Posts Tagged ‘Sachin Tendulkar’

How do you say seun van ‘n teef in Kannada?

15 January 2014

dodda

Dodda Ganesh on the day he retired from cricket, with his wife and children (courtesy The Hindu)

In a commemorative volume brought out by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) in his honour, batting legend, member of Parliament and Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar recounts this anecdote involving the former Karnataka cricket Doddanarsaiah Ganesh, who played four Tests for India:

Dodda Ganesh and I were batting and Alan Donald was bowling lightning-fast deliveries.

“When Dodda faced his onslaught fearlessly Alan started mouthing words at Dodda. On three consecutive deliveries Dodda got confused but did not lose his wicket.

“At the end of the over Alan went over to Dodda and let loose a string of verbal abuses. Since Dodda’s face remained impassive, Alan became even more furious.

“I witnessed the interaction from the non-striker’s end.

“When Alan came to fetch his cap from the umpire at the end of his over, I told him, ‘Alan, Dodda only knows a local language called Kannada. I find it difficult to communicate with him as well when we are batting together. So how can he understand your abuses in English? If you want to trouble him, speak to him in Kannada so that at least he will understand.’

“This made Alan even more furious. He almost snatched his cap from the umpire and making wild gestures with his hands.”‘

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: When Kumar Sangakkara gave it to Shaun Pollock

Lip service: The 10 top sledges in cricket?

Sachin Tendulkar is so sweet you can eat him up

16 December 2013

Photo Caption

A life-size cake of the only cricketer in the solar system to win a Bharat Ratna, made of sugar, cream and eggs, at the annual Christmas-eve exhibition at St. Joseph‘s Indian high school grounds, in Bangalore on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

World’s best batsman ever? No, the 29th best!

16 November 2013

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As the mammon-worshipping mavens of the cricket board turn a team sport into an individual one in Bombay, as a cash-strapped media engages in a cloying overkill of its original cash cow, as the devout get confused about ‘God’, the BBC asks a simple question.

Was Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar—in whose name a Test match is being played, a gymkhana usurped from children has been renamed, a postage has been issued—is Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar really the greatest ever batsman?

Or, just a fine batsman of the TV age who handled the “pressure of a billion” with quality and equanimity, who never put a foot wrong, whose humility and modesty despite his accumulated millions, and whose motivation was an object lesson to those of us who give up easily?

In the midst of all the hagiography—no different from the bhajan sandhya, sangeet, mehendi and shaadi of a typical Punjabi wedding that Rupert Murdoch‘s Star TV is famous for, with guests from all over—it’s difficult to find a word of criticism, as Tendulkar stands on a mountain of runs, records and reputation.

Still, it must be asked: was he really that good?

The BBC’s Ben Carter throws up three key sets of numbers:

# The highest rating given by the International Cricket Council ratings to Tendulkar was 29 in 2002, after a series against Zimbabwe—below not just the invincible Don Bradman, but also his contemporaries Ricky Ponting, Kumar Sangakkara, Jacques Kallis, Brian Lara, in that order.

# When Patrick Ferriday and Dave Wilson compiled the 100 greatest centuries, again factoring in “intangibles” like conditions, rivals, pitch quality, match impact, series impact, etc, only one of Sachin’s 51 centuries came in, at no. 100. Lara had five.

# When Jaideep Verma compiled the the “impact index”, measuring performances with other performances in the same match, Tendulkar (5) had fewer series-defining shows than Rahul Dravid (8) although he had played more matches. Even Inzamam-ul-Haq fared better.

So, the best, the greatest?

Really?

Read the full article: The 29th best batsman

Also read: Gavaskar vs Vishwanath=Tendulkar vs Dravid?

India’s greatest match-winning batsman is…

Gavaskar vs Vishwanath = Tendulkar vs Dravid?

12 October 2013

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Although they were part of the same Indian team—sharing the dressing room, sharing partnerships, sharing victories, defeats and draws—cricket fans detected a faint undercurrent of competition and conflict between Sunil Gavaskar and G.R. Viswanath.

On one level, this was the old battle between two stellar domestic Ranji Trophy sides, Bombay and Karnataka, playing out subliminally through its two leading lights, one a fearless opener who faced the fast and the furious without a helmet; the other an artist who wielded the willow like a brush.

On another level, it was a deeply ingrained stereotype, that “Sunny”, for all the records against his name, was a selfish, mammon-worshipping run-machine with one eye always on the right-hand column of the scoreboard, as opposed to the selfless “Vishy”, who put the team’s interests before his own.

It would have been easy to blame the media for the Gavaskar vs Vishwanath row, but this was in pre-television, pre-internet India of the 1970s and ’80s.

Gavaskar’s pathetic gesture of batting left-handed, down the batting order, in a Ranji match Bombay were losing against Karnataka only confirmed the worst suspicions of cricket followers, but all was forgiven when Gundappa chose Sunny’s sister Kavitha to be his wife.

Action replay.

Was there a similar vibe between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid? The former, a run-machine from Bombay who adored Gavaskar, and the latter, a touch artist whose idol was Vishy?

Like their icons, Tendulkar and Dravid were kingpins of batting. Without the other, each would have had less to show; without both, the side would have suffered. They played hundreds of matches, scored thousands of runs together.

Still, was it all hunky-dory between the two?

Did Dravid have his team’s interests when he declared the Indian innings in Pakistan even as Tendulkar was within striking distance of his first double-century? Did Tendulkar conveniently lose his form when Dravid was captain?

Two days after Tendulkar announced his pre-retirement from the game, Indian Express editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta writes:

“My most revealing journalistic Sachin moment came in an NDTV Walk the Talk.

“‘If you had to take one stroke from each one of your four great batting peers, Dravid, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman, what will it be,’ I asked.

“‘It will be Sehwag’s cut, nobody cuts like him,’ he said, ‘Ganguly’s cover drive, Laxman’s flick off-the-hip and Dravid…’ he paused for a moment to think.

“And what will you take from Dravid, I asked, my mischievous journalistic sensors abuzz, thinking of the little issue the two had just had in Pakistan (Multan) when Dravid had declared with Sachin not out at 194.

“‘I will take Dravid’s defence,’ he said, ‘nobody has a defence like his.’

“I called 10 self-proclaimed cricket experts to ask if that comment was bitchy or brilliant. The verdict: 10:0, brilliant.

