Monthly Archives: August 2011

Too much made out of a loss…

Yes India has been routed in the Test Series by England.All ex-cricketers and journalists have found a chance to air their opinions on same.For a change Englishmen are leading from the front on pointing what is wrong with the Indian team.The victory seems to have given them a louder voice than before.
Kapil Dev finds an excuse to blame batsmen even when bowlers fail.Rather original criticism coming from a man who lead his team to 0-6 and 0-3 post WC-83 triumph.

Ian Chappell  seems to be back at his favourite job of criticizing Indian cricket. If he had his way Sachin Tendulkar would have retired years ago.I would rather have him focus on Cricket Australia and his brother Greg Chappell’s exit.Oddly we are seeing some Australian players express same sentiments about Greg Chappell as Indians did under him.

The general babble in the press has got so foolish with a suggestion to drop the captain for a match for losing his wicket.

Did we play bad cricket? Yes. But should we denounce the entire team, the captain and establishment on the basis of one series. Absolutely not, let us not forget the same team under Mahendra Singh Dhoni had not lost a Test Series till this one.

We just won the World Cup 3-4 months back under the same establishment and captain with  many from the same team.We need to show more support and understanding to a team which is going through a lean patch than call for heads.Oddly a nation which shows such patience with irresponsible governance has little patience with sport.

IPL could definitely be a contributing factor to the fatigue. BCCI must take blame for planning IPL so soon after the World Cup. Yes we expect players to have a call of conscience and forgo IPL for keeping fit.But IPL has also started becoming a platform of selection for the good or bad to the national team. Players should be given the confidence to forgo the IPL if it is going to affect fitness. But with so many conflicts in roles involving the chief selector himself I cannot see this happening.

I think the wise thing for BCCI to do is to exempt players playing for the country from IPL.Playing for the nation is lucrative enough for players to skip IPL.And it also throws opens the tournament for more youngsters and will make it more economical for the team owners also.

-Harinee

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Nasser Hussain’s underpants on fire…

Last night, during the 4th Day of the last Test Match of the India VS England series, I was fortunate enough, thanks to the ICC, to form the opinion that the Decision Review System (DRS) has two or three other modules added to it: AskThePlaya, CheckTheBodyLanguage and SpotTheNervousTwitch.

After Rahul Dravid was given out in the 2nd innings of the England-India Oval Test, social networks went berserk…

Again!

After DRSGate, VaselineGate, BellGate, VaughanGate, IndiaNoShowGate, SehwagSelectionGate, HarbhajanInjuryGate, HarbhajanPoorFormGate, ShastriGate, NassGate, GavaskarGate and an assortment of other “gates”, this series had so many entry points that it made the Australia-India 2008 series — which only had a lone, boring and forlorn MonkeyGate — seem like a simple practice run!

Despite these “gates”, India could not escape from jail in this series. The England team continued to “bully” India. The India team continued her bad performance on the tour.

That has been a constant.

Another constant has been the utterly confusing implementation of the DRS.

Let us reconsider what happened in the Rahul Dravid dismissal. The batsman was given “not out” by the on-field umpire. The decision was referred to the 3rd umpire, Steve Davies. The 3rd umpire had the benefit of slow motion replays, an audio feed and HotSpot.

The DRS process that was used to aid decision making has been analysed (among others) by Kartikeya Date and Subash Jayaraman

The slow motion replays were inconclusive. HotSpot showed nothing.

At the end of the day’s play, experts, commentators and former players like Sunil Gavaskar, Nasser Hussain, Ravi Shastri and Harsha Bhogle were unhappy. The cynics may have dismissed Shastri and Gavaskar for doing nothing more than ensuring that they earn their breakfast from their employer, BCCI. Yet, there were many voices of discontent.

This clamour was, however, balanced by the calm voices of Tony Greig, Aakash Chopra and Johnathan Agnew who commented that they were happy with the decision!

Tony Greig said (a) he saw something on super slow motion replays and (b) Dravid said he was out anyway! So as far as he was concerned, Dravid was out.

Aakash Chopra said he was comfortable with the out decision because he saw a detection and was confident that Dravid would, himself, say he was out.

