Okay you nincompoops and asinine asses who call yourself the “Lok Janashakti” ( English translation: lynch mob) Party. Lay off. And get a life. Seriously.
A group of people, claiming to be supporters of the Lok Janshakti Party, on Monday vandalised the house of cricketer Mohammad Kaif after his poor show in the ongoing One-day series against South Africa.
Kaif scored 8 and 10 in the two One-dayers against South Africa who drubbed India in both the matches, leading to strong criticism back home.
“A number of them tried to storm the house, broke some electric bulbs and plastered the name plate with mud,” police said.
If there is anything worse than watching Ajit Agarkar bowling short-and-wide or Dinesh Mongia at the crease flapping about like a pomfret fish out of water, it has to be the sheer imbecility of the “passionate Indian fan”—–specifically the ones who think that the physical safety and personal property of the player and his family are fair targets for their so-called anguish.
Incidentally, on the subject of idiots and half-wits, back off Somnath Chatterjee. And Vijay Kumar Malhotra. And Amar Singh. And all those “agitated”, apparently jobless members of parliament who are out to score political points and get their names in the headlines by fanning public hysteria and asking for immediate recriminations against the team management. Quite frankly, honourable members of the august houses, the last persons who should be speaking of performance and accountability are you people—at least the Indian cricket team has and will have days of glory. Which is more than I can I say about any of you.
Team Indiaâ€™s 106-run loss on Sunday has sent political tempers blazing. On Monday, Members of Parliament (MP), cutting across party lines, attacked coach Greg Chappell over his comments following the thrashing that Dravid and his men received at the hands of South Africa. One of them even threatened a privilege motion against the Australian.
“If MPs are willing, a privilege motion can be moved against Chappell,” Minister for Women and Child Development Renuka Choudhary told a private news channel.
Chappell, on Sunday evening in Cape Town, had said that he was not surprised by the sharp criticism from the MPs, following India’s poor show in the One-dayers so far.
The elected leaders were doing their job, the Australian had said. “I am not surprised. They (MPs) are paid to do so in Parliament,”
Dear Ms. Chowdhury —- here is a simpler suggestion. Rather than passing a motion against Chappell, just say that the great Greg mentally harassed you, a woman, by casting aspersions on your character—–i.e. by supposedly hinting that it is your job to emit hot air. And book him under the new Domestic Violence Act. Just like Azim Premji was summoned by the court for harassing the wife of a Wipro employee because Wipro paid men “dating allowances” (whatever that means).
In all honesty, Ms. Renuka, Chappell was not calling MPs paid protesters. If he really wanted to say that, he would have just shown you his middle finger. What he was doing was singing that eternal favourite from “Amar Prem” to console the dejected Suresh Raina, who was upset at MPs criticizing his batting style:
Kuch to log kahenge,
Logon ka kaam hain kahena,
Choro bekar ki baaton main
Kaheen beet na jaaye Suresh Raina.
Which brings me to Greg Chappell. More specifically his pathetic man-management skills, his vindictive, authoritarian streak which brooks no dissent and his propensity for stating the obvious in a pedantic, management-guru “ponytail” style. One of the bogeys he has is “performance”—an Australian ethic which his supporters in the press (more of them later) go ga-ga about. If anyone points out one more time how we need to bring the Australian ethic where an Ian Healy and a Steve Waugh and a Bevan are eased out ruthlessly the moment their performance dips, then I swear I shall start singing “Chilai Chun Chun”. The reason why this works in Australia is because they have exceptional talent waiting in the wings—a Gilchrist, a Hussey and a Michael Clarke.
We however have Badrinath and Hemang Badani and Venugopal Rao. Which is why we need VVS Laxman chalked in to the side (something that is being done but too late), despite the fact that he has shaky knees. Because he has a greater chance of surviving and actually scoring on a South African pitch than specialist batsmen like the Mongias and the Rainas, whose higher fitness level counts for zilch if they spend most of the batting time inside the pavilion.
This is where Chappell has really hurt Indian cricket talent. Using the bogey of performance and fitness, he has gotten rid of people who do not see things the Chappell way and in their stead concentrated on packing the team with more pliable, younger men with no baggage and no trenchant opinions. Some “management-friendly” players like Kaif, the perennially underperforming old “young” man, have been put on a long leash while a few others have been sought to be weeded out, based on rather dodgy considerations.
