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Wednesday, February 24th, 2010 | Author:
Test Cricket Field Settings

Test Cricket

Let’s travel back to the glorious 1970s. Joel Garner, one-fourth of the fearsome West Indian pace battery is hurling the ‘cherry’ in full throttle to the Little Master, Sunil Gavaskar, on a deadly Barbados pitch. The result – Sunny went backfoot, and hit an impeccable cover drive for a boundary. The shot was met with a vociferous applause from the Barbados spectators and the West Indian players alike. Can we see this kind of behaviors in the shortest form of the game today? The answer is a resounding ‘no’. Test cricket was, is and will remain the pinnacle of cricket. It brings out the real character of the player. Old timers still say test cricket is what separates the men from the boys.

Test cricket is all about technique, skill and uncertainties, which sadly 20-20 cannot emulate. While much as been written about 20-20 cricket as the ‘new kid on the block’, the truth is far from what is being projected. Sure 20-20 is glamorous; more action packed than a Bruce Lee or a Tarantino flick, and is loaded with more cash and bling you can ever imagine. But does it have the soul, the essence of the longest version of the game? No, 20-20 is what I call the Bollywoodization of cricket with less of cricket and more of SRK or Mrs. Shetty.

Hashmi with Cheerleaders in T-20 Cricket

Hashmi with Cheerleaders in T-20 Cricket

Personally speaking, I still prefer test match cricket. Think of the Ashes, or the India-Australia series, or the India-South Africa series, or the Basil D’ Olivera trophy. Can 20-20 come anywhere closer to the excitement generated by test cricket? Never in a million years. While test cricket is about tradition and grace, 20-20 is all ‘wham bam, thank you maam’. The IPL for one is destroying cricket in multiple ways and we see no end to this madness. Modi and his band of robbers are doing what they do best – destroying cricket and making millions. The auction for players in the IPL resembles the auction for slaves in the Roman Empire. And it isn’t just the auction! The cheerleaders, inept commentary and ‘expert opinions’ will make a true cricket lover switch off the TV in disgust. Move over soaps – the IPL is here and will give you a run for your money in disgustingly low standards (or lack thereof!) of television programming.

Where will you come across “DLF Maximums” for an over-boundary or Lalit Modi’s images every 30 secs? Nowhere! Yes, the IPL has changed cricket, its dynamics, but for the worst. True connoisseurs of cricket still consider test cricket to the ultimate form of the game. The IPL will continue to make millions and who knows we will have new teams like Meerut Marauders or Darjeeling Dynamos or Kochi Killers, all competing for ineptness and meaningless matches. Look what 20-20 has done to players like Binga, Freddie, or Bondie. They have retired from test cricket to ‘prolong’ their careers on other ‘versions’ of the game.

Long live test cricket. May the legacies of Bradman, Hobbs, or Hutton rule over the mediocre 20-20 ‘thought leaders’. After all, a Mozart symphony is always superior to a ghetto hip-hop number.

Wednesday, April 08th, 2009 | Author:

The Indian team’s win in New Zealand is sure to maintain ripples in the rainbow nation. In less than 10 days the second version of IPL/ t-20 descends Cape Town, The date is 18th April.

The 20-20, I would call this format of cricket important, as much cola and burgers are in our lives. It successfully provides an instant gratification and fizz which lasts, maybe for a while. I hardly remember what happened last summer ( IPL India debut off course). Barring a few episodes where Preity Zinta providing free hugs and SRK refusing to bring his glares down. Oh yes, the white cheer leaders, they made a little news since they were skantily responsible for culture erosion. I fumed after watching former Indian skipper  Sourav Ganguly who sat like a duck, selecting cheer girls on a television show. Sourav, you have better things to do than this.

Looks who is saying, everybody. Shah Rukh, Mallya, Preity, Modi. Irrespective of their non-cricketing background, they are the ones attracting more flashbulbs. Modi says,” IPL will re-define marketing.” True, he as an astute businessman who knows how to mix politics and cricket and all for his own benefit. He has a good exposure of selling toothpastes, soaps and detergents. Lalit Modi

Indians are deprived to watch a game in India because of security reasons, as the cops will be deployed to control unruly mobs and rogue elements intending to disrupt peace. Understood, In that case we can do without an IPL in this season and wait. I was exited to watch a game in newer picturesque venues like Vizag and Dharamsala (hp), not anymore.

Consume and getaway, gulp-enjoy and forget it is the mood like in the IPL circus. Rahul Dravid was thrown like an unwanted louse, pathetic to hear that. Ganguly is exposed to a multi captaincy format, which he should be getting used to a little more as the big day approaches. Was Coach Buchanan brushing up his management skills? He says delegation of power/responsibility will balance the team. Really?

The performance Indian team has shown in the test series in New Zealand this summer and winning eventually in more than three decades, is worth providing praise. This win will definitely raise chances of building brand India, especially our prized captain MS Dhoni and Gautam Gambhir. I am not against IPL or the 20-20 format of cricket, or biased towards traditional cricket. Only concern being it (the game) should not be reduced to a marketplace where there is auction, buyers, sellers and everybody comes with a price tag. I also fear the ‘ghost of betting’ returns after a hiatus, as these kinds of arragemenet provide an easy access to launder money.

