August 2009 - Posts
A pole position at Spa was beyond Force India's wildest dreams. A podium finish at Spa, even after the pole position would be scoffed at. After all those near misses for that elusive point in a F1 race, Force India managed 8 in one race. Bhagwan jab deta hai to chappar phaad ke deta hai. Go Fisi! ..Finally Mallya gets a reason to smile..
One small step for Fisichella, one giant flight for Kingfisher..
Ever heard a fan selling his shop, the lone source of his income, just to be photographed with his idol, to fulfil his
That is what 23-year-old Ravindra Kumar Saini of Uttar
Hailing from Saharanpur in
Uttar Pradesh, Saini sold his audio/video CD shop to fund his trip to Ranchi and stay here. He
stayed here for 35 days, looking for an opportunity to shake hands with Dhoni
and get photographed. His cherished moments came on Wednesday at the airport
when Dhoni was leaving for Mumbai.
Saini sprung a surprise as security personnel stood gaping.
The Indian skipper, however, shook hands with him and lensmen clicked, promising
to send the photograph to him.
"We know that this man was staying in Ranchi for quite some time. He approached us
to meet Dhoni. He fulfiled his dream of meeting Dhoni at the airport," Animesh Kumar,
a friend of the Dhoni's, said.
Saini said he had told about his ‘achievement' to his
"She was very surprised when she heard about my
accomplishment. Both of us are Dhoni fans, but the degree of my liking is much
more than her's, which
prompted her to ask me to go for a test, and the rest you
know," he said.
Saini was at a loss of words when asked whether his girlfriend
would also enact a similar adventure. The lad from Uttar Pradesh, who lost his
father when he was 16, said he would take up the job of a salesman in any cloth
shop for a living after returning home.
Running out of money, Saini has been helping his village
natives who have set up a furniture stall at the ongoing fair at Jaipal Singh
stadium, about eight km from Dhoni's residence. "The stall-owners hail from my
village. They have promised me to give some money so that I can purchase a
train ticket and leave for home.
How far can an Indian cricket fan go to fulfill his dreams? Far enough, one feels. At at age when one should be dreaming of a career, a better life, better opportunities, here's a man who actually has given away his only source of income to meet and shake hands with MSD. No corporate has paid a higher price to acquire Brand MSD. What motivates people to leave their homes to travel all the way to Mumbai to meet some Bollywood starlet? That Cricket and Bollywood are the two binding factors to the fabric of this country is a well known fact. Instances like above show the demi god status that Cricketer's in the country enjoy. Instances like burning effigies are the other extreme and one hopes that the same hand that shook MSD's hand is not used to hurl a stone should India lose an important match in the future.
One has to accept the extreme reaction potential of an Indian Cricket Fan and move on. The media is also playing it's part in adding fuel to the fire as was seen in the effigy burning news post the WT20 debacle. Harping on it, sitting in an ivory tower is not the answer.
While writing this one got a call from a friend, checking one's whereabouts on Saturday night for the all important, life and death situation, Arsenal v/s Man United clash. Aim was to watch it together. On being asked one's opinion on the likely result of the match, given it is being played at Old Trafford one's reply ran something like this - " my heart, lungs, kidney, liver, spleen, bones, muscles - all say Arsenal but the head says a Draw."
Afterall every person has a bit of madness in him. Only the degree varies.
This article is meant for all those people who have always wanted to understand the basic economic theory of price elasticity of demand, possess a
keen cricketing brain and are ready to stretch their credulity. Price elasticity in cricket is basically the relationship between the Selectors' patience level with a particular Captain and the price the selection committee is paying for him. If the Selectors' patience with a particular Captain drops as the number of Test losses go up then the Committee is described as "flexible"or "forward looking" or "a bunch of jokers"or "five wise/foolish men", depending on the party describing them. If the opposite is true and the Selectors' patience remains constant even if the number of Test losses goes up, then the phenomenon is called as "inelastic demand" or "TINA".
Most national Selection Committees are neither entirely one or the other, although there are examples of both extremes. Let us examine the extreme examples at present.
The above graph shows the dilemma faced by the Andrew Hilditch led Australian Selection Committee. The prefectly inelastic product. It shows that the demand for Ricky Ponting's captaincy isn't decreasing regardless of the number of matches Australia loses. This is a perfectly inelastic product. A good example cited in economics literature is a service industry, which has no other alternative, such as hospital care. It fits perfectly in Cricket Australia's case currently. The TINA (There Is No Alternative) category. Ponting is their best batter today. They can't fire him as a Captain and keep him as a mere player. Michael Clarke doesn't inspire too much confidence. And there is no other candidate really who can walk into the team and is senior enough and commands the entire team's respect.
