Archive for the ‘Cricket’ Category


Fare well to Farewell;Alvida, Dada

October 8, 2008

Fare well to farewell- Alvida, Dada.

Today’s(8/10/2008) entire sports page in the Times of India is devoted to Mr Saurav Ganguly’s retirement and deservedly so. Well, all the speculation about voluntary retirement in the media turned out to be true. It is only in the fitness of things that as the curtain draws on the careers of one of India’s best batsmen and perhaps greatest captain, he be given a commensurate exit. He has fared very well so far to earn such a farewell and one hopes that he fares well in what will turn out to be his swangsong series against the mighty Australians against whom he has waged many a battle.

I am reminded of a Television Show some years back where ex- cricketers Krishnamachari Srikanth, Mohinder Amarnath and well known cricket commentator Charu Sharma were discussing “How to drop a player gracefully?”. They could not come to any firm conclusion but concurred that while Sachin cannot be dropped because of what all he had achieved(70 plus hundreds in international cricket), the other senior cricketers deserved a dignified exit with graceful indications/hints in advance. Srikkanth seems to be walking the talk because this is his first major step as the new chairman of selectors.

I remember reading about what the Australians did with Steve Waugh. Waugh had failed to “cross the final frontier” of beating India in India in 2001 and would have liked one more chance. Since the Australians are ruthless, he got no such opportunity. They did not even allow him to play as a player(he was willing to give up the captaincy) in the 2003 world cup . He had to hang his boots as per the selectors bidding but they went about the process in a dignified manner.

Since in India, strong emotions are associated with cricket, there was bound to be speculation about the retirement of the fabulous four- Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly. The cricketers will always say that age is no factor as long as they are fit but from a country’s point of view, young players have to be groomed both for playing and leadership and a certain gestation period is involved because of which succession planning is necessary.. One of the reasons why Yuvaraj Singh has not got enough chances in Test cricket is because the middle order is filled with seniors. In retirement too, Dada is proving to be an apt leader ; the fabulous four have to be shown the door(gracefully) – Yeh, dil maange more( Younger cricketers)

It would not be out of place to mention here that one day, if the popularity so demands, test cricket too should be minimized or dropped gracefully in favor of 20/20 instead of breast beating over it as if it was some kind of holy cow. A country with a spiritual legacy should not shed tears over such matters and follow one of the tenets of spirituality- impermanence. Popularity apart, 20/20 has to potential to make the game global and also take it to the Olympics.

Coming back to Saurav, I will never forget what my father said when Saurav Ganguly decided to fight his way back after being dropped as captain and player and he had been captain for 49 tests. He said “This is like a managing director being stripped of his post and being told to try his luck again as a management trainee all over again in full public view”. I have read about how a cricket captain’s job is perceived to be next to the Prime Minsiter’s in the context of the following it enjoys in India. Saurav should be remembered more for mental strength and sheer resilience for his comebacks apart from unique leadership, graceful, southpaw touch and the towering sixes he hit in one-day matches. I had written a poem(of sorts) on one of his comebacks:-

The return of Saurav Ganguly(Click with mouse)

One can only say something like this while bidding goodbye:-

Pyare Dada,
Aapko na bhoolne ka karte hain vaada
Aapki leadership,mental strength aur resilience yaad rakhenge sada
Aapka silken touch or towering sixes pe ham hain fida
Australians ko dikha do dadagiri aakhri baar kehne se pahle Alvida.


B.C.C.I OR B.T.T.I ?

June 2, 2008

The day after- After the IPL got over yesterday with Rajasthan Royals emerging as the clear winners, the Delhi times made an assessment of IPL in an article “Figuring out IPL”
It states “IPL will bring about Rs 12 billion every year in cricket. India’s total budget last year was Rs 4.9 million. BCCI will earn Rs 3.5 billion from the first year of IPL which is more than Rs 2.3 billion it earned in 2007. The forecasted profit of BCCI is a whopping Rs 43 billion for the next 10 years”. Almost seems that 20 overs cricket can support ofher forms of cricket just as cricket sometimes supports other sports in India. Other sports lack public support; the cricket administrators should see the writing on the wall and go for the form of cricket which the fans like the most- it is the public which makes cricket in Inida a popular sport and the cricketers demi-gods.

