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Bad Luck Amit Mishra! Caption this -

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Ever since Sreesanth and Harbhajan are back playing together, Mishra has just been watching them from the sidelines. Though for Mishra's ommision, Ojha is more responsible, but I couldn't resist myself from blaming Freesanth a bit. Even in their friendship talks, Amit is now kept aside like this -

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Well Done NZ!

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Test Cricket is certainly not dead. Sometimes it can just be a nail-biter too. And fine example is the 1st Test between Pakistan and New Zealand. So...T20 and Lalit Modi can and have to wait. And so can One day Internationals. The Vettori led and coached inexperienced team managed to get better of Pakistan in time. I pity Umar Akmal though. A veteran from Pakistan could have blamed the pitch for deteriorating or anything wrong happening, but this young boy has spoken everything with his bat. This shows the failure of rest of the batsmen to chase a score as low as 250 runs. These many runs are certainly considered low in test matches.

Vettori must have got thousands of hugs from his female physio now. Poor fella!

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Mohammads For Pakistan

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Mohammad Asif has made a wonderful comeback to Test cricket, and with his counterpart- the young sensation Mohammad Aamer, he managed to destroy the New Zealand batting order. Unlike the first innings where Vettori and his boys made better of the Pakistani bowlers, both Asif and Aamer wre very good and bowled good lines. This new Pakistani bowling lineup seems to be very good. Both the Mohammads have the ability to swing and seam the ball, but what Mohammad Aamer is doing for his country at such a young age is really remarkable. He has really proved himself and Asif requires no introduction. Though Pakistan have lost the match because of some great bowling by the New Zealanders, one can say that this new bowling pair is looking very dangerous. This pair has the ability to match India's recent successful bowling pair of Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma. The two Mohammads can do it for Pakistan and I wish them all the very best for the rest of the series.

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Whaddup with Gauti?

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I did forget to mention Gautam Gambhir in the previous post. He is perhaps the most wanted by the villan - Complacent. LOL! I could not have thought of any name for this villan. Suggest me one if you know anything better than this. Someone's comparing him with Sunil Gavaskar, someone is awarding him checks of big amounts and few precious trophies, someone thinks he will lead India in the future. When I had a debate with my friends on this future captain of India, all they said was "Abbe pehle future tak usse team mein toh rehne de"(At least let him be in the playing XI in future). They were right on spot with this answer. He still faces a stiff competition from players like JP Duminy, deVilliers for world glory. There are many more that I can't remember.

In my opinion he is yet to face the real test on fast pitches like the ones in West Indies, South Africa. I didn't mention Australia above for the reason being that he did pretty well there last year.
Like any other young promising batsman in India, he has been a lion in his backyard. He looks technically perfect to be honest. The only problem that lags him behind is there aren't going to be many tests his country will play. And well...he is missing the next test too due to his sister's wedding. Seriously, a bad time for the wedding season to come in India. This also showcases his weaknesses. His biggest being the lack of ability to clear big grounds. But as there is this commonly known phrase says -

When there is a will, there is a way...
He is best known to bisect the gaps easily courtesy some good timing. He cannot loose these skills overnight. All he can loose is his form and fitness thanks to Lalit Modi and Co. for their business league, better known as IPL. It will be interesting to see how he carries himself in the future.

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Play on India!

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First of all, congrats to Team India for their 100th great win against still a weak team in tests - Sri Lanka. Now you might think I am mad for calling a World No.2 team weak. Apologies to all SL fans out there. But hey, beating a side that did not even tour with the dangerous slinger and the Matara Marauder is still weak. Moreover, if you see, all the recent sucess that Sri Lanka has tasted has been against lower ranked test nations - New Zealand and Pakistan. To me this win doesn't mean much. There is still a long way to go. Let's hope India doesn't be for what it is best known to be - Complacent. They win 1-2 games, become complacent and this is it. The series is gone out of their hands. And one fine example is the thumping received against a depleted Australian lineup in the ODI series.

