Month: October 2005 Page 1 of 2

The Maestro is Back with a Bang and The Wall stands Tall…

There are times when I have absolutely hated being away from the television set and the stadium. Yesterday was one of those times. Call me selfish, but I have also hated the fact when other grounds in India have witnessed some mind-blowing performances compared to Wankhede. Well nothing compares to watching a match live at the stadium, having done that every year I can vouch for it. Sadly, that occasion chooses to arrive every 365 days and I cannot stop envying the Nagpur folks!

I also hate it when God decides to tease me. Yesterday, I could not get to see the match live, reached home really late, and switched on every damn channel on TV to catch a glimpse of his prolific shot-making but saw none. I caught Dravid’s late blast, Pathan’s wild six, Bhajji’s & Karthik’s mysterious spins, but none of his 🙁 Yes I’m most surprised that TV channels did not decide to concentrate only on him. I’m also glad in a way:-)

From what I hear Sachin played an absolute blinder. I went back reminiscing the Sachin of good old days, the master of spin, the kamikaze kid, the one guy after Sunil Gavaskar who stood upright (despite his little frame) to tall and lanky pace bowlers of the world, the one who said in their face I don’t care what you bowl, I have an answer to everything.

The cover drive, the exquisite back foot play, the sweet timing, the glorious straight drive, the delicate paddle, the dancing down the tracks against the spinners, the front foot shots, the awesome timing to send the ball packing into the crowds, they were all back with a bang!
Remember Auckland 1994, Sharjah 1998, World Cup 2003? Ah yes, those lovely memories, they came back to life yet again, yesterday. What a comeback!

I was most impressed seeing Rahul Dravid at the press conference; more than his batting. What a six, what a shot, he has played it before; remember Taunton, Vs SL, 1999, in that epic partnership with Saurav. It was a similar shot that started the run-riot that followed. Back to the conference, he was confident, aggressive and so sure of himself. Now that he has the reigns for a full series, there is a definite change in his demeanor, maybe we will see his aggressive side too. I did not see the entire match, but of the little I saw, I thought that the Jayasurya dismissal was very well thought out.

Sending Pathan one down was a masterstroke. I just hope that it does not become a regular thing. After a good start worth a risk, but not everytime. This young lad is going to go places.
Karthik, Bhajji and Sreesanth had a good outing and Ajit if you are not going to learn, you surely are going to be in deep trouble sooner than later. This time around your chances of bouncing back could diminish. I hope to see Sehwag back in form, he is having a poor run and it is not helping the team! I also want to see Kaif back, he is not as talented as some in the team but that guy has athleticism, is super in the field and most important of all has loads of grit. I’ll trade that last quality for most.

So as of now we will just sit back and enjoy the moment. You don’t want to get your expectations too high with the Indian team! Remember the ODI series Vs Pak in 2005?

Anyone Seen a Gents’ Local?

The Mumbai WR Local trains have three Ladies’ Special trains running during the peak hours.
One in the morning: Virar-Churchgate and two in the evening: Churchgate-Borivali and Churchgate–Virar.

Yesterday, due to some hold up the trains were delayed by half hour and needless to say, it added up to enough confusion, chaos and rush at all stations. I was waiting for my husband at the Borivali station at 7.30 p.m. and I heard an announcement; an announcement that has been never heard before on any railway station in Mumbai. To make sure my ears were correct in hearing what they did, I removed my ear phones and listened carefully again.

The railway announcer had just announced the introduction of a ‘special’ train. Before the 7.19 p.m. Ladies’s Special to Virar at Borivali, there is another slow train to Virar at 7.15 p.m. So the announcer made the announcement as follows: ‘The Ladies special is expected at Borivali in ten minutes. Before that there will be a ‘Gents’ Slow Local’ to Virar.’ No, not the regular local but a Gents’ Local. He made this announcement not once, twice, but 4 times!

I just could not stop grinning:-) Later he might have realised his slip of tongue; but to all those men who crib about females getting special treatment; here were your two minutes of being treated as special as well!

A Little Bit of Help…

You can’t always be there for everyone every time. You can’t always lend a helping hand physically, but there are small ways in which you can help. Little contributions go a long way in building strong foundations. This is one of the small things we can do.

