Thursday, December 24, 2009

Potpourri

After being absent from this space for a long time (for various reasons), just thought should do a ‘quickie’, my last of the year (* conditions apply). And all thanks to the wi-fi connection at the Bengaluru International Airport – I’m on my way to Shillong, ‘The Scotland of the East’ - home sweet home. After reading this more people will realize that the new airport wasn’t such a good idea after all.

Sitting at the airport, I see three people of different shapes and sizes sitting directly opposite me. From whatever I could gather from their conversation, it seems they are plotting a new state. Maybe the theme of their state is going to be unity in diversity. But to think of it, don’t know how successful KCR will be in his bid for Telangana, but he has managed to establish a new nation wide state all right – a state of chaos.

Anyways the last month has been marked by a state of adventure for me too. I had the honour of attending a wedding… and this time I was invited for it… by both the groom and the bride. This surely brought back memories of all the “Farji Marriages” we used to attend back in the good old college days. Well, of course the marriages were not farji; we, as guests, were. But I can only present my own perspective of things. Anyways getting two invites for the same marriage seemed like a luxury. Well, let’s just say that I have graduated well!

And talking about marriages, there have been a plethora of marriage announcements around me. If marriages are made in heaven, it seems as if ‘all heaven has broken loose’. The latest in the list were Lucky and Poonam. Congratulations to both of them and commiserations for their respective fianc├ęs.

Moving to something I am married to - Cricket, India moved to the numero uno spot in tests. It is reason enough to celebrate but what was shocking and sad was that the board announced cash prizes just for the current lot of players. This feat would not have been a reality without the contribution of the Gangulys and the Kumbles, and ignoring them wasn’t such a good idea (Maybe the cash prize in itself was uncalled for). Another thing that has been making news is the UDRS. I was one of the proponents of this system, even though it meant that the umpire’s raised finger or the shake of the head would not bring the same amount of instant joy or grief to millions that it did before. It will no longer be the death knell. It could demand a situation where a cartoon on a giant screen would have to validate the verdict, delaying the hopes or the fears. But what we saw in the Perth and Centurion tests have forced me to have second thoughts. The tail-enders asked for reviews just because they had it in their kitty. They were testing technology more than the verdict. It really was a shame.

I had the chance of seeing Avatar last week. One word that describes the movie is grand. It is a kind of movie you not only watch, but celebrate. Also had a much needed hair cut – you know its time to cut the crap when a look in the mirror reminds you of Jairam Ramesh.

That’s it from me for now. Wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy Maadi.


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Sunday, November 15, 2009

2 Decades of Power Play

“In a gentle way you can shake the world”

-- Mahatma Gandhi


Main khelega” said a squeaky voice from under the helmet covering the blood smeared face of a 5’ 6”body lying near the pitch. We’ve heard the story a hundred times from Sidhu (in an unmatched charismatic way that only he can manage), of how a 16 year old kid - who had no business being out of the comforts of school, leave alone facing the likes of Imran Khan, Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram at their fiercest bests in a cricket pitch – had refused to leave the ground despite being hit on the face by a Waqar Younis special. “Main khalega” – these are perhaps the two words which best sum up the hunger, sum up the attitude of the great man towards the game, during and even after 20 years from the incident. The world knew that the 16 year old had come of age.


Enough is already been written about him as he knocks off another milestone in his career. There are not enough superlatives to describe what he has done in these 20 years, so I will not even attempt to tread the path. But what amuses me, is, that despite all this, he could never please the critics enough. If the critics had had their way, he would never have made his debut at such a tender age. If the critics had had their way, he would have hung his boot by now. The world would not have known what they would have missed. For some time, he let the numbers do the talking on his behalf - 10K runs, 30 odd centuries. But after a certain point, perhaps even the numbers became so huge and unfathomable (and as meaningless as the age of “Baa” in the Indian television soap industry). Perhaps they should stop keeping track of his records and just employ the symbol for infinity and make the life of the statisticians easier. And by the way, the 20 years haven’t always been about the runs alone; but the manner, the precision, the style, the honesty and the simplicity with which he’s got them. It’s been about his flawless image; the fact that never once has he been involved in any tussle with the media or a team-mate or the opposition, any drunken escapade, any incriminating incident or any other spat that usually accompanies super stardom at a young age.


