Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mahi the Cricketing Don!

He may not score 100 hundreds, may not score more than 10000 test runs,may not be amongst wickets, may not be the finest glove man behind the stumps ..But Mahi Man has undoubtedly surpassed many of the legendary cricketers that this nation has produced to rank as the greatest cricketer ever from the Sub Continent for years to come.

There is an aversion that I have in measuring cricketing prowess thru stat books. Which is why in my opinion that VVS Laxman will be the greatest innings played by a cricketer ! Records pile up data , not cricketing character. Add to that the leadership prowess that is so very rare in modern day cricket is a man produced from the little know Jharkand Town blending with aplomb in world stage and winning BIG.

On that count alone Mahender Singh Dhoni has transcended many impressive legends this subcontinents have produced. His deeds of a leader, skipper par excellence towers above the other giants like Imran,Sourav,Arjuna & Kapil.

In many ways he is the single most important force to lead with panache a bunch of present legends like Sachin,Dravid,Saurav,Kumble,Bajji,Viru etc with such authority and against all opponents , all venues , all formats of the game that it has swung the pendulum of Indian Cricket far too long for it not to dominate world cricketing stage.

Many of the achievements that lay in store will only corroborate and celebrate the genial Mahi as he prepared to be the second Indian after Kaps Devils to hold aloft a 50 over World Cup.

Winning a test series again Down Under , quelling the proteas in their backyard and overcoming pakistanis in pakistan will seal Dhonis greatness forever in the annals of Crickets World History.

Most pundits today will I am sure already be ready to confer a venerated status to the Jharkhand Hero.

This he is been successful isn't such an inspiration but the way he has went about the process with an unassuming,calm, non controversial yet assertive methods are a few attributes those stand out.

Rarely has one seen him buckle under pressure ( aside that infamous presser where he made the entire team attend the media tamasha ), even at crunch situations his clear thinking has lead us conquer opponents much unlike the yesteryears where Indians were famous for snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory.

Mahi symbolizes a new INDIA like no other and it helps that he leads an Indian Cricket Team to up the visibility ante ..

Play On Chennai Super King ! The World is your Stage !

Here is a visual of a leadership talent symbolizing that INDIA that is emerging in the World Stage ..njoy !

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Magic “3M” Show!

From dodging bullets to knocking former world champs.Their Nation has put an end to a 4 decade long ethic strife. The Tamil terror outfits in their home lands were silenced with the slaying of the Tiger Chief. The cricketers survived one of the worst attacks on cricketers when they dogged bullets and grenade shrapnel’s.

That’s recent Lankan history. Looking Ahead! At their T20 opener the Lankan Tigers held their own against a determined Aussie aiming to stay alive in the format of the game they haven’t yet made their mark.

The magic of the “3M” was on show at Lords. Murali. Malinga and Mendis puzzled the men from down under even as they managed to connect a few lusty blows over the ropes towards the end to put up a decent score of 160 to chase.

The Lankan start was daring. The Delhi Dare Devil took the team to a flyer even with their wings clipped of an early loss of the veteran wicket of Jayasuriya. From then on the composed south paw and new skipper at the helm, a Kings Eleven Punjab integral ensured that the nails in the Aussie coffin were firmly hammered to affect a humiliating exit before the Super 8’s.

It was a tale of triumph for the men from the Isles who went through so much to come back and put up such a sterling effort. Off course the soothing balm of the IPL at South African shores would have come in handy to ease them out of their countries struggle and their personal experiences.

What was impressive was what Indians discovered a few summers ago. The Mystery of Mendis. The carom ball, the one which hastens and holds its line puzzle many world class willow men in the sub-continent. The Aussies simply could not read the Mendis craft as they succumbed in the middle overs after a blistering start.

What else does Sangakara need, with the other two mystery magic men, Murali and Malinga to strangle the stunned? Both did their bit even though Mitchell connects a few lusty blows.

From here on the Lankans have earned their place being “First among Equals” in the Super 8’s along with India, SA and New Zealand.

I am going to sit back and enjoy and cheer the “3 M” show. The larger picture! Its cricket and the Cricketers Triumphing against all odds! Let’s play on!

