Friday, December 31, 2010

Indian batsmen under pressure to get a historic overseas series win in Newlands against the South African pacers.

Photo source:

India go into the decider 3rd test match against South Africa at the Newlands ground, Capetown day after tomorrow backed by a convincing win two days back at Durban riding on Laxman's confident 96 in the second innings.
Newlands, one of the 25 cricket-grounds(including an oval at a local university &  a rugby ground) in Cape Town, is said to traditionally favour batsmen who can stroke well on a "tennis-ball-bounce" pitch. However it is said to provide sufficient assistance to the spinners in  later stages. The Indian team , whose batting in Centurion & Durban against the pace attack of Proteans led by Steyn has often looked fragile in the early overs and sometimes also during the close of play , will be under some sort of dilemma to include a second spinner Ojha along with Bhajji in place of the Ishant Sharma, whose outing till now has been ordinary, to say the least. But most probably, the management will like to go with the winning combination from Durban hoping that the momentum will carry Indian through.
Past records at Newlands show South Africa, since their readmission 18 years back, have lost only 3 of the 21 matches played here and all of them against the Australians. They have not lost a test match here since May 2006 and inspite of the assistance to the spinners, pacemen like Steyn,Pollock, Nel & Ntini have won 4 matches for the Proteans. Kumble in 2007 took a haul of 4 wickets but he bowled twice the average number of overs  bowled by  rest of the Indian bowlers. Slow bowlers like Bravo have performed well here and hence Indian team should probably give Shehwag & Tendulkar a bit of bowling practice at the nets and hope that Ishant will keep his line & length intact throughout while using his cutters sparingly but thoughtfully. But more importantly it is time for all the top 6 of the Indian batting line up to strike form simultaneously on a pitch that favours them and not be afraid to give it back to Steyn & Morkel in equal measures.
For Dhoni, it will be a historic moment , if he can lead his team to the first ever series victory in South Africa and end the season as number one in test cricket. He has been getting out in the eighties and the nineties and time has come for him to score a ton. Maybe shifting Dhoni up in place of Pujara, whose performances have not yet measured up to his much-hyped "potential," could give the Indian captain more number of overs to keep the fire burning. Graeme Smith , who is smarting from the recent defeat and his lacklustre display with the bat, will be happy to gun for a big score at a ground, which has given him plenty of runs always. Smith will also be under pressure to get in young pacer Parnell in place of Tsotsobe and hope that the pace-trio stretch themselves a bit more to get the Indians' on the back foot with their snorters and short-ones.

All in all, 2011 should start with an exciting test at Newlands between the two top test teams and although all indications point to a draw, Indian batsmen need to live up to the halo  that surrounds them and not rest the blame solely on the bolwers, like they did at the Centurion after the innings-defeat in the first test.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

PCL, a radical reply to IPL

As soon as the news floated in that Pakistani cricketers will once again be ignored at IPL 4, the Pakistani cricket board official reached out to his desk , unlocked it and took out a file marked 'Top Secret'. In it were blueprints of a cash rich twenty-20 cricket tournament among nations who feel distinctly marginalised by the fight that countries around the globe are engaged against terrorist violence. Pakistan , Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Afganistan were natural entries while Iran, Nepal and North Korea were given special entries against an endowment of 100 nuke heads or 5000 crores in fake Indian currency. The Pakistani official was worried about the venue earlier. But now that Pakistan players have got banned from legally making loads of money from IPL, he had no problem in staging it in Pakistan. Even the opening ceremony was planned out in great detail in the secret document. 100 trained jihadis will fight commandos from Iran leading to the destruction of a model place of worship and it's hostages. The marchpast will figure bazookas as flag holders. The ceremony will be declared open by ,a retired general from Pakistan. The general , known for his passion for cricket ,had agreed to fire 3 rounds from his revolver and declare the game open withholding the drag from a dangling cigarette in his mouth. 5 players from each team were auctioned to the match-fixing bookies , in advance ;while team endorsement contracts were tendered out to the biggest arms dealers of the middle east. Television and cheerleaders were strictly forbidden. The ban was enforced in order to accomodate special requests from some of the fundamentalist teams. However, mega proxy-servers were specially created to handle large volumes of data of online gambling. Efforts were on to get the indisposed & octagenarian leader from North Korea for the closing ceremony and for popularising the game of cricket, betting and fixing in the far east. The Pakistani official christened his pet project, PCL. The world will soon come to know the premier criminal league as Pakistan Cricket League as it will unfold from the file he was holding in his hand.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Annual Salty Blog Award ,2010 for the Best Indians

The annual 2010 Saltyblog Awards for significant contribution to the country in each of the following fields (sorted alphabetically) are here:

Best Bureaucrat : PJ Thomas, Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) for refusing to see the irony that a charge sheeted government employee ( like himself)  can't occupy even a peon's post leave alone a CVC's  and for refuting all moves to step down and save the sanctity of  CVC's post in our scam-ridden country.

Best Corporate Chairman : Ratan Tata for setting a leader's  example of hard-work by keeping his phone lines working with his PR agent to manipulate government formation at all times in day &  night; when he should have been sleeping for having admittedly refused to pay a bribe of 15 crs. to an aviation minister a decade back.

Best Economist : Pranab Mukherjee. For inflating the  general price level of food, commodities, white & brown goods to a mark where it will overcompensate the loss of demand due to downturn and still keep the balance sheets of companies at a healthy level giving the perception of wholesome growth in GDP.

Best Eligible Bachelor: Salman Khan , for losing yet again another prospective beautiful bride (this time in  Katrina ) but still managing to draw ten petite belles of Bollywood to walk the ramp during the launch of his NGO, 'Being Human' and for still keeping the energy to woo the sultry Pakistani actress, Veena Malik in the Bigg Boss show..

Best Engineer(s) : From Kolkata  Metro , who demonstrated that even a guided slow moving train on  a straight track can derail itself and make travelling in Metro an unsafe prospect.

Best Friends: Niira Radia's friends in media, corporate & politics who work night and day as information brokers, power brokers, scripted storywriters without seemingly for any consideration. True friends in need.

Best Marketing Manager: The Wholesaler/Distributor mafia network.  For successfully demonstrating that hoarding stock indefinitely during scarce times is an art of business that adds value to their bottom line at the cost of millions of producers & consumers of goods. edible & non-edible.

Best Politician : Dr. M Karunandihi  , for refusing to take off his black glasses while viewing the scam money repatriated by his comrades in union ministry of telecom.

Best Sportsman : Dr. MS Gill for demonstrating that his sports ministry is all about showing & encouraging champion-like skills in playing the best game in the country. And that is  'money-making from large projects' such as Commonwealth games.

Best Social work : Adarsh Society for creating a society with stakeholders from serving army generals, top bureaucrats, top politicians , fixers (and the like) that rewards ill-gotten land, dubious sanctions & government approvals with valuable real estates in  a prime location and all  with the noble intention of benefiting war-widows of Kargil.

Also See2009 Saltblog awards and  2008 Saltyblog awards