Friday, December 10

Bangabandhu, and catchup

Boy it has been along time. I have been absconding for a week, and with good reason (yet little to actually occupy me). It seems possible there shall be some more sporadic behaviour on my part, but more on that later- when the reasons are little clearer!

A delayed start today for the subcontinental clash (if you can call it that). Delayed first by a day (thanks to the first- but apparently not very worrisome- terrorist threat made directly towards cricketers); and delayed this morning by excessive moisture in the playing surface. The curator, poor chap, decided to water it yesterday as the match had been pushed by 24 hours, and then today's cloudy conditions ensured the pitch was too wet to play on. We actually saw (in the hole where the stump was) that you could make a deep indentation even an inch below the surface.

After that everything went according to script, pretty much. In fact, the Bangladeshis probably got a little more than they should have, though 180 is hardly spectacular. The focus was naturally on Anil Kumble finally becoming the leading wicket taker for India, an achievment (repeatedly phrased) as truly great. Yup, got that right. He had a nice little chat with Bhogle, Shastri and Wasim at the end of day's play. Which reminds me, even a relatively dull day of Test cricket seemed like an oasis after the stifling depression that was sports broadcasting on Doordarshan. Thank God for small mercies.

Haven't written for a week, so of course there a quite afew things that have happened- maybe stale to go into right now. The death of a footballer on the field of play was something tragic, extremely disheartening and also angering. In-stadia conditions in this country have always been sub standard, yet it takes something this drastic to bring the matter into focus. Unfortunately, I can still not say for sure that this will shake up authorities enough to ensure facilities that can even approach world class- and that is whas is the scariest part. Like any sport (including cricket) it is the administration (combined with a despairing lack of it) that leaves the game in tatters in India.

The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy ended today in a damp squib. There were a great couple of matches, reminding us that the fighting Kiwi spirit was alive and well (and that the ODI game offered far more opportunity to challenge the world champions). What apity today had to be abandoned- the Gabba seems to rain out quite a bit of cricket.

VVS Laxman is extremely disapppointed that he has not been included in the ODI squad. It is with some reason that he is hurt about the way he is treated and the lack of acknowledgement coming his way, but in this case, dear Venkatsai, I will have to agree with the wise men. I think it is time he is eased out of the shorter format, and someone else takes his place (eg- a wicket keeper). Bangladesh is the best place for it to happen. It might be an easy but assuring entry for Dhoni (hope the actually play him), while Laxman in the team would have probably got some runs against the hapless neighbours and it would seem that all is well for a while. In truth, he is slower in the field than he used to be, he still is not able to maintain pace and rhythm through an innings that requires the urgency of ODI cricket, and his running between wickets has deteriorated.

Pakistan is trying to ready itself for the Aussie onslaught, but not with much success, it would seem. Hussey's taken them to the cleaners, and Kaneria & Farhat took 5 of the 9 wickets on a WACA patch. Except for seeing Akhtar get Langer cheaply, it all looks a little fearsome for the Pakistanis.

Whoa. The highest score in any form of the game by any sort of team was cored in Mumbai, when the Anjuman-I-Islam Fort English School team scored 1125 (yes eleven hundred and twenty five runs!) including a mammoth 531 runs partnership. Still short of the historic 664 that Tendulkar and Kambli put on though.

Meanwhile, Dravid has got his record and Kumble his, on the very first day of the Bangla tour. Will Sri Tendulkar please follow suit...?

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