Desipundit has called for Blog Quake Day on October 26th, 2005 to help raise funds for the South Asia Earthquake Relief Funds; join in and spread the word.

How often have we seen man collapse due to the fury of mother nature. Lessons are learnt and we rebuild ourselves again. There is a way to help them live again. Lest we forget, go ahead and extend your hand, they need it in these times.

An Awaited Autobiography…

This must be an awaited event for most cricket fans. Though one cannot compare it to the Harry Potter wait; I think those young readers there outclass us cricket freaks. Nevertheless, people who have been loyal fans of him cannot wait any longer to get their hands on his creation.

Having known a Tugga fan (Tugga is Steve Waugh’s nick name, it comes from Tug of War – Tugga Waugh ) for more than 7 years now, I was not surprised when he did this. He has got a fact about me wrong, but for the love of cricket and admiration for this man, I know I’ll pocket that book sooner than later.

Here is another Steve Waugh fan I came to know through blogging, and her idea for a birthday gift is just what I thought she would want!

My first Diwali after marriage is round the corner and my dear sister has been asking me what I would like? I’m glad I waited, I can now ask for the appropriate gift:-)

Hmmmm, I think she will disagree like others in my family would 🙁

Ok Tugga, I won’t be a miser; I’ll go indulge and splurge. As usual, apart from my husband, my entire family will think I’m nuts to spend my money on it. Mumma will be in disbelief but I think by now she has begun to understand 🙂

Give a Thought-4 ?

  • Don’t be irreplaceable – if you can’t be replaced, you can’t be promoted.
  • The meek shall inherit the earth – They are too weak too refuse.
  • He who laughs last does not get the gist of the joke.
  • People who live in glass houses shouldn’t.
  • I’ve been told a hundred million times not to exaggerate.

The B.E.S.T. of Mumbai…

It is one of the lifelines of Mumbai. The B.E.S.T. network is highly efficient and connects almost all the remote places in Mumbai. If you have lived in Worli or any South Mumbai places that are disconnected from the local train network, all 25 years of your life, only then can you fight for the case of B.E.S.T. buses vis-à-vis Mumbai’s other lifeline: the Local Trains.

Apart from the highly positive aspects, there are a few things that still irk me when I’m traveling on the road. So I thought I’d list a few of the inherent birth rights our dear BEST Conductors and Drivers tend to exercise:

  • The Right to own the road
  • The Right to cut the lanes as per their whims and fancies
  • The Right to drive in the middle of a narrow road with 2 lanes so that the vehicles behind can never overtake them and clog up traffic behind
  • The Right to give the auto-rickshaw guys a fright every time they come near the bus
  • The Right to necessarily overtake you from the right side
  • The Right to tell you that if you have a crash with them it is but obviously your fault
  • The Right to bully smaller vehicle owners
  • The Right to drive fast and screech during the night time
  • The Right to get the bus started before the last person has alighted from the bus
  • The Right to have no change whenever the passenger asks for one
  • The Right to curse the passengers for keeping no change with them
  • The Right to ignore passengers who do not render exact change
  • The Right to halt the bus either before or ahead of the bus-stop
  • The Right to decide not to halt the bus at a bus–stop whether the bus is crowded or not
  • The Right to dissuade the passengers from getting into the bus by telling them that another bus is coming from behind (90% of the times that bus is also equally crowded)
  • The Right to strike the bell just in time so that a passenger who has been running like mad to catch the bus, misses it; knowing well that there won’t be the same number bus coming for another half hour
  • The Right to fling away the ticket holding metal box such that it hits the passenger on the seat to which the conductor is leaning onto
  • The Right to drive as slow as possible during peak hours
  • The Right to pay no heed to passenger complaints

Got any more?

P.S: Most of the times my experience has been good, but these are a few things you tend to come across once in a day 🙂

The World of Indian Cricket Today…

One of the best symbolic representations I have come across. Telegraph hits the bulls-eye. The picture speaks for itself, need we say more? We have all heard and said enough.