The graph above shows the choices made by PCB in a perfectly elastic product scenario. If the number of Tests lost goes up, the Selection Committee's patience goes down immediately. In economics theory a good example of products which have very elastic demand are those with a lot of competitor brands or alternatives. And boy, the Pakistan team is made of 14 potential Captains. A series loss here or there and new captaincy candidates start popping up. This is also called as the TATMA (There Are Too Many Alternatives) category.
India used to fall some where in the nearly perfectly elastic product classification once upon a time, but is in the middle some where.
Isn't economics very simple?
Most non cricketing India
sportspersons lament the lack of recognition and monetary rewards for the blood
sweat and tears that they have shed in their search for excellence at what they
pursue and many times rightly so. Most of them have been blunt enough to point fingers at cricketers
being treated more fairly than others. Every time a story is written about a
track and field athlete or a hockey player, a snide remark against cricket or
BCCI is always lurking round the corner.
With the AIFF being granted INR
250 MM for the development of football in the country, one felt that Indian
football finally was on the right track and field. Incidentally, Praful Patel,
the acting Indian FA president also happens to be a senior member of Sharad
Pawar's (for the uninitiated, the BCCI president) political party. But to
give the BCCI it's dues, the BCCI had also created a corpus of Rs 500 MM in
2008 by setting up the National Sports Development Fund for supporting five
games - swimming, archery, judo, wrestling and shooting.
AIFF vice-president Subrata Dutta thanked BCCI and Praful Patel
for his efforts which has, so to say, ensured that the people's game doesn't
suffer from any more financial problems.
Subrata Dutta said, "My heartiest congratulations to Mr.Praful Patel. We are
proud of him and I feel that under him, the pristine Indian football shall
"Thank you BCCI. Now, we are confident that there won't be any dearth of funds.
Under Mr.Patel, we can now take Indian football to where it should have
This was announced just a week back in the media.
The Ambedkar stadium, Delhi,
which is the venue of the Nehru Cup being played from August 19 to August 31,
was also used for the Independence Day celebrations on August 15th. Bhaichung
Bhutia, the captain of the Indian team, which, incidentally also is the
defending champions hoped to get their
own training ground with proper bathrooms and toilets. On being asked about the
impact of the I Day celebrations on the pitch, he said this is how things had
been ever since he started playing football.
After India lost
their opening game to Lebanon
by a solitary goal, the Indian coach Bob Houghton, said that the heavy
grass on the pitch made it impossible to play the passing game.
One obviously doesn't expect Praful Patel to take Indian football to
dizzying heights in a week's time, but as of now he has surely taken the grass
on the pitch to new heights.
Another story from another sport that unfolded during the day was taking
place in far away Germany.
The Indian participation at the World Athletics Championships came to a
sorry end. And there's not even a light at the end of the tunnel for Indian
Most times when a non cricketing sports person succeeds at the highest
level, either they or the media invariably bring cricket into it. Ironical as
it may seem, the non cricketing sporting fraternity seems to be suffering from
an acute case of cricket fixation.
Is it only the over popularity of cricket that is killing other sports in India?
The fact that the football team doesn't get a decent training facility is not
BCCI/Cricket's fault. Dhanraj Pillay not getting the same appearance fee as a
Wasim Jaffer is not cricket's fault. It's no one's case that India OD's on
cricket and that Indian cricketers get huge money, many times more than most
But it has never only been about money. It has also been equally, if not
more, about the administration. Huge money may bring an advent of some
professionalism in the game or at least produce an individual athlete who
becomes a world beater. Cricket is an example of the former, Abhinav Bindra, of
the latter. Look at today's selection committee, NCA, the various cricket
academies that are taking cricket to the corners of the country. The
overflowing coffers of the BCCI have brought about some positive changes. There
are many other problems to be addressed but a start has been made. A MSD story
would remain a fairy tale a couple of decade's back, impossible to believe.
That story is attributed to the India
Shining/ small town rising phenomenon and not to the BCCI. How many such
success stories of other small town sportspersons has one heard.
The country has seen one example of what a decent administration can do
without Big money in a game. That game is Badminton. With Prakash Padukone at
the forefront of the revolution, Indian Badminton has surely started producing
players stepping up to international standards. The money in Badminton is still
not very lucrative. But yet we are seeing a good talent pool being created.
Whether Indian Badminton produces a World Champion remains to be seen but it
seems to be headed in the right direction.
The Indian Football team has produced some decent performances in the
last 12 months but if it has to take the next leap of faith, the administration
has to improve. Only the dole from BCCI may prove to be a short term painkiller to
a terminal illness. Praful Patel is the current aviation minister of this
country. How adroitly he lands Indian Football to safety with fuel borrowed
from the BCCI remains to be seen.
