My Blogging Enclave

Blogging = Writing – Thinking

F1 2008

The Formula 1 season is nearly halfway through, time has come to bet on the driver’s championship, and it takes no more than a quick glance at the results to note that this year has been the most competitive one in a very long time. The post Schumacher era had experienced a thrilling season finale last year which has been followed by a sensational mid season standing. Never have 3 teams including four drivers been billed as possible contenders for the divers championships.

The gap between current leader Felipe Massa and the fourth placed British sensation Lewis Hamilton is a mere 10 points. Robert Kubica in his BMW Sauber has been the surprise package this season. Considering their achievements so far, it can be safe to say that Ferrari once again look like the team to beat. They have won 5 of the 8 races, the other 3 going to Lewis Hamilton(2) and Robert Kubica(1). Heikki Kovalainen has been disappointing this season , partly due to his bad luck. He has only a singe podium finish, and his 4th place finish yesterday at Magny-Cours might be his much needed revival.

At this stage, when most teams would have chosen their numero uno, it is the toughest to predict for the Ferraris. Both the drivers are in a favorable situation to win the championship. This continuing dominance might be good news for the team championships, but is a disaster in the driver’s championship. You will only need to look back at the Mclaren duo of the last season to understand what i am referring to. For the second placed team BMW Sauber, it is clearly Robert Kubica, while for the Mclaren, it has to be Hamilton.

At the other end of the grid, Team Force India has been a failure to say the very least. Vijay Mallya must input a considerable amount of money into his R&D program for the car to be race contenders in 2010, when the Indian GP is likely to take place. His hope of being mid field runners at he end of the season is nowhere near being realized. He will have to go in for fresh blood next year. I know you will argue about the drive by Adrian Sutil in Monaco, but it was largely a race strategy combined with an extraordinary amount of luck which made them go so far.

Personally, i hope Kimi wins this year. I have my gmail id named after him(have been his fan since he came into F1 nearly 5 years ago!) and i also hope that he will cast aside his plans of retirement. Otherwise i hope Massa to win, because of his very determination to succeed after a dismal start to the season. Experts were talking of a possible Massa replacement at the end of this season. He has certainly made them to eat their words.

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June 23, 2008 Posted by | Sports | | 8 Comments

Wimbledon

The month of June is half way past and only one question can arise in the tennis world. Will Roger Federer win his sixth consecutive Wimbledon championships. If not, will it be the unstoppable master of clay, Rafael Nadal, who will finish of the job which he left undone last year. Or yet again, will it be Novak Djokovic, who will repeat his performance of Australia.

Many similarities can be drawn between Federer and Schumacher. They both are great champions in their respective fields who have demolished the opposition on their day. But after his fifth year of reign at the top, FIA officials changed rules to put an end to Schumacher’s dominance. And the reason they stated was that they wanted the audience number to escalate again.

Why did the amount of viewers decrease watching the Schumacher era, while the numbers seem to be increasing in the Federer era. This can have only one answer. Opposition. More particularly, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. One has beaten the master in Australia, which the other has tormented the master in France. And both are still young, enthusiastic and fast learners. Nadal proved this last week when he won the Artois Championships, the first Spaniard to win a grass title in a long time. Djokovic did come agonizingly close to beating Nadal that day, but just didn’t have the killer instinct to finish the match.

Both players have sent out their messages. Federer retaliated with a win in the Weber Open, without breaking serve for only the second time in his career. Will Federer’s 55th title be enough preparation to demolish his opponents, or will it be the year, that the greatest player ever, will be made to bite the dust(or should i say grass).

6th July holds an answer for us(Rain Notwithstanding!).

June 19, 2008 Posted by | Sports | | 5 Comments

Reverse Sweep

I was browsing through espnstar.com, when i noticed a review of the cricket match between England and New Zealand. I have been engrossed with the happenings of Euro 2008, that i had in fact forgotten to tune into the ‘boring 50 over’ cricket channel. But leaving that aside, this match would not have stirred any interest but for the fact that Kevin Pietersen hit his sixth century. To be more precise, he reverse swept two sixes on his way to his century.