Dravid gets the thorny crown once again. I wish the selectors & the board would show some faith in him and give him a longer tenure. Why is the sword hanging over his head perpetually? Be a man and take a call, why are we such cowards in taking touch decisions and who are we scared of? Ganguly and Dalmiya! Oh give me a break!

Sadly the way Dravid has been appointed, Ganguly will always feel it is because he is out of injury. Well for a fact that is not so, and the selectors have no guts to admit it in the open either. Harsha Bhogle puts things in perfect perspective as always.

I hope sanity prevails over the selectors as well as Ganguly. I’m just glad you are learning from some of the mistakes you committed. I really wish you don’t say anything now. But Greg Chappell prefers to air his views.

The team is announced and Sreesanth gets the nod. I’m looking forward to seeing this young lad. Hope that Ajit Agarkar’s form with the bat does not desert him and looks like young Uthappa will have to wait a little longer with Venugopal Rao and Suresh Raina having a good challenger series as well.

The Challenger Series Final proves to be a dampener compared to the league matches. India Seniors sail through and Kaif must be a relieved man.

Down Under it’s still time for our Indian boys to prove their mettle, Gilchrist and Hayden have hammered tons; they seem to have left their Ashes debacle behind. The ICC Super SeriesTest Match looks to put up a better show than the ODIs did.

Dance With Me…

When I saw the promos and the concept I wasn’t really kicked about viewing this show. In fact, with an overdose of reality shows who really cared about celebrities dancing? No real career dreams to chase, no points to gain, and nothing to prove. Apparently the producers must have had something in mind to go ahead with this concept. After watching it yesterday, I’m pretty glad they stuck to their belief.
I often feel that if you don’t build up any expectations, the results are often more enjoyable. This is exactly what happened with Star One’s new Reality Show Nach Baliye.

Now the concept is simple, 10 real life celebrity couples- stars of Indian television and choreographers for each couple will set up a dance piece every week. This will be judged by the three judges: Farhan Akhtar, Malaika Arora and Saroj Khan. Fairly competent judges I think, and Farhan himself is a good dancer (Apparently he cherished that dream). Judges will score the couples and their choreographers, and viewers will cast their votes to eliminate a couple every week. All couples are supporting a charity of their choice and will donate the prize money to the same. The real gainers from this show will be the choreographers who will get a helping hand in their career.

Well it’s not all that simple though; now none of the star couples are great dancers. Those who have been in movies can shake their legs a bit but most are paranoid dancers with two left feet. The biggest challenge lies with the choreographer and if you can get a person with two left feet to move around with a bit of grace, you are on your way on the road to success.

If you are a trained dancer or love dancing; you know there are Three Important ‘E’s to being a good dancer:

  • Enjoyment: However bad you are , if you enjoy your dancing you won’t seem half as bad
  • Energy: Energy and vigor has to be seen in every small step you do. It just about helps you make up for everything else you lack
  • Expression: Express the dancing mood, just don’t do it mechanically. It makes a world of a difference to your audience and to you as well.

And after the ten performances, all the couples realised the importance of these three Es Surprisingly the oldest couples ‘Sachin and Supriya & Parmeet Sethi & Archana Puran Singh’ got them right. Sachin and Supriya have a 16 year old daughter, and seeing their chemistry and enthusiasm everyone was dazed. They really rocked. Delnaz and Rajiv Paul probably got the Second E the best among all. Oh, that Delnaz was so cute! Absolutely loved watching her! Mihir Mishra and Manasi Joshi-Roy openly admitted that they had two left feet, but they were pretty sporting about it. All the couples seemed to have really worked hard and taken effort on this. In all, it seems quite an enjoyable show.

Now for the irritating part of the show and sadly we have to bear them throughout. The anchors: Shabbir Ahluwalia and Sangeeta Ghosh. Star One has got it terribly wrong here. Both can’t dance for nuts. ‘Kajra Re’ is a super dance number and they made a mess of it! To improve the popularity, avoid getting these two to dance at the commencement of the show. Why do they have to shriek and talk! And after Delnaz-Rajiv Paul’s performance on, ‘It’s The Time to Disco’ , Sangeeta Ghosh’s comments such as, ‘Now is the time to Breako’, and ‘Let’s see what’s the Scoro’, were so not happening. Not done, not done, even to evoke laughter. It only evoked embarrassment! And I found the dresses and make-up a little garish and overdone. Sometimes simplicity and subtlety works wonders!

