The Curtain Rises

90 Comments

We are back. With the team round-ups. Arranged in order of the GB-factor. The best comes first. And the worse—we don’t care if they come or not.

Deccan Chargers: In IPL 2008, Deccan Chargers were the Air Deccan of the franchises, finishing at the very bottom and finding it nigh impossible to take off on time. Since then they have gotten their act together and identified their shortcomings.

1. I am sorry. Their pallid uniform from 2008 was just not happening. I do not know about you but the Chargers looked like a bunch of naughty school-boys who had not washed their shirts for a long time. This time however, they have changed their jerseys and as the picture below shows there is an immediate change in attitude. Is this a group of cricketers or the latest boy band (“Out of Sync” or “Bottom of Table” Boys)—I ask you?

2. Their overtly-revealing cheerleaders (mildly NSFW picture here and definitely not safe for work if your place of work is the Swat Valley) Not only was it an affront to our glorious culture, it was something that distracted their star-performer Shahid Afridi from the country formerly known as Pakistan.

According to the great man: “The girls in skimpy dresses should be removed from the ground as this is distracting the batsmen.

“Cricket itself is an entertainment. It does not require such cheerleaders to entertain.

Thus distracted, Afridi kept asking the cheerleaders “You want a piece of this?” (as evidenced by the picture to the left) and forgot how to bat or bowl and even how old he was.

Since then the Deccan chargers have done some introspection and solved the problem.

They have gotten rid of Shahid Afridi, now free to play for Taliban Tornadoes.

In 2009, the Deccan Chargers have several things going for it. For one there is the new coach Darren Lehmann, who called Jayasurya a black [expletive] and Andrew Symonds who hears voices in his head racially abusing him. The synergy between these two could be explosive. Even if that does not happen, what could be more incendiary than the return of Andrew Symonds , the “Norman Bates” of cricket, who like the great “Pyscho” also “goes crazy sometimes”? Will he shoulder-charge Venugopal Rao? Will he go fishing? Will he sing “Thodi si jo pee le hain, chori to naheen ki hain?”

To add to the mix there will be Role Player (RP) Singh, there will be Ravi Teja (Main Teja hoon kyun ki mera naam Teja hai) and there will be Mr. Ojha who can exorcise the demons like no other (Symonds may need him). Finally there will be silken VVS Laxman, the sight of whom in a T20 game trying to blast his way out, is as tragic as seeing Michaelangelo being made to draw panels for Savita bhabi for a fistfull of dollars.

Be ready world. Be ready for the charge of the Deccan chargers.

Bangalore Royal Challengers: These dudes got their jerseys right. They had a great owner Vijay Mallya who symbolizes the arrogance and flamboyance of IPL cricket. They got the Washington Redskins who showed a lot of their red skins. Everything was just perfect. But then somehow it just did not work out.

According to some however where they went wrong was in their squad selection. I disagree. For me some of the most enduring memories of IPL 1.0 will be those of Sunil Joshi somnolently trudging along the boundary like a creaking Ambassador being made to race in the Formula 1 circuit, Wasim Jaffer batting like a massively overclocked 286 processor being made to run at Pentium speeds, Anil Kumble looking as disinterested as a five-year child in a party where Kant is being discussed, Rahul Dravid’s tortured expression as Big Boss metaphorically shakes him by the scruff of his neck and shouts “Paisa diya hain. Abh naach naach naach” and brand ambassador Katrina Kaif’s badly-acted enthusiasm , when it was obvious she had no idea as to what she was cheering for.

Whatever it was that led them to under-perform, this time it has been fixed. There is sexy Pietersen, never a person with any problem with authority, who will take over the reigns from Dravid. And what would be a greater representative for the King of Good Times than roly-poly beer-gutted Jesse Ryder with his well-known problems with alcohol ?

The secret arsenal for the Challengers in 2009 however promises to be freshly-traded Robin Uthappa who, as we can see, is always on the lookout for gaps.

And most importantly for the Challengers, there is no Charu Sharma anywhere. Thank goodness for small mercies.

Kolkata Knight Riders: You heard it here first. Kolkata Knight Riders or Knight Riders as it is now called (whether the name-change due to numerological reasons or whether Mamata Banerjee has also driven it out of Kolkata since it made a profit last year we know not) is going to lift the trophy. Yep.

Now experts have written it off. The bowling is weak. The batting depends on exclusively foreign imports. The coach thirsts for absolute power. There is a grudge or two. Yeah yeah right.

