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Friday, March 9, 2012

A timely exit! Hats off Dravid

They say it's best to retire when people say 'why' rather than 'why not'. At the age of 39, things weren't getting easy for Rahul Dravid. Ageing reflexes meant he took just a fraction of a second more than he would otherwise, before reacting. The results were for everyone to see.

A few catches went down in slips and the unbreachable wall being broken through with ease. What hurt was not the fact that he didn't make runs, but the ease with which he was being dismissed.

Error in judgement is not something Dravid has been associated with, but unfortunately that was increasingly becoming the reason for his dismissals. What else can explain the fact that he was out bowled in 6 out of the 8 innings he batted in Australia?

Anyone who has watched him bat for over a decade, would know that Dravid seldom paid the price for his technical deficiencies, in a career which has seen him score centuries in all Test playing nations.

A lot of people in hindsight reckon Dravid should have retired after the England tour, where he made three tons while the rest of the side struggled. They say sport is a leveler, and hopes of a better show in Australia was only fair to assume.

However, that is not the way sport works sometimes. Knowing the man, he would have personally been hurt with each and every dismissal of his, apart from the poor performance of the team. It could have possibly taken a lot of interrospection to arrive at this decision, which he felt was right. So, let us respect it.

With more than 24,000 international runs, each of which has been built like a civil Engineer overseeing the foundation of his structure, Dravid has ensured he has he has build a big base for the younger generation to look up to.

Instead of making a hue and cry about a very personal decision of someone who has given us undivided joy over the years, we should celebrate his career and remember him for his on-field exploits, after all no one has made more sacrifices than 'The Wall' in the history of Indian cricket!

As Sachin Tendulkar said in his own words ' There is one and only one Dravid'. Need we say more?

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Afridi's millionth joke!

Just when it looked like all the hue and cry over Shoaib Akhtar's autobiography 'Controversially Yours' was settling down, comes Shahid Afridi's beamer!

Looks like 'Boom Boom' can't stay away from making embarrassing public statements. Known to be a darling of the Pakistan media, he came up with another shocker on Saturday when he apparently saw something the world never saw.

He saw Sachin Tendulkar's legs tremble while facing the fiery Shoaib Akhtar! Did he forget Sachin's Centurion special in the 2003 World Cup, which saw Pakistan being given the knock out punch? In fact, it seems like the norm in Pakistan cricket is to make fancy statements to the media before coming out the next day and contradict it, or conveniently claim that the statement was 'misconstrued'.

Surely this is not the last time we've heard about this, as the Prince of Kolkata was quick to jump to the Little Master's defense. Ironical that a man who never used his feet to play his shots, observed a little tremble in Sachin's feet every time he saw him bat.

Probably he mistook footwork for trembling legs? You never know!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

'BCCI's glaring loophopes exposed'

Much of India's listless performance in England was a mere reflection of the disastrous management by the board.

By Shashank Kishore

A 4-0 humiliation at the hands of a superior England team may have come as a wake-up call not just for Team India, but also the BCCI.

The BCCI's tendency to fill in every available slot in the FTP may have been overshadowed by Team India's ability to bounce back after shaky starts, in the past. But, taking a huge risk of playing in England directly at the back of a grueling 3-Test rubber against West Indies and the IPL was almost like a one way ticket to disaster.

Former Pakistan captain and ESPNSTAR expert Wasim Akram echoed the sentiments. "Obviously the Indian board doesn't plan in a manner that they start the tour 2-3 weeks prior to the first Test. I hope they don't do a one sided investigation, only from the player's point of view. Wealth should not be blind wisdom," he said.

While scheduling has been only one side of the ill-fated coin, lack of transparency on player injuries and mystified selection has been the other.

Despite the presence of 2 national selectors – Surendra Bhave and Narendra Hirwani in the touring party, the miscommunication with the support staff over player fitness has been jaw dropping. What else can explain Virender Sehwag's ambiguous exit from the ODI leg after being 'fit' for the last 2 Tests?

Time and again the IPL has been made scapegoat whenever injuries have cropped up. Everytime the issue has been brought up for debate, the BCCI has chosen to conveniently distance itself from the issue by saying they don't force any player to play in the IPL.

To call a player's act of picking club over country would be a grave injustice to the hard work they put in to bring World Cup glory to India after 28 years, especially when the IPL is an exclusive BCCI propriety.

The second biggest loophole has been the lack of a proper reinforcement system. RP Singh's shock call-up from the beaches of Miami in a short notice is one such example. To add insult to injury, his landing only a day after the start of the 3rd Test made matters worse for the depleted side.

Former India skipper and television expert Sunil Gavaskar was irked by BCCI's inability to chart out a plan-B. "When you pick a squad, you pick standbys as well. You know who are the reserves and visas should have been arranged accordingly. The fact that thet didn't RP Singh to be good enough before the start of the Test series, has brutally exposed their unpreparedness," he fumed.