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 | Author:

Cricket Fans will remember March 11 2009 a Holi-day for one more reason. Sehwag’s slam bang century. New Zealand scored 279 in 47 overs losing 5 wickets. Not a bad target for a game that was marred by rain; but Sehwag had other plans. The par score after 23.3 overs was 117. India were 84 ahead of that par score. India won by a considerable margin. I captured the magic of Sehwag using some interesting comments from commentators and viewers of cricinfo. Interesting and entertaining comments if you missed todays play..

Over 1.5 – Thompson to Sehwag, FOUR, slightly short in length and Sehwag plonks his front foot out and crashes it over short midwicket.

Over 7.3 – O’Brien to Sehwag, FOUR, Oh dear oh dear . Sehwag almost decapitated O’Brien here. It was a full length delivery, he thrashed it on the up and the ball flew past the startled bowler

Over 7.6 – O’Brien to Sehwag, FOUR, Oh my… Sehwag is gone bonkers. It was short-pitched delivery and Sehwag cleared the front foot and clouted it over mid-on and to the long-on boundary

Sujay: “O’Brien in his blog wrote….Sehwag has scored 42 runs of 21 balls from him….guess Sehwag now wants it to be 84 from 21 balls!! Hope the blogger continues to blog…i mean bowl though!”

Over 14.3 – Srikanth: “Sehwag Vs NZ reminds me of Obelix against the Romans! O’Brien must be wondering what magic potion Sehwag’s Ma {mother] fed him as a baby.

Over 17.6 – “Watching sehwag bat is like watching the movie KILL BILL , he just massacres anyone and everyone who comes in his way.” …. As the character Hattori Hanzo said, “Revenge is never a straight line. It’s a forest, And like a forest it’s easy to lose your way… To get lost… To forget where you came in”

Over 18.4 – Vettori to Sehwag, SIX, Catch catch was Vettori’s cry of plea but that has been sucked over long-off boundary by the fans. He waltzed down the track and got under the ball. Initially, one thought he got more elevation than distance but it kept going. 100 up for Virender Sehwag. 7th fastest in the ODI history.

vamsi Krishna: “Sehwag seems to have short term memory loss ,ala Ghajini,[ a movie inspired from Memento] and seems to be thinking of only next 5 overs! Great stuff from him. This rate, India will wrap up in 25-30 overs.” …. “I have to believe in a world outside my own mind. I have to believe that my actions still have meaning. Even if I can’t remember them. I have to believe that when my eyes are closed, the world’s still here. Do I believe the world’s still here? Is it still out there?” At least Sehwag is still out there.

Vinod: “Well, Sehwag is not suffering from any short term memory… He knows exactly what needs to be done in a rain curtailed match and he is just chasing the rains to get a result/win for India! Hats off to his smart thinking.”

Over 23.2 – Oram to Sehwag, SIX, The end is nigh. 200 of the partnership is up in style. It was a short delivery, Sehwag pulled it off the front foot and over deep midwicket and the ball sailed towards raucous fans

Anil: “Would anyone believe Gambhir is batting faster than a run-a-ball?? With Sehwag down the other end, everything seems so slow in comparison.”

Category: Quotations  | Tags: , , ,  | 2 Comments
Friday, March 06th, 2009 | Author:

I have grown up watching the gentleman’s game in an era, which is still considered the golden decade in the history of Indian cricket. It was the 80’s. We didn’t have a television in our home then when we the underdogs beat West Indies. I also was very young to remember how the celebrations could have shaped up in that period. The baby boomers of India must have had their times. Kapil Dev, Sunny, Kris, Vengsarkar, they were the legends. The images of that moment have embedded a deep memory inside. The crowd easily mingled with the players and the players in return happily enjoying ecstasy, flowing champagne and a strange amalgamation of unity among all. Kris Srikkant smoked a fag while watching his team mates lifting the trophy.

My room mate woke me up on March 3 only to tell that the Sri Lankan team is under fire by militants in Pakistan. Some of them injured. The sad incident was being compared to the ’72 Munich massacre when Palestinian terror groups held athletes. An ungentlemanly event has triggered round of protest, anger and disdain among the global cricketing body. To an extent that Pakistan is completely isolated when coming close to cricketing relations. We have refrained our team to travel Pakistan, once in 2004 and second in 2009, both in view of tensions escalating between the two countries. A military helicopter airlifts panicky Lankan cricketers from a Lahore stadium should be the last thing I’ve imagined in this game. But then anything is possible. Pakistan appears to have a rough time, In Peshawar March 5 a 17th century mausoleum of a Pashto poet Abdul Rahman was blown up by neo- fundamentalists because women formed a part of visitors streaming everyday.
I am fumed after getting to know that cricket is an “un-islamic” game labelled by these fanatics. We are forced to live in a time where terror, politics and religion can mix in the same time laced with deadly gun powder. Isolating Pakistan is not the solution. Cricket is receiving an un-natural death and was once considered as Pakistan’s soft power towards peace. Not any more!

My father should be deeply saddened by what is happening these days to cricket. The IPL – Indian Professional League should be played under unprecedented security. And unlike the 80’s cricket players are prized catch today. Nothing much to say, but games and politics should be set apart.