Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chariots of Fire

Being inactive for such a long time, I thought I would chip in with something hatke, anyway sports is not that exciting anymore (just a transient phase will pass). So a movie review for Chariots of Fire, one of the bestest Sports movie ever is a good way to restart my Pen at PenTheGame.

Think of Chariots of Fire and the first thing which comes to mind is the genius of Vangelis. If you are not able to recollect to the tune go back to the age when DD showed Asian Games or Olympics, that was the music which was always played, still not able to recollect, do a Youtube for the theme and you will get it for sure. Obviously the soundtrack is something which can never be forgotten, but the movie is no less.

It is one of only three sports movie ever to win an Oscar for the Best Picture, the other ones being Rocky & Million Dollar Baby which belong to another genre of Boxing movies. Chariots of Fire tells the story of two young athletes competing at 1924 Paris Olympics, the will to prove something to the world in the backdrop of their individual religious commitments. Eric Liddell stands by his missionary commitments and refuses to run his best event, 100 M as his missionary responsibility forces him not to run the race on Sunday.Being a Christian at heart but with a soul of athlete he competes for 400M event and wins it. As he quotes in the movie,

'But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and be not weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.'
The constant dichotomy involving responsibility towards God and Nation finally comes to an end with success on both fronts. The story of Eric tells us to how to fulfill all responsibilities with commitment and also how faith goes hand in hand with your life.

Harold Abrahams, the second athlete in picture is not just an answer to anti-semitism practised in Europe in those days, he symbolises a young bright individual who jsut did it his own way. Harold's college dash through Trinity College Cambridge is quite in contrast with Eric's religious dash towards understanding God. His victory in 100M filled the void created by absence of Eric and made him an athlete which Britishers admire till date.

Above all the movie as most of the other sports movies tells you to fight, but the narrative can't be as picturesque as this. Theopening shot of the movie which involves runners running on a beach is a classic with Vangelis playing in background. It is one of the most positive movies one will ever see, with quite a feel good vibe flowing along with it. A must watch for all Sports Lovers, Music Lovers, infact or everyone.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Henry on his way to Barcelona

Giri's wish of Henry failing the medical test failed when Henry cleared the medical test and was unveiled at Nou Camp after signing a 4 year deal with Barcelona. Arsenal Football confirmed the signing. Arsenal has thanked Henry for his massive contribution to the club development. The club said:

During his time at Arsenal, Thierry became the Club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 226 goals from his 370 appearances. He was also an integral part of the 2003/04 ‘unbeaten’ League season, won the Premiership twice, the FA Cup twice, the Premiership ‘Golden Boot’ four times, was voted the PFA Player of the Year twice and won the FWA Player of the Year on three occasions.

Everyone at Arsenal wish Thierry the best of luck for the future.

Good luck from our side also :( we will miss you in arsenal matches.

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img: bbc


ESPYS are back again, 2007 nominations have been announced. Though most of us do not follow American games like NFL and NHL, but still we can participate in the ESPYS by voting in the following categories.

  • Best International Male Athlete
    • Didier Drogba
    • Roger Federer
    • Dirk Nowitski (NBA)
    • Albert Pujols (Baseball)
  • Best International Female Athlete
    • Justine Henin
    • Maria Sharapova
    • Lorena Ochoa Golf
    • Annika Sorenstam Golf
  • Best Male Tennis Player
    • Rafael Nadal
    • Roger Federer
    • James Blake
    • Andy Roddick
  • Best Female Tennis Player
    • Justine Henin
    • Maria Sharapova
    • Serena Williams
    • Jelena Jankovic
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Monday, June 25, 2007

Who will be the challenger??

So Henry out of England, lets now discuss something about “definitely the oldest championship” The Wimbledon. Since we are now playing with tradition, I remember one very absurd rule which was once associated with Davis Cup, probably the second oldest championship. There was this challenger concept in which all the other participant will fight among each other to challenge the defending champion. So in effect defending champion was required to play only 1 match.
Now just for a moment we assume that this year’s championship is played with the same challenger rule with a certain Mr Federer as a defending champion. Now just like any aajtak correspondent, I will give myself a certain amount of liberties to analyze the few players who I feel can challenge the King::
1. Rafael Nadal :: Well this guys biggest advantage is the timing of the championship. Winning a grand slam is a huge confidence booster, and last time that confidence carried him to the final, where he even managed to take a set from Federer. That in itself is a big achievement for a Spaniard who publicly says that grass is never his favorite surface.
2. Andy Roddick:: He is the perennial underachiever of the men’s tennis , who for his whole life has been trying to come out of the Fed’s shadow. Lets do something which the great jimmy Connors is trying to do, analyze his game. He has a great booming serve, a good forehand and a decent enough slice backhand. Still he never ever manage to show us that ”yes , this guy is going to defeat Federer ”. Why?? This is what Mr Connors has to find out…still if we continue to serve well probably he might be the challenger.
3. all journey men::: this special category is dedicated to all those players who are all good players but I don’t why , but we know that they cant win Grand Slam. These players include davydenkos , djokovic, Blake etc etc.
4. Last one can be some mysterious guy :: someone who is made for Wimbledon?? What a crappy definition of mysterious guy?? But really I mean it…someone who is born for a grass. Attributes required are quite simple, good old serve and volley game.

