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
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
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 :-(