Now It's Pakistan's Turn

First it was Australia.

Now it’s Pakistan’s turn.

Let’s start at the beginning though. Woke up at 4:30 am. Put on my official Indian jersey (the one they had before they changed it recently). Found out that India had won the toss and was batting.  Before going to bed, I had tweeted that if India had lost the toss and was fielding, would go back to sleep (Between ourselves, I would not have of course). So this was good.

Then I looked at the team rosters. Akthar was not playing. A slight pang of regret because 1) I kind of admire his dogged passion and his aggressiveness and 2) I enjoy watching his crestfallen expression once he is carted around.

And then I looked at the Indian squad. What? No Ashwin?

Ashwin I had thought would be a sure-shot selection. Why? Because he had bowled extremely well against West Indies and Australia. Because he is not the standard-type of spinner,  being one that the Pakistanis (who cannot play for IPL) have not encountered before. Finally because he seems to be the kind of person who bowls well when the batsmen are trying to have a go at him (since he bowls a lot in the Powerplay overs) and would be an ideal foil for the perennially attacking Pakistani batsmen. In his place I find Ashish Nehra, who has not been in the best of form and who had a confidence-gutting match against South Africa.  (Even after the match, I feel Ashwin would have been the far better, more attacking “option” instead of Nehra who got two tail-ender wickets and who to his credit was merely economical, but not threatening, on a track difficult to score off.)

With the way Sehwag and Sachin open up, of course one ceased caring about team selection. Hell we will just bat them out.  This seemed to be a classic Mohali featherbed and even Sachin at the presentation said he was looking at more than 300. So were we.

Umar Gul, yet another cricketer who discovered the KKR side of him at a critical juncture, was trying his best to help us towards that aim. In trying to blaze the Indians out ala Akthar in his prime, he was giving the two openers easy four balls which Sehwag was dispatching with the customary brutishness he reserves for Pakistan.

Everything was perfect. The real Caesar, the decoy Caesar and the future Caesar were in the stands. Crowd shouting  “Sachin Sachin” in the Maximus Maximus style. And Sachin and Sehwag, like two battle-axe wielding gladiators scything through the Pakistanis.

Among the few things I truly envy about my neighboring country is their endless supply of genuinely-fast, talented pace bowlers. They produce these with almost assembly-line regularity before they end up with life-bans or develop stress fractures or land up with Veena Malik.  To that list of fast men add Wahab Riaz, the new kid on the block, who produced a supremely magnificent MoM-deserving spell to pull India down with Yuvraj Singh getting the kind of swinging Brahma-astra-type yorker that one Shoaib Akthar once rocked India with in a Test in Calcutta. Twice.

Kohli after the initial century has had a quiet tournament and today also he disappointed. Along with Dhoni who increasingly is becoming like Ganguly at his worst (good captain but not worth his place in team as batsman). As a matter of fact with another sub-par batting performance (minus Raina), India would have been totally and irrevocably shut out of the match.

Except that Afridi’s men kept grassing catches like Americans dropping bombs in Tora Bora, displaying the kind of aerial fielding I had last seen in a Computer Science vs Metallurgy match in Jadavpur University. Sachin was the biggest beneficiary of their Asha-Aman as he played possibly, one of the most charmed innings I can recall him having played in recent times.  Even on the worst of pitches, the greatest aspect of Sachin’s batting has been that just by watching him at the crease, one would think that there is nothing wrong on the square. Today though was different and every-time he tried anything mildly attacking, he would give a catch which would then go down. Sachin deserves his 100th 100 but today was definitely not that day.

Two hundred sixty was a minimum of 20 runs perhaps even more short on this pitch given India’s bowling resources. It would have been against normal international A-grade teams.

But Pakistan isnt your normal international A-grade team. To put it mildly.

It was not the shot-selection which was just bizarre. Mohammed Hafeez’s attempt at a Pepsi-special shot at a time when he was cruising I could explain as a KKR moment. Afridi’s swipe was well…..the way the man has played all his life.

But what can one say about Misbah-ul-Haq’s batting? I understand the need for playing the sheet anchor but this was absolutely as mindboggling as a “Kyon tu baraf peeta hai whisky main daalke”. As an example, there was a time when he was batting with Umar Akmal. Umar Akmal is plenty-talented with really amazing hand-eye coordination and today he seemed to be in fine nick. With the run-rate climbing, Akmal Junior took after Yuvraj’s bowling getting the momentum back. Now in a normal team, the guy playing anchor would try to give Umar Akmal the strike. He might not be successful if the bowling was good or the pitch was bad. But at least he would try.

