Archive for July, 2006


John Wright, Kaun Right ?

July 30, 2006

Former national cricket coach John wright’s revelations in his book “Indian summers” about the selection process  merits  introspection. Wright has suggested that regionalism often crept in  the selection of the Indian cricket team and has been unanimously criticized by all the Inidan selectors of that period for airing such views. Some have questioned his integrity for being critical at this late stage but who would dare to bell the cat while on the job?

A former India captain had said once that  the best Indian team should purely be on merit even if all the 11 players were from any one region.  He could have added that unlike the union cabinet which had to have regional representation, cricketers had to perform and that too transparently in front of a cricket crazy billion people.

Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar points out in his autobiography, “Sunny Days” that on one occasion nine of the eleven test players were from Bombay. He further elucidates ,”The Bombay cricketer knows that he is what he is entirely due to hard work and his own efforts unlike a few others who have come with backing from their states. This is the reason one finds most of the “one-test” men from other states, while the number of “one-test” cricketers from Bombay are negligible.” Has the scene changed drastically from Gavaskar’s time? If so,  whether it is Mumbai or any other region;  how does one ensure meritocracy?

This reminds of the recent reservation controversy where the joke doing the rounds was that a four by a scheduled caste shoud be deemed a six , he should be exempted from LBW, the boundary should be shortened for him etc etc. Instead of reservation of individuals, this is reservation for regions.

Kapil Dev, too in his autobiography pointed out that selection and changing of captains completely defied logic at times  He actually says “The administration follows the policy of divide and rule- that’s how you always produce a weak team though it has great individuals to play the game. “  He said that the board and the press fed on the musical chairs in captaincy  between cricketers  who were forced to play under each other several times by circumstances.

The new dispensation in the BCCI wants to introduce a corporate culture like in Australia. Hope it percolates down to the selection process and also makes it more transparent. One suggestion is that there should be professional selectors who are paid for the job. They will obviously be former test cricketers but they will not be representing any zone.  That will, perhaps avoid controversies like Ganguly.

Today, in the Sunday times  along with Wright’s comments the Sunday debate is on “Is it fair for Ganguly to criticize Dalmiya?” . The verbal duel is between former selector Sambaran Banerjee and ex-test player Chetan Sharma(played for Bengal alongside Ganguly).Sharma is quite strident in his criticism of how Ganguly should score runs instead of blaming Dalmiya who, he claims never interfered in selection. Banerjee, on the other hand  is adamant that  a cricketer of Ganguly’s stature would not criticize Dalmiya unless there was solid substance behind it.

One thing I could never understand is why Saurav was not given enough one day opportunities instead of tests  for making a comeback considering that he has more than 10000 runs in that form of the game. On the other hand, if what Chappell has said in his leaked email  is true, it reflects poorly on Ganguly and the public is better off knowing about it. Appointing Gavaskar as batting consultant without informing Wright is also not conducive to a harmonious working relationship between captain and coach.

Prasun Mukherjee who is taking on Jagmohan Dalmiya in the  Bengal Cricket association elections has already hinted that Ganguly’s omission was for non cricketing reasons. On the other hand, Gavaskar  had said in an interview  that the chairman of the selection committee had expressed the view that he had not been satisfied with Ganguly’s performance for over two years. “ “How then did he continue in the test team for two years?”,” the little master asked.

(Mamma mia- Dalmiya..Those who live by the sword…..Dalmiya may have not be that much of a force to reclon with now but daal me zarur kuch to kaala hai, miya).  Today(31/7), it came in the news that Dalmiya won the Bengal cricket association elections by 5 votes. Whatever his faults, he is a brilliant administrator whose skills should be utilized for the betterment of the game.Selection of Administrators should be as much on merit as players. He has called Ganguly a “baccha”(Child) but the issue in all this is who is or rather what is “Sachcha”(Truth)


Why fear the blogosphere, why chase the cyberspace?

July 20, 2006

So much has already been writren about the “Bloggers Block” that I was wondering whether or not to add a post on the issue when an incident today in the monrning  helped make up my mind.

I had an appointment with a dentist early in the morning. I started on the normal route which was a right turn 100 meters away from my house which goes inside the colony. I was astonished to find that the gate was closed. I parked the car to inquire the reason. From across the gate, I met another young man who told me that he stayed only three houses away from me. He was seething with rage. He said,” Not letting the outside traffic inside the colony does not imply that you cause so much inconvenience to residents. I am coming back from the local club. You mean to say that I can’t go to my own house from the local club just to accomodate outsiders. Who decides what is right and wrong and with whose interest in view. Which ###$$ did this. Is this the wayto make decisions?Does he have any common sense or no.”  I suppose voltaire’s statement of Common sense being most uncommon applies as much to a residential welfare association as to all  governments.

