Thursday, March 31, 2011

Come to think of it...

The similarities between the 1983 Cricket World Cup winning Indian team and the 2011 hopefuls are remarkably striking:

Gavaskar ~ Tendulkar

Srikkanth ~ Sehwag

Kapil ~ Dhoni [captaincy]

Yashpal, Patil and Azad ~ Kohli, Raina and Yusuf

Amarnath ~ Yuvraj [in the context of their excellent form at the respective World Cups]

Madan Lal, Sandhu, Binny ~ Zaheer, Munaf and Nehra.

As all focus shifts to Mumbai for this year's World Cup final, however, my mind goes back thirteen days to a game played at that very venue between Sri Lanka and New Zealand where the surface just broke up and became a mess in the last 25 overs. It'd be a shame if a World Cup final was ruined by the toss, so maybe Mr. Dhoni should do exactly what his 'jural correlative' did twenty-eight years ago: lose the toss and get put in to bat.

The broader, more critical question of whether 50-over cricket will survive for us to see such a World Cup say eight or twelve years down the line still needs to wait, though. I also have a feeling that the organizers of the IPL will be cursing India's run to this final because it might just result in their painstakingly crafted eight-week extravaganza being the victim of some serious cricketing overkill and fatigue amongst fans. Personally, I hope not - I've grown to love T20 cricket a lot more than 50-over cricket. However, if the IPL final generates a buzz properly comparable to the kind sure to be witnessed in India over the next two days, I promise to be absolutely astonished by our nation's appetite for cricket. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

You know you're in trouble when...

Jerry: She wants to talk.
George: She doesn't want to talk, she needs to talk.
Jerry: Nobody needs to talk.
George: Who would want to? She tried to end it with me, Jerry.
Jerry: What did you do?
George: I told her I was out of soda, I went out to get some and I never went back.
Jerry: All night?!
George: Yeah, I slept at my parents' house.
Jerry: And she wants to break up with you...

(Seinfeld, 8:15, 'The Susie')

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Not even Man of the Match? Really?

Close to 40,000 people inside the cricket stadium in Ahmedabad booed Ricky Ponting when he came up to talk to Ravi Shastri at the post-match presentation. I will never, ever be able to forget that. Nineteen months ago to the day, I'd said that I'd remember forever the ovation Ponting received from English cricket fans when he came out to bat for the last time for Australia in a Test match in England.

However, with every minute that has passed since the former happened, it is slowly dawning on me that remembering something forever and never, ever being able to forget something are two entirely different things.


Monday, March 21, 2011


I take back every complaint I've made over the last six months about 'that stupid moot' taking away from time meant to be spent talking to me. You've most certainly prioritized the right thing and I am immensely, immensely happy that you did - not just for yourself, but for your teammates and for law school in general. Congratulations!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Ponting Pull Shot

v. Canada, c: Davison b: Osinde 7(15)
v. Kenya, lbw b: C Obuya 36(54)
v. New Zealand, st: McCullum b: Southee 12(28)
v. Zimbabwe, run out (Mpofu) 28(36)
v. South Africa, c: Amla b: Peterson 55(84)
v. India, st: Dhoni b: Harbhajan 57(85)
v. Sri Lanka, c: Silva b: Perera 10(16)
v. England, c: Kieswetter b: Broad 15(27)
v. England, c: Strauss b: Anderson 92(93)
v. England, st: Kieswetter b: Swann 3(16)
v. England, c: Kieswetter b: Broad 13(21)
v. England, c: Broad b: Wright 21(23)
v. Ireland, c: White b: Stirling 33(54)

Innings: 13, Runs: 382, Average: 29.38, Strike Rate: 69.20, 100s/50s: 0/3.

The weak pull shot that ballooned to short square leg in the dying moments of Australia's successful and largely unsurprising run-chase against Canada this evening was John Davison's last notable statistical contribution to international cricket. It also convinced me that we've probably seen Ricky Ponting's last great innings for Australia. And it wasn't this one.

His ODI batting figures over the last 12 months look more suited to a place in the Canadian upper-middle order than the Australian one and the modes of dismissal, worryingly, show no discernable trends whatsoever - the classic sign of a batsman whose skill, timing, reflexes, appetite, patience and confidence are in chronic and irreversible decline.

I still feel it's not so much bowlers getting him out than him getting himself out. Today, he looked rushed, his feet didn't stay planted and then swivel back, his head was at an angle, his wrists were stiff, his bat speed was negligible. It's really ironic that the pull let him down today. I thought back to the countless times very, very fast bowlers had shoulder high deliveries plucked from off-stump and deposited at the square leg boundary in the space of a couple of seconds. A couple of seconds which saw that swift, co-ordinated, dominant, masterful, sexy movement being completed so fluently that any words other than "The Ponting Pull Shot" would  hardly do it justice.

I know he's not done yet, but there was something in the half an hour that he spent at the wicket today that told me that this is probably it. I will watch his last innings, of course. I already fear, however, that I won't remember it.

But what I will remember forever - even more than Mark Waugh's square drive, Azhar's flick through mid-wicket, Andy Flower's reverse sweep, Jayasuriya's slash over point, Cronje's slog-sweep, anything by Lara at his peak and (feel free to call this sacrilege) Sachin's on-drive (which, for me, only goes for four because mid-on isn't straighter) - will be Ponting's pull shot.

And I will imagine a tall opposition fast bowler bowl short ball after short ball over Ponting's head until he strays three inches in line with his next delivery. And I will imagine the image of that perfect motion, the crack of the leather and how the camera shot immediately following the swivel will be of the ball stationary on the boundary rope. And I will imagine Bill Lawry's excitable voice describe the shot that defined our generation with two simple words: "Ponting...four!" 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Seventeen and oh...seventeen...and zero!"