Margaret Thatcher once remarked that if her critics saw her walking on a river, they would say it was because she could not swim. The legend too, brought some changes to his batting style, at times adopting a more cautious, a more mature approach – cutting down on some of the aerial shots, cutting down on some of the flair. And people came up with theories of his reflexes betraying him. Mind you it was more out of choice than anything else; and one thing he did not cut down on, was class. Yet, as a reminder to his critics, he produced one of those innings time and again, as if taking it out from a shelf and placing it back there again. Aren’t we fortunate to have seen so many avtaars of the legend, each one special in its own realm, each one with genius written all over?


“ENDulkar?” screamed the headlines of the TOI after the Mumbai test against England in 2006. Well I hope whoever came up with this phrase has a good enough sense of humour to laugh at himself each time the man goes out to bat and comes up with something special, else life would have become miserable for him. But this has been the legend’s story all his life - some people have kept throwing stones at him and he has kept converting them into milestones, craftily and gently.



In the gentlest possible way, he has made billions celebrate and cheer, he’s given them a reason to rejoice, and to cry - a reason to live; in the gentlest possible way he has made a mockery of bowling attacks, slaughtered their confidence, given opponents sleepless nights; in the gentlest possible way he has shaken the world. It is difficult to imagine what life would have been without cricket and it is impossible to imagine what cricket would have been without Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.


P.S. – The quote by Gandhiji was used by the man himself to describe Harsha Bhogle, another legend in his own rights; but if anything, it fits seamlessly with Sachin.


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Sunday, November 8, 2009

Stay hungry, stay foolish

Well after the shock of the last post, I am back in this space. For those who are actually reading it (I won’t blame you if you’re not), don’t get scared by the title (it could very well have been a continuation of the last one - after all, the ‘great selectors’ did continue with the same team for the remainder of the series). Instead I choose to write about something, the very sight of which, even in print, makes the heart warm – friendship. Now, I know I am making a very controversial statement, but I stick my neck out and say that the same is not true for love – atleast not for everyone (well for me, it sometimes sends a chill down my spine :P).

Friends have always been the constant source of my strength. They groomed me to face the hard life by helping me brave the taxing weather of Jaipur - sitting in the canteen under a fan which never worked - when I could easily have spoilt myself by sitting in the comfort of the air conditioned lecture rooms or labs. They helped me become a better citizen by making me contribute to the government and the nation in a better way; after all, liquor has a higher tax associated with it when compared to soft drinks. They nurtured me to be better prepared for any adverse eventualities in life, by staying up all night with me, playing 29, at a time when I could have taken the easier route of studying to save my ass for the exam next day. Back in Shillong, they helped add wings to my imagination by providing me with ample opportunities to cook up stories to explain my inability to get back home at the given deadline. Friends, I could so easily have become a nerd had it not been for you guys. I’ll never be able to thank you enough in my entire lifetime.

We often take our friends for granted and either tend to forget to acknowledge them for all that they mean to us, or are unable to do so. When you visit a friend’s house and find your picture among others adorning his bedroom wall, why does it become so difficult to find the correct words to express how much it means to us? Or when you catch up with a friend after what looks like ages, why is it so difficult to tell them, in their times of grief, that you are concerned and sincerely hope things will get back on track for them? I guess, maybe because you know that they will understand. Well, you can kick friendship like a football and it’ll never break. Yet there are hurdles in friendship that, in retrospect, only make it more interesting. Well I’ve actually been involved in a physical fight with someone who is now one of the bestest friends I have, and had it not been for the timely entry of his driver, the world would have seen his last. Maybe a little kicking does friendship no harm.

