Saturday, November 13

Diwali aftermath

13:00 IST

Happy Diwali to all you who know Diwali. Fresh (not) from the rigours of festivities over the past few days, I can now settle down to a quiet (and, might I add, ‘on my own’) day of cricket watching, with the 94th 'Mother of all Battles'.
India v Pakistan.
This time (surprise surprise), there is nothing to play for except goodwill. With all the (I must say, welcome) talk about good relations and brotherly neighbours, the fact that there is a ODI match underway is sort of hidden in the background.

For the Indian team, their Diwali was spent in training schedules and Hotel rooms, so they’d be hoping for some firecrackers on the field. Let me clarify (post Wankhede)- I mean firecrackers in the batting, bowling and fielding (those components of a cricket game still in our hands, you’d think), and not the 22 yards that could erupt in their very own special way.

The Indian batting, fresh from the wounds inflicted by the Aussie bowlers and the a little thing called woeful form, will have their task cut out against Sami, Shoaib, Razzaq and Afridi- assuming there is not further experimentation. Irfan Pathan comes back into the side, so he and the Zack Attack should be able to do a decent job.

Again, coming off the sort of form that we had in the Tests, and looking at the SA series next week, I doubt the Indians would like to experiment too much. I am definitely tempted, though, to suggest that Karthick should get a game in as keeper. I think that would mean VVS missing out- and though I believe it might be time for him to be eased out of the ODI setup, I am not too sure they’d like to do that and undermine his confidence just before the next series. Assuming of course, he is still in the thinking for Tests as well (which I think he would be, after his sparks in the 2nd innings at Mumbai).
At any rate, it will be a relatively relaxed match (for us viewers) even for the players I think; though India surely are under more pressure- home crowd, 3 losses to the arch rival not so long ago, and the recent form.

And while I have been spending my time playing cards, losing money and generally finding other ways to brighten up my life in the Festival of Lights, the ICC has decided that heck, everyone chucks a bit, so let us just legalise it all. I am not quite sure why some umpires are cribbing- about not being able to determine the degree of straightening with the naked eye. You could detect transgression over the earlier limits as well as you can over the new ones, I should think.
And meanwhile, Katich finds himself hopelessly unluckily dropped. Oh well, I think this would be Lehmann’s last summer, no?

There is some prospectively exciting news in INDIAN HOCKEY as well. Come January, and the IHF starts a hockey league on the lines of club football and club sport in general. Players trading, foreign players and (hopefully) top Indian players playing for city teams. Sounds good, especially as plans are to eventually make it a full fledged home-away system; and with ESPN Star telecasting it all live and pumping in significant money to ensure its success, we might just have an appealing (fashionable? popular? cool?) hockey league in place in a year or so. At any rate, the plans sound great. Hyderabad in January will let us know to what extent they will be a success.

The match is on Ten Sports, not DD Sports.
> The match was on Ten Sports. Now the Ten Sports feed also has the morons from ‘Fourth Umpire’ (i.e. they are beaming down DD Sports). The few brief moments of decent coverage on Ten Sports, and now we are back to this, frankly, shitty stuff.
So much for my wicketkeeping hopes. The team is the regular ODI team from recent times, and Pakistan have Younis Khan opening. At least dada has won the toss. India bats.

75 years of the BCCI.
Eden Gardens. Wish I was there.

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