October 2009 - Posts
Sri Lanka captain Kumar
Sangakkara has told his players to concentrate on their game instead of
complaining about conditions during
their upcoming tour of
"The attitude should be simple. The first thing we should
start with is no complaints with anything," Sangakkara said on
He said the players should focus on things within their
control rather than complaining about the pitches, weather or food when Sri
Lanka travels to India for three Test matches, five ODIs and two Twenty20 games
Sangakkara said he expects the tour to be "very exiting
(sic) and also a daunting task," with Sri Lanka yet to win a Test in India. Sri Lanka
has lost eight of the 14 Tests it has played in India.
Pitches, weather and food seem to be the 3 daunting factors that the visitors will be faced with. The tour itinerary covers Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Kanpur, Mohali, Rajkot, Vizag and Cuttack. So a majority of the tour will be played in the Metros and the soon to be Metros in the country.
There's one 4/5 star hotel in Kanpur, 2 at Vizag, 3 at Bhubaneshwar (29km from Cuttack), 1 at Rajkot and one guesses there are more than enough in the other bigger cities. Food, therefore, shouldn't be a real problem.
The weather in most parts of India is the best that any tourist can hope for. And November to February remains the favourite tourist season in the country.
The pitches promise to be diverse in nature but most of them will not be sqaure turners. Sri Lanka has a well rounded bowling attack and are well equipped to face the 'pitch challenge'.
The most puzzling part of Sangakkara's interview is why does he think his players will complain? If one starts looking at the pitches/weather/food on offer in Sri Lanka (food one is not so sure.. I love Sri Lankan food but that is more from a non vegetarian's persepctive), India may start resembling a heaven of sorts.
It surely is a case of the
pot calling the kettle black snow white calling a polar bear white (Is this politically more correct? One shall soon find from the volume of hate mail). Coming from a very sensible and intellegent player and a person like Sangakkara, it hurts even more.
Following are some sensational disclosures about the reading habits of a few Cricketers.
Harbhajan swears by Short of a Length, so does Mitchell Johnson but both of them aren't great fans of maiden bowling (Sorry Leela :) ). Bhajji is learnt to have started his career with (Som's) Doosra but of late seems to have put in his papers there.
Ishant Sharma has suddenly taken a liking to Q's well pitched.
Most Indian cricketers swear their loyalty by BCC!
Ravi Shatri never tires of "my two cents". He contributed his two by claiming that Australia were well and truly out of the game when Adam Voges got out. Though one doesn't believe that Homer would approve of such cheap observations.
MS Dhoni is always known to be frank and open in putting his points across. Little credit, though, is given to his avid reading of Straight points.
Cameron White is a never tiring reader of 'The Cricket Watcher's Journal'. He claims to have got all his cricket watching skills from Soulberry. He is anxiously waiting for someone to start 'The Cricket Player's Journal'.
Many Australian players took the inspiration of posing semi nude for the 3 2010 calendar from Naked Cricket.
Ricky Ponting has been reading 'The Old Batsman' of late in the hope that it will offer him some clues about SRT's retirement plans.
It is mandatory for most Indian cricketers to go through CricketFizz before starting the shoot of their Cola ads.
Michael Kaspro claims to have inherited his extremely limited commentating skills from 'Just another silly point'. This blog is keenly followed by L Siva, Mohinder Amarnath and countless others.
Praveen Kumar, it seems doesn't get any time to read any blogs. He is too busy honing his fielding skills to indulge in such frivolous behaviour.
A brief summary of all the hits and misses over the weekend in the sporting world
- The top position has to go to Liverpool's gutsy display against Man United and the snapping of it's 4 match losing streak. Going into this match everything seemed to be going against the Reds. Rafa Benitez's future was being questioned, the bench strength doubted (John Terry chipped in too) and Gerrard wasn't playing. Fernando Torres came up with a flash of brilliance and showed why he is one of the most feared strikers in the world with a strike of immense strength and finesse. The situation was ripe for a tumble and a Penalty. But Torres brushed aside a flailing Ferdinand and smashed the first one for Liverpool. Torres and Liverpool surely take numero uno on the hitlist this week end.
- Valentino Rossi won his 7th Moto GP title in KL. That man is truly amazing.
- Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras playing an exhibition tie at Macau, which Sampras won. With most top Tennis players injured, both Sampras and Agassi may have to come out of retirement to lend some excitement to Tennis.
- Has to be the Arsenal - West Ham game. Leading 2-0 after almost 70 minutes, only Arsenal could manage the stupendous task of letting in 2. One gets more stressed watching an Arsenal match than being at work. Arsenal were cruising and their goal never looked under threat untill..... they imploded... or should one coin a new term - Arsenalled?
- Man City - Fulham is a close second with a similar story to offer but the degree of dominance for Man City even with a 2-0 lead was a shade lower. Fulham had won only eight Away games in the last four Premier League seasons but interestingly they had won 3 at City. Fulham supporters are checking if they can share the Eastlands.
- The top Miss of the weekend has to be the one in the snap below (with thanks to AP)
and who cares about the other small misses like the 4 run loss for India. India indeed missed Yuvi in this match :)
Given the general consensus among most Indians about Cricket and Bollywood being the unifying factors in an otherwise extremely diverse nation, one tried to find some similarities between the two sets of people that represent the two industries. To try to find the Bollywood alter ego of a cricketer is an interesting and rigorous exercise. It need not be a perfect fit. It will NOT be a perfect fit. So before one is inundated with the various differences between the two equated personalities, a statutory warning is warranted. The entire exercise needs to be taken with a pinch of salt.
One intends to start a series of such 'top of the mind' similarities between Cricketers and Bollywood actors.
Instead of starting with the most obvious choice of a SRT or a SRK or the Big B, one felt it would do justice to start with the most unsung but invaluable characters of their time. Especially given the current selection flip flops (some flips mostly flops).
Rahul Dravid and Naseeruddin Shah.
Both have perennially underplayed their roles and have mostly been under appreciated in their respective professions.
Naseer started as an 'art film' guy. Dravid started as a technically almost perfect player, but without the flair. Both had perfected the basics of their respective professions but never had it in them to play to the gallery.
Naseer was never seriously considered as a 'commercial' movie actor in his early acting days. Dravid was never really thought of as a great 'ODI' player at the start of his career either.
Naseer got into 'mainstream' Cinema by the middle of his career. Dravid started to come into his own in limited overs cricket a bit late in his career as well.
Naseer's career coincided with Amitabh, Dravid happened to exist during SRT's reign. Even when Amitabh/SRT were replaced by SRK/Viru/Yuvi/MSD in the popularity stakes, the two would always remain ‘also rans’.
Naseer became famous commercially with Tridev (Three Gods), Dravid went on to be better known as one of the Fab four.
Naseer and Dravid were always better appreciated by the critics than the common fan. The fact that they rarely hammed like many others didn't really appeal to a fanatic Indian fan used to heavy duty dialogue and heavy hitting batters.
Dravid and Naseer both were successful in multi-starrers. They never really managed to carry a movie or a match on their lone shoulders. There were a few exceptions along the way like Jalwa but such sparkling solo performances were never consistent enough for them to be considered as super star material.
The number of roles enacted by the both has been numerous. They made their individuality subservient to the role they were playing and therein lay their greatness.
Rumour has it that a Director went to Naseer offering him Hamlet’s role in an upcoming movie. Shahrukh Khan was unwell and the Ranbir Kapoors of the world, he thought, weren’t really up to the task. Naseer accepted gracefully. After a few days shooting, SRK conveyed his availability to the director and Naseer was unceremoniously sacked from the movie just at the time when he was mouthing, “To be or not to be”.
Or is one mixing it up with Rahul Dravid and his sacking from the ODI team?
Special thanks to Sfx for coming up with RD's alter ego.
Moises Henriques with his 9 ball burst, managed to answer all doubts about God's existence and also about the loyalty of the 'foreign' players playing in the IPL. Managing to bowl 5 (or was it 6? Couldn't watch the last 3 balls clearly due to the tears of joy in one's eyes) full tosses at a comfortable height for the batter to smash out of the ground, is no mean achievement and Mo
ises showed the way to all followers of Cricket on how to go about doing it.
But this is no rant against poor Henriques. The performances of the other 'foreign' players in the ongoing CLT20 were beginning to raise doubts if they were sending their body doubles to play the IPL. Duminy, Bravo, Brett Lee, David Hussey, Brad Hodge actually seemed to be decent players when playing for their local teams. A few of them even looked like future Pricks to some esteemed commentators.