A person who loses his wife is known as a widower. A person who loses his parents is called an orphan. But even the English language has not been able to come up with any word to describe the loss of a person who has lost a friend. I have also parted with friends at various stages - in my neighborhood, in school, in high school, college. True they were not the closest of friends to mean an end of the world for me, but it doesn’t always make you proud to end on a low. Although I’ve managed to reconcile with a couple over the years, but something always has the final say – my ego, the word whose spelling even a guy in the highest state of drunken stupor does not forget (some people will know whom am I referring to - sorry dude :D). Ah, maybe you shouldn’t kick friendship forever.

Well maybe as in life, so also in friendship – you win some, you lose some. The Geeta with all its wisdom says something which amounts to there are no friends and you fight all your battles alone. I have never been the wise types, and will prefer staying foolish and hungry for friends, especially if life is so much interesting this way.

To all my friends,
P. S. – I love Y!ou :)


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Thursday, October 22, 2009

5 hungry men

Still infuriated by Dravid’s omission from Team India, and inspired by other analogous blogs doing the rounds of the internet, I have come up with this conversation that could have happened between the Indian selectors when they met on October 15 to decide what the Indian team would look like.


Disclaimer: This is purely a work of fiction but co-incidences are possible. Although we’ll never know, any resemblance to actual happenings cannot be ruled out.


Srikkanth: “Ok gentlemen, we have gathered here to select the Indian team for the first two ODIs against Australia. We all know South Africa was a disaster (pauses) - the board refused to let the selectors accompany the team. But like true gentlemen, we must put all this behind us and get on with our job – and fast. We are already two hours behind time and we don’t want to be late for lunch. I think going by the media review we got the last time, we can pride ourselves in having done a great job in selecting the team when we had last met.


Yashpal: But I saw someone's Facebook status message saying that India was knocked out in the first round of the Chamions Trophy.


All in chourus: What! (Everyone is shocked and dismayed)


Raja: Then I think we have to make a big change somewhere. This is how it generally works. When things are not working, change it.


Bhave: Yeah you’re right. How about changing the captain?


Srikkanth: (immediately feeling his right cheek with his palm) Er.. Er.. I don’t think so. He has been doing a good job for India. And you see we are from the same Chennai Super King outfit. (Again rubbing his cheek as if reminded of something.).And.. and besides he is strong, very strong. Er.. I mean he has the necessary strength to lead India.


Hirwani: Hmm… Then I think we can sack the coach, Kirsten.


Raja: I doubt that is an option. His contract does not expire until March 2010.


Bhave: We have to do something. We can give the boot to Venky and Robin.


Yashpal: But it may not go down with the players so well.


Bhave: Oh. I didn’t know the players were that close to them.


Yashpal: No, no. It’s not that. What I meant was who will serve them coffee and snacks.


Raja: That can be taken care of. The manager can double up. As it is he never does anything. My only concern is who will notify the two.


Srikkanth: (frowns with surprise) why do we have to tell them? The media can do that. Hey guys, lets start some sort of a trend. Countries have separate teams for tests and ODIs, let us have separate teams for home and away matches. It'll be fun. Something new.


(Everyone looks up and are delighted with the idea. This was their chance of being pioneers, and scripting their names in the pages of history.)


Yashpal: India’s best batsman in away matches, by far, has been Dravid. We can drop him. But the only problem is he hasn’t done bad in matches at home.


Srikkanth: Listen, I am in no mood to go with someone with a nickname Jamie, when I am sitting here, deprived of lunch.


Bhave: But with what pretext should we drop him?


Raja: We can tell the people that he is old.


Yashpal: But he shows no signs of ageing. Shouldn’t form and fitness be the criteria?


Srikkanth: Not when you’re hungry. Common guys we can’t be wasting so much time.


Hirwani: Ok. Let’s pick Ravindra Jadeja.


Raja: Jadeja! But there were reports that it was because of him that India lost the T20 World Cup.


Hirwani: Hmm.. But Shane Warne thinks he is the future of India and we could do well to use his expertise.


Bhave: But Warne also told the same thing about Yusuf Pathan as well. So are we picking him too?


