would give the hosts enormous confidence for the upcoming test series. The Indians though would want to guard against complacency which could creep into their games.

In the past year or so they have not been that good in the dead rubbers. In Srilanka last year the Indians were leading 3-1 going into the final game and lost badly chasing a modest target. Earlier this year they repeated the same mistake as after leading 4-0 they let up the pressure in the final game. This series though is not just about the ODI’s but since the test series is just around the corner the Indians would want the New Zealanders to be under constant pressure to win.

This has been yet another great series for the Indians but there have been some flaws which were eclipsed by the batters. The fielding has been very poor, catches have gone down at crucial times, bowling has lacked discipline but in spite of that they have won which should give the team confidence. But to be at the top Gary Kirsten needs to work on ironing out the flaws. The Indian one day team is made of youngsters and should not be having any issues with fielding.

The New Zealand captain though would be looking for a win to end the series. They have been battered to submission by the Indian batting but would want to end the series on a high. The test series is just around the corner and a win here would give the team a lot of confidence. Vettori would know that and would want to reverse the trend a little bit. The key for the home team to win is to bowl with more discipline and get rid of the Indian openers fast which they haven’t been able to do since the Twenty20 games.

Once they do that the Indian middle order will be under pressure and would have to consolidate. Lets hope that this game is also as exciting as the previous ones and I am predicting an Indian win again.

I have had a frustrating last few months which came to an end yesterday with the visa approval. For all of us here the extension process has been a real long and frustrating journey which controlled our thoughts for all these months. I have decided to put in a summary of the happenings in the last few months about which I was planning to write about.
Indian cricket team’s successful 2008 and the NewZealand tour
I would like to begin with the exceptional season the Indian cricket team has been having since they won the Perth test match last Jan. The only blip being the test series in Srilanka. The Indian team under Dhoni has performed really well and are in top 3 in both forms of the game. The recent series in SL where Dhoni’s men won 4-1 further emphasized their raise in the shorter format of the game. The Indian team has found great bunch of youngsters who are hungry for success and want to win every game. Having said all that Dhoni’s great test is just around the corner, the tour of NZ. This will be his first full tour as a captain of the Indian team. India would be looking to win the test and the one-day series against the Kiwis which will not be an easy task.
The Kiwis have had a good series against the Australians recently where they drew the one-dayers 2-2 and lost the one-off Twenty20 by one run. They will be full of confidence and would be hoping to drive their home advantage to trouble the Indian team. The Indians on the other hand would want to erase the memory of their disastrous 2002/03 tour to the Kiwiland by turning in good performances in the both forms of the game. If India play to their potential they should win the series. The series gets underway with the first of the 2 Twenty20 games next wednesday. Lets hope that the series is competetive and may the best team win.
Slumdog Millionaire and A R Rahman
Musical genius A R Rahman made every Indian proud when he received the Golden Globe award for the best original score for his song “Jai Ho” in Danny Boyle’s award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. There has been lots of speculation in the Indian media reagrding the movie as well as A R Rahman’s music claiming that both are over-rated. Few people in the media have slammed the movie and some also said that it has shown India in a poor light. As far as I am concerned the movie was just okay and was nothing great but thats my opinion. To be frank its a movie made by a British director in India and if Hollywood calls it as the best movie of the year then so be it. I dont think that this movie showed anything wrong about India.
At least the movie was made in India. How many bollywood directors make movies in the slums of Mumbai? How many Indian directors who commented on this movie can make a movie which will prove otherwise? Actually no one cares. Its just that this movie has become so big that people have decided to cash in on its popularity. The Johars and the chopras have stopped making movies in India and few more directors probably will follow suit. I guess we have to treat SM as a hollywood movie which has been made in India with Indian actors, thats about it. We have made so many substandard movies in US and UK, they dont claim those as theirs and slam it in the their media when we give awards to those movies. So lets just be realistic, Hollywood thinks its the best movie of the year so thats where it ends.As far as the award to ARR is concerned I am really proud of him and his achievements. He has put Indian music on the world map.
Whether this is his best composition is open to speculation but there is no denying the fact that he deserves all the accolades he is receiving right now. Lets not unnecessarily dissect the music and enjoy the success of one of the finest composers in India. Congrats to ARR on his Golden Globe and hope he wins Oscars too.
Tennis in India
Tennis in India received a tremendous boost when Yuki Bhambri won the junior Australian Open title earlier this year. His victory along with the performance of Somdev in the Chennai open gives great hope to the Tennis scene in India. Mahesh won yet another mixed doubles championship, this time with our own Sania Mirza to make this the most memorable Australian Open for the Indians. Sania though continued her horror run in singles when she was beaten in the second round. Hopefully Somedev and Yuki can take the Indian Tennis forward and make a successful transition to the senior level.
Thats all for now from me. Lets hope that India continues to shine in 2009 and we have more awards and titles to add.
The Indian team with the trophy in SL