As depressing as the result may sound, the drubbing couldn't have come at a better time, given another big ticket tour to Australia coming up in December.

It has exposed all the glaring cracks, both on and off the field. As MS Dhoni rightly put it after the series: "Whatever could go wrong, went wrong". Will the board pick up the pieces and analyse the harsh lessons? Only time will tell!

Friday, September 24, 2010

For the love of a city!

Maharashtrian by origin, Tamilian by birth and a Kannadiga by residence. Yes, that's me in a few words. If you're actually wondering if I've been a nomad shifting from one place to another, well you're wrong.

I've lived down South all my life (20 years is just a quarter of my life, hopefully!) and this is where I've learnt the tricks of the trade.

Bangalore is where I've spent a majority of my life in, and this is where I would hopefully like to establish a platform as well, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't travel places nor visit other places.
Bangalore and Mumbai are the only cities in India where in people who settle are reluctant to leave.

There is something about these two cities that makes people stick, even if it means just clinging onto it with a narrow thread. Perhaps explains why SRK made it big in Bollywood, or why Narayan Murthy is who he is today! Isn't it ?

Yet despite the similarity in people's mindset, the 2 cities are vibrantly different from each other. It's virtually impossible for any Indian to have not realized this basic truth - Mumbai is a city on the move. It may seem to be an exaggeration to many until they hit upon the reality. Yet, everything about the city is fascinating to say the least. Right from the humidity levels that greet you upon touching down, to the noise, colour, chaos, and of course the swankiness.

The passion of the city is out of this world, something that was evident when India was sent into a tizzy by a helicopter shot from MS Dhoni that brought us glory for the first time in 28 years!

Whereas in Bangalore, you are more likely to encounter people working at their own pace, convinience, and yet willing to go a mile to get things done.

People often mistake passion with arrogance. I tell them, my love for Bangalore or admiration for Mumbai stems from people's mindset, the likemindedness and of course the work ethic.

While it is common for people in Mumbai to work even if the city comes to a standstill courtesy it's monsoon, it is a sight to see people connected 24x7 in Bangalore to see work is going on at a smooth pace somewhere in Silicon Valley or New York City!

Now you may wonder, what a person sitting in Delhi is blabbering about his love for Bangalore and Mumbai?

Watch this space for more.................Cheers!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Is Test Cricket really dying??

The hottest topic of discussion amongst the cricketing fraternity these days seems to hinge on the 5 day game for some strange reason. Over the course of time, ever since its inception in the 1860's, cricket has undergone evolution just like any other sport. Today the game has become so commercialised that we often wonder if test cricket would survive the onslaught of the T20.

They say that T20 is a young man's game and those who have been born and bred playing the longer version of the game don't belong to cricket's latest baby. For a fact, it was these so called "test match batsman" who did exceedingly well on the seaming and bouncy South African wickets during the 2nd season of the IPL.
The likes of Rahul Dravid and Jacques Kallis proved it to everyone beyond doubt that the test cricket is the pinnacle of the Gentleman's game and the other versions of cricket are just an adaptation of the longer version.

The cricketing culture these days seems to have changed completely. These days its a common sight to see budding young cricketers talk about which IPL team they would like to represent rather representing their country. The value of earning a test match cap is soon deteriorating and that is a big cause of concern.
The best solution to tackle this growing threat of T20 cricket is to introduce a world test match league/championships on the home and away basis, which would provide some much needed oxygen and some spice to test cricket.
India,Australia and England are the only nations that have witnessed full houses for test match cricket over the years. No wonder international cricket seems to be revolving around these countries. The Ashes series of 2005 ,Border Gavaskar series last year which would now be remembered for the infamous Sydney test, and the current Ashes series has proved beyond doubt that test match cricket is here to stay. Watching Anderson bowl on that Edgbaston wicket last week was an indication that the art of swing bowling was well and truly alive and brought back memories of young Wasim and Waqar charging in to bowl.

The system needs a rethink but its certainly outrageous to think that the format of the game which has produced legends like Sir Don Bradman,Sir Garfield Sobers and Sunil Gavaskar will be forgotten. Test cricket is the true test of character and fitness and no amount of money nor commercial interest can take away the beauty of test match cricket. Won't it be a sad sight to see young bowlers running in to bowl with a third man and deep point straight away?

The ICC had been mulling for sometime about the possibility of Day Night test matches. But this move is widely touted to fail as it would take out the early advantage for the bowling team as they would not be able to make use of the moisture on the wicket, resulting in dead and placid wickets which would be enough to put the crowds to sleep.
The move would just backfire and the tradition of test match cricket would be changed forever.
What would you call the 3 breaks? (Dinner,Drinks and Stumps? !!). Bizarre!!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bollywood's new trademark!

