June 2009 - Posts
"Ball is white; it's round, you know what you've done to get here, watch it as hard as you can".
wouldn't want to be remembered in posterity by these words but Michael
Vaughan has no choice in this matter. It's already out there in the
But most others will remember him for his many
other, better qualities. His graceful batting, his steely resolve, his
unflappable demeanour. Here was a man, who came as a whiff of fresh air
in the stuffy English dressing room; both as a player and a captain.
The positive attitude gradually rubbed off on the other players, with
the team tasting success. More importantly whining, which was fast
overtaking football as the most followed sport in England, had become a
thing of the past.
Of all things like talent, technique,
fitness, and attitude, that are needed to bring success in cricket and
for that matter any sport, Vaughan brought the one most needed.
All the talk of his captaincy apart, Vaughan was a
treat to watch as a batsman. The India series in England in 2002 was a
battle between two men at their most sublime. Dravid and Vaughan. Your
affinities didn't matter. The quality of the batsmanship ensured that
nationalities didn't creep into the unpolluted enjoyment of their
skills at display. Vaughan was, arguably, at the height of his
abilities then. And so was Dravid, one could argue. Vaughan couldn't cash onto this form as much as he would have liked to. But there was no doubt about his talent or temperament.
last hurrah was the sentimentalist's hope for Vaughan. One last success
against the old enemy to go out on a high. But sport is cruel and
doesn't care much for emotional farewells. Vaughan took it on his chin
and decided to move on.
Here's to Michael Vaughan's ride into the sunset. Do well.
These are the exact words one heard.. And one has heard these words as well about Andy Murray.. And they play each other in the semi finals (if they win all their next rounds)..
That will be my nightmare match. I will never know whom to support..
Even if Hewitt wins the Wimbledon, Jerkiness (Being a Jerk) doesn't come more easily to anyone else
All the best Lleyton
Once upon a time there lived a vain Emperor whose only worry in life was to
dress in elegant clothes. He changed clothes almost every hour and loved to
show them off to his people.
Word of the Emperor's refined habits spread over his kingdom and beyond.
Two scoundrels who had heard of the Emperor's vanity decided to take advantage
of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace with a scheme in
"We are two very good tailors and after many years of research we have
invented an extraordinary method to weave a cloth so light and fine that it
looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too
stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality."
The chief of the guards heard the scoundrel's strange story and sent for the
court chamberlain. The chamberlain notified the prime minister, who ran to
the Emperor and disclosed the incredible news. The Emperor's curiosity got the
better of him and he decided to see the two scoundrels.
"Besides being invisible, your Highness, this cloth will be woven in
colors and patterns created especially for you." The emperor gave the two men
a bag of gold coins in exchange for their promise to begin working on the
"Just tell us what you need to get started and we'll give it to you." The
two scoundrels asked for a loom, silk, gold thread and then pretended to begin
working. The Emperor thought he had spent his money quite well: in addition to
getting a new extraordinary suit, he would discover which of his subjects were
ignorant and incompetent. A few days later, he called the old and wise prime
minister, who was considered by everyone as a man with common sense.
"Go and see how the work is proceeding," the Emperor told him, "and come
back to let me know."
The prime minister was welcomed by the two scoundrels.
"We're almost finished, but we need a lot more gold thread. Here,
Excellency! Admire the colors, feel the softness!" The old man bent over the
loom and tried to see the fabric that was not there. He felt cold sweat on his
"I can't see anything," he thought. "If I see nothing, that means I'm
stupid! Or, worse, incompetent!" If the prime minister admitted that he didn't
see anything, he would be discharged from his office.
"What a marvelous fabric, he said then. "I'll certainly tell the Emperor."
The two scoundrels rubbed their hands gleefully. They had almost made it. More
thread was requested to finish the work.
Finally, the Emperor received the announcement that the two tailors had
come to take all the measurements needed to sew his new suit.
"Come in," the Emperor ordered. Even as they bowed, the two scoundrels
pretended to be holding large roll of fabric.
"Here it is your Highness, the result of our labour," the scoundrels said.