The Indian team with the trophy in SL

AR Rahman with the Golden Globe

AR Rahman with the Golden Globe

I have had a frustrating last few months which came to an end yesterday with the visa approval. For all of us here the extension process has been a real long and frustrating journey which controlled our thoughts for all these months. I have decided to put in a summary of the happenings in the last few months about which I was planning to write about.

Indian cricket team’s successful 2008 and the NewZealand tour

I would like to begin with the exceptional season the Indian cricket team has been having since they won the Perth test match last Jan. The only blip being the test series in Srilanka. The Indian team under Dhoni has performed really well and are in top 3 in both forms of the game. The recent series in SL where Dhoni’s men won 4-1 further emphasized their raise in the shorter format of the game. The Indian team has found great bunch of youngsters who are hungry for success and want to win every game. Having said all that Dhoni’s great test is just around the corner, the tour of  NZ. This will be his first full tour as a captain of the Indian team. India would be looking to win the test and the one-day series against the Kiwis which will not be an easy task.

The Kiwis have had a good series against the Australians recently where they drew the one-dayers 2-2 and lost the one-off Twenty20 by one run. They will be full of confidence and would be hoping to drive their home advantage to trouble the Indian team. The Indians on the other hand would want to erase the memory of their disastrous 2002/03 tour to the Kiwiland by turning in good performances in the both forms of the game. If India play to their potential they should win the series. The series gets underway with the first of the 2 Twenty20 games next wednesday. Lets hope that the series is competetive and may the best team win.

Slumdog Millionaire and A R Rahman

Musical genius A R Rahman made every Indian proud when he received the Golden Globe award for the best original score for his song “Jai Ho” in Danny Boyle’s award winning movie Slumdog Millionaire. There has been lots of speculation in the Indian media reagrding the movie as well as A R Rahman’s music claiming that both are over-rated. Few people in the media have slammed the movie and some also said that it has shown India in a poor light. As far as I am concerned the movie was just okay and was nothing great but thats my opinion. To be frank its a movie made by a British director in India and if Hollywood calls it as the best movie of the year then so be it. I dont think that this movie showed anything wrong about India.

At least the movie was made in India. How many bollywood directors make movies in the slums of Mumbai? How many Indian directors who commented on this movie can make a movie which will prove otherwise? Actually no one cares. Its just that this movie has become so big that people have decided to cash in on its popularity. The Johars and the chopras have stopped making movies in India and few more directors probably will follow suit. I guess we have to treat SM as a hollywood movie which has been made in India with Indian actors, thats about it.  We have made so many substandard movies in US and UK, they dont claim those as theirs and slam it in the their media when we give awards to those movies. So lets just be realistic, Hollywood thinks its the best movie of the year so thats where it ends.As far as the award to ARR is concerned I am really proud of him and his achievements. He has put Indian music on the world map.

Whether this is his best composition is open to speculation but there is no denying the fact that he deserves all the accolades he is receiving right now. Lets not unnecessarily dissect the music and enjoy the success of one of the finest composers in India. Congrats to ARR on his Golden Globe and hope he wins Oscars too.

Tennis in India

Tennis in India received a tremendous boost when Yuki Bhambri won the junior Australian Open title earlier this year. His victory along with the performance of Somdev in the Chennai open gives great hope to the Tennis scene in India. Mahesh won yet another mixed doubles championship, this time with our own Sania Mirza to make this the most memorable Australian Open for the Indians. Sania though continued her horror run in singles when she was beaten in the second round. Hopefully Somedev and Yuki can take the Indian Tennis forward and make a successful transition to the senior level.

