Tag Archives: Gavaskar

Three interesting Pieterson incidents

Rewind to the Test series and we remember how Pieterson was given out caught behind by Simon Taufel. As Pieterson walked back and almost reached the boundary line, looking back, his compatriots in the balcony urged him to stay and go back. Television replays had shown that the ball hit the ground before going into Dhoni’s gloves. Pieterson stayed and was recalled by Taufel.

Fast forward to yesterday’s game at Bristol. Pieterson chased down a ball to the boundary and almost saved a certain boundary. But as he picked up the ball, his hand clearly brushed the ropes. Pietorson just got up and threw the ball back to the keeper as if nothing had happened. Of course this time it was not the reserve Indian players in the balcony, but the third umpire who alerted the on field umpire and the boundary was declared. TV commentator Gavaskar thrives on these situations. He immediately was up in arms saying “If a fielder claims a catch that may have hit the ground he is labelled a cheat! What about a fielder who knows it is a four but would rather let technology do its job!”

And finally the Pieterson dismissal yesterday. Chawla got him with a flighed leg break that hardly turned. Pieterson playing for the turn, was beated in the flight and bowled through the gate. Pieterson could not believe it and as he walked back mouthed the words “He bowled me?” to Bell. Pieterson kept looking back at the field as he reached the boundary line but unfortunately there were no English players signalling him from the balcony!

— Sanjay

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England Vs India — Running Comments 1st Test: Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan blow it… but…

After Vaughan won the toss and elected to bat in the First Test between England and India, Zaheer Khan and Sreesanth proceeded to blow it for India by spraying the ball. We had Sreesanth bowling down legside to Cook and Strauss. We had two generous wide-down-the-leg byes for 4 runs each — one each by Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan. We also had a wide from Zaheer Khan. Whether the two Indian pace bowlers were nervous or whether they were just incompetent or whether they could not get a handle on the Lords’ slope, we won’t know. However, England quickly raced to 50 off 52 balls in 39 mins! Strauss, who was playing tentatively still got enough bad balls to stay at the crease and score runs merrily.

India will have to bowl with much better discipline and purpose to pull things back from here.

Edit-1:

After a shocking opening hour, Ganguly gets the breakthrough… Good move by Dravid and good response by Ganguly…

I am listening to audio commentary on BBC Five-Live. Boycott is one of the commentators and has just said, “I haven’t seen a tougher cookie from India than Ganguly. I’d love to have Dravid as a son, but I would like Ganguly the tough-cookie in my team any day“, or words to that effect. Boycott started off his stint at the drinks’ break with the words, “There is only one word to describe the Indian pace bowling this morning… Rooobbish!

Edit-2:

For those that want the URL for live audio commentary, it is http://www.bbc.co.uk/fivelive/

The commentary team includes Chris Martin-Jenkins, Sunil Gavaskar, Henry Blofeld, Geoff Boycott, Angus Fraser, Graham Thorpe, et al. Good stuff…

Edit-3:

And just before lunch Dinesh Karthik has dropped an absolute sitter at straight point. Sreesanth, the bowler, would have been absolutely livid, while Strauss let a huge sigh of relief. That should have been taken… And so we have a ‘keeper who was supposed to be going through a rough patch, who has let through a few byes because the bowlers sprayed it around. And we have another ‘keeper in the team who is supposedly in great nick who has dropped a sitter that a novice player would have taken! Hmmm!

Mohan

Dream Team

The Deccan Herald has reported in its edition today (Sunday 1 July 2007) an all-time Team-India Dream Team to mark the 75th anniversary since India played its first cricket match against England (in 1932). The Dream Team was selected by G R Vishwanath, Dilip Vengsarkar, S Venkataraghavan, Kris Srikkanth, Ajit Wadekar, Nari Contractor, Syed Kirmani and Abbas Ali Baig. The Dream Team represents India’s all-time Test XI.

This panel of eight submitted its shortlist to a special panel consiting of E. A. S. Prasanna and Rajan Bala, who then came up with the Dream Team!

Surprisingly, Bishen Singh Bedi and Anil Kumble do not make it while Dravid is a ‘Reserve’!

Dilip Vengsarkar and Syed Kirmani (both panel members) and E. A. S. Prasanna (from the elite panel) do make it! Make of that what you will!

