Archive for April, 2008

Tashan: The Dud

The latest BO news is that Tashan (brilliant review here) has turned out to be a super-duper flop. Not that I expected otherwise. A friend of mine who actually saw the movie the day his exams got over, was ruing the fact that he wasted 3 hours of his life. “Its a dud movie from start to end, not even good in parts”, he remarked. And yesterday itself the brilliant Tickr on MTV decided to take on Tashan. It begins as always with:

THIS IS IN FOND MEMORY OF TASHAN

  • Whenever Saif and Kareena want to be alone, they go out and watch TASHAN.
  • Black Ticketwallah’s out of a job, after release of Tashan
  • Tashan makes Jhoom Barabar Jhoom seem like a classic
  • Bebo gets a zero figure. So does Yash Raj
  • Intermission is the best part of Tashan
  • Tashan was initially to be titled “Three Men and a Bebo”
  • Even RGV (Ram Gopal Verma for the ignorant) does not want to remake Tashan
  • 99% of all people reading this Tickr have not watched Tashan
  • Tashan flops. Kajol and Ajay celebrate

And so on… For latest tickers keep watching MTV

For the Tickr on U, Me and Hum click here

Megs actually thought it was going to work.

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Force India finishes 10th!

Time to rejoice. Real good performance by FI in the first season. Keep up the good work! We will be praying you earn some points this year itself!

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Players leaving the IPL

Was thinking of writing a blog when I found this comprehensive post.

My analysis:

RCB: Bowling attack looks good now with Steyn , ZK and Pravin K. Will miss Taylor and Chanderpaul as already short of firepower.

CSK: Will sorely miss batting of Hussey and Hayden. Batting responsibility will shift on Patel, Dhoni, Raina and Badrinath. Bowling department will be strengthened by Ntini and Morkel. Fleming is here to stay.

DD: Not much difference. Existing players are performing. Daniel Vettori is leaving who did not play.

DC: One aggressive player gone (Symmo), one in (Gibbs). No difference. Gilly will be of course playing the entire series.

RR: Complete Strengthening of already emerging fine team. All incoming players (Smith, Y.Khan, Tanvir, Mascerenhas) are exciting.

KKR: Will be hit by Gayle and McCullum leaving. Butt will fill in as opener. Good thing Ponting is going. He was not playing well and they were not affording keeping him out.

KXI: Will miss Lee, and Katich who was MoM in last game.

MI: Exit of allrounder Dwayne Bravo will hit their team composition later in the season.

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IPL Match Review: Chennai Vs Royal Challengers

Bash of the South” as Ajay Jadeja was continuously referring to, took place yesterday at the home venue of the Royal Challengers i.e Chinnaswamy Stadium. Bangalore. With the Superkings being unbeaten yet, they were always the favorites going into the match. MS won the toss and chose to bat first on a decent batting pitch. However, the Royal Challengers were not going to give away the match so easily. Boosted by the inclusion of Dale Steyn, their pace attack looked more than ominous with Pravin Kumar and Zaheer Khan. The first 5 overs yielded just 22 runs for CSK with the loss of Hayden’s wicket. The consolidation and semi-acceleration was provided by Raina (28 off 17) with Hussey playing anchor role (47 off 38). CSK managed to reach 100-3 in 15 overs. And just when it seemed that RCB had done a brilliant job, Dhoni decided to script a story of his own. He fired 65 off 30 balls, after a slow start even milking 24 off a single over from Steyn. Eventually CSK ended at 178-5 losing Dhoni and Hussey off the lost two balls of their innings. They had amassed 78 runs off the last 5 overs, the same as in the middle 10! That was some acceleration!

