Tuesday, 15 May 2012


How do we manage to always get ourselves into crisis situations when it just seems like we are on the verge of VICTORY? Quite obviously I am referring to last evening's loss to the mighty Mumbai Indians whom we had just beaten back home not even a few days ago..I was really looking forward to this one as it was our annual GO GREEN match and we had won it last year agaisnt the Kochi Tuskers. We batted first and didn't really live up to the occasion as is usually the case with Mr.Big Man Chris Gayle. HE did hit a six though before getting bowled to Munaf Patel. Captain Kohli came and went in no time as he was run out for 3. Tiwary continues to be promoted as he walked in yet again ahead of AB at no.4 and for a change looked the part as he hit two huge sixes scoring 21 off just 16. But for the complete weirdo he is, he got out in the weirdest possible way as he hit-wicket himself playing back-foot off a ball from Mumbai skipper Harbhajan Singh. RCB IN TROUBLE YET AGAIN! AB walked in at 47 for 3 getting a 40 run brisk partnership with Dilshan before holing out to Pollard, the hero of the day off a slower ball caught by a tumbling Mallinga at mid-off. In comes Mayank at 6, a move I never agreed with as I thought he should be playing higher up and not be wasted at 6 as it is not his slot. However, he proved me wrong with some beautiful stroke-hitting al over the park as Mayank Aggarwal came into his own finally, reminding me of our former hard-hitter Robin Uthappa. A 46-run partnership with Dilshan before he perished to RP singh looking to hit a full-toss through the off-side but it uproots the off-stump! Vinay Kumar came and went as he just doesn't seem to prove himself as an all-rounder as he is so often called. RUN OUT it was RCB at 134 for 6.Now time for the Aggarwal  blitzkrieg as he got a 4 and a 6 off the 19th over from Malinga. But it was the 20th over from Munaf Patel which made the difference as Mayank went beserk! First ball full-toss six straight over long-off. Second ball 4 through point and third ball another 4 wide off long-off! Was it rubbish stuff from Patel or brilliant batting from Mayank?5th ball was an AB-like shot over deep mid-wicket for 6! Mayank had done it for us on a day when all others couldn't. Now the turn of the bowlers to finish the job for RCB and what do we do?Make a mess of it!

        The Mumbai Indians innings had a last year's 1-2 place play-off qualifier feel to it where RCB had it all under their belt until the 10th over or so after which some unbelievable batting by Raina and co. led them to a victory into the IPL 2011 final, a huge morale booster for them as we again lost to them in the final, this time much more comprehensively. We bowled beautifully in the first 10 overs as we had them at 19 for 3 and then 51 for 5. All the big guns including the Tendulkars and the Sharmas were out not to forget the in-form Dwayne Smith. Rayudu and Pollard were at the crease and I had a terrible feeling that they had it in them to take their team home from the hopeless situation they were in and they proved me right! There was of course the floodlight failure after the 11th over and that was the time if they game had been called off would have gone in favour of RCB as commmentator Danny Morrison said. Back they did come and so did the Mumbai Indians!Some unbelievable hitting by both Rayudu and Pollard saw them home as Gayle bowled the last over but failed to contain as he proved that he was a match-winner only with the bat and not with the ball though somewhere deep inside I thought he could pull it off but it was the day that belonged to Rayudu and Pollard as they pulled off a miraculous win!

       Now where does this leave team RCB?I was doing the calculations and figured that we have to now depend on teams like KXIP and RR and CSK losing their remaing games if we were to go through as they are almost on the same points as us. With this win I believe MI will go through as it is now the battle for the 4th place between the remaining 4 teams. RCB would have to win both it's remaining games and then hope that CSK loses as they have a better run-rate than us. As to the other two teams we will have to wait and watch how they do as Kings XI could be the dark horse here because they have 3 more games left and if they win all 3 they will leave both CSK and RCB behind who can now get a maximum of only 19 points. Let's hope Kings XI lose today :D The big match however will be between KXIP and CSK two days later at Dharamsala as the team which wins here will eliminate the other! VERY INTERESTING INDEED MAY THE BEST TEAM GO THROUGH CHEERS RCB!!!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