Johnathan Agnew said that the umpire had several other technologies at his disposal and was immensely experienced. Moreover, since Dravid himself said he was out, Agnew said he was confident that the right decision had been made!

Some online commentary experts indicated that their view was influenced by the fact that Dravid’s body language had suggested a nick. Some of them indicated that his initial movement was to head towards the pavillion and therefore, the player himself may have thought he was out!

As far as I am aware, “AskThePlaya” is not yet a part of the DRS protocol. So, what Dravid thinks of his dismissal is mildly irrelevant. Indeed, his views on his own dismissal are as irrelevant as his opinions on the capabilities of Geoff Boycott’s grandmother. His opinions in this debate are as useful as Andrew Symonds’ views after he nicked the ball in that infamous 2008 Test Match in Sydney. Andrew Symonds wasn’t dismissed after his admission that he ‘nicked’ it. Dravid’s personal views are but that: personal.

Unless of course, “AskThePlaya” has been introduced in a sly manner into the DRS protocol overnight.

Similarly, when I last checked, “CheckTheBodyLanguage” and “SpotTheNervousTwitch” are not part of the DRS. So Steve Davies could not have used Dravid’s initial movements or the nervous and anxious twitches in his left eyebrow to make up his mind. He made up his mind on the basis of the body of evidence he had in front of him and not on the basis of the body language of the player.

So let us stick to the facts in this matter!

We, at home, saw almost everything that the umpire saw saw. The side camera angle was not available because a fielder had blocked out that camera. So what was available was the front on camera view, in which the deflection is not totally discernible. There may have been a deflection. But the onus of proof/evidence has to be higher for the 3rd umpire to (a) over-rule the on-field umpire, (b) deny the batsman the benefit of doubt.

After several, several viewings on TV (and TV recordings) we still cannot make up our minds and agree on what Steve Davies saw. I am less interested in whether it was the right decision ‘in retrospect’. At the time, if it was the wrong decision, it just remains the wrong decision.

And in my view, it was the wrong decision.

Meanwhile, if you remember, Nasser Hussain said he wanted the DRS because, amongst other things, he could explain ‘out’ decisions more clearly to his kids. Well, I tried imagining the state of play at Nasser Hussain’s home last night.

Remember that when Nasser Hussain tried to explain why Harbhajan Singh was given out when he was clearly not out, his kids were bored, tired and confused.

The kids went to sleep. Nasser Hussain got his underpants in a horrible twist.

He called the whole thing a “disgrace” and screamed out for the DRS to be embraced, adopted and promulgated for greater clarity in cricket. Wise man. Honourable man.

When Ian Bell got out, poor Nasser Hussain tried to explain what happened to his kids.

The kids went to sleep. They woke up. Had nightmares. Poor Nass. He tripped over his own words and, in the process, had to purchase a whole rack of underpants!

Last night, he probably tried to explain the DRS-assisted Rahul Dravid decision to his kids. The poor kids may have asked. “Dad: Was it out? Or, Was it not out?”

He may have had to say that if there was a ray of light that hit the bat at an angle of 14.23 degrees or higher to the pitch and when the batsman’s front foot is 3.5 degrees to the left and more than 2.8 inches ahead of where the bat may have been when the bowler released the ball, and when shadows on the pitch cover more than 23.67% of the picture, then HotSpot does not work with an accuracy of greater than 32%. And under circumstances, the only thing that does work is a 3rd umpire who is in a “very happy place”!

The kids went to sleep. They woke up. Had nightmares. And if I were them, I would request dad to not talk about cricket ever again!

What we saw last night was, in my view, one of the worst decisions I have seen on the cricket field in a long, long time. If this is the way we run our cricket the ICC will be driving away kids like Nasser Hussain’s young ones.

And at that point in time, it will not matter whether Nasser Hussain wears underpants or not!

— Mohan (@Mohan)

Hit me, I deserve it

Long post alert!

That is what I have been saying for the last few weeks repeatedly: Hit me, I deserve it… H-MIDI.

