Thursday, March 24, 2011

World Cup 2011 So Far ...

Well, it's 41 overs in the India-Australia Quarter-final (QF #2) and it looks like Aussies are going to post a gettable target. Ponting is of course playing fabulously. Let's see how this one goes.

Sachin just bowled two overs and after each of his overs, India got a wicket. He's bowled two overs for 9 runs and I think that's a good contribution given the regular bowlers were struggling to contain.

I think the world cup so far has been pretty good for the master blaster. Two centuries against two top opponents is very good. Of course, he should save the 100th for the special one against those who deserve it the most.

Will this be his last world cup? That's not a fair question to ask for several reasons. First off, there are no signs of it. They say that you should stop when you're on the top. But he's been on top so many times! Every time he played, we did not say that. Then, when did we decide to start asking this question? I am sure there will be reports like "What next for Tendulkar?" offering him choices and views. Personally, I think Sachin is an evergreen cricketer. Various events happen on his time-line. World Cup, whereas special, is just another event on it. I don't think he will change his stance. He has always said that he will stop playing when he stops enjoying it as much.

There's the thought of being able to physically sustain. Well, humans are known to be able to physically stress themselves. But just last year, he scored a double century in the ODI's, against SA. Undoubtedly, this has been the most run productive year and half for him. So, I am not sure celebrating his 38th birthday should make him any sadder (not that the thought of age really bothers him).

OK. Then the next line of argument would be "When will he stop playing then?". Wow. Why does that arise now? Why can't we just sit back, watch and enjoy one of the biggest cricketing geniuses of all time? It might be true that all good things come to an end, but why behave as if we all eagerly await that future event to enjoy the beautiful present?

Yeah, but for tonight, let's wish Sachin luck so that he edges the one who he inspires, one more time ...

Sunday, December 19, 2010

50th Hundred in Centurion ...

It's about 8 hours to go for the fifth day's play in Centurion. India are on the verge of defeat. Cricket is, still, a game of glorious uncertainties and the uncertainty is often assisted by the (bad) weather. So, for some time at least, it remains to be seen if India can save the test.

The point, however, is Sachin's 50th test century which couldn't have come at a more opportune time for the game's greatest idol. Incidentally, a friend recently commented that getting a century has become so easy these days. I had said that a needed century has not become any easier. Well, this one is one of those centuries -- done when batting in the II innings with a huge deficit of 484 runs!

I am sure pundits would say more grandiose things about this hundred (but phleasse, don't let Ian Chappel do so). For every fan of his though, this is a treat, a treasure to relish forever. Like John Keats said
A thing of beauty is joy forever!
The next goal is to get to a 100 or hundreds, should we say?

Monday, November 01, 2010

2-0 and 1-0 is delicious ...

One can always check this up on cricinfo, but I don't remember such a humiliation of the Aussies in the recent past. They were not able to even draw a match, let alone winning it.

Of course, Laxman, Sachin and all the bowlers (and one batsman among them -- Ishant Sharma) have a lion's share in what India could do to the 5th ranked test-cricket-playing-nation!

I still feel that the roots of this rout are in the India's tour of Australia in 2007-2008. Of course, one can't rely on his or her past laurels in any field. Relentless pursuit is the only way to excel. Sachin was truly mesmerizing in this series. He got 98, 38, 214 and 53* in the four innings he played and was able to push his test-cricket average beyond 56. In fact it is almost 57 (56.96) at the moment. In recent past, I remember him stranded at or around 54. What he has done to his average while still scoring 14240 runs is remarkable by any means.

Hats off!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Revival of a rivalry ...

It's not the Ashes. It's the Border-Gavaskar trophy that has all the characteristics of a great sports rivalry that all cricket fans from all over the world relish.

It has drama, passion, ugliness, kindness, fighting spirit, limits and marvels of humankind -- it's a cauldron of all emotions and skill that humans have to offer.

Less than two years ago, the venue was Australia. Now it is India. Essentially a similar core of the Indian crew is still standing tall, led of course by Sachin. Australia, on the other hand, is a new side. The hunger to win is the same, on both the sides.

The first test is at a very interesting situation. India need to get 161 with 5 (Err. 6, but Laxman's back is bad) wickets in hand. Sachin is unbeaten on 10. We are going to have a high drama on the ground. Australians are going to use all their skills. The game plan must be clear to close-in fielders by now -- be alert and be talkative with those oohs and aahs.

It's going to be a sleepless night for me. Good luck, folks, it never gets any easier.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The 93rd is special ...

Oh boy! I certainly can not keep pace with the way Sachin is scoring centuries. With his latest feat, I am just dumb-folded. Wow! It was a feast. The 200 will be remembered for a long long time.

What I think is even more telling is how he encourages those who are capable, to break the records he makes. For example, this is what he said:
I don't think any record is unbreakable. Records are made to be broken. I hope that if this record is broken, it's done by an Indian.
This is clearly an encouragement for Virender Sehwag. We all know he is capable of getting to 200 in ODI's. But nothing beats this kind of encouragement from the master.

We should not make this stunning display a testament of "second-coming" of the master mainly because the career of the master has been so long, more than two decades. And to say that this recent display (four test centuries in as many innings, the first double hundred in ODI's etc.) has been a revival of the master blaster is a joke. Like I said elsewhere, for him to be "back", he has to underperform first!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

A tale of two articles ...

Time has elapsed. I haven't blogged about Sachin. He of course, continues to excel, marvel and amaze. I can't even blog at that pace (its reasons lie elsewhere though).

The innings of 175 against Aussies at Hyderabad was another example of how badly he still wants to pursue his passion -- playing for India. It's almost like Paul Erdos, mind you, the man who loved only numbers. It's simple folks. This is what his bat continues to say (IMO):
Look at my bat and my contributions to the team. Don't look at my age or at my stats. The day I have stopped contributing, be objective and make me sit out. We need to win games. Don't think about me as a guy with 87 (42+45) centuries and 29952 odd runs. You don't have to tell me when I have stopped contributing. I will know. Please, don't act like a billion parents of a 16-year old.

What disappoints me is the failure to see this passion of his which is a hallmark of his long career. Failure not by me or you who have not played at any recognized level, but by former cricket captains, batsmen and bowlers. Take Ian Chappell's two articles: one written in 2007 after India were forced out of the World Cup and one written in November 2009 after his mesmerizing 175. They have been titled interestingly enough (which is why they caught my eye):
  1. Tendulkar should consider quitting
  2. Tendulkar's mind is still strong
It's amazing to see the tone in which both the articles are written.Link Come on, sports critics, do better, make opinions that last longer and change your mind more slowly than average sports fans like me.

Mr. Ian Chappell -- why should we respect your opinions of Tendulkar? (Because it's not clear what your current opinion of him is!)

Friday, October 24, 2008

First Interview?

Here is one gem you'd like to remember. Thanks to Anil and thanks to YouTube.