Location: A room full of neutral observers sitting in a
prickinfo studio analysing India’s
defeat in Australia
with a Not Cricket reporter disguised as Poonam Paan de. (It was very difficult
to get in because the reporter wasn’t ugly enough but when threatened with FULL
disclosure the door keeper agreed)
Hideous Gaigh: “Good evening all. I open my comments with
the chef that the Indian team got. In this land
of Masterchef Australia
bringing an outsider was an insult to the Australian team. Taking baked beans
cans to India
is all right. That really fired them up. Not the beans I mean. It fired up our
team. And then all the Indians kept on waiting for the IPL auction happening
this Saturday to count the money they would make…”
Poonam Paan De: “Err, Sir, there are only a few players from
the erstwhile Kochi
team and a few others going under the hammer.”
Flipkart Monga: “Pullease.. even Dhoni has said so”
PPD: “Huh? When”?
FM: “Well, in the press conference he gave.”
PPD: “I never heard him say it”
FM: “Did you hear him say that he didn’t want to be a
FM: “Alas my lady what did you hear then? Did you know that
Dhoni has had a 8-0 back to back white washes that he has captained? If not
please do read my article’
PPD: “Umm! You mean 4 lost in England,
2 won against the Windies in India
and then 3 lost in Australia.
He didn’t play the fourth did he”?
FM: “Do you believe Prickinfo who don’t physically attend a
cricket match, watch it on TV and give LIVE commentary or you believe in actual
PPD: “I am not sure. May be I believe Prickinfo. It’s the
foam of cricket.”
FM: “Now let us give a chance to some of our esteemed
colleagues from the print media to voice their learned opinions.”
A Journalist from up North: “Dravid, Tendulkar, VVS, Zaheer,
Ashwin failed so drop them, get Raina, Yuvi, Bhajji and Ojha”
A Journalist from down South: “Sehwag, Gambhir, Dhoni,
Tendulkar,failed, so drop them and get Mukund, Badri, Vijay, and DK."
A Journalist from West: “Tendulkar failed, get Rohit
Sourav Gang-ungli: “All seniors failed. Get me. Please. I
beg of you. I will come in Kohli’s place if you so choose. He is a senior too!”
Prickinfo expert: “It’s all about IPL. You stop IPL and we
will give you a simulated Test victory on our portal. We also have some
ex-cricketers who would like to share their views with us.”
I'm rant Khan: “Well you know I should become the Pak PM but
because this is a cricketing show, Tendulkar should retire. I retired 4 times
in my illustrious career and I came back 6 times. So I should know.”
Vibhishan Bedi: “Murali throws, Murali Karthik is the best
left arm spinner in the world today. I was the best left arm spinner ever.”
Magan Lal: “Ishant should bowl faster than me in my prime.”
FM: “Well since not many guys are blaming the IPL we bring
our show to a close here. The entire system should be cleansed. Ranji trophy
should be played in Australia,
IPL should go, Seniors should retire, IPL should go, MSD should retire, IPL
should go, Sehwag should retire, IPL should go, Gambhir should retire, IPL
should go. We think we have had a very insightful and serious discussion about
Indian cricket. We are sure that we will get enough retweets from all those
frustrated souls out there. With this, dear Test Cricket lovers, we repeat,
Test Cricket lovers, we take your leave.”
The former great was a bitter man. The joke went at the CCI that bar tenders asked him to stick his fingers in a cocktail if they had run out of bitters. But it could all have been so different. His entire career would have meant something if only he had achieved that elusive milestone. The milestone that everyone was waiting for. The milestone that his supporters cheered him on for. The milestone that had become a mill stone around his and his team's neck. And only he knew how hard he had tried and failed.
He supported the Occupy Wallstreet protest wholeheartedly. He fully understood the pains of being a part of the 99%. The 1% was what had stripped him of a decent ride in the sunset. How hard had he worked to get to the tally of 99. All those balls faced, all those painstaking hours of practicing at the nets, all those people doubting his match winning abilities, all the personal sacrifices made had finally come to a nought. His team couldn't carry his weight any more. His team could carry the pressure of anticipation no further. He had to make way for other youngsters. That was how an ageing sportsman's quest for glory had ended. It was a long and a lonely walk.
He swore by everything he held dear that he would have his revenge.