They say that only 2 products sell in India, one is cricket and the other is Bollywood. The word "sell" has been made a literal term these days, seeing the way bollywood evolve in the manner it has over the past few years. While on one side there are the dedicated breed of Actors like Aamir Khan who prefer quality over quantity,we also find another set who believe in setting a record of doing the most number of movies in a year(You know who I am talking about!).

Those who have grown up watching the likes of Amitabh Bachchan doing mercurial roles in Sholay,Coolie,Deewar and Don to name a few would be absolutely at loss of words seeing the type of movies being made today,and by loss of words I mean outraged! The kind of movies being made today are just killing the art of 'acting'.

There was a time when you weren't considered a good actor,if the movie did not run in the theatres. But these days,there are different yardsticks to measure the 'ACTING SKILLS' of an individual. Whether the movie runs or no,whether the cash registers ring or no,you are considered a good actor only if you are a good KISSER! So in general,its a safe bet to say that good kissers make good actors.

While on one hand we have the industry crying out loud saying we should not even compare our film awards to the Ocsars because of the visible cultural difference, some others go any mile under this clause of "the script demands the scene" to do the kind of roles that would that would make us redefine the word called 'FAMILY ENTERTAINMENT'. Gone are those times where a kiss would be as rare as sighting the haley's comet. These days movies are incomplete without the so called intimate scenes whether it is needed or no. Its considered below dignity for a few actors in todays industry if they don't kiss on screen!

Whats worse is to see the industry divided into the so called 'CAMPS'. Like the Yashraj camp, Bhatt camp and so on. A certain group of actors not willing to move out of their comfort zones. While some actors redefine the word versatality,some others simply don't want to move out of their comfort zones. It was appalling to watch the recently concluded IIFA Awards in Macau. Its now been presumed that the Bachchan family is the first family of Bollywood, right?
So it was only obvious that the 'Actress of the Millenium Award' go to the Bachchan Bahu,while some other genuine and talented entertainers who had a huge impact on the audience like Madhuri Dixit and Rani Mukherji were ignored. One thing's for sure, to make it big in B town, you need to decide which camper you want to be, or marry into a bollywood family. If not for these two, you have to be exceptionally skilled. Is it right to wonder if the so called Acting schools are imparting the right lessons these days?

Probably the only people who have the right to define the role of versatality can be Naseeruddin Shah or Kirron Kher. Oh heck ,how can I forget our own Aamir Khan!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Is India really serious about the 2010 CommonWealth Games?

Since I am used to blogging on sport related topics, I thought this was something all we sport lovers of this country need to address.

Many of us must have witnessed/seen/heard of the rousing success of the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Sydney. It was hosted with the highest degree of professionalism and to perfection. Minor glitches are a part of every event but this event was spotless. When it was announced that New Delhi would host the games in 2010, I was filled with a sense of pride, just like my fellow countrymen that an event of such magnitude was coming to our country,and it would be the perfect platform to showcase our culture,talent and an excuse to build our existing and pathetic sports infrastructure. The Govt took all the accolades and lauded the Indian Olympic Association for rightfully securing the hosting rights, a compliment which Suresh Kalmadi took with a lot of honour. He promised to the entire nation that day,that the event in Delhi in 2010 would be the best ever. 3 years down the line,one gets the doubt if the event will be held in India at all?

What bigger disgrace can we as citizens of India face? The Commonwealth Games in Delhi being awarded to some other country just because our infrastructure is shoddy? There is no bigger humiliation for us as a nation if we fail to host the event and match it upto international standards,like the way it was done in Sydney,if not better it. The promise made in 2006 seems to be fading by the minute. Mr Kalmadi has the audosity to still say that all the projects are on track,while its so clearly visible that not even half of the construction work on any of the stadiums is complete. The metro rail work has hit a roadblock thanks to some finest bit of civil engineering marvel undertaken by the DMRC. Is it safe to say that they could learn a thing or too from the Hindusthan Construction Company which recently inaugrated the Bandra Worli Sea Link?

The Indian Govt has not even acknowledged the fact that the CG Games will be a pride to the nation. They are blindly trusting Mr Kalmadi's words, and he is doing nothing,but just hoodwinking the public into believing some serious work is going on!

Its for all of us to see the standards we have stooped down to. When the IPL was moved out of India, the General Elections was given as the reason why they could not provide security to the star studded league. Now what excuse will they make? That the CG Games be moved to some other country on the lines of infrastructure? Some of the projects have hit a roadblock and time is running out. With less than 9 months to go for the event to kick off, its safe to assume that it is going to be a big heart break, a rude shock and a slap on our faces. We as citizens of India will be deprived of an event,that will put us on the world map,when it comes to olympic sports!!

Even as we speak,there is news that the Govt is yet to clear funds for the road work adjacent to the stadium!! What a shame!!!