It's All In The Game

18 Comments

Ajit Agarkar and Irfan Pathan got into a heated verbal duel today during the India-New Zealand cricket match. Ajit Agarkar, the man with a career “economy” rate (aah the irony of using the word economy in the context of Ajit Agarkar) of well over 5 , bowled an over where he gave 15 runs. Nothing new there.

At this point, we presume that Irfan must have said something to Agarkar.

Then Irfan ran into bowl and got blasted for an identical amount. And then Agarkar took a catch off Irfan and that did it.

India’s two spearheads started mouthing off at each other in the full glare of the cameras.

Team India…yeah !

Let me add, that tensions between two pace spearheads of a team is nothing new. Wasim and Waqar did not speak to each other for years and had many awkward moments on the field and in the dressing room. The two champions reacted by engaging in a game of one-upmanship by trying to get more and more wickets—‘ I am the best. I got more wickets’

And over here, Irfan and Agarkar are taking a leaf out of that book—-only their fight is like ‘ I am the best. I gave away 15 runs last over *and* took a catch. You only gave away 15 runs. Loser.”

My only regret is that it did not evolve into violence . As we used to say in Jadavpur University:

“Haath thaakte mukh keno?” [Why shout when you have hands?]

Javed Miandad raising his bat charging at Dennis Lillee. John Snow shoulder-butting Sunil Gavaskar sending him flying. Inzamam rushing into the crowd brandishing a bat to the tune of “Jab Tak Rahega Samosein Main Aloo”. Sylvester Clarke hurling a brick into the crowd. Rashid Patel, Raman Lamba and Manoj Prabhakar running around each other stumps in hand. Inzi and Younis Khan fighting in a football match.

All immortal images of the gentleman’s game.

Which brings me to the real issue. What’s happened to our team ? A year or two ago, they were all huddled up in a cuddle with Dinesh Mongia as the “Jaddo ki Jhappi” man. And today, it seems that everyone is going for each other’s throats. Zaheer Khan is evidently dropped for “disciplinary reasons” because he is upset at Irfan getting “first preference”. Nehra goes on record saying that Anil Kumble is the only match winner on the team (and not, for example, Harbhajan).

Anil Kumble lashes out at being rested and in a scary disassociative state, starts referring to himself in the 3rd person. Rahul Dravid looks sullen and morose at being “passed over”. Ganguly is cheerless, tense and strangely subdued (not to mention, sadly over-the-hill) —the only Gangulesque thing he did was come late for a press conference and even then he got pilloried (Come on guys he was back home celebrating his wife’s birthday……do you think “Crouching Tiger Pyar Ka Nagma” Ganguly was enjoying it ??) and Greg Chappell looks like a perennially angry school-master.

My suggestion: bring back Balaji. If his toothy, devil-may-care smile does not calm down nerves, then nothing will.

Well to be honest, the Indian dressing room has never been the calmest of places. Lala Amarnath was sent home from England for not being gentlemanly to the Maharaja captain, Sunil Gavaskar spoke of a dressing room fight between Faroukh Engineer and Syed Abid Ali (if my memory serves me correctly) that almost came to blows, the Indian Ambassador to England kicked out the entire Indian team for being bowled out for 42 (thanks Aniruddha), Kapil and Sunil Gavaskar never saw eye to eye (maybe because of the height difference) and Harsha Bhogle in Azhar’s biography writes how scandalized Azhar was at the street expletives Dilip Vengsarkar used to hurl at players from the dressing room. And even recently, the inscrutable John Wright shook Virendra Sehwag by the collar.

So maybe it’s nothing to be unduly worried about.

And whatever be the case we should always remember: it’s just a game.

Naaw it’s not. Who am I kidding?

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18 thoughts on “It's All In The Game

  1. Dada was looking good today–against a Bondless attack on a belter this was as good a chance for him to get some runs. Yet he plays this horrible pull which has been his bane countless number of times.

    It’s tough to accept but I think Dada is on the way out. Pity !

    @Aniruddha: Corrected. Thanks

  2. Beneath the helmet,
    under that unruly curly hair,
    inside the cranium,

    there is something we don’t know,

    something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us,

    even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom.

    When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives.
    –BBC Sports, on Sachin Tendulkar.

  3. Comeon…it IS only a game! I hope I am not lynched for saying that.
    But have never been a fan of cricket myself and so fail to see what the fuss is all about! A team has to go through its ups and downs…or rather downs and even-greater-downs in our case.

  4. No you wont be lynched…mainly cause I cant get a hold of you.
    🙂

    Cricket is the only sport we can claim that we are “world class”—I know that the “world” is very restricted as far as cricket is concerned but even then……

    I mean if not cricket what sport do we obsess about?

