Indian Cricket – A fan’s wishlist

March 21, 2015

I started watching cricket in 1997. Although there were many skillful players in the late 90s and they have provided many joyous moments for fans like me, I have always wished that they played certain kind of cricket. I wished to see some skills displayed by players of other teams  to be exhibited by Indian players too. Some of those wishes have been fulfilled over the years by various players from the noughties generation.

1. The rampaging batsman
One of the early painful experiences as a fan used to be seeing a fearless opposition batsman tearing into the Indian bowling. People like Jayasurya ans Afridi would knock off fours and sixes at will and the bowlers and the captain would be left gasping. India would have batted first, huffed and puffed to 220 . You would be hoping for a tight game only to see it evaporate in the first 15 overs. Of course India had Sachin Tendulkar, but he would always play the percentages. Yes, there were instances when he went after the bowling as the match situation demanded but those would be calculated risks amounting to not more than 15-16 runs an over at best. Even at his most aggressive, Sachin would respect a good ball. He was more a Kaveri than a Brahmaputra.
Then came Sehwag. Boy! What a player he was! Two triple hundreds and a 290 and a bunch of double hundreds all at almost a run a ball or better, an utter disregard for spinners and also an attitude of gay abandon. His shots were not glances or caresses, but were slashes and slaps. He truly  was a rampaging bull with the bat.

2. The calm finisher
In the 90s we used to see India stumbling in so many run chases. If the target was above 250, you could almost forget an Indian win. So many games that should have been won after a good start from the top order couldn’t be won because the lower middle order could not get 60 off 60. The pain would get worse when we saw a Michael Bevan finish a run chase against India like a walk in the park.
Then came Dhoni, the ultimate finisher. He remains so calm that we fans feel he is too calm sometimes. The required run rate is hitting 9 and 10 and he calmly works ones and twos. When a bowler bowls yorker after yorker, he simply takes the singles and pounces on the one slightly off the length all and wacks it for six. If it is six or less to get, you are more likely to get the win with a six than not. People like Yuvraj and Kohli have orchestrated brilliant run chases as well, but I think Dhoni must have had a great influence on their approach to chases. His self-belief has slowly got into fans as well. When he is there, no chase is too steep.

3. The suffocating fielding
In the 90s almost every other team except Pakistan was a better fielding team than India. Slow legs and weak throw characterised an Indian fielder.Our hearts filled with envy when we saw the fielding units of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand etc. Fielders would pounce on the ball like tigers, chase it like a cheetah and throw it like cannons. But Indian fielders would be pointing at the others in the field. This started to change slowly. Initially we just had two fielders who were of international quality (Yuvraj and Kaif) and slowly as the old generation moved on, almost every one who came into the team was a fantastic fielder.  It was such a great joy seeing India’s fielding against South Africa in the league phase of the World Cup.  Tight lines from the bowlers backed up fabulous fielding created that suffocating effect during the chase. So tight was the squeeze that AB de Villers went for a tight second run. A quick run, pick-up and a flat 60 yard throw from Mohit Sharma – and AB was on his way. So accurate that Dhoni barely had to move his hands to break the stumps. This brought more joy to me than Sachin’s back-foot punch of Wasim Akram in the 2003 World Cup. This is saying something. The reason is that it came from an Indian pace bowler who traditionally couldn’t be bothered if the ball was a metre to either side. Think of the ‘great’ fielding efforts of Munaf Patel, Ashish Nehra, Zaheer Khan and the like. This greatly illustrates how much the Indian fielding has improved. Now you can say there just 1 or 2 fielders who are not of international quality. This might have a lot to do with improved outfields in Indian grounds which have allowed the youngsters to learn the art of diving and throwing themselves around and also improved fitness.

