The Creators against the Champions
By Padya Paramita
Recently ESPNStar has been airing a commercial promoting the upcoming England versus India cricket series. It shows a crazy-haired "England fan" named "Andrew Peter" speaking wise words of wisdom towards the Blues, "Why do you consider yourselves world champions, when you couldn't beat us?" Mr Peter, an Indian actor in disguise he may be, is right. India last faced off against England on the 27th of March, this World Cup's highest scoring match. It ended in a tie and thus both teams have unfinished business.
England are the hosts, as they usually are this time of the year. The English summer has had games packed with downpours mostly but they haven't exactly been gracious hosts. Before the season began, the England cricket team made surprising headlines. They had decided to apply 'division of labour' by removing Andrew Strauss from the position of One Day captain so that he could concentrate on his Test career. His replacement raised eyebrows as well because Alastair Cook, Ashes hero and Test deputy, had not even been a part of the quarter finalists' World Cup squad. The T20 captaincy duty was handed over to a man who has been having trouble with his form - Stuart Broad.
England's single Test match victory over Sri Lanka, in a series where the other two games were washed away by rain, was sufficient enough to hand them the series. Then followed one T20 game which had Broad's numerous female fans (including this one) glued to their TV sets. They were disappointed as Dilshan's men won by a margin of nine wickets. There was a point in the five-match ODI series when England were trailing 2-1. But Cook's side showed resilience to come back and clinch the series 3-2. This was a positive sign. They may be the originators of the sport but this team, who has not had much major success in world cricket, are showing signs of maturity. Now they aim to knock India out of the top ranking in test cricket.
India won the World Cup on home soil, woohoo. Tough challenges do lie ahead. They have to go through the constantly changing English conditions and their preparations took place in the Caribbeans. As a second string Indian side ensured ODI series victory by winning the opening three games in a row, they let their guard down in the next two and lost both. This side included only a handful of players from their Cup-winning squad and mostly rising stars from the recently concluded IPL. Not only had they wanted to give their big players a rest, but the young side did show the team's depth. Their three-match Test series was similar to England's in the sense that the first game was won by India while the rest were rain-stricken and drawn. MS Dhoni travelled to captain the side while Ishant Sharma was named Man of the Series for his 22 wickets.
Those games are history now. What's next is the big one. India are ready to bring back their big guns, including Sachin, who still hasn't hung his gloves after finally winning a World Cup. So how do England plan to stop him? Sehwag still remains unsure for the series while Dhoni faces criticism in turn for criticising umpire Daryl Harper, who retired soon after. Meanwhile England faces a dilemma over a third pace bowler. Anderson and Tremlett all but confirmed, they are closely following the county performances of Broad, Bresnan and Finn to see who can be worthy of facing the world champions.
So, from the 21st of July, the battle between the sport's champions and its proud creators begins. Many questions arise. Are England going to earn their right to be the number one ranked Test team? Will India prove they can beat England after all? Do we have the right to anticipate a head-on collision? Well, as England's Kevin Pietersen puts it, "Expect no mercy, champions."
Last week, we had the topic White Board. The entry below was well written with an excellent revelation at the end. Since today is the day Man first took a stroll on the Moon, we have the topic: Moonwalker. We are looking for adventure, we are looking for excitement. And we are confident that you will not disappoint. Submissions need to be sent in to firstname.lastname@example.org before Sunday noon. Word limit: 500 words. Good luck.
By Preetha Haque
"I'm walking on sunshine, yeah!"
Somewhere in the background, someone just tuned up this hit song - or should I rather say "heat" song. I cursed the weather for the umpteenth time and speculated on my bad luck. What am I doing here, out under this blazing sun? I mean, the heat is intense! Oh yeah, I just remembered. It was my brilliant, blessed job that brought me out here, wasn't it? Duty calls... or forces, in my case.
I decided to give sarcasm a break and looked around to survey my surroundings, my left hand acting as a shade to my eyes from the bright light of the sun. The last thing I want is a case of fried up eyeballs in my list of problems.
The road, or field I guess, was empty except for a crooked, barren tree to my right and a pool of muddy water to my left. Very nice. I was, I realised, in the middle of nowhere, accompanied by a tree giving no shade from the sweltering atmosphere and a pool of water giving lumps of mud to drink.
I was so busy grumbling and cursing at the scene that I failed to notice the sudden change in the weather around me. Cold wisps of air started to blow through the terrain and as I looked up to the sky, I was amazed to find that the round, red ball of fire had vanished and in its place there now existed groups of dark grey clouds, hinting at a downpour any minute.
"Come on! Now I have to get wet in this rain?" I shouted. As if to answer my question, pellets of icy cold water dropped down on my head and trickled down to the tip of my nose.
Accepting the fate that I was doomed, I closed my eyes to prepare for the inevitable. But... it never came.
Suddenly I heard a bell ring in the distance. A school bell. Yes! I shouted in glee. The biology class had finished.
I looked up front to see students packing their bags and getting ready to leave the classroom. The teacher Ms. Lisa put her books inside her bag and announced a last minute reminder, "Remember students, next class you're going to sit for a test on Ecosystem. I hope this water cycle was clear to you all."
How I hate her drawing skills! Just because I am one of those figures you draw on the whiteboard for teaching, doesn't mean you can put me into sticky situations like this. I have feelings; strong ones for a stick drawing though.
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