Since there is a lot of breast beating over the commercialization of the game, Sachin Tendulkar’s views on the issue are worth noting “ “I don’t personally feel that, you know, (IPL is) dumbing down the game. It’s just another version of cricket. Test cricket is there and then they started One-day cricket many years ago and One-day cricket has been a tremendous success and if the game is gonna get globalised in the form of IPL, then why not? It’s better for cricket,” he added in defence of the league that has been criticized for being too glamorous and money-centric.The criticism of money centric is as silly as our obsession with Nehruvian socialism once upon a time which liberalization has proved time and again.

A few days ago, Mr Lalit modi had mooted the suggestion that IPL should be held twice a year which the President of BCCI, Mr Sharad Pawar deemed impractical because of the tight cricket schedules. This like missing the wood for the trees. The so called commercialization of the game has become possible only because of its public support. Look at the advantages of 20/20 match- gets over in 3 hours with thrilling results as against 5 days of boring cricket with impending draws, can be played at night throughout the year(except winters) as against day time which is office going time, is assured of public support again and the possibility of going international as Tendulkar pointed out, grooms captains among players like Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan singh etc.

One wonders why anybody would like to watch Test or even one day cricket anymore which in any case used to be watched only when it became interesting(Tests). The TRP ratings say it all- it was a mind boggling 8.2 in the first two weeks, 8 at others and has always been above 5. Shahrukh Khan’s Paanchvi Pass has TRP’s of 4 and serials like Kyunki Saas bhi kabhi bahu thi TRPs averaged at 5. By all accounts , the IPL is Paanchvi Pass(Five star success) and the way it is going, it won’t be long before it replaces traditional forms of cricket and in the future, we shall say- Kyunki T20 bhi kabhi test/one day thi. Prominent journalists have written about how cheerleaders should be left alone and the moral police should not act as spoilsports; actually it is Test cricket which requires these cheerleaders and I doubt they shall be able to save that form of the game even if they choose to go all the way with their act.

Lalit Modi had also compared an IPL match to an entertaining Bollywood film which is bang on target because it does make a good substitute and is a good alternative. The public support for IPL reminds of the song from one of yesteryear’s greatest Director of Hindi films, the late Mr Manmohan Desai. A song from his film, Roti goes something like this “Yeh tau public hai yeh sab jaanti hai, public hai” . The cricket Administrators should read Peter Drucker’s “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” where there are several examples of company failures(bankruptcy) who fail to read and follow the market forces. That apart, management is about leverage- getting more for less which a 20 over match represents. I don’t think anybody can watch even the best of Bollywood films for five days; Test cricket is basically impractical and outdated.

Though too many matches can sometimes be a case of “Familiarity breeds contempt”, on the whole 20/20 are more practical and enjoyable and should be spaced evenly throughout the year and preferably with countries playing one another. 20/20 should be the rule and not the exception. So much so that the B.C.C.I should stand now for Boring Cricket Curbing Initiatives and convert its name to B.T.T.I- Board for Twenty Twenty in India.
After writing the above, former cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar wrote in the Times of India that while playing Ranji Trohy, he was used to empty stands but 20/20 had the kind of crowds that could prepare a player for the big picture occasion. Another article stated how families who watched matches in groups are going to miss 20/20. Cricket Adminsitrators should drop other forms of cricket the way Australians drop their cricketers ruthlessly– Saare Niyam tod dau, Test cricket khelna chod do.


Test Cricket or Hit Wicket ?

