Daily Archives: 15 November 2011

Top 10 reasons why Sachin Tendulkar hasn’t scored a century of centuries…

10. What? Another hundred? Aren’t you satisfied with ninety nine? Hundreds just get boring after a while…

Maybe to you Sachin, but not to the nation. Did you know that Jack Hobbs has 199 centuries to his name – Okay, Okay! They are just first class hundreds, but still?

9. Nervous nineties!

Hmm…I can see how that can be an issue. You have after all been out in the nineties 26 times in your career (not to mention the one occasion when you were 96 not out and Malinga bowled a wide to concede the game to India – Damn you, Malinga!) . But, you also crossed the nervous nineties 99 times – surely you can do it one more time.

8. I want to feel the way mortals do – and go through a lean patch of no centuries…

You’ve already been through a lean patch once, remember? We want you as a God, not a mortal. Common and get on with that hundred!

7. I want to get it against Pakistan

Oh, dear! I know you made your debut against them, but it might be a while before we have another match against them, and the nation can’t wait that long!

6. Waiting for Ricky Ponting to catch up

Ok. He was close to your record at one stage (at  least on test hundreds); but you’ve just left him too far behind. Did you know that your closest rival has only 69 international hundreds? And have you seen his form lately?

No way is anyone going to catch up with you. Just go ahead and get the hundred, dammit!

5. India has already seen a #1 Test ranking, ODI World cup win, World T20 win – the only thing remaining is this record. Don’t they need something to look forward to?

Puh-lease, let us worry about that. Just go ahead and get your damn hundred so that we as a nation can focus on something else.

4. I want to score it in a T20 international

Haven’t you retired from International T20s already? We don’t want to see you in that format ever again. (Ok, maybe just in IPL) – so, don’t even think about it…

3. Every time I score a hundred, India loses!

Not sure who came up with that. India have lost 24 of the 99 matches you’ve scored a hundred – so that makes for 75 matches that we’ve either won or saved. I’ll go with the .25 probability of India losing the game when you score a hundred.

2. I want to have the unique double of 200 international wickets and 100 international hundreds in tests and ODI’s combined. And do it in the same match!

Oh, yes – you’ve got a combined total of 199 wickets in ODIs and tests together. Let me talk to Dhoni and arrange for you to bowl in the next game you get a hundred.

But wait a minute, haven’t you got a wicket in a T20 international as well? That should make 200 in total. You’ve got no excuses any more!

1. I want to get to the century with a 4 or 6. Six hundred may be a bit ambitious, so waiting for the right opportunity to score 400!

Ok. That I can wait for. Is that going to be at the next game in Mumbai – in your home ground?

-Mahesh-

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In memoriam – Roebuck.

Perched directly behind the bowler’s arm, Ajit Agarkar’s to be precise, in the Sir Donald Bradman stand at the Adelaide oval, the heat was flat, dry and in the mid-thirties. Capped with the strong Australian light, without a trace of humidity, it made one ask why Australian teams complained when they toured the sub-continent.

The air-conditioning notwithstanding, it made me perspire just to think of buttoning a collar, let alone yoking oneself to a tie. The Bhogles, Shastris and Gavaskars strolling around on breaks from TV commentary duties, contractually obligated to suffer under the noose, looked like they might have been far more comfortable in the South Indian veshti-banian (white wrap-singlet), or perhaps a loose cotton kurta.

Which was exactly what Peter Roebuck had on as he came around the corner, his straw hat crowning patrician features, telling a companion Indian journalist in that clipped and firm voice “I don’t know why you wouldn’t wear a kurta in such weather”.

The occasion was of course the watershed match when India trumped Australia in Australia for the first time in 23 years. It was notable for Ponting and Dravid’s double centuries, Ajit ‘Bombay Duck’ Agarkar’s 6-for, and it must be said, the teenage Parthiv Patel’s woeful ‘keeping.

For me, it was the first sighting of the man, long listened to, who it was said was getting to be a more widely read English writer in India than P.G.Wodehouse. For long had I admired his neatly struck coinages ‘leather-flingers’ and the one that combined English wit with a dig at the upstart colonials;

“Yousuf Youhana was only the fifth Christian to play for Pakistan, a number higher, one supposes, than have played for Australia”.

As the series made its way to Melbourne, Srini Vasan of Melbourne’s ‘Indian Voice’ organised a buffet with the cricketing faithful during the course of the Boxing day test. To bear out Kerry O’Keefe’s introduction in ‘Sometimes I forgot to laugh’, it was in a ‘one-star’ Indian restaurant out in the suburbs. The audience was largely of Indian origin and still delirious after the Adelaide win and Sehwag’s 195 on the first day at the MCG. We quietened down and listened in rapt silence to Peter’s views on the day’s play. The event concluded with what soon became an annual ritual; Srini presenting Peter with a kurta.

But that was not all. The restaurateur emerged with a bottle of wine. Peter graciously accepted the bottle but it was followed up with a marker pen and a semaphored request for a signature. Peter signed with a rueful smile and handed the bottle back to the clueless restaurateur amid much raucous laughter.

The Boxing Day Test buffet soon became a much looked-forward-to annual event thanks to Srini Vasan and Peter Roebuck. Given this was not a publicised event, a flurry of calls elicited the venue of each year’s event and Peter soon grew to recognise us regulars.

Mario Puzo wrote “The migrant retains with him a fossilized image of the country he left behind”. As these dinners progressed over the years, Peter, who travelled to India more often and widely than we could or did, became quite the voice of India. Peter began painting for us first hand the image of an India that was changing and growing beyond the realms of our ‘fossilized image’. Our discussions spanned Indian fast food to changing mores and moralities. One either imagined or sensed his wistful nostalgia for the fast disappearing days of genteel cricketers as epitomised by Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and the alarming rise of Cricket moms.

Far from the popular view the cricketing world has of him being an apologist for Indian cricket, I consider him to be more of a realist, closer to the action.
On one occasion, we were as usual playing armchair generals and castigating the BCCI. He took a contrary view and without disagreeing, made constructive observations that could only come from one who had begun to understand how such an essentially Indian organisation as the BCCI worked.

That was as telling a metaphor to underline that we had drifted away from comprehension while he had begun to arrive closer to the centre.

RIP Peter. The world of cricket will be a lesser place without you.
Soundar

P.S. Here’s a link to the last such event.