Posts Tagged ‘Michael Vaughan’

 Goutham Chakravarthi

 17 August 2011

“Indians either need to learn to do banana splits to keep themselves warm or go back to India and start preparing for Champions League T20,” said Tim Bresnan, wearing a sleeveless shirt and a wrestler’s shorts, and flexing his biceps and then resting both his hands on his hips. But for the cape, you would call him Batman.

Bresnan has challenged the Indians to follow suit and try banana splits or go back home!

Bresnan added, “English boys are now the alpha males of cricket. Guys like Cook have reformed batting in the days of ugly swipes and heaves that are influenced by the blasphemy of the IPL. You cannot compare our extremely superior batting line-up to theirs. It is unfair. We pratice it as a sacred art – perfected by the likes of W.G. Grace, Hutton, Hobbs, Hammond and passed on to the likes of Boycott and now Cook. It is art in its purest form.”

Asked if it was a challenge to bowl to the likes of Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Laxman, he said the biggest challenge was not to be bowled over by a dozen middle aged men dressed like Britney Spears on the fancy dress Saturday in Birmingham. Once he could resist keeping his eyes off them, he said he had conquered his biggest challenge and Indians’ batting was nothing in comparison and pointed out that Sreesanth and Ishant couldn’t and suffered as a result.

With the Indian media contingent also not interested in the series after having to go through the arduous task of praising Cook’s batting for three days, the series sponsors, npower, tried to attract media personals to the press conference by arranging for a “Who has more tattoos” contest.England’s long list included two South Africans in Jade Dernbach and Kevin Pietersen and India were represented by Sreesanth.

Vaughan has appealed to stop worshipping Tendulkar and copy Tuffnel's batting instead

Sreesanth’s sledging of Dernbach’s tattoos notwithstanding, it took an accusation from Bresnan again to warrant Indian media interest back in the series. “Sehwag is the joker to this Batman,” he said referring to himself. He said, “Virender Sehwag is the most overrated of Indian batsmen as he is a flat track bully and cowers when touring abroad. Boycott’s mum had better technique against the moving delivery.”

When asked for a reaction, the former English skipper, Michael “Vaseline” Vaughan said, “It is about time people understood Indian ways do not work anymore. The Tendulkar way has not worked for Tendulkar himself and he should learn a thing or two from Cook. No surprise his clone Sehwag hasn’t done well. Time someone like Ravi Bopara learnt the lesson and stopped worshipping Tendulkar. Even mimicking Tuffnel’s batting technique would have given him a hundred runs at Edgbaston. If he did, we will have the best Indian in our team, like we have the best Zimbabwean and South Africans in our team!”

Bob Willis joined the bandwagon and said, “This entire series has been about Tendulkar getting his hundredth 100. Don’t you see that he wants to put himself along Bradman with the perfectly imperfect number 99? Their preparation and prioritization of the English tour has been abysmal. If Strauss wins the toss at The Oval, they should look to bat till lunch on Day 5 and declare. Indians have shown no stomach for fight and will disintegrate twice in the remaining two sessions. England might even win with a session to spare!”

Zaheer Khan is reported to have pocketed the coin that is to be used for the toss tomorrow to check his weight after being accused for being fat by Stuart Broad. The umpires and match officials were busy checking if a substitute coin will be allowed if the designated coin for the toss can’t be recovered and if there was a possibility of the match being called off in such a scenario.

Chandrasekhar Jayarama Krishnan

Head of Cricket, CouchExpert

1 August 2011

The DRS debate has puffed up beyond any imaginable extent, as has the credibility of Umpire Marias Erasmus’ decision making.

It wouldn’t have been a very big deal without the deepening impact of controversies that have arisen during this wonderful Nottingham Test. But it also has ballast as this test clearly has exposed many a flaw associated to the DRS – not least helped by the twitter rant, thanks to Michael Vaughan, whose statement, cheeky as the intent might have been, only added ammunition to a Test that has virtually witnessed anything and everything that a game of cricket possibly can.

I am not saying Vaughan was stupid. His statement was so staggeringly incurious that it appeared as though he rarely made an effort to find the truth of the matter. But more often, that is not how the public, and more specifically the Media, takes it.  Goutham Chakravarthi’s recent article will clearly explain how such an incident can be blown out of proportion.

Vaughan should have known well before hand that his comments would obviously be blown out of proportion

Vaughan’s statement misleads not only the cricket public, but him included. He could well believe that by portraying an image of himself as a considerate conservative, he could exercise the right of every opinion he publicizes, if found controversial, to be disemboweled by those who adore him – a reflection that has been characterized by his heroics back in 2005.

But England can no longer afford their ex-captain’s self-delusions, not least when their quest to top the ICC tables is at its most intense. But what Vaughan has done, knowingly or unknowingly, is to add more fuel to the debate involving the consistency and correctness of technology.  The situation is a mess, in large part because the common man now knows that a cricketer can hoodwink technology to make the tide turn his way.

As much damage Vaseline had done to cricket balls in the past, Vaughan’s theory of the same substance being used in bats to dodge hot-spot has ignited the sparks in those criminal minds of today’s bad world. So for every decision that looks contentious, different sections of the media and public will end up accusing players from the home and/or the away team for ‘cheating’.

Fingers will be pointed at many, endless debates over what is right and wrong will persist, only for the poor old game of cricket to react to all these soulless exercises with disdainful apathy. After all, how much chaos can a sport consume?

What if only one individual was responsible for a contentious decision? What if he was paid to decide what is right and what is wrong? What if was his role to decide whether a batsman is in or out? I am, of course, talking about the Umpire. This is how the sport has been played for over a century.