Team India went to face England in a hugely important Test series. To me, this was an important series not because the #1 Test Rank was at stake. Like trousers, shoes and underwear, rankings come and go. Rankings are not a reflection of the state of health of a nations’ cricket. To me, the ICC rankings are as important to the game of cricket as the ICC itself is. In other words, the rankings are irrelevant to me. It didn’t matter to me when India was #8 in the table. (Was it ever #8 in the rankings? Do I care?) It mattered even less to me when India was #1 in the rankings. And that India was! I know that. As far as I am concerned, when the ICC starts governing the game properly, perhaps I might start to care about the rankings it puts out.

It does irritate me, however, when Michael Vaughan and Johnathan Agnew and the rest of their tribe preen about the England team. Their preening is irrelevant. The manner of their preening grates. Subsequent to his unfortunate “Vaseline” comment, instead of retracting it, Vaughan asked me to develop a sense of humor. Sure, I can develop a sense of humor or even buy one in the local market. That would be way too simple! There are a few larger issues at play here in my view.

Do not get me wrong! The English have won the bragging rights. Of that I have no doubt and I will not deny England her brag-rights. England has played outstanding cricket that has been as resolute and dogged as it has been brutal and attractive. England has bullied India in this series and I am willing to call this spade a shovel if necessary. England has been the better team in this series… by a long distance.

So the English have the right to preen and brag. But no team and no press has the right to trash talk and belittle. In the last few weeks, writers like Stephen Brenkley and Steve James have made Malcolm Conn look like Mother Theresa! The English cricket press has made me yearn for the decency and integrity of the Australian cricket press; and I thought that those were two adjectives I would never ever use to describe the Australian cricket press!

There have been many statements about India not being deserving of the top of the tree ICC ranking. In this article, the author tries to disentangle the chest-thumping hyperbole from the ground realities.

However there is a palpable, distinct and glaring disquiet about the manner in which the English press has set about their trash-talk of the Indian team and her fans. This has left me wondering whether there is an unresolved undercurrent of larger issues that roughly answers to: “This will teach you little, impish scoundrels to mess with the game that rightly belongs to us and no one else!”

My hypothesis is that one cannot go into such paroxysmal manifestations of extreme hysteria if there is no undercurrent of unresolved issues.

But did I expect anything else from the England press? After all, the sub-continent took ‘their’ game and became better at it than England has been for a long time now. My view is that England had been itching to get back at teams from the sub-continent. Particularly India. If Pakistan had taught the sub-continent flair, and if Sri Lanka had taught the sub-continent aggression, India had, after all, combined flair and aggression in a package that included cash! The power-base had irrevocably shifted. England itched at the opportunity to punch back on the field and off it.

I had hoped that England would not resort to the off-field histrionics that it has resorted to.

But I was wrong. Hit me, I deserve it (H-MIDI).

*******

To me, this series was important, not because of the ICC rankings, but because it would probably (almost definitely) be the last time we see Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman playing together for Team India in England. These three are the Tireless Trinity, which is a subset of the Famous Five, which itself was a super-set of the Fab Four. For Dravid and Tendulkar, England has a special significance in their careers. It was here that a young Rahul Dravid made his debut for India. It was here that a curly-haired Sachin Tendulkar really hit his straps. After playing 9 Test matches for India and after showing tremendous promise, it was at Manchester, in 1990 that Tendulkar scored his debut Test century; a brilliant century in the second innings. I watched that innings and have followed his career closely ever since that day. He deserved a rousing farewell to England. He was denied that.

This series was important to these three players. I had hoped — nay, expected — that the younger India would carry these players on their shoulders; just as Virat Kohli said they wanted to, “for Sachin”, on winning the World Cup! The younger players had a responsibility to afford the “Tireless Trinity” that farewell. This tour would tell me that, in the absence of a few key players, India would still be able to be tough and uncompromising in its pursuit of excellence.

I expected the younger players to stand up and deliver. I was disappointed in the end. But was it right for me to have these expectations in the first place?

No.

So, hit me, I deserve it (H-MIDI).

*******

What matters most to me is how a team plays the game! The West Indies played the game incredibly well as champions. From the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, West Indies was the most attractive team going around. They played with an incredible flair, fun and poise. They were entertainers first and champion players next. I admired her players and knew their dates of birth by heart! I admired them more than I did, India!

