Due to some changes in work life, I might not be following India’s tour of New Zealand as well as what I would have liked. Nonetheless, I am amused by the pre-series war of words – Indian players relate “scary tales” from past tours to NZ, and Indian fans raising anticipatory bail cries about “doctored wickets”. Typically, one would hear such stories when a non-subcontinent team visits India … how things have changed!
Meanwhile, Mark Richardson gets a bunch of bull published, which manages the difficult feat of summarily insulting both camps.
From the Sydney Morning Herald
One spectator sitting in the Bill O’Reilly stand, Craig Woodbury, said Harbhajan also spat towards the crowd after they called him “a wanker”. “He definitely made the monkey gestures and he spat towards us,” Woodbury said. “It was a bit disgraceful really, especially after what happened here in the Test match [with Symonds].
“There are a lot of young people sitting here and it was inappropriate. He is a role model to a lot of people. If he wants respect he has to treat others with respect.
“He is always going to cop it from the crowd but he is a professional sportsman and he has got to expect that.”
Am I the only one amused by Craig’s delusions? The older ones accompanying the ‘young people’ repeatedly abuse a visitor – settings up perfect role models on how to treat visitors.
Mis bah five runs.
I expect this feat to be repeated many more times in 20/20 if the format ever catches on. I wish some minor modifications were made to the rules so that we have at least a semblance of an even contest.
Nonetheless, congratulations to Yuvi!
May his soul rest in peace.
I never saw much of Sardesai’s game – the only time I remember seeing a television footage of him was The Oval test of 1971. Most of the things I know of him are from reading Raju Bharatan’s columns in The Hindu. I also remember reading a Wadekar interview where he talks highly of Sardesai’s Carribean 1971 innings’. Of course, any fan of Gavaskar’s would know “the other guy” who amassed runs in Sunny’s debut tour.
Harsha Bhogle writes in his column:
As we bowed in homage to Dilip Sardesai, those dancing feet now static, Nari Contractor said to me “Have you noticed how many current Mumbai players are here?” I wish he had never said that for the heart was already heavy. There were none.
One generation not only provides inspiration, and a legacy, for another; it gives birth either to confidence, or only sometimes, to despair. Till 1971, we did not believe that England could be beaten in England, till 1959, we did not believe Australia could be beaten, till 1968 nobody thought India could win a test series overseas. But that generation had belief instilled in it by the deeds of Mankad and Umrigar who doubtlessly doubtlessly were inspired by Merchant and Nayudu. It was thus that a Gavaskar arrived, his desire for excellence fuelled by the deeds of his uncle’s generation and it was thence, that a Kapil Dev came.
Elsewhere, Mukul Keshavan argues that our cricket reporting is to be blamed:
Not giving a ‘lesser’ player credit where he has earned it is the flip side of our hero-obsession. When we neglect Sardesai’s role in that watershed series or Chetan Sharma’s inspired bowling in 1986, we don’t merely do them an injustice, we misread our past and we devalue our victories. India hasn’t won often enough for us to be careless with our triumphs: we need to attend to them and to pay our dues to the men who made them possible, men like Chetan Sharma and Dilip Narayan Sardesai.
Prem Panicker notes an interesting anecdote on Sardesai:
That was also when he launched into a diatribe against famous fathers seeking to pitch-fork their sons onto the big stage. What about your son Rajdeep, I asked him. Ever regretted that he did not grow into a cricketer? No, was the immediate response—the boy can’t play, he would have embarrassed me!
Brain Charles Lara batted in an international cricket match for the last time yesterday.
With him goes the last of the classical batsmen. At the presentation ceremony at the end of the match, he asked “Did I entertain?” – he must have got his answer from the huge cheer from the crowd assembled.
Lara’s farewell was unlike any other. Despite being a dead rubber, the tournament got its first full attendance. When Lara got out, not only did he get a standing ovation from the whole crowd, but also from the press box (which I am told is a rare thing). And at the end of the match, even the umpires and the match referee had the grace to shed the starched formality and take pictures with the great batsman.
