Archive for the 'ICC T20' Category

Wake up call went unanswered

Hardly a word was spoken in the team coach last night. Other than Prince who was grumbling about going in too late to bat. He was mostly talking to himself but within earshot of everyone else. Daddu was at the receiving end of some sharp chaste Punjabi phrases.

The Blues are shell shocked. Most of them have been tucked indoors since last night. No parties or eating out, it’s just room service now for this bunch. Heck, they aren’t even showing up at the hotel lobby now. Except for Prince of Patiala, of course, who went out late night with a Bollywood actress who suddenly made an appearance in London yesterday. Am not quite sure where they went though. All I hear is that he went out well after dinner time and returned in time for the breakfast buffet. Must have been out celebrating his brilliant fielding performance yesterday. I still can’t figure out how he’s managed to put on so much weight though, despite his obviously intense late night workout schedule.

Daddu has spoken to Captain Kakdi, all apologetic trying to explain what he was doing in the middle yesterday. Kakdi’s asked him to chill, forget about it and think of how not to repeat the mistakes in the future. Yea right. Hopefully, he won’t forget to carry his sleeping bag when he goes out to bat next time.

No-braina spent some time with the Coach today trying to figure out his technical flaws against the short ball. He has scheduled a session tomorrow at Trent Bridge before the game against SA. He is still confused about how he has transformed almost overnight from a left-handed Bradman to a left-handed Little John.

After breakfast today morning, Kakdi and Coach were locked in a 2-hour meeting. It was just the 2 of them to start with and were later joined by the bowling & fielding coaches, the trainer and the manager. It seems Kakdi wants to opt out of the WI one-day series that follows this championship. He’s just not in the right frame of mind, he says. The Coach is trying to persuade him to stay as it’s just a short tour and will be over even before they realise it’s started. With Sheru out, there isn’t anyone really to replace him as captain. And the last thing that the Coach wants is Prince leading the side. Kakdi is still undecided and will let him know of his decision by Wednesday. He also knows that he can’t take the captain’s seat for granted any longer. Although, to me it seems that it’s not really much of a consideration for him.

Coach has already started making his tour report. He has a special chapter on Prince’s fitness level. The trainer’s backing him up with hard facts around his double chin, pot belly, thick skin and an even thicker head. The trainer and the fielding coach are still debating on what it will take for this mass of lump to change its course once it starts moving in one direction, most notably seen in the field yesterday off the last ball.

It’s curtains for The Blues for now. They play their last consolation game tomorrow at the same venue where they had their last victory. Hopefully, time out will be spent reducing large circumferences, larger egos, opening up their minds to reality, and realising that the higher the rise the greater the fall. I also hope that this acts as a wake up call for all supporters of the Blues, including me, who were far too arrogant to have anticipated a situation such as this. I think yesterday at the Lord’s, the Blues’ supporters cut a very sorry figure when they booed the Queen Bees as they walked into the field. The Queen Bees later confirmed that their reception at the hands of the partisan crowd at their Home charged them up. I hate to say it, but we deserve this result.

Amen!

‘Morning Blues. This is your wake up call.

Well, well, well. Who would have imagined this scenario going into the second weekend of the championship? The Dicks are out. The Blues are fading. And the Weapons have tried every Self Destruction method in their book – dropped catches, sprayed the ball around, made fools of themselves – and yet have all but found their way to the semis. Stranger things have happened in life, but this one sure takes me by surprise.

The Blues have lived a lifetime in the last 24 hours. Last night, after the match, they all seemed to be a bit too cocky, especially the batsmen. Even the younger guys were seemingly nonchalant, showing a false facade of bravado, giving excuses like, “nothing worked today”, “one of those days”, “off-day”, (and the one that I hate the most which is fast turning out to be the most abused term in cricket these days), “I played my natural game”. Dude, you got things a bit mixed up in your head. Your natural game should be ‘not getting out’, and not ‘getting out to stupid shots’. You have two choices. Either you learn this on your own or you can have this drilled into your head by the Blues supporters. I am sure they’ll oblige. Ask any Blues’ player who went to West Indies in 2007 for a first-hand experience. Anyway, despite the cocky exterior, they remained indoors last night, which was surprising given that this was Friday night in London with no game the following day.

