Tag Archives: Twenty20 World cup

The Ewing Theory in Cricket

**This article has been cross-posted at The Big Tip**

Back in 1998 or thereabout, when ESPN, The worldwide leader in sports, was launching its website, it recruited sports writers and bloggers to enrich the website’s content. While doing so, it secured the services of a sports blogger Bill Simmons who called himself “The Boston Sports Guy“. Bill (or the sportsguy as he is known now) wrote and interpreted the sports scene in an overwhelmingly Boston sports fan point of view. I have been a big fan of his writing and to this day, still read his columns on ESPN.

He had many running features in his columns, such as “The Reggie Cleveland All Stars” (For athletes with black sounding names but are actually white), “Diane Lane All Stars” (For ladies who seem to get hotter as they get older, named for the Hollywood Actress Diane Lane), Tyson Zone (Nothing a person does, no matter how outrageous it is, does not surpise you!) etc. He also had a hypothesized many theories including the one he calls as, and my favorite, “The Ewing Theory“.

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Daylight Robbery

There is no other way to explain this. Pakistan seemingly had it in their grasp for 39 overs. Mike Hussey – not even at gun point – stole the whole darn thing from right under the nose of Pakistan. Personally, I was rooting for Pakistan for 2 reasons: 1) Let’s keep the cup in Asia 2) God, I hate the Aussies.

I feel for the Pakistani fans. They probably are the worst feeling lot, right about now. Cheer up fellas. You did a lot better than your much fancied neighbors. Pakistan team made itself and its people proud by this effort, despite the dysfunction that’s the Pakistan Cricket Board. Hold your chin up!

P.S. I had a whole blog post laid out about the exploits of this Pakistan team, but may have to alter it a bit 🙂

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What is wrong with South Africa?

South Africa came in to the T20 world cup as one of the contenders, in spite of all the baggage they have been carrying ever since their re-entry to world cricket in 1990-91. Some of their players featured in the recently concluded IPL 3 and seemed to be in form, including the rejuvenated Kallis at the top of the  order, Albie Morkel performing well for his franchise (Chennai) and their bowling ace Dale Steyn, hustling batsmen even on flat Indian pitches with his pace and deadly swing. They have always been one of the best fielding sides and with players like AB DeVilliers, Mark Boucher,  and with their skipper Graeme Smith coming back in to the fold, they surely did look set for a semifinal spot (at the least) and on their way to erasing years of futility in international events. And then, the tournament began.

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Coach calls for change in approach

After his team crashed out of the Twenty20 World cup tournament, a lot sooner than everybody thought, the national team’s coach from South Africa, wants a change in approach from his players:

“We won’t win the World Cup in 2011 if we continue like this. We’ll have to change our approach. We cannot keep repeating the same errors and not make changes.”

The team had players prepared for the Twenty20 world cup by playing in the IPL but even with that, they got knocked out early.  He said that “few hard calls” will have to be made to achieve the results that is expected of the team. He added:

“I don’t want to come down on individuals, but the time is right for change. We have to sit down and think about what is important to change and which players are the right ones to fit in with that change. If we need to make a few hard calls, it will be done.”

He tried to identify the cause of the problems and why his team may have failed to get to the semifinals.

“We again could not cope with the pressure. The question has to be asked why we could not manage it and why it happens repeatedly. Is it our approach to batting, is it our general approach, or are we maybe too tentative? Those are the questions you need to ask yourself. We never reached the kind of form that allowed us to charge. If we performed well in one area, we performed poorly in another. As a team we did not perform well in all three disciplines.”

“We need to find out exactly why they were so under par, and what can be done to improve the situation,”  Andrew Hudson, newly-appointed convenor of selectors,  was quoted as saying by the Sport 24 website.

Wait, Andrew what?? Oh.. All of the above were about South Africa and by their coach Van Zyl?. I thought for a second, since the cricket world revolves around India alone, the above statements were about India’s failures at the world cup. So, there was another top notch team that was expected to do well, didn’t? Who woulda thunk? 🙂

Courtesy: Cricinfo

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Anatomy of a chase

Sri Lanka just wrote the coaching manual on how to chase down a target on a tricky pitch. SL needed to get 144 runs (of the 164 they needed to win the match outright) to boot India out of the T20 World cup. The SL bowlers fought, clawed and yorked their way back into the game after India had scored a swift 90 odd runs in the first 10 overs of their inning and restricted them to just 163 off 20 overs, when a score in the neighborhood of 185+ loomed quite large.

After the initial reverses in the first two overs, the SL batsmen went about rebuilding the innings up. While the captain Sangakkara was digging in for the long haul, Dilshan found the perfect opportunity to get out of his rut to quickly score 30-odd runs which ensured the run rate did not fall too far behind. The scene of the one down batsman causing damage to India after the two dangerous openers have been gotten rid of, rather quickly and cheaply,  gave me the feeling of Deja Vu! Then came, the most crucial partnership of the match, which eventually gave a firm shove to India’s aspirations of sneaking in to the semis through the back door. Continue reading

Captain Crucifixion

India have been unceremoniously bounced out of yet another Twenty20 world cup and there is a lot of blame going around and most of it is gonna be at the feet of India’s captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Being the captain of Indian cricket team is one of the hardest jobs in sports, as the Indian media and fans deal only in extremes – in praise and in condemnation.The demands of the job have consumed some of the best players the game as seen, from Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar, and from Kapil Dev to Rahul Dravid. Now, MS Dhoni is getting a taste of it.

When Dhoni took over the captaincy of the Twenty20 team in 2007, because the senior players had made themselves unavailable, he led a team of mostly young, still fresh on the international scene players to a world cup win. Within a year of that victory, he had become the captain of the Indian team in all 3 formats of the game and has done a wonderful job of it. He has beaten Australia in a test series, in a ODI tournament (in Australia), drew a test series against South Africa and beaten the daylights out of a Sri Lanka team etc., and all this while being named the best ODI cricketer in the world. He has not let the burden of captaincy affect his form with the bat or the gloves, unlike say, Tendulkar. Continue reading