End of a Dream Run

The MATCH OF MATCHES was to be played at Eden Gardens on a Super Saturday evening after KXIP had beaten CSK in a thriller..who did well to get close. Danny was back as Sunny Gavaskar announced that he was surprised to see Dan stand at 6'4" which he hadn't noticed till now..how odd I always knew our captain was very tall as he used to tower over most of the captains at the toss including the relatively tall Ravi Shashtri. Danny called heads but it was a tails. Gauti had won the toss and had no hesitation in batting first. I had a terrible feeling at this point of time that RCB is not going to do well and it turned out to be true as the match unfolded. Gauti and Brendon were in full flow as KKR got off to a flyer at a jam-packed Eden gardens shouting "KAY KAY AAARRR" as a mockery of the "AAAR CEEE BEEE" chant. Nothing could go wrong for them as there were dropped chances(Two of them) in the third over off Zaheer. I knew this was going to be jinxed for us the moment I realised that Harshal Patel had taken a blinder at third-man off a top-edge but how he managed to pop it out of his hands to push it to the boundary only he knows. Big man Gayle then dropped a tough chance at gully diving to his left, his wrong side off a Gauti cut. NOTHING was going our way and captain Dan struggled too as he failed to provide us with the breakthrough. Gambhir was playing like a dream as KKR raced on to 87 for no loss at the end of 10 overs. We knew RCB was in for a huge score as once the opposition gets the start, RCB bowlers rarely manage to contain them in the later overs. Kallis too came to the party with 41 off just 27 balls as Gambhir was getting useful support around him which doesn't usually happen at RCB in the case of MR.CHRIS GAYLE. KKR's scoreboard read 160 for 1 after 17 overs. 200 was looking imminent but Vinay bowled an excellent 18th over to pull it back to 167 for 1 after 18 and that's when I thought we had a chance to restrict them to 180 max. Zak bowled the 19th over and Kallis tonked him for 2 sixes in the over though Zak pulled back by getting Gauti out off the 4th ball. What a knock Gauti had done an Ajinkye Rahane he had scored 93 off just 51 balls a match-winning innings! Last over and Vinay gets Kallis who tries to paddle sweep it and gets caught at short fine-leg. Next ball what happens?SIX! Disappears from the blade of Pathan for a huge six over mid-wicket. Next 2 balls only go for singles inspite of full-blooded swing of the blades from Tiwary and Pathan. Last ball Pathan on stirke and he gets a high full-toss which he hits high to deep square-leg. End of the innings gentlemen as no NO-BALL is given and KKR folds at 190 for 4, the highest total at Eden gardens I believe which is generally a low-scoring venue with the so-called "SLOW" pitch.

