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Monday, November 14, 2011

Test at Eden Gardens – waiting for 100th ton of Sachin and crowd behaviour !!

A few years ago, he authored ‘Sometimes I forgot to Laugh’  !!  - sadly true today.
The Second Test match between India and West Indies start at Eden Gardens, Kolkatta (the land of Sourav Chandidas Ganguly)  today.  – the very same venue where way back in 2001, VVS Laxman scored that magical 281 to stamp out the greatest come-from-behind victory of the modern era..  a Test that was won by a Team that was forced to follow-0n !

Eden  Gardens was established in 1864 and presently has capacity to hold 90000 people – it is another matter that ticket sales were reported to be down.  There were at point of times, that it had more than a lakh of people witnessing the matches, but unfortunately, in India the number count is never an exactitude.  This is a ground known for its large numbers and vociferous crowds.  It has hosted 35 test matches thus far.   By some accounts, the ground has been named after the sister of  Governor General Auckland.  The 1st Earl of Auckland himself was George Eden (1784-1849) and served as Governor General of India between 1836 and 1842.
The lush green grass has given some great results including the famous defeat of Clive Lloyds Team in 1974-75 (with GR Vishwanath’s enthralling century) – the pitch did some damage in the recent T20 against England.  India are likely to retain the XI from Kotla.  For WI,  Adrian Barath should replace Kieran Powell as the opener.
Of late there has been some anxiety in Sachin achieving another milestone – a Hundred 100s……..   and some absurd talk of it being a long wait.. with so many runs, every time Sachin comes to bat there is expectation of a World Record and another milestone.    Only a few years back, we waited for his 35th to surpass Gavaskar – now he has gone way ahead and is over 50 in Test Cricket.  Last time he made 76 in the 4th innings, India won – still there were lamentations that he could not complete his 100th century !!
In the last innings, he completed 15000 runs in Test Cricket (now he has 15048 runs in 300 innings / 182 Tests) - + 18111 runs in 453 ODI matches (442 innings).  He has scored 51 Test hundreds and 48 One day hundreds (62/95 fifties respectively).  Of the 51 : 11 have come against Australia, 5 against Bangladesh, 7 against England, 4 against Newzealand, 2 against Pakistan, 7 against South Africa, 9 against Sri Lanka and 3 each against West Indies and Zimbabwe.
His last century in Tests came at Capetown on 2nd Jan 2011 against South Africa in Test no. 1988 and he has played another 5 tests after…. (4 at England and the one at Kotla).  His last ODI century came in the WC against South Africa at Nagpur on 12/3/2011 and he has played another 4 one dayers after that…… where is the Q of long wait for that evasive 100th ton ?????  - will that occur at Eden Gardens remains to be seen !
The misdeeds of Pakistanis (Butt, Aamir and Asif) have cast slur on the Cricketing world in so much as the tumbling of 23 wickets at South Africa and then SA winning with ease was also viewed with some suspicion – the death of the good journalist Peter Roebuck adds to the embroilment. ‘sometimes I forgot to laugh’ is one of the books authored by  Peter Michael Roebuck widely credited with the uprising of Somerset ended his life on Nov.12, 2011. he did play 335 first class matches but would be remembered more for his administrative role with the country club and for his writing.    In 1976, he was reportedly badly hurt on the cricket field ducking to a vicious Andy Robert’s bouncer.  A man known for his staunch support of English team, Roebuck controversially was instrumental in the Somerset’s decision of not renewing the contracts of two overseas players – the king Viv Richards and Big Bird Joel Garner in 1986.
The cricketer turned commentator leapt to his death from a hotel window as police questioned him about sexual assault allegations.  He plunged  six floors in the apparent suicide in Cape Town, where he had been commentating on a Test match. According to  reports,  he became agitated when a detective and a uniformed officer from the South African police sexual crimes unit arrived to interview him at the Southern Sun hotel in the suburb of Claremont.
Coming back Kolkatta is known for its crowds and sometimes the behaviour of the spectators has been derided.  In 1999 – the  Asian Test Championship game between India and Pakistan in Kolkata ended in a 46-run win which was completed in front of a vacant stadium.  On the previous day, Sachin Tendulkar  was given run out for 9 in the 2nd innings with India chasing 279 to win. Tendulkar crashed into Shoaib Akhtar while trying to take a third run and was given run out after a direct throw. Wasim Akram refused to withdraw his appeal lashing out at the Indian media instead. He said "You have said that Shoaib obstructed Sachin from making his ground and I should have re-invited him to bat. Why should I do that? If a team fails for only one man, that is our bonus."  - immediately after the run out verdict there were riots, and  next morning when Indians were on the brink of defeat at 231/9 there was unrest in the stands.  Police and security forces removed all the spectators and the formality of Pak win was completed.   Pak were 26 for six in 9 overs on day 1.  The trouble was unpleasantly reminiscent of the riot which ended India's World Cup semi-final at Calcutta in March 1996 when  Sri Lankans  were awarded the game by default.
While the behaviour of Kolkatta Cricket fans was angrily criticized by Western cricket, recall the  furore  at England  in Aug 2011 - it was the last ball of the 65th over,  Ishant was bowling faster – Morgan flicked the delivery to deep square – Praveenkumar made an ungainly attempt at saving the ball – he did succeed in preventing it from touching the rope.  The batsmen assumed it was four – still hesitantly Bell attempted another run – Morgan was not interested.  Throw homed in, found Bell yards away – Abhinav Mukund collected the throw, off came the bails – Indians went on appeal and the Umpires gave Bell out. There were replays and the board flashed Bell out.  The famous English crowd which repeatedly had been hailed by their own press as knowledgeable but always displays partisan attitude jeered at the Indians.  We have been told all along that the decision of the Umpire is to be accepted !!  Bell went to the fourth Umpire Tim Robinson stating that he had heard the Umpires calling ‘over’.   There are also reports that Strauss and Flower went to Indian dressing room at tea asking Dhoni whether he would withdraw his appeal.  Eoin Morgan played a shot just before the tea. He and his batting partner Ian Bell ran across while the ball travelled toward the boundary. The throw came back in from Praveen Kumar and while the batsmen assumed it was a break for tea, the bails were knocked off and the Indian fielders went up in appeal as Bell was outside the crease.
The matter was referred to the third umpire and he declared Bell out as the umpires had not officially called for tea. But then MS Dhoni withdrew the successful appeal against Bell, who got to walk back after tea to play again, and the booing crowd gave the Indian team a standing ovation. The England team clapped for Dhoni and his boys from the dressing room.
With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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