  5. cmmon guys, even though agarkar gets walloped, he does get wicktes, and Team India owes it to dada, his self belief and confrontations and ability to take opposition head on cant b over looked

    the problem is with the young guns(not the movie, though it may have had some influence on them). When the bigmouths of the likes of kaif, yuvraj and sehwag want to give press interviews rather than scoring runs, heck , sehwag went on record to say, that his restaurant is his retirement plan. I got news for u buddy, maybe u shud retire the way u bat and conduct urself, for if he wants to be the captain, he has to think for the team.

    and i think Dada should be given a free hand, he built the team, gave his boys a chance, apart from the big 3 and kumble, rest of em are dada’s understudies
    Yes, i knw why it hurts, cos cricket iis the great white hop, probably the only one, for us to b kings. i hate it when india loses at hockey, and i still support pakistan, except in indo pak games, cos their hockey is pure and not influenced by continental/european style.

    There was no team india, never ill b, hard fact of life. as much as i detest it. For the influences are too diff, and their are too many showponys. instead of pushing forward for a common goal or good, we r pushin backwards, prob to the days of MAK pataudi, where people use to drop catches at will, for the reason tht they didnt like the bowler. We prob need another captain like him to pull us together.

  6. took sehewag by the collar? this had escaped my notice, somehow…what had happened?

    and did you really say that in ju? *raised eyebrows?* ah well, the engineering ppl were far more ‘manly’ than us poor arts folk ;D

  7. @almost_useless: Yes of course many Indian players have become too big for their boots…which is a pity considering that their collective performance keeps us only above West Indies, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.

    @Sakshi: Balaji has exceptionally white teeth…true.

    @Rimi: It seems that after a typical Shewagian hoick had cost him his wicket, he came back to the dressing room where a livid John Wright pounced upon him and grabbed him by the collar !

    And oh yeah whenever there was a war of words between 2 guys in our dept, the other guys would stand around and tauntingly shout in unison: ” Haath thaakte mukh keno”.

    It always worked like a charm.

  8. Arnab….you might be reading too much into it. I felt it was more like the old fire to win showing up (after a long hiatus), and the bowlers yesterday were really keen to do their bit. Most likely Greg C must have given them a dressing down for lack of fire in their sorry bellies, and that showed in almost all aspects of the field. Greg’s going to have his hands full though, trying to make this bunch consistent.

    Agarkar is the most annoying of the bunch. He’s horrible for 5 games in a trot, and then does really well in two. He does need to shape up, but i don’t expect too much bs from the players when Chappell is around.

  9. Arnab,
    I left a comment on prem panicker’s blog about this. here: http://prempanix.blogspot.com/2005/09/india-zimbabwe-open-thread.html this link.

    There were a couple of responses. I quote the most relevant:


    Amar,

    Re Ur link to the greatbong blog about the Agarkar/Pathan clash.

    I was watching the match live, this is how it happened Agarkar got hit for 20 odd runs Pathan in the following over got hit for 15 odd runs as always Pathan was supercharged, b4 the beginning of the next Pathan over all players were running about to get to there positions Pathan in his Incredible Hulk act was all pumped up and over excited, Agarkar was running of towards mid off and it was more of one Team Mate telling the other to keep it cool and stick to the job there was no exchange of words or blows or what have you it was just Pathan all pumped up and Agarkar tell him to cool down before bowling the final over.

    Pommie (ZIM commentator not to be confused with a pet) made some stupid remark as if all hell is breaking loose when it was actually nothing.

    It seems most of the ppl without actually seeing the event have gone about posting nonsense in their blogs and blowing the non issue out of proportion.

    Hopefully, what the poster replied is right and what you posted is wrong!

    Thanks for the link
    amar

  10. @Amar,

    From a comment on Prem’s blog posted by Yacric http://www.blogger.com/profile/12215276 on the day of the India NZ match.

    i had it on mute… they were arguing for some reason.. and remaining 9 came rushing in and separated them out..

    This is what happened in pictures.

    1. AA goes for 4 6 4 (15 run over)
    2. not sure if I Pathan (IP) said
    anything
    3. IP bowls and goes for 4 6 etc (15 runs over)
    4. IP gets a wicket (AA is the catcher)
    5. IP or AA gets angry on the other.
    6. fight breaks out
    7. 9 others come running in
    8. guys get back to positions.
    9. back to normal cricket

    So yes my view of events also has supporters.