PS : When did we last hear a Aussie Skipper, blame the loss for missing out on an errand erratic mercurial talent! Are we to believe that the Border, Waugh’s legacy has evaporated with the Symonds booze?

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Row-Hit-Drama & Go Town Game Beer, Oz and Ojha - Charge aur Aanedhe!

Row-Hit-Drama : Mahi the unflappable is human anyway..He cracked under the mindless india media pressure to find smelly holes in the bonhomie display of Indian Blue Colored Team ! Why would your believe that Dhoni will be crossing swords with India's biggest match winner ever since Kapil Dev. As for Sehwag , knowing him , his worry will be more on recovering his lost hairline than any thing else. Sehwag for starters is several summers senior to Mahi and most other in the gang baring Bajji and Yuvi!

He deserves the attention he deserves and his injury if a cause of worry. And that about it. Making a mountain out of a mole hill over a shoulder repair is unnecessary pressure on the man already handling the toughest mandate only second to Manmohans job at hand. Like politics ,cricket also draws a torrent of opinions and wise cracks from a myriad segments of the global Indian society.

For Mahi and Gang ..You dont need to parade the entire team at the presser even if you wanted to give "Mike Practice" to the youngsters. "Kuch Tho Log , Kahange ; Logon Ka Kaam Hai Kehna" "Azhar , Dravid , Saurav Bhi Yehan Badnaan Hue the"

As for the news man "Tu Kaun Hai , Tera Naam Hai Kya " ..The news makers are on the field and thats the way it should be. The delivery of news should happen from the news room and not the dressing room like it did in the curious case of "fakeiplblog".

Now Rohit Sharma- Make Hay when sun shines.

Ishant Sharma - This Kolkata Knight Rider is hot and furious ..Korbo, Lorbo , JeethBo !

Ojha - Deccan Charger ..Houle Houle se AAanedhe ..give the ball a tweak and some air and you will find those batsmen beated fair and square.

Gautam Ghambir - I gotown to get some game beer ..when are you shifting to the next gear ..?

R P Singh - Put your hands up in the air..your chance will come by ..the purple cap will turn into a golden one if there is an encore of your act at IPL 2 again at T20 II.

Gayle - I am i watching Golf or Cricket ..The more i see you play that more i feel i am at the golf greens watching Tiger Woods Tee off a big Six ! Another KKR Tiger .We love the smashing you delivered to the Aussies! Now they may go Down Under in search of Gilly Belly !

The admirable salience from the chairman of selectors and rest of the BCCI is commendable. No need to add fuel the Row-Hit-Drama Fire...and Gavaskar..will you get back to commenting the event on the field and shut up. Please will you.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Gilly Garu & Gibbs Garu !

Gibbs Garu & Gilly Garu charging the Aavakai rampage @ IPL II & HOW?

In the inaugural launch of the IPL tourney at India, I was one of strongest supporters of a star studded Deccan Chargers Team. Not just because of my home town at Hyderabad but the sheer quality of the star cast of the games best entertainers with the Willow.

Be it the silken grace of home grown VVS or the assembly of the one greatest team of chargers like Afridi, Symonds, Gibbs and Gilchrist. It was sad indeed that only four of the dynamite foreign cricketers could play in the final 11.

It was how either Afridi or another world star Scott Styris played which left the bowling department bone dry with tepid local talent. The talented Ojha lacked confidence against the aggressing oppositions. Add to that Gibbs was going through a horrendous form and messy personal issues adding to this sagging career prospect which eventually got him out of the SA National team.

Gilchrist was mid way asked to shoulder additional responsibility to lead the team and players like Sehwag and Gilly have a binary success rate at their stint at the crease. “Have Bat Will Hit” is the motto they live by. In essence they fail as often as they succeed.

Afridi is a player like a gambler at Las Vegas. And gambles don’t pay off even if they are bestowed with immense talents. Symonds has a short stint and VVS injured for best part of the tournament. Rohit Sharma came off with half a dozen attractive innings and if the chargers had any gain last year, he was the one visible prop up.

