Today morning I received an interesting mail from one of my colleagues. The subject of the mail read “IPL – This name doesn’t suit well.” The content of the mail goes like this.
Man of the Series: Shane Watson
Maximum Runs (Orange Cap): Shaun Marsh
Maximum Wickets (Purple Cap): Sohail Tanvir
Trophy Winning Captain: Shane Warne
Highest Sixes: Sanath Jayasuriya
Name of the Tournament: INDIAN PREMIER LEAGUE
What are the Indians doing? – A very valid question isn’t it?
Maybe if there is a prize for the highest paid cricketers, our men will top the list.
Indiaaaaaaaaaaaaa…..Indiaaaaaaaaaaaaaa….. lets cheer guys!
Rafa did it again! He won the French Open 2008 Men’s Singles title for the fourth consecutive year today at Roland Garros. The other player who has done this feat is Bjorn Borg and Bjorn has a total of 6 French Open titles. Nadal’s 2008 French Open campaign was outstanding, as he had won all the matches including the finals in straight sets. He outclassed the World No 1, Roger Federer, in the finals by winning in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, 6-0. Nadal allowed Federer to win only 4 games in the entire match and this speaks about the supremacy of the Spaniard on the clay court. Earlier, Federer was very confident of winning the title and said that he would defeat Nadal in the final encounter but all his hopes and dreams were completely washed away by Nadal.
The first edition of the IPL (Indian Premier League) T20 cricket tournament ended in a grand style. The title clash between the Rajasthan Royals and the Chennai Super Kings was a nail-biting finish. The Rajasthan Royals held their nerve and clinched the most expensive and coveted DLF IPL trophy, which was a well-deserved one for the true champions who performed brilliantly in all aspects of the game.
This victory can be attributed (if not 100%, at least 50%) to one person in the squad, Shane Warne, the coach and captain of Rajasthan Royals. The team, which was considered as underdogs at the beginning of the tournament, emerged as champions in the end. There were no Tendulkars, Gangulys, Pontings, Gilchrists, Dravids or Akhtars in the team; majority of the team consisted of local boys who outperformed the best and the most regarded players in the world. It was a great transformation and a tremendous job done by Shane Warne as a coach and captain. He proved that he is a great leader. He mingled with the players, communicated well, motivated them, helped them develop new skills and transformed very ordinary players into world-class players. They played as a unit, had a concrete goal in their mind, set aside personal interests and differences and gave everything they had to offer. Hats off Shane!
The ugly incident that took place in the ongoing DLF IPL 20-20 tournament has tarnished the image of Indian Cricket and Indian Cricketers worldwide. The Harbhajan-Sreesanth slapping case has brought disgrace to BCCI as well as India. Despite Harbhajan’s controversies in the past, the whole nation backed him during the recent Australian tour in which he was involved in a racial abuse case with Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds and luckily he had a narrow escape at that time with lack of concrete evidence. But now, he was caught red handed and the question arises about the integrity of Harbhajan and also as to what really happened in Australia. The rush of blood had made him forget that he was representing a country of more than 1.2 billion people and that the whole world is watching each and every move. It is very disappointing for the fans like me, and Harbhajan has now lost the respect, reputation and huge money. Nobody is born as a professional and everybody has to learn and unlearn certain things to transform into one. Harbhajan failed to do that or rather failed to realize that. Though Harbhajan is found guilty, I feel the 11-match ban is very harsh and adding to that he also has another inquiry by the BCCI, which will make things even worse. The Reliance Group, owner of Mumbai Indians, has strongly reacted to this incident and they have even removed hoardings featuring Harbhajan. My feeling is that Harbhajan would never play for Mumbai Indians again.
Pakistani speedster Shoaib Akhtar, the Rawalpindi Express as he is popularly called, has been banned for five years by the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) for his alleged criticism of the Pakistan Cricket Board. His career as a cricketer has been studded with more controversies and injuries than accomplishments. In the recent times, he was seen more often in the disciplinary committees rather than the cricket field. Despite having lots of talent, his volatile temperament has played spoilsport in his cricketing career. Although Shoaib has said that he would go for an appeal, things would be very difficult for him in the coming days and the slight ray of hope that he would return to international cricket is slowly fading away….
