Now It's Pakistan's Turn


First it was Australia.

Now it’s Pakistan’s turn.

Let’s start at the beginning though. Woke up at 4:30 am. Put on my official Indian jersey (the one they had before they changed it recently). Found out that India had won the toss and was batting.  Before going to bed, I had tweeted that if India had lost the toss and was fielding, would go back to sleep (Between ourselves, I would not have of course). So this was good.

Then I looked at the team rosters. Akthar was not playing. A slight pang of regret because 1) I kind of admire his dogged passion and his aggressiveness and 2) I enjoy watching his crestfallen expression once he is carted around.

And then I looked at the Indian squad. What? No Ashwin?

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Asha Aman Ki Aisi Ki Taisi


An India-Pakistan cricket game is just a game.

Cricket will be the winner at the end of it all.

Sports and politics should not mix.

The general public of Pakistan want nothing but friendly relations with India.

India and Pakistan would be bhai-bhai had it not been for evil politicians.

Pakistan is as much  a victim of terror as India.

Tensions between the two countries can be solved by people-to-people interactions.

Now that we have got the politically correct guano out of the way, let’s talk some real shit, shall we?

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Australia Go Down


Sometimes, just sometimes, a weakness can come out to be a strength. And that’s when victories are made.

The critical moment of the India-Australia game for me was in the 37th over. The run-rate required was now 6.00, tough on a pitch like this. Dhoni had once again gotten out cheaply and that too at a time when a captain’s knock was sorely needed. Raina, who had been warming the benches  for most of the tournament and who had a bad match against the West Indies saunters into bat, with not really any kind of confidence or rhythm. The pitch had slowed down even further, India was slowly choking, the pressure of the occasion seemed to be sitting on their shoulders like a thousand Dolly Bindras and David Hussey, who had been bowling a while before, was proving to be quite a proposition, was running through his overs real fast . Now with Raina in and with his well-known weakness against fast bowling directed at his rib cage, Ponting decides to bring Tait back in, despite the option of Hussey who had been using the conditions better than any of the other bowlers.

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The World Cup Yet More This Week


Before we discuss the quarter-finals, mention must be made of the controversy that is sweeping the great country of Bangladesh, a controversy which the Indian media is doing its best to suppress, oppress and depress. During the Bangladesh-England game discussions, Navojyot Singh “Sheedhu” had said that “that both the birds and cockroaches fly but the cockroaches are not birds” and then supposedly he “compared the Bangladesh cricket team with the cockroaches.” [Link to Pakistani website] Now there are two things you do not do in this world unless you have severe masochistic tendencies. One is try to control Uncle Sam’s oil and the other is to diss Bangladesh. No sooner had this happened than a Bangladeshi fan wrote an protest email to ICC (they should have also cc-ed it to the metaphor police), the Bangladeshi news media went to town asking about Sidhu’s credentials (not a spot as they said on world class bowler Abdur Razzak, who is believed to be an all-time great in some parts of the world) and more importantly, Bangladeshi fans came out with very classy non-racist retort videos that would make any person quake in his boots, videos that won universal support among the supporters.
[Update: the video has since been removed by the user]
[As an aside: to the question what did Sidhu do for the Indian team, dear knowledgeable Bangaldeshi fan, Sidhu’s Test and ODI batting average are better than any of the players who are playing for the Bangladeshi team]

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Lessons Learnt From Indian Cricket This Week


Lesson 1: 49th over. Opposition has 13 runs to win. You as captain have two choices for who will bowl the last over

Choice 1:  Has not been part of the side regularly. Very iffy form coming into the tournament and not played in most games. Has so far given 49 runs in 8 overs without getting a wicket. Last bowled in the 36th over where he was taken off after an expensive 10-run battering. Having bowled about 13 overs ago, the man would be slightly stiff and hence might need perhaps one or two balls to get into rhythm.

Choice 2: On paper, definitely a frontline bowler for the team. Moody and temperamental, he has been largely disinterested throughout the tournament. One thing everyone acknowledges about the man, when he gets a wicket he becomes another bowler. Today he has taken three, affected a runout and, in general, been growling around the field like a tiger. Has bowled the 46th over where he gave away just 5 runs, is in bowling rhythm and pumped up.

Captain should take Choice 1.

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The World Cup Once Again This Week


In the Mahabharata, the Gods gave Sanjay multiple-camera vision so that he could verbally replay to Dhritirashtra every gory detail of the battle of Kurukshetra. I wondered why Gods, being Gods, didnt just give the old man his vision back. But then I figured that Dhritarashtra, being a facilitator of the Kaurava’s evils, deserved the punishment of being deprived of the sense of sight.

In this age, we have become like Dhritarashtras, presiding over a massive loot of the country’s resources by those whom he voted to power. So the Gods, in their infinite wisdom, have given us another Sanjay—Sanjay Manjrekar, to give a painful play-by-play. Truly Sanjay (in whose name a movie was made once with the song “Raat choti baat badi” [The night is short but my words are long]) sometimes seems to have vision of the kind that mortals do not possess. Like there was this time during the India-Ireland match he suddenly said “He has found the gap.” Only problem was that the fielder was standing almost placidly, waiting for the ball to roll into his hands and the only gap that existed was in Sanjay’s perception of reality and what was actually going on in the physical world. That explained why in his playing days he could never make the crease, because he thought he had made it when in actuality he had not. And so while we merely saw saw a fat conceited man choosing to let his in-form partner get out rather than himself. Sanjay saw the expression in Kohli’s eyes and interpreted the depths of his mind, using the same unworldly vision by which he discovers layers of baby-like innocence in the faces of Yusuf Pathan and Jayasurya.

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Uncle Pai


In the bedroom,  in the narrow space between the foot of the bed and the old wooden bookcase, was my own little corner. Growing up, I would squeeze in that narrow space, open the lower shelves (the ones near the ground) and bring out piles of Amar Chitra Katha and leaf through them, one by one.

It didnt matter that I had read them, like a thousand times before. Like a favorite song or a favorite person, Amar Chitra Kathas had repeat-value, you could discover and re-discover them, marveling only at how much you missed last time.

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