What I hear is that they woke up Saturday morning wondering what really happened the previous night. Surprise, surprise. They showed up and they didn’t win. The news seems to be finally dawning on them that they need to do more than just show up. Throughout the tour, the team training sessions have been optional. 5 players had turned up for the session one day before the last match. Surprisingly, the training session today was scrapped. Fetching the ball from the boundary in the last match must have been extremely tiring, I presume.

Spent some time in the team hotel today evening. And reading between the lines, the body language and interpreting some non verbal cues, I get the feeling that these guys are a bit on the edge now. Reality seems to be finding its place in a little corner inside their heads. The turn of events has taken them by surprise and they seem nervous about the repercussions of another “off-day of playing their natural games”. The smiles on their faces are betraying more emotions than what’s obvious.

So from brash over confidence on friday night, to bemused amazement on saturday morning, to nervous anxiety on saturday evening, their lives seem to have turned half a circle.

The Weapons from Al Pakeezah, on the other hand, are Free Wheeling into the Free Willy world. Why not? They deserve to. Most of their guys were seen crossing the street opposite The Ritz in Piccadilly. They split into 2 groups after that. The bigger group made their way into Mahiki while a smaller group of 3-4 entered the Gentleman’s Club called Mayfair Club. I believe they are still there as I write this at 1.45 am London Time.

Let’s get it straight

Some of us learnt quite early in our lives that, even in an emergency situation, you don’t piss in your backyard. In fact, you scale the wall and piss in your neighbour’s backyard. But, never in your own. Unfortunately, some people didn’t learn that. Even more unfortunate is that they ended up joining the Indian news media.

Why else would you have the entire Indian news contingent trying to create a problem where none exists? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Blues and there are no camps or anything of that sort. The only pretender to the throne was the Prince of Patiala, who has also accepted his fait accompli after IPL. As far as the Kakdi-Sheru situation is concerned, Sheru’s shoulder is not match ready. The only point of contention was whether he should stick around with the squad hoping that his shoulder will recover towards the second half of the tournament or not. Sheru felt that he could stick around and Kakdi didn’t. Kakdi also feels that Sheru didn’t completely disclose the extent of his injury and isn’t quite happy about it. Eventually, given the form that Ghati Baba has shown in the tournament, the team management decided that Sheru will be eased off. And that’s where I think the matter, and Sheru, should rest.

But one thing’s for sure. This thing’s really got the cucumber boiling. His reactions these days are less like the Captain Kakdi aka Cool Dude that we know & love and more like the Lordie, whom also we know & love. We have all seen him in press conferences recently. But yesterday, some of us were privy to a rather un-Kakdi like reaction. Rain had delayed the start of the game. Kakdi was on the balcony, his usual, easy going, jovial self. Until, one spectator from down below shouted, “Kakdi, Sheru ko kya hua”. Looks tell a story, but Kakdi’s look was telling an epic. The pictures show him before the jibe from the spectator (top pic) and after (bottom pic. Kakdi is in the background as he moved back after the comment/question). I think it’s best for our team that we stop this nonsense and support them in whatever way we can.

Teri Maa Ki’s (TMK’s) ghost refuses to leave the Dicks. Three of their sponsors – Victoria Better, Johnnie Runner and Wolf Bass – all alcohol brands if you have noticed, have joined hands and are asking the Dickland Board some uncomfortable questions. Was TMK drunk or was he ‘just drinking’? If he was ‘just drinking’, is it really that big a crime and is this the message they are sending to the sponsors’ consumers? After all they have no qualms about taking money from Alcohol companies, wearing their logos on their chests, and actively encouraging the rest of the world to hit the bottle, then why this hypocrisy? The question that the rest of the world is asking is why is a Dicklander being punished for being a Dick?