"We have worked night and day but, at last, the most beautiful fabric in the
world is ready for you. Look at the colors and feel how fine it is." Of
course the Emperor did not see any colors and could not feel any cloth
between his fingers. He panicked and felt like fainting. But luckily the
throne was right behind him and he sat down. But when he realized that no one
could know that he did not see the fabric, he felt better. Nobody could find
out he was stupid and incompetent. And the Emperor didn't know that everybody
else around him thought and did the very same thing.
The farce continued as the two scoundrels had foreseen it. Once they had
taken the measurements, the two began cutting the air with scissors while
sewing with their needles an invisible cloth.
"Your Highness, you'll have to take off your clothes to try on your new
ones." The two scoundrels draped the new clothes on him and then held up a
mirror. The Emperor was embarrassed but since none of his bystanders were, he
"Yes, this is a beautiful suit and it looks very good on me," the Emperor
said trying to look comfortable. "You've done a fine job."
"Your Majesty," the prime minister said, "we have a request for you. The
people have found out about this extraordinary fabric and they are anxious to
see you in your new suit." The Emperor was doubtful showing himself naked to
the people, but then he abandoned his fears. After all, no one would know
about it except the ignorant and the incompetent.
"All right," he said. "I will grant the people this privilege." He summoned
his carriage and the ceremonial parade was formed. A group of dignitaries
walked at the very front of the procession and anxiously scrutinized the faces
of the people in the street. All the people had gathered in the main square,
pushing and shoving to get a better look. An applause welcomed the regal
procession. Everyone wanted to know how stupid or incompetent his or her
neighbor was but, as the Emperor passed, a strange murmur rose from the
Everyone said, loud enough for the others to hear: "Look at the Emperor's
new clothes. They're beautiful!"
"What a marvellous train!"
"And the colors! The colors of that beautiful fabric! I have never seen
anything like it in my life!" They all tried to conceal their disappointment
at not being able to see the clothes, and since nobody was willing to admit
his own stupidity and incompetence, they all behaved as the two scoundrels had
A child, however, who had no important job and could only see things as his
eyes showed them to him, went up to the carriage.
"The Emperor is naked," he said.
"Fool!" his father reprimanded, running after him. "Don't talk nonsense!"
He grabbed his child and took him away. But the boy's remark, which had been
heard by the bystanders, was repeated over and over again until everyone cried:
"The boy is right! The Emperor is naked! It's true!"
The Emperor realized that the people were right but could not admit to
that. He though it better to continue the procession under the illusion that
anyone who couldn't see his clothes was either stupid or incompetent. And he
stood stiffly on his carriage, while behind him a page held his imaginary
Now everyone has read this story in their childhood days. And oSeeing the hype generated by the media of the two participating countries and the importance attached to that ONE event to the detriment of every thing else (remember how the West Indies series was supposed to be a practice series, World T20 was for those johny come latelys), as an innocent bystander one asks, 'What's so special about this year's Ashes?'
Michael Atherton had advised the Indian fans to 'grow up' after India's loss in the World T20 because some news channel staged an effigy burning session and some 100+ guys in a country of 1 billion chanted some slogans. One would try and give the same, albeit completely unsolicited (just as Athers' was) advise to the fans and more importantly the experts of both the nations. I would love to see how Atherton himself treats the English team if they go on to lose without a whimper.
Extremity is a relative concept, so is growing up. One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. To write scathing articles in a newspaper or to make some unfairly disparaging comments is as much as an act of a juvenile as a guy burning an effigy for the benefit of a news channel. Both get money from the media owner.
But one is veering away from the central question (as usual?).
Is the Ashes like the Football World Cup, where as soon as one is over, people start looking at the next one? It seems to be so.Whether rightly or wrongly so, time will tell.
Pakistan star all-rounder Shahid Afridi has criticised the ICC
for holding the next Twenty20 World Cup just nine months later and
ignoring him for the 'Player of the Tournament' award.
Afridi, who was instrumental in Pakistan's T20 World
Cup triumph in England, said the ICC's decision to hold third edition
of the tournament in 2010 has left the team with very little time to
celebrate their victory.
"There is just no proper gap between the two
tournaments for us to enjoy our victory. I don't know why the ICC has
done this, but to me it seems cricket today is more like a business
than a sport," Afridi, who won the man-of-the-match award in both the
semifinal and final, said on his return home on Wednesday.
The 29-year-old all-rounder also admitted that in
spite of his stellar performances in the T20 World Cup, he was little
disappointed at not winning the player of the tournament award.
