Top 10 Reasons Why Saddam Is Being Hanged in a Hurry

10. There is no staff available due to the holiday season after tonite to perform the execution.
09. He threatened to release his personal Iraq Study Group report while the Bush administration has barely flipped through the original ISG report.
08. Yahoo released Saddam’s IM sessions with Hugo Chavez to US Intelligence.
07. After the Tara Cotter pardon, the US was fearful of Trump pardoning Saddam.
06. Saddam just rented Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth”
05. Google would have done it, but their execution products are not due until 2008.
04. Cheney was threatening to go hunting in Iraq.
03. Youtube traffic has dropped dramatically and they need some new videos.
02. His execution is discussed in the first para of Bush’s speech to the nation next week.
01. Saddam just registered on Second Life!

Ashes: Have Some Mercy on England!

Lets face it. The Australian cricket Test team is the best in the world. At present, they are unbeatable. Any team playing Australia at home is likely to face a similar fate as England. So why single out the English team for criticism? The same English team did a lot better in India and Pak for instance.

The last Ashes was a different story, because things fell into place for England while Australia was struggling. Its a different story today. All the Aussie batsmen and bowlers are in top form. Besides, of course they have the home advantage.

The best hope is for opposing teams to wait until Warne and McGrath are out of the way with their impending retirements. The Aussie bowling attack will have to go through an adjustment phase, though they have plenty of bench strength in Stuart Clark, Watson, Johnson, and Bracken etc. That would be a time when it is possible to at least put up a fight against the Aussie team. Until then, the best teams can do is try and avoid a whitewash. England for sure seem to be certain of one at this point, not because England is any worse than other teams. Its just that England is presently in the Aussie firing line and the Aussies are just too good!

India Might Have to Count on the Weather

The roles are almost reversed in this Test as SA gained the upper hand after day 2. India’s celebrity batting line up struggled and had to depend on Sreesanth to reduce the lead to 88 runs. VVS Laxman showed once again that he is not the best player when it comes to batting with the tail at the other end (one more reason why he does not fit into the ODI team?). This was a golden opportunity for Laxman to show that he accelerate when the situation demands it.

Sachin managed his first Test fifty for the year 2006! A century from him against a quality opposition is fast becoming a dream. There is no question the master batsmen continues on a decline. Ganguly failed. Another failure in innings two and a defeat for India will give his critics plenty to complain about. The failure of the Indian batting underscores the fact that the team is way too dependent on Dravid. He fails and India has a collapse in the making. If Viru fails in innings 2 the team will do well to send him the Pathan way to grab some much need practice at the domestic level.

Unless the India bowling can restrict the SA to a small score (which seems unlikely at the moment), India will need all the help it can from the weather to save this Test. On the other hand if India manages to trigger a SA collapse, India should have an achievable target on its hands to once again Test its celebrity batting line up.

Ishant who?

There have been report in the media that Ishant Sharma will be sent in as a replacement for Irfan Pathan. No offence to Ishant or his talent. But this move begs many questions. There is no one with more experience than someone playing his maiden first class season who fits the need? Remember the time when Noel David was sent to Australia and Sachin, then captain asked, “Noel who?” because he had never heard of him. Are Dravid & co., familiar with Ishant and his skills or is there some behind the scenes activity behind his proposed selection?

Good to hear that the plan to send in Ishant is called off. It makes no sense to say the least unless the team management is very familiar with him and specifically ask for him to be sent in and the selectors can convincingly argue that he is the best India has to offer as an alternative.

Cricket: India vs SA

A great win for India. After being thrashed in the ODI series India came back strongly to win the first test. On the eve of the second Test which promises a key contest, here are a few key thoughts from the first Test.

