Booing Sachin

Sachin Tendulkar wafts at an innocuous James Anderson delivery and walks to the pavillion leaving India at the jaws of defeat.

Then the unthinkable happens.

The Mumbai crowd booes Sachin Tendulkar. Can this be happening in independent India?

Sambit Bal opines.

Of course it was disgraceful and sickening, as it always is when any sportsperson is booed. But crowd behaviour in Mumbai has been appalling for the last few years. Rahul Bhattacharya recently wrote about the racist abuse hurled at West Indian cricketers in 2002, and Sourav Ganguly has been regularly hooted by a crowd once known for its cricket knowledge and fairness. But Tendulkar? Who would have thought it would ever come to this?

Now this I do not understand. If sportsmen are willing to put up with cheers, fawning fans and sweet endorsement deals that result from their popularity, then they should be equally prepared for the jeers and booes that follow a bad performance. Hence I cannot call the Mumbai crowd’s reaction “disgraceful and sickening” by any yardstick.

However it does get disgraceful and sickening when things are hurled with the intention to injure or humiliate a player (Examples: Calcutta crowd in 1983, 1996,1999, the Madras crowd in 1983, the Bangalore crowd in 1997, the Ahmedabad crowd in 1983). Booing however is a legitimate expression of dissatisfaction on the part of the paying audience at poor cricket.

So do I support the reaction of Mumbai crowd? No. “Wait” you say. Isnt that just what you did—support the Mumbai crowd reaction? I say “No”. What I did was support their right to boo and express democratic dissent at the performance of those they have paid to watch. What I did not mention yet is how merited I think this particular reaction (i.e booing Sachin) was.

I agree with Wadekar when he says that the standards of cricket appreciation have markedly gone down all over the country. My father and his friends used to repeatedly express their anguish over the Eden gardens crowd and how the composition of those attending cricket matches has gradually changed over the years. In the 60s and 70s, the people who watched games at Eden Gardens appreciated good cricket—regardless of which side played it.

However starting from the 80s things changed dramatically. People came to Eden interested in 1) seeing India win 2) fours and sixes. Great cricket from the opposition went unapplauded (sometimes booed), 4s and 6s were all that mattered, and the desire to appreciate the finer nuances of the game of cricket (and that meant good bowling) was supplanted by a blood-thirsty lust for a gladiatorial spectacle —with the painted faces and megaflags acting as an accompanying expression of the worst kind of pop-patriotism.

And I think this criticism applies to more and less all grounds in India—-Mumbai being no exception.

First up, something a bit unrelated. I discerned a rather radical and disturbing shout from the audience—ostensibly to pump up the Indian team. It was “Ganapati Bappa Moriya”. Now I have never heard this chant before from the Mumbai crowd but then again I have not closely followed Test cricket from 99 onwards (by closely I mean continously watching it on TV). This was the first time I heard it anywhere and I found this form of cheering religiously charged and rather exclusionary for a team which has players from the minority community in it. I presume that this is inspired by the “Allah hu Akbar” cry of the Pakistani crowed but please let us not let Pakistanis guide our behavior. Let’s keep cricket secular.

The reason I mention this is that the people who come to watch cricket are more and more resembling a mob whose only purpose of attending is to see the bat dominating the ball (unless it is India bowling), fours and sixes raining and their hero Sachin getting a century.

Instead what do they see?

A brilliant bowling performance by England. It was pure cricketing excellence the way they stifled Sachin for 21 deliveries. The English bowlers gave nothing away—keeping the ball just short of good length (par for this pitch). Sachin has got out many a time in the recent past, bowled through the gate as he tried to force the ball on the legside. You could see Sachin trying not to do that—keeping his bat as straight as possible. The English bowlers did not overpitch even once, pegging away at Sachin’s insecurities. The Sachin of old would have backed himself to handle this length by rocking back on his back foot and thumping the ball through the covers but of late, Sachin tries to avoid these shots and favours the straight shot through the V or a push to leg. And as the bowlers slowly strangled his scoring, Sachin became more and more desperate, manifested by an almost-suicidal single he tried to take.

And then when Anderson bowled a rather harmless delivery outside the off stump, Sachin just had to take advantage of that lifeline. A younger Sachin may have swung at the ball and even if he had not connected, the flashing edge may have flown over the slips. But the Sachin of today went half-way (neither attack nor defence) and attempted to play a percentage shot—-opening the face of the bat: a shot fraught with risk when slips are in place. And paid the price.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai crowd had been totally blind to this ongoing cat-and-mouse game —precisely the thing that makes Test cricket such an absorbing contest. All they had come to see were sixes and fours and India going into a position of dominance. And when things didnt happen according to script, they vented their frustration out on Sachin. According to them, it was Sachin’s fault that he got out. The sheer brilliance of the English bowling and Flintoff’s captaincy was totally lost on them. Which is a pity.

This reminded me of 1983. Calcutta Test. Second innings and India are batting to save the test. Michael Holding comes in and Gavaskar cover drives Holding for four. The entire Eden erupts in joy—80,000 people going up in applause. Holding charges in again. The same result—Gavaskar goes down on his knees and sends the cherry careening to the fence. The crowd goes berserk, calling Sunil Gavaskar’s name in a mesmerizing chant.

Holding charges in from the shadows. The slips go down.

An identical ball. Gavaskar, with the cheers of the crowd reverbating in his ears and adrenaline pumping, gets down on his knees for another free hit. But no wait, it is not an identical delivery. Holding this time has gone wide of the crease and the ball, unlike the previous two times, straightens–Sunny however is committed to the premeditated shot, goes through with it, the ball takes the edge and flies to Dujon who makes no mistake.

As Gavaskar himself says in his autobiography, he realized immediately that he had been masterfully set up by those “four” balls. India folds up for 90 and the Eden crowd hurls debris at Gavaskar for his “shot of rank irresponsibility” little realizing that it was sheer bowling genius that had led first Sunny (and the crowd) up the garden path and then sprung the trap.

So in conclusion, if we claim to be a cricket-mad nation, let us first learn to appreciate cricket for what it is—a battle between bat and ball —-and leave the madness for later.

88 thoughts on “Booing Sachin

  1. Well said Arnab.

    Though I have been following the test match, I did not catch that period of play when our top order collapsed. I read from reports from all over the place that Sachin is booed by his home crowd. But some people (like Gaurav Sabnis) say that it is an exaggeration by the media, and that only a small portion of the crowd seem to have booed him.

    Nevertheless, your point about the changing of the spectator culture is changing for the worse is well taken.


  2. I hope the media is not overplaying this booing thing. I read in gaurav’s blog that this could be the case.

  3. Brilliant analysis. Agree wholeheartedly with every word. For someone who professes not to follow cricket closely on television, your description of the events leading to Sachin’s dismissal and observations on changes in his batting style made my head spin. That is not just an expression, I was actually nodding my head in agreement as well as shaking it in disbelief at the incisive analysis. 🙂

  4. I wouldn’t totally fault the spectators for their failure to catch all the nuances of the game that someone following it on TV (or even the online commentary) is able to. Firstly, they are at a great distance from the actual game – on TV you get the action from much closer up. Secondly, on TV you get to watch the replays. Thirdly, going to the stadium to watch a cricket match nowadays is quite a stressfull experience.

    Orginally, cricket used to be played only in winter. Now it is often played in summer or onset of summer when the heat and humidity at the ground is stifling. Moreover,in order to increase revenue, more and more people are being packed into the stands. Finally, security measures mean that you are not allowed bottled water, food etc that you could bring with yourself originally. Arrangements for these and other amenities are very basic even at the best of the stadiums. From what I have heard from my parents, grandparents and other people of their generation is that going to Eden Gardens to watch (mainly Test) cricket used to be like a picnic experience. Not any more. Figure into that all the hassle one has to go through to lay hands on a ticket itself. No wonder the audience is irate when their favorite players get out cheaply and in what apparently looks like a very casual manner. Or, when your team capitulates without putting up a fight.

    I am not condoning the action of spectators here, and certainly incidents like what happened during the World Cup semi or against Pakistan at Eden should be dealt with harshly. However, I think a little better planning on the part of BCCI (high-hopes eh?) alleviating some of the spectator discomfort might help.
    Also, this is obviously not the only solution. With the rising popularity of cricket, helped by the media and endorsement hungry corporate sponsors, there are more non-connoisseurs attending the game. There is no way to turn them away. So demand for the four and sixes and all the related masala will always be there.

  5. Cricketers and their game cater mainly to a crowd that doesn’t necessarily understand cricket, but like someone just said, is it necessary to “understand” cricket to appreciate it? The booing was a justified response, whether he was set up by great bowling or not. If this happens 1 out of 3 matches, no one boos, but 8-9 times out of 10? Why do we expect the crowd to be rational when their hero plays like he is afraid?

    30 years ago, when cricket was not as easily available on TV, the only recourse was to hear radio commentary or read news reports. And people had an opportunity to discuss and debate “intelligently”. Those who were at the ground watching a match, felt privileged because there was no one else watching the match except them. The ones who made it to the stadium were those who loved and understood the game.

    Things have changed, watching cricket in the stadium is no longer a privilege but a favourite timepass for the locals when a team comes visiting. All sort of people make up the crowd. There are guys who understand and appreciate the game for its technicality, and those who are out there because they love the game, some come for their favourite cricketer who’s plastered himself all over in TV and press ads, while some just tag around. When the crowd is a mix of so many people, the “Standards of cricket appreciation” as “Wadekar-match-lagayega kya” says will obviously go down. What is he trying to say? But the products we peddle, but don’t express disappointment when we play like sissies? No fair.