So analysis done. The really firework will start from today, I would like the challenger , whoever he may be, to win , but whenever the Roger comes to play , my loyalties switch sides. He is someone like Sampras, whom you will never ever want him to lose.

He might yet fail the medical !!!

Yes......the rumors were right for a change.......and they were right at the wrong time.....we all wished they were wrong.......but no.......its not all over though.....he might still fail the medical :D.....

Ok......lets just assume the unlikely possibility that might clear the medical test!!...Will it be the beginning of the end......or will it be a new beginning.......Ruud left ManU and they went on to win the EPL......Sheva left Milan and they won the CL......Zidane retired......and Madrid won the La Liga......but yes the reality is Arsenal would be weaker without Henry.....Now can they make new signings and clever signings........they have just built a new stadium......which means they cant spend much now.......luring gigi buffon would be difficult since the italian has stated he wants to stay in Italy........Asking Nicholas Anelka to fill in Henry's boots would be asking for too much........but then someone has to......the team will look like this:


I expect to see walcott and bendtner working together up front(unless some new signings come in)

But.........dont worry guyz........obviously he wont clear the medical :P

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Henry moves to Barca ?

Its Cadena Ser radio, the station that broke the news of David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane's moves to Real Madrid again. This time it has stated that Barcelona will pay €24million (£16million) for the Arsenal forward- Thierry Henry. It also says that according to Barca officials Henry will be with Barca till 2011.

A spokesman from Barcelona told Sky Sports that the deal has not yet been finalised and talks are on between Arsene Wenger and officials from Barca.

So, if it turns out to be true, aahh new team, new teammates, new place, and yea new jersey as well :P

By the way which one looks better on him ?? :P

And yes one more thing before I go, AC Milan too admitted that they once bid for Henry but were rejected by the player himself.

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Cricket: As explained to a foreigner...

You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side thats been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.

When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!

src: cricinfo

2006 Premiership Ugly looking XI

2006 Premiership Ugly looking XI

GoalKeeper Paddy Kenny Sheffield United
2 Defender Peter Ramage Newcastle
3 Defender Anton Ferdinand West Ham
4 Defender Ricardo Carvalho Chelsea
5 Defender Wes Brown Manchester United
6 Midfielder Herman Hreidarsson Charlton
7 Midfielder Phil Neville Everton
8 Forward Craig Bellamy Newcastle
9 Forward David Thompson Portsmouth
10 Forward Peter Crouch Liverpool
11 Forward Marlon Harewood West Ham

pos manager club
15 Manager Ian Dowie Charlton

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Grand Prix of India

India is finally looking to other sports apart from the religion which Indians follow 'cricket'.
IOA president Mr. Suresh Kalmadi confirmed that it has reached an agreement with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to stage F1 in New Delhi in 2009.

But disheartening news is that the race would not be a street race as earlier expected. A new track would be laid
Mr Kalmadi said
"we are looking to identify suitable land for a world-class track. It's a touch task, but we're hoping to meet the challenge"

Ecclestone in his letter to the IOA said, "F1 authorises IOA to back and support the move to get the infrastructure ready. It will be IOA's responsibility to get the support of the Government of India, Delhi government and other government agencies to get a circuit constructed at a site which is acceptable to the Formula One administration."

This is the fifth new venue to be added in the past few months. Valencia and Singapore will hold street races in 2008 with new venue Korea. Abu Dhabhi will enter with India in 2009.

This race would be a big boost to India's tourism before the 2010 commonwealth game. I would love to be the part of history by watching the first race in New Delhi. Where ever I would be I will try to be there to watch the zooming cars.

Would India be able to host a successful F1, build the track on time a lot is needed in infrastructure? I am sure we will.

So get set for sporting action in the coming years. Now we need to get some footballing action, may be Arsenal or ManU coming down in India for exhibition match.

