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Sunday, January 27, 2008

THE END OF AN ERA AND ALL THAT JAZZ…. 

So what’s deemed as a reprehensible and ignominious fall from grace is this—a failure to get into a Grand Slam final for the 11th straight time when admittedly well below peak capacity and a straight-set loss for the first time after losing to a three-time Grand Slam eons ago.
That’s the pain of being the most dominant player ever, and as he said it’s like he created a monster of having to win everything everytime. Still, all that talk of playing his best and losing is pure drivel—our young friend Mr. Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce-Bounce ( Ed-Let’s just call him B14b12 –okay ? ) with his Laurence Olivier expressions and mechanical grunt-rich game played and served better and it is maybe time that the world added another Grand Slam champion to the men’s list. After all, it was the same ol’ Nole who capitulated so spectacularly in the year-end Shanghai Masters event citing fatigue ( In a 19 year old !!) and the Fed had Ferrer for b., l. and dinner despite losing to Gonzalez in his first match ( and which my favourite News Despite Tabloid Values promptly reported as losing in the first round !) .
There have been an endless procession of youngsters with his predictable game and he’ll need to do more to challenge the Big Two in the future. As there have been bright, big athletes who have shown Tsonga’s talents and have bitten the dust , as close as his fellow-Frenchman Monfils.

Sharapova came away with the title deservedly and of course more than overpowered Ivanovic in the final ( for all their tall frames, these are two of the poorest movers in the game, and dear “Aussie” Ana at 69 kg. is one of the heaviest on the WTA tour currently.!!

And who can one can resist from wishing Good Riddance to perhaps history’s most over-rated cricketer ? Adam Gilchrist, albeit a likeable fair dinkum’ Aussie otherwise was the presiding deity of the Glorious Gods of Slogging pantheon and he did justice to that part, ensuring many match-turning innings essayed on flat lifeless pitches. It does take a certain art to perform consistently and score runs with essentially five batting stroke and Gilly did just that. Of course, the meretricious double standards on fair play and appealing cannot be judged in complete objectivity !!!

Taking the safe path of representing Western Australia ( then the weakest of the Australian State teams ) when New South Wales got unbearably competitive, Gilchrist has taken full toll of favorable conditions and slaughtered his way to seventeen Test hundreds. His inability to come up with the goods when the chips are down, has been on view more than once—he averaged just 22 in the 2005 Ashes when the ball swung and seamed, and after a chancy 122 in Mumbai against India scored all of two runs in four innings against India in 2001 as India rode on Very Very Special Laxman to turn the tide and protect the “final frontier”. Even in the 1999 World Cup, he could only breathe easily and manage some runs in the final when they chased 130 odd, having succumbed to the pressure in all the previous games.

As things stand, Brad Haddin might replace him although a younger Crosthswaite cannot be ruled out.

To end with what has been a diatribe, we introduce his old rival Darren Berry, considered by the great Steve Waugh to be the best cricketer never to worn the baggy green-Berry criticised Gilchrist's inclusion in Ritchie Benaud's Greatest XI, saying it was "an insult to Ian Healy, Rod Marsh, Don Tallon and the greatest of them all, the Englishman Allan Knott." And said, "I would suggest Gilly misses a chance in most Test matches...but it's all forgotten when he smashes a century with the bat." ( Berry did make Warne’s Top 50 )



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