Posts Tagged ‘BCCI’

Goutham Chakravarthi

In an attempt to make India a fitter unit, BCCI has roped in the services of Usain Bolt as India’s running coach with immediate effect. Indians are expected to train with the world 100 meter record holder for a week in their quest to give them an added edge before they head to Australia for a 4-Test series. Talking of the appointment, K Srikkanth said, “Taking a leaf from Gavaskar’s famous commentary usage of converting ones into twos and twos to threes, Bolt will help team India convert each single into a three at least – and in some cases to a five or even a seven – and thereby helping our batsmen increase their scores three-fold!.”

Talking of his appointment, Bolt, who joined the team at Vishakapatnam, said, “The last day of the third Test at Wankhede had the whole island interested and I had a couple of friends wake me up at the dead of the night to catch the game when my phone rang. N Srinivasan was on the line and I told him the super slow motion pictures were outstanding and I congratulated the BCCI on the quality of their TV production when Srinivasan told me that it wasn’t super slow motion pictures I was seeing, but Ashwin running in full throttle!”

India train to sprint their way to success in Australia under the supervision of Usain Bolt

He added, “I couldn’t believe someone could actually sprint so slowly. When asked if I would help them fix the problem, I was skeptical. But when they dangled a 2 million dollar contract for a week’s training, I couldn’t resist. I asked Fletcher to send me tapes of their running training, and now I am here in India for a week to help them train.”

Of all Indians, Laxman and Ashwin seemed the most excited after their first training stint with Bolt this morning. Laxman said “I sprint the 100m in just a little under 44 seconds just behind Ashwin who does it in 41.43 seconds. Bolt has given us specific training routine that should ensure both Ashwin and I break the 40 second barrier by the end of the week. Finally, there is hope for us to look for the quick second run.”

Ashwin added, “He seemed to be able to point to the mistakes in my technique straight away. He could pin point to my technique that I seem to have followed from my childhood subconsciously – that of Rajnikanth running in slow motion in his high adrenaline fighting sequences. I am unlearning the technique and move towards the modern running method of complicated leg strengthening exercises that will give us enough power to our legs. Also the key is to ensure that the feet not being in contact with the ground for more than 0.2 seconds while in full sprint. Laxman and I, the smarties that we are, have already come-up with a formula that’ll help us get there. Expect us to run like the wind in Australia.”

Bolt is also introducing the sprint runners’ set block positioning for the non-striker while backing up. You will see the likes of Suresh Raina now crouched on one knee without the bat and both hands just behind the popping crease with his upper body in a 45 degree angle that the sprinters use to generate pace off the starting block. Bolt claims that Raina this way is able to run his twos in one-sixth of time he would take otherwise – in the traditional method. Bolt claims that this technique will ensure that there will not be many dot balls as it ensures players are quick enough to run a single even when the batsman lets go of a delivery to the keeper. He insisted that in places like Perth where the keeper tends to stand far back, Raina, Kohli and Dhoni would be able to run twos to the keeper and promised that we will see byes contributing more to team scores going forward. If the wicket-keeper is slightly slack, batsman might run a bye to him even off spinners!

Duncan Fletcher, the Indian coach said “Bolt’s insight into running and the transformation that is possible with his inputs is quite amazing. Even I have been able to move from one side of the ground to the other in less than 20 minutes now. Munaf Patel, Aashish Nehra now run quicker than they bowl. That was the easy part. We are now trying to translate this to field positions as well. The increased agility of the fielders will ensure that each fielder can now control two positions. Jadeja will now man both point and covers and Kohli mid-off and extra-cover, where as, Raina will cover the whole of the on-side and Dhoni alone now will cover for the keeper and three slips. Our not-so quicker fielders will stand on the boundary and strategize thereby giving us an unprecedented edge over all teams that have played cricket before us. Sehwag now can charge down to spinners and hit it almost off the bowlers’ hands as he is now that quick!”

