Saturday, May 31, 2008

Battle of Kings; battle of Singhs!

By John Cheeran
So the stage is set for the second semifinal in the IPL between two Kings. Chennai Super Kings and King's XI Punjab.
It is quite likely that Mumbai crowd will again get under the skin of Punjab captain Yuvraj Singh. The Mumbai crowd now have added reason to frustrate Yuvraj after the pugnacious Punjab skipper berated Mumbaikar's for their partisan attitude and Mumbai Indians effectively lost their chances to enter the semifinal thanks to some outstanding fielding efforts from Punjab. That nail biting contest in which Mumbai Indians frittered away their winning position by committing five run outs happened at this very same Wankhede Stadium and the crowd would love nothing better than humbling Punjab Kings.
It is also at another level a fight between two emerging leaders in Indian cricket, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Yuvraj Singh. Dhoni might have pipped Yuvraj to the Indian team captaincy, but here Yuvraj gets an ideal opportunity to show that his fiery attitude too can bring about success compared with MSD's air conditioned approach to things on an off the field.
These - Punjab and Chennai - are really two strong teams. Both rely on outside talent to define their performance. Punjab mightily depends on the Aussie Shaun Marsh to get an explosive start. Chennai's great local guns such as Badarinath has not boomed for some time now.
I have a sneaky feeling that both captains will come out something special tonight at Wankhede to set up the title clash with Rajasthan Royals.

Brothers in arms: Pathan Partnership

By John Cheeran
I'm not concerned by the fact that chief selector Dilip Vengsarkar again ignored the claims of Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly to play in international one-dayers.
Rahul and Sourav had their time under the sun and it is quite fitting others too given chances to pad up for India.
Yousuf Pathan's entry into Indian team proves that hard work pays off no matter whatever the hurdles in your way. When was the last time two brothers played together in an Indian cricket team? I can but only recall the Amarnath days -- when Surinder, Mohinder and Rajinder - played for India. And they had come from such roots so it was considered only inevitable.
Here from Gujarat has come this successful tale that should be closely read, read aloud and emulated by every Muslim family in India. Give your lads opportunities, back them up against all odds and you will have success one day. After all India is yours too.
It is quite easy to get in the mode of sulking and blaming others for all the ills that plague you. But these two brothers from Baroda -- sons of an ordinary muezzin-- have proved what a combination of ambition, hard work and talent would give you.
Yousuf has captured the imagination of cricket world by his raw courage and hard hitting in crunch situations when more illustrious names found it tough going in the Indian Premier League.
Instead of falling back on the dollies of the state, such as the Sachar Commission report, always rely on you.
World will be watching you.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Rajasthan Royals storm into IPL finals

By John Cheeran
It is all over. No uprising in the final overs, Delhi Daredevils sputtered and ended their innings at 87 all out giving a 105-run win for Rajasthan Royals. Royals moved into the final of the IPL.
It was a bit comical when Glenn McGrath was made to look a fool while he was ran out to signal the end for Devils.
After Shane Watson took those three early wickets, Delhi did not stand much chance. Some start fielding tightened the screws and suddenly it was no contest and it looked Virender sehwag's gameplan came apart for the semifinal. sehwag tried to be proactive by bowling first but that did not work a wee bit thanks to brilliant allround performance from Watson and some bold hitting from Yousuf Pathan.
Naturally i'm happy that my prediction has come true. i had backed Rajasthan Royals and for a change, luck stayed with them.

10 overs gone, five wickets gone, Delhi going nowhere in this IPL semifinal

By John Cheeran
At halfway stage, after 10.1 overs Delhi are 55 for five.
A terrific catch from kaif signals the end of Karthik. Trivedi takes the wicket.
Now you can safely say that who is winning this semifinal.

Is the game up for Delhi (dare) Devils?

By John Cheeran
Is the game up for Delhi Daredevils?
Asking rate is climbing. 13 runs per over is not impossible but pretty tough against Royals.
Shane Warne's last over yielded 8 runs. after nine overs 48/4. Not an exciting situation for Devils. (I think I can now stop typing DARE for Delhi)

Delhi loses four wickets...

