Friday, October 28, 2005

The New Reign

The Dravid Reign is just 2 matches old. And i know its TOO early to say anything, but still i firmly believe that to declare Dravid as captain for 2 whole series in advance is a step in right direction. Atleast the guy will have some confidence, some breathing space so that now he can concentrate on making strategies for the series in hand unless otherwise where Ganguly's return would always have been on his mind ! The team for the rest of the ODIs is yet to be decided and Ganguly's return to the team or rather Ganguly's future completely depends upon today's meeting. Now leaving Ganguly aside for now and talking about the new reign.

In the 2 matches played India has completely outplayed SriLanka, yes people might say that it's there home game and all, but i can't remember when did india dominated SL after Jayasuriya burst onto the scene. Whatever might be the reason in last 2 matches there seems to be a newly found self-belief. Some amazing performances from Sachin, Pathan, Dravid and Harbhajan led india to win in the first match and then again in 2nd match Pathan and Sachin took india to another easy victory.

First biggest plus point i
see in these 2 matches is the new look Sachin, for past few years he has just been ambling along for his runs, with most of his attacking shots being pushed onto the backseat. But in these 2 matches he has danced down the track repeatedly to spinners (including Murali), much to my (and others) delight. Seems like the good ol' Sachin is back amongst us, yes again its too early to draw an conclusion but well the good signs are here for all of us :) He is just back from the surgery and a long lay-off, maybe he would have realised in this break that he doesnt have enough cricket left in him, maybe just 1 or 2 years (with all these injuries just round the corner), so i guess he has realised that he now should play his own natural game and just go out there and ENJOY !! And if he can really go out on the field just to Enjoy, then i am very much sure india are going to see some more of these scintillating innings from the little-master. He has got all the fame/records/ and everything what anyother cricketer can only dream off, so i dont think there's much left for him to achieve (except for a World Cup win maybe), so he can really go out an ENJOY himself. This would not only be beneficial for him but also for the team. Also Indian team now has atleast few people who can play the big anchor role notably Dravid and Kaif.

The other big plus point of these 2 matches has been Irfan Pathan, the way he batted in the first game and then his new ball spell in 2nd match has just turned the game for indian team. I firmly believe Chappell and Dravid together can bring this consistency in him, and he can really be a great asset to the team in the near future, with the World Cup just round the corner.

The other big plus to me has been the bowling of Harbhajan Singh, i dont remember Harbhajan bowling too many crucial spells apart from series against Aus in '01. Few good spells here and there were all he did. But in these 2 matches he has looked pretty good, especially in first match when he picked up wickets when the dangerous Jayasuriya and Sangakkara were going berserk.

Dravid himself led the team from front in the first match..with a breathtaking 85 notout off just 63 balls. And has made some good decisions while fielding (ya ya i know when someone's winning all decisions looks great). But the best thing i liked about Dravid in these matches was his post-match statement - his humbleness. He simply said that its just one match, this was a match where almost everything when perfect and which is rare and we have to concentrate on future matches. And his best reply was when he was asked "If Irfan pathan is next Andrew Flintoff ?", he answered "Well he's just a bowler who can bat a BIT". That's a perfect reply to keep a person down-to-earth, especially with media like ours around who can simply put anyone on cloud 9 after just 1 good performance. Infact Irfan himself has been through this.

Anyway enough for now.

Just as i finish this off i see the news that GANGULY HAS NOT BEEN INCLUDED IN THE TEAM !!

Hurray...for a change THUMBS UP TO INDIAN SELECTORS...

with this positive mood i head to see Catherine..ooops i mean "The Legend of Zorro"


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Chelsea Rocks !!

Writing after quite a long gap. Have been a bit busy with new office plus have been more than a bit lazy to write down something :). Anyway now i am writing down something !

