02 April 2007

A Lap of Sepang with the Double World Champion

"Sepang is perhaps the most difficult circuit of the year, and it is certainly one of the most technical. With this I mean that your car needs to be strong in every area: all the important corners tend to be high-speed, so you need a perfect car balance and good aerodynamics. The track itself has a lot of rhythm, one corner leads you to the next one and it is not hard on the brakes; it is all about keeping the momentum through the corners. " says Alonso , in this article reported in Planet-F1

Federer wins third Laureus prize

Tennis star Roger Federer is named Sportsman of the Year at the Laureus World Sports Awards for the third year in a row. Roger Federer became the first sportsman to win three Sportsman of the Year awards. Co-Nominees Tiger Woods and Michael Schumacher had had the distinction of winning it twice. For more details about this year's awards, check out this link from BBC . Federer wins third Laureus prize

Aconite may have been used to murder Woolmer

Rediff reports that the Jamaican police received a tip-off that the coach was poisoned by aconite, the perfect drug to mask a murder. Read the full article Aconite used to murder Woolmer: Report

What is Aconite?

In Greek and Roman mythology, Medea tried to kill Theseus by poisoning him by putting aconite in his wine, thought to be the saliva of Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guarded the Underworld. Hercules dragged Cerberus up from the Underworld, while the dog turned his face away from the light, barking and depositing saliva along the path. The saliva hardened in the soil and produced its lethal poison in the plants that grew from the soil. Because it was formed and grew on hard stones, farmers called it 'aconite' (from the Greek akone, meaning 'whetstone'). (From wikipedia)

30 March 2007

Gibbs feat makes Johnny Walker pay

Johnny Walker , the manufacturers of premium whiskey, had promised a sum of 1 Million dollars to charity if any one could score 6 sixers in one over. Herschelle Gibbs did just that when he hit the hapless Dutch bowler , Dan Van Bunge for 6 sixes in a single over. It was a small ground and the team was an associate cricketing nation ,accepted , but the ball still had to be hit consistently. The massacre started of innocuously , but one could see , the look of gleam in Gibbs' eyes after the first 3 sixers. You could see that he was trying for the 6 sixers record. Gibbs became the first player in the history of the ODI's to perform this feat. Gary Sobers and Ravi Shastri had earlier performed this feat at county and domestic levels, but this was the first time in an International match.

Lasith Malinga's scorches his way to a new World Record

Lasith Malinga almost won the match single handedly for Srilanka in their first Super 8 match against South Africa. Malinga started the act with South Africa needing 5 runs to win with 5 wickets in hand with 5.2 overs. The batsmen at the crease were no mucks with the bat. Shaun Pollock and Jacques Kallis were the batsmen at the crease , with Andrew Hall , Makaya Ntini , Robin Peterson , Charl Langeveldt to follow. What followed was an inspired spell of fast bowling. Great change of pace led to the wickets of Pollock and Hall , while a full delivery accounted for Kallis and a Hattrick. By crashing into Makhaya Ntini's stumps , Malinga had ripped through the lower middle order of South Africa and had created a world record. Watch the video in youtube, Amazing!!!

Empty grounds show organisers have got their sums wrong

There are doubtless millions of people tuning into the World Cup cricket on television, and most of them will be wondering, as the cameras pan around the ground (mostly lingering on Sky's favourite image of a cleavage straining to remain inside a bikini) where all the spectators have gone, writes Martin Johnson in the Telegraph.

Read more from the article..

Empty grounds show organisers have got their sums wrong

Rudolph signing reluctantly approved by ECB

Giles Mole writes in the Telegraph that the England and Wales Cricket Board have approved Yorkshire's signing of South African batsman Jacques Rudolph under the Kolpak ruling but the ECB unanimously condemned this type of application. Jacques Rudolph had earlier renounced his intention to play for South Africa in January so as to  sign a three-year contract at Headingley without counting as an overseas player.

Read the full article Rudolph signing reluctantly approved by ECB

26 March 2007

The season is just one race old , could we temper the hype a bit?

Lewis Hamilton's race at OZ might have been the perfect start to a F1 career , but it has been just one race into a long year. Nico Rosberg made a similar blistering start in Bahrain last year and that was perhaps the last we heard of him. Admitted , that Lewis is quick and has the skill needed, but a long season with 17 races , needs a consistent performer behind the wheels of the Woking based outfit.

A real show of talent , would be when he faces , wet weather conditions or when he has tyre or machinery problems. The maturity of a F1 driver is shown , when he nurses an ailing car to a podium or a points finish.Lewis Hamilton , might be the pick of the rookies , he might possibly turn out to be the best driver on the grid as well at the end of the season, but let the racing speak for itself. Lewis has been fast , sometimes , outpacing his more illustrious team mate , but whether he has the maturity to win races and win a drivers championship will be tested over 16 more gruelling races. Till then let the hype , about Lewis being the drivers Champion be put on hold.

