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!

Friday, March 13, 2009


Krish Srikkanth, the yesteryear world cup star was the then premier one day specialist. A swashbuckling opener who captured the imagination of the followers of the game with his penchant for driving the cricket ball over the fielders in the inner circle. His scores of 30 plus often times gave the much needed impetus to the Indian batting line up of world stars that made tons of runs in test cricket with their brand of block mostly and rarely push and run cricket.

Romesh Kaluwitharna, Mark Greatbatch, Simon O Donnel and some other bunch of pinch hitters later made the brand of batting pioneered by Krish Srikkant mainstream.

And then a generation of super talented folks like Mark Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Sour av Ganguly, Tendulkar, Sayeed Anwar,Jayasuriya,Afridi,Hershelle Gibbs et al made the first 15 overs of cricket as interesting as the slog overs. They brought an element of art and science to the way cricket balls sailed over the heads of fielders over to the dancing stands.

Virender Sehwag debuted somewhere in between the Sourav, Waugh, Tendulkar, Jayasuriya and Gilchrist times. And then ..boy ..hasent he come of age to script a brand of cricket that is only getting more famous by each day across each new format of the game. With Sehwag there is a romantic charm of mind over matter brilliance. An ingredient filled with a possibility what one Krish Srikkant mumbled as "Have Bat, Will Hit " strategy.

Pitch,Toss, Seamers , Tear Away pacers , Spinners, Test Match , One day Internationals, T 20 or whatever comes next, matches at home or matches away..this Guy "SAY WAGS" his tail to any situation and HOW?

The 125 run brazen blistering ball against the black caps made mockery of the boundary line, power plays , bowler reputations and even the century mark jitters irrelevant. An age and time in a sport where the greatest players wind down their speed gears when they reach a milestone this lad from Delhi gets his arms to swing the willow with the greatest arc to send the glozzy ball sailing over the boundary ropes with alarming regularity. And be it a hundred, double hundred or triple hundred the milestones don’t really matter. The style and approach remain as menacing as ever with the result of half a dozen runs scaling Sewagh's reputation to stratospheric heights.

Sewagh seem to have the head of a Dalai Lama on his shoulders which at the crease. His mind so uncluttered that his game plan seems so simple for him. At NewZealand he even got a few shot which was not in his rich repertoire so far. The hook of the back foot and a pull to square leg. In the post match conference he to was surprised by his own admission that "Where those strokes came from"

For a man who scored more that 250 runs in a single day , he sure does have tons of talents and deeds yet to enthrall us ! To me he is an amalgamation of artists like Azhar, Sangakara , Gilchrist, Lara with the appetite for big innings of a Dravid,Ponting and Border.

Mark my words by the time this nawab from najafgarh is finished he will me more revered than tendulkar. He will upstage the master by the sheer quality of his selfless brand of entertaining cricket in the forms of the game to unfold in the future. I only pray he is fit as a fiddle and his appetite for runs inexorable. This guy is a legend in the making !

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Look Ma ! Terrorists :-( Government is asking me to go home and hide ?

Government of India -Bharat Sarkar . For Heavens Sake ! Please wake up.

Yes there are two mega events which are going to engage the Indian public.

1. The Worlds Largest Democracy goes to elect the 15th Lok Sabha and many states their respective assembly’s. A Billion People exercising their adult franchise.

2. A Bunch of cricket matches played under lights watched by a few lakhs of people. Oh Yes ! There was a dastardly attack on sports stars in our neighborhood.But that was in Pakistan. Plus a dozen gruesome terror attacks across our country.

What does the Government do? Advise that the Game be postponed!!! Why don't we come out in the open and admit. That we stop living normally and sit indoors? What’s the message we are giving the Terror perpetrators? Did we ask the people in Mumbai not to go to Chartapati Shivaji Terminal after 26/11.

Mr.Chidambram , This is not a stock market crash that you can regulate with Circuit breakers. This is a knee jerk reaction akin to some one sneezing in Pakistan and a Billion Indians catching cold!