               Now on to the RCB innings Gayle and Dilshan come out to open giving us some hope. We get off to a slow start as a slow bowler in Yusuf Pathan starts off proceedings for KKR. Dilshan gives in and falls into the trap off the last ball off the over as he tries to hit it huge over the field but fails to clear Bhatia at mid-off who takes a simple catch..the celebrations have begun for KKR as Yusuf goes beserk. Kohli came in at no.3 much to my surprise as I thought RCB shud have gone with their recent strategy of sending in Mayank as a back-up at 3 if we lost Dilshan early..I mean that was the reason he was there for!Especially when you are chasing 190 I failed to understand why Mayank wasn't sent in at 3 to go out there and blast like he usually does. Kohli came in and slowed down the rate as he usually takes some time to get his eye in. 3rd over brings some runs though much needed as Kohli gets a four and then Gayle gets his first 6!and then the shocker of shockers..Gayle is dropped by 5 fielders all at once at long-off as they all come in from different directions and pull off in the last minute as Sunil Naraine goes for it and DROPS it!Unbelievable scenes at Eden gardens..is Gayle going to make them pay for this?Next over Lee again and Kohli gets 2 fours and some momentum for RCB. RCB 31 for 1 4 overs. Then surprise surprise..Narine comes to bowl..the most eventful over. Just 1 run scored and drama off the third ball where Kohli edges one to Mccullum's gloves and the bails come off. The umpires discuss and Asad Rauf speaks to the third umpire as replays show that MC had dropped a catch and then the ball hit the stumps after re-bounding from him. Just 1 run off that over..Narine was making up. Kallis comes in to bowl and gets Kohli in just his second ball!A sharp delivery thudding into Kohli's pads caught playing from the crease..up goes the finger Kohli grumbles and swears before slowly walking off. AB comes in at 4 another wrong move as I thought Saurabh would walk in like in earlier matches. AB is known to play rash shots off the first ball he faces and looks completely stupid. Remember he was tried as opener once and fell off the first ball playing a slog heave? Kallis pulls one short and AB goes for it on the leg-side as it comes on faster than he expects only to top-edge it to to Shukla at mid-on. KKR on a role all thanks to some silly play from RCB and in walks Tiwary, the sight when every RCBian knows that RCB are in some real trouble and the sight of Saurabh Tiwary coming to the crease only worsens that feeling. My worst premonitions were coming true as both the batsmen went into a shell which is bound to happen with the kind of game Tiwary plays..BOGGED DOWN!Kallis was on a hat-trick and who better to fend it off than our very own Saurabh Tiwary?End of Power-play RCB at a pathetic 35 for 3. Self-created situation. 7th over from Yusuf again and only 3 runs scored. 8th over Kallis again and surprise surprise, Saurabh scores a boundary! 8 runs and RCB at 46 for 3 after 8. Pathan bowls out by bowling the 9th over. 3 dot balls on the trot to Gayle and you know something is wrong. A single which brings Saurabh to strike and what happens?Another dot off what should have been a wide but Tiway is Tiwary who tries to pull it to short fine-leg straight to a fielder for no run. Last ball Tiwary changes his grip to reverse sweep but Yusuf pulls out after his delivery stride and Mankads Gayle who was out of his crease. NOT OUT obviously. Just 1 run off the over RCB 47 for 3 after 9. Are we chasing 90 here or 190?Kallis continues as Gayle gets a single and brings Tiwary back to his misery at the crease. Somehow Tiwary gets off strike off the third ball. Gayle then smashes another short one from Kallis to deep square-leg for a four..high time the Big man did as Tiwary was eating up half the balls. RCB 56 for 3 after 10 overs. Rajat Bhatia comes in to bowl Gayle swings and misses and then takes a single. Mr.Tiwary makes some room but it's a slower one from Bhatia so he lets it go at the last moment. Next ball another single to long-on off a yorker. Tiwary is the only one who can dig out yorkers as he is a digger kind of batsmen always digging and nudging away for runs. Yorkers are his strength as he hits them hard for singles down the ground. Gayle takes another single to long-off very uncharacteristic of Gayle and Tiwary taps the last ball to the covers for no run. RCB are 59 for 3 after 11. Narine is back as Gayle continues to be defensive and gets another single off the 2nd ball. Tiwary gets another dot and then another single looks like we have a TEST partnership going:)) Last ball was there to be hit but all Tiwary does with the shorter one is pulls it to deep square for a single. Bhatia continues and Tiwary scores another single, he should be called "Single" Tiwary lol. And then out of nowhere Gayle pulls a short one into the stands for a 6!He gets a single and Tiwary is back on strike. And strike he does this time as he gets a fuller one which he pushes over long-off for a six! But Tiwary goes for one too many for his capacity as he comes out of the crease and slices a slower one into the safe hands of Captain Gautam at point. Tiwary's "knock" comes to an end it reads 19 runs off 22 balls with a strike-rate of 86, unbelievable batting by Tiwary. And then finally comes Mayank looking a total misfit at no.6 as he takes a single. Lee now comes to ball the 14th over and starts with a shorter one which Mayank ducks under. Next ball he cuts it for 4 to fine third-man off a wide delivery from Lee. He then gets a single after a dot. Gayle dabs it away for another single as he is either going to unleash the greatest hitting ever to pull it off for RCB or he has completely lost it which was looking more likely in this case. RCB 85 fior 4 after 14 as their constant 6 an over run-rate and misery continues. Narine bowls the 15th over and just 2 runs are scored can you believe that??Narine is ripping the ball as he beats both the batsmen. 87 for 4 and Lee comes again as the first 4 balls go for only 4 runs and then Gayle hits the flattest 6 ever which hits Brijesh Patel's laptop sitting in the RCB dug-out!Last ball single takes RCB to 98 for 4 we are FINALLY getting a move-on are we?Kallis bowls as Gayle hits 2 fours continuously for 4s to bring up his 50. The Orange cup is not too far away and now I get the GAME-PLAN it was to protect Gayle right till the end so that he can get to the ORANGE CAP!Back to the dot balls again..two dots followed by a 4 down the leg thanks to the keeper. Gayle gets a single off the last ball to keep strike. It's Narine now who continues his brilliant spell by getting Mayank Aggarwal bowled through the gates off a quicker one. Captain Dan walks in who slog sweeps for a single. Gayle however can't figure out his fellow West Indian for yet another dot ball..and then gets a single followed by another single by our Harry Potter:) RCB 115 for 5 after 18 and Narine has bowled out thankfully for RCB!And now Bhatia comes back to bowl the 19th over  as Vettori takes a single and hands it over to Gayle who gets nothing off the second ball but the next 4 balls disappear for 6,4,6,6!Too little too late for RCB as they are 138 for 5 after 19 requiring an impossible 53 from 6. Had it even been 33 from 6 it would have made it interesting if Gayle got all the 6 balls to himself. (Remember he got 37 off 1 over last season?) LR Shukla comes to bowl the final over as Dan takes a single and gives it back to Gayle who needs just 1 more run to get the Orange cap. He gets beaten by a slower one as he misses it onto his thighs..next one goes for 4 and Gayle gets the ORANGE CAP for the first time in IPL 5:)) Next ball is another dot and then he edges one outside off-stump into the hands of McCullum..Gayle is gone for a very inconsistent 86 off 58. VInay Kumar comes in for the last ball and lets go a short one as no wide is called. It's all over for RCB and I can't help but feel that KKR completely deserved this win due to some stupid cricket from RCB. So now we are officially the chokers of the IPL or were we from before since the days we used to have lots of SA cricketers?I would say we are the "Jokers" as we play extremely silly and funny cricket sometimes. BUCK UP TEAM RCB YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET LUCKY AND HAVE IT EASY EVERYTIME!Captain Dan are you listening??And please don't hesitate to drop yourself as that would bring more balance to the side if we had McDonald at 7 or Murli to get the wickets. CHEERS BEST OF LUCK

