December 12, 2008

Indian Cricket 2008

This has been quite a good year for Indian cricket, if I may say so. With all the horrible things going on at present, believe me when I say that cricket is one of the most important things that's holding us together!

Although hockey is supposed to be our national sport, the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or BCCI, is the richest sporting body in India (plus the Indian cricketers get paid an exorbitant amount while the hockey players get pittance in comparison, but lets not get into that at the moment). And lets be honest, out of one billion Indians, how many are actually following hockey religiously? I, personally, don't follow hockey unless its the Olympics!

Indians are crazy about cricket though! Crazy would be too mild a word actually. Take that and multiply it by 1000 and we are getting closer to what it actually is.

Only in India would people take to the streets to protest against the "bad-form" the Indian cricket players were in during the 2006 matches against South Africa. We won only 13 ODIs out of 30 that year. Of course we blamed Greg Chappell, the Indian team's coach at that time. All in all, a forgettable year for Indian cricket!

If there is an ODI, in which India is to play, be it anywhere in the world, we will be there. More than half the stadium will be thronged by non-resident Indians. Mark my words! lol

Agreed, the first half of this year could have been better. We somehow just failed to make it. We came to the finals of the Bangladesh-Pakistan-India Tri Series, but lost to Pakistan by 25 runs in the last match!

We made it to the finals of the Asia Cup, but lost to Sri Lanka in the end. Well, it could have been worse!

We levelled the test series with South Africa, in April (1:1).

In July,we lost the test matches 2:1 to Sri Lanka, BUT we did win the ODIs 3:2 AND we were playing in Sri Lanka, so give us some credit! This was our FIRST-EVER ODI series win on Sri Lankan soil!

We won 2:0 against Australia in October- November this year (out of 4 tests). This was our first series win against Australia since 2001!

It was beautiful! I've always viewed all our matches against Australia with a heavy dose of pessimism and scepticism, you can hardly blame me for it, the Australian team is amazing! At one point you could truly say they were invincible. Now that perception is slowly changing.. at least I think so!

Another sweet victory was the 5:0 win against England last month. Unfortunately the last 2 ODIs had to be cancelled in wake of the terrorist attacks in Mumbai. The England team is now back in India, Chennai to be more precise, for the first, of two tests.

Next we are due to play against Pakistan, in Pakistan; which doesn't sound like such a great idea, given the current situation. Even though the BCCI didn't have any objections to the tour going ahead as planned, they are now being forced to consider its cancellation. In the current scenario, even the possibility of the matches being played on a neutral, third party country is likely to be ruled out.

Pakistan has already suffered from postponements this year, and if India refuses to tour, it could leave Pakistan without a test from December 2007 to June 2009 (when they are scheduled to visit Sri Lanka)!

Considering that Indias' last tour of Pakistan was in 2006, and we were able to clinch the one-day series 4-1, I really hope that it won't get cancelled. An India-Pakistan match is bound to be extremely exciting and nerve-racking, but at the same time it has never failed to generate very strong (and at times violent) emotions!

So, is it a good idea to go ahead? I don't know. But I'm definitely looking forward to it!

Cricket matches are the only thing that makes me go to the gym these days (Warwick gym always has Sky Sports on)!! Sad but true!

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