Critics Corner.

Opinions. And LOTS of them.

A Reminder!

Posted by Sports Snob on April 30, 2009

Just a reminder to any readers coming across this site, that we have now moved to www.sportsnob.net

The new site has been running for over two years now, and has gained a strong following of avid sports fans. Our excellent team of contributors cover all major sports and porting events, and even some minor ones! We are currently working overtime to bring you the climax of the domestic soccer seasons and the ongoing IPL cricket season. Once these are out of the way, we are looking forward to a great summer of sport, and especially the ashes cricket, which pits England against Australia in a 5 test series.

We look forward to seeing you over at the now not-so-new site, an to reading your comments and feedback.

Posted in General | 3 Comments »

WE HAVE MOVED

Posted by Sports Snob on February 23, 2007

Head over to www.sportsnob.net

Posted in General | 4 Comments »

The best player never to play the World Cup

Posted by Sports Snob on February 13, 2007

A very very special player, one who has at most times dominated the best team in the World, one who engineered arguably the biggest turn around in the history of the sport and in one fell swoop stopped a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut, one who despite all this and much more has never been sure of his place in the team, but has delivered consistently will never play a World Cup.A travesty, something that does happen often in football, whose World Cup hasn’t seen the likes of a di Stefano or a Best or a Giggs display their wares. But it is rare that something similar is happening in cricket. The only other guy who comes even close is Justin Langer, but it can be explained by the fact that the Aussies have always had a comparative abundance of talent during his time.

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Look at the players who have represented India at World Cups, lesser talents like Sadagopan Ramesh, Dinesh Mongia, Aashish Kapoor, Parthiv Patel, Chandrakant Pandit, Salil Ankola have been part of World Cup squads but never him. Ofcourse this year was not his best chance, it was the 2003 edition.

He was cruelly dropped after a dismal New Zealand tour, where everyone except Sehwag failed and he ended up with better averages than Kaif, Dada and Mongia. But in his place played Mongia, who apart from a six off Murali, just free-rode throughout the tournament.

Post the World Cup saw him in his best form, saving a test match against the Kiwis at home before unfolding in totally majestic glory down under. The Aussies had no answer for him. They won a test only when he failed. The ODIs saw even more majesty, three centuries in a week.

Now that the Indian team has been announced, all I hope for is a good performances from our boys. At the same time, an encore of his 2003-04 performances in the tours to England and Australia that are lined up would be even sweeter. VVS Laxman its upto you now to prove the selectors wrong.

Kesavan.

Posted in Cricket | 8 Comments »

Indian Squad for World Cup announced

Posted by Sports Snob on February 13, 2007

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Well, here are the 15 men who are going to be boarding that plane to lovely West Indies for the 2007 Cricket World Cup.

1 Rahul Dravid (capt), 2 Sourav Ganguly, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Sachin Tendulkar, 5 Virender Sehwag, 6 Yuvraj Singh, 7 Mahendra Singh Dhoni, 8 Dinesh Karthik, 9 Irfan Pathan, 10 Ajit Agarkar, 11 Harbhajan Singh, 12 Anil Kumble, 13 Zaheer Khan, 14 Sreesanth, 15 Munaf Patel.

I don’t think the selectors had too much of a choice really. There might have been a case for an additional middle-order batsman (Laxman, Raina or Kaif) in place of either Uthappa or Karthik but the fact is that each of those three had something going against them.

Laxman is a big liability on the field, Raina has not grabbed the opportunities given to him and Kaif has not not really given too many reasons for the management to continue sticking with him. I still feel that Laxman should have been on that plane to the World Cup (what happens when Ganguly or Dravid or Tendulkar gets injured? and Yuvraj hasn’t fully recovered anyway) but he will end his career without having played in a single world cup.

Powar has to be very unlucky to miss out, I don’t see the need for 5 pace bowlers considering the pitches you have in West Indies but again Powar didn’t have a spectacular case for his selection. He was always going to be back up for Kumble and Harbhajan anyway.

The big questions remain:

1) Who is going to open the innings with Saurav Ganguly? Tendulkar or Uthuppa or even Sehwag?

2) Will Pathan recover form and confidence to warrant a place in the starting XI?

It’s going to be interesting to see if the Indian management gives away any indications regarding the final XI over the next two one day internationals in Margao and Visakhapatnam.

