Random thoughts on cricket

* Graeme Smith walking out with a broken hand to save a test match; captain na ipdi than irukkanum ; Faf Du Plessis has all these qualities…..

* 2004 Karachi: Mohammad Kaif holding on to a sensational catch laying to rest the ghost of 1986 Sharjah and Miandad;

* Hansie Cronje swinging it in and out and causing Sachin Tendulkar all sorts of problems

* Sachin’s catch in 2004 to dismiss Inzamam; Robin Jackman saying on air I have never seen Tendulkar this animated

* The sheer joy of watching Rahul Dravid fielding in the slips and his reaction time at short leg;

* The joy of watching Inzamam Ul Haq bat; the amount of time he had to play fast bowling justifying in some sense Imran Khan’s comment that Inzamam was the best batsman of the world, Tendulkar included (emphasis his);

* Steve Waugh running all the way to the boundary, retrieving the ball to give it to Dravid after the 2003 Adelaide test match;

* Dale Steyn saying that Sreesanth’s wrist position was the best, so pure, so beautiful; what a waste of a talent;

* The beauty of classical, old fashioned wicket keeping as epitomized by Peter Nevill of Australia, Prasanna Jayawardene of Sri Lanka, Sarfraz Ahmed of Pakistan and to a lesser extent by Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha of India.

* Watching Amol Muzumdar doing the presentation at the end of Irani trophy; couldn’t help but feel for him; first class debut at age 18 for Mumbai and scored 270 odd on debut but never played a single test for India; have to feel for the likes of him, Rashmi Ranjan Parida etc;

* Lovely to see domestic players like Sheldon Jackson of Saurashtra, Naman Ojha of Madhya Pradesh, Sudip Chaterjee of Bengal and Karun Nair and Stuart Binny of Karnataka all play against Shreyas Iyer, Suryakumar Yadav, Iqbal Abdulla, Dhawal Kulkarni and Balwinder Sandhu of Mumbai. Is it just me or it seems like atleast teams like Mumbai and Karnataka, their Ranji teams look fairly all India, i.e., they have representatives from a lot of Indian regions.

Sport, life, winning, losing and equanimity

Sport mirrors so many aspects of life. To watch the scenes at the end of a very close game: to watch the winning teams’ supporters and the losing teams’ supporters. To watch the little kid, with his or her face painted, the huge cap covering their faces, tears streaming down, to watch the wise old person who has watched a lot of games put their arm gently around the little kid. A fan is a fan, 12 years old or 55, wise or otherwise and your team is your team. South Africa may have lost a close T-20 game to Australia but Kagiso Rabada is one of my favorite modern day cricketers.

Back home, the Irani Trophy game is unfolding. Jay Bista and Karun Nair batting so well. Bista seems like a throw back to a different era. Bespectacled, quiet and studious, quite a contrast to the present day cricketer of bulging muscles, flaunting tattoos and extremely well groomed beards etc; How nice it would have been if Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara and five strong wicket taking bowlers had played for Rest Of India. Would have been a really nice way to test the true strength of this present Mumbai team and to find out which players will make it to the next level.

Edit: (added after the completion of the Irani trophy game) What a beautiful game it turned out to be. After conceding a lead of more than 250 runs, Rest of India came back to win this game. It was truly beautiful. The fourth day provided a startling twist and the fifth day saw both teams in the hunt. Beautiful batting by Faiz Fazal, Karun Nair, Sudip Chaterjee and a lovely cameo by Stuart Binny took Rest of India home. Another beautiful part of sport, (life?) although this sounds cliched but is somehow true, is to perhaps keep hope right until the end.

Martin “kaaka” Crowe

Note: Kaaka is crow in Thamizh and this is how my father referred to Martin Crowe when we were watching the 1992 World Cup where, as a seven year old wide eyed boy madly in love in cricket, I was first introduced to Martin Crowe. Apart from his elegant batting, his head band was beautifully elegant; in these days of machismo, it seems to be hard to find the kind of delicate elegance embodied by Crowe. Also, the decency with which he played the game; let’s throw out all sledging and unwanted talk under the name of banter.

To see one of the greatest batsman say this:

To see the two sons I never had, Ross Taylor and Marty Guptill, run out in black, in sync with their close comrades, drawing on all their resolve and resilience, will be mesmerically satisfying. I will hold back tears all day long. I will gasp for air on occasions. I will feel like a nervous parent.

And let us not forget his innovative cricket max. I think it is a great concept: 10 overs two innings. (Also, let’s not forget SRT’s suggestion that ODI’s split into two innings of 25 overs each)

Mike Selvey has a lovely tribute here at the Guardian.


And Dileep Premachandran, one of India’s finest cricket writers has a tribute here.

Martin Crowe: Marked by nature, gone too soon

Which cricket lover will not be moved to tears watching this lovely tribute video:

Thought for the day

Although it is a generally agreed fact that classical (or art) music is better than film music, great film music is better than really average classical music. (Side thought: most of raagam, swaram, neraval singing etc has become formulaic; put the feeling back in the classical music, I say. One is unable to find the warm exuberance in an expansive Bilahari or Kambhodhi aalapana and one has to make do with Keda Kari and Beera Beera.) All this is to say Raavanan has a beautiful soundtrack. The exuberance of Beera and Keda Kari are so lovely, so are Usure Poguthe and Kaatu Sirukki. And the absolutely unrestrained, one should say, group dance song: kodu potta.

(Another unrelated thought: I am willing to bet that years later, when (re)evaluating Mani Ratnam’s works, Raavanan will rank higher than OK Kanmani etc.)


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