What these experts do not get, is that it is not cricket that is important. As Shahrukh Khan, the “Rab” on earth, put it beautifully while giving that cricket novice Sunil Gavaskar (who had dared suggest that Boka-non was aggrandizing himself and his friends/family at SRK’s expense) a verbal “Aiieeeeee aieeeeeeee Madan Choppraaaa” type lashing with the bloodshot eyes, shaking nose and curling lips that we are fidaa for:

Main ne paisa kharch kiya yaar, bahut passion hai…

Passion of Christ.

Huh. You ain’t seen nothing yet.

In IPL 2008, I felt the passion of the great man when he selected people with names like “Butt” and “Gay”le. While people looked for cricketing logic behind the buys, I applauded the selection of people with names like Hokkaido. And in IPL 2009, the bizarre fascination with beautiful names has continued. There is Latin lover Angelo Matthews (who is a little known player from Sri Lanka and whose first name is surrogate advertisement for the Knight Rider’s cheerleader selection reality show–Knights and Angels), Moses Henriques “Iglesias” (a T20 once-promising player whose career has taken a dive recently) and then the virginal sounding “taaza” peacock —Mor-taaza whose purchase at an obscenely high price has otherwise confounded followers of the game.

And if any proof be needed of the passion driving the man, what could be more sensual than his confession that he will sleep with his men in order to get them to perform?

As the song from Yes Boss, sung by SRK, goes:

Loota doun aaj ispe tan man dhan

Dhan he has given to Buchanan and his family. Mann he has given to the franchise. All he had left was his “tan” and even that he will distribute for a greater cause.

Beat that passion Dr. Shilpa Shetty. And Ms. Priety Zinta. And Dr. Mallaya. Can you do that? You cannot do that.

King’s XI Punjab: Beware the injured lions.

The King’s XI bleeds. There is Brett Lee, who after a split from his wife, has never been the same fire-breathing dragon he used to be with his cricketing performances being compounded by serious injury. There is Yuvraj Singh, the eternal Dev-D, whose heart is perennially broken, so much so that we do not remember why. Shaun Marsh is coming off an injury. Sreesanth is not going to bowl. Jerome Taylor is hurt in a car crash. Irfan Pathan wishes he was injured if only to prevent a possible embarrassment. Piyush Chawla is…what Piyush who?

Of all the players, Mahela and Sangakkara are the fittest. And they are the ones who have been shot at a few weeks before.

However all the lions need is a spark. It could be a kiss from the Zinta. It could be a visit from Nelson Mandela who may have heard of King’s XI Punjab since they were in the news last year because of their event management company’s alleged attempts at racial integration.

And it could be that slice of human kindness as the one showed by the man who gave back the King’s XI Punjab 450,000 rands (rands as in South African currency and not anything else which you may have thought) that the franchise had lost and the gentleman had found.

Whether this will galvanize the King’s XI remains to be seen. But what is more sure is that if the money had been lost, some of the lesser players might be shifted to “humbler accommodations” like they were last time.

Which would surely have boosted the team’s morale.

Rajasthan Royals: Last year’s champions, this is a team which I feel lacks that GB factor. Or at least it used to. I mean what’s so spectacular about a bunch of non-stars gelling together as an unit, fighting many times above their own weight class and emerging victorious. Nothing really.

This time however, the Royals have brought in some of the oomph with Dr. Shilpa Shetty as a co-owner. Though she does not know much about the game except perhaps that there is a ball and a bat, she has confessed to taking “lessons” from Shane Warne.

Yes. I know.

Brahmacharya Shane Warne.

“Here madam is what we call a flipper. That… that is a googly… yes you use the fingers. And this is a move we call the “top spinner”. Now let me show the leg-break.”

While we do not know whether the Royals will be champions this year, what is definite is that the real winner is Mohammed Kaif. Brought to South Africa and then sent home after a practice game, he is assured of his full payment of $675,000 (or what is left of it) without having to play a single game. Aaah the life of an AIG executive and of a benched IPL player—- failure ka phaal meetha hota hain only if you have the right contract.

Mumbai Indians: This team, which weirdly calls itself “Indians” deserves a wag of the finger for accomodating so many “outsider” non-Manoosis. I won’t be surprised to find that Jean Paul Duminy’s sensational performances are due to the blessings of Chatt Maiyya and that Lasith Malinga has a secret career as a hero in Bhojpuri music videos with the screen-name “My Ling-wa”. Where is our man from the “New Construction Sena” when we need him?

Also with respect to the GB factor, this team doesnt have much of it.

While Harbhajan did give it a GB boost last year with the slap that shook the world, this year the Mumbai Indians have gone back to being a colorless band of rather senior, serious performers who many not get it right always but who when they fail, fail colorlessly.