We can see glimpses of that pleasure of revenge served cold from the utterances of Sanjay Manjrekar for years now but the last 2-3 months have been sweeter. For indeed, Manjrekar in his splendid career of 74 ODIs where he amassed 1994 runs at a stunning average of 33.23, could manage to score only 99 boundaries. A boundary for Sanjay Manjrekar was as valuable as a 100 for most Indian fans. It was that rare. Alas he could never achieve that dream of a memorable 100 boundaries. Commentating history could have looked very different if he were allowed that one last shot (literally and figuratively) at greatness. Well some sort of medium success at least.
And this is an excerpt from the Cricinfo profile of the 'former great' as he is termed now days by most media - 'His century against a four-prong West Indian pace attack at Bridgetown in 1988-89 was masterful, and he followed it up with a double and single century in Pakistan. But he only managed one other century - a laboured if match-saving effort in Zimbabwe's inaugural Test. He struggled to find his rhythm and form on bouncy pitches in Australia and South Africa, and never recaptured that poise and balance. Manjrekar made an unsuccessful attempt at reinventing himself as an opener in 1997 and faded out of the international scene.'
I hope he recovers his poise and balance after this sweet taste of India's recent failures.
Hat tip to SFX to bring this 99 record to my notice
Brad Haddin was spot on when he said that the Indians break
quicker than anybody else in the world when things are not going their way. He
may or may not be correct about the Indian Team but he surely was on the money
about the Indian media and the India
supporters. I won't want to comment on Brad Haddin the player. He is there becuase Tim Paine breaks some part of his anatomy quicker than anybody else in the world. But the way the Indian supporters have turned on this team would put a pack of
wild dogs to shame. Actually wild dogs attack only to procure their food and
don’t turn on their own.
One of the reasons of India’s success against Australia
whether in Australia or India (The Ozs didn’t win for 8 tests post Sydney 2008)
was that ‘mental disintegration’ by the Oz players worked as a motivation for
the Indian team. All the chatting, pre-match predictions and claims of having
found chinks in the armours somehow spurred on the Indians unlike other teams
that folded up under pressure. What the Australians did better this time as a
team (even the Oz media to a certain extent, or was it the aftermath of the
loss to the Kiwis?) was being sort of nice. Well that isn’t possible really so
at least they tried not to be too nasty or rude. That ‘Khunnas’ of playing the
Australians just wasn’t generated in this series. I had mentioned in my earlier
post that it didn’t feel like 2007 at all.
Along with the media the Australians seem to have discovered
that especially with the young Indian players, spectators can be the new ‘not
so secret’ weapon. Instead of ignoring the raving idiots who want to throw
abuse at them they are reacting. Only Indian crowds are supposed to be racist and
abusive. Everyone, I mean every spectator in Australia is a paragon of virtue
and don’t need those notices put up across Indian stadia cautioning spectators
that offensive behaviour is a punishable offence. My point is that there are
bad apples everywhere and these nuts to be controlled across stadiums in the
world. In their enthusiasm to kick a man who is down, the Indian media and the
Indian fans are ridiculing their own players. This has been the key difference
between Sydney 2008 and Sydney 2012 - the lack of any support for the Indian
I am not trying to justify or overlook the performance of
the cricket team but do we really have to start talking about how the seniors
are to be blamed for this debacle? Is there any one Indian supporter who decried
the team selection before the start of this series? So why suddenly start
questioning the team mid way? There are still 2 more matches to go and unlike England where
the team was operating with a lot of temporary personnel and was not playing
against a team which got bowled out for 47 why talk of a 4-0 prematurely? The
fact that everyone has already started talking of a 4-0 result shows that the
mental disintegration of the Indian media and the Indian fan has come faster
than even the Australians would have expected.
The Indian team needs to completely ignore all the tamasha
happening outside and relax mentally. Maybe go-karting helps them relax and if
they feel it does, no one has the right to question their method of practice.
I was astonished to read Gavaskar’s comments about the
Indians not being in Australia
for sight seeing and that they should be practicing instead. Coming from a man
who has always maintained that the Australian media is an extension of the
Australin cricket team, this was the final nail. It seems that the media of
both countries and the fans have wittingly or unwittingly become that
extension. With SMG joining their ranks the process of mental disintegration is
If it was pathetic to watch the Indian team’s performance at
Sydney (and I
am not singling out batting or bowling), the reactions to that loss across the
board have been shameful. This hurts more than Sydney 2008. Hopefully these
events spur the Indian team as well.