Yashpal: Hey common, Warnie cannot be right each time. He maintains that he likes baked beans. But they have always given me stomach upsets.


Raja: Yeah right. I fart a lot too whenever I have baked beans. Makes me wonder how he handles all the women after he has eaten baked beans!


Srikkanth: Well guys, we just found out, why, at times, he restricts himself to phone sex!


Bhave: Hmmm.. Moving on, should we pick Virat Kohli?


Hirwani: Yes, yes. He always reminds me of my childhood days.


Yashpal: Why? Were you thin during your childhood days?


Hirwani: No. My mother used to cook in Virat pressure cookers when I was a child.


Srikkanth: We should give this youngster named Sudeep Tyagi a chance. He is also in the Chennai Super Kings team.


Raja: Yeah. You must have observed him closely then.


Srikkanth: Not exactly. But Srinivasan is a shrewd fellow. He would never have him in the team if Tyagi were not good.


Bhave: What about Sreesanth. Do we give him another chance?


Raja: He’ll be fined a lot of times so that’ll save the board a lot of money. Moreover, when he was last slapped, he skipped dinner. He'll be an asset in times of recession.


Srikkanth: The board will not share the money with us. And why should we be concerned with anybody’s dinner when we are starving here for want of lunch. He is not selected. And perhaps, we could be getting the Nobel Peace Prize next year for keeping him out of the team.


Bhave: Does anyone realize it has been 15 mins since we came here.


Srikkanth: Yeah. Enough is enough. We will each write a random syllable in a piece of paper and assemble it to form names. We will then select those players. As it is too many cooks spoil the broth. Let us not waste anymore time and proceed for lunch. We sure have earned our bread and butter today.


And the rest - as they say - is history.


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Friday, October 16, 2009

The Namesake

Francisco d'Anconia “If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulder - what would you tell him to do?"

Hank Rearden: "I . . . don't know. What . . . could he do? What would you tell him?"

Francisco d'Anconia: "To shrug."


Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh find themselves out of favour with the Indian selectors. But it is not this which is making news. For once it is Rahul Dravid! I use the expression ‘for once’ because we are talking about the man who has been content playing second fiddle in his life time and who never called out to be given the due recognition he has so much deserved. While Laxman made that unforgettable 281 at the Eden Gardens, there was someone at the other end battling as hard to make an equally important 180. While Sachin blasted his way to a career-best 186*, there was someone who had scored a run-a-ball 153 which went quite unnoticed. While Saurav helped himself to his all-time-high of 183 in Taunton, there was someone 22 yards away who had scored a magnificent 145 and was the who actually started the tormenting of the bowlers at a time the former was struggling at the crease, setting the stage for him to take over While Sachin made that memorable century against Kenya immediately after the demise of his father, there was someone who had silently helped himself to three figures as well. Why is it that then that this person could only merit a mention in the second paragraphs of the news? But the legend in question never let these things bother him and went about doing what he knew best – batting.


Whenever the team needed flexibility there was only one man who had the answers. When the team felt the need to accommodate an extra batsman, we found Dravid donning the gloves himself. There was a time when the team management found itself struggling for alternatives when it came to finding an opener in tests. It was Dravid again who stepped up – both literally and figuratively. It never did his own average any favours, but helped Team India tremendously. Did we hear any news about Dravid bragging about the sacrifices he was making for a greater cause? He silently continued with his job. How many other people could have matched that? Even the legendary Sachin never allowed himself to be dictated into batting at No. 4 in ODIs.


Dravid was made the captain, and Dravid was sacked as the captain. In the series against England in 2007, it never came across his mind that he should be playing to retain his side in the place. Instead, he never hesitated to promote a more aggressive player ahead of him when that was the need of the hour. He still finished with an average of 53, but even then found the ‘(c) tag’ next to Dhoni’s name in the next series. After the Australian series that followed, he was not even in the team.


