Tuesday, September 29, 2009

For the prudent Pakistan fan..

How a rational cricket fan would think:

With victories in the warm-up games followed by two wins from two games in the league stages, Pakistan are at their peak entering this tournament. The team needs to mantain its intensity by thoroughly beating a severely weakened and impotent Australian one-day side and go into the semi-final stages with a 100% win record which would be an added boost to their confidence.

How a Pakistani cricket fan SHOULD think:

We have victories in the warm-up games and two wins from two games in the league stages and risk going into the semis UNDEFEATED!

We're so screwed.

AS things stand, we're through to the semis so why tempt fate by being ungrateful and asking for more. Temporarily resting on one's laurels is a severely underappreciated form of leisure. Look at it this way, if the Aussies beat us, Pakistan and Australia go through to the final and India get knocked out completely. How sweet would that be?

More importantly, a loss to Australia ensures we get a defeat out of our system to satisfy the law of averages. Look, we're not capable of having a perfect track record and we need to get a loss out of the way as soon as possible before it occurs at a time when it can hurt us. Our players are at their worst when they are in a comfort zone (except Younis Khan who always tries hard and expects the most from himself no matter whether its a crunch game or dead rubber). Once we lose, we'll be startled out of our complacency and will be less likely to slack off in the semis and the final, since we ARE making the finals.

Imran KIND OF had it right when he said we play at our best when we're cornered tigers. But we need to get cornered first for those fighting instincts to come to the fore. Otherwise we're like a kind of gay tiger who stumbled onto his first kill (which was injured to begin with) and was lucky to get his second since the prey almost turned the tables on him.

If Australia beat us and India beat West Indies by a VERY substantial margin that MAY mean India go through to the semis with us. Thats the tricky part. Because then, if we get to the finals, we might meet India there and I dont think we as a nation can handle that. I know I cant. And I don't envy our chances in beating India twice in a major tournament.

Plus, the Indian cricket team is a more like us than they're given discredit for. If they're doing badly in the early stages of a tournament, they're more likely to win it under the guise of underdogs since they wont have the enormous pressure of expectations their unreasonable country puts on them.
Right now, I can console myself with the fact that we beat India. That'll be all for naught if they come back to win the tournament.

Also, lets hope we meet New Zealand in the semis. A good luck charm if there ever was one. Mark Guptill zindabad. Incidentally, if we're ever stupid enough to declare war against India, we should first first invade New Zealand and shoot a few nukes down there. Whenever we kick kiwi ass, we always go on to do greater things.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Meeting Mr. Miandad

I think I've been waiting my entire life to hear something like this:

Lifelong thanks to OQ for alerting me to this.

I have a theory about this song: If you're from Pakistan and you dont like it or enjoy it, then the odds are that you're probably a bad person who is unhappy in his/her life, incredibly bitter, jaded and cynical and most probably a drag to be around.

If India does manage to beat us, I think this is the only song which could cheer me up.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hey Nadal, how’d that feel?

The ingredients are all there. Maybe it seems familiar. Want me to paint you a picture?

Utter demolition. Complete annihilation. Abject embarrassment. A great athlete undeservedly humbled by a player possibly great, but not legendary.

Ring a bell, Rafa?

No, this isn’t the 2007 French Open final. This is YOUR life, September 13, Flushing Meadows. Eat it!

That medicine’s pretty hard to swallow isn’t it? Yeah well I hope you choke on it because, as a Federer fan, you’ve been shoveling it down our throats for the last 3 straight years.

I don’t dislike Nadal. In fact, he’s quite possibly my second favorite player on the tour. It says a lot for Nadal that, by and large, he doesn’t really inspire hatred in the fans of his chief rival. Think about it: in most sporting rivalries you’re duty-bound to hate the other guy. If you were an Agassi fan, you despised Sampras. If Messi floats your boat, Cristiano probably sinks it. If you’re an Alonso-phile, then you’re most probably anti-Hamilton. If you think Shawn Michaels is the greatest thing in pro wrestling, then you would entertain the notion that Bret Hart is the worst thing to happen to it (okay, I lost you with that last one).

But, as endearing as he is, one thing Federer fans can’t forgive Nadal for is how ordinary he makes an undisputed legend like Roger look. He reduced him to tears at the Australian. He took his Wimbledon title in the greatest sports match ever played. His looping, spin-infested forehand has given people the illusion that Federer’s backhand is actually “weak”. And then there was Roland Garros ’07.

Man. Roland Garros 2007. A lot of us just wish that day could forever be blotted from our memory. I hate getting into it.

But it’s a day like today which makes me want to revisit it.

Nadal was completely dominated and outplayed by Del Potro today as Federer was by Nadal two years ago. I don’t want to use the word outclassed, because I think Nadal may be “great”-er than Del Potro could ever be. But you can see it in Nadal’s face today. He’s irritable, tetchy, self-reproachful, and just altogether negative. You don’t see it very often. If at all. I saw flashes of it the day when Tsonga spanked him in the Australian semis. But Nadal is mostly renowned to keep his frustrations in check. Something Federer prides himself on (during matches) but failed to do at Roland Garros. Everyone came down on him for that. They used it as some sort of psychological marker of his athletic inadequacy.

The fact that Federer has a poor head-to-head record against Nadal is the ONLY thing anti-Feds have left to use against him after Federer’s phenomenal 2009 summer. The fact that he couldn’t unlock Nadal’s game seemed equivalent to the holy grail.

Which is why I’m glad that Nadal is finally being punished for his style of play. Nadal’s topsin-heavy forehands probably gives Federer nightmares. Armed with it, Nadal relentlessly assaults Federer’s backhand, forcing him to play an extremely uncomfortable shot with the ball above shoulder height. Unfortunately for Nadal, that height sits up just about perfectly for Del Potro to lace with his 6 foot 7 forehand.


See that’s why I’ve never given a damn about assholes who go around saying that Federer can’t be considered great due to Nadal’s dominance against him. Look, dicks. Federer has beaten everyone under the sun and has more talent in his well manicured finger than Nadal has in his entire manufactured body. But it’s just a helluva coincidence that Nadal’s game has been built PERFECTLY to counter Federer’s. The kind of loop and spin Nadal gets from his left handed forehand is probably God’s most perfect weapon against Federer. And, I really think Roger was on track to conquering it soon, following his performance at Madrid and his keenness with the drop shot and backhand slice. But, as things stood, it seemed like the heavens were conspiring against Federer when Rafa’s game was being hewn.

And it’s that VERY game which has come back to haunt Nadal today and bite him in the ass.

I don’t know how you interpret 6-2 6-2 6-2 as any thing other than a complete humiliation. Nadal just did NOT know what was going on. At least Tsonga used to come to the net and play those audacious drop shots. But Del Potro just barged into Nadal’s house, the baseline, and dictated the game from there. In many ways, he out-Nadaled Nadal.

So if anybody thought Roger didn’t deserve the “greatest of all time” title following Roland Garros 2 years ago, then I’m sorry but Nadal just lost his right to that label after today’s massacre. It’s a day Nadal will never forget. Maybe he’ll be the better for it, as Roger definitely was. But then Roger is a legend. And Nadal is simply “great”.