He set the record for the fastest ball bowled
He hit a team mate with a bat
He led an ‘active’ sex life.

He was charged for doping
He is now banned for five years

Good bye Shoaib Akhtar, you won’t be missed. And wherever you are, get rid of that accent.

A nation of billion and the eleven of the most unaccountable chaps + 1 Aussie are selected to represent the country in (and bring back) the world cup. And what do they give us? Shattered dreams.

Both Rahul Dravid and Greg Chappell have washed their hands off the entire debacle by saying ‘We are responsible.’ Now to me, that is as obvious a statement one can make. We all know you are responsible. Give us something more. What you have said is the effect. Let us know the cause. Give us something more than ‘We didn’t play well enough.’ Taking responsibility is fast becoming a fad. Previously, when teams lost a match or a series, there was some vague reason given for the bad performance. Nowadays, teams whole-heartedly agree that it was their responsibility. Saying that seems to release them from giving further safai. In the above-linked interview, Guru Greg blankly refuses to comment on the reasons for the early exit of the team from the world cup. The team won’t say what Sehwag was doing in the playing eleven, they won’t explain the complacency with which India played Bangladesh, they won’t explain what certain players were doing in the dressing room outside the team. All they will say is that they are responsible.

Spiderman was taught that ‘With greater power, comes great responsibility.’ I would like to take this one step further by saying, ‘Along with responsibility, comes accountability.’ Accountability is when you explain the reasons what went wrong and why it went wrong. When the Guru says this to the press,

I am not employed by you people, I am employed by the BCCI. Obviously, I will have to face up to them and give them a report and give them some indications of what I think.

the first thing that comes to my mind (especially from the second sentence) is a meeting of the coach and the captain with the BCCI and the selection panel, press cameras trying to get a glimpse or a few sound bytes, and the meeting ending with the members slapping each other heartily on the back and having tea and biscuits. The report will lie neglected on the table until some secretary will push it among his files and then add it as yet another official document to be relegated in the shelves. Well, I’m digressing from the topic.

Almost half of the players have become amateurs comparing the time they spend on the cricket field and on the ramp or in front of cameras. Why do you want to dabble your hand in everything? Do your modeling/marketing in your free time, not at the cost of your cricket or at the cost of others who are working much harder to get a place in the team?

What can be done about the Indian cricket team now? I can just hope that the selectors send some of them into exile. Play some county cricket, then earn your place in the team again. The team cannot should not carry on players who are at the verge of retiring just to give them a graceful exit. Play as long as you want, but only if you’re worth for the Indian team.

What can be done about the coach? Since the coach refuses to accept the failure of ‘their’ strategy, I don’t know. Chappell once said that the team was aiming for the World Cup and thus he qualified the messing and the muddling of the members and their playing positions. Now he says:-

Eighteen months is not a long time to build a team.

How much more time do you need, Guru Greg?

There are a lot of unanswered questions in the minds of Indian fans. Its time for the BCCI to answer these questions. Its the least they can do for a country which stays up late after midnight to faithfully watch India win. Being the richest cricket board is nothing, being the best is everything.

Well, this World Cup seems to be a bit dull what with the odd timings of the matches for people living in India. I don’t have the patience or energy to watch TV late into the night, almost into the next day. Maybe, if India reaches the semis, which looks really tough right now. Anyways a few snippets from the India-Bermuda match:-

