Wednesday, September 22

A few days

5:15pm, IST
Have been out if it for a few days now, and :
Pakistan beat India to reach the semis
England beat Australia(!) to reach the finals
the BCCI cancelled the tender rewarded to Zee
Dalmiya may just be standing for Chairman of thew BCCI, as might Sharad Pawar
Real's lost their coach and got a new one
Europe thrashed USA in the Ryder Cup

a few days in sport, and there's so much thats happened.

For me England's win yesterday was great. I somehow found myself (almost) rooting for them. It just seemed that world cricket needed this. We needed to see the Australians beaten, we needed them to look vulnerable, we needed to know it can be done, and with no unbelievable magic or miraculous feat. The Aussie jusggernaut winning another tournament would have made the Champions Trophy possibly even duller in hindsight, than it was in it's first week! I did not watch too much of the match, but it seemed that England played some good, solid, sensible cricket with just the dash of aggression to shake up the old enemy. Especially the batting, which was steady yet assertive. Vaughan's assault on Lee was significant. Coming from a man who has had next to no one-day form and is under serious pressure to prove himself in this form of the game, it was a statement of purpose that said 'I am the captain; my team and I aren't going to give this one away easily...and I don't care if you are the Australians.'
I missed most of the Australian batting and did not see the wickets too much, but the way the team looked off the boil throughout, I wonder if it was a mild attack of complacency that opened the door for the Poms. What was especially strange was the virtual lack of fight. Ok, it was a 280 pitch and they were 20-30 runs short, but had Ponting and his boys got even 220, you would have backed them to at least make a genuine match of it. If I look back on it, England was always winning this one. In my mind I kept thinking that Punter'll pull something out of the hat yet, and the match will be close, but in reality the Englishmen were always in control. And they didn't even have to rely on that beefy lad of theirs. Good stuff.

Wow. Here, Pakistan is reeling at 125/9. I cannot believe they won the toss and chose to bat. That smacks of defensive tactics, and it is surprising given Woolmer's presence. Sure, from the looks of it it's not more than 200-220 wicket, but this is apalling. Afridi is still trying to lash out, but he is right up there in the list of cricketers with very little between the ears.
There! As I wrote that, He's gotten himself stumped. Absolutely nothing upstairs, afridi ol' chap. Nothing at all. Man, he's frustrating. If you're a Paki supporter I guess.
I'm not!

But the Indian loss on Sunday was sad. I saw most of what I saw of the macth (about 60-70%) on mute, but that didn't change anything. Our batting was woeful. We fought back in the first innings, and how, but 200 was way too little to play with. Really. Pushing it to 225 may have given us a slightly better chance, but this was too little for the bowlers to defend. Sigh. We don't look in particularly good shape for the Auusie tour in a couple of weeks time, and SRT is still looking pretty unlikely for the first test. That may just solve the problem of choosing Akash Chopra/Yuvi.

So much for that England win. It's shocking, the state of fan support in that country. That too when they had the best chance of beating arch rivals for the first time in well over 4 years. Ugh.

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