Sachin Tendulkar reached another milestone of crossing 16000 runs in limited overs cricket, the first player in the history of the game. This feat was achieved in today’s match against Srilanka at the Gabba. Sachin now has 16007 runs in 409 matches with an average of 44.22 with 41 hundreds and 87 fifties at a strike rate of 85.42. He remains unchallenged as nobody could ever break this mammoth record. The prime reason for this is that Sachin still loves the game very much even after playing 19 years of competitive international cricket. His journey as a cricketer has not been a bed of roses. He has had failures, rough patches, had been in pressurized situations, injuries, accusations and what not… He has overcome all these things time and again with a lot of courage and confidence, and now has emerged victorious. A great lesson that we need to learn from Sachin is that if we have a passion for something, be it a game, academics, profession, dream, ambition or whatever it may be, we can definitely overcome all the hurdles and be a winner. Sachin is one of the greatest cricketers the game has ever had. No wonder why the great Don Bradman admired the Little Master.
Does Mahendra Singh Dhoni exhibit his power and arrogance only in TV commercials and ads? Is the recent T20 performance a manifestation of arrogance or complacency? A very very poor performance by the “young” Indian cricket team, the team that is termed as the “Future of Indian Cricket.” All the batsmen crumbled like ninepins and there was lack of sheer common sense in terms of shot selection and sticking to the basics. Playing in Australia is not an easy joke. If the selectors were very keen to build a team for the future then why did they operate the test series with the big boys? They could have very well played their young side. BCCI has very well complimented players like Sourav, Dravid and Laxman for their contributions to Indian Cricket. The exclusion of senior players will definitely make a huge difference in the upcoming ODI series that starts tomorrow. Dhoni & Co. will have a tough time during the ODI series because if they could not play the full 20 overs what would be the outcome in 50-over matches. No idea as what the young and energetic Dhoni & Co would do with bowling and fielding skills if they do not have enough runs on the board!
Pakistan cricket captain is into a new controversy, this one off cricket. Yes, this is truly personal that has been brought into broad daylight. Shoaib met with an Indian girl Ayesha in May 2000 at a Dubai restaurant and from then on, the two had fallen into love. Two years later on May 2, 2002, the two got married over phone (which Islamic Shariah law permits) with witnesses on both sides. When Pakistan toured India in 2005, Shoaib met his Indian wife along with his team members at her residence in Hyderabad and had a good feast. Both the parents had agreed and said that the couple would live together after a formal ceremony. But now the girl Ayesha has accused Shoaib of not letting her divorce him. The cricketer’s reply for this allegation is “No nikkah (marriage) took place between me and Ayesha”. Smart reply isn’t it. What is Shoaib trying to do by denying the fact that he married Ayesha over the phone in the presence of witnesses, which was apparently reported in all news media. Is he trying to cheat Ayesha or is he violating Islamic laws? No third umpire, no Hawkeye – your conscience is the umpire captain!
A fortnight of scintillating tennis action came to an end today with both predictable and unpredictable finishes. Top seeded players, both men and women, crashed out of the tournament. The Williams, Henins, Jankovics and Dementievas were out of the tournament and finally Maria Sharapova, the number 5 seed Russian clinched the Women’s Singles title, the Australian Open, for the first time playing the best tennis in her career.
In the men’s section, there were a lot of predictions but all those predictions were proved wrong. Two fantastic matches I watched was the marathon match between Roger Federer, the world No 1 and Janko Tipsarevic, the player from Serbia. It was a five-setter and absolute thriller. Tipsarevic rattled the World No 1 right from the word go by winning the first set 7-6 in a tiebreaker. All the five sets were nail-biting finishes except the fourth one, which went in favor of Roger Federer. It looked like Federer would lose the match at one stage, the fact which Federer himself admitted in a post-match interview after winning the match. It was nearly five hours of tennis packed with a flurry of aces, winners, unforced errors, break points and excellent serves and returns. Though it was a third round match, it looked like a title clash. Another exciting match was the match between Marcos Baghdatis and Lleyton Hewitt. This was another third round five-setter. Marcos won the first set and he was all set to finish off Hewitt by his incredible tennis but unfortunately he got injured during the second set and from there he lost the momentum. Despite his injury Marcos played like a champion and he never made things easy for the Australian. Marcos fought with all courage and energy for more than four hours and finally he lost. All through the match Marcos kept his cool and played smiling unlike his opponent who was exhibiting the so-called “Australian Aggression” (only exhibited when the opponent is weak/injured) but Marcos could not control himself when he left the court with tears. I expected a Federer-Nadal title clash but it was Djokovic-Tsonga final and Djokovic finally became the 2008 Australian Open Men’s Champion.