Wednesday, November 28, 2007


One man survived by marching to the Prince of Kolkatta's tunes.
Left, Wright, Left, Wright, Left, Wright...

Another refused, and marched out a little later.

Aye Gary bhai, zara dekh-ke chalo.
Aage bhi captain hai, peechey bhi...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Walk out with pride intact? Or wait and be dragged out?

It isn't everyday that a senior cricketer exits the stage he graced with his respect intact. In recent times, it's only the name of Marvan Atapattu that comes to mind. He played his last series at 37, held his own at No. 1 facing Lee and Co., made scores to deserve his place (two 50s in 4 innings), said his piece and walked out to the applause of his team mates

Marvan Atapattu's career profile.

An interview.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Block and tackle

Two days into the first test against Pakistan, and my forehead's got more creases than 2 days ago. No it isn't the surrender of our paper tigers that troubles me. I'm willing to live with a poor batting performance, and hope like all die-hard fans that a bad day happens just once in a while.

It's the manner in which the top five bat that bothers me. It's the attitude they bring to the crease. So defensive that even if a batsman spends 3 hours at the crease, he's only done the opposition a favour. This block and tackle manner of batsmanship, which can at best be called an attempt to score, won't hurt us against Pakistan. But trying it against Australia, is like bending over to pick something off the floor in a men's prison.

I hope the Indian team has another strategy to play Lee and Company. Or we might as well just concede the series via email.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Chuck de!

Hopefully he will be fit for the Delhi test which starts tomorrow. Hopefully he won't whack somebody with a bat before the start of play. Hopefully he'll be throwing down the gauntlet at the opposition and not at his own. There isn't a better sight in modern day cricket than that of the Rawalpindi Express steaming in, and getting creamed for a boundary. So, I shall keep my fingers crossed.

Providence bats for Yuvraj

Two days to the first test at the Kotla, and providence has taken a hand in deciding Yuvraj's fortunes. Though there isn't much clarity on Dhoni's ankle and whether he will play, that might just be the leg in that Yuvraj needs.

If Dhoni doesn't play, India won't need a replacement keeper. Karthik is available and most willing. Then all Yuvraj needs to do is to put down a substantial innings which might nudge the selectors towards 'resting' Ganguly or Laxman in the games to follow.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The 5 ball over

Doordarshan's avarice in squeezing every drop of advertising revenue out of the telecasts they squeeze out of private channels is outright shameless.

Just as soon as the last ball of the over makes contact with willow, CUT. Then a buck toothed Shahrukh frets over a new mobile phone offer. An elderly couple prepares to leave for Singapore thanks to a bank's retirement plan. A cockroach wriggles out of a kitchen wall and into a salad, demonstrating the virtues of a sealant. Kajol does a step-two-three-four with Mr. Mach (her pet croc). Salman takes a U-turn and puts on a few layers for a clothing brand. CUT.

We return to the field of action. The score reads 210 for 4 in 37.1 overs. Introducing the 5 ball over. Invented and promoted by Doordarshan. You see, they can't afford spaghetti straps and designer sarees to up ad rates and eyeballs. So they make do with the time they have on hand.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

India's future 12th man

In the best form of his career.

Playing better than any other Indian batsman.

The undisputed star of Stuart Broad's worst nightmares.

Yet most likely to be manning the drinks trolley in the forthcoming Pakistan series.

Akthar and company must be thanking their stars, Saurav Ganguly and the Indian selectors. Not necessarily in that order.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The playing eleven

The 14 member team for the Pakistan series has been announced. Unfortunately only 11 can play. Let's count.

1. Dinesh Karthik
2. Wasim Jaffer
3. Rahul Dravid
4. Sachin Tendulkar
5. Sourav Ganguly
6. VVS Laxman
7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni
8. Anil Kumble
9. Harbhajan Singh or Murali Kartik
10. Zaheer Khan
11. Sreesanth or RP Singh
12. Yuvraj Singh


India's hottest batsman in recent times will in all likelihood be cooling his heels during the Pakistan series.

Friday, November 9, 2007

What the chuck!

One would think that with multiple television cameras, replays, slo-mos, super slo-mos and the hordes of experts sitting in commentary boxes, chucking on a cricket field would be caught and cuffed without any delay. After all the evidence is on tape. But, no. Suspect actions continue to play matches, pick up wickets, win games and notch up records. Shamefully they're even compared to legends like Hadlee, Lillee, Marshall and Holding whose actions never demanded a second viewing to be upheld as legal.

So what's the scene today?

We have our neighbour's chief muscle popper who wouldn't be allowed a bowl in a tennis ball cricket tournament at Shivaji Park.

Then there are a few Proteas, Kiwis and K'roos whose demise would be the attempted quicker ball.

There's also a West Indian who shares a name with Pakistan's coach but is an embarrassment to his action.

And some tweakers from the sub-continent who bend more than just their backs at the crease.

I don't blame Shas, Was, Gas and other mike handlers for maintaining a deathly silence. A place in the commentary box is worth a lot of money, and hardly worth sacrificing at the altar of righteousness.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Who will lead the Men in Blue?

Tendulkar has refused the position.

Dravid has relinquished it.

Laxman is a non-controversial but unlikely candidate.

Kumble has thrown his hat in.

Dhoni isn't letting his feelings show.

And the dark horse waits.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

The ageing hero's romantic interests are always 18

We love our heroes. So much, that we just refuse to accept that they aren't the 20 year olds they once were. The legs are heavier. The reflexes slower. The eyes, a shade dimmer. And the hair, thinner.

In the last decade or so they've scored tons of runs. They've won some matches for the country. Almost won a lot more. Currently in the twilight of their careers, it's more of the latter.

Yet we forgive. We'd rather see them being embarassed at the crease by sprightly young fast bowlers, than see their places taken by the Badrinaths, Karthiks and Tiwaris.

No, don't blame the selectors. They don't want their effigies burnt on the street on which they live.