Now, wasn’t that a stroke of cricketing genius?

Photograph: Sachin Tendulkar takes a nap on the floor of the dressing room in 1989, as New Zealand swing legend Sir Richard Hadlee (right) and left-arm spinner, Saggi Venkatapathy Raju, look on (courtesy H. Natarajan)

Read the full article: Since 1989

Also read: India’s greatest match-winning batsman is…

Why some of us just love to hate Sunil Gavaskar

From Bhadravati, the Bhimsen Joshi of cricket

Sunil Gavaskar: India’s most petulant cricketer ever?

POLL: What does Sachin Tendulkar’s future lie?

10 October 2013

Many of us, lesser mortals, cannot keep our feet on the ground and our heads on our shoulders after we “succeed”. A good job, a nice designation, a few accolades and some material acquisitions change our accents and attitudes, and pretty soon the fire of ambition in the belly burns out, as we are consigned to the dustbin of history.

Consider Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar who has known nothing but success all his life of 40 and 169 days: 

A Ranji Trophy century on debut, a Duleep Trophy century on debut, an Irani Trophy century on debut—and a magnificent, near-spotless 24-year career of 198 Test matches and 463 one-day internationals yielding 34,373 runs, 100 centuries, 163 fifties, 156 catches and 199 wickets. And millions of fans.

The cricketing achievements of Sachin are obvious: he brought hope and expectation to a nation short of heroes, he brought pride and prestige to the Indian achievement, strength and solidity to the middle-order. But it is the other side of his personality, his personal life, which is an object lesson for most of us, which is almost all of us, not blessed with his kind of talent.

Tendulkar brought middle-class decency and civility to the crease and beyond it. In his personal life, in dealing with fans and followers, in dealing with his superstardom, in dealing with his seniors, juniors and elders, Tendulkar showed a rare ability to not let his arrogance show and to yet carry on zealously.

Question: Now that Sachin Tendulkar has announced that he will end his international career two Test matches from now, where does his future lie?

IPL scorecard: Morality c Avarice b Greed

4 June 2013

SUNAAD RAGHURAM writes: In the labyrinths of hell, inside its boiling cauldrons, through its unfathomable maze of blood-curdling monstrosities, of the macabre, the cadaverous and the ghoulish,  in the sepulchral dankness of it all, there is perhaps a spot of idyll.

But at the moment, not in Indian cricket for sure.

The shock and shame of an international cricketer in police custody, an absolutely arrogant and defiant cricket board chief who thinks he personally owns Indian cricket, the strange term called spot-fixing, where anything on a cricket field can be orchestrated by men with shades of grey in their hearts and souls, for whom the smell of money and more and more money is more fragrant than all the legendary scents of Arabia.

Men of the same mental conditioning as maniacal terrorists, except that here they deal in cold cash, not cold blood!

Men who don’t think twice before plunging a dagger of deceit into the very hearts of the game’s fans, the millions glued to television sets inside homes and at street side cafes; fans who come to cheer lustily for their favourite teams; fans, most of whom have saved up to their last penny to get hold of a ticket to get into a stadium and revel in the joy of seeing their idols in flesh and blood on the field; to enjoy the headiness of it all and forget for a few euphoric hours the bleakness of their own lives.

Such a travesty of faith that these multitude of fans have been brushed aside, their feelings trampled with the finality of an angry elephant’s foot.

And amidst all this mayhem, the silence of the legends!

The legends of the game occupy a very high pedestal in the hearts of their fans, in the very pantheon of the game. Fantabulous creatures, their lives, as a result of their rare deeds on a cricket field, awash in folklorish superstardom.

But to stand up and speak from the interiors of their existences, to put the hand up and make it to be counted, to utter weighty words of meaning and responsibility, to show from their very being, the all-important sense of anguish and disappointment and outrage.

Seemingly, not on their busy agenda.

To react forcefully to the manner in which their own game, the game they love and live for, is being marauded by scums and scoundrels, all for a few rupees more than the millions already earned and credited to their accounts officially.Those traitors who seemingly have the same proclivity of a serpent that can bite the very hand that holds it.

But then, the serpent is a mere animal.

In the silence of the legends is the silence of conspiracy. Not one of complicity but the complicity of convenience, the collaboration of selective deafness to the painful moans of the game itself and blindness to the ghastly sights of monumental murder, the murder of probity and earnestness in Indian cricket.

That the game has been brought to serious disrepute is not on their minds, that the name and image of Indian cricket has been tarnished and lies in a sad heap of shabby shreds is not their botheration. That young boys who ought to have been taken under their wings and shown the path of morality now find themselves in police custody is not their concern.

But alas, what matters to them are their professional contracts with the cricket board and the resultant lucre that accrues.

Is that all there is to their lives?

To ignore the future of the very game that got them to the station they find themselves in, in life, is the very definition of self-preservation. Men with their ability for heroics and the capacity to handle pressure and adversity and perform scintillatingly in the presence of a million baying spectators almost all through their sporting careers.

Men who came to be known as legends of the game.

Such men to owe a sense of a fatherly responsibility to the game is fundamental to the very basis of their existence. Not for nothing are they deified as great players. Not every cricketer who bowled a cricket ball or wielded the cricket bat has come to be known as legendary after all!

Just to name some immediate names like Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, Anil Kumble and Javagal Srinath, Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar, notwithstanding the fact that the last two have made some semblance of a statement regarding the need to clean the rubbish in the bin of Indian cricket, for them to behave as if they all played hockey for India and not cricket is simply amusing.

Their silence makes it look like they don’t belong to the game at all.

Come on gentlemen, bowl that one unplayable ball once again or essay that one marvellous stroke one more time so that the score board of Indian cricket looks respectable.

If we may inform you, right now it reads, morality caught avarice bowled greed! As for the runs, like the money, you can add whatever is feasible to both sides!

POLL: Should Sachin Tendulkar retire now?

26 November 2012

India’s defeat at the hands of England in the second Test match in Bombay has turned the spotlight not on the spinners who were supposed to take revenge on the Poms for what they did to us when we went to their country, but on India’s greatest ever cricketer, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

With the 39-year-old getting out cheaply twice in a row to the left arm spin of Madhusudhan Singh alias Monty Panesar—his last 10 Test innings have yielded just 153 runs at an average of 15.3—the calls for Sachin’s retirement are ringing aloud once again.