4. The bouncer barrage
Another common sight for Indian fans used to be opposition fast bowlers peppering the Indian batsmen with bouncers and the batsmen hopping around and eventually fending a catch or playing a feeble pull shot to give a dolly of a catch. (This changed a lot with Sachin, Dravid and Laxman who handled the short ball really well.) When it came to India’s turn to bowl, they were seldom really sharp enough to repeat the dose. Srinath used to be quick. Zaheer was crafty. And both of them did pick up wickets with bouncers but that was mostly due to setting the batsman up with good lines and then surprising them with a bouncer. We never saw sustained short pitched bowling from the Indian team – until recently. The performance of the Indian fast bowlers (Oh, YES! They are actually fast, not medium fast as before) in the 2015 World Cup has been a pleasant surprise. Even more surprising is their effective use of the bouncer. They used it judiciously against stronger teams like South Africa and unleashed a barrage against West Indies and Bangladesh. At one point a Bangladeshi batsman was receding in his crease, even as Shami was winding up to let the ball go – a sight we have usually seen with Indian batsmen. He knew what was coming, he prepared himself a bit, but could only manage a catch to Dhoni. Agreed that West Indies and Bangladesh do not have great players, but we never saw such efforts from Indian bowlers of the past even against minnows. I hope this fire is sustained.

5. Clean sweeps
A quality common to top teams like Australia but rarely seen with Indians is ruthlessness. Indian teams in the past slacked off when on top and did not usually achieve clean sweeps. For example, India led 2-0 with one to play against Australia in 1998. Coming from an innings win in Kolkatta, the managed to lose in Bangalore and that too by 8 wickets. This all changed in the late noughties. There have been clean sweeps in ODI series against England, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and Test series against Australia. The Indian team is also often getting into streaks of 5 or more victories. If they are on top of a team, they simply hammer them down to the ground.

Wishes unfulfilled till now:
1. Test series wins in Australia and South Africa
2. Clean sweep in a Test series outside the subcontinent

Of late the Indian team has been struggling in Tests away from home. So these two seem extremely difficult to achieve, but so did the above five 10-15 years ago. I am optimistic.

India’s problems against Moeen Ali are due to lack of backfoot use

August 10, 2014

The Indian cricket team slumped to an innings and 54 run defeat at the hands of England after a terrible batting display at Old Trafford and have fallen behind after being 1-0 up in the series. Contrary to the pre-series opinions, the toothless Indian bowling has managed reasonably, but it is the much expected batting that has failed miserably.

The batting has failed against quality swing/seam bowling which is disappointing but to an extent understandable, but the abject display against a spinner who just bowls orthodox offspin and does not spin it a mile is  inexcusable.  Mooen Ali has 19 wickets at the lowest strike rate for the series. More wickets than Shane Warne ever managed in a series against India.

As most commentators have pointed out, initially he was being treated with contempt by the Indian batsmen and wickets were lost in that process – Shikhar Dhawan and Roger Binny for example in the first Test. Later the Indian batsmen realised that he is not a push-over and also they found themselves struggling to save defeat in the second innings after falling way behind in the first and completely going into their shells trying to ‘block everything off the front foot’. They have been beaten both on the outside and the inside edges of the bat and have looked more at sea than the Indian batsmen looked against Ajanta Mendis when they played him for the first time.

Some of the commentators have simply been suggesting that the Indian batsmen simply try to hit him and put him under pressure – quite a difficult task when you are trying to save a Test match. Some are suggesting that the Indian batsmen have not been facing quality spin recently either due to declining quality in domestic cricket or being on tours where the emphasis is mostly on bowling/facing seam bowling.  Excuse me ? The South African domestic cricket is as poor it gets in terms of spin bowling and they just held out for a day on a Sri Lankan pitch against Herath and co.

My opinion is that the Indian batsmen should use the crease and play him off the back-foot more. Currently the Indian batsmen are not able to gauge how much his balls are going to turn evidenced by Pujara getting caught at slip and begin LBW in separate innings – defending off the front foot on both occasions. In such a situation thrusting the front foot every ball is just entering a minefield blindfolded. It is only a matter of time before you step on one.

If one watches old footages of Indian batsmen putting spinners to the sword, one can see how quickly they get on to the back foot. They had reasons to do that. Playing off the back foot obvioulsy gives more time for late adjustments, crucial when some balls are turning and some are not. Playing off the back foot is dangerous only one scenario – some balls keeping low. There weren’t too many balls doing that at Southampton and Manchester. It is not necessary that they play attacking shots of the back foot, just turning the ball around for one or two would do. This would have an effect on the bowler as well as he would need to pitch a little further up and this could make drives easier.

