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Posts Tagged ‘cb series

Weeding Monkeys

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Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla, Ishant Sharma, Rohit Sharma.

Names I had not even heard of before this Aussie summer. But names that should come up frequently if this recently concluded series is any indication.

And if people had told me back in January that this combination was going to win India its first ODI tournament in Australia in a gazillion years of trying, I’d have asked for a puff on the obnoxious weed they were smoking.

But it was the youthful energy of these guys along with the likes of Gambhir, Uthappa, Sreesanth, Dhoni etc., and the prescence of just one ‘senior’, the evergreen Sachin Tendulkar that lifted the CB Series trophy at the Gabba last Tuesday. And in the process they have also made me (and a few other bloggers) eat a humble piece of my own words.

But I hardly care, I will write down those words and eat the paper too; after a long, tumultuous summer, we gave it to the mighty Aussie – winning on the field and delivering a bitter taste of their own medicine off it. And that just warms the cockles of my heart.

Back in late January however, it had begun real badly – a total rout in the 20/20 at MCG. But then, slight flashes of brilliance in bowling and batting at the rain-soaked GABBA encounters, followed by a good win at the MCG, and then losses to Australia in games that could have been won, a trundling win against Sri Lanka, followed by an emphatic one. Still, it seemed we were consistently doing what we do best: being inconsistent.

And then something happened: Mathew Hayden, FSM’s gift to the foot-in-the-mouthers, came on a Brisbane radio show and graciously expressed his opinions on gardening, demonstrated his acute grasp of the Indian accent, and shared his pugilistic fantasies of beating up young kids. In the same breath, he also mentioned something like ‘Indians are always losing…..’.

The rest, as they say is history. After that interview, Australia promptly lost three in a row. Over the two finals, Harbhajan Singh, the bete noire of the Australian cricket team, public and particularly the media, took the wickets of Symonds twice, Hayden once and had a hand in the run-out in another.

Irony, divine justice, karma, call it what you will. And to top it all, Sachin Tendulkar, long castigated for never winning it for India ‘when it mattered’, joined the party and played two highly innovative innings.

All followed by wonderful celebrations; and especially, as I mentioned before, the wide eyed innocence of the small-town boy, Praveen Kumar, while accepting the MoM award. (the other great moment was in the first final at Sydney, where Yuvraj and Harbhajan started a bout of mock boxing after Hayden’s dismissal).

A special salute to Captain ‘Uber-Cool’ Dhoni.In situations where Dravid would have frowned deeply, Ganguly thrown fits, Dhoni calmly – with nary an expression on his face – handed the crucial last over to Pathan. It was a strange decision given Pathan was certainly the worst bowler on display through the day, but he repaid the confidence. Since being appointed 20/20 and ODI captain, it has been a good season for Dhoni. Most of his decisions regarding player selections, backing of youngsters (a point he did not forget to make during the presentation speech) paid off handsomely – they may not in future – but his unflappability under pressure has me impressed [1].

So once again, here is to the young lads in blue ! Cheers !

(Picture: Cricinfo)

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[1]: As if I required more reasons to like Dhoni, read about his departing words to the Aus media. Very cheeky 🙂

“There was a time when it seemed like he was like Michael Jackson, the way the media were following him,” Dhoni said before flying out of Australia with the Indian team.

“I think it would have been better if they (Australian media) stuck to cricket.

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Written by BongoP'o'ndit

March 5, 2008 at 6:06 pm

Yahooooooooooooooooooooo!

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We win the series. Who would have thunk ?

Possibly, the most touching moment:

Praveen Kumar is the Man of the Match for his four wickets and he looks a bit embarrassed, all beams he has to be taken on to the stage by his captain, Dhoni, a touching moment. He takes the cheque and runs back off the stage, grinning, still embarrassed.

UPDATE: 

Here is the video of the post-match ceremonies. The Praveen Kumar moment is about 1:40 into the video:

Here is another one:

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

March 4, 2008 at 7:42 am

Posted in Australia, Cricket

Tagged with , , ,

The Scratchy Itch…

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While the Sydney Morning Herald continues to embarrass itself by its near apoplectic harping on the ‘scartching’ non-issue (see the previous post), one of its writers, Greg Baum, cuts through the crap (via):

“There are a lot of young people sitting here, and it was inappropriate,” one spectator told The Age. “If he wants respect, he has to treat others with respect.” This spectator, who was so concerned about young people and so insistent on the need for respect, was sitting in a crowd that in chorus was calling Harbhajan a “wanker”.

Another spectator complained in the Herald Sun that Harbhajan spat in his direction, six or seven times. “Spitting is not on in my book,” he said. “That’s a bit out of line.” This spectator, who was so upset by Harbhajan’s demeanour, was wearing a fluorescent green T-shirt inscribed: “Monkey see … monkey do.” (link)

The clincher:

And the idea of a sporting crowd staking a claim to the high moral ground is absurd.

Make no mistake. Harbhajan has been here long enough, and seen and heard enough, to know better.

If he did make monkey gestures towards the crowd on Sunday, he knew what he was doing, and should be sent straight home and told to stay there

Well said !
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PS: At the same time, I find BCCI secretary Niranjan Shah’s retort “Let Australia come to us and see what the crowd might do.” in extremely bad taste. This is borderline hooliganism. But do we ever expect any sensible action from the BCCI ?

PS2: Inspiration for the title goes to Naked Cricket’s comment.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

March 3, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Dont scratch yourself….

with 9 comments

….err in the arm-pits. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the gesture is racist (apparently a monkey taunt) !!!!

Check for yourself and judge:

I won’t be defending Harbhajan if indeed he made monkey taunts, but if this is the picture that forms the basis of their accusation, it is a very weak one.

[Not justifying anything, but apparently the crowd was also having quite a go at him with shouts of ‘wanker’ (typically Australian) to ‘knob head’/’cut your hair’, a reference to his Sikh religion. Classy stuff.]

The Aussie press has really gone ballistics after their invicible team lost last night. Most of the reports keep focusing on meaningless stuff like how much the Indians celebrated e.g. how Yuvraj and Harbhajan cheekily started a mock shadow boxing round after Hayden was out (hilarious stuff IMO), rather than the game itself.

W hat a bunch of sore whiners.

Take this absurdity from Malcolm Comm whose list of Harbhajan’s past trangressions include:

Others included poking his tongue out in a one-day match against SriLanka and running most of the way to the boundary during the SydneyTest before doing several awkward rolls after dismissing Ricky Ponting

Now you cant stick your tongue out ?!! What about Brad Hogg then ?

And of course, Peter Lalor is at it again, this time raking up a bunch of pathetic excuses for Ricky Ponting’s slump in form.  I am too tired to fisk him, but Mohan at i3j3Cricket has done a pretty good job.

Written by BongoP'o'ndit

March 2, 2008 at 7:14 pm