October 21, 2007

Yesterday(20/10/2007), 20/20 World Champions India won the solitary 20/20 match against one day World Champions Australia which prompted Skipper M.S.Dhoni to declare with an air of conviction, “This proves that the World Cup victory was no fluke”. Considering that India did practically everything right and dominated throughout the match and that too against Australia, one cannot but agree with the captain.

The world cup and this victory should pave the way for a 20/20 revolution in India. Even before the world cup victory, Indian Media baron Subhash Chandra of Zee Telefilms knew what he was doing when, while introducing his India cricket league, he was focusing only on the 20/20 format. He had probably foreseen the potential and the popularity of these kind of matches which were earlier played only in South Africa and England. Even in a typical one day match, the real fireworks begin only in the last one- one and a half hours in most matches. Why not focus only on that? Management is more about leveraging which implies getting more for less and it is high time that the cricketing authorities woke up to popular demand. In a market economy, that is the ultimate arbiter. It is a good thing that the BCCI has announced the Indian premier league and I hope that it proves a death knell for test matches.

Frankly, after watching the 20/20 world cup, the one day matches appeared to be more like Test matches which test the spectator’s patience more than anything else. The first one day international between India and Australia was washed out after the first innings got over. Had it been a 20/20 match, both the innings could have got over and the spectators could have got their money and time’s worth in the first three and a half hours itself. Even from the vagaries of nature point of view, it is better.

One strange complaint often repeated about cricket that it brings the whole country to a standstill and people don’t work which is also shown in the recent, wonderful movie on cricket, “Iqbal”. If a 20-20 match beings at 6 pm, it can still finish around 10 pm and resolve any such complaints. It would then be like watching a movie which would prove to be a very good alternative form of entertainment apart from taking care of work-life balance.
Much before India started playing 20/20 in the world cup, I had suggested in another forum in an article on “Lateral thinking in cricket” that since one-day cricket was far more popular( which is why the current Australia-India test series has no test), there could be a best of five or best of three one day matches at each playing centre instead of test matches. Now I feel that only 20/20 should reign. It may seem now but one can even have two matches in one day which would be so much better than boring test matches which tend to put people off to sleep. It is quality and not quantity that matters.

Though cricketers are of the view that Test match is the real cricket, the contest between the bat and the ball, the contest of both mind and body, I have always believed that one day cricket is another type of test. In test cricket, stamina and endurance are tested but here temperament, quick thinking and pure stroke play is tested, which, like alacrity in fielding, may not be every cricketer’s cup of tea. In one interview, Dhoni admitted that 20/20 drains both the mind and the body because of its intensity. It is like an exam where one has to finish the paper within a given timeframe and therefore cricketers have to be on their toes all the time.

Only genuinely good cricketers can do well in both forms of the game- Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar have scored 34 and 37 centuries respectively in Test cricket but in one day cricket, Gavaskar has only one century against Tendulkar’s 40 centuries. The difference in class is obvious. Even considering the fact that Gavaskar played only 108 one day matches, considering his stature, he should have scored at least 10 in one dayers. That apart, since he is an opening batsman, there is no excuse for not performing well in the one dayers which to my mind is equally real cricket on different parameters and considering the fact that the world cup is played in one dayers and now 20/20. What is real can change with the times and preferences of people..

Since I grew up on Gavaskar, I was a great fan of his but in the context of instant cricket, one can only say that while one can appreciate his phenomenal powers of concentration or the Wall Rarhul Dravid’s longevity on the wicket, would one want to spend one’s time and money to see all that? Tennis star Martina Navratilova had once said in the context of concentrating “ I just concentrate on concentrating” and that is what happens in a test match which is more like an art movie and one has to have good concentration to appreciate Gavaskar’s concentration. On the other hand, in a 20/20 match, concentration is spontaneous and is there straight from the word go when one is assured of Dhoni or Yuvraj’s blitzkrieg by one cricketer or another While comparing, former captain Kapil Dev correctly pointed out “Who would want to see a one day match when one can get more from three and a half hours than what one gets in eight?”.

