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Aug 20, 2011
Mar 15, 2010
As a loyal fan, I am concerned about Royal Challengers of Bangalore (RCB), my home town IPL cricket team. Since the 1st edition of the IPL, RCB has never enjoyed the dominating status compared to the likes of Delhi Dare Devils, Chennai Super Kings, Kolkota Knight Riders, or even Rajastan Royals. They have always been 2nd rung - in performance as well as perception.
What is the problem with RCB? I think it is many fold.
- Lack of dominating players: We don't have the likes of Adam Gilcrist, MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, Shane Warne, etc. Of course we have Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Jacques Kallis, etc. But maybe some of these players are past prime, but I cannot call them dominating. We do not get to set the terms of the match against the opposition due to this lacuna.
- Lack of Match Winners: Rahul Dravid and Anil Kumble were match winners in their haydays, but now we need to desparately search for a match winner among the team of 23. Kallis is probably the closet to being a watch winner but the responsibility is too much for him. How come the other teams have loaded themselves with not one but many match winners?
- Need bowlers who are capable of taking 3 or more wickets: Among set of bowlers in RCB, Dale Styen comes close to this qualification. But he looks so ordinary when playing the IPL. Is it lack of motivation? Others are all support bowler quality - Praveen Kumar, Kallis, Van der Merwe, etc. Anil Kumble is past his prime and can only give his heart out but cannot grab wickets. Now I still don't why we had to let go of Zaheer Khan. In exchange for Uthappa? No comment!
- Need a strong headed captain: The whole RCB team seems to be too genteel and needs a captain that can take the match to the opposition's court. Holding the bull by its horn type. Somebody who can marshall the diverse and scattered resources diligently. Kumble seems a bit at odds here. Kevin Pietersen seems to be the man, but if he can play consistently in the team.
- An out-of-the-box thinking coach: Ray Jennings seemed to get it right last season in IPL 2. But he needs to look beyond South Africa and get a more well rounded team. What about the choice of batting order, bowlers and the standard of the team's fielding. He sure has his hands full.
- A motivated and passionate owner: Agreed Vijay Malya is a dashing and hot headed business tycoon who can get the team very colorful and newsworthy. But I hardly see him getting passionate about the team by his actions or presence. Based on the players bought so far and what little has been done to rally the masses in Karnataka to root for he home team, he seems to be less interested in the success of the team and more in using it as an avenue to market his cash cow businesses. He needs to get more involved.
Mar 13, 2010
IPL's annoucement that the 2010 edition's matches will be availabe live on YouTube, is very heartening. Cricket coverage has really evolved. My own evolution of following cricket has been interesting:
- Listening to radio commentary: This evolved from listening to the coverage on the good old "Valve Radio" as a family entertainment, to following it in my neighbourhood small food stall discussing the latest score with any fellow listener. I can also add the incident of sneaking in a "personal transistor radio" in my school bag in order to catch the ball-by-ball scores at school.
- Watching the Doordharshan B&W TV live cricket coverage in my friend's place: This was the time when TV broadcast started to make its entry in Bangalore (early 1980's) and I would go to my friends or neighbour's place to catch cricket live. These were B&W TV days. I remember watching the India-England series in 1981 at my high school friend Raghavendra's place and watch the live action that included the fabulous Gavaskar Srikkanth innings in the Bangalore Test. Showing no sign of shyness, I would sit in their place through the day's play except for the 1 hour lunch time, when I would hurriedly walk back home some 3 Kms for lunch and get back again for the live coverage. Raghavendra - if you read this, many thanks!
- Watching India winning the World Cup in my uncle's place - This was even more fun as I was able to enjoy both cricket, good food and great company of my uncle, aunt, little cousins, and grandmother. And have the convenience of sleepover in my uncle's place instead of walking back home! Prakash Uncle and Jaya Aunty, those were wonderful days! Thank you!
- Following cricket during early Internet days (Usenet, IRC, CricInfo bot / gopher, etc): This interesting coverage mode evolved at the pace as the evolution of the Internet itself, as the folks who took this forward were at the foremost in the Internet technology through the times. It feels very nostalgic to remember that I was part of that history which is now called cricinfo.com. See here for more details on how cricket coverage evolved.
- Listening to cricket on short wave radio stations - This was also another alternative to the IRC or CricInfo avenues. But I could only follow matches involving England or Australia, and very rarely West Indies. Got myself a good shortwave radio in the process.
- Watching a India-Pakistan Sharjah match in the Univ Texas, El Paso campus Sat TV - Best part of this was that we watched this as a community of cricket hungry graduate students late into the night. Thanks Prakash for joining in the fun of setting this up on that crazy evening!
- Watching India matches on Dish Network pay-per-view packages from U.S.A - The most memorable of these are the ones I watched in our friend Naresh-Seema's place along with other die-hard cricket fan friends. Every match was a mega party time hosted by our gracious hosts that included dinner, sleepover, breakfast, sometimes next day lunch, and more. The 2003 World Cup was also memorable when we watched this at our home. Watching Sachin's unforgetable innings against Pakistan projected on our living room wall was incredible. (Thanks Raghu for bringing over the video projector!)
- Internet based live cricket packages (2002-2005) - They never provided the full sense of watching the matches live, what with poor image quality and video feed delays. Maybe the Internet infrastructure at that time was not yet ready for the live video feeds.