Monday, 9 April 2012

Murli heroics- RCB's first match in IPL 5!

So it was the first match for RCB at IPL-5 and fireworks were flying all around the place!Everyone at Bangalore was looking forward to welcoming the home team back onto the field and of course, Chris Gayle!But alas came the news that Gayle is out of the first game due to a groin injury..even the most unbiased of RCB loyalists like myself felt a tinge sad on hearing this news, but as they all that happens happens for the best and so it did as it was a chance for the other players in the team to prove their mettle including the new signings McDonald and Murli. Sehwag won the toss for the DD and put RCB in as Vettori then said he would have batted first anyways and also dropped the bomb that Gayle was out for this game due to a groin injury. So the team looked like this and I was pleasantly surprised at the inclusion of Harshal Patel..
Then came another bomb..McD and Pujara opening!Though I did expect some shuffle at the top quite obviously but had no clue that Mayank would NOT open as he had opened for most part of the last season..quite a shock atleast to me. Well maybe they should have gone in with Pujara and Mayank at the top to leave some experience towards the end but by sending McD right up I was nervous. The move paid off however as after struggling initially McD came into his own and starting plundering Irfan P all over the park!The partnership eventually came to an end with Pujara falling to Morkel off a shortish ball pulling into the hands of Irfan. In comes the big Superstar Virat K as he gets off the mark with a single towards square. Eventually McD goes for one too many as he topedges Morkel after getting a boundary of him in the same over as Doug Bracewell takes a brilliant catch! AB now comes in but the wickets continue to tumble as Kohli plays one in the air straight to point fielder Y Nagar!!RCB tumbling suddenly as in comes Mr.Big boy Tiwary..he doesn't stay long either as he pays the price for playing from the crease and edges on onto his pads from Maxwell and the umpire gives a shocker..OUT!Mayank eventually comes in at no.6 as he stays at the wicket with AB for some time as RCB try to rebuild. Just when things are looking alright Mayank reprises his school-boy days and plays a silly immature school-boy shot high up in the air into the hands of Nagar at Long-off..quite unnecessary to say the least!Captain Dan has to walk in himself and steady the innings now. AB at the other end keeps the innings ticking with a trademark innings of his own piercing the gaps all around..however Dan is run out as Bracewell gets him at the bowler's end with a sharp throw to Maxwell. Vinay now comes in as I get even more nervous but little did I know that he had come out to play the innings of his life!They play through till the 19th over when AB takes Irfan on and smashes him all over the park including a reverse-sweep 6 off the first ball,a full-toss!6,4,4,1,2,1 reads the penultimate over for RCB, the defining moment in the match as RCB is inching towards a decent total. Last over by Bracewell as Vinay takes a single and bang,the next ball disappears for a four straight down the ground Next ball AB tries another reverse-sweep but it only goes one bounce to short third man. Vinay takes strike and surprise surprise, reprises the AB Dilscoop and puts away a full-toss for a four towards fine leg falling off his stance!Way to go VINAY!Next ball he falls as he plays a lofted cover drive to Morne at covers. I n comes the debutant Harshal Patel dont no y Zaheer wasnt sent in with all his experience as he is clean bowled trying to slog to a superb yorker on the off stump by Bracewell right on the money!RCB fold up on 157/8 in 20. We have a match on our hands folks and what a match it turned out to be!