To lend a bit of weight to my theory, if one looks at the statistics of Indian batsmen against off spinners in the recent times (This was showed during the telecast repeatedly on Star). The best Indian batsmen against offspin were Dhoni and Ashwin, who always hang slightly back and try to get forward only for driving. Even in the Old Trafford second innings Ashwin looked to be batting on a different pitch and against different bowlers.

One more thing the Indians can try against Moeen is sweeping,.We did see the sweep being attempted a couple of times by Kohli and he did play it reasonably well.  but it does not come naturally to some batsmen and I am not sure how much progress one can make in 5 days in developing that shot.

But one thing is for sure, if they continue doing what they are doing now, Moeen will bag at least 5 wickets when it starts turning at the Oval in the second innings.

South Africa show why their attack is the best in the world

February 23, 2014

The Second Test between South Africa and Australia ended with a resounding 231 run win to South Africa.

At the end of first day, South Africa were 214/5, a day of attritional cricket. It is fair to say that both batting and bowling were difficult. South Africa could not score freely and Australia with all the might of MO wielding Johnson could not get many breakthroughs. Of the five that did fell, two were gifted by South African batsmen going after the Australian spinner Lyon.

If there was a wicket to negate the Australian pace battery,this was it.The pitch had little to offer for fast bowlers. No grass. The pace and bounce was almost like a Delhi wicket.Not much swing with the new ball either. It was the kind of wicket where the Indian bowlers would have conceded 700 before they got the fifth wicket.

With the lack of bounce in the pitch, Mitchell Johnson’s threat was greatly reduced. There was no conventional swing, so Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle could not buy many wickets in spite of toiling away. Lyon, the lone spinner did pose some questions and pick up five wickets in the first innings, but the South Africans played him with caution and made sure that wickets did not fall in a cluster.

In contrast, the South Africans were able to extract whatever little the conditions had to offer. In the first innings, just a little bit of conventional swing and in the later part of the first innings and also in the second innings a lot of reverse swing. The South African bowlers managed to bowl Australia out twice for less then 250, the second time with one of their quickies out due an injury.

For me two words defined the South African bowling – skill and intensity. The could not have achieved the result if they had a little bit less on either of those two. The Australian bowlers did not lack intensity, but were no match for South Africans’ skills. The spell of reverse swing in the second innings where Steyn demolished the Australian middle order (Clarke, Smith and Haddin) was absoutely magical. One former cricketer tweeted “Haddin knew what was coming, he is in good form too, but could not do anything about it.Steyn is that good.”

Coming to intensity, never did any South African bowler look like he was bowling a little within himself. Even in the second innings where South Africa potentially had to come back the next day to bowl again, there was no holding back. It would have been interesting if they would have been able to sustain it, had Australia managed to hold out for about 30 more overs, alas the Australian batting was too fragile to hold out against this attack.

Also, one thing the South Africans did was move their slip fielders very close to account for the low bounce. They were standing at about a quarter of the pitch length for Steyn and Morkel. I hope the Indian team watches these things and learns. Our bowlers are not as quick as the South Africans, but still there is alot of reluctance to come up closer even if balls keep falling short.

This result sets the series up wonderfully. The final Test is in Cape Town which will offer more for the Australian bowlers and Johnson will be back in his element. It promises to be yet another fantastic Test.

An interesting couple from Thirumalai

January 30, 2014

Place : Thirumalai (aka Thiruvenkatam)

Time: A spring evening in the distant past

 

A female elephant is standing near a clearing. She has some foliage in her trunk, but doesn’t seem to be too interested in feeding. She has been waiting for someone for quite a while.

About five more minutes pass.

She is about to get back to the herd when she hears frantic footsteps behind her. She turns around to find the one who she has been waiting for – a five ton tusker running in as fast an elephant can. Now let’s hear their conversation.

Female: You said you would be here half an hour ago.

Male: Sorry! I ran into one of my old foes. Had to wrestle him away.

