• It was an open World Cup five weeks ago. It is still an open World Cup going into the quarterfinals thanks to all the fancied teams making the grade. There is only a slight change in the scenario. India were the bookies' favourites on the eve of the competition; the favourites are now South Africa. But to be candid any one of about half a dozen teams has an almost equal chance of winning the cup. The days of one team dominating like the West Indies in the formative years of the World Cup of Australia in the first decade of the new millennium are over. Even during the preliminary stage the strengths and the weaknesses of the eight quarterfinalists were palpable. This has clearly been brought out by the fact that none of the eight teams could maintain an unbeaten record. Some lost one game, others two and the West Indies in fact went down in three before making the grade on better run rate.

     

    And so to the quarterfinals. The pairings are intriguing to say the least. The most entertaining

    Read More »from The Cup Is Still Open
  • Beating Australia, India style

    Over the past few days, there was an appreciable amount of
    anxiety as to who India would encounter in the quarterfinals of the World Cup,
    with all possible scenarios coming through, three opponents in question -
    Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. Now, it's formal - Australia at Ahmedabad
    on Thursday. Wellofcourse, it was important for the Indian lads to sign-off the
    preliminary group stages by seeing off the West Indies at Chennai, but somehow
    the rather disturbing takeaway from the game was it typified India's campaign
    in the tournament so far - unconvincing but mighty effective. Improvement from
    the previous excursions were scarce, with familiar deficiencies popping out
    time and again, which still is a sign of concern, given the nature of the
    format they await next - a knockout. Is Australia a good deal, some of you
    might ask? I say, a great bargain and a fantastic opportunity to assert their
    title credentials by knocking the defending champions out. And, going with the
    popular

    Read More »from Beating Australia, India style
  • You may want to, for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of Ashish Nehra and Sreesanth - In the 18 months before the World Cup began, Nehra was India's main strike bowler and rarely missed a game, due to injury or otherwise. Sreesanth, on the other hand, was the last-minute replacement for injured Praveen Kumar. While he wasn't in the Indian scheme of things for a while, he did impress one and sundry in the warm-up games.

     

    Strangely though, Nehra has so far bowled 13.4 overs in the World Cup and more unfortunately has been made a veritable pariah by the 1.2 billion Indians. And Sreesanth has featured in only 1 game, bowled 5 rather insipid overs and seemed to have done his bit in the World Cup campaign.

     

    The game against the West Indies at Chennai was the ideal and perhaps the last opportunity to give either of them another hit in the middle before the all important knock-outs. You may argue that winning the game convincingly against the men from the Caribbean was mandatory to build

    Read More »from The Curious case of Nehra and Sreesanth

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