Au revoir Simon Taufel!

Hi,

The ICC World T20 in SriLanka over the past few weeks has been special not just because of the tags “World Cup” or “T20” but because of it being the last international tournament for the greatest umpire ever, Simon Taufel.

Simon hails from Australia, who have mostly been the world champions both in Tests and ODIs since his debut and so was he, in all the possibleĀ formats in Cricket umpiring. Australian cricket team might have lost its charm and standards but Simon didn’t, till the last day of his umpiring career! I hardly remember any decision of his’ which made me feel like “Oh, No! How?” If there was any err in his judgement, I am sure it would still be with any of the technologies which can be used.

Cricket is not just about a batsman and a bowler but has lot to do with the decision making on field by the match officials, in which Simon is the best. I can understand the amount of pressure that would be on an umpire when a bowler appeals for a wicket. Never have I seen Simon with a double thought when officiating. OUT or NOT OUT, he is confident.

Simon has once, in an interview, revealed that he wants to officiate in his home country for a test match which was never possible because of the neutral umpire policy of ICC in tests. I believe you can never have an umpire who is more neutral than he is towards any country, be it his homeland too!

Simon, we sure will miss your elegance on the cricket ground. I am sure your ever smiling face with composed body language standing tall behind the non-striker’s wickets will be missed by batsmen. You are simply a genius who made us believe umpiring is very simple, which isn’t! I am lucky to have seen you officiating an IPL match in Hyderabad. I was as delighted to have seen you as I was to have seen Rahul Dravid and Dale Steyn that night.

Now that you have decided to retire from umpiring, ICC needs to seriously have a thought about increasing the use of technology in cricketing decisions. It wasn’t required till now as you have always been better than the technology. You may have hurt many hearts by giving many batsmen OUT, but I am sure they all will be feeling hard on your retirement. You are a legend, you deserve all the respect that you get. You may be moving out of cricket field but will never be out of our minds. Wish you all the best for your future endeavors.

Thank you, Simon!

Sachin Tendulkar.. A match winner? or pure entertainer? or both?

Hi folks,

We are in the stage where just 3 World Cup matches are left, each of them is a virtual final for the teams. The World Cup 2011 has drawn attention of many because of many on-field and off-field reasons, one of them primarily being the notion (hope, for few?) that this is the LAST World Cup for batting maestro, a.k.a. Sachin Tendulkar, popularly called as GOD by many of his fans. Of course, the encounters like India-Australia and India-Pakistan, to name a few, have added much spice to the World Cup.

Let me just stick to my topic in this post, my feeling on whether Sachin is a match winner or a pure entertainer or both.

Considering the most easiest of those, let’s see if he is a pure entertainer. I don’t think anyone needs an explanation on this argument that he is the most successful entertainer of all Cricketers. The chant “Sachin…Sachin” when he plays in India and abroad speaks about it. It may be primarily because he virtually chases (for many, he plays for records!) all the records in the record book by playing all the shots in the cricket book (for many, he is a cricket book!), like the way they have to be played (unlike the likes of helicopter or aircraft shots šŸ˜› ). More than anything, he plays under the pressure of a billion hopes that he scores a century each time he comes to bat. In that sense, because he didn’t/couldn’t satisfy them each time, he might be considered a pure entertainer whenever he played a big innings and a heart-breaker for many whenever he failed! However, more often than not, he is always a pure entertainer.

Coming to the toughest debate whether he is a match winner, many start being very critical with his play when team loses. I agree, he didn’t win many matches single-handedly and I also would like to hint people that cricket isn’t/can’t be a one-man show all the times. Keeping aside the matches India lost badly when he hadn’t performed (many say he plays for some record and gets out after reaching it!), there have been many instances when he did almost everything what he could, but team lost because of other 10 members not performing well. In that case, it’s very unfair on the part of critics that he can’t win matches and he is NOT a match winner. But a match winner is the one who wins the heart of people whenever he comes on to the ground, who gives more often than not his 100%, who mentors his team-mates and help them play better and who always plays the game in a different level. In that sense he is a genuine match winner.

Now, let me try to put the same with the help of records and myths people have about Sachin not being a match winner.

  1. “Whenever he scores a century, India loses”. Absolutely a myth it is! Out of his 48 ODI centuries, India won JUST 33 times and we expect him to win single-handedly all the games, which is not possible in cricket.
  2. “He is not as good a match-winner as compared to the likes of Sehwag, Yuvraj and Dhoni”. A myth which seems to have supportive records but once a thorough understanding is got, everyone agrees that it is a myth too! Coming to Sehwag, I hardly find many ODIs when he played to his potential. Yuvraj is in my view the 2nd biggest match winner in current Indian team after Sachin. Few people tend to argue that he is a good match winner based on the number of times he scored a 50 and India won. One has to note that he is a middle-order batsman. Whenever a decent start is provided by the openers, it becomes easy for middle-order to try and play till the end (as he played against Australia in Quarter Finals of World Cup 2011). I’m not undermining his or any middle-order batsman’s efforts anyways. I have due respect for them. And, finally people start talking about Dhoni, I feel there is no need to include him in the list of the best match winners for India.
  3. “He only plays for records, not for team”. Absolutely not! He plays for team, in the process of which, he gets to records. Please find the number of times he got out in 45-49 and 90-99. If he were to play for records he should have gone to a century of centuries many years earlier!

I don’t want to expand this post much longer and letting you get bored, but my strong opinion is that he is the best match-winner for India, day and night playing under the pressure of a billion hopes for more than 2 decades.

So, the third option that I had in the topic is deduced and he is not only a genuine match-winner but a pure entertainer!

That’s all folks, I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings and I hope you also share some interesting facts with me. Any comments are always welcome.