The lost ground was easily recovered by Ross Taylor (53 off 34) and the unlikely hero W. Jaffer (50 off 33) for RCB as they smashed the Superkings’ bowling to all parts of the ground (One six from Taylor) measured 119m!). RCB raced to 127-2 in just 14 overs. Again Dhoni to the rescue. With quick bowling changes and good field placing, he inspired a collapse. His bowlers responded (Amarnath and Sharma) and so did his fielders (2 run outs). RCB slumped from a match winning 127-2 in 14 overs to 149-7 in 17.2 ov. After that it was almost over. CSK had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and held on to their superb unbeaten record leaving the Royal Challengers to despair.

With this victory, Superkings proved that they did not rely only on their international players. They had what it took to win even without them. A swashbuckling innings from Dhoni was refreshing and evoked memoirs of his former self. Nobody shall henceforth question his abilities to score quickly as captain.

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Watching it LIVE!

Yes, I finally got my real first opportunity to watch a cricket match live. The occasion was the IPL clash between the Mumbai Indians and the Deccan Chargers at the newly constructed D.Y. Patil Stadium at Nerul, Mumbai. Aditya, Abhishek, Gadre and Ashwin were with me to enjoy the match.

The tickets were booked at an outlet. Ironically, thought the tagline of the company to whom the distribution was assigned was ‘Jump the Queue’, we still had to stand in queue to get the actual tickets in hand! Earlier, like in a typical bureaucratic organisation, we had been asked to travel from one gate to another, bearing signs of “Tickets SOULD out.” Finally, we found the tickets being given at what seemed like a watchman’s cabin. Of course, there were no board there…

We had time to kill, so we wandered around a mall near vashi. After having a hearty meal, we came back to the stadium.

The DY Patil stadium just near the university of the same name, is a real class act. Its unique cantilever design has no columns in between the spectators and the action. It boasts of a seating capacity near to 60000. The seats too were comfortable and to my surprise, numbered. A glass media centre looks down the pitch at one end, while the pavilion at the other. The architecture of the entrance is also good. We were in the second tier, looking sideways on the pitch. In hindsight, it turned out to be a good choice. We were relatively close to the action and we enjoyed overs being bowled from either sides equally. Also, we could gauge the height to which the bole frequently rose to, which was not possible from the lower tier due to a small projecting roof overhead. The Mumbai cheerleaders were right in front of us, so we did not mind staying far from them!

Coming to the stadium, the first thing that strikes you is the scene. As we emerged from the stairs, we were treated to a magnificent sight of the ground below, the three tiers in between, the darkening evening sky above and the lights shining down. The next thing was the seemingly very small distances. When you watch on TV, the ground seems huge and the action really far away. However, it is in reality not so. We could easily identify the players and having a pair of binoculars made it more interesting. Sadly, the Deccan chargers’ cheerleaders were far from us…

It is just pure entertainment to watch the game live. It is so much faster than what we seen on TV. It seems more continuous with no ad breaks. The DC cheerleaders were doing fantastic dance routines! They were just too good, graceful, sensuous and brilliantly coordinated. Their outfits though completely restricted , were in good taste. Strikingly sour were the Mumbai ‘local talent’ cheerleaders. They wore hideous shining blue costumes and could not coordinate their own too hands let alone with their team! The dance moves were sad and repetitive. More entertaining were a bunch of guys dancing in our block. Atleast they were hilarious. In the end the MI cheerleaders stopped dancing. Whether this had to do with their team not doing well or to do with gross embarrassment will remain a point of debate. Gadre writes here on cheerleaders.

For the data skeptics, there is no way that you miss any of the action or the statistics. A screen, albeit a small one, continued to show the score and replay for all balls. Fielding and caching too is a just a treat for the eyes. And the most special thing of all is the resounding sound of the ball hitting the meat of the bat. Also, one can understand the value of sheer pace in the bowling attack. And, seeing the ball disappearing over the boundary line is just amazing. The atmosphere was simply great before the match began and only when the home team was going good!

