Monday 28 December 2009

The hirsute angle of Kotla fiasco

Pacers hunt in pair. Commentators haunt in couple.

Hear it here first, Gavaskar and Bhogle are a couple. Strictly numerically speaking, lest there is any confusion or worse, a defamation suit!

Gavaskar missed Bhogle in Kotla. Mind you, Bhogle is no Neo-commentator, rather he is the archetypal. And Gavaskar is a pal of the archetypal.

The moment he saw the Kotla track, it reminded him of Bhogle’s dome and Gavaskar said it was hair transplant pitch. Few knew, that was a tribute to Bhogle.

Not even the Sri Lankans who confronted Gavaskar in the evening. They wanted him to issue a rejoinder. It was not a hair-transplant strip. It was hair-raising, they argued.

And they took off Kandamby's helmet to drive home the point.

The Lankans also put forward the case of Samaraweera. The same Samaraweera whose bullet-blunting stunt in Lahore put him in the same bracket with Dharmendra.

But even the same Samaraweera was not ready to bite the bullet this time and was rather happy to be back to the pavilion.

In fact so happy that he offered a cup of tea to Kandamby -– who had sold him down the river calling for that non-existent run -- when a juicy thwack on the latter’s posterior would have about met the case.

In the end, Gavaskar was convinced. Staying with the hirsute theme, he apparently was in no mood to split hairs.

Friday 25 December 2009

When Santa met Bhajji

When two boisterous men, both bearded to the teeth and turbaned to the gills, come together with Christmas in the air, bear hugs and mutual backslapping are expected to be the order of the day.

But at times, even the most perfect of scripts go awry and what follows is something starting with a P and has a demon in it. I think Pandemonium is the word I'm groping for, unless it's one of those chemical elements which sign off with an 'ium'.

So when Santa Claus met Bhajji, one expected them to hit it off like a house on fire. Instead, it turned out to be a harrowing experience for Father Christmas.

Bhajji was in a foul mood. In his elements, if you insist.

In contrast, Santa had enough warmth in his voice to force another Copenhagen as he greeted Bhajji.

"Merry Christmas!"

The bonhomie was somehow missing on Bhajji's part.

"Oye Papaji, mind your language. Has your Pyo brought the exclusive rights that you go about the town claiming 'Meri Christmas'? If you don't want me to box your ear, tell 'It's Everybody's Christmas'."

Santa shielded his bafflement with a patronizing smile.

"Well, it's everybody’s Christmas of course."

Bhajji sort of relented but clearly wasn't convinced of the stranger's bona fide.

"That's better. By the way, haven't seen you earlier. Who the hell are you?"

"I'm Santa Claus."

Bhajji's eyes bulged again.

"Santa what?"

What followed immediately is the experience I have undergone more than once in my childhood.

It's the standard modus operandi of the neighbourhood bullies to grab you by your arm, twist it as if it's a doorknob and pull it up like a lever till it's horizontal to the terra firma – thus preempting any resistance – before planting some of the juiciest on your defenceless back.

More than the assault itself, its suddenness had unnerved Santa and emanating from the depth of his facial undergrowth was an assortment of Err, Hey, Ohh, Ouch, Stop, What-the-Hell before he finally managed to free himself from the vice-like grip.

Massaging his mangled arm, Santa sounded less genial as he instituted an inquiry.

"What the hell...I mean why did you attack me? You nearly yanked my arm!"

Panting after his attempt at disarmament of the opponent, Bhajji was clearly baffled by his naivety.

"Why I beat you? Santa CLAUSE! Must be a relative of that *&%$#@ Whereabout Clause. Don't I know you have a bottle in your sack and you have been shadowing me all along to see when I relieve myself?"

Last remnants of geniality gone from his eyes — and honestly one could not blame him – Santa finally exercised some authority.

"Stop it, you moron. I don't know what the hell you are gibbering about. See, there is no bottle in my sack."

Bhajji was clearly shaken. At least stirred, if not shaken altogether.

"You mean you don't even know Whereabout Clause? I'm sorry then. No hard feelings, ok? See I slapped Sreesanth also and he too made peace later. We exchange dance steps now. You know what? Lalit Modi had actually threatened to auction us, not in IPL but among the cannibal tribes in Papua New Guinea, if we did not kiss and make up."

The change in air did little as Santa still eyed Bhajji with no little suspicion. Bhajji, on his part, was at his garrulous best, trying to strike a conversation.

"Sure you aren't Ramesh Powar trying to make a comeback in disguise? (laughs) I'm kidding buddy. So you come from North Pole? What brought you here?"

Santa was under the impression that Bhajji's query was on mode of transport.


Bhajji was surprised. He outstretched his arm and then looked at Santa.

"Rain! It's not raining dear. Why should it rain in winter? And I don't see Duckworth or Lewis either. They appear without failing whenever it rains."

A little explanation was the need of the hour but Bhajji retained that baffled look.

"Why reindeer man? Get a life, get a Hummer. I have one. Dhoni has one. If you want I can talk to the distributor for some discount."

Having retained his sang-froid, Santa finally opened his mouth.

"Thanks but no thanks. Sonny, my arm comes in the way of saying it was a pleasure meeting you. Never mind, I have something to give you before I depart."

Santa fished out a rolled strip and handed it over to Bhajji.

"I don't watch cricket but I'm told you've forgotten the basics. So I give you this tape to measure your line and length. You still will be left with another yard or so and for humanity's sake, tape your mouth with that. Bye."

Sunday 20 December 2009

Moksha, at night

To fling my arms wide
In some place of the sun,
To whirl and to dance
Till the white day is done.

Then rest at cool evening
Beneath a tall tree
While night comes on gently,
Dark like me-
That is my dream!

To fling my arms wide
In the face of the sun,
Dance! Whirl! Whirl!
Till the quick day is done.

Rest at pale evening...
A tall, slim tree...
Night coming tenderly
Black like me.


Damir Dokic, Jim Pierce, Peter Graff, Richard Williams, A S Bindra, Yograj Singh...

As a class, fathers of sports celebrities tend to talk crap.

But I remember a particular interview of Sourav Ganguly's father for its rare insight into the agony of a flawed enigma.

The Prince had become The Pariah and stayed aloof even at home.

Affectionate friends and careworn family members would take him to a corner, put a sympathetic arm around his shoulder and tell him that chasing rainbows has never done anyone good.

Ganguly would nod but no one was really sure they were being listened to.

When the world around him had withdrawn, a sleepless Ganguly would get a domestic help to throw ball at him in the middle of night and do the knocking in their sprawling drawing room.

In the adjoining bedroom, an upset Ganguly Sr would shake his head and tell his wife how their tormented son had completely lost it.

And what followed was the mother of all comeback stories.

From Bengal Tiger to his American cousin.

Reports trickle in that Tiger Woods, a thoroughly deserving butt of popular dirty jokes, eagerly waits for the night to descend on his Florida mansion so that he can sneak out to a nearby golf course to ease his mind.

Away from prying eyes, a dimly-lit, empty course with the man and his craft.

The same guy who relished flashbulbs now seeks obscurity in the dark and all his own making.

Tiger has fallen from grace. Responsible parents have removed his poster from their kids' study room and burnt it in the backyard.

But let there be no illusion. Golf has seldom been in more need of a comeback story.

Friday 18 December 2009

REVEALED: Sehwag was Attila in previous birth!

In a way, he could have been Bertie Wooster's Aunt Agatha, widely suspected of eating broken bottles and turning into a werewolf at the time of full moon.

Discerning eyes will seldom miss the semblance of Conan the Barbarian.

But years – no, actually hours – of research, into history and his story, led Doosra to this mindboggling piece of jaw-dropper.

Hear it here first. Sehwag was Attila the Hun in his previous birth!

Picture them together and you have two identical thickset men, topped by a sizeable dome.

History books -- rather dicey source of unverifiable gossips about loonies who have decomposed long ago and hence not in a position to expose the fraudsters who spread the canard – suggest unlike his peers, Attila fussed about triumph.

He insisted it be soaked in blood and made to look as gory as possible.

In fact I’d hazard that if you could frisk him and lived to tell the tale, you’d have invariably retrieved from his pocket a chit with the existing blood-shedding record written across it.

Now closely watch Attila in his reincarnation.

Others merely bat but where Sehwag differs is in his penchant to make the bowlers bleed. Sixes and fours that is. After all, Sehwag inhabits an allegedly civil society infested by suspected human rights groups!

Returning to the rail, Attila perpetrated Vandalism. Sehwag practises Virenderism.

Attila chest-thumped – his modesty clearly nothing to write home about – "Where my hordes has trodden, no grass grows."

And note how the same vegetation-scorching streak finds ample manifestation in Sehwag’s ground-strokemaking!

The Romans, their manicured tails neatly tucked between their dainty legs, considered Attila a devil.

