Archive for October, 2010

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Jeewan Mendis Interviewed

October 8, 2010

Dilanka Manakkara, Daily News, 8 Oct. 2010

The Carey College schoolboy who won a scholarship to S. Thomas. College and then entered the ranks of the budding U 19 cricketers, Jeewan Mendis, has had a chequered career. Seen as future Sri Lankan player, just like Angelo Mathews and Dinesh Chandimal recently, his stock was particularly high because he met the demanding technical standards espoused by Owen Mottau when the latter was one of Sri Lanka’s coaches. He was a fringe player in at least one touring XVI (to Pakistan if my memory serves me right). Despite his locationat the SSC his domestic achievements as a batsman did not live up to expectations and he fell behind in the calculations of the selectors. He persevered however and after moving to the Tamil Union added leg-spin bowling to his armoury. This enhancement of his armoury has coincided with the crystallisation of his batting skills in consistent scores at both domestic and A Team levels. He is now in the Selectors’ sights. Michael Roberts

Manakkara’s Introductory Note: The squad for the all important Australian tour was announced and to the delight of the country’s cricket lovers the consistent all rounder Jeevan Mendis was included in the 16 man squad. Jeevan who has been performing brilliantly for the ‘A’ team with his innovative stroke play, teasing leg breaks and athletic fielding, has developed in to an useful all rounder who could bat at any position. Jeevan was rewarded for his superb feats as he had the rare distinction of winning the ‘Player of the tournament’ award in the Premier League as well as the Limited Overs tournament at the prestigious CEAT Cricket awards.

Q – You won the ‘Player of the tournament’ award in the Premier League as well as the Limited overs tournament. Can you elaborate on your performances?

A – I performed pretty well with both bat and ball in both tournaments. In the Premier League, I scored 543 runs in 11 matches with a best of 153. I also took 31 wickets.

I was at my best in the Limited Overs tournament where I was the fourth highest run getter with 345 runs and I also took 23 wickets to become the second highest wicket taker of the tournament. I am very satisfied with my performances.

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“Indian Heavyweights,” Ponting, Reverse Swing, Bounce

October 7, 2010

Michael Roberts

The First Test between India and Australia at Mohali near Chandigarh this past week has confirmed the extraordinary degree to which these two countries produce extraordinary matches. A tied Test at Chennai in September 1986 and a topsy-turvy game and turn around at Eden Garden in Calcutta in 2001 has now been complemented by a riveting match at Mohali.

Fittingly, India won the matches at Calcutta and Mohali and, remarkably, Very Very Special Laxman was a pivotal figure in the fourth innings on both occasions. The Test match at Calcutta in 2001 was marked by high scores and Rahul Dravid’s 155 was solid foil for Laxman’s 281 in an amazing reversal of fortunes that brought victory to India. No wonder then that Anand Vasu sculpted these words: “Laxman carves a place for himself in history at the Eden Garden.”

 Pics: courtesy of The Hindu,                                                  

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The Empire strikes back

October 7, 2010

Sharda Ugra,

Courtesy of cricinfo.org, 29 Sept. 2010

The BCCI has absolutely nothing in common with the Afrikaaner volk, but what it came up with this afternoon in Mumbai was a classic laager, the traditional defensive encircling of wagons to protect its own. In this case its own property and territory, the property being Indian cricket and the territory all the ground it had lost over the last three years to the IPL and Lalit Modi.

On the surface the BCCI’s annual general meeting was meant to be a polite incantation of the names of those who will hold office for a year after another orderly election. Yet every move and announcement that emerged from the AGM carried with it the specific purpose of strengthening the BCCI’s internal order and regaining its control after what three very lucrative but extremely tumultuous years – during which the IPL had threatened to change the existing order not only of the BCCI but of cricket itself.

That’s why the most significant move is not the coronation of N. Srinivasan as president-elect but a change in the BCCI’s constitution, undoing what had been done three years ago, when the IPL was placed at the centre of India’s cricketing universe.

The IPL governing council will now be called the IPL Governing Council Committee, one of the BCCI’s 13 regular sub-committees, and will have a one-year term instead of five, thus allowing all errors and appointments rectified, if necessary, within 12 months.