Sreesanth looked good, so did Ojha. Bhajji seems to have secured his place in the playing XI at least till the tour against Bangladesh. I pity Ishant and Mishra. Seems like they too had a dose of complacency. And now they are found warming up the bench and having some doses of painkillers.

Now the question comes...can this so-called potential World Champions guard against complacency and go on to win the whole series against the hurt lions still searching for a win in India?

Coming back to this game though, as I had hoped before, the pitch did start to deteriorate once Dilshan and Paranavitana came out on Day 2. And well...you all know the story there on. Ojha took a nervous catch on the first ball, Sreesanth probably bowled the best spell of his career so far(I hope there are more to come), Zak looked average though. Bhajji as said before, bowled in right areas.

Certainly, I have been gifted my birthday present this year by team India!

Back to the business, play on India.

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An all Indian day!

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Finally after a long time we have experienced a solid opening partnership by Gauti-Viru. In ODIs one might blame Sachin for blocking the next Ganguly-Sachin like opening partners. But hey, even he is doing his job well.

Never mind, back to the present game. After already witnessing two great tons, I do hope as an Indian supporter to see Dravid and Tendulkar cementing their positions on-field and score a ton tomorrow. But who knows, the pitch might just get better for the bowlers later. In fact if you see, even in the last game played at Kanpur where both Gambhir and Sehwag featured in an opening partnership was against South Africa in 2004 where they took the toll to 218 runs.
That game resulted in a draw. Let's hope it doesn't happen this time around. I won't say the pitch will continue to be a batting paradise for whole 5 days like the one in Ahmedabad. I just think the Sri Lankans weren't up to the mark, especially Mendis. It could have been much better for them...really better had Mahela not dropped Sehwag when he wasn't even off the mark. Sehwag really did punish all the bowlers after that cautious little period early during the morning session.

India look good enough to take the team total to at least 600 runs if they don't collapse. Tomorrow's first hour could be an important one especially for Dravid if he wants to capitalize his innings and score about 150 runs. The Indians have a strong line-up to come. But on a day even the line-up loaded with the likes of Laxman, Yuvraj and Dhoni can falter. And as I said before, if the pitch starts cracking up...expect Murali and Mendis to take revenge. In fact only these two, all the bowlers could come very handy.

Some Shocking Decisions

I turned my Television on at around 8:30 AM waiting for toss only to here the changes made in the lineups of both the teams.

First up was India - Sreesanth comes in for Ishant, Ojha for Mishra. The former one in my opinion was totally atrocious. How can Dhoni and Co. loose confidence in him. Did Dhoni forgot how he used to show confidence in players like Yuvraj(during his early reign as captain) who were once going through bad form? Ishant has to be considered a bit unlucky. If you see, he did well in the first two games against Australia during the ODI series. Yet when he got a little expensive figures to show in the 3rd ODI, he was dropped for the rest of the series. And yet again, Dhoni expected him to bring in some wickets for the team on a dead flat batting track.

Mishra's exclusion was no less than atrocious too. Again, Dhoni seems to have lost confidence in a young talented spinner bringing in another young turner. I anyways won't say much about it...after all it is Ojha's birthday today!

Then came the Sri Lankan captain. At once I thought Sangakkara might have made a good decision to bring back Mendis for injured Damika Prasad. But later, when he was taken apart by all the Indian batsmen, Sanga might himself be ruing this decision. Well...he has at least shown some faith in Mendis.

By the tomorrow is my 15th birthday. And so as a birthday gift, I do hope to see the Indians end this match as well as the whole series on a winning note.