For its part, the BCCI says the maestro will himself decide when it is time to go.

“He will hang up his boots when he thinks it’s time for him to go. He does not need any advice on this. Before making a comment on his performance you have to see his colossal record and his past performance. “He will do well in forthcoming matches,” BCCI official Rajiv Shukla has said.

The irony will not be lost on many, that while Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman—no less contributors to the India Batting story—were given no such choice to decide their fate, the BCCI seems overly reluctant to make up its mind on Sachin’s future although Sachin himself indicated in a recent television interview that he was unlikely to play the next World Cup.

Question: should Sachin take the cue from his recent performances and pack up his bags or should he stay on because, well, a turnaround could still be around the corner?

***

We asked this in 2007 too: Should Sachin retire now?!

Five reasons Laxman was Very Very Special

20 August 2012

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: As the cricket ball swings or spins towards slip and gully after leaving the bowler’s hand, every batsman with a coaching manual in his kit either prepares to shoulder arms and let it go past to the wicketkeeper, or cut and drive it in the direction of cover and cover-point.

Alone among modern batsmen, Vangipurappu Venkata Sai Laxman aka V.V.S. Laxman, had the unique gift to whip it to exactly the opposite direction—between squareleg and midwicket—as spectators and viewers ooh-ed and aah-ed while the bowler and fielders suddenly adjusted their field of vision.

Verily, he was, in a manner of speaking, the world’s greatest leg-break “batsman”, those supper wrists turning anti-clockwise as a matter of course.

If Hyderabad was famous for its biryani, so was it for V.V.S. Laxman’s silken grace while he was at the crease.

He lacked Rahul Dravid’s concentration, Sachin Tendulkar’s power and Virender Sehwag‘s devil-may care approach, but each time when the team was in dire stress he delivered. And how!

Granting every batsman will have to pack up and go one day, what made VVS the special player that he became, a legend in his own way?

#  Laxman had supreme confidence in his ability for he become the ‘Rescue Man’ time and again. He revelled in adverse and completely hopeless situations like the one in Eden Gardens in 2001. The tougher the opponent, the tougher the situation, it was more or less certain Laxman would deliver.

Australians by nature are tough as nails and never give an inch. It is this ability to take them on his terms that they came to admire in Laxman immensely. In him, they saw one of their own. That is why his 281 after being put to follow-on will rank one of the finest ever seen in Test cricket.

#  Laxman had to do the recue act most of the times with lower-order batsmen and more often with tail-enders. He gave them the confidence and it is in his company some astonishing draw or victories that have been achieved.

Ishant Sharma,  Pragyan Ojha, Zaheer Khan, Anil Kumble all brought famous wins with Laxman at the other end battling the opposition and also battling his perennial back ache.

# Laxman ‘s batting was sheer poetry in motion. You could see Keats and Shelley guiding with him when he was on a song. Even when India was losing a match in Australaia, his 167  littered with boundaries, made the Aussies feel they had lost the match.

# Laxman right from his Ranji Trophy days had the habit of chalking up triple centuries in quick time. He never occupied crease for the sake of it, never doddered around eighties looking for the hundred, never clobbered a cricket ball. Yet runs came in quick time, sheer timing and placements doing the job.

# Laxman after Dravid was the best slip fielder in the side. Most of our fast bowlers had a reason to be thankful as they knew they had safe pair of hands in second slips waiting for the snicks.

Nobody will ever know why such a one-man rescue team, who represented India for 17 years was ignored when it came to the World Cup. Their reasoning was he was far too slow. Those who are singing hosannas of him today themselves saw to him he was dropped from side in favour of  Dinesh Mongia.

He had a poor tour in England and Australia but so did almost the entire team save Dravid in England. The so-called one-day experts hardly measure up to exacting standards of Test cricket and it would have been wiser to have Laxman  around to guide the youngsters at least in the home series.

What made Laxman who was selected to play against New Zealand and who should have played against Australia and England at home suddenly announce his retirement? Did Krishnamachari Srikkanth tell him he was required for only series against New Zealand?

Did any of the cricketer turned commentators question his usefulness to the team anymore?

Why did Laxman decide not to play even in front of his home crowd in Hyderabad and quit in a huff?

We will never know.

Now it looks like it was a farewell match he played in Mysore when he scored 169 just 10 days back while playing in Shafi Darashah Tournament  for Hyderabad against Karnataka.

Good bye, VVS. You brought that rare grace and charm that could have only come from the land of Jaisimha and Azhar. The days of wristy flicks are over in Indian cricket.

Also read: India’s greatest match winning batsman is…

Not bones, he has ball bearings in his wrists

5 reasons Gavaskar’s wrong about playing Pak

20 July 2012

E.R. RAMACHANDRAN writes: Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar has criticized the Indian cricket board’s decision earlier this week to revive cricketing relations with Pakistan with a three-match ODI series in December this year.

Reason: he feels Pakistan is not cooperating in the probe into the November 2008 siege of Bombay despite the mountain of evidence that has been piled at its door.

“Being a Mumbaikar, I feel, what is the urgency (to resume cricketing ties) when there is no co-operation from the other side?”

Gavaskar is a great cricketer and a weighty columnist and commentator to boot. His views carry enormous weight in the cricketing fraternity. He can make or mar ties between BCCI and PCB having been part of the BCCI and International Cricket Council (ICC) administration for a long time.

However, “Sunny” is plain wrong in questioning BCCI’s rationale for resuming cricket with Pakistan three years after the dastardly attack on his hometown?

First: BCCI would have dared to approach Pakistan with a tour proposal only after securing the government of India’s clearance. Perhaps it was Pakistan which came up with the proposal first.

Either way, Union home minister P. Chidambaram and external affairs minister S.M. Krishna would have discussed the issue threadbare with the Prime Minister and only after his (and/or the cabinet’s) clearance would the BCCI have made the first move to invite Pakistan for a tour.

It is the Indian Government that will decide whether Pakistan is cooperating in the Bombay terror attacks, not BCCI and definitely not Sunil Gavaskar. At least we haven’t reached that stage in the BCCI.

So far.

Second: While one certainly appreciates his views that as a ‘Mumbaikar’  for the tragedy that struck on 26 /11, he cannot decide whether there is cooperation from the other side. Not even BCCI. That is again strictly the job of the government.

