Hitler Reacts to Tendulkar’s 100th Ton Mania

Hitler is angry with Indians, and Mumbaikars in particular, for ignoring Pawar incident a day before and watching test match instead for Tendulkars (missed) hundred.

Already posted to twitter and FB. Posting to blog for ‘completeness’. ;-). All feedback appreciated, as usual. Share, if you feel like it.




Two Is a Company

Maybe, now, Chetan Sharma will feel less lonely?

49.6 Vaas to Chanderpaul, SIX, This is the stuff of dreams! Off all times Vaas has to bowl a full toss! Chanderpaul waits for the gift, clubs that across the line and the ball just goes sailing over Jayawardene at deep midwicket. He waits and waits for the ball to clear the rope, a rather long and agonising one, he breaks out in celebration and the entire troupe from the dressing room rush onto the field and crowd around him

[From cricinfo.com]

He has a good company, in the name of Mr. Chaminda Vaas :). There is of course, one Mr. Mashrafe Mortaza, but that hardly is a company you count in international cricket. And then, in principle, you could count Steve Waugh, who conceded a six on last ball for a Tie].

What’s more this lad (you can’t really call Vaas a lad, but still!) gave 10 in last 2 deliveries.

Of course, this wasn’t a final, and it wasn’t a rivalry people kill for. Still, it’s a reminder, if ever needed, that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties, to repeat a cliche.

Even today, after all these years, when I watch that Javed Miandad six, I feel the pain ;). Poor Chetan Sharma — his whole career achievements were wiped out in that one delivery. Even the joy of being the first Indian to take a hat-trick wouldn’t have helped. Curiously, I found the reference of this “six” when I was reading Kamila Shamsie‘s Kartography. The narrator of the novel (my review is due, for a while) talks about it fondly, being from the other side of the border. It took me a moment to digest that someone could be happy about that! Lol! Those unlucky few who were born after the rivalry fizzled out, wouldn’t get the pain or euphoria, sigh!

What is your mobile number?

Embracing Technology, India Istyle:

In the olden days of landlines, Indian tail (and often top order) would come back with “telephone number” scores like: “6 0 3 1 2 3 4”. Now with the great Indian cellphone revolution, they’re embracing the new technology. Pathan tried to spoil the part, but the 10 others stuck to the task. Here is team India’s mobile number: 9081896103.

Start calling!

The missing link

Three sides of the same coin:

The Monkey Business

PS: Thanks Atra, for the vector program tip. I know the product is no better than the previous ones, even worse, but that’s okay. Newer tools take a little time. I see your point. This should work in the long run.

Oops! We did it again

Yes, the resurgent Team India has stopped the Aussie juggernaut once again. After SCG, Australia didn’t deserve the record, yet, they were given a chance at glory, with 413 to chase on a fairly firm Perth pitch. But Indians, in a heartening display of good, disciplined bowling, managed to hold on to their chances, and broke Aussie dream in their own backyard — the ground that’s been graveyard of the sub-continental teams for years.

While this was a complete team effort where almost everyone – Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, RP, Pathan, Dhoni, Kumble, Sehwag – played their part in this famous win, the revelation has to be Ishant Sharma (Sehwag and Pathan’s return cannot be underplayed either). He set the tone for the final day with a spell that would have made a veteran fast bowler proud. But that it came from a rookie, just 19 years old, is sensational. He foxed Ponting — one of the most prolific second-innings run scorer (and world’s best batsman at the present, according to many — though I beg to differ) , and a key man in the Australian run chase — over after over. Ponting was lucky survive the lenght that he survived, and even that wasn’t enough.

What was most amazing about Ishant Sharma’s spell, was the immaculate line and length to the right-handed batsman; he wasn’t afraid to pitch it up, and he never, ever gave width. Ponting, who must have been breathing a little easy coming to this test, as Harbhajan, his current nemesis, was not picked up for this match, was never allowed to settle down, forget dominating – which his usual style. And that really set the tone. With Hussey choosing to play the watchful, un-australian way, breaking Ponting gave India an immense psychological edge, despite getting just one wicket in the whole session.