Then came IPL 2008 and it was a disaster for his team. The owner - who knows as much about cricket as Paris Hilton does about public behaviour - was calling for his head publicly. He never bothered to find out that Dravid had averaged above 28 in the season (remember we are talking about 20 over matches) with a strike rate of over 127. Dravid remained silent. IPL 2009 moved to South Africa, and he allowed his bat do all the talking to put all his critics back to their places.


Everyone thought there was justice in this world. When the “stars Indian youngsters – the future of India” were found wanting against short-pitched bowling, Indian selectors called upon his reliable services. And now that the battle will be fought in a relatively friendlier terrain, our great selectors think they do not need the expertise of a veteran warhead. Doesn’t Dravid have every right to feel cheated, every right to feel used? You don’t treat the finest gentleman Cricket India has produced in this way.


Sir, as much as I love to see you play and as much as I love Indian cricket, I pray that you shrug – Team India does not deserve you!


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Friday, September 11, 2009

Who let the dogs out?

So I’m back from a three day trip of Jaipur/NCR. It was an epoch-making event for mankind. I managed to give a new lease of life to the dying human race, thereby scripting my name in golden letters, forever in the pages of history. All right, all right, I better stop. By the way, only half of all this is a lie – I did go to Jaipur/NCR after all. It was a trip meant to be a surprise for my friends there. But thanks to Shantanu (who leaks more than a sieve), it almost got ruined. I use the word almost here, because, ironically enough, thanks to Shantanu again (or rather his reputation), no one believed him.

Omelet, chai, sutta, chaka chak, maggi” These are the things which the menu in MNIT ki thadi still says (yes I was there - I wouldn’t let go a chance to visit the place again). And an outsider would believe that these are the only things which were on offer. But ask any MNITian what he derived out of thadi, and he’ll tell you more. If the pre-engineering days of a student were characterized by “Maa ka khana”, these four years were definitely all about “Mai Ka Khana”.

Thadi was where life was; the place to be in MNIT. If you were hungry, you thronged to this place. If you were thirsty, it was the thadi again. If you were drunk - the same answer. Passed an exam? Thadi it was. Got a back? Thadi again. You went there when you had a treat to give and you went there when you were broke (thadi even gave credit). You went there when you wanted company and you went there when you wanted to be alone. The place where all rumours and gossip (about the departments, profs, fellow students and the GH) started. The thadi has been a witness to so much GYAN being transferred – a witness to so much bhasad.

It’s a pity now that all the charm, all the mahaul is a thing of the past. It was always on a downward trend during our stay in MNIT, but we were lucky to have enjoyed, to a very large extent, the essence of all that the thadi stood for.

If Jaipur left me ‘dry’, Delhi/Gurgaon didn’t. If the trip to the thadi was a dampener, Delhi/Gurgaon had many ‘high’ points. Boy did we have a blast! It was the biggest SMDO get-together after our paths separated post B. Tech. Now, friends are always the source of your strength, always pushing you towards that little bit extra (be it the extra peg or the extra shot or the extra pint). And this trip was no different.

Anyways, although the trip did not boast of any major ‘hits’ (I’m not counting the one which a ‘sick Manish’ did, because that was after the trip), but it was wonderful just being together. From being asked to leave from even a place like McDonald’s (politely of course), to chilling out for hours in Mocha; from an evening in South Ex, to a late night ride to Guragoan, from being woken up past midnight, to discussing the special idiosyncrasies of pigs in MP, from bowling in BlueO to being blown over in BlueO; and of course, from dinner at Leela Kempinsky, to immediately following it up with coffee at the Convergys dhaba – it was sheer fun.

And of course there was booze. :) The best part about booze is that, unlike bournville chocolates, you do not need to do anything to earn it. Any loser on the street has the right to it. But when friends are together, everyone is the winner.


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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Man is a social animal

“A person who can bring the spirit of laughter into a room is indeed blessed.” No I’m not going to tread any philosophical paths here. This is my ‘Today’s Fortune’ according to Orkut. I am not fortunate enough or blessed enough to understand what their interpretation of fortune is, but I can do my best to laugh at them, and at what they’ve turned us into.