The most important aspect to note about his shot, apart from it being mouth watering, is the change in grip before he plays the ball. In the normal stance, the right hand is the bottom hand. In this particular shot, he transforms his left hand into the bottom hand, after the bowler releases the ball. So, in the blink of an eye, he is a left handed batsman.

I have not read the rules of cricket, but i have heard famous commentators long enough to realize that, this is a breach of the ethical rules of the game
. How can a right handed batsman change into a left handed batsman, when it is not possible for a right arm bowler to bowl with his left arm without prior notification. Doesn’t this do great injustice to the bowlers, who, as can be clearly seen, are being dominated in recent tournaments such as T20.

I personally suggest that this shot should be prohibited from the game of cricket. Else bowlers should be given leeway to change their bowling arm or their guard without prior notification, so as to bring a sense of balance into the game. Perhaps this might make the game more interesting. đź’ˇ

June 16, 2008 Posted by | Sports | 7 Comments

American Bad Ass

The WWE has always been a business oriented organization. It would never have come so far had it not been for Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Yokozuna, Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and of course the Undertaker, for whom i am writing this whole article. So Vincent Mc Mahon does know to play his trump cards well. At least thats what i felt till now.

NO MORE UNDERTAKER. Never again will the dead man walk again. Never again will the Graveyard Symphony sound aloud. Can this be true. Has Mr. McMahon been really stupid to sign out the Phenom, or is this another of his brilliant moves to instigate interest from the viewers. Only time will tell.

If the Undertaker is no more, then there is no future left in the WWE. He is after all a house hold name. Even those who haven’t interest or have not watched WWE due to parental control know this guy. All the superstars are leaving either due to old age or for more lucrative offers. This has led to this show being run by a dozen cheap chaps for whom there is no other path. I feel that if the Undertaker is gone for good, the WWE should close down.

If this is not true, and is another of McMahon’s brilliant schemes, then the most important annual question in the entire business year of WWE will arise again. Who will end the streak at Wrestlemania.

Will it remain 16-0 or be 17-0 in April 2009. Or will a man arise to beat the legend. For all i care, the Dead Man will walk again. Long live the Phenom.

June 14, 2008 Posted by | Sports | | 2 Comments

Champions league

With the Champions league finals in three days time, Chelsea vs Man Utd will be a bitter and hard fought contest. Recent reports from Man Utd suggest that all 27 players are available for selection. However only 11 to 17 will matter in the final, and who the most  privileged are will be ascertained by Sir Alex Ferguson. I am an ardent Ma Utd fan and  am hoping for a win for my team after 9 yrs. The perfect combination of Ronaldo, Rooney and Tevez and support from Ferdinand, Vidic and Hargreaves should force a win in our favour.

At the same time, i am not belittling Chelsea. It does look like they are an uncoordinated team with many a personal interests at hand. Didier Drogba is linked with a rumour to another giant club, Schevchenko hasnt got his due since he has come here, and Terry is on the verge of missing out. Yet this team remains one to be feared, just because of the dynamic duo of Ballack and Lampard.  Avram Grant must consider himself lucky to have reached the finals in his first season in charge.

So, I will meet you guys with a post match analysis after the finals.

P S: Manu 2 – Che 1

May 18, 2008 Posted by | Sports | 1 Comment

Formula 1

This weekend provided some insight into the forms of the teams in Formula 1. Ferrari and McLaren seem to be leading the other constructors by a far distance. And Kimi Raikonnen proved that he has the fire to go the distance this time too.

Let me recount the race for you. Felipe Massa started on pole and lead through the first corner. I was afraid that he might ram into Raikonnen in that process, but thankfully, it didn’t happen. Lewis Hamilton, who started from ninth because of a penalty being imposed on him, made a very good start by leapfrogging into fifth. Nick Heidfield was the front runner who lost a lot of ground. So too did Jarno Trulli.