Once the Government gives its clearance after satisfying itself of all the aspects and give its nod, the board and the cricketers should do their assigned jobs, as rightly pointed out by Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in a media conference.

Third: I am sure every player would have felt terrible about the attack, irrespective of whether he was a Mumbaikar or not. So is it with every Indian. In fact it was with that spirit that the whole team played a match against Andrew Flintoff’s England and both teams came in for huge praise from all over the world for their fantastic gesture.

However well meaning, parochial sentiments on a national issue like terror are better consigned to the dustbin, particularly from a cricketer of the calibre of Gavaskar.

Fourth: Sunny is on firmer ground when he questions BCCI with regard to squeezing this tour in a year which is already quite packed.  Here again, if he is questioning the tour on cricketing grounds, he should have also questioned the wisdom of selectors’ acceding to Sachin Tendulkar’s ‘pick and choose’ policy, especially in ODIs,  a subject which has been dealt by quite of few cricket experts and commentators at length.

This affects balance in the team, creates uncertainty in minds of younger cricketers about their future as they have to make way whenever he ‘feels’ like playing cricket. One would have expected Sunny to question the selectors or Sachin in his weekly column regarding this but that did not happen.

It is only Sanjay Manjrekar who has rightly dared to question this in the past.

Fifth: Why should cricket and cricket alone be the barometer of ties between India and Pakistan? Despite 26/11, the two countries seem to have started finding ways of doing business. Its politicians meet happily, its bureaucrats do, there are growing trade ties, etc.

So, why should cricket be held hostage to terror? It is, after all, a sport.

Also read: Gavaskar: India’s most petulant cricketer ever?

Save Indian cricket: keep Sunil Gavaskar out

Are Gavaskar and Shastri India’s only cricketers?

Gavaskar of 2010 is the same Gavaskar of 1981

Why some of us just love to hate Gavaskar

Should Sachin Tendulkar accept RS seat offer?

26 April 2012

There is never a dull moment in the circus that is the Indian political league. As if the indecent clamour for a Bharat Ratna to be bestowed upon him wasn’t enough, the word is that the Union home ministry has recommended that Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar be nominated to the upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha.

Coming as it does the very day Sachin and his wife, Anjali Tendulkar, called upon the Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, in the company of the other IPL chief, Rajeev Shukla, the move has necessarily led to some tongues wagging.

Like, is a battered government trying to distract attention from the scams and scandals? Like, is the beleagurered Congress trying to shine in the reflected glory of a sterling cricketer? Like is the Mukesh Ambani hold on the Mumai Indian becoming all too clear? Etcetera.

Sachin hasn’t said yes or no, but obviously smoke like this doesn’t emanate without some fire somewhere. Simple question: does Sachin deserve the “offer”? Should he accept it? Will he be useful in the “house of elders” or will he just end up being used by politicians and political parties? And what can the BJP to match this?

Also read: Why Sachin should not get Bharat Ratna now

A true great, but a Mysore University doctorate?

Is the media to blame for Team India’s worries?

17 January 2012

India Drown Under. Surrender Down Under. Wallopped! Tigers at home, lambs abroad.

The adjectives are tripping off TV screens and sports pages, following the precipitous fall in Indian performance in Australia, where the 0-3 scoreline looks less from a cricket series, more from a tennis match.

The blame, as usual, is being laid at the door of the IPL and the surfeit of Twenty20 cricket. The cricket board is being slammed for ignoring domestic cricket, for short sighted selection, etc.

But how much of the blame does the media carry?

Calcutta-born Andy O’ Brien, a former journalist with Sportsworld magazine, now happily settled in Australia, on the debacle of Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his World Cup winning boys, in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“If one was to compile international media clippings of this tour, mention of Sachin Tendulkar‘s milestone would probably outnumber 10:1 any analysis of the outcome of a Test match or the shortcomings of the Indian team….

“Are Indian cricket fans more interested in Sachin getting his century of centuries or in winning a Test series? Or is the truth that this almost cosmetic overemphasis on the peripheral is a coincidental cover-up of the fact that, by and large, Indian cricket reporters tend to be too soft on their cricketers?

“Not many are willing to bite the proverbial bullet and risk their “contacts” with the team or the hierarchy. If always seemed to me, even when I was a part of this wonderful hardworking group of people, that the business is not so much about writing or cricket, but what contacts you have and can tap, to produce a “cosmetic/glamour” story with banner headlines.

“That trend has grown and as a result many reports now deal with either the mundane or the inconsequential part of the game.”

Photograph: Australian captain Michael Clarke tosses the coin at the start of the third Test match against India in Perth, as captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni looks on, with ICC match referee Ranjan Madugalle (right) and Channel 9 host, Mark Nicholas.

Read the full article: Let go of that cockiness and arrogance

Also read: ‘Today’s cricket journos are chamchas of cricketers’

One question I’m dying to ask M.S. Dhoni

4 January 2012

There is little good news wafting in from Down Under for cricket fanatics switching on TV before brushing their teeth. Sachin Tendulkar seems to have taken a vow not to score his 100th hundred till the Lok Pal bill is passed. The gap between Rahul Dravid‘s bat and pad seems to getting wider than the creases on his forehead. V.V.S. Laxman has a priceless tour average of 1.6 from the three innings in the first two Tests.

Gautam Gambhir still thinks he is on his honeymoon. Virat Kohli can barely believe his luck that he got a look-in ahead of Rohit Sharma once again. If Ravichandran Ashwin bowls so many balls that go the other way, he might be a legspinner before he returns home. Etcetera.

It could all change, of course, cricket being a game of glorious uncertainties and all that. But this was not the way the Agneepath tour was supposed to be and it would seem that the Star Cricket commentary team has more players with  more fire in the belly than the ones on the ground. The World Cup victory is now firmly history as the tennis scoreline of 0-4 in England now looks like being repeated before the Australian Open.

On top of Team India’s travails is Mahendra Singh Dhoni‘s captaincy. The midas touch seems to desert him as soon as he gets a visa stamp on his passport. And as if the waning of the three greats wasn’t enough, the experts are asking questions of his captaincy. Ian Chappell called him conservative recently, and Sourav Ganguly and Ravi Shastri are mocking his bowling changes and field placings.

