Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Sourav Chandidas McGrath?

It really just gets better and better. I nearly choked on my lunch as I just read that the Indian team management and/or selectors may opt to "give the all-rounder's role to Yuvraj and bring in Ganguly as a bowler."

To think that I was stunned when he was picked as India's answer to Flintoff, Kallis and Bravo. Apparently that just didn't wash, so he's now going to be the next Glenn McGrath?

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Congratulations, Kolkata!

Absolutely unbelievable. Not only have the jokers picked Ganguly in the Test squad, they have selected him as an all-rounder. No doubt his 2 Test wickets in the last 5 years clinched the deal. I hope the Kolkatans who put region above country (Damned if you do, and Damned if you don't) are suitably embarrassed.

An average of 35 from 15 matches, with only a century against the mighty Zimbabwe (and a terribly poor century at that) to show? This with Mohammad Kaif, who produced two stirring half-centuries against a rampant Australian attack in his last outings, waiting in the wings for the chance that is rightfully his? It is nothing short of a disgrace, and one can only hope that the next selection committee has more guts than this one.

And none of this considers the ingenious selection of Ajit Agarkar and RP Singh as Irfan Pathan's pace bowling partners - picked purely on the strength of their showings in the one-day arena.

It appears that the line-up for the 1st Test will be something like:

Ganguly (in the Flintoff/Kallis role)

It's a good thing that Bajji and Kumble will be doing the bulk of the bowling is all I can say. Hell, I'd be batting Pathan at 6 rather than Ganguly if that were an option.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

For whom the Bell tolls?

This one's just getting on my nerves. Shahid Afridi is quite deservedly being pilloried for his ridiculous actions in scuffing up the pitch when he believed that nobody was looking. Perhaps the first indication I have seen that he really is only 25 years old.

Yet through all of this, we have great paragons of virtue such as Robert Croft, telling us how Afridi failed to play the game within the Laws or the Spirit, and in the same breath ignoring Ian Bell's blatant bump catch, and the more questionable tactics employed by the current England team, ranging from firing the ball in at the batsman for no reason, to Ricky Ponting's pet peeve - the use of substitute fielders.

I'm thrilled to see an England team doing well, but if the likes of Croft and Nasser Hussain don't get off their high horses soon, they're in for a rather bumpy landing. I hope.

Friday, November 18, 2005

There's only one Keano

I woke up this morning feeling rather stressed, pondering my perilous financial situation. And then I read the news. It's probably an indication of poor prioritization, but "Keane leaves United" immediately consigned the next mortgage payment to back of mind.

Just like that, it's over. From what I've been able to piece together, Roy Keane showed up for a reserves game, was told he wasn't required, had a bust-up with the manager, and has now left the club by "mutual consent."

I've only got a couple of things to say about it, the second of which I'm sure I'll be pilloried for by both my readers.

Firstly, United may never have had as great a servant as Roy Keane. His all round contribution to the club has been beyond immense, and he is one of the few for whom the tag "legend" is perhaps apposite. It's no co-incidence that our best years have come during his time in the middle.

Secondly, no player can ever be greater than the club or the team. My respect for Sir Alex has in fact increased immeasurably, even while I concede that I am far from informed as to the details of what transpired. Based on what I have gleaned from varous sources, Sir Alex made the decision that Keano's actions and statements of late were not in keeping with the principles and mechanisms that were expected and required by the club, and as a result, it was simply time to move on. One of the hardest things in life is to make a professional decision without allowing emotion to enter into it. It's the right thing to do, but few can do it well.

That said, I also wouldn't be surprised to hear that Malcolm Glazer got on the phone last night and said "If you want to buy that Bollock dude, you have to take Roy Keen off the wage bill right now."

Thanks Roy, for 12 stupendous years, the like of which I may never see again.