Welcome to the era of social networking. Initially, conceived as a medium for keeping in contact with our second tier of friends, social networking sites have permeated our lives in a big way. Back in college, Orkut was what kept everyone busy. I still remember a profile name which said “Amol Patil : Before Orkut, its hard to remember what I did in my internet time”. Don’t quite remember who had posted it though [:D]. Anyways, we added everyone we remotely knew, or thought we knew, or even wanted to know, in our friends list. We communicated with each other through scraps sitting in the same lab or in adjoining rooms, in a bid to boast our scrap counts. Some self-sufficient people posted in their own scrapbooks. We congratulated each other on our 100th or 1000t0h scraps. We requested each other to write testimonials about us.


And then there were stories wherein lost lovers found each other thanks to this God-sent site (this phenomenon has probably come a full circle, with people now using this tool to announce to their lovers how hurt they are, or that they are beyond them). Anyways how is one supposed to even find the other when all their profile name says is “Off Orkut for 21 days”.


What goes up comes down. The popularity of Orkut is on the wane, but we have a new messiah in the form of Facebook. You know something is wrong when you go out for dinner with friends and all that people are concerned with is, clicking snaps. No one cares about the food or even in discussing Dravid’s return to Team India or Buchanan expressing surprise at his ouster from the KKR camp (could there be something more laughable than that). And the next morning you get an email (sent at 2:30 am) saying you are tagged in an album named “Fun time with F.R.I.E.N.D.S”. Hah!


Go to Facebook’s Airtel page, and you will find people bitching about their services. The catch here is you need to be a fan of the page to post a comment.


And I won’t skip the part where people spam other’s walls with their status messages, mostly copied from here and there. I accede that the person most guilty of that is someone who is closest to my heart (which can theoretically be only me). But nothing like ending your day with some laughter, and Facebook provided me some very recently when one of the status messages said “Down with fever” and below it there was a line which said “2 people like this”. Boy, it is about time we got a life.


Social networking is here to stay. When people are bored with Facebook, there will be some other knight in shining armor (hopefully provided by Yahoo!). As Chandler Bing would have probably said “Could man BE any more social!”


All said and done, if you are not on my friend’s list, please add me on Orkut and Facebook [:P]. And regarding the copied status messages:

"Why should I give my Readers bad lines of my own when good ones of other People's are so plenty?"
- Benjamin Franklin


PS1 – After my last blog, some of the people asked me the relevance of the title. For the people who are still ignorant or people who never bothered to think about it, no I have not been influenced by Guddu of Kaminey (Charlie would have called me Rahul Faraf), but rah rah has a meaning as well.


PS2 - I purposely did not mention about people who request others to comment on, or to follow their blog posts.



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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

And the loser is...

Well, I have been toying with the idea of blogging for a long, long time; perhaps even before Cricket Australia’s downfall began. But, in the race between my zeal and lethargy, the latter always dominated. (and people say that laziness does not win you anything, hah) Anyways, when you got only a few people left in Bangalore, and work load isn’t that much, what do you do? Sorry ----, but I didn’t want to watch porn. (Some people will know instantly whom I’m referring to, while for the others it could be anyone or no one, so don’t bother trying to fill up the blanks). I’m not denying that I AM good at ‘nothing’, I still am – u don’t lose your knack after over two decades of practice – but thought, for once, would give this a try.


So, Ashes ‘09 finally got over. Micheal Vaughan had correctly predicted a 2-1 win for England, but I doubt he actually believed it. His prediction would probably have been different had he been asked to bet on it. But you do get the feeling that Glenn McGrath believed that his predicted 5-0 whitewash for the Aussies would actually transpire. Poor McGrath had probably forgotten that he is no longer part of the Aussie team.


Anyways, a 2-1 loss it was for the Aussies and with that they now find themselves at no. 4 in the ICC cricket rankings. They’ll probably climb back given that their next test assignments are home series against the West Indies and Pakistan. But for the time being, their wounds will be sour. Ask Ponting about that! Mind you, I still don’t think that England were the better team in the competition. It is just that they capitalized better on the opportunities that came their way. But the bottom line is that the Brits will keep the urn for the next 18 months.