I would extend the same philosophy to test matches which are no match for 20/20 where return on time and money is concerned. I read in an article that one of the persons instrumental in starting test cricket was a man of wealth who did not have to work for a living. No wonder they are so long. Contrast that with today’s world where even a genuine connoisseur of the game cannot sit through the whole test match unless he is retired. Consider the opportunity cost. If there is even a best of three 20/20 matches at each centre, it will not only ensure more cash collections for the BCCI, but ensure adequate return on time and money for the spectators. If it rains, the rest days in between can be utilized to fill up the gap rather than watching boring test matches being washed out which can be even more irritating. Considering their disadvantages, they are bound to die a natural death anyway.

I read somewhere that since around 60 countries play hockey and around 160 play chess(recently Vishwanathan Anand also became world champion), as only 20 countries play cricket, being world champions in cricket is not that great an achievement. While I do not entirely agree with that, I do feel that the 20/20 format because of the time element and excitement is more suited to getting other countries interested in cricket and who knows, in the era of globalization, cricket may prove to be a prime example. Who better to promote all that than India, current champions and a nation where cricket is passionately followed. Even from an international perspective, it is better.

One can always have one test match instead of three to satisfy the puritans just the way there is a critics award and a popular award. As for job satisfaction of the cricketers, 20/20 could be made tougher to make it commensurate with a test match. Some cricketers even say that if one has a good technique, one can do well in any form of the game. If true, they should not crib about 20/20. The most ridiculous argument that I have heard against 20/20 is that sixes will lose their novelty if they are hit so frequently. I don’t think that “familiarity breeds contempt” applies here’ Yuvraj hitting six sixes in an over is a case in point. Sixes have improved in degree(they are really huge now) and frequency and one can never have enough of them. The cricketers can be encouraged to play with technique and could be given special recognition so that both them and the “cricket buffs” among the spectators are satisfied. It could be a win-win situation for all.

Another criticism leveled against 20/20 is that it is too much against tradition; it is too unorthodox. In my view, that is what makes it appealing and successful and coincidentally happens to be the reason behind Reliance’s phenomenal corporate success- ‘Being unconventional is the biggest convention in Reliance.'(For those interested in details, my published article- Thinking out of the box). It would not be out of place to mention here that there used to be a Bollywood movie in the late seventies called “Khubsoorat” which had actress Rekha singing a song “Saare Niyam tod do(Break all the rules), Niyam pe Chalna Chod do( Forget convention)”. That is what 20/20 represents and that is what makes it new and appealing(lkhubsoorat)

There are some people who will argue just for the sake of argument but the fact remains that continuing to play more tests when the same time could be used for 20/20 is a huge opportunity cost and opportunity lost especially when we are proving to be so good at it. Test matches should played the way art films are made- more an exception than the rule. Now, it seems that the one day matches strike the right balance.

Former England Captain Nasir Hussain had said before we won the world cup “Cricket being so popular in India, with millions playing gully cricket, India is bound to do well in 20/20 ”. Every person plays to his strengths. So should every nation, especially one in which Cricket is deemed a religion and which has a spiritual legacy. Spirituality implies impermanence and non-attachment which now needs to be practiced with Test cricket. Not doing so would be like shooting oneself in the foot or in cricketing parlance, getting out hit wicket, a situation which does not augur well for Wold Champions. Arriving can prove tougher than striving and we should try and sustain our success instead of it being a one time “flash in the pan” affair. We ned to focus where we excel and towards test matches, we must adopt the attitude of “chuck(leave)de, India”


Who watches the watchdog?