With the whole of the nation very excited by this development, Bolt was convinced that India would start favourites in Australia this time. He signed off by saying, “India will run away with the cup in Australia. I think they should. If they did, don’t think there is anyone in Australia quick enough to chase them down. Let’s just hope they don’t assign the task to Laxman or Ashwin yet. They will get chased down for they are not quick enough just yet”


Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

October 27, 2011

It is now apparent that the year 2011 will be remembered for symmetrical disasters, focusing two nations that destructed the enemy on their own soils. Both these nations were made to portray a political peacock, powerless to manage their own vanities away from home.

The shift in cricketing super powers, of late, is happening at a rate unseen in cricket before. History will depict clearly that when the British Empire started entering its period of decline, the West was waiting, and ready, to take over the role of attaining global supremacy. It is about getting your best resources ready, as my colleague Goutham Chakravarthi pointed out in his recent article, with the best laid plans to counter your enemy and ascend to the top.

The 5-0 whitewash of England, a score line that would flatter any Indian fan when he goes through the scorecards some day in the future, paints a picture of a team that simply wasn’t ready to build its fortresses in stone as it travels across the world. But the bigger question remains: will the tilt in scales assist India in carving a path to supremacy that they had against their names, in the form of ICC Rankings, until a few months ago?

A lot would depend on how these ‘resources’ are handled. Time and again, the renowned cliché of great sides having great bowling units that can take 20 wickets, has come to haunt the Indians and impose a harsh reality check against this aspect of their supremacy. The long renowned criticism was that centric around the Indian bowlers lacking in pace, a theory whose hypothesis was proven recently by Zaheer Khan’s postulates on the inability of Indian players’ bodies not being designed to bowl fast.

Zaheer had raised a few eyebrows with his Theory on Indian Fast Bowlers

As farcical as this might sound to a few, especially when India’s neighbors to the Northwest churn our products that who are quick, Zaheer’s theory has a fundamental flaw. Historically, Indian fans have witnessed young, exciting talent who enter the arena with commendable speeds only to find that with time, their speeds decay exponentially to embarrassing levels. Likewise, genuine swing bowlers who’ve attempted to bowl fast to exclude themselves from this bracket of embarrassing entities have lost their art, almost mysteriously.

But any Indian fan would welcome the sight of a bowler who can put Zaheer’s theory to rest. After all, if neutrinos have suddenly emerged to question the validity of Einstein’s theories – that were based on the fact that particles that travel faster than light practically cannot exist – some bowlers could opt for the neutrino route to travel back in time and make Zaheer eat his words. After all, physics and cricket do mix – remember why the ball swings?

When Ishant Sharma was at his rampant best, during the tour of Australia back in 2008, I recall Harsha Bhogle making a statement along the lines of, “If anyone advises this kid to reduce his speed so that he sustain for longer periods in international cricket without being a victim of injuries, we’ll have to snap their hands off.”  I couldn’t have agreed with him more, and unfortunately, our worst fears came true.

The inherent drawbacks of having men in cricketing bodies across the country, mainly politicians and businessmen unqualified to run cricket, the sport revives itself in the worst possible way – similar to how the current Congress government has inflicted damage to the nation: the poor and the middle class will pay, in eternity, for the numerous sins of the powerful.  

So, can these resources be ready for war if the number of brick walls to climb internally is aplenty? If there are larger interests ahead that deviate the focus away from the core values of the sport, will it be reasonable for a fan to hope for an extended run at the top of the rankings? Yes, I know India has just whitewashed England at home, but I’d still like to think that England’s own flaws had a greater bearing on the result than India’s brilliance, which, I of course do not doubt.

With a challenging tour to Australia fast approaching, India can take a leaf out of England’s Ashes preparation last winter – a factor whose absence qualified (and quantified) India’s miserable display in England earlier this year. It might make a lot of sense to start afresh and build gradually on success, forgetting the fact that India were world beaters, if I may use the term, until not too long ago.

The platform now seems particularly ripe for a plan that can provide sufficient insurance to the impressive young crop of players who’ve done so well during the absence of the seniors. Aberrant errors, such as the simple case of including/calling A Mithun for a test match in the West Indies and not considering him as a replacement for the injured seamers during the tour of England, and ironically flying in RP Singh based on his 2007 series reputation need to be avoided.

