Why Indian pitches are indeed poor and why we should stop celebrating these pre-prepared “victories”

I had high hopes that Kohli would lead Team India to new highs in test cricket, but it looks like our test cricket is going to sink even low after the losses that we suffered under Dhoni’s leadership. The pitches that were prepared for the matches with South Africa are poor and there should be no question about it. But yet we still are seeing people like Kohli, Ashwin and Ravin Shastri defending them along with “patriotic” Indian fans. The reasoning is: “12 wickets fell on the same day in Adelaide and that is a good pitch and our pitches are bad?” Kohli himself has stated that teams get out cheaply when batting in South African pitches and how come such pitches are not criticized.

Please understand people, the Indian pitches are not being criticized for the fall of quick wickets. Doesn’t Kohli understand this? Or is he acting that he doesn’t get this? Let me explain.

People argue that teams like Australia and South Africa prepare pitches that suits their fast bowlers and what is wrong in India preparing pitches that suits our spinners. It is wrong. It is wrong because:

1. We will never produce quality fast bowlers with these kind of pitches

2. We will continue to lose test matches overseas

3. Test cricket is boring when spinners bowl for longer periods of time. Fast bowlers are the MAIN bowlers and spinners are supplementary. Why can’t you people understand this? One of the main points of attraction in Test cricket is when we see fast bowlers swing, seam and bowl at a fast pace. IT IS BORING to watch spinners bowl for long periods of time. There I said it. You may not agree, but then, do you really sit and watch Test cricket?

You can ignore my third point as it is subjective. But what about my first and second points? This is exactly why preparing spin-friendly tracks are such a bad idea. Doesn’t people like Kohli and Ravi Shastri understand this? I bet they do, but they just want to win matches to keep their positions. Cricket is not just about winning, there is so much beauty in it and these idiots are destroying it. Let us not support this madness.

Thought for the day: Let’s always make decisions based on what is right. Let us not cloud our judgment and logic by favouritism or by being “patriotic”.

Dhyan Chand vs Sachin Tendulkar – Revisiting the Bharat Ratna debate

    Okay, this is now an old topic. But being a Sachin fan I never really talked about it and I wanted to make my stance clear on this. I am not the mouthpiece of the legions of fans that the Little Master has, but I am pretty sure each and every one of his fan would agree to what I have to say.

As per the eligibility criteria, for conferring someone with a Bharath Ratna, that person should have excelled in one of these fields: arts, literature, science, or public service. This disqualifies Dhyan Chand straight away. But then, for every rule there is an exception and in this case Sachin Tendulkar was the exception. The Government of India changed this rule especially for Tendulkar.

So this means, the real question now is why wasn’t Dhyan Chand the exception?

How many of us have heard this name Dhyan Chand? Oh, the real question to my fellow Indians is: How many of us understand hockey? Most of us follow just one sport and that is cricket. I came to know about Dhyan Chand just about four or five years ago. The guy played during the 1930s and 1940s — the same time as Sir Don Bradman and many of us, cricket fans, do not understand the Don. Even some of the cricket greats, when asked to compare Bradman and Sachin, have said that they never saw the Don play and so Sachin is the best. In other words, it means that they don’t know much about Sir Don Bradman.

When this is the reality, I was amused when I heard people say that Dhyan Chand should be given the award and that Sachin did not deserve it. This is pure prejudice and hatred. If you really wanted the award to be bestowed upon Chand first, then you should have fought for it much earlier.  What were you doing all these years? You should have run a campaign, at least a Twitter campaign if you’re not the activist type. Did you do that?  If you had not fought for Dhyan Chand long before Sachin’s name was proposed, then you have no right to pull in Sachin’s name now. Get your 15 seconds of fame else where.

Let me make this clear. If a person called Sachin Tendulkar had not existed, then Dhyan Chand would have had no way of getting this award. It is because of Sachin, that this sports person rule has been broken. What the hockey great was unable to do (breaking this rule), the cricketing great was able to. Now there is a way for Dhyan Chand to get this award.  This is true because even those people who supported for Chand getting the award, voiced their concern (whether genuine or not) only after Sachin’s name proposal.  Do I have to say anything else? The case is closed.

After thoughts:

There is no point in arguing about Sachin Tendulkar’s credibility and greatness. These are things that have been already established. A simple Google search would tell you why. Oh, you’re not going to do that, so let me help you.