Sehwag, on his part, is an unabashed and rather a contracted Daredevil, Delhi Daredevil to be precise.

Lack of access to the willow Sehwag wields does handicap any honest effort to establish a link between the Sword of Attila and the Blade of Virender.

But as far as savagery is concerned, it would only suffice to say that both have really raised the bar.

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Why? Why? Why?

# Tiger Woods -- census at the time of going to press puts his collection of mistresses exactly level-par with his 14 Majors -- has, well nearly had, a drink named after him;

# Rafael Nadal, known for his feat of clay, has an asteroid named after him;

# Gabriela Sabatini, the alpha ooh-inducing racquetier of her days, has a rose bearing her name;

# Even Jonah Lomu, who earned his stripes rewriting rugby records in the day and stealing protégé’s wife in the night, has a volcano named after him;

Any explanation for this inordinate heel-dragging in naming one of the rocket-launching stations after Virender Sehwag even when a toddler knows that he has planted far more spheres in the orbit?

(P.S Also read 11 Indian cricketers and things that could be named after them.)

Monday 14 December 2009

Why you need to think twice before getting chummy with Yuvi

What do you do on your birthday?

Majority of the populace tends to throw a party in the evening. Blowing some timid candles here, cutting an innocuous cake there, if you know what I mean.

And then you realise that the fiends who run the local bakery have sold you down the river and gift-wrapped what is essentially glorified cow dung, the mass consumption of which is liable to invite hardball genocide charges.

Too late to pencil in a substitute, you figure out the lone purpose that the crystalised bovine excreta can serve under the circumstances. So you astutely declare open the face-smudging ceremony, a microcosm of the dog-eat-dog world we live in.

Eggs all over face – for that is supposed to be the binding agent in a cake – everyone is out to deface every map in circulation and you grope in vain for that elusive face-saver.

From fitness point of view, it's quite a calorie-combusting exercise and the verve and vim of the frolic party nosedive once they have completed the gamut of faces on offer.

This is invariably followed by generous knocking back of the liquor on offer and benevolent wolfing down of the munchables around.

A clandestine stocktaking of the gifts and a formal vote of thanks precede the dropping of the curtain and that is by and large how an average birthday party goes.

But then some people have other ideas.

For instance, Yuvi is not content just being the pie-chucker, as Kevin Pietersen had once classified him.

History witness, Yuvi takes his birthday bash quite seriously, and literally as well.

On his 25th birthday party, Yuvi bashed one of the frolickers, apparently because he had the guts and gall to be his namesake.

On his 28th, Yuvi bashed a Lankan side which had at least two of his Kings XI Punjab pals in it.

Well, lack of data on his other birthday bashes sort of undermine the credibility of this study but since prevention is often better than cure, think twice before you gate matey with him.

For it comes with that 'at-your-own-peril' tag.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Why BCCI deserves a Padma Bibhishan

When you have a 10:1 cerebral advantage over your opponent, theoretically your win is merely a matter of time and formalities.

Unless one of your siblings responds to the name of Bibhishan, that is.

An average Norwegian was content munching his lutefisk or Kjøttkaker, depending on his preference, and humming Ja, vi elsker dette landet.

Till one of them, a blighter by the name of Vidkun Quisling, popped up to facilitate the Nazi invasion of his own country.

Siraj-Ud-Daulah had a fair chance in the Battle of Plassey. Before his lieutenant Mir Jafar crossed the floor and hugged Robert Clive, that is.

India's stint as the No. 1 Test team could have been longer. But then BCCI had meticulously cooked their goose and inked just 2 Tests in the next 11 months.

You probably feel like borrowing the 5-iron wielded so deftly by Elin Nordegren and spank the colossal fatheads at BCCI.

A less violent breed, I demand a Padma Bibhishan for Shashank Manohars and Lalit Modis.

Monday 7 December 2009

Sehwag redefines beauty

Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. Or something to that effect.

That was by and large what Messrs Shakespeare & Franklin told us and needless to say we took them at face value.

Untangled, the saying basically means you may categorise Paris Hilton as God's unfinished project but there would always be colossal fatheads like Cristiano Ronaldo who would drool over her, even if momentarily.

Or take the vastly polarising act of spitting on others for instance.

While it's generally accepted as one of the five sureshot ways of incurring a black eye, the same act would endear you no end if the other guy happens to speak Maa, worship Engai and live in an Inkajijik somewhere in Masai Mara.

It's a matter of perception, we are told.

Now sample this:

In the dressing room they told me I was hitting the good balls too. But if you look at it my way I hit only the bad ones.

Don't allow the Team India bonhomie con you. Sehwag clearly doesn't see eye-to-eye with his teammates when it comes to the aesthetics of a delivery.

What his teammates perceive as good appears simply rotten to him.

He has redefined batting. Now Sehwag redefines beauty.

Let's get the saying right. Lack of beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder.

(P.S. Revisit the 7 tenets of Sehwag's batting)

Thursday 3 December 2009

Why ‘keepers should not be skippers

It is like opening a hair salon in a locality where the Yul Brynners jostle for space with the Bruce Willises, Michael Jordons, Ben Kingsleys and Syed Kirmanis.

Or like stacking the racks with long gowns and then expecting a clientele that includes prominent minimalists like Kim Kardashian, Jordan, Pamela Anderson and Rihanna.

How else can you explain the plight of MS Dhoni's country-cousins-in-gloves?

Truth is the Parthiv Patels, Dinesh Karthiks and Wriddhiman Sahas have hit their cricketing cul de sac.

There is just one vacancy at the top and Dhoni has sealed it for good. Now where does that leave the Parthivs, Karthiks and Sahas?

Every day, they get up in a trance, shove their fists in those roomy gloves and hit the nets. Balls after balls thud onto their palms till they are numb and fingers sore.

But at the end of the day – even at the start of the day, for that matter – they know they are going nowhere.

Well, not exactly. Karthik is going places, but only literally.

Karthik spends most of his time in airports, clocking up frequent flyer's miles as Dhoni's cover. Pathiv is apparently contemplating a Dhokla joint near Royal Albert Hall in London. Saha says his IPL riches allows for a modest Telebhaja counter near Sealdah station.

The desperation has had some worrying effects on Karthik's sensitive psyche.

Already he has started chasing the umpire, tried his hands at bowling and did some crazy captaining – declaring Tamil Nadu's first innings only to see Himachal Pradesh overtake them!

All in his bid to reinvent himself and make him relevant.

I'm afraid, this career stagnation can lead to stranger things.

For instance, spiking Dhoni's drink with a steroid at the first available opportunity and fix him for good.

Or praying that cricket’s loss becomes Bhojpuri film industry's gain.

Or making a career switch altogether.

The point I'm driving at – 'keepers should not be made skippers. It can stamp out an entire generation of stumpers.

Sangakkara used to keep. Now he keeps it to himself, while PJ keeps to others.

High time BCCI took a leaf out of the Lankan book.

Tuesday 1 December 2009

Gauti no dino

Frankly speaking, I have not seen anyone getting nostalgic about his or her Life Science book.

You just cannot be about what is largely an assortment of outrageous lies that suggests our forefathers had their tail between their legs and it's not metaphorically speaking.

It further claims till date, we are carrying a defunct remnant of that embarrassment tucked somewhere down our spine!

Elsewhere, they want you to believe that in another era, snakes shook a leg, pigs could fly and fishes used bicycles to commute.

Utter nonsense. Childhood would be better off without those ghastly lies.

A little more plausible was the chapter on dinosaurs. How they went about the place throwing their weight around – even their infants weighed more than a full-fledged Inzamam-ul-Haq -- and flexing muscles as if it was their parental property.

And then one fine morning, the giant lizards simply dropped off the face of the earth.

It turned out the colossal fatheads were too busy munching junk and bullying others to evolve and had to make a hasty exit.

Moral of the story – evolve or exit.

Gautam Gambhir burst into the scene as a brash southpaw, devoid of the natural grace of a Gower or Lara, and with a penchant for wrecking bowling figures and picking fights with oversize opponents.

One leisurely noon, he turned the pages of the Life Science book and stopped on the chapter on dinosaurs.

Now he can perform solo, play second fiddle, go ballistic, stay anchored, open the floodgates, finish a match...

Moral of the story – Gambhir is no dinosaur.

P.S. Kafka is reportedly itching in his Prague grave to write a sequel to 'The Metamorphosis', replacing the salesman with a cricketer this time.

Friday 27 November 2009

Kanpur Test Day 4

# Life imitates cricket:

There are things that vary from city to city. And then there are that do not.

Like men of dubious upbringing trying to bring down every wall by sheer urea power. Amazing How the spirit that fell the Berlin Wall is still smouldering in far away India!

Like autowallahs who were uncompromising shearers in previous life.

Or like traffic police warnings.

As you enter Green Park, one such warning screams "Helmet Ki Adat, Pariwar Ki Chahat".

