Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bula Cricket Pa'go

Gof mahalang yu' nu Cricket gi este na sakkan!

I was starved for international cricket for most of this year. Despite a handful of exciting tours or conflicts, such as India winning a 4 match Test series against Australia 2-0 and Zimbabwe almost beating Sri Lanki in an ODI match, there were huge gaps with not much going on, and several tours cancelled. "Turmoil" in India, Zimbabwe and Pakistan have caused several tours and one tournament to be cancelled.

Kada na ogga'an, anai humalom yu' gi i internet, i fine'nina na website na hu bisita "Cricinfo." Mo'na kinu "KUAM" pat "Guampdn" pat "Hotmail." Desde i ma'pos na sakkan gof impottante kosas Cricket gi lina'la'-hu, sa' fihu hu egga' yan taitai put Guiya para i minagof-hu pat iyo-ku "tiempon taiche'cho'."

Bai hu admite na ti geftungo' yu' put kosas Cricket. Achokka' ya-hu gui' pa'go, taya' tiningo'-hu estaba anai dumodongkalo' yu'. Gi ayu na tiempo, ya-hu basketball yan baseball. Lao desde gumaiidat yu', tumaiinteres nu Siha.

Lao dumidide' dumidide' gumeftungo', achokka' ti sina manegga' yu' "matches" gi i internet pat gi i telebishon, sa' ti ma gof tungo' put Cricket gi lagu, sisina yu' manaitai put i matches gi i internet.

Lao gi este na sakkan, kalang siniente-ku na ti meggai na tours, pat fihu manmamahnao, put "security concerns."

Ya put este na tinaigue, sigi' manaitai gi as Yu'us, ya put fin ha oppe yu', ya ha na'magahet i minalago'-hu.

So after starving for Test cricket for months, tonight there are three exciting Test cricket matches going on achagigu!!! At the same time!!!

1. Australia vs. South Africa in Australia

The two best ranked Test squads in the world are currently facing off. The star of South Africa has been rising this year, after drawing a series in India and winning a series in England. While Australia has been the team to beat for quite a while, their luster of invincibility has begun to fade over the past year. India was able to draw one Test, one win (although they lost two) in Australia at the start of the year, and just a few months ago, India beat Australia twice at home.

As I'm typing its the 3rd day of the Test and while Australia are in the lead, if South Africa is able to bowl the opposition out before the end of play toady, they would have plenty of time to chase down a win (that is if they can keep it together on the fourth and fifth days of play).

2. West Indies vs. New Zealand in New Zealand

Whichever team wins this series will move up in the ICC rankings. They are both close to the bottom however, tied for seventh place above Bangladesh, and whoever wins will move into sixth place in the world. They are playing their second test right now, the first one featured some very strong performances on both sides, but was drawn due to rain.

I'm not a big fan of New Zealand, they are my 3rd least favorite international team. But I am a very big fan of the West Indies. I've been reading up in small bits about their rise to dominance in the 1970's, and its an exceptional story of the way they helped transform the "color" of Cricket.

Of course, the West Indies are nowhere near as strong a Cricket team as they were even a few years ago when they had Brian Lara in their squad, but they are slowly rebuilding. The backbone or the foundation of their rebuilding this past year is one of my favorite players today, Shivnarine Chanderpaul. In the Australia tour of the West Indies earlier this year, Chanderpaul was literally the "rock" in their batting lineup, as despite the fact that the West Indies were almost completely overwhelmed by Australia and lost the tour 2-0, Chanderpaul was the Man of the Series, leading in runs scored, and posting 2 centuries, 3 half centuries and was thrice not out.

Its surprisingly exciting to watch Chanderpaul play of late. His strike rate is regularly so, so low. His innings are not fire-crackers, but slow and steady. But that doesn't mean that watching him bat isn't still a treat. He has been one of the most difficult wickets to take this year, as usually the rest of the team collapses around him.

In the current Test that NZ and WI are playing tonight, Chanderpaul saved his team from what appeared to be another collapse, by stitching together, slowly over almost five hours a 224 ball century. In the midst of this slow, methodical century, Chanderpaul found time to pick up two sixes, both of which, even the commentator admited, seemed to come out of nowhere. A couple months ago, against Sri Lanki in an ODI, Chanderpaul was able to win the match by hitting a six on the final ball of the match.

3. England against India in India

Last week's Test match between England and India was exciting and epic. It was a real battle the entire match, and just when it seemed that England was going to win and had given India a target of almost 400 runs to chase, Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar dashed their hopes with a bombastic 68 ball -83 to open the innings and then a gritty yet beautiful 196 ball 103 to complete India's victory. It was Sachin Tendulkar's 41st Test century, and his first in the fourth innings that was part of a successful run chase.

Part of the excitement of the Test was the fact that it happened at all. As I said earlier in the post, the Cricket world is going through some serious debates right now over "security issues" and India, after the attacks in Mumbai are the latest to have to face questions of whether it is safe for them to tour in countries like Pakistan, and whether other countries are safe if they tour in India. Following the victory, Tendulkar, dedicating the win to i taotao Mumbai, had this to say, ""This is a very, very special hundred...To score 387 on a track where the ball was bouncing and jumping awkwardly was great. Cricket is a lesser thing compared to what happened in Mumbai and we are with those who lost their dear ones."
The 2nd Test is in its first day right now as I write, with Rahul Dravid just making a very slow, but very careful fifty for the day, which in the minds of many represents his comeback to international Test cricket, after a dreadful slump of low scores in recent months.

I'll close this post, with some photos of Tendulkar's recent Test match winning century.

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