So, what is the one question you are dying to ask Mahi?

Photograph: courtesy The Hindu

Also read: Dear God, save us from Sunny & Dada, Shaz and Waz

Why Sachin should not get Bharat Ratna now

17 December 2011

The modification of the rules of eligibility for the nation’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna—expanding the field of possibilities from art, literature, science and public service to “performance of highest order in any field of human endeavour”—has led to a veritable stampede of potential winners.

The hocky hockey legend Dhyan Chand is the politically correct top contendor contender, but quite clearly the hot money is on Sachin Tendulkar, who is widely believed to have lost the race last year because of the constricting criteria. There are others who feel world chess champ Vishwanathan Anand or shooter Abhinav Bindra should get it first.

Not just sportsmen, there are other worthies on the horizon too: the press council chief Justice Markandey Katju was pushing the candidature of Bengali novelist Sarat Chandra a few days ago; today he seems to have zeroed in on the 19th century poet Mirza Ghalib, whose quotes adorn half of Justice Katju’s judgements.

If Ghalib qualifies, who net next? Tantiya Tope?

Or emperor Ashoka or Akbar?

And why not Kalidasa?

Obviously, the government has put its hand in a beehive by expanding the scope of the Bharat Ratna for populist reasons. Inasmuch as giving the award to a Tendulkar, Anand or Bindra would please the masses, the question really is should one so young be decorated with such an onerous honour?

Is the Bharat Ratna for career acccomplishments or a lifetime of achievements? What if Sachin & Co, fine role models as they are today, become the exact opposite in the rest of their lives? Has the UPA increased the scope for lobbying and politicking by expanding the range?

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Anybody for the Bharat Ratna?

Sachin: A true great, but a Mysore University doctorate?

CHURUMURI POLL: Bharat Ratna for Anna Hazare?

Ask not what your leaders have done for you…

15 December 2011

With the year drawing to a close and Christmas close at hand, E.R. RAMACHANDRAN is in an expansive mood, compiling a list of gifts that he would like to give out to our various performing and non-performing assets.

1. Asif Zardari: A permanent hospital room in Dubai

2. Imran Khan: A Pakistani political pitch to bowl on

3. BJP leaders in Karnataka: Sites in Bangalore + a room in Parappana Agrahara

4. Jayalalitha: A set of 10,000 sample questions for practice

5. Rahul Gandhi:  ‘India is UP, UP is India’ T-shirt

6. Sharad Pawar: Protective cover for the other cheek

7. Team Anna: ‘Scams within’ report

8. Virender Sehwag: Indore pitch

9. Mamata Banerjee: Fireproof hospital (scale model)

10. Anna Hazare: Jantar Mantar for fasting

11. P. Chidambaram: A pocket map of Tihar

12. Manmohan Singh: A mike

13. Sonia Gandhi: Calendar with a red marker

14. Subramanian Swamy: Permanent room in  Supreme Court

15. Kapil Sibal: Facebook without faces

16. Sachin Tendulkar: 100 centuries of 90s

17. L.K. Advani: Hidden agenda

What gifts would you like to give your favourite performing and non-performing assets, for services rendered or denied in the year gone by?

Check out what ERR gave in 2008: Gifts for some one you love and don’t

Sauce for liberals isn’t sauce for fundamentalists?

6 December 2011

The ghastly ritual of Madae Snana at the State-run Kukke Subramanya templewhich entails members of the Malekudiya community (among others) rolling over plantain leaves of leftover food of Brahmins for wish-fulfillment—has pitted progressives versus traditionalists, thanks to the “ban” lifted by the BJP-ruled Karnataka government.

“Liberals are carrying out a smear campaign against an established centre of faith of Hindus. This ritual is not something that has come into practice in recent times. It has been around for generations and people do practice it even today. By denigrating the ritual and its practice, the liberals are hurting the religious sentiments of devotees,” a local leader has been quoted as saying.

But what is the likelihood that the equally ghastly sight of devotees happily walking over fire and flogging themselves in public (as they did on Moharram in Hubli and Bangalore on Tuesday), will tie up liberals and fundamentalists in similar knots, or exercise human rights bodies?

Or will this too pass, as it has been around for generations and devotees do it voluntarily (presumably)?

Photographs: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: Unlikely this is for Sachin Tendulkar‘s 100th century

Liberalistion, Sachin Tendulkar & the elusive 100

2 December 2011

Muttiah Muralitharan took 1,334 international wickets: 800 in Tests and 534 in one-dayers. Shane Warne had 1,001: 708 in Tests and 293 in one-dayers. Yet, no one remembers any of us losing sleep when they conquered the 1,000 mark.

Yet, why does Sachin Tendulkar‘s “100th international hundred” (he has 51 in Tests and 48 in one-dayers) send commentators, newspapers, TV channels, advertisers into a tizzy, when we should really be looking at the real number, which is 78?

Mukul Kesavan in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“The real cricketing illiterates are the people who believe that adding ODI centuries to Test centuries and arriving at a hundred gives you a heroic landmark. It doesn’t. This isn’t just a meaningless statistic, it’s a pernicious one because it equalizes two different orders of achievement…

“It is to speak and think like a child with 99 coins in his piggy-bank, 51 made of silver and 48 of lead, who is dying to acquire one more coin of either kind because he will then have a hundred metal coins. The child can be indulged because he’s too young to know better but what of the grown men and women who follow cricket and report and comment on it, who carry on as if something monumental is about to happen each time Tendulkar crosses 50 and then mime tragedy when it doesn’t?

“Even children know that winning a game of checkers isn’t the same as winning a game of chess even though they’re played over the same 64 square….

“Tendulkar, whose 22-year career shadows India’s history since ‘liberalization’, has become, through no fault of his own, the totem of New India’s self-congratulatory middle class. He is at once their redeemer and their guarantee of self-worth. He must, therefore, be a singular genius: in the heaven of cricket, there must only be one god: Tendulkar. And so a copywriter’s meaningless catchphrase becomes a cricketing statistic: a hundred international hundreds.”