Aussies lost, and you found celebrations coming from all corners of the world. Mind you, none of them were celebrating because they wanted England to win, but because they wanted to see the Australians reeling. Australia has always been a team people love to hate. Whenever there is a match between Australia and Some Team,, the entire cricket-following populace, barring the 23 million Australians (and maybe the 115 million sheep they have) will root for the “Some Team”. Why is that people revel when the team from Down Under are going down and under? Perhaps, because while they were on song they destroyed, sledged, hammered every team that came their way - shattering their confidence, slaughtering their egos.


If I were to choose one turning point in the Aussies’ dream run, I would stick my neck out and go for Sydney ‘08. Their fortunes have surely reversed after all the drama surrounding the test. The first nail in the coffin was planted by the Indians at the WACA immediately after the test, a ground which the Australians cherished as much as Shane Warne used to cherish baked beans before their tour of India in 1998.


The Australians have always come in for heavy criticism before, during and after the tour for their unsporting ways. Some of this they deserve, and some they don’t. I mean when they were on top, they really were on top of their game playing a brand of aggressive cricket (something the likes of Dhoni would never dare – remember the Mohali test against England and the Nagpur test against Australia?). And talk about gamesmanship, haven’t we seen umpteen number of times, the likes of Gilly, Steve Waugh and the others applauding the opponents when some one came up with something special? Haven’t we heard enough generous praises being lavished on a rival cricketer by an Aussie contemporary? Shane Warne was the first to acknowledge that Sachin gave him nightmares (when he was not dreaming about girls). How many times has Micheal Artherton praised Glenn McGrath in public? Did the Indians give something close to a look of respect to Ponting when he manufactured that blistering hundred in the World Cup finals, which was responsible for the shattering of a billion dreams?


Another thing for which the Aussies deserve due credit is that they never allowed their emotions to get the better of them in the cricket field. I can’t recall a single incident when an Aussie bowler allowed himself to shout at a fielder who misfielded in his bowling, or even dropped a catch. One incident that immediately springs to mind is Adelaide in 1999 during the time when Agarkar was on a duck collecting spree. (Inside informers have told me that he actually went to Jumbo to barter names. If there was anyone who deserved the name “A NIL”, it was him). During that tour Agarkar provided the opponent bowlers ample hattrick oppurtunites. On one such occasion, Warne dropped a sitter at slips of the batsmen (was either Srinath or Kumble) which denied Flemming a hattrick. All Flemming did was smile at Warnie. Having seen ample of Srinath and Kumble, one can safely guess what they would have done if confronted with a similar situation.


Ahh, I didn’t ever think I would ever write or say anything in defense of the Aussies. But in an obituary, you do write the positives about the person. And I sincerely hope that this is an obituary and, like many others don’t want to see an Australian resurrection. And moreover, all these players are history now. All we are left with is Ricky Ponting and Micheal Clarke (and would have been left with Symonds only if his prudence was one-hundredth as good as his cricketing skills).


Ponting was candid enough to admit that questions will be asked of him. While he was sitting in the press conference with his wounded lips, you could not help but feel for him. (Life had come a full ‘circle’ for him at ‘The Oval’ - the Harmison bouncer in 2005 which has left a permanent scar on his face, and now this); and like a wounded tiger would, he announced his intent of coming back to the Oval and England in 2013. But will he be at the helm till then? I know a captain is as good as his team is. But then…With England on 58/3 overnight in the second essay, he did start the day with as many as three fielders on the boundary line. But then… In Nagpur with Australia just having got more than a foot on the door, he did allow Dhoni and Bhajji some breathing space, and in turn, choke him. There is no way you could have imagined a Border or a Taylor or a Waugh ever do that.


Well, it has turned out to be longer than I had intended it to be. Hope you have made it this far and hope to see your comments. Untill the next time, so long.


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