Monthly Archives: February 2012

Saffers versus Kiwis. Game on.

The last twelve months have been weird as hell. Thinking back to around about this time last year, Australia had just gotten themselves pummeled by England in the fifth and final Ashes test at the SCG. If you had told me then that they would whitewash India the following year – the then #1s, while the new #1s – England, would in turn get whitewashed by the basket case that is Pakistan, I would’ve coughed into my soup.

But stuff like that is exactly what has happened. And we had a superb 50 over World Cup in between whiles as well as classy bilaterals between the West Indies and Pakistan, Australia and South Africa, and Australia and New Zealand. Unpredictable was how they rolled, as all the two test affairs tapered to neither here nor there 1-1 results, leaving the average fan wanting that extra third test, to see which side could have hypothetically got their noses ahead.

Up next then, we have South Africa flying to the corner of the planet that is New Zealand, a place where they’ve generally toured well in going by statistics. Thanks to the abject failures of #1 and #2 in their respective away series, the Proteas can climb up the ladder to the top of the pile to claim the top ranking for themselves. The catch? They’ve got to whitewash the blackcaps in the three match series.

Doesn’t seem likely does it? Here’s why:

1. Like it or not, weather will always relegate large chunks of games in New Zealand to damp squib affairs. Be surprised not, if Game I at Dunedin is rained out. It’s the closest international venue to the south pole and overcast skies are always around the corner. Yes, even during the summer months. Once we’re through with that encounter and the scoreline still reads 0-0, there goes the Proteas chance of a whitewash.

2. Number two. New Zealand ain’t going to roll over. They have ripped apart Zimbabwe leading in to this series, prior to which they come off a morale boosing win at Hobart against big brother Australia. 1-0 down is as far as they’ll go I reckon. Watch out for great performances from Two Toes, the Wunderkid and Rossco, if his groin fixes itself in time LoL.

3. And. When was the last time a South African sports team grabbed their chance when the finish line’s been in sight? That’s right, never. Ditto here. My prediction? 1-1, with the Saffers conquering Hamilton. Expect Steyn and Philander to rip through the Kiwi top-order that game.

Knowing how fortunes have panned out over the past year, I’m most likely going to be wrong with the Kiwis thrashing South Africa 3-0 or something weird such as that. Still, an educated guess is always on I reckon, so here it is: South Africa 3 New Zealand 0? Not gonna happen.

PS: I like the ways tours to New Zealand are structured. Looking at the FTP, most of them comprise of 3 Tests, 3 ODIs and 3 T20s. None of the 2 Tests, 7 ODIs balderash. They do distribute their food evenly, them Kiwis.

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The Life and Woes of England

Thank you Pakistan. For bringing this (ultimately), cr*ppy England team back down to earth. All that tripe about world dominance for the next few years was just them being cocky, as we guessed correctly over the summer. These bunch of numpties are just like their pals in the football arena – bigged up by their faithful media and fans only to fail and collapse in a heap when the moment comes to pass. Especially all that talk about Ian Bell being one of the best players of spin – gimme a break. Every ball the kid has that expression on his face giving away the fact that he’s never seen the thing turn in his life. And KP and Morgan seemed like they were facing invisible balls. Not that I’m complaining, I loved every second of it.

ODIs up next – whichever genius came up with this idea of a four game ODI series prolly has a fetish for the 4-0 results that have been flying around recently. 4-0 Pakistan, yes. Duh.

Looks like the world order has been restored for now. Australia whitewashing everyone and England and India under performing. The good ol’ days are back, matey!

The Life and Woes of India

Incredible. Another whitewash. I think we all knew it was coming after that first innings implosion at Perth; there was simply no comeback from there on. Rahul Dravid, a bloke nicknamed ‘The Wall’ was watching his stumps shatter every innings, Tendulkar couldn’t get past 25 and VVS had transformed into a Bangladeshi tail-ender in disguise. It’s a great pity really, for 8-0 over the past year has wiped out a decade’s worth of progress. Obviously Ganguly was the driver behind the success during this period, but we will forever remember this generation – Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman, and perhaps to an extent Sehwag as the guys who made India strong overseas. Until now.

So where did we lose it? Day 3 of Melbourne was probably it. At 214/2 trailing Australia’s first innings 333, we should have taken the game by the scruff of the neck and posted a mammoth 400 or 500 to seal the deal. But. You know the script. We couldn’t even get to 300. Ditto Trent Bridge in the England tour. These are matches which we had the mental strength to win back when we were #1. Not anymore, unfortunately.

Rather, there must be something wrong with the rankings – should this team ever have been #1? These players have never won in Australia, never won in South Africa, and the only time they beat England was in 2007, by a margin of 1-0. Their best result in places like Kiwiland and the Windies is 1-0 (2006 and 2008 respectively). They have even failed to beat the Lankans in Lanka since something like 1994…..what a joke. Number #1? Stop kidding me. It appears as if India can only reach the top by accident. Never by design. And once there, it can’t stay for long. Anybody who were hoping for this side to build a team of an era like the Windies or the Aussies can go LoL themselves.

The momentum from the Ganguly-Wright era is drawing to a close, and it’s just as well that Cricket Australia didn’t budget for the fifth day in their final projections in each of these tests.

PS: Ishant Sharma can try bowling his Adam’s apple. Might get some reverse.