Friday, 29 January 2010

Pandit Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar and @&#$%* Sehwag

Sehwag hums bhajan. Tendulkar croons Dire Straits numbers. Just shows the protégé and the mentor are not necessarily peas of the same ipod.

Apart from being in the same bowler-butchering-business, their common grounds run out fast.

When Tendulkar speaks, you start believing he either doesn't have a tongue or an opinion. Diplomatic circumlocution at its best, critics put it rather harshly.

Sehwag, on the other hand, belongs to the school of thought that advocates tongue-wagging comes strictly under Heart's sole jurisdiction and Brain would do well to take a walk.

When Tendulkar opens his mouth, trust him not to put a foot wrong. When Sehwag opens his, it's mostly to accommodate his own upwardly mobile restless foot.

So while Tendulkar continues to bolster his post-retirement case for the sensitive job of Indian High Commissioner in Washington or Islamabad, Sehwag doesn't seem fit for even Dhaka.

Even Dhaka! Certainly not Dhaka, especially after his ordinary-side gaffe!

In stark contrast, The Tendulkar Cult grew in strength and opened its Bangladesh chapter after the Master Magnanimous went to the Tigers’ dressing room and blessed the awe-struck cubs.

Have you seen a Hindustani classical singer in the process of uttering the name of his Guru? A light of veneration gleams in his eyes as he raises a polite hand to touch the earlobe with unalloyed veneration.

Next time India returns to Bangladesh, I can see the Tigers doing the same whenever they refer to Tendulkar. 'It's Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar,' they would point out with a silent rebuke.

As for Sehwag, well, I'm afraid it would be just the surname, preceded by a largely unparliamentary assortment of crossbones, asterisks, skulls, stars and practically what not!

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Who are you Shahadat?

There are players who catch your eye. Shahadat Hossain is different. He catches your ear.

Pressed into service, he de-caps himself and sets out. Fairly longish run-up. You curse Shoaib Akhtar for being such a bad influence.

In ODIs, his captain shakes his head and fishes out a chart from pocket. It shows how much his match-fee shrunk.

Teammates cross fingers. Crowd's heart is in their mouth. Is he leaving the field?

No. Shahadat finally stops. He turns, ruffles his hair and runs.

The batsman saw him retreating into a blot. Now the blot swells into a blur. Shahadat begins his voyage, like one of those Narayangunj steamers.

He approaches the umpire, ghosts past him, leaps, lands and delivers it with a grunt!


As if he had a vile lunch which he wants to throw up.

As if he had half-swallowed a pregnant toad but then had a second thought and was trying to reverse the process.

Or he's putting up his impersonation of a mother-in-labour.

Beyond doubt, Shahadat labours. And he delivers as well. So, in all fairness, issues should not be made if he grunts too.

And there sneaks in the suspicion. Could it be possible that Shahadat actually is a woman's soul trapped in a male body?

Or maybe beneath the veneer, he is Monica Seles in disguise!

Cast aside the snickometer, bring out the grunt-o-meter. We must get to the bottom of the mystery.

Sunday, 24 January 2010

7 potential alternative careers in cricket

Whenever they speak, some cricketers can be quite thought-provoking. For instance, your first thought after hearing Player A could be a wishful one – wish the proverbial cat had gotten his tongue and was not sighted since.

Some cricketers can also make a believer out of you. The first sentence has barely left Player B's lips and you start believing that human tongue functions independently of human brain.

And then there are certain cricketers, who help you understand things around. Like exactly what thought went behind adding a MUTE button to all remote controls.

But then there are others who make interesting reading and from whatever I listened/read over the last few days, I have no doubt that the seven cricketers below would have made quite a good name in other professions. Cricket's-gain-is-god-knows-what's-loss stuff, I mean.

Sample the men and their utterances.

1. Miandad the Microbiologist: "T20 cricket is a virus". (Tendulkar, clearly from the other school of thought, felt T20 was dessert. Talk about one man’s meat being another man’s poison.)

