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My favorite sports team

September 6, 2010
These thoughts have lingered in my mind for quite a long time. For the last 1 month, I have only questioned myself a few number of times which are the best sports team I have seen in my lifetime. Very few teams come and occupy those memory cells in my brains. Some were so great you revelled in their genius through newspapers and facts whereas others transformed the outlook and manners of a sport.

One of the first icons I marvelled as a kid was Michael Jordan. In my hostel the walls were covered with him flying in the air. This pushed me to read about him. The more I read the more I discovered Pippen and others in his team. The great team of the 90´s CHICAGO BULLS. Dominated the NBA for quite some time. They were a good team with a great player who made them one of the greatest teams ever. Only cause they split up was to find more challenges in life.

As a Liverpool fan, I hate my guts for writing this but the Manchester United team of 1999 was another team I can and will pay to watch. Football had been showered with money and riches when these youngsters were training as kids in Man Utd academy. This brought even more glamour to the sport and the stars of then Man Utd did justice to their owners by playing a style of football which was less thought of in those days.

Transformation had begun with the arrival of Yorke and Cole who scored freely and at will. While Wenger came to Arsenal to make beautiful football without rewards, Ferguson was making practical beautiful football with amazing success. Liverpool and Real Madrid introduced the concept of playing aggressive football away from home i the 1960´sbut Manchester United began introduced attacking football even if the score was 4-0 in your favor.

Next would be the unrivalled team of Brawn, Ferrari and Schumacher or shall I say Brawn and Schumacher. The magic they created and the dominance in the sport. It was this dominance which has seen so many rules change in the Formula 1 more competitive and in other words boring. The duo changed the falling Ferrari onto title contenders with McLaren after their historic success at Benetton.

Formula 1 was in a danger of being acronymed as Ferrari no. 1 for F-1 by the young and inexperienced crowd of such an expensive sport. Many attributed the success to the vast seas of money and research budget at Ferrari but Brawn proved it wrong last season and Schumacher showed his winning qualities and abilites at Benetton previously. After the departure of Brawn Ferrari has still to reach those old strides of domination in the sport.

Barcelona football team under Pepe Guardiola is one of the best teams ever. A perfect season in his first year as coach. Amazing!! Making a team renowned all over the world for internal fights between the CATALANS and NON-CATALANS play the most amazing football is an achievment never to be paralled again in the world of football in the near future. Unlike Ross Brawn and SAF who deserve the attribute of this success, Frank Rijkaard and La Masia deserve to be a part of this football team also.

Rijkaard brought the European cup to NOU CAMP in 2006 after a span of 15 years. He was responsible for changing the long wide football into one touch opponents dancing football. The seeds of Rijakard watered by the La Masia training of footballers to groom a mostly Catalan team blossomed into a tree with only the ripe fruits to be plucked by Pepe Guardiola. Such is luck.

These were sports where money changed the outlook and competing levels of the teams. From being one of the most competitive leagues in the world EPL has become a league between teams from MARS and VENUS with the TOP 4 occupying one planet and the other 16 some lonely detestable star.

The team I think will always be the best I will ever see in my life is the AUSTRALIA CRICKET TEAM. Without the changing of rules or showering of money happened in the sport. The only thing happened was a dropped catch in the 1999 World cup. Since, then they have always looked formidable and formidable only.

Not lost a home series in 13 years. Twice consecutive wins of 16 test matches. 3 World cups continuosly. What laurels do they not have to make them the all time greatest team of any sport? They were a perfect team.

It all started with the restructuring of the team when Alan Border became the head of the ACB. He developed a program seeing the plight of post 1987 Australia to groom players. Warne was his find in a night club and Steve Waugh was his protege. After the transition period under the conservative Mark Taylor as captain, Steve Waugh took the reins and now AS THEY SAY IS HISTORY.

Playing Cricket with an attacking mindset even in the tests did wonders to them. With Adam Gilchrist takign the gloves from Ian Healy in 1999 and displaying his ODI batting mentality at no.7 there was a batting line up so deep opponent bowlers did not dare step of the pedal.

A bowling strength with Warne and McGrath was potent but with Lee´s pace and Gillespie´s accuracy, it became formidable. McGill in reserves provided a great back up to Warne.

When Hayden and Langer batted it was a mix of technique, resilience on one end with flare and power hitting on the other. Ricky Ponting with his fighting attitude and great technique was a dream no.3 for any team and unlike the best no. 3 (Dravid) he hardly faced the new ball. Then there was Damien Martyn an amazing test batsman. Further came Steve Waugh who was always a fighter and hit 9 centures batting with the no. 9 -11. So confident were the batsmen to bat with the tailenders. Michael Clarke and Mr. Cricket came in as reinforcements and proved to be as good as the originals. There seemed no stopping to this team except retirements.

No riches awaited them in foreign countries or team and hence they stuck together to dominate the sport for a decade no matter what form it was.

Many condemned them to fail after the retirement of McGrath and Warne. They were right to a certain extent. Whereas Ricky Ponting looked clueless to lead his battalion without his major Colonels Clarke knows exactly how to marshall his troops into a winning mode from nowhere. In the ODI-series last eyar after the Ashes Australia won matches and the series from a no-win situation.

After initial hiccups in the latest format of the game the manner in which they have oversome India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka they look to be on their way to commaning this form of the game also in the near future.

PS – Liverpool is always beyond these comparisons

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