Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Undeniable

The lull after India got kicked out of the World Cup...

I am not of those die-hards who wanted India to win it. I'd rather see one of West Indies, South Africa or England pull off this one. Yet I cant deny the void that's looming around after the disaster against SL...

Monday, March 26, 2007

At Bermuda again!

Little did I imagine , when I wrote a post supporting Bermuda a week before the WC took off, that midway through, a billion people will be cheering for this nation!

The event also went in line with my previous post of "Multiplicity...".

On a serious note with both India and Pak out, hope to see less of ads cutting through the commentary along with less of match- fixing, doping, chucking and tampering in the remaining days of the World Cup! And hopefully , no more murders...

Maybe both India and Pakistan getting out was a toast to Cricket!

Join in! Cheers! :-)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Multiplicity of an Indian Cricket Fan

The fate of an Indian fan is entwined with the fortunes of other teams. Invariably.

In tri-nation tournaments,we've seen this often becos we would win only one match and then hope that the most dominant team beats the second most dominant team by a huge margin and then we'll eventually go through to the finals thanks to Net Run-Rate or a washout or some stroke of luck, like a Virender Sehwag century.

It's allright in these small tourneys , I'm sure we can cheer for a third team to win or lose but right now we're on an ICC World Cup and we don't know if we'll qualify to be one of the best 8 ODI teams out a game that's played by 10 test playing nations to begin with.

For a start, if I'm a genuine Indian fan today, I'll cheer for Bangladesh. I cry hoarse for them to win it, run like tigers, take wickets, celebrate like chimps , take catches like dolphins and basically beat the sh*t out of Sri Lanka while I eat Hilsa ( I hate it but I'll do it) and sing the Bangla national anthem.

On Friday, I'll obviously cheer for India.

And today if Bangladesh doesn't beat SL, then on Friday I'll become a Bermudan. I'll shout on top of my voices for Leverock and company. I'll want them to beat the sh*t out of Bangladesh. I'll change my identity and scream "Hail Bermuda" with a passion equal to that of Mogambo's sidekick.

I'll do it but even in this age of globalisation, wouldn't transmogrifying 3 national identities, in a space of 4 days, have been quite an ask for Calvin too ?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

World Cup Post-its : III

So India got screwed.

Nobody was celebrating the World Record win against Bermuda. Aptly so. Having got themselves in such a bad corner, it'll take a million things to fall in place for India to still qualify for the Super 8's. That group is bloody messed up. Somebody has to beat somebody, somebody must beat somebody by a good margin, somebody must win by not so great a margin, somebody must sneeze in time or somebody must pick his nose before the toss. God knows how many million things must fall in place before India qualifies...

On a serious note, I don't care about India losing out but I belong to the community , the news of which you must've read on the front pages of any prominent newspaper in India.

" Broadcasters to lose 150 Crore if India lose out."
" Advertisers pulling out in the face of India's loss"

And if there's money on the table to be made if India does well, I'd rather see them in the Super 8's than see them lose out and eventually screw our industry revenues.

Once in college , when I was a student, I'd stopped short of thinking in a discussion about money and Indian Cricket. Those days my views were rather simple.
"India should do well in any competition. It makes us feel great and proud about ourselves."

Today, sitting on the other side of the fence I'm thinking:
" India should do fantastic at cricket. It makes us feel rich about ourselves."

Well...Umm...Errr...That we can manage at other sports...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

World Cup Post-its : II

SA have been wronged every time in a World Cup. Consider this:

1992: Rain rule.
1996: Got docked an over. Lost by 2 runs.
1999: They didn't lose the semi-final and yet didn't make it to the final.
2003: NZ didn't travel to Kenya last World Cup and Kenya got free points.Consequently, SA lost out on the 3rd spot.

I'm not a huge SA fan but if they do win it, I think in many ways it might do justice in the overall scheme of things. So when I saw Boucher and Gibbs and Kallis pounding the sh*t out of Netherlands, I loved it. It wasn't funny. It was hilarious!

However, my moment of the match was when during one of the slog overs Van Troost pitched a ball way too short and Kallis was about to go for a hook over his head. By now, the wicketkeeper who had so haplessly seen every ball hit the middle of every South African's bat had already given up hope of any batsman letting any ball go through to the keeper. At the last moment though, Kallis let go of the delivery only to see J Smits taken completely taken aback by it.

The result: 4 byes over Smit's head. Which brings me to think, would this also have been the match in which least number of balls went through to the keeper? :-)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Bermuda Woes

Bermuda, I thought they'd be an underdog. They seem to be more like an underpest or undercaterpillar. They're nowhere close to being a dog...

Thursday, March 15, 2007

World Cup Post-its : I

One swallow does'nt make a summer and one match does'nt quite indicate how the World Cup will eventually span out but here's my take thus far:

I think in some ways this World Cup is going to be like the '83 World Cup. More bits and pieces players will come into play and hence my hypothesis of the Windies doing well keeps getting stronger.(...Or I dont know if I'm making this up because I really want them to win.)

