Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Curious Case of Virendra Sehwag

I have been following cricket (religiously) now for around 18 years. I guess Hero Cup was my first tryst with this beautiful game (sorry football). Now there are hell lot of guys whose careers have gone through a lot during this period , but one person who continues to baffle me today as it used to do about 10 years ago is Virendra Sehwag.
First of all few facts, he is the only Indian to make 2 triple hundreds, boast of 50+ average in test cricket ( 50 is usually the thin line used to differentiate between good and greats batsmen) , scores run at strike rate of above 75% in Test Cricket (read Sir Geoffery Boycott , and SMG ) and above 100 in both ODI and T-20 Cricket and many more things.

“Virender Sehwag is a primal talent whose rough edges make him all the more appealing.”

This is what Cricinfo says about Sehwag. But doesn’t u think the time has come to sharpen up these rough edges a bit. No I m not saying this because today we lost a pretty close match and I m feeling damm frustrated about that ( ya I bunked FM class for that, albeit how much how much I would have understand in case I would have attended it is altogether a different matter). But still I just don’t understand what the problem with him is. Last match he smacked 4 sixes in 10 balls and then got bowled of a perfectly normal ball. Today 24 of 10 balls and then holing out to mid-off . Now by no mean any disrespect to NZ bowlers, but I feel that for a batsmen a wicket is a holy grail , it should be earned , not to be thrown away , be it any form of cricket Test , ODI , T-20 , Hong Kong super Sixes or whatever . But why the hell in the world he can’t realize that simple thing , especially so when you open the inning and the whole world knows that if Viru stays for 15 overs he guarantees himself a nice chance to get his average up and India a wonderful opportunity to win. Simply speaking there should be a method in madness, he should be made to realize that bhai you are not a normal person , you have an extraordinary talent , you are damm important to Indian Cricket, all the opposition captains in the world know that, why don’t u try to bring a bit of rationality into your batting , and yes trying never kills.
Ohh I am feeling a bit relieved now , (old Gandhian principal of taking out your frustration ) anyway I still feel that India will win the ODI and the Test Series pretty comfortably , they have got too much talent and skill to lose out on that .

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lt Col Kapil Dev

There are very few cricketers who have admirers across all the age group.  Kapil Dev and Sachin I know only. I was born after India had lifted their world cup at Lords in 1983,  sadly I was not born at the auspicious time when Kapil Dev lifted the cup, I am not that lucky as Zoya (Zoya Factor) . I have hazy memories of Kapil playing, he was more of a hard hitting batsman and loved the back side of the wicket in scoring runs.  He has brought laurels to the country and still some morons in BCCI who I think will not be even aware of all the rules of cricket have stopped his pension and tried to malign his image in the world.

Kapil is one cricketer who goes on his own path and sticks to it. He doesn't follow the easy path which other retired cricketers have followed. He choose ICL and he has got decent success in just two years taking into point the opposition ICL has received.  BCCI stopped pensions of Kapil Dev and other cricketers who joined the ICL which is very shameful as they have given much more then what they received back. These cricketers (organisers) who have joined ICL are not from the rich states of India like Mumbai , Delhi etc, most are from small cities who have struggled and faced hardships.  India is a big country if England have 2-3 football leagues with huge fan following why can't one billions plus india have 2 cricket leagues. 

Other cricketers should be thankful to ICL as its because of Kapil Dev and company they are getting higher salaries now , ranji and national level both. Pioneers always have to struggle but they make the path for coming generations easy. This is what Kapil Dev and Zee has done for other cricketers.

Kapil has taken another bold step in October last year when he joined territorial army. There couldn't be any better person to join the army, he has inspired and motivated others always through his work. Last week he was involved in the training camp of the army.
When you see 50 year old training, trying to do something for the country you really feel motivated. 

During training he said :
I am feeling a complete Indian now. It is emotional to wear this uniform. I like to serve my country and that`s the focus point.

In 1983 after lifting the cricket world cup Kapil inspired millions towards cricket and now at the age of 50 he is inspiring millions to join army which is already facing shortage. I feel he should do one more thankless job by joining the politics. Such credentials of a political leader would be envy of all. He is  a true leader and India needs leaders like Kapil.