Loosely translated, it basically means every time you kickstart your bike, family members want you to use the helmet. Possibly because your life insurance had lapsed long ago.

An advice of indubitable sagacity indeed.

Had Raman Lamba heeded to that, he would not have popped up in my memory the moment I saw the writing.

# Liar! Liar!
Sreesanth says Harbhajan is like his elder brother. Well, Dipu Santh's is a rather chubby face and barring a thick moustache, is clean shaven. Now that is called stretch of imagination.

# Yours Faithfully:

Outside the stadium, couple of fans tell a local channel that they always knew Sreesanth will stage a comeback.
Once through, one of them hail a riskshaw. The rickshaw-puller wants to know his destination. It still rings in my ear. "Faithfulgunj".

# Marriages, here and there:

News filters in that Gautam Gambhir would skip next Test due to sister's wedding. Press box is abuzz, would Australia allow such a thing? Someone explains "There you can always make it to any of the weddings of your sister." Now that is mean.

Thursday 26 November 2009

Kanpur Test Day 3 : Hatchets buried

Edged. Panaravitana is back. So is Sreesanth. Back with a bang.

19 months of wilderness finally behind him. Teammates mob Sree.

Can't read Harbhajan's face. Let alone his mind. Does he feel awkward? Will the bad blood persist?

I expect perfunctory claps. Well, it's actually a clasp! And doesn't look perfunctory either!

Harbhajan hugs Sree. Last time it was engineered. By Farokh Engineer.

I don't know what lies in their bosoms. In fact they may never become bosom friend. But I love this coming together.

Life is way too precious to do something as silly as nursing grudges. I'm happy Bhajji and Sree have moved on.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Kanpur Test Day 2: God's prodigal son

It was a huge joint venture, if you care to know.

Sources reveal 33 crore Hindu Gods collaborated with Allah Almighty and Jesus Christ to make it happen.

And it required such an unprecedented joining of hands because, along with others, the God of Cricket -- 20 years in circulation -- did not want him in the Team India dressing room.

Sreesanth is a madcap.

He hears strange noise inside his head. He perceives Nel, Hayden and Symonds on the window pane. Harbhajan with an outstretched hand haunts him in his nightmares. And he hallucinates a gorilla making him hug a monkey while the fox claps.

Gods consult and issue him a new lease of life and Sreesanth runs in from media centre end, all verve and vim.

He thinks Paranavitana has nicked it. He appeals. No, he pleads. He then urges. Finally he begs.

But there is no trace of life in the umpire's standing corpse.

Sreesanth stays rooted to the crease.

Sehwag collects his hat and pats him. Sreesanth drags himself to fine leg. He looks upward. Seeking divine intervention again.

The guys upstairs squirm in their abode.

"Now what?"

Sreesanth feels he is drowning. And he seeks a divine straw to clutch at.

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Kanpur Test Day 1: My 7 suspects

1. The cake Amit Mishra -- he turned 27 today even though his look suggests 72 -- received from team management had 'Happy-Birthday-Omit' written across it;

2. "Sorry Bhai" is the Bollywood movie that pretty much sums up Pragyan Ojha's feeling towards Amit Mishra;

3. The only explanation of Sri Lanka's frequent dropping of anything flying off Sehwag's bat is -- they consider it below their dignity. They steadfastly refused in Ahmedabad till one accidentally got stuck to Angelo Mathews' reluctant palm. Here too Mahela dropped Sehwag on duck before Dilshan caught him. And that because Sehwag happens to be Dilshan's Delhi Daredevils comrade;

4. After their union in Ahmedabad, the Jayawardenes clicked in Kanpur as well. Well, this time for India, by collaborating to spill Sehwag on zero;

5. The secret behind Sehwag's uncharacteristic patience is Dhoni's threat to make him write Welegedara's full name -- Uda Walawwe Mahim Bandaralage Chanaka Asanga Welegedara -- 10 times if he got out early;

6. Harbhajan Singh's mild throat infection had the team management worried because they know his real craft lies in his larynx;

7. When Sehwag said Gambhir is the best Indian opener since Gavaskar, he meant Srikkanth was a motormouth madcap, Ganguly an ill-tempered mule and Tendulkar a petulant holy cow.

Monday 23 November 2009

Of Kanpur, Woolmer and a rickshaw straying down memory lane

Kanpur can be cruel in April. And it did not make an exception in 2005.

The dust, dirt, soot and dung flies. Frentic autowallahs with a hand on the horn and a foot on the brake.

Desperate bikers, tilting their vehicle and bobbing their head to make a mockery of the railway crossing.

Pedestrians crossing the remnants of a road with outsize bags in their hand and a prayer on their lip.

Chimneys dotting the skyline belching poison. Air is thick and the heat saps you.

For a man of his shape and size, Bob was panting, trying to squeeze his bulky frame into the choc-o-bloc ward of the Georgina McRobert Memorial Hospital. He was returning after 57 years to collect his birth certificate.

I could not resist pushing the doctor in front to peep into the certificate. The exact time read 2.15 a.m. on May 14, 1948.

Bob shook hands with everyone. He sweated profusely but the heat and discomfort could not sap him of that illuminating smile.

Amused patients got fruits and flower. Kids even a pat on their head. Bob then fished out a jersey, signed by the Pakistani players, and asked the authorities to auction it.

Bob promised he would come again. He did not.

Instead, his corpse was found in a far away Kingston hotel in 2007.

India plays Sri Lanka tomorrow. I suspected my rickshawallah wasn't sure he knows the way to my hotel and he doesn't let me down. The moron on pedal has dutifullly bungled it and I've strayed into an alien area.

To be honest, not exactly alien since I first visited Georgina McRobert Memorial Hospital in 2005.

Sunday 22 November 2009

How 7 cricketers are preparing for Kanpur Test

1. Rahul Dravid: Plans an interaction with the IIT Kanpur faculty there. Nothing stimulates him on the eve of a Test like a free-wheeling chat on aerodynamics;

2. Amit Mishra: An interaction with ITI Kanpur faculty to explore the prospects of its mobile repairing diploma course;

3. Virender Sehwag: Toying with the idea of visiting any of the tanneries. You can't have a better place to hone your butchering and skinning skill.

4. S Sreesanth: Well, no temple/mosque/church/gurdwara is safe in the town where he lands. Humanity is yet to see a man more convinced that only a divine intervention can win him a place.

5. Harbhajan Singh: Allen Forest Zoo. His sinister motive being to first find a monkey and then call it names, including Symonds.

6. VVS Laxman: A trip to the Luv Kush barrage, purely out of avancular affection;

7. MS Dhoni: Nostalgic 15 minutes at the Kanpur Railway Station, to relive his days as ticket checker in Kharagpur;

(P.S. Doosra is in Kanpur for 2nd Ind-SL Test. Expect lot of actions over the next five days.)

Friday 20 November 2009

EXCLUSIVE: Bhajji explains white patka!

Dear All,

So here we go again. Talk of the town and it again has nothing to do with my bowling!

Well, I'm told my white patka has been quite a sensation.

So much so that some people have lost their own. Others reported sporadic cases of choking at the breakfast table in front of the television.

Now that surely warrants some explanation. What necessitated this change in colour and the encrypted messages I meant for a few individuals.

For starters, I believe I have been able to prove to my BCCI bosses that I'm doing my utmost to curb my temper and keep my cool.

White reflects sunlight, elementary metaphysics sirs! No? You insist it's physics? Sure it's not physiology either? Well, will take that.

Returning to the rail, I believe with this subtle move, I've silenced my critics, who spread the canard that I lack variety. And if still those offsprings of *&^%$#@! still nitpick about it being just a wardrobe variety, well, my Hummer can take care of them next time they stray onto the road.

Time to spell out other ramification of the white patka that may have eluded your radar.

To Matthew Hayden, my patka virtually screams out 'Mate, about time you issued a rejoinder that I’m not an obnoxious weed but a white tulip'.

It has a message for Sreesanth as well. Well Sree, you can come closer without inviting a palm-shaped tattoo on your cheeky cheeks.

For Symonds, oh dear, all hatchets buried. Let's start life afresh, mate. By the way, how's your mom?

Finally a word for Mr Amitabh Bachchan too.

Now that I've changed colour, don't you think a Big Boss invitation should be on my way?


Harbhajan Singh.

(P.S. What will be the punch line of a family planning commercial featuring Dhoni and Bhajji? Hum Do Hummer Do, preferably mouthed by Dhoni.)


Tuesday 17 November 2009

Asking for the moon, Ban Ki-moon

The first Boer War was fought over Transvaal.

The second Boer War was fought over the gold deposits of Orange Free State.

And after a 108-year lemon break, the Poms and the Proteas are at it again.

The Third Boer War is being thrust on us and it is being fought over Craig Kieswetter!