Later on, the Australians started taking over. The transition was slow and painful. In the 1990s the Australian side was the one to beat. In my view, however, except under Mark Taylor, Australia played the game badly. I hated her teams because of the boorish behavior that accompanied her wins and, more importantly, her losses.

India’s reign at the top has been too short for this team to develop a championship habit and character. However, the team under Anil Kumble and MS Dhoni had tried to play well; tried to play attractive cricket; correct cricket. MS Dhoni even publicly reprimanded and rebuked his star bowler, Sreesanth, for his antics whenever he crossed the line.

India played like a champion side till Dominica happened. Since then, it has played like a tired team that did not want to be on the park!

The first signs of something amiss came at Dominica. For me, this was an eerie mile marker on an important journey. Dominica was, to me, less about the handshake. To me, it reflected the mood, the state of mind and state of readiness of players in the dressing room. It told me that the players wanted to go to the comfort of the Hotel room. It told me that the players were a fatigued lot. Dhoni had already mentioned his Hotel room in the previous Test match in his post-match interview. It seemed to me that that was his refuge; his escape from it all. The draw offer talked to a captain’s (and his team’s) intent in a fight.

To me intent is a powerful phrase. It talks to more than just aims, purpose and objectives. It talks more to the state of one’s mind at the time when one carries out an action or makes a decision. It talks to a goal that is so firmly affixed that one can only approach it with an uncompromising, unwavering and an unrelenting desire.

To me, Dominica had compromised the captain and his team.

I should have reset my expectations for Team India from the England series right then and there. I did not. I hoped that the players that had sat out the West Indies series would bring a freshness to what I saw as a mentally fatigued dressing room.

I was wrong. So, hit me, for I deserve it (H-MIDI).

*******

Upon arrival in England, I admit to being totally alarmed when Rahul Dravid said in his first interview in England on 12 July 2011: “We will be competitive if we can keep our pacers fit.”

I was aghast when I read this. Competitive? Is that what he said? Is that what he actually meant? Competitive? As in “we will put up a good fight”?

But that is not champion speak? Surely! “It cannot be,” I said to myself.

I ignored that warning sign too. I said to myself that India will be more than competitive. India will more than just “make up the numbers and rock up on the park”. I convinced myself that Team India was going to win, regardless! After all, it always has overcome the odds in recent series! So also this time.

Did it? No. So, hit me, for I deserve it (H-MIDI).

*******

India went into the England series with a few players resting from the extreme physical turbulence that the IPL represents. The IPL is an unforgiving tournament. It is not just about 16 games in 45 days. It is just that IPL games come at players with remarkable regularity like a steam train that just will not stop.

And to lay the blame for India’s poor showing at the doorstep of the IPL is just being too lazy!

However, I am also saying that the IPL is an unrelenting, uncompromising and brutal menace. The franchise owners are investors first and their first and foremost responsibility is to their shareholders. They must want the best that their investment can get them. To the investors and franchise-owners, return on investment cannot be unimportant! And if that means Sachin Tendulkar has to do away with an hour’s sleep (or more importantly, an hour’s worth of throw downs) in order to attend to ‘sponsor commitments’, then, that is the way it is. Sponsor commitments will win over cricketing logic!

The IPL is not about 4 overs per bowler or 20 overs on the field or a few overs of biff-bang for batsmen. It is not even about the routine of getting up each day, dusting off the ordeals of the previous days’ game, the after-party, the obligatory late-night booze-up (or other late-night non-mentionables). It is not even about the physical tiredness of finishing off a game, packing up at the ground, traveling to the hotel, washing up, attending the compulsory after-party, sleeping for a few hours, packing up, checking out, travelling to the airport, the 1-hour airport wait, the 2-hour flight, disembarking, collecting your baggage, travelling to the hotel, signing autographs, checking in, settling in, sleeping, waking up the next day, playing another game…

It is not about that at all. It is just that in those 7 weeks, a player does not have the time to focus on the basics of his game. If Irfan Pathan has a problem with the positioning of his right arm while bowling, the 7-week IPL is not one in which he will get this rectified or even looked into! The team is looking to put its players on the park; not to work on rectifying errors that may have crept into his game. The IPL just does not afford a player the opportunity to think, plan and act in a strategic manner, particularly with respect to his fundamentals.

