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)