September 7, 2007

Today it came in the papers how Sachin Tendulkar had to repeatedly clarify that he was not contemplating retirement because of the controversy sparked by his one statement ,” At 34, it is difficult to recover after a one day match” . The report said that how some Marathi newspaper stated he was contemplating requirement and then how he, the manager Rajiv Shukla and Rahul Dravid described the report as completely false. What a waste of energy!. About a couple of months ago, it happened with Saurav Ganguly. I don’t remember what the issue was but in the end Mr Ganguly was telling the journos ,”I can understand that there is tremendous competition in the media but at least you should have checked with me. I was just a phone call away”

In recent times, the Jessica lall case is one case where one can really be proud of the media. One wonders why it has to resort to all this. I was in Rajkot about a month and a half back where I asked a very reliable source about the case of Pooja Chauhan who had roamed the streets of that town half clad to protest against dowry. While there is some element of truth in the story, we learnt that someone from the media encouraged her to do that. That’s being really proactive.

When I read Hindustan times editor MR Vir Sanghvi’s lucid articles and a lot that is written in newspapers and magazines, one really wonders whether the so called communication revolution can bring about a change for the common man or is it all a sham or intellectual fun.? There were so many articles about the common people favoring Abdul Kalam continuing as President and even the fact that had there been a direct contest, Mr Kalam would have won hands down. Yet, the elected representatives were able to thwart democracy or the voice of the people. How is then, the common man any better off than his ancestors with all the communication hullabaloo ? Even Internationally, Mr Bush went ahead with the Iraq war with practically the whole world against him.

Now, the Times of India has started a leadership lead India campaign. They are encouraging young people who “have it in them” to apply. One of the surveys says that a majority of people believe in honesty as a trait. That is obvious but if I shout from the rooftops how I honest I am, after the way Satyameva Jayate failed, is it going to make a difference?. How does one monitor honesty while the person is in office. Going by the old saying “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely” and the fact that the future is not always an extension of the present, how can one ensure that somebody continues to be honest. How does one judge the honesty and competence of politicians ?.

Instead of running after Sachin and Saurav, the media should also report why the board President is not appointing a CEO to run cricket affairs as promised. It is strange that Sachin is accountable to Mr Pawar and the nation for a poor world cup performance but nobody bothers about how the board or its President performs. That is why we have only symbolic presidents (Pratibha means talent in Hindi) instead of performing Presidents( Mr Abdul Kalam)

A day after(8/9/2007) writing this post, it came in the papers that the sting operation on Delhi govt school teacher Uma Khurana maybe a fraud. This only vindicates what is written in the post above. Then during the last one day international between India and England, Sachin Tendulkar was again given out when he did not seem to be so. What is use of technology and the third umpire then? That is also kind of media and one is not proactive when one supposed to be.


Poem-Appeal to the Indian cricket team for the world cup

March 13, 2007

This poem is a variation of the poem that I wrote earlier when India reached the finals of the world cup’2003. Since that was unbearably long, I have kept this simple and short.


In cricket, what better achievement can be other than winning the world cup
It being a religion in India, it shall be a national thumbs up

Before the memory of our victory in1983 permanently fades
We have t the opportunity to repeat the feat after more than two decades.

One cannot but help feel a little nostalgic,
It would be really tragic if you are not able to repeat the 1983 world cup magic

That particular world cup had bequeathed on us Indians a legacy
We have again got a chance to show that for us , winning it is no longer just a fantasy.

It does not matter that the Australians are the current world Champions
You have already shown , Rahul what you can do with your companions.

In fact, it seems that on your current form,
It would be a travesty of fate if in the world cup you don’t perform.

Whether it is the recent tournaments at home or the victory against the West Indies
The world cup has nor room for complacency, let it not put you at ease.

Unlike some countries which acquire a stray nuke
We have to show to the world that 1983 was no fluke

There is no better way to show your resilience
Then to break the two decade long silence

After a gap of twenty years.
You are once again the object of the nation’s eyes and ears
The whole country is ready to shed happy tears.

Whether in prose or poetry , let it be said aloud.
By winning the world cup, you shall be making the whole country proud.

