Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mumbai teen's favourite cricketer is not Tendulkar

Investigators in Mumbai are believed to have chanced upon a young man whose favourite cricketer of all time is not Sachin Tendulkar.

The 13-year-old, whose name has not been released, to protect him and his family, is alleged to have said that while he quite liked Tendulkar, his all-time favourite player was probably Vivian Richards. "It keeps changing," he said.

While it is too early to speculate on the reasons for the boy's aberrant behavior, theories have been put forth that his parents are partly to blame, beginning with their failure to name their son Sachin, though he was born in 1998, the year Tendulkar was at the peak of his powers.

"We did not realise what a monumental blunder we were making," the boy's mother said recently. She added that she should have known something was wrong years ago, when her son, six at the time, didn't produce an entry saying "Go east, go west, Sachin is d best", like all his classmates, in a school banner-making competition.

The drastic breach of convention was brought to the notice of the apex government agency in charge of investigating instances of anti-national behaviour by an alert schoolteacher, who noticed there was not a single mention of Tendulkar in an essay titled "My idea of God", submitted by the boy a few months ago.

"He is otherwise a good student, but he must be punished," the teacher told this website.

A security guard at the residential complex the teenager lives in with his parents told television channels he saw it coming in 2007, when he noticed the boy, then 10, did not tug at his crotch before settling into his stance during games of backyard cricket in the compound. "That made me suspicious," the guard said.

"I also noticed that same year this fellow was very happy - from June to December especially," he added, pointing out that Tendulkar was out six times in the 90s in ODIs in that period. The offender was alleged to have watched the Naked Gun movies repeatedly in those months, in flagrant disregard for the national mood of mourning.

"And that time when Sachin saab had that elbow problem, this boy played a lot of tennis. It was like he was mocking him," the guard added.

In addition to their poor judgement in the matter of naming their son, the parents are also believed to be to blame in other ways. They did not take the boy to Shivaji Park frequently enough to derive inspiration by kissing the pitch favoured by Tendulkar in his pre-teen years. This though the family lives in Virar, only 50-odd kilometres away from Shivaji Park.

"We used to leave at 5.30am every Saturday with our son," one of the family's neighbours said, "but they never came, even though I invited them once or twice.

"They have brought shame on the entire colony," he added.

It is reported the parents also neglected to purchase a Mumbai Indians replica t-shirt with Tendulkar's name on the back for their son till earlier this year, though the IPL has been around since 2008 and replica t-shirts have been available since then.

The investigators have been making rapid strides in building a watertight case for the prosecution. One of the officers, who did not wish to be named, said, "I asked him a simple question - how many nights had Sachin not slept before the match with Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup - and he did not know the answer."

"I ask pardon from the nation on behalf of my son," the boy's father said in a statement, while eating a vada pav in an attempt to display that he was a true Mumbaikar.

The quotes and "facts" in this piece are all made up, but you already knew that, didn't you?

Pakistan's answer to the IPL

Even phrases aren't safe with the Pakistan Cricket Board. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" has been inverted, as the Pakistanis now plan to host their own version of the IPL.

A number of names are being considered. The frontrunner appears to be the Non-Indian Premier League, or NIPL, which is followed by the catchy tagline "Suck on That".

Location is proving more of a twister. The Pakistanis can't play at home because it's too dangerous. Thus the no-man's-land-but-cash-rules city of Dubai is the likely site for the tournament. However, according to some dude on Facebook called Zulqarnain Haider, even Dubai is too dangerous. But my mom told me not to believe everything on Facebook.

So Dubai it is. This is rather like someone in South Central LA hosting a party at a posh joint downtown, which says everything about the guests and their lack of adventure. Do people not realise that slumming in hot spots is the new eco-tourism? Who needs the has-been dull-dolls Shilpa Shetty and Preity Zinta when you have, as a regular visitor to Pakistan, Ms Angelina Jolie?

Shane Warne, at least, would definitely come.

Indeed, after further consideration of the potential delights, many more players, fans and shameless advertisers would follow.

In Peshawar we'd have strapping northern Pakistani men in lieu of the usual plastic cheerleaders, thus quadrupling the female television audience.

In Quetta we'd have commentators' product placement run riot: "...And that's a Babar Khan AK47 Superstore Yorker from Shoaib Akhtar". "...And that's an Omar's Mail Order Rocket Launchers Maximum from Adam Gilchrist." "And that's a Shireen's Specialist Moustache Removal Beauty Parlour Maiden from Daniel Vettori."