Last night i watched the champions Chelsea playing Bolton Wanderers at home. And after just 4 minutes they found themselves in an unusual territory of being a goal down ! That was just their 3rd goal coneceded in 8 matches. They kept fighting n fighting but the half time scoreline somehow remained 0-1 though they were always threatening to come on level terms. Then after half-time their mastermind coach Jose Mourinho played a big gamble as he substitued a defender for a striker !! It wasn't a do-or-die situation for them, and they were down by only 1 goal...but this move literally showed Chelsea's intent and what they were after in the coming half. What followed in the 2nd half was a COMPLETE RIOT ! They literally run riot in the 2nd half. After few chances to Drogba to start off. They got a free-kick around 30 yards out. In Frank Lampard they have got a man who is at the top of the world, filled with complete confidence in whatever he does, scoring goals at will for both Chelsea and England and literally pulling both of them to top. And once again he produced a superb free-kick which Bolton keeper could only parry out in front of Drogba, who smashed it home for the equaliser in the 52nd minute. They had couple of more chances to take the lead before in the 55th minute Drogba passed to Lampard in front of goal, who blasted the ball into the net for the Chelsea lead, few more chances missed then in 59th minute Bolton were down to 10 men for a deliberate hand ball just outside the penalty area. Frank Lampard again rose to the occasion to fire home his 2nd and 3rd Chelsea goal from a superbly taken free-kick.

We were less than just 15 minutes into the half and Mourinho's gamble has paid off in a big way so he substitued a striker Joe Cole for a defender. Two minutes later the mayhem was completed when Drogba fired the 4th Chelsea goal from the Lampard corner. Gudjohnsen completed the riot with a 5th in the 74th minute.

But literally in space of 9 minutes of complete mayhem Chelsea have shown the whole of England that THEY ARE THE CHAMPIONS. It was their 9th win of 9 matches with just 3 goals conceded. Currently Chelsea have the same aura around them as the Man United of past used to have, scoring goals at will. Mourinho has a strength of around 15-20 all high class players, so he can easily switch between them for the big results, which all other league sides lack. In Lampard they have a real influential player who currently is doing the same job for Chelsea and England, what Gerrard is used to doing for Liverpool. Its just 9 matches into the season and they have opened up an 8 points gap at the top. I tell you, the league title is dead and buried, Chelsea are not going to slip up. Apart from Lampard, players like Joe Cole, Drogba (in super form after a dismal last season), Robben, Makelele, Duff.....they have some truly world class players. They have had all kinds of victories this season starting from a scrappy 93rd minute goal against the promoted Wigan Athletic in their first league game to 4-0 thrashing of second placed Charlton, to 4-1 thrashing of Liverpool at Anfield to this 5-1
riot of Bolton after being down by a goal at half-time. Time and again they have proved they are the champions by coming out on top through all kinds of situations.

On the other front Man Utd had a good 3-1 win over Sunderland, but this was a diff kind of Utd win. Normally for last 2 seasons you would see Man Utd dominating most of the match and then missing chances, just to get a draw, hard-fought victory or even lose sometimes. But this time it was totally opposite, they were behind all the time against Sunderland. But just a few moments of brilliance- first from the unstoppable Wayne Rooney in first half, then from Nistelrooy in 2nd half, then when the score was 2-1 Van der Sar produced a great save to keep the score 2-1, which was increased to 3-1 by the debutant 18yr old striker Rossi. And these 3 goals were almost the no. of chances Man Utd created in the whole match !

A completely different kind of victory but neverthless a much needed win for Utd. I guess Man Utd and Chelsea have switched positions in last 2 seasons. Man Utd are the one following and scrapping to victories, while Chelsea are leading and blasting opponents to win matches !

Onto some other big stories..
1. Fernando Alonso takes Renault to the world constructor's championship with his 7th win of the season and sings "WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS" :))))
2. Ronaldo scored a hattrick to give Real a victory, while a Ronaldinho double could just earn Barca a draw :( Barca defense is really struggling this season.
3. Aussies more or less on course for a victory over World XI with around 325 more runs needed with just 8 world XI wkts in hand. Warney n Macgill due to create a mayhem on 4th and 5th day :) But i believe they still need to change something for future like Hussey in for Katich !!

That's it from today sports round up :)))