Thats all for now from me. Lets hope that India continues to shine in 2009 and we have more awards and titles to add.

Harbhajan Celebrates after a wicket

Harbhajan Celebrates after a wicket

Sehwag’s double hundred and Harbhajan’s late 4 wicket burst kept India in the hunt in the second test at Galle. Srilanka finished on 215/5 still 114 runs behind India’s first innings total of 329. Earlier today Indian were bowled out for 329 after resuming on 214/4 on the second day. Sehwag scored a brilliant double hundred (His fifth) to guide India to a competetive total as the rest of the batting struggled. Only Laxman and Ghambir were able to give some sort of support to Sehwag’s lone hand for the visitors.

When Srilanka started their second innings, they lost Vandort early caught by Rahul Dravid of the bowling on Zaheer in the first over but Sangakkara and Warnapura batted with assurance to help their team to 137/1. The hosts seemed to be cruising with none of the Indian bowlers able to make any impact. After Harbhajan picked up Warnapura for 66 he was completely a different bowler and kind of ran through the middle order leaving them on 192/5 when Dilshan got out. Captain Jayawardane along with the other Jayawardane in the team formed a small unbroken partnership of 23 to lead Srilanka to 215/5 at the end of day2.

India would still be wary of the Srilankan captain as he can turn the game in the home team’s favour. Indians would also be worried with the bowling for of their captain as he was unable to make any impact in this series yet. Indians would be hoping to dismiss Srilanka within 300 and would hope to get a slight advantage in the first innings. The pitch will for sure get more difficult to bat on in the 3rd and fourth innings and both the team would want to have as much lead as possible.

Sehwag’s double hundred and Harbhajan’s late 4 wicket burst kept India in the hunt in the second test at Galle. Srilanka finished on 215/5 still 114 runs behind India’s first innings total of 329. Earlier today Indian were bowled out for 329 after resuming on 214/4 on the second day. Sehwag scored a brilliant double hundred (His fifth) to guide India to a competetive total as the rest of the batting struggled. Only Laxman and Ghambir were able to give some sort of support to Sehwag’s lone hand for the visitors.

When Srilanka started their second innings, they lost Vandort early caught by Rahul Dravid of the bowling on Zaheer in the first over but Sangakkara and Warnapura batted with assurance to help their team to 137/1. The hosts seemed to be cruising with none of the Indian bowlers able to make any impact. After Harbhajan picked up Warnapura for 66 he was completely a different bowler and kind of ran through the middle order leaving them on 192/5 when Dilshan got out. Captain Jayawardane along with the other Jayawardane in the team formed a small unbroken partnership of 23 to lead Srilanka to 215/5 at the end of day2.

India would still be wary of the Srilankan captain as he can turn the game in the home team’s favour. Indians would also be worried with the bowling for of their captain as he was unable to make any impact in this series yet. Indians would be hoping to dismiss Srilanka within 300 and would hope to get a slight advantage in the first innings. The pitch will for sure get more difficult to bat on in the 3rd and fourth innings and both the team would want to have as much lead as possible.

Srilanka finished on 85/2 on a rain curtailed first day at SSC. The Indian new ball pair of Zaheer and Ishant took one wicket each for their efforts. The pitch was dead and is supposed to help the spinners on the last couple of days and Srilanka would just want to bat once on this track. The Indians will be really happy that one of the two wickets was of Sangakkara considering the form he is in. The days play was too short to determine which team has the upper hand but I would say that the visitors would feel satisfied with their display.
The Indian new ball bowlers bowled impressively on a slow pitch and were rewarded with two wickets. The second days play is very important for both the teams and if India manage to remove Mahela early then Srilanka’s inexperianced middle order will have their task cut out. Removing the Srilankan captain will be really crucial for the visitors as he averages around 80 on this ground.
Hopefully the second days play will take place without any further interruptions. India would like keep chipping away at the wickets and Srilanka would want to put up a huge total. All in all an interesting day ahead.

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