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img: bbc

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Fed's Jinx

If someone asks you what did you remember most about the Australian open 2007?
Answers will mainly concentrate on Federer winning it again, that too without losing a set. Someone might even mention Roddick mauling. But mostly it will be fed’s dominance which would make most of the answers.
But one thing which still reverberates through my head were the following words of Tennis Australia’s president (or whoever he may be):: “Roger All the Best for the French Open”.
And man he lost it. Now I didn’t watch even single point of the match, but still let’s try to analyze his defeat (we Indians are best in this stuff….courtesy our masaledaar news channel, which are master of analyzing)::
1.Starts with reality, Nadal is a good player of clay infact one of the best ever to play on clay. He returns every thing with lots of top spin, which is usually difficult to control on clay.
2.Federer has ClaNadophobia, which in simple words can be described as “Fear of Nadal on Clay”. Before the start of French open I thought that win in Hamburg probably might have erased that fear, but unfortunately he remains “ClaNadophobic” as before.
3.Having covered the psychological aspect, let’s explore a bit of tennis reasons also. Federer whenever he play against Nadal on clay has this tendency to finish of the point early , going for the winners , which more often than not results in huge amount of unforced error. This psyche is mainly the creation of Nadal’s great athleticism and slowness of clay, which makes shot making much easier than the faster surface.

So one more year gone. One more chance gone. Federer will most probably win the rest 2 grand slam rather comfortably, but at every award ceremony people will keep reminding him that one elusive thing still remains, by wishing him good luck.
That is why someone has said “Greatness of a person is not judged by the amount of success you achieved but by the limited number failures u have got”.

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ESPN buys Cricinfo

ESPN, the US sports channel owned by Disney has acquired cricinfo from Wisden.

Cricinfo is a website which provides latest happenings and statistics about cricket to all the cricket fans.

The value of the deal was not disclosed.

SO after, and ESPN now also has

Five Sporting Wishes

Sports fans here are my 5 sporting wishes. I would love to do these in coming 5-10-15-20 years, I hope these moments would come much sooner.

1. Watching Formula one race in Monaco. I love street racing and Monaco is the best street circuit till now. Delhi is expected to have a track around the Janpath, but you know how much time it takes in India. But Monaco rules.

2. Watch the Wimbledon final, yes wimbledon not any another Grandslam tournament. 120 year old tournament has its own class and I would love to be at the centre court watching the final.

3. Emirates Stadium... Gunners home my favourite club and watching them play ManU at their home would be icing on the cake.

4. Match at Lords .. mecca of cricket. Though my interest in cricket is slowly dying but still sitting at the stands in Lords and watching arch rivals England take on Australia in the Ashes test would be great.

5. Fifa World Cup Final, i hope its between brazil and argentina.

I have written what are yours

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Monday, June 11, 2007

Hand Of Fraud...err...Hand of GOD !!

Not long ago Barcelona's Lionel Messi scored a solo goal picking the ball up from inside his own half on the right flank in a King’s Cup tie against Getafe, he dribbled past two defenders, swerved past two more and rounded the goal keeper to score from a very tight angle. It was said to be exact replica of the goal scored by another great footballer former Argentinian striker Diego Maradona.

And yet again on Saturday Messi scored the famous (or infamous ?) HAND OF GOD goal against Espanyol which incidentally was also a replica of Maradona's 'Hand of GOD' goal against England in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Here is another close look

Cunning effort isn't it ?

But according to Messi, “We can talk a lot about that goal but these things happen in football. It only won us a point. There’s no point comparing me to Diego because he was unique. I’m not trying to score the same goals as him, they are simply things that happen during a match.”
Two great footballers, playing for the same country, first the solo wonder and then the HAND OF GOD replica. I wonder whats next :)

Ecstasy for some Agony for some : Montreal

In the end it was ecstasy for Hamilton, Heidfeld, Wurz and agony for Kubica, Massa , Fisichella in the action packed Montreal Grand Prix. It was the most chaotic formula one race I have ever watched since i started following F1 3 years back. Cars were crashing regularly safety car was in and out and then there was a horrific crash of Kubica. There were yellow flags green flags and black flags also.

Massa and Fisichella were shown black flags as they tried overtaking in the pits.

But the race belonged to Hamilton who despite of the fact that 4 times his lead was nullified because of safety car coming in , he still managed to win the race cleanly, there were no mistakes, his driving was faultless.

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Friday, June 8, 2007

French Open updates and La liga

I have not really managed to closely follow French Open, but since no one is blogging I thought I will chip in.

Its the diminutive, strong back-handed, Belgian--my personal favorite-- Justine Henin against the unknown commodity in Ivanovic. The key to me again would be Ivanovic's ability to cope with the best backhand in women's tennis. As often is the case, temperament of the younger, more inexperienced player could be the telling point. All in all, it promises to be an interesting contest. My pick?--definitly Justine Henin.

Men's looks like the same old contest- The king of Tennis Vs the crafty, muscular French Open specialist. The Spaniard has had the better of the Fedex on the last two occasions. But more recently, the world no.1 broke Nadal's 81-match unbeaten run on clay court. This does promise to be a cracker. Have to get up early in the morning to watch it :( My pick?--I will be brave this time.......I put my money on the underdog-Nadal

........but hold on........what if it turns out to be a Davydenko-Djokovic final!!!.......