By John Cheeran
Things are not looking all that bright for Delhi Daredevils.
They have a tough task ahead of them after losing four wickets for 28 runs. Shane Watson struck early blows and Dinesh karthik and tillekaratne Dilshan have a difficult, daring task ahead of them to win from this stage.
One more wicket will give the decisive edge to Rajasthan Royals.

193 to win. Watson sends back Sehwag

By John Cheeran
193 is not a daunting total for Delhi Daredevils. They have the firepower to defeat Royals.
But Shane Watson has sent back Delhi skipper Virender sehwag and that should have some bearing on the outcome of this match.
May be Rajasthan Royals are some 20 runs short of what could have been a really winning total.
The match is -semifinal of the IPL - well and truly on.

Rajasthan struggles to keep pace

By John Cheeran
Another (third wicket) for Maharoof. Tanvir out for five.
Now Shane Watson waits for his partner to walk in.

Maharoof magic. Asnodkar goes.

By John Cheeran
Maharoof magic. 65 for two. Two wicktes in one over. Asnodkar caught by Tewari. So suddenly Delhi Daredevils back in the game. Very strongly that is.
No Shane Warne's surprise. Sohail Tanvir has come to bat.

Maharoof packs off Smith

By John Cheeran
Bowling change. Maharoof comes in.
Another hit from Smith lands just short of boundary.
Now shikar Dhawan catches Smith off Maharoof. 25 runs from 21 balls.
Delhi Daredevils takes first wicket. 65 for one.

First six in Royals innings

By John Cheeran
Maharoof drops Asnodkar in the boundary line. four more runs.
First sixer comes along as Asnodkar slams Yo Mahesh to fine leg.
Now another four.

Smith vs McGrath

By John Cheeran
Smith joins the fun with a hampered leg. Smacks McGrath for three boundaries in a row.
Chnages in the field. 45 for no loss.

Asnodkar turns the tap on.Boundaries...

By John Cheeran
Unpredictable Asnodkar. Whacks Mohammad Asif for two boundaries. Rameez Raja is eager for some uppercuts for his tea. Another four for Asnodkar.
Runs are beginning to flow.
The momentum is here.

No fireworks yet...

By John Cheeran
Trouble in the beginning for Royals. Smith needs a runner. Mohammad Kaif comes in.
Political heavyweights including Sharad Pawar is watching the action.
Now what's Sawpnil Asnodkar doing against McGrath? Hits out. Two runs.
Yes, classical Asnodkar. Edge thru second slip, four runs.
Ravi Shastri says this is living dangerously!
Asnodkar is doing what virender Sehwag has converted into an art. And later Sourav Ganguly.
After three overs 15 for no loss.

Where are the boundaries?

By John Cheeran
Where are the boundaries?
Yes Graeme Smith finally found them in the second over.
Now there is a direct hit. Third umpire reviews replay.
Have Royals lost their first wicket?
No, green light flashes. Not out...

So semifinal starts at Wankhede stadium

By John Cheeran
Glenn McGrath starts first over. Sedate beginning. Indications are this really is a tough contest. Chances must be taken but carefully.
It is a maiden. Only a wide that has opened Delhi Daredevils' account.

Predict the winner: Who will win the IPL semis today? Rajashtan Royals...

By John Cheeran
Who will the IPL semifinal between Delhi Daredevils and Rajasthan Royals?
I go for Rajasthan Royals. They despite topping the league phase remain underdogs. They have the power and skill and sense to go on to the championship itself.
But let me state this also. Normally it happens like this. The team that I supports trips down and rival emerges winner. That's why I'm being told always bet on worst fears. But this time let me bet on my best fear and back Rajasthan Royals.
I hope Mumbai crowd would be rooting for Rajasthan.
As it is, Virender Sehwag has won the toss and is bowling.
It will not be easy out there for Shane Warne and company.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A to Z of Indian Premier League (IPL)

By John Cheeran
The Indian Premier League is in its last stretch. Here is an A-Z about the IPL.

