Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sport Documentaries, Selection of

Movies with a sports backdrop just provoke me from the inside. I have this problem that I easily doze off if I start a movie after 2237 Hours. Not surprisingly, this doesn't seem to apply to the sports genre, I am glued, I am moved, I go through an emotional roller-coaster. Something about them to which I can relate to at a very deep level I guess. There is always something you can take away from them. True stories are so much easier to learn from. Enough chit-chat, getting to the point - I completed quite a few such movies over the year, here I pen my key thoughts about the ones that stand out.

In order of when I watched them:

1. Pawn Sacrifice (Bobby Fischer, Chess)

The movie revolves around the famous game between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky during the Cold War. The match was for the World Chess Championship. The movie clearly tries to tell you that the Soviets had a big hold on the World Chess. Bobby Fischer was supposed to the outside challenge who would try to upset this monopoly. The whole movie has a disturbed tone because of Fischer played superbly by Tobey Maguire, is shown as a top-quality player who is also delusional. He trusts no one, curses the Jews, put absurd conditions for the matches to go through, even demands the television be removed from his room because he thinks the Russians are spying. As much as the journey is about Fischer winning the World Championship it is about Fischer's emotional decline and paranoia.

Real vs. Reel

Learning: The law of averages dictates that if there will always be something that will pull you down, in this case, Fischer's own paranoia results in him getting pulled away from the game he was so skilled at.

Quote UnQuote: "I'm not playing until all my conditions are met. I want at least five feet between me and the audience. It's like I can hear their thoughts.", Bobby Fischer

2. Eddie the Eagle (Eddie Edwards, Olympic ski jumping)

The movie is essentially about the Olympic Spirit and about this random looking jump made in the 1988 Winter Olympics held in Calgary. The movie is full of cliches, but the rawness and the admiration you would develop for Eddie through the movie will overpower them. Eddie is a bespeckled boy whose only dream is to be an Olympian. He first tries all the Summer Olympics events and fails, his father tells him he will never be an athlete. He then finds out that Great Britain had no entry for the ski jump event in the Winter Olympics. From then, the movie is about Eddie making the jump and flying like an eagle. In the end, he comes last in his event and makes a possible fool of his country at the highest level. The key takeaway is that Eddie's never-say-die approach. It is an inspirational story.

Real vs. Reel

Learning: The true spirit of Olympics was envisioned as players getting together and competing for the love of the game. Eddie stands true to this spirit.

Quote UnQuote: "For as long as I can remember it has been my ambition to become an Olympian. I just needed to find the right sport.", Eddie Edwards

3. Race (Jesse Owens, Athletics/Olympics)

The movie is about the rise and rise of Jesse Owens. Jesse's talent is discovered at the Ohio State University. Everyone is surprised at how good he really is, he is quickly touted as Olympics material. The movie then takes a turn into the serious issues of that time, the racial discrimination and the Aryan supremacy agenda that Hitler was brewing for the Olympics. After battling with his inner conscience and the politics around, Jesse goes on to win four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics, this story is full of struggle, the difficulties faced by coloured people at the time and the inspiring tale of Jesse Owens. Stephan James gives a powerful performance as Owens and really takes you back to that time.

Real vs. Reel

Learning: It is important that you back your skill with equal amounts of courage to put down the people who discourage you. He faces resistance from both coloured and white people, he still chooses to go and fight the dogma which was set during that time.

Quote UnQuote: "Out there, there ain’t no black and white. There’s only fast and slow. Nothing matters, not colour, not money, not even hate. For those ten seconds, you are completely free.", Jesse Owens

4. M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Cricket)

I like the call this movie the hater squasher. If anyone had any doubts about Dhoni, they should see this movie. This movie will surely absolve them of their sins. Dhoni suddenly burst out on the scene, we were all gaga over him and before we knew he was doing everything right. What we did not know was the journey behind the fame, the struggle behind that helicopter shot. It would kill someone to imagine Dhoni juggling the Ticket Collector job and his cricket practice and still not getting any breaks. How he is turned down multiple downs before even properly being tested. Even though you know the output, you get engrossed in the movie and think that maybe job security was the better way out. This journey is about hard work and backing that up with a bag full of hope that things will work out for the good. If Dhoni would have broken down and given in to the pressure around him, god knows how Indian Cricket would have looked right now. This movie teaches you that if you believe in yourself and you have the talent, you will make it big.

