Wednesday 27 July 2011

7 ways India can turn the table at Nottingham

1. Turn the batting order upside down. Ishant Sharma should open with Praveen Kumar. Apart from the fact that they can’t do any worse, the mere sight of them walking in to open would give the Andersons and Tremletts a nasty shock. Consider this, even after mowing down India’s top half, England would not rejoice because they haven’t seen the trace of a Tendulkar or Dravid yet!

2. India should avail the existing extradition treaty with England -- or sign one if there is not any -- and force them to immediately send Harbhajan Singh back. They would be reluctant of course but these are the occasions when Manmohan Singh has to assert himself;

3. Sreesanth, Zaheer’s inevitable replacement, should bowl with his left arm to exploit Strauss and Cook’s weakness against left-arm bowlers;

4. Blood Arjun Tendulkar. That’s the only way to field a free-from-pressure Tendulkar. Already a Team India extension, Arjun has not missed many tours, attended more net sessions that Abhinav Mukund and can be India’s secret weapon;

5. Dravid batted and kept wicket at Lord’s with reasonable success. He should be allowed to bowl in Nottingham to complete the gamut in his final UK tour.

6. BCCI should immediately do whatever they do to be enabled to draw players from neighbours Pakistan and Sri Lanka and swiftly introduce a Kolpak-like ruling which allows half the side to be from Australia;

...and if nothing works...

7. Dhoni should stoop, grab it by the leg, lift it and then push with a perfect follow through. Of course there are other schools of thought but this is by far the most popular method of turning the table.

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Dravid, cricket’s Methuselah

A recent piece of statistics confirmed our worst fears.

Rahul Dravid has faced most deliveries in test cricket’s history. A staggering 29,125, before he resumes the self-flagellation in England.

It goes with the 15,124 in ODIs and 1303 in T20s. None of these, however, are likely to improve unless Ramalinga Raju does the computation for ICC. Put them together and Dravid has faced 45,552 deliveries.

For argument’s sake, let’s assume every delivery took two minutes.

After all the sightscreen has to be moved, the batsman has to make sure the rival skipper has not sneaked in an extra fielder, the non-striker has to conclude his chit-chat with the mid-on fielder wherein both inquire about the female members in each other’s family and so on.

Also, the ball has to be licked, rubbed, roughened, scratched and its seam assaulted – with nail, both human and iron, bottle-openers and even Afridi’s teeth – before the bowler starts his run up.

And if Shoaib Akhtar is the bowler, a batsman can afford a quick power nap without risking oversleeping as the Pakistani’s grunt would wake him up just in time to face the ball.

You can safely say Dravid has spent an estimated 91,104 minutes – quite a Lalit Modiesque number -- for the deliveries he faced in international cricket.

Any stout calculator will tell you that is slightly more than 1518 hours, which is nearly 64 days.

To give you an idea, it’s exactly the time a brow hair takes to grow back after it has been plucked.

Now it takes a lot of patience to do that and Dravid has been patient. In fact so patient that was promptly drawn to a doctor who became his better half. Three-quarters, if you fuss.

Returning to the point, if Dravid looks like cricket’s Methuselah, you know why.

He faced 45,552 deliveries, mind you. And that excludes his wife’s two.

Wednesday 13 July 2011

Spare Chika, for fatherhood’s sake!

What bugs me is that a father can't be a father without inviting the ridicule of a world that expects him to be anything but a father.

To square cut a long story short, Srikkanth –- often hailed by the scientific community as the clinching proof that human tongue is by no meanse connected to human brain -- is drawing flaks for selecting son Anirudh in an Indian team for some Emerging Players Tournament in Australia.

In a world where you can’t possibly hurl five bricks without hurting four reluctant fathers of various shapes and sizes -–Arnold Schwarzenegger and ND Tiwary are the two ends of the spectrum –- here you have a bona fide father’s bona fide affection for his bona fide son being ridiculed.

I'm rather glad that Gandhiji isn't around. Otherwise, the same critics would have panned the Father of Nation for promoting the Nation.

Honestly speaking, Galileo had rather a narrow escape because he was indubitably the Father of Science and undeniably promoted Science, which would have surely upset the critics.

Coming back to the Chika episode, who knows, maybe there was some misunderstanding? Or the miss standing next to Chika to take dictation erred, so natural when the speaker dreams of a world without punctuations.

Probably Chika proposed Rahul Gandhi’s name as the most promising, emerging player and the steno mistook it for Anirudh? Rahul...Anirudh...Anirudh...Rahul...saw the eerie similarity!

Well, I’m ready to give Chika a benefit of doubt. Those who know cricket know it well that a batsman is always entitled to the benefit of doubt, even post-retirement.

Okay, for argument’s sake, let’s assume Chika indeed proposed his son’s name. He probably saw Anirudh emerging from behind the sightscreen and thought that was enough to qualify for the emerging players’ tournament.

Even then, I insist, Chika actually took a risk by agreeing to send his son to Australia.

Who can vouch that Anirudh would not catch the eyes of that loony alchemist Chappell?

If Chappell sets his mind to it, he may draw the kid to a corner, lay an avuncular arm around his shoulder and whisper some magic words into his ears, culminating with Anirudh announcing his retirement from cricket and plans to become a professional contortionist instead.

Returning to the rail, Chika has done fatherhood proud and he should immediately be canonised as Father Chika and not Dhinka Chika, as some Salman Khan fans would prefer.

In other words, Chika has done fatherhood proud and the tirade against him is clearly the father of all misguided vendetta.

Friday 8 July 2011

Cricket's Alternative Food Movement

Was it only my TV set that showed Djokovic sinking to his knees, plucking a few blades of grass and putting it in mouth after taming Nadal at Wimbledon?

It seemed an honest, pioneering effort by a tennis player of no uncertain scientific bend of mind to find out the edibility of grass and see if it can be the answer to the global food crisis.

Taking a cue from Djokovic, Doosra prepares a list of cricket’s own bizarre biters, eerie eaters, champion chewers and leading lickers:

1. Shahid Afridi: A ball-biter par excellence;

2. Mohd Asif: Single largest importer of poppy seeds;

3. Sourav Ganguly: Human Nail-Clipper. Mad enough, at his pomp, to chew nails and spit rivets;

4. Ewen Chatfield: A unique swallower of his own tongue;

5. Lalit Modi: A reckless biter but limited chewer;

6. Harbhajan Singh: Premium finger-licker;

7. ICC: A steady eater, out of BCCI’s hands.

P.S. Would be unfair to put up the shutters without a word about Kamran Akmal, held as the most promising of all. Even jealous teammates admit he’s so endowed that Akmal can start a bat-manufacturing business rightway without buying a chainsaw.