Fortunately, the ideas for the platform have already been laid during the tenure of Gary Kirsten. Kirsten’s success as Indian coach is mainly attributed to his understanding of the Indian culture – one in which sensitivities played a very important role. Kirsten also saw the unprecedented need for psychological counseling for players who survived horrific spells of inconsistency/lack of form in the middle – for, the dynamics of the game had changed to such a great extent that the pool of players to choose from became so large, whereas the time a player got to showcase his potential was a matter of a few games.

Virat Kohli, with his rapidly rising run tally and maturity, with an extended run in Test Cricket can become a fulcrum of the Next Gen Middle Order

The case discussed earlier could’ve also dented the confidence of RP Singh, who’d have probably been more surprised than anyone else on his call-up, given the fact that he hadn’t played a first class game since January. Such cases, with a hint of a double-edged swordness about them, have buried the careers of a number of talented cricketers who have been victims of poor decision making.

What Indian cricket needs to build on requires the skill of a movie director – role play. Harsha Bhogle had spoken on this earlier, and if it wasn’t evident back then, it is evident right now. If this approach isn’t taken downstream, the absence of the cusp would mandate an explanation. This is very unlikely to materialize during the build up to the Australian tour, given the fact that all the senior players would play a role in the starting XI – given that this might be their last series down under.

But if the names don’t change, at least the structure can. Back the quickies and give the younger batsmen an extended run. Most crucially, eliminate the bottlenecks. Now that is where the trouble begins.

It is learnt from close sources of the Indian management who are in constant touch with W. G. Grace through the social analytics product Say Grace that the doctor is against technology in cricket and his liking for Indian food. Here’s the transcript of the conversation between the doctor and BCCI’s Rajiv Shukla.

Rajiv Shukla claimed that W.G. Grace confessed to liking vada pav and idly with gatti chutney

Rajiv Shukla: Good morning, doctor. I have a favour to ask of you.

W. G. Grace: No fat boy. You can’t have my bread and jam. There’s hardly any bread and jam available in this cyber cocoon. Why don’t you send me some in an e-mail attachment?

Rajiv Shukla: No, doctor. Am not in need of your food. I need your advice on technology.

W. G. Grace: Technology? I hear London has cabs with horses pulling carts to King’s Cross in quick time. So what?

Rajiv Shukla: I meant DRS, Hawk Eye, Hot Spot and D/L methods.

W. G. Grace: What the hell are these? If anything, I have a soft spot for my patient Rosie.

Rajiv Shukla: Ye kya bakwaas software hai yaar? Someone fix this quickly please.

The conversation resumes after a successful upgrade to Say Grace.

Rajiv Shukla: Doctor, your take on technology please?

W. G. Grace: Yeh sab bakwaas hai. Go back to umpires.

Rajiv Shukla: Doctor…. aap aur Hindi? Kaise?

W. G. Grace: Bollywood mere dost.

Rajiv Shukla: Can I quote you on the technology, doctor? I see that your MCC friends might take it badly.

W. G. Grace: Also tell them that I now like vada pav.

Rajiv Shukla: Isn’t sliced bread the greatest invention of mankind?

W. G. Grace: No. Tendulkar is. And what he likes eating must be the greatest invention.

Rajiv Shukla: Doctor?

W. G. Grace: Fat boy, make sure you quote me on this. Else, Pawar saab won’t pay me.

Rajiv Shukla: Kamaal hai yaar. Money influences a software’s reasoning too! Achcha, doctor, how about D/L method? Your take?

W. G. Grace: Send them to IIT Madras. Ask them to taste idly and vada and learn mathematics from Ms. Maya, an alumni, and wife of ACP Anbuchelvan.

Rajiv Shukla: Lagta hai, N Srinivasan ka kaam hai. Ab saala Tamil bhi bolne laga. Doctor, your final verdict on D/L method? You think it is fair?

W. G. Grace: Idly with sambaar and gatti chutney is fair. D/L method is nonsense. Tell the MCC folks to find a solution for shortened games in idly, sambaar, gatti chutney and vengaaya chutney. I’m sure the answer is somewhere there.

