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!