    There’s probably more to it than meets the eye: Bombay practically ruled Indian cricket, because in victory or defeat, this was a team which knew how to squeeze the opposition. Touring teams have been put to the Bombay test before they faced the Indian team, and the Bombay Ranji side has softened tourists in the past. Lately, call it regionalism or absence of talent, Bombay cricket has taken a backseat. It no longer has heroes it once had. Sachin is “the last man standing” so to speak. And when he fails, Bombay boos not just at him, but at the state of its cricket, and at the absence of heroes that graced maidans all over.

    I guess, somewhere in our hearts, when we look at Sachin, we still see the 16 year old curly haired boy walking out to the most menacing of bowlers with a bat in hand and a big heart. Maybe that’s why when it comes to him, we all rush to protect him and justify everything he does or does not do. No other Indian cricketer has been loved this way. Eternal romantics we all are.

    And Holding vs Gavaskar is understandable, Both geniuses with their tools. But Flintoff/Anderson vs Tendulkar? Not a chance. No way.

    And greatbong, great post 🙂

  6. I write as someone who has seen every int’l cricket game played in India since 1981 upto 1998. The “Ganpati Bappa Morya” is an old chant.

    Others include

    “Galli Galli mein shor hai, Pakistan Chor Hai”
    “Ravi Shastri Hai Hai”……continued years after he retired.
    “Kaaaaambli, Kambli…..*clap *clap *clap”
    “Bharatmata Ki Jay”
    “Har Har Mahadev”

    One has to sit in the East stand on the concrete steps to really get involved in this and enjoy the same.

    I havent seen a cricket match live since 1998 and so cannot comment on the present scenario. But in the 80’s and 90’s i remember that the crowd was really knowledgeable with constant advice shouted out by the crowd and very educated advise at that.

  7. Forgot to add…..

    I love your conclusion, and could’nt agree more.

  8. Hyper emotions related to how someone played a shot or grassed a catch are kind of ridiculous. I love to put it the Lance Klusener way: “So what ? Nobody died.”

  9. This was a very interesting post though I don’t agree on some points. I don’t think there is anything wrong in not being fully able to understand the smaller nuances of the game. When a crowd pays money to see a game they come to enjoy, not to sit and analyze each ball or shot which may be interesting to some, but is too technical for the main public. This does not mean that they have no appreciation for the game or less appreciation than those who understand these things. However I agree with the fact that throwing rubbish onto the field and booing the other team is a bad way to show patriotism.
    I also don’t really see how the ganpati bapa moriya shout could be seen as offensive. It is only a way through which one of the fans wanted to show his support. Being secular does not mean stamping out religion, but being open and accepting to religion no matter which it is.

  10. greatbong i dont really like the religious angle reference u unwillingly put on to the “ganpati baappa moria” chants.. my guess is tht ganpati being the biggest festival in mumbai, the chant was definitely spontaneous rather thn religious, much like a “durgaa maiki” chant in calcutta..
    as for the booing of sachin.. i do think that the booing does deserve some merit, maybe uve seen the cricinfo article outlining sachin’s scores over the last year and a half or maybe more.. maybe the crowd did feel that sachin’s run making ability is on the decline and being a knowledgable crowd wanted to make sachin feel that his recent and not so recent efforts arent being well appreciated

  11. @Naveen, DNA: Yes I read Gaurav’s post…..he also says people chanting “Flintoff is a bastard”—-inexcusable.

    And do read Vengsarkar and Wadekar’s account—-they were there too.

    @Chetan: Thank you..

    @Bongpondit: Agree with you—with the inhuman treatment BCCI metes out to the paying audience, crowd violence is never far from the surface. But people have a choice—dont go.

    @Comic Project: I do consider Sachin a genius and Flintoff on the way to becoming a legend. He carried England on his shoulder everytime he takes the ball in a way that reminds me of Imran.

    @arZan: Never heard Ganapati Bappa Moriya before—maybe I didnt know the chant when I was a kid. And Ravi Shashtri Hai Hai was what we grew up on.

    @Anon: One way of looking at it. Too bad Lance’s POV wasnt appreciated and Smith refuses to have him in the side.

    @Kamal, Jhantu: I would have similar problems with “Durga Mai ki Jai”—Durga, Ganesh etc are religious symbols….no matter what we consider. People of other faiths playing under the Indian flag may not necessarily find it to be a positive rallying cry. Will the Mumbai crowd, in unison, shout Allah Hu Akbar? No it wont. And it shouldnt.

  12. Dang! I just made a post on the same topic (and incidentally the same title). I agree that cricketing nuances are being less understood by the crowds who are anyway there to see the ‘tamasha’. Sadly, we’ll continue to boo our heroes as long as we have many more in the pipeline.

  13. gb:

    usually i understand what you write, but the following excerpt led me all the way in a mobias strip and out again; now, i don’t know whether i am in or out (a ‘hariharan frame of mind’ if you will, maybe?):

    “A younger Sachin may have swung at the ball and even if he had not connected, the flashing edge may have flown over the slips.”

    i mean, would the younger sachin get four runs or would that be four byes?

    if you were to go with the literal meaning of the word when i first learned what it meant, i guess michael jordan’s first-born is one, though i don’t know about flintoff.

    – s.b.

  14. @Patrix: Well we made different points—so that makes it fine…I guess. Do we have more heroes in the pipeline of the stature of Sachin and may I say Ganguly without getting ynot, another indian and the rest on my back?

    @SB: “not connected” means “not connected in the way he wanted to”. I dont see what confused you—since I mentioned that in the case it was not connected, then there would be a edge. Hence the “connect” means properly connect. Dont see where the byes came in.

  15. Sachin is a spent force and definitely past it. But what I find most amusing is that people will go to any lengths to defend him. Sample these –

    1. Of course, he won’t be at 100%. He is just back after a long layoff from injury.
    2. He is not at 100%. That tennis elbow is still affecting him.
    3. He is still suffering from the after effects of that back injury.

    And my favorite……………

    4. He is more responsible now. That is why he has curbed his attacking instincts and plays more defensively.

  16. Me too, nodding my head …but is so complicated!
    but one thing i know for sure ‘Ganapati bappa morya ‘is more of a poona mumbai thing than religion.

  17. Good you took my suggestion as the topic for this post 🙂

    Mumbai can boo Sachin but will Kolkata ever boo Ganguly…? Good to know they have stopped deifying SRT now, though it could take one good innings to regain the demigod status!

    I am glad the crowd shouts Ganpati Bappa Morya. People are aware of their true inherent identity and it’s great they don’t have to conceal it in the garb of (pseudo)secularism. What would you say about a section of Muslims refusing to sing Vande Mataram? Justified because of secularism?

  18. gb:

    i see the difference (and similiarity) between “connected” and “properly connected” now. while you are at it, you might want to teach bill clinton the correct definition of “is” as well. 🙂

    – s.b.

    p.s. lemme throw in a non sequitur – i am definitely not “well connected”. nywayz, keep em coming dude. your cricket articles are thought provoking and fertile grounds for good debate, though the topic of debate might have nothing to do whatsoever with the game. case in point, this comment.

  19. GB, Ganpati Bapa Morya is not new. First I heard was in 1987, India vs England WC Semis. It didnt work as India went down by 17 runs. A day earlier or probably later, the Lahore crowd went Allah-o-Akbar in support of the Pakistani Cricket team but it was Jesus, again,uninvited by either England or Australia, in the form of Australia who prevailed. So much for appealing for divine intervention and the role of Gods in deciding Cricket matches.
    I find it stupid that crowds invoke Gods during cricket matches – it is the sort of juvenile reaction which I abandoned in my middle teens 🙂

  20. And certainly, boy, have the marathis proved they are ‘secular’ with respect to the GOD of Indian cricket? 😉
    GB, what do you think would be the Eden Garden reaction if it had been Sourav and Eden rather than Sachin and Mumbai?

  21. A brilliantly written and well-balanced post. I agree to your viewpoint. However, I’d like to add something. While I don’t support the booing in this case, one must remember that the booing only shows the love and faith the Mumbai crowd places on Sachin. That is why they boo him. Will they boo if Dhoni or Pathan or Sehwag gets out cheaply?
    Finally, I’d like to quote Tagore…”Shashon kora tarei saje sohag kore je go” (Only he who loves has the right to punish)… Spectators who don’t understand the finer points of the game, who never find out what were the playing conditions when Sachin made a century, who don’t appreciate a shot if it doesn’t reach the fence, who don’t understand anything other than fours and sixes, have no right to boo Sachin. But true cricket lovers, who appreciate good cricket as an even contest between the bat and the ball definitely have the right to boo Sachin if he gets out playing a bad shot.

  22. Yeah. I agree. I have something to add here but I have written a post regarding this in myblog too. Take your time to visit. And drop your comments.

    Incidence on Gavaskar and holding shows fickleness of public that too so instantly.

  23. Making this comment without reading any of the earlier comments, so if I am repeating a point already made, apologies.

    1) As I wrote on my blog, only a small section of the crowd did the booing. In fact the 1st report of cricinfo, probably s rajesh’s, mentioned “a few solitary boos”. it now turns out they emanated from the garware pavilion, whose tickets were not even up for sale. which means people inhabiting those stands got the passes through their contacts or soemthing…the nouveau riche if you will. certainly not representative of the “wankhede crowd”.

    2) The Wankhede crowd, the one which pays money to watch cricket, sits in the east, north and west stands. NO ONE from these stands booed Sachin.

    3) The crowds were very appreciative of strokes played by the english team too, or even of good fielding efforts. There was applause after every shot played by Strauss and Flintoff, and Strauss even got a standing ovation for his century.

    4) The “ganpati bappa morya” chant has now become somewhat semi-religious. I wouldn’t say it is a response to allahu akbar. It has got a nice musical ring to it, and is generally yelled at many different occasions. It is a bit difficult to explain concisely to a non-bombayite…but believe me, it is at best semi-religious.