  • First and foremost, move over Inzy. The new aloo is here. I’m talking about Dwayne Leverock who took a blinder of a catch in the India-Bermuda match. The man just stretched out and gulped Robin Uthappa down. An brilliant catch considering his size and experience. The way he ran between the wickets was another sight to watch. He wasn’t lazy. He gave it all. Nice maan! He is now among the top 5 players searched on CricInfo. On a side note, he is a policeman in his country. Guess the pandus everywhere are hefty.
    Bermudan coach Gus Logie has this to say about Leverock. “He is a guy with a big heart, he will always give 100 per cent and be first at training, it’s just unfortunate that the weight issues take precedence.”
  • What I was really impressed with was the fielding of the Bermudans. For a team with around 4-5 Powar-sized players, they were surprisingly agile and enthusiastic. They slid and dived. They dropped catches but they tried.
  • Tendulkar was wasted in the match. The Indian team was probably scared to death about losing against Bermuda and so they strengthened their middle order but sending Tendulkar this late wasn’t required. Rather they should have sent him before Dhoni. Anyways, another excellent show by Dada, he really seems to have come back refreshed from his exile. Sehwag, one century doesn’t a champion make. So you’ll have to do better than a century against Bermuda to impress me. I don’t understand why Dravid is so keen on playing Sehwag again and again. The law of averages finally helped Sehwag. But what about the other 15 matches where he got out for a measly score? His batting average in the last 16 matches is 22.73. His highest score was the one against Bermuda. He score more than 20 runs only two other times. You still believe in Sehwag? Lage raho.
  • The World Cup has not been that exciting this year. Even though there are more teams and no clear favourites, it hasn’t kindled the usual enthusiasm of the people. One reason I feel is that the value of the Cricket World Cup has been diluted because of other tournaments like ICC Champions Trophy. I do not feel the need for a ‘mini World Cup’. According to ICC, it is required for the development of cricket. I do not understand this logic. Rather than have another tournament mirroring the World Cup, ICC should hold a tournament for the so-called minnows. Let them fight it out every two years or so, and decide which teams will play the World Cup. The winner of this ‘Cricket Development Trophy’ should get sufficient funds/resources/help in developing cricket in its country. That, I feel, will do more for cricket than burdening all the players and teams with a mini World Cup.

Looking forward to the next encounter with Sri Lanka. Lets see how they handle Murali and company.

Well, this World Cup seems to be a bit dull what with the odd timings of the matches for people living in India. I don’t have the patience or energy to watch TV late into the night, almost into the next day. Maybe, if India reaches the semis, which looks really tough right now. Anyways a few snippets from the India-Bermuda match:-

  • First and foremost, move over Inzy. The new aloo is here. I’m talking about Dwayne Leverock who took a blinder of a catch in the India-Bermuda match. The man just stretched out and gulped Robin Uthappa down. An brilliant catch considering his size and experience. The way he ran between the wickets was another sight to watch. He wasn’t lazy. He gave it all. Nice maan! He is now among the top 5 players searched on CricInfo. On a side note, he is a policeman in his country. Guess the pandus everywhere are hefty.
    Bermudan coach Gus Logie has this to say about Leverock. “He is a guy with a big heart, he will always give 100 per cent and be first at training, it’s just unfortunate that the weight issues take precedence.”
  • What I was really impressed with was the fielding of the Bermudans. For a team with around 4-5 Powar-sized players, they were surprisingly agile and enthusiastic. They slid and dived. They dropped catches but they tried.
  • Tendulkar was wasted in the match. The Indian team was probably scared to death about losing against Bermuda and so they strengthened their middle order but sending Tendulkar this late wasn’t required. Rather they should have sent him before Dhoni. Anyways, another excellent show by Dada, he really seems to have come back refreshed from his exile. Sehwag, one century doesn’t a champion make. So you’ll have to do better than a century against Bermuda to impress me. I don’t understand why Dravid is so keen on playing Sehwag again and again. The law of averages finally helped Sehwag. But what about the other 15 matches where he got out for a measly score? His batting average in the last 16 matches is 22.73. His highest score was the one against Bermuda. He score more than 20 runs only two other times. You still believe in Sehwag? Lage raho.
  • The World Cup has not been that exciting this year. Even though there are more teams and no clear favourites, it hasn’t kindled the usual enthusiasm of the people. One reason I feel is that the value of the Cricket World Cup has been diluted because of other tournaments like ICC Champions Trophy. I do not feel the need for a ‘mini World Cup’. According to ICC, it is required for the development of cricket. I do not understand this logic. Rather than have another tournament mirroring the World Cup, ICC should hold a tournament for the so-called minnows. Let them fight it out every two years or so, and decide which teams will play the World Cup. The winner of this ‘Cricket Development Trophy’ should get sufficient funds/resources/help in developing cricket in its country. That, I feel, will do more for cricket than burdening all the players and teams with a mini World Cup.