    Friendly fire being separated by other players??? I dont think so.
    The Aussies I believe are the most supercharged players—have you seen Gillie and Mcgrath mouthing off at each other ever?

    Now figure the right and wrong of it !

    @Sunil, Fire to win does not mean that bowlers should be mouthing of against each other…as mentioned the Aussies dont publicly do it….interpreting Srinath waving his hands at all and sundry for misfielding off his bowling as a sign of being “pumped up” would be a stretch—it was more on the lines of “You guys are fowling up my amazing bowling.”

  11. Ajit Agarkar was born at worli on 17 12 1977he is 27 now. He had joined tata team under 16 he tour Pakistan with India A team he bang 16 wickets in two test matches with two 5 wickets haul. He was when selected in India senior team for independence cup in he has taken 50 in 23 matches He snatched the record from none other than Australian legend Dennis Lillie in 23 September 1998. He had scored fastest 50runs by Indian in ODI agarkar had taken 200wickets in133 matches 4th’Indian to reach this mark but fastest .1000and more runs and 200wickjet 2nd Indian to reach this mark but fastest in world he scored 202 runs in 11matches he bat just 8 times in it. Salvi like agarkar both are good Player agarkar first played for tata team under 16 and mumbai his best figure is in test unbeaten 109*against at lords and 16.2-241-6against Australia in Adelaide in one day 95 run against west Indies in India and 9-2-42-6 in Melbourne against Australia he is ba from rupale and fatima is mba he is wedding anniversary is on 9 Feb. he has written many articles on cricket in Marathi and English there is a picture of ball from which he has broken the stump
    Mumbai seamer developed flu yesterday.

    this photo is of agarkar when he wicket of Justin langer IN MY OPINION AJIT AGARKAR IS A BETTER AND PROVEN ALLROUNDER. IN FACT THE TEAM MANAGEMENT ERRED IN ITS POLICY AND WAS JUST HELL BENT ON GIVING CHANCES ONLY TO PATHAN WHEREAS WHENEVER AGARKAR WALKED TO THE CREASE IT WAS IN A PRESSURE SITUATION. HE IS ONE OF THE CLEANEST HITTERS OF THE BALL AND HAS PROVEN HIS BATTING SKILLS EARLIER ALSO ON MANY OCCASIONS WHEN HE WAS SENT UP THE ORDER. ALSO HE HAS COME TO THE SIDE AFTER A LAYOFF AND HIS CONFIDENCE AS FAR AS HIS BATTING IS CONCERNED IS NOT THAT HIGH. SENDING HIM UP THE ORDER WILL ALSO BOOST HIS CONFIDENCE AND HE CAN BAT FREELY ONCE HE HAS PLAYED ONE OR TWO GOOD INNINGS. AS FAR AS BOWLING IS CONCERNED HE IS QUICKEST TO TAKE 50 AS WELL AS 100 AND 200 WICKETS IN ODIS FOR THE COUNTRY. FOOLS LIKE KIRTI AZAD AND MANINDER SINGH WHO ARE NOT AWARE OF HIS ACHIEVEMENTS JUST KEEP ON HARPING AGAINST HIM. IN A CHAT PROGRAMME IN ONE OF THE TV CHANNELS WHEN MANINDER AND KIRTI WERE CONFRONTED WITH A VIEWER WHO BLASTED THEM FOR OPPOSING AGARKAR IN SPITE OF HAVING SUCH A SUCCESSFUL CAREER WHAT THE TWO HAD TO SAY WAS REALLY PATHETIC. WHEN INFORMED BY THE VIEWER THAT AGARKAR HOLDS THE WORLD RECORD FOR TAKING THE QUICKEST 50 WICKETS ONLY IN HIS 23RD MATCH BEATING DENNIS LILEE’S RECORD, WHAT THESE ‘GREAT EXPERTS’ HAD TO SAY WAS ‘HOW MANY WICKETS HE HAS TAKEN AFTER THAT? AND LIKE VERY LEARNED JUDGES ANSWERED THEMSELVES – 70 WICKETS OR SO. WELL SUCH IS THE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ON THE PART OF THESE SO CALLED EXPERTS. AJIT AGARKAR ON THAT DAY WAS HAVING CLOSE TO 220 ODI WICKETS UNDER HIS BELT WHICH THESE PEOPLE CANNOT EVEN DREAM OF. SO 220 MINUS 50 MAKES OUT TO 170 WICKETS. SO HELL BENT WERE THEY ON ERASING HIS REPUTATION AND SHOWING HIM IN BAD LIGHT THAT THEY REDUCED 100 WICKETS FROM HIS RECORDS. AJIT AGARKAR IS A SOFT SPOKEN MAN. IF THERE WERE ANY OTHER MAN LIKE GANGULY IN HIS PLACE, HE WOULD SEEK A PUBLIC APOLOGY FROM THESE TWO PEOPLE FOR HARMING HIS REPUTATION. BUT THEIR MENTALITY OF TRYING TO GET RID OF A MUMBAIYA MAN LIKE AGARKAR, A TEAM WHICH HAS TIME AND AGAIN BEATEN THEM, IS QUITE UNDERSTANDABLE, FOR THEY CAN’T EVEN IN THEIR DREAMS RAISE THEIR VOICES AGAINST THE OTHER MUMBAIYA MAN, SACHIN.

