March 2011 - Posts
All right. It's just a game!! The PM of one country calls the President of another to watch the match. Its supposedly called cricket diplomacy. Manmohan Singh it seems doesnt even really like the game. Yeah.. it's just another game.
One believes that MS Dhoni and this Indian team will take it only as another game. A game that India needs to win to continue pursuing their dream of winning this CWC. India has moved on as a nation and a cricket team beyond the erstwhile short sighted Pakistan focus. Both have bigger battles to fight and are concentrating on longer term issues and rightfully so. A decade back it was always about measuring the country's and the team's performance vis a vis Pakistan. It isn't now. When Yuvi said after the Australia match that he had thought of beating the Ozs every day in the last one year and his pretty understated statement on the upcoming Pak match it wasn't diplomacy. It actually showed what this team's priorities are. Frankly the priority is to be the #1 in the World. And its not about just beating Pakistan.
One has been hearing of people talking about how Indians will never forgive the team for losing to Pakistan and it wont matter if the lose in the finals. Will this Indian team think and put pressure on itself by thinking that way. From the public personae of Gary K and MSD, it doesn't seem likely. It's either rabid hate mongering or equally nauseating 'it's just another game' peacenicks that are writing/ talking in the media.
What Manmohan Singh has done is to put enormous pressure on both teams with these silly diplomatic overtures that is far more than what those effigy burning, stone throwing idiots put. Imran Khan, for once was right when he claimed that it wouldn't impact any thing at all. Why does one want to induce that added edge on players' of both the teams? It could have been just another match but once you actually go and mix politics in sport Dr. Singh, it doesn't remain that.
One was just reading about the 2 conditions required to achieve nuclear fusion.
1. High Temperature
2. High Pressure.
One has thought of a cheap way to create nuclear fusion. Put the deuterium-tritium particles in one's head and then walk down in the Delhi summer and voila.. The pressure one feels before this Oz-India match is surely enough to succeed.
One is hoping for a Nobel in Physics for this brilliant idea.
The reams of newsprint spent on discussing R Ashwin and his absence from the playing XI has reportedly eaten up a forest the size of Chennai. If clutching of straws was what the media was attempting, it was a spectacular success. One had heard the following story before the Windies match in Chennai.
An agitated knowledgeable Chennai spectator (Is there any other kind in Chennai?) got an opportunity to question a few players from the Indian team (the fact that he was related to Cheeka and works in India Cement has nothing to do with this opportunity).We shall call him Anna for the time being.
He first met up with MSD who was practicing for his new Pepsi ad that showed the origins of his now infamous 'well of course' post match conferences.
Anna - 'Hi Yem Yes. Cheeka Sir sent me to you. He himself doesnt understand the rationale of his selections so there was no point in asking him the rationale of your selections. I have been meaning to ask you this question for quite some time. Where is R Ashwin?
MSD - 'Well of course you can ask me this question. We can't improve our fielding and Yuvi is a great player and in fact he is our most valuable player. What could we do without him? But before I give an answer to your question what will you have? Tea, coffee or Pepsi?'
Anna - 'Yem Yes, I am not here to drink some tea or Kapi. I just want to know where is R Ashwin.'
MSD - 'Well of course, are you sure you dont want anything to drink? Well ofcourse in that case sorry I can't answer your question.'
Anna had to get away as MSD was getting ready for his shoot. But he saw SRT just walking past him holding a hockey stick in his hand just like the 'Luminous ads'. He was telling someone that he might as well bat with a hockey stick because the others following him seem to be using a hockey stick as well. Anna gathered courage and walked up to SRT.
Anna - 'Yes Arty sir, can I know where is R Ashwin in this team?'
SRT - 'Aila, I can tell you but first you tell me whether you will have tea, coffee or Pepsi?'
Anna - 'No saar I don't want yenny tea or Kapi. Why don't you just answer my question?'
SRT just shrugged his shoulders, adjusted his protector and walked away. Now Anna was getting a bit puzzled. He still was no closer to solving the question that vexed him for many days. He saw Viru ambling past and immediately latched on to him with an alacrity if shown by the Indian fielders, would have won the team a few more matches.
Anna - 'Viru saar, can you tell me where is R Ashwin?'
Viru - 'Sir, I am planning to bat out 50 overs here and you are asking me such silly questions? I always play my natural game and Bangladesh is a mediocre team and Sachin Paaji is my hero. But before I answer you tell me what will you have? Tea, coffee or Pepsi?
Now Anna was really feeling the Chennai heat and thought that he might as well have a cold drink. So he asked for one.
Viru immediately shouted 'Arrey Ashwin 2 Pepsi laana.'
Moral of the story - Drinking Pepsi solves many vexing questions.
That Nagpur is fondly called the Orange city is well known. What most people don’t know is that the VCA stadium is not-so-fondly called the no-range stadium. There is no net connectivity which meant that all one’s followers (to be honest mostly spam bots) on Twitter who were anxiously waiting for on ground updates were left bitterly disappointed.
