Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Too much pressure.

Didn't have time to post anything over last few days. And even though that hasn't changed, the pressure has been steadily mounting due to anonymous and not-so-anonymous comments demanding new posts... here you are Vasudhanonymous... :)

Science first... have been spending quite a lot of time sifting through articles on wikipedia, Slashdot and Nature lately. Found an article about Sonoluminescence in March 3, 2005 issue of Nature. And even though I seem to have heard about this before, I had no idea (and going by the fact that the results appear in such a recent issue of Nature, chances are no one else had any idea either! :) ) that the temperature within the bubble can reach 15000K!!! Thats like a mini-Sun inside a tiny bubble! Some background for I-won't-click-on-any-link type people..... sonoluminescence means the process of light (visible light!!) resulting from rapid collapse of gas bubbles inside liquid (can be water!) when sound is passed through the liquid.. the gas bubbles collapse under the high pressure corresponding to the pressure crest of the soundwaves and this collapse is so rapid that the energy trapped can not escape quickly enough resulting in extremely high temperatures (AND light!). The current article reports a temperature of 15000 Kelvin!.. AND they have detected plasma (ionized gas) inside the bubbles.

Talking about too much pressure, whatever happened at Chinnaswamy? It was a great match but the 5th day was horrible for any Indian fan. The first thing that comes to your mind when you listen to a team member saying, "Our strategy tomorrow will depend on whether Sehwag gets out before lunch or not." or something to that effect and when you actually see it happening out there is the one-man-army comments that described Indian cricket team for most of the 90s. Granted, Sehwag typically scores at a much faster rate than anyone else in this team but does that mean that the others are completely incapable of playing the sort of game that would've kept Pakistanis from being completely aggressive so early in the day? Dravid, Sachin and Gambhir ensured that Inzamam knew about India's decision of not going for victory much before lunch. What are the chances that a team can survive 2.5 sessions of play on a 5th day pitch with 7 close-in fielders consistently breathing down the batsmen's neck? That they survived till only about 6-7 overs before close is amazing and probably means the pitch wasn't as bad as a typical 5th day pitch in India which makes the excessive defensive strategy look even more stupid.

Anyway, it was a memorable series. Sehwag came into his own and the same people who have been screaming hoarse about his technique not being suitable for an opener's role are now saying things like, "his technique itsn't bad, its just different from what people normally do.". He is an amazing player, probably the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket today along with Gilchrist. The good thing is that he has arrived on the scence just in time for people like me who'd have completely lost interest in cricket with Sachin's decline. Sachin still has some years and most likely some breathtaking innings in him but not many. And as good as Dravid is, he alone is probably not enough to convince me that spending 100-200 dollars for any cricket series is such a good idea. Add Sehwag to the mix and the idea doesn't sound too bad any longer.

Another thing that I'll remember about this series will probably be Inzamam's reaffirmation of his status (in my eyes, new status) as a high-class batsman. There was a time when I never considered him one of the best batsmen of our times but he has performed so well over last few seasons, ans specially against India, that I have to admit that he is special.

Then there was Steve Bucknor and his stupid antics in Kolkata. Coinciding as it did with a resurgence of Sachin, I doubt I will EVER forget that episode. Speaking of which, Sachin seems to be getting the touch back. He still looks mortal at the beginning of his innings but after a while gains the touch and will probably start playing some great innings - not just big innings - very soon... Bangalore notwithstanding. Anyway, I don't think he was at fault at Bangalore (or for the go-slow in Mohali). It seemed a team management decision.

Which brings me to Ganguly. What an absolutely unbelievably horrible nightmare the series turned out to be for him! He looked so bad that it would be a disservice not just to the team and the fans but most of all to him to allow him to continue to be in the team unless he gets his confidence back. Low-scoring streaks are one thing (Sachin has been through them.. Laxman, except a sprinkling of 50s here and there, is currently going through one), but the manner in which was dismissed throughout the series shows what a travesty of a batsman he has become. He might still have a few gutsy knocks in him, but to show that he'll have to go back to domestics, get some form back and his replacement (Kaif/Mongia/Badani? NOT Yuvraj!! Not unless he takes PS101.. Playing Spinners 101 that is...) will have to do extremely badly.

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