Tendulkar and the burden of the 100th


Tendulkar and the burden of the 100th

 

Tendulkar 100th

Tendulkar 100th

Tendulkar’s ascent to his 100th hundred was probably like the last leg of a Himalayan conquest. I say “probably” because I have experienced neither, nor am I likely to, but he seemed weary and consumed by the thought – in itself an unusual occurrence.

He had started to fret a little bit, had refused to meet the media in Australia because he knew the 100th would be the focus of conversation. Like Betaal, the vampire spirit from an ancient Indian tale, the landmark clung to him and wouldn’t let go, however hard he tried to ignore its presence. Eventually it got to him and the man who has always taken great pride in playing for India was forced to play for the hundred.

Therein lies the inherent contradiction of life; you want the landmark, but if that is what you play for, you don’t get it. If you can hypnotise yourself into thinking that the landmark doesn’t exist, you get it quicker. If the 100th hadn’t been on Tendulkar’s mind – and we must take part of the blame for that – he might have got it earlier. The more he thought of it the more distant it grew and the more distant it grew, the more it began to suffocate him.

You could see that in Australia. When he batted with an end in mind, even close of play for that matter, he seemed tentative, his feet burdened. When he batted freely, he took your breath away (and that is why his insistence that he was batting well in Australia). But then suddenly the landmark, like a ghostly mirage, loomed and he was locked in at the end again.

I find this phase fascinating because it tells me that even the mightiest, the very greatest of them all, have the very insecurities that normal folks have. They fear like we do, they fret and brood and wake up in the middle of the night like we do, and they attract what they fear, like we do. They are humans too; to call them God is to wilfully suspend reality, even to mock at their perseverance.

Many years ago I asked Tendulkar what was on his mind as he walked out to bat. “I would like my mind to be blank,” he had said. He wanted his instinct to play the ball and for that he needed a fresh mind, not one clogged with thoughts. He said he thought about the conditions, the surface, the opposition, what shots would be good and what wouldn’t, but all that was well before the game started. Once it began, he had a good day if his mind was blank. I suspect, over the last eight months, the mind wasn’t blank enough, like a bit of dust in the carburettor playing havoc with a finely tuned engine.

Just as surprising was his admission of stress, for I know he has been through much in life without making an issue of it, without offering it as an excuse. But I wonder if physical pain is sometimes the lesser burden to carry into a game than mental stress, for Tendulkar has carried pain into a match innumerable times and overcome it. A century in an Asia Cup match against Bangladesh on a slow, low surface cannot be the most difficult to score. I haven’t seen all his hundreds but have seen many achieved in more difficult conditions. In Dhaka, as indeed in every game he played since the World Cup, the greater battle was with himself, with the expectations of him, both of which he has conquered in the past; certainly the second, which he has lived with all his life.

But Tendulkar’s imprisonment and, I hope, subsequent release must force us to ask unpleasant questions of ourselves. Is India, as a nation, obsessed with the individual? Do we reward individual performances over those that might be achieved collectively? Do we therefore encourage selfishness as a society? Or is it the necessary by-product of our population and our resultant struggle to merely exist?

But now it is done. Joy at a landmark that will never again be achieved must necessarily, and sadly, be accompanied by relief. And in spite of having watched him closely for almost 25 years, I am excited by the thought of watching a liberated Tendulkar, for there are no consuming landmarks to achieve (and hopefully our ability to conceive them will stay perpetually dulled).

We could go back to the pure Tendulkar. What joy that will be!

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Angry Afridi knocks out fan at the airport


Angry Afridi knocks out fan at the airport

KARACHI: To the utter disappointment of the whole nation, the great “Boom Boom Shahid Afridi” Friday night punched a fan in the face who was only begging him for an autograph, Geo News reported.

Reportedly, Afridi, who was coming out of the airport after arriving here from Bangladesh, flew off the handle, after cohorts thronged him for autographs.

It seemed he was not happy with this fan following and was seen almost running out of the airport with a swarm of his admirers in tow.

After repeated gestures of annoyance, which failed to deter the crowd, he swung a mighty right hand at one of the buffs knocking him out then and there, which proved he could be a “Bang Bang Boxer Afridi” as well.