Misbah did not even try. He just kept chomping up deliveries. When the ball was hit to the ring, usually a batsman steps out one or two paces, showing intent for a run. This pressurizes the fielder and also enables him to run should there be a mis-field. Misbah, most of the time, did not even take those two paces. There were at least two times I remember Umar Akmal almost goading him for a run, advancing three or four or even more paces but Misbah was just not interested. It was not that he was being beaten (like the Indians were), he seemed quite comfortable. Not too many plays and misses, no edges, no streaky shots. Perfectly in control. And perfectly static. And at the end, when he decided to open up striking some immensely powerful, clean hits (he could not run because No 11 was at the other end), displaying not a trace of tentativeness, one could not help but wonder “Whattt?” [Read Cricinfo’s stats analysis of the “mysterious man” here]

India, second match running, fielded as well as it has had in recent memory. Dhoni got the bowling order down perfectly and India took all its chances (except a stumping). The bowling was good too from everyone with Munaf’s amazing leg-cutter to Razzaq a perfect tribute to the “man who stared down Pakistan” in 1996.  But again, I wonder what the result would have been had not Misbah and to an extent Younis Khan not knocked the wind out of their own sails.

Not that any Indian fan cared. Gilani and Manmohan Singh sat stoney-faced next to each other, very much a date that seemed to have gone very very wrong. Afridi stood dignified in defeat and made a gracious match-end speech. The emperor-that-is and the emperor-that-will-be fraternized with a carefully selected assembly of lords, nobles and a few lucky plebeians.  Aamir Khan looked as pleased as punch; there was a time when I thought in the innings break, he would fire Dhoni and take over the captaincy himself for the second innings. Wahab Riaz sat thinking how in a month Balaji would be earning more money per over than he could ever hope to make. Ravi Shastri engaged in “this is the biggest game in cricket history” hyperbole. Sachin waved at the crowd, Bhajji pumped his fists, Geeta Basra smiled coyly.

And the truth sunk in. Pakistan had been shut out of Mumbai. At least this time.

Now only Sri Lanka remains in our path.

Dear Mr. Dilshan, hold onto your pallu.

Because we are marching.

106 thoughts on “Now It's Pakistan's Turn

  1. Nice one !

  2. Did not understand the title, did you mean now it’s Sri Lanka’s turn?


    The first post was “Australia Go Down”

    “Now It’s Pakistan’s Turn”. Clarified it now in post.

  4. nice one Arnab… I still think Riaz should have been given the MOM…

    So now its Sachin’s WC final in his home ground with 100th ton and world cup win beckoning, are we really lucky enough to such an extent of poetic justice!

    I fear and hope for the best.. *fingers crossed*

  5. I too think that Ashwin would have been a better choice than Nehra, in spite of the win. Wahab Riaz bowled with a lot of heart and definitely deserved the MoM albeit being on the losing side. Somehow, the win did not look very convincing to me and I was not as happy as I normally am when the Pakis get their asses spanked by India. I just can’t put my finger on it.

  6. I really don’t understand how they could grass so many catches. As always with Pakistan, some things continue to remain inexplicable.

    I thought Saeed Ajmal was brilliant. His two consecutive balls that almost got SRT out were as best as a spinner could get. He had SRT doubting and tentative!

    Pakistani bowlers are really the most unfortunate bowling unit ever. Every time they go on the field – they have to create twice or thrice the number of chances to get one wicket (except for LBW and bowled).

  7. I started following you on Twitter today. Wanted to know your thoughts about the match as it was happening.
    Now, why did I not think of it before? 🙂

  8. One typo to report. ‘So were we ‘instead of ‘So where we’

  9. Hyderabadi,

    The reasons why perhaps you were not happy.

    1. For the first time in a WC encounter with Pakistan, we were not underdogs. So no sense of disbelief like in 1996 or even in 2003.

    2. With the politicians present, there was no edge in the battle. Contrast this to the last time we played. Match went down to the wire. Akthar had a go at Bhajji. Raina was run out. And then Bhajji struck back. This time, the Pakistani team were just minding their own business most of the time, not even a glare or word thrown at the Indians. The Indians also stayed to themselves. Things were so placid that at the end, I actually felt bad for Afridi.

    3.Misbah’s batting.

  10. The thing I liked most was how Yuvi, Raina and Kohli would congatulate each other, every time one of them would cut off a single on the off ring.

