IPL Revelry and Cricketing Tragedy – History Repeated!

India got eliminated at the Super Eight level of the T20 World Cup in 2009 leading to public agony. In 2010 exactly the same or the worst happened. Both times the T20 World Cup followed immediately after the 46-day Indian Premier League (IPL) saga.

In a way the IPL is a blessed phenomenon. First time it clicked as it was a novelty. Second time it was away from home and became a novelty in South Africa. Third time lucky, as this time it was coming back to ‘sweet home’. While the revelers cried hoarse and hoarser the cricket lovers got increasingly piqued trying to enjoy whatever ‘cricket’ they got out of it. The revelers get trapped into an illusion of loyalties involving ‘home’ teams, eight franchises being named after major Indian cities, even if it means Mahendra Singh Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings) pitted against Sachin Tendulkar (Mumbai Indians).

All the stars of Team India and others are in IPL. The tournament involves one and half months of continuous pressure play, public appearances, late night parties and traveling throughout India. Team India players tend to tire or get hurt. They cannot take the games lightly as they must help their bosses to get returns from their investments. The dirty big money, the glamour and sleaze, the attention and the media hype make them insensitive to national loyalty and pride. They get ferociously loyal to their ‘clubs’ only and increasingly indifferent to their ‘country’.

In T20 World Cup-2010 Team India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni went on making stupendous tactical mistakes and lost all the Super Eight matches. He failed miserably to motivate his team members on or off the field. More ominously he never once admitted his shortcomings and tried to blame the IPL late night parties and continuous traveling.

As in 2009 cricket lovers are agonized this time too, with more devastating impact thanks to the IPL scandal, the three consecutive infuriating losses and the players’ casual attitude.

It had come to such a head that nobody could be believed or taken seriously. The cricket Board and the team selectors lost their credentials with the team coach Gary Kirsten blaming the Team India members squarely for lack of motivation and not being mentally or physically fit. The former star cricketers have been saying precious little as many of them had been gagged with IPL money.

You cannot believe the media either. They had been hyping the IPL tournament with screaming headlines unbridled glamour mongering and unprecedented coverage. Now, with Team India turning the tables for genuine cricket lovers the media had been hyping the aftermath too. They are demanding Dhoni’s head and cutting off some other key players. But they are more likely to forget everything as soon as preparation for IPL-4 begins which promises to be longer than even 46 days with addition of two more teams.

Only genuine cricket lovers feel to avoid a cricketing tragedy fast unfolding the IPL must be scrapped or Team India players must not be allowed to be auctioned by the franchisees for the tournament. If nothing of the above happens IPL duration must be reduced to maximum 15 days and group games should take over round robin matches. What could be the justification of having a round robin of just eight mere clubs and each club playing as many as fourteen games before the semi final round?

Scrapping or banning the IPL would signify the much desired demise of big money influence on Indian cricket.

Save cricket!

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Football Betting Strategies: The Importance of Form

Chelsea are playing Wolves. Who do you back?

Chelsea. Last season’s double winners. Beneficiaries of Roman Abromovic’s billions. Drgoba. Malouda. Essien. Anelka. Cole. Terry. Cech. A team of superstars whose surnames are known the world over.

Wolverhampton Wanderers. Perennial relegation scrappers. Only not bottom of the league thanks to West Ham United being even worse than them this season. No chance.

And what happens? Wolves beat Chelsea 1-0.

Of course, if you’ve been following the English Premier League this season, you will have noticed that since a 3-0 home defeat to Sunderland, Chelsea’s form has been absolutely shocking. They’d slipped from runaway favourites to retain the title to fifth in the table. They needed the win against Wolves to leapfrog Tottenham Hotspur back into the Champion’s League places. They didn’t get it.

This is an absolutely prime example of how important is to look at a team’s form before placing a bet. It becomes even more important to look at a team’s recent form if you’re betting on a league that you don’t follow.

The simplest way to check a team’s form is simply to look at their most recent results. Look at what both teams have done in their last five games and you should get a good idea of how the form of the two teams compares.

You might also want to look at what happened the last few teams the two teams met each other, whether it was earlier in the season, or in previous seasons. Many teams have a ‘boogie team’ that, for whatever reason, they find it difficult to beat. For example, Barcelona are hot favourites whoever they face in the Champion’s League, and when they collided with Rubin Kazan in the 2010 group stages, they would’ve seemed an obvious choice to back. You may well then have lost out as Barcelona could only manage a 1-1 draw away.