Although Afridi was the star for Pakistan in both
the semi-final and final against South Africa and Sri Lanka with
back-to-back half centuries and wickets, Tillekaratne Dilshan bagged
the award with his commendable show with the bat.
"I was not expecting them (ICC) to ignore me for
the player of the tournament award. I had scored over 160 runs and
taken 11 wickets. My fielding was also top class and I was surprised
when I didn't win this award," he said.
Afridi, however, praised Dilshan for his
performance and said the Sri Lankan opener's famous scoop shot over the
wicketkeeper's head was a joy to watch.
Afridi said he was delighted to play a part in the
victory, which brought smiles back to the faces of Pakistani people who
have been living under constant threat of terror.
"I dedicate this victory to the displaced and
troubled people of Swat in particular. I am happy that we could bring
some joy to our people who deserved it after bearing so much," he said.
The flamboyant right-hander also attributed his success with the bat to the confidence shown in him by captain Younis Khan.
"The captain (Younis) showed confidence in me when
I told him I wanted to bat at number three. But when I got the chance I
also knew my self respect and reputation was at stake. I knew this was
my big chance to finally come good as a batsman and I am happy that I
was able to do it for the team and my country," he said.
Afridi also lauded Younis for his inspirational
captaincy. "He (Younis) took all seniors into confidence all the time.
At team meetings the seniors decided that whatever our differences
were, on the field we must remain united and play for the country," he
One fully supports Shahid Afridi's call to ICC for better scheduling of their major events. There's no doubt about it that there maybe an overkill of the T20 version. But Afridi bhai has a different reason. It seems nine months is too short a period for Shahid Bhai to celebrate victory. But nine months to enjoy victory?? One is getting visions of Afridi sleeping with the trophy in his bed every day. Or is he going to use it as a beer mug to drink coffee? Coming from a player who was playing IPL 2008 for the Deccan Chargers, earning a decent packet of money, talking about Cricket being turned into a business more than sport, is a bit rich.
Arrogance is just a step away from self confidence and Afridi has taken many a step in that direction in his chequered career. Ironically the arrogance was carried off without much substance in most cases. The tag 'potentially devastating' was used for as many years as he remained 17. His run-ins with national captains, coaches, and opposition players have always been laughed away under some pretense or the other. A VVS was not spared either last year in a completely unprovoked attack from Shahid bhai. Coming on the back of his brilliant performances in IPL 2008, they seemed a bit curious.
His 'surprise' on not being given the man of the tournament is even more funny. He was surely a candidate for the title, no doubt about it. But when the title says 'Man of the tournament', it means that one has to be consistently contribute to a team's performances. People may be saying that performing at the big stage is what separates 'great' players from the 'also rans', but you get a MoM for that. Dilshan had single handedly (well, almost) guided Sri Lanka to the finals and very few cricket lovers will have a strong objection to his ownership of the title.
His other remarks about Indians being reluctant to play them and the rationale for other teams to visit Pakistan were the side dishes of this Pehawari Kebab of an interview.
“I think our performance is a lesson for other teams. We are world champions and I hope teams will now come to Pakistan.”
One believes that it's high time for Shahid bhai to show some maturity. The considerable restraint that he showed in his batting approach in the semi finals and the finals, needs to be brought into play in his public utterances too.
Till then, one can do nothing but sit back, relax and enjoy the Afridi show.
I am all for the pouring of the congratulatory messages for Pakistan winning the World T20. They played brilliantly and deserved to win. Their bowling was the key to their success and their batting steady enough to rattle off the Lankan total. But there's a question waiting to be asked somewhere. Do they still think T20 is a fun game where winning and losing doesn't matter? They still don't send their best T20 batter to bat in 3 out of 5 games. And before anyone accuses me of 'sour grapes', I believe India deserved to lose as they were not consistent enough to win the trophy and Pakistan deserved to win as they beat the two more 'consistent' teams to win the Cup.
The same Younis Khan, who was talking about how the T20 results didn't matter is now dedicating this 'Victory' to Woolmer. So did he hold Woolmer in such a light opinion? And the gift to the nation is one which they 'won' without even wanting to.