And once again, that arthritis-stricken, dozing UN is blissfully unaware of the impending gore and death.

Craig who?

Well, painstaking research revealed that this Kieswetter chap is a Jo'burg-born blighter, who represented South Africa in U-19 World Cup before deciding to infest Somerset.

If you have followed England, you know any crap with a 'Made in South Africa' tag finds easy currency in Pomland.

Already the Poms have stuffed their XI with four Protea imports. And they believe they can inch closer to their dream of turning this fledgling South Africa B team into a full-fledged South Africa B team by drafting in this Kieswetter blister.

Graeme Smith, however, can't help being the fly in the ointment.

More so in this case because Craig happens to be his middle name and you of course don't want your middle name to settle abroad.

So there you hear the rumble. But I guess a war may still be averted. If the edentate UN forgets its dodgy knee and spring into action that is.

Call it naiveté. Or call it asking for the moon. Ban Ki-moon.

Sunday 15 November 2009

A profane post

It's potentially a fatwa-inviting post. A heresy, a sacrilege beyond redemption. But then someone had to say it I guess.

Just too much of saccharine, this Tendulkar20 business.

Deep inside, the Little Master himself must be embarrassed by the mindless hysteria he finds himself in and around him.

His fawning fans in the media have made such a vulgar song and dance of his 20 years in international cricket that I won't be surprised if he comes up with his own version of Karl Marx’s Thank-God-I'm-Not-A-Marxist renouncement.

When someone like Ravi Shastri advocates blanket imprisonment for every Tendulkar critic, you suspect fascism trying to stage a comeback with cricket as its vehicle.

Raj Thackeray can sleep peacefully. Indian cricket is in safe hands.

Elsewhere, the abysmal chumps in the media are foaming at the mouth, trying to convince us how longevity is the lone hallmark of greatness.

You wonder if they have heard about Wilfred Rhodes who had a 31-year-old international career and there are around 14 others as well who lingered for more than 20 years.

A humbug columnist questioned if any other player had hauled a nation from the depth of its sorrow like Tendulkar did by dedicating a century to the Mumbai terror victims.

While a heart-warming gesture it definitely was, the columnist apparently forgot Don Bradman had lifted the entire Australian spirit from the aftermath of the 'Great Depression'.

To be fair to Tendulkar, it's difficult to imagine him appreciating this sick media rush to usurp the milestone and milk some mileage. For, in this avalanche of feel-good interviews and familiar ego-massaging gibberish, objectivity has been sacrificed at the altar of sycophancy.

No sincere effort to gauge why two decades were not enough to silence claims that he did not win enough matches while the likes of Brian Lara won series on their own.

Reams spent on his 175 in Hyderabad against Australia, and rightly so, but not a single honest question on why he played that ugly, irresponsible shot completely unbecoming of a player of his stature.

Or for that matter, what about that steadfast political correctness, the opaqueness of which never allowed us to know actually what goes inside that great mind?

Lest you get me wrong, only fools would doubt Tendulkar's greatness. But the same fools would roam around with a superiority complex when they come across people who refuse to recognize a single grey shade in that pronounced greatness.

If anything, this eulogy deluge has cemented the notion that we are essentially, and probably incorrigibly, a nation of hyperbole and hysteria, which is ready to dump its sense of proportion at the slightest provocation.

Tendulkar once swapped a dear bat for a Mark Knoffler guitar. He has an ear for music. But I'm not sure all that is written and aired about him would come as music to those blushed ears.

(P.S. Read 7 Tendulkar Q & A here.)

Thursday 12 November 2009

Thank you all

Chest-thumping is best left to the gorillas. But an equal truth is a blogger, in the heart of hearts, craves for recognition.

Have no illusion. A blogger doesn't mint money. At least I have not seen one. A comment here, a link there makes his/her day.

Doosra did not go from town to town telling people when Patrick Kidd -- god bless him -- included the blog in the Best of the Web he compiled for The Times.

Nor did it made a song and dance about its inclusion in the ICC blogroll.

Based on Telegraph Sports readers' recommendation -- may their tribe increase – Rod Gilmour now lists Doosra as No. 1 of the top 20 cricket websites.

Time to release the words which have been fluttering like a butterfly inside the bosom.

Whoever sees these words. Thank you all.

(Click on the pix to enlarge)

Wednesday 11 November 2009

Ind-Aus series in light of Evolution Theories!

Survival of the Fittest: Not sure if Darwin wanted us to barge into the nearest gym with vengeance. But when you realize that only 8 of Australia’s original 15-member squad survived the 7–ODI rigour, you know Darwin was not driveling;

Natural Selection: Darwin propounded some individuals survive more than their jealous peers for no particular reason. Cricket anthropologists classify Virat Kohli as the prime example.

Inheritance of Acquired Characters: Basically what Lamarck meant is that no amount of blood transfusion can help it. At the end of the day, a Casanova begets Casanova and a Gandhi, pre-abstinence that is, begets Gandhi.

So it was hardly a wonder that Shaun Marsh would follow in his father's footsteps and choose India for his maiden ODI ton.

Theory of Needs: At the outset, I would like to clarify that I take no responsibility for the following even though Lamarck does. Apparently, giraffes grew long necks because their forefathers were sick and tired of the staple grass-and-bush diet and craved for the leafy delicacies of the tall trees.

A bare batting cupboard and the same theory of needs forced Ricky Ponting to open the innings in Delhi.

Theory of Use and Disuse: Apparently, early snakes, unlike their present day descendants, were LBW candidates in a Mammals XI vs Reptiles XI tie because they had legs! That is what Lamarck said and once again I take him at face value. He knew them enough to claim that snakes lost legs because they didn't use them enough. Basically he wanted to mean that snakes put their feet up all the time till it eventually came off.

Harbhajan Singh may resent the simile but Chris Broad's presence has forced him to shelve his Doosra and we may not see him bowling that again.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

World Jason Krejza Day!

Tasmania is up in arms.

Writers have put down their pen. Painters have brushed aside their brush and minstrels are rehearsing mutinous songs.

Flags across Tassie have slid to half mast and black armband sales have reported all-time high.

Agitated senators are clearing their throat and testing the robustness of their pipes.

Even Spirit of Tasmania refuses to budge and stays put at Devonport.

The cry has gone out that Jason Krejza may not be Abel Tasman but Able Tasman he surely is.

And the Island of Inspiration would brook no such nonsense!

Since his sensational debut, Krejza has been treated as a pariah.

But then every dog has its day and today is 'World Jason Krejza Day'.

Will Australia survive Tasmania's wrath?

Sunday 8 November 2009

Promote PK, for the Doc's sake!

40 not out, 1, DNB, 16, 9, 54 not out.

May not look Bradmanesque but then Bradman did not have to bat at No. 9 like Praveen Kumar.

And on two occasions, he was run out, indubitably the dastardliest way to nix a No. 9 batsman.

No corporate entity with an ounce of soul and an iota of sense would waste time in recognising and rewarding such a worker.

Let's face it. PK is way too good to be wasted at no. 9. He deserves promotion.

Don't dare you curl your lips and say "What if..."

If denied, I'm afraid he will be more of pique than PK and hit the bottle. After all, there is a little bit of Devdas in all of us.

And once spirited, he would go about the town, bashing doctors.

At least for the neighbourhood doc's sake, please promote PK.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Dinesh Karthik at peace with himself

Assume you are a keeper and you swing a decent bat.

But you pass through the corridor and realize not a single door is ajar, let alone open.

For starters, Gang Lord keeps wicket himself!

You want an opening. In fact, you are open to opening.

But you also know that you'd be lynched if heard of even dreaming about replacing either The God or his Protégé.

You push the door of Protégé’s Protégé and realize it's bolted from inside.

You hurry past the Preening Prince's door, for he can be in foul mood.

You bow before Gang Lord's door and cross those of his Lead Lackey, Punk Pal and the Rockstar and realize it's a dead end.

What do you do?

You take your gloves off, ask somebody else to keep wicket and roll your arms over.

Apparently, Dinesh Karthik bowled against Railways in the Ranji Trophy.

No one saw him bowl – except this scorecard. Not even the batsmen he allegedly bowled to!

Is he a dibbly-dobbler? Or a pie-chucker? Maybe a purveyor of right-arm filth?

Whatever. Karthik at least knows he can't be blamed for not trying enough.

Thursday 5 November 2009

REVEALED: Ponting was King Pyrrhus in previous birth!

Was he Al Capone, a gangster beneath his Canary Yellow who frequented speakeasies and patronized moonshining?

Or was he Idi Amin, the self-anointed CBE (Conqueror of the British Empire) even though he lost Ashes?

High possibilities though these maybe, allow me to let the cat out of the bag and tell you that Ricky Ponting was King Pyrrhus in his previous life!

A little explanation would render it less outrageous.

