• See no evil

    Each time a Pakistani cricketer announces his retirement, or gets banned by the PCB, I'm reminded of Yahoo columnist Anand Ramchandran's brilliant spoof on Mohammad Asif.

    Despite multiple doping offences, including being caught with a sachet of opium at the Dubai airport, the Pakistani seamer avoided severe sanctions by slipping through legal loopholes — till the spot-fixing scandal caught up with him.

    Anand's hilarious take was about Asif getting a "three-month life ban". But when you step back and scan all that has happened in Pakistan cricket recently, you might think Anand was writing on an actual event.

    So when the 24-year-old Pakistani wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider says he has retired from the game, it's hard not to react with disbelief.

    Sure, he'll be back. Sure, this is just the beginning of his story. And in the end, he'll make his comeback. Surely.

    ~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+~+

    However, reactions to Haider's decisions have been baffling. Sample Pakistan Sports Minister Ijaz

    Read More »from See no evil
  • An earlier blog post asking for Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara’s inclusion in the Test side has caught fire. The reader verdict is split: most of them want Gambhir or Dravid — or both — to stay in the side. Others have supported my view that they need to make way for younger, in-form players — at least for the New Zealand series.

    Here I’d like to clarify that the post was never a call for Dravid’s Test retirement — that is around the corner anyway. He’ll be 38 in January. And despite his illustrious record, I don’t see him making the sort of ascent Tendulkar has made late in his career.

    Here’s why.

    Dravid’s time is running out, especially with his indifferent form. Among the members of the 8000-run club, Sunil Gavaskar, Gary Sobers, Brian Lara and Mark Waugh were done by 37. Allan Border and Steve Waugh hung on till 38 and Viv Richards 39. Only three Englishmen — Geoff Boycott, Graham Gooch and Alec Stewart — managed to play into their 40s.

    Speaking of Gooch, in the week he turned

    Read More »from The Dravid Conundrum
  • Let this much be said first: it’s a miracle New Zealand came so close to winning in Ahmedabad with their weak bowling. India tend to reserve their worst performances for the beginning of a series, and unless New Zealand have new tricks up their sleeves, they could be hammered in Hyderabad and Nagpur.

    But before that, India badly need a batting order shake-up. Gautam Gambhir is in no form and Rahul Dravid’s hundred was hardly convincing. They’re still playing for their places in the side, and this will burden Sehwag, Tendulkar and Laxman, while unfairly keeping out Vijay and Pujara.

    That New Zealand could reduce the world No. 1 side to 15-5 before the first bowling change is truly remarkable — especially when they had just two Test-class bowlers. Chris Martin’s heroic new-ball spell argued that the Kiwis aren’t to be taken lightly. Unfortunately, the argument couldn’t be sustained.

    Harbhajan Singh, batting at No. 8, bettered his highest career score twice in one match. This tells you

    Read More »from Needed: A rethink of India’s batting line-up

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A Yahoo India blog that parks itself just beyond the boundary line, to observe, annotate and comment on happenings both on the field and off it.

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