“I haven’t seen a better batsman than Sachin Tendulkar.” – Sir Vivian Richards

“Sachin Tendulkar is, in my time, the best player without doubt.” – Sharne Warne

“Sachin is a genius, I am a mere mortal.” – Brian Lara

“I saw him playing on television and was struck by his technique, so I asked my wife to come look at him. Now I never saw myself play, but I felt that this player is playing with a style similar to mine, and she looked at him on Television and said yes, there is a similarity between the two…his compactness, technique, stroke production… it all seemed to gel!” – Sir Don Bradman

In addition to this, it is said that Sir Don Bradman, in his last five years, never missed a single innings of Sachin’s.  (Source: http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/story/96323.html)

Look at all these statements by these great players. Why would they say these things if he is not great? Most importantly, why should we believe the words of Sachin’s critics, who are mostly people who have achieved very little in life, versus the words of those cricket greats?

Oh, I hear you! Are you asking what he has done for the public? Use your brain. That is the Public Service field. He wasn’t awarded for that. He was awarded for excelling in the Sports field.  You guys just want to find faults with him, don’t you?

The Day My World Stood Still

Today, the 16th of November 2013, is a very significant day in my life that I will never forget. It is the day I saw my Master Sachin Tendulkar walking off from the cricket ground one last time. He was emotional and so was I. Actually, I cried out uncontrollably.

This particular week was an emotional roller coaster for me. I cried, laughed, glared at people angrily, said ‘It’s not at all a problem’ when in reality I fumed inside, shot back coldly at one of my managers which I’ve never done before… It was crazy. I was a winner and a loser all at once. But not everything had to do with Sachin. He was there in my mind all along, more stronger this week as he was about to retire, but some of these highs and lows had to do with some personal reasons that I would rather not state. Or maybe Sachin was also a reason. I don’t know. Most of the days I felt lifeless and went through the motions like a zombie.

2013 started on a high for me and it did go well until a few things happened. I have noticed that in the past three months, things are not going well for me. I know that I am a bit low on morale, and during times like these I usually try to concentrate on a few things that would keep me going. One of them was cricket. Now that has come to an end. I had the habit of getting the Indian team’s schedule in advance from a Cricket  site and think about the team and strategies and how much runs Sachin should score, the day when Sachin and Arjun would play together, and so on….

I’ve always been frustrated by the fact of how monotonous and pointless our lives are (except for the few lucky ones, of course), but I usually come out of it by concentrating on other stuff. But that feeling of pointlessness, or blankness, a huge void, or can I say loneliness, is back again now. I do not know what to do.

Sachin Tendulkar was the one constant in my life. He was always there from as long as I could remember. He was the sun around which my world revolved around.  I know it sounds dramatic, but that’s how it was. Now imagine this – the sun has disappeared all of a sudden, there is darkness all around. The planets slowly stop revolving and rotating, confused that their sun has gone. I am now confused more than ever.

For the first time, I am in the same boat with Sachin. We both do not know where to go from here. Actually I’ve been in this boat for a long time, it’s Sachin who has boarded it now. But his destiny is Greatness and he will be leaving this boat shortly. In his farewell speech today, Sachin promised his children that he will attend their birthdays, annual days, sports days and other important events that he had failed to attend so far. But, I for one, do not think that he is destined to live a quiet life with his family. I know what makes a person a great, and a poor man into a multimillionaire. I call it ‘The Drive’. One is either born with it, or one acquires it at a very young age.  The Drive will not let you sleep once you acquire it. You will both love and hate it. It will push you harder and harder. The greatness and glory one achieves it depends on how big this Drive is. I’ve heard people say, ‘why does Bill Gates still work so hard after all the money he’s made?  Why does that actor needs to join the politics? Or what does he know about politics to become a politician? Why doesn’t Sachin Tendulkar retire?’ Ordinary people settle down with the answer ‘greediness’ or ‘selfishness.’ No. It is The Drive. It will not allow one to settle down quietly. The commoners do not understand this. The Drive will eat you from the inside if you don’t fulfill it’s wishes, and Sachin Tendulkar has a very powerful Drive within him. For now, he has satisfied it. But not for long. The Drive will drive him again.

The problem with me is I am a guy who always looks into the future. What’s the future? No one knows. The future is always dark because no one knows what it holds and the right way to live is to live in the present. But am I doing that? No. I have one leg in my past and I try to place the next in my future – just like how I tried to cross the streams at Chikmagalur and got washed away for a moment. And so I rely on certain things to hold me straight. Certain things like Sachin Tendulkar.

After India’s victory today, Sachin spoke like never before. He spoke truly from his heart and it was so touching. It was a landmark moment in my life and in the collective consciousness of our entire nation. I am glad and thankful that I watched each and every run that Sachin made to get to that 74 he scored in this final match.