Posted in General | Leave a Comment »

Vote for us!

Posted by Sports Snob on February 13, 2007

Vote for me!

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Sri Lankan series: An unnecessary outing

Posted by Sports Snob on February 4, 2007

The upcoming Sri Lankan series is another example of bad planning by the BCCI. A series so close to the world cup with matches on featherbeds, under lights is a reflection of the mercenary attitude of the board. All they care for is finding a slot and throwing in whatever matches they can.

This series could prove to be extremely costly if any of our major players gets injured. And this, for the sake of some more money in the BCCI coffers. Even if they felt the series was essential, what is the point of holding matches under lights – no match during the world cup will be played under lights and on batting paradises- the Windies wickets are generally more slow and low with a bit of spin these days.

The argument that it gives us a chance to test out players like Sehwag and Munaf Patel under match conditions is unacceptable. The lack of form and injuries were unexpected and the schedule was drawn up a long time back. It will prove to be a blessing for Sehwag though. He has had a break from cricket though not long enough out of the team in my opinion.  But it has given him time to reflect on his game and hopefully some of the reflection will translate into reults on the field. But on the whole, I think it is a badly times series and the hope is some players will find form and no one will get injured.

Watch out for a sportsnob World cup squad…. hopefully!

- Prof  

Posted in Cricket, Indian Cricket | 1 Comment »

Crisis Liga

Posted by Sports Snob on February 1, 2007

Not so Fabio Capello

What’s the deal with La Liga? Its not uncommon to have teams do badly at some stage of the season, but to have the top four play the most inconsistent football is something new. Barcelona on any other year wouldn’t have had the luxury of a lead. Their football has been devoid of the usual flair and most of their wins have been by the odd goal. More a demonstration of workmanship than skill. But to their advantage the rest of the league has been equally bad. At the moment, Real cant buy a win and have internal strife to boot. The only news emanating from the Bernabeu has been either about Fat Ron or Beckham’s Millions. Fabio Capello seems to have lost the plot and his football gives new meaning to the word Siesta .

Valencia, who until this week were the ‘form’ team lost away to Betis and fell further back from the leaders. But they look the most composed among the teams in the top half of La liga.

Juande Ramos

Sevilla, this season’s revelation finally put an end to a disappointing start to 2007 with a win against Levante. They seem to have a lot of momentum but will their bubble burst? Juande Ramos has been a contender for the coach of the year. To take a selling club like Seville to the top of the totem pole takes some doing. They have not made heavy weather of their high profile departures- Ramos, Baptista and Reyes to name a few and have dismantled some big clubs in the league with some fantastic football.

All this means that even Atletico Madrid have a good chance of sneaking in and winning the league come this June. All depends on how the clubs play in what will be the Business end of the season!

V

Posted in Football, Spanish Football | 4 Comments »

Women’s Singles Finals, Australian Open 2007

Posted by Sports Snob on January 27, 2007

How things change! It was about 30 months ago that we saw an extremely pretty Russian girl play on the hallowed center court at Wimbledon against the Serena. Nobody gave her any chance of beating Serena but in a display of absolutely confident tennis, Serena was stunned and a star was born. 30 months hence, women’s tennis has seen major changes: Davenport is gone, Clijsters about to go, Henin spends more time injured, Mauresmo actually won a grandslam (!), Sharapova has shown us she is no Kournikova and the Williams sisters are more interested in fashion than tennis.

Deja vu

The showdown will be repeated a few minutes from when I write this post. Serena, overweight and in bad shape has scraped and scratched her way into the finals and Sharapova has been scorching on court at times.

I had written about Serena here: “…Nobody, ever, can wake up one fine day, come out on court and expect to win.” I think Serena has the capability to prove me wrong, I guess by getting as far as she has, she already has proved her point. She is far too good for me to write her off but I don’t expect her to do a Sharapova. Will Serena make me eat my words again?

Go Maria. Let’s watch some good tennis.

Talking of good tennis, what did you guys think of the men’s semi-finals. Federer demolishing Roddick and Gonzalez repeating that against Haas. Would it be too much to expect that both of them will turn in those kind of performances come Sunday?

- Prof

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Posted in Australian Open, Tennis | 6 Comments »

Platini wins Uefa Crown!

