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Monday, February 27, 2012

Dhoni's cup of woes is complete; Sandeep takes India to London Olympics

Strange are the ways of the World – till a few months ago, he was Captain cool, a phenomenal strategist, man whose moves could never go wrong.  He captained India to its second triumph in Cricket One Day World Cup in April 2011.   People were searching for synonyms to accolades and it was revealed that the Man who had victories in Cricket WC – ODI; T20 WC in 2007; Indian Premier League and Champions League could do nothing wrong………… but the wheels of fortune have changed.  After a disastrous tour  in England where we lost all the matches, came the Australia tour – where again we lost all the Tests and have been doing poorly in the Tri Series involving the hosts and Sri Lanka

When the going is tough, there also comes in its stride situations adding to the disadvantages – some man made !  Whatever little chances Team India appeared to have had, vanished in thin air due to the stand of the Umpires – contradicting and both going against India

Law 33 is ‘Handling the Ball’ – Australians who contrive to exploit every situation know this rule too well.  This Law provides that  "Either batsman is out Handled the ball if he wilfully touches the ball while in play with a hand or hands not holding the bat unless he does so with the consent of the opposing side."  A batsman is not out 'handled the ball' if: (i) He handles the ball in order to avoid injury; OR (ii) He uses his hand or hands to return the ball to any member of the fielding side with the consent of that side.

At Perth in 1979, Pakistani batsman Sikander Bakht had been Mankaded by Alan Hurst earlier in the same day to end the Pakistan second innings. Whilst at the non-striker's end, Andrew Hilditch interrupted a throw from mid-on and passed the ball to the bowler Sarfraz Nawaz, who appealed.  He was given Out and as usual Aussie Press lambasted Pak for violating the spirits of the game conveniently ignoring their own act.   It  thus far remains the only handled the ball dismissal to occur at the non-striker's end.

Yesterday, . David Hussey was ruled not-out in an appeal for handling the ball under Law 33 as it was deemed he stuck his hand out to avoid an injury. Sachin Tendulkar was trying to complete a tight run when he found the bowler Brett Lee in the way near the striker's end. In going around Lee, he lost on valuable time and was caught short by a direct hit, but was given out without even consultation.  Dhoni felt that Hussey's hand was stuck out far enough in front of his body to make self-preservation a dubious argument.

As it would happen, Dhoni had to receive a different yardsticks too.  He quoted the incident at  Brisbane on Feb 19, 2012 when Umpire warned Vinay kumar for running up to midwicket for backing up a throw from point.   Today Dhoni clearly felt that Billy Bowden should not have interfered with Simon Taufel, who anyway would not have had any hesitation in handing a rude decision. 

India played poorly is another thing but these decisions defied logic and get interpreted differently for different players / different countries. MS Dhoni  tried to laugh at the reports of a rift and one only hopes that whatever is being seen or heard is unreal !!!!!!!!

At Delhi, in the road to Olympics, Indian women team’s hopes of qualifying for the London Olympics went up in smoke after suffering a crushing 1-3 defeat against top-ranked South Africa in the finals of hockey Olympic qualifiers on 25th Feb 2012.  World number 12 South Africa scored through Shelley Russell (4th minute), Pietie Coetzee (30th) and skipper Marsha Marescia (57th) to qualify for the London Olympics.
They remained unbeaten in the tournament and had defeated India 5-2 in the league stage.   India earned their first penalty corner in the 10th minute but Sushila Chanu failed to stop the ball cleanly to squander the opportunity.  India  could score only  a consolation goal in the 56th minute with Jaspreet Kaur converting a short corner with a powerful sweep. The Indians tried to create pressure on South Africa but they failed to penetrate the rival defence. India thus had to settle for the silver to continue their 32-year-old jinx of not qualifying for the Olympics.  Indian women had played in the Olympics in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, the year the game was introduced, on an invitational basis.

In the men’s section,  mercurial Sandeep’s Singh’s five goals propelled India to an impressive 8-1 win over France in the final of the Olympic Qualifiers in Delhi and helped his team qualify for London 2012 as well. The first half was a closely fought affair, with India banging in the first two goals only to see France come back with a brilliant field goal. But then India got another one to go into half-time at 3-1.  Sandeep was unstoppable scoring  in the 19th, 26th, 37th, 49th and 51st minutes.  The other scorers for India were Birender Lakra, who opened the scoring in the 17th minute, Sunil made it 5-1 in the 43rd and VR Raghunath, with a powerful drag flick, made it 8-1 in the 56th.  The lone goal scorer for France was Simon Martin, who scored in the 24th minute completely against the run of play.

So will it be ‘Happy Days are back again’ and would India repeat the feat of 1980 Moscow Olympics under Vasudevan Bhaskaran – is what all of us hope for !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.


  1. Sandeep is great but let us not euologise mortals and pelt them when they lose. All gthe best to the Indian Team - Suri

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