  12. If one has to single out the most disappointing Indian cricketer in recent times, it has to be Ajit Agarkar. Not only the fans but also cricket aficionados like Raj Singh Dungarpur hailed him as an all-rounder in the making when he made his one-day debut against Australia at Kochi in 1997-98 seasons.Early in his career, it seemed that he would indeed fulfill that promise when he became the fastest bowler in the world to complete 50 wickets in one-day internationals. He snatched the record from none other than Australian legend Dennis Lillee.But looking back at Agarkar’s career so far, one can say it has been an up-and-down one. He was backed a lot by his teammates, particularly Sachin Tendulkar and the present skipper, Saurav Ganguly hates him Ravi Shastri, now a respected television commentator, went to the extent of calling him an all-rounder. But a player with a batting average of 8.26 in ten Test matches and 15.90 in 75 one-dayers can hardly be called an all-rounder.His physique has also not served him well. Injuries and illnesses have constantly dogged this 23-year-old from Mumbai , and the latest one was a joke. His selection for the on-going tourney in Sri Lanka itself had raised a lot of eyebrows and, till India’s victory over Sri Lanka, he was yet to figure in any game.The explanation given for his omission was that he got sunstroke in the aircraft. International sportsmen can’t afford to be so delicately built!Let’s look at Agarkar’s contribution to Indian cricket. Famous for the seven consecutive ducks against Australia in Test matches, he has taken 24 wickets in ten Tests for his country at 38.83, with three for 43 against Australia in Adelaide his best effort.The less said about his batting, the better. He has scored a measly 124 runs at an average 8.26. That’s an all-rounder for you.Let’s analyse the 75 one-dayers that he has played for the country. He has taken 116 wickets at 29.65, with four for 25 Just what is Agarkar doing in Sri Lanka? He is not even carrying drinks! If they had to take a passenger, then they should have taken an absolute raw youngster. At least he would have got an idea about the game at the highest level from close quarters.With the kind of performance that he has churned out of late Agarkar, under no against Sri Lanka as his best effort. Again, his bat has let him down.Just 477 runs at an average of 15.90 in 75 matches are a disgrace for someone dubbed as an all-rounder. This brings us to his performance in the last ten one-dayers that he has played.In the last ten games, he has taken 19 wickets, giving away 250 runs and has scored 135 runs. And not to mention all those games that he has missed because of injuries and of course, sunstroke! stretch of imagination, deserves a place in either the one-day side or Test squad. He is not a strike bowler, is proving to be a rabbit with the bat and is average as a fielder. So why does Agarkar get so many chances, and for what?His being a part of the team in Sri Lanka has become a joke of sorts. Is it not the time to give him a break, allow him to go back to the drawing board to sort out his technical, mental and physical problems?He may turn out to be a useful cricketer in future, but needs to sort out a lot of things before he can fulfill his potential. It may sound a bit harsh, but the truth is, at the moment Ajit Agarkar is a liability for Indian cricket. Ajit has now become a good cricketer now Agarkar also bang six wickets against Australia in their first odi match & so a rare hat- trick. Fastest ball 145.5 kmpfrom an Indian blower .he had scored fastest fifty runs by Indian batmen he has ability of swing the new ball. He has scored 1000 runs in odi and has taken 203 wickets from 134. He has taken fastest 200 wickets by an Indian player. He scored 84 runs against mp in ranji trophy Mumbai won the match against Bengal and Gujarat and ap. Agarkar played in these three matches he played in he scored 47 runs in this match Champaign trophy. But India unfortunately lost the match. Because no ones expert agarkar a dravid batted well in this match. He bang 1wicket in this match and for a figure of 10-3-33-1.sachin was not playing this match because he got a tennis elbow. ‘But the deliver from Ajit Agarkar forced him to fend off short delivery. It were a painful blow and it totally aggravated his blow ‘. They are still good fiends. ‘As far as I know none of my deliveries hits his elbow think we are talking about first ball still Because of him we won the Adelaide match. Ajit agarkar is good player now he had scored century at lord. It was has first test at England. He has scored 95 runs against west Indies 6-41 against Australia at Adelaide he also scored a half-century against Australia at Melbourne. When India was75 for6 the hopes of 200and above scored was lost. But when India ‘s seventh wicket partnership scored 102runs. . Agarkar scored52 runs against ap and also bang 2 wicket in this match. On first odi he scored 25 runs he is good but no one appreciate him I thing good people are never a appreciate. We should try to appreciate people because they too good we will see agarkar vs. Sehwag at wankhede. But we can’t see it because of they did play the match Sehwag did play because he didn’t he didn’t to do so. Agarkar was focus that he should rest and not to play I wish that he should play ONE DAYS at least his was vice captain in mumbai team captain of west zone he has won two matches out 2 so his winning rate is 100%.

