Friday, April 20, 2007

A Cup of Woes..

For some of my closest friends, its indeed intriguing as to why I didn't take up sport-writing as a career. Truth is, I wanted to, but realized the futility of spending hours writing on sport but never having the pleasure of sharing the sweat, blood and tears as part of the games covered. Therefore, I decided being a sport fan shall be a venture that I shall possess on to death, but I will never make a profession of it.

But, again, in dry times, when the life gets morose and times get still, its sport that enlivens one's daily routine. Unfortunately, the enlivening part has worked for me only through two rather alien sports, Major League Baseball and Basketball of the NBA variety.

Cricket's 4 year extravaganza, the World Cup has on the other hand turned out to be a dam squib. The World Cup is seen as the saving grace for One Day Cricket, which has reached a stage of monotony from which its newest offspring, 20-20 cricket has promised to lift the sport from. Being a Test Cricket fan though, I have never relished a slammer-banger form of slam bang cricket. Yet, the ODI World Cup always turns out to be the exception, as an arena where there is a chance of full play of competition, emotions and achievements.

This World Cup promised to throw up sub-soap-operas in the form of this being a Swansong for senior cricketers such as Sachin Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Glenn McGrath, Sanath Jayasuriya, Inzamam Ul Haq and others. But more than being a swan song, the World Cup has been a harsh cup-ful of woeful cries from quite a few competitive teams, primarily India and Pakistan. Both these teams failed to qualify to the Filtered Super Eight, instead being relegated to exit by Ireland and Bangladesh. If the plot meant that these upset-garnering teams would march on to mount more meaningful opposition in the Super 8s, the results of the expectations turned out to be mild.

Meanwhile, Australia went about its juggernaut business and reeled on victory after monotonous victory. They are now unbeaten in a World Cup after last losing a game against Pakistan in the group stages of the 1999 World Cup, which is a long time ago. The only meaningful opposition they face is in the likes of Sri Lanka and New Zealand, who have shown versatility in attack and presence of mind at tough situations to march on to the Semifinals, alongwith the mercurial South African side, which somehow made it after an embarrassing loss to the Bangladeshis.

Achievement wise, Glenn McGrath and Sanath Jayasuriya timed their swansong performances to perfection, the former being the top wickettaker and leading bowler still. The World Cup has been marred by two stigmas, one, the death of Pakistani coach Bob Woolmer, which is widely seen as a murder and the near unending length of the tournament, which has taken the cup to become very dreary indeed.

All in All, this World Cup so far has been a cropper and only some good performances in the Semis can probably salvage some reputation back into the World's Premier competition.

Or else, the Thwacks of Alex Rodriguez and the epic quest of Barry Bonds to reach 756 home-runs in Baseball, the March of the Mavericks in the NBA Playoffs would have to soothe my sport-loving hormones.

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