Well, when you are a second cousin of Alexander the Great, you can’t help winning wars. It just happens.

But then Pyrrhus was not Alexander but his cousin, and second one at that. He won the Battle of Asculum alright but it was such a cliffhanger that cost him irreparable damage.

The poor guy was left to mutter that one more such victory would completely undo him. And unscrupulous phrase-coiners minted money out of his predicament, terming it ‘Pyrrhic victory’.

Now sample this.

Ponting won Vadodara but lost Brett Lee.

He won Mohali too and Peter Siddle and Moises Henriques fell by the wayside.

Had you been a particular insect of the Diptera order on the wall of the Oz dressing room, you could have eavesdropped Punter grumbling to someone “One more such victory and mate, I’d be undone.”

(P.S. Staying with the reincarnation theme, read why Tendulkar is actually Einstein re-born).

Pix: Getty Images

Monday 2 November 2009

Live from Mohali

Welcome to What Neo Won't Show And Cricinfo Won't Report.

1410: Dhoni wins toss. Ponting inquires if Amitabh Bachchan had used the same coin in 'Sholay'. Umpire Ashoka de Silva grumbled 'Sholay' was never screened in Sri Lanka and hence he could not shed any light on it.

1430: Harbhajan shakes hand with Ashoka de Silva like long lost mate. Staying with Bhajji, I suspect he is subdued in this series because Chris Broad is the Match Referee. The same guy -- no doubt he hides a pair of horns under that trendy cap -- who had reported Bhajji twice in the past. Come on Chris, live upto your name -- surname to be precise -- and take a broad view of things. My heart bleeds for Bhajji since we are the last few remaining Doosra exponents.

1440: Statying with Chris, I think Stuart Little got the surname alright but goofed up the name when he complained to Pa that a neighbourhood Singh boy had hit him for six sixes. That was Yuvi, not Harbhajan, Chris. Stop scaring the kid.

1545: Sorry for the delay. The wi-fi in the press box is like Australian opening pair. Just not working.

1610: Raina in pain, trying to stop a ball that gets sandwiched between him and the turf. Looked like he was trying to sow the ball and maybe water it as well till it bore fruit. Balls I meant.

1645: Hear it here FIRST. BCCI Prez Shashank Manohar tells PCB chief Ejaj Butt -- both are here -- that no Ind-Pak series possible in the next 8 months. Promises to renew talk next year, provided the Government gives them the go-ahead.

1820: Australia settle for 250 when 300 looked a possibility. Something fairly akin to dating Katrina Kaif and then settling for/with Rakhi Sawant. Destiny, I guess.

2010: Ashoka de Silva just topped every Indian hate-list and his family would pray hard for his safe return after that howler of a decision against Tendulkar.

2025: Son of the soil Yuvraj clearly knows part of the crowd moving behind the sightscreen. You don't need lip-readers to tell you that he was referring to some of their mothers and sisters.

2030: India reach 111 for 3 in 22.4 overs. I'm missing David Shepherd (read my tribute here).

2121: Suddenly it springs to my mind - I have seen grandpa and grandson bat together in an ODI when Tendulkar and Yuvraj forged a brief partnership. And Yuvraj isn't alone to call Tendulkar grandpa.

2137: Today must be International Party-Pooper's Day. First Sehwag spoiled birthday boy Mitchell Johnson's party and then de Silva marred Tendulkar's.

2230: No more updates today, time for other serious stuff. Thanks for staying with Doosra, if anyone that is :)

Sunday 1 November 2009

Introducing Tendulkar, the grandpa!

First he was boy wonder who looked skywards in search of his deceased father whenever he hit a ton. Then he fathered Arjun and Sara and announced on telly "Mai bhi ek pitaa hun" (I'm also a father).

Doosra knows he is a godfather as well, to some of his younger teammates. But what we did not know, till last night, is that he is a grandfather too, at the tender age of 36!

Yuvraj Singh let the cat out of the bag.

"We have started calling him grandfather," Yuvraj said.

"He is an amazing man and I don't think any other player can go on to play for 20 years or more likle he has," Yuvraj gushed.

Saturday 31 October 2009

Doosra live from Kotla

Welcome to WNWSACWR. What Neo Won't Show And Cricinfo Won't Report, for the uninitiated.

2210: Dhoni and Henriques try to run through each other and come crashing down. Both believe the other guy goofed up the mantra.

2150: Had they been in the press box, a handful of Australian cricketers would either have contemplated homicide or quit the game altogether hearing the way their names were being molested by the official scorer. See if you know Dog Bolllinger, Adam Bhaujee, Peter Seed Le, and Nathan Harish.

2130: Yuvraj hits Henriques for an effortless six. It looked a fullish delivery but replays showed it was a foolish delivery.

2115: Dhoni changes gloves and Doug Bollinger uses the time to rub the ball furiously against his thigh. Doosra has raised it in the past also that ICC should do something for dermatosis among players.

1930: Sorry for the prolonged delay. Had other fishes to fry. BTW, the Tata Stand, from where Johnson is trying to decapitate Dhoni, has Hema Malini selling purified water on one side and Tendulkar peddling cement on the other. It gets too boring, so here goes a PJ, the copyright of which belongs strictly to Doosra. Q. Which place in India is named after Hema Malini's brother? Ans. Dharamshala. (More PJs if Dhoni and Yuvraj don't end the boredom.)

1645: Ponting just raised the bar in self-abuse after his dismissal and you don't need lip-readers to tell you that he capped the line with the most popular four words in the history of human civilisation. In fact he was so loud that the thunder could be heard in Tasmania, if they strain their ears a little.

1555: Gambhir literally has a pain in the neck, just copped a Ponting pull. Shame on you Punter. Be a man, play fair and square.

1545: Babes with bottles enter the field with Foster's refreshment. Foster daughters indeed, one would assume. You don't send out your own daughter in such sartorial scantiness.

1445: Surprise! Surprise! Ponting opens with Watson. But then for someone who has uncorked zillion bubblies in his pomp, opening comes spontaneously.

1428: Both teams observe a minute's silence in David Shepherd's memory. You kind of agree, this is how Harbahjan looks best, lips sealed.

1425: Who says Ind-Pak cricket ties have been knotted, I mean snapped? Before the Men in Blue and Canary Yellow walk out, the ground has been invaded by the Men in Green. Alas, they turn out to be mere groundsmen. The same bunch of souls who top Ponting's hit/hate-list for watering the practice pitch yesterday.

Thursday 29 October 2009

David Shepherd R.I.P

Every Friday the 13th, you tied a matchstick to finger so that you are constantly touching wood.

You hopped when the scoreboard signalled a Nelson.

All your life, you probably didn't walk under a ladder, feared black cats and possibly carried a rabbit's foot in your pocket.

To sum it up, you could have been a walking 5'10" old wives' tale.

We still liked you.

For not looking like a dead fish in white.

For not being just a hat-hanger.

And for your humour that never stooped to buffoonery.

David Shepherd, we will miss you.

Monday 26 October 2009

Why it’s not easy being an Oz cricketer

Because one fine morning, your boss may feel it's not enough to have just Darrel Hair and demand facial hair!


A fathead, disheveled boffin – jumping up and down Jolimont Street claiming to be Archimedes 2.0 – has concocted the outrageous hypothesis that .22 yard of undergrowth beneath your nose guarantees success on the 22 yards!

And it's just the tip of the iceberg. Shane Watsons and Mitchell Johnsons would vouch, worse can happen to you.

For instance, you can jolly well be plucked out of the nets and planted in dingy studios to strip down to the bare minimum and allow strange people scrub you and rub smelly ointments.

Enough to sow the seed of doubt that you are actually a 40-over old cherry, being polished for that dirty trick of reverse swing!

And the worst is not over yet.

Your boss then decides to immortalize your dishevelment and market the remnants of your modesty, capturing your embarrassment into calendars that would soon adorn the walls of girls' hostel and shady gay clubs across the nation.

So where were we? Yes, it's not easy being an Oz cricketer. Especially when your boss had attended the same morality school frequented by sleaze racketeers.

(Buy Men of Cricket Calendar 2010 here).

Thursday 22 October 2009

You know Champions League was a dud when...

1. Billy Doctrove has to dance on-camera, in tunnel;

2. Delhi Daredevils discern they require Owais Shah more than David Warner;

3. Ian Chappell needs to borrow a Chunri before entering the commentary box;

4. Dhoni appears only in between overs and there too is outsmarted by fishermen's kids;

5. Nobody gives a customary damn about Indian culture and the attack it faces from the proximity of the neckline and hemline of the Mischief Gals;

6. Andrew Symonds slips into an ill-fitting Sherwani when a snug straitjacket would have met the case;

and finally

7. Even a Marcus Trescothick gets so bored that he springs a convenient alibi to return home and air his dog.

(P.S. Doosra never practised or preached chest-thumping, considering it's best left to the non-OBE Gorillas in general and a certain OBE Guy the Gorilla in particular. But the fact remains that Doosra has grown enough in stature to invite a fatwa in the past from an eminent Australian panel that had Shane Warne puffing in one corner!

