Tag Archives: Australia

Why An England Ashes Victory Matters

1. It obviously depends on what happens in South Africa, but for now at least, Australia is on the ropes. If England manage to pull off a series defeat, they will finally and forever be knocked off their perch, and the door will swing wide open on their mediocrity. 

2. It will erase the horrors of the last Ashes, which evidently still haunts the team. (I think Pietersen noted once how difficult it was to hear cries of  “Five-Oh” when he was in Australia before losing a rib to McGrath.) Continue reading

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Trial And Testimony: Gambhir, Sachs, And Cricket

I meant to blog about this when it came out — clearly, I can’t keep up with the Internet’s fast pace — but Albie Sachs’s opinion on the Gambhir-Watson merits some reading from cricket fans. I don’t know what kind of reaction “Gambhir-gate” attracted in India, but if I knew any better, I’m sure it echoed the hysteria that the BCCI displayed when the ban was decided. 

Let’s review: Gambhir and Watson get into each other’s faces during the 3rd Test Match. Then, when returning for a second run, Gambhir coyly puts his elbow out and lets Watson — reportedly, a very, very big man — have a little touch. A one-match ban takes effect for one; a fine for the other. 

Now, this is clearly a violation (or two) of those much talked-of but rarely-seen principles of cricket, and Gambhir admitted as much when he pleaded guilty. Chris Broad, however, felt that the physical contact went too far and could not be ignored, and so settled for the penalty he chose (apparently, he originally wanted a two-match ban, because of Gambhir’s run-in with Afridi, but he compromised after the umpires told him just how mean and nasty Watson and Co. were). 

Gambhir appealed, but Albie Sachs deferred. The BCCI gets angry, and cry upon cry is raised about the hypocrisy of the whole system. I think both sides have some merit, and I want to offer that kind of nuance into the debate: Continue reading

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Sachin Isn’t A Teenager, So Stop Saying He Is

I know Sachin Tendulkar has gotten into a little spat with Adam Gilchrist lately (and I’m on Tendulkar’s side, believe me), but I am getting a bit tired of commentators breathlessly talking about how youthful his outlook still seems, and how much verve and enthusiasm he brings to the game after nearly 20 years in it.

Yes, the man can take a good catch, and yes, he’s happy after he does it — wouldn’t anyone be? Which player in his 30s still goes on the field only to act like they’ve seen it all? If that were the case, wouldn’t he not, in fact, go on the field but just retire? 

So, quit it! Tendulkar likes to play the game. We know. Yes, he’s happy to take a catch — there’s no reason someone in their 30s wouldn’t be — and when he scores a half-century, he’s downright pleased about it (because he just scored a half-century). Millionaires might not jump for joy if they made another few additional $100,000, but they wouldn’t stop trying to make their money.

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Mohali Madness

Oh. My. God. I know I’ll regret this post when I read it later in more sober times, but OMG. If you’re not watching India play Australia right this second, you’re missing out a prime example of Test cricket’s drama and verve.

First, the Australians come out “all guns blazing,” as Ravi Shastri would say. Even in the best of times, Matthew Hayden seems angry and too confident for me, but he seemed downright furious at the Indians, and not because of any apparent verbal spat. It’s almost as if the Australians — used to winning over and over again — could not fathom that an opponent would have them wait to get their chance to bat. Each successive hit to the boundary looked like Hayden meting out extra punishment to some errant schoolboys who hadn’t learned their place on the playground. 

But, as I said in the lower post, this Australia is not the one it used to be. Continue reading

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The Indian Fan’s Dilemma: Should We Believe?

I know they’re ahead. So ahead. Day 4 starts in about an hour, but India are already 300 runs in front, with Virender Sehwag looking ominous. But they are playing Australia, which no one should discount. Especially now, this Australian side reveals the psychology’s significance in cricket. Good teams, great players, even umpires all fall occassionaly fall prey to the trademark Australian pressure (do you remember that last over from the Sydney Test? Or even the awful batting display in the 1st Test?). Their fielders run in; they constantly chat; they appeal as if they already know the verdict. It’s a beautifully constructed stage the Australians strut on. 

And yet, this Test has also shown, if only tentatively, the gap that is opening between the Australian reputation and the team’s actual abilities. “Australia” — world champions for the last 15 years — is now much, much better than Australia, a team without Warne and McGrath and an unsure Matthew Hayden. But can they pull it off again, though? Can they simply frighten their way to victory once more? When Shane Watson blithely said they could chase anything down — didn’t you feel nervous? 

Oh, I can’t watch!

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First Session, Day 3: Why Australia’s Bowlers Are Better

Because they understand what “variation” means. Granted, the pitch has slowed and become more irregular with its bounce, but just look at what they can do: Continue reading

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Day 1, Australia V. India

This. Is. So. Exciting. 

Now, normally I like this blog to be a bit more high-brow, not necessarily concerned with the latest scandal or sporting result, but more with the construction of the game.

Whatever. I will be live blogging the first day of the India and Australia Test match, set to begin in about an hour and a half. It should be exciting stuff, and if ever you find yourself feeling bored with the commentary (which is bound to be just about dismal), check back regularly. Continue reading

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Andrew Symonds Discovers His Softer Side?

What on earth is going on in Australian cricket? Perhaps there’s a drawback to holding the champion position so long, when their best cricketers appear to suffer all sorts of mental breakdowns. First it was Shaun Tait, though that was not as big news because, deep down, we all know fast bowlers — especially ridiculously fast ones like Tait — are inherently crazy. 

But now, Symonds? And what’s this about a fishing trip? And him possibly not wanting to come back to cricket? Uncle J Rod, on one of his hi-tech podcasts, spent about 3 minutes repeating the “F” word, and then dwelling in some deep conspiracy theories (he smells an arrest). But it seems that, despite enjoying massive support from the public, Symonds does not have a similar status inside his own dressing room, from where all sorts of bad names have come out in the last week about him.

Not to take too much fun in another man’s misfortune, but this is a bit of fun for me. Continue reading

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The Best Of The Lot: So Long, Vaughan

In India, they say that the two most demanding (and most powerful) jobs belong to the Prime Minister and the captain of the cricket team. I don’t think it’s the same in England (not least because football rules the roost there), but Michael Vaughan’s resignation is nevertheless a huge (and kind of shattering) event.

Andrew Miller gives Vaughan the best send-off I’ve read here, and I’ve included a video of his announcement below. Continue reading

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