Later talking to Geo News, Shahid Afridi’s brother said that Afridi lost temper when the crowd almost trampled his (Afridi’s) daughter.

He said that the reckless fans did not ever care about the three-year old girl, who could have been seriously injured in this stampede like situation.

Asia Cup final: Pakistan restricted to 236-9 by Tigers


 

DHAKA: Pakistan were restricted by Bangladesh to 236 runs for nine wickets in 50 overs in the final of the Asia Cup one-day tournament here at the Shere Bangla National Stadium on Thursday. …

Asia Cup 2012 – Tuk Tuk Gone – Misbah-ul-Haq run out 13 (23b 1×4 0x6) SR: 56.52


 

 

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Superb stuff from Bangladesh, they have been lively in the field. We saw Mahmudullah save a few runs today and now this from Nasir. Pakistan under early pressure

Shahadat Hossain to Misbah-ul-Haq, OUT, run-out, another wicket, Nasir Hossain is an excellent fielder, that was defended in front of him at point, Misbah took off and then hesitated, Nasir ran in from point, picked it up and aimed accurately at the non-striker’s end, Misbah has to go, he was well short

Misbah-ul-Haq run out 13 (23b 1×4 0x6) SR: 56.52

 

 

Kohli: The future of Indian batting


Kohli: The future of Indian batting

March 20, 2012

India has always produced exquisite batsmen from Viswanath to Vengsarkar to Azharuddin to Tendulkar and from this pedigree has emerged another star that shone brighter than the other young guns we have witnessed; Virat Kohli. PHOTO: Reuters

Asia Cup final: Bangladesh bowl first against Pakistan


Published: March 22, 2012

Nasir Jamshed celebrates after scoring a half century against India during their Asia Cup One Day International (ODI) cricket match in Dhaka March 18, 2012. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

An unchanged Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bowl first against Pakistan in the Asia Cup final being played at Sher-e-Bangla stadium in Dhaka.

Sarfraz Ahmed replaces Wahab Riaz, the only change in the Pakistan team.

Bangladesh had earlier defeated India and Sri Lanka to reach the final of the Asia Cup.

Bangladesh: Tamim Iqbal, Nazimuddin, Jahurul Islam, Mushfiqur Rahim*†, Shakib Al Hasan, Mahmudullah, Nasir Hossain, Mashrafe Mortaza, Abdur Razzak, Shahadat Hossain, Nazmul Hossain

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Nasir Jamshed, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq*, Umar Akmal, Hammad Azam, Shahid Afridi, Sarfraz Ahmed†, Umar Gul, Saeed Ajmal, Aizaz Cheema

Umpires: SJ Davis (Australia) and IJ Gould (England)

TV umpire: S Ravi (India)

Asia Cup 2012 – We have made many mistakes’ – Jayawardene


Less than two weeks ago, when Mahela Jayawardene and the Sri Lankans landed in Dhaka after a spunky performance in the Commonwealth Bank series in Australia, he was asked what he had done to revitalise the side since taking the captaincy from Tillakaratne Dilshan. Jayawardene had played down the notion of a magic wand, pointing out some of the highs under Dilshan’s leadership before bringing out the old cliche, “a captain is only as good as his team”.

Today, after three defeats in the Asia Cup and little to be happy about besides the resolution of their pay problem, Jaywardene was asked by a journalist whether there was something wrong with his captaincy. He was initially nonplussed by the question, grinning disbelievingly at being asked that, before regaining his composure.

“Amazing isn’t it, two weeks of cricket does that to you, eh?” he said. “We played Australia in the finals and I can’t become a bad captain overnight. A captain is as good as his team and there are no secrets to it, just that he handles certain situations. We haven’t played good cricket, there are no excuses for that.”

Sri Lanka came into the tournament as favourites, but have been flat over the three matches. The fielding, such a strength of theirs in Australia, was lacklustre, highlighted again by Sachithra Senanayake shelling a straightforward caught-and-bowled chance off Tamim Iqbal. The bowling hasn’t shown the verve of the previous series, and some of the shot selection by the batsmen has been questionable.

“I thought the Indian game was crucial when we were 200 for 2 or 3, chasing 300-plus but somehow we failed to finish the game off and from that point onwards we have not been able to play consistent cricket,” Jayawardene said. “We have to take responsibility for not playing all-round consistent cricket, that is the reason.”