2. Dr Sunil Gavaskar, MBBS: "The way they (Indian fielders) are going about it (dropping catches), despite the cold weather I doubt if they will be able to catch a cold."

3. Adam Parore the Cardiologist: "Jesse Ryder may have the longest lower abdominal strain in history - someone with a heart transplant would have been back quicker."

4. Wayne Parnell the Actuary: "It’s (the $610,000 hole he created in Daredevils’ pocket) a huge sum of money!"

5. Matthew Hayden, Oz High Commissioner to India: "I have been welcomed into the bosom of India as a brother." (Sourav Ganguly now calls him Hayden da, one hears).

6. Lalit Modi the Environmentalist: "For every effigy burnt I will go and plant 200 trees".

7. Jamie Siddons the Proctologist: "His (Sehwag’s) comments (that Bangladesh is an ordinary side) might bite him on his bum in a few years' time."

Thursday, 21 January 2010

7 players and why they didn't hit IPL jackpot

1. Brad Haddin: Teams agreed exposing the impressionable Indian juvenile populace to gloved crooks might adulterate their spiritual make-up and vitiate the values;

2. Philip Hughes: The idea of finding secret team strategies all over Twitter on the match-eve didn't appeal to anyone;

3 & 4. Monty Panesar & Mark Ramprakash: Shelved for a future Indian-origins' Premier League.

5. Shahid Afridi: His impersonation of Statue of Liberty after every dismissal was found neither original nor aesthetic;

6. Vernon Philander: The surname cooked his goose;

7. Sulieman Benn: With Mitchell Johnson and Haddin not in IPL, Benn would have been of limited utility.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

7 players and why they hit IPL jackpot

1. Kieron Pollard: To fill the Resident Hairdo Weirdo's post lying vacant since Robin Uthappa left Mumbai Indians;

2. Shane Bond: To bolster West Bengal Police which cut such a sorry figure against the Maoists;

3. Mohd Kaif: Owes his contract to misunderstanding. With Preity Zinta nursing a sore heart, Kings XI Punjab wanted an actress for their new video and thought Katrina Kaif was on offer. Ms Zinta later strongly resented this skullduggery by Lalit Modi;

4. Eoin Morgan: A man of well-known scruples, Vijay Mallya wanted a Catholic taster for his breweries. Besides, he was under the impression that the stripling was ICC chief David Morgan's offspring;

5. Damien Martyn: The mothballed veteran was plucked out of retirement to fill the babysitting void at Rajasthan Royals since Kamran Akmal was not at hand;

6. Wayne Parnell: Delhi Daredevils could not get over its infatuation for players nicknamed 'Pigeon';

7. Yousuf Abdulla: Hear it here first. A grateful Lalit Modi paid the money from his pocket as a Thank-You gesture to South Africa for hosting IPL II.

Friday, 15 January 2010

The rascal is a romantic

Ricky Ponting tops a popularity chart only when it's hung upside down.

As far as modesty is concerned, Idi Amin looks more an agreeable chap, if not the seraph altogether.

Gracewise, well, call him WG Grace. Without a Grain of Grace in his spiritual make-up, if you know what I mean.

And you would be baffled by your own austerity when you call him a rascal.

But when you are told that the pocket-size devil doesn't part with his worn-out baggy green cap and would have it rather repaired than replaced, it makes you feel pretty silly.

Let's face it, the rascal is a proud romantic.


Monday, 11 January 2010

Mother of all fatherhood stories

If you ever come across an adult male Darwin Frog and greet him with a hearty 'Hi', chances are that your partner-in-conversation would shush you and pantomime his inability to reciprocate because he is raising tadpoles in his vocal sac!

Similarly, a little inquiry about a familiar male Seahorse's suddenly bulging abdominal pouch would tell you that the same was bursting at the seam not as an aftermath of previous night's reckless dinner but because he was carrying the family embryo in it!

Ask about the sudden vanishing-into-thin-air of a neighbouring male Emperor Penguin and common pals would inform you that the poor guy is hard pressed for time since his female partner has washed her hands of the issue soon after laying the egg, leaving the job of incubating to him alone.

