Friday, 8 April 2011

Who Should Lead Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka-Make Angelo Mathews Captain!
Wow........what a fall out that has ensued in Sri Lankan Cricket since the World Cup defeat.....!
Firstly Kumar Sangakkara relinquishes the Odi/T20 Captaincy and will stay on as Test leader only in the short term.Then Mahela Jayawardene quits as Vice Captain followed by the Selection Committee giving up their posts.Also Trevor Bayliss gave up the Coaching position to be replaced by fellow Australian Stuart Law
So reading between the lines it seems that the Sri Lankan powers that be have decided that after coming up short by being Runners Up in the previous two World Cups.That their planning for a full assault on the 2015 version begun as soon as India hit the winning runs.This indeed has merits for it's time to try all the precocious youth on the paradise Island to see which are the men for 2015.Logically the two most important men going forward will be the leaders of the Team.
So this begs the question as to who they should be?
In the short term the logical replacement would be Tillekeratne Dilshan.Which in the interim would indeed be a very adequate choice.Though with the actions of the incumbents to quit it would appear that they are indicating the need for the Team to be built around youth.So as such Dilshan will be unlikely to be in the next World Cup
Thus this leaves Sri Lanka with only a few options in maybe Upul Tharanga or Lasith Malinga. Though like Dilshan these players would be fine in the short term,but not in the long term.
The wise decision would be to select two young players as leaders and allow them to build the Team around them...........
So with this in mind it would be a great decision to give the natural leader in Angelo Mathews the Captaincy in Odis and T20.Then in a years time when Kumar Sangakkara relinquishes the role in Test cricket too.Mathews would have the experience in leading the Team in the shorter forms of the game.To be reasonably comfortable and confident in his pedigree to lead Sri Lanka in Tests.
The choosing of his under study would also be a choice for the 2015 World Cup with youth in mind......
I'd install Dinesh Chandimal as his Vice Captain with this Tournament in mind.For there is no doubt young Chandimal is the young star on the rise in Sri Lankan Cricket.Who not only has very refined skill,but also that rare gem of natural leadership
This will provide Sri Lanka with a Captain at 23 in Mathews and a Vice Captain at 21 in Chandimal.Both who over the next four years will gain in experience in leadership and arrive at the 2015 World Cup at the peak of their powers as players and as leaders.

It would indeed be an inspired choice for Sri Lanka's future!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

India World Cup Win-The Moments That Mattered

1.2 billion cricket crazy Indian's who im sure are still euphoric in the wake of this World Cup win that was not only a great gift for them.Though also a red letter day for the fine Nation of India and a compelling joyous memory for the fine city of Mumbai,after its great tragedy in 08. Sadly in an event like this there can be only one winner.So a Team that so bedazzled us throughout the Tournament in Sri Lanka were on the losing end.Just beaten by a better Team on the day. Here is my take on the Final

Moments That Mattered-Sri Lankan Innings:

Heads....Tails....Well Bat...No You Won't!-Toss Again!

Lol... bit of theatre before the game with M.S.Dhoni thinking he won the toss and automatically exalting he'd bat.Though his Sri Lankan counterpart in Kumar Sangakkars claimed he indeed called correctly in the first toss.So it was a re toss. Sri Lanka win and bat

Zaheer Khan's Initial Spell.

After the mauling he received in his previous World Cup Final in 03.There must have been sweat on Zaheer's brow as he ran into to commence this World Cup.Though like night is to day was his start to this World Cup.He didn't concede one run in his first 3 overs and strangled the life out of one of Sri Lanka's key strengths in their openers.Which duly upset Sri Lanka's crucial early momentum and captured Upul Tharanga's wicket.

India's Fielding

This was out of this World for the most part especially in the first 20 odd overs.Where so many dives that stopped boundaries and desperation by all was crucial. In truth it probably was the difference of an extra 30 runs to Sri Lanka

Yuvraj Singh Getting Kumar Sangakkara

To me this was akin to Kapil Dev catching Viv Richards in the 1983 World Cup when he was looking deadly dangerous. Sangakkara was moving up in momentum and had hummed his way to 48 with little duress.Indeed looking for much more and in truth had big century written all over him and with it a huge Sri Lankan total.Though enter the man with the golden arm in this Tournament for India in Yuvraj Singh.And he claims Sangakkara caught behind. Crucial is the sincerest sense!