I found out the other day that Danish Kaneria's fielding is probably as bad as Monty Panesar's. A throw to Kamran Akmal during the match was stupefying to say the least. It wasn't even as if the bastmen were scampering for a quick single and Akmal was dying to take off the bails but Kaneria was surely dying to throw. I mean, just throw, you know; like a javelin or maybe a shot- put. I also like the way Panesar cups his hands when he's about to catch a ball. I think its meant to be more like a prayer posture or something. Can't wait to watch him drop another one soon. I think Munaf is also in the same category. A friend once told me that apparently he used to be called Kachra in his college days after that character in Lagaan who with his crippled hands could never hold a ball properly. Funny guys these , Munaf, Panesar and Kaneria. Definitely my bowling trio for the Worst Fielding XI at this year's World Cup.

Say what you will but Tikolo is class. I've seen him treat Kumble with as much disdain as would Lara so nice to see him getting some runs early in the tournament.

There's something about Aussies' fitness regime. Hogg is 36 and so is Hayden and you should've seen them throwing themselves around against a pony of a team called Scotland. And we have Kumble also at 36.

I like Kumble, I really do. It's just a co-incidence that he's at the receiving end of this post. That too twice! Now, I dont want to make it a hatrick. After all , he doesn't have a hatrick to his name anyway, so why credit him with one! ;-)

More post-its to follow! :-D

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Max was never set for this! And neither was I...

I did think of bunking work yesterday. Like, I’ve always thought, in school, during graduation and during my MBA. I’ve never felt like doing anything that takes my attention away from cricket on a match day. And more so, infinitely more so, during a World Cup. I know there are millions like me in this nation but this was a first for me. I’m working these days and the difference is, unlike in school and college, these days I get paid at the end of the month. Yet somehow I’d convinced myself yesterday to bunk work.

“Hey, this is the first match of the World Cup; I need to be in a certain state of mind to be geared up for it.”

But when I woke up this morning, the pangs of guilt of bunking work overtook my desire to stay back and I ended up at work. What the hell? Bunking school and college was never this hard a decision. Back then, it used to be a walk in the park.

“Dad, Aaj Match hain and there are no important periods in school today. Is it okay if? ”

What would follow this seemingly undisruptive line won’t exactly be the smoothest of verbal exchanges yet at least I didn’t have this stupid guilt biting me inside. Moreover, Dad would eventually settle in favor of me staying back with an assurance from me that we won’t ever come to a discussion like that again. Now, here I’ve to give Dad full marks. I mean every time, he had to give me the impression that he didn’t see through that one…

Nevertheless, I put everything behind me and was home at 6 p.m. to catch the pre-match coverage 2 hours before the match begun. Now again I’ve to draw a parallel between my childhood here. You know, in those days, you could prepare for all you could but just before the match began one of these things would invariably happen:

a.) The cable would blank out
b.) The electricity in the house would blank out.
c.) An elder in the house would send me on an errand that would take me away from television
d.) One of Dad’s friends would turn up in the drawing room and just yap, yap and yap!

Now given my past experiences, I was quite prepared for a setback when I walked into my room hoping to turn on the television in the evening. But when I turned on the light the sight that caught my eyes was a rather pleasing one. My usually littered bed had a new bed sheet, the books were neatly arranged on the bed and so were the chocolates. My room had a neat look and I think Ms. Bhandari, my landlady was also kind enough to spray one of her special room fresheners around. It just felt like she knew I didn’t want any of those problems today. It was almost as if God thought I’d suffered enough through my childhood and this World Cup, He’d decided to reward my anticipation.

“Superb!” I said to myself, just the way I like it, everything in order and no disturbances, just the ideal way to watch the first ball of the World Cup. Something about the first ball of a big match is so special. I mean it’s as great as your first kiss or your first love. The sound of the crowd, the commentators at the peak of their voices, the electric atmosphere, all combine in perfect unison to give you the feeling that if you’ve missed the first ball of a big match, you’ve pretty much missed dipping your favorite ice cream in your favorite chocolate sauce! And when you’ve done everything right through the day to arrive at this moment, you just thank your Lord that He made you literate enough to understand this game.

Cut to the present. We were soon over with the pitch report and the toss. We went through some tortuous times with some daft dame called Sonali Nagrani but I was sure better fare would follow. After all, times had changed, the cable was working fine and there weren’t any elders around. And soon the moment arrived, Simon Taufel said “Play” and we were onto the first ball of the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup. Umar Gul moved in, I could hear the crowd, my pulse was racing and the heart was pounding. But wait a minute why the hell were the commentators not saying anything? Is someone going to speak something soon or is it going to be “Main aur meri tanhayee...” for commentary?

In the next 3 seconds I said all the prayers I’d ever learnt, desperately hoping for someone to say something and just make me realize that the World Cup was getting underway. And after just another fleeting second I realized, the moment was gone. I’d just seen Chris Gayle nudge the first delivery of the 2007 World Cup towards mid-off or a single without the slightest trace of a commentator guiding me through it. And if that weren’t enough we waited for the third over until the silken voice of Tony Cozier put an end to my muted misery.

Thanks Set Max! Talk of some things never changing…

On a more positive note, I’m not letting Henry Olonga’s expert comments or Sonali Nagrani’s repulsive on-screen presence ruin it for me. I’m here for cricket and only cricket. I shall be strong.

To keep it simple, I’m cheering for West Indies, followed by England and like Shobhit said, (while he has decided to cheer for Australia and South Africa) “...We can always pretend to be happy, if India wins it!” ;-)

P.S.: I’ve a plan to post at least twice every week beginning Friday under the title of a “Caribbean Post-its” series beginning Saturday. Watch this space for some special cricket comments that wouldn’t find its place of pride in any other publication! :-P