Its been some time since I logged on to this blog and so many things happened around us. Hyderabad blasts, a bridge (or flyover) collapsed in Hyderabad and a IAF trainer aircraft crashed killing both its pilots (again in Hyderabad). Wonder, if Hyderabad has some planetary configuration gone astray.
India wins the Asia cup and what scores they ran up. 16 goals, 20 goals, etc. Hats off to Joaquim Carvalho and his team for pulling this off. The IHF also announced prizes of Rs. 1,000 for every goal scored and a penalty of Rs. 2,000 for every goal conceded. While I need not even go into the stupidity and silliness of this announcement, it serves a good point to talk about the remuneration provided to the players. In an interview to DNA after the Asia Cup victory (http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1120724), Dhanraj Pillay talks about "paying some match fee" to the players. He also states that the coach "should also be paid". What The ****? IHF doesn't pay match fees to its players and the coach? No wonder our guys prefer to pick up cricket bats instead of hockey sticks!!!
Elsewhere, the T/20 World Cup is about to start and the Pakistan team is already in the news for the wrong reason. Shoaib has been sent back to Pakistan for hitting Asif with a bat and this time his threat of joining ICL may not work. Asif Iqbal (http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?NewsID=1120625) feels that PCB is waiting till Shoaib commits mass murder before it starts taking action.
India lost the Natwest trophy 4-3 and though its not a bad scoreline considering that we were 1-3 down, I feel the time has now come to start replacing the seniors. With Gambhir & Uthappa showing promise and temperament, maybe we need to give both of them a longer reign at the top of the order. Gambhir has this tendency to play with Fevicol applied on his feet, while Uthappa's batting may be better suited to T/20 game, but both of them have shown enough grit. With captain and selectors showing confidence in them, maybe they'll probably come out with flying colours!!! Rahul Dravid, Yuvraj, Karthik, Dhoni can make the rest of the lineup, with someone like Kaif or Raina or Sehwag or even a Ambatti Rayudu challenging these positions. Sachin, of course, still has some cricket left in him. I would like him to concentrate in the ODIs and concede his Test position to some other youngster though many would say that it has to be the other way round. Among the bowlers, Zaheer, Sreesanth, Munaf (if and only if completely fit), Chawla, Powar, R P Singh, Harbhajan and Irfan Pathan (assuming he regains his form) complete the head count. Choose 11 from these, depending on opposition, surface, playing conditions, etc.
For the Tests, Gambhir/Uthappa/Karthik would be the openers. Laxman coming in for Sachin or Sehwag and Anil Kumble coming in for Powar or Harbhajan completes the list of probables. Of course, there may be better talent in domestic cricket, and some new names may crop up in the T/20 tournament; some names like Manoj Tiwary and Rohit Sharma are still untried. But I believe the nucleus of the team would be from the above names.
Amul has been voted as Asia's leading brand. And if you are among those who have always looked forward to the Amul hoardings (related to the current hot topic) like myself, then do join in the celebrations.