Sachin’s emotional farewell Speech at Wankhade Stadium

In the post match presentation ceremony, after all the formalities were completed, Ravi Shastri, our ‘Man at the Match’,  calls Sachin.
“And I call upon Sachin Tendulkar!” Deafening roar greets Sachin as he walks towards Shastri and gets the mike from him.
Ravi Shastri: “The mike is all yours” (walks away completely from the frame leaving Sachin to take centre stage).
Sachin waits for a moment for the crowd to settle down as it’s too loud. Tries to speak but gets emotional. The crowd gets even louder at this.
“Friends please settle down, I’ll get more emotional!”
But the crowd goes on. Sachin waits a few seconds, but starts talking loudly.
“It’s hard to believe my wonderful journey is coming to an end.”  The crowd starts to quiet down.
“I’ve a list of names to thank. The first is my father, who passed away in 1999. Without his guidance I wouldn’t be standing in front of you. he said ‘chase your dreams, don’t give up, the path will be difficult.’ I miss him today. My mom, I don’t know how she managed a naughty child like me. She just prayed and prayed from the day I started playing the game. For four years I stayed with my uncle and aunt when in school, they treated me like their own son. My eldest brother Nitin doesn’t like to talk ,much but he said, whatever you do, I know you will give 100%. My first cricket bat was presented to me by my sister Savita. She still continues to fast while I bat. Ajit my brother – We have lived this dream together, he sacrificed his career for me, he took me to Achrekar sir first. Even last night he called me to discuss my dismissal. Even when I’m not playing we will still be discussing technique. If that hadn’t happened, I would have been a lesser cricketer.
The most beautiful thing happened to me when I met Anjali in 1990. I know that being a doctor there was a big career in front of her. But she decides that I should continue playing and she took care of the children. Thanks for bearing with me for all the nonsense I’ve said (Anjali wipes tears). Then the two precious diamonds of my life Sara and Arjun. I’ve missed out on several birthdays, holidays. I know for 14-16 years I’ve not spent enough time with you. But I promise you I will spend the next 16 or even more.
My inlaws – I’ve discussed several things with them. The most important thing they did was allow me to marry Anjali. In the last 24 years my friends have made terrific contributions. They have been with me while I was stressed. They have been with me even at 3am when I was injured. Thanks for being there for me.
My career started when I was 11. I was extremely delighted to see Achrekar sir in the stands. I used to ride on his scooter and play two matches a day. Sir took me along to make sure I played. On a lighter note, Sir never said ‘well played’ because he didn’t want me to be complacent. You can push your luck now, Sir, since I’m not playing cricket anymore.
I started my career here in Mumbai. I remember landing from NZ at 4am and playing a Ranji game the next day. The BCCI was fantastic from my debut. Thanks to the selectors. You were right with me making sure my treatment was taken care of.
Thanks to all the senior cricketers who have played with me. We see on the screen Rahul, VVS, Sourav, Anil who is not here. All the coaches. I know when MS presented the 200th Test cap, I had a message to the team – I said we are all so proud to be representing the nation. I hope to continue to serve the nation with dignity. I have full faith that you will serve the country in the right spirit.
I will be failing in my duty if I didn’t thank the doctors who have kept me fit. Given the injuries I have suffered. They have treated me in odd hours.
My dear friend the late Mark Mascarenhas. I miss him. My current management team WSG, for continuing what Mark has done. Someone who has worked closely with me for 14 years is my friend Vinod Nayudu.
The media has backed me a lot, since my school days. Even today. Thank you. Thanks to the photographers for capturing those moments.
I know my speech has become long. I want to thank people who have flown in from different parts of the world. I want to thank my fans from the bottom of my heart. “Sachin, Sachin” will reverberate in my ears till I stop breathing.”
At this point, the people start to chant the familiar “Sachin, Sachin” tune in a high pitched ecstatic tone.
sachin, 200th test
sachin, 200th test

MS Dhoni fears for the future of ODI cricket

dhoni timeout

 “Yes, Of course” we all know that Dhoni can talk a lot, but this time he’s 100% accurate on something — the future of One Day Cricket.

Something doesn’t seem to be right in this ODI series between India and Australia. Three huge totals in three matches and all three were chased down successfully — two matches were won by India and one by Australia in this fashion. When was the last time something of this gargantuan proportions happened?  The chances of successfully chasing a 350+ score is something very remote. But, such a huge total has been chased not once but twice this series. Let me put it this way: 350+ scores have been posted four times in two matches! Four times!

“The bowlers actually feel it will be better off to put a bowling machine there”

I am not trying to take away anything from Virat Kohli or the other batsmen who did this. The batting was really great, super, fantastic and other superlatives, but something is definitely not quite right here. Are the bowlers of both the teams such weaklings? I don’t think so.

Key Points stated by Dhoni:

  • “I think it’s something we need to think about,” Dhoni said when asked about the frequency of the high chases. “Is 350 the new 280, 290 or 300? With the new bowlers they are mostly getting smashed.”
  • “Even the fast bowlers are bowling with their third man up and fine leg up. I’m not sure where it’s going but if we are chasing like this it is not going to be good for the long-term health of the game. Only seeing boundaries and sixes for seven hours?”
  • “The bowlers actually feel it will be better off to put a bowling machine there. I honestly don’t know what is a good performance now by a bowler. Ten overs, 80 [runs] is a bad performance or 10 overs 60 is a bad performance or 10 overs 100 is a bad performance?”

Geroge Bailey, his Australian counterpart voiced similar concerns.

“The game has changed a little bit. The four (fielders) out is really challenging. You almost have to give up one side of the field. We’re seeing some of the best fast bowlers in the world having to bowl with a short fine leg. It makes it hard. I’m not sure if it’s something they adapt to.”

The ICC should definitely take note. The new fielding restrictions and new ball rules are affecting the bowlers immensely and India’s pathetic flat pitches aren’t helping either.

The Sachin Vs Lara comparison – How quickly people forget things

The Sachin Vs Lara comparison – How quickly people forget things

Sachin haters always point out a few baseless accusations when they decide to bash Sachin. One of them is that Lara/Ponting/Dravid is greater than him. We’ve all been hearing this for a long time, but if people correctly remember, this comparison stopped* during a particular period. It was during what I call Sachin’s rebirth, or his second golden era – 2007 to 2011. During this period Sachin was going great guns and no critic dared to open his mouth. Why didn’t I hear any criticism during that time? Because it was obvious that Sachin was greater. People would have laughed at such criticism during that time –

  • The time when Sachin scored four centuries in four Test matches
  • The time when Sachin scored a ton to lead us to victory in the final match against Australia IN Australia (CB series).
  • The time when Sachin scored two centuries and two half centuries in four Test matches in Australia (60s, 153, 70s, 154*) when the rest of the team barring Dravid and Laxman failed (I am talking about you Dhoni, and Yuvraj. Dhoni didn’t score a single fifty in 8 innings. Yuvraj was dropped in the middle of the series, but Dhoni continued to play as we didn’t have a reserve wicket keeper- India played under Kumble’s captaincy, not Dhoni’s).
  • The time when he scored a magnificent 175 chasing Australia’s 350 (again when the rest failed)
  • The time when Daniel Vettori said that it’s difficult to stop Sachin these day’s as he’s scoring a century at an average of 1 in 3 Test matches.
  • The time when he was the highest run scorer for India and second-highest in the whole series – World Cup 2011.

Where did Lara and Ponting go during this time?

But now both are back because Sachin hasn’t played well during the past two years. So what happened to all the stuff that Sachin did? Gone? Critics love to forget and hide things. Example – They say: ‘Sachin hasn’t scored a Test century since India’s tour of South Africa in 2011’. But the real question is, how many Test matches did India play after that tour and didn’t Sachin score anything at all after that 2011 tour? He did. He scored a lot of half centuries and missed a century on 3 occasions. But why talk about it, just make it sound like he’s been getting out on single digits. Also, how did the rest of the Indian batsmen fare compared to him? Nope. No answers to these questions, but just bluntly criticize him.

If you weren’t able to compare Sachin and Lara during 2007-2011, how are you able to do it now? Lara is not playing now, is he? Then how now?

As I stated above, critics love to hide facts when they criticize Sachin. That was a great example. Let me give you another one. Sachin’s tons in Test matches have resulted in victories only in 20 occasions. This is actually something which I read in a leading Newspaper’s website. I read the entire article and it was clear that the article was written to only bash Sachin without stating the real facts. Facts such as –

  • There is another kind of a result in Test cricket called ‘Draw’. Sachin has saved so many matches by drawing them, but no mention of such matches. See, now do you understand what I mean? They conveniently don’t mention Drawn results and make it sound like India lost when he scored the remainder of those tons. And why did those matches were drawn? Because our bowlers didn’t do enough to get the opposition out.
  • The India Cricket team has been playing Test cricket from the 1930s. In all the matches played, the number of matches that we have Drawn and Lost are greater than the matches that we have Won. This is true even in the last 30 years. So how do you expect a single man’s record book to hold more number of victories than Drawn and Lost matches? Isn’t he part of the same Indian team? In Test cricket, it is imperative to have a good bowling attack to win, and India historically always had/has a mediocre bowling unit. In T20 and One day you can manage with mediocre bowlers, but not in Test matches.
  • Ricky Ponting has more match winning Tons – oh yeah? That’s only because he was part of a very strong team with a very powerful bowling line-up.

