I shook Chetan Sharma’s hand

I first hooked up to cricket when I learnt that India was playing England in a WC semis in ’87 WC. India lost that game (I didnt understand how and why) however, it was heartbreaking for everyone around me and a little for me too. About the time I started loving the game of cricket and became a regular follower I saw a game, again Ind Vs Eng.. however this time around I saw India beat England courtsey a hundred by Chetan Sharma’s 100 and a partnership with Sidhu chasing a big score.. (must have been more than 220 being 20 years ago) and that was the time I developed a soft corner for Chetan Sharma.. and didnt happen to see him for long in the team before he finally retired a little after 1992 WC ( I think).
Yesterday, while taking my wife out shopping in a mall in Gurgaon, I caught a sight of the same Chetan Sharma.. and it was more than just thrill to me… I couldnt find a pen or a piece of paper to get his autograph as I walked upto him and he could well have made out my nervousness. He was very humble and polite as I told him how excited I was to see him in person. He gave me an autograph and even SHOOK MY HAND. It was amazing… truly.
This will go down as one of my most memorable moments in life.
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Match Review : Champions Trophy – Ind Vs Pak

What started as a pretty good effort by Indian bowling holding Pak at 134/3 in 30 overs turned into 300 score and eventually a loss by 54 runs. Who do you blame – bowlers for throwing away after doing the hard work or middle order batsman to screw up rather comfortable positions in the chase. Actually none. Every captain, however good, has a learning curve during which he is bound to make a decision which turn out bad, which make him a better captain eventually, given that he learns from it. I think thats what happened with Dhoni and I truly believe he is sensible enough to take out the learnings. Here’s a list of things I think could have been thought differently –

  • In the 1st innings, people will usually blame captains for not being aggressive after a big parternship, however, they dont have a foresight of that either. I guess after the Pak batsman started giving signs of agression after the 30th over, the field setting and the bowling changes could have been more appropriate, especially the field. Eg. moving fine third man wide as soon as four went there was a wrong move, you can usually figure that batsman can always cut wide and thats where the ball would travel faster. Anyways… the finish of the innings was fine.
  • If India has to play 3 fast bowlers, atleast one should be equipped to bowl at the death as India ends up bowling too many part timers overs and even one full time bowler not doing well on the day impacts the whole plan big time.
  • Gambhir was doing a fantastic job, however, Dravid seems out of sorts and desperately needs to find his form back. Out of 27 ball difference between his runs and balls, if he would have taken 10 more singles, India would have been much better position in the chase inspite of losing the top order.
  • Dhoni needs to realize that, given the lack of experience in the middle order, he has to stay back to finish the chases and cannot leave it to the likes of Pathan and Raina and Pathan should bat above Dhoni is a chase. Pathan is wonderful to finish when setting a score, however, its a huge risk leaving a chase to him. Raina is developing as a good No. 5 for the team, so I guess Dhoni has to stick to No. 6 for a chase (effectively coming when last 80 odd runs are needed) and put Pathan at 7 which would give him experiencing the chasing with Dhoni as well.

As I said, its a learning curve and really hope Dhoni takes out some good learnings from this game which show up in the Aus game