Real vs. Reel

Learning: The Iceberg Illusion - Success is not an overnight phenomenon. The surface seems fancy and confident, what we don't see is that beneath the surface, there were numerous failures, endless tears and immense hard work.

Quote UnQuote: "Life me sab ball ek saman thodi na milega, merit par khelna hai aur tike rahna hai, scoreboard apne aap badhega (You will not get the same ball every time in life, hold your ground by playing according to the situation and the scoreboard will take care of itself)", A K Ganguly

5. I am Bolt  (Usain Bolt, Athletics/Olympics)

The movie is not perfectly timed, there are times when it feels very slow and confusing. Generally, that is a deal breaking, but in this context, it is not. The movie tries it best to show the psyche of Bolt. How it works, what inspires him and what makes him the best. What I like best about this movie is how true it feels. It doesn't feel like you are listening to a man who has seen it all, it feels like he is just a normal person and you can also face such problems in life. He talks about how he gets distracted, how he gets motivated when people trash talk about him, how he always gets fit in time for the big race. This movie follows Bolt between the World Championship in Beijing, 2015 and the Rio Olympics in 2016. Tracking through this journey, the movie covers his rest of the life by taking timely flashbacks. It is a great way to get to know possibly the greatest athelte of all time.

Learning: Even the greatest and most successful people end up being low on motivation. They also look around and look for things that will inspire them back to chase the success that has made them famous. I love the part where Bolt is low on inspiration before the Rio Olympics because he says he has done it all and what not. Suddenly he hears Gatlin trash talking on TMZ and he gets the kick which he was missing throughout.

Quote UnQuote: "I have to show who I am, play with the crowd, play with the camera. When people come to a race, part of it is the anticipation, "What is he going to do?", Usain Bolt

6. I am Ali (Muhammad Ali, Boxing)

A very delicately made documentary, it tries to inspire you by baring it all. It shows the legend in the making, the challenges he faced, his beleifs, the lives he touched and the impact that he made in the society. Through timely interjections with the people who were close to him and through real tapes which Ali recorded himself, the journey through the movie is amazing. Unlike most sports films, this one focuses more on the life than the important sporting moments. That is what makes this different and much more impactful. With testimonials from rivals and the family of rivals, this movie surely reveals the man behind this tough legend which we all know about.

Learning: You are much more than you think you are. I never knew about how important a part Ali played. He was not just a boxer, he was much more that that. An activist, a peoples' person. He made sure his voice was heard and he made sure he did as much right as possible in the world. Amen to that. Rest in Peace.

Quote UnQuote: "Float like a butterfly sting like a bee.", Muhammad Ali

I hope I will inspire you to watch one of these next. Let me know which one I should watch next. Happy Holidays!

Honourable Mentions: PelĂ©: Birth of a Legend, Budhia Singh – Born to Run, Dangal

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

365 Days of Test Cricket, How were?

Today I decided to crunch down the last year in terms of test cricket. All the matches played between 11th October - 11th November. I started with the task to find the youngest team on paper. I decided to factor in all the players who have played more than a single test match for their team in the last 365 days. The final age which was factored in is as of today (11th October, 2016). I will also lay out some other data which I fell onto during this discovery.

Overalls first, then I will present a team-wise breakdown. Let's start with the age factor followed by all other data.  Keep in mind that the ICC Rankings will officially change after the Indore Test.

The youngest team has the worst ICC Ranking and the oldest team has the best. Though that little fact will change once Pakistan hands over the top position to India.