I guess everyone has to come out of the closet about T20 now. You either accept it as something that is here to stay and play seriously, or say that you don't care about it and not indulge in gloating if you win. The game is such that you may end up winning a trophy without seemingly wanting to, as Pakistan found to their eternal joy.You can't have it both ways, like Pakistan. Running with the hares and hunting with the hounds is a deeply ingrained habit and the faster they shun it, the better for them.
Somebody has mentioned that test cricket is like caviar and T20 like french fries. The only problem in the practical world is that for the chef (ICC), its the french fries that fetch more money than the caviar.
Get me some french fries without the burger please!
Saina Nehwal fought her way to the finals of the Indonesian Open yesterday, on her way beating Lan Liu, the seventh seed from China in the semi finals. For those, who have been following her career closely, this will come as a source of much needed relief. It's not just about reaching the final, where she will be facing Lin Wang, but also about beating one of the top Chinese players that soothes one's nerves.The Great Wall of China stands ominous in the way of any Badminton aspirant hoping for greater heights.
Saina hadn't beaten a top Chinese shuttler since defeating the top seed Zhu Lin at the China Masters in September 2008. And everyone knows that you can't achieve any spectacular results in Badminton if you continue losing to the Chinese. Saina was almost hitting the glass ceiling in that aspect. Reaching the Quarter Finals was her best run in a few tournaments since that win over Zhu and most of her losses came against the Chinese. She was being quite consistent, which was reflected in her World Ranking of #7 and also being declared the Most Promising Badminton Player of 2008 by the World Badminton Federation. She had shown her potential by winning the Taipei Open but the one big break that comes in a player's life, which, makes him/her believe to be the best, still seemed far away. If she wins here, one hopes it will be the turning point in her career.
One came across this article on her road to success and the difficulties faced by her family on the journey. It's a bit dated but worth a read.
What does it take to make a badminton star like Saina Nehwal? Ask her father Harvir Singh.
Saina battles it out on the badminton court against the world’s best
players, it has been no less a battle for her father to let her do the
Rarely a middle-class
family can think of spending half of the monthly income on an
eight-year-old child’s training without knowing if the gamble would pay
But Harvir Singh, a
Scientist with the Directorate of Oilseeds Research Hyderabad, opted to
go by the advice of PSS Nani Prasad Rao, the then badminton coach of
the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh (SAAP), who saw immense
potential in the girl.
met Nani Prasad Rao in December, 1998, at Lal Bahadur Stadium in
Hyderabad. Saina was standing with a badminton racket on the court and
he asked her to play. After watching her game, he said,‘She has the
potential and if you want to train her, bring her to me as a summer
trainee,” Harvir said.
tough journey had started. Saina had to be taken to the stadium every
day early in the morning and the distance from the house was 20 km.
was a challenge for both of us because I had to wake up early so that
we could reach the stadium by 6 am. The training session used to last
for about two hours.
attending the training session, Saina had to attend school. This way I
had to drive my scooter around 50 km daily as Saina, apart from
attending rigorous practice sessions, had to concentrate on studies,”
her father explained.
The impact of this tough routine began to show in the first week as Saina would often fall asleep on the back seat.
Sensing the danger, Saina’s mother started accompanying them on the two-wheeler. This continued for three months.
Ultimately, the family had to arrange a house near the stadium in 1999. This time the distance was about 7 km from the stadium.
But the travelling ordeal did not end here as Saina was asked to attend evening training sessions as well.
an extra training session, the travelling expenditure rose to Rs 150
per day. Added to this was the cost of training. Shuttles, racket,
shoes, guttings and what not had to be purchased regularly. I spent
around Rs 12,000 every month to keep her going those days,” Harvir said.
But how did the family manage such high-cost training? Saina’s father revealed that he had to sacrifice his savings.
started withdrawing money from my provident fund. Sometimes it was Rs
30,000 and other times it was nearly Rs 1 lakh. It happened more than
five times when I had to shell out money from my PF savings due to
Saina’s various requirements,” said Harvir.
He stated that the tight-rope walk continued till 2002 until Yonex Sunrise sports offered to sponsor Saina’s kit.
came as a big relief. Fortunately, she got BPCL support late in 2004.
Ultimately, she was spotted by Mittal Sports Trust in December, 2005.
I had never disclosed to Saina my financial difficulties fearing that
she might get disturbed knowing that her father was left with no
savings for the future,” he said.