        The first over by Zak was the most eventful one as Finch taking strike put away Zak for three boundaries off similar balls in the covers region. 4th ball eventually he only manages a single to bring the dangerous Viru on strike. And guess what Viru does?Plays straight into the hands of Pujara at covers..Typical Sehwag!Naman Ojha comes in and things look dangerous as both Finch and he take it on and get to 46 for 1 at the end of the powerplay of 6 overs. The score moves to 55 for 1 as Murli is brought into the attack in the 8th over..I dont know y but I could sense he was going to be the game-changer for RCB and do the magic and magic he did as he removed Ojha who edged to Kohli at first slip!The run rate was coming down with the fall of wickets as Murli comes back in the 10th over to remove Finch this time plum LBW!Murli was doing the magic for us as Maxwell came in at 5. Murli again strikes in the 12th over as Maxwell tries to go over square leg but takes the leading edge straight to Zak at Short fine leg!RCB is on top as in comes Y Nagar. Murli is given a breather as McDonald bowls the 14th and gets Venu who tries to loft it down the ground but Mayank takes a blinder running in from long-off!He had made up for the silly shot earlier in the evening. DD is reeling at 83 for 5 as there lost hope Irfan comes to the crease. He and Nagar forge a partenership as he wields the long handle and and Harshal Patel looks impressive in his spell. Pathan takes Murli to the cleaners in the 16th over as he gets one four and a six each.  14 runs DD are still in the hunt. Captain Dan bowls the 17th over and gives away a boundary to Nagar off the 5th ball but he gets him off the last ball caught at backward pont by Harshal Patel! 18th over Vinay Kumar to Bracewell as he gets one four in the over. Doesnt hurt much as its only 8 runs off the 18th over while DD require almost 15 an over. Zak bowls the 19th as he gives away 7 runs off the first five and last ball IPathan is run out as he goes for the second with Harshal throwing well from deep square leg and AB runs him out!Last over 27 required as Vinay comes in to ball again and it's only the 1s and 2s Morkel and Bracewell manage as RCB win the match!What a team effort after looking down in the dumps more most part of the match..go RCB!If this is the kind of fight we are going to put up each time with or without Gayle we are sure to be IPL 5 winners!Aye!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Why Rahul Dravid is the greatest test batsman ever

Some say Don Bradman some say Sachin Tendulkar while others say it's Gavaskar but here is why I think Rahul was the greatest test batsman ever in the history of the game. It is not easy being a no.3 in tests and being able to carry it off for as long a period of time as Rahul Dravid you have to give it to the man..what is he made of?Steel?Iron?I mean just look at the kind of solidity he brought to a team like India..where all were stroke-makers and if not for Dravid I don't think we would have done so well in test cricket over the years. Sachin and Sehwag took all the acclodes and limelight but remember Dravid was the backbone even before the emergence of Sehwag..we hardly had any good openers before Sehwag but Dravid negated it with his impeccable technique..have we ever thought how the Indian innings hold together?All Because of the Wall!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