Posted by Sports Snob on January 26, 2007

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In a sensational vote, Former France Captain Michel Platini was elected the new President of UEFA, a post widely seen as the most powerful in Europe. Platini won a secret ballot against Lennart Johansson of Sweden among the 52 member federations at the UEFA Congress with a 27-23 majority, with two votes being invalid.

This could have major ramifications across Europe since Platini had advocated to limit each Country’s participation in the lucrative Champions League to 3 teams. His controversial slogan during the campaign was ‘giving football back to the footballers’ . Besides this, some of his other radical plans were to Expand the European Championship from 16 to 24 finalists and that clubs should field at least six players qualified to play for the country they’re based in[Arsenal fans are pissing in their pants].

Lennart Johansson, the former incumbent, had agreed to increase the participation in the European Championship- A last ditch attempt to placate the smaller nations like San Marino and Lithuania who have as many votes as Spain in an election. It didn’t save his job but it was indicative of the way the smaller nations felt about the direction of the current administration. The proposal to mandate home based players could affect the way moneybags such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Real play the game. At the moment, Arsenal would find it hard to field a single English player.

Platini may have taken Robin Hood route to victory- take from the rich and give to the poor but are his policies feasible? As a fan, I would hate it. To have just three from the top leagues means that atleast 3 very good teams will miss out on the competition, and that could be an Arsenal or a Barcelona. Platini’s claim is that wealth distribution would level the playing field. Yes, it would but would you want it at the expense of 4/5 years of mediocrity?

Its fascinating to see whether this would goad the European top cartel, read the G-14, to breakaway and form their own format and spell the end for various Leagues in Europe. It would centralise the money and the power in the game but also impoverish your neighborhood football team, who have just made it to the English Third Division. That is precisely the situation that Platini wants to avoid but may unknowingly trigger with his pro-poor policies.

The self proclaimed Bull in a china shop may be getting a dose of reality in a few days when the powerbrokers in Europe come calling. It will be interesting to see if he answers their call!

Posted in Champions League, Football, Sports Television | 1 Comment »

Ranji Trophy Semifinals, Cricket ignored

Posted by Sports Snob on January 23, 2007

“It’s Indian cricket that is a religion in India.”
-Sanjay Manjrekar

So very true. While almost the whole of the country has been rejoicing in the aftermath of Dada’s comeback, a group of 44 people took the field today in an attempt to reach the finals of the Ranji Trophy. The Ranji semis started today but the people who matter, the selectors and the team management, just seem to have ignored it. Instead the focus is the pat on the back that Chappell got.

Nothing else proves the ad-hoc-ness of the BCCI in general and the selectors in particular than the selection of Robin Uthappa for the ODI series. He did have a great Ranji season and was rewarded with a place in the squad for the Windies. But instead of warming the bench in Cuttack, it would have been better for him to have had some practice against the likes of the formidable Randeb Bose in the Ranji semi. No, but the powers that be just turn a blind eye to the Ranji.

Instead of wasting time on belters of pitches very different from the ones at the World Cup, it would have been better practice for the likes of Dada and Dravid to be playing on the green top at the Eden Gardens, and it might have also ensured some crowds at the matches. And at the same time it would have given chances for some lesser knowns to stake a claim for the WC team. Dada, Sachin, Dravid, Kumble and Zaheer Khan are certainties in the WC team, so make them play the Ranji while let a second string Indian team take the field against the Windies.

How else will a Sehwag get his form back? Just practice in the nets is not enough as has been shown in the past. Match practice is needed and with Delhi out of the Ranji, there is no other proper way to get his form back than play in the ODIs.

The Ranji semis started today with Karnataka playing Bengal at the Eden Gardens and Baroda meeting Mumbai in Baroda. Without Uthappa at the top of the order and Ranadeb Bose on the other end and a green top (must be as Karnataka are also playing 4 medium pacers), the team I am supporting, Karnataka have collapsed big time, losing 7 wickets by lunch. So now I will be supporting Baroda to win the Ranji Trophy. Baroda have started better in their match, with the good news for Indian fans being that Irfan Pathan got Wasim Jaffer.

Thanks to cricinfo for covering these matches live. One of these matches should be coming on Neo Sports also, the highlights come sometime around 10 pm.

Kesavan Mukunthan

Posted in Cricket, Indian Cricket | 3 Comments »

 
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