Since Wrestlemania season is upon us, IGN has done something that ought to have been done a long time ago - they've ranked The Undertaker's 18 matches at Wrestlemania. As with most such lists, this one is highly controversial and I have my own bones to pick with it, but I shall do that at a forum where I am more likely to be adequately compensated for doing it.

I am thankful for the IGN compilation, however, not only for putting the Wrestlemania XXV match with Shawn Michaels at the top of that list (as most people would do) but also for drawing my attention to a magnificent video on that match, set to Snow Patrol's "Somewhere a Clock is Ticking". If you think that that's a bit of an odd fit, I urge you to watch

And while I am normally loath to ending with a quotation, occasions like this force my hand on these matters:

"...Yes, the WWE has amazing people who put together those clip reels, but because this match was so unbelievably good, it made everyone just want to relive it over and over. And that's why we love this shit. Because of how it makes us feel. And how the story gets told. And how athleticism turns into art. Because of all the intangibles that make it hard for us to ever fully be able to explain to other people why we love wrestling."

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

One game at a time

Three points off second after the excellent 2-1 win at Deepdale tonight.

Ten games left. Five home, five away.

Six of those ten are against teams which are (in order of fixtures) currently 16th, 23rd, 12th, 19th, 11th and 21st.

The other four games are Nottingham Forest (6th) at home on April 2, Reading (8th) at home on April 22, Burnley (7th) at home on April 30 and QPR (top) at Loftus Road on the last day of the regular season will probably define Leeds United's 2010-11 season.

Twelve points from those four games should be more than enough for automatic promotion. That will not happen, in all likelihood. Therefore, another ten weeks of anxiously checking Swansea, Cardiff and Norwich results will probably ensue.

Now that that's out of my system, writing this down is a way of reminding myself to consciously try to follow this one game at a time and not constantly think too far ahead. But the run-in confirms that automatic promotion is not impossible.

Also, I'm going back to India on Saturday. The last time I did that, it was followed by three wins on the bounce. After two wins in four days, another three in a row would be extremely welcome. I am aware I'm digressing, but when it's close enough to touch, it's very, very difficult not to.    

Sunday, March 06, 2011

What is typical?

I've just been informed that a typical Eashan Ghosh blog post goes something like this:

The 24th of February, 2007. It has now been more than four years since that day.

A day of redemption, a day of joy, a day on which anything seemed possible. And for him, it was
She had never asked him to compromise his principles. She had never asked him to do anything that went against his instinct.

But for her, he would. He knew that he would do whatever it took to make his dream come true, even though he knew she would never ask him to.

And he did. In those four years, we have come further than anyone expected us to, least of all ourselves.
It's been a great ride, and here's to the ride still to come. Thanks, Quidge! :)

Tags: Personal Crap, Special People."

And so it does.

Friday, March 04, 2011

'I can squeeze in twelve hundred words'

From Neil McCormick's Killing Bono (2004), without doubt the best book I've ever read about music:

"Sarah must've been impressed at any rate. She offered me the job on the spot. But what job? I was on full alert for clues.

'I think you would be ideal material for the Telegraph,' said Sarah. 'You're young...'
(These days it wasn't often I was called young but journalism is very different from the music business and at a newspaper whose most famous correspondent, Bill Deedes, was pushing eighty, I suppose a thirty-four year old could be considered a spring chicken.)

(I could tell she liked the cut of my suit.)

''re a really terrific writer...'
(What can I say? I just felt flattered that somebody had noticed all the good work I had been doing.)

'...and you can bring a wealth of your own experience to the job...'
(What experience was she getting at, exactly?)

'...Because unlike most people in this profession, you've seen it from both sides...'
(I wasn't sure I liked where this was going.)

'...You've actually been there and done it.'
'I certainly have,' I said, hoping she wasn't going to ask me to elaborate on where I had been and what I had done.

'I think you would be an outstanding rock critic for the Daily Telegraph.'
I nodded thoughtfully.My past had caught up with me." 

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"The nagging feeling is that 'Different Gear' isn’t quite different enough."

"Nevertheless, the other Liam contribution, 'Soldier On', highlights Dig Out Your Soul's biggest problem: the mid-tempo plod that has become Oasis's default rhythmic setting. There's something trudging and weary about it, redolent of gritted teeth and furrowed brows, of labour rather than effortless inspiration."
- Alex Petridis, October 3, 2008

"Here's some very slender songwriting, and Gallagher Jr apes the plonking lyrics that made his brother look more dim than he actually is. At its worst... gurning Lennon vocals, lumbering glitterbeat, lyrical exhortations to 'hold on' – you simply gawp, thinking: never mind anyone else, aren't you bored of this kind of thing now?"
- Alex Petridis, February 24, 2011

Not much has changed in two-and-a-bit years, then.

P.S. Honourable mention also to The Observer's Kitty Empire:

"When main-man Noel Gallagher left the band after one row too many with his younger brother in August 2009, the rump Oasis – Liam Gallagher, Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock – didn't exactly ditch the band's modus operandi. Oasis-bar-one have a new name that, as Liam has noted, now locates them closer alphabetically to the Beatles than Oasis did." 


I'm not sure if there's a point to this story but I'm going to tell it again.

My photo
I've been wilfully caught up in the self-defeating quest to get to know myself for years. I've never expected anything beneficial to result from such a quest. I tend to evoke extremely polarised reactions from people I get to know in passing. Consequently, only those people who know me inside-out would honestly claim that I'm a person who's just "alright." It's not a coincidence that the description I've laid out above has no fewer than, title included, eleven references to me (make that twelve). I'm affectionately referred to as "Ego." I think that last statement might have given away a tad too much. Welcome Aboard.

IHTRTRS ke pichle episode mein aapne dekha...


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