Sri Lanka were in Bangladesh less than 30 hours after completing a grueling tri-series in Australia, and didn’t have a single training session until after their first game. Jayawardene, though, didn’t blame the jam-packed itinerary for his side’s listless performance.

“We knew it was a tough schedule for us but that cannot be the excuse,” he said. “We made many mistakes with the bat, ball on the field, so we will go back home and assess it. We raised our game pretty well in Australia and had set some standards but we could not maintain those standards.”

He also had words of praise for Bangladesh’s expectation-defying performance in the tournament. “They have played some amazing cricket and as a group they have performed more than individuals.”

Previously, in a Pakistan v Bangladesh match, it was clear who the overwhelming favourite was, but Bangladesh are starting to change that notion. Asked to pick a winner in Thursday’s final, Jayawardene sat on the fence, though he did offer a light-hearted tip to both captains. “Both teams will be practising their tosses because batting second is a big advantage here.”

Asia Cup Final 2012 – East PakiStAn Vs WeST PakIsTaN – Team effort takes Bangladesh to historic final


Team effort takes Bangladesh to historic final

Bangladesh 212 for 5 (Tamim 59, Shakib 56, Nasir 36*) beat Sri Lanka 232 (Kapugedera 62, Nazmul 3-32) by five wickets by D/L method
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Tamim Iqbal reaches his third consecutive ODI half-century, Bangladesh v Sri Lanka, Asia Cup, Mirpur, March 20, 2012

Tamim Iqbal kickstarted the chase with a dashing 59 © AFP
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Series/Tournaments: Asia Cup
Teams: Bangladesh | Sri Lanka

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  • Bangladesh reached the finals of a multi-nation tournament for only the second time. In their only previous final, in a home tri-nation tournament in 2009, they lost by two wickets to Sri Lanka after having reduced them to 6 for 5.
  • Bangladesh’s win is only their third against Sri Lanka and their second against a Test-playing team in this tournament. The last time Bangladesh beat two Test-playing nations in a single tournament was in the 2007 World Cup when they defeated India and South Africa.
  • Sri Lanka failed to qualify for the final of the Asia Cup for the first time. It is also the eighth time in Asia and the second time in multi-team tournaments in the subcontinent that Sri Lanka have failed to win a single match.
  • Shakib Al Hasan’s half-century is his 24th in ODIs and his third against Sri Lanka. His strike-rate of 121.73 is his fourth-highest for a fifty-plus score.
  • Tamim Iqbal scored his third consecutive half-century of the tournament and became only the third Bangladesh batsman, after Mohammad Ashraful and Shahriar Nafees, to score three consecutive fifties in an ODI series.
  • The 76-run stand between Shakib and Tamim is the fifth-highest fourth-wicket stand for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka. Shakib has been involved in three of the top five partnerships.
  • The 88-run stand between Chamara Kapugedera and Lahiru Thrimanne is the fourth-highest fourth-wicketstand for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh.

Bangladesh made it to the final of the Asia Cup, defying pre-tournament expectations with consecutive victories against their more fancied neighbours. It was only the second time they had reached the finals of a one-day tournament. The bowlers restricted Sri Lanka to 232, but rain siphoned off ten overs and reduced the target to 212. The increased asking-rate, 5.30 an over, gave both teams a chance, but enterprising batting by Tamim Iqbal on a spiced-up pitch gave their chase a kickstart. The Bangladesh middle order withstood the pressure and gave the expectant crowd a reason to show up in similar numbers for the final, on Thursday.

Nasir Hossain proved once again why he is the find of the season for Bangladesh and Tamim put the farce of his earlier non-selection to rest. Nasir’s calm half-century partnership with Mahmudullah ensured Bangladesh did not implode in the rush for a quick finish. The sea of green jerseys in the crowd were rewarded for staying in their seats even as Sri Lanka clawed back. Many clasped their hands in prayer once Bangladesh lost their fifth wicket, Shakib Al Hasan, but the temperament of the sixth-wicket pair showed why Bangladesh could start the finals not as underdogs, but contenders. India, waiting on the result of this game, will be headed home.