Most surprisingly, the now-banned-for-life middle-order player (and ex-captain) Mohammed Azharuddin, who was apparently not chosen by the intial panel of eight was chosen by the elite panel in the end!

The Dream Team (in batting order) is:
Sunil Gavaskar (captain), Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Hazare (vice-captain), Sachin Tendulkar, Mohammed Azharuddin, G R Vishwanath, Kapil Dev, Syed Kirmani (wk), Javagal Srinath, EAS Prasanna, Subash Gupte.
12th Man: Vijay Manjrekar.
Reserves: Mohammed Nissar, B S Chandrasekhar, Rahul Dravid.

— Mohan

Contrast the approaches of India and Sri Lanka…

In direct contrast to the supremely arrogant, mindless and clueless manner that India adopted in selecting its coach, Sri Lanka went about their task of finding a replacement for Tom Moody in a quiet, focussed, organised and goal-oriented manner. Sri Lanka has chosen Trevor Bayliss, the current New South Wales coach after a professionally conducted search process. Sri Lanka stayed under the radar and went about their business in a quietly efficient manner.

Sri Lanka had former-cricketers on their selection panel too; cricketers who care about the future of Sri Lankan cricket. In Sidath Wettimuny, Michael Tissera, Anura Tennekoon Duleep Mendis and Aravinda de Silva, they had a brains trust that was dependable and able. They had Board administrators on the panel too; officials who care about things other than just moolah. The end result was a smart appointment.

Bayliss was a decent player for New South Wales. On retiring, he turned to coaching and took over the coaching of the NSW side when Steve Rixon left. He led NSW to triumphs in the Pura Cup and the ING cup. This was a smart appointment.

In direct contrast, we have Niranjan Shan now crying like a 5-year old whose lollies have been stolen. Unfortunately, Indian cricket is run by a bunch of guys that do not seem to know the difference between their backsides and their bent elbows.

The most shocking piece in all of this was Gavaskar’s comments when Graham Ford turned down the job. He said, “We are back to square one, that is a fact of life. I don’t know what the BCCI’s thinking is, whether it will start the process [of appointing a coach] all over again or make a short-term appointment as it did for the Bangladesh tour.

Now, what does this statement really say?

Yes. The fact is that the Butchering Cricket Committee of Idiots (BCCI) is back to square-one. And Gavaskar is indeed right — that is a fact of life! But why did this “fact of life” realisation hit the idiots-committee only post the Ford-Escape event? If the idiots-committee knew that a rejection is a “fact of life”, why did they have to send I-can-talk-more-nonsense-than-you-can-write-Niranjan-Shah to thump his chests in an arrogant and bullish manner and claim that they had appointed Graham Ford even before Ford had accepted?

But the most galling part of Gavaskar’s comments is where he says “I don’t know what the BCCI’s thinking is“. Huh? Has he absolved himself of all responsibility? Dammit! He is part of the committee that is supposed to have the answers! Why throw it back to the BCCI? The least he could have done is to say “I don’t know what our thinking is”. In that one statement he has effectively sought to absolve himself of all ownership and accountability in the selection process. Is he placing himself as part of the solution or part of the problem?

And the part where he says “whether it will start the process all over again or make a short-term appointment as it did for the Bangladesh tour” is further evidence of pointing the finger of accountability somewhere else. Clearly, the idiots-committee did not even think through a Plan-B, let alone evolve one. No wonder they adopted an ants in the pants approach to hurriedly appoint Chandu Borde, the first name that came to their collective (non)minds.

Should this man have any part in the running of Indian cricket?

And to top it all, we have Chandu Borde saying that he is not sure what is expected of him! So, we have a selection committee that has just thrown their collective hands in the air and absolved themselves of all responsibility. We have a bunch of idiots that do not have a clue but are crying foul while hiding behind their mama’s saris. And a coach-manager that does not have a clue! And all of this, just before a major, lengthy tour.

Sigh!

— Mohan

Not just Whatmore!

The next 3 or 4 days, all cricket news in India will be centered around the new coach to be appointed. Already Dav Whatmore is being considered the top favorite for the post. Meanwhile Cricinfo reports that both Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev are keen that India have a home grown coach, while the players prefer a foreigner. But the most interesting piece of news is another name that has just cropped up.