For you and some colleagues,Rahul this world cup maybe your last
Please ensure that memories also last.


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)


With the boo, Sachin seems Taboo, “cricketkeeper” Dhoni cannot afford to be a phoney

March 29, 2006

Yesterday(28/3/2006),I had the pleasure of watching(at the stadium)India beat England at the Firozshah kotla ground here in Delhi.There were some very interesting comments by the crowd on Mahendra Singh Dhoni but first the context:-

About a week back , Sachin Tendulkar made frontline news in the Times of India and Hindustan Times when he was booed by his homecrowd for getting out very cheaply. Many former senior cricketers criticized the crowd for insulting a senior cricketer like Tendulkar. Kapil Dev, in his autobiography has mentioned how the players were reduced to tears on receiving an overwhelming welcome on winning the world cup in 1983. Six months later, the crowd tried to pelt them with stones on losing a match to the West Indies. He said that this has to be taken in the spirit of "taking the brickbats with the bouqets" and that is how Sachin should probably see the situation.

It is too premature to compare Dhoni to Sachin, but some of the statements of the crowd were revealing(It seemed that he was was the "cricketkeeper" of the nation instead of mere wicketkeeper):-

1) As soon as Shewag got out, somebody called to say, "Oye Gambhir, Gambhir hoke mat kheliyo, kuch Dhoni se seekh. (Gambhir, don't play quietly, follow Dhoni's example) 

2)Except for the fall of the first wicket, whenever the other wickets fell, the crowd was eager to see whether or not the incoming batsman was Dhoni by continously chanting his name. When he finally made his appearance after the fall of 4-5 wickets, he received a loud roar.

3) In the Toilet, I overheard people in adjoining toilets having a chat on what a fool Dravid was for not sending Dhoni earlier.

4) At the food stall, somebody remarked that one need not worry about the fall of early wickets as anything was possible as long as Dhoni's wicket was intact.

5) When I was returning to my seat with foodplates in both my hands, I had to stop at one place where I overheard a cop requesting his boss(in hindi)not to move him as Dhoni had come and the boss eagerly stole a glance to the ground from his duties to acertain the fact.

6) When Dhoni hit a shot which seemed to be rushing to the boundary but was halted, prompt came a remark from behind ,"Yeh ulloo ke paththe pata nahin kahaan kahaan se aa jaate hain fielding karne". "God knows from where these **** come from to obstruct the shot". It seemed that every shot of Dhoni should go for a four or six.

7) When Dhoni got out,an Englishman in the crowd began to stand and applaud. Somebody remarked from Behind" Oye Angrez ki Aulaad, Dhoni ne Dhulai nahin ki tau kya hua, main teri dhulai kar doonga. Niche, baith, ****"-Hey Englishman, so what if Dhoni did not hit out today, I will hit you. Sit down, you ****)

Such expectations, such adulation. One really salutes Sachin Tendulkar for carrying the burden of even more expectations in his illustrious 16 year career. Some film producers sit among the crowd for gauging the response to their films but I would be very nervous to hear such comments if I were a cricket star.

Though over the years I have admired different attributes of different cricketers in both forms of the game, I am with the crowd and very much a fan of one day cricket. Unfortunately,  cricketers are unanimous in their opinion that test cricket is the real cricket though in my view one day cricket is a different form of test where the resources have to be utilized optimally because of the time constraint.( Just as one of the reasons attributed to the success of Japan and Germany after the second world war  the scarcity of resources which forced their efficient utilization). There are some self styled connoisseurs who still enjoy the five day game(one can admire a player's stamina and temprament but who wants to pay to watch all that and who has the time in today's world) but I think the majority is for the one day fireworks. I think that the cricket board should host a best of three one days at each ground. Then the cricketers will get their job satisfaction and the crowd shall get their value for money.It will be a win-win situation for all.

