January 2011 - Posts
The one big difference between Cricket and Tennis is not only the equipment used or the rules of the games but the post match interviews. Tennis journos seem to possess an EQ and IQ that is lower than their cricketing counterparts (as if that were possible). Tact and grace are virtues unkonown (mostly), though one has to admire the Tennis journalists their wide ranging choice of pointless questions. The Cricket journos on the other hand seem to be quite subdued at post match interviews. It doesn't mean that foolish questions are not asked but it means that the foolish questions aren't a result of lateral thinking.
Let us take a look at the following excerpts of a transcribed interview of Svetlana Kuznetsova after she had lost a marathon energy sapping 4 hours 44 minutes encounter to Francesca Schiavone at the Australian Open 2011.
Q. This might make you feel better. You've earned over 15 million dollars in your career and Francesca has earned only 7. Have you ever done anything with your 15 million?
SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA: What's happened with you guys? I see Roger's interview. You guys ask him what he does with his money. We sleep, put under my couch and I sleep on it every day I think. I have 17 or I don't know how many, 15 million.
You just have to realize when everybody comes to me and says, Oh, you have 17 million. I'm like, Where are they? I don't see any. I'm same human as you are and we're all humans. I honestly don't know.
It's exactly what people think. We're super rich and something like that. I'm talking now for myself. Looking at the total amount of money you earn in career, they think you have 15 million. You don't realize how much we spend for the team. You don't realize how much we pay for traveling, for hotels, for preparations.
You don't realize with coaches, we pay them. It's pretty high charges. Higher you are, more you spend for your team. It's really a lot expenses. I'm not going to do a computer math here for you; I'm not good at it. But I like to count still.
But there's lots of expenses and also we do taxes and few things that people don't realize. We're not like soccer players who just travel for travelling expenses. The team pays. We pay everything. I pay everything by myself. No federation, nobody helps me. Definitely to go up somebody puts money into you. My parents. Some people have been helped by sponsors.
Definitely have to do a lot of expenses. It's not like I have under my couch 17 million. You can come and check though.
One has a couple of observations on this line of interrogation. Kuznetsova answered mostly on what she did with her prize earnings but didn't really take off on the 'This might make you feel better' part of the question. But her answer still throws a light on the difficulties and the loads of expenses Tennis players have to face to stay on the tour. What most people look at is their prize earnings. Life as a Tennis player will surely be financially rewarding if one is a top 10 player. She doesn't really mention the sponsorship money that she is making in her earnings column. Though even on that bit, only the top 5 may be earning really big time plus the likes of Sharapova who has earned far less on the tour than what she has managed to earn from her sponsors.
Also what about the journeymen who keep travelling around the world, play qualifiers almost every week, are not well known enough to earn big sponsorship deals? Their world surely is not a bed of roses. The likes of Bopanna and Somdev come to mind. Somdev had mentioned in an interview that he hadn't visited his home for almost a year due to constant travelling on the tour. The tough financial situation also can be partly blamed for murmurs of match fixing in Tennis especially by the guys on the periphery. Throwing one match once in a while for a decent packet may not be beyond a few broad minded players.
Imagine if MSD is asked a question if they end up losing the WC finals to say, West Indies. 'Hey boys look at the bright side. Your entire tem earns a lot more than your opponents and by the way what do you do will all that money?' One may not hear this question but one will surely read analysis of how the team lacks motivation because IPL money has made them complacent and how the importance of playing for the country is diluted. Cricket reporters dont ask uncomfortable/ stupid questions. They assume a hypothesis and publish it as analysis/ opinions.
Roger Federer was asked about what he does he do with his money and Fed replied that he does what every Swiss guy would do. Politicians more talented than Fed in making money think the same way in this country so fed is in good company.