Little Surprise was it then that my friends from Mumbai and Bangalore branding them as “Mobile Chargers”

But this time the Deccan Charges are mobile on the fast lane right from the start of their innings. Thanks to Gibbs Garu and Gilly Garu both firing all cylinders and clicking 4 out of the 5 outings thus far.

Back at Andhra Garu is a suffix to a name which adds reverence and respect. Both the emotions will be plenty for Gibbs and Gilly Garu for their class acts this season

What it does to the team is by 5th over the Chargers are ahead with 50 or 60 plus runs with three of the opposition bowlers demoralized. The great thing about Gibbs and Gilly is that when they get a start they go some distance & so does the white ball into the stands.

With runs on board the freshly augmented bowling department with import from West Indies – Field Edwards slings them firmly into the game with this fiery spells and R P Singh swings the door of the opposition batting line up wide open to Ojha to spin his web of uncertainty with clever left arm spin with rich variety of variance.

Venu down the order showed a glimpse of his slogging talents last year has the second edition of IPL landscape as a playground to showcase his promising talents as it is for the others like Ravi Teja, Rohit, Scott Styris and Azhar Bilakia.
For now be it Hyderabad , Secunderabad , Vizag or Vijayawada , Guntur or Gudivada the local will pray for Gibbs Garu and Gilly Garu to come good every game , so that the Deccan Chargers go on to win the IPL Cup this time. Today they are contented to be on top of the points table which is a delight considering that they were the bottom most team last year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

game, set , what a super game !

Super Over, Yes it was !

Super Bat USUF !Yes he IS!

Super Skipper W!Yes he was !

Super Dada !Yes he was !

Super Gyale ( Golfer ) !Yes he was !

Super Rookie ( Kamran ! Oh Yes he is !

SUPER DUPER MATCH ! It has to be THE IPL match up between Khans KKR and Shilpas Royals!

Phew ! Who Done it ! Yusuf ! The Victor ! But a heap of praise for the Vanquished as well! Those soring sixes of Pathans bat was a raw delight !

Chris Gayle - Guys ! You could be forgiven for thinking that he was at the golf course Teeing off golf balls into orbit ! No he was infact at the crease at Cape Town !!!Untill that one ball from Warne the magician bamboozeled Chris!

Warnie ! Man you are a fantastic man manager ! We sure do agree that you are the best Australian Skipper which Australia never had ! But those digs at your former coach Buchanan ! Poor taste since you have every thing going for you!

Dada ! With Ball and with Bat , so near yet so far ! But you will have your chances again ! Keep the chin up and the detractors at bay ! You are a champion forever ! Korbo Lorbo ! Now Jeet Bo next ! You folks arent the losers even in the loss. Go Win hearts and Win Games next ! Shah is by your side always !

Ajanta Mendis - What was more scary a.The bullets at Lahore or b.The sledge hammer of U SUF ! ..Well played, but learn fast ..the Bengali babus are hinging their hopes on you !

Lakshmi Shukla, Yashpal --So much that you could have done , yet so much you guys squandered ! Pull up your socks guys !

Kamran ; AS Raut - Go , Go gor Gold ! Who saod that the under dogs dont get the limelight ! You do best which other flatter to deceive ! Repay the faith their skipper invests in you. Both Winners buy a distance.

Super Over - Over - Now What Next !!!

Modi - MODIfied IPL for the better and its getting better ! Kudos !

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Setting the Scene: Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo Re !

“Every day for the next 50 days of IPL in South Africa, every cricketer will wake up knowing a few thoughts of survival and winning – like

“bowlers will run in faster to spear in the yorker at the block hole more regularly knowing that going at 6 an over will win his team the game and

“every batsman will want to swing the bat under the bounce of the ball sending it into orbit knowing that it will win him a game even with a six off the last ball, and

“every fielder will pounce on the ball at the park like a pride of hungry lions knowing that runs saved and run outs afflicted and catches taken will win them matches”!

In all I would alter the already clever IPL alliteration of “Eek Desh; Eek Dhadkan” to “Eek Khel; Anekh Romanch!

IPL phenomenon is truly a great franchise that every Indian would want to grow into a global fanfare.

