The next innings for Women’s cricket

This Sunday was a rollercoaster of emotions for Indians. Their women’s cricket team was playing a world cup final, that too at the mecca of cricket. The parallels with the 1983 final at Lord’s was a given. The unpredictable British weather added to the tension of a match that was on knife’s edge for the most part Continue reading “The next innings for Women’s cricket”

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M S Dhoni- Man, Myth or Legend?

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I must begin with a confession that over the past few years I have grown apart from the game of cricket, which once was my favourite sport. Also I am or rather I was never a fan of the M S Dhoni phenomenon. Last night these two things changed.

The match last night between India and Bangladesh was a humdinger. The match was there for the taking for both sides. A team was not going to take the match by the scruff of its neck and win it, but rather a team was going to throw it away. And that’s precisely what happened. The match was a nail-biter and for Indian fans that eerie feeling of an untimely exit was looming large. This game of cricket was pulsating like a game of football and the last over antics were the equivalent of a stoppage time match-winning goal.

Now, to the M S Dhoni phenomenon. Yes Bangladeshi batsmen had a brain freeze and every kid with reasonable rationality knows that when you require 2 runs from 3 balls, all you need to do is nudge it around and get over the line. But instead they went for the spectacular and found Indian fielders with impeccable precision, in the course losing a match that was in the palm of their hands. But the Dhoni factor amidst all this cannot be discounted. Be it the down the leg side stumping or the last ball run-out Dhoni had a lot of say in the matter. At every juncture of the game till the last 3 balls of the match, Bangladesh had the upper hand. Kohli was fuming, Rohit Sharma was clueless, Bumrah was distraught and Nehra was at his talkative best. But Dhoni was unfazed. Even when the match seemed a lost cause, he was calm as if he had read the script.

dhoni1Dhoni was not particularly adventurous with the fieldplacing or bowling changes last night. He introduced his trusted lieutenants Ashwin and Jadeja whenever the match seemed to go out of his grasp and they repaid the faith with timely wickets. Then came the last over. The first half of the over went Bangladesh’s way. The second half was all India. Two inexplicable shots and Bangladesh was found wanting. 2 runs needed from the last ball. The most probable outcome in that scenario would be Bangladesh nudging a single and forcing a super-over, or may be getting a two with some impressive running and winning the match. But Dhoni was not in the mood to lose this match, or for that matter even let it go into a super-over. He took one glove off; the commentators said it was for ease of throwing. But Dhoni had other things in mind. He was getting ready for a sprint, the sprint of his life (It’s no secret that everybody would have gone for Dhoni’s blood if we lost yesterday.  A loss against Bangladesh will always have some casualties, remember the 2007 world cup?).

Dhoni had everything sorted out. He had to run 15 yards; the non-striker had 22 yards to cover in case he ran for a bye. It was a straight shoot-out and Dhoni was sure that in that scenario there was no way he was going to be second-best. The batsman missed the ball, ran for a bye and got run-out by Dhoni. India wins. The legend or shall I say myth of Dhoni adds a new chapter.

As Lt James Gordon says in ‘The Dark Knight’ ‘So we will hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he is not our hero’, But last night Dhoni was our hero.

Kiran Gandhi

Is it Game Over for Maria Sharapova?

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The tennis world which was slowly recuperating from the match-fixing allegations got another shocker on Monday when Maria Sharapova revealed in a press conference that she had failed a doping test. It was ironic that the world’s highest paid female athlete had to reveal it on International Women’s day. She admitted to taking meldonium since 2006. The substance was added to the list of banned substances by WADA(World Anti-Doping Agency) this January.

According to Sharapova she had been taking the medicine on the advice of her doctor for irregular EKG and magnesium deficiency. She had thanked her fans for the support they showed after her revelation via a facebook post. “In this moment, I am so proud to call you my fans. Within hours of my announcement, you showed me support and loyalty, which I could only expect to hear when someone would be at the top of their profession. I wanted to let you know that your wonderful words put a smile on my face.”, she said in her thank you note.

Meanwhile there have been outcry from many quarters calling to make an example of Sharapova. She had been banned provisionally from March 12 “pending determination of the case”. Fellow tennis professionals have since lauded her courage to come out and admit the mistake but was unanimous in saying that she should have been more careful. Her team is equally responsible for the ordeal, they say. As the ever continuing doping saga grabs its biggest scalp from tennis so far, it is going to be a tough road ahead for the 5-time grand slam champion.

Kiran Gandhi