Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Murali Reitres, Dutch Delight and Paes wins and Paki revenge

There has been an aweful lot happening lately.

Firstly, Murali has decided to hang up his boots after the first test agains India at Galle. The spin-wizzard is on 792 wickets now and needs 8 more to reach the unimaginable 800. Will he decide to play one more test if he finishes on 799? I would say no. The good news for the Sri Lankan fans is that the smiling-asassin is retiring only from tests and not the ODIs. One can safely assume that the world cup 2011 will be his last hurrah. In a career spanning the best part of 2 decades, the journey has been a tough one for Murali. The offie had a tough tour down-under in 95-96 and called for throwing by the OZ umpires. He then won the WC in '96 and kept picking wickets in bulk till his tour down under in 98-99. Again, he was called for throwing and he must be grateful to Arjuna Ranatunga for teh wayy he handled the situation. A weaker captain would have wilted under the pressure and stop Murali for bowling. Arjuna instead threatened to "walk off" in order to protect his off-spinner. There have been planty of allegations against him starting from BEdi, who called all his wickets and "run outs", Warne, Dean Jones, Holding and Martin Crowe amongst others. I, for one, was also one of those not in support of Murali and his action. Just because he was born with a deformity in his arm should not have convinced the ICC to let him bowl the way he did. And then, when they conducted those tests on him, the tests were conducted in a "cricket laboratory" instead of an actual match situation. I will not blame Murali for this, but the ICC for the way they handled the situation. Another point which the Warne fans can use is that Murali averages over 30 against Australia and Idnia, probably the two teams who had the best batsmen during his era. He has 76 wickets against Bangladesh at 12 a piece and 87 against Zimbabwe at 17 a piece. His record would still be good even if you took out these wickets against the minnows. But, to me, his unclean action and his inability to pick wickets against the top teams would prevent him from getting into the top bowlers of the world.

Holland won 3-2 over Uruguay. Indeed, the Uruguayans clearly missed the strike force of Suarez, (who has been really maligned for his hand ball against Ghana. I think any other footballer would have done the same in that situation). Forlan waged a lone battle up-front. The former ManU striker has continued his awesome form into the world cup. He is one of those "volunteer" footballers. He will come back, get the ball, pass it, take corners and free-kicks, distrubute the ball and most importantly score goals. For all the hype behind people like Barry some other so-called "stars" from Europe, particularly England, Forlan has taught them a lesson as to how to play the game. Why did Machester United let him go? Indeed, had Suarez been there, this would have been a much tougher game for the Dutch, who got a lucky break on the second gol. Not only was it a deflection, it was also a goal in which Van Persie was fortunate to have been judged off side. He clearly raised his foot, and was thus, "in play" when the ball crept into the Uruguayan goal.

Leander Paes and Zimbabwe's Cara Black won the mixed doubles for India. Did anyone know? Again, Leander's achievement has gone unnoticed among all the Football and Rafa Nadal hula-hoo......

Meanwhile, Pakistan got sweet-revenge against Australia, the team which battered the South-Asians 3-0 in tests, 5-0 in Odis and 2-0 in T20s earlier this year. And when Hussey completed the mirraculous turn-around at St. Lucia in the world cup semi-finals, it seemed as though even "biting balls" would not help Pakistan win against the OZs. Inspired by the young guns- Umar Gul, Mohd. Aamer and Umar Akmal, Pakistan outsmarted the Ozs in the two T20s.

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