    5) I was a bit taken aback by the ‘fintoff is a bastard’ and ‘hoggy is a doggy’ chants too. But as I wrote on my blog, the same stands which would yell ‘flintoff is a bastard’, would burst into thunderous applause at every boundary he hit. SO I dont think the north stand guys mean any serious offence. they are having what is their version of harmless fun. these are the very people who applauded hoggard after he finished a wicket taking over and went on the boundary to field near those stands.

    6) If you are watching on TV, notice the outfield. Hardly any bottles, cups, or pamphlets thrown on the ground as is the wont of crowds all over India.

    All in all I agree completely with what your post says. But it doesn’t completely apply to the Wankhede crowd in this match.

  24. Well, read several articles about the sachin incident, one mentioning Sachin is mortal afterall. If this booing helps in a way to bring Sachin back into the mortal world and relieve him of the monkey from the back then good for him and his fans. Look forward to see how sachin fares in the second innings.

  25. On a related topic…

    I have been watching interestedly the last few matches in the post Ganguly era and my most notable observation is that other than Dhoni (and even he got hit on the head, hardly the hallmark of a good short ball player), NO indian player can play the short ball. When Gang was in the team he used to cop a lot of stick from all the so called pundits for not being able to play bouncers, but I see nothing better from Sehwag, Tendulkar, Jaffer, Yuvraj etc. Sehwag has been caught of the same ball now three times in three matches (including Pakistan) fending the short ball off…Sachin used to, but not any more. Nowadays he is too intent on just surviving.

    The other interesting thing about the post Ganguly era is that now people (including Greg Chappell, the future World Cup winning coach for India) are realizing (or revealing reluctantly) that, well, um, err, unlike the impression we had given you…actually not every problem was caused by Gang and Gang’s exit has not solved every problem!

    Now that Gang is finished, I am actually happy in a way because now we can concentrate on actually noticing the others’ performances. Tendulkar was booed at Bombay day before – we all know that. But he played a terrible, terrible shot. He is permanently out of form, still regaining fitness after his layoff for the last 6 months. (But Zaheer wasn’t given that much time mind you, and Nehra will never come back). Laxman is out of the team for poor form. Sehwag fires once a series. Pathan has become a fast spinner, bowling 20 kmph faster than Kumble. Kumble can only bowl in India. Harbhajan has taken 3-4 wickets in the last two series. Let’s see how we solve these problems, now that there is no Ganguly to blame.

  26. I take great pride in declaring myself as ‘THE BIGGEST SACHIN FAN ALIVE’.

    Still, I feel…..

    This is not the first time Sachin has let the fans down. In fact, he keeps doing so in most of his outings. One hundred and then a series of single digit scores, then a couple of 20s and 30s and again some single digit scores, finally a hundred again followed by some single digit scores. This has been the kind of cricket he has ben playing ever since he has changed his batting style (from aggressive to ‘neither aggresive nor defensive’ mode), post World Cup 2003.
    I’m not too sure whose idea it was to have his way of playing changed. But to be
    ruthlessly honest, it’s doing no good to Indian cricket. His rate of success and contribution in India’s wins was more significant when he used to play his naturally attacking game.
    Everytime someone asks him why he has changed his game, his reply has been : “I have been given a certain role to play by the team management and I’m doing exactly that.”
    Is this the role the team management wants you to play? Playing out 21 deliveries for a mere single, that too against an inexperienced bowling attack?

    Sourav Ganguly’s weakness with short-balls has been talked and written about a lot.

    What about these?

    1. How can one who is considered as ‘Bradman-Part II’ by many get bowled through the gap between the bat and the pad so regularly even by mediocre and very very young and inexperienced bowlers ?

    2. How can one who has played 132 tests and 365 ODIs chase w—i—-d—–e harmles deliveries outside off-stump and throw away his wicket ?

    3. How can one who has spent close to 17 years in the international arena have very very oddly visible weakness to the rising deliveries outside off ?

    This is certainly not ‘our Sachin’.

    With only 2-3 years (at max) of cricket left in him, unless he reverts to his old way of playing, I don’t see him lasting for too long in ‘Team Chappel’. Even the strong and Pawar-ful Mumbai lobby can’t save him if things go on like this.

    However, I don’t think the Mumbai crowd had overreacted. Had it been his only failure in recent times, the ‘booing’ could have been termed as ‘unfair’. But it was his 7th consecutive failure in tests, after he scored that record-breaking 35th ton against Sri Lanka.
    If someoe in a family fails in the same subject again and again, other family members are bound to react in some way or the other. It was just like that.

    They love him, they love his game, the expect a lot from him but he has been letting them down quite often these days. Therefore, the reaction was to come at some point of time or the other and it did. Nothing unfair.

  27. Mumbai crowd has proved it patriotism and has shown that they are above parochialism. I wish these Bongs would have done something similar for their ‘Maharaj’

    For two years we had to tolerate an inferior player like him in the team because of the ‘Kolkotta’ lobby.

  28. Arnab,
    Sorry….slightly off-topic here but I really want to post this reply to Rish…..

    @ Rish…

    Well well well… World Cup 2003, I don’t remember Sachin has done anything which makes him far ‘SUPERIOR’ to ‘inferior’ players like Ganguly. It has been more than a couple of years after that. Still the rule that was applied to Ganguly is not being applied to him. Why? If it isn’t the Mumbai lobby then what is it?

    Sachin’s performance in last 15 tests he has played :

    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct St

    Unfiltered 131 10434 248* 55.79 35 41 37 3/10 51.16 0 81 0
    Filtered 15 894 248* 49.66 2 3 2 1/27 146.50 0 8 0

    Sourav’s performance in last 15 tests he has played :

    Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct St

    unfiltered 88 5221 173 40.78 12 25 26 3/28 54.57 0 59 0
    filtered 15 635 101 33.42 1 3 3 1/14 76.66 0 6 0

    I’m not drawing any comparison between the two. Sachin is way beyond this sort of comparisons, I know.
    I’m just asking you to study the statistics carefully. In his last 15 tests Sachin’s average has been 49.66 which is 6.13 less than his overall average 55.79. We must not forget that this period includes his highest score of 248* v/s minnows Bangladesh. If you take out that innings, his average will slide further down to 35.89, that is, a whoopping 19.90 less than his overall average.

    Whereas in Sourav’s last 15 tests his average was 33.42 which was 7.36 less than his overall average of 40.78. This includes the 101 v/s another minnows Zimbabwe. If you take out that innings, his average becomes 29.67, which is 11.12 less than his overall average.

    See the difference : Sachin – down by 19.90 , Sourav – down by 11.12.

    If the drop in Ganguly’s average indicated his end was nearing him, doesn’t Sachin’s do the same?

    Make no mistake, I’m not questioning Sachin’s stature as a batsman. To me, he has always been, still is and will always be the best.

    All I’m trying to say is we should stop anti-Ganguly-ism (synonym of anti-Bengali-ism). However much these so-called ‘patriots’ try to sound unbiased, the truth unfortunately is that had Ganguly not been from Bengal, and perhaps if he hadn’t stood by Abhijit Kale in the bribr controversey against Kiran More, he would still be in the team and that too as the skipper. Period.

  29. As a die-hard Sachin fan, I only hope he comes back in the second innings and let his bat do the talking.

    However, talking of slogans, here´s one of my favourites…

    “Mangal bhavan, amangal hari
    India Jeeti, West Indies Hari”

    would have been more appropriate had it been Pakistan that we´d beaten…. 🙂

  30. Masked Masquerader March 21, 2006 — 1:05 pm

    Agree with your analysis. But then, this is the generation bred on a total diet of instant gratification, inane commentators and the biggest culprit of them all Tony Greig. :)) I guess expecting the crowd to understand the nuances of the game and more importantly appreciate them is a bit too much. Even the so called expert commentators (putting aside their skills in the box [and may be even ON the pitch in a few cases] they have atleast played in several such matches themselves and hence definitely should be able to understand them) seem to be unable to appreciate these nuances. Finally, I think the crassness attributed to the highly commercialized American sports (cheerleaders and everything) (another import from the same besides technology & tonnes of marketing money) has been making its presence felt in sports quite alien to such things by their very nature (aka slow, long winding, not entirely physical, etc., etc.) for quite sometime now and probably might explain deteorating crowd behavior over the years.

  31. All,

    Well agree with the points expressed by Gaurav above.

    Was present on the first day in Wankhede and that too in the North Stand. Yes, there was a lot of abuse which was directed at the English crowd. You can call it racist too. But, the abuse(mostly the usage of asshole and bastard) was not made with malice. If any of the English crowd smiled or waved, then the whole crowd used to laugh and then again break into a musical rendition of *asshole*asshole* 🙂

    As, to booing, on the first day, if anyone was booed, it was Flintoff. The Mumbai crowd still cant get over the trauma of Flintoff’s grand expose and he was heckled for it. Would like to come clear and say I also was involved in Flintoff’s booing.
    And, a little part of the sloganeering was done against Dravid and that was simply for the reason that he spoiled the weekend for the new age cricket enthusiasts who simply wanted to see India bat. Again, this is a reflection of the point raised by Arnab wherein the public is only interested in watching the bat over the ball.

    The press mentioned about the boos but did they mention the cheers that were spontaneous for the English batting. Or the support given whenever Munaf used to run in and bowl.

    Now, to Sachin’s booing. My friends were there again on the next day and that too in the North Stand. I am just recounting their version.
    There was no booing from the crowd, atleast the North Stand crowd. The crowd was too stunned to react. Then, the English crowd took over and started taunting/booing/singing. In response, the Indian crowd started booing the English crowd. And according to my friends, the press version was highly exaggerated.

    And, completely agree with you when you say that if someone can clap for someone, then he can also voice his displeasure. Maybe one finds the jeers not in good taste, but Indians have always been emotional about all the things and emotions have a way of getting out of the system in different forms.

    To the Saurav haters,

    Also, every time there is a mention of cricket, is it necessary to drag Saurav and Bengal in it? When the Indian team didnt perform well in the match against Aus in the world cup, Saurav’s brother was vocal in his criticism about the team. And last heard, Saurav’s brother was a Bengali. So, stop crapping about the Bengal angle everytime.