It is that of Graham Ford a South African. Who is this guy? Some digging inside Cricinfo revealed this

“Unassuming and determinedly low key, Graham Ford ascended gradually to the position of South African coach, by-passing several bigger and more familiar names along the way. A competent all-round sportsman, Ford is a former provincial tennis champion, has provincial colours for football and is a qualified rugby union referee to go with his cricketing credentials. As a player, Ford had an eight-year first-class career in the Natal B team during the 1980s, but as a coach he moved steadily through the ranks, from the University of the Natal team, through the Natal Colts side to become senior Natal coach in 1992. He was the first to admit that he was fortunate with Natal in having Malcolm Marshall and Clive Rice on hand to help him guide a crop of outstanding young players which included Shaun Pollock, Jonty Rhodes, Lance Klusener, Neil Johnson, Dale Benkenstein and Errol Stewart. At the same time, his personalised approach proved not only popular, but effective as Natal astounded South Africa in the 1996-97 season by winning the domestic first-class and one-day competitions. He had already had a go at coaching the South African A team and in 1998 took the A side on tour to Sri Lanka. At the beginning of 1999, Ford was appointed assistant to Bob Woolmer in New Zealand, a role he carried through to the 1999 World Cup, before taking over the senior position when Woolmer’s contract ran out after the World Cup. In his time, they won nine of the 11 series under his guidance.. The Hansiegate Affair, however, has massively disrupted the South African side, and Ford was fired in 2001. Many believed he unfairly paid the price for internal power games within South African cricket. He moved to Kent as director of cricket in 2004, and while there oversaw an influx of South African players to the county. In 2006 he returned home to take charge of the Dolphins. ”

Of couse Cricinfo always has a way of coming with bits of info much before anybody else. The last time India chose a coach, there was a third candidate, Desmond Haynes, who I though was invited just to make up the numbers for the interview. Maybe it is the same this time and a new name has been dropped into the hat, especially after Whatmore’s statement in the press yesterday that he has not yet been offered a job in India.  I am sure another name or two will come up in the next few days before the BCCI meeting on June 4th. Meanwhile let the discussions begin.

– Sanjay

Gavaskar V Ponting (revisited)

A few things have to be said: (a) Australian cricketers do behave badly on the field, (b) Sunil Gavaskar was wrong in commenting on David Hookes, (c) Gavaskar was right to talk about the behaviour of Australian cricketers, (d) This has nothing to do with India’s performance (or the lack of it).

We have talked about this quite a bit on this blogsite.

Rohit Brijnath writes very eloquently about this saga in The Hindu.

There are some significant cultural differences at play here. An Aussie would think that it is ok to bark at you on the field and then have a drink afterwards. They can live with that form of schizophrenic compartmentalisation. Subcontinental teams cannot seem to live with it. Gavaskar cannot. And Australians cannot expect other teams to be naturally comfortable with that schizophrenic compartmentalisation. And therein lies part of the problem.

Alan Border says that the Aussies play “hard but fair”. The rest of the world perhaps doesn’t’ see it that way! Perhaps the Australians are just misunderstood cricketers? Who knows.

Either way Gavaskar’s point is valid…

The Australian’s are the most penalised team in World Cricket.

So, either the rest of the World has to start to understand them more or the Australians need to learn to tone down.

The Australians aren’t the only grumpy team going around. The South Africans come close, but having watched the Aussies in action over a long period of time, I can safely say that the Australians are the ugliest team going around.

They are currently in a huge war-of-words with The South Africans.

The captain started that war of words. The captain should set a tone. Not drag it down. If the captain can’t control a malaise — and indeed, there is one, in my view — then, he shouldn’t be on the park.

But let us pause to think about the Australians. I’ve written earlier about how the Australians do not like to receive as well as they dish it out. Let us think about some of the most hated players in Australia. If one were asked to name the three most hated international cricketers in Australia, you won’t be wrong if you came up with (a) Arjuna Ranatunga, (b) Sourav Ganguly, (c) Greame Smith. Some cricketers that come close to the above list include Manoj Prabhakar, Sunil Gavaskar (post-retirement), Andre Nel, et al. I’d like to predict that Sree Sreesanth will be on this list soon.

Why?

These players give back as good as they receive. They use that 4th dimension (some legal and some not so legal) to get further ahead. They are as Aussie (or perhaps even more Aussie) than the Aussies themselves! Yet, they are the most hated! Isn’t this a strange hypocricy? Perhaps the Aussie cricketers hate themselves (and what they do) so much that they instinctively hate anyone who does it as well — or better — than themselves? I am not a psychologist. So I am not about to indulge in needless amateur psychology here.

