I have done B.Tech from IIT Kharagpur and am currently employed as a Team Leader in a software firm. Cricket has molded my way of thinking. You would find me giving analogies with cricketing situations to explain almost any problem, even at workplace. I am the kind of person who is always playing shots with whatever he has in his hands, be it a pen, broom or a snake. Until the 1991 world cup, my parents used to be concerned whether I would ever be able to wake up and see the Sun rise. Their fears were laid to rest when their sleeps were disturbed regularly at 3AM with cheers of fours and sixes. The only worthwhile thing my left hand can do is to bowl spin with Tennis-ball. It’s been observed that my happiness-index is ten percent higher whenever there is a cricket series in progress. Besides gorging on the display of skills, I enjoy munching on the statistics, graphs and analysis that follow a cricket match. My blog http://brownphantom.blogspot.com has more than 70 registered users. The content is comprised of short stories, observations and analysis.
I am the most fanatic RCB fan because...
I believe that being a fan needs a combination of emotional as well as intellectual reasons. RCB gives me enough of both of them. I live in Bangalore and simply adore Rahul’s batting style. His temperament is also visible in the formation of RCB team. It is a complete cricketing team, doesn’t matter whether the game is a Test-match, an ODI or a T20. There’s a class in the team which more than justifies the name and the slogan ‘Game for Life’. The way RCB fought back in IPL 2009, once the brilliant wizard Kumble took over, would remain a tale to be told. It was heartening to see each man standing up to the challenges. Having watched all of RCB’s matches, I am confident that the rise would continue further because the team has enormous potential and stamina to keep marching ahead. Besides, I also have loyalties towards a certain Miss KK and simply don’t have the heart to see her sad if, God forbid, RCB looses. Something tells me that there would be smiles all around instead.
Strategy Map for RCB - Airtel Champions League
My preferred line up :
Manish Pandey, Jacques Kallis, Jesse Ryder, Rahul Dravid, Ross Taylor, Robin Uthappa, Mark Boucher(wk), Praveen Kumar, Roelof VD Merwe, Anil Kumble (c), Dale Steyn, Virat Kohli. UPDATE on 27.09.2009 : Unfortunaely, Ryder is ruled out of the ongoing Champions trophy after sustaining a groin injury. He scored a mouth-watering 74 of 50 balls against the Sri-lankans today. Hopefully he recovers on time to play for RCB. Balachandra Akhil should be a very apt replacement if Ryder couldn't turn up. Praying for his speedy recovery.
why do I prefer this line up :
This team is well balanced and extremely dependable. All players, except Manish, have international experience. Though it can be debated whether RCB has the best batting line up in the tournament, even the harshest critic of the team can’t deny that this is the best bowling unit by a decent margin. The presence of good all-rounders gives RCB solidity and flexibility. In Kumble we have the best spinner of the tournament by many miles. Steyn and Kallis bowl for the number one international team. Praveen and Ryder are as ruthless as they come and then we have Merwe, a genuine left-arm spinner, who is difficult to score against. In all we have 6 bowlers to bowl the 20 overs. This team bats deep down till number ten which means the opposition can’t breathe easy until the game is over. Dravid, the great, can shift gears in no time. We have attacking batsmen in Manish, Boucher, Ryder and Uthappa. Kallis and Taylor know how to steady the innings. RCB should open with Manish and let him play his shots. Dravid can accompany him if we are batting second, else Kallis should be the choice so that Kallis gets longer break between bowling and batting. Then, depending on whose wicket is lost, we can send in an aggressive or a steady replacement. The idea is to maintain the balance between attack and pacing of the innings. Boucher is such a gift as a wicket keeper who can finish the game off with the willow. Robin has been showing decent form lately in domestic tournaments which is an omnious sign for the oppositions.
My opening match strategy:
Objectively speaking, RCB is the strongest team in Group C, followed by Cape Cobras. The Otago Volts are the underdogs. If one goes by expectations, RCB & Cape Cobras should be the teams qualifying for League stage. Hence the opening match is even more important as this win could count in the League stage as well. Given the strength of spinners on RCB’s side, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to dump the memories of the first match in IPL 2008 and go in for fielding first if we win the toss, especially since it would be October which foretells heavier dew. We won many matches while chasing in the second half of IPL 2009 when RCB fought back from bottom half to the semi-final berth. Another reason I would prefer batting second is that unlike RCB, Cobras have match-winners only in their batsmen and not bowlers. Bowling is clearly their weak link. We must believe, rather know, that we are a better team and all that is needed is to play our natural game against the Cobras to come out trumps. The weaker team would be forced to take the risks and we must remain consistent and unfazed when they do so. With such strong bowling line-up we can give a tough fight even at 140 if we have to bat first. It would be foolish to plan for a risky 220 if we can get to a confident 175. Play safe till first 12 overs to ensure a minimum comfortable score and then go berserk towards the end. Seeing off Langeveldt, if he is fiery that day, to target the lesser known bowlers could be a good strategy. There should be plenty of opportunities to score against some of the inexperienced (on sub-continent pitches) bowlers. Patience would be very rewarding for our batsmen. While bowling, Kumble would utilize the luxury to shuffle the bowling with two quality spinners and three well established fast bowlers in Kallis, Steyn and Praveen. Ryder can chip-in if needed. The key is to know that we have the bowling to come back from a couple of bad overs and that the Cobras' tail is not venomous enough to cause mortal damage. Gibbs is a temperamental player who doesn’t like being tied down. Kumble can bring himself earlier on to choke him and enforce error. Smith tends to play loosely outside off and tries to work the bowl to leg. It is worth trying to tempt him by removing the cover and mid-on to get him caught in slip. There would be many such tactics for each man-to man battle and if we could execute a fair amount of them, then victory should be safely ours. Security is expected to be too tight to let a dog in to unsettle the batsmen, but I strongly believe that we still have time to train a parrot which could be let out to fly and give a piece of his mind to Gibbs in case he bats on for long.
My best T20 match:
In terms of anticipation, the experience and the aftermath, no T20 match beats the final between India & Pakistan. It wasn’t just a three hour affair. Glorifying the dream match and the passion is like restating the obvious. The ups and downs, the high stakes and the drama are simply unforgettable. With a sturdy 75 from Gambhir, India managed 157, which was a low score as per the WC 2007 standards. Then Misbah pulled Pakistan out of the rut, only to falter at the last moment. My office had arranged for free booze, excellent food and a cool DJ for the night. We danced and jumped at each Pakistani wicket and the party continued well past the midnight once Misbah erred into Sreesanth’s hands at short fine leg. I was not walking properly for the next three days but wouldn't mind the deal if offered again.