In an ideal world, watching sports on TV, could be a good hobby. Especially if the game you love and the team you follow appears on television live match, the mad sports lovers stick to the television as if there is no tomorrow.

Manchester_United_Logo_by_StrongzDesignzAs you might have seen from my introduction page, I am a fanatic follower of Manchester United for football team and I must admit, last few weeks have not been the best of the life so far. All started with a disappointing defeat to Bayern Munich in the first leg of quarter final first leg, followed by a heart breaking defeat to Chelsea at Old Trafford and more over, an absolutely mentally disastrous exit from Champions league at the hands of Bayern Munich FC.  I thought things will be better at Blackburn, but unfortunately another 2 dropped points will most probably cost the team the Premiership championship.  Another huge disappointment !

As the football gives joy when the team wins, it gives even more pain when the team loses. In India, most of the matches are are on air, mostly after the midnight and watching these matches through the night like owl and at the end, getting a feeling of loss, is sometimes irrecoverable. Unfortunately, if the team loses or does not win, the pain of that translates into a tiredness at work next day and sometimes lasts for almost a day or two.  Also, it does not help my rapport with my wife !

Moreover, Kolkata Knight Riders are not giving me any joy in cricket too! Although I follow it because I am a huge fan of Sourav Ganguly, and can probably take solace even if the team loses and he does well !

Life of a football fan is not easy and I am experiencing it now !

I would just like to summarize India’s campaign in the ICC World Twenty20 in one word – Self-destruction !

Mr Cool & the captain of the team Mr Dhoni led from the front to ensure that the campaign is ended in a disastrous mode. Another defeat at the hands of South Africa put a final nail in the coffin, which was already prepared when India lost to England in the second Super Eight game earlier.

dhoni During the entire course of the tournament, it always seemed like very few players actually cared about win. It was visible from the appearance of quite a few players and most notably Dhoni, that they are playing in a pub tournament and not in the world cup. Many decisions that were taken were weird and lacked common sense. The matches were lost from a potential winnable position.

I am sure there will be an angry reaction back home in India after the performance of the team in this campaign.

I just hope, the public do not go insane and do silly things.  After all, we need to keep in mind that this is a game and not a matter of life & death.

Apparently the effigies of the players have been burnt back home and people have come out on streets protesting the way the team performed. Just the reflection of the hope everyone carried and how the hope came down crashing during last 2 weeks or so.

There were few bright sparks in the performance, most notably from Yuvraaj Singh, who once again showed that he carries the team on his shoulder and India always do well when he plays well. It was unfortunate that he did not get proper support from other so called marquee players when we needed most.  Rohit Sharma did well and did not let the absence of Sehwag be an issue at the top.  Ojha also enhanced his reputation during this tournament as a sensible spin bowler.  So its not all doom & gloom for India and we can look forward to build a good team again.

Few visible problems that would require BCCI to intervene and sort out would be to get rid of the supposed rift within the team. It was really unfortunate to see in today’s match the rift between Dhoni, Yuvraaj. The run out of Dhoni was a complete lack of coordination and when Harbhajan got Dhoni as his runner, the following 3-4 balls turned the game upside down and got India virtually out of the game as Harbhajan & Yuvraaj both got out.  The way the entire Sehwag episode was handled and he was sent back, looked suspicious to everyone.

I would hate to say that, but it is apparent that success has got into the head of Dhoni and he looked too overconfident in the decisions he took during the matches at various stages. I just hope its not true and as a true fan, would believe in the theory of IPL taking its toll on them and having fatigue as an issue. 

I would hope this defeat will put some sanity in the heads of BCCI authorities and selectors about the policy they need to follow in future tournaments. After all, even if the players are supposed to be professionals, you can not expect them to perform at highest level consistently week after week without having a proper break.

IPL was supposed to be a gold mine for new players to make their name in the international tournament and I hoped the IPL II to provide few. There were few really good players who players real good cricket but were not given chance in the world cup and India went with traditional tried & tested team.  The new players could possibly have played with bit more passion and aggression than Dhohi and co, I would have thought !

Anyways, enough of bashing and time to turn attention to somewhere else, where chances of success are more !

Hey, what about supporting India Women team who are into Semi finals of ICC Womens World Twenty20 and have a good chance to show the boys how its done !!

All the best to you girls! I just hope you do well!

Unfortunately all the teams I supported over the weekend lost!