When asked if they got any help from the sports authorities, the answer said it all.
2003, she was getting Rs 600 per month from the Sports Authority of
India (SAI). It was raised to Rs 2,500 in June, 2003. You can
understand how I could have managed,” Harvir said.
from the training cost, hefty telephone bills put extra financial
burden on the family when Saina started touring foreign countries for
The byte-crazy media played a part too. Wherever she went, be it the Philippines or South Korea, her phone kept ringing.
major part of the prize money that Saina got from big competitions like
the Philippines Open and World Junior Championship was utilised in
paying her mobile bills, which were between Rs 40,000 and Rs 50,000 in
the touring months,” he said.
was the prize money enough when she began her career? “Saina was given
just Rs 300 as prize money after winning the under-10 state level
competition, held in Tirupati in 1999. The period between 1999-2004 was
very trying for the family as we did not get any sponsor for her,”
It was not only the financial burden but the risk of lagging behind on the educational front which added to the pressure.
had to skip examinations twice. She did not take her first year
intermediate exams because of the Melbourne Commonwealth Games and
later in May, she could not write supplementary exams as she was in the
At present she
is studying in the second year at Saint Ann’s College, Mehdipatnam
Hyderabad. Ironically, the family, despite her big success at the
international level, has not been able to celebrate much.
has never been to any party, any restaurant or cinema in the past seven
years. When the electronic media personnel visited my home in May last
year for shooting of a programme, I could not even offer them sweets.
Do I need to explain why,” he asked. — PTI
It's always a privilege to watch Pakistan play (which doesn't happen too many times now days). Mercurial is a word normally associated with them. One would like to propose a new word for them. 'Jupiterial'. Mercury is too small a planet to have any impact you see?
Afraidi was fearless yesterday and he didnt bat like a complete oaf, which means he batted with a cricketing IQ of 50. That is enough for him to score around the same runs.
There are no BIG favorites in T20 cricket, especially if the big teams are playing and people still dont seem to accept the fact. Go Pak! One is hoping for a Pak/SL final. Imagine Wasim Akram and Ranil commentating together. That will be worth many a match. :)
Back in the national side after snapping ties with the ICL, Pakistan allrounder Abdul Razzaq said he had a torrid time adjusting to mainstream cricket after playing in the "low standard" rebel League.
wasn't easy getting back into international cricket after a long
absence. This is the highest standards of cricket being played in the
world and playing in the ICL and its low standards of cricket, it needs
a great deal of mental adjustment," Razzaq told the Dawn newspaper in London
Razzaq made a successful comeback to the Pakistan side taking two wickets after he rushed to England as a replacement for injured pacer Yasir Arafat.
the allrounder is not satisfied with his performance and said he had
set high standards for himself and blamed the ICL for making things
Razzaq said he had breathed a sigh of relief after quitting the ICL last month. Razzaq, Mohammad Yousuf , Rana Naved and Imran Nazir have all quit the ICL and the PCB has already got clearance from the ICC to draft back the first three into the national team.
Yousuf and Naved are expected to join Razzaq in the national team for the coming tour of Sri Lanka from June 27.
"I think I still need two to three weeks to get up to the standards of international cricket," Razzaq said.
comments about the ICL would come as a surprise since he was the first
Pakistani player to join the rebel league in 2007 after he was dropped
from the Pakistan team for the first T20 World Cup in South Africa .
said the bitterness of Razzaq and some of the other players was also
due to the fact that the ICL organizers had not cleared their dues and
the future of the league now looked bleak.
also said his stints with Surrey and Middlesex in recent years have
helped him to get back into international cricket and perform at the
"I have played a lot at
the Oval before and it helped me immensely. I was able to also give
input in the team meeting on the type of pitch, the outfield and the
conditions and I think it helped me a great deal to have that
background information," he said.
saw similar outbursts from Mohammed Yousuf against the ICL after one of
his flips which would have made a Russian gymnast proud. It's possible
that ICL might not have been run in the most professional manner and
that the players may have valid grievances against the organisers. But
to belittle the standard of the tournament after leaving it's fold is trying to prepare the grounds for his possible
ordinary performances in the next 2 (or maybe 1) match/(es) at best and slimy at worst.
point is if Razaq thinks that he is still getting used to the high
standards of international cricket after playing New Zealand, why have
him in the team at all. It hasn't sent the right signals to the young
Pak hopefuls by welcoming these 'ageless wonders' in the team with open
Seems that double speak is not the monopoly of the politician alone.