Doosra's list of eminent readers doesn't end there. It gave me goose bumps to know that Ricky Ponting, the patron saint of Ind-Oz bonhomie, is not only an avid reader of the blog but also a sympathizer of my struggle while putting together the seven-pointers like the one above. I'm indebted to Ponting for saying seven is too many.

P.P.S News just filtered in that moved by the Doosra post Cricket Loses Masculinity, Cricket Australia is urging youngsters to grow moustaches!)

Tuesday 20 October 2009

Champions League Googly

1. Which two players are playing for wrong CL teams?
Answer: Jon Holland and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

2. What is common to Dwayne Bravo and Howrah Bridge?
Answer: Both have Ganga under them. First in T&T lineup and the second in Kolkata.

3. Why Andrew Puttick's team won't win Champions League?
Answer: Because, National Geography swears, Cape Cobras thrive only in Southern Africa.

4. Why most T&T batsmen feel like islands in the dressing room?
Answer: Because they are surrounded by Ganga. And not just one but two!

5. Of all the articles written about them, which one T&T prefers?
Answer: A. Since it makes them AT&T.

6. Why T&T skipper Ganga is exasperated with the Bravo brothers?
Answer: Even when he yells "Bravo" in disgust, the brothers take it as a verbal pat.

7. 'Is' could have been the middle name of which two cricketers?
Answer: Simon Keen (NSW) and Vernon Philander (Cape Cobras).

Saturday 17 October 2009

Dravid missed a trick

Rahul Dravid is probably feeling like dirty latex -- thrown out after it has served the purpose.

In his heart of hearts, he knows he volunteered.

Life often doesn't give you a chance to redeem yourself. And nobody grudged when Dravid got one.

But The Wall could not see the writing on the wall.

His sacking had nothing to do with performance. But so was his recall.

He was brought back not because some people wanted to see him, but because they wanted to hide others.

Still, it was a godsend. From cricket God to His most devoted son. At least it allowed him to time his exit after one last hurrah.

But Dravid saw eternity in the ephemeral. He found long-term commitment in what was essentially a marriage of convenience.

You don't wait for the dreaded arm to grab you by the scruff of your neck before giving that final push.

Dravid did.

He was recalled with a clear use-by date and he overstayed his welcome.

You can't prevent the end but you can at least dignify it.

Dignity was his middle name. Until he lost the plot.


Tuesday 13 October 2009

Bit of Ramayana in Champions League!

First he cut Shurpnakha's nose. And then he cut a sorry figure in the Mission Sister-in-Law Recovery in Lanka.

I mean you can't really speak highly of someone who bit dust after receiving a KO punch within seconds of his only significant bout against Meghnad with the referee counting beyond the customary 10.

His scruples will tell him that he owes Hanuman a drink after the Great Indian Monkey God -- hope Andrew Symonds reads this piece -- flew in with the restorative.

Imagine Hanuman doing the perfect clean-and-jerk with the mountain and you know who pioneered weightlifting techniques!

But sticking to the point, after 14 years in exile -- an educative one at that -- Lakshman could not be mocked anymore as a lax man.

You can safely say that Lakshman returned from Lanka a much-improved man.

Now consider Laxman.

He used to play T20 with an 'L' sign. But a stint in Lancashire and he now gives Gilchrist an inferiority complex!

It's no less an epic story in which Laxman returns from Lanca, a much-improved man.

Saturday 10 October 2009

Show me a Domenech in cricket!

Son of a Catalan escapee of the Spanish Civil War, Raymone Domenech was known as "Leg-Breaker" for his approach to soccer in general and the Femur, Patella, Tibia and Fibula of the rival strikers in particular.

He is a former theatre actor, fortune-teller, tarot card-reader and happens to be the manager of the French football team who once took Zinedine Zidane & Co to watch Samuel Beckett's play "Endgame" on the eve of an important match.

And he once used a post-match interview to ask his partner to marry him!

So it's probably not surprising that the manager, at 57, managed to inspire a porn actress-turned-singer to record a song -- I Fancy Raymond -- that has become a rage in France.

"And if he attacked my penalty areas I would be without defenders," cooed the cupid-struck singer.

Now sample the lady-killers cricket has to offer.

Gary Kirsten, India: Alas Persis Khambatta is no more, for only Lt Ilia could fall for such baldness. Only redeeming trait is distributing sex dossier among Indian cricketers these days;

Andy Flower, England: Has a feminine facade. Was a wicket-keeper, which means never bowled a maiden over in his entire career, forget evoking a love song from a porn star;

Intikhab Alam, Pakistan: At the young age of 68, he prefers pain-killer, than being lady-killer;

Tim Nielsen, Australia: to start with, you are never sure which way he looks at. And you can’t speak highly of someone who has no qualms about planting his bum on the same seat that has been contaminated by John Buchanan’s posterior;

Mickey Arthur, South Africa: With the name of a cartoon character and an appearance to match, he can’t even complain if a girl comes and takes the Mickey out of him;

Andy Moles, New Zealand: The surname itself speaks the story. He shakes like custard and has a face which excites only anti-obesity campaigners. In fact so fat that you can actually slice him and have two coaches, if you want.


Wednesday 7 October 2009

She is why Kiwis lost Champions Trophy

Daniel Vettori: pulled hamstring.

Jacob Oram: ditto.

Jesse Ryder: messed up groin.

Daryl Tuffey: broke hand.

Grant Elliot: hurt thumb.

Ian Butler: developed intestinal infection.

Saw the rush to get injured? Like moths drawn to fire?

No offence to Kate Stalker but just shows having a female physio can easily be one of the 101 Ways A Cricket Team Can Shoot Itself In the Foot.

Kate Stalker Pix: Associated Press

Monday 5 October 2009

Allergy cost Pakistan Champions Trophy!

Harbhajan's is not the only hand that itches, especially when a Sreesanth is in the vicinity.

Last month, hundreds of women in the eastern Indian states had a similar sensation after they developed Mehendi allergy.

Not that allergy is essentially a proletariat phenomenon.

For instance, Kimberly Williams is allergic to cats and dogs. So much so that she sneezes her inside out at the prospect of raining cats and dogs!

Take the case of Bill Clinton. He may not be allergic to plump White House interns but cats give him a wheeze.

Beyonce is reportedly allergic to perfume. If still you don't see reasons to sympathise with her co-performers, X-rays would confirm that God had mistakenly slipped a boulder where He was supposed to put a heart.

Janet Jackson's is a more baffling case. Having twice tied the knots -- quite loose ones you may say since she wriggled out of both -- her self-diagnosis is she is probably allergic to marriage!

And until they reached the Champions Trophy semifinal, you could not put a finger on what Pakistan is allergic to.

As long as pundits ignored them, Younus & Co were pleased as punch and cruised as a launch.

But suddenly they heard an oracle: "From now on, you will be cursed and damned as favourites."

Knees trembled, spine curled, blood curdled...Let's face it, Pakistan is allergic to favourite's tag.

Friday 2 October 2009

7 Reasons why India lost Champions Trophy

1. Two overs and a wicket. Let's face it, MS Dhoni underbowled himself;

2. The tackiness of the trophy didn't tinkle Dhoni's sense of aesthetics;

3. Lalit Modi had warned Dhoni & Co of dire consequences if they overdid things in Champions Trophy and picked up injuries that would jeopardise their Champions League participation;

4. The sight of IPL teammates in rival camps left Dhoni's men with the same dilemma that had crippled Arjuna in Kurukshetra. Alas, there was no Krishna to talk the Indians out of their predicament;

5. Virat Kohli's batting isn't as formidable as his visa office contacts which make him an obvious substitute whenever a teammate twists ankle or hurts groin;

6. Continuing with the Kohli factor, he replaced Gautam Gambhir (now vice captain) in Sri Lanka and Yuvraj Singh (original vice captain) in South Africa. At this rate, he would replace Dhoni against Australia and this very threat perception explains Dhoni's dud bat in South Africa;

7. Finally, Gary Kirsten may believe otherwise but compulsory reading of abridged Kama Sutra is not among the 100 Ways To Win A Cricket Tournament.

Friday 18 September 2009

Atlas shrugs

With a mean Zeus menacingly cracking the whip, you have to admit that poor Atlas basically had no choice but to fall in line and hold heavens on his shoulder.

In my case, however, running a blog is a matter of choice and not compulsion.

Between me and Atlas, there is a mutual appreciation of the sweats we sweat and the blood we bleed.

Gentlemen-thinking-along-the-same-line stuff, you know.

And we both agree, there comes a time when you ache for break

So Atlas shrugs – he confided to me that Ayn Rand once caught him in the act – and I take a sabbatical.