Thanks sfx for sharing the Kuznetsova interview
The head of the BCCI selection committee is a man unlike any other. There are numerous alleged methods of selection employed by the man ranging from passing the parcel to 'I love him, I love him not' variety. One feels that here is a man most under rated as a selector (If players can be under rated why can't selectors be?). One hence is bringing out a list of puns based on our own Cheeka saar. Here goes -
What's the Indian team selected for the WC called? - Cheekan Tukka
What is a player dropped by the selection committee called? - Cheekar (a really bad pun on Shikar)
What does Suresh Raina call the head of the selection committee? - Cheekna (Cheeka anna)
What is Cheekna's blood group? - B +
What is the word used to describe all the verbal diarrohea emanating from the selection committe? - Cheekaleaks
What is the phenomenon of a cricketer being thrown out of the team and never getting back in called? - Cheekravyuh
What is Munaf's performance the other day in cricketing circles called? - Chi (spelt as qui) ka ass
A young boy is tied to a chair in an empty warehouse. A spot light is glaring at him while all other occupants are standing in the shadows. He is surrounded by 3-4 hefty fellows, a couple of Mona darlings (the villain Loin’s side kick for the Hindi movie buffs and a sleek, suave, ultra smartly dressed corporate types whom we will obviously call Loin . Let’s call the young boy YB, a very original name one must admit.
“Why am I brought here? What wrong have I done? I didn’t cut any expensive kites, I didn’t leak any secret information, I didn’t send any immodest MMSes and I don’t even support Manchester United. I miss my mom. Please let me go. I beg of you.” YB pleads in between incessant sobbing.
“Look YB, all we need is a very small favour from you. But first of all tell me some thing. Can you read and write?” asks Loin, completely ignoring YB’s terrorised demeanour.
Now this was not a question YB had anticipated. He is taken aback for a moment.
“Umm! Let me think. I can’t read and I can just about write my name. You see, I never got the time to finish my schooling. But how does it matter to you if I can read and write?”
“Once smitten twice coy." is the snappy reply by Loin. The flunks HAVE to laugh. "The previous occupant of the chair you are sitting on played along with us for a couple of days and then we realised that he couldn’t write. All we needed was his thumb.”
YB makes his hand into a fist involuntarily. Not with rage but with fear.
“What do you guys want? Please don’t cut my thumb. I can never become a model for a Thums Up ad.”
Loin laughs out loudly, “Silly boy! They can rename it ‘Middle finger Up’ and take you as the brand ambassador.” The flunks look disgusted but have to laugh loudly.
“Don’t worry”, Loin continues, “All we need is your sign on the dotted line. Then you are free to go. Actually we will ourselves take you to your mom.”
YB’s eyes suddenly light up with a ray of hope. But he immediately returns back to his morose self. “You will make me sign on a Will where I bequeath all my property in your name, or worse you will make me sign some random confession and then blackmail me for the rest of my life or put me in jail. I will never sign any thing without reading it first.”
YB has either seen too many Hindi movies or he actually watches Times Now or both.Most probably both.
“But you just said that you can’t read”, Loin is beginning to get a bit cross. A wee bit less than the British public’s level of crossness with Bankers’ bonuses but a wee bit more than Oz public’s crossness to their cricket team.
“I can’t read properly and even if you read it out to me how do I know whether that’s what is written on that piece of paper?” YB obviously watches CID too.
“Look, I have had enough of your tantrums. You can’t imagine the torture that we will heap on you. Let me give you a short demo”, Loin snaps his fingers. The warehouse turns into an Imax screen and images of ‘Tees Maar Khan’ start flashing on the screen.
Loin imitating Marlon Brando snarls, “We will keep on showing you all the Akshay Kumar comedies of the past 3 years, then we start with his micro max ads, then we go to Master Chef India and in the unlikely event of you surviving all this emotional atyachar we will screen ‘Khelenge hum jee jaan se’ as the final straw.
YB turns a nice shade of blue and looks more Straussed than even Ricky Ponting while fulfilling his umpiring duties. He blinks, thinks and gives up gracefully.
“You had me at Tees Maa”
With the document signed by YB, they start walking out of the warehouse and to YB’s surprise as soon as they come out a thousand cameras flash, mike wielding reporters try to grab him. He looks around to see who has managed to save him and to thank his saviour if possible. He wants to tell the reporters about Loin’s threats and the signed piece of paper.
In the ensuing jamboree he hears an announcement on a loud speaker – “Give a big hand ladies and gentlemen to Punish Mandey. He has been signed by the XXX IPL team.”
YB Punish Mandey shrugs his shoulder in a helpless gesture. At least he can have free booze for the next 3 years.
P.S. - The title should actually be 'Uncapped territories' but it would be a give away.
There are some inspirational moments in a person's life when (s)/he utters words of wisdom that even (s)he doesn't foresee the significance of and what that powerful concoction of words, pretty harmless in their individuality, can lead to. Many times these utterances make them selves public without any forethought and therein lies their beauty. Mary Antoinette's famous, 'Let them eat cake' was not a well thought philosophical discourse but just an off the cuff remark. She didn't have enough time to ponder over these words even later in her life since it was cut tragically short by the same non-cake, non-bread eating idiots. Boy! Did those words entice a revolution or what?