Read the full article: Trivial pursuit

Photograph: Coca-Cola commemoration can still waiting to be uncorked

Also read: Why some of us just love to hate Sunil Gavaskar

Unlikely this is for Sachin’s elusive 100th century

28 November 2011

At the very temple where the “God” of Indian cricket—Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar—has often come to seek deliverance from an ill omen, more earthly devotees perform the Made Seve, which entails rolling on the ground in the dining hall after cleaning the leaves used by their brethren to eat, at Kukke Subramanya in Sullia taluk of Dakshina Kannada, on Monday.

Photograph: Karnataka Photo News

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Is Sachin‘s superstition good?

Who is this man who has S.M. Krishna‘s left ear?

CHURUMURI POLL: Bharat Ratna for Anna Hazare?

16 August 2011

For months, a country utterly lacking in genuine heroes has been desperately groping around to find somebody, anybody, deserving of the nation’s highest civilian honour. The name of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is on most lips, not least because he does something very well which many understand, because his stellar feats will never ever be repeated by anybody who ever plays the great game again, and because everybody loves a winner.

But Sachin is still 38. Sure, he hasn’t put a foot wrong in his long, luminous career, but he has a lifetime ahead of him and he might yet do many things after hanging up his boots that might take the sheen off the Bharat Ratna to everybody’s regret. Moreover, decorating a sportsman who has doubtless provided hundreds of hours of entertainment to millions but changed nobody’s life but his own and that of his family is fraught.

Allow us therefore to propose an alternate, unlikely Maharashtrian: Kisan Baburao Hazare.

At 74, Anna Hazare, as the small man who speaks Bambaiyya like Sachin might when he is that old is known, is not everybody’s favourite public figure, especially of those who see a tinge of saffron in his white attire. Still, in bringing corruption to the national centrestage when neither the Congress nor the BJP were interested, in jumpstarting the movement for the Lok Pal bill which had been hanging fire for 38 years, in resolutely even if obstinately sticking to his convictions, he has been a revelation.

And after today, when his early-morning arrest evoked shades of the Emergency a day after August 15, Hazare has united vast sections of urban, middle-class India; his release by the end of the day a standing testimony to the power of the people against an arrogant, repressive regime, whose Harvard-educated ministers (Kapil Sibal and P. Chidambaram, if you have to name them) show what they don’t teach at Harvard about democracy with their every word and deed.

Make no mistake. A brazen, scam-tainted government with much to hide might yet bury its hand in the sand and bulldoze its way on the Lok Pal bill; the great protectors of our democracy who can do anything for cash may shamelessly back it in the name of parliamentary democracy; Hazare’s own struggle may yet peter out like so many have before; and high corruption of the sort we have seen over the last few months might be here to stay.

Still, in his stamina in sticking to an issue, in his single-mindedness to achieve his dream, and above all in his desire to change things which has the potential to change the lives of millions of Indians—all traits most Indians will happily agree they do not possess—does Anna Hazare qualify, even if only notionally, to be crowed Jewel of India ahead of SRT? After all, he has some practice, having received the Padma Sri and Padma Bhushan earlier.

Photographs: Protestors in Bangalore wear masks of Anna Hazare demanding his release (Karnataka Photo News)

Also read: CHURUMURI POLL: Sachin for Bharat Ratna?

Is India getting increasingly intolerant to dissent

May a thousand Anna Hazares bloom across India

CHURUMURI POLL: Death of India in Test cricket?

15 August 2011

India’s 0-3 scoreline with a match to go in the four-Test match series against England will only surprise those who have only passing acquaintance with the game, shout Chak de India or Jeetega bhai jeetega as if the other side is only playing to help “us” win, and are only bothered about how much Sachin Tendulkar scores.

The deep cracks in Indian cricket—an ageing batting lineup, an unfit fielding side, injured bowlers, poor bench strength, a preponderance of limited overs cricket, etc—had been papered over by the heady (even if unexpected) World Cup victory and the anything-goes Twenty20 format of the Indian Premier League (IPL).

Truth is, India’s strength was always going to be tested in the longer, more testing format of the five-day game against quality opposition, and not surprisingly all these cracks have been exposed most mercilessly by England. That it should come after all the hoo-ha over the centenary Test match is only incidental.

However, defeat is a part of sport. What is more worrisome is what the future portends for the Indian Test team.

As it is, the only top-order batsman with runs in this series has been the 38-year-old Rahul Dravid; the bowling still depends on an always injured and hobbling Zaheer Khan, who is 32. With Sachin Tendulkar and V.V.S. Laxman both on the other side of 35,the simple question to ponder is, is the golden era of India in Test match cricket, which began at the turn of the new millennium, over? Will future Indian teams (at least for a while) only shine in the shorter, more paying versions of the game—and mostly at home? Or will this too pass?

External reading: The worst-ever debacle?

Player No. 207 is the modern-day Vijay Hazare

16 July 2011

Ramachandra Guha in The Telegraph, Calcutta:

“In the winter of 1947-48, the Indian cricket team visited Australia to play four Test matches. Australia, led by Don Bradman, were by some distance the finest team in world cricket. India, on the other hand, were greenhorns, having only played 10 Test matches, without winning any of them. To make matters worse, some of the country’s top players were not available for selection. These included three superlatively gifted batsmen: Vijay Merchant, Mushtaq Ali, and R.S. Modi….

“The loss of the three Ms would have hurt the team in any case; here, because of the quality of the opposition, their absence was catastrophic…. Only two Indians emerged with any credit from this unequal encounter. One was Vinoo Mankad. The other was Vijay Hazare…. To play a lone hand was not an uncommon experience for Hazare. He did that always for The Rest, his team in the Bombay Pentangular, then India’s premier domestic tournament….

“In the 1930s and 1940s, Hazare bravely bore the burdens of The Rest; in the 1940s and the 1950s, he oftentimes did the same for India. When India were 0 for four in a Test match in England, it was left to Hazare and his fellow Vijay, Manjrekar, to come together in a retrieving stand that restored some respectability to his side. In the first part of the 1950s, three Commonwealth sides toured India — in the 15 fiercely fought, albeit unofficial, ‘Tests’ that they played, the man that bowlers of the quality of Sonny Ramadhin and Jim Laker found hardest to dismiss was Vijay Hazare….

“No historical analogy can be exact, but still, it may be worth pursuing the question — who is the modern Hazare? One might say it was Sachin Tendulkar, who, for much of his career, has had to bear “this strange burden of popularity and responsibility”, to score hundreds upon hundreds to maintain his fame and keep his team afloat.