Looking forward to the next encounter with Sri Lanka. Lets see how they handle Murali and company.

This weekend, two of the biggest sporting events (for me) are starting. First the Cricket World Cup. Technically it has already started but the first match of India is on the 17th. And second, the 2007 Formula One season is starting at the same time with the first race on the 18th in Australia. This year there are quite a few similarities between these two sports. With the retirement of Michael Schumacher the F1 championship is open. You can always argue that other drivers had already taken his position. But it was only on a bad day for Schumacher or due to technical failure in the car. The grit and determination of the man was unmatchable.

Many changes have been made in this year’s championship. Rules have been changed concerning safety cars, practice sessions, tire availability etc. Bridgestone will be the sole tire supplier this year. Those of who complained about tires being the most important thing in the race and downplayed the achievement and skill of drivers can now shut up. Sadly there will be no close contests between Alonso and Schumacher. The latter will be though racing through each track in his mind. The shifting of the drivers between teams is also going to be interesting. No more Montoya for McLaren. In fact he has retired from F1 and gone to Nascar. Alonso takes his place. Raikonnen has similarly shifted from McLaren to Ferrari. He will partner upcoming driver F. Massa. (Hoping for a good run from Massa this year. He showed some potential last year.) As far as teams are concerned, I guess at the beginning of the season the three top teams are likely to be Ferrari, Renault and McLaren (in no particular order). Lets see how the season picks up.

My picks for the drivers championship – Alonso, Raikonnen, and maybe Fisichella. Even Jenson Button is lurking in the shadows.

The similarity with the Cricket World Cup is that again here Australia is no longer the clear favourites. Seeing the recent performance of the Aussie team, it seems that many other teams can win over the world champions on a good day. Ricky Ponting will have his hands full this year. Preaching about the Indian team is like talking to a child who doesn’t listen. The same old people making the same old mistakes. I could write a lot about the cricket team but I’ll just shut my mouth and watch the matches. Dada, a lot depends on you now. You have a thing or two to prove.

Adios to one and All the best to the other two.

As I was watching the second day of the last test match of the Ashes, I got a nice surprise. John Howard, the Prime Minister of Australia was invited to the commentary room. This wasn’t the first time a ‘celebrity’ had been called into the commentary room but what was impressive is the man’s knowledge of cricket. He talked about the current performances of the members of the Australian and the English team and about the time when Viv Richards was the captain of the West Indies. I would be happy if his Indian counterpart can even name the current test-playing countries. Here’s what a fictional commentary with him would go like. Of course it would have to be in Hindi – “Yeh achhiiii baat nahi hai! Ganguly ko phront phoot pe aake khelna chahiye“.

While Ian Healy addressed John Howard as John, the Indian commentator would have to address the Indian PM as Manmohanji. I agree that respect should be given, but when respect takes the ugly face of sycophancy, I can’t take it.

While the Aussie PM was by his own in the commentary room, the Indian politician would need a few of his faithful chelas to make the scene complete.

The way politics is separated from sports there, or for that matter, from religion is what we need to emulate.

Reference: Bull’s biltong

The moment Ravi Shastri said on TV that he was eating beef, I knew that it was bound to build up a controversy, if not by the fundamentalist parties, then by the over-enthusiastic news channels. Poor Shastri should have realized the ‘cost’ of enjoying that juicy piece of meat on national television. Of course, these people are just trying to hog the limelight which in itself is becoming more and more common in the country nowadays, what with new and strange records being attempted and broken. Anyways, what my point is that the people who filed the case wouldn’t even know what biltong is if Shastri hadn’t described it.

I’m just hoping that the Jains of the country don’t go up in arms. Eating potatoes, onions, garlic etc. is forbidden in their religion. And by chance, if someone is seen eating a juicy vada pau on television, God help him. Mr. Ramadoss, are u listening? how about a blanket ban on these vegetables too for the sake of peace in the country?

PS: On a related note, here’s another South Africa delicacy (Bunny Chow) which I sampled more than once with disastrous after-effects on my stomach. Only if I could get a recipe for the same. Search, Google, search…