Sri Lanka were pegged back at the very beginning, when another Hossain, Nazmul, coming in for the injured Shafiul Islam, nipped out three top-order wickets. The middle order, led by Chamara Kapugedera, gave the innings some respectability, but Sri Lanka were not able to post a challenging score on a ground on which two big chases had already been completed in the tournament.

A mid-innings downpour gave the pitch the kind of zip missing during the afternoon. Lasith Malinga tested the top order with bouncers that fizzed past the helmet, while Nuwan Kulasekara got the ball to swerve in to the right-handers to castle Nazimuddin and flummox the captain Mushfiqur Rahim.

Bangladesh were three down for 40, but the passage of play was punctuated by some blistering strokeplay by Tamim. His balance and follow-through were exemplary, especially in his driving through the off side. Mahela Jayawardene tried to plug that gap with a short point, and later with two fielders up close at cover and extra cover, but Tamim was not deterred. He lofted one over the covers and then whipped consecutive boundaries through midwicket, showing his class on both sides of the wicket.

Shakib, after passing a tough test against some short bowling, settled in and crashed Suranga Lakmal for three consecutive boundaries through the off side. Tamim reached his half-century with a clip for four off Farveez Maharoof, and his pleasing strokeplay won the applause of the country’s premier Sheikh Hasina, also in attendance. He was dropped by Sachitra Senanayake, after lobbing a simple chance back to the bowler, but Senanayake finally got his man when an uppish slash was taken at point. Tamim walked back to a hush from the expectant crowd, with their hopes pinned on Shakib.

Shakib’s battle with Senanayake was a compelling one. Shakib got on top of him initially with boundaries over extra cover, but once the bowler shortened his length, Shakib looked edgy. Unsure of the bounce, he stabbed at two consecutive deliveries and nearly lobbed both for catches. Senanayake got one to skid through and trapped him in front of leg stump to give Sri Lanka hope, with the hosts still 77 runs adrift.

Sri Lanka were guilty of easing the pressure on the batsmen by feeding them balls full on the pads, which were clipped away to fine leg. Nasir and Mahmudullah kept out the inswinging yorkers, did not panic when they played the ball to the fielders, and calmly picked up singles. Tillakaratne Dilshan was brought on after the quicks failed to take wickets, but the pair didn’t change their approach. A firm push by Nasir was parried by mid-on to the boundary, leading to wild celebrations and a victory lap.

The win was set up by Nazmul, who removed the power trio of Jayawardene, Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara. Jayawardene missed a straight one, Dilshan chopped a delivery onto his stumps and Sangakkara spooned a catch to extra cover, bringing an end to an indifferent season with the bat for him.

Bangladesh came out with a sense of purpose, fielding with intent after winning the toss. They were aided by a surface which, though not the same used for the India-Pakistan game, appeared slower and suited their crop of bowlers. The medium-pacers bowled several slower deliveries to tighten the noose on the run-rate.

Kapugedera and Lahiru Thirimanne added 88 for the fourth wicket, but one of them needed to bat through the innings to set a competitive target. Upul Tharanga made a breezy fifty, but not for the first time since his demotion, he had to repair the damage done upfront, again raising questions about the structure of the batting line-up.

Kapugedera, under pressure to keep his place, made good use of his promotion, using his feet to the spinners. A stroke of luck, though, gave Bangladesh the breakthrough when Thirimanne missed a nudge off Abdur Razzak and was stumped after the ball deflected off Mushfiqur’s pads onto the stumps.

Tharanga’s arrival perked up the scoring, as he punished a wayward Shahadat Hossain for three quick boundaries. Kapugedera managed a face-saving half-century, but his innings was cut short by a sharp reflex-catch by Shakib at extra cover. Shakib struck with the ball soon after, getting two wickets. Boundaries by the lower order pushed Sri Lanka to 232, but one could sense that was always going to be inadequate.

It ended a mixed season for a travel-weary Sri Lanka, following the highs of Australia. Not too long ago, India were in their hotel rooms in Brisbane, hoping for a Sri Lankan defeat to push them into the CB Series finals. This time, in a hotel not far from the ground, they were ironically hoping for a Sri Lankan win. There were no back-door entries for a team which has suffered its worst away season in recent history.

Asia Cup 2012 – Watch Bangladesh and Srilanka Match Live


Asia Cup 2012 – Watch Bangladesh and Srilanka Match Live

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