Here is wishing Lara a wonderful life ahead; and thanks to the great entertainment he provided over the 17 years.
Cricket is almost a religion in India – and almost every fan has strong opinions on team selection, strategy etc. Not everyone’s opinion can be respected – in fact, IMHO, the only opinions that matter are of the ones who would be held accountable for their decisions.
But of late, many people involved with cricket are too quick to question the credibility of the person who voices an opinion. Rahul Dravid, one of our finest cricketers of all time, recently had his foot firmly in his mouth when he questioned team manager Chetan Desai’s credentials.
Today I was watching a cricket discussion on NDTV, and Ajay Jadeja mentioned that cricketers themselves are the best people to know when to wind up their career. He was responding to the results of an opinion poll, which he dismissed with contempt arguing that cricketers themselves are the best judges because they have played more matches than anyone who might have participated in the polls.
Rajan Bala, who was also on show, responded with an anecdote. Neville Cardus, the peerless cricket writer, when accused by a player he had criticised of never having played the game at the highest level apparently quipped with
I have never laid an egg, but I know when one is bad.
While I understand that not everyone’s opinion does matter, I believe that it doesn’t mean that only people who have played at the highest level can have good ideas on cricketing matters. Please let me know your thoughts.
I don’t know if this has happened before, but this is the first time I am hearing about it – a Bangladeshi cricketer’s effigy is burnt. From SuperCricket report:
Angry Bangladesh fans have burned an effigy of World Cup captain Habibul Bashar after his team fell to consecutive defeats in the Caribbean.
Bangladesh has lost 117 out of the 154 ODIs they have played since 1986. I can’t help wonder what the angry fans were doing those 115 other days! While you amuse at the cluelessness of the unwashed masses, there is more food for thought. From Indiatimes report:
Local newspapers in Bangladesh are tearing into their captain Habibul Bashar for his lack of fitness and couple of run-outs in the competition.
“He fell short of a yard while attempting a second run when, if he was fitter, even a third run was possible,” wrote former captain Aminul Islam in a newspaper column.
Aminul played as recently as 2002, and I would have expected him to be more sensible. Bangladesh didn’t have a particularly strong team when he left active cricket, nor did they build one since. Their progress under Whatmore & Bashar is impressive. If they could get some consistency in their performances, they could shake off the minnows tag.
BTW, I don’t remember Aminul being a Jonty Rhodes in his playing days. Looks like former cricketers are the same whichever side of the border they are!
While the Cricket World Cup has started and as teams and fans warm up to the competition, there is a hot war-of-words brewing up on the sidelines. Sunil Gavaskar has been exchanging verbal blows with Ricky Ponting. IMHO, this could have been avoided and both sides could have kept their dignity and refrain from washing the dirty linen in public.
Having said that, there is one comment I have to make on the topic.
Gavaskar was far from popular in his playing days. Many people I have talked to/read remember him as a great batsman but don’t have many kind words for him as a person. Only Geoffrey Boycott would have surpassed him in the ability:popularity ratio.
But whenever Gavaskar is criticised for whatever reason, there is one incident that almost always get mentioned – his threat to walk off of a Test match at Melbourne in 1981. You can watch the video of the incident here, or read a detailed description here. Chris Cairns mentioned it recently, and so did Ricky Ponting now.
I am wondering if people are referring to this incident once too often. While I agree that Gavaskar did not cover himself with glory that day, I think he didn’t do anything unpardonable enough to have “holier-than-thou” fingers pointed at him this often. For one, Gavaskar did not throw away the match – he only threatened to. Secondly, it was not unprovoked either – throughout the series India had been on the receiving end of some dodgy umpiring (television replays and eye witness accounts suggests that Gavaskar might have got an inside edge after all). Of course, Lillee did his bit to flare up the flames too.
So please, can we move past Melbourne 1981?
PS: So far, this incident had been the biggest stick his detractors used to beat Gavaskar with – but I think he had just given them a new one.