  32. Something really disappointing. Had read your previous post on your ‘adieu’ to Ganguly. Bong bashing in that column could very well be understood. But dragging the bong angle in here again is simply ridiculous.

    If bongs are fanatics you guys are no good either. Somehow the Kolkatta fans and Ganguly’s place in the team has to find its place in anything related to Indian cricket today.

    Stick to the point. Sachin is a great player – his stats speak, sorry, scream out to you saying that he is a great player. Drawing parallels with anyone else is not justified; because what he has achieved in the early part of his career cannot be matched by many. After all we are talking about someone who has excelled in both forms of the game by totaling more than 10,000 runs in each.

    But there has to be a point where we need to find a balance. As an Indian supporter I expect my team to perform well each time it plays. And when I start thinking in those terms I shall surely consider any players recent performance. When Sachin had walked in, the game was in a dicey situation. His wicket left an uncomfortable feeling with a possibility of a follow on. All this leads to disappointment and for sure this could be what had irked the fans in Wankhede.

    His experience does matter, and there was a time when the entire team could bank upon him. But now days, he seems to have lost the ‘fire in the belly’. Accepted that his injuries have affected his game, accepted that it is 16 years since he has been playing for India and age is a factor we should not ignore, accepted that form is temporary and class is permanent. But is the team ready to digest all this and still come up with an explanation for a failed innings which could have very well put us on the back foot. Experience alone should not serve as a criterion. A benchmark is required, and I feel all players, irrespective of which ever rank they qualify to be, need to meet the same.

    After all, when you play for your country, you are answerable to the people who have supported you during your highs. Take it how ever you want to, you might call the crowd fickle minded, immature, not intelligent or whatever. What you forget is that, it is these very people who have made a Hero out of Sachin – very well not realizing the class behind his square cut, cover drive, his famous pull shot over mid-wicket, innovative paddle sweeps. Not realizing the magnitude of this batsman in the way he out-witted many great bowlers of the likes of Shane Warne, Saqlain Mushtaq, Allan Donald and Waqar Younis. Is it a wonder then that is these very ignorant masses who out of sheer disappointment boo him when he fails not once, but in a period of succession.

  33. Good read this. After reading this & the comments only one thing comes to my mind…..what next? Where will we be in the World Cup? Is this slide similar to the Hockey team…from Glory to Ignominy.

    All said & done, its Dravid who still holds the old Guard and haven’t gone the Ganguly/ Sachin / Sehwag way. Hats off to him. I am a Bong from Bombay so it pains to see Ganguly & Sachin doing the ‘honours’ for Team India.

  34. Ah!cricket…cant leave it, cant live without it…probably the only area where any jack-about-town can turn into a statistician quoting everything from numbers to events to that delicate chip to that change in backlift to that shift of weight to that niggle-wiggle of the guard and so on and so forth.

    But,that is not the purpose of this piece.

    Cricket lovers,more often as a rule than an exception,tend to use the “world” quite liberally.

    I abhor the very use of the word “world” in a purely cricketing environment.Australia,New Zealand,India,Pakistan,Sri Lanka,England,South Africa,West Indies and Zimbabwe do not make the world.Please.

    If u ask me, the only way we can get to 10% (from 8%) is to lessen our fixation for cricket.I would call our cricket team a bunch of over rated and over paid “athletes” (if i may the word…),who possibly cant dream of doin wht SA did against Aus.

    Cant blame the pay though.BCCI makes half of what Real Madrid makes.And THAT is huge!!!

    My remedy:
    Watch soccer,get drunk,beat the hell out of the other team’s fans (gettin the “team” themselves would be manna from heaven),hurl racial abuse and feel good.Amen!

    I do love cricket though.

    And,do u remember the time Sachin opened against New Zealand…hittin 15 fours and two sixes(i think) to be caught and bowled by a guy called Hart…

  35. @Spyder Mann: And that’s because Sachin is God. Or so people would like us to believe. It was fun to see orkut group discussions—the same people who were talking about the dropping of a certain player due to non-performance simply say “Sachin’s role is to mentor the younger players”. Heh.

    @Varsha: Whatever it maybe I find it inappropriate.

    @DeepThirdMan: Well there you go. Parochialism again. Firstly the Kolkata crowd has booed Ganguly—two occasions I remember clearly. The South Africa Test when we lost despite a hammering Zulu took from Azhar. And the 2001 India-Australia Test. In both cases, Sourav was roundly booed when he walked out at the Eden. Now according to Gaurav, the Mumbai crowd didnt boo Sachin—-so where does that leave your argument?

    As to Ganapati Bappa Moriya, it maybe your identity but you have no right to impose it on others. Summing up, while you know very well that I oppose political correctness in all forms and I have taken significant flak from people like Akash for my stance, I certainly do not condone yours which is quite another extreme.

    @Raj: God likes football. And the Eden crowd would have reacted thus—-concerted booing of Ganguly. As I pointed out, its only the anti-bengalism that passes off for anti-gangulyism that made Calcutta get solidly behind Ganguly. I remember none of my friends (me included) were ever big fans of Sourav—sure we liked him but nothing like the love and respect we had for Sachin. (I also adored Azhar).

    @Joy Forever: True they have the right to boo…but in this case it was less about Sachin and more about the brilliance of the English.

    @Abhijit: Yes right.

    @Gaurav, HP: While understanding your point and your defence of the Wankede crowd, please do explain what this is:

    Ex-India captains Dilip Vengsarkar and Ajit Wadekar have castigated the Mumbai crowd for their rowdy and abusive behaviour, with the former having a few such people thrown out of the Wankhede Stadium here Monday.

    ‘I asked the security people to throw out those persons when Ian Bell (of England) got out (in the second innings),’ Vengsarkar told IANS on the third day of the third Test here.

    They were standing right behind me and booing Bell. I had them thrown out,’ a visibly upset Vengsarkar said.


    On the opposite side of the dressing room, a section of the crowd in the North Stand was abusing English players with some unprintable slogans.

    Vengsarkar, Wadekar and former Test player Sudhir Naik, all of whom live here and know Mumbai crowds well, said that it was a shameful act and has brought the commercial capital of India into disrepute.

    ‘It is very shameful and, to be honest, it is bringing a bad name to Mumbai. It’s a rare and recent phenomenon,’ said Vengsarkar.

    Naik, who is the chief curator at the Wankhede Stadium, said the crowds were bringing the Indian culture a bad name.

    ‘Perhaps, the organisers can ask the people to throw out those who make those nasty comments,’ he suggested. ‘But I guess the police would also show their helplessness, saying that how many people could they punish.’

    A rowdy crowd at the packed Wankhede Stadium jeered English players on Monday throughout the day’s proceedings using abusive language.

    Those at that particular section of the North Stand were mainly targeting the English players.

    When the situation seemed to go out of control, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) officials requested the crowd in Marathi to cut out on the abusive language. But it had little effect and they continued shouting and jeering.

    One of the slogans, aimed at pacer Matthew Hoggard and that could be written about, was ‘Hoggie is a Doggie’.

    So Gaurav and HP, I frankly cannot reconcile this version of events with what you guys said. I do understand press reports are greatly exaggerated most of the time. I also cannot consider calling someone a doggie and a bastard is in any ways “good-natured” and “clean fun”. These people are sports professionals and such behaviour cannot be condoned as “part of the game”—-its shameful. Clapping them subsequently doesnt cover up the ignominy of this kind of abuse hurled at sports professionals.

    @Maniman: Perhaps.

    @Shan: Excellent point. And Sachin is injured again and has been rested for the ODIs—where I think he has the most potential for making a difference to the side. And do notice that Venugopal Rao has made his way back.

    @ Dev: Team Chappell is not about quality or performance—its about how subservient you are to the Boss. Simple as that.

    @Rish: Absolutely right.

    @Dev: Why waste time with people like Rish/Rishi ? Their parochialism comes to the fore no matter what you write about.

    @Manu: Hope so too.

    @Masked Masquerader: Tony Greig is an ass. Lets all agree to that.

    @Abishek: Lets not waste our time with people like Rish, ynot and the other clowns who frequent my cricket posts.

    @Ashit: Yes its only Dravid…thats it. One batsman. Half batsman in Yuvraj. And yet we play with 5 batsmen.

    @Thasleem: I do remember….with fondness…all those Sachin-Sourav partnerships.

  36. On booing – Nirmal Shekhar believes booing isn’t on and I am with him here. Booing represents not appreciating the fact that sportsmen are likely to perform poorly. Arnab da, you spoke regarding how crowds do not appreciate good cricket and brought out the point very well. Similarly I feel crowds do not appreciate sports persons when they boo. Sportspersons do not ask the fans to applaud them, to treasure them. It is great that they do. But that does not give them the right to disrespect sports people regardless of the worst performance.

    Now you might ask or digress that booing does not necessarily mean disrespect to a sports person. If you go to see a play and see poor acting, do you start boiing because you did not get your money’s worth? Not really.

    Do not appreciate a performance, do not come next time to watch the cricket.

    I will give a further analogy. Suppose I do not like a specific post of yours for lack of effort or lack of quality. Do I have the right to boo you despite not getting worth (suppose we have to pay to read your posts 🙂 )

    I can debate with you regarding a point. Similarly if player X allows discussion to take place, we can debate regarding the way player X played, should have played. But if you put a no comments or do not give your email id, we cannot have a discussion. That is your choice and not mine. The choice of your reader is to visit your blog or not.

    The choice of a crowd is to watch cricket or not. If it cheers, thank you. The crowd is free to enjoy but not much more. If it goes into booing, it becomes a mob IMO. A reason I do not appreciate NBA crowds.

  37. I may be wrong but with Sachin, some of the Indians are beginning to get tired and sad because they are hoping to see again the Tendulkar of yesteryears, something that is unlikely to happen.