After the first set of pit stops, Massa exchanged his lead with Raikonnen. But a faulty wheel mechanism in the right front tyre of Hamilton’s car saw him slip all the way down to eleventh position after a 18 sec pitstop.

Things were starting to look good for Ferrari, but Massa’s penchant for speed brought about his ruin as he drove his Ferrari onto the gravel. Meanwhile Heikki Kovalainen was slowly starting to catch up with Kubica. Unfortunately, Hamilton got caught behind Mark Webber during the entire period from first pit stop to second pit stop and could not progress any closer to the race leaders.

The second set of pit stops saw no change in the top three with Raikonen leading Kubica by 17 secs, who in turn lead Kovalainen by another 17 secs. Hamilton was able to move two places above by going past Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber, into fifth position.

Towards the end, no untoward incidents occurred. Lewis Hamilton was able to narrow down a 14 sec difference from Tulli to within a second at the end of the last lap, but eventually had to settle for 4 points.

So Hamilton is first in the driver’s standings with 14 points and holds a 3 point advantage over Kimi Raikonen. Nick Heidfeld is joint second owing to a reliable BMW engine.

Felipe Massa is yet to gather any points after the end of 2 races. Lets hope he can get back his luck faster, so as to enable Ferrari to compete with the McLarens on an even scale.

March 26, 2008 Posted by | Sports | | Leave a comment

Grand Slam Sunday

Hey guys,

Told you i will meet you this Super Sunday. I am writing this blog exactly 5 mins after Man Utd have given Liverpool a 3-0 defeat. As you would recall, I had predicted a similar result earlier. Goals from Wes Brown, Christiano Ronaldo and Nani sealed the victory for the Red devils. Unbelievable right. Let me unfold this wonderful story for you.

I started the evening playing football at Thiruvanmiyur Beach. As a result i was late for the match by 17 mins. Later, I came to know during half time that, I had missed a great deal. This included a yellow card for Javier Mascherano in the 11th minute, two wonderful saves from Jose Reina to thwart Wayne rooney and also an exchange of words between Mascherano and Anderson. So i joined the game in the 17th mintue and it took me 5 mins to realize that indeed my predictions would be true. Man Utd enjoyed a great deal of possession and finally Liverpool became frustrated and Giggs was brought down. Giggs’ free kick saw the ball sail to Ronaldo, who somehow managed to get the ball to hit the post. However he was flagged offside. Liverpool continued to play a pitiable level of football and in the 23rd minute, Steven Gerrard blasted a free kick from 30 yards which was deflected by Vidic. Man Utd saw the corner off and the football was passed from one end of the pitch to the other for the next ten minutes. Finally, in the 35th minute, a sublime pass from Rooney from the left side found, the most unlikely of players, Brown who raised himself high in the air to get the ball past Reina’s outstretched hands into the back of the net. After the goal, Liverpool continued to play anything but attacking football, and it was not long before Mascherano found himself in the referee’s book for the second time in the night. It started with Torres getting a booking in the 43 min. Torres left Steve Bennett alone, as many would say as the better thing to do, but Mascherano saw the judgment as a grave error and he started arguing with the referee. To argue with Steve Bennett is to pour water on yourself while you are on fire. Hence, this stupidity lead Mascherano to his own downfall as he was handed another yellow card, which lead to automatic disqualification. But even after he was shown the card, he continued his demonstration without any remorse and it finally took the intervention of Steven Gerrard and Rafa Benitez to send him inside to the locker room. Meanwhile, play resumed and 2 additional minutes were added to the half before it finally ended.