La liga.......well.......what interesting contest on cards. Both, the galacticos and the catalans are level. The Catalans will be without their playmaker though-- Ronaldinho.......remember his unfortunate red card two weeks back.........

Neither team cannot afford a slip up.........I have a feeling though that Madrid will go on to win back the La Liga this time.........All in interesting week ahead

Monday, June 4, 2007

Cricket - A game with it own share of loopholes and altered regulations & rules.

Well, logic is the motherhood of all happenings around us, there is no better way to explain this line that to learn mathematics. Even, science has flourished till this day looking for logic in all its proposed phenomenon. We breathe, we walk, we talk, we entertain...for all these relational modes, we have Logic which can be further decomposed into RULES. So, no points for guessing that every activity comprises of rules. We make rules to get a unique way out of every instance. But what if rules don't cover all the corners and somebody is lucky enough to see that ray of light, and discovers an exception. Now, I must say that we make rules, we find exception and we build upon that and we introduce new ones without affecting proposed flow.

Ahh!, too thoughtful, lets boil down to the fact that every activity matures with rules, and we are here to discuss the game of Cricket. I don't have any idea with what rules, the first game of cricket was played. But am sure, this game has seen many new introductions n their modifications till this day when they are proposing a new tweak in Power play. I may not be covering all (to say the least, no anti-doping case, as i want to stop somewhere), but i know my friends here will leave no stone unturned to dig out the missing ones and mentioning them (*comment).

1. Lets start with one of, if not The Darkest moment in Australian cricket history, when in 1981 World Series, the notorious Greg Chappell (the then Aussie skipper) who instructs younger brother Trevor to bowl underarm rolling along the pitch thereby exposing the mistake of missing out the underarm rule in Australian book of Benson & Hedges World Series rules.

2. Even before this, we had England's Mike Brearley who exposed the loophole of lack of field restrictions in 1979. In one game, as West Indies needed 3 runs to win off the last ball, EVERY available fielder (including wicket keeper) was put on the fence. Thanks to this unsporting incident the lawmakers went on to introduce fielding restrictions rule, where a maximum of 5 players should be outside the inner circle on the field.

3. But perhaps the most cynical stretching of laws took place with a lesser coverage, when Somerset captain Brian Rose declared after one over in Benson & Hedges zonal one-day tournament. Realizing the need to qualify for the quarter-finals, Somerset planned to assure their place under the rules of the competition, in order to avoid losing by a heavy margin against Worcester who apart from a conclusive victory also needed to overtake them by virtue of a superior strike-rate. By declaring their innings after one over, Somerset ensured that even if they loose, they would not be overtaken on strike-rate. It didn't work though as there was such an outcry that Somerset were thrown out of the competition anyway, for bringing the game into disrepute. Declarations in one-day innings were outlawed thereafter. One bemusing irony in this whole incident was that the statutory 10 minute break between both the innings (that lasted for 6 & 10 balls respectively) comprised more than 30% time of the whole match.

4. England also had their foot in 1932-33 Ashes, popularly known as Bodyline series when this foulest tactics was first used in Cricket history to stop the run scoring machine Sir Donald Bradman. Short pitched aiming deliberately at the batsman. Ultimately England prevailed, but this obsession of their to win back the Ashes made them pay for not playing the game in right tradition & spirit. In one corollary of the law introduced to prevent this, the bowling side is prohibited to put more than 2 fieldsmen on the leg side behind square.

5. Have you ever wondered why the LBW rule states that the batsman cannot be given out if the ball has pitched outside leg stump? It was all because of the great Australian leg spinner Clarrie Grimmett, who would pitch the ball outside leg stump for it to spin back and hit the stumps or the leg in front of it.

6. In one 1999 World Cup match, Late Bob Woolmer coaching South Africa sent Hansie Cronje & Allan Donald on the field with ear plugs to remain in touch with the coach in the dressing room. After an hour into the game, they were instructed against its usage by the match referee. The International Cricket Council (ICC) has now put a stop to such sort of communications between the captain and the coach.

7. West Indies in 2001, became part of controversy when they denied South Africans win in a Test Match. West Indies had collapsed spectacularly and unexpectedly and proteas were already sensing a victory with 20 minutes still to go to get better of last 3 wickets left. Just then Dinanath Ramnarine, complained of muscle strain and South Africa's race against time was taken care of. Contrary to that, in 1967, Yorkshire indulged in delaying tactics when bowling against Warwickshire who were chasing a small target. But when West Indies did the same against England, the need of a rule became obvious stating that a minimum number of overs must be bowled after the start of the final hour.

Image source: cricinfo, answers, theage
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