In Karachi, Chris Gayle would tweet live on the city's infamous target killings, eventually winning a Pulitzer Prize for journalism and declaring: "This is the big one. Forget World Cups and the Frank Worrell Trophy and even the Stanford millions. The West Indies Cricket Board will never understand me - this is the one I really wanted."

In Lahore, Andrew Symonds would hail the kebabs as the best in the world, tempting David Boon and Arjuna Ranatunga to join the swelling ranks of retired cricketers playing Twenty20. Inzamam-ul-Haq, however, would likely remain unmoved.

In Islamabad nothing would happen, and every Indian player would sigh with relief at a moment, however brief, of respite from cricket and its ensuing tamashas. "There is nothing to do," says the bored Isloo resident. "Yes," says MS Dhoni. "Exactly. What bliss!"

Also, following the example of the IPL, the NIPL would punish innocent players for the actions or non-actions of their government and therefore piss on sport's wonderful capacity to unite individuals beyond politics. Thus there would not be a single English player in sight. Two hundred years of subjugation and exploitation come with a price. Graeme Swann, you imperialist scum!

More than anything, Pakistanis would get to see some live cricket.

The stadiums of Karachi, Lahore, Multan, Faisalabad and Rawalpindi are silent and starving. The bowl-shaped arenas are begging. What they need is the modern incarnation of the man who fed the five thousand. The man who walked on water. The man who can unite the warring tribes of Adidas and Nike and just do the impossible.

What's Lalit Modi up to these days?

Imran Yusuf is a writer who takes guard on middle and off. The quotes and "facts" in this piece are all made up, but you already knew that, didn't you?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Why Kamran stays by Imran Yusuf

The top 10 possible reasons why Pakistan's keeper has retained his position despite four and a half years of drops, missed stumpings, allegations of corruption, and remarks about his physical appearance

1. It's the biggest hustle in history

Kamran has set you up. Come squeaky-bum time, i.e. the quarters and beyond, batsmen will poke outside off and dance down the wicket without a care in the world, secure that the Pakistan keeper will fluff everything that comes his way. But the real Kamran will suddenly emerge, taking impossible stumpings and diving catches like a brown Ian Healy on PCP. Of course, pigs might fly too, and Bal Thackeray might garland the Pakistan team on the streets of Mumbai, and Ravi Shastri might complete a sentence without a cliché.

2. Sheer national arrogance
Having already won a World Cup, Pakistan want a challenge. They want to make a statement that will last for eternity. They want to leapfrog the Spartans in the pantheon of mythic warrior-victors. What better way to do this than by winning with the worst wicketkeeper in the history of all cricket in all places, including back gardens, grungy alleyways and long office corridors.

3. Chopsticks
There must be something Kamran has done to have convinced five captains and numerous selection committees to give him a go. It might be a circus trick in training, behind closed doors, an act of genius that hypnotises otherwise sensible men, such as Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohsin Khan. Or maybe he once had a long Chinese lunch with Ijaz Butt and did a Mr Miagi. That would fool anyone, especially a fool.

4. He scored a series-winning Test century against India from 39 for 6
Get under the skin of India and you're set for life in Pakistan. (Shoaib Malik seems to be an extreme exception to this rule.)

5. Brotherly love
Umar Akmal has become essential to Pakistan's middle order, providing much-needed impetus and energy. He might've said he won't play unless Kamran is in the side, thus picking one of two options available to Pakistani brothers: either love each other a little too much with unstinting loyalty, or squabble over the family inheritance and communicate exclusively in fistfights.

6. He's just going through a bad patch
Anyone who watched Barcelona last night will seriously consider if this is the best team in the history of club football. Yet Barcelona didn't win La Liga between 2000 and 2004. Now recall that four years ago Kamran was all set to be the best keeper-batsman in the world. Cricket world, I present Kamran Akmal: Mes Que Un Keeper.

7. Monopoly
The last three men to keep wicket for Pakistan were all Akmals. Along with blasphemy and copyright, the country might also consider tweaks to its laws about fair competition.

8. A Waqar masterplan
In an attempt to encourage his team to bowl straight, coach Waqar Younis has insisted on persevering with a keeper less likely to take a catch than Geoffrey Boycott's grandmother. Waqar took 56% of his international wickets either bowled or lbw. Perhaps he is being a little too didactic in his "do as I did" ways. I mean, come on Waqar, they're not ten-year-olds. (Having said that, I have not checked Ahmed Shehzad's birth certificate; his shot selection certainly indicates a pre-pubescent mindset.)

9. He's actually a "kali bakri"
Pakistanis are a spiritual people - and superstitious. Kamran is there to condense all the evil energy directed at the team into one person. He's a tough little munchkin and he can take it. Thus the team can excel, free of all bad vibes, while Kamran gets the nation's goat.