And if WADA is interested, here are my whereabouts.

I'm off to the sunnier climes of Cooch Behar for the rest of the month, recharging batteries before I return and hit back with vengeance.

Monday 14 September 2009

7 Predicaments of being Sachin Tendulkar

1. Uninvited Ashes flops, of Australian variety and twittering tendency, pop up for free lunch and free tuition;

2. You have to listen to your garrulous bats;

3. You are asked to recall the Hypocritic...err...Hippocratic Oath and check the pulse of Test and ODI, lying on deathbed side-by-side, before suggesting remedies;

4. You have to reveal something as intimate as your DNA profile for a foul 30 kg coffee table book;

5. You have a fight to fight with no less than AK Anthony and his defence ministry over a Mussoorie bungalow;

6. You have a duty to inspire not only budding cricketers but also actors of cricket movies. e.g. Shreyas Talpade;

7. Vinod Kambli has quit international cricket only, not reality shows.

Thursday 10 September 2009

Become official Royal Challengers Bangalore blogger!

At Doosra, we don't do charity. It's better left to a politician's spouse, retired bureaucrats and shrewd corporates.

But you have to make exception at times when the issue concerns the entire blogosphere. And this is surely the first of its kind, at least in this part of the globe.

To get to the nub, Royal Challengers Bangalore is hiring Chief Blogger -- apart from Chief Photographer and Chief Motivator -- for Champions League.

So if you consider yourself a wordsmith and fancy travelling with the team, just have a go at it.

Who knows maybe you'd be dining with Anil Kumble, sharing a (health) drink with Rahul Dravid and even hobnobbing with Katrina Kaif!

The last obviously at your own risk. RCB has made it clear they won't be responsible for any loss of limb or life for any act of indiscretion on your part.

Details are at the RCB website

Remember, your deadline is Saturday, midnight September 20th.

Fake IPL Player is passe. Become real IPL blogger.

Tuesday 8 September 2009

Tendulkar equals Rip Van Winkle!

"It (two decades of international cricket) has been a dream for me."

Sachin Tendulkar could not have been more forthright.

Alas, the abysmally chump mainstream media simply failed to grasp it.

I'm a traditionalist who insists reading the lines is the safest way to get the picture than admiring the white space in between them. But apparently, it's in vogue in the Fourth Estate these days to read only between the lines.

Well, let the chumps rot and understand what Tendulkar meant.

For a perfectly normal, average human being who doesn't consider metaphors something like O2 that he or she can't breathe without, for whom the bare stats and mere words are of the essence, beneath that innocuous-sounding sentence lurks a breaking news!

Here is a Doosra scoop.

A little bit of arithmetic and you know that Tendulkar has eclipsed Urmila, if you know your Ramayana well, and just equalled Rip Van Winkle in the Hypersomnia Hall of Fame!

Monday 7 September 2009

Tendulkar's spooky bats!

Time to withdraw my hitherto-held views.

If my Google search serves me right, I remember cribbing how Tendulkar evoked only awe, not argument and was too polite to polarize.

By and large, I observed he was far from a debater's delight.

But that was clearly another era when Australia held Ashes, Phillip Hughes did not twitter and Dhoni didn't own a Hummer.

Since then, as if to atone for his lack of form, Tendulkar has come out with some jaw-droppers, eyeball-poppers and mind-bogglers that cleared the cobwebs to offer a clear vision of his fascinating persona.

I was particularly intrigued by his recent comment that his bat speaks to him.

Tendulkar understands the languages of wood, and dead one at that!

I guess the Tendulkar household at La-Mer doesn't even raise a precursory eyebrow when one of his bats walks out of the storeroom to greet a groggy Tendulkar a polite 'Good morning sir'.

Or when it reappears at the end of the day to bid him a courteous 'Good night sir'.

Move over Dr Doolittle. Dr Little Master is here!

Wednesday 2 September 2009

Contemporary cricket's 7 most talked-about body parts

Doosra gets physical. Well, make it anatomical. That would not only pre-empt dirty connotations but also lend the piece a rather serious tone.

Much like Stephen Fleming talking about blockhole. Or is it Stephen Hawking talking about blackhole?


Gone off the rails a bit? Well, let me put the record straight.

Doosra goes anatomical. Mind you, that is what we had agreed on. And a bit metaphorical as well.

You'll agree, any blogger worth his salt, sugar and jaggery would do everything to bring Lalit Modi and John Buchanan into the picture and hence the detour.

So here goes the list of contemporary cricket's 7 most talked-about body parts, both figurally and figuratively.

1. Spine: The vertebral column that Virender Sehwag, fed up of the invertebrates, insists on in every Delhi selector.

2. Nose: The Olfactory System belonging to John Buchanan, cricket's own Pinocchio, which has a mind of its own and a tendency to poke itself at the slightest opportunity.

3. Forefinger: The erratic appendix in Rudy Koertzen’s body. Some batsmen are ready to bear the expenses if Rudy agrees to get it surgically removed.

4. Toe: An average cricket administrator's most endangered part when Lalit Modi is around.

5. Ear: The portion of Sachin Tendulkar that the latent Mike Tyson in Phillip Hughes wants to 'chew off'.

6. Heel: The posterior end of the foot that actually belongs to Kevin Pietersen but medics insist on calling Achilles'.

7. Knee: The joint of Andrew Flintoff's right leg, a definitive testimonial of how dud NASA is.

Monday 31 August 2009

A whiff of IPL in F1

The resemblance is so uncanny and I'm not alluding to the picture above but trying to make a point.

A crap outfit owned by a fat, flamboyant tycoon fond of booze, babe and bling.

So profound is self-doubt that they can't win even when served on a platter. Butt of all dirty jokes around.

The only gain from Season One is the backmarker's tag that hangs like albatross.

Season Two and the innocuous-looking David pulls off shock of the season and slays unsuspecting Goliaths to finish second best!

And the guy who led the turnaround is on the wrong side of 30s.

Is it IPL 2 or Formula 1?

Is it Force India or Royal Challengers Bangalore?

And does Anil Kumble know Giancarlo Fisichella?

In these turbulent times, lay-off maybe of the essence. But Mr Mallya, retain the guy whoever is writing your script.

P.S. What a relief, I don't have to credit the picture! On your right, Force India driver Fisichella. On your left, the driving force behind Doosra. Their paths crossed in 2007 Australian GP.

P.P.S. After the Belgian GP, both Mallya and Fisichella talked to a few of us from Spa-Francorchamps through teleconference. After Fisichella had won the pole position on Saturday, Mallya described it the most memorable day of his F1 career. I inquired if he would issue a correction now.

"Can't really swap it, you know. Pole position was an achievement in itself and would go down in history. Similarly today's podium finish would also go down in history," boomed the husky voice. So eat your heart out because your history book just got fatter.

Friday 28 August 2009

Kebabs, Ashes and KP

And you thought Alastair is the only Cook in English ranks!

Move over Colonel's Kebabz. Here comes KP kebabs!

As an afterthought, I never suspected Dilip Vengsarkar of actually running kebab joints since I was rather under the impression that 'Colonel' had other fishes to fry at Mumbai Cricket Association.

Anyway, ignore the allusion and return to the protagonist of the piece.

You are the alpha bat but rendered hors de combat.

Your teammates do the unthinkable without you. They shot a poisoned arrow into Ricky Ponting's Achilles heel while you are left to nurse your own.

So what do you do? You swap the bat for skewer and make kebabs for Indian fans in a London club!

With no Onions, of the Graham variety, in the vicinity, the salad was bound to be as much a let-down as a Ravi Bopara or a Monty Panesar.

And it's not known either if they served T20 – as dessert is called in Tendulkar parlance -- in dinner.

What is known, to Doosra that is, is finally when the party had dispersed, KP removed the grill, collected the Ashes, filled the urn he had bought and pocketed the stuff with characteristic cockiness.

So now you know who has more Ashes under the belt, both figuratively and factually, among the Three Lions.

For the Strauss & Co and their vainglory, replace the Don Pedros, Benedicks and Claudios with Cook, Bell, Trott and similar monosyllables and you have, by and large, Much Ado About Nothing II.

Pix: Daily Mail

Tuesday 25 August 2009

Cricket loses masculinity!

Somewhere something extraordinary has happened.

And it's graver than allowing George W Bush to formulate English grammar or asking Paris Hilton to head the next NASA project.

Cricket has just become less masculine!

Of course you had the omens in Alastair Cook's mascara, RP Singh's eyeliner and Nathan Bracken's hairband but here comes the definitive confirmation.

A bunch of eunuchs has beaten their male counterparts. And lest there is any confusion, let me make it clear that I'm not talking about Ashes.

After third man and third umpire, the third sex made its debut in cricket somewhere in Sindh, Pakistan.