This is the clinching evidence mi'lord.
Fixtures for the ICC Men's and Women's World T20 Semi Finals
12:00 GMT | 13:00 Local
India Women v New Zealand Women at Nottingham, ICC Women's World Twenty20, 1st Semi-Final
16:30 GMT | 17:30 Local South Africa v Pakistan at Nottingham, ICC World Twenty20, 1st Semi-Final
12:00 GMT | 13:00 Local
England Women v Australia Women at The Oval, ICC Women's World Twenty20, 2nd Semi-Final
16:30 GMT | 17:30 Local
Sri Lanka v West Indies at The Oval, ICC World Twenty20, 2nd Semi-Final
And the ladies are being paid less than 1/10th of the prize money than their male counterparts for winning the trophy.
One more difference (?) can be found here
The video link courtesy Anjana
This is the team that Kumara gave to Vettori at the toss. Poor Potter could never recover from that
TBA – Role To be announced
Note: The size of the balls is self explnatory
And to answer the question posed in the title. They will lose obviously.
P.S. And what would happen if India played with 8?
We were the champions - my friends
And we won't even reach - this time till the end -
We were the champions -
We were the champions
No time for whiners
cause we were the champions - of the world -
Ive taken my bows
Never any curtain calls -
You brought me fame and fortune and everything that went with it -
I thank you all -
And its always been bed of roses
the ultimate pleasure cruise -
I considered it a challenge before the whole #3 mess -
And I sure gonna lose -
We were the champions - my friends
And we won't even reach - this time till the end -
We were the champions -
We were the champions
No time for whiners
cause we were the champions - of the world -
Lyrics by Queen and Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Harbhajan Singh had a 'Munnabhai' moment at the promotion of a Swiss watch brand in London yesterday.He too is suffering from a split personality, like our beloved Hero. He is the brash lovable (bajji and lovable?) rogue who turns into the Mahatma at the drop of a hat.
'I am an ordinary bowler but one with a really big heart' , confided Bhajji to the Press.
Now that is the joke of the tournament for me. Bhajji trying to be modest(!!!!). As a bonus, he has even been magnanimous to Ojha. What comes as a bigger surprise is the absence of the names of Andrew Symonds, Hayden and the Australian Cricket team in general in the conference. Though I think, as is the current trend, the Press has misquoted Bhajji. He had said - "I am an ordinary bowler with a really big heart and an even Bigger Mouth".
MSD also had his 'Munnabhai' moment at the post match presentation ceremony after the India Westindies match. He admitted that it was his wicket that led to the below par target of 150. Even here, a lot of things were left unsaid like the decision to bat first on a fresh track, Pollard's similairity to Joel Garner and many more. His legendary blocking skills have caught the fancy of the entire world so he had nothing to say about that, obviously.
Seems to me that this confession bug is catching on faster than the Swine H1N1 flu. Stay away from Viru, Bhajji, is all what the BCCI can advise. Viru may not leave anything unsaid.
P.S. We didn't play too badly. They played better.
That's what Brett Lee has been singing over the last few months. During IPL 2009, the moment his eyes fell on the lean frame of Ajit Agarkar, all his difficulties were solved. Here was the perfect example of 'consistent inconsistency'. The guy who reached the 50 ODI wickets mark faster than any other man that time would bowl 5 great balls in an over, bowl one rank long hop and despite all his failings, was always backed by his captain. He promised to be the spearhead of the bowling attack some day. He promised to be the next Kapil Dev for the team. He promised the moon, the sun with a bit of milky way thrown in.
Agarkar raised the hopes of a nation. He was almost Flintoffy in his promise but as everyone knows, promises are meant to be broken. Brett Lee went to Ajit and took some basic tips on how to disappoint your captain. Lee was always a good student and managed to perfectly imitate his Guru.
Ajit Agarkar managed to stay in the Indian team for more than 5 years. Let's see how long can Lee's new avatar manage.
The day he came down with an injury after being worked like an ass by his captain, Brett Lee made a vow to make his captain look like one. 'Asses to Asses, dust to dust' was his new motto in life. Nothing could fit the bill more than humiliating his Rickhead captain in front of their archrivals the Pompoms.
