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Sight Screen

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Move over, India and Dada, here comes Sri Lanka

We are yet to recover from the unfinished business of Chappel-Ganguly when Sri Lanka drops, in all probability, the last bombshell of 2005. Rumours in Sri Lankan cricket circles suggest, among other things, that Vaas was perfectly alright when he cited injury before the third test. Now, haven't we heard that before?

The India-tour reports (ODI and test) have three significant parts all of which are potential scandals:
  • Vaas, who was elevated to vice captain met with fierce opposition from two or three seniors in the side. When he had to take charge for the injured Attapattu (sprained ankle in the first test), the obvious jealousy and envy bubbled over. As is the case with our own l'Affair Ganguly, the coach has a big role to play too. Moody is rumoured to have got Vaas the plum position, as repayment for getting him the coach's job. Little details such as Vaas and Moody sharing a common dressing room at Worcestershire have suddenly emerged out of nowhere. Now, none of us know if Vaas was frustrated at these politics or whether it was to throw his weight around that he decided to do this,. In either case, it doesnt augur well for Sri Lankan cricket that their leading bowler plays lead role in a controversy of this nature.
  • If that wasn't enough, Jayasurya is accused of hiding his injury so that he could be a part of the higher paying ODI series than rest and come back for the test series. Once again, when a selector suggests that a senior player suffers from poor form, there's more to it than meets the eye. If Jayasurya is indeed guilty of this, then he deserved to be out of the test team, perhaps for a longer period.
  • And finally, the ICC will receive video footage of decisions that Taufel and Ghauri made in the second and third tests, decisions which seemed to go in favour of the Indians. Tendulkar allegedly got the benefit of doubt on three occasions before he reached 40, on his way to the record-breaking 35th ton. Laxman, it seems, is another person who enjoyed the umpires' alleged incompetency. I hope that the footage also contains the two Tendulkar lbws which might, as well have gone the other way. A case of sour grapes?
I was advised that a beer in the morning is good to get rid of my hangover from last week's Christmas. I dont know if it is that or the extra spiked egg nog which leads me to this but didnt Sri Lanka have a gem of an umpire called Asoka De Silva? And K T Francis? Were Taufel and Ghauri as bad? Apart from the many debatable decisions that these two have handed out, I have this lasting memory of KT Francis's contribution in a Rahul Dravid dismissal. Dravid was judged to be run out when Tendulkar's straight drive crashed into the stumps at the bowler's end. Of course, the umpire didnt find it relevant that the bowler hadn't even appealed for the run out (meaning he may not have touched the ball on its way). Was it this match where we nearly chased 302? In which case, was it the same match where Jadeja was given caught off a beamer at a crucial junture.

Maybe, these Sri Lankan matters will prove a welcome distraction for us and we'll let Ganguly and Chappel do what they do best, help India on its way to cricketing excellence But knowing myself as well as the rest of my country's cricket fans, I doubt it.

Wishes for the New Year
In any case, 2005 was a decent year for cricket. I can proudly say that I adjusted my work hours well enough to watch almost every single one of the Ashes days. Indian cricket didn't reach the heights that we all expected it to. And it very nearly reached the depths that we thought it had left forever. Lets hope that 2006 produces our very own Ashes and the India Pakistan series produces cricket that thrills. There's a lot more to look forward to in the coming year. Apart from our clash with the neighbours, there's England coming home, India touring South Africa and England playing in Australia, three series which could redefine the pecking order in test cricket. Here's to a wonderful 2006, a year where cricket on the field occupies all the headlines..

PS: A personal thanks to Prem as well as all of the guys who visit and form a part of this blog and the DG. Its been a pleasure to associate with people of such cricketing knowledge. Thanks for bearing with whatever was my input, I have enjoyed every second I spent here and I hope there are many more memorable discussions and heated debates that have become an inseparable part of SightScreen.


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