Female: Do you guys do anything else except fighting ?

Male: We can’t help it. We have been doing that since 5 or 6.

Female: Sighs.. (Pointing at his trunk )Why are you carrying those bamboo shoots ?

Male: Oh! Since this is our first meeting, I brought these for you to eat.

Female: Seriously ? Is that all you could find on this entire hill ? I do not like bamboo.

Male: But these are quite tender. Try them first.

Female: Bamboos are quite bland. Sugarcane would have been nicer.

Male: You have been spending too much time near human settlements. No sugarcane grows on these hills. But since you asked for something sweet, give me a couple of minutes.

(Turns around and starts running towards a thick growth of trees).

Female: Where are you going ?

Male: Wait, will be back.

(comes back in five minutes)

Male: Here you go. ( Extends his trunk with bamboo shoots towards her and drops them, this time honey dripping all over them).

The female breaks a shoot and puts it in her mouth. She likes it .

Female: Mmmm…. This is very good. Where did you find this honey ?

Male: There is a cave nearby with a beehive inside. The bees tried to sting, but too difficult to get through my skin. Just had to be careful about my eyes though.

Female: You eat some as well.

Male: Sure. (Takes a couple of shoots in his trunk ). There is a pond a little away from here. Quite a nice place. Would you like to come there ?

Female: OK. Let’s go.

(And they walk slowly away).

 

This is my visualisation of a beautiful verse written by Boothatthazhvaar (பூதத்தாழ்வார்) in Second Thiruvandathi.

பெருகு மதவேழம் மாப்பிடிக்கு முன்னின்று
இருகண் இளமூங்கில் வாங்கி – அருகிருந்த
தேன்கலந்து நீட்டும் திருவேங்கடம் கண்டீர்
வான்கலந்த வண்ணன் வரை.

 

peruku mathavEzham maapidikku munninru
irukaN iLamoongil vaangi – arukirundha
thEnkalandhu neettum thiruvEnkatam kandeer
vaankalandha vannan varai.

 

Meanings of certain words:

peruku matham – oozing masth

vEzham – Male elephant

pidi – female elephant

kaN – segment

varai – hill

A look at Dhoni’s overseas performance and the Indian tail

December 29, 2013

One of the common complaint against Dhoni from cricket fans in social media is that he has not performed well as a batsman outside the sub-continent. One might think that there might be a bit of truth in that because, he has not scored a single Test hundred outside the sub-continent. I tried to dig up some statistics.

Here is the record of wicket-keeper batsmen from the sub-continent who have played 10 or more Tests outside the sub-continent.

Sub-Continent wicket-keepers overseas

The highest batting average achieved by a wicket-keeper from the sub-continent outside of it is 37. Dhoni who averages a touch under 29 is about 25% off, but he is fourth on that list and Sangakkaara who is such a fine batsman averages less than Dhoni. ( Sangakkara has not kept wickets in all matches overseas. These stats only include those in which he did). What these stats indicate is that sub-continent wicket keepers have generally found it difficult overseas and by those standards Dhoni’s is by no means a poor performance. People are simply expecting too much from Dhoni after his stellar performances in ODIs.  Dhoni plays the short fast ball really well. He either takes it on his body or pulls without fear.His only problem is a full outswinging ball to which he has got out many times.

Here is also a look of the performances of keepers from outside the sub-continent in the sub-continent. This reveals a pretty much similar story except for Andy Flower and Matt Prior who have done exceptionally well in the sub-continent.

Wicket-keepers from Aus, Eng, NA, WI, SA  and Zim in the sub-continent

People generally take things for granted.  Many are praising Kallis that South Africa would need two people to replace him. When Dhoni goes India would need three men to do his job.

Another contributing thing to Dhoni’s low average might be the pathetic lower order India has got. In the last four years India’s No.9., 10 and 11 average less than 10 . This is the worst from any team including Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. The Australian tail has done really well in this period and averages just under 20.  If one looks at the last five years, things improve slightly to over 10, but they are pretty much at the bottom of the list.

