Sunday, February 27, 2011

India expected to spin out England in a controversial group match in Bangalore.

As Delhi  gets busy in ornamenting its city with a hand-etched Madhubani painting of its icons from Happy Hand Foundations as one of the many ways to  celebrate it's 100th year as Capital of modern India ; Calcutta ,which lost the status of the colonial capital in 1911, is ruing one more chance of defeating the modern-day cricketing representatives of their erstwhile colonial masters, England at Eden Gardens today.

World Cup Cricket is in India again after 15 years and a box-office match in Group-B between India & England is going to be held in Bangalore because Eden Gardens stadium was not ready on time  thanks to some sloppy project management by the Cricket Association of Bengal. Pleas were made by VIPs like the Chief Minister and  the BCCI President  to accommodate Eden Gardens as a last-minute venue only to fall in the deaf ears of the current ICC President.

Bangalore fans were ecstatic at this windfall of a match but their joys soon turned sour when they found out that only 10% of tickets were earmarked for public while ICC and its sponsors , who are anyway omni-present through myriads of mind-shattering adverts for the entire seven hours of match telecast, have kept aside 50% of the tickets for themselves. Demand of tickets exceeded supply, resulting in snaking restful queues of fans that were finally controlled by a cruel lathicharge from the local police. Having lost their community-caring image all around the world, the Bangalore police compensated next day by 'cracking'  a betting ring whose ring-leaders have names that appear to come straight from a Bollywood potboiler.

India play England today as favourites to win the match & Dhoni is expected to field two spinners against the English cricketers whose technique against quality spin bowling is still suspect, no matter how many hours of  training in sweeping the ball is given by Gooch, who had swept away 24 years ago India's chances of making the World Cup final twice in succession. India's bowling attack besides Zahir looks mediocre as  Strauss & company are expected to muzzle Nehra and Munaf out of reckoning. Alas, if only India had one pacer like Shoaib Akhtar whose yorker the night before to Jayawardane was a beauty that sent his stumps & Lanka's chances of winning the match flying in the Premedasa stadium, Colombo.

But let us be content with whatever we have got and  hopefully Dhoni will etch out a well crafted victory against England not only for India in general but also as a  special favour to millions of cricket fans of Kolkata. Unless of course, Collingwood and/or Peterson have other plans .

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