I know Sir that you have the toughest job ? This is your make shift portfolio as well ? Just because it is make shift one for you , don't try to shift the matches to suit your myopic concerns revolving around lack of will to protect citizens at all costs. A nations prestige is at stake. The world is watching how we handle three terror torn neighbors. For India this is a time when there is the Worlds Spotlight!! If we handle challenges well we might as well set the benchmark to the world.

Why target Cricket? Is it because along with bollywood, cricket is a soft target? Or is it because it is recession free and you want to peg it back like the rest of the economy? God forbid if there is an attack on one of the booths? Will we postpone elections?

This isn't just about Cricket or Elections ?

If we can’t as government assure the citizens normal life, what good is a government and the empty words of reassurances? So what we have two events of significance , how does a country like us dream of hosting a world cup in two years or a common wealth game in Delhi in two summers or can we Indians ever hope to host Olympics in the next 60 years? Is this the state of affairs after 60 years of Independence?

What in effect as a nation we have just managed to do is confounding the fears of the people from the west and Far East that - It isn’t save to travel to India in the near future? – Great!! Then less kiss the revenues from tourism good bye and lets shoo away the investors or companies setting up shop in India as well. Dont ever aspire to beat China ? Cause they just convened a spotless Olympics!! Most successful games ever in history!!

In short the government has accepted that it is under prepared? Where did the jingoistic rhetoric’s that was vomited by every politician worth his salt post 26/11. We didn’t vote you to power to ask citizens to wear bangles and sit at home, just because few crackers blew up at Lahore.

This is a plea to the powers those are to wake up. It a time to send a stern message to the minuscule bunch of irritants and show them their place.

And YES, there was a terror attack in one of the IPL town Jaipur last year!! And the games continued. Kudos !!! Looking back, what do we remember of last year? The victorious underdogs Rajastan Royals prevailing over opponents and off course terrorists. That’s what I call giving a left hook to the motives of the terror demons! That why people like the English Team will come back to India with in a week to courageously complete a series. That’s reassurance.

Lets as a country show some spine! I agree that typing this blog from my couch isn't showing much spine.And I dint lose my kin to the attacks. But when the Bangalore city was rocked with serial bombs, I went out the same evening for my usual walk at the park. And the next time there is an IPL match at Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore, I will be there aside being at the polling booths. And pull along a few buddies to the games. That’s how much spine I can show as a citizen. Thats more than stocking candles , so that i go for a candle lighting gathering as a show of solidarity after the terror attacks.

Its time we as a country send out the right messages and stop pussy footing with meek legs in the hand of terror.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Alas ....Change....... has indeed come to cricket :-(

On the fateful day of March 3rd 2009 CHANGE has come to cricket. And How ? The games environment , ecosystem , fans , players , participants , officials , organisers , government and Nations will see and experience the game under a unprecedented shadow, A shadow that every one forever would hate but cannot ignore. A shadow of fear .

Those were those day days when the batsmen from the subcontinent feared facing the white lightning Geff Thompson or a Dennis Lillie. Those were the times when the feared quartet from the Islands in the west terrorised the tailenders with the smell of the leather. Times when shiney cheery grazed passed the nose or whizzed past the ear with beads of chilly sweat trickling down the batsmens temples. Batsmen after batsmen taking body blows or getting floored on the pitch. A sporting delight indeed for the craft of bowling or the adudacity of the bloke who weilded the willow with panache or defended with stout thud allowing the ball to meekly roll over to silly point.

An era when Douglas Jardine and the Bodyline sensationalised the 5 day game played between 22 gentlemen.

Cut to March 3rd 2009 at the bustling city of Lahore in an expectant morning . A testmatch underway with the story being built halfway. And then ..