Wait. Did I say they totally lack color?

On second thoughts…. perhaps not. [picture courtesy: Outlook]

Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Superkings:

One word. Boring. Sehwag, Warner, Gambhir, De Villiers. Okay so what? They can score fast. They can consistently make 200 in 20 overs. But can they provide the pristine entertainment of a mid-field clash between Ganguly and Akash Chopra when they both went for the same catch and ended up with Dada glaring the subordinate Chopra down? Similarly Flintoff, Morkel, Dhoni, Hayden, Raina may sound exciting. But can they make us sit up like the way that Kaif did when he mocked Sourav Ganguly during a Royals-KKR game?

I do not have much patience for these kind of teams. They perform like well-oiled machines with superior gunpower making it impossible for us to get “passionate” about them. If I had to choose between these two teams, I would give Chennai a point for having a person called Napolean “Dynamite” Einstein in the team. But that’ s about all the credit I can give it for.

That dear friends concludes the list.

Now let us watch the advertisements.

And the cricket in between.

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90 thoughts on “The Curtain Rises

  1. Dekh Tamasha Dekh. Cricket has lost its innocence and has turned into a Circus.

    Give me the good ole’ days of Sunny Gavaskar and Kapil Dev in their whites and striped V-neck sweaters. 🙂

  2. question…whats with the “first one”?? are there any prizes being given out to people who make a comment on any article first???

    “Sunil Joshi somnolently trudging along the boundary like a creaking Ambassador being made to race in the Formula 1 circuit, Wasim Jaffer batting like a massively overclocked 286 processor being made to run at Pentium speeds, Anil Kumble looking as disinterested as a five-year child in a party where Kant is being discussed”

    personal favorite quote

  3. BTW. Just read your article over lunch ! Excellent writing. You are blessed with a greatbong sense of humour. This one is almost as good as the “Indian Football (Tapas Pal) ” one !

    Any opinion on the new captain for the Knight Riders. I am seriously thinking of shifting my loyalty to the Royal Challengers now.

  4. @Aparna,

    No there is no prize for posting a comment first. Its somewhat become a hallowed tradition here at RTDM asking for an IPod if one is the first commenter.

    @Arvind,
    Whenever I come across a picture I “like” I bookmark it away for the future to be used at an appropriate time.

  5. “Here madam is what we call a flipper. That… that is a googly… yes you use the fingers. And this is a move we call the “top spinner”. Now let me show the leg-break.”
    ROTFLMAO!!! Hilarious and I hope the IPL 2.0 lives upto the expectations…

  6. @Dibyo,

    I do not know what’s so surprising about it. I wrote a post when the multiple captaincy thing was proposed where I conjectured that it was less about a new tactical direction and more about towards kicking Dada out. I think it’s a very bad move on SRK’s part simply from a business point of view. SRK may have removed the Kolkata from the KKR name and perhaps plans to shift matches to Cuttack in 2010 but he will find it difficult to make the kind of money he would have made had he chosen to stay with Kolkata. He could easily have done so by easing SG out at the end of 2009 but he chose a very messy way of doing things pre-season. This is a pity because I consider SRK to be a very intelligent man. A megalomaniac sure. But smart.

  7. Really ! He plans to move the team out ! Are you serious ?!?!

    Actually that maybe a blessing in disguise, we can ask the BCCI to create a new Calcutta team “Choron ka Raja” — A joint venture between Dawood Ibrahim, Maddoff and Allen Stanford !

  8. Yes as I have mentioned in this post, the word “Kolkata” has been dropped from the team logo. Combined with the horrible treatment meted out to SG, one can see SRK’s intentions are pretty clear.

  9. Too good GB!! Your post is more entertaining than the actual IPL tournament. OK, maybe the cheerleaders are more exciting, but your post comes a close second!!

  10. So true VVS Laxman is so above this 20-20, IMHO sad as it may look VVS will adapt his game to IPL and may surprise people…but then he is simply the best India has ever had at springing surprises

  11. Excellent collection of pics…and equally great analogy made based on that…
    Yeah i was bit surprised to on not finding your comment on SG’s sacking as a captain. Though i am not a big SG fan but i definitely feel bad the way he has been sacked. It was very much pre-planned and see how the entire idea of multi-captain came out only when the IPL 2 was shifted out of India, leaving any possibility of facing local fans wrath to zero. sad indeed..

  12. “And most importantly for the Challengers, there is no Charu Sharma anywhere. Thank goodness for small mercies.”

