The video that you’ve been waiting to watch has downloaded 99% and just as you get ready to click play, the connection drops. The ATM that hasn’t been refilled in a week is finally working and after waiting patiently in the queue, it runs out of cash just as you reach the door. The European vacation you’ve been planning your whole life is within reach thanks to a bonus, but you can’t get a visa because your passport is about to expire. These are the kind of third-world problems that readers of this column will only be too familiar with.
Category: Columns (Page 2 of 2)
Indian cricket has been besieged with all that is bad about how the game is administered, tales of mismanagement and corruption, backhanders and nepotism gathering such momentum that judges constantly berated the cricketing powers that be before passing stern judgment. But, at the recent Indian Premier League auction the other side of this beautiful game emerged.
To take only three examples, there was Thangarsasu Natarajan, the left-arm seam bowler from Chinnapampatti near Salem in Tamil Nadu, who went from being unknown to bagging a contract worth Rs 3 crore annually.
An English journalist friend and colleague, a veteran of India visits, a man who knows his curry from his Balti and his Kingfisher from his Kalyani Black Label, was frankly mystified just recently. Not by England’s dramatic collapse in the final Twenty20 International against India in Bangalore, where they lost eight wickets for eight runs — he has seen enough and more England implosions than to be taken aback by such mundane events — but by the other big cricket thing that was hogging column inches. The judiciary versus the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) might be a juicy subject, but it is not one the world at large understands too well.
It’s not easy being an Indian cricketer, what with the constant pressure to perform, the piercing scrutiny that is the result of the tyranny of the 24-hour news cycle and the need to perpetually shoulder the burden of expectations of millions of fans. But it is downright difficult to be the first Kashmiri Muslim to play cricket for India, as Parvez Rasool, the all-rounder, is finding out.
On Thursday, Republic Day, no less, Rasool made his Twenty20 International debut for India against England. Rasool made five runs and picked up 1for 32 from his four overs as India were thoroughly outplayed. It was a forgettable debut by any standards, but attempts to make it memorable for completely non-cricketing reasons defy logic.
When the two teams lined up before the game for the national anthems, Rasool would have been a bundle of nerves, as you would expect of any player making his debut in a highoctane format. As many players do, out of habit or to stay calm, the 27-year-old Rasool was chewing gum when the national anthem played. He was not horsing around, not chatting idly with a neighbour and, yes, he was not singing the anthem. This has angered a broad swathe of Indians, who have predictably taken to Twitter and Facebook, making the short video clip viral.
Yuvraj Singh is back in the Indian team for the limited-overs games against England for two simple reasons. He scored 672 runs from eight Ranji innings at an average of 84 that included a 295-ball 177 against Madhya Pradesh in Lahli, the venue where seamers of all kinds fill their boots, spinners stretch out on the couch in the dressing-room and batsmen are happy to just last half an hour at the crease. Yuvraj is also back because the selectors genuinely believe that this Indian team needs some experience in the middle- and lower-middle order.
In 1980, Robert Benton won two Academy Awards, for direction and best adapted screenplay. But even he would not have anticipated just how inspiring his movie’s title would be, decades down the line. Kramer vs. Kramer won a total of five Academy Awards that year.
The faithful manner in which life has imitated art in the past week is nothing short of stunning.
In Uttar Pradesh, you had Yadav vs Yadav, Akhilesh and Mulayam with a few more Yadavs thrown in for good measure. In Tamil Nadu it was Sasikala v Sasikala, the newly anointed All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader, Natarajan, taking on the expelled member of Parliament, Pushpa.
There was a time, not long ago, when Virat Kohli needed to be taken under wing.
He got lucky in that Yuvraj Singh, one of his buddies, a fellow flamboyant batsman, had ridden the cricketing roller-coaster, enjoying the highs to the hilt and enduring the lows with grace. He was fortunate in that his captain at Royal Challengers Bangalore, Anil Kumble, was as dissimilar from himself as possible, focussing on cricket in the staidest possible manner to the exception of all else. He was serendipitous in that he worshipped the ground Sachin Tendulkar walked on, for his batting, his commitment to being prepared and his considerable achievements, rather than looking elsewhere.