Hell Breaks Loose ! Bullets whizing past unprotected , unassuming cricketers with a spring in their feet awaiting a keen days contest. The Lions from Emerald Isles fall like nine pins to brace for their lifes. Smell of Gun Powder hangs on the Air stranded outside the Gaddafi Stadium.Some of the resemblences of the shouts of go, go ,go ,go ..and no they arent calling to steal a third run for the throw from the deep. This is a go , go , go , go call to save their skins , an instincive urge to survive . No cherries here today morning but Sharpnel , Bullets and Granades. A 25 minute ordeal that only the battle scared lion hearts from the embattled Island could have come through. Gaddafi Stadiun a witness to a shameful act of cowardise outside its premises. A Nation so rich of some of the greatest cricketers to have played the game in the sporting cauldron of the Gadaffi Greens. Now a Nation and its heros hang their heads in unimaginable shame, A shame so depressing and bereft of hope. A shame which they have nothing to with ! A tragedy for the heros and for the hosts of the land of the Sultans of Reverse Swing and the Inventors of Doosra. A possibility that there wont be any rails for the Rawalpindi Express to run on :-( Change has come to cricket in Pakistan and Cricket Around the world.

Gone are those days when the partons would beeline from the wee hours to endure the blistering sun and the soaring mercury. All they cared for was to see first hand if a Vengsarkar cover drive at Wankhade was better than the one played with a resounding thud by Sir Viv Richards at Kotla. To sense the hum grow to a rapturous roar at chepauk when Krish Srikkant hooks the second ball of the opening over from the great Imran soaring over fine leg stands. The Buzz in the grounds after watching a patient Sidhu compile a painstaking 20 over the last hour and a half when Alla Border toses the ball to a naughty Greg Mathew to bowlwith the baggy green perched on this wild hair. And then the Iyer and Iyengars are on their feet as they have just witnessed a tiped Sidhu turn into a roaring lion dancing on his feet carting the first ball tossed at the Sardar depositing the ball in to the stands at the Walaja Road end.

A sleepy Lal Bhadur stadiun coming to life after consequtive boundries scored from Azzus Blade. One a deft flick played standing tall in the toes with the tounge bitten between the jagged tooth and the ball purring along the greens to ropes. The second a delightful square cut emerging from the sublime wrists send the cheery to the point fence like a tracer bullet.

Now Imagine soaking your self in such spectacle devoid of even an ounce of fear of the ball landing on your lap in the stands. The days ahead will be reminding you of terror from the time you secure a season ticket or a pass to a game. Right from Mommy home to the frisking at the entrance to the ever looming possiblity of a terror attack any time any where..the shadow of fear will certianly come to camouflouge the sporting mind.

For this fear there is no Sight Screen ( err Mind Screen ) that a batsmen can have or no pads to guard the shin bone. For the bowler no additional protection with a sweeper cover. This fear is here to stay . Robbing the Generations ahead of the sheer romance of watching the game unfold from the grand stands with only a card board adverisement strapped with a rubber band on your forehead as cover from the blazing aisan sun.

A poignant sight which will last a life time ..A Military Chopper evacuating a bunch of cricketers , entertainers , sportsmen to safety. If ever a picture could capture a thousand muted words on angst of a sports lover.

Change ..Unfortunately has come to Cricket :-(

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Mahi - An Inspirational Blessing !

Seldom have some ones ability to lead stood like beacon of light in the sporting world. Leaders with the charm and charisma and their deeds at getting the most out of their team mates have always captured the imagination of sports lovers.

Maradona, Platini , Zidane , Cryuff in foot ball inpired their nations to some historic triumphs.Maradona was oozing fountain of talent , a miracle at play . Singularly could take his team home on the football field. Cryuff was the brain plotting the strategy before going for the kill. Zidane and Platini , two french stalwarts carried the team along with their individual brilliance.

In cricket many have led a team of extraordinary cricketers. Clive Lloyd , Mike Bearly , Allan Border , Ranatungs , Fleming , Kapil Dev , Ganguly etc but none as yet reached the zenith which Imran Khan and Steve Waugh conquered. A peak scaled by exemplary leadership , leading men , inspiring them to levels of success celebrated in the cricketing history even today.They command a unique platform and abundant respect in world cricket.People listened to their speak with bated breath every time they spoke during their playing days.

Indians were always tepid and often soft or docile when it came to leading from the front on a cricket pitch. The second most successful captain Azhar believed that he dint need to tell much to players competing in an international arena. He made decisions by consensus and some worked at home and most bombed abroad. Sourav Ganguly changed the DNA with his fire brand combative leadership.