(In terms of ICC Test Ranking. Note: India will officially take the first spot after the Indore Test)

1. Pakistan

Played: 7
Won: 4
Lost: 2
Draw: 1
Average Age: 31 years 216 days

2. India

Played: 11
Won: 7
Lost: 0
Draw: 3

Average Age: 28 years 339 days

3. Australia

Played: 11
Won: 6
Lost: 3
Draw: 2

Average Age: 29 years 276 days

4. England

Played: 14
Won: 6
Lost: 5
Draw: 3

Average Age: 28 years 227 days

5. South Africa

Played: 10
Won: 2
Lost: 5
Draw: 3

Average Age: 30 years 63 days

6. Sri Lanka

Played: 10
Won: 5
Lost: 4
Draw: 1

Average Age: 28 years 222 days

7. New Zealand

Played: 14*
Won: 4
Lost: 7
Draw: 2

Average Age: 28 years 211 days

8. West Indies

Played: 9
Won: 0
Lost: 6
Draw: 3

Average Age: 27 years 205 days

Sunday, October 2, 2016

The curious Indian case of 183

Sitting 18 Kilometers away from Eden Gardens nursing my sore throat with a hot chocolate. My mind was busy analyzing the day that was. Other than leaving the comforts of home, I kept going back to the riveting day of test cricket that Eden Gardens produced. Having a two-hour layover here in Kolkata. It made a lot of sense to blog about cricket. I have no qualms in accepting that the Test season has me completely gripped (which has my little sister annoyed). Let's talk about what makes an Indian captain.

The first word that will come to your mind is 'character' - sure you need character to lead 10 men who play for over a billion people. What else? 'confidence' - obviously you need the confidence to back your decisions. Not everyone will give Joginder Sharma in a World Cup final even though you had an over in Harbhajan. 'consistency' - Ours is a hungry nation. If you do not perform consistently, it doesn't take long to see yourself become a nationwide villain. Character, Confidence and Consistency. Neat. But is that all? Powerpuff girls needed 'Sugar, Spice and Everything Nice' - But the professor ended up putting in Chemical X.

What is the Chemical X for an Indian Cricket Team Captain you ask? It is 183. Confused? Let me explain.

Long before a player becomes a successful captain, they need to score a handsome 183.

1. Saurav Ganguly

About a year before he was given the responsibility of cleaning up the mess that the match-fixing scandal left us in. He was busy sending the ball to cleaners in the '99 World Cup. In a Group A match against Sri Lanka.  The Indian team scored 373. Dravid and Ganguly shared a partnership of 318, a record at that time. They batted together for 45 overs. Ganguly ended up scoring 183 before getting out. A total of 7 sixes and 17 fours. We all know the wonders he did as the Indian Captain. Test wins in England, Australia and Pakistan top the chart. A World Cup final as well. The numbers don't show the courage he instilled in the side. The solid foundation is still doing wonders.

2. MS Dhoni

6 years before he would hit the famous six in Wankhade. Dhoni was busy giving Sri Lanka a nightmare. Chasing 1 run shy of 300, he came out when Tendulkar fell early. What followed, established Dhoni as one of the cleanest hitters of the ball. His innings of 183 included 10 sixes and 15 hours. He remained unbeaten. Dravid compared his innings with Tendulkar's famous 143 against Australia. The famous desert storm. As a captain, he got us two world cups, more than what anyone asked for.

3. Virat Kohli

Years before Kohli would learn to control his brute aggression. 3 years before he would lead the Indian side. Kohli destroyed Riaz, Gul and others in an Asia Cup tie. Riding high on the 321 chase in Hobart not even a month ago, Kohli came in the first over after Gambhir fell down. Partnerships with Tendulkar and Rohit Sharma ensured that Pakistan would never get the upper hand. The master of the chase as we call him. 22 Fours and just a single six. This tells you that Kohli believes in running and uses that to put the opposition under pressure. Even though Kohli was made captain under not-so-perfect conditions. He has done a great job in chinning up and taking that responsibility. The master of the chase as we call him. An aggressive leader and there is a lot of hope for him in the coming years.

Your highest limited overs score should be 183. That is the key to Indian Captaincy. Hence proved. You know what to do.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

500 Tests, How did we?

22nd September will be marked as the day the Indian Cricket Team plays its 500 test. A lot of key players are already on their way to Kanpur and BCCI has planned out a lot of festivities around the 5 days. This occasion has already motivated me to blog about cricket again. I am sure it will motivate the players as well against the Kiwis.

Let's start with my favorite section, some numbers.