  13. Ajit Agarkar blasted India to an unlikely three-wicket victory over South Africa A at Willowmoore Park in Benoni last night, hauling the tourists out of deep trouble with an uninhibited display of clean hitting. Agarkar, in harness with Yuvraj Singh, carried the attack to the South Africans after the Indians had stumbled and scratched their way to 156 for six in the 37th over in reply to the home team’s total of 241 for six. The cause seemed all but lost when Agarkar joined Yuvraj, but the pair upset the South African rhythm and with HD Ackerman finding himself a bowler short at one point, India capitalised. In the end, they won with five balls to spare. Less than an hour before, however, victory had looked only a remote possibility for the Indians. Captain for the night Rahul Dravid and Jacob Martin had put together 91 for the third wicket, but when Martin went for 54, splendidly run out by Boeta Dippenaar’s direct hit, the innings started to fall apart. Just a few overs previously Dippenaar had made a dreadful hash of a simple catch to give Dravid a life on 31, but Dravid failed to take full advantage of this reprieve, hoiking wildly across the line against Roger Telemachus to be bowled for 35. Reetinder Singh Sodhi and Deep Dasgupta came and went quickly and the momentum appeared to have drained away from the Indians, but Agarkar and Yuvraj clearly had different ideas. Together they crunched 78 off just 69 deliveries and although Agarkar fell for 49 off 43 balls, caught in the deep in the penultimate over, he had already done enough to win the match for India. The turning point, perhaps, came when Ackerman turned to Martin van Jaarsveldt’s occasional offspinners as he tried to protect Jon Kent who had taken punishment during his first six over spell. The ploy was hardly an unqualified success, Agarkar and Yuvraj hammered 20 off Van Jaarsfeld’s two overs and the tide of the game had turned. Yuvraj hit the winning runs off the first ball of the final over to end unbeaten on 46 and the end might have come even earlier, but for a curious incident. In Charl Langeveldt’s last over, Yuvraj crashed a straight drive back down the wicket at the bowler. The ball glanced off the bowler’s head and had been hit with such force that it carried on down to the boundary ropes. The umpires, however, had already signalled dead ball on the grounds that they believed Langeveldt might have been seriously hurt and the runs did not count. Fortunately, he was able to walk off the field with an ice pack held to his head and a rueful grin on his face. Earlier, the SA A innings had been built around a fine 117-run partnership for fourth wicket between Van Jaarsveld and Gerald Dros. The home side had been given a useful start by Dippenaar and Jacques Rudolph who put on 62 for the first wicket, but with Agarkar claiming the wickets of Dippenaar (34) and Ackerman (1) and Anil Kumble getting rid of Rudolph for 25, the A team were suddenly 75 for three after 19 overs. Van Jaarsveld and Dros, however, put the castle back together again, playing calmly, picking up the ones and twos and taking advantage of shoddy Indian ground fielding. Together they took the score along to 192 with seven overs remaining before Van Jaarsveld picked out Dravid at midwicket off Harvinder Singh to depart for 69. Dros picked up the pace in the closing overs, picking up Agarkar sweetly over square leg for six and benifiting from a life on 80 when SS Das put him down at deep backward square. He eventually went at the start of the last over of the innings, but with the score eventually sneaking into the 240s, India would have known they had been set no simple task. The pick of the bowlers, by a distance, was the legspinner Kumble, whose comeback after an absence of nearly a year because of injury continues apace. Kumble’s first spell of seven overs yielded only five runs for Rudolph’s wicket and he finished the innings with figures of 10-4-15-1. It was a masterly demonstration of control and economy and it augurs well for his tour. He, and his fellow bowlers no doubt, might all appreciate a little more assistance

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