10. His replacement ran away to a curry house in England in fear of organised crime
This sentence looks absurd but it is here, friends, that the jokes come to a crashing stop and reality intercedes. We might just have been stumped by the most plausible explanation.

Imran Yusuf is a writer who takes guard on middle and off

Bleeding Blue

I am wounded, I am bruised,

Still I have no injuries,

But I have to undergo multiple surgeries.

Can someone please pass that bottle of glue,

Coz somehow I am Bleeding BLUE.

I had to put my car on mortgage,

I am all covered up with tricolored bandage,

Can someone please pass that bottle of glue,

Coz somehow I am Bleeding Blue.

I had an image of that cup,

But we always were the pups,

The God was asking for something tremendous,

Delivering every time it came to his shoulders.

It all began with Bangla's demolition,

Whom we taught what is our ambition.

Then came England's turn,

Which we couldn't return.

We lost one to the Africans,

And it made us the Hungrier Champions.

There were some amateurs after that,

Who said,"We will bowl, you bat."

Then came the match with an adrenaline pump,

And again, we made them run away taking Kangarooish Jumps.

And finally the pre-final came,

And I knew, whatever happens,

This game will bring all the fame.

And we made them hide in their bunkers,

Still having dreams of the balls hit for sixers.

Then came the day we were waiting for,

We had what we call our dream, His dream,

He was asking for nothing more,

And finally they made everyone scream.

I could sense that child in His smile,

I could see that tear in His glittering eyes,

I could feel the shiver in His body.

I could hear that loud cheer in His trembling voice's melody.

I cried, cried and cried,

Don't worry, I had, on my face, a huge smile.

We are ready to take anything on,

Whether it be a dry pitch,

Or there is presence of some dew.

Can someone now please pass that Bottle of Glue,

Coz I haven't stopped BLEEDING BLUE...:)

Dedicated to The God and all the Indians..

( Nipun is a die-hard fan of Coke and follow its advice whole heartedly: Eat Cricket, Sleep cricket - Drink only Coca Cola)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Word of the Day

Shahid Afridi Years (noun; abv. - SAY; etymo - Cricinfo)

It is a system of measurement of unit (like the SI and CGS system) used to quantify age. It can range from 1.14 times 3.142 times the actual age depending on mood, climate, opposition, current chairman of PCB as well as current exchange rate.

Of late the term has entered colloquial usage.

Example :
At a social event:
Host - "Welcome Mrs. Anderson... You look really fabulous. Nobody can tell that you are a mother two"
Wannabe Socialite Aunty - "Ohh.. come one Mr. Clark .. I am just 29"
Disgruntled Trophy Husband - (thinking to himself) "Yeah Right ! Only in Shahid Afridi Years"

Did sun rise in the west ?

The sun did rise from the West. Why on earth would Ashish Nehra even come out to bat at 9 !!

Today was a day when Dharmasena gave 3 horrendous decisions. My mind went back to 2008 when he had given out Sachin LBW thrice (all of which turned out to be wrong !) . Why is he still on the ICC Panel ? More importantly why did he even consider becoming an umpire ?
A look at Dharmasena's record against India gives us the answer to the second ques... He tried all that he could to dismiss Indian batsmen but to no avail. He tried more and still failed. And then one day he tried 'Mentos'. His 'dimaag ki batti jal gayi'. There's a simpler way to get Indian batsmen out. Lets become an umpire !

And what is Ravindra Jadeja still doing in the team ?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Of Cricket and Natural Disasters !

Friends... This is going to be a short post.

A few weeks ago, I came across an article (I can't recollect the source!) on the state of politics in India. It was more in tune with that of a political satire and had little to do with cricket. But a line in the opening paragraph just stayed with me, which I would like to share ....

"...... India is on the cusp of ........ God has been very unfair on India. It has blessed India with poverty, inequality, illiteracy, corruption, natural disasters and Sreesanth........."

courtesy - Apologies for not being able to recollect the source

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pak Recruitment drive

Waqar unveiled the poster.

"Top-order batsmen, we want YOU for the Pakistan cricket team," it read.

"Any takers so far?" asked Salman Butt. "Please say there are."

"We had one bloke in for a look," said Waqar. "He's a student, lives in Birmingham. Opens the batting for Perry Bar Thirds in their Tuesday League. He'd definitely be an improvement on what we've got."

"Nice," said Salman. "Ask him if he's free for the next two Tests?"

"Nothing doing," said Waqar. "He's going on holiday to Butlin's in Minehead with his mum and dad."

"Mum and dad? How old is he?"

