Wade turns on the Heat!!

A finals that is comparable to the legendary movie itself. Miami Heat came from behind after being down 0-2 in the series to wrap it off in the sixth game and win the finals 4-2.

The Mavericks won the first two games with such ease that many feared that the finals would be over by Game 4 itself. Josh Howard, Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki put up sterling performances that left the Heats frustrated and gasping for breath. The finals then moved from Dallas to Miami and the Heats got their acts together and won the next three at home to go up 3-2 in the finals. Game 3 was not easy but the Heats rallied from behind and erased a 13 point deficit with 6 minutes to go in the fourth quarter to take the game. Game 5 was another nail biter with Wade taking the game into overtime and then taking the game winning shot 1.9 seconds from the final buzzer.

The finals will be remembered for coming of age of Dwayne Wade. It is not easy to overshadow the 7 feet 1 O’Neal, but Wade did that with such ease that he was an easy choice for the NBA Finals MVP. In the crucial Game 3 he scored 42 points and took 13 rebounds. 15 of the 42 points came in the fourth quarter where the Heats erased a 13 point deficit to finally win the game. He again proved his value in Game 5 where he scored 43 points and also a record 21 from 25 free throws including the game winning shot. He averaged 34.7 (third best behind Allan Iverson and West) in the finals and also became one of the five youngest players ever to have scored more than 40 points (he did it twice!!) in the NBA finals.

Also remembered will be the flagrant use of the infamous Hack-a-Shaq by the Mavericks, which resulted in the suspension of Jerry Stackhouse from Game 5. Arnold has a great piece on it (here). Game 5 also left a bad taste in the mouth with Nowitzki kicking the ball in the stands and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban being fined for “acts-of-misconduct”.


The best goal ever!!

A tribute to Maradona on 20 years of his magic!!!

Behold!! The true magician is at work!!


Goal of the WC2006!!

From the best team ever. Argentina!!

Crib Cricket

Review: India vs WI (2nd Test)

For second time in as many test matches India has faced the situation of being “so near, yet so far.”

India did dominate the second test right from the word go and if it had not been for the rain gods the series would now have had been 1-0 instead of 0-0. Even so, I would like to point out a few crucial errors that India made during the course of the match.

First of all, for the umpteenth time now it has been established that Kaif is not a good fielder in close catching positions and yet Dravid would have him field there. He has missed crucial chances there, and that is because of his natural instincts being a cover fielder, which has cost India dearly.

Second, the Indian field placing was pretty tame on the last day considering that India had nothing to lose and there was no way that India could have lost the match. Also defying logic was the placing of fielders at certain positions they are not suited for. Dravid himself was fielding at second slip, a departure from his usual first slip position for no apparent reason. Even Sehwag, a pretty good slip fielder, was missing from the slip cordon. Dravid grassing a catch (imagine Ganguly in the same position) in the closing stages did not help matters either.

Third, and most importantly, India failed to think out of the box. As Prem Panicker suggests (here), India could have replaced Laxman (why is he in the team again??) with Suresh Raina and could have thought of more unconventional field placings. Also Yuvraj could have been made to bowl a couple of his ultra slow ones just as a change. But then such things come with experience, and I sure hope Dravid is learning fast.

The rain, the lbw decisions (first Australia and now here, they do have something against us these damned lbws’) and at times the limited experimentation by Indian think tank have let the Carribeans pull off a Houdini yet again.

As Gaurav Sabnis puts it (here) in the words of the inimitable Crime Master Gogohaath ko aaya, moonh na lagaaya.” Lets hope that the next one would be more like another of his famous quips “Aaya hoon, kuch toh leke jaoonga.”

Cricket News

Foot in Mouth Disease

Mr. Dave Richardson (see post below), ICC's General Manager, has now been diagnosed  to have been suffering from the foot in mouth disease. Renowned experts came to the conclusion after analysing Mr. Richardson's latest effort to justify Mr. Brian Lara's on field behaviour (here).

"Lara is a renowned player, a famed cricketer. He got frustrated (after) the umpire forced the players to make a decision. He did get a little frustrated, snatching the ball from the umpire, but he certainly did not show dissent," he told NDTV.

Also, a symptom was his pathetic attempt to justify the fine imposed on Virender Sehwag.

"The Sehwag incident was unfortunate. ICC wants to cut down on excessive appealing. We want to prevent players, tell them not to put too much pressure on umpires. In Sehwag's incident, it was a case of not appealing. He slipped up (on that account)."

So here you have it. Snatching the ball from the umpire, not dissent. Celebrating for a wicket you claimed = bad behaviour.

Update: Pedro Collins was "reprimanded" for being guilty of guilty of "the practice of celebrating a dismissal before the decision has been given," by Jeff Crowe. Did some one say double standards??