Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Many years ago, The Who sang “meet the new boss, same as the old boss”. The line could not be more appropriate with the election of Sharad Pawar as the President of the BCCI. This is certainly a big blow to Jagmohan Dalmiya. But true cricket lovers need not rejoice.

It is foolish to expect any changes in the way the richest cricket body in the world works. If Dalmiya put politics into cricket, then Pawar and his backers are no novices in this respect. Worse, the new President is a professional politician who has no accountability in this part of the world. Now people like Dungarpur can wield their considerable influence on the way cricket is played in the country.

If one looks at the grassroot level, then most of the office bearers of cricket bodies or associations are run either by hardcore politicians or by people who have strong politicial links. No wonder, the elections are so deeply mired in controversy.

The media reported very triumphantly the ouster of the candidate backed by Dalmiya. Former players and the press never speaks anything good about Dalmiya. It is something of a surprise since it is the same person who brought money to cricket, in India and elsewhere too.

I have a very humble suggestion to make. Let there be elections for the selection committee also. In that way politicians can directly have their say. Of course, M/s More and Company could make a killing out in the political arena.

Friday, November 25, 2005


The selection of Saurav Ganguly for the test side, ostensibly as an 'all-rounder' is something that has been made on the basis of reasons not related to form or performance. A few days ago, the selectors cited poor performance as the reason for the appointment of Dravid as the test skipper. Now all that has changed.

The threat of disruption of the one-dayer at the Eden Gardens seemed to weigh heavily on the minds of the selectors. The cricket loving people of Kolkata are not justified in their anguish over the non-inclusion of Ganguly in the present squad. The selection in the test team is something to placate them.

The selectors, three of them were completely in favour of Ganguly being taken in the team, despite the stiff opposition from the 'super' coach, Chappell. This is what the press has reported. It is also reported that the selectors were not in favour of Laxman. Now, the batsman from Hyderabad is someone who does not have any godfathers in the Board, the Press or the Selection committee. The public of Hyderabad too did never issue a threat to disrupt the match played at Hyderabad.

The selection does not guarantee the place for Saurav in the first eleven. He is too proud to be content with the task of being the 12th man.

I am a big supporter of Ganguly but at this point of time there is no place for him in the Indian team. Let he find his form and confidence at the domestic level.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


In recent days, quite a few ladies have landed themselves in trouble over their remarks on pre-marital sex. First it was a Tamil actress who faced the wrath of some self appointed culture police. Then another actress had to face the heat on account of the support given to the first. Now the latest to join the ranks is a sportsperson, Sania Mirza.

Sania has demonstrated her abilities on the tennis court where her rivals are to face volleys off the racquet. But this time her verbal volleys on the issue of pre-marital sex have met with tough resistance from the opponents.
I agree that everyone has the right to have and say their views but something on sex is always regarded as a taboo. It is even more of a sin when it is uttered by a personality who is well known and is seen as a role model for others. The worst offence is committed when such statements come from ladies.

I don't have the faintest idea of the reason behind these utterances from the tennis player. A 20 year old Indian girl speaking about the s** word is something that is sure to raise the eyebrows in a society like India.

Sania concentrate on tennis and leave these things to people to decide for themselves.

Friday, November 18, 2005


The actions of the Pakistani bowlers Shabbir and Shoaib Mallik are once again in the news. Even after the whole issue of 15 degrees, the umpires and the match referee found them 'suspect' enough to report.

The ICC handled the whole chucking issue very shoddily and changed the laws. It seems, those amendments are not suitable enough.

Today all teams have at least one bowler who has a suspect action. So it is better to legalise chucking or prevent such bowlers from playing at the highest level.


After the euphoria came the fall at Hyderabad. Of course, it is too early to predict the eventual winner.

The toss provided the break the visitors needed. Yuvraj and others made sure that the match did not go away from the home team. But such recovery is a rare occurrence.

The day and night encounter at Bangalore might also make the toss a crucial factor with the dew in the night. The lack of a specialist fifth bowler was felt at Hyderabad. Taking on Gambhir as a super-sub in place of Murali Kartik was a panic reaction. It was also strange for Dravid to opt for Yuvraj when R.P.Singh had three overs in his quota.

Harbhajan was fined for his gesture at Ashwell Prince although no one noticed the reactions of Andre Nel. I have always felt that Indians are at the receiving end while their opponents are let off for showing their 'emotions'.