23 March 2007

Are Ferrari really that quick or is Kimi Raikonnen playing mind games?

Kimi Raikkonen, the Finnish driver , completed his first race for the Scuderia as winner. He won it comfortably , finishing almost 7 and a half seconds in front of reigning double world Champion , Fernando Alonso.

All was however not well , as the Finnish driver confirmed that he had had problems in communicating with his race engineer due to a problem with the Radio.

By the end of the race ,Mclaren would have known that they needed to work on a lot of things , if they were to catch up with the Scuderia and wipe out the second a lap difference in the fastest lap times. Mclaren however wouldn't want to hear what Kimi Raikkonen had to say when the race ended.

"We knew that our rhythm in the race was very competitive: I did not have to go to the limit, but maybe if the radio had worked I would have gone faster."

"On one occasion - just about ten laps before the end the race - I almost fell asleep! I got distracted, my concentration levels dropped a bit and I locked the wheels and took Turn Three slightly too wide: even without radio I knew that they were saying: 'Kimi, wake up!'

Kimi Raikkonen, normally taciturn might have just started playing mind games with the reigning world champion. The reports from Kimi Raikkonen after the Australian Grand prix must surely demoralise the Woking based team. With only one race gone, it will be interesting to see if Kimi was just letting off a lot of hot air to demoralise his rivals or the F2007 is indeed a class apart.

The top 8 in the drivers Championship after the first round are

Kimi Raikkonen - 10 Points
Fernando Alonso - 8 points
Lewis Hamilton - 6 points
Nick Heidfeld - 5 points
Giancarlo Fisichella - 4 points
Felipe Massa - 3 points
Nico Rosberg - 2 points
Ralf Schumacher - 1 point

11 February 2007

What about Very Very Special Laxman?

Indians' all over the world being the die hard cricket fanatics, have started writing up their Dream Team for the world cup, but very few people seem to be giving much space for VVS Laxman in their teams.Mukul Kesavan made a fleeting reference to VVS in his Dream list , which actually was the inspiration for digging out information on Laxman's ODI form and how he weighed against two other players in the present team.

Taking the last 25 ODIs of each player in consideration

Laxman brings to the table 734 runs at an average of 33.36 with 3 centuries and a 50. A not too impressive record, until you start looking at other people's average during their last 25 matches.
Ganguly despite the better games off late , still has an average of 32.82. Sehwag has a rather dismal average of 27.10 in his last 25 matches. So what is it that tips the scale for Sehwag and Ganguly? Why isn't Laxman considered for the ODI's?

There have been consistent statements that Laxman hasn't been fit or is not agile on the field, and doesn't rotate the strike all that much. He scores only in boundaries, and that is not good for one day matches etc. But it all sounds hollow when you compare it with the fielding abilities and fitness levels of Sehwag and Ganguly. Laxman perhaps is one of the best slip fielders in the Indian team. You wouldn't be able to say the same about any fielding position for Ganguly or Sehwag. So what is it that weighs against him going to the World Cup in West Indies?

1. Although this point would be considered as a compliment for a lot of players , it is Laxman's drawback as well as his strength. His game is right out of Hyderabadi tradition of style and silken touches. His aggression is brandishing the bat like a revolving door that strokes the ball away to leg side , from off stump. He doesn't show his aggression in a very physical manner. A steely customer , he inspires awe with his strokeplay but never strikes fear in the opposition. Ganguly and Sehwag though are prodigious talents , who can cut loose any time. They can take the game away from the opposition in a matter of overs. VVS perhaps can do it as well , but we have seen him struggle to increase the scoring rate multiple times.

2. Sehwag and Ganguly bring in another skill set that VVS doesn't possess. Both Sehwag and Ganguly are more than useful bowlers. In the tracks that West Indies have provided over the last few years, Sehwag and Ganguly have proved to be more than a handful.

3. Laxman doesn't have experience in playing ODI's in West Indies. Laxman in his entire ODI career has played only one match in West Indies and scored only 2 in that. Ganguly on the other hand has a healthy average of 51.60 from his 6 matches in the Windies and Sehwag was the pick of the Indian Batsmen in the Windies

Having said all this , there are a few reasons , why Laxman could still be a part of the ODI line up( I wish!!!)

-- The Indian Middle order seeming more brittle than ever, Laxman brings a stabilizing factor to the middle order.

-- With England achieving the improbable , Australia finally look like a team that can be beaten. Laxman with his golden run against the Aussies , would be the best bet when India meet the Aussies.

The board has done a lot of strange things over the years. So don't be surprised , if Laxman suddenly gets a peep-in from somewhere