Since I had an appointement I could not afford a conversation with him and went by the longer route which had a horrible reputation for peak hour traffic. Though normally it takes around 10-15 minutes,it took me thirty five minutes to reach the destination. The inconvenience caused and the analogy with the  bloggers block  can be viewed in two contexts:-

The narrow incidental context:-

In my case, the gate was opened within 20 minutes(came to know later) but in the case of blogging, three full days have passed and the governement has neither given a satisfactory explanation not taken back this deplorable step. Some five minutes back, I came to know that somebody had posted a couple of pages of inflammatory stuff on a blog to defame a particular religious community and to avoid inflammed passions from getting out of control, an order was passed to block just two pages but the ISPs blocked the entire blogsites.After four full days, the govt relented and restored the accesability to the affected sites. If the reason given is true, the ISPs are as ignorant as the government. The issue is -does it take so much time to realize  in an age of information revolution and mass(instant) communication? Considering the earlier impression, many people have written that techno-savvy terrorists would manage to communicate through the net anyway and it would be a little amateurish for professional terrorist to use blogs for this. Then, can so many people be put to inconvenience like this?

The broader context:-

The remark that the guy made about who decides what is right and wrong haunted me and reminded me of a book that I had read years ago about “The survival of the individual” by Ama Pant. Though the book was first written long before the personal computer was introduced, the author probably had blogging in mind stating “Intelligent attempts to create a vast new range of relationships between man and man, between man and his environment and man and his society are becoming more and more prevalent and came enable an individual to survive meaningfully and creatively. ” Hasn’t blogging served as an excellent tool for the above?.  

What better way to remain alert and intelligent than through blogging. Whether it is the murder of Jesicca lall or whether it is the uprising of students against politically motivated reservations  or Gaurav Sabnis v/s IIPM; for a non celebrity, blogging enables mass acess to other individuals that no other tool has. 

The basic jist of the book is how the individual is a cog in the wheel not just in organizations but society as large. It talks on how the party that holds on to power tries to retain it at all costs whereas the individual continues to remain depressed, surpressed and exploited and has feelings of fear and anger against authority. It talks of depornalization of people in companies I remember reading on some blogs on how some people made matters of their organization public through their blogs and were taken to task for that.  In the David(Individual) v/s Goliath( Society/government/ company) battle, blogging can prove to be a great leveller in the future.

Internet in general and blogging in particular is the first mass media tool directly in the hands of the individual. Nobody in the entire history of mankind had such a unique tool for interacting with complete strangers all over the world. Can we be deprived of it  in such a brazen and arbitrary manner for such a long time without a real reason? If not properly highlighted and redressed, we will have an encore in the future for some different “reason” .

Some major newspapers are getting into the act and trying to gain public support through singature campaigns on the net. They, however are the mainstream media. This is first and foreost our tool and we should be vigilant about our accessability to it at all times. 


Bombay – Can the Bombs be permanantly kept at bay?

July 12, 2006

About 24 hours ago, there were a series of bomb blasts in Mumbai which left more than 200 dead and two and a half the number injured. No words can express killing of helpless innocents wherever it may take place. One really wonders whether there will ever again be permanant peace. Deplorable though they are, such incidents bring about serious introspection.

Though important measures should be taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur, one has to look at the deep rooted reasons as well”

In this context it is worth mentioning the Alliance of Mass humanity ( one of whose founders is Dr Deepak Chopra. When one comes across violence of such magnitude, one is thankful for such initiatives. Just as the attitude of the Western world towards Indian terrorism changed only after 9/11 and the London blasts, significant change only happens when preceded by serious crises. One hopes that complacency does not set in again for another crises to prove that “without danger, one cannot go beyond danger”.

Continuing in the same vein, in the words of the late intellectual/mystic, J. krishnamurthy ,” Everywhere in the world, we are justifying murder as a means to a righteous end which in itself is unprecedented. Murder, whether it is of a person or a group of people is justified because the murderer or the group of people the murderer represents justifies the means to achieve a result that will be beneficial to man. Man has no significance or importance and millions can be sacrificed as long as the end result is justified by ideas”. Krishnamurthy spoke in the context of division between man and man in most of his teachings which were devoted to resolving conflict by understanding the thinking process.

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions. Though this poem was written by me in 2002, it applies to all situations of mindless violence because of division.


The world on the whole continues to bemoan September Eleven;

As if before that, the earth was some heaven.

The  events of September eleven were a blot on mankind’evolution;

It indicated that  mankind has not progressed beyond the cavern.

The information revolution and mass communication

should have enabled  a religious break-even.

It could have heralded a religious and political revolution.

Art and sports bind people together, we need many a Beethoven;

One has to be as spiritually agile to ensure


What we need is a spiritual James bond;a spiritual 007

To investigate into, contrary to what it preaches,


Whether an Asian, European, African or American,

Whether Manhatten or any other nation, new ways are needed to enlighten

If there is one legacy that will always be attributed

to the events of September eleven

Applied spirituality needs to be as successful as applied science


Humanity must be the sole religion to avoid another September 11.