Hope We Had The Video On Record For Mahela Jayawardene's Genius

This innings was a masterpiece and must go down as one of the best seen in a World Cup Final... For after Sangakkara was dismissed the questionable Sri Lankan middle order was exposed and duly the weight of the World fell on Mahela.His artistry and pacing of the innings was truly the stuff of a master.Then his assault at the end in the Power Play overs where his innovation was true brilliance. Well again hope you had it recorded for prosperity

Finally A Power Play was utilised!

The Sri Lankan's looked like they'd be lucky to get to 240.Though on the back of Mahela's brilliance and then some late order hitting by Kulasekera and Thisara they got to 274.This pair of hitters crucially contributed 54 off just 39 deliveries Getting Sri Lanka to an imposing total

Part 2-India's Innings-Moments That Mattered

Lasith Malinga Initial Spell

The dreadlocked cult hero was truly stellar.In his first over getting Sehwag plumb LBW and then a few overs later getting Sachin caught behind.After the Sachin dismissal silenced the crowd.Most thought the Sri Lankan ribbons were going to be attached to the World Cup in victory

The Use Of Lasith Malinga

Of course there are plans that are adhered to the letter about the use of bowlers.Though I thought in regards to Malinga and how he was bowling.That if he had of been kept on with how he was bowling and indeed knocked over a few more Indian's.The result would have definitely gone in Sri Lanka's favour. Though this is pure speculation for the way Gambhir and Kohli played they might have seen him off.Plus in regards to Malinga,there are always questions about his knees,so a longish spell might not have been an option

The Impotence of The Other Sri Lankan Seamers

Both Nuwan Kulasekera and Thisara Perera were treated with disdain by the Indians.Going for 119 between them off 17 overs-OUCH!

The Sri Lankan Spinners Neutralised

The Sri Lanka spinners were indeed neat and tidy.Though crucially in this Final they only claimed one wicket between them.That of Virat Kohli to a freak of a caught and bowled by Tillikaratne Dilshan.The duo of off spinners in Randiv and Murali were economical,but not as effective as they were needed to be.For Sri Lanka to win.

Redemption #1-Gautam Gambhir

Im the hugest fan of Gambhir as a player based on his exploits in Tests and because I rarely watch Odi's.Though here in the World Cup he has let down my lofty reading of him.Especially in the crucial Semi against Pakistan where he virtually sacrificed his wicket with a brain fade. Though here after Sachin fell and all Indian's thought the worst.He was the one that steadied the ship and duly chartered his Team to victory He was the rock that the chase was built around and his innings was truly top shelf

Redemption #2-M.S.Dhoni

In this World Cup Dhoni although adored by all has been rubbish in all regards.... Though after the Final are we going to remember him for anything,but for his exploits in the Final? After Kohli went down he showed his leadership by demoting Yuvraj down the order and walking in at 5.All dues to you M.S.Dhoni! Then he not only walked in,but he played one of the most compelling innings seen in World Cup history. Belting 91 off 79 deliveries and sealing India victory. Greatness is seen when the stakes are at it's highest and the pressure at its most intense and for this fact.M.S.Dhoni sealed his greatness in the games history.....

Post Match Meaning #1-Sachin Tendulkar

Though their were many hearts that broke when Sachin was dismissed with the true Indian fans bemoaning his meaning to the Team.Then the zelots cursing that he won't score his 100'th hundred. This aside you can't deny the greatness of Tendulkar and his meaning to the game.... He is not only the holder of individual records that more likely than not will never be beaten,but from a purist sense.He is one of the proudest participants in this fine games history.Always staunchly upholding its traditions and ethics. For that he will always be lauded by purist like I Though it was compelling how sincere his team mates were in their embraces of him after the match.For they know his meaning to them and to India. Thus were so happy to cap his brilliant career with Team glory that he so deserved For to a man as proud as Sachin,individuals honours mean nothing.Its the Team honours he so craves and was duly given today