Whom should he make his 'idol', he wondered, in this 'assinine' quest. To be extremely frustrating to one' captain, as a bowler one needs to spray the ball, be completely unpredictable and be a bum generally. But at the same time, it risks one's place in the team, which makes oneself look like an Ass rather than the Skipper. Now one couldn't let that happen, could one?
So one had to hold a carrot to the captain. The 'promise of potential performance'. How much ever badly one does, one has to show that tiny glimpse of genius, for the captain to forget and forgive. Lee was still wondering about his potential 'mentor' in this pursuit of 'excellent mediocrity' during his late IPL stint where he had a vast pool to choose from. He was bowling well at the IPL as that was a part of the gameplan; to be welcomed with open arms into the Oz team and for getting some Preity inspirational hugs.
He pondered upon Sanatan Dinda's candidature, but Dinda's failure to be a feature of the Indian national team inspired little confidence. Mashrafe Murtuza, L Balaji, Joginder Sharma, M S Ghoni, Ashish Nehra, so many names but only one to choose. His mind was becoming numb with all these options but he still didn't feel that Oomph that he had felt when singing along with Asha. None of them had been consistently inconsistent and managed to be in the good books of the captain. Many had never even reached the captain's books, good or bad notwithstanding.
Things were beginning to look ominous. Would he ever really find that perfect guy? Lee was beginning to seriously doubt it.
Then Lee felt what Buddha had felt when he attained Moksha. A bull sitting near the Bullring stadium suddenly found it's one eye watering inexplicably. It was hit very badly. Lee had hit on the perfect guy.
His spiritual Guru's first mantra was - 'Apun tension lene ka nahi, apun ne tension dene ka' ala you shouldn't be a stresstaker but strive to be a stressgiver.
Armed with a few other very useful tips, Breet Lee first unleashed his spell on the unsuspecting Gayle in the WC T20. So spectacular were the results that even after being gently stolen 56 runs off 4, his Captain still showed full confidence in him at the post match interviews. This was outstanding stuff. But Rickhead was getting a wee bit hot under the collar. So the next match had to be dealt with even more subtly.
Come SL cometh the Man. After giving away only a couple of runs off his first 4-5 balls, Lee would innocently slip in a no-ball, a half volley, a full toss and so on. The poor batter had no choice but to deposit it in the crowd. The captain looked and felt helpless. His face had turned A(s)shen. Lee had indeed succeeded in fulfilling his promise to self and at the same time, most probably keep his place in the Ashes tour.
This is a story of Brett Lee who indeed found a cricketing equivalent BengaLee Baba to lift his burdens.
Who was this mysterious Baba? Any guesses?
Le Qautre Mousquetaires, (The four Musketeers) trophy was won by One Musketeer 4 consequitive times. He seemed to be all the famous 4 French Musketeers rolled into one and more, the quartet after whom the trophy was named. The Fifth Musketeer, many feared, was destined to be a perennial bridesmaid at the French Wedding. The Man, who has been a fixture at a Grand Slam semifinal, without fail, for the last 5 years, finally got his due. His consistency and perseverance meant that he finally got a crack at the trophy with Nadal losing in the earlier rounds.
As fate would have it, Roger Federer equalled Pete Sampras's 14 Grand Slam wins in Paris. One place where Pistol Pete's guns fell silent, one place where he didn't even come close to winning. There could have been no better man to give away the trophy answering to the name of Andre Agassi. The last man to win all 4 slams (one is not counting Nadal, though he is the most recent one to have won slams on all 3 surfaces). Agassi, who was Pete's biggest rival, giving away Federer his 14th was another quirk of fate.
With tears rolling down his cheeks, Roger Federer lifted the trophy. At the Australian Open 2009, it was a tearful Fed accepting the Runners Up plate. An emotional Federer was an image one got used to seeing only over the past year or two. Maybe the realisation that he was human, was dawning on Federer himself, with the advent of Nadal and others. It's nicer to see a champion crying in victory than in defeat. It would have been even nicer if Nadal was standing next to him. But one can't have everything one wants.
The Fifth Musketeer finally conquered Paris. He will be looking to make it #15 at WImbledon 2009. Amen to that!
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