BY Akshay Sawai

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When a match is dull, it is not just the spectators who get bored. You also see it in the body language of the fielders. They drag themselves around.

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India’s win over Ireland was like an easy paper in an examination that you fail to fully capitalise on. This was a scoring subject, as they say. India could have blazed their way to 90 marks on 100. They would have to be happy with about 75. The strongest batting line-up in the competition had to chase 208 against Ireland. They made it close. Only the start and the end was comfortable, giving India the somewhat deceptively commanding victory margin of five wickets and four spare overs.

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The Indian team left Dhaka for Bangalore as early as possible because they did not get to watch Pogo in the Bangladesh capital. They tried. The previous evening, the team assembled in a banquet room at the Dhaka Sheraton. Twenty television sets were arranged in front of them. A remote was given to each member, including Shashank Manohar, the BCCI president. After half an hour of jabbing their thumbs, they gave up and decided to fly back to India. Bus tickets were not available.

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An excited group of female performers at the World Cup opening ceremony on Thursday finished their routine and jogged into an exit, squealing. A volunteer ushering them in put a finger on his lips, demanding quietness. But he was smiling. He knew adrenalin is not easily silenced.

Moments later, another girl from the same group headed towards the exit. She was limping and leaned on a male volunteer for support. It was obvious she had hurt herself, and now she appeared to be holding back tears.

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Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer are the best things in contemporary sport. It has been so for some time now. Usain Bolt runs infrequently. Cricket has credibility and overkill issues. Football matches frequently disappoint. At the World Cup in South Africa, the biggest attraction was a has-been in a suit and a beard. (But what a has-been.)