Monthly Archives: May 2008

Shades of blue appear to take over IPL

Jaipur’s continued dominance and Mumbai’s emergence from the darkness have changed the complexion of the DLF-IPL since initial projections. Yes, I spoke to early about Mumbai and have been impressed by the performances of its unknowns as much as I have about its senior citizens. The consistency of Jaipur has certainly puzzled me and all I can attribute it to as of now is some amazing captaincy by Shane Warne. We are also given to understand that Kevin Pietersen is in line for a record IPL deal with a team owned one of the wealthiest Indian families. Any guesses? Is Mumbai going to become superstar possessed next year?

The ugly celebrations amidst strangely vociferous reception to Shoaib Akthar came to an abrupt end with Mumbai handing them a resounding thumping. Kolkata Knight Riders aren’t too high on “my favorites” list and will find it a rough ride if they ever make it to the semis. If Chennai wins tomorrow, which I hope they will, Kolkata’s chances grow slimmer. My choice of the semi-finalists would be Rajasthan, Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. It would mean that Punjab would have to play horribly from here on and Kolkata loses all or most of its games, both of which seem possible. Having said that I would think it is going to be mighty fight amongst Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata to get the semi final spots with Rajasthan and Punjab most likely going through. The remainder of today’s game between Delhi and Punjab (as I write this) and tomorrow’s games are going to be quite crucial.

– Srikanth

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IPL Team Promotional Videos

I thought I’d place all the IPL Team Promo videos in one place for all to see/enjoy/despair/malign/sigh/drool (use as appropriate)!

It is interesting to see Vijay Mallya in the Royal Challengers’ video, striding out purposefully and smilingly with the rest of his team! However, now that the team is propping up the rest of the teams from the bottom of the points table, the tables have turned and Vijay Mallya has suddenly donned on his owners’ hard hat. He has cut no slack even to Rahul Dravid and has proceeded to suggest that his cricketing nous is perhaps better than Dravids’!

Bangalore Royal Challengers:

Chennai SuperKings:

Chennai SuperKings (variant) for Sonata:

Mumbai Indians:

Kolkata Knight Riders:

Rajasthan Royals:

Deccan Chargers:

Delhi Daredevils:

Kings XI Punjab:

— Mohan

Hours away to Eruption – God to make his appearance!

I have informed folks at my office that I will be arriving late to work tomorrow because of personal issues. Little do they know (I am going in with a great big assumption that they are not cricket followers and visitors to this website) that my personal issue is more of personal anxiety. I have decided to stay behind and watch Mr. Sachin Tendulkar take to the field tomorrow at the Wankhade Stadium. Millions in India and around the world are anxious to see what the little master has to offer in his first IPL game. Pressure has always been on Tendulkar throughout his career, nothing less is expected this time around as well. Dileep Premachandran, in his article in cricinfo, puts it very well when he states, “In many ways, it’s a lose-lose situation, but the man who has been a winner for 18 years will surely find his way“. .

The fact that he gets to play his first game against the Chennai Superkings doesn’t help, does it. Where do my loyalties lie? Given a choice, I’d much prefer that Tendulkar score a hundred and Chennai squeeze through in the last over. Unfortunately, all I can hope for is hope. I would like to watch the game without any preconceived notions, without any expectations, and enjoy all that is offered. But alas!, it is not going to be easy. Sure, this personal anxiety at its worst. Can’t be worse than going to work and refreshing cricinfo every 30 seconds, can it?

In general it has been a strange few days in IPL and otherwise. Vijay Mallya’s shenanigans described earlier by Sanjay, Royal Challenger’s miserable outings, Delhi’s sudden loss of form, emergence of Shoaib Akthar, hattrick by L. Balaji, the unfortunate acts of terrorism in Jaipur and its potential impact on the game, and now the much awaited arrival of Mr. Tendulkar. Let’s hope all’s well that ends well…

– Srikanth

Money flexes its muscle

Two interesting news items concerning the IPL clearly shows that Mr Money will flex its muscle much more than in the conventional Indian cricket scenario under the BCCI.

The firs is the popular story of Vijay Mallya’s charge about Charu Sharma and Dravid not handling the auctions well. He has been careful about not saying too much about Dravid but Sharma has had to take it quite strongly. Afterall Mallya has put in the money and he will expect results. If 5 flights of Kingfisher did not take off on time for 10 days in succession some big heads in the company will roll.

The other story is about the Kolkata Knightriders asking some of its players to go home as they may not feature in the scheme of things this year. Is this a case of cost cutting? Afterall some of these players like one guy from Nagaland has to be put up in hotel and all his expenses taken care for him to just warm the bench. Maybe not even that unless he is in the squad. Chennai on the other hand seems to follow a kind of rotation policy as far as its substitutes are concerned so that everyone gets a piece of the dugout/dressing room action.

But these stories highlight the thing that BCCI never did. How many times have the BCCI pulled up its players for non performance? How many times have team selection blunders been ignored? How many times have prejudices and biases dominated team selection without anyone questioning or raising the issue?

If a team can send players home because they may never get a piece of the action, why can’t the BCCI stop sending huge contingents of officials on paid holidays?

— Sanjay

i3j3Cricket Rated…

The CricBuzz cricket website recently published their “Top 51 Cricket Blogs on the Web” and rated i3j3cricket as one of these top-51!

— Mohan

The Deccan Chargers Dilemma

Shahid Afridi, Herschelle Gibbs, Andrew Symonds and Scott Styris all in the same team. Add Adam Gilchrist, VVS Laxman, Rohit Sharma, RP Singh, and Chaminda Vaas to it, and on paper it looks like a team which is unlikely to lose a game. In reality though, it shows that the captain of the team has to deal with players with huge egos and serious attitudes. That  exactly is what I think has come in the way of the Chargers’ performing as a winning unit. Laxman and Gilchrist are “Mr. Nice Guys” and are having difficulty handling the likes of Afridi, Styris, and Gibbs. The team has not gelled at all with the real performers only being Gilchrist, Rohit Sharma and RP Singh. In fact, the three of them are amongst the top 5 run getters and wicket takers. Filling a team up with superstars is one thing but having to manage personality challengers is quite the other. The Chargers are facing it and are therefore unlikely to make any further impact in the tournament. Next year’s trading will see huge movement from this side, for one, I would like to see Rohit Sharma and RP Singh move out to better teams.

If Chennai can pull out a victory today against Punjab, the tournament becomes extremely interesting. Mumbai’s success, if sustained, can make 3rd and 4th spots really tight!

– Srikanth

Chennai woes

Chennai is on a losing streak. Three matches lost and the team has some big problems. The auctions left them with a situation where 3 key players won them 4 games and just left. Of the replacements only Albie Morkel has more than justified his position and worth to the team. So what can Dhoni do to revive his team’s fortunes.

1. Drop Parthiv for a game. The guy has scored 96 runs in 7 matches and this is simply not good enough. Either get the dasher Aniruddha to open or bringing in the rookie Abhinav Mukund, who atleast is a specialist opener. Definitely persist with Fleming at the top.

2. Get Raina or Badrinath in at no 3. This floater no 3 is not working. Raina has shown promise and if he comes in early he can get a few balls to settle. Badrinath is also a technically correct batsman who can come in at 3. Either way I think numbers 3 and 4 should be Raina & Badrinath in any order.

3. Dhoni has to come in at 5. That is his best spot in the batting order.

My batting order for today’s game Fleming, Aniruddha, Badrinath, Raina, Dhoni, Vidyut, Morkel, Joginder, Gony, Ntini, Muralitharan.

— Sanjay