Now, this was not cricket. Guys like Duminy, Bravo and Hodge were not reflecting the spirit of their IPL teams. Bravo and Duminy were supposed to choke ala MIndians. Hodge was supposed to implode. Nada.. Didn't happen. There was a complete lack of loyalty shown by all these stars to their respective desi IPL teams.
But along came Polly (Pollard for the uninititated) and made a few secret loyalists betray their true loyalties. Simon Katich betrayed his KPXI genes by insisiting on giving another over to Moses after his previuos had fetched 27. Yuvi would be proud of his protege. Moses after a few good performances in the earlier matches showed his true KKR colours in those 9 balls. Buchanan will be taking notes copiously in his attic for his next book as another black mark against SMG (He was in the commentary team).
Cameron White's name is being overlooked by many for his act of loyalty to RCB as well. He didn"t play most of the RCB matches in IPL. He is continuing to do the same for Victoria. White comes on the field, stands, doesn't ball on a square turner (remember he was picked as a specialist spinner for the last Test series in India), generally talks to his bowlers, claps and goes back to the dug out. Then watches his top 4 batters get most of the runs, walks to the middle, scores 8 off 10, walks back with the match in his pocket. Jennings must be cursing himself for overlooking the talent of this outstanding (literally) leech.
Who'll be the next loyalist to come out of the closet? Time will tell and one is waiting with baited breath.
The Prize selection committee meeting was in full swing. The hot topic of discussion was the selection of the writer of the year. Yours truly was being discussed as a potential candidate. The debate was on between the youngest member (The Kid) of the jury, who at an innocent age of 65 was the proponent of this blog’s name, and the oldest member, a ripe 90, who viewed his younger colleague as a revolutionary. They always wondered why they were called the Old Boy’s club by the less reverent ones.
‘But who is Namya? I have never heard of him.’ The Oldest Member(OM) growled.
‘Nor have I but he comes highly recommended. Just the other day I was searching on Google and I saw his writings on the 7th page.’ the Kid replied.
‘What were you searching for?’ a respected member, who always tried to contribute as soon as he woke up from his slumber queried.
‘Well just this and that.’ The Kid wasn’t very forthcoming. He actually seemed extremely flustered about it. The Slumberer went back to his slumber on this satisfactory response.
‘Yes my boy, but there are thousands of writers who appear in a Google search on Page 1, so why this Name ya?’
‘It’s Namya by the way. He writes on the game of Cricket, which it seems, is going to be just next to Football in fan following in the coming few decades. But he also writes about other sport. Now we haven’t ever awarded a sportswriter ever. So we can shed our dour image and go for youth’, the Kid pleaded.
Rolling his eyes in frustration and wringing his hands in despair the OM tried to reason with the exuberance of youth, ‘Look, there have been so many sportswriters over the last few decades who we didn’t even consider. That Cardus fellow was mentioned once, along with that whathisname. Ah yes, Ghandhi. I was told that both were disdainfully ignored. That Ghandhi chap was persistent. He just wouldn’t give up. It seems he had tried a similar stunt with the Brits and succeeded in having his way. He tried to sneak up on us two more occasions. But we proved too smart for him in the end’.
The Kid was a persistent fellow too. ‘When I contacted Namya, which I did after facing considerable difficulty (Point to be noted Venu), he let in slip inadvertently that he had contributed to the Obama speech scripting team as well (Well I had mentioned that I was a member of O ba ma self brigade, so no false claims there).’
‘I have had a look at the site and found the content too corny, without any substance and with no literary value what so ever. To top that he just started writing his blog some 18 months back’, the OM was getting personal now.
‘That may be the case Sir, but look at the positive side. He is improving all the time. Just in one of the latest articles, I actually chuckled once. His spelling seems to have improved too. Why should it be always about what a person has achieved? If we give him the prize, we can spur him on to achieve greater heights. I have the citation all ready to justify his selection’. The Kid was proud of that citation he had penned. ‘He is an Indian to top it. We have a huge untapped potential there. Just imagine all those cups and T shirts with our emblem. Also Namya seems like a nice bloke, at least not like that smug Salman (Rushdie).’