  11. No war of words, no confrontations, No MC/BC abuses, Seems the boys were behaving in front of their PMs.

    Good luck India in the final. You deserved it after Pakistan could not hold on to so many catches. 🙂

    C ya next time.

  12. u dont understand much of cricket, do u?

  13. When Ganguly was the captain, towards the later stage of his career, we used to have these ihateganguly.coms etc where many of us campaigned to have Ganguly removed.He was, as you said, a good captain, but had turned into a terrible batsman.He did not deserve to be in the Indian team at all then.

    Dhoni is going through a very similar phase. He is like a non-playing captain one has in Davis Cup Tennis. India play with just 10 players, not 11. And 9 when Dhoni’s best pal Nehra is playing.

    He was so good when he first came into the side 5 years ago. We thought – what a player ! A wicketkeeper who bats like Viv Richards. I still remember his first 100, a 150+, which came off less than 100 balls.

    And then they made him captain. He then gave up playing shots for playing like Dravid. Now he cant play like Dravid, and cannot bring back any of his shots. When was the last time he batted well in international cricket ? No, a 100 in a practise game against New Zealand does not count.

    He is a worthless stroke-less wonder.He is not even IPL/Ranji trophy class, forget international cricket.

    But now with this win against our enemies, looks like he is safe for another 2 years at least. He has apparently made 250 crores from ads – which by the way he is brilliant at. Will probably make 1000-2000 crores more before he retires.

  14. I agree that this wasnt a particularly satisfying win. Misbah and Hafeez’s bizarre performance made the whole run chase pretty weird overall

    But I disagree with GB’s analysis that the total was short. Yes, people did misread the pitch and believe it was a 300+ wicket. But given how slow it became after 10 overs and how it was turning, I think anything over 250 was perfectly defendable

  15. Sri Lankans will defeat India in the final. Their bowling resources are awesome as are their fielding and batting depth. In 1996 also, we lost to Sri Lanka after winning over Pakistan. Same thing will repeat. Be ready for the heartbreak.

  16. Arnab, the line that got me the most was “Kyon tu baraf peeta hai whisky main daalke”. I burst out laughing and luckily no one in the house to turn around and stare at me. Misbah was a mystery yest like seriously!

    @Kishor – Let’s some have some faith and hope before we start please!

  17. @Kishor,

    your name means “juvenile” in Bengali – you have an apt name


    Dhoni’s first 100 was against Pakistan in Vizag in the 2005 ODI series – he scored 148 / 123. But I think a better innings was in Jan 2006 when in Pakistan, he took on a raging Akhtar to score a 100 off 120 odd deliveries

  18. 2 reasons why neither team sledged yesterday – (1) Presence of MMS generally slows things down to boredom (2) They felt that since they are no longer the stupidest “celebrity” in the stadium (that titile goes to Munna wherever he goes to), they should refrain from using juvenile languag

  19. Kishor

    That is a laughably inept bit of analysis. Though SL have the opening firepower of yesteryear in Dilshan and Tharanga, there is no solidity in the middle order. Can you see the current crop of completely unplayed (in this WC) middle order buffoons compare with Ranatunga, Mahanama, Gurusinghe, Arvinda De Silva?

    And Malinga is definitely a menace, but Vaas was, well, vastly more controlled while retaining a similar pace.

    And this Indian batting lineup is also much better than the ’96 one.

    There is simply no comparison to ’96 unless the Indians want to deliberately make one by playing stupidly.

  20. Sheila ki jawani
    Munni ki badnami
    aur Dhoni ki kaptaani

    (swiped from TOI comments space 🙂 Just sharing here for people who love good humor)

  21. So glad India bagged this match, even though the outcome looked precarious till the death overs. If Misbah had go ballistic a tad sooner, the outcome would have definitely been different..

  22. Had mixed feelings about shoaib akhtar when he was sitting there without emotions(not cheering for Pakistan either). Would have loved to see him getting spanked today, but may be he could have come back with a good performance and changed the equation. He probably deserved a last hurrah. I guess an enquiry is in order for Misbah-5-runs-then-and-misbah-30-runs-now-ul-Haque for his really puzzling behavior.
    Sri-lanka is usually comes in two flavors in world cup. One where they kick everyone’s ass(1996 and 2007) and one where they get their ass kicked by almost everyone(1999, 2003). It depends on which one of them turn up on the finals.