I had watched Ishant in his game against Pakistan and wasn’t at all impressed with the way he was spraying the ball all over, but first in Sydney and now in Perth, he’s shown that he’s a quick learner. Hopefully Indian administration will take a clue and start putting up some lively pitches back home. In South-Africa, England and now in Australia, our bowlers have shown that they can dominate when given a nice strip. Enough kid-gloving of our famed batting lineup!

That said, I’m not too hopeful about Adelaide test. This match was a matter of pride for the team, and they’ve shown exceptional tenacity at times, but they need to watch out for our traditional complacency. Aussies are going to come at us like wild boars (nothing racist, I hope?).

Today, however, is not the time to think of that. It’s time to celebrate. This is a huge huge victory, much bigger than the Twenty20.

Congratulations, Team India!

Pahile Padhe Panchavan

That’s a Marathi proverb. Something like “back to square one”, or “there we go again!”. Well, that sums up day one of the Perth test, after all the “hulla bol” by BCCI, and subsequent drama that saw off Bucknor in style, India seemed to have started with purpose.

But in the last session, all the purpose was lost, and with that, was lost the advantage! And if last time it was poor umpiring, this time, it was poor shot-selection, and poor timing for that poor shot selection. Sigh! The bright side is, it has got me started on my cartooning career 😉 of sorts.

There is always a silver lining!

Sledging and Cultural Assymetry (Old Blog)

My last blog has a few comments from Australian friends (which is an excellent thing, we need more cross-communication for sure), and in the absence of a coherent Indian POV, the discussion will go nowhere. Not that this old-blog of mine is too coherent, but at least it tries to investigate the issues a little less angrily (?):


Language is probably the best barometer of cultural power-symmetry. For example, crusade is now something noble while jihad something evil. It wasn’t so always. But the dominant culture gradually redefines words from the dominated cultures. Not that this is my original discovery, realms have been written about it in post-colonial studies, in various parts of the world. But studying the cricketing world through the lens of cultural anthropology is a very illuminating exercise.

Not that I do it for a living! Nor does it happen out of the blue. The following article on Rediff triggered a chain of thoughts.

The Indian resistance on the fourth day of the third cricket Test in Melbourne was so frustrating for the Australians that they resorted to sledging to unsettle the batsmen at the crease.

Just like that, matter of fact. Afterall, it’s the Indian media, writing about the Australians (or the English…). Cricket, afterall, is a game with a colonial legacy. It’s the gentleman’s game! It’s the game where, the colonial powers decided all the rules, and the natives played the game by following those rules. Even till date, although most of the revenue for the governing bodies is generated thanks to the sub-continent, it’s predominantly ruled by the whites! More so, off the ground (one Jagmohan Dalmia notwithstanding).

Let’s ask ourselves a basic question: what is more detrimental to the spirit of cricket — excessive appealing or sledging? If you ask me, I’d say the latter. Why? Because, excessive is a relative term — and in the heat of the things, it’s easy to cross the line between correct and frivolous appealing (you believe it’s out!). But consider sledging — you’re standing in the sleep cordon, and you deliberately provoke a batsmen by saying dirty things about his family and things like that. That’s cold-blooded killing of the spirit of the game.

In reality, however, Indian players have been penalized for excessive appealing, while most AES (Aus-Eng-SA) players have gone absolutely scot free for graver crimes — abusing batsmen and even umpires! And what a nice name they have coined for their crimes – gamesmanship!

With respect to the alleged sledging in the third test, see what Allan Border has to say:

Former Australia captain and now national selector Allan Border termed Williams’s aggression as one of a young, eager fast bowler.”I am sure if anything was big enough, he would have been dealt with by the match referee and umpires,” said Border.