The world of sports has in the past created several iconic sporting spectacles. Mostly reflective of the strong country culture depending on their origin. Iconic sporting events such as these are religiously patronized and followed with fanatic zeal every calendar year.

The French have the French Open , English the EPL and the Wimbledon, the Americans have the NBA, UP Open , whole of Europe have the UEFA cup , the famed rugby leagues featuring the black caps , aussie and south Africans and the blazing tracks across Monaco, Sepang , Madrid, etc zipping with the roaring auto mobile marvels from McLaren, Ferraris and Toyotas.

India on its part can nurture the IPL into one such iconic franchise. Some thing which today epitomizes the Indian way of savoring the newest form of play between bat and ball between 22 supreme athletes.

The colonized English game has largely remained insular with in the confines limited to contests between two test playing nations. The English county circuit had attempted crosspollination by including cricketers from multiple nations with a measured success.

But the club culture combined with the T 20 fervor catalyzed by monstrous crowd following from the Indian fans which in turn dragged in obscene moolah catapulted IPL into a tournament with international acclaim and top billing across television networks around the world.

BCCI Vice President Lalit Modi had a great vision of monetizing the growing fan following, a booming economy and establish credentials of cricket as a religion into mega bucks.

“Vision with out execution is nothing”, the first edition of IPL proved to a grand success. With recession looming large and question raised on the profitability of the franchisee owners, IPL-2 had mild apprehensions. Until Lahore attacks changed the cricketing fortunes for Asian teams forever.

Lalit Modi, the uber optimistic charismatic commissioner of the IPL has head on taken up the challenge of a potential catastrophe of the game being called off or limited owing to the alarming raise in the threat perceptions on the wake of Lahore Blasts and the bullets razed Lankan cricketers. Add to that the politics and the season of politics go to a situation of stalemate threatening the multi million dollar franchise busting.

But the Midas Modi has converted the huge challenge to a terrific opportunity. Plucking a massive logistical mega tourney involving players 8 major test playing nations from Asia to a far flung continent of Africa all in a matter of 3 short weeks is an astounding achievement.

What this change has done is that it has elevated the IPL-2 Franchise as a greater global sporting spectacle than it was in it first avatar last season. The economic dimensions have evolved to fit the commercial viability quarters in an international context. Aside Indian’s for whom cricket is a religion; IPL-2 has increased its fan following depth across the world giving great mileage to iconic global sponsoring brands like Nokia, Pepsi, Coke, Wrigley’s and Tag Heuer.

Going by the fantastic cavalcade spectacle on the streets of Cape Town thronged by miles and miles of eager fans queuing up to glimpse their stars was a sure enough indication of the abundant excitement in store and importantly the acceptance of the format and the values of the Indian city based embryonic club culture.

The best after effect will be a huge increment on foreign tourists thronging to Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Punjab, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Rajasthan. Consider the sheer fast track experience and knowledge exchange that the young Indian cricketers will stand to gain from their sharing dressing room atmosphere with icons like Flintoff, KP, Sanath, Gayle, Pollock, Fleming and Kallis?

The icing on the cake for the unprecedented success is also because of the heady mix of two of greatest pastimes of India. Bollywood and Cricket. When the biggest brand of India Shah Rukh Khan lent his might to the games, it is sure to make news any ways .News surrounding the bollywood beauties bidding for the gladiators was a sure formula to send TRP ratings sky rocketing.

For me, though I am a hardcore fan of SRK and Dada’s Knight Riders it is extremely difficult for me to choose my support from a rich treasure of cricketing talent.

Be it the dazzlers from Sri Lanka, Sangakara, Jayavardade, Jayasuriya, Muralidharan or Freddie and KP or our own Viru, Gambir,Rohit,Balaji,Raina,Robin,Dhoni,Rahul, Tendy, Bajji, Pathans, and the rest like Gilly, VVS, Gibbs, Gayle, Haydos, Maharoof, Pigeon, Morkel and Smith. But then there are glitzy stars and super star like SRK, Priety Zinta, Shilpa Shetty and Juhi Chawla to add to the galaxy of entertainers.