The Blues play tomorrow. Seeing them go about their work yesterday, a few things are pretty clear. No-Braina had walked out of the pavilion with the openers and walked straight into the dug out. So, if a wicket falls within the first 6 overs, No-Braina would go in at No. 3. After the first 6 overs, we saw a padded up Kakdi walking into the dug out. So, if the first wicket falls after the 6th over, he comes in at No. 3 and nudges his way through the innings, which is a good thing cos he can’t hit those big ones these days anyway. And the XI that played yesterday is the ‘A’ team for the tournament. No changes are expected unless there are some serious form or injury issues.

It’s been a hectic 3 days. Tuesday at Lord’s, Wednesday early morning train to Nottingham. 2 days, 4 matches and no internet access in Nottingham. Train ride back to London, which is where I am now. Thankfully, I stay in London till Tuesday when I head back to Trent Bridge for the Blues’ last Super Eight game. The Championship’s now in the real stage. Hopefully, we’ll see some kick-ass action. And while the world’s best cricketer’s slug it out, the Limp Dicks hang around in cold, windy, rainy Leicester…doing nothing. Serves them right, as most would say.

Confusion reigns Al-Pakeezah

True to their name, the Weapons of Self Destruction – Al Pakeezah – are at it again. Captain No-Use Khan (earlier known as Bhindi) and Coach are arguing and babbling like 2 teenaged girls fighting over one guy. Their team meeting before the all-important game against the Oranges was all about the two of them contradicting each other, giving arguments countering the others’ point of view, and trying to prove who’s the boss. Basically, confusing the hell out of the rest of the 14 guys, who’s combined IQ doesn’t add up to 140. Imagine the plight of people like Kumar Bull. God gave them enough brains to just about follow one simple point of view. They are used to intructions like “Take ball, bowl at stumps”. Any extra information leads to wides and no-balls. Now they are in the highly unenviable position where they need to decipher an argument, understand what makes sense and then decide their own course of action. For this bunch of AK-47s, this is as tough a task as sending Man to Moon.

To summarise the arguments between captain and coach: No-use Khan wants the failed warlord to open, the coach doesn’t. Coach wants Mr. Missed-Bah-5-Runs to bat at 4, No-use doesn’t. No-use wants Left-arm-grenade-hurler to play, Coach doesn’t. No-use Khan wants Kumar Bull to open the bowling (or balling as he calls it), Coach doesn’t. No-use Khan wants Yasir Fatafat out, but Coach wants him in. All-in-all, the team’s approach is quite representative of their country’s in this case.

All of them have already come to terms with their future in the Championships. And now, many of them are eyeing the captaincy of the side. No-Use Khan has decided to give an ultimatum to his board to choose between him and the coach. He may resign from captaincy after they return to their country. He has years of experience to fall back upon, after all he has quit captaincy more number of times than he has led his country.

The Coach is backing Mr. Missed-bah-5-Runs as the captain. His argument being that he is intelligent, well-behaved, educated and speaks better English than No-Use Khan. At least he won’t make a fool of himself at the post-match interview even if performances on the field don’t change much.

Failed warlord is also eyeing the captaincy. He is proposing the idea of 2 separate captains for test matches and limited overs cricket. As if the team wasn’t confused enough already. The coach has told him to bide him time for the captaincy. After all, he has all the time in his hands. Last I heard, he was still 21 yrs old.

Am off to Lord’s now to see who’s calling the shots for this match – Captain or Coach. Or would they adopt a compromise formula where the Captain has his way with 2 decisions and the coach has his way for the others? We’ll know very soon.

Update

The Championship’s getting hotter even if the weather here isn’t. Calypso has proved once again that he’s worth every penny Dildo’s spent on him, just a few weeks too late for Dildo’s comfort I guess. And that knock from Calypso has rattled the Dicks and now there’s serious problems in the Dicks’ ranks. Yesterday, during training, their vice-captain Pilla spoke to Bablee about his bowling and Bablee had a lot of things to say to Pilla in return, not very flattering ones as one would expect. Most in the team continue to blame Pilla for TMK’s ouster. Pilla wants Bablee to be dropped and the offie to be included for today’s game, although Dickhead may give Bablee another run. Also, one of the fringe medium pacers is set to be replaced by another fringe medium pacer. Can changes get any more dramatic?