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Cricket Revolution - The Perfect Cricket Game

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A drought is certainly over. This one was for cricket games which lasted for whole 2 years. First came Ashes Cricket 09.Then came my very own much anticipated game - Cricket Revolution. But why was I anxious for it more than AC09? Here is the answer why -

Pakistan's First Cricket Game launches:
Yeah! You heard it right. A first for Pakistan in 3D gaming industry! Developed by Mindstorm Studios owned by two Pakistani brothers - Babar and Faraz Ahmed, this game was first supposed to release on 18th September on the fantastic game distributing platform - Steam. After a lot of demand for the boxed version as well from the fans, the release date was postponed to 30th October. Just before the game released, a closed beta test was conducted for a week or so. And I was part of it. That was the real turning point for my love and anticipation for this game increased. This game didn't really create much hype compared to Ashes Cricket 09 from Codies. Yet for me...this game is by far the best played so far.

The Real Turner -

There has been some criticism about other cricket games where they lack realism in their gameplay. But this is not the case with CR. You can't really hit every ball out of the ground like in other games. This is where CR has overpowered all others quite convincingly.

Though it doesn’t have the so-called complete 360° batting control or any analog keys(or whatever EA featured in Cricket 07), but hey, you have a vast variety of shots( a lot more than any cricket game so far). Total 34 in number! Right from defensive strokes, single key shots to combo shots and slogs and lofts. My personal favorite is the slog hit over Mid-wicket region.

Bowling is much like EA Cricket 07, other than the variety again. You have fast bowlers, swing bowlers, medium-fast bowlers and of course spinners. Another major difference is something you might find difficult to cope up with. That is the bowling marker. But with a bit of Practice you can master it.

What has really enhanced this game is the AI. Again, you can’t bowl them out cheaply. They are much intelligent than AI’s of other games. They will bowl you out with perfection. The margin for error is low but not zero. In a 10-10 over game you can score around 60-70 runs if you hit the ball in vacant areas. But timing and your positioning is everything. Unlike other games, where if the ball marker is a bit away from the batsman and still he manages to play his shots on the leg side, this is never going to happen here. If you’ll try this you are about to snick the ball to either the slips or the short-thirdman (AI always places a fielder in either of the places). As far as the timing is concerned, it is really important to be perfect here…if timed early, the ball will fly in the fielder’s hand and if timed late, a lofted or slog hit just rolls down the ground.

The only disappointment comes with the missing of Autoplay and replays.

Online Play –

Certainly it is another important aspect of the game. It can be a bit disappointing at times since P2P(peer to peer) online gaming means that gaming conditions are perfect only if you play somewhere in your country or somewhere around that. Anything above a ping of 300ms could result in bad lag. But it doesn’t really matter sometimes even if it goes above as long as you run your brain well. Sometimes the online matches are real fun. You have the option of playing either friendly or ranked ones. Ranked matches do affect your account ranking in the Leaderboard. In fact not only yours, but your country’s rank as well. Again, the point where it has edged out AC09 is the online quitters. You quit a game yourself, and your opponent is declared the winner. So there’s no place for losers.

But the problem is that you can’t beat cheaters…no matter if quitting games results in being counted as loss. They use dirty tricks to win games. They will ball you at a negative line well outside the off-stump. Sometimes they place the fielders at the boundaries straight down the ground, at the mid-wicket and the cover region. And they will flood you with over-pitched deliveries just to hit it straight to their throats. But if you are intelligent enough, you can easily beat them. Let them place their fielders anywhere…it’s you who have to place your shots.

Sound effects and Music –

The music track is pretty good. Even quite a lot of sound effects such as the sound of the bat while hitting the ball, the background sound such as police siren and such are realistic. The only disappointment there is the ball hitting the advertising boards just ahead of the ropes. They sound more like drums than regular wooden boards.

Oh and did I tell you that there is no commentary in the game at present?! For some it is sad, but I am pretty happy with it. The reason for my happiness is that I anyways mute the commentary after a few matches in other games.

Graphics –

They need a bit of improvement. Not a bit…in fact much. For instance the ball looks well above the fielder’s head yet he catches it at chest level. It gets funny at times as well as annoying when that freakish catch becomes the turning point of the game.

