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Monday, December 24, 2012

My List of Great Moments from Sachin's Career

I have somewhat been more of a critic of Sachin than a fan. I have been a fan, but I have often felt that he has come short of pulling through a few major achievements. Most of them have been the emotional responses of a fan wronged by an Indian defeat and nothing much more. Over time, Sachin has pretty much rubbished most of the criticism that I, or anybody else, could have inflicted upon him. Now that he is retiring from the ODI world, about time I wrote my version of memorable moments from his career. The ordering is chronological:

(prescript: This is my version, so it *will* differ from your version, so don't get too emotional or upset about it.)

(Image Courtesy: http://www.justsachin.com/sachin-tendulkar-pictures/natwest-series-sachin-against-sri-lanka/)

  • Bowling the last over versus South Africa, 1993, to get us into the Finals of Hero Cup.
  • 112* versus Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, 1995
  • 137 versus Sri Lanka, World Cup 1996, where he almost carried his bat through.
  • 65 versus Sri Lanka, World Cup SFs 1996, where he seemed to be the only batsmen who could bat in the second half when the pitch started to turn.
  • 118 versus Pakistan, 1996 helping India reach 300 for the first ever time in ODI history.
  • 88 versus Australia, Titan Cup, 1996, made famous for the 8th wicket partnership between Anil Kumble and Srinath, but the win was set up by SRT.
  • 104 versus Zimbabwe, Benoni, 1997, when trying to qualify for the finals, SRT hit a solid century in less than 100 balls, which was followed up by quickfire hitting by Robin Singh and Ajay Jadeja to take us through. (The Zimbabwe of that time was a respected lot and were going to upset us by getting into finals if we didn't pull off the qualification at Benoni)
  • 5-32 versus Australia, 1998, to win us the match with the ball.
  • Twin Centuries of 143 and 134, versus Australia, Sharjah 1998, to first qualify us and then win us that cup.
  • 140* versus Kenya, World Cup 1999, coming straight off his father's funeral, he smashed the Kenyas around and paid a tribute to his father.
  • 186* versus New Zealand, 1999, carried his bat and made a fantastic 174 run win possible. This remained his best score for a while before he broke it later on in his career.
  • 98 versus Pakistan, World Cup 2003, to help us pull off a tough chase.
  • 141 versus Pakistan, 2004, a solid century in a losing cause. India went on to win the series, but this century is worth a mention.
  • 5-50 versus Pakistan, 2005 to win India the game with the ball. 
  • 163* versus New Zealand, 2009, helped us amass 392 and he played only till the 45th over for those 163 before retiring hurt. I think if he faced the 20 or so balls in the remaining 5 overs, he could have got to 200 then. Well, a superlative effort, nevertheless.
  • 117 & 91 versus Australia in the CB series best of 3 finals, to win us that trophy. 
  • 175 versus Australia, as he chased 350 and almost pulled it off. Scoring 175 runs in the second innings is a lot superlative than first innings, simply because of the stamina involved.
  • 200 versus RSA, as he finally became the first batsman to score 200 in an ODI. 
Did I miss any other memorable performance?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lost Decade?

Think about the following:

Three of modern Indian Cricketing greats - all from 1990s. (Photo Courtesy - http://rajeevmist.blogspot.com/2011/04/heroes.html)
  • When you think of current generation Indian Cricket, who are your fans of? Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, Anil Kumble? Or perhaps Harbhajan Singh, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag or Zaheer Khan? All of them were introduced into the team before 2001. 
  • Paes & Bhupathi - both from 1990s - still going strong (Photo Courtesy - http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-04-03/top-stories/29377080_1_lukas-dlouhy-mahesh-bhupathi-leander-paes)
  • When you think of Tennis in India, who do you think is currently performing the best? As of today, the few remaining players in the Australian Open draw consists of Laender Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. Both are from the 90s. The guys who were supposed to succeed them - Rohan Bopanna and the likes - didn't really fire. Sania is perhaps edging on the border of excepting this trend, but again, what she achieved in the past 10 years pales in comparison to what these two achieved in the past 10 years.
  • Still the best in Bollywood - all from the 1990s. (Photo Courtesy - http://www.glamsham.com/movies/scoops/11/mar/02-which-actor-looks-cool-in-moustache-031113.asp)
  • When you think of Bollywood, who do you think is still ruling the roost? The Khans (Shah Rukh, Salman, Aamir and Saif Ali) & perhaps Akshay Kumar & Ajay Devgun every now and then. All of them started in the 90s or before. What happened to the next lot? AB Junior, Roshan Junior, Oberoi Junior etc?
  • Which present day Indian companies do you consider great? Infy? Wipro? TCS? Airtel? All of them were household names ten years back, though each of them were less than 10 years old. Which younger-than-10 year old Indian company commands the same respect? How many such companies exist?
Try to ponder over this across more aspects - politics, Gurus, brands and so on. You will probably see the trend in other places as well. The more I think of it, the more I feel that somehow, India just stopped producing talent, in general, for a few years. It's not a fool proof theory, but just a general trend I see. I would love to see an argument proving otherwise, but for now - I feel that we somehow managed to lose a decade of talent creation. I don't know why it happened, but it seemed to have. Any thoughts?

And on that note, wishing all Indians a very happy Republic Day. The constitution has served us well, and I hope it continues to do so in the years to come. 

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

41 books in 2011

2011 saw me reading 41 books, which is down 18% from 2010's tally of 50 books. However, I am glad that I managed to do all this reading, while taking on new hobbies in 2011 (which shall be detailed in a separate post.)

Best authors of 2011:

  • Stieg Larsson: Clearly the best in terms of story, characters, suspense.
  • Rohinton Mistry: Absolutely amazing characters - stunning drama and great attention to detail.
  • Sunil Gavaskar: His books gives a great perspective into the era of India Cricket which was pretty much unknown to people of me, and perhaps to my generation as a whole.
  • John Grisham: Good old Grisham, still fascinates me with his writing. Haven't got bored of him yet.

Administrative note

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