A for Aussies

(John Buchanan, Tom Moody, Ricky Ponting, Matthew Hayden, David Hussey, Michael Hussey, Shaun Marsh, Shane Watson, Shane Warne, Andrew Symonds, Adam Gilchrist, Glenn McGrath, Dareen Lehmann, Justin Langer, Brad Hodge, Cameron White, Brett Lee, James Hopes, Luke Pomersbach, Simon Katich -- these Aussies have dominated the IPL than any other mercenaries)

B for Ban, Bhajji and Bangalored!
C for Cheerleaders
D for Dugout, dotball, dollars
E for Extras
F for Franchise, freehit, fantastic (the most abused word during the IPL), foreigners
G for Glamour, girls
H for Hotheads (Harbhajan, Sreesanth, Yuvi); hit wicket
I for IPL
J for Jab We Met (Charu Sharma meeting Vijay Mallya)
K for Kingfisher; King Khan and all other Kings in IPL
L for Lekha Washington; last ball dramas
M for Modi (Lalit); Money and Mind It!
N for Nightlife; not out, net run rate
O for Orange cap
P for Purple cap, partnerships
Q for Queen of IPL- Preity Zinta
R for Rajasthan Royals, Run outs, Run Rate and reverse sweep
S for Sixer, Shah Rukh, Slapgate
T for Twenty20, teen brigade
U for Unsung heroes (*Yousuf Pathan, Swapnil Asnodkar); upper cut
V for Vijay Mallya
W for Warne
X for Xenophobia of Mukesh Ambani (Ambani, when asked about his team's early defeats, said "just wait for these Aussies to go home, then we will know who is winning"), Xtra Innings
Y for Youth power
Z for zeroes (Challengers and Chargers)

My Best IPL XI

By John Cheeran

Let me present my best XI from the IPL.

Shaun Marsh
Sanat Jayasuriya
Gautam Gambhir
Mahendra Singh Dhoni
Yuvraj Singh
Venugopala Rao
Shane Watson
Shane Warne
Glenn McGrath
Manpreet Goni
S Sreesanth
Swapnil Asnodkar (the 12th man)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

In which the owner takes it all!

By John Cheeran
Kolkata Knight Riders have a new promotional song and I think it promotes not the team, which has failed to make the semifinals of the IPL, but its marquee owner Shah Rukh Khan.
Setting aside my strong, coloured opinions on Sourav Ganguly as a cricketer and captain, I must say that Shah Rukh Khan has erred in ignoring his team’s captain and other members of Riders team while filming the song. You cannot have a cricket team without cricketers. There can be a movie without stars, though.
What is it that provokes an owner, that too a co-owner, to think that he is some sort of junta leader so that he can mistake himself for the team?
Is SRK, after all, really thinking that he is King Khan?
In that case Prince of Kolkata is right to correct the King.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

Indian cricket clings on to feudal leftovers

By John Cheeran
Even in the era of globalization it is baffling that Indian society pays its fealty to feudal symbols. Take the much fashionable Twenty20 Indian Premier League for example.
Fifty per cent of the IPL teams have the royalty tag stuck to them.
Out of the eights teams, four are branded as Rajasthan Royals, King’s XI Punjab, Chennai Super Kings and Bangalore Royal Challenge.
Three teams somehow owing to certain compulsions had chosen differently. Deccan Chargers (Deccan Chronicle group, the owners wanted the team to mirror their DC image, so the name Chargers, though they were lacking and leaking charge desperately), Delhi Dare Devils (If Delhi had to embrace royalty, they should have named it Mughal Magicians or Marauders but that is not the politically correct thing to do in these surcharged times) and Kolkata Knight Riders. I’m yet to figure out who does the Knight, SRK, ride in Kolkata?
But then if you consider the fact when owner himself is a King, as in the case of Shah Rukh Khan, there is no desperation to call your side King’s Mutton Korma or anything like that.
I believe SRK has been referred to and revered as the King Khan by cricket and film journalists, even though SRK has become a banished king these days. (Well, is there any difference between film and cricket journalists when actress Lekha Washington is doing live reporting for Sony Max’s Xtra Innings?)

The only franchise that has branded their side with a modern name is Mukesh Ambani’s Mumbai Indians. And considering Ambani family’s plebian heritage it is no surprise that Mukesh chose not to have a silly royal tag for his franchise. And the brand name of Mumbai Indians, though the city’s cosmopolitan fabric is frayed under the onslaught of various centrifugal forces, has tried to capture the essence of modern India, melding nationalism with a feel for your inner city.
Yes, the past must be remembered but not necessarily glorified without any sense of history.