  23. All that if left between us and the cup is 1996 Wills winner Sri Lanka. If you remember the Wills 96 cup clearly, controversial events like Tendulkar fell amid a batting collapse and the match referee awarded Sri Lanka the match after the crowd began rioting and set fire to parts of the stadium. I hope we get our victory this year. Come on India!

  24. Nice summary. A large bunch of desi grad students at my school got together and projected the match on a wall of a dorm room and had a whale of a time. There was rampant cheering with face-painting and all…To think I actually had to teach a lab during the second innings! The lab ended as Afridi got out. Luckily I caught the last part of the match on the big screen.
    Misbah’s innings does seem a little crazy, he did suck out the life blood from the chase. And that Wahab Riyaz definitely deserved MOM. He took out an in-form Yuvraj first ball. Most of his wickets did not involve the Pakistani fielders!
    All in all, a wonderful time.

  25. Prasun Banerjee March 31, 2011 — 4:15 am

    Could Misbah be the “sleeper mole” that India has been cultivating for years ? I would be scared living in Pakistan if i were his family !!!

  26. Misbah’s innings will set tongues wagging…..
    Was THAT fixed? Hmmmm……

  27. Greatbong – Not sure what match you were watching – didnt you guys see Munaf go all MKC and BKL on Hafeez after getting his wicket?

  28. Arun Lala will be back for the finals- he will dance on the pitch before the match! Chiddu and Chogle will run around the stadium in floral shorts, trying to pull each other’s down, and Mandira Body will be the chief guest- she will be introduced to both the teams, whereby she will join Shaz and Waz in the box for her expert commentary!

  29. Well, MSD’s gamble paid off in the end. Usually Mohali is a pitch where the ball gets some reverse swing under the lights. I quite agreed with Dhoni’s assessment that he needed an extra pacer, and I thought that it should’ve been Shreeshant. Despite being hated by the captain, most of the team, and the country, the lad has some genuine pace and the ability to take crucial wickets. I am quite perplexed by MSD’s gulli cricketish selection.

    Yesterday, even the heavens wanted their favourite God to keep playing! Sachin, however was visibly embarrassed and uncharacteristically unsettled. Wahab bowled brilliantly, and the dismissal of Yuvraj, to me, was the ball of the match! However, it was too late in the day as Sehwag got into the berserker mode and shut out Gul for the rest of the match.

    Afridi was gracious in defeat, and I almost felt sorry listening to his post match interview. His accomplishment of getting Pakistan into the semis in itself was a great feat.

    I hope we choose a more ‘appropriate’ side for Mumbai, and not rely on chadi-buddy friendships over the biggest aspiration for a nation. With the Lankans playing in ‘God mode’, we will need more than just luck to win the finals. God knows we have the talent, and I hope we make it count.

    For me, the world cup was won at Mohali…

  30. Lots more Arnab Da! The deliberate photo op of the prince with the water car, the shaking sardar act of bhajji…and mumbai saved from shiv sena digging…we’ve won finally! 🙂

  31. No mention of Poonam Pandey?

  32. For all the Roman Analogy, I for one find uncanny resemblance of present times to the Fall of Rome. Nero is ruling Scams, Corruption, Inflation, Immorality taking society downhill, Foreign religion gaining and Cricket world Cup keeping people diverted from real issues just like how Roman was kept busy with gladiator fights.

  33. We all know what happened last time we met Sri Lanka in a WC knock-out AFTER beating Pak. Shit, the memories of that Koltata match just does not seem to fade 😦
    BTW, for India the MOM yesterday was Misbah :). Good for us that he chose to educate the crowd on Forward defense techniques. Have the fixing investigations started by now??

  34. y’day’s match was apparently fixed. A ploy of Congress to keep indian junta diverted from the termite of scams!

  35. Arnab,
    Great post, as usual.

    Before I change my mind about submitting this, here’s some nonsense about the match.
    I shall repent at leisure.

    Virender Say”Wah!” started in typical style, but we know he reserves his best for Pakistan.
    Sachin Pendulkar swung like Foucault’s, the heavens were on his side, and yet didn’t score his 100th. Maybe just as well.
    The middle order again disappointed, but then Yuvraj’s Singed wicket was a beauty.
    Suresh Reined in the Pakistanis a bit–actually quite a bit…
    Umar had his whole life “Gul” in just one over.
    “Wow”hab Erased memories of the last time he played against India.
    And yet, it was Miserab-ul-Haq who was India’s secret weapon, just like at the 2007 T20 WC finals.
    Does one feel for Shahid? Afraidi not!
    And my pet peeve against the Pak team…
    For every Clooney, there is a Rooney. And for every Imran, there is a Kamran.
    And I am not talking about his comical presence behind the sticks. The man should learn to shut up! Can’t stand him.

