That day the Cricket died!

16 03 2007

With the 2007 edition of Cricket World Cup underway, it’s only too difficult not to reminisce the 23rd March 2003. India romped into the final after 2 months of solid cricket display and the way we got stuffed that day will leave lasting memories.

I watched that match on the huge screen of our College auditorium. The atmosphere was electric in the audi. People had come prepared for the big show down. The blue jersies were everywhere, faces were painted with tricolours, Indian flags were waving, the sound was almost unbearable. We even had our own cardboard replicas of World Cup Trophies held aloft before the match even began.

What happened over the next 3 and a half hours made me cringe and made the whole auditorium and an attendance of 2000 above go absolutely quiet. I remember one of the early Zaheer Khan delivery which beat Hayden and Zaheer was right under Hayden’s nose staring. It was absolutely top stuff, everyone loved it, the Indian team was aggressive, there were whistles and hooting. From there the plot went horribly wrong.

Zaheer Khan bowled with aggression and bowled everywhere except the right line and length, he was duly carted around the park for fours and sixes. Srinath discovered his slower ball and overdid it to such an extent that his surprise bowl was the faster one. Gilchrist gave Aussies a flying start and a 105 run first wicket partnership. When Hayden followed him to the Pavilion with 125 on the board, the game was on and Indian fight back imminent. Ponting had other ideas though and he simply massacred the Indian bowling with 140 of 121 with 4 fours and 8 sixes. Nehra was the only mainline bowler with an average under 6 and that too just by a shade. Aussies put up 359 for loss of 2 wickets and the auditorium had turned into a silent graveyard.

At that time it would have been a record chase if India would have succeeded. The chances were remote but still there was hope. Sachin was in form of his life and who knows if both he and Sehwag fired, we could have made it. A weak four was all Sachin managed in his stay of 4 balls, from there on it was a lost game. The only shimmer of hope was rain that came pouring down after the 17th over. I was sitting with the Marathi gang at that time and there was an impromptu rain dance to appease Gods on “Moriya re, Bappa moriya re”. I joined in the dance and festivities when someone explained that if no more play was possible, there would be a restart of the match (afresh) on the following day. We all went berserk hoping the rain to go on forever. Half an hour later the rain had stopped the clouds disappeared and with it the Indian World Cup. The replica of World Cup trophy like the Indian team had been smashed into pulp and discarded on the way out of the auditorium.

There was gloom all around, it was a sickening blow to an otherwise amazing performance India had put in. For whole of the World Cup there were only two invincible teams for the rest of the field – Australia and India. And for whole of the World Cup, India lost only twice and both times to Australia.

In interviews before this World Cup Ganguly, Zaheer, Sachin, Sehwag and Yuvraj have all mentioned that they would never be able to forget the loss of the last World Cup and it would scar them forever. And it would not just be them but whole of India who would find it difficult to forget that loss. However, stuffing Australia in Semis or Finals would go a long way to soothe away some of that pain.

So here’s hoping that we kick some kangaroo backside this time around. INDIA! All the way for the World Cup!


Good samaritans and a tale of choked arteries

14 03 2007

Everyday we come across stories of selfless people making lives of other people better. And we have an uncanny habbit of ignoring these stories unless one of those media channels or newspaper tells us that we must be listening. The most heroic and the most unsung of the selfless heroes is the common man, the aam aadmi, who runs to their offices just like you and me, who stands in those innumerable slowly moving queues, who has as many reasons as us to curse the country, the people, the mentality and red tape but they choose to do something over complaining.

Pavan writes about one such creed of people who plain clothed do what the traffic policewalas should be doing in uniforms. I have my own doubts that soon we would see traffic officials coming in to snub out these “do-no-good” people. But still hats off to these people who choose to make a difference.

On a related but different note.  Traffics in major city is crawling. There are too many vehicles and usually too little road infrastructure. We are only adding to the already worsening traffic situation. Stop overusing your 2 and 4 wheelers. Use the company bus, city transport and find people around you who share the destination if you want to take your own car. We need to get the good old carpooling back into fashion for the good of the roads.

When you curse on someone next time while you drive your own car or bike, don’t forget you are a part of the problem, so just smile and endure.

My Celebrity Look-alikes

5 03 2007

Got my celebrity look-alikes from Check it out – its good!

The Golf Club Duo sinks Barcelona at Nou Camp.

2 03 2007
That sounds like a cheesy headline. After the Portugal golf swinging incidence between that problem-child Craig Bellamy and ice-cool John Arne Riise, Liverpool seemed to be practising all the wrong moves. And to think the fight started because Riise turned down Bellamy’s request of him singing a karaoke.

Rafa ended up fining 15 off the 22 players on the team. The shit had well and truly hit the fan and Liverpool which already was the underdog to beat Barca at Nou Camp was written off completely.

The only problem was nobody told Liverpool they were supposed to go down and roll over, and what followed was a scintillating game where we came back from a goal deficit to stun the title holders.

Dejected at being one goal down, but
You’ll Never Walk Alone.

The mother of all ironies – Bellamy and Riise scored the two Liverpool goals. Rafa might have known something that we didn’t when he said “This incidence should inspire the players do something special”. Only Rafa could have seen an inspiration in this.

Flying header by Bellamy and
the golf swing celebration to snub the media

Bellamy sets-up Riise and Riise tees it off into the goal
Nice way to Kiss and make-up 🙂

What a result, even the staunch supporters would have taken a 1-1 draw as a good result, to go to Barca and come back winners 2-1 was an amazing result. Barca have only been beaten twice at Nou Camp by any English club, the second team to do so was 1976 Liverpool team.

Since then we steam rolled over Sheffield United and for the statements he is making after the match – Neil Warnock must have had his head knocked in by that defeat.

Big 5 days for Liverpool now. Liverpool play ManU at Anfield on 3rd March and then play Barca in the return leg at Anfield on 6th March. Exciting times. I am looking forward to weekend.

On a separate note Jose Mourinho seems to be loosing his top floor. First he went after Roman Abromovich saying he is not supporting him to make a complete team. Funny, since Roman has already poured in millions of pounds in that bottomless pit called Chelsea.

Then Jose goes after Arsene Wenger saying he is better than the Arsenal manager because Jose has won the CL and Arsene has not. And now he says ManU has had all the luck that’s why they are at the top of the league.

Somebody needs to tell Jose to stop cribbing and get on with the game. But then I would not want him to go quiet – he definitely gives a lot of laugh riot material in between the match days.