Emily Gould, me and blogging

By John Cheeran
Reading Emily Gould’s Exposed in the New York Times Magazine was an experience for me. I have been a regular blogger, but rarely have I posted on my personal life. One thing is that I post revealing my real identity. And who the hell is interested in me?
But Emily has been a trendsetter, I guess. I may not be far from the truth when I write that Emily has given rise to pathetic imitators in India, such as Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, who has been pasting her real life (and imagined too) online to grab some attention and page views.
Why do I blog?
Blog gives me the freedom (as far as Google lets it) to write what I want and what I feel without having to please anyone else. But it has been a deliberate decision not to get overtly personal. Many may quickly point out that being a man I stand no chance even if I had gone the Emily Gould way.
Well, each one has his /her own way and apparently Emily has had her way what with NYT dedicating its last Sunday’s magazine cover for her. But I like the way Emily writes. It was an absolute delight to read her essay on what many had described as ‘modern love’.
Please allow me to quote Emily from her essay in NYT magazine.
“The will to blog is a complicated thing, somewhere between inspiration and compulsion. It can feel almost like a biological impulse. You see something, or an idea occurs to you, and you have to share it with the Internet as soon as possible. What I didn’t realize was that those ideas and that urgency — and the sense of self-importance that made me think anyone would be interested in hearing what went on in my head — could just disappear.”
And let me add this bit from New York Magazine on and the kind of journalism Emily has revelled in.

“Journalists are both haves and have-nots. They’re at the feast, but know they don’t really belong—they’re fighting for table scraps, essentially—and it could all fall apart at any moment. Success is not solid. That’s part of the weird fascination with Gawker, part of why it still works, five years on—it’s about the anxiety and class rage of New York’s creative underclass. Gawker’s social policing and snipe-trading sideshow has been impossible to resist as a kind of moral drama about who deserves success and who doesn’t. It supplies a Manhattan version of social justice.”

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Barking up the wrong tree!

By john Cheeran
Mr N Gopalaswamy, thank you very much showing Barkha Dutt, the managing editor of NDTV, her place during the initial moments of the voting countdown for the Karnataka State Assembly elections, 2008.
To a question (question is irrelevant, as all questions from her are) from Barkha, Gopalaswamy shot back:” You are barking up the wrong tree.”
Barkha fell silent.
We know only dogs bark.
I’m told that Barkha talks only.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

When Kapil predicts end of the road for the BCCI

By John Cheeran
Where is Kapil Dev?
The lone cricketer who can claim the tag of having been a cult figure in Indian cricket, is now sadly pushing his company's floodlights while the Indian cricket is flooded with the billion-watt shine of the Twenty20 Indian Premier League.
While I was wondering about the whereabouts of Kapil I spotted his statement in print much in the manner of historian Francis Fukuyama announcing the end of history at the end of cold war saying that the Board of Control for Cricket in India is finished.
All of us know that Kapil has his axe to grind with the BCCI and the fabulous reception for the IPL has taken the wind out of the sails of Indian Cricket League (ICL), the Twenty20 circus floated by the Zee Group and shepherded by our own Kapil.
End of the road for the BCCI, the world’s rickets cricket body?
Kapil must be an optimist at this stage since he can see the fall of his detractors when they are enjoying an unparalleled success as having executed a daring concept in a brilliant fashion.
Yes, of course, I can see Kapil’s point that the clubs will take over the game from the national board.
Look at football, Kapil, clubs and national bodies have carved out their own niches and Fifa manage to keep everyone on their toes.
So don’t lose sleep over the longevity of the BCCI.
In case it falls terminally ill, we will call you.
Meanwhile dig deep for some fresh ideas to infuse some life into the ICL.
In this one gamble of Twenty20, Kapil is far from having a perfect vision.
Switch on the floodlights inside your brain. Let there be light.