Patient - "Doctor I think I have some medical problem. Whenever I am going to my office, I feel short of breath. I go weak in my knees. I have a restless trembling in my hands and legs. My heart skips a beat. My palms get all sweaty. I become very absent minded and forgetful. I can't sleep at night. I feel millions of butterflies in my tummy. Please help me. I am at my wit's end."
Doctor - "Sir, If you had only one of these problems, I could say that you have Pulmonary Hypertension, Multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, Tachycardia which may lead to ventricular fibrillation and myocardial infarction, hyperhydrosis, early onset of Alzheimer's, benign prostatic hyperplasia or acute hunger pangs. Don't worry about being at your wit's end. You were born with a slow brain. But given that you have all these signs at the same time, I think you are in love with one of your office colleagues, Ravi! Where do you work?"
Patient - "I am a bowler..umm.. no.. a batter.. umm.. no.. a fielder... umm...no.. a cricketer... I feel like this when I am walking down to the pitch"
Doctor - "Sorry Ravi. All we can do is pray. And pray. And pray. And hope that Johnson, Clark, Siddle and Ben get injured. And pray some more. Amen"
The following test is released for those extremely bullish romantics who love any 'test' and think tests are 5 day affairs. As this 'test' suggests, they can be very short.
1. England milded = ? (25 marks)
2. Why is Ravi Bopara in this England team? (100 marks)
3. Will Michael Clarke be the next Mahatma Gandhi? (0.00001 marks)
4. Can fans decide the outcome of a match? Please give a detailed explanation (25 marks)
Answers as follows:
1. middle out of order
2.Don't ever ask again (The tagline of the ad goes - Bopara mat puchna)
4. Yes to a certain extent. If these fans were of any other nationality there would been cries of disgust and self righteous indignation. Match fixing issues would be raised (If I had put my money on Australia, I would be worried before the start of the 4th Test).. and what about security? But wait.. this is Australia and not any sub continent team.. so it's all harmless, innocent fun. A pure jest that is to be taken light heartedly. All in a day's work. Buck up ol chap.
AnooX banner here
Cartoon by Manjul
199 (that's one delivery short of 200 for the mathematically challenged) legitimate balls were all that were needed to wipe out England on the first day of the 4th Ashes Test. And it all boils down to the power hungry IPL commissioner Lalit Modi and his ilk of money grabbing, infinitely arrogant sychophants.
If it were not for the money making soul less machine called the IPL, our dear old boys Freddie and KP would be strutting around the pitch, tonking the bowlers to all parts of the Headingley pitch. Collingwood and Bopara would play more watchfully if they hadn't been throwing their bats around for the Delhi Dare Devils earlier in the year. So what if they never played a single match.
Alas even the umpires have been so blinded by the money thrown around by the IPL that they fail to notice bowlers over stepping, ball hitting the arm guard instead of the bat. And the Aussies who didn't play the IPL (well most of them) reaped the benefits of not doing so.
There was so much class distinction between the haves and the havenots (players playing the IPL v/s players who were not a part of any IPL team) in the England team that team spirit suffered.
Some body cried out "IPL" when Prior was playing football before the match. That led to a worrying injury. With so many players unfit, thanks to the IPL, England still manfully tried to rise up to the task. They played out 79 more balls than a normal T20 game. They should be warmly supported and credited for their nerves of steel.
The BCCI and the IPL have also been responsible for the killings in Iraq and something needs to be done about these two entities, the sooner the better.
This is an excerpt of an Autobiography of a famous ex cricketer which is going to be published soon. We received this copy from his agent who was last seen contacting some Indian news channels.
One was actually thinking that the above excerpt could have been written by the T20 bashers as well if the IPL word is replaced by T20. Headlines would be 'DEATH of Test Cricket'. But more about it later.
Remember you read it here first.
The day the prince of Kolkata came down to Mumbai to meet Shahrukh Khan aka King of Bollywood to discuss the Wright choice of coach for KKR, one commoner went from Mumbai to Kolkata to not meet Prasanjeet, the King of Tollywood. But that meant inability to blog and no glimmer of information. While returning on the flight after unsuccessful attempts, rather, begging on one's knees to pitch for business (ouch the knee feels as wobbly as Pakistani batting), one came across this brilliant article in a newspaper on frayed tempers. No. One is not going to talk about Ponting's tantrums. Give the poor guy a break. He was just venting his frustration. The article went like this.
