Posts Tagged ‘Harsha Bhogle’

Niranjan K

There is a lot of bullshitting about the Chennai Super Kings over how they make it to the playoffs every season. N Srinivasan scripts all of CSK’s wins from his bathroom, politics, blah blah blah. While there is no denying that the IPL is full of controversy, why is that CSK always paraded as the team to hate just because they are so good? Now, I am from the same state but that’s not the reason why I like the CSK.

So for all those who hate CSK, read this if you have any idea how a premier league has to be played. For those who love CSK, here are tem seasons to know why.

CSK: Giants of the IPL

1. CSK is the only team to embrace the concept of a domestic league in the right way. There is a very CHENNAI flavor in every aspect of CSK. The ‘Whistle Podu’ theme belongs to Chennai. Isn’t there one flavor that you can connect to a Mumbai or a Kolkatta or a Jaipur? Do Punjabis really need Priety Zinta to dance for them..?

2. CSK is the only team to have embraced the concept of a club properly. Faf Du Plessis was an unknown when CSK signed him 2 years ago. Now he’s our leading scorer. That’s what successful EPL teams to. That’s what we do.

3. The dressing room of CSK is widely known as the happiest of all if IPL teams. The pranks, the way newcomers are made comfortable is a mark of great teams.

4. When CSK plays and a batsman hits a four, they don’t have to show Shah Rukh Khan clapping, when a six is hit, they don’t have to show the Shetty sisters hugging or when a batsman gets out they don’t have to show Priety Zinta cussing and discussing strategy with the coach. It’s strictly the players and the fans and that’s how it should be. The lesser the distractions, the better the team.

5. After the recent incident involving Shah Rukh Khan at the Wankhede Stadium, Juhi Chawla was quoted as saying “If today Shah Rukh Khan were to get upset and quit the IPL I wonder if there’d be any people watching the matches… in Wankhede or any stadium.” Seriously, if Wankhede comes to watch Shah Rukh Khan rather than Sachin’s batting, then God save cricket.

6. Despite the dash of IPL, Chennai still and will remain the most knowledgeable of all crowds in India. That’s a mark of fans who will remain loyal to CSK all life. If you think about it you will understand what I am saying. Remember, Sachin was booed once in Mumbai. That will never happen to any cricketer in Chennai (Except Virat Kohli when he plays for RCB)

7. As a team, CSK is not dependent on one player like how RCB have in Gayle and Kolkatta in Gambir. Every time we find some player finishing it in tight situations. Morkel, Bravo, Dhoni, it’s a finishing line up to dream.

8. One of the most important factors is how well the local lads and generally the Indian players have played for us. Vijay, Badri, Anirudha, Ashwin and Balaji have all won games for us. Name one team that has so many local lads in their team and doing well. Add to that Raina and Dhoni. So the over dependence on overseas players is negated in CSK.

9. Harsha Bhogle tweeted this after the last season win he said “Eventually the best team, the best organized, the best selected and the best led won the IPL and that is how it should be”. Need anything more to say.

10. Actually, there is one more thing to say… “We are the Bloody Champs”! Distracters talk about N Srinivasan’s role in the team and his influence as the BCCI’s big fish. Let me clarify. His India Cements Company is involved with cricket for 60 years now. They are responsible for bringing up players like Rahul Dravid. So here’s the thing… N Srinivasan is the president of the most powerful cricket board in the world. Would you credit every Indian Win as his script?

The truth is CSK, even for IPL’s short history has to go through these phases like how great teams go through. Barcelona is constantly accused of diving despite the beautiful football they play. The Australian Cricket Team was accused of too much sledging when they dominated world cricket. But didn’t they change the way cricket was played? Like those great teams, we will endure and play the way like only we can and whistle the way like only we can. Go CSK Go..!


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.

Goutham Chakravarthi

13 February 2011


It is almost incredible that the world of cricket media fails to see beyond what’s with the experts. Numerous debates on the future of television coverage have raged the TV and internet space newly only to see predictable conclusions in the form of pay-per-view and HD television as its future. But I cannot fathom why there isn’t enough importance given to a whole lot of discussion, analyses and literature the non-experts’ section of the cricket world has to offer.

Largely it is a pile of waste that comes out post-game on TV or in the press. Cricinfo is among the most sought after sources of information for fans who want more than what they get on TV: pods, humour, debates being most prominent among them. But even then, Cricinfo still throws a large amount of the same rubbish all other forms of media do – pre-match predictions (templated and boringly predicatble), sound bites, injury rumours and of course a whole host of ex-cricketers not worth an ounce as experts.

It is beyond doubt that some of the best cricket analyses come from bloggers. Perhaps because these are people who enjoy watching the game and in no hurry to meet a deadline. Often these articles and opinions are far more interesting as they tend to have different flavours of perspective. Largely intelligent and even successful people on various counts of life are able to relate to various events on the game that sometimes escape even seasoned experts and journalists.

It is hardly surprising that pods like Test Match Sofa or Test Match Special are a lot more enjoyable today than a group of great ex-cricketers who give you the score every second ball or call an ingenious Laxman flick with a sponsor prefix to it. May be a day is not far off when technological advancements make inroads into television coverage where a bunch of people from across the globe connect to call the action and those who prefer their version over the official version can choose to listen to it. I would any day take Andy Zaltzman cussing over a piece of action than an ex-cricket go “he’s only gonna get better with age” everytime he sees a promising youngster.

Recently, there have been stories of journalists not being too happy with cricketers’ tweeting. Some seem to think cricketers have now taken over their jobs. Some recently have found cricketers taking a dig at their writing offensive. Ryder and Swan are a lot more fun with their tweets than many of the journalists taking offense to their comments. May be, for lesser spontaneous cricketers, they can try becoming their ghost tweeters. Much of today’s cricket journalism is bland.

Today’s writing largely remains ancient as it was decades ago when newspapers recounted the day’s events when live action didn’t reach the majority and as a result the writer unfolding the sequence of events allowed the writer to paint the game to the readers. It is a largely different world today where instant tweets even as the events unfold have become the norm (not to mention cricket coverage on phones and over broadband).

May be, that is why slightly unorthodox but mighty fine observers like Andy Zaltzman are entertaining and sought after. Great captains of yore who read the game well and inform of the likelihood of events to unfold still hold fort. Still, Opinion columns are predictable and so are post-game analyses. May be, they are going the way of player interviews that are repeats of the same thing time and again. Our experts ask the same questions, the players give the same answers and the writers write the same things. No reason why the consumer to this feels cheated.

Not sure if am being callous here. But I do believe that the best coverage out there is by the fans – amateurs who do it for fun and hobby but with as much dedication and application as the pros. Talented bloggers like Arnab Ray (Great Bong), Adam Wakefield (Bleacher Report and often in the Inbox section of Cricinfo), Subash Jayaraman (Cricket Couch), John vd Westhuizen (Cricket Guru), Brendon Layton (The Straight Bat) will provide interesting views to rival the best that goes around everywhere else. Of course, cricketwithballs, boredcricketcrazyindians, thealternativecricketalmanack keep us all entertained with their brand of cricket literature. And I hope that the best our of tweeter cricketers continue to keep us all entertained with that information their boards and press don’t want them to give us.

As much as a world cup it is going to be of Bhogle, Chappell, Boycott, Roebuck, Baum, Booth and Houwing, I will keep my eyes open for the best blogs, pods and tweets.

And may be, some of you will check out this space for more.