Yuvraj feels an alien in Mumbai: IPL and the rise of sub-nationalism in India

By John Cheeran
Why does Yuvraj Singh, the captain of Kings XI Punjab, losing self control?
Even after that tense, nerve-wracking one-run win over Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai? Apparently Yuvraj is peeved at Mumbai crowd’s partisan attitude and refusal to appreciate his side’s glorious efforts on the field to script a pulsating win.
That had Yuvraj burst out after the match “Thank you Mumbai for supporting us. But you should remember that some of our boys from Punjab do play for India.”
Of course Yuvraj was stung and it shows he was not prepared for the internecine nature of the Indian Premier League.
In quite contrast was the approach of Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the captain of Chennai Super Kings after playing at Wankhede Stadium during the IPL. When asked about crowd’s jeers Dhoni was cool enough to put things in perspective by saying: “That does not matter.. I’m sure they will cheer me when I’m playing for India.”
No wonder then that this cool Singh has overtaken that haughty Prince to the Indian national team’s captaincy.
It is great to know that Mumbaikars are solidly behind their city team. It is not easy to build the emotional quotient for a newly launched brand and Mumbai Indians can take heart from this fact though they lost a golden chance to move into the semifinals by that suicidal act of five run outs to gift win to Punjab.
And by the way, is there a danger that the deep-rooted parochialism will find its outlets in the theatre of Indian Premier League?
The brand buidling centred around around cities may give rise to a kind of sub-nationalism that India has not seen so far.
Who says sport unites men and women?

Dravid, the Jesus Christ of Indian cricket

By John Cheeran
Finally Royal Challenge tasted a drop of victory in Chennai against Chennai Super Kings and that should go a long way to rejuvenate the harried side, led by Rahul Dravid.
And quickly let me tell you what I consider as having played a major factor in Challenge’s win? There was no Zaheer Khan. On many occasions during the IPL, Zaheer’s utterly erratic bowling has let the Bangalore side down and (I know Zaheer is one of the leading wicket takers in the IPL with 13 or so wickets to his name but the point that in not one game has he troubled batsmen or had an impact on the game.)

Having said that, the 14-run was largely plotted by the indefatigable Anil Kumble who derailed the supremely confident Super Kings with a 3./14 spell and won the man of the match award.

And how can one ignore Rahul Dravid’s innings of 47, the highest in the match on either side, It is no secret that I admire Rahul Dravid , the man and batsman. The more I get to watch him, the more I get the feeling that here is the Jesus Christ of Indian cricket. Every time Dravid walks out to bat it seems he carries the burden of the world and is going to be sacrificed so that his team and his world can be redeemed. And looking at the reckless of ways of his teammates Dravid must be mumbling those celebrated words:: ”Lord forgive them for they know not what they are doing.”

And finally after too many slings and arrows of fortune, Royal Challenge can think that they are right now one better than Deccan Chargers.

Monday, May 19, 2008

When Dravid shows some dark humour..

By John Cheeran
It is no secret that everyone in the Royal Challenge camp is frustrated with the way things have gone against them in the IPL.
Rahul Dravid, a normally unflappable fellow even when faced with grave provocations, lost his cool when his co-cricketers again came up with a feckless performance against Rajasthan Royals in Jaipur. On a day when not even Mr Vijay Mallya’s choice Misbah-ul Haq could bring alive the scoreboard, Dravid showed some dark humour by belting sixer after sixer in an all-lost cause, including grace and honour.
At least, as a captain and a professional, Dravid redeemed himself to a great extent by that nonchalant innings.
Dravid’s innings (unbeaten 75 from 36 balls with six sixers and six boundaries) against Shane Warne’s side was nothing but ‘the rage, rage against the dying of the light.’
Through that blast in Jaipur, Dravid was sending out a strong message to those critics who had questioned his conditioning to live up to the challenges thrown up by the Twenty20 version of cricket. Dravid showed that while still holding on to all the fundamentals of batting, you still can have some fun.
Dravid, the classical batsman par excellence, did not resort to gross or tantalizing improvisations to succeed but played what could be described as proper strokes. Not a slap of the ball Dravid attempted during his defiant innings.
It was significant that while at other end, his team mates played outrageous strokes to get themselves out but each time the ball went up in the air, Dravid did not cross over, as part of that custom to protect the newcomer.
It only showed how disgusted Dravid has become as captain at the irresponsible ways of the merry makers that he had picked in the first place.

Charge and Challenge in IPL!

By John Cheeran
It is easy to understand the lacklustre show of Royal Challenge, Bangalore, in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 since as you all know they are the Test team in Twenty20 disguise.
What then about Deccan Chargers, Hyderabad? According to many, DC boasts of the ideal line up to reap success in the IPