Tag Archives: India

Restoring the Bond

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News has broken that the BCCI has decided, in its infinite benevolence, to allow its players an amnesty until May 31 to cut all ties to the ICL. This means any Indian cricketer who ended their career by signing with the rebel league can rescucitate them and make nice with the effective governors of world cricket for the next 30 or so days.

This is long overdue, and frankly the situation should never have gotten to the blacklisting stage in the first place. (As an aside, is there any sport that loves blacklisting as much as cricket? The Packer era, Apartheid rebel tours, latter-day Zimbabwe… It’s a very McCarthyist sport.)

Why should we care? Because all national boards are expected to follow suit, meaning that the glaring hole in our current team’s make up, that of a genuine strike bowler, might be filled… Yeah, Bond could be back playing for us as soon as the Twenty20 World Cup, should sanity prevail and the ridiculous ‘cooling off period’ (what are we, 12?) be abandoned. Does anyone else find the timing of this a little convenient? Continue reading

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Seasons In The Abyss

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When the darkness came, we accepted it gratefully, knowing that in its embrace lay a glimmer of hope. Hope that we might avoid defeat for a second test in a row, and thereby retain some shred of dignity and carry that into the winter.

The forecast is pretty average for today, though the forecasters have been wrong before, but there’s a fair chance that New Zealand might be able to fumble their way through however many balls we get to the end of play, and a 1-0 test series loss.

How are we supposed to feel about this? All blogwarring aside, a better team than ours, with far more talented players, came to our country and beat us in a test series. We can complain about our bowling and certain batsmen, but it was those simple facts that decided the series.

The beauty of cricket is that such is the ability of one player to impose their will upon the game that there was always a sliver of hope that we might see a different result. When Ryder hit his double century we were part way there, waiting only for a bowler to answer the call and join him in his reverie. Continue reading

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The Heavyweight Champ

Jesse Ryder celebrates after his maiden double century

Jesse Ryder celebrates after his maiden double century

Pretty good week for New Zealand sports fans huh? First The Warriors hold their nerve against the reigning premiers, then Alison Shanks wins gold in the individual pursuit… Now we’ve got the somewhat improbable spectre of India three down for 79 (no 23/3, but still…) with the small matter of 340 more runs between them and the follow on.

I don’t think any of us scripted a day like this against anyone this summer, let alone India, but this topsy turvy tour continues to delight in the endless surprises it throws up. Jesse Ryder is looking awfully like the kind of batsman oppositions grit their teeth and plan around at the start of a series. You know when you line up Australia and have to pencil 100 runs a test next to Ponting’s name – same goes for Pietersen, Chanderpaul, Smith and a few other batsmen round the world. Ryder’s now scored 768 runs in eight test matches, and looked extremely solid doing it, and maybe we’ve found the rock around which can anchor our batting. Even when Richardson was at his stolid best, or Fleming and Astle their most fluent, none ever strode to the crease with as much assuredness and force as Ryder is at the moment.

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A Good Time To Be Indian

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When the best thing you can say about a match from New Zealand’s perspective is that we avoided an innings defeat, you know it hasn’t gone according to plan. 10 wickets is comprehensive enough anyway, but the stubbornness McCullum and O’Brien showed was pleasing in terms of staving off that ultimate humiliation.

The good thing about a loss like this is that it can’t help but force changes. The batting line-up had an off match, though one of our top six went to a dubious decision in each innings, but ultimately those guys deserve another shot. A seam bowling attack comprising Mills, O’Brien and Martin (Franklin considers himself a ‘batsman who bowls’, so let’s leave him aside) is manifestly inadequate, and definitely lacking in the variety and sheer danger to win matches at this level. All of these guys have their moments, for sure, but they’re too infrequent to pass muster, and Mills wouldn’t be playing test cricket for any other nation in the world. But this loss, like all the others on this tour, feels more like defeat at the hands of a better team, and less like a regular New Zealand implosion, than most in recent times. Continue reading

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Strange Days

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For three hours yesterday New Zealand piled on the runs and lost no wickets, our number eight batsmen scored a century which, if not handsome (his never are) then certainly had its own undeniable magnetism. At the other end our stocky (if I’m being charitable) number five composed an innings so far outside what we had presumed him capable of that the transformation would merit some kind of cricketing Oscar, were such an odd ceremony to exist.

If the above facts all those that were presented to you, and you asked to extrapolate what kind of a day it had been, you’d have to suggest it was New Zealand’s… Except that knowing it was our numbers five and eight that made hay while the Hamilton sun shone would rightly set off alarm bells. Because outside of the three hours described above we managed to lose ten wickets in the most desperate and petrified manner imaginable. It as if New Zealand’s wildest dreams and India’s were both allowed to run riot for the day, and cleaved evenly in two.

Unfortunately, when we awake, Virender Sehwag’s standing over the bed carrying a machete.

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Lambs To The Slaughter*

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To those who came in the last 12 hours to read our response to the ritual sacrifice in Hamilton, please accept my humble apologies. After watching Sehwag dismantle our side with such effortless, chanceless fury, I needed a little lie down, and only just woke up.

I looked around my room for a while, gathering my thoughts. Went to Cricinfo, and saw the Bulletin headline ‘it’s tough for NZ bowlers to stop me’ – Sehwag. So it wasn’t a dream. Just another dreamy innings. You’d call it a nightmare, but India’s ODI performances this series have comprised such breathtaking, uttery perfect cricket, that even our fans, commentators and Radio Sport hosts are more in awe of the opposition than criticising the local’s work.

Perhaps the only saving grace was that yesterday Australia yesterday completed a completely unexpected dismemberment of South Africa, thus forcing our once haughtily dismissive fellow blogwarriors Short Of A Length to change their name to Punter’s Biggest Fan Blog. I mean, as much as I was desperate for SA to win and vanquish those arrogant ‘strayans, getting to see that grotesque header across the top of our nemesis’ blog for the next month is a slight palliative for the pain. But only slight.

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Indian Summers

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Having been shivering my way through England and Scotland these past couple of weeks, with the only cricket news being that monumentally cool (if on another level ineffably sad) Stanford scandal all across the front pages – one I’m gonna try and approach that this weekend – it was something of a culture shock to arrive back to last night’s Twenty20.

Our friends over at Short of A Length have challenged us to something of a blog war over the course of the series, so I suppose it would be remiss of me not to have a good long gloat at the result of the match, one which went decidedly against forecast, and hopefully sets up a fine battle over the coming weeks. The thing I find most pleasurable about the outcome, from a very parochial perspective at least, is the extent to which I see the same gnawing issues in India’s play that plagued them during that infamous series last time they toured here. Continue reading

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