There is no wonder, therefore, that the IPL converts minor niggles into major injuries.

But I am to blame for this too. I go to IPL games. These games represent 3 hours of “paisa vasool” (return on my investment!). The games represent leave-your-mind-at-home fun. I see the advertisements that are on TV when IPL games are on! I buy the products that are advertised during the IPL. I am responsible for providing the BCCI with the cash it earns from the IPL!

So, hit me, for I deserve it (H-MIDI).

*******

Every team aims to be better than it was. India too. Of that, I have no doubt. There is no reason to doubt the commitment of the Team India players. They play with pride and determination. This team has been around for far too long to fall together in a heap at the first sign of trouble. But what we fans must realize is that every other team is looking to improve too. Every other team wants to close the gap on the best team.

And in this regard, I must doff my hat to the way England has played. Every aspect of their game has been exceptionally professional and clinical. Everyone has contributed to the series win. Even Graeme Swann contributed with bat and marginally, with ball. In direct contrast, nothing has gone right for the Indians. Injuries. Bad form. Spirit of Cricket. Last season’s ball. The toss. The toss decisions. Nothing. Just nothing has gone right for India. India has been out-planned and out-played in every single aspect in this series: selections, planning, tactics, batting, bowling, fielding, injury-management…

Take injury-management: England presented themselves as an excellently prepared unit. On the contrary, India presented themselves as a ragged unit that was mentally and physically under-prepared. England had a few injuries too. The replacements were not only adequate. In the case of Tim Bresnan replacing Chris Tremlett, the replacement was actually better! Not only that. The fact that Chris Tremlett was not going to be able to play was transmitted way in advance of the Test match in which Bresnan played. The under-study was ready; he was prepared.

The Indian injuries left the team bereft of options, ideas or purpose. India’s approach to injury-management was immature at best and cavalier at worst. This is a point that has been brought out sharply by other authors. I do not know if this cavalier attitude percolated through the team. And it is incorrect of me to vault into the realm of speculation. However, given the inexplicable manner of the violent capitulation, we are necessarily into the realms of speculation when all other logic fails!

India has always tended to rush its players back from an injury-inflicted lay-off straight into important games. In this series against England Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan were moved into important matches without adequate testing of match fitness. But the injury that hurt India the most was that sustained by Zaheer Khan.

Zaheer Khan is the most important bowler in the team for more than his bowling. He is the commander of the bowling attack. He plans out the bowling. He maps out strategies. He is the go-to player when things do not go right. And when he limped off with a strained hamstring on the first day of the series at Lord’s, it was as though the team had no Plan-B. The air was sucked out of the team as well as the blimp that hung over it. The team was reduced to a rudderless ship when it came to the bowling. And it looked like that malaise had affected the batting too. There were no plans. There was no team. We only saw capitulation after capitulation.

So, while it is easy to admit that England played a superior style of cricket, it is impossible to unpack the capitulation.

The way the team played from the moment it faced its first injury is best captured by this brilliant article by Sriram Dayanad who endured much of this pain first-hand.

But every time there was a setback to this team, I continued to believe. I continued to be positive. I requested and pleaded with everyone to be positive. After all, this team has risen from the dust in the past; none more gruesome than Sydney in 2008! After all this team had risen from 0-1 and 0-2 deficits to claim victory. I had to keep believing. I had to keep the faith.

Instead of admitting the inevitable after seeing the well-oiled England machinery and instead of admiring the thoroughness of England’s approach, I kept hoping for the miracle bounce-back. Did that miracle happen?

No. So hit me, I deserve it (H-MIDI).

*******

This tour represents an important marker in Team India’s journey. MS Dhoni has been tested thoroughly. So far, in my books, he has failed the test. But my view is that he is too good a player and too good a leader to let this be anything other than a big learning experience for him. Dominica was completely in his control. I still believe he stuffed it up. Since then, everything has gone pear-shaped for him. Sometimes you just make your own luck. He chose not to. From then on, hurt and pain have been inflicted on him (and his team) by a team that was just better prepared.