Unlike last time, I am sure the lesser known stars will stake their fame under the South African sun. It is also going to be time when the Indian icons like Dravid, Sachin, Kumble, VVS, Ganguly shine. For the folks who stayed up late yesterday you will see why the experience of Dravid, Kumble and Sachin stood out as cornerstone in their team’s triumphs.

It is also numbingly sad that the immensely popular and talented cricketers from Pakistan will miss out the carnival this time. Shoiab Akthar, Tanvir, Gul, Kamran, Misbah, Malik and Afridi will be badly missed.

This edition will have a higher learning curve of the franchisee owners at managing their respective teams in display. Multiple captaincy threw open a furor and a can of many worms open.

“No plan survives the first two minutes of battle” –
Helmut Von Moltke, the Elder, Chief of the Imperil German Staff, 1858-88.

Even as the game seesaws directions with each dot ball or a hit over the fence the situation necessitates a release of flood of ideas to unlock winning culture in an intensely competitive T20 Cricket razzmatazz.

Like SRK opines “Let’s give this thought on multiple captaincy a breathing space”. The strategy break after 10 overs though aimed at mopping currencies from advertisement jingled does pause the frenetic pace of the game providing the avid fan thronging the TV screens at his home to ease himself for a drink or a bio break.

As much as the Rajasthan Royals will seek an encore all the 8 team have an equal chance to win the ultimate price this season. We have already seen last editions outcasts Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers winning against their celebrated opponents.

Let the games begin! Let’s celebrate the heady concoction of global stars from the cricketing & movies world contesting a sport loved by billion plus Indians across the globe.

"It is just 3 hours of intense cricket played on a Viagra pill"
AfterWord - Sanjay Jha

Monday, April 6, 2009

Multiple Captains and some senile views

Sunil Manohar Gavaskar – Its time you stopped putting your foot in your mouth!

Here’s calling for a laissez faire! The guys in the gallery, leave the onus is on the ones who have already poured millions in investment for the franchises, the ones who are not here for charity to flounder moolah! SRK of all of them sure does know a thing or two about the businesses involving passion, people, entertainment and mass appeal.

Following is a perspective anchored on the over indulgence of Gavaskar and the Sacrilege of Multiple Captains proposed by a certain Australian – John Buchanan.

It is really sad to see a legend like Gavaskar stoop to low level controversies and often times finding him self in the wrong side of the fence. Seldom do his yester year contemporaries get muddled into to such mess by shooting off the mouth. There is an air of reverence when his fellow breeds of legends speak up. Be it Allan Border, Sir Vivian Richards, Kapil Dev, Botham, Imran, Hadlee or the mostly revered and quite Steve Waugh.

If ever he has company, it was in the dubious company of the other shooting from the hip yester year starts like Boycott, Greg Chappell, Miandad, Dean Jones and the kinds that Gavaskar reveled in propping juicy irreverent news bytes for the hungry media hounds.

Only that this time he forgot that he was meddling in with unwanted advise to a business man who has a mind of his own and a method very successful across a myriad of forays across acting, productions , ads , tv shows and even IPL where the KKR gang were the only rare folks to be profitable the first time around.

Now I do agree that Cricket and other forms of business are totally different. And that’s one of the reasons why SRK and gang got one of best man in the globe to run the cricketing affairs for their club. John Buchanan is an Aussie and arguably the most successful coach of the most successful Australian world beaters full of at least half a dozen greats of the game. A few in that team who have scored more than Gavaskar in both One Day and Test Cricket and obviously won more games as captains / coach combined.

If the All Star Aussies dint see a problem with John as a coach and delivered then I don’t see a reason why Buchanan if allowed to have his way can’t inspire the Kolkata Knight Riders to the top of the pile?

As to India’s overbearing affinity towards its sell by date heroes, it has been a sore plight that coaches, captains, selectors and general public have to contend from time to time.

But it is pleasing to see the way the certain and deft Khan handled the situation with right measures of diplomacy and nonchalance. An approach which the BCCI folks can take a left out of SRKs book to impede future mess arising out of please all approach at the cost of the game.