The second half saw a few more incidents. In the 52nd minute, Giggs made a wonderful pass to Anderson, who was sent down by Arbeloa right at the edge of the Penalty box. But Ronaldo could not take advantage and his free kick only sailed wide. In the 55th minute, Van Der Sar kicked long to Rooney, who controlled the ball brilliantly only to see his shot blocked by Reina. The ball flew to Anderson who lunged at this opportunity only to set the ball sailing way over the bar. In the 59th minute Rio Ferdinand sent Torres down and immediately Steve Bennett opened his referee book to hand out a yellow. Rafa Benitez looked on as his one man down side continued to lose possession. He eventually made his mind in the 65th minute when he substituted Babel for Yossi Benayoun. In the 70th minute, a superb Gerrard free kick found Torres who somehow failed to control the ball to what would have been a certain goal. In the 72nd miunte, Rooney fed a pass to Anderson, who on failing to see an unmarked Ronaldo inside the penalty box, shot the ball well over the post. This was immediately followed by a double substitution with Tevez and Nani coming in for Giggs and Anderson respectively. These 2 fresh pair of legs created an enthusiasm within the Man U camp. In the 74th mintue Ronaldo passed the ball to Rooney, who in turn passed it to Tevez, whose shot was wonderfully saved by a flying Reina. Again in the 78th minute, Ronaldo was fed a ball from Tevez, but he let the ball go thinking himself to be offside. Reina blocked the ball and it hit the post and went out. Ronaldo turned to see the line referee not signaling offside and he was aghast. But great men will not let such things stand in their path, ad in the resulting corner kick from Nani, Ronaldo headed the ball home and Man U was on course for another victory. And if this was not enough, to add insult to injury, Scholes passed to Nani, who passed it to Rooney. Rooney set up a wonderful opportunity for Nani, who didn’t miss the opportunity from 20 yards out. Down 3-0, and one man down, a disheartened Liverpool played the rest of the ten minutes without making an effort for goal. Torres, the goal machine was replaced in the 81st minute by Riise and that put an end to the hope in the hearts of all the Anfield faithful.

It was the 5th straight victory for Man U in the league, which was brought about by Wes Brown’s third goal for Man U and also Ronaldo’s first against Liverpool. But it was interesting to note the role of Wayne Rooney who set up 2 goals and played a brilliant match from mid field. Great players, when not in form still will be invaluable in some form or the other. Rooney who right now is not in a goal scoring spree, is such a great player that he has contributed to many of the latest victories from the mid field.

K. See you guys soon from the corner of BPL after Man U’s next game. Till then

Ciao.

March 23, 2008 Posted by | Sports | | 1 Comment

Football

Hey guys,

This Sunday is going to be a humdinger for the Barclay’s Premier League. The title race is hotting up with defending champions Man Utd leading Arsenal by just 3 points. Chelsea are not far behind, trailing Arsenal by 2 points. Man Utd are going to face red hot Liverpool who have currently 7 consecutive league victories under the irresistible combination of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres. But Man Utd themselves have the combo of Ronaldo and Rooney. I personally think this match is going to be evenly contested because of the current form of the players. But in the end, a Man Utd goal from either Ronaldo or Tevez might seal the victory for the Red Devils. Rafa Benitez has always been unlucky at Old Trafford and I expect him to continue to do so. Meanwhile the other match at Stamford Bridge between Chelsea and Arsenal is going to be a dull draw. I personally don’t think that Arsenal has the patriotism to win anymore. Ever since Thierry Henry’s departure from Emirates Stadium, they have been on the downfall, and it is time to look beyond Arsene Wenger. They can look upto Chelsea for that regard. Avram Grant has been successful in filling the huge boots of the self proclaimed ‘Great One’ Jose Mourinho. He has not only been winning matches at a constant regularity, he has also been able to make this large unit of Internationals bond together, something which has been missing for quite sometime in Arsenal. Yet as things stand, I personally feel that Arsenal will be more than a handful for Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and the game is all set for a draw. So see you about BPL after this Sunday, which promises to be a thriller, with hopefully Man Utd leading Arsenal by 5 points.

Ciao

March 21, 2008 Posted by | Sports | | Leave a comment