Coming to the actual game, MI were playing without Sachin and obviously without Harbhajan. They made a mess of their batting with nobody particularly supporting the innings. They ended on a modest 154. And then came pure delight. Adam Gilchrist was in devastating form and scorched his way to the fastest hundred in T20! With 10 towering sixes and 9 cracking fours, he made easy work of the target and DC hauled it in just around 13 overs. I was initially supporting MI but with a sub-par performance, I switched to the Chargers. That was obviously just for the night…

We had plenty of snide comments to enjoy from the back throughout the match. Pollock, Nehra, Laxman and a sandwich vendor were the hot favorites. It was a really memorable experience, one which I plan to undertake as frequently as possible from now on. Next on my list is an closely fought ODI (:p)

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Ban on Harbhajan

The inevitable has happened.

Harbhajan has been banned from playing a total of 11 matches of the IPL. One of them was yesterdays clash against the Deccan Chargers in which the Mumbai team was ‘outcharged’ by Gilly. Thus, Harbhajan will have to sit out the next ten league games which MI will be playing. However, he may play the finals, IF MI make it to them.

This slap will cost Harbhajan around $730,000 which is around Rs. 3 Cr.

Lalchand Rajput has been fined for ‘not restraining Bhajji nor taking any action after the incident’. If really such is the case, I think it is a good move.

Harbhajan faces a separate inquiry by the BCCI. I believe the separate inquiry is another good move. Both cricketers are responsibility of the BCCI.

I believe that such a severe ban is qualified. Though, the obvious attempts from Sreesanth to let go of the incident makes me think whether it was really a one-sided incident or not. Were the tone or words used by him appropriate? However, the apologies from Bhajji did not look sincere enough. Thus, to see whether this ban is appropriate, one has to look at the bigger picture. Whether this is expected from a professional cricketer? Does it bode good of Harbhajan’s character and attitude? And does it send a good message to all those ‘gully’ cricket matches where even minor disagreements have been fatal? And is cricket still the ‘noble gentleman’s game’ it was started as? Everyone knows the answers to these questions. I sincerely believe that this incident is just a reflection of the all-round falling moral standards into cricket…

And consider the implications for Indian cricket in the future. Surely tensions will be high when both play(if they play) in the same match. A misfield by one on the others bowling, a freak runout between them and all would be watching with bated breath. And with Harbhajan the lone experienced spinner currently, should it be considered leaving him out for ‘personality disorder’ reasons? And will Sreesanth will get a sympathy vote?

In the end, it will hurt me to see Harbhajan undergoing this ban. He is one of India’s top cricketers and he has played a significant role in taking Indian cricket to the high position where it stands now. But I do not feel so sorry for him as I do for the Game…

Check out the article on Cricinfo.

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Bhajji slapped Sreesanth?

That was the story which I saw on tv today. It came as a real shock to me as I had turned off the TV after the match result was clear. Apparently, Sreesanth was seen crying after Kings XI Punjab beat the Mumbai Indians yesterday. He looked far from shedding tears of joy and even his teammates consoling him looked pretty grim. So did Bhajji really hit him? I saw an interview with him in which he denied it. However, his expressions looked far from honest and even he put in some sentences like “between me and him” . I heard rumours that the Kings XI had filed a complaint with the match referee. We will see how this story unwinds…

Here, I must criticize Harbhajan for his unimaginative captaincy and gross inability to build up team spirit in the Mumbai Indians. Maybe it’s his fiery attitude or his apparent self-consciousness… He did looked really under pressure in the post match press conference. Team Mumbai, which has a huge fan following will be really hoping Sachin comes back and glues the team together and Bhajji goes back to his old attacking and winning ways. I will too, be hoping not only for the sake of MI but also of the national team…

Check out the article on CRICINFO

Harbhajan has been temporarily suspended until inquiry. He will be missing tomorrow’s fixture against the Deccan Chargers. Another blow to Mumbai’s morale…

The outcome of the appeal i.e. the ban on Harbhajan and my response to the entire incident is here.

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