    Speaking of wicketkeepers, in Mumbai, “Dil” mange More? Give him Dhoni instead.
    Go India! Chak De!

  36. match fixing..?

  37. Kamran Akmal is the most handsome man to have walked the cricket field! His large mouth and droopy eyes make girls go weak in the knees, and his impish silly smile and fantabulous keeping remind one of the small and simple joys of life! Word is that he is dating Tipasha Basu, and Arun Lala is the matchmaker, he will give Tipasha away and preside over the rituals! Nobel for Lala!

  38. arranged_matches March 31, 2011 — 9:11 am

    Do any of you experts have an explanation for this?

  39. @bluetoothbuddha – Fantastic!

    Knock Knock

    Who’s there?


    Misbah who?

    Misbah 30 runs


  40. Looking at the sheer lack of aggression and passion that is usually exhibited in an india-pak match by pakistani side, and Misbah’s unexplainable batting, I strongly doubt whther this match was fixed already. The changing of gloves by players twice in the innings make me wonder about spot ficing too…maybe I am thinking too much, but still….

  41. @Rupali
    i wonder tht everytime we lose, we are a bullshit team. and everytime we win, the match is fixed

  42. Received the following during the first hour of the match and immediately posted it on facebook (the time stamp proves when I posted it)-
    “As per the betting market in Mumbai, India will win the toss, score 270+ with sachin reaching 100: pakistan batting second will lose early wickets though misbha will score his 21st 50 and will have support with afridi to have score of 250+ eventually will lose to india by 20+ runs”

    Pretty close to actual turn of events huh !! Does that somehow explain M-u-H’s batting

  43. For everyone who is asking the question, what happened the last time we met SL after beating Pak; The answer is it was 2003 (not 96) and we kicked their butts big time !!!! Its gonna be no different this time either.

    But what irritates me the most about these high profile matches, is that we get to see a host of nobodies like Vivek Oberoi, Sunil Shetty and the bunch of dime a dozen starlets who have profound dumbness and mechanical smiles across their faces throughout the day no matter what the situation of the match is.

    The lure of free footage, i guess ……..

  44. GB : Very well written.
    The match events yesterday were highly mysterious. Let me recount a few
    1) Misbah’s batting, remniscient of a Test Match Play
    2) Buttered fingers, even more buttery than usual (am expecting Amul to soon do a billboard on this)
    3) Strong bowling and fielding by India
    4) Shahid Afridi’s remarkably mature behaviour
    5) Sachin’s unusually tentative innings
    6) Dhoni missing a stumping chance
    7) Nehra bowling a tight line

    I wonder if it was just the pressure or something more sinister 🙂

    Anyway, i hope it’s the former. Now on to Wankhede and hope Dilshan tries a hafeez scoop there.

  45. The real Caesar, the decoy Caesar and the future Caesar — Outstanding….

  46. “Dear Mr. Dilshan, hold onto your pallu.

    Because we are marching.”
    Indeed !!! 🙂 🙂

  47. Veerendra Meel:
    You’re quite funny, how on earth the toss could be fixed. Kaala Jaadoo:-)

  48. @ afzal: there have been instances in the past when both captains (not india/pak specifically) have come out claiming the other guy won the toss. take a look at the video of yesterday’s match, u can’t see with your own eyes which way the coin landed. you are taking the official’s word for it. and this whole prediction thing is not mine, just got it from some source. ofcourse open to debate.

  49. GB, you seem to be the only one doing some sensible writing on WC’11. Keep them coming. And genuinely thanks!

  50. Hey Arnab,
    Nice article. Great fan of yours.
    Nice point you bring up of Misbah’s confident forward defences when the pressure was mounting. The “F”(ixing) word did cross my mind a couple of times especially after seeing the number of dropped catches.
    But in the hell, I couldn’t care less. We won!
    Just hoping we bleed the right shade of blue on Saturday!

  51. “there was a time when I thought in the innings break, he (Aamir Khan) would fire Dhoni and take over the captaincy himself for the second innings.” Classic GB. 😀

    Great post. Keep them coming.

  52. Gavaskar, maybe the first and last time in his life cracked something of worth mentioning (for comments only). He said before the match “I think India gonna loose today, because we do whatever these Pakistanis always find their way to Mumbai”

  53. Adithya
    “Just hoping we bleed the right shade of blue on Saturday!”


  54. “very much a date that seemed to have gone very very wrong” this was hilarious !!