Rajiv Shulka: Doctor, what do you suggest I tell the press? I’m confused.

W. G. Grace: Tell them that you are on a diet in an effort to improve the image of Indian cricket. Slim down fat boy!

In his press release, Rajiv Shukla eventually said, “In my conversation with W. G. Grace, I learnt that the doctor is not convinced about technology in cricket and has urged MCC to amend cricket laws to abolish technology from the game. We are also pleased to let you know that the doctor has taken a fancy to Hindi and Tamil. He is bound to tweet in Tamil and Hindi soon.”

When contacted on the twitter feed, the doctor denied having had a conversation with Rajiv Shulka at all. The doctor tweeted:

Rajiv Shukla? No. Never heard of him. 

MCC in response to Rajiv Shukla said, “It is quite remarkable that BCCI and India should talk against technology when it is them who have created a virtual W. G. Grace. The virtual doctor, Say Grace, has denied having the conversation at all! I believe it is their technology that is malfunctioning and not ours! But we have requested Mr. Shukla to direct us to a restaurant that serves gatti chutney though!”

India appoints W. G. Grace as its batting coach

Posted: September 18, 2011 by The CouchExpert in Fiction, Gracism
Tags: ,

BCCI appoints W. G. Grace s its batting coach

In an unprecedented move, the BCCI has approached W. G. Grace to help their batsmen face quick bowling ahead of the Australian tour. BCCI has invested their funds to analyze the game from the doctor’s perspective. A team of 2000 professional social analysts have studied the life and times of W. G. Grace and have built a real time product that will tweet suggestions and observation from its twitter handle (@WGGrace2). To put matters beyond doubt, its first tweet was:

Dress properly to bat well. Learn to wear a waist belt. #battingtip #gracism 

The family historians in England have confirmed that the twitter handle indeed captures the essence of the doctor as they have known and have given their thumbs-up. It is learnt that senior Indian batsmen have been queuing up and are talking to the product the Indian board has decided to call Say Grace.

Raina was the first to test this out and he was given this advice by the doctor on how to face short bowling on fast, bouncy wickets:

You don’t have to drive on a bouncy wicket. So get drunk for you don’t have to drive. #battingtip #gracism

The doctor, who mastered all bowling that was first under-arm when he started playing to the more round-arm and now over-arm bowling is seemingly helping India land theories to counter Malinga’s round-arm bowling and Trevor Chappell’s under-arm bowling. It is learnt, among the first things he wanted as a change in the Indian outlook was indeed in their attire. He is learnt to have tweeted:

Dress properly to bat well. Learn to wear a waist belt. #battingtip #gracism

The doctor, it is learnt was having a long chat with Dravid in the art of honesty and has spent tonnes of web space and time in coaxing Dravid to build an ego. Dravid, it is learnt, will sport a larger ego than Kevin Pietersen when England return to India for the one-dayers. Dravid is expected to bat in all games in a suit celebrating his career in the one dayers and he is expected to do that when it is Kevin Pietersen’s turn to bat. He seems to have told KP, “the crowd is here to see me wave to them than to see you slog.”

The doctor, who is known to have had confidence wider than his girth, seems to have preached that he would have been better than all the current players today. Of improvisation that is the middle name of T20 cricket, he tweeted thus:

Can I play the Dilscoop? With a helmet on, I can reverse-head-butt quick bowlers for boundaries #gracism

And of Hot Spot and TV technology, he gave his standard answer:

What do I think of DRS? The giant screen in the ground is put in place to show me bat and not to contemplate whether I was out or not.

The doctor seems to have dismissed Gooch as a “sweeper good for the roads and not as a batting coach” which seems to have irked Andy Flower and Alastair Cook. The doctor also seems to have said, “Cook’s batting is so boring that it is boring the bones out of my colleagues in their coffins. He wouldn’t make the ladies team of my time.”