Which brings me to the press. No I am not talking about the pearls of wisdom of Ravi Shastri like how Gautam Gambhir would be sending the South Africans on a leather hunt. I am talking about India’s leading cricket-themed website Cricinfo and their cricket experts. This is what I said about them once, long ago.
And Cricinfo. Man I used to really like these guysâ€”unlike the guys at TOI they understand their cricket. They still do I think but in the Ganguly issue have totally lost their objectivity.
Ever since I read that Ganguly does not give them quotable quotes and instead pampers to a select coterie of journalists â€”I knew that the staffers were waiting with their knives out ready to plunge it in when he slipped up. And slip up he did and out came the daggers. A picture of Cricinfo staffers with Rahul Dravid and Mohammed Kaif, who had dropped in for a casual visit, kind of hinted which way the PR river was flowing.
Anand Vasu opines:
For all he has contributed to this team, Ganguly deserved a better farewell – if indeed thatâ€™s what this is – than being abruptly dropped. He deserved to walk away into the sunset, head held high, not be nudged out, first by coach, then the media, the public, and finally the selectors. But then again, with his batting, his behavior and his almost stubborn refusal to let go, he barely gave anyone a chance to do any better by him.
What behaviour Mr Vasu? The bad behaviour of snubbing Cricinfo reporters?
And also this very illuminating sentence from Dileep Premchandran, Cricinfo journalist.
The coterie that once surrounded him (Ganguly), and contributed in no small measure to the media disenchantment that cost him the top job, stayed at a respectful distance,
Yes. It was “media disenchantment” that cost Sourav the job.
In sharp contrast to the way Cricinfo staffers were falling over themselves to critique everything Sourav did when he was the captain, this time they have been refreshingly “balanced’. When Rahul Dravid pulls out with an injury at a time when the Indian team is in the pits, Cricinfo calls it an injury and leaves it at that.
Rewind. October 31, 2004. Just before the Nagpur test, Sourav pulls out. Cricinfo reports it:
Ganguly, 32, pulled out on the morning of the Nagpur Test, which Australia won by 342 runs, complaining of groin pain. Medical investigations â€“ bone-scan, MRI and diagnostic ultrasound â€“ “revealed intra-articular pathology of the right hip joint noted by increased synovial fluid accumulation,” which translates in layman’s terms to an injury or inflammation of the hip joint leading to an increase in the lubricating fluid around it. And it can cause pain to radiate down to the thigh and even to the knee.
So far so good. Now comes the barely-concealed innuendo.
The diagnosis has not entirely placated certain sections of the Indian media, who have called Ganguly’s integrity into question after his sudden withdrawal from the Nagpur Test. One Mumbai paper claimed he had pulled out in “a fit of pique”, when he discovered that his request for a spin-friendly surface had been denied
The more charitable of us would chide Cricinfo for giving publicity to a questionable, unsupported allegation. The more cynical of us would say that the reason Cricinfo mentions it is because they are also part of that “certain section”.
But now, things have changed (Sambit Bal from Cricinfo with Chappell on the left) and there is “no media disenchantment” with the captain or coach. Everyone is everyone’s friends and the reporting is collegial and forgiving. Chappell’s numerous tactical gaffes are not commented on, uncomfortable questions are not asked and an injury is reported as an injury and not as a contributory factor to any defeat that may follow. (In contrast Sourav’s profile on Cricinfo says: “The beginning of the end came in 2004 at Nagpur – when his last-minute withdrawal played a part in Australia clinching the series”).
Concluding, and it has been a long post, things are indeed dire. We have been at the receiving end of two more than 100 run-margin drubbings. We have been getting defeated on subcontinental soil pretty regularly in recent times. We would have collapsed to a sub-100 score against Australia had it not been for the rain. Our best batsman is injured. Our best young player may not be available for the World Cup. And our coach —well you get the picture.
More than anything else, we need inspiration at the crease. From where it will come from, I do not know.
But we need something even more than that.
And that is for people to understand that while Dravid’s men may be just losing matches, it is the “passionate fans” engaging in violent protest and the useless politicians fanning the frenzy for self-publicity who are, in the final analysis, the real losers.