It was not quite Nero fiddling while Rome burned, but there was an eerie sense of calm at leafy Edgbaston where India and Pakistan played cricket in the backdrop of the atrocities of London. Not one full sleep after a van mowed down pedestrians on London Bridge, that most English of landmarks, and knife-wielding men slashed and stabbed people at a restaurant in Borough Market, cricket provided a soothing oasis of normalcy.
Category: Analysis (Page 2 of 4)
There is an irony to the fact that Ramachandra Guha’s greatest impact on the governance of Indian cricket could have been his resignation, rather than anything he achieved in his short tenure.
Guha, a lover of certain aspects of the game, a historian with impeccable credentials in his area of expertise was an unusual choice, to say the least, for a seat on the Committee of Administrators. Certainly the haughty attitude he had towards Twenty20 cricket in general, and the Indian Premier League, in particular, left many wondering how he would reconcile his personal opinions with his professional ones.
What can you expect when one of the nicest teams in world cricket takes on one built on a legacy of aggression, snarling and on-field skirmishes? New Zealand transformed the way audiences viewed cricketers when they rose to Brendon McCullum’s calls to play the game in a manner that was both attacking and well-behaved.
Kane Williamson, the man taking forward McCullum’s world view, has ensured that even in the face of severe provocation, the focus remains on runs and wickets, with his mates not falling into the trap or responding with words. He might be in for a bit of a surprise in the latest Australia-New Zealand clash, for Australia’s players are embroiled in a fight with their cricket board that may leave them with no appetite to dish it out on the field.
Maternity, it is often said, is a certainty, while paternity is a myth. And so it bears that necessity may be the mother of invention, but Birmingham never got credit for being the father.
Anyone reading these words, with acceptable and understandable skepticism should know they would not be doing so, if not for the good folk of the City of a Thousand Trades.
After all, it was Conway Berners-Lee, Birmingham bred, who brought the world the first computer, the Ferranti Mark 1, in 1951, and whose son Tim put forward the first proposal for something that we now know as the World Wide Web, in 1989. But before solving the transmission conundrum, there was the small matter of listening to the players, and Birmingham’s Michael Gerzon invented the microphone, in 1975. Go back further to 1822 and you can thank John Mitchell, who pioneered the technology of mass producing steel-nib pens when the quill was still mightier than the sword.
When did you stop beating your wife?
More children died in Iraq because of US bombings than Hiroshima, was it worth it?
Should a slap delivered to a naughty child as part of responsible parenting be considered violent behaviour?
These are only obvious examples of the concept of a loaded question, one which cannot be answered in any satisfactory manner without the respondent either implicating himself or sounding positively evasive.
Where heroes become champions. The International Cricket Council greets fans and players alike with this slogan at the 2017 Champions Trophy. Entering the Oval where India were taking on Bangladesh in a practice match, several punters were scratching their heads. Shouldn’t it be the other way around, they asked, hoping that their heroes might win the tournament and become champions.
The slogan, no doubt coined by some creative genius in an office, works brilliantly, if not in the way literally intended. After all, there is so much about this tournament that seems to be backwards.
After dust settled, at least temporarily, in the fracas between the International Cricket Council and the Board of Control for Cricket in India, the three-man selection committee was finally allowed to do its job and pick a team to play in the Champions Trophy. As choices go, this was not a terribly challenging task.
The Indian One-Day International team wears a fairly settled look and with the key characters in the show fit, there was little doubt about what India’s best eleven would be. In the backdrop of the Indian Premier League, however, a certain buzz was created around the selection, with several young Indian cricketers having made a splash in the tournament.
If turning wine into water was a skill in demand, Shashank Manohar would be the most sought after man on the planet. The man who claimed he was returning for a second innings at the helm of the Board of Control for Cricket in India to save the game, left with his association in tatters. This was not so much abandoning a sinking ship as taking a speedboat from one to a luxury cruise liner that was on a speck on the horizon. And now, the man liberally misidentified as a messiah has applied his reverse-Midas touch at the International Cricket Council.
For a generation of Indian cricket fans nothing can compare to the India-Australia series of 2001. For sheer watchability, drama, aesthetic pleasure and the making of heroes no series played in India has come close to that. From Harbhajan Singh’s bucketload of wickets that included a hat-trick to India’s escape from jail in Kolkata, fuelled by V. V. S. Laxman and Rahul Dravid, a generation of Indian cricket legends had their steel forged in that furnace of pressure.
Virat Kohli is no sore loser, so it was ironic that the afterglow of his greatest series victory was tinged with bitterness. India got the better of Australia, 2-1, with an emphatic victory in Dharamsala but even as Kohli won hearts through a glorious home season that ended with India having beaten all opposition, he found that the people he once considered friends were anything but.
With India being the No. 1 Test team in the world, and having the rare honour of simultaneously holding victories against each of the other nine teams in the world, with the ICC’s US$ 1 million coming their way and the Indian board announcing generous bonuses, it should have been all smiles. But, the toxic undercurrent that has poisoned this series left Kohli with no option but to reassess his relationship with some members of the opposition.