Confusion, instead of cricket, is the name of the game that the Weapons of Self Destruction (WSDs) – Al Pakeezah are playing. They probably thought that they have 3 warm up games instead of 2. After yesterday’s game, their left arm grenade hurler hurled abuses at his Captain – Bhindi Khan – for being left out of the side. Their other strike bowler – Kumar Bull – is also complaining about the constant changes in the field while he is bowling. Mr. Missed-by-5-Runs is a tad more polite and has softly told Bhindi Khan that he should be batting at No. 4 and not No. 7. Won’t be too long before others also join in. I think one more loss for them and the revolt in the ranks will be out in the open.

Talking about the WSDs, their run of bad luck seems to be following them even off the field. After the game last night, 6-7 of them made their way to an upmarket club in Soho that costs about 500 Pounds cover per table and is frequented by Football stars. They entered the place all wide eyed, made their way to the bar, leaned on the counter, looked around casually, trying too hard to be cool. A familiar sight really. A bunch of desi guys in a club trying to look cool, without realising that if they really were cool they’d already be with chicks. The leader of this pack was the failed warrior of their tribal region, who spends more time walking from and to the pavilion than in the middle. He’s the one who would approach the girls. Why he was chosen as the ring leader will remain one of the biggest mysteries to ever confront mankind. And with pick up lines like “Will you dance”, “Why you laugh”, “We are cool guys”, “You have spikes in your eyesit’s not really surprising that they returned empty handed.

But there’s some comfort for the WSDs as some others have had even worse luck than them. 5 young boys from the Aloo Posto-Deem Sheddo team from our east, went out clubbing last night to prepare for their do-or-die knock out game. And knocked out they were after they entered the Village (pic on the right). They went in, ordered all their drinks at the counter, and then went further in where they thought all the action is. Once inside, the reality finally dawned on them that they were in a gay club. And they had to spend the next hour and a half inside the club finishing their drinks. The good news is that they were back well within the curfew like good school boys.

In London, one hardly gets to feel that a World Cup is on. Very few people here are even aware of the Championship. A far cry from the excitement that was palpable everywhere in SA when the IPL was on. As I stood outside the Oval yesterday before the first of the double-header, a car drove past asking the security person if Chelsea is playing today. Even the bookies think that an England-Kazakhstan football match is bigger than these Championships. Any guesses on how long before the IPL takes over the cricketing world?


Forget Private Ryan. Save Captain Kakdi Instead.

Talk about biting the hand that’s feeding you or killing the goose that’s laying golden eggs. The illustrious Blues’ cricket administrators have either never heard these tales or years of free loading has stuffed their heads with nothing but rotten cow dung. Just when I was thinking that the Blues’ future seams secure, they have taken the first step towards taking Blues’ cricket a few steps backwards, yet again.

Apparently, Captain Kakdi wanted to play this tournament as a specialist batsman. His fingers are sore, swollen, all bruised and patched up due to all the cricket he’s played over the last 2 years. And he believes that he commands a place in the side purely as a batsman as well. To my mind, that’s a very reasonable demand from a guy who’s taken Blues’ cricket to heights never seen before. But not quite so for the Big Asses who run the game. He’s been told that he doesn’t get in if he doesn’t keep wickets. Somewhere deep down they probably resent the fact that Captain Kakdi has become bigger than them in the eyes of the public. In their strange drug-induced reasoning, they believe that people stay up late nights to see these good-for-nothings in their pot bellies and ill-fitting safari suits at prize distribution ceremonies. I think someone needs to show them the mirror. Although finding a mirror to fit in their bloated egos will not be easy.

For now though, Captain Kakdi will play through the pain. And I sincerely pray that he comes back victorious, cos I am not sure what price he and Blues cricket may have to pay for a loss.

Blame the No. 4 slot

Teri Maa Ki (TMK) went out drinking and skipped training again. So, what? After all, his name is Teri Maa Ki and with a name like that you don’t expect him to behave like Vengirapu Venkata Sai Laxman.