I am convinced that Sachin did not nick the ball from Pollock into the gloves of Boucher. The South African 'keeper did not appear to claim the catch. That is a dubious one for the umpire Hariharan.


It is sad that in all probability Narain Karthikeyan is going not to drive in the next season's races. The performances of Karthikeyan have attracted a lot of criticism and ridicule from a lot of people in India who cannot spot a difference between a go-kart and a Formula1 car. It is not to say that I know much about the sport of racing and Formula1.

What pains me most are the supposed jokes cracked by a person who unashamedly imitates the likes of Jay Leno and David Letterman. The joke was that Karthikeyan could be beaten by the taxi drivers of Mumbai.

The greatest contribution of Karthikeyan is to make the Indians talk about Formula1. It is great achievement in a country where owning a car is the ultimate dream.


The Indian cricket fan is very demanding and sometimes this borders on absurdity. It is good to support the team and adulate the players but not at the cost of logic.

I have in mind a letter written to the editor of an English daily after the heroics of the latest Indian batting star, Dhoni. The reader was expressing his displeasure at the Sri Lankans not being able to put up a total that would have given the chance to Dhoni to break the record for the highest individual score in one-dayers held by Saeed Anwar! For the record, Anwar made 194 in Chennai.

would it have mattered if the record belonged to a batsman not hailing from Pakistan? After all, a player of the past, B.B.Nimbalkar was denied the opportunity to go past the then highest score in first class cricket. The fielding captain did not want to be irreverent to the record holder, Don Bradman.

Monday, November 07, 2005


As expected, the Indian thinktank carried out the ‘experiment’ but the ‘processes’ backfired and the Sri Lankans got back to their winning ways. There is nothing wrong to try out the youngsters but there is nothing wrong either in having the winning side. A couple of years back it is the ‘rotation policy’ that undid the mighty Australians in a triangular one-day tournament that also featured the South Africans and the Kiwis. If I remember correctly, the great Steve Waugh lost his one-day place thereafter.

The policy of tinkering with the selection of the team and the rest given to the likes of Sachin is unjustified to say the least. Sachin was out of the game for the best part of a season and is in need of more outings. Harbhajan seems to have discovered his bowling rhythm, at least on home turf and a spinner needs more overs in the middle. Pathan is a young man who can surely be expected to take the load. If anyone has to be ‘dropped’, then it is Yuvraj.

The wiseheads have decided to bring back Kaif and Singh. Kaif is someone who deserves his place on purely cricketing reasons. Have the selectors been convinced of the abilities of Venugoal Rao to the extent that he is given the rest? Kumble was given the rest in recent times for the one-dayers. ‘Rest’ is something akin to being dropped as far as things in Indian cricket go.

Not sounding like Sidhu, I like to add that too much tinkering makes the vessel weak though the noise is there.

Saturday, November 05, 2005


After four matches, the scoreline reads 4-0 in favour of India and all of a sudden the captain, the players and most importantly, the coach are paid glowing tributes. One news channel even conducted a poll, ostensibly, to identify the person who had the most important contribution to the performance of India. The poll found the captain, Rahul Dravid to be the most significant factor and the embattled coach, Greg Chappell came a distant second. Truly, cricket is a magnificent obsession in this country.

Now, everyone is expecting a clean sweep of the seven match series. Let us not forget that the Sri Lankans were the most feared opponents till a few months back. In my opinion, the biggest factor behind the poor show by the Lankans so far is the failure of Jayasurya. The lefthander has always shown a liking for the Indian bowling taking it to the cleaners, be it in the test matches or the one-dayers. Of course, players like Dhoni, Raina and Venugopal Rao have shown the grit and determination that is required in international cricket.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


It was a splendid gift on the eve of the festival lights. Dhoni really set the stadium ablaze with his brand of pyrotechnics. It was the day of the wicketkeeper batsmen with Kumara Sangakkara coming good with a terrific knock earlier in the day when Sri Lanka batted. It really puzzles me when the Lankan was dropped in favour of the South African in the ill advised 6 day super test at Sydney.

Whether Dhoni’s secret is milk or anything else, his hits really stay hit. Even Sehwag also looked pedestrian in comparison. If Sangakkara was classy in his methods, then Dhoni was all power, but is not slogging. If anything, it was flogging of the Sri Lankans.

Sachin failed and it showed that he is after all a human. Yuvraj, once again showed his fallibility against spin.