Sunil Gavaskar never squeaked when Vijay Malaya dumped a modern day legend like Dravid a month ago? If Gavaskar had an issue of promoting foreign coaches at the cost of lost opportunities for Indian coaches, he should not have recommended Gary Kristen for the top job for the National Team.

If he had an issue of multiple captaincy proposed then Sunil Bhai , the game has changed a great deal from your times and your brand of push and prod cricket. Which is why even in your playing days your other illustrious opening partner and present Chairman of Selectors out shined your performances on the field.

Let’s acknowledge how the game has gradually changed. The 50 over colored clothing games changed the nature of the cricket into a fast paced and more athletic sport with frenetic running between cricket and super specialized roles like pinch hitter on top of the batting order, sweeper cover patrolling the boundary ropes, slog over frenzy and even spinner opening the bowling.

A game where specialists with an ability to bowl, bat and field a bit with consistency favored over one dimensional super stars with bat or ball. A game which helped evolve all-round fielding super stars like Jhonty Rhodes who could field in any position and weigh in with at least 30 plus runs saved = score added to the total. Plus a needed over emphasized value of catches win matches or hitting the stumps regularly effecting run outs. Jhonty on his day could account for a few vital wickets in additions to the saves with his antics on the field.

Realizing this team’s world over evolved specialist positions as well as attuned players to adapt and perform at multiple positions. In this era a poor arm can show up like a sore wound or a deficient running between the wickets as a flatfooted goose waiting to be run out. Why else will India leave behind a talent like VVS Laxman in the shorted version of the game?

Cut to T20 – Today like we have seen, India has benefited with the augmentation of a team of physios , a bowling coach ( Prasad ) , a fielding coach ( Robin Singh ) , a bowling captain ( Zaheer Khan ) a test captain ( Kumble ) a T20 Captain ( Dhoni ) . Not only India, most teams have specialized teams for each forms of games be it Test, One Day or T20. We just saw Dilshan lead the Lankan T20 game from Jayewardene and Botha leading SA instead of Graeme Smith.

So when we can evolve to have multiple coaches for specialist skills and multiple captains for different forms of the game and concepts like anointing Zaheer as a bowling captain, what’s the big hoophalla about the multiple captain theory?

Haven’t all other changes evolved before like this thought of multiple captains come about?

Like Shah pleads “Why can we give a new idea a breathing space?” Such ideas help the game evolve and transform. T20 is such a fast paced game that more than ever you want 11 men with leadership abilities to judge and act in accordance to the situation in demand. The game swings every delivery with a boundary hit or a run out or a wicket or some times two successive dot balls.

If we agreed that the need for a player to be alive and almost proactive to the level of outthinking the opposition then why is it blasphemous to the thought of 4 captains. Isn’t it providing a fabric of agility and distributed leadership in a team sport? Why can’t it be a team of 11 inspired men with consensual leadership spread across a think tank of 4?

How often have we seen a huddle of Azhar, Saurav, Tendulkar, Dravid or Dhoni, Sehwag, Zaheer, Yuvi and Bajji? Dwell in the next move in the middle of the pitch? How wrong is this approach or how right it is fitting into Buchanan’s though process?

Let’s see how this initiative of multiple captains shapes the nature of the game and its complexion? Every player has a mind of his own between his ears in between 6 balls an over with intermittent pauses for plausible field placements and a bit of sledging and popping eye balls burning the opposition.

That Kolkata polarizes each time any one has the temerity to dislodge Ganguly is a matter altogether different from a fretting that Gavaskar unleashed as a tirade against the Aussie bunch of coaches and the paucity of economic sense of a sharp Shah Rukh Khan !

Till then, heres hoping for the controversies to rage on until another to upstages this one. Let the IPL Games begin! We shall discover more! If John and SRK are right or if it dint matter. As for Sunil, he’s got the taste of the boomerang from SRKs rebut already. One hope he learns his lessons I his ripe age and preserves his precious podium of greatness of what ever which remains. A game of words where SRK played with straight bat with a hit above the inner filed and the Great Sunil Manohar Gavaskar in my view is adjudged stumped!