Sachin does not deserve to be booed but the test matches played on lop sided batting pitches(first two test matches in pakistan) definitly deserve a thumbs down.

My admiration for Dhoni has doubled and going with the popular mood, let me add one of the most popular songs of yesteryear's:-

"Anhoni ko honi kar de, honi ko anhoni,

Ek Jagah jab jama ho teeno- Dhoni, Dhoni aur Dhoni"

There are six matches to go. Hope my words prove prophetic. 


Saurav’s return, Rahul’s Turn.

January 21, 2006

Several years ago, when Rahul Dravid was not a regular member of the one day cricket team, the then Captain, Saurav Ganguly had told him that if he wanted to keep his place in the side, he would have to keep wickets. Dravid did and gradually became an established one day player as well.

After Saurav Ganguly’s return, in the current Indo-pak series, since Rahul Dravid himself opened in the first test, it seems that Saurav was taken as a third bowler rather than as a specialist batsman because if that had been the case, Saurav would himself have opened. However, Saurav is hardly a test class bowler and could not unfortunately could not play the additional role as well as Dravid did for wicketkeeping. He was therefore dropped from the second test as the player he has direct competition with as a batsman, Yuvraj singh is a far better fielder than he is.

One feels sorry for Saurav Ganguly. Being such a good and successful test captain for so many years and then being suddenly dropped from the playing eleven. Today, a famous former captain has said that he could have been spared this humiliation and told to retire gracefully. That would have been obviously better for all concerned. If he still comes back consistently after all this, it would be the mother of all comebacks and he would probably deserve a gold medal for mental fitness.

(There were eight comments to this post on but while importing something must have gone wrong. For those interested the link is



Poem-The return of Saurav Ganguly

December 24, 2005

A couple of weeks ago, many people were peeved by the undignified removal of Saurav Ganguly from the Indian cricket team. Justice has been done and considering the fact that cricket is a religion in India, deserves an appropriate response:-

Many people have felt strongly
About Saurav being dropped wrongly
Let us hope that Ganguly
Is able to face shoaib with as much dexterity as he has faced many a googly
Let us hope that the prnice of Kolkatta comes up with a performance that can be deemed kingly
And make his detractors look ugly
Then all India and not just hoogly(Kolkatta)
Will once again respond to him overwhelmingly
He has off the field grace too, on the ground sometimes a captain has to be Jungly
For the simple reason that most ppl have to be pushed and rarely perform willingly
The sledging Australians or a Shoaib Akhtar can hardly be encountered lovingly
Proportionate Aggression is welcome by anyone whether another Indian or a Bengali


Dadagiri with Dada?

October 21, 2005

Though, literaly speaking, Saurav Ganguly failed only against the Pakistan series in India last year, literaly the whole media and the public has been after our most successful captian. These days, his every action and stroke in the Duleep tropy against North Zone is commented upon and the whole situation is projected as a do or die situation.Considering that cricket is a religion in India, a scribe commented that the Indian Skipper’s job is next to the Prime Minister’s job. It seems that we want to see how a former prime minister functions as a chief mininster or minister of state in the state cabinet.

I think Dada needs a dignified exit. With all his faults, he has served India well. I read a Kapil Dev’a autobigraphy and a book on India captatins. Kapil Dev described in detail how the board never allowed any captain to be over strong as it would have eroded their own power. In his time the captaincy was like musical chairs between him and Sunil Gavaskar.He also describes some former good players being shabbily treated by the board. He does not seem to mind the stockmarket behavior of the public though- he vividly described how the reception after the 1983 world cup victory had almost reduced him and all the players to tears and only six months later they were pelted with stones in losing the match to the west indies.

Anybody can fail in one series. I feel that if somebody of Dada’s stature continusouly fails over 2-3 series,such a reaction is justified and even then if he fails, he should be allowed to go befitting the stature of India’s most succesful captain and a proven leader of men( Dada literally)