  • Almost all of India’s batsmen (barring Jaffer) displayed shades of their class. Barring Laxman’s 73 and Dada’s 51 none of the others could extend their starts to make a big score. But the positive sign was that all the key players did well enough to show that they are in the right form to make big scores in the remaining tests.
  • India’s bowlers despite a strong show in first innings, struggled quite a bit in the second. Offered 7-2 fields all three of India’s pacers strayed down the leg side quite often. In low scoring games this can make a huge difference. Prince and Pollock appeared so much in control at one time and but for Pollock’s wild swing at Kumble the match could have been a lot closer.
  • SA didn’t just get their bowling right in this Test. To compound matters, they lost Dale to an injury half way through. The same could very easily happen to India in the second Test! (especially if a half fit Munaf returns the side!). India could end up missing a fifth bowler though the they pulled off a famous victory in the first Test with just four bowlers.
  • Sreesanth’s six of Nel and his jiggle that followed underscored his aggressive nature. His well deserved MoM award hopefully does not make him over confident. For someone who is so early in his career, he has shown alarming non-cricketing changes in a very short time. Strange outfits like a black full sleeve in-shirt, colored hair, repeatedly gesturing with the cross-sign (despite being a Hindu), all kinds of threads and necklaces, self chatter on the way back to him run up, to name a few (wonder how much of this was around before he hit the national stage). It would help him and his team cause if he focused more on his game and less on playing to the cameras. He needn’t look far. His co-seamers Zaheer and Irfan were not long ago walking down the modeling ramp before they saw their cricketing fortunes slump.
  • VRV brings back memories of Javagal Srinath in his early days. Fast and bangs the ball in hard, but seldom pitches far enough to trouble the batsman. When he does pitch up its usually over pitched. VRV could benefit by watching Javagal in action on the NZ tour (one of his last tours) to discover the right length. Meanwhile, bringing back Munaf would be a useful move provided he can last the Test match without an injury.
  • India could use a left hander in the top order just as SA could use a left arm seamer to add some variety to the 5 man right arm pace attack. Opening with Gambhir in place of Jaffer might be a good bet to unsettle SA, which seems all set to go in with 5-man right arm pace attack. If Pathan’s bowling form was any better, he might have been a worthy wild card experiment to open the batting with Viru and serve as the fifth bowler. However, at this point it appears that a defeat in the second Test might be required before India goes down this path even with Gambhir.
  • This Test saw the return of former discards, Dada and Zaheer. Hats off to Dada for applying himself and fighting his way back. A couple more innings will be required to firm up his return. Two back to back defeats could still dramatically change his fortunes. But for now, the Prince of Kolkata deserves a big salute for his show in the first Test. He certainly showed more grit and skill than most people anticipated.
  • India meanwhile sent Pathan home to play Ranji cricket. Its a great move. If Viru fails to make a big score this series, he could benefit from a similar exercise. A break from International cricket when out of form can be the best for both the team and the player himself as proven in the case of Dada and Zaheer. Its a pity that Viru wasn’t given a break especially in ODIs where his form over the last three years has been highly questionable.

My Thai Has Some Competition

The My Thai restaurant has a virtual monopoly, especially over the desi crowd in the Fremont area. The food is good and the decor decent, though the service is quite slow. For many years now, My Thai has been a very popular place, frequented largely by the Asian Indian population. We recently discovered another restaurant, comparable on all fronts to My Thai named Simply Thai located in Newark (border of Fremont and Newark, cross street newark Blvd., and Jarvis Avenue). Its been around for just three months, so its unlikely that many have heard about it. Worth visiting for sure!

Team India: Might Just Be a Slow Start

Team India has been struggling on this tour. With the Tests just round the corner there is plenty to be concerned about for the team management starting with repeated failure of the batsmen. The good news is that the team has shown through its only two victories on this tour shades of what it is capable of. Dada’s performance and the late order fight back lead by Pathan in the tour match is a sure sign of depth in the batting. The bowling meanwhile has been good for most part in comparison to the batting.

The long break seems to have done Zaheer a world of good. He is back in full form and defaults to being the spearhead. VRV had a good match in the victory against Rest of SA and being the quickest of the lot is very likely to play in the first Test. Given the green tops in SA, India could do well to play three seamers and one spinner, with Pathan as the all rounder and fifth bowler. With Dravid likely to play in the first Test, Jaffer might have to sit out while Dada opens the innings with the eternally out of form Viru. After so many failures, the infamous law of averages and the return of Dravid should ensure that at least one or two of the top Indian batsmen do fire in the first Test! With a decent bowling attack to back it India might actually surprise SA, especially if they take their opposition lightly.

Adjusting to the conditions in SA after playing for an extending time in the sub-continent has been the challenge faced by team India. With the ODI series behind them and a morale boosting win in the match again Rest of SA, the Test match might just be the start of the turn around.