"He's 12," said Waqar.

"Shahid Afridi years or real years?" asked Salman.

"Real, unfortunately," said Waqar. "His mum and dad won't let him go all the way down to London on his own."

"Shame," said Salman. "What else?"

"Well, we had this girl in, about seven she was. She wasn't bad. Decent defence, plenty of ticker. Rounders is more her game, really. But it's a no-no: some of the lads seen her catching the tennis ball in practice and got a bit intimidated."

"Too right," said Salman. "We can't have the boys being shown up in fielding practice by a seven-year-old girl."

"Yeah, not again," said Waqar. "And get this: she wasn't even scared of the ball."

"Blimey," said Salman. "Impressive stuff. Can she teach the boys? Get her in as fielding coach?"

Waqar nodded and gestured for a pen to make a note. Salman threw one over at him, but it bounced off the edge of the table, rebounded and hit Umar Amin. Umar began to cry.

Salman sighed.

"Anyone else?" he asked

"Well, we've had two more applications. But they sound like a couple of chancers to me: Test averages of 50, played 150 Tests between them."

"Too risky," said Salman.

"Mo something and somebody Kahn," said Waqar.

"Nah," said Salman. "Shot in the dark, innit. Better to get a youngster in."

"Yeah," said the coach. "Actually, the board have sent one lad over."

"Oh yeah?" said Salman. "Any good?"

"Well, he's never played cricket before as such," said Waqar.

"So much the better," said Salman. "He won't have had a chance to be affiliated with any faction."

"That's my thinking."

"We don't want another bloody row on our hands," said Salman. "Umar Akmal's already threatening to go on strike."

"Oh yeah?" said Waqar. "What now?"

"Says that new keeper dropping all the catches is taking a job that could be filled by a union-recognised Akmal," said Salman. "Says we're doing his brother out of a day's work. Reckons it's a striking matter."

"One out, all out?" said Waqar.

"Yeah," said Salman. "Same old story."

Note: Alan Tyers is a freelance journalist based in London. All the quotes and "facts" in this article are made up (but you knew that already, didn't you?)

Cricket this week - 1

Saturday, August 7th
I understand that Pakistan’s representatives at the ICC are seeking to amend the outdated rules on catching. Specifically, they will ask for the whole of Law 32 to be struck from the Laws of Cricket on health and safety grounds. A spokesperson for the PCB claimed that players risked a nasty bruise if they attempted to catch the ball, and abuse from television pundits if they dropped it, and that this constituted a violation of their right not to be laughed at in the workplace.

Sunday, August 8th
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better for English cricket, it has been revealed that John Buchanan is to help the England players with their Ashes preparations. And big JB is already throwing up some fascinating ideas. For instance, the England management are said to be very keen on his five-captains-per-series proposal and are seriously considering the theories outlined in his bestselling pamphlet, “Setting Your Field the Feng Shui Way”. This innovative approach does away with the traditional method of placing fielders in areas where you expect the ball to go and instead focuses on arranging them at auspicious points on the field, to maximise the flow of cricket energy. Andrew Strauss has already implemented some of these suggestions, refusing to have more than two slips for long periods of the second Test on the grounds that negative energy usually escapes in the direction of third slip. As, from time to time, does the ball.

Monday, August 9th
The fallout from Edgbaston continues. It has emerged that during the tea interval yesterday, England’s prettiest fast bowler approached the ECB’s head nutritionist to ask whether it might be okay if he had some sweeties. Upon being refused on the grounds that f had some sweeties, he wouldn’t want his tea, Sulky Stuart stuck out his bottom lip, stamped his foot and stormed out of the dressing room, insisting that it wasn’t fair, and furthermore that he hated everyone. Broad was later fined half his pocket money and grounded for the rest of the week; punishment that his captain Andrew Strauss feels was over the top. “As everyone knows, it’s the summer holidays and forcing a young lad like Stuey to stay indoors when all his mates are hanging around outside the chip shop is harsh. Adolescent petulance has always been part of his game and if we made him behave like a grown-up, he wouldn’t be able to bowl as fast.”

Tuesday, August 10th
The latest from the Pakistan camp is that coach Waqar is contemplating some radical changes ahead of the third Test. The word is that the top six in the batting order will be dropped and replaced by Mohammad Yousuf. It is believed that top-secret analysis of Pakistan’s performances so far has demonstrated that dropping all these specialist batsmen is likely to have very little effect on the outcome of future games in terms of runs scored or catches taken, whilst it will offer significant savings in hotel and laundry bills and free up much needed bickering space in the dressing room.

Note: Its a part of Andrew Hughes' fan diary