    With Charu not hanging out with the Daaruwallas, he will be torturing us with his expert comments on Set Max. Back to watching cricket with the mute button on.

  13. Awesome Arnab. Back to your best. The circus is now on and we can only watch and grimace at the bastardisation of cricket. I know that I am a minority, but will proudly remain so rather than becoming an ‘ANADALOK’ cricket fan.

  14. hi GB

    its only two days that i hv strtd reading your write ups…& i can definitely say that they hv the best humour & sattire than the ones i hv read before..

    the best one was –
    Sunil Joshi somnolently trudging along the boundary like a creaking Ambassador being made to race in the Formula 1 circuit & shane warne’s bowling tips

  15. it is very sad that ‘butt’ is not playing this year. otherwise what a greatsight sight it could be. lasit ‘my-lingwa’ is runing towards’butt’.

  16. All your predictions are going wrong GB. Mumbai Indians have alread won against Chennai and now Bangalore’s win is almost a certainty. Tomorrow, Deccan Chargers will send KKR out of IPL.

  17. GB,
    Great work there and a great selection of pictures. I guess you write the best satire in the blogosphere.
    I think Delhi would be the team to watch out for this year.
    Keep them coming.
    Cheers,
    Salil

  18. @SRK-shoib pic – how much pakistani ass does SRK kiss everyday?
    seriously i’m now getting peeved by SRK’s offscreen antics as much as onscreen.

  19. The only advantage that Dada will have on being removed from captaincy is that he won’t have to pay heavy fines for slow over rates. This year I think they are fining the captain few thousand dollars for slower rates. (Or was it that Boka-nun wanted to distribute the fine and hence the multiple captaincy?)
    Also I think SRK knew that there would be a huge outcry back in Kolkata because of the removal of Dada from captaincy. So he has decided to omit Kolkata from the team name. I think this is the lesson that he learnt from the Billu Barber controversy. (SRK was forced to omit ‘Barber’ from the name ‘Billu Barber’ coz the barbers did not want to call themselves that derogatory word but as hairdressers.)

  20. Hilarious.
    More than a ‘boy band’ the Deccan Chargers rather look like a bunch of people promoting HP/IBM in a shopping mall this time; probbaly handing out pamplets to those who pass by…

  21. *** Ganguly c Laxman b Harmeet Singh 1 (12b 0x4 0x6) SR: 8.33

    I think Ganguly should retire now. Not sure how you will defned this pathetic performance??

  22. Man! hats off to the most demented mind….and to the world’s best photographs!! Looking forward to your next IPL post, esp since equations are now changing.

  23. “The secret arsenal for the Challengers in 2009 however promises to be freshly-traded Robin Uthappa who, as we can see, is always on the lookout for gaps.”

    My God! Wow! Kaash Yeh skill cricket mein bhi dikhaata.

  24. Deccan Chargers will lift the trophy this time. Nobody can beat us. We will be unbeatable in this tournament. DC is the only flawless team in IPL.

  25. @ RichAndFamous, We have issued temporary visas to RP Singh?? Ojha?? Rohit Sharma?? Gibbs, etc., to be south indians untli IPL is over. That honor will be taken back from them once Hyderabad gets the IPL trophy.

  26. Kishor,
    It is not cool of you to only harp about Hyd. Dravid played a fine knock of 66. He has consistently been written off by Northies so far. I agree he is not VVS but he is no less Southie, no?

  27. Guys, stop this Northie-Southie crap.

    We are lucky to be born in this country, even though we have our own issues. So whether its north or south or east or west, stop shouting or crying and do your bloody job.

    GB, why don’t you discourage this Northie-Southie crap?

  28. As I had predicted, DC has whipped the a@@ of Kolkata KR.
    KKR will again be finishing last this year.
    Jai Jailalitha

  29. This post ranks at the top taking the GB factor into consideration 🙂 Awesome humour, good insight and verrry entertaining ….

  30. The last message saying “Jai Jailalitha” is not posted by me. Some dimwit posted it in my name. GB, plz moderate it.

  31. They have gotten rid of Shahid Afridi, now free to play for Taliban Tornadoes.
    Robin Uthappa who, as we can see, is always on the lookout for gaps.
    In IPL 2008, I felt the passion of the great man when he selected people with names like “Butt” and “Gay”le.
    Gems All!!
    & a superb set of photos to boot!!

  32. @Kishor,

    LOL..Make up your mind, bro. Did you or did you not post the comment about Jayalalitha?

    Its funny how you mistyped her name as “Jailalitha”. Was it a freudian slip or did you consciously allude to her being in jail a decade ago?