Now if you feel you've hard all about responsible fatherhood, hold your seahorses. Here comes the mother of all fatherhood stories.

Kamran Akmal dropped his world at SCG because all-night babysitting left him Sleepless in Sydney!

Reports claim with a steady stream of Z filling the speech balloon of his wife, Akmal could be seen pacing the floor of the Sydney hotel all night with his child in his arms. Fortunately, no flooring-of-the-sitter was reported.

No wonder when he sleepwalked into the ground next morning, Akmal was not interested in edges. All he wanted to catch was some sleep.

So Akmal dropped sitter. And now his team is set to drop the babysitter.

Friday, 8 January 2010

The perceived toothlessness of Kamran Akmal

Factually speaking, Kamran Akmal doesn't give you the impression of being a toothless glovesman.

On the contrary, he comes across more as an assortment of molar, premolar, canine and what not.

If Anil Kumble is Jumbo –- a dentist is bound to question the soundness of the simile -- Akmal is Mammoth. Now take that.

But form and fortune can be as fickle as Liz Taylor in her pomp, which is roughly 1950-91 when she married eight times to seven husbands. And Akmal, although a mammoth cricketer in his own rights, experienced the same in Sydney.

Both literally and figuratively, he dropped the ball at SCG. Ball after ball to be more accurate. And now his team is reciprocating, dropping him like a hot brick.

Now that leaves us with just one Akmal in Hobart and no prize for guessing that it's not the one long in the tooth.

P.S. Was searching for Kamran Akmal's photo. All I could lay my hands on was this Nestle product.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

A Suspect Cricketer

Both Ganguly and Wright had this sneaking suspicion that beneath the boy lurked a man. A yeoman.

A look at him and the selectors had this eerie feeling that they have seen future.

Those who sedulously tarred the walls of his Allahabad residence had this doubt that he did not try enough in 2003 World Cup.

Chappell, on his part, suspected he was a Ganguly henchman, who might spike his drink and then wait round the corner with a country-made gun.

And now umpires report him for a suspect bowling action in a Ranji match!

Show me a cricketer who has dealt with more doubt, suspicion and mistrust than Mohammad Kaif and I'll show you a liar.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Doosra Annual Award 2009

Dhoni could not believe it. Sehwag didn't like it. Pietersen rather resented it and Dirk Nannes was quite livid.

I assured them justice delayed is justice denied alright but they need not harbour similar insecurity about Doosra annual awards.

So without much ado, here goes the 2009 gongs:

1. Hosiery Society's Rookie Designer of the Year: Andrew Flintoff, for his socks;

2. Lingerie Wholesaler Association's Newcomer of the Year: Shane Warne, for his brief designs;

3. Youngest Grandpa Citation: Sachin Tendulkar;

4. M(e)an Booker Prize: Justin Langer, for his dossier on English cricketers;

5. Social Networker of the Year: Phil Hughes, for his Twittergate.

6. Honorary Doctorate: Sunil Gavaskar for diagnosing that the butter-finger Indians are incapable of even catching cold.

7. Quisling Memorial Trophy for Fifth Columnist of the Year: Virender Sehwag, for supporting opponents in close ties.

8. The inaugural Regit Sdoow Cup: Kevin Pietersen for being the perfect husband and seeking leave to watch his wife's dance prorgamme on TV. (Regit Sdoow is Tiger Woods reversed, for the uninitiated).

9. Thomas Edison Medal: Tillakaratne Dilshan for inventing ‘Dilscoop’.

10. Lord Snooty of the Year: Ram Gopal Verma, for mistaking Dhoni for an aspiring actor;

15. Cricketer Sans Border Plaque: Dirk Nannes, for effortlessly two-timing Netherlands and Australia.

16. Noam Chomsky Medal: Again Dirk Nannes, for being the only Japanese-speaking cricketer.

(Read Doosra Annual Award 2008 here)