‘But we have never recognised blogging as real literature. It’s meant for those who are not entertained by the publishing media. So let’s not rush into things. We have already given one prize to an Indian.’ The OM was almost pleading now.
‘Which Indian did we give a prize?’ the Kid was surprised.
‘Don’t you remember that US chemical scientist? The Indians will be happy with that. They even consider Bobby Jindal to be an Indian.’ One of the members of the Jury who wanted to get on with it, informed the Kid.
‘Ok. In that case, who should get the prize?’ the Kid had obviously given up.
‘Herta Mueller. She is a German.’ The OM had the answer ready. ‘She is another European. I am not saying that we have anything against non-Europeans. We gave a prize to a non-European some 7 years back. So no one can accuse us of being partisan’, with a hint of apology, the OM clarified.
‘But who is Herta Mueller?’ asked the incredulous Kid. ‘I have never heard of her. We might as well have gone with Namya’. This was a last ditch attempt which was bound to result in failure.
The committee hastily passed Herta’s name with a unanimous vote. The Kid was crestfallen. His citation would not see the light of the day.
‘So what’s next on the Agenda?’ the Slumberer just woken out of his slumber asked.
‘The Peace Prize’ informed the OM.
The rest is history.
Finally someone had the courage to step up and ask the few million dollars question. Intikhab Alam, infuriated after alleged of being a match fixer, asked a question that needed to be asked, but for the wrong reason.
Inti (as he is intimately called it seems) was outraged because some Pakistani Parliamentarian who can't do without his daily dose of India TV or Aaj Tak or some yellow publication, threatened to call the PCB Chairman Butt (who's the butt of all jokes in the Pak team one gathers), Younis Khan (the wounded warrior) and Inti HIMSELF to appear before some committee to explain Pakistan's poor performance in their last 2 matches at the ICC Champions Trophy.
The fact that the said Mr. Dasti (the parliamentarian) seemed to have his scores to settle with Mr. Butt seems to have been lost somewhere in all this sabre rattling. Because even after claiming that he was misquoted, Jamshed Dasti stood firm on his stand against Mr. Butt.
Inti obviously loved the Indian media when he was coaching the Punjab Ranji team when all those Bhai-Bhai noises were made. But once he tasted the other, darker side of the Indian media, he wants to cut all cricketing ties with India. Was it the BCCI or any other responsible and relevant person who made such allegations? Was it an Indian player who said this? Obviously all these were rhetorical questions.
To come out and say, "The truth is that it is hard for the Indians to digest the fact that
this year in two major tournaments their team, whom they tagged as
favourites, was eliminated in the first round and our team not only won
the Twenty20 World Cup but also reached the semifinal of the Champions
Trophy," , is uncouth to put it mildly. What do you mean by Indians Mr. Alam? Are you implying that the majority of India is still stuck up about Pakistan doing well at the T20 WC and the ICC champions trophy? Maybe you can read the newspaper reports again. Not the ones that Mr. Dasti reads, obviously.
Just the other day there were reports in a Pakistani newspaper about Wasim Akram not being a part of the ESPN commentary team for the T20 Champions League. This was immediately picked up by the India media here and the BCCI and the government categorically denied that he was disallowed an Indian Visa. No one has asked cricketing ties with Pakistan to be snapped (where are the ties anyway?).
If he had a reasonable rationale to feel aggrieved about the way BCCI has treated the PCB with respect to neutral country venues, or the handling of the World Cup venue shift, one thinks he had a valid point. But generally blowing one's top on some media allegation and terming an entire country as unsporting and jealous is going over the top.
One wishes that all Pakistani politicians were as connected to the Indian media reports as Mr. Dasti was. Many more Indian citizens would be alive today.
Congratulations to Rio for winning the bid to host the 2016 summer Olympics.
A few observations from the bidding process. Chicago was supposedly the hot favourite going into the bidding round. It didn't even make it to the next round. It's the season of failed dreams. India and South Africa can vouch for it after their ICC Champions trophy ouster.
Out of the oft repeated Goldman term, "BRIC economies", its only India that will not have hosted the Olympics in another 7 years time. With Brazil, China and Russia already having hosted one summer Olympics.
This is not a crib about India's failure to host an Olympics. The estimated cost benefit analysis doesn't say too many positive things.But all that is for the future.
Celebrate and have a carnival.
All the best Rio!!