    I am sure the booing thing may have happened at Eden’s Garden too, there is no point blaming the Mumbai people…

    Sachin has scored runs, hit centuries and done everything but hasn’t quite shown a consistent, masterly form, for a couple of series.

    While this may be unfair to expect or demand since he hasn’t quite recovered with all his injuries, but the fact that he scores a century followed by a string of cheap dismissals leaves a lot to be desired.

    Well at least, I know there is no other player loved as much as Sachin, so I am not so worried about the booing incident, if only Sachin could play in the ODI and smash the bowlers around to bring things back to normalcy. 🙂

    Waise yeh sab chhodo, you should be happy Arnab!

    Sourav is in good company now!


  38. @Pratyush:

    I will give a further analogy. Suppose I do not like a specific post of yours for lack of effort or lack of quality. Do I have the right to boo you despite not getting worth (suppose we have to pay to read your posts 🙂 )

    Precisely. You do have the right to say “I didn’t like it because of so-and-so reason” or “Your so-and-so point can be refuted thusly”. Some people go beyond that and just say like Swapnil of Mumbai “You suck” (that’s akin to throwing bananas at players)—I allow even that. And if I feel good at people saying kind things, then I should be equally comfortable facing such brickbats.

    With respect to Sachin and his audience, there is no room for comments or debate. The only way the audience can express its displeasure is booing. Its free speech—simple. Of course its no longer free speech when objects are hurled, people are called bastards and doggies —because now the intention is not to criticize but to humiliate or physically harm a player. That cannot be tolerated.
    @Mukul: At last. I was waiting for people of your sharp intellect who would be able to see through my subterfuge and point out my barely-concealed glee at Sachin’s demise. As it is, being Bengali I am  by definition, unpatriotic and so need to learn the art of patriotism and cricket-appreciation from people like you.

    BTW, I am sure you noticed my point that the standard of cricket appreciation has declined all over India and not merely at Wankede. In that context, I truly appreciate your “I am sure the booing thing may have happened at Eden’s Garden too, there is no point blaming the Mumbai people…” which just goes to show how deeply you read and comprehended everything I wrote.

    I am happy Nitin but not for the reason you mentioned. I am happy because people like you grace my blog.

  39. Arnab, Then let me take this apt opportunity to “boo” you a little bit. I have noticed in your last couple of posts the trend is something like this: you notice something in the online press that you don’t like and then you blog about it.. the worst of these was the one on the Greatest ODI ever which led to the most pointless debate ever on your blog (on second thoughts expand that to include all blogs that I follow, but that is only a few good ones). I mean, its hardly surprising some people chose to call it the “greatest” ODI ever, so what. Then some people got Bagha Jatin’s name wrong (again a mistake that didn’t surprise at all) and you wrote another blog post. This debate over whether or not it is ok to boo sportspersons can still be called a worthwhile topic perhaps, but again I feel there was no need to quote Sambit Bal – that again makes it seem like one purpose of this blog post is to comment on another article in the media.

    Of course, having earned so many regular readers, you will never fall short of comments and as we saw, your commenters will debate endlessly over contexts where it is appropriate to use terms like “greatest” and blah blah blah. But again, so what. I’ll keep visiting your blog looking for the creative humorous stuff like articles on Parnab, Mithunism, etc. that I liked so much and which have become less frequent now (or maybe just seems so to me).

  40. Dear GB,

    What did Gaurav Sabnis say? That the booing of Sachin does not necessarily reflect that the Wankhade crowd is bad.

    I would like to say similarly that even though several incidents have taken place at Eden, still…still the Eden crowd is very knowledgeble and its only the incendiary attitude of a few that brings a bad name to the crowd in general. I was at the Eden on Day 1 in 1998 when Australia played India and India then were under Azza. Ganguly was fielding in the deep square leg position and Steve Waugh played a sweep shot off Harbhajan Singh. Now you know the the fielder has to move right as the trajectory of the ball when the batsman plays a sweep sends the ball futher and further fine. Somehow Ganguly goofed it and the ball went for 4. 2 rows before me some guys shouted ” Ei shala shuorer baccha tui ekhaneo misfielding korchis. ” (Son of a swine..youre misfielding here too. )” For a moment Ganguly looked at the section of the crowd astonished (yes open stand , burning sun etc etc. ) and then went back to his fielding position.

    So to all the above commentators who think that Ganguly doesnt get brickbats from the Calcutta crowd..youre wrong! By comparision, booing is a milder thing and Id call it much civilized too. Its the collective fault of the media and us fans that have made a God out of a great batsman that is Sachin ….but thats the Indian nature. So when the God is bought down, the media is astonished. After all it makes good copy on Front page of TOI.

    As we have got more and more ways of instant gratification,the advent and evolution of ODIs and now 20-20s has made crowds very impatient. I know may people would have got bored to death seeing Day 4 yesterday.

    I think Shan’s post made some excellent points. To quote him, “actually not every problem was caused by Gang and Gang’s exit has not solved every problem!”

    As I have said , Sachin Tendulkar being the best limited overs batsman of all time and with the kind of restriction that ODis put on bowlers will still score runs in ODis. Even if hes not 100% he”ll score runs by inertia. But Test match is a different ballgame and those short of length balls which he would have earlier stood on his toes on the backfoot and punched staraight or through mid off/ cover ….are now difficult to negotiate. The reason is not beacuse he has lost technique or anything….its just that his body / back/ reflexes does not allow him. After playing Test cricket since the age of 16, the body and reflexes of a 35 year old cannot be that of a 27 year old. 80 mph ..can be negotiated, inconsistent bowling also…but Shoaib Chuckter at 95 and this enngish short of good length stuff at around 90 may be very difficult to handle. To be honest…he played horribly in Pakistan…horrible….as he did in this Test series. So criticism is justified. Sepia tinted observers can go on as to how such a great player cant be kept down, that a big gem is around the corner, but bitter pills are hard to swallow. If Sachin’s body had cooperated, he would not have altered his game since Sydney 2004 and only hit throught leg and a eschewd so many other shots.

    If Sachin Tendular wants he can still burn on for a 1- 2 years , but he has to but I feel he has to take breaks from one form of the game…as Lara did…but no he has millions of dollars he will have to go to Dubai to play bullshit matches etc.

    Coming to Day 5, India should play for pride today. I know its a forgotten art, but the batsmen have to dig deep and hold on for a draw. If such a severely enervated English team manages to square the series from here on, its shame on India , and Dravid for making a stupid folly of choosing to field first. Just seeing how adhesive like the wicket has become, I tend to agree with Simon Hughes that India will have to do something herculean to win today. Batting out there, as is eveident from the efforts of stroke players like Dhoni, Flintoff yesterday and Kp is like swimming in mercury, not water. But SMG (the man who allegedly threw away his wicket in the same stadium on that day in 1987 against England as he didnt want to play the final at Eden which has treated him badly)says in his podcast that the advantage lies with India and they will surely go on to win this one! Well, I only pray that they go unscathed in the first session today and then evluate the situation from then on. But a loss would be utterly shameful. And would probably deserve a few more boos.

  41. @pratyush: You and me and others should consider ourselves extremely lucky that we are being able to comment on this blog. Many people say that they dont like a particular blog post of Arnab. Well thats fine! Some posts back, a guy from NCSU said that he likes GB, but whenever GB writes on Saurav he abuses Arnab under the guise of a different person blissfully unaware of his IP. Well, disagree, say its bad, but dont abuse. You are not paying Arnab for his posts . Yes we are patrons, but we should be understanding of the fact that HE ALLOWS UNMODERATED COMMENTS. I think people take this huge quality of his blog quite lightly and therefore takes him for granted and makes potshots and innuendos on him, his Bengali connection with ganguly …as the commentator above. How would you feel one day when you see a No comments post on this blog?

    Coming to booing, Nirmal Sekhar has a patent on writing articles which have the first para eulogizing sport in general, the second para eulogizing his favourite player like Sampras / Sachin/ Schumi and then everything else. If instead of Sachin Tendular , Irfan Pathan was booed, noone would have said anything. But again it is in the Indian psyche to make mountains out of molehills. Today’s professional sportsmen know that such things are part and parcel of the sport. All this hullaballo is nothing compared to what the South African players went through went they were down Under- beacuse that was more than booing / stray abuse….it was racism.

    @ yourfan: whereever you are….read this quote by GB-

    “Precisely. You do have the right to say “I didn’t like it because of so-and-so reason” or “Your so-and-so point can be refuted thusly”. Some people go beyond that and just say like Swapnil of Mumbai “You suck” (that’s akin to throwing bananas at players)—I allow even that. And if I feel good at people saying kind things, then I should be equally comfortable facing such brickbats. ”

    Reflects the maturity of the man unlike many other so called intellectuals who shoot from behind smokescreens, and are immensely ashamed to engage in a debate as it will show their true selves, their prejudices and vacuous arguments. It also reflects what a level-headed person GB is. If Rudyard Kipling was a person in this day and age, the first line of his famous poem ‘If’ would have read , ” If you can treat triumph and disaster just like GB”.

  42. Hi Arnab,

    Someone once asked Babe Ruth how he can justify making more money than President Harding, and he simply replied, “Because I had a better year than he did.

    So you see, it is “what have you done for me lately” attitude that permeates our society. No point trying to analyze it.

  43. darn…….just as i was writing a post about crowd behavior, you say most of what i want to say.

    Plagarism, i say. I’ll have to haul your ass in to court…

    *as always, good post*

  44. okay, how come booing is part of democratic freedom of expression but chanting “Ganapati Bappa Moriya” or “Allah hu Akbar” is not???

  45. So GreatBong tell me what is your stand on Vande Mataram? Is our national song imposing on everybody to look at India in the form of the Mother? Muslims do not believe in bowing to anyone other than Allah, so aren’t they justified in refusing to sing Vande Mataram? Is singing Vande Mataram against our secular heritage? This is in the context of whether chanting Ganpati Bappa Morya is encroaching on others rights.

