Wednesday 23 November 2016

Why Nico Rosberg must be aggresive to win the title

There are no shortcuts to be a F1 world champion. In the final race of this year, it will be a showdown between the two Mercedes drivers – Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg.

The Brit remains the in-form driver having won the last three races – yet, he trails Rosberg by twelve points.

The difference illustrates what a stunning season the German driver has had thus far. And, irrespective of what Hamilton achieves, a place on the podium is enough for Rosberg to win his maiden driver’s title.

Let’s turn back to 2010, the final race at Abu Dhabi had three contenders to win the driver’s title. Fernando Alonso led Mark Webber by eight points. And, further seven points away was Sebastian Vettel.

We all know what happened, neither the Spaniard nor the Aussie won. The underdog Vettel won the race purely because he drove as though he had nothing to lose.

The pressure of the title showed on Alonso and on Webber and in the end Ferrari came out as the real losers, as one of the two Red Bull drivers benefitted. It was the defensive strategy by Ferrari that costed Alonso the driver’s title.

The way I look at it, Rosberg is in a similar position to that of Alonso (from the 2010 season). If he must win, then he needs to bring his controlled aggression on the track and not merely look for the third place.

The Red Bull duo of Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo have shown their pace and they might challenge the Mercedes for the podium places – clearly, they do not have anything to lose.

In a way, Hamilton is in similar position and although he has the driver’s championship to lose, he knows he can only win the race and hope Rosberg finishes outside of top three. Beyond that, the three-time champion cannot do much.

I have been critical of Nico Rosberg in the past. However, I have praised him this season for changing his attitude and being ruthless on most occasions on the track. In fact, I am rooting for him this season after having observed his drives throughout the year and not to forget, the 'luck' factor. 

So, the final race of this season will be defined by how Rosberg performs. 

Does he have the zeal to fight for the title or will he scoot around to finish third?

For that, we must wait on Sunday for the season finale at Abu Dhabi.

The points scenario -

         Lewis Hamilton (355 points)                                 Nico Rosberg  (367 points)
If Hamilton finishes
Then Rosberg needs
1st (380 points)
3rd (382 points)
2nd (373 points)
6th (375 points)
3rd (370 points)
8th (371 points)
                    4th (367 points)
                      Rosberg is the champion

P.S – Some interesting facts

1. If Nico Rosberg were to win the 2016 driver’s title, he will become the second of the father-son combo to have won the title after Damon Hill clinched it in 1996.

2. Interestingly, Graham Hill won his first driver’s title in 1962 (he also won in 1968) and Keke Rosberg’s first title was in 1982. A 20-year gap in both cases of fathers and sons winning their first driver’s title (if Rosberg were to win the title).

Wednesday 27 January 2016


Australia in pursuit of 188 posted by India found themselves in a comfortable position at the end of 8 overs - 82/1. Captain Aaron Finch and Steve Smith were at the crease and then came a crucial moment of the game. In agreement with Channel Nine, Steve Smith was all miked up and was commentating the on-field happenings with the Wide World of Sports commentators - Mark Nicholas, Mike Hussey and Ian Healy. 

"We're going alright. Hopefully we can kick in some boundaries here and there. We've got plenty of power in the shed. It is a nice wicket over here, it is coming on pretty well. We're all good at the minute." 

Ravindra Jadeja comes in to bowl, Finch cuts it straight to the point fielder. No run. 

Mike Hussey - "Steve, what's the plan against Jadeja. Where you gonna try and hit him?" 

" Wherever he bowls at. Watch the ball and see what happens."

Jadeja bowls an in-dipper, Finch makes room on the off-side and lifts it wide of long-off for a boundary. 

Mark Nicholas prompts Smith to be the on-field commentator. In the noise, the message gets lost, once, twice. Nicholas suggests again to Smith about narrating from the best viewing position. Smith talks about the long boundaries and the emphasis on running hard. 

Finch takes a single. As Smith is about to take the crease to face Jadeja, he jokingly answers "When do I pre-meditate?" 

Smith flicks it away on to the leg side for a single. Runs hard but in the end settles for one. 

Hussey wanted to probe further on pre-meditation. 

"You will never know what's going through your mind. Just gotta watch the ball and see what happens." 

Smith back on strike to face the last ball of the ninth over. Jadeja darts it in, Smith tries to flick it to the on-side, gets a leading edge which went straight to Virat Kohli at extra cover. OUT! 

There was silence! 

Mark Nicholas breaks the reticence - "Steve Smith is out. And he is unable to talk us through that. Understandably. What a disappointment, 21 for Steve Smith." 

Mike Hussey takes over and explains why Smith got out. All that talking got over under two minutes. 

Which begs the question? 

Should batsmen be allowed to talk to the commentators, shouldn't they be focusing on the game even while at the non-striker's end? 
While Virat Kohli made gestures pointing to Smith's talking, while David Warner offered an opposite view and played down any hints of distraction. 

"We've been doing that for the last couple of years and obviously it's not in the interests of Channel 9 to disturb us when we're out there and for us to be dismissed. It's upon us to be responsible and professional to actually understand what's happening when we're out there. It's about entertainment, we've seen it during the BBL and we've done it plenty of times on Channel 9. It's a great insight for people at home to understand how we deal with situations when we're out there."
On another note, when Indian women faced the Australian counterpart earlier in the day, the Aussie duo of Alyssa Healy and Alex Blackwell were mic'ed up during the 18th over. They scored 19 runs in that over which included Healy's two sixes. I saw the match and they did a pretty good job of batting and talking. 

There are cricketers who can multi-task while many feel microphone is a distraction. 

All in the name of audience interest and entertainment!