Then came along Mahi like a gods gift to (let me say ) World Cricket. His thinking crystal clear , his conviction so unwavering. Steve Waugh was called the iceman. This Singh is getting cooler and that too in a format of criket like T20 where every over is a death decree.

Mahi stands tall with his leadership and could walk into any 11 with his leaderships skills alone. He leads with performance when it counts the most , much like Steve and marshalls his troops with the elan like the great Imran did to the paki under dogs down under. Mahi commands a great deal of respect which was one of the strengths of Steve and Imran.

Like Steve he may not have the best technique but can conquer the oponent with sheer determination and guts .His bat broder and stout like his heart. Watch him at any post match or prematch pressers and you will hardly find Mahi toung tied.

In a short span he has managed to build a world class team while managing legends like Kumbe, Dravid , Ganguly , VVS and Tendulkar. His fringe players like Praveen Kumar and Joginder revel on the sheer faith he reposes. Reputations hardly matter. Ever since he took over the great Tendulkar seems like a burden on team . No one misses Sachin, Dravid or even Zaheer or Bajji.

Which captain would have balls to throw the ball to Joginder Sharma for the last over when the greatest prize in the newest format was to be won aginst Indias greatest sporting enemy Pakistan?

In another era Yuvi would have had temples in his name as the junta would have anointed him a demi god status after the 6 6's he scored last season. For this team under Mahi centuries dont seem to matter. Individual records just a means to win a game. Reputations are only as good as they performance on that day.

Team is winning as a team more often instead of depending on individual brilliance even if the team has on their day superplayers like Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvi, Irfan , Zaheer , Rohit , Raina or Dhoni himself.

Didnt you see the dreaded debate of opening combinations die a natural death. Those were those days were Indians believed that the only spot Tendulkar played effectively was as a opener. Now the team is experimenting with the slots , allocating each player a distinct role tailored towards the ultimate objective of winning the game. On that day. This naturally give throws open a lot of options and importantly negates the ploy of the opposition teams to decipher the game plan.

Toss always mattered . Even if we dint win the toss the team chase and set a target with out too much to complain. But then Mahender Singh is winning the toss as well as the matches .Often.Both home and away!!!

It wont be long before Mahi is revered like Imran Khan and Steve Waugh as the Indians under him conquer milestones after milstones. I only hope Mahi remains sane always. Cause a rush of blood for a micro minute like Zidane will cost us the loss of an Inspirational Blessing ! A sports which is a religion uniting in the country.

Tall , Dark and Awesome !

The Deccan Chargers realised this last IPL season. The Royals from Rajastan triumphed by the sledge hammer weilding gladiator. Pathan is a Pathan does !

I grew up as a kid following a cricket demi god called Sir Issac Vivian Alexander Richards. The gum chewing morarch of all he surveyed. Dispatching the cherry with disdain. I still recall the comment of Clive Lloyd those days "It wouldnt surprise me if he hits a yorker for a six" . Such was the legend of Sir Viv. It is almost two decades since we have seen such swagger on the cricketing turf.

There was a Ricardo Powell from the Windies but he flatter to deceive.

Clean shaven , Yes . Taller , Jaw bones chewing Gums ..Yes . Awesome ..Oh YES ...Yusuf Pathan has emerged to the joy of millions of Indian fans with his Brand of Arrogant Cricket with the swagger reminecent to that of Sir Vivian Richards.

Entertainers from yore Gilcrist , Santh , Sehwag, Chris Crains , Freddie , Gayle et al. But none lent the swagger like the punch Yusufs powerplays carries on the cricket field.

Nonchalant , yet mind numbing stroke play that Yusuf unleashes on the hapless bowlers is a sight to behold in the T20 arena for now. Yusuf has a long way to go to match Vivs imperious cover drives and big test hundreds. Sir Viv is quite the czar and young Yusuf is cub with similar bearings. A promise and prospect as a talent quite exciting.

How i wonder about the sporting treatise that we will be preveliged to see if the senior Pathan graduated to the longer version ( I meant 50 overs cricket ) and the 5 day pilgrimage which still enthralls purist till date.

Yusuf is a precious talent to be nurtured. The game need larger than life gladiators , if at all the game needed further fillip ..more the merrier aint it ?