  46. @ obsessed4life: Of course it is. But it has nothing to do with love or hate for any sort of cricket- poor or sublime- which makes it totally inappropriate in context of the game.

  47. On Id, do you say ‘Id Mubarak’ to friends who are Muslims, or do you refuse? That point was really lame. Brilliant article otherwise. 🙂

  48. Arnab da would you defend a theatre audience booing a poor performance as well?

  49. 34 of 57 balls. Out to someone called Shaun UDal who on any other day I would confuse with Moong Dal, Chana Dal and Udad Dal. Breaks my heart man..this guy.

  50. Very embarrasing loss GB. It poves that Karachi was no one – off thing. Our test side has serious batting problems. A win was never possible…but those fuckers couldnt bat even a day out.They should learn from how Flintoff and company batted yesterday. england deserved to win this test though- they fought like bulldogs. How a test defeat rankles!!

  51. Ok, first thanks guys for appreciating my earlier post.

    I am typing this a couple of hours after Rahul Dravid literally gave the test series away to Flintoff. Metaphorically he had done that on the first day by choosing to field after winning the toss. England completed the formalities and the series is drawn 1-1.

    But let me tell you what will NOT happen now:

    1. There won’t a many voices castigating Rahul Dravid for his captaincy. Oh no. After all he is still new, and aww c’mon he’s such a nice guy. Besides he is the best test batsman in the world. That means automatically, best captain also, no? NO? In fact SMG called it a “brave” decision because it was looking “for the future”. Forget the fact that Sourav was mercilessly flagellated for making the same mistake in the World Cup finals.

    2. There won’t be any commentator or columnist saying anything against Greg Chappell for choosing a team with 5 batsmen in a ground like Bombay where batting is always difficult. No one will ask what the purpose of having Laxman in the 15 is when he will not be played. Who dare question Greg Chappell? He is a visionary, an experimenter, an alchemist! After all under him we have won two ODI series in a row! As long as we win ODIs, all’s well with the world.

    3. There will be no more criticism of Tendulkar. He is injured. Therefore “saat khoon maaf”. Now we suddenly realize it was not his form or technique, but that dratted injury that caused his performance to dip these last 6 months. Maybe his sensitive soul was also disturbed by the entire Sourav Bhagao Andolan. We should be ashamed of booing him. I’m sure the Bombay crowd is committing suicide in droves already because of their guilt. Did they dare question the demigod? He is sure to come roaring back, like Amitabh Bachchan, first in advertisements, then ODIs, then tests. Till the next injury.

    4. There will be no press conference by Kiran More talking about how they have converted the team to lean mean fighting machine under the new regime. We will not see Kiran More in designer shades on TV hamming it up for the camera…not till the Windies series anyway.

    5. There will be no dissection in major website articles (read Sambit Bal, Prem Panicker etc.) of how a second string side (practically a B Team) beat Rahul Dravid’s mighty Indians in India. Even if there are some articles mentioning that, there will be no criticism of Dravid’s captaincy.

    6. One thing that will NEVER HAPPEN – Ajit Agarkar out of the India team. Never, never, no, no. Not in this lifetime, I daresay.

    Anything else guys? Arnab? Do chime in.

  52. GreatBong,

    Completely agree with your views… Indian cricket appreciation is at it’s lowest point now because of the over exposure in the media and news channels. Any T,D,H gets to speak/write in mainstream media and as a result everyone now is a “Cricket Expert” !!

    And in this mad-rush for “over analysing” cricket (which is a very fickle game , with margins of error being in milli-seconds) , we get such undeserving praise & adulation on one side and boo-ing/heckling on the other side.

    Cricket, in India, has become a Tamasha…that’s why I prefer to watch matches not played by India, so that I get balanced commentary and un-hyped analysis.

  53. Yup certainly bad decision by Dravid to field first, especially given the context of the series. Regarding Dravid v/s Ganguly as captains, one also needs to look into the form of Sehwag, Sachin, Laxman, etc. who scored heavily earlier and won matches but now struggle to cross single digits. Dunno, if a particular skipper has to take the credit or flak for their batting.

  54. @Shan

    Have to agree to with you. But point #1 (and perhaps #2) will not happen only because Dravid is relatively new in the captaincy role. Let the ennui set in and then watch the fun as by the end of the year the same press starts criticizing every move that Dravid makes (even when India wins!). Has not failed since Azhar, Sachin and Ganguly.

  55. YOURFAN writes:
    @pratyush and other commentators sharing pratyush’s thoughts: I usually don’t comment on posts on cricket. Of course, this post is not on cricket but mainly on the behavior of the cricket watching public. I wholeheartedly – 100% agree with GB when he writes “Precisely. You do have the right to say “I didn’t like it because of so-and-so reason” or “Your so-and-so point can be refuted thusly”. Some people go beyond that and just say like Swapnil of Mumbai “You suck” (that’s akin to throwing bananas at players)—I allow even that. And if I feel good at people saying kind things, then I should be equally comfortable facing such brickbats.”
    GB comes out clean on his stand and he practices what he preaches. I don’t know GB personally but he comes out to be a very level headed man thru his writings. But the person who goes by the name of Swapnil does not have the maturity or guts to answer the point raised by me and others for his comment of “you suck” without mentioning why he thinks “you suck”(in a previous post). Have you read GB’s reply to Swapnil? GB just said “thank you”. Doesn’t that say a lot about GB’s maturity? Instead of asking why Swapnil has not given any reason for his comments, GB just moves on. I love to associate myself with people with whom I disagree but I positively don’t like to associate myself with unreasonable people. I think these people are not only unreasonable but they are jealous of GB for some reasons only known to them.

    Your logic of “Do not appreciate a performance, do not come next time to watch the cricket.” does not apply to a game of cricket since it is a group game – it is not an individual who alone draws the crowd.

    You wrote: “Suppose I do not like a specific post of yours for lack of effort or lack of quality. Do I have the right to boo you despite not getting worth (suppose we have to pay to read your posts.” Yes, GB has made it perfectly clear that you may boo him but you have to give concrete reason why you think it lacks the quality or the effort.
    One more point: you don’t have to pay to read GB – even then you can boo him if you give a specific reason for your dislike of a particular post of his. But what if you had to pay some other blogger and you disliked what you read; would you thrash him because you did not get your money’s worth?

    @Mukul: You are pathetic – you with your insinuations put the sas/ aunty generation to shame!

    @Debashish: Who do you think you are to have a say on what GB should write or not? It is GB’s blog space and it is his prerogative to write on whatever fancies him. Who has appointed you to decide on which is “the most pointless debate ever on your blog”. You sure have the right to like or dislike a post but you sure don’t have the right to belittle/nullify others’ comments to be “pointless”. Haven’t you ever heard of the word ‘perspective’ – haven’t you ever been told to honor other peoples’ perspectives? Which world do you live in?
    Haven’t you ever been told that the world does not go around only for you? You may like the humorous posts on Mithun etc (I do too) but that does not mean that as a writer he should be catering to your likings only – there are other readers who may like to read on different topics too. It seems in your world you are the only person and I am sure it gets very lonely out there otherwise how can you write what you wrote.

    @yourfan2: How many times have I said that I totally agree with your observations and comments? Although I have never met you, it seems I know you – it is almost like knowing myself – although sometimes I wonder do men and women think alike – I am told they don’t usually. We must be the exceptions – right? When I see your comments on the blog, I feel happy as if personally I get the chance to say hello to my friend. When there is no comment from you, I wonder where you could be.

  56. @ Dev – Even when Sachin’s average dropped by 19 points, he had a better average than Ganguly’s. Although I am against the dropping of ganguly. he is not the yardstick for measuring success and failure. I do agree Sachin has dropped form. he is a shadow of his old self. But just to get even with ganguly’s dropping should we dropping everyone whos form has dropped a little.
    I think we tend to be at extremes when gauging performances. either they are ver ygood or utter rubbish. that is the main problem. we have not gauged value of performances but the quantity of the performances.

    @ Great Bong – I agree with you on the problems in the North Stand. People were acting unruly and constantly chanting anti-english slogans instead of supporting the INdians positively. Even when Yuvraj was at the Fine leg fence for Pietersen. they were trying to distract him by chanting “Kim Sharma” who supposedly he is seeing. He was heavily distracted and at different instances seemed more intesrested in responding to the crowd. That did bear on him during the two catching opportunities he had. the first one he was looking back before the ball was bowled. He moved slowly and the ball dropped three feet in front of him. Yuvraj has gone back to his old self. he is complacent like he was before being dropped for lengthy periods. having improved immensely he has regressed and become more and more relaxed. the North Stand is a shame. I am sad i was part of the crowd, despite not participating in any such english bashing.

    Sachin is a legend in India. No one can stand in front of him for how much he has gvien to the game physically and aspirationally. He has contrary to what “experts” say only an year at the most before retiring. i think his swansong will be the world cup. He has always performed brilliantly at that event and he will end on a peak before retreating and leaving us with memories.
    But the main disappointment in this match was Dravid. His decision after the toss was surprising coming from such a positive man. a man who will not stand back and wait for someone else to move. he will move first and get into winning positions. I have admired him for most of his career even when he was playing for Karnataka. I rooted for him when Karnataka won the Ranji Trophy. BUt he seriously failed as a captain in this match. The toss, the shoddy field placement what was Bhajji doing at point and Yuvraj at Fine leg??, the shoddy fielding – how many did they drop??, the pathetic batting in the second innings, 9 from 60 balls – waht was he thinking. he should have kept the score moving. why doesn’t he do what he does in one-days. i agree the situation is different than the shorter version. but a batsman plays the same shots. And soemone with Dravid’s capabilities must know better than to leave so many balls. he has the technique – better than anybody – to handle what is thrown at him. He failed my expectations.