  33. Here’s a Bengali tongue twister:

    Jol-e chhul taza,
    Tel-e chun taza,
    Team-e Murtaza…

    Now say it 10 times my friend.

  34. GB,
    Slightly off-topic but just couldn’t resist the temptation of bringing this to your notice.
    Not sure if you have already scome across this.
    This “Fake IPL Player” has started spilling all the beans of IPL stars, especially those from the KKR.

    His blog : http://fakeiplplayer.blogspot.com

    So much so that, a counter-blog has been created by KKR team management and everybody it seems is after this bloke.
    He may or may not be a player but he is just hilarious!!!

    I’m expecting a post from you on this. 🙂

  35. Off topic query to GB … Doesnt football interest you a wee bit also ? Coz its a real pity to see so many posts on cricket given the reasonably average kind of contests happening around but none to football in a year where european football is giving a whole new meaning to nail biting and “stoppage time “

  36. @savita bhabi: I don’t think its SRK …. will he call himself a Vinnie Dildo? lol … but whoever it is I am loving it …

  37. “Here madam is what we call a flipper. That… that is a googly… yes you use the fingers. And this is a move we call the “top spinner”. Now let me show the leg-break.”

    Pure class!!! Pure f* class!!! I bow

  38. @V…u might well be right…first name tht came to my mind thinking it was not a KKR member was…GB…
    GB…u accept ya tumhari khamoshi ko tumhara ikraar samjha jaye

  39. Being at a conference I am not logging into my blog this being a public network and WP does not have secure access. And no it is not me. Simply because I would not be posting defamatory stuff.

  40. GB, i don’t know by chance or purposefully u listed Deccan Chargers at the top and that is proving to be absolutely correct. Deccan Chargers are No. 1 team now after the win over BRC. Long live DC, long live Hyderabad.

  41. @Kishor

    Hats off to you, mate, for your crystal ball predictions !!! When the wheel of time turns (and turn it will) and the Kolkatans emerge on top, then perhaps we can rename your favourite team as “Dhakkan chargers”. 🙂

  42. Interesting.

    GB’s last blog appeared on Apr 17th.

    Fake IPL Player posted his first blog on Apr 18th.

    Food for thought??

  43. Ananda: I think he is… no posts since fake IPL player started posting :)… and the nicknames (Appam Chutiya, Kaan Mulo) is vintage GB… GB own up…

    BTW looks like Deccan will do a Rajasthan Royals this year… written off before the IPL and now playing this well….

  44. Copying a comment above.

    “Being at a conference I am not logging into my blog this being a public network and WP does not have secure access. And no it is not me. Simply because I would not be posting defamatory stuff.”

    I am now back. Will get posting soon.

    And no I am not so much into football. Unless it is the World Cup.

  45. Sorry sir, but the headline was grossly misleading. I was conned into believing that I’m running into a piece of…I mean piece on…Mandy Baddy. I too run a blog and try my hand, occasionally burn my finger too, at working up some humorous lather. But never ever did I cheat with my readers. Too bad.

    Somone commented about BRC’s chance up there. Allow me to present my 7-pointer from my blog Doosra

    (http://gonewiththewindies.blogspot.com/) why BRC is destined to doom:

    1. Spirit is volatile and it doesn’t last the whole nine yards;

    2. Vijay Mallya has got the right men but in wrong places. For instance, Adrian Sutil spins more than Anil Kumble, while Rahul Dravid drives better than Giancarlo Fisichella;

    3. You don’t open a cola bottle with Praveen Kumar but BRC can open their batting with him!

    4. Ray Jennings has complained to Mallya that Jesse Ryder has not attended a single net session and is often spotted flirting with a particular Mischief Gal;

    5. BRC looked a Test team in IPL I and resembles an ODI outfit in IPL II. In other words, the T20 metamorphosis is still some distance away;

    6. Virat Kohli has an ego problem with spinning balls;

    7. Business magnates have a penchant for bouncing cricketers’ WAGs on their knees – medics call it Stanford Syndrome — and that explains the hurry of the BRC players to return to the pavilion.

  46. I am really surprised by the number of people who have fallen for it though. Dileep Premachandran has written an entire column on Guardian on the fake blogger. I can’t find anything in the blog that requires the author to be in South Africa or even have any insider source, so I don’t understand how so many people are convinced that he is an insider. It just seems like someone with good imagination and sense of humour having fun.

  47. [edited]

    GB adds: I am trying to keep specific names off the comment-space. The story incidentally has been denied. Thank you.

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