Anyways, overall it was pretty enjoyable and a nice way to spend your Saturday prime time compared to the stupid saas-bahu sagas! I hope it sustains itself for the next ten weeks.

Uthappa Uprising…

How long has it been since one has seen an Indian opening batsmen hit out the way Jayasurya did time and again, Sachin went blasting the world over, Gilchrist ruined opening bowler’s figures, Shahid Afridi gave the opponent bowlers some serious nightmares. India is not known for its opening bats. You won’t find many who belt out the bowlers the way Sachin-Ganguly, Sachin-Sehwag did in the ODIs. It’s been a long time since we saw those performances in the ODIs.

But yesterday I caught a few glimpses in the Challenger Series involving India A Vs India B. I’m not sure how many would have heard about Uthappa (except those who follow domestic cricket regularly) until his innings yesterday! What firepower! In couple of overs the young lad had smashed 20 odd runs per over sending the India A attack into complete disarray. The attack was not of supreme quality but that should not take away any credit from the young man’s knock. He was hitting straight down the track, into the sightscreen; and once you see that, you simply cannot doubt the young man’s ability. His fitness though is a suspect, as is for most cricketers in India. They have to really work hard on it. At the other end, Shikhar Dhawan was going great guns as well. His stay at the wicket was thwarted by the saddest mode of dismissal in cricket. Uthappa hit the ball straight onto the stumps at the other end; Dhawan was out of his crease and unfortunately the bowler’s finger had touched the ball! However, due to their opening partnership and Uthappa’s timely Uprising, India B made a mockery of a fighting total put up by India A and barged into the finals.

I’m no cricketing pundit to predict what the future holds for this man, but surely I would like to see more of him. Hopefully he will spend some time on the domestic circuit before he is pushed onto the international scene.

This series like all others in India has produced more batting efforts than bowling. Bowlers are the real heroes if one intends to win test matches. You need to take 20 wickets to win a match, else you either lose or draw! When will we realise their importance?

Anyways a bloke name S Sreesanth has got prized scalps of the famed Indian Batting line-up:Tendulkar, Kaif, Laxman, Gambhir. His name is similar to one of India’s fine pace bowlers(who only understood the art of ‘bowling using your head’ when he was close to his retirement, a tragedy for him and Indian cricket!). I would like to see him in action to see the strength of India’s bench strength.
With a long season ahead and the World-cup 2007 in mind, Chappell and Co. will be looking at these youngsters to build a team for the future. Let’s wait and watch! Will they be good finds or fade away, unable to cope up with the international pressures and challenges?

As they say, only time will tell.

Domestic Dilemma…

The first match of the Challenger series in Mohali provided the action that was missing from the ICC Super Series. Always love a good fight, always. Nothing makes the sport more interesting than a valiant fight back. The result then takes a backseat and often the quote by Grantland Rice

For when the One Great Scorer comes
To write against your name,
He marks – not what you won or lost –
But how you played the game.

gets some credence in today’s age of ‘winning only seems to matter’ sports-world.

I switched on the television when India ‘A’ needed some 86-odd runs from 65 balls. They had lost 5 wickets; that meant apart from the current pair (N Patel and Dinesh Karthik) on strike, no genuine batsman was left to complete the chase. India seniors led by Kaif, had a bowling attack that was pretty much the mixture that India uses on its international scene- Irfan, Zaheer, Ajit, Karthik, Bhajji. First thoughts, India A is dead meat. Not that our senior team has shown much fight back or resistance in the recent past, so how could I expect the lesser known to show any?

India A are always the underdogs, the ones who can spring a surprise. Last year they had won under Dravid’s captaincy. (The selectors should have taken some sense out of that and decided on the captaincy issue, this whole ruckus could have been avoided! But, we hate to take firm decisions, hum to aise hi hain!)

