Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bhajji Blast at Brisbane: Indian cricket team defeats Aussies in the CB series (March’08)

If the one day series against South Africa in Nov’06 was a disaster and the first-round exit from the World Cup in April’07 was the pits we reached as a nation enjoying cricket then surely the 2-0 win in the trination (Aus, SriLanka, India) CB series , today , is the one where we have reached the climax with the earlier T20 World Cup victory in Sept’07 & the Perth test-victory against Australia in Jan’08 being peaks in the journey. (Do you recall that Australia and Sri-Lanka were also the finalists in the World Cup? )

This is a team which has energy, passion , talent , attitude & bench-strength in abundance to invest in and the investors in IPL will be a happy lot too. Most of the winning team players feature in the league and will be the team to back for the 2011 World Cup.

Bhajji gets the special mention because he was involved in dismissing both the players, Hayden & Symonds, who were involved in the longest partnerships in both the finals. Incidentally, Bhajji was targettted by the home crowd (Australians) in the “monkey (with Symonds)” and “obnoxious little weed (with Hayden)” controversies that erupted during the course of the tour. Bhajji took the battle head-on in the field . Finally the "weed" wins!
Going back to the start of the tour, the rivalry of the game took a twist when Oxenford , the third umpire , ruled Andrew Symonds “not-out” in the Sydney test match. Indians were flabbergasted. How could a third umpire give a wrong decision ? Were the Aussies cheating? Field- umpiring errors from Bucknor and Benson followed and the Bhajji controversies only increased the intensity of the rivalry. It was a case of “poetic justice” today for the same Oxenford to give the right decision as a third umpire and rule Hussey out after a 10 minute delay. (Can you beat it ? For 10 minutes , the play was stopped for the thrid umpire to give a decision, which seemed an open-and-shut case from the tv replay.)
Congratulations to Dhoni and his team for winning the CB series. Fantastic!
And , thank you Sachin Tendulkar for repeating the magic that we saw in Sharjah’98. Two exceptional innings (117n.o & 91) on the trot in the 3-match finals provided the anchor for the team to build on.
Its been worth the wait after following 15 months of live cricket on television from Hyderabad through Bangalore and now in Kolkata.

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