My World Through My Words

June 23, 2010

The Ball in My Court : 4

Filed under: Sports,Uncategorized — ashwinvk84 @ 10:55 pm

Well I’m back with my weekly round-up of all the sporting action. The most important one being that the Lakers won the NBA title. The English Football team is proving again their rubbish when it comes to the World Cup. The Indian Cricket team finally looks like they are kicking into gear. RadioShack team for the Tour de France was announced yesterday. Tiger Woods was showing glimpses of getting back into top form. And all the major seeds for Wimbledon look shaky to say the least except for Rafael Nadal who looks like he is carrying his Roland Garros form here. Also Ferrari has signed on Pat Fry from Mclaren for the remainder of the season and has some new development for the exhaust system.

Well the Lakers took their 16th title without much effort from the Celtics in game 6 and 7 of the play-offs. Well what can I say other than that the Celtics looked like they were in with a shout of the title when they won game 5 at the Garden and took a 3-2 lead in the series. The Celtics for once started looking their age; Ray Allen looked atrocious at times except in game 2 of the play-offs. The bench didn’t step up in game 6 & 7 and losing Kendrick Perkins was not easy. But the biggest flaw of the Celtics was not playing the offence through the ever reliable Rajon Rondo. Rondo should have been given the freedom to run the offensive plays for them on the court but he was isolated and the plays were run through the trio of Pierce-Garnett-Allen. Next year the Celtics should try to bring in some athleticism into the team from the bench through some young legs in the draft and free agencies. And if Rasheed Wallace plans to retire like the reports say he is then we need someone to fill that hole. Ray Allen should be re-signed and play off the bench as a sharp shooter and start lesser games; really his legs aren’t keeping up with him. And the biggest factor should be to extend Doc Rivers contract as I feel he is the perfect man for the job. So if they can fill up the above mentioned holes then I can see another Championship fight in the horizon, so bring on next season.

The English were looking so bad I had the feeling that any of the bottom placed teams in the premier league would have given them a run for their money. I mean there was no team chemistry, no urgency, it was a like a team of individuals than a team. The biggest culprit of the lot has to be Frank Lampard, I mean this guy was one of the players of the season for Chelsea but I think I didn’t even see him for more than a couple of minutes the entire game against Algeria. But it would be wrong to put the entire blame on him, the entire team was equally to blame the defense looked good but Ashley Cole has not been going up field in support of the attack, Heskey well was doing exactly what we expected him to do absolutely nothing. I felt that the time had come to change the team strategy, which is exactly what Capello did for today’s match against Slovenia. He dumped Heskey and Lennon, coz clearly the pace of Lennon was not helping in any way at all; but both the changes Milner and Defoe proved to be the right choice when they combined to score the games only goal. Rooney who has been ineffective till now, showed some sparks of life, but was still searching for the elusive first goal of the tournament when he was substituted by Joe Cole. All in all the English did enough to progress to the next round, but the fact of the matter is that they are going to face a tough and in-form opponent in Germany because of qualifying second in their group. All I can hope is that the team can build on their good play from this match and hit top form against ze Germans.

The Indians are finally waking up from their summer slumber in the Asia Cup. They played well enough against the Bangladeshi’s and had a cracker of a match against Pakistan that went to the last few balls. Gambhir looks like he is back to his best form, and with Dhoni, Raina and the rest of the middle order looking in fine touch I feel that the batting looks good for the reminder of the year. The bowling on the other hand can improve a couple of notches the spin department looks fine with Harbhajan Singh and the pace bowling department can improve a lot with Zaheer Khan looking to get back into top form, and there is still no clear partner for him. And the Indian search for the All-rounder continues today, and clearly Jadeja is not the answer. We need a fast bowling all-rounder and I can’t believe that a country that eat, sleep and live cricket can’t produce a decent one. It would bring some great balance to the team if we had one and also a genuine pace bowler who can bowl constantly at over 145kmph. These are the holes that the BCCI and the selection committee need to fill at the earliest. Another problem I see is the fitness of the players like Sehwag and Yuvraj, I know cricket is not a sport which requires you to be ripped or anything but at least they should keep a minimum level of fitness, this problem leads to other injury as in the case of both these players and also all our fast bowlers. A sportsmen needs to keep fit at all times even during their breaks, but Indian players look like small buffalos when they come back from their breaks and vacations. Hopefully the new generation of Indian cricket players can learn something about fitness from their counter-parts from countries like Australia, England and South Africa.

Johan Bruyneel announced the 9 member team for this year’s Tour de France. There were a couple of surprise exclusions Jose Luis ‘Chechu’ Rubiera and Haimar Zubeldia both veterans of the Tour de France. Chechu has been instrumental in five of Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour victories by leading him up the mountains. Zubeldia has had some top performance in the tour with him finishing 5th in the year 2003 and 2007. So both the exclusion seems a bit odd. That said the team looks strong still with veterans like Leipheimer, Kloden and Horner. And the support riders like Paulinho, Muravyev, Popovych, Rast and Brajkovic looking good on any team. With Armstrong finally showing some form in the Tour de Suisse this team may finally be able to propel Armstrong to an 8th Tour de France victory against former team-mate Alberto Contador. So hope for the best and the team can deliver in the Alps and the Pyrenees where it matters the most.

Tiger Woods finally made the world sit up and watch when he finally cut loose and blitze the field on the third round of the US open at pebble beach. Though he finished tied fourth with Phil Mickelson 3 shots behind the eventual winner Graeme McDowell. But the third round was enough for the all the players to take notice that Woods was nearly back to top form. Tiger said that it was only mental errors that cost him a 15th major. What was missing in the other three rounds of the open was his uncanny ability to close down problem holes or his ability to save par from extremely difficult situations. If Woods can find this he’ll be back to his lethal best. Lets face it people the game isn’t the same without Tiger stalking the fairways.

Wimbledon has been looking extremely difficult for the top seeded men’s players except for the aggressive Nadal. All the top seeds from Federer, Djokovic, Murray, Roddick, Davydenko, Verdasco have had a tough start to the tournament, with the latter two losing. It looks as if the title is Nadal’s to lose he’s playing his best game where he uses behind the baseline ground strokes and his fast footwork for a lot of court coverage. He looks to be back to his pre-injury best. But the talking point of this years Wimbledon will be the epic match between 19 seed John Isner and unseeded Nicolas Mahut which when I last looked has been suspended due to bad light at 59 all in the fifth set. The match has been going on for close to 10 hours with the fifth set going on for more than 6 hours which is the more than the previous longest match. The match will resume sometime today. It has already taken the title of longest match in tennis history but also tumbling all kinds of records of individual statistics like aces served with both players beating the previous best. The match going on to its third day will cruelly force the winner to take on his next round opponent almost immediately after it’s over. Well it’s great to see that the Football World Cup can be upstaged by two relatively unknown players in the greatest Tennis tournament in the world.

Ferrari is looking to bounce back from the recent debacles with a completely redesigned exhaust system among other changes for both the cars in the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix. It is said to shave off half a second on lap times. Well let’s just hope for the best because all the recent upgrades have failed to live up to expectations. Mclaren’s look strong and if the Red Bulls can keep from crashing into each other, then Ferrari has their work cut out. With Pat Fry joining the team as Asst. Technical Director hopefully some new insights as well as some new strategies can be devised for the coming races, because it must be said that Ferrari has clearly been chasing the pack rather than being at the top of it.

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