    Irfan Pathan also petered off this time around. hardly any impact. he must increase his pace slightly. he will be deadly.

    Positives – Munaf (We could have our own mcgrath in the making), Sree Santh (The break dancer with a big heart), Kumble’s batting a little late but the man is coming into his own as a batsman. he used to open once for his district and club team.

    India are not a team to get bowled outfor 100 in India. They should have been a little more positive right from the time some sri lankan match referee flipped a coin.

  57. Arnab,

    ok..Read Gaurav’s as well as my comments again. I do sound a bit jumbled up. No way, I was trying to condone the abuse dished out to the English players. As to the booing and constant abuse, as I said in my stand(North Stand), the worst thing said on first day was “Flintoff is a b*****”(couple of times)… So, I was trying to present the first hand version rather than trying to be symphatetic to the abusive crowd..And as you said, one cannot condone the abuse, so i rest the matter there…

    And, moreover my comment was not made to condone the abuse but to let know the version of the people who were there on the ground during the so called “The Great Sachin Boo”..

    Yes, surely there are problems in the test team and no solutions are visible..


  58. Thank god the booing was not happened in Eden. Otherwise another series of Bengali bashing blogs would have been started.

  59. @Shan
    Well said. I would like to add one more point.
    No one will question Sehwag’s fitness (doesn’t matter whether his injuries were sustaining from the Sri Lanka series), and he will be automatically chosen in the one dayers alongwith Gautam Gambhir, the disciple of Greg Chappell. And Ganguly and Kumble’s name will never be considered.

  60. Nice post again.

    Test match is a test. And when Sachin plays 21 balls, scores one run, and is not able to beat the English at their strategy it is as much a failure of Sachin as the success of Flintoff and his bowlers. And for this there is nothing wrong in booing Sachin. Look at his scores, they are pathetic. And personally I am sick of hearing “form is temporary class is permanent”. Unfoprtunately what i hate about cricket and the way we criticise and appreciate our cricket is that we get too hyper. We either rip a person totally or put them on such pedestal that criticising them is not allowed. Sachin is not playing well and as his fans we owe it to him that we let him know there is something wrong. I’d rather criticise a person early than wait till a point of no return where we throw them out with no respect (like what was done to Ganguly.)

    Just look at football; the top players are so minutely scrutinised every season.

    Now about what you said
    “It was ‘Ganapati Bappa Moriya’. Now I have never heard this chant before from the Mumbai crowd” – I donno how you have not heard this one in Mumbai. Its really surprising. All the matches i remember played in Mumbai usually have people chating GBM. In Mumbai people would chant Ganpati Bappa Morya for anything and everything. It sometimes has less religious meaning and is more a feature of Mumbai’s character.
    I have been to matches at the wankhede only a couple of times, people in the stands who are chating are usually young people who are there to have a blast. Its like a party. People say trashy insensitive things, abuse the other team and all that, but I doubt anyone takes it seriously. I don’t think the crowd in Mumbai would ever burn seats or create a very serious ruckus. Surely not many people come to the stadium to apprciate the details of Test cricket. They go there only to experince a frenzy. For that people stay at home and watch the match on TV for the graphs and expert comments.

  61. I’l add a bit more.

    I had been to the India – Aus test in Mumbai (the series in which Laxman scored his big double century and india beat Australia in the series.) The Mumbai test was the first test and I was there on the 3rd day in the north stand. One of the guys had a poster whcih said, “Aussies save your P*ssies”. There were some australians in the stand sitting with the Indian fans and everyone was just having a laugh about it. India lost the match that very day!

    Adding more to what some have said about bad condition in the stadium – I hate it that the rules for the Indian spectators are different from those for the others. The English suporters were seen with beer, trumpets, bags etc. My friends who went for the match said the English supporters were allowed everything. While the Indians can’t even take a bottle of water. Its shameful that the authorities think so lowly of our own people. Sure, someone or the other is planning to bomb the city everyday and so Wankhede has very strict security rules. But it shudn’t be discriminatory.

  62. I shouted “Ganpati Bappa” at a Mark Knopfler concert (before the great man came on to the stage) and at the recent Bryan Adams concert – and received a HUGE “Morya” in return. In Bombay, it’s not communal or non-secular or competition to Allahu Akbar. It happens by REFLEX. Try it out next time in a crowd 🙂 No relevance to the post I guess but just wanted to add on to Sriram’s comment

  63. Sriram, I havent read all that you wrote but a comment on the Bombay (Mumbai) crowd not burning seats or create a very serious ruckus.

    I am from Bombay & had never thought that riots can take place here. I was proved wrong. There are many things that I thought would never never happen in Bombay (who would have thought Sachin would be booed at Bombay!!) but it did happen. I still love my Bombay but sad to say that the city is going to the dogs.

    Somehow I have this feeling that it is going the Calcutta way, Mills closing, unemployment, population, pollution, Load shedding. Calcutta is back on track & progressing I believe so hopefully Bombay will also turnaround someday after say 30-40 years 😦

  64. Nikhil Subramaniam March 22, 2006 — 9:28 pm

    Ashit – Firstly, weird name.
    Why can’t Sachin be booed in Mumbai? Is there some law against it? In fact if anywhere it is in his hometown that he should be criticised. We celebrate him the most, don’t we? Bombay Bomber and what not?
    Dravid should also have been booed, if booing is a norm. What a pathetic innings. But of course not, he was holding fort wasn’t he. He is the WALL. What a joke. 60 balls for 9 runs. The whole batting line-up is at fault. Sachin in fact played very well in the second innnings before getting out to one that surprised. Why should Sachin be singled out.

    @ Sriram – Class is permanent. It has been on display for 17 years by Sachin. for 10 years by Rahul. Form is temporary. It has been missing for the last 15 matches. You do the math. Btw, I also saw someone firang drinking beer in there and us poor brown-skinners are not even allowed a comb. Back to the Raj, is it?

    I would like to move a little ahead of the topic. India will thrash England 4-1 in the ODIs. All will be well. No one will remember this last test match. Unfortunately the average Indian fan does not have the fear of forgetting.

  65. @Debashish: In my defense, I could point out that the reason I quoted Mr. Bal was to give some context to what I was talking about—-thats usually the way its done on a blog. You dont just say “Sachin was booed” you give an extract or link. I could also say that this being MY blog, I have a right to write on issues that are important to ME: namely the bastardization of cricket (which is my favorite sport in the whole wide world), and the fact that copy editors cannot spell/dont know the name of such a prominent freedom fighter. Of course these things may appear trivial to YOU which is absolutely fine. But the last time I looked RTDM was MY space and you had a livejournal blog where you are free NOT to discuss these issues.

    Again I COULD have said this. But I won’t. You know why? Because I dont want to comment or blog about useless things/remarks–after all thats what your point was? So applying your own logic to your own comment, I gently smile, nod my head and move onto the next comment.


    @yourfan2: Day 5. Playing for pride. Need I say more? This tendency of Indians to get into a totally defensive paralysis while chasing big scores amazes me—-this has happened time after time. And just look at the ODI team. Venugopal Rao is BACK. Pride? Not a chance.

    As to your next comment, that guy wasnt from NCSU (wink wink)–leaving two other big names as possible candidates.

    @Surath: Maybe I am not getting something, but how does that relate to this post?

    @Sunil: Thank you….I was quick on the draw this time.

    @Obsessed4 Life: Because booing is a-religious.

    @ DeepThirdMan: Ganapati Bappa Moriya has got nothing “nationalistic” about it—unlike Vande Mataram. Again this cry has no connection with a secular concept of an Indian nation. Ganesh is a Hindu God—the idea of Mata in Vande Mataram is not religion-specific.

    @ Sudangshu: I dont get it. Of course I would say Id Mubarak. Its a Muslim occasion and I am greeting a Muslim friend. Now how has this anything to do with Ganapati Bappa Moriya at a cricket ground—is a Test match a Hindu festival?

    @Pratyush: As long as they dont disturb a performance in progress. In theaters, with the audience so close to the center of performance it is very difficult to boo and not intrude on the integrity of the performance. This is like booing/cheering in a tennis match—both of it is totally undesirable when the game is on.

    @The Comic Project: You know what…I thought to myself before the 5th day—Shaun Udal is going to be the man. One more sidey character who we shall make famous.

    @yourfan2: Sigh.

    @Shan: Oh boy. You gave me a good idea for a post which I am not going to do simply because we are having too much cricket on RTDM. The post idea was 2 versions of the same game report: SG as captain and RD as captain.

    @Arvind: True. Doesn’t take much to be a sports reporter.

    @DeepThirdMan: And form doesn’t have anything to do with security, batting position, general enthusiasm, team spirit and belonging?

    @BongoPondit: True. But as long as RD is accessible to the press things may be kind of fine.

    @Anon: But Yuvraj broke up with Kim Sharma right? Dravid has this tendency to get ultra defensive in the 4th innings—it happened against Pakistan too. Sachin was actually playing quite well (the way people are supposed to play) but just like Gangs in Pakistan, he was out to the first false stroke he played. Irfan Pathan’s bowling was rank disappointing—still remember that swinging yorker he bowled to Gilchrist in Australia.

    @HP: Point taken.

    @Anirban: Look around the comment section here. It already has.

    @Sriram: Valid points about the way our authorities treat foreigners and us differently making us perhaps the only country where reverse discrimination is practiced.

    @Ashit: Going the Calcutta way? Oh no.

    @Nikhil Subramanium: Whats the deal with “Ashit is a weird name” dude? I dont appreciate any personal remarks against anyone—and that includes stuff targeted at other commenters. You dont like someone’s opinions: present your case. And keep it at that.

  66. YOURFAN: Duh..I should have known that whether or not Arnab responds to my criticism of his choice of blog post topics, “his fan” sure will. In my comment, I didn’t use the qualifier “In my opinion” because obviously that’s what they are: my opinions and nothing else.