Formats and Tournaments in CR –

Currently only 10,20 and 50 over formats are available. Sad to see no test match mode. Test cricket is dying quite possibly. But the developers have said that they will most likely add it in the future.

In CR there are three types of tournaments – Exhibition mode, Fast-paced knock-out better known as Revolution Cup and a league known as Revolution League.

Other Features –

In online play, you will be able to create your own clubs soon. Another feature that will be available soon are the Awards and Achievements.

Meanwhile, in case you don’t want to play with a test-playing nation, there is a massive list of other countries you can choose for offline modes.

Conclusion -

A casual gamer might not be comfortable with Cricket Revolution. In my opinion this game is meant for real hardcore cricket gamers.

Total Score –

Gameplay – 8.5/10

Sound and Music – 7/10

Online Mode – 8/10

Graphics – 5/10

Customization – 9/10

Overall – 8/10

Visit the game website - www.cricketrevolution.com

See the review here as well - http://www.bukisa.com/articles/195136_cricket-revolution-the-perfect-cricket-game

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Story of Ind-SL 1st test...So Far

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My first post after a long time!

It couldn't have gone any worse for the Indian team. They really seem to be out of colors ever since the IPL. Oh well...in a way ever since I wrote my last post. They seem to be lacking the self-confidence and form that they carried with them coming into the year 2009.

The 3rd day was totally dominated by the Lankans thanks to some over-defensive tactics by MSD. This is one kind of a situation where Aussie captain, Ricky Ponting found himself when his team came to India for a four match test series last year. All strange tactics, flat fielding and bowling resulted in zero-pressure on the Lankan batsmen. But you can't really steal the credit from their batsmen as well. They seemed to have batted India out of this game totally. The current lead is around 165 runs. Expect the lead to increase to at least 250 runs, and then the SL bowlers would have enough time to test the so-called experience batting order of Indians.

What really annoyed me was the fact that the singles kept coming on quite easily. I wouldn't have set such a field even in shorter formats of the game. MSD seems to be lacking his out-of-the-box thinking. Or if you would like...his stars are not shining, therefore his gambles not paying off well. But why blame him alone? Some non-sensical and lousy bowling also resulted in Jayawardene duo getting away. Mishra just kept bowling from around the wicket, outside the leg to both the batsmen expecting the ball to turn miles(which of course even Warnie would have been able to do). Bhajji still seamed to be confused and a bit insecure. And part time bowling of Yuvi was at its worse. Either he bowled short, or bowled non-turning half volleys with 5-6 fielders outside the 30 yard circle. Ishant and Zaheer too looked decent enough.

Indian Batting in the 1st Innings -

The first half or so of the game sent shockwaves throughout the dressing room. Right after the 6th ODI against Australia played earlier this November, this was another top-order collapse. I remember Viru once said how fatherhood has made him more responsible even in his game. It seemed true for quite a while. Sehwag injured...he came back and with him came back the showdows of his gameplay during his early days when he used to get out trying to hit every ball out of the park. As one senior batsman, one does not expect this out of him. And the collapse continued to follow...Sigh. But again, the SL have stolen the credit for utilizing the early conditions well, especially Welegedara. Yuvraj,Dhoni and Dravid played extremely well to help India reach a total which looked completely out of India's reach.

What Can really Happen Now?

For India, it's near to nothing. They failed to attack Lankans the way a top team is expected to do. As an Indian supporter, I do hope to see India coming back well and at least saving their skin by drawing the game.

On the other hand, Sri Lanka have got an excellent chance to register their first win on Indian soil. Tomorrow's day is going to be very interesting and important one!

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An update big time!

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Alright so...after a long break we are back! I had a long chat with Shanav and Satya and finally we decided not to blog this blog even an inch anywhere outside Blogger.com. Even I was having a tough time developing on Wordpress(Ah! A long story...never mind 'bout that).

Let me inform you though, we are looking for a new refreshing template for Crick-O. Nevertheless...WE are really back this time around.

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