2,35,337: Runs

7,030: Wickets

1,832: Pairs of Batsmen

499: Matches

285: Players

129: Wins

84: Years

32: Captains

25.95: Win %

1: Tie

I decided to not do a All-time Top 11 because that just doesn't seem fair to me. I have not seen most of them playing and I am in no position to form views about them.

India has played a 169 matches since 2000 (33.87% of total) and won 68 of them (52.71% of total). We have won more than 50% of our total wins in the last 16 years. That is why I have decided to limit my Top 11 between players who have featured in at least one Test Match for India since 01-01-2000

  1. Virendar Sehwag: Test Cricket was never the same the day he retired. With a strike rate of 82.23, his name became synonymous with hard-hitting. Almost every Indian cricket fan cherishes that day in Multan when he scored a handsome 309 to set up India's first ever win in Pakistan. Positions: 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 9 
    Sehwag, Multan
  2. Gautam Gambhir: I feel he is the perfect foil to Sehwag. Call me old fashioned but another reason to include him is because he is a left hander. There has always been a rarity of them in the test side at least. He always had the right temperament to go on about with the game. Had a couple of years around 2008, 2009 before he finally started to fade out. Centuries against Australia and England in India followed by a ton in New Zealand. Positions: 1, 2, 4, 8, 9
  3. Rahul Dravid: Who else? The classic test batsmen. Still remember how easily the day used to pass when Dravid was there dealing with bowlers after bowlers. Missed out on a debut Lord's ton by just 5 runs. He proved that conditions never mattered to him by putting in performances in New Zeland, South Africa and Australia whiling domination the guests at home. Who would forget the magical Eden Gardens Test. I always get a smile thinking about Dravid's fist bump into the air in Adelaide 2003. Positions: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
    Dravid, Adelaide 
  4. Sachin Tendulkar: God. 200 matches. 15.921 runs. Countless Memories. I still remember the double ton in Sydney as one of the most gracious things I have ever witnessed happening. I remember getting up in the wee hours of the morning and not regretting that. Positions: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
  5. VVS Laxman: Australia and Laxman went hand in hand. A hero in disguise. He formed the backbone of the Indian batting along side his good friend Dravid. We all know what he did in Kolkata. I also have fond memories of his gusty effort in Mohali. Chasing a mere 216 in the 4th innings, India slumped to 124/8. What followed was a rare mix of magic and emotions. Positions:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11
    Laxman & Dravid, Eden Gardens, Kolkata
  6. MS Dhoni: People who know me are very well aware of my endless love for Ganguly. More than what he offers as a batsmen, he is always a captain for me. Leaving him out was a very difficult decision. At the same time, it says the trust that I have on Dhoni. He brought that never-seen-before calm to the Indian dressing room. We had that confidence to back our ability and we executed all of them gracefully. 294 dismissals in tests says a lot about his multi-tasking skills. His match saving 76 at Lords says a lot about his determination. Positions: 3, 5, 6, 7, 8
  7. Irfan Pathan: My trump card. I still remember being completely blown away by the swing he produced in Karachi. I still think that if he could have avoided injuries, he would sitll have been in the Indian side. Another reason to pick him up is that he can bat and he is a lefty. Will always remember him as extremely talented and blessed with natural swing and a little bit unlucky. Positions: 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
  8. Harbhajan Singh: I think we forget that he has a massive 417 wickets to his name. He broke the Australian back in 2001 with 32 wickets in 3 tests. The impact is a bit misleading as he took 13 in Kolkata and 15 in Chennai - 28 in 2. Partners in crime with the amazing Anil Kumble. He even managed couple of test tons in back to back matches against the Kiwis. Positions: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
    Harbhajan, Eden Gardens, Kolkata
  9. Javagal Srinath: Reminded everyone that India still has fast bowling left. Played a perfect mentor to the upcoming pacers. Positions: 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
  10. Anil Kumble: Broken Jaw. 10 Wickets in an innings. King of Kotla. 619 wickets. There is not much that remains to be said. Captained the time during a difficult phase and proved to be the perfect transition to future captain Dhoni. Positions: 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
    Kumble. Antigua
  11. Zaheer Khan: Led the Indian pace regime for many years. Almost always delivered and had the confidence about him which you would like to see in your lead bowler. Ended with a 5'er in his final tests to finish with 311 wickets. 6, 8, 9, 10, 11
I wanted to include Ganguly. So so bad. I wanted to include one of Rahane or Pujara. I also wanted to include Ravi Ashwin. I never even thought about Kohli. This goes to show how strong a side we had in the recent past. This also leaves me to ponder whether we will be able to scale back the confidence and talent that we had once amassed.