    Before your response to my comment, you criticise one Swapnil because he didn’t elaborate on his reasons why he said to Arnab “You suck”. Now, here I am quite specific in my criticism of Arnab: that I didn’t think much of the way he has been choosing his recent blog post topics. But still you find fault with me. Isn’t that a contradiction? Either I have the privilege as one of GB’s readers, to make this criticism, or I don’t. From what I have seen of GB’s opinion (including his take on Swapnil’s comment), I would think that I do.. why give a damn if it irritates her highness YOURFAN?

    And by the way, where did I ask to “have a say” on what GB should write? I merely told him as a reader what kind of posts of his I like (and would love to see more of), that’s all. How someone can take offence with that is beyond me! And again, it is my opinion that the “Greatest ODI” ever debate was the most pointless one ever on this blog. I see nothing wrong in expressing that opinion even if “no one has appointed me” to decide on that..

    And since you thought nothing of anonymously (yeah, you have a problem with anonymous people when they write nonsense about GB or you, but you doing something similar is perfectly fine) making unwarranted personal comments about what “my world” is like and how sure you are about “how lonely it gets there”, let me return the compliments by saying that in your world, being GB’s groupie on his blog seems to be your most satisfying accomplishment. And too bad your low self esteem lets you feel that your comments are belittled/nullified as soon as someone (me) happens to call the associated debate “pointless”.

  67. @Debashish: Our comments crossed—I have replied to your comment. Nothing irritates me—except ants in my underwear and Sushma Swaraj. While I do understand and welcome your feedback on what you would want to see, that was not the sole thing about your comment. There are people on this blog (eg JAP) who have said “Arnab this post wasnt that good”. There have been people on this blog who have suggested topics. Some of them have been taken, some not.

    Your comment goes beyond all that because it says “What you blog about is insignificant. I dont care about it.”

    To which I (like any sane blogger) would say (and I have the right to say): “Too bad”. This IS important for me. I dont ask you to come here, do I?

    You can keep on posting negative comments….let me say I have no problems with that.

  68. Arnab: I never said is is not your space or questioned your right to blog on any subject you choose and all that. I merely expressed my opinion as a reader on the quality of your recent blog topics. All I’ll say is if you really disliked that so much, your reply would have more fitting if you had in fact limited it to just your last sentence.

  69. Well Arnab, our comments crossed again. I may find some or other post insignificant and not care about it.. that was obviously not a general comment about your blog else I owuld in fact not be visiting it. And note that my criticism was limited to the trend (as visible to me) in your last couple of posts only, that’s all. And let me say again, I was not questioning your right to write/respond in whatever manner you see fit or even not to respond to my criticism.

  70. Nikhil Subramaniam March 23, 2006 — 4:27 am

    Hey, I did not mean that weird name comment with any malice. It was more in jest. Will keep with the commenting policy next time around.

  71. Arnab, there is NEVER too much cricket anywhere. Same goes for Mithunda. These two topics have no saturation point. Hey another great idea – why not write about a (hypothetical) movie where Mithunda plays cricket?!!?

    The mind boggles…

  72. Debashish, my name sake! my friend! You and I need to quit this! At this rate people will abhor our name(s)! I mean, in one of the last posts… me!… and here, you!! …being picky and (marginally) off topic?! I played a huge role in making “pointless” points in the “greatest ODI” post (at that point they looked fine to me but seriously, I could have avoided them totally by adopting a different tone) People will start having this feeling that it is indeed IN a name! 🙂
    Chill! No, I said this in a light hearted way. No sarcasm or any hidden meaning. This, by no means, is an advice or a suggestion. I understand that you have the right to say anything you want. But I think if you further it, it will lead to pointless arguments.
    The next time it is on YOU to remind me the same, though!
    I am so freaking depressed at the outcome of this past Test that everything else seems so moot! So futile!!

    Arnab, “Nothing irritates me – except ants in my underwear and Sushma Swaraj” !!! You are so mean!! That was freaking hilarious!!!

    P.S. Yourfan, I thought a lot about how I reacted and responded to you in my past comments. I didn’t feel good about them! I generally do not react that way. I think I was way out of line. So, publicly, let me apologize to you unconditionally and ask for your forgiveness. I am sorry! I was not right in the way I responded. I hope you are gracious enough to go past that.

  73. @Debashish- Of course you have the right to show your displeasure about a particular post. But I would just like to point out that if every post of GB was about Mithunda then this blog would lose its charm. An open bottle of pepsi retains its fizz for only so long. Even the sweetest of dishes loses its appeal after a while. A fellow can enjoy only so many roshogollas.

    GB quoting Sambit Bal is not tantamount to GB endorsing to the views of Sambit Bal. I personally dont like any of the Indian cricinfo writers except S. Rajesh and Rahul Bhattacharya. But you will realise that Cricinfo is a great website with lots of features and hence being the best one-stop cricket website ; will be the first thing in the minds of a blogger when he thinks that a cricket link will lend credence or provide a base to his arguments.

    It is no clandestine fact that you are one of the biggest patrons of this blog. I always read your comments and like the thought provoking questions you raise. I have visited your blog too and read a few of your posts. But even thought one should not judge a book by its cover, seeing your cherubic face and more importantly your deer-in-the-lights-of-a-speeding-car eyes I cant help but conclude that they belong to a person who seeks the truth and nothing but the truth. I think in this whole argument that you are having with GB, there is a slight communication gap which obfuscates the truth here, thereby creating confusion in GB’s mind , unanswered questions in yours and more importantly, sowing seeds of potential acrimony.

    But I have confidence that you will , as GB says, “move on” , even though the last few posts of GB have incurred your wrath. After all, as you said in one of your previous comments, GB is your favourite blogger.

  74. Hey Nikhil, no probs budddy. But yes do stick to the commenting policy mentioned by Arnab …will know what & why he means if you would have read his earlier posts.

    BTW, whats so weird about Ash IT = Ashit ???? or did you split the name some other way 😉

  75. YOURFAN writes: @Debasish “without a h”: You are right – some times I get confused with the two similar sounding names although I am a Bengali. I remember you by the info that you have a little girl about whom you worry.

    It is all right – no hard feelings. You sure showed me a lot of integrity by saying sorry publicly – honestly I am bowled over by your reply! Let me also take this opportunity to say that if by my comments I hurt your feelings then definitely that was not my intention. Thanks.
    P.S. Please let me know whether you read this reply of mine, otherwise I will wonder whether you read it or not.

  76. Yourfan, thanks for accepting my apologies. No hurt feelings on this end anymore either.

  77. Fair enough Arnab da. Logical reasoning. I have always been against booing because for me it fundamentally means insulting a sports person. You take booing differently and I do not grudge you for it.

  78. @Debasish: I don’t really want to exercise my privilege (its not a right when I am on someone else’s blog) to say anything I want if it only leads to petty arguments and hurt feelings. Calling the “Greatest ODI ever” debate as the most pointless debate ever was my opinion and partly a pun. I had no idea people would respond this way, though Arnab’s first reply was made in a right spirit. I thought that calling a topic or two insignificant would be as acceptable a form of criticism as any other, but if others really feel so bad, I would take back my original comment if I could. In any case, I’ll take your suggestion and quit this and try to limit myself to positive comments when I like something.

    @yourfan2: Agree with your first para. I was just giving my opinion of the quality of the recent alternative topics (not the posts), not exactly implying that every post must be about Mithun or be creative humor content. Agree with your 2nd para too, and that is what Arnab also pointed out. My take on that quote was partly in error. Btw, I am flattered that someone read my defunct blog, maybe I’ll start posting again. There’s no acrimony and its an overstament to say that “GB incurred my wrath” because I did not like some of his post topics!

  79. if europe can have football fans who are drunk and disorderly, we too, are slowly on our way to the same sort of crowd behaviour.

    after all, all sporting events are proxy wars.

    as disposable income levels rise, ad revenues rise, media hypes rise, and cricket is now much more ‘mass’ than ‘class’. (‘class’ now watches polo, thats what page 3 tells me)

    so, really, no one is surprised at the boos, the abuses and the ‘ungentlemanly’ reactions.

    but then, remembering bodyline Jardine, was cricket ever a gentleman’s game?

    W.G. often refused to be given out.

    and as for dingley dell playing their neighbouring village, it could only be described by Boz.

    i have never held a bat, nor ever sent a ball flying. for me, Fry and Cardus were instrumental in permeating cricket with a mellow glow.

    now,i am old and cynical. i think that they just created an atmosphere that may have been totally missing.

    to bring back ‘class’ to cricket, there should be sumputuos private boxes at these stadiums. the sort of things i read in dick francis.

  80. i was at the stadium when this happened. i was among the people that booed.

    we like our cricketers to perform.

    at that point in the game, after sehwag’s dismissal, sachin
    needed to play well. he was just so anxious to get off the mark that he even attempted some really suicidal runs. if you have to get out in 21 balls, at least flash wildly and wallop the ball. he got out to a rank bad, ‘way outside the off stump’ delivery. it was the shot of cricketer who didnt know what he was doing. and he got booed, and he deserved it.

    even when dravid grassed a catch here and there, the crowd went ‘we want saurav’. also, when hoggard would retreat to deepfine leg after finishing a wicket taking over, the same people who ordinarily went “hoggy is a doggy”, would get up and applaud him.

    i think it shows how intelligent the crowd was even in
    expressing its disatisfaction on the way india played. the match was lost the moment dravid decided to field first, yet the huge turnout; there we no seats in except in a couple of stands, also shows how much the crowd knows its cricket.

    An article worth reading :

  81. Whew !

    Spent more time on the ‘acrimonious’ and now settled debate among the fans-of-Arnab, Arnab and DebasHish, than the actual post itself …great stuff all of you …keep it up. Would love to see you guys on the Big Fight (NDTV) 😀

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