First, I supported Adrian Sutil of Force India to bag first points of the season in the Chinese F1 race but unfortunately he lost the control of the car with about 6 laps to go… very very unfortunate for him and the Force India team.

Then, I supported Manchester United when they played out the semi final draw at Wembley with Everton FC. While we played with an inexperienced team with 4 teenagers and almost completely changed team from the one won at Porto, we still had good fire power for winning the game in the allocated time, leave alone the extra time & penalties. I thought we kind of lost out partly because of bad referring as well as some bad team selection and disappointing performances from few key players. But nevertheless, due where is due and Well done to Everton. I just wish now they actually win the FA cup. I might not be able to digest a Chelsea win there, honestly !

Then finally, I thought my luck will shine in Indian Premier League, where I supported Kolkata Knight riders to beat Deccan Chargers and guess what, we were whacked there as well ! And more over, just to rub salt on my wounds, my favourite player Sourav Ganguly, got out just for 1 off 12 balls !

Yesterday was really just too much for me to bear !

So we are now off to the international break of 2 weeks and no real quality football will be on display until premiership resumes in a week’s time from now.

The Intl break is really killing and absence of premiership really makes things boring and making me look for alternatives ! Yeah, cricket is sort of option but honestly the way West Indies – England or even India –New Zealand matches are going, I guess you are better of watching old videos .. only the Aus – SA series is something to look forward to really !

Hopefully Man United will come back as a better team after the international break  and will go on to finish the season strongly this year as well. 

Can’t wait for premiership to resume …

So finally IPL is moved out of India by greedy BCCI officials!  Now you decide whether it is the start of the death of cricket in India or the final nail in coffin by BCCI in the “Indian” cricket?

ipl_logo Since last few years, BCCI has always shown its “business” side than “cricket” side to the Indian public as well as the world. From making the players play tours all over the world without break to banning ICL and its related entities from cricket related activities, just shows how greedy BCCI has been in recent years and could go to any low point to ensure they continue filling up their pockets !

India have played more One day and Test matches in last two years than any other country and cricketers have, albeit in lower voices, have raised their concerns on the toll its taking on them. They have played more than 30 one day matches & more than 15 test matches in 2008 alone which way ahead of any other team in the world.

I think, BCCI’s intention of maximizing the cricket potential in India and milking money from every opportunity will soon start to have negative impact on India. Prime example of this being the once famous and eagerly awaited India Pakistan cricket series! Until few years ago, it used to be the most anticipated series in the world cricket. Since the current management of BCCI took over, there were more than 4-5 series played over a period of 2 years that really devaluated the excitement generated by these matches. They soon became routine cricket matches !

icl_logo Behaviour of BCCI over the ICL issue was absolutely pathetic and really discouraging site for Indian cricket. OK, understood and agreed that BCCI is so called only “legal” body in India to govern the cricket at all professional levels but surely should not be empowered to stop anyone from playing on TV cameras until they are given permission ! In my opinion, this was absolutely unacceptable and discouraging site for Indian cricket. Why should ICL be banned when there are quite a few other tournaments played in India, domestically and sponsored by locals, but in the form of a gully cricket ! In fact we used to have a cricket tournament in our college where we invited all other colleges to play and was shown in the local TV ! Did BCCI think that we also should have taken their permission before playing cricket?

The IPL was started as the response of BCCI to ICL and yes, it was a huge cricket & commercial success in its first version. When it was started, it was advertised as a new era of cricket in “India” and “India” really embraced to the club cricket during IPL. The names of the teams were mostly based on the cities they represent and you had a feeling of belongingness to the team that was playing on behalf of your state, region.

How would you feel if “Mumbai Indians” plays home matches as Johannesburg and away matches at places like Durban, with no relation whatsoever to Mumbai and Mumbaikars? How would you associate yourself with a team that is playing with the name of your state / region but based 5000 miles away and you can not watch them? Would there be the fever of IPL that was witnessed almost in the entire nation during the first edition? Would it catch the same attention, generate excitement?

In my opinion, the answer is plain NO.

IPL should have stayed in India and understandably should have been played around the election schedule in India. For an average Indian, no way cricket is better or more important than the government and elections.  Elections must take priority and rightly so the Indian Government had asked IPL to reschedule the matches around the election schedule so as to avoid clashes.

The greed of IPL organizers (read BCCI) unfortunately prevailed over the common sense and thus all Indians will miss the buzz & excitement IPL that was present last year.

Now, I would not surprised if South Africa becomes India’s host country in next few years !