The doctor, who once famously blocked four successive deliveries that shot along the ground, reckoned he had a better game than the game has come to know in the 20th and 21st centuries and will provide virtual web training to India’s batsmen on facing round-arm and under-arm deliveries from his 19th century colleagues before the Australian tour. He summed up the modern day batting with this tweet:

Only modern batsmen can stoop so low. Just have a look at Morgan bat. #gracism

Sridhar Divakar

August 27 2011

It’s a pretty interesting time for selectors and coaches in India. Our Cricket Team which was considered World Champions in both formats of the game has just been dethroned from their No.1 status in Tests. Next milestone for the opposition will be to win the ODI series. A victory in this series will help them assuage their pain caused by the dramatic draw in the world cup. But getting back to the point that I started this article with, this really is an interesting time to be a coach or selector.

An angry press reacts in the extreme after the whitewash in England

A few months back, this team looked like a fantastic batting unit. It had the perfect blend of Experience and Youth. The bowling department seemed well stocked. The fielding standards too had reached levels never before expected from an Indian outfit.  It seemed that the national coach just couldn’t do any wrong and that the national selectors had finally picked the perfect team. Underneath the national level, was this matrix of myriad players, coaches, selectors, officials etc. who really felt as though they didn’t have much to contribute. They felt their current system had succeeded in creating a world champion team anyway.

Post this recent Test Series against England, or post what must have seemed like an eternity to the entire Indian outfit in England, every damn person(read coach, selector, columnist, player etc.) is talking or writing about the national team’s performance (or the lack of it!). The regional coaches and selectors have suddenly seen a silver lining through the dark English clouds. Overnight they have turned into these experts who always knew what was lacking in the Indian cricket system and what had to be done. It’s just that they were not given the chance.  The Tactic now – point fingers at any one of the millions of flaws that the Indian team displayed during their appalling performance. These critics, who seemed to be taking responsibility for Indian cricket success just a few months ago, seem to have cleverly shifted over to the side that is throwing criticism, now that the national side has given a dismal performance. And there is this resurgent media interest in finding out what exactly was the issue,  which has given them (critics)another shot at getting famous.

When times were good, no one seemed to have noticed flaws that, in any case, were inherent to the team

Funny!! Very funny indeed.  The point I make here is, if these people were so well aware and so concerned, where were they before the start of the series. A Zaheer Khan’s selection to the TEST squad was not debated before the start of the series in spite of him not having enough match practice. A certain Suresh Raina’s preparedness against the short ball was just not paid attention to after India’s World Cup victory. Yes he did play well in the West Indies. But those were different tracks. And he was playing against a shorter, comparatively inaccurate and slower set of bowlers. Where were the critics then? People were dying for Sehwag to return as if he has been blessed with the art of getting runs even after he was out. How else can you justify his selection to the team and the consequent silence of Indian cricket fans? All these men are supremely talented –no doubt. On their day, they can demoralize any attack in the world. But even the great Achilles practiced before a war. There is this certain mindset and this certain physical state that each player gets into before any important game. The Indians probably reached that state on the 3rd day of each test. And by that time, England was in command.

And now that the series is over, these millions of self prophesized experts slowly creep out in the open and bathe in the limelight of a vicious loss. Pretty sad picture for a country that breathes cricket. I am not saying that we should just sit back. No. This is definitely the time to act. But if only we had acted earlier. If only these realizations had dawned upon our selectors, coaches and players earlier. We would have had an outstanding series. And I feel cricket India owed this to fan – the simple aam aadmi whose craze fuels this game’s growth in this country.

It’s time to take advantage of the opportunity that this series drubbing has lent us. As an ardent fan of a game that has time and again shown what a great leveler it is,  I urge all you experts to come forth and draw up a plan, irrespective of which level you operate in in this country. Create a concrete development process, define selection and player fitness policies, improve the standards of pitches in india, pay close attention to sports medicine and nutrition of players. There are hundreds of things to be done. Instead of giving interviews and writing columns, please invest you time in such exciting endeavors. Be part of this exciting process of transformation. You know people are hearing you out. There is just so much you can achieve now.

At times I wonder why I gave up playing so early in life. I could at least have ended up as a coach or selector in some small club in some small town in India. And this would have been the time I would have been waiting for!

What an exciting time for selectors and coaches in India!!!