Friday, October 20, 2006

Shailesh J Mehta School of Management (SJMSOM), IIT Bombay, my alma mater is conducting its annual BFest - Avenues. They have an interesting online quiz running. Check it out.

This format of quizzing is the latest fad on the internet. Remember to read the rules carefully and check out the Avenues blog as it has some pretty nice clues, in case you get stuck, which I promise you will. The quiz has apparantly already been cracked, but dont let that stop you. It can be quite addictive once you crack the initial few rounds. And oh, I am not even halfway through yet!

Micket 2006

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Its that time of the Cricket calender again. The jamboree reaches India for 3 weeks of Micket - Mickey mouse cricket. What else can you call it? When you have all the cricket playing nations in the world - from the mighty Australia to the hopeless Zimbabwe and Bangladesh - playing for glory and you dont call it the World Cup, and you schedule it exactly 6 months before the world cup, it has to be called mickey mouse cricket, a comic caper which is somehow supposed to set the world afire.

Cricket administrators have never been known for their creativity. How else can you call a tournament that has all the cricket playing nations in the world, the Champions Trophy? We have heard of the Champions League in Football in which the top teams of Europe compete against each other. Then there is the Champions Trophy in Hockey in which only the top 6 teams in the world compete. But only in Cricket do we have this farce where every one worth playing international cricket, and some not even worth even that get a chance to play.

The Champions Trophy started in 1998 under the name mini World Cup (later changed to ICC Knockout Tournament before finally settling on Champions Trophy) to spread the gospel of cricket in the non believers of cricket religion. I spoke earlier of mickey mouse cricket, cricket almost came close to being genuinely called that as one of the places under consideration for the inaugural tournament was Disney Land. Thankfully, it never materialized. Till now 4 tournaments have taken place, with the minnows alternating between the usual suspects Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Kenya to the Netherlands and the US. Together these 5 countries played 20 matches without managing to win even one of them.

The contests between the top tier teams have also not been evenly matched, with only a few matches creating some flutter like the Ind vs Aus and Ind vs NZ contests in the 2000-01 edition in Kenya, the final of the last tournament in England when WI managed to beat England, in what can be termed as the only upset so far.

In addition none of the teams seem to be too keen in this money making exercise. Take this year’s tourney. Aus and Eng have made it abundantly clear that they don't appreciate playing in a meaningless ODI contest just before the Ashes. The Indian board isn't too keen either, as they don't like seeing all the revenue from a potential tri-series being taken away by the ICC. Never mind that the tournament itself was the brain child of Jagmohan Dalmiya when he was the ICC chief.

But the Indian paying public wont mind. They will flock even the Bdesh vs Zim game and fill the coffers of the ICC. SL and WI will make it in as the qualifiers and we will hopefully see some interesting games. There might also be some experimentation by the teams keeping the WC in mind, so dont cross your fingers. Aus or Pak might win this time, both having never made it to the final till date.

So here’s to the most meaningless tournament in the cricket calender. May you see some cricket.