His cause has not been helped by the fact that an anti-BCCI feeling has continued to torment this tour. And in the midst of an awesome revival by England at Nottingham, he was tested by the “Spirit of Cricket” and by Nasser Hussain’s Underpants! In all of this, the DRS-cloud has just not gone away. The BCCI does not deem it necessary to have a media manager to explain its position adequately. The BCCI position can be explained with remarkable aplomb! All it takes is the appointment of a suave, well-informed, articulate media manager. Just look at the VVS Laxman “Vaseline” decision and the Rahul Dravid “Shoe Lace” decisions in this series itself! One can point to the BCCI stance just on the basis of these two decisions! And if that fails, all that the media manager needs to do is brush up on the incredible amount of work that someone like Kartikeya Date has put in to accumulate a defense of BCCI’s position on DRS!

But then the BCCI does not seem to have any credible media policy that adequately manages its position on any aspect of its approach to the game and its responsibility to the game. Instead the BCCI has determined that it is sufficient if it pays two gentlemen — no doubt extremely honorable gentlemen — an awful lot of money, thereby, abrogating itself of its responsibilities at opinion management and opinion leadership!

The team was burdened with bearing the cross of the collective envy of others who saw the team as an extension of a rich and boorish Board. The team was burdened with having to explain the stance of its Board on most things to do with the game on which the Board has a legitimate view! All this when one of the honorable men honored his commitment to his employer by way of a most undesirable spat on live TV that was straight out of a B-Grade Bollywood movie!

But despite these limitations (or perceived limitations), I will continue to believe in this team.

Heck! I believe now that this team will win the 4th Test at The Oval!

And if it does not, well… Hit me, for I will deserve it (H-MIDI).

But remember, the more you hit me, the more I will believe in this team. For I always have!

— Mohan (@mohank on Twitter)

Nasser Hussain’s underpants…

I like former England captain Nasser Hussain. He played the game with passion. He has a sharp mind and brings it to the commentary box. He has an excellent sense of humour and gets most things right most of the time.

He has played 96 Test matches for England too. He told Ravi Shastri this.

Good bloke. Nasser Hussain. Top bloke.

Nasser Hussain wants DRS implemented so that his kids will not be confused when they are watching the cricket. Fair enough. Often, a good test for something that needs a change is if you can explain the status quo in simple terms to a kid. They need to get it. It is not the only test. But it is a good test. For example, I would not personally try to explain the free trade agreement to kids before deciding that it is in urgent need of a thorough overhaul. However, kids do not need to know the free trade agreement. Kids are cricket’s future fans or players. They need to understand the rules of the game. Fair enough.

Nasser Hussain, said he tried to explain the Harbhajan Singh “out” decision to his kids and got his undies in a terrible, terrible knot.

I don’t know about him. But I may have tried this:

Harbhajan Singh was out because the on-field umpire gave him out even though replays suggested he was not out. It was a genuine case of an error in judgement; human error. Human errors happen in every walk of life. It happens on the cricket field too.

This may have been an important moment for Nasser Hussain to seize to educate his kids on a very important lesson in life. Mistakes happen. We need to learn to accept them.

Instead, he may have tried explaining the “out” decision to his poor, unsuspecting kids by saying,

Harbhajan Singh wasn’t actually out, but was given out because the technology that would have otherwise reversed the original on-field decision was not available, and that was because BCCI blocked the use of that technology due to error-percentage, price, lack of clarity on “who pays”, sheer obstinacy, pig-headedness and other reasons, including the fact that we did terrible things to the BCCI when we were “in power” and, before that, we ruled India and overstayed our welcome in that land by many, many years and were finally driven out by a small man in a loin cloth about whom Attenborough made a highly acclaimed movie that went on to win…”

The kids had heard a bedtime story. They went to bed.

Poor Nasser Hussain though. He had gotten his underpants in a terrible knot. He had to make a late-night dash to Marks & Spencer to purchase a new pair of underpants!

But, Nasser Hussain is a good man. He played the game with passion. He reminded us yesterday that he had played 96 Tests and this gives him the right to call the BCCI approach to DRS “a disgrace”!