Come on, let’s be honest here. The Dicks knew exactly what they were getting into when they picked him in the squad. All that the Dicks’ captain Dickhead hoped for is that TMK will stay out of major trouble like hanging from the hotel chandelier or running around naked. For the first few days though he was as good a Dickland citizen as is possible. He hardly ever spoke which meant hardly any profanities came out of his big mouth. But, it was also clear that he was climbing a very weak tree. The silent treatment he was giving everyone, especially the team’s vice-captain Pomeranian Pilla, wasn’t going down very well with people. But you can’t sack someone just because he isn’t speaking, can you?

So, what is the real problem. The real problem is something called Slot No. 4. A few days ago, Pilla had a heated argument with Dickhead on the batting order. Dickhead didn’t want Pilla in the middle order. He was clear that it’s either the opening slot or the bench. His choices for No. 4 and 5 were TMK and Pussy. Pilla wasn’t keen on opening and argued with his skipper on the issue. Eventually, it was agreed that Pilla will bat at No. 4 in the warm up game and his form will be assessed. During all this while, TMK kept quiet but wore a stupid smirk that annoyed Pilla no end. And as things turned out, Pilla did what he had to and earned his spot, while TMK sat around padded up watching his rightful place being snatched from him yet again. And true to his reputation, he went out drinking and during the binge he wasn’t quite discreet about his opinion of Pilla and the Dicks’ coach. Essentially, he put his Size 13 foot into his Size 1 mouth. And when you do that, it sure is gonna hurt.

Today, the team management confronted an unapologetic TMK. Dickhead still wanted a reconciliation and was hoping that the matter will blow over. But he was fighting a battle against Pilla and the Coach. Eventually, Pilla threatened that if TMK isn’t packed off, he will. The matter and the threat was reported to the Dickland’s CEO who then decided that TMK will return immediately. Most people in the team believe that TMK is going back partly because of himself, but mostly because of the No. 4 slot.

P.S. I am hoping that after this post, my friends in Delhi will finally learn that it’s not called Pomarian. And while I am at it I might as well tell them that it’s not called Labradog either.

It’s time!

I am back. I had to be back. The Championship is just about to begin. And, with the news that’s coming in from my different sources close to the teams, this will be one helluva championship. Very different from the last one where 12 national teams went against one another. This one’s about 3-4 teams going against ONE. This championship is as much about each team trying to win as it is about some teams wanting to ensure that the Blues don’t win.

Yes, it’s true! While everyone has pretty much accepted the financial muscle of the Blues, it’s their cricketing muscle that they can’t stand the sight of. And the Blues haven’t really been subtle about strutting their biceps lately, especially under Captain Kakdi. The First World of Cricket misses the good ol’ days when they could live off the Blues’ money and also kick their butts. Over the last couple of years, things have kind of turned around. Now, most times that they play the Blues, they tend to lose their pants in the process. And this stark nudity in the glaring sun is giving them sun burns in certain unmentionable parts of the body. It’s itching and itching real bad. The Blues have to lose whether we win or not. This seems to be the motto of the Championship in 2009.

Never before in history have the Blues gone into a World level tournament as overwhelming favourites. For the first time in 20 years, the Dicks of Dickland aren’t the overwhelming favourites. Al Pakeezah’s Weapons of Self Destruction (WSDs) blame the Blues for everything that happens to them including no cricket, no action, no money, no government, no brains, too much RDX. The Islanders, on the other hand, have believed since 1996 , that they are the Dicks of South Asia and want to be treated like one. The Queen Bees want to prove that Blue Money can’t buy their cotton flannels, bow ties, and fish & chips. All-in-all, this promises to be the mother of all wars, where Captain Kakdi leads his band of marauders to slam the final nail into the coffin of the Old Cricketing World Order.

I leave for Vilayat tomorrow for another round of under ground reporting, the way I see it and the way I observe. Whatever comes to my knowledge will be on the blog. What I see is what you get.

Let the war begin!