“But one can also make a case for Rahul Dravid. For one thing, his style is more akin to Hazare’s, sound and orthodox — coming in at 5 for one, which soon becomes 10 for two — he seeks to patiently rebuild the innings, whereas Tendulkar would seek rather to play some flashing shots and immediately take the initiative away from the opposition.

“These past few weeks in the West Indies, Rahul Dravid had indeed been the modern Hazare. As in Australia in 1947, three of India’s finest batsmen — Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gambhir — cried off from the tour. Here, as then, there were only two experienced batsmen left to carry along a bunch of novices. Laxman, like Mankad in 1947, has batted bravely on occasion — but the Hazare of this tour has been Rahul Dravid. That India won the series is owed largely to the magnificent hundred he scored in the second innings of the Test match in Jamaica.

“Like Hazare, Dravid is a man of courage and decency, content to play — and live — in the shadows of his more glamorous team-mates. Like Hazare, his contributions to Indian cricket have been colossal, and probably under-appreciated. It is time that one of the present, and very gifted, generation of Indian writers treated his achievements and his character in a subtle work of fiction. I suspect, however, that its ending will see its hero living not with animals in a farm, but among books in a library.”

Read the full article: The modern Hazare

Also read: India’s greatest match-winning batsman is…

India’s greatest match-winning batsman ever is…

24 June 2011

For long, the Sunil Gavaskar versus Gundappa Viswanath debate has been firmly sealed, signed and delivered in favour of the latter’s style, selflessness, civility and above all, match-winning prowess. With his 32nd century in his 151th Test, has Rahul Dravid followed in the footsteps of his idol, making it 2-0 in the Bombay vs Karnataka battle?

***

Harsha Bhogle in the Indian Express:

“It is already fifteen years since a simple, elegant, studious and very likeable young man walked out to bat for India at Lords. It was an appropriate setting. Rahul Dravid is neatly turned out, plays the game correctly, likes the traditions associated with the game and is respectful of them. It is not difficult to see why the English would like him. In 1996 though he was significantly more humble and courteous than those I seemed to run into at the ground.

“Not much has changed since then. He is still as intense as ever, still unlikely to sport the ponytail he rejected in one of his earliest commercials, still deeply enamoured by the idea of playing for India, still very out of place in the Kingfisher jingle! That intensity is worth studying though for Dravid knows no other way of playing the game”

Suresh Menon in Tehelka:

“Dravid is the least obtrusive of players, he demands little mind space. He wears his passion on one sleeve, his intelligence on the other. It is a rare combination that evokes awe rather than love, admiration more than conviviality. He is the intelligent man’s guide to what a sportsman ought to be—modest, dependable, well educated, with the gift of grace under pressure and a perspective that is adult.

“While carving out a distinct cricketing personality despite performing alongside Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid ensured that the Indian team retained some of the old-fashioned values unique to cricket. For some years after that Kolkata partnership with V.V.S. Laxman, Dravid carried the Indian batting on his shoulders, saving Test matches in Port of Spain, Georgetown and Nottingham and playing the key role in victories in Headingley, Adelaide, Kandy and Rawalpindi. He had four centuries in successive innings, and four double centuries in a span of 15 Tests. He made an incredible 23 percent of the runs made by India in the 21 victories under Sourav Ganguly, at an average of 102.84.

“It is necessary to descend into statistics only to underline the fact that with Dravid it is never beauty without cruelty – he is a stylish batsman who makes it count, a do-gooder who is focussed on the result, a century-maker whose innings are not out of touch with team performance but an integral part of it. No ploughing the lonely furrow here, every part is a piece of the main.

“Tendulkar’s batting is a joy of straight lines and geometric precision; Dravid’s bat makes no angles to the wind but describes beautiful arcs. In this, he is the spiritual successor to Gundappa Vishwanath, whose secret of the ferocious square cut was passed on to him in that mysterious way cricketing genes jump from one generation to another. When he was selected for India, Dravid told a colleague, “I don’t want to be just another player. I want to be bracketed with Sunil Gavaskar and Vishwanath.” The schoolboy Dravid had photographs taken with his two heroes.

“In time he would dine at the high table with them. He played more strokes more consistently than Gavaskar and the more risky ones with greater safety than Vishwanath.”

Infographic: courtesy Hindustan Times

Also read: Who cries in Bangalore for Rahul Sharad Dravid?

Why some of us just love to hate Sunil Gavaskar

Sunil Gavaskar: the most petulant cricketer ever?

From Bhadravati, the Bhimsen Joshi of cricket

Gundappa Vishwanath: Once upon a time, idol worship of a chindi kind

Is India the worst behaved team of World Cup?

13 March 2011

ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: India’s loss to South Africa in Nagpur on Saturday didn’t bug me one bit.

The hosts’ implosion after a great start, and the Proteas’ last-over assault after it seemed a win was in the bag, was reaffirmation of all the usual clichés. That cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. That it isn’t over till the last ball is bowled. Etc.

But if there was something that really, really bugged me on Saturday night, and still does, it was the manner in which the Indian team went about defending the target of 296.

And by manner, I don’t mean the way they bowled, caught or fielded.

I mean the way they behaved.

At the end of the match, I was wondering: are the Indians the worst behaved team in the tournament?

Don’t mistake me: several key players like Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag, not to mention captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, are admirable ambassadors of the great game, impeccably gracious in their on-field and off-field behaviour, despite their sky-high achievements.

But the behaviour of the rest of the twerps leaves much to be desired.

As it is, their body language is no different from that of cricket’s tri-colour smeared neo-literates who watch the game on giant screens at the stadiums.

In the obnoxious way they carry themselves—the testosterone-rich swagger, the arrogant chewing of gum—you would think that by some divine right, India is destined to win always, no matter what, and the other team is only there to help them do that.

But if there is anything worse than their body language, it surely must be their awful bawdy language?

Take Saturday’s match, for example.

Opener Hashim Amla walks—walks, mind you—after he edges a sharply rising delivering from Harbhajan Singh into the gloves of Dhoni. But what do we get from the bowler? An urgent intimation of what he would do the mother and sister of the departed batsman.

MC-BC, if you don’t get it.