*I look for the name “Sachin” in the sports column of all leading Newspapers everyday, so I am aware of everything that has been said about Sachin.

If you have any more doubts as to who the greater batsman is, read this Times of India article below – 

Statistics prove Ponting wrong, suggest Tendulkar bigger match-winner than Lara

In former Australia captain Ricky Ponting’s view West Indian legend Brian Lara was a bigger match-winner than India’s Sachin Tendulkarbut contrary to his belief, statistics of the two batting greats tell a totally different story.

“Sachin and Lara were two stand-out batsmen for me. Lara won more games for his team than Sachin probably has. I’d lose more sleep as captain knowing Lara was coming into bat next day than I would with Sachin,” Ponting told a newspaper recently.

Tendulkar, who has played 198 Tests, is far ahead of his once contemporary West Indian (131) when statistics of the two are compared.

The statistics of Tests show that West Indies, in Lara’s presence, have won 24.42 per cent matches while with Tendulkar in the side, India have tasted victory in 35.35 per cent of their games.

If the performance in these matches is considered, Lara’s contribution to his side’s victories have been 24.50 per cent of his total Test runs (11953) while Tendulkar’s 37.01 per cent career runs (15837) have benefited India.

Out of the hundred tons Tendulkar has scored in his international career so far, 53 of them have come in matches that India won. 20 of his 51 Test centuries have helped India triumph, which comes to 39.01 per cent.

In Lara’s case, only eight of his 34 Test hundreds (23.52 per cent) have guided West Indies to victory.

It is argued that Lara’s effort was often not complimented by his teammates, which resulted in his side’s defeat in 63 Tests (48.01 per cent) out of the 131 matches he played. Lara’s contribution in these matches were 44.47 per cent of his total runs. Interestingly, 14 hundreds from the Caribbean southpaw have come in losing cause.

When compared to Tendulkar, India have faced defeat in 56 Tests which is just 28.28 per cent of his total matches. Tendulkar has made 4088 runs, including 11 hundreds, in these encounters.

In the 72 matches that have ended in a draw for India in Tendulkar’s presence, the little master has scored 5887 runs with 20 centuries to his credit, while West Indies drew 36 matches with Lara getting 3708 runs including 12 scores of hundred and above.

Lara scored 751 runs with three hundreds in the eight matches won by West Indies against Australia in his presence. Against England, his team won nine games with just a hundred to his name while playing India he featured in four wins, two each versus South Africa and Sri Lanka, but all without centuries.

In Tendulkar’s case, India have witnessed 16 wins over Australia accumulating 1407 runs with four centuries. Tendulkar has scored three centuries each in the 11 and nine victories against Sri Lanka and England respectively. Tendulkar has scored a century against every country on a winning occasion.

Both Tendulkar and Lara haven’t contributed much in their team’s success Down Under.

West Indies have won four matches in Australia with the left-hander making 211 runs at an average of 35.16, while in Tendulkar’s presence India have emerged victorious in two matches, with the right-hander contributing just 122 runs.

In One-day International cricket, however, Lara’s hundreds have contributed more to his team’s success. He has 19 centuries against his name of which West Indies have tasted victories in 16 matches.

On the other hand, out of 49 ODIs in which Tendulkar has scored a century, India won 33 clashes.

In Lara’s presence, West Indies won 46.48 per cent of their matches while in Tendulkar’s case the figure goes up to 50.53 per cent.

Out of Tendulkar’s whopping 18426 runs in 463 ODIs, 11157 (60.55 per cent) of them have helped India register victories while Lara is little ahead with 62.97 per cent (6553) of his runs getting his side home. Lara made 10405 in 299 ODIs he played in the West Indian colour.

Link to Original article

Another great article that proves Sachin’s greatness – The Myth about Sachin Tendulkar and Victory

Sachin’s last day in Domestic cricket

Sachin’s last day in Domestic cricket

Today marked the end of Sachin’s domestic career, his last day in a Ranji match. I am so Happy that it ended on a great note with Sachin leading from the front and scoring a masterful 79* in a surface that was conductive for fast bowling.

Original Source: Indian Express. (http://www.indianexpress.com/picture-gallery/sachin-tendulkar-on-55-not-out-keeps-mumbai-chances-alive/3711-1.html?home_thumb#idclsr=3711-1.html)

Great articles on Sachin’s last match:


The article below was written yesterday when the day’s play had ended with Sachin on 55*. Mumbai needed 39 more runs to win with four wickets in hand.