Yeah ! We Will Be Playing Cricket With Pakistan Again

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As that line from Poltergeist goes “They are here.” Or more precisely, as the line from Poltergeist 2 goes “They are back.”

As predictable as a Veena Malik publicity stunt, as inevitable as a Shahid Afridi retirement, as irresistible as a Musharaff speech, and as destructive as Nargis Fakhri’s acting.

Pakistan is back here. And this time they are not coming in a boat.

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IPL High Five

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I love IPL. Of course, just like most self-appointed cricket pundits, I blame it for everything—from Sehwag’s creaky shoulders  to the declining moral standards of today’s kids (so much so that women are now being provided official “male escorts” in an IIT ). But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it, at least as much as I enjoy national treasure and  my choice for the next President of India  T Rajendar showing how…well…you decide [Video]

Correction. I used to love the IPL. A long time ago. This was when Lalit Modi, the second most controversial Modi in the country, a visionary like the Ringling brothers and Heff, used to be the impresario. He realized that people don’t as much love the game as they do the excitement. And so he manufactured it. Four-play. Fore-play. Fashion shows.  Passion shows. Hyperventilating anchors. Hitting the sweet spot while being DLF-ed. Quick strategic time outs with just enough time for an out-and-out strategic quickie. Citi moments of success on the ground. Many more off it.

Sure it was not cricket. But why should it have to be? As a matter of fact, when I close my eyes, the most pleasant recollections of IPL are almost never truly cricketing. All the games have simply become in my mind, a continuum of vaguely formed images, set to Ravi Shastri  saying “Nomoksar Kolkota are you ready?” , Arun Lal exclaiming “The excitement at the ground is just so exciting”,  and Sunny’s contented “Mmm…mishti doi”.  All a mess in my mind, a flicker of randomly moving  bats and bouncing balls, jumbled up like the sequence of events or the faces of the actors in a porn video, sought to be recalled, years later.

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Farewell Sir

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If Sachin was the teacher’s pet marked for greatness ever since he joined the school, Ganguly the arrogant gang-leader of the cool kids and VVS Laxman the freakishly-talented loner in the corner, Rahul Dravid will always be the hair-cleanly-parted, diligent “good boy”, the one who studies every waking hour to get the best grade.

The perfect student.

Not for him the arrogance of knowledge. Nor the satisfaction of absolute success. Dravid was always learning, and as one of the  first ads he shot for so prophetically said, “always practicing”.

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BPL

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A sentiment often encountered online, from Indians of course, is that Bangladesh is somehow undeserving of Test status and that it was a conspiracy of the BCCI that led to them getting their place at the big boy’s table. This sentiment, needless to say, offends my sentiments. Dictating that a country should not play just because they lose most of their games is like saying someone should not sing just because he has a bad voice. Bangladesh deserves every bit of their Test status. And this they do purely on the basis of their fans and the enthusiasm and joy they bring to the game.

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The High and The Mighty

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Indian fan, in search of answers, asks the High and the Mighty.

Ravi the Shastri: Why did India lose? Well, the Australian bowlers, strong strapping lads all of them, got the balls in the right areas, were straight, pitched up and hit the deck. Hard. Real hard. The pitch had some juice, there was bounce and carry, and the cherry was hard. Hard.Real hard. It was an important match and the Australians brought their A game but the Indians, their body language was all wrong and soon the cat was among the pigeons. Then…. [Fat lady sings]….oh wait that’s my ringtone….need to take this call. “Oh hello, Mr. BCCI, that cheque you sent me, it was a competitive total, but it had Sunny’s name written all over it…YES don’t you understand? it was in his name…the lady at the bank didn’t agree when I said ‘It doesn’t matter how they come as long as they come”…So please send me MY cheque fast, yes…mail it to me as fast as a tracer bullet…” So yes, as I was saying…

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The Legend of Sir Aggie

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India has been blessed with great talents in the 90s, pace bowlers breathing hell, fire and brimstone. There was Srinath, of the whippy action, who would throw his hands up in the air whenever the ball was creamed past point with a “I would have caught that you slow-moving fielder” and seemed to be still grumbling about it, as he round-armed his throws from the deep. There was Prasad with his slow and slower ball  about whom it has been said that many of his deliveries, like light from distant stars, have not yet reached the batsman many years after he released them from his fingers. There was Debashish Mohanty, all gangly arms and legs,  Harvinder Singh, Abey Kuruvilla, Doda Ganesh, David Johnson, Thiru Kumaran—a line of carving stations at a sumptuous Vegas buffet, that would get batsmen from across the world melting in their own saliva.

And yet above of all them was this one man. A colossus. A legend. My personal favorite.

Sir Aggie.

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