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Pakistan Cricket and Its Discontents

October 7, 2010

Mike Marqusee

Courtesy of MikeMarqusee.com. It is also availsble at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal  and within Outlook (India) [posted on September 6, 2010].

On top of floods, war, bombs, a corrupt and incompetent government with a much feared military in the wings, the long-suffering people of Pakistan have now been betrayed, once again, by their cricketers. Most will not be shocked or will profess not to be shocked: over the last 15 years there has been a steady erosion of faith in Pakistan cricket, which has come to be held in the same low esteem as many of the country’s other institutions. It’s one of the reasons cited, along with exorbitant ticket prices, for the low turn-out from the Pakistani diaspora at this summer’s test matches in England.

But while people in and from Pakistan may not be shocked they are bitterly aggrieved. And rightly so. The antics of the three players accused of spot-fixing in the Lord’s test have destroyed the little portion of relief cricket affords for millions coping with trying conditions.

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Harold Pinter’s stroke of genius

October 7, 2010

Ed Smith

Courtesy of Daily Telegraph, 17th January 2009 and http://www.edsmith.org.uk/journalism/mindgames/harold-pinters-stroke-of-genius/

If English cricket’s recent captaincy saga suggests a great deal about the fault lines on which English sport is run, the death of Harold Pinter tells us much more about how deeply the game runs in the English character. Literature, friendship and cricket – the noblest of triumvirates – were pillars of Pinter’s life. ‘Cricket is the greatest thing God created on earth,’ Pinter once said, ‘certainly greater than sex, although sex isn’t too bad either.’

 Pinter playing forward — pic from http://www.haroldpinter.org/cricket/wellard.shtml

I was in New York over Christmas when news of his death came through, and as a mark of respect they dimmed the lights for him on Broadway. Perhaps cricket grounds should do the same this summer – though I doubt Pinter cared much for the floodlit version of the game.

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Straight-out Symonds … a viewpoint in 2005

October 6, 2010

Chloe Saltau,

Courtesy of tthe Age, online, 2005/07/01/1119724813095.html

Asked what he likes about Andrew Symonds, Queensland captain Jimmy Maher doesn’t hesitate. “I refer to him as a trenches man,” he says. “Everything’s black or white. There are no hidden agendas with him . . . He’s an open book.” Among those who have been in cricket’s trenches with Symonds, unquestioning loyalty is a recurring theme. Among those who haven’t, there remains a certain wariness, particularly in the country of his birth. Perhaps that is because Symonds, born in Birmingham, could have played for England if he’d wanted to but instead, since his famously career-turning World Cup innings against Pakistan, has become one of the finest and most athletic one-day players in the world and couldn’t be any more Australian.

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Books on Cricket and Life by Ed Smith — in review

October 6, 2010

 What Sport Tells Us About Life: Bradman’s Average, Zidane’s Kiss and Other Sporting Lessons by Ed Smith (Viking Penguin 2008)

Here’s Roman poet Juvenal handily translated from the Latin. “Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions – everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.” As the teeming masses of China and India need to think less of the source of their next plate of bread, the Olympics and the Indian Premier League are easy to cast as the circuses to which Juvenal refers. Ed Smith’s new book is a riposte to those who consider sport as little more than an outlet for adolescent energy and a diversion from the real competitions of life: Capital vs Labour; Women vs Men; Rich vs Poor. Who is Ed Smith and what is his case?

Behind that most ordinary of names, one finds a pretty ordinary cricket career. Schoolboy success seamlessly led to university matches, a contract with his home county Kent, a flurry of runs, an England call-up and swift discarding, captaincy and a clash with senior players (Andrew Symonds unsurprisingly to the fore) and a move to Middlesex, where he is preparing for his second season as the Lord of Lord’s. If you’ve followed those hyperlinks, you could be forgiven for believing that Smith is a classic example of the chinless wonder, a man propelled by privilege, sustained by the old school tie and found out by the brutality of sport’s unforgiving meritocracy.

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