Thursday, December 11, 2008

India gain a slight advantage

England finished on 229 for the loss of 5 wickets on day 1 of the first test match in Chennai. The fact that this series is going on after the Mumbai attacks is really wonderful as this would help to shift the focus of the people in India. England had a great start to the day when Pieterson called right at the toss and decided to bat first.
Everyone knows that the key to success in India is to bat first and bat big. England did the first part right but let the advantage slip by scoring too slow and losing too many wickets.

The tourists at one stage were 164/1 and were looking good for a big first innings total but to finish on 229/5 was a poor effort. The fact that Paul Collingwood got a rough decision to be incorrectly given out by Billy Bowden did not help their cause either. While rest of the English top order looked scratchy, it looked as though Andrew Strauss was batting on a different pitch. Batting beautifully throughout the day he scored 123 before getting out caught and bowled to Amit Mishra.

Eventhough England batted poorly, nothing can be taken away from the Indian bowling on a flat batting track. As Harbajan rightly pointed out after the days play England could have easily scored 300 at the end of the day. Zaheer’s brilliant spell with the old ball and Harbajan’s twin strikes made sure that India finished up with a slight advantage on day one.

England still have Flintoff and Matt Prior in their ranks and they would be hoping for a total of 350-400. Day2 is going to be vital for England’s chances in this series. India would be hoping to get an early wicket to put pressure on the lower order. Its going to be an interesting day of test cricket.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Lunch time talk II - Visa Worries

Last few months there has been one question in every Indian’s mouth “Did you hear anything about your H1B extension?”. We are a bunch of people who had their H1B extension due at the same time and are currently waiting for approval. There hasnt been one lunch break in the last 3 months where this has not been a topic of discussion. There has been excel sheets maintained to collect the list of people waiting for their approval.Its been a tension filled few months for all of us. It was expected that the US immigration would come hard of foriegn workers at some point and its unfortunate that its happening to us.

The decisions are taking ages and the updates have been few and far between. People are holding of their plans to visit their homes and it has already made it to the Indian media. The Indian media has jumped on this delay and have started to talk about the same in papers.I can understand the fact that the US immigration wants to make their Visa norms strict but the processing time for the same is the worrying factor. There are people who are waiting for more than 5 months to hear something about their case. No matter how short staffed they are it shouldnt take that long without the applicant getting any information on his/her case.

Even though this has been a frustrating few months for all of us, we have no other choice but to wait little longer. Hopefully some one incharge will realise the same and will speed things up.

Monday, December 08, 2008

England return as India prepare for the test series

The English team have decided to comeback to India to play the 2 test series after the Mumbai blasts. The team had left home following the terrorist attacks in Mumbai after a 5-0 one-day drubbing. Currently the English team is practicing at Abu Dabi before they fly to Chennai to play their first test. The Indian team for the test series has been announced and Yuvraj makes a comeback after the disastrous Australian tour earlier this year. Yuvraj is all set to grab the vacant spot in the Indian middle order after the retirement of Sourav Ganguly. The rest of the squad will remain the same with Sehwag and Gambhir at the top of the order.

Zaheer and Ishant will take the new ball with Harbajan and Amit Mishra managing the spin department at least for the first test in Chennai. I would put the Indians as the favorites in this two test series going by the recent form and the strength of the squads. England just have two world class performers and would rely heavily on their captain Kevin Pieterson and Andrew Flintoff to have a chance in this series.

This series is very important for cricket in India after the Mumbai blasts. A safe series would go a long way in ressurrecting India’s image among the western countries who are not that keen travelling to the sub-continent. Its funny though to see the entire western community supporting India after the attacks which shows how much impact money can have on cricket and mentality of the respective boards and players. I am sure 10 years ago the same England team would not have returned to India after a terrorist attack of such magnitude. Coming to India is advantageous for the players of the English team as it enhances their chances to be a part of the second edition of IPL.

Whatever may be the reason for the England team’s return its great for Indian cricket. I sincerely hope that this series would be a hard fought one and will be remembered for the performances on the field.