Someone should tell him that people who have played far fewer games (than he has) have called the BCCI a disgrace. I haven’t played at all and I have called the BCCI’s stand on DRS a disgrace! Nasser Hussain need not have played 96 Tests to voice his opinion on anything.

The fact, however, is that he could not explain the Harbhajan Singh “not out” decision to his kids. He wants the DRS so that he can be more effective in explaining cricket’s already complex rules to his kids. This is his rationale (not his primary rationale, but an important one) for his disgust at The BCCI for not wanting the DRS.

Well, if his Saturday was bad, he is probably whipping himself into a fit of uncontrollable rage on Sunday! Imagine the state of his new underpants as he explained to his kids what happened on Sunday to his former team mate, Ian Bell.

Try and imagine Nasser Hussain saying to his kids…

See… What happened was this:

  • this batting bloke hit a shot
  • the fielder bloke dived on the boundary line
  • the batting bloke thought the fielder bloke made a hash of it
  • the fielder bloke was sure he had made a hash of it
  • the viewing blokes all thought that the fielder bloke had made a hash of it
  • the batting bloke signaled to the scorer bloke to add 4 runs to his score
  • the batting bloke felt he needed a cup of tea and a leak
  • the non-batting bloke pointed out to the batting bloke that self-declaration of a boundary and self-declaration of a tea-break are not according to any agreed protocol
  • the batting bloke said to non-batting bloke that it was too late and that he had already signaled 4 runs to the scorer bloke
  • the batting bloke admitted that he had also become TV producer bloke’s boss bloke and requested the TV blokes to cut to tea-time ad breaks
  • the non-batting bloke asked the batting bloke if the umpire blokes had any role to play in this at all
  • the batting bloke suddenly remembered something was awry and hit himself on his forehead with his bat, but by then, both the batting bloke and the non-batting bloke had reached the boundary line
  • the umpires side-kick bloke asked the batting bloke and the non-batting bloke to go back onto the field of play
  • meanwhile the fielding bloke had gently ambled across the ropes and non-urgently lobbed the ball back to the field of play
  • the fielding bloke wanted a cup of tea too
  • one of the the fielding bloke’s team mates, the bail-breaker bloke, collected the ball and took the bails off
  • the bail-breaker bloke asks the umpire bloke, “hey! are you in charge of this gig, or what?”
  • the umpire bloke says to the bowling bloke, “Naah, I am just a sweater hanger.” points to the batting bloke and says, “Looks like that guy is in charge of this gig”
  • all blokes then stand around worrying about when they might have a cup of tea
  • suddenly the TV umpire bloke, who has had several cups of tea already lets out a big laugh and presses the “out” button
  • the batting bloke remembers his acting lessons from 8th grade and does a good Russell Crowe bloke “shock” impersonation
  • the batting bloke overdoes the shock impersonation a bit too much and his jaw detaches from his face and lies on the ground
  • the crowd blokes go mad and start boo-ing — it is a funny English tradition quite similar to throwing plastic bottles in Kolkata, I am told
  • the crowd blokes have had lots to drink too — not much tea but a similar looking brown liquid in plastic cups
  • the umpires say they have had enough and walk off to have tea, although no one is really sure really whether they asked everyone to have tea
  • the TV blokes do not know what is going on, but the producer bloke too has started taking instructions from the batting bloke
  • by now the bartender at the ground has made his way to the dressing room to ask how much he should charge for a pint of brown liquid in a plastic glass. every one at the ground thinks the batting bloke is in charge of everything
  • the prime minister of england rings the batting bloke and asks if interest rates ought to increase this month
  • by now, the batting bloke is in charge of everything
  • but the batting bloke can’t talk because his jaw is still on the ground
  • the fielding blokes, meanwhile, make their way back to the pavilion
  • no one is sure if the batting bloke is really out and no one knows if it is tea time even, but everyone can see the batting bloke’s jaw on the field
  • the twitter blokes start arguing viciously
  • everyone is either against the BCCI or the queen, it seems
  • the TV producer bloke asks the batting bloke if he has cricket’s rule book, gets it and brings it to the studio
  • but the TV studio is a bit cramped, like some studio in some 3rd world country so no space for rule book
  • so the studio expert blokes cannot refer to rule books. so, a cliche bloke and former cliche bloke argue about cliches
  • the batting bloke’s jaw is still on the ground
  • the batting bloke starts crying in the meanwhile
  • so the batting bloke’s captain bloke and the coach bloke wander across to the fielding blokes’ dressing room
  • this coach bloke is a bit of a funny bloke
  • coach bloke had just finished reprimanding one of his players, a turban bloke, for bowling to god bloke in the nets
  • coach bloke thought that it was not in the “spirit of cricket” to have non-team turban bloke bowl to god bloke especially when god bloke’s team already has a turban bloke in it
  • coach bloke says to his own team’s turban bloke, “you cannot bowl to god bloke”
  • turban bloke asks, “why coach bloke?”
  • coach bloke says, “against spirit of cricket… bloke”
  • but that was yesterday.
  • today, coach bloke looked to re-define “spirit of cricket”
  • now, coach bloke and captain bloke knock on fielding bloke’s dressing room
  • all blokes having tea
  • coach bloke says to fielding captain bloke, “spirit of cricket, anyone?”
  • fielding captain bloke says “well of course… bloke”, and turns to all his player blokes
  • nod blokes
  • batting bloke is asked to collect his jaw
  • play commences
  • the umpire blokes are booed by drunk blokes
  • the fielding blokes are booed by drunk blokes
  • the batting bloke re-affixes jaw and becomes full batting bloke again
  • the umpire blokes say, “good then! we continue not to be in charge of this gig, but we had a nice cuppa tea at least”
  • icc says “spirit of cricket”
  • ecb says “spirit of cricket”
  • bcci says “where is lalit modi?”