Batting performance of 9,10 and 11 over last 4 years

One might argue are five more runs more a tailend batman going to win you a game ?  If three tailenders  score five rune each ( on average ), that is 15 runs and the batsman at other end would get around 25 ( this is a fair assumption as a specialist/wicket-keeper batsman is expected to outscore tailenders). That is 40 runs for an innings and 80 for a match. That is more than 10% of the runs that get scored on average in a Test which is a huge.

On the contrary, an inept tail has put a lot of pressure on the lower middle order. At stages where the match is on a balance, a No.6 would like to play aggressively to put some pressure on the opposition, is hugely handicapped if he knows on the back of his mind that one wicket would fold the innings within 10 more runs. Some of the Indian tail play as if they don’t care and slog at everything (Zaheer Khan), some simply block everything and can’t get the ball of the square (Ishant Sharma) and some can;t even hold a bat properly (Pragyan Ojha).

Some would say the bowlers are there to take wickets and not score runs. I think most people would agree with me if I say that the Indian bowlers are not doing their primary job either. The Indian attack is perhaps better only to Bangladesh, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.Rahul Dravid mentioned this on commentary and his voice seemed so painful that I felt he had a lump in his throat. What has been really disappointing and surprising is that it has been like this for a while and nobody has taken the Indian bowlers to task and made them a bit more accountable.

India -South Africa First Test – yet another so near yet so far performance from India

December 23, 2013

In my last post I had expressed my opinion that the Indian batting was doing alright but the bowling was of great concern. I feel there was more evidence in the Test  match. India could only manage six South African wickets in the fourth innings and two of them were run-outs. One might think that the pitch was a bit docile, but it was anything but. There was inconsistent bounce, a few balls kicking up and a some keeping low.

The Indian bowlers should be disappointed that they could not target the “bad” areas in the pitch more consistently. They did very well in the first innings when the pitch was offering a lot of lateral movement, but lacked penetration when that died out in the second innings.

They would be happy that they escaped with a draw considering that one stage South Africa needed just 58 from 14 overs with AB de Villiers and Faf du Plessis still at the crease.  The seamers really held their nerve and Rahane managed to score his second direct hit at a very critical moment to dismiss du Plessis.

Ashwin went wicketless . Ishant Sharma and Zaheer Khan managed just one each and Zaheer went for 4 runs an over, far from what is expected of the lead bowler.  One might say that the South African bowling also looked ineffective against Pujara and Kohli in the second innings. Only when India started pushing for some quick runs did wickets start to tumble. But South Africa did not have their best bowler from the first innings in the second,but India had their full attack.

A lot of questions were asked of the Indian batsmen before the tour.  Can they handle the pace and bounce on South African pitches ? Do they have the technique to keep out the good balls ? Do they have the judgement and patience to leave balls outside the off-stump ? I think it’s fair to say that they have answered most of these questions with a “yes”.

India may not have won the Test, but the team as well as the fans can get of lot of hopefor the futue  from the performance of the batsmen. They have shown that they  can compete in overseas conditions and oppositions will have to do more than just turning up to bowl them out twice.

 

 

India -SA ODI series 2013 – India’s bowling more worrying than batting

December 6, 2013

The Indian team was dished out a 141 run drubbing in the 1st ODI at the Wanderers. The bowling once again conceded more than 350 and the batting for once was not able to cover up and folded for 200 odd.

So which is more worrying ? The batsman playing and missing , top-edging and getting bundled out for 200 or bowlers giving away 350 on such a helpful pitch. I say the latter. During India’s innings I mainly looked at three batsmen Dhawan, Rohit and Kohli. I knew Dhoni would scratch around and Raina and Yuvraj are hopeless. What I saw from the former three was quite promising. They were largely comfortable leaving the bouncers. They were leaving certain balls on length. Also played some crisp shots when the opportunities arrived. All this suggested to me that if they were chasing a reasonable score in range of 250, they would have been a bit more watchful and they might not have folded like that.

Coming to the bowling, all Indian bowlers except Shami did not look even remotely threatening. Shami is a good yard quicker than the other Indian seamers and puts a lot into the ball .I got the true nature of the pitch in the over Shami bowled to Kallis. He made two balls lift off a length and dart away and Kallis was all at sea. He hit an improvised boundary but was out later in the over spooning a full out-swinger to cover, weight firmly on the backfoot. It was then I realised that the Indian team was in a lot more trouble than the score suggested. It was a 250 pitch and at that stage South Africa were on course for 325.