A BBC report claims the eunuchs chased down a 66-run target from eight overs with such aplomb that some of the ICC Full Members are lucky that they were not there.

Chasing down those cars on the traffic signal was finally of some use, the winning captain later revealed.

Teams that tend to choke in their chase can give it a try, he...err...she...or... whatever said.

While most coaches dismissed it as a madcap idea, John Buchanan is rumoured to have found some logic in it and is looking for a team where he can put it in practice.

Pix: BBC News

Tuesday 18 August 2009

7 reasons why it’s not easy being an Indian cricketer

Virender Sehwag has not had a bumper crop on his barren scalp.

Harbhajan Singh's Hummer has not claimed its first casualty yet.

And Irfan Pathan still bowls at a speed which allows him the luxury of fetching the ball midway and do a re-take if he doesn't like the original.

But enough strange things have happened of late to convince me that it's not easy being an Indian cricket these days and here is why:

1. Film directors dismiss you as pestering wannabe actor;

2. Female fans mistake you for a lip gloss;

3. You never know when you find yourself at the wrong end of Vinod Kambli's name-dropping spree in one of the reality shows;

4. Selectors first shove you into a garb and then dump you for posturing in borrowed plumes;

5. Your cousin, especially from hockey, casts an evil eye on your Hummer;

6. Your own state association calls you nepotic; and

7. WADA guys chase you even in your nightmare with a bottle and an injection in their hand, seeking blood and what not.

Monday 17 August 2009

Shame on you Coventry!

They treat you like leper. They want you to grow, live and die in your ghetto.

They appoint thugs to run the ghetto and feed them booze, money and women.

They declare you outlaw and meet occasionally in swanky hotels to renew the decree.

They are ashamed of you. They want to hush you up as if you are a scam.

You fool take your guard and watch around. Four hoodlums, three sots, two beggars and a pariah dog assemble to watch you.

What you do?

You remain unbeaten on 194 off 156 balls and walk home with a slice of history!

Charles Coventry, we are ashamed of you.

Saturday 15 August 2009

Pomersbach does a Devdas!

Empathising with an Australian cricketer, especially when the subject is admiring his self-dug hole, is a risky proposition. One that is pregnant with enormous ramifications.

A mere click of the tongue followed by a sympathetic shake of the head and you've completed devil's invocation.

Almost as a matter of destiny, your explicitly un-parliamentary text messages land on your boss' cell. Your near ones perceive you as a delinquency on the local garbage-collector's part. Your neighbour's dog relieves itself on your new bike and withdraws with the content look of someone who has just watered a thirsty sapling.

In short, life finds various ways to punish you for your indiscretion.

But have a heart and look at Luke. Luke Pomersbach I meant.

Drunk to the gills, he was convinced of Perth's irrelevance in modern Australia and had nearly pulled it down with his car before the killjoy cops booked him.

His lawyer later told the court that it was actually a tiff with his girlfriend that rekindled Luke's interest in organic chemistry, encouraging him to assess if the popular theory of alcohol's grief-dissolving properties hold any water.

Thanks Luke, for reminding it. Let's face it, we have a little bit of Devdas in all of us.

Pix: Lincoln Baker

Thursday 13 August 2009

Happy Bored Day, BCC!

Dateline August 13, 2008:

A jewellery shop burgled in Alappuzha.

HIV prevalence found on the rise in Belgaum.

A sugar factory in Bidar reported loss.

And Petroleum Minister Murlitharan…it could be Murli Deora as well…ruled out a cut in fuel price.

On the same fateful days, some mad hatters gathered in a dingy room somewhere in Delhi to hatch a dark conspiracy and then unleashed it on the blogosphere with unbridled glee.

The venerable Sachin Tendulkar had once said, turn stones thrown at you into milestones. A sureshot way to make your detractors look pretty silly, no doubt about that.

And after a year-long of tireless chiseling, the stone finally looks like a milestone indeed!

Happy Bored Day, BCC!

Wednesday 12 August 2009

The privilege of being a cricket blogger

At times, you feel privileged to be a cricket blogger.

More so when you are flippant enough to ignore the rocket-science side of the game and laugh at cricket and its myriad characters.

You lambaste Lalit Modi, lash out at Ponting and lampoon ICC with impunity.

You revere Tendulkar, revile Ponting and ridicule Shoaib Akhtar's accent without remorse.

Thank god, I don't run a blog on Burma. Myanmar, the junta will right you.

Else I would bleed to write that Aung San Suu Kyi has been slapped with another 18 months of house arrest.

That after spending 13 years and 293 days of detainment at her lakeside home in Rangoon. Ok, Yangon.

I'd bleed to write that during this period, she could not be on the side of her dying husband and it's more than a decade that she last saw her sons, now in their 30s.

And this new punishment because a mad American, under the impression that she might be assassinated, swam the lake to reach her, something perceived as a breach of house arrest. Primarily on Suu Kyi's part, that is.

To give them their due, the Big Bros have done the lip service. Barrack Obama was so piqued that he reportedly rejected the omelet in breakfast. Gordon Brown turned pink and went to the extent of appearing in a press conference without his regular make-up routine. Unprecedented!

Not to be left behind, UN has issued a harshly-worded warning. If the Myanmar junta doesn't behave itself, UN would be, well, very annoyed.

Her piano is out of tune. She looks pale. The doctor doesn't visit and the garden resembles a jungle, inviting poisonous snakes.

But I have no remorse. Mind you, I'm a cricket blogger. A flippant one at that.


Tuesday 11 August 2009

7 Flintoff tit-bits

1. Here is a scoop! In his Test swansong at Oval, wonky Flintoff is toying with the idea of going Sohail Tanvir, i.e. bowling off the wrong, if that helps his case! England think-tank has already okayed it, saying it's upto Flintoff to put his foot down, whichever he prefers. They said as a team, England doesn't want to put a foot wrong and hence it's imperative that Flintoff puts his best, and fitter, foot forward. Well, the bottomline is -- Australia should be wrong-footed in Oval.

2. Flintoff believes NASA is an overrated dud. At best, it's America's answer to the Sivakasi firework factories. The Game Ready Wrap, which allegedly uses NASA spacesuit technology, proved an outright lemon and could not heal Flintoff's ankle. It was such a junk that even Flintoff's dog rejected it, spitting it out after a thorough chewing failed to excite its gastric juices;

3. Flintoff does not Twitter a la Phillip Hughes, Graeme Swann or James 'a bit of a pussy' Anderson. In all likelihood, he doesn't Facebook or Orkut either. Else, his Headingley axing would have been in the public domain long before;

4. Sifting the CVs, Flintoff didn't go beyond the name before appointing Chubby Chandler his agent;

5. Part-fit Flintoff, Flintoff basically, owes his Edgebaston selection to the met office. Torrential rain was predicted for Edgebaston and England think-tank could not afford to ignore Freddie, the lone England cricketer around with a decent experience of rowing pedalos;

6. England and Wales Cricket Board is so worried about his fragile knee that they believe even a figurative knee-jerk reaction on Flintoff's part may aggravate the injury;

7. On the home front, a cautious ECB has urged Freddie's kids to understand the gravity of the situation and learn the multiplication tables strictly at their mother's knee.

Pix: Getty Images

Thursday 6 August 2009

Sherpa Tendulkar eyes 15K Peak!

Many a bowlers would have gone Protea at their breakfast table.

I mean choked.

At that age, you should consider yourself fortunate if you can sight the caterpillar in your salad and stop in time to drop it.

And Sachin Tendulkar is eyeing Test 15K and 2011 World Cup! No less.

Of course you can point your finger at the ageless Sanath Jayasuriya and curl your lip in a smug smile.

But the modern day Darwins have already taken the Lankan woodcutter out of the homo sapiens column and placed him in the list of transitional fossils.

According to them, Jayasuriya is the missing link between cricket's Grace and graceless eras and to be treated more as aberration than rule.

Asked if he applied his mind to the thought of quitting, Tendulkar took his sweet time before the sing-song voice rung "Tweeting? Sorry. I'm not in Twitter. See how Phillip Hughes landed in trouble there? I just don't understand the craze among today's generation for such weird thing."

And then he turned on the volume of his gramophone which wailed "Abhi to main jawan hu" (I'm still young).

Alas, he won't admit but his eyesight is indubitably failing him. So much so that he can't see himself quitting at all!

Doosra predicts that days are not far when bowlers, raised in an environment of values and morality, would touch Tendulkar's feet, seek his blessing and inquire about his health before reaching their run-up.

I always suspected that he has this burning desire to share Team India dressing room with son Arjun and his decision to play on leaves us with a fair chance of watching the high-fiving Tendulkars sharing an 'Ai La'.

Doosra also expects BCCI to press for a Senior Citizen scheme and threaten to float a new body if ICC doesn't exempt players with 575 plus international matches under their belt from bouncers.