Take another example: After reverse-sweeping ferociously for four, A.B. de Villiers ferociously sweeps down the throat of Virat Kohli at deep square leg. But what do we get from the fielder? An urgent communication on what he would do to the mother and sister of the departed batsman.

MC-BC, if you still don’t get it.

Zaheer Khan, Ashish Nehra, Sreesanth, you name it, the language of Indian players is, to put it in a language they will understand, assholic.

Like a Ganga in spate with all its effluents, expletives seem to effortlessly trip off the tongues of some of the Indian cricketers, without provocation, and without any questions asked by the captain, coach, board or the TV companies bringing these images into our homes and lives.

Such behaviour passes off in many people’s books as “aggro” alias “killer instinct”.  Their logic is, this is a big tournament, there is a lot at stake for “India”. This is the way players let off steam and, anyway, don’t other sides do it too?

Some others will argue that it is easy to pounce on the Indians because we can read their lips and identify what they are saying. What if the Kenyans and Dutch are doing it in their own lingo?

Point taken, but Dhoni and his boys have an added linguistic responsibility.

Because their actions are closely watched by millions of young men and women on television, their lips are closely read by all who can.

On current evidence, they are giving a poor account of themselves.

On current evidence as gathered from TV, I would unhesitatingly call them the worst behaved team in the tournament.

In fact, on current evidence and at this rate, I would unhesitatingly recommend that they change their preferred song at the stadiums from “Chak De India” to “Fuck De India.”

Photograph: Harbhajan Singh celebrates with Virat Kohli after taking the wicket of AB de Villiers in Nagpur on Saturday (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

A true great but a Mysore University doctorate?

12 January 2011

PRITHVI DATTA CHANDRA SHOBHI writes: The Times of India reports that the University of Mysore has decided to confer an honorary doctorate on Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

This, I find, incredibly inexplicable.

Don’t get me wrong.

I repeat, don’t get me wrong: I consider Tendulkar to be a phenomenal achiever and, in particular, I have really come to respect how he has reinvented himself as a great defensive batsman.

In the history of world cricket, there aren’t too many instances of  someone with Sachin’s ability for stroke making turning himself into a great, perhaps even the best defensive batsman in the world. I like the way he still retains his childlike enthusiasm and love for the game after more than two decades of playing international cricket.

Naturally, he is deserving of our affection, respect and, indeed, all honours that come his way, including an honorary doctorate degree.

But by the University of Mysore?

Neither the City of Mysore nor the University of Mysore have any relationship with Sachin. None of his great accomplishments have come in this City. So I am not sure what Mysore University seeks to commemorate by honoring Sachin.

Moreover, Mysore University isn’t a national university. And being a State university,  its reach is limited to the districts of Mysore, Hassan, Mandya and Chamarajnagar. So if it recognizes achievers from this region or those from Karnataka, then that would be appropriate.

There is one more surprising factor. The present vice-chancellor Prof V.G.Talawar had famously declared that the game of cricket is a waste of time and he has no use for the sport. This he had said when he was invited to a Ranji Trophy match last year.

Now the same university honors Tendulkar for his cricketing accomplishments?

In another strange decision, the university has also conferred an honorary doctorate on Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar (1884-1940), seventy years after his death.

Why does the University wants to honor him now? I fail to understand the logic of this decision. Wodeyar, who founded the University in 1916 and was instrumental in the creation of modern Mysore, is a worthy recipient but this award has come about ninety years too late.

The usual cliche that’s strutted out on occasions like this is that by honouring Tendulkar and Wodeyar, Mysore University has honoured itself. But I think this is a cheap gimmick by the University that potentially simply demeans the award. As I said above, both the honourees are surely worthy of the honor that’s being bestowed on them but should they have been honoured now and by the Mysore University?

Who are they going to choose next year? Mahatma Gandhi and Ranjitsinhji?

For the record, I should admit the University syndicate has also chosen four other worthy recipients, and I am particularly delighted that Rajiv Taranath is being honoured.

Also read: Why Sachin Tendulkar is stronger than Obama

CHURUMURI POLL: Sachin Tendulkar—15,000?

A batsman with his feet firmly planted on Earth

CHURUMURI POLL: A Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar?

220 yards is a long distance in namma Bangalore

12 October 2010

PRASHANT KRISHNAMURTHY writes from Bangalore: A week may be a long time in politics. But 220 yards is the essence of life.

The politics in Bangalore stinks to high heavens today as the politicians and puppeteers, and their masters and minders, indulge in never-before-seen skulduggery in the Vidhana Soudha and the Raj Bhavan, and at every hotel, resort and spa in between and beyond.

The shenanigans of the well-fed, obscene, inglourious basterds fill you with anger. And disgust. And disappointment. And despondence. And embarrassment. And hate. And negativism. And rage. And shame.

Their core competence is built on failure.

The contrast is available just a couple of hundred yards away on the playing fields of Chinnaswamy stadium, by a short, stock fellow hasn’t put a foot wrong in 21 years, in showcasing skills which will never ever be seen in Bangalore and Birmingham, and at every ground and stadium in between and beyond.

The feats of the little gem fill you with happiness. And pride. And joy. And pleasure. And awe. And love. And positivity. (And envy.)

His core competence is success.

One does business in the dark; the other shines in broad daylight. The credo of one is to conceal; the credo of the other is to reveal.  One is driven by the urge to take the low road; the other knows no other road but the high one. One pulls down; the other pushes up.  For one, self comes comes before State; for the other nation comes above all else. One attracts bricks and barbs; the other collects plaudits and applause.

In climbing Mount 14,000 on Monday (in picture), in crossing his sixth double century on Tuesday, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar shows why every mom would want her son to be him.

In disgracing themselves and shaming us on Monday, and in disgracing themselves and shaming us on Tuesday, the well-fed, obscene, inglourious basterds show why every mom would want her son to be anything but them.

Photograph: K.S.N. Kumar

CHURUMURI POLL: India’s most valuable batsman?

6 October 2010

Vangipurapu Venkata Sai Laxman was shy of his magnum opus 281 by a clear 208 runs. Still, his stellar unbeaten 73 was enough to guide India home in Mohali.

His career runs and centuries are fewer than some of his more decorated peers, yet Laxman has delivered each time the chips are down. As indeed has Rahul Dravid. As indeed did ‘JimmyAmarnath.

Which is brings us to the question: who is India’s most valuable Test match batsman ever?


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