  55. For the most part, it looked like the game was being played without any MC’s and BC’s – at least what was captured on TV. One incident that WAS captured though was Munaf’s “colorful” sendoff of Hafeez. In the grand scheme of things it looked out of place, but I guess with that kind of pressure, people do lose their cool every now and then.

  56. I dont know if what Munaf gave Hafeez was a “send off” or a “come on”. It didnt look threatening.

  57. My friend remarked: “Pakistanis are very dependable and consistent… they always lose to India in the World Cup.” 😉

  58. For all those claiming the match was fixed, weren’t the odds in India’s favour yesterday? If anyone had to fix this, they would make Pakistan win, not lose. That’s the only way to maximize their payoff.

  59. an excellent review of the match .. after 1996 we have a world cup where there is not one team that can be called the true champion .. so let’s see who wins the final fight .. am glad nehra’s injured and hopefully ashwin will play ..

  60. The real Caesar, the decoy Caesar and the future Caesar were in the stands

    Just superb!!!!!

  61. Dhoni is of course going through a rough patch as a batsman but how can you ignore the fact that his wicketkeeping has been very good.Even if he were not a captain, he would still earn his place in the team as a specialist wicketkeeper who is just one good innings away from getting back to good batting form.

    On a different note, Misbah’s innings was absolutely inexplicable. As you said, he was not looking in any particular trouble at any point of his game – there wre singles for the taking during the middle over with the field spread, just that he seemed barely interested in taking it. I am generally not one for conspiracy theories, but after having seen Pakistan’s shennaingans in the recent past, its not outside the realm of possibility that Misbah’s approach had something to do with match fixing?

  62. Misbah and Yunis Khan could just have been upset that Afridi got the Captaincy and was getting all the accolades. The internal squabbles in the dressing room were not a big secret.

    When the other 20 players on the field are giving 110%, all it takes to get noticed for being lousy, is a 98% performance.

    I do not think this match fixing ruse has any credence. As Thalassa said, Indian players would have been much bigger targets for bribed fixing, given the odds before the match.

    Not like Mama Ceaser, babba Ceaser and their manservant would have complained.

  63. this game was totally unlike an Ind-Pak match… too much bonhomie and totally void of usual excitement during the climax! some of the pak batsmen even exchanged smiles with our bowlers! horrendous! blasphemy!

  64. Have you read this one
    I think its extremely condescending, ill-informed and written with an agenda.

    Cant believe its part of the Wall street journal.

    Please let me know what you think.

  65. @Sonal

    “I think its extremely condescending, ill-informed and written with an agenda.”

    It is definitely condescending. It is certainly not ill-informed and what agenda are you referring to?

    I am myself not a big fan of fan behavior in India to put it mildly. Let me tell you about an old instance. This match was taking place in Jamshedpur about 15 years back. That was India vs England encounter and India was in a pretty bad situation. Suddenly the game was stopped and police were rushed in. As I and my family looked around confused, the spectators were emptied from a part of the stadium. It turned out that someone had thrown a knife at an English player (Yeah a f***ing knife). Now you decide. I wont mention Eden Garden in 1996, booing Ponting or any other instance.
    I can live with the entire stadium falling silent – that happened many times I watched college hockey/football in the US. But I guess cricket is assumed to be a gentlemanly game.

    As far as commentary is concerned, he is bang on target. It sucks ass. But I don’t know how to fix that. English is not the mother tongue of India (unlike NZ, Aus, Eng, WI). During the times of Shastry/Gavaskar et al. getting an excellent english education was not so easy. A good cricketer doesn’t need a good command in english for hitting sixes or taking wickets either (shahid afridi can tell you that). So there is no way out. One has to live with that.

    As far as his anger at money driving the game in India and leaving behind the good old days of Eng/Aus dominated game, I can only say one thing – get used to it. When money creates a gradient no one can avoid it – neither the craftsmen of the past who ran cottage industry, nor the civil engineers who joined TCS rather than honor the degree and build bridges.

  66. This is an interesting Sachin Tendulkar photo being circulated:

  67. @Sonal – the Indian owner of livemint is HT group – the same guys who employ Rajdeep Sardesai and Vinod Sharma. So you can understand

    As far as Dhoni is concerned, I think he has to play some of the less consequential matches purely as a batsman – promote himself to number 3, to get back his touch. He can use Wridhiman Saha / Naman Ojha or Parthiv Patel as wicketkeepers.