It was business as usual in the South African innings at the death. Mohit and Bhuvaneshwar dishing up length balls with the South Africans gleefully depositing them in the stands.  But what is greatly concerning is that on such a pitch the Indian seamers got carted around. It seems like the Indian seamers just do not put enough energy behind the deliveries to extract help from even these pitches. They were not able to get early break-throughs. If this is indeed the case, the Indian batsmen might have to contend with hours and hours in the field in addition to the hostile South African bowling.

Why is Ishant Sharma still playing for India ?

October 17, 2013

I have long held the belief that Ishant Sharma has been given a longer rope than he deserves. Every time I see him bowl I feel vindicated. You can count the number of good spells he has bowled in his career  with just one hand.

The main problem with him is that he goes for runs – lots of them. I know that with things loaded in favour of the batsman bowlers are going to get hit, but the problem with Ishant is that he doesn’t seem to learn some tricks or come up with a plan to limit the damage. In the current ODI team, he is senior most seam-up bowler and he bowls like a novice.

At the death he dishes up knee-high full tosses or slower balls that can be picked from the moon . Even after 6 years of international cricket and IPL, he doesn’t seem to know what balls not to bowl for a given field. For example, if every one on the offside, a medium fast bowler is expected to keep the ball within the stumps and either very full or very short and rising at the batman’s body . Still a batsman could hit it through the offside, but that takes a lot of skill and the batsman has to take a lot of risk like exposing his stumps.

What does Ishant bowl with such a filed ? A slower ball a foot outside the off stump on a length that the batsman can cart over mid-off. When will he ever learn that slower balls with off-spinning action can be so easily picked by the batsman and unless the pitch is slow ( which makes the batsman a bit early into his shot and drag the ball to the on side), can be easily plundered for runs by modern batsmen. They have no trouble clearing the straight boundary let alone clear the mid-off fielder. And to add to that he bowls wides at the death. He used to bowl lots of no-balls as well, but that has come down.

He does not have express pace, he does not swing the ball and he does not have a bunch of variations that batmen need to keep looking out for. In other words,  on flat pitches he is just cannon fodder. I tried to pull some stats to lend weight to my arguments. I took the ODI stats of bowlers who have bowled 3000 balls or more in ODI cricket in the time since Ishant made his debut.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;orderby=economy_rate;orderbyad=reverse;qualmin1=3000;qualval1=balls;spanmin1=01+Jan+2007;spanval1=span;template=results;type=bowling

He has the second worst economy rate after Elton Chigumbura the Zimbabwean all-rounder. Players like Dwayne Bravo and Tim Bresnan who are slightly better than him also contribute with the bat and are very good fielders. Ishant’s fielding – I think the less said the better.

Some commentators say that he is a wicket-taking bowler as he has 95 wickets from 67 matches. Most of his wickets come in the final overs, when batsmen are trying to hit him out of the park almost every ball and one or two go straight to the fielder. Rarely does he pick up a top order batsman lbw, bowled or edged and caught.

In short, I feel he is in the team for god knows why.

A rare show of dominance

June 24, 2013

One of my thoughts after the 2011 World Cup was that, “This Indian team could not have won the World Cup anywhere outside India.” A bowling attack that heavily  relied on spin was one reason but the most important reason was that it wasn’t a good fielding side at all and they would be badly exposed on the bigger grounds in Australia or England. It had a bunch of slow movers – Sehwag, Tendulkar, Munaf, Nehra, Zaheer and to an extent Yuvraj. During the league stages, someone was always taking a comfort break and Raina was doing substitution duty. There were accusations that he was India’s specialist fielder. This Indian team is quite different. It has helped a lot that a bunch of 32-plus folks have been replaced with a bunch of 27-minus folks. Raina, Jadeja, Kohli, Rohit, Karthik – all are excellent fielders. The bowlers though not in the same class – aren’t too slow either (except for Ashwin). At various stages in the Champions Trophy one could see the ring on the offside suffocating the batsmen. This is one reason why India are already serious contenders to defend their title in the 2015 World Cup.