I am excited for the start of this test season, It is kicking off with the right occasion. Let's hope that it is a great campaign. #weAreReady.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Horoscope, What is?

Today, I had a major #throwbackThursday moment when I suddenly remembered the horoscope that came in the newspapers. It was star-studded with lucky number, lucky colour and such fancy stuff. Back then, we did not give much attention to it, we had no financial worries, no family troubles, no major health issues as well. It did not matter that much as half of the things were not relevant. At most we used to get excited if we were wearing the same colour as the lucky colour that the newspaper said. We also tried to integrate the lucky number in some manner or the other. 

It is about the interpretation

Anyhow, that is the story of the past. After having this #throwbackThursday moment, I got this urge to read my horoscope for the day. I launched my favourite site for all things zodiac, Zodiac Mind. I navigated to the daily horoscope section, and this is what I got: 

Unresolved turmoil bubbles to the surface today, stimulating questions about your future. You might think it’s best to ignore your gut reaction so you can avoid upsetting yourself or someone else. However, the hidden cost of burying your feelings now will only become more apparent over time. Dealing with your emotions as they arise could reveal practical resolutions to your problems. Fortunately, you have more support than you realize, making the present moment the best time to face the music and change your tune.

Being the difficult person I am I decided to break it down and analyze it down to every single bit. Because why not? All my life I have faced major repercussions because of overthinking situations. So, I decided to do an analysis for myself, because that would be a safe thing to do. Jotting it down is just another #throwbackThursday moment because of the love I had for blogging once upon a time.

So this blog post: Horoscope, What is? = #throwbackThursday for newspaper horoscopes + #throwbackThursday for blogging.

Unresolved turmoil bubbles to the surface today, stimulating questions about your future. 

Personally, I hate an unresolved situation. I always want to deal with a situation when it arises. 3/5 times this approach fails. Someone I admire once told me that 'Smart people ignore' - maybe it is true but somehow I am never implement it. I always fail to ignore a situation which shows some relevance. Maybe I am not smart enough (yet). Generally, I stretch the situation to it's limit, over analyze every bullet point and end up falling on my face by the end of it.

You might think it’s best to ignore your gut reaction so you can avoid upsetting yourself or someone else. 

Like I said above, I can never do that. I have this little battle with myself where I try to ignore a situation but then in the end I politely give up and over analyze it anyway. 3/5 times, I do end up upsetting myself for someone else because of this wonderful ability that I have developed over the years. I like to think that behind this is my eternal quest to know why people do what they do. Needless to say, I am far from perfection in this regard.

However, the hidden cost of burying your feelings now will only become more apparent over time. 

Now, this is getting ridiculous. In the previous sentence they tell you to ignore stuff and avoid upsetting anyone. Now they are telling you that burying your feelings will just blow up later. This is in way is symbolic to the confusion and the little battles that I have in my head. It is always a tricky decision to bare yourself out in front of someone. Either you are setting yourself to get absolutely battered or you are in for episode of redemption, which is very rare. 

Dealing with your emotions as they arise could reveal practical resolutions to your problems.

In what I have seen, emotions very rarely lead to resolutions. You generally end up doing some impulsive action which you regret 342 seconds later.  At least for me, it never works out. Whenever I am high on emotions, I am more liking to wreck the flow rather than fix it. This also has to do with the fact that I think I am always in extremes, either too high or too low. Middle Way or Middle Path is an important concept in Buddhism, Gautama Buddha used it to describe the character of the Noble Eightfold Path. It apparently leads to a better quality of lie or what not. Well.

Fortunately, you have more support than you realize, making the present moment the best time to face the music and change your tune.