Paaji tussi great ho :)

 I have ordered his autobiography: Straight from the Heart.  Will read it and write about it.

Friday, February 20, 2009

New ODI Team Jersey

Should have posted it earlier but its never late. I liked the new one

Cricketers: Let's Play Politics

Yesterday we saw one more crickter entering the political fray. Ex-Captain Mhd. Azharuddin joined the Congress Party and he is expected to contest the upcoming elections from one of the three constituencies of Hyderabad.  He is one of the biggest names to join the politics. Last being Mr Pataudi some 30 years ago. 

He will be projected as the minority face of the congress in the upcoming elections. In an interveiw to a news channel on being asked about match fixing allegations he said " I know the issues will be raised by politicians but his job is the work hard and ignore certain things which no more matter now "

He is life banned for playing cricket by BCCI. The case is challenged by Azhar but its dragging on in the court. 

He is not the first cricketer to join politics. Here are the few and their performance in the politics.

Navjot Siddhu is one of the most versatile cricketers in the hostory. He has played cricket, done commentary, acted as judge is a laughter show, acter in films and is in politics also. You will not find any other cricketer who has washed his hands in so many things.

Sidhu was elected as MP from Amritsar constituency but resigned later due to his conviction in a murder case of 1998. Sidhu appealed in Supreme Court which stayed the judgement and allowed him to contest in the election. He won again in 2007. He is projected as a long term player in Punjab politics and is groomed by Arun Jaitely

Sidhu is very active in politics and recently he was involved in stopping a train in Punjab to protest against the non inclusiont of Amritsar in the Mumbai-Ludhiana rail corridor. Recently he was given poor rating by Punjab Government and he has protested against it.

Chetan Sharma has recently decided to join the politics, but he is the first one not to choose either of the mainstream parties BJP and Congress. He has joined Mayawati's party BSP and will be contesting the elections from Faridabad in Haryana. Can he match the aura of 

Kirti Azad is the other cricketer who has met with success in politics. 83 world cup team member became MLA from Gole Market in Delhi and later on won the Lok Sabha seat from 

Tiger Pataudi one of the youngest captain of Indian cricket team at the age of 21 also tasted politics in 1971 when as a candidate of Vishal Haryan Party contested from Gurgaon protesting about the abolition of Privy Purse in India. He is known for his fighting spirit and zeal, despite loosing his right eye vision in a car accident with his zeal and love for cricket he overcame his handicap and led India. 

Saurav Ganguly is on the radar of many political parties to join the politics. But he is keeping his cards closed and has said that he will contest from Bangal only if he ever join politics.  

IPL : KKR-Sprite Deal

Dumping Shahrukh Khan as the brand ambassador of Pepsi has proved very costly for the pepsico company. Kolkata Knight Riders has announced Coca Cola Sprite as the official drink of the team.

With this deal Coca Cola is getting the services of Saurav Ganguly dumped by Pepsi in 2008 and Shahrukh Khan, Ricky Ponting and many other players including Ishant Sharma who is brand ambassador of Pepsi.

Sprite is getting branding rights on players apparels and helmets. It will also get in-stadia presence.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

El Diego - Diego Maradona

I have read it twice before and reading it for the 3rd time. Every time I enjoy reading the straight from the heart autobiography of the footballer of the century Diego Maradona. If Pele was FIFA player of the century Maradona was people's choice.

Story of struggle , hard work , dedication , belief in oneself, motivation. Diego's life is full of it and it inspires me a lot.
There are not many players who have lifted world cup on their own, Zizu came close in the last world cup but Maradona did it in 1986.

Book covers every detail of Maradona's life. How young Pelu was born in a poor family and since his childhood he enjoyed playing futball day and night. He was the start player since his childhood and this was proven when in just 2 years he jumped from divison 9 of Argentina to a national player at the age of 16 and Argentinos Juniors star player. He was also famous for showing his football skills at the half time when he was not a divison one player for Argentinos Junior.

Five years at Argentinos and how he managed to ditch River Plate who were gunning for him and join where his heart wanted to go i.e Boca Juniors. He went there even he was getting very less and Boca were not financially rich also. Pelu followed his heart always.