Indian players can really proud of this effort. They won all the 7 matches they played ( which includes 2 warmups) and only in the final did the opposition have a realistic chance of winning with 10 overs to go in the second innings. Such dominance has never been exhibited by the Indian team, even on those rare occasions they would flounder at the last hurdle.

Some say that  the changed playing conditions in the final helped India.I do not think so.

Before the match people were talking that England’s best chance in the final was a wet day and we had one.

Some  say that they a 20 over game made it easier for India. I disagree. The Indian batsmen are masters of ODI batting – a strength that comes from their ability to milk ones and twos in the middle overs to get 5 runs an over without breaking a sweat. This is an often underrated ability. I bet teams like England and West Indies do not have players to do that. They can’t score 100 runs of 20 overs without 10 boundaries. Their players just have two gears or in some cases just one. Reducing the match to 20 overs nullified this advantage India had.

Also, people should remember that two balls are used in an ODI game ( the final was supposed to be one). This meant that England had the advantage of bowling with a ball that was never older than 10 overs  under overcast and heavy conditions. England used it properly and India got restricted to a below par total. Thankfully for India the pitch turned and Jadeja and Ashwin had England in knots. And England’s lower middle order helped them by capitulating.

The old problem of poor death bowling is still there, but India have two years to work on it.

An hour at the printer

April 22, 2013

I am someone who doesn’t use the office printer a lot. Recently I had to get something printed. So I go and ask a team-mate on chat  how to get that done.

Me: X, how do I print this document ?

X: Just do a http:// to the name written  on the printer . The page will guide you.

Now I walk to the printer. Find out that its name is its geographical position encoded in some acronyms.

BGL-13-3-xx-xx

BGL as you may guess is short for Bangalore,

13 is the building number ( Oh yes, in our company we are not scared of that number except that in our software releases we jumped from  version 12 to 15),

3 is as you might have guessed the floor number,

xx-xx is some weirdly encoded location of the printer using the nearby cube numbers.

The only things missing here were the latitude and longitude and its current distance from the centre of he galaxy.

I carefully type the this garbage name on my browser and press “Enter”.

Server not found

Mmm.. May be I should type in CAPS. Let me try that.

Server not found.

I ping X on Instant Messenger.

Me: Hey, it isn’t working.

X: I think you should append the domain name company.com to the name.

Me: Ok. Let me try.

Now I type, garbage.company.com.

Server not found.

This printer is dead. Let me try the other printer on the floor.

I walk to the other printer on the floor.After a series of combinations typed on my browser, still

Server not found

Now I ask another colleague near that printer if it works. He says it works fine, but recommends that I use the new Printer Client software on my laptop.Now it comes to my mind that I saw a printer client application on my laptop. Let me open that.

The application gives me a series of options  beginning with a choice of my galaxy and slowly narrows down to the two printers on my floor. I add the printer to the client.

Now I open the doc and give Ctrl+P. I see the printer’s name and select that. A weird animation pops up showing that the document is being sent to the printer. No sound from the printer and no paper thrown out. I see a lot of empty papers at a slot which looks to be meant for paper feed and I also see some printed papers just on the opposite side of the printer on another slot. Nothing coming out from anywhere. Then I realise that in one corner of that weird animation, it says “No paper in tray”. Mmm… That’s strange. It has a lot of paper. May be there is something wrong with this printer and so it is not taking paper in. Let me go back to the old printer.

I go back to the old printer and do the “narrowing down” from Milky Way to my floor again and give Ctrl+P again. The unmistakable creak of a printer starting its job follows. Wow! This is great! Finally I printed! And then.. it stops. Still no paper out. I keep going around the printer to see if it dropped out anywhere. Just when I thought of giving Ctrl+p again , I saw some papers lying in a crevice on the opposite side of the  printer barely visible to any one except Superman. I take the paper that was lying at the top, see that it was the one I gave for print,  walk way my head held high having  achieved something in life.