Tour De France

I have tried hating this event because of all the scams and controversies. But I just can’t. I love it.

These men are amongst my favorites (in order):

  1. Andreas Kloden (team pulled out)
  2. Alexander Vinokourov (doped, team pulled out)
  3. Robbie McEwen (finished outside time limit)
  4. Michael Rasmussen (doped, team fired him)

Wow! Now thats some prediction.

The Last of Them West Indians

Brian Charles Lara, played his last international yesterday. A sad day for all cricket lovers, and one hoped for a better departure than a run out despite his flawed leagcy.

Rahul Bhattacharya says:

This comes from Adam Gilchrist in The Australian a couple of seasons ago. “Mistake,” hissed Lara. Next ball Lara lofted to midwicket for six. Gilchrist taunted Lara to take on the two men behind point instead. Lara strung it between them for four. Next ball was straighter, Lara backed away and strung it through again. Best remain silent now, Gilchrist then decided. This was to demonstrate precision of his skill. But I particularly liked “mistake”. ‘You don’t know what I can do?’ was the strut. That is the Lara motif.

His lazy elegance and his ability to dominate anyone on any surface is stuff legends is made of. You just had to see him batting while the rest of the team was demolished by the brilliant Muralitharan in Sri Lanka in 2001. He made it seem so ridiculously easy that it seemed he was batting against a different bowling attack in a different place. Damn, he even cracked a century and a double in the same Test and still lost!!

Fare ye well mate – you will be missed..

World Cup Memories – ‘92

Aparajith writes here about his memories of the 1992 Benson and Hedges Cricket World Cup. Here is what I remember most about that tournament.

  1. Miandad jumping up and down – mimicking Kiran More’s appeal.
  2. Crowe and Greatbatch batting for NZ.
  3. Dipak Patel opening the bowling for NZ.
  4. The ridiculous 21 off 1 ball for SA – it broke so many hearts.
  5. Jonty’s dive to run out Inzamam.
  6. Last, but not the least, an emotional Imran’s (not so great) speech at the presentation where he forgot all his teammates.

What do you remember?

Lord of the Ring: Ali

I am not a great fan of Rediff but this headline today is just brilliant.

It is the birthday of the great Muhammad Ali today. Though many would say the Lennox Lewis was a better fighter, the fact remains that Ali could not fight at the peak of his career due to the ban, and he still is regarded as one of the best boxers of all times if not necessarily the best. Also his uncanny knack to remain in news for reasons other than boxing won him many followers.

I have listed a few from his many famous quips below.

“float like a butterfly and sting like a bee”

“Your hands can’t hit what your eyes can’t see”

“I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong”

and “no Vietcong ever called me nigger.”

Here’s to King Ali.

Suzuka spells doom for Schumi

It was the last F1 race in Suzuka for some time to come. It was definitely the last race of Schumacher here. And everyone was out to see the Red Emperor score a big victory.

It was a race he was supposed to win with ease. And, till the 36th lap today, nothing happened to the contrary. Schumacher qualified second on the grid, just behind teammate Massa and 3 places ahead of fifth placed Alonso. He passed Massa on the third lap and after that remained comfortably at the top of the group.

Alonso, however, drove with a lot of passion and quickly overtook Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher to come up to the third place and drove like there was no tomorrow. At no point of time did he let the two Ferraris out of his sight. He overtook Massa after the first round of pit stops and drove great laps in and out of the pits to exit just ahead of Massa. The difference in their stops being a mere 0.3 seconds.

Michael was the last of the top 3 to pit and that erased all doubts of a lightly fueled Ferrari for qualifying and the rumors about the tyres not being suited well enough for the circuit. He drove in his usual calm and composed manner, and looked all set to win. Disaster struck, however, on the second Degner Curve on the 37th lap and fumes came out of the red machine. The circuit looked on in stunned disbelief as the Ferrari of Schumacher retired for the first time since Spain 2005 without a crash. Schumacher, however, got out his car calmly, waved at the crowds and shook hands with all he passed, to show that he was the true Champion.

Alonso then drove a very calm race to take his Renault home, for a first victory since June. Massa came in second and Fisichella third. Button and Raikkonen completed the top 5.

Only a miracle can now see Schumacher win the championship. What is needed is a victory in Sao Paulo and Alonso finishing out of points. Will that happen? Well, with the fortunes changing as it has this season, I would definitely not bet against it but I agree that it is only a slim chance.

On another note, I have always been a critic of Alonso, not because of his driving skills, but because he does not have enough grace. That came to light again last week when a frustrated Alonso blamed his own crew and mate Fisichella of letting him down in the last race at Shanghai and even said that there were people in the Renault pits that did not want him to win. I hope Alonso has watched how Schumacher behaved after his blown engine in this race and has picked up a tip or two.