Clear and simple! And since not many umpires have dealt with Australian players like McGrath, by the same reasoning, there is really no no sledging going on! Like, Steve Waugh said sometime back:

I don’t think there is that much sledging going on. I think it is overstated. There is a bit of it, but I think the present lot of cricketers is definitely better behaved. Much was made of the sledging incident involving Glenn McGrath during our tour of the West Indies. But I can tell you that we played the game in the right spirit. We encourage each other as teammates and together try to put pressure on the opposition. That is important.

That’s what happens when the rule makers, judges and the accused belong to the same culture! What’s more, it becomes an almost acceptable behaviour. For instance: (from the same news-item)

The Indian team management has not filed any official complaint on the matter and Ganguly said it was “nothing unusual” though he admitted being the focus of special attention from the hosts in the edge-of-the-seat contest on the penultimate day of the Test.

Maybe Ganguly knows the futility of complaining about this, but this does send a wrong message — that it’s okay to sledge. A formal complaint wouldn’t solve things, but it would make the respective board to take notice of the incidence. Afterall, in a skewed contest, it becomes more important to use every ethical way that you have — it’s almost imperative.Those who think cultural anthropology is an ivory-tower discipline, should have a look at Cricket. There are too many practical examples of the cultural power-asymmetry to miss. It might even be an interesting little exercise.

The Mole In the Eye

Sigh! After all the hell is let loose, even the former cricketing greats of Australia still don’t understand where the problem lies. No, sacking Ponting wouldn’t make a zilch difference. It’s the myopia of a whole culture, call me racist, if you will.

Take this comment from Waugh (from Cricinfo):

Nevertheless, [Waugh] doesn’t believe Australia should apologise for their attitude. “Teams playing against Australia fail to understand that banter, gamesmanship, sledging or whatever anyone would like to call it is just the way Australian kids joust and play in the schoolyard and backyards. On the other hand, Australian teams can’t stomach time-wasting and perceived manipulation of the rules, including calling for runners, over-appealing and the alleged altering of the condition of the ball.”

Maybe, if he weren’t blind, he could have seen the dramatic increase in Australian over-rate from about 12 an hour to 15 an hour, from 2/3rd to 5th day. Yes, 12 with spinners with the shortest of run ups, and batsmen who are not known for rotating the strike! So what were the Aussies doing on day 2/3 that was different

And then of course, they don’t like excessive appealing! Surely, Steve, you’re kidding. Only you are not kidding anyone but yourself. Bugger off.

So here, for the benefit of these dimwits: that’s the problem – these Australian kids never growing up to the realities of a world where other people exist. It’s they, not the others, who need schoolmasters.

PS: Here is another example (if at all needed) of the Australian gamesmanship: http://www.rediff.com/cricket/2001/jul/31maha.htm

If this isn’t match fixing, what is?

A friend wrote a blog on the infamous Sydney (de)test, and a line caught my attention:

 “[ICC] should also start an inquiry regarding match fixing for this match”

At this moment we’re all angry. Conventional wisdom tells that we’re not objective when we’re angry, and in general, only things that are thought out “with a cool head” are worth a serious discussion. But the fact remains that when there is a rage, there can be a real good reason.

Going back to the statement, what exactly is a match-fixing? It’s when a person who’s part of a contest abandons “fair” play to “fix” the results of the match in one direction. It’s argued that in general it’s hard to prove match-fixing, but what happened at SCG was nothing short of a well-directed script, where not the players but the officials who’re supposed to make sure that a fair play occurs, have indulged in unfair play.

Make no mistake about it, match-fixing is not just “throwing” away matches. It’s about affecting the outcome in an unfair way. Umpires are human. Humans err. But since when did humans started erring selectively? And mind you, this is NOT an isolated instance. Last tour, at the same venue, the same umpire denied plumb LBW decisions after another to deny India a possible series win. So if errors are supposed to even out in the long term, Bucnor should be statistically making errors that help India. The man has such a horrible record against just one team in the world that statistics would by now make sure that the bias is shifted towards the center. Alas, that requires an assumption: that Bucknor’s errors are innocent.