First Rush

What does one expect out of a theatre workshop?Had my first stint at professional theare today at the First Rush theatre workshop conducted at Richmind town by Evam theatre, Chennai. Everything seems rosy to look at and theatre looks very fancy and exotic from the outside but got a real feel of how actors have to slog from the inside..it is a 2-day intensive workshop but the levels were extremely high!All professionals mostly who have taken it up because they never got a chance to do so earlier because of their 'busy" schedules..and now when they did they are giving it their all and I really seemed out of place looking at the energy and was taken unawares..didn't sink in at all as I didn't know what to expect and the pace got to me..couldn't keep up. Anyways bygones are bygones looking forward to a new energetic start tomorrow and with a lot more enthusiasm and energy as today I got bogged down by the very reason I have been struggling for the past 3-4 years now..blue patches they say but till how long??need some inspiration badly from somewhere but don't know from where I am going to get it..changed my number trying to get rid of past "baggage" let's see how far this helps..need to learn to be down-to-earth, greatful and a lot more vibrant and energetic to take me places..don't know where I have lost all of these qualities down-the-line..let's go lt's go!!!!Come on Ishaan you can do it you know you can just need that "First Rush" going..is this where I am going to re-discover myself?MAYBE

Sunday, 8 January 2012


Why does India blow it away every time there is a GOLDEN oppurtunity to win a test series down under??All started off in 2003-04 when we were leading the 4 match series 1-0. However that instance was forgivable since we didn't have the habit of winning back then and it was all thanks Saurav Ganguly we gained that aggressive attitude of ours. But then we had to throw away the 3rd test where with all due credit to the Aussies I still thought we could have done better there. The 4th and the final test was the biggest opportunity lost where despite of scoring over 700 runs in the first innings we couldn't manage to pull off a win and win the series 2-1 what should have been done easily if not for some defensive cricket. We didn't attack enough and let them score nearly 500 and then didn't enforce the follow-on. Didn't we trust our bowlers?Or did we simply not have it in us that we could do it?God knows alone why we are always jinxed in Australia. The 2008 tri-series win was a one-off thing though. Again in 2007-08 we did extremely badly to be trailing 0-2 after the first 2 tests(the 2nd test thanks to some shocking umpiring). It should have been 1-1 there and then having won the 3rd match and drawing the 4th, there would have been a series win there for us at 2-1 but that was not to be.

                  However, coming to the present now, the last tour for the biggies like Dravid, Sachin, Laxman(Maybe even Sehwag and Zaheer), I really thought we would do it this time but only these big guns can explain why we are again in the same situation and trailing 2-0 down after the first 2 test matches. Why do we repeat our errors again and again?Is it because we are too lazy to learn from our mistakes?Is it because we have had the same set of players for long now and need a revamp?All said and done we should and SHOULD have won the first test there is no logical explanation as to how we lost it after dominating for most part of the 4 days played..chasing a modest 290(What should have been an under-250) target we fell short by more than 100 runs. Two tests left and if India has any shame and self-respect left in them here is a chance to redeem themselves and square the test series which they are more than capable of doing and retaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy for the second time. I suggest some hard changes have to be made for that. Kohli is getting no where and should be replaced with Rohit. Dravid, Sachin and Laxman all the three should stay for they are the GREATS and have everything to prove in these remaining two games. Sehwag needs to buck up and score BIG. Gambhir needs to tighten up. Dhoni needs to learn a thing or two from Saurav Ganguly who could ghost-captain India from the commentator's box and get us these victories we badly need. COMMON guys we are not so bad as to lost to this Australian team down-under are we??U go Zaheer!Ishant get your act together and go for the kill you are letting them go lose. Ashwin needs to bowl more. Umesh you are awesome but raw..believe in yourself and let go of that nonchalance and over-confidence in you. You can indeed be the best but still aren't so here's your chance. As for the likes of Pattionson, Siddle and co..SCREW THEM coz u have handled much greater bowlers in the past and got the much better of them(Read Warne, Akram, Waqar, Mcgrath, Vaas, Pollock, Donald, Steyn the list goes on).
 Sehwag give us a 400 and prove why you are better than Michal Clarke. Rohit I feel sorry for you but here's your chance to justify you being touted as the next "Tendulkar". Guys do it for India if not for yourselves this is the last great oppurtunity you will ever get and God knows how Indian cricket will shape out in the future and whether we will ever again be in a position to challenge the mighty Aussies in their own Den. Cheers Team India cheers Dada you will always be our role-model for you achieved the "impossible" in 2003-04 down-under