The Asian Women's Under-19 Championship witnessed shocking scenes in Wuhan tonight as the Australia team were pelted with bottles by a highly charged crowd following a mass brawl at the end of China's match against the Young Matildas.
won the Group B encounter 2–1 to secure a place in the semi-finals of
the competition but had their backs to the wall as the Australians
pushed for an equaliser. Australia were also denied a penalty when Kyah
Simon was brought down two yards inside the area and a free-kick
outside was awarded. To compound their frustration, the centre-back
Jessica Seaman was sent off on the stroke of full-time.
following the final whistle, an Australia player fell to the ground
while remonstrating with the Chinese, prompting the captain, Tameka
Butt, to charge across the pitch and grab the perceived offender. That
sparked a mass brawl as both sets of players and backroom staff charged
on to the pitch, with punches thrown.
Once order was restored,
plastic water bottles were thrown from the crowd in the direction of
the Australian team – whose ages range from 15 to 19 – as they made
their way down the tunnel with police imploring fans to stop.
was seriously injured but the Australia coach, Alen Stajcic, was
furious with what happened. "We've prepared for 12 months, to have an
embarrassing sporting event take place like that in China. That's not
sport," he said.
"Sport is played by two equal teams battling for
sporting supremacy, not that kind of behaviour. On the field, off the
field, it's not good enough. I'd be embarrassed if I were the host of
this event after that game. You all saw what happened out there, it's
The accompanying photgraph went like this.
Now where had one read about unfair play, bad refereeing, moaning and groaning of late? Such Odyssey could only be Homer's. It went some thing like this.
India, cricket's money magnet, only cares about umpiring when it thinks it has been dudded.
It's always someone else's fault, like in Sydney 18 months ago, and the umpires are an easy target.
Just ask Steve Bucknor about the support, or lack of it, that umpires receive when India spits the dummy.
who like Koertzen stayed in the game about a decade too long, failed to
give Andrew Symonds out caught behind in Sydney during the New Year's
Test in 2007. India lost, India whinged, moaned and complained, Bucknor
got sacked and the ICC and Cricket Australia let the caravan roll on.
Who cares about principles when there's millions at stake?
as no surprise then that India, which has more resources than the rest
of the cricket world combined, is the only major Test nation without an
umpire on the dozen-strong international panel.
That's the problem for the Matildas. They can't take on a country which literally owns a decent stake in their own country. They maynot be able to get the ref thrown out from their next match because they are not a football economic superpower. Better to butt in - literally! The coach obviously was making a valid complaint against biased refereeing. No moaning there.
But one has a hunch that the plane carrying the Australian U19 team somehow went over Indian air space while travelling to China. That's where they caught the Whine flu.
It's out in the open now. The BCCI is backing the Indian players, who have expressed their reservations about being party to the WADA anti doping measures. The reservations chiefly stemming from their privacy and security concerns, which, they felt would be compromised by the whereabouts rule.
Are the Indian players the only ones talking about their privacy and fundamental personal rights? One decided to take a look.
FIFA and UEFA have rejected the 'whereabouts' rule in March 2009. Many atheletes and sports bodies have been criticising the rule as a breach of their fundamental personal right . A key European Panel has opined that the rule contravenes privacy laws.
So there has been enough noise raised against the 'whereabouts' rule across the sporting world. Why the ICC (which includes the BCCI) chose to accept the WADA code of conduct in toto is the moot question. Were the players even asked their opinions/ reservations about the rule then? Why did the players (one is including players of all nationalities) not raise a stink on their own?
Another issue that naturally arises is why did the BCCI/ Indian players wait till the last minute to convey their decision to the ICC? Was MSD not available a week back for a meeting? What it has done is create a dead lock where the ICC has to act against the BCCI to show the strength of it's anti-doping credentials.
Tim May, the former Australian off-spinner, said FICA and its players have reluctantly accepted the WADA code. He further (rightly so, one thinks) said 'If the whereabouts provisions do not apply to all players from all countries then it should not be applied at all." But what was FICA doing till now. It sounds more like a war of 2 trade unions where the stronger one makes higher demands which makes the weaker one want to be treated at par and reiterate the demand as it's own. FICA's argument is perfectly fine, the timing seems a bit off.
It seems like another botch up the ICC and the BCCI. Taking matters to the brink and then just holding back seems to be the current decision making/ negotiation policy of both parties. One day it may prove too deadly for cricket.
As sporting icons of millions of Indian fans, one would believe that senior Indian cricketers should take the responsibility of leading the way in the fight against doping offences. It would start a proud tradition of clean sports that the country so badly needs, especially after so many doping accusations in weight lifting and other olympic sports. One may agree with all their concerns about privacy and cricket being a different game. A great opportunity to lead the country against doping was presented. But for now privacy seems to have been given the priority. The end game has begun.
Wa da ya da now?