And so the play resumed…

The kids are asleep already, none the wiser!

Nasser Hussain needs another pair of undies.

Poor bloke.

— Mohan (@mohank on Twitter)

An eye for an eye?

Several things have happened during the last few days that have kept me thinking that the BCCI with all its wealth to bloody well starting dictating terms in a more direct way. Enough of this nonsense. Here are some examples of what has got me going:

1. The Indians led by Tendulkar have constantly expressed reservations about the DRS. Instead of establishing and demonstrating the credibility of the system, the rest of world has only been critical of India’s antics. The englishmen do not agree with a review based decision on VVS Laxman and all hell breaks loose. Now the hot spot has to undergo testing. So, it takes an anglo-saxon team to complain to establish proof of performance?
2. Hotspot fails to detect an edge of VVS Laxman’s bat (which never happened). The english fielders behind the stumps mistook Matt Prior’s release from his rear as the edge and they all question the hotspot. Michael Vaughan contributes further to Prior’s rear emissions by claiming VVS to be a cheat. Stuart Broad licks VVS’s bat hoping to get high and finds nothing…And we are supposed to take all this and stay silent?
3. Ian Bell gets run out because he is high on Prior’s release, Strauss goes demands extra gaaji for Bell and we are supposed to give in?
4. Swann kicks the stumps thinking he is playing for Nottingham Forest, apologizes and gets an award for sportsmanship and we are supposed to sponsor the prize?
5. Nasser Hussain is unable to explain to his two sons why Harbhajan Singh was given out lbw even though there was a big inside edge and blames India for being a disgrace not accepting the DRS. (I suggest he is better off spending his time trying to explain why the Brits went to war in Iraq or why he continues to work for a company owned by Rupert Murdoch to his sons, that will be a true lesson in life!!!). And we are supposed to pay his salary?

All of this gets me going and am out of control till I read Dravid’s interview at the end of the day. I read about how the team discussed the Bell event and related it to what happened to Laxman in West Indies. Who can also forget the ugly incident involving Sachin Tendulkar and Shoaib Akhtar in Kolkata. Where was Wasim Akram then? And I say to myself, I would rather hold my head high and say that I support a team that has Dravid, Tendulkar, and Laxman three of the greatest ambassadors of the game there has ever been than fall for the bait. And I hope that India will pull out of this challenge much like what happened in Australia a few years back. This is a team that is unparalleled in its ability to bounce back from the most difficult of situations and this series could very well be another one of those.

Hoping for the best.

– Srikanth