If I have learnt one thing it is that you cannot face enough music in your life, there is always something new round the corner. Exception being if all your band members are dead. Okay, I agree bad joke. Support is a very tricky domain as we don't know how it will end, you can upload all your shit to the person who is trying to help you. How they react is a different ball game. For all you know, the whole upload will just make them blast. Sigh, life is tricky. So is taking help from other people and changing your musical tunes. *soft cries*

Your whining,

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Of Wrath and Warmth

I have been wondering why the worst fights or arguments that we have are with the ones that are closest to us. How easily the people, we otherwise protect, become safe targets of passing by aggression. More often that not these are temporary stupid fights which sort themselves off on their own in some time. For the time when this train is derailed though, you are caught in the two states, one where you want to be aggressive and the other where you keep asking yourself whether you really want to be in this argument.

I read an article the other day about aggression, which said that there are two types of them, direct and indirect. Direct aggression is when you are expressive and direct in showing your displeasure. Indirect aggression is when you avoid the person and use the cold shoulder to indicate that something is wrong. The latter is generally seen in a group where there are many people and you wouldn't want to upset the whole setup.

We only express direct aggression to people very close to us, the easy targets, the people who we will rather protect. So the question that was bugging me was why do we do it? Why do we keep contradicting ourselves by these little derailment episodes. 

The first reason I thought was that we feel safe around them. Safe to express ourselves. Safe from judgments. So when your emotions had a bat-crap crazy day, you just blurt it all out without any alterations of anything.

How stupid this make sound, you actually want to stay there and argue rather than walking away. Walking away is not ideal. Walking away is never ideal. You don't want to cold shoulder them. Even though these are negative episodes, these do help in some manner or the other (maybe).

The honesty also kicks in, you don't need any masks to behave around them. You are pretty honest and that also doesn't help in stopping yourself to save the train from derailment. 

Maybe they are the people you go to when you feel down about everything around yourself. More often than not, these results in the conversation going south. But then again, maybe you wanted to do it only with them.

Lastly,  I think these little fights don't really mean much because you know at the end of them, you will swing back to the same comfort level no matter what.

All those episodes of wrath that happen between Brother-Sisters, Mummy-Daddys, "best friends" - maybe they are only because of the warmth they share at the end of the day.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Cricket 2015, What was?

I saw the top cricketing moments of 2015 on and on . They did not look satisfactory to me, majorly because they were limited by the amount of footage that Star and the BCCI must have access to. So here is my take on cricket that was in 2015. 

(In no particular order)

The Year of the Tiger

Dumping England out of the World Cup and ending as Quarter Finalists. They followed it up with a 3-0 drubbing of Pakistan in the ODI Series, a 2-1 win over sub-continent heavyweights India and the main  highlight came against South Africa, a 2-1 ODI Series and drawing both their test matches. They clean-sweeped the ODI Series against Zimbabwe to make it four in a row for 2015. They won 13 out of the 18 ODIs they played in the year. A win % of 72.22, only Australia (78.94) have better.

A New Hero?
Among great batting performances from the likes of Mustafizur Rahman became the first Bangladeshi Player to make it to the ICC ODI Team of the Year alongside names like Trent Boult and Mitchell Starc. He picked up 11 wickets against India in his first two matches and followed it up with a displicned performance against the Proteas. After 9 matches, his ODI tally reads at 26 wickets at an impressive average of 12.34.

Bangladesh ODI Bowling, 2015

India's new Test Dawn

2015 Tests Breakdown
2015 saw a heavy weight change at top for the Indian test team, as MS Dhoni stepped down and Virat Kohli took up the reigns. A tense draw at Sydney followed by a rain-hit draw in Bangladesh did not give us enough to judge Kohli yet. When India lost the first test in Sri Lanka after a batting collapse chasing a total of 176. Questions were raised whether this fearless approach by Kohli is justified or not. What followed was some good counter-attacking cricket backed by good bowling and dependable batting, for once. First test series victory in Sri Lanka for 22 years (2-1) and an end to South Africa's nine-year away run (3-0). India won all 5 matches by bowling out the opponents in the fourth innings. Two main talking points that came out of these victories were Kohli's captaincy and Ashwin's growing dominance.
Recent Indian Captains at 10 Test Matches
Kohli is second only to Dhoni, who won 7 and lost none of his first 10 matches as Test Captain. Kohli lost his first match against Australia, when he was substituting for Dhoni. Kohli has shown that he can lead the side and he refuses to give up. India got 130/130 wickets in the 7 matches against Lankans and Africans. 52 of these wickets are credited to Ashwin, who has shown that he is clearly the best bowler for the sub-continent. After 32 Test matches, he is level with Sehwag (103 Matches) and Tendulkar (200 Matches) for most Man of the Series awards in Test for India. Kohli has not been shy of giving the new ball to Ashwin, who has not disappointed. Ashwin has 152 wickets in Asia in 23 Matches, the next best after the same number of matches is Waqar Younis at 130 wickets.  
Test Wickets, 2015