    In the long run, we need Dhoni as a batsman, especially when the big 3 retire from tests

  68. The author of the article of LIVEMINT is racist, she may be of indian origin but she hates everything about INDIA. and trying to generalize people based on religion, language, region is nothing but racism.

  69. @Adhi
    There are lots of such racists in the media. The best way to fight these a***holes is to ignore them.

  70. @Adhi – that article was written by Aakar Patel, not Priya Ramani. Please to be checking byline.

  71. @Adhi
    What a terrible article !!!!
    Completely wrong logic and reasons. Gave me indigestion.

  72. How can you compare Dhoni to Ganguly? Ganguly is a specialist batsman and Dhoni is a wicketkeeper, and a pretty good one at that. That is the great advantage in being a multiskilled player. His keeping and cool-headedness are invaluable to the team and he will rightfully retain the captaincy in the event of an extended batting slump

  73. “The real Caesar, the decoy Caesar and the future Caesar………..”

    Touché.A more fitting description of this merry lot would have been-the Queen,the Knave and the Jack(-ass of all trades).

  74. When we conquered Australia I felt as much bad for Pointing as I did for Captain Russel when he lost to Bhuvan’s XI and couldn’t make his queen richer by Teen Guna Lagaan.

    But when we won against Pakistan……I felt felt no animosity for them. Afridi won my heart which his pat on the back after the GOD was dropped.
    It made me realise that there is a side of Pakistan which we don’t want to see.

    Here are the thoughts of a Pakistani fan:
    And this is from Afridi’s PC in Pakistan :

  75. What an absolutely WTF article written in livemint. The author has actually come up with LIES that will make the ISI cheifs proud ….. Jeez …. I put in a comment there refuting her points …. I hope the moderator does not remove it.

  76. Dhoni may not be the batsman he once was, but he is doing a brilliant job with the gloves. When he started out, he was a batsman who could keep a little… but he has worked really hard and become a true gloveman now.

    He does creditably for any wicketkeeper with the bat now. His ODI average is still pretty amazing for a wicketkeeper barring wonders such as Gilly and Flower – not that I’m saying he is anywhere close to the batsman he was a couple of years back.

    Dhoni is a captain that does not get his due. Sure he has one of the greatest batting orders ever.. but have you seen the bowlers and fielders he has to work with? Despite these handicaps, he has not lost a test series so far and has done superbly in ODIs (barring the odd international tourney). He is already statistically the best captain that BCCI has ever had in its history.

    Why don’t we cut him some slack?

  77. @Kishor
    LOL … here is a question i posed for you in GB’s Aman Asha post:
    “What does Mr Kishor feel about the South Indians shorn indian team ? ;)”

    I guess I got my answer 🙂 …
    .. can’t believe it I am still grinning …!

  78. THIS IS BIG: Sachin Tendulkar is also in match fixing OMG!!!!! Listen to this –

  79. Well, now that we have dismissed the Livemint article as “racist”, shall we do the same with this Cricinfo one by Akash Chopra?

  80. Arun Lala is playing today in place of Nehra.

  81. We won the WORLD CUP!!!!!!!!!!

  82. yep! we came, we saw….

  83. Wither art thou..O Greatbong….at this moment of glory…wither is thy post

  84. @ PRAY,

    The GREATbong is devastated. Dhoni has become more successful than India’s “greatest captain ever” – his favourite Dada 🙂

  85. GB, new post please!!

  86. yippeee.
    what great knocks from gauti n dhoni! unbelievable.

  87. Waiting for your post GB.take your time and make it your best one.:)

  88. For a change, let there be no posts on this World Cup win. We have analyzed a lot, criticized a lot, vilified a lot, glorified a lot, sermonized a lot, demonized a lot……now is the time to give the words a rest. Instead, lets just salute the Champion Team in the World and silently bow to our cricket heroes!

  89. @ritwik….is tha gb?? 🙂

    whatever dhoni did last night, GB is sulking..dada had been surpassed, a fraud has bee forgotten…the real champ takes over

    ranchi was all awake last night….what a feeling..what a feeling

  90. GB,
    awaiting post on WC win

  91. Another reason for GB's silence April 3, 2011 — 8:29 am

    Look at the headings of GB’s last 2 posts. “Australia go out” and “Now it’s Pakistan’s turn”. Rather than highlighting India’s achievements, the headings reflect his negative approach – gloating on the losing teams.