Post Match Meaning #2-Muttiah Muralidaran

Sadly as bigger an icon as Tendulkar is to India and the game.Muttiah Muralidaran replicates this meaning to Sri Lanka and the game. It was sad to see him go out a loser,though he will always be seen as one of the greatest winners in the game. Holder of the Test Wickets record that will probably never be challenged and the highlight of his career being the 1996 World Cup win

Post Match Meaning #3-Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj winning the player of the World Cup was very fitting considering his great performance throughout the Tournament

Mission Mumbai Failed.. Alpha is down, Alpha is down! abort the mission I repeat abort the mission! All men fall back

By Syed Fahd Ali

Finally, the Pakistan cricket team's journey of pursuing the dream of 180 million people is finally over and they are expected to reach home by later tonight after losing the semi final against India.The Dream is over, hearts are broken and the question in mind is: Are we still supposed to love cricket and the Pakistan team or not?

They took a shaky start in the World Cup in the match against Kenya. The most brittle batting order has suffered collapses many times. After Amir Sohail and Saeed Anwer, nobody has been able so far to open Pakistan's innings. So the opening stand has been under experimentation; Shahzad was a failure. "Plan B", Kamran and Hafeez, also opened but didn't work and also failed to give a STRONG stand except once in the ONE-SIDED match against the West Indies. All batsmen were also unable to score a century in this mega event.

Now, as Pakistan lost their semi final to arch-rivals India, their 5th defeat in World Cup against them has had a great impact on the hearts of Pakistan cricket lovers. In fact, I cried like someone is dead to me. I was too much upset last night thinking about the shameful defeat against India.

OH! no man! Why shame? Our team has reached a semi final after 12 years. Before the start of the tournament, nobody expected that Pakistan could be a strong competitor for the cup. Is that the same team who has been in controversies for many years, completely white washed against Australia in all 3 formats of game? And remember all that happened in England,with Pakistan losing the test, ODI and T20 series and the match-fixing scandal! Remember Pakistan lost the T20 and ODI series against South Africa though they did fight well. Oh yeah!

It is this same team in the semis while Australia, England and South Africa got sent back home. The only reason behind this is our love and support to our team, we never stopped supporting our team though they disappointed us many times and this time disappointment is extraordinary but we are never gonna stop bucking up for our team. Hats off team Pakistan and all the especially our beloved captain Shahid ALPHA Afridi for being such brave and promising captain in all circumstances and leading from the front in all situations.

Last but not the least I want to give thanks again to my love, the Bullet Rawalpindi Express for his great services to the Pakistan Cricket team. Mr. Unfit performed way better than 100% fit bowlers. We'll miss you so much and will never forget you.

Pakistan Zindabad!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Afridi:- Shoaib's timing was wrong

Critical of Shoaib Akhtar for announcing his retirement in the middle of the World Cup,Pakistan ODI captain Shahid Afridi on Friday claimed the pacer did not consult the team before making his decision public.

"His timing was not right and he should have properly consulted and spoken to us about his decision. He should have either announced his intention to retire before the start of the tournament or after it, it made no sense to announce his retirement in the middle of the World Cup," Afridi said on arrival after Pakistan's 29-run loss to India in the semifinals.

Akhtar announced his retirement from international cricket after the group match against New Zealand and was not given a game after that due to fitness issues.

Afridi also implored his countrymen to stop treating cricket matches with India as war and accept victory and defeat in a sporting manner.

"I don't understand why this hate aspect when we play India in cricket. Where is this feeling when we watch their movies and dramas in our living rooms and enjoy them? I don't think there is a need to treat matches with India like a matter of life and death. We need to take cricket as cricket," he told reporters.

Afridi said there was pressure on the players when they saw the build-up and hype to the match with India.

"Treat cricket like a sport," he stressed. The Pakistan skipper also advised senior players in the side to take a break and allow selectors to try new players on the forthcoming tour to the West Indies later this month.

"It is time for the selectors to look ahead and I think the coming tour is the best chance for them to give exposure to new players. Already we have uncovered good talent in Asad Shafiq and Wahab Riaz who played brilliantly in the semi final," he noted.

Afridi said he was satisfied with the way the team fought and supported him to reach the semifinals.

"Unfortunately the batting remained a problem in the tournament and our worst fears came true in the semifinal," he said.