Anyways, this time around India A is lacking stalwarts unlike the previous year. Clearly, India Seniors were looking at an easy win. You never realise when the unexpected hits you and it hit India seniors pretty bad. Zaheer’s bowling in the final overs was dismal, seriously dismal. If no.8 and no.10 of India A, Ramesh Powar(who has earned himself a reputation of a punch-hitter in the domestic circuit) and the relatively lesser known V Singh (I don’t know much about him as I have not followed domestic cricket much ) respectively, can send him packing into the crowds, he has some serious thinking to do about his bowling. He has been having too many off days if that is the excuse we wish to offer.

Karthik bowled reasonably well though his figures do not reflect it. I wonder why Ajit never got a look in. Zaheer and Pathan were being tossed around in the final overs; so why not experiment with Ajit? I know he does not inspire great confidence, but surely he couldn’t have bowled worse!

I can’t comment much on Kaif’s captaincy as I did not see the whole match but I have felt that he is one of the contenders for the future, based on the fact that he had led India to its under-19 world cup victory. Well the selectors have given him the responsibility, let us see how he fares. The experience will only help him further.

India A fought back really well through Dinesh Karthik, Powar, and the two Singhs. Their late punch overshadowed a few good performances in the sunny half of the game. Rao’s and Agarkar’s 50s. Now only if the duo carried the same tempo in the international series to follow, they would be serving India a world of good.

Over the years since the challenger started, one wonders if it is serving its purpose. First of all, it is an ODI competition, so obviously one cannot judge the temperament or the technique of players much in just three games. The international season is so tightly packed that scheduling a longer version of the series is not possible. So how would we justify for e.g.: A player gets a look into the Senior team based on his fine performance here and is considered for a place in the test squad. Definitely it is not fair.

I think it promotes selfishness among players. Each player looks more towards an individualistic goal rather than a team goal. And we all know what can happen if the team does not have a common goal. If I perform well, I will get noticed irrespective whether my team wins or not, and that is not to be encouraged in a team sport like cricket!
However on a positive note, one heartening aspect I saw from yesterday’s match was the will to fight and not give up. I’ll take it any day and I hope this precise attitude creeps into all players.

The entire series does not gain any eminence if senior players are not available for the same. Sehwag and Dravid are serving the World XI, maybe we could have scheduled the Challenger series later so that they could play too. Ganguly has pulled out due to injury. How he manages to get injuries prior to matches where he will be tested or will be under scrutiny, I do not know! Remember Vs Pak 2004, first two tests, then on a nice green-top at Nagpur Vs Aus,2004 and the graveyard at Mumbai in the same series. Someone please tell him that the only way to shut everyone is by letting your willow talk. Hearing us Dada? Even if it is some small domestic competition!

Upsets like these may not often augur well as the selectors and the coach do not wish to see the team that represents the core of the international team suffering defeat at the hands of lesser known performers on the domestic circuit. After all, the reason why they are in the senior team is because they are the best of the lot. The seniors should not be lacking in any aspect of the game when they play a series like this; in fact they should be looking to play in a fashion that makes sure they are invincible throughout.

Surely, as stressed time and again, this Challenger Series needs to be looked into carefully to assess its objectives. We need a fair amount of thinking to go into it. Getting the best 36 players to play together and compete is a fairly good idea, but is it serving its purpose? And if not, what can we do about it? Maybe if the BCCI is not putting its thinking cap on, we can, and see what we can come up with?

Before I end, the maestro made a low profile comeback, but a comeback nevertheless. It is a good sign that others are making news even when he is around. Now all that I’m waiting for is some lusty blows as he would belt out in the good old days. No fear, only sheer aggression. A trademark cover drive, a lovely straight drive, a cheeky paddle, and I’d die for a repeat of the six straight at the sightscreen, the one he hit off Kasprowicz, at Sharjah,1998.

Yes, he is a delight to watch, having caught him umpteen times live at the Wankhede, there is nothing more that gives you much pleasure than watching him stand up straight on his little feet after he has punched his trademark cover-drive; the fielder is chasing it fast and furious, hoping to stop it, but the sheer timing is so teasing that the maestro wins the battle 😉

Oh, I’m getting nostalgic again, but it really has been a long time….

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