Pelu was not selected for 1978 FIFA world cup and he took his revenge by winning the youth world cup for Argentina.
Journey to Barcelona where he had a bad time due to fights with the president and also because he caught Hepatitis B. Finally he got transferred to Napoli Italy which was not one of the top club at that time.
Maradona gave the Nepolities the hope and worker class who were treated not at par with other italians the faith and belief in themselves. Napoli went on to win the Italian league twice , UEFA cup and many more events.

I came to know how he fought with Fifa Boss ' João Havelange ' at that time for the player rights and their sufferings when they had to play matches @12 noon during the Mexico world cup just because Europeans can watch the match during their day time. He also raised his voice against referring decisions.

1986 world cup legendary show by Maradona, Match against England , Hand of God and Goal of the century winning the final emotions . I loved this chapter in the book it was the best one.

1990 world cup , Argentina not the favorites, underdogs ,out of form loosing to Morocco in the first match. Beating Brazil and qualify to the next round , slowly moving to next rounds little bit through luck and more through team gelling at the right time. Italians hooting against the team and Maradona giving them some sermons at press conference. Napoli was like home to Argentina, kicking the italians out in the world cup ... you have to read it to enjoy it fully

Closing with a quote from the French great, Michel Platini, comparing Diego and Zizou

"Zidane does some extraordinary things, it’s true. But you have to put everything in context. What Zidane does with a ball, Maradona could do with an orange".

Read the book to know more about the Legend

The Zoya Factor

So finally I have finished reading the hilarious, full of pun , awesome book the Zoya Factor today. Its is Anuja Chauhan's first novel and she has really produced a feel good book. The book hovers around religion of India i.e Cricket.

I feel every cricket lover will enjoy this book. First the story in brief

Zoya Solanki is an employee in an advertising agency and is very much happy in her job since she joined 2 years ago. She is excided about her coming assignment with none other then Shahrukh Khan for Zing commercial. She is there in bombay for the commercial but has to leave in between and go to Dhaka and shoot the pictures of Indian cricket team players who are there for Mini World Cup.
Zoya loves cricket so much as 99% of Indians love ice hockey. She is no where attracted to the game. Due to Nikhil Khoda the captain of the team she is not able to finish her shoot on time and this leads to her staying in Dhaka for few more days.
But please remember she finds Nikhil Khoda ' yeh to bada toinnngg types'. In the course of stay the young players of team finds out that they can't win the match without having breakfast with her.
Zoya is born at the auspicious moment in 1983 when Kapil Dev lifted the world cup. This makes her very lucky for the cricket. She comes back before the finals in Dhaka and India loose of minnows Bermuda and this strengthens the belief of some players.

On coming back she watches 'Pap Ka Ant' with her Eppa and get to know about her luck from her bro Zoravar and Dad. She is in news all over Indian news channels about her luck factor.
Zoya flies with the Indian cricket team with a pre conditon that she will have break fast with the team on morning of every match. Fully paid trip to Australia with her chachi , friend mon and her naugty kid Arman. Arman is smallest sex maniac kid I have ever found. (read more about him in the novel).

In Australia she falls in for Nikhil , as India progresses in the world cup her stature in India goes up as zoya mata. People start worshipping her in India. She is being offered parliament ticket from Ayodhaya for the upcoming elections. Agarbati ad offers come in , Coke guys are chasing her. Her hug before the match can lead to a century or if she says some bad words it can lead to batsman getting out on duck.
Khoda doesn't belief in her luck and Zoya keeps clashing with him about he just using her. She goes through lots of emotional, moral ups and downs and finally the day of final comes ...................................... read the book for more :)

The book is truly an Indian book full of funny and some times double meaning one liners like Khoda Inviting Zoya to his hotel suite to watch Cartoon Network. Karol Bagh types , makaan number 13 , Border firing on the India Pakistan clash day in world cup. All these are so beautifully crafted in the story, everything comes in naturally. Reading about the cricket matches really takes you live at the stadium and you are hooked till the last ball is bowled. Slangs like KLPEd and Armans reciting poems are other hilarious parts in the book. Thoroughly enjoyable book .

Zoya Mata ki Jai