    Now put yourself in GB’s shoes. How does he post an article on India winning the World Cup, without mentioning the winning team in the heading?
    Hence, acting exactly like the mouse that he resembles, he goes into hiding!

  92. GB, COME ON- We are eagerly waiting for your take on the EPIC MOMENT, the MOMENT OF GLORY, the day that goes down in the history of Indian cricket….are you just too overwhelmed to write something and want to enjoy this victory in peace and solitude before you can summon your words and order up your thoughts to put it down on www? Or are your critics right about your “negativity”?

  93. Ok GB. Do not write. Enjoy the moment. The glory. But please answer two questions
    Who was the captain of World cup winning side in 2011?
    Who was man of the match in this world cup’s final?

    Hint – incase you do not know the answer, please refer to your favorite website – cricinfo.

  94. @Another reason for GB’s silence ….

    Its GB’s blog, he can come up with whatever and whenever he wants to. If you don’t like what he writes, then don’t read it.

  95. @moron
    GB wrote after India’s earlier victories. Look at the archives. Back off a bit, will you?

  96. Hey Arnab.. tired from Quiz Mastering at UMD or what?? We are waiting for your article.. please finish it quickly and post it up.


  97. Thankfully, like GB not everyone believes in Aman ki Asha ki asi taisi.

    Do read the comments below the article as well.

    I hope there are more Indians who relate to the comments in that article than those who relate to comments on GB’s anti pak diarrhea.

  98. Hi Arnab Da,

    My world cup victory (as an Indian) is not complete with out your take. Regardless of your( our) love for dada, we know you are a true nationalist and patriot and this is a pure moment of glory and joy for all of us Indians everywhere.

    Please do come up woth something special.

    And yes, Dhoni Rocked!!!

  99. Please no posts April 3, 2011 — 2:20 pm

    No one is good enough to analyze this game. Let’s enjoy the moment.

  100. I doubt anyone is waiting for the analysis of the game as such, inevitably it will be analyzed on some level but I feel everyone is waiting to know the experience of GB as he watched the game because he has this really humorous way of putting it all, and also share their experience with him. I , for one, look for that only than anything else….rest, he has his opinions which I may or may not agree with or endorse but I did enjoy reading his write-ups throughout this world cup…

    Oh, and I am not a GB fan , nor am I his “supporter”, I am just another reader of his WC blog posts!

  101. See Shahid Afridi’s true feelings about India in this outrageous & hate-driven interview

    The last one especially @Sameer

  102. @Sameer,

    Yes, indeed. Feast your eyes and ears on Afridi the statesman. .

    Look at the applause Afridi gets when he talks about how Muslims have purer hearts. This is applause from an audience made up not of illiterates, but of educated people who in any other nation would be the more liberal, secular group. But it isn’t surprising coming from a country where lawyers shower rose petals on the murderer of a man who spoke out against blasphemy laws. This is why Aman ki Asha is naive.
    Oh, and while we can blame the media for a million things and GB for maybe ten things, they’ve got an insignificant role to play in India-Pak hatred. The media didn’t send a boatload of terrorists to Mumbai, nor did they carry out terrorist attacks every other, nor did they make a comment about Hindus having purer hearts than Muslims, nor did they ever support a person making such comments.

  103. MSD is a great captain no doubt, one of India’s all-time greats – but praising him does not mean belittling others.

    Dhoni also had his bad moments – the subsequent T20 WC failures, Champions Trophy first round exit. And he will be tested down under this season. So, the comments should be more balanced

    @Anon who commented on April 3 – congrats. But just remember, Dhoni does not happen to be Jharkhandi by birth. He is a Uttarakhandi Rajput, whose dad was posted in ranchi. In fact, he had spent 2 years at Kharagpur, that does not make him a Bong. To me though, he is an Indian 🙂 Cheers

  104. yo………waiting for the blog post on india’s victory!! no one summarizes it better han you

  105. @kaushik saha….i never said i m proud of him because he is a jharkhandi..i said ranchi was awake last was entire country..
    BTW how ironical…even in such an hour, people are talking abt his failures.whn he fails…ppl will anyhow talk about his failure….poor soul..

  106. With regards to those youtube/facebook rants, is Afridi merely ill-informed or is he a demagogue or both? Given his prejudices, why should he be allowed to enjoy even the feigned hospitality of the Indian people? As long as this fellow is at the helm, re-establishment of cricketing ties should be put on hold. Imagine his sermons to rally his troops. Scary.

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