If you’d looked at what happened in the group stages the year before, Barcelona’s draw with Rubin Kazan wouldn’t have been such a shock. They were drawn together in the 2009 Champion’s League group stages and Barcelona again only managed a draw away, with the game that time finishing 0-0. Rubin Kazan pulled off an even more shocking result when they traveled to Camp Nou, beating Barcelona 2-1.

These two examples both show that teams which initially seem like massive favourites might not look like such a hot pick when you examine their form. If you’re serious about trying to win when you bet, you can’t go in blind and pick a team to win based on name value or past glories. You need to look at what the team’s done lately, what happened when they last faced their opponents, and at anything else that might adversely affect them. Do they have a star player suspended or injured? Have they just fired their manager? Have they just brought in an expensive new signing?

Football betting is much about cold hard statistics as it is about intuition. You should arm yourself with all the facts before you part with your cash.

For more betting tips and strategies, visit my blog at: http://theaccumulator.blogspot.com.

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"Hands-Up-To-The-Sky" – Ricardo Kaka Biography

Kaka Biography – Introduction

I’m writing this Kaka biography a few weeks after the 2006/2007 Champions League final, a final ending with a happy result, 2-1 for the Brazilian’s team, AC Milan against England’s Liverpool.

I must say, as impressive as Filippo Inzaghi (who scored both AC Milan’s goals) was, my eyes were focused on the Brazilian Kaka throughout the entire match. His passes, his dribblings, his speed and his vision on the pitch were honey to my eyes.

I decided to write this Kaka biography not because the Brazilian needs it, but because I want you to find out who the real Ricardo Kaka is, how he rose up the ladders of his career before being a super star and what exactly does that «hands-up-to-the-sky» kaka celebration mean.

Kaka Biography – Early Career

After spending his early days at different youth clubs around his home town of Brasilia and Sao Paulo, Kaka was eventually offered a professional contract at a very tender age: seventeen.

Since Kaka played great soccer for Sao Paulo’s youth teams, the reserve team and the Brazilian U-17 national squad, he immediately attracted the eyes of several European clubs, the one coming forward first being Turkish side Gaziantepspor.

Sao Paulo agreed to sell Kaka, for a sum of $1.5m, a sum that, if you think of the player’s market value now, would seem like peanuts. Still, the sum was quite big for the Turkish side, especially for a 17-year old footballer, Kaka’s young age giving them no guarantees that he will turn out to play great soccer regularly on professional level.

Kaka Biography – Swimming Pool Incident Sao Paulo FC

In his first season as a professional player for Sao Paulo, Kaka didn’t play for the Brazilian team, but he used this time to accommodate himself with his new colleagues and the hardships of professional soccer in Brazil.

He was probably going to get his debut that season still, but an unfortunate swimming pool incident almost ended his career as a footballer, Kaka fracturing his spine in September 2000. Not only did he risk his future, but this fracture almost cost him his life and he was in real danger of being paralyzed for the rest of his life.

Miraculously, Kaka made a full recovery and came back to training after his full strength came back to him. From that day forward, Kaka found faith in God and some of his profits as a professional footballer always go to the Church, as a small gesture of thanking God for saving his life and his career. The famous Kaka celebration, after he scores a goal, is related to that incident, as each time, he thanks God for allowing him to play soccer and be there on the pitch.

Kaka Biography – Attracting the European Giants

After fully recovering from his horrible fracture, Kaka was finally given a chance to play for Sao Paulo, in January 2001 and he didn’t disappoint, scoring no less than 12 goals in 27 appearances that season. This guaranteed him a solid first team place for the 2001-2002 season, in which he scored another 10 goals in 22 matches and whenever a young Brazilian soccer player performs that well, he’s bound to get a few calls from some major European clubs.

One of these clubs would be AC Milan, one of Italy’s most important teams and Kaka signed without blinking, eager to start a European career.

You probably know the story from here. Kaka is currently in his fourth season with Milan, whom he won the Serie A championship with once, the Italian Super Cup once, and the UEFA Champions League a few weeks ago (he also played another Champions League final in the 2004-2005 season, but lost it to Liverpool in what is considered one of the most beautiful finals of the tournament). He became an indispensable player for AC Milan but also for Brazil.

As a Brazil soccer player, Kaka scored 31 goals in 52 matches so far and gave out numerous perfect assists in his role as an attacking midfielder. Having the young midfielder in the squad, Brazil football became even more technical and quick (if that was even possible) and they’re considered amongst the main favorites for the following international tournaments.

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