If his decision was incorrect, fingers will be pointed towards him. The debates will revolve around whether this individual needs time off from the stressful activities and schedules one tends to associate with umpires these days. What Dravid negotiated on a spiteful pitch, with his immense powers of concentration, is what Umpires are expected to do through five whole days – one that translates to a mammoth 30 hours.

They are there because they are the best in the business. You hit some, you miss a few, or you nick one to the keeper or the slips – even if your concentration is unflappable. Likewise, you make mistakes – you may think someone nicked it, or you might have missed an inside edge that could unfortunately rule a batsman out LBW. You do it because you are human, and unlike technology, people cannot outwit you – for a human being is not programmed.

But you are there among the elite because in a sample set of 100 decisions you make, in over 90 instances, you are right. If you are not good, you are demoted and someone with a better consistency rises. But like a cricketer who has been dropped from the squad, you can go back to your roots, work on areas where you feel you require improvement, and come back as a mentally tough umpire targeting better statistics. Asad Rauf is having an unbelievably outstanding series!

Marais Erasmus raised a lot of eyebrows with a few of his decisions during the on-going Trentbridge Test

Indeed, there is a strange karmic genius to this argument – one can rather trust a human over a machine, for one doesn’t know who has programmed that machine. But machines, or rather technology, can be used for verification – instances that require quantifying the degree of an Umpire’s decision-making correctness, one that is done behind the scenes.

I’m okay for the use of technology in the sport, as long as people do not question the motives of those who can overcome it. For every Antivirus, there exists an Anti-Antivirus-Virus. Nothing is perfect, and as long as we learn to accept that, the sport will move ahead with more conviction. Else, the perpetuity of the endless debates will continue until that inevitable day when mankind would end up regretting excess reliance on technology for even the most basic of tasks in life.

Marais Erasmus – yes, you have made blunders. Yes, you have had a very ordinary test. Yes, you are dubiously referred to as the ‘Not-Out’ umpire, but we respect you because of what you’ve achieved to get to where you are today. Technology will make you look silly at times, but doesn’t it do that to all of us?

 Goutham Chakravarthi

 29 July 2011

It is now a power struggle. It is proving to be one mighty battle for power between England and India: BCCI vs. ECB, English press vs. Indian press, ESPNStar com box vs. Sky com box. Of course, also the small matter of battle for ICC’s no.1 ranking in Tests.

Michael Vaughn wrote a piece on how to get Tendulkar out at the beginning of the series. Now, one Test into the series, Nasser Hussain has written a piece on how Anderson is proving to be too smart for Tendulkar. Simon Hughes wrote an article on how to get the better of all Indian players (bordering on something like get the batsmen out and don’t lose wickets to Indian bowlers!). Scyld Berry swears Tendulkar wouldn’t have crossed his highest score of 37 at Lord’s had he even batted the whole of the last day of the first Test. Boycott calls it the beginning of the end for the Indian team as no.1, but, Botham is already convinced that England are the new kings.

A story such as this is what media is after.

Not to be outdone, Sourav Ganguly called the English attack pretty much the same as the one he faced in 2007 and how India will tough it out and win this series. One Test in to the series, he is convinced that India will get better – a thought reflected in another former captain Anil Kumble’s recent article. Meanwhile, Sunil Gavaskar has appealed to the Indian media to get behind the home team like the Australian press and stop being negative about them (in other words, you or I can’t have an opinion of our own).

Long gone are the days when journalists described batting as art and poetry or the art of re-constructing a bowler’s clever plot in beguiling a champion opposition bowler. It is hyperbole madness today with media looking for quotes and stories. A Manjrekar calling Dravid “not talented” is a bigger story than a gutsy, carefully engineered Dravid hundred. A journalist who ekes out “Ganguly divides the team” from the coach is put on a higher pedestal than a wonderful analyst reporter who picks a pattern to a team’s issues with leg-spin bowling.

Bloggers and journalists have been working overtime to prove their points-of-view. Some English writers have even put this English team on par with Clive Lloyd’s West Indians and Steve Waugh’s Australians. The health of their bowling riches is compared to the ancient flourishing civilizations on the banks of river Nile and their seemingly endless supply of talented young batsmen are expected to back-fill any holes in their batting should there be such a need. Some credit the African and Asian immigrants’ contribution in the English uprising in the world rankings. The standard of county cricket is apparently on the rise while simultaneously they are taking a swipe at the state schools for not contributing even one English player since Collingwood.

On the Indian side, cricket enthusiasts have been digging-up stats of tours where India start poorly and stacking the series end result to be convinced that there is going to be a turn around. Health and injury history of Zaheer Khan have been researched more than will the protein pattern matching at the Indian Institute of Science. A team’s seriousness of the first test is being questioned and even alleged to be used as match practice by Sanjay Manjrekar. Never the ones to miss an opportunity, the whole of England is hell bent to point at the IPL for every Indian failure anywhere else – from the player fitness to mental fatigue.

The same can be extended to how both the cricket boards operate. Both like power and both don’t have a history of being very affable when wielding it. Like ECB’s willing and what proved to be a fatal association with Standford and now the enormous urge to protect its players from theIPL, BCCI is no different with wanting its stars playing in IPL – even at the cost of an international tour – and not the other T20 leagues around the world. Both like taking pot-shots at each other, don’t expect it to be very different should one of the two teams lose on the field either on a dodgy umpiring decision or the proverbial “player integrity” over a match altering low catch.

The team that stands tall at the end of the series will be regarded as among the finest by its fans, ex-players and its media while the losing team will face the wrath of their fans, ex-players and media. You see, they all need the men on the field to give them the bragging rights over their counterparts.

God save the team that wins. God save the team that loses.