But one should start from the beginning rather than the end unlike the Indian batting which normally starts as if it’s the closing stages of their innings. One had noticed that out of all the India cricket matches one had attended in person, not even one match was won by India. In fact, one had frequently got offers from the opposition teams to travel with them as their lucky mascot. But the allure of a good seat along with the chance to watch Tendulkar proved stronger than the fear of being branded as the harbinger of bad luck.
The Nagpur trip was planned at a very short notice which meant that one didn’t know where one would be staying, what mode of transport would get us to the stadium (given that its ~ 20km from Nagpur city and there are no cabs around) and how would one be heading back to Mumbai. There were fall back options in place but they were not very pretty. It was painfully similar to the story of the Indian performance in the match.
Nagpur has 2 kinds of residents. There are those who are related to Shashank Manohar and then there are those who aren’t related but know Shahsank Manohar pretty well. Those who don’t fall in these two categories are deemed to be fake Nagpurkars and were the same ones who couldn’t find tickets to get inside the stadium. Many readers of Marathi literature assume quite wrongly that the famous book ‘Aahe Manohar tari’ (literallly translated as – ‘Though there’s Manohar’. The actual meaning is, ‘It’s captivating but…’ Manohar means, captivating or delightful) is written by one such disgruntled fake Nagpurkar who was unable to acquire tickets in the past.
On reaching the Nagpur airport which was a stone’s throw away from The Pride hotel where the Indian team was supposed to be staying, ‘stone’s throw’ being the operative words. One left the city early morning the day after the match and hence is unsure whether the hotel still carries the same name.
After being warned by everybody that there’s only one road that leads to the VCA stadium (unlike Rome), it was but natural to reach the stadium 2 hours in advance. The stadium actually felt closer to the Andhra border than Nagpur and one has serious doubts that the Hyderabad Cricket Association mya claim it as their own. The practice session for both teams was under way and as is usual, the Indians were playing football. The South Africans, on the other hand, surprisingly, were practicing bowling, catching and throwing. Apparently they believed that unlike their counterparts’ thinking their players could still improve in the fielding department.
One does not propose to give a match report and will point that the one time that the stand went completely quiet was when MSD threw the ball to Nehra. It was almost in a state of shock and disbelief and if reports are to be believed Nehra was equally shocked to see the ball in his hands. Even the Saffer batters who were discussing and strategizing on a new method to choke in the middle forgot what they had planned. It was MSD’s shock and owww moment of the competition.
On the way back the car had to take a U turn which was 1.5km away from the stadium. It took almost 2.5 hours for the car reach from Point A to Point A. One had gotten nowhere after all that while. The India team too had suffered a similar fate where after the highs of a sublime innings from a genius and a pounding by his partner their progress on the road to CWC glory was zero if not negative.
Coming back from Nagpur to Mumbai was another ordeal that some how included Indore. But one finally managed to get back safe and sound. One thinks and hopes that the Indian team will also get home safe and sound to the quarter finals, technical possibilities of a knock out notwithstanding.
With all the talk of technolgy used in sport the Pakistan Cricket team thought that they too would utilise some technological innovations to provide a boost to their efforts of winning the CWC. But alas, as we have witnessed with UDRS their experiment with technology also came unstuck (pun intended) in their group match against NZ.
When Kamran Akmal was asked about his two sleepers that he dropped he was quick to point out that instead of the untraceable superglue that was supposed to be applied to his gloves the support staff had coated his gloves with Teflon. The same Teflon that was going to be applied on all players so that no betting charges could stick against them. The reporters were not really convinced by this claim but an angry Kamran with his gnashing teeth could not be taken lightly and thus they let it pass. Kamran was also toying with the idea of patenting his drops so that he could charge Intellectual Property rights on all jokes made on them. He also claimed that he was disturbed by Shoaib Akhtar's attitude in the team meeting during lunch. Shoaib had vehemently argued with the team management's decision to let Kamran bat 1 drop. He said that 2 drop or 3 drop for Kamran would be fitting.
Shahidbhai claimed that the super glue was wrongly pasted on their shoes which made them immobile in the field and laden footed while batting. Younis Khan actually had to take his shoes off to walk back to the pavillion after being bowled. He further claimed that a drop of super glue had some how made its way in their brains as well which led to a collective brain freeze in the last 5 overs of their bowling. On being asked about Pakistan being a mercurial team he blew up. 'Mercuryal, Mercuryal.. All you guys keep on saying this about us. With so much mercury in the system our minds are being slow poisoned. This defeat is partly because of you journalists.'
He further added 'It's all a big conspiracy against our team. Thats why we don't want to play the quarter finals in India. Who knows how they will sabotage our next games? '
On further probe his allegations proved to be a figment of his imagination. When quizzed, the support staff said 'BC, its all fine to have technology and all but the instructions were in Chinese.'
Moral of the story - Learn to read Chinese