Sunday, December 10, 2006

Cricket round-up

Haven't written much in a while, because there hasn't been much to write about. But the Indian cricket team's performance in recent times has been far too awesome for me to keep quiet anymore.

Like I have mentioned before, I derive great pleasure in watching the Indian cricketers flounder and stutter in big games, especially against teams that can be beaten with relative ease - West Indies for example. Blasphemous as it may sound, I am no patriot. And my happiness levels don't go up or down according to the Indian team's success or failure. Once upon a time, it did depend on Boris Becker's fortunes on the tennis courts. For a while on Gabriela Sabatini's as well. And yes, I spent an hour crying after Italy lost to Argentina in the 1990 football World Cup semi-final. And since becoming politically aware and rooting for the Latin Americans, I have felt iffy about going on with life after Brazil or Argentina have lost.

But now, things are changing. I find myself getting increasingly irritable with each good Indian performance, especially if it comes from someone like Irfan Pathan. Or Mahendra Singh Dhoni for that matter. A sudden sixer in a run-a-ball situation with India batting is cause for immense barked out instructions to the desk, for example.

For a long time now, though, the Indian cricket team has given me more happiness than anything else though. It started from Kuala Lumpur actually, because India's losses in the West Indies prior to KL were in the dead of the night, and I happily missed every single ball of the series. But KL was blissful. The Champions Trophy even more. And now, South Africa has been delirious.

These chaps can't play. Greg Chappell is no coach. He is actually a big Australian plot to mess up the only cricket team that might have threatened their domination in world cricket. Kicking out Sourav Ganguly was only the first step in that process. Messing up Virender Sehwag was another. And instating Rahul Dravid as the captain was the masterstroke. The ploy met with almost complete success. Except that I foresee a bit of a turnaround with the team going back to Ganguly and Laxman and Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble - men who Chappell tried his best to knockout. But that hasn't happened. Which makes me think that there's a chance of the Indians doing well in the World Cup.

But tell me this; if India does do well in the World Cup, but it's mainly because of Ganguly, Laxman, Zaheer and Kumble - maybe even Sehwag, should we still fete Chappell? Interesting.

Elsewhere though, things have really been happening with cricket - some really good things, though I have done precious little cricket-watching in a while.

Ricky Ponting reaching the stars, for example, is a happy, happy thing. At the rate he is going, Ponting is sure to end with some 45 Test centuries. He scores 10 every year, doesn't he? And how? Beautifully.

Brian Lara's occasional bursts have been delightful. And I am really looking forward to watching him at the World Cup. It's in the West Indies. Lara looks beautiful anyway - he looks even more beautiful in the Caribbean.

Mohammad Yousuf: Well...