Lets go back a day. On fourth day, Kumble was on hat-trick. Walked in Andrew Symonds, the biggest beneficiary of umpiring generosity in modern times. Kumble bowled an excellent googly which he failed to read. He was hit on the pads, right in front of the stumps. The ball, as hawkeye predicted (yes, hawkeye predicts, not “shows”, and it can go wrong) would have gone over the stumps (middle to be precise). Kumble appealed. Bucknor declined. Fine, excellent, competent umpiring, right? Hold on, the next moment, Bucknor confronted the Indian captain and said a few words with a hard face. Only Kumble knows what was said, but even an idiot can see it was a reprimand of sorts. Fine, umpires don’t like excessive appealing. And every umpire has a different line of what is excessive.

Day 5, Symonds bowls a ball that Dhoni offers no shot to (this was before he was given out for a similar non-shot). Dhoni is quite forward, the ball is turning squarely, and it’s just impossible to predict for either hawkeye or the umpire where it will go. Bucknor rules not out. Symonds appeals and appeals, and goes and gives Bucknor a harsh look. Bucknor, like a Pomeranian being growled at by a bull-dog, looks away.

Excessive appealing? Warning? This man has, time and again, reprimanded the Indian team for excessive appealing. And what was happening all day long yesterday? I can understand split second decisions going wrong one way 12 times in a row as a however statistically improbable probability, yet I cannot understand a team getting stick and the other getting a look away treatment, consistently by the same man. I, for one, cannot say that that’s a fair play.

And if umpire is indulging in unfair play, it is match-fixing. Because, he has the maximum power – more than any other person on the team, however match-winning – to turn the outcome of the game in favor of one result or the other.

So, I ask again, if this is not match-fixing, what is?

If we want a semblance of fairness about the series, this match has to be “struck off”  from the records. Pointing and Clarke have to be charged with disgracing the spirit of the game by claiming un-clear catches when the last word is fielders. With power comes responsibility, and as fielders trusted with claiming or disowning catches, if they’re not sure, they must say so. And the benefit of doubt MUST go to the batsman. If excessive appealing could hand over suspension to the players, then surely cheating must. Bucknor must be removed from umpiring. He’s the biggest disgrace to the game. Symonds, Pointing must be fined match fee for intimidating the umpires. The third umpire should be fined for giving a blatantly wrong decision, because he, unlike the umpires on the field, is NOT making decisions in a split second. He has no business making blatant errors. They cannot be excused as human (unless we have a very low opinion of the word “human”).

Of course nothing of the sort will happen. Bucknor will go out of the elite panel at most, or just be moved away from India matches. Benson might get a little stick too. The third-umpire will not even be reprimanded. And rest assured, NO Australian player will be reported/reprimanded, at all. And BCCI will make enough show to make sure that the opinion at home seems “good enough”, and stop right there. Sigh, the match-fixing is much much bigger than just this match.

A tribute to the true fans of India Cricket

[With due apologies to Dylan for trivilazing the song]

How many flops must a fan play down
Before you call him a true fan?
Yes, ‘n’ how many surrenders must he witness
Before sense seeps into his mind?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times must the paper tigers fart
Before they’re forever shunned?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

How many times must a fan look up
Before he again looks down?
Yes, ‘n’ how many tears must one fan shed
Before he can manage one smile?
Yes, ‘n’ how many matches will it take till he knows
That too much hours have been spoiled?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

How many years can a hype exist
Before it’s busted once and for all?
Yes, ‘n’ how many years will the icons exist
Before they’re shown to be made of sand?
Yes, ‘n’ how many times can a fan turn his head,
Pretending he just doesn’t see?
The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind,
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.