The Maharashtra ex-Chief Minister Ashok Chavan similarly showed the world (quite inadvertently mind you) that he wore the pants in his family when he boldly proclaimed in front of the press that mother-in-laws are not part of your close family. Show me another man who has been able to replicate this in public and I will show you a divorced/dead chap. Circumstances might have had something to do with his statement though. The press was pulling him down unnecessarily into a bribery scandal because his MIL had received a gift of a itsy bitsy apartment. But there could be other potentially less dangerous explanations like, yes it was indeed graft. One is not aware of the state of his marital affairs for now but all one knows is that he is not the CM any more.
Our own Harbhajan Singh came out with a pearl just a couple of days back where he expressed his heart felt opinion that the Indian seamers bowled rubbish in the second innings of the Cape Town Test. In fact, they might as well have changed their profession and become dance show judges (well at least one of them) and he was the only person doing all the hard work out there in the middle. TMK (Teri Maa Ki for the uninitiated) was left unsaid just in case Andrew Symonds was having a beer somewhere in South Africa. All this potent stuff was watered down by the rider of, ' I'm not being critical but just giving my honest opinion.'
Bhajji may inadvertently be the originator of a whole new series in the MAD magazine rivalling the popularity of Spy v Spy. But before those crazy guys at MAD get to it, one is going ahead and publishing a few of one's, 'We are not critical but just giving our honest opinion' episodes for the recent South Africa - India Test series and plus a bonus feature on the Ashes for our arson inclined readers. Here goes.
- When will experts stop saying that Kallis is hugely under rated after he scores a ton or gets the MoM award. He has scored 40 centuries and won 22 MoMs in tests. And every time one has to read ‘But Kallis is sooooo underrated’. But come to think of it, Kallis was chosen by RCB, which had a knack of picking up many of these underrated players. How many times has one come across, ‘Dravid is so under rated’ (Harsha Bhogle said it a couple of weeks back) or even a ‘Kumble is so under rated.’ One is not trying to be critical here of all those cliché spewing experts and analysts. One is just giving one’s honest opinion.
- What was Mahendra Singh Dhoni thinking when he gave those additional two overs to Ishant Sharma after Ishant had got a gift of a wicket from Ashwell Prince? Didn’t he know that Ishant is a part timer and a partnership breaker? Like a true blue part timer Ishant gave away some quick free runs to Mark Boucher and the flood gates opened. After that even Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn were given free hits and added more than a hundred with Kallis. One’s mum could be a better captain than MSD. One is not being critical here. But one’s mum is a very good captain in one’s opinion.
- Bhajji himself got nervous as soon as Kallis reverse swept him to stop him from bowling in the rough. Bhajji could have bowled the Teesra or he could have bowled left handed or he could have tried a bouncer. But our man would have none of it and started bowling much worse once the attack was taken to him. And what of all those other matches where he has bowled even worse stuff than what he accused his team mates of? One is not critical etc etc.
- Graeme Smith tried to match MS Dhoni in his defensive attitude and at one point in time with India still needing close to 200 runs with 15 overs in hand he had a sweeper cover for Alviero Pieterson. And for all the supposed fire power that SA possess they haven’t managed to force the issue on the final day in 3 of the last 4 Tests that they have played. Whether it was the timing of their declaration or inability to take 10 wickets is open to discussion. One is not….
- For the Ashes fans: It seems Michael Clarke has retired from T20s and has relinquished his captaincy. Now with his good looks and fabulous acting skills one believes that Michael Clarke should realise that his true calling lies elsewhere. His prods outside the off stump and his generally cheerful slimy nature can be used to good effect as a villain in movies. Why doesn’t he think hard about retiring from ODIs and Tests as well? Of course one is not being critical but it’s one’s honest to god opinion.
My dream for 2014
We win the football WC 2014 because we have Rooney, Terry, Cole etc etc....
We win the ODI WC in 2011 because we have KP, and ummm... dunno but have enough.. yes!! we have swann as well..
We will become the #1 in ICC Test rankings because we have Tim Bresnan and we have Chris Tremlett and xxx.. and we have Ian Bell and we have Stuart Broad!!!
We are the BEST!!!