Ponting says that often champions are hated. Wrong. The West Indies were not hated. Roger Federer is not hated. Tiger Woods is not hated.

In an earlier article, I wrote:

To be “a sport” is to be fair, even-handed, respectful and level-headed in things that you do in the sporting field — and these days, out of it too. Impact comes not merely from the number of cups that one has in ones trophy cabinet. History differentiates great sporting teams from good ones on the basis of how the team played and not merely on how many cups the team won. Long lasting success comes only if the ‘means’ and the ‘ends’ are balanced. The end rarely justifies the means.

A true champion (and almost everyones’ sporting hero), will be a Roger Federer or a Tiger Woods or a Sachin Tendulkar. They enjoy their sport. They play fair. They play hard. They play strong. They dig deep when their backs are to the wall. They query bad calls. But they get on with it. They have fun. They leave an impression. They are modest. They are level-headed. They are geniuses. They are also as good on the field as they are out of it. They are icons. They are role-models.

We like them not just because they win. That is a fact. They just do! We like them because of the way they win.

I will applaud when Federer or Tiger Woods or Tendulkar win (for they are true champions). I will also empathise with them when they lose.

However, I will continue to rejoice (along with the whole world, perhaps?) when Australia loses. The difference is that they are champions of the game (temporary). They are not champions of the sport (permanent).

So it does depend on ones outlook. Do we want temporary success or permanent glory?

May be it is time for the Aussies to ponder why almost the whole cricketing world dislikes them. If they believe the world hates them because they keep winning, they need to look at Federer and Tiger Woods (habitual winners who are loved) of the world and learn a bit.

Ponting and Cricket Australia need a re-think.

Does Gavaskar have a right to comment about all of this? In my view he does. He did play the game in the “right spirit”. So, he is not being “self righteous”. Ian Chappell commenting about the “spirit of cricket” would be self-righteous pontification. Gavaskar has earned his stripes, in my view.

Gavaskar’s method of retort — the mentioning of Hookes — was silly. He did cross the line there. But kudos to him for bringing Australian bad behaviour up — again!

— Mohan

Gavaskar-Ponting war of words – Aussie views

Here is what the Aussie media and players think of the Gavaskar Ponting war of words

Chloe Saltau in the age writes

SUNIL Gavaskar’s increasingly puritanical tone reached new levels of ridiculousness…The former Indian captain and apparent moral guardian of the game made a second outburst about the behaviour of Ricky Ponting’s team….At best, the reference to Hookes’ death after he was punched outside a Melbourne pub was clumsy. At worst it was offensive….

In an article on Herald Sun, Tony Grieg, former England captain and close friend of Hookes,  is said to have been shocked by Gavaskar’s comment –

It’s inappropriate and I really don’t see any great value in this sort of sledging

Border and Lehman are not happy either. Lehman, who was with Hookes when the fatal incident at the bar took place, has this to say –

His outburst about David Hookes was totally out of order and in bad taste….He (Gavaskar) was a player I admired. Not anymore.

This is what Border has to say –

I consider Sunny a friend, but what he said about David Hookes and the behaviour of Australian cricketers was totally uncalled for. What Sunny said on television was totally inappropriate

Charles Happell on crickey.com.au sees the other side of the story as well –

But it should not be allowed to obscure his (Gavaskar’s) central point which is that the Australians are reviled wherever the game is played because of their uniformly appalling on-field behaviour

Although Gavaskar bringing up Hookes death to make a point about the Aussie behaviour  may not be right, the original point that he tried to make has completely been missed. According to Ponting –

I don’t mind if ‘Mr Perfect’ goes on about our team. We are not going to keep everyone happy. But for some of these guys that have done it all themselves, it’s pretty high and mighty for them to say that

If only Mr. Perfect can comment on the Aussie team, I think we might as well stop having editorial and opinion columns in the press altogether. Ponting has had his share of bad behaviour in a bar as well. Here is the article from the Guardian written last year that talks about it. Now as a captain, if one of his players misbehave, does he loose the right to pull them up? I guess Andrew Symonds doesn’t have to worry any more.

Sanjay had earlier written a piece about the Gavaskar-Ponting episode and we would like to hear your opinion as well.

-Mahesh-