Wahab's Moment

Bullying an Australian done right

In a World Cup which saw record number of 300+ scores and couple of double hundreds, it was a bowler who provided the most memorable passage of play. Shane Watson taunted Wahab Riaz while he was batting and asked him "Are you holding a bat?"  When he got the ball in the hands, he let it do the talking. He got rid of Warner and Clarke early and when Watson came out to bat, he made sure he knew what Wahab can do with a ball, he did not let Watson at ease for over four overs. He bowled over 150kph. At the end of it was a tale full of Bouncers, Mouthfulls and a rattled Watson. Even thought Pakistan lost the game and Watson got some runs at the end, this fired up spell will go done as one of the most combative moments of ODI cricket. A spell that deserves to be retold.

The Pink Tales

Lunch replaced by Tea, Tea replaced by Dinner and the iconic Red replaced by Pink. In one of the major cricketing experiments of recent days. The first day-night Test went underway in Adelaide. Even though the test was wrapped up in three days, a nervy finished with Australians successfully chasing 187 after losing 7 wickets. Earlier, Hazlewood made sure that the Kiwis were bundled out for 208. The bigger picture though, the experiment can be dubbed as a rather successful ones. The crowds did improve as the opening day saw over 47,000 people. In last few tests at the Oval, some of the attendance figures were: 38,615 (England in 2010); 21,480 (India in 2011); 33,943 (England in 2013); 25,619 (India in 2014)

A Pink Affair

The Broad Face

With the series fairly poised at 2-1, the 4th Test at Nottingham could either seal it for England or set the series for a thrilling finale at The Oval. The answer to that was clear after just 94 mins and 18.3 overs of play. Australia stumbled to a total of 60, with the extras top scoring at 14, followed by Johnson at 13 and Clarke at 10, all other scores were single digits. Reason behind this wreckage was Stuart Broad. 8 for 15 in 9,3 overs meant that the Ashes were all but secured by England. 
Too good to be true?

Two sides of AbD

How do you judge a batsman? By the number of runs he scores? How quickly he scores them? How much he scares the opposition? Or how adaptable he can be? 

AB de Villiers seems to tick all the boxes. Two of his innings stood out in particular for the year.

The 2nd ODI against West Indies at Jo'burg on 18th January where he reached the century in 31 balls bettering Corey Anderson's 36 ball effort. He went on to make 149 off 59 balls, a strike rate of 338 in an innings which saw 16 sixes and 9 fours. The final scorecard read 149 (59m 44b 9x4 16x6) SR: 338.63
Arms of Carnage
The 4th Test against India at Kotla in December where India had already won the series. India set a target of 481 runs with six full sessions to play. Through the series, outh Africa was guilty of throwin away the wickets and easily going down against India's spin attack. But this last innings was batting at the best in an effort of epic proportions. AbD scored his first runs on his 33rd ball. His first boundary came off the 89th ball. He was 12 off 100 balls. When Ashwin got him out, the scorecard read 43 (354m 297b 6x4 0x6) SR: 14.47
Arms of Resilience?

The 90's Show

The All Stars Series to promote cricket in USA provided a window into the past as people went nostalgic over the stars of yesteryears. Sachin lead his Blasters which had Ganguly, Sehwag, Jayawardene, Lara, McGrath, Murali, Pollock, Akhtar among others. Warne had Hayden, Ponting, Sanga, Kallis, Akram, among others. Even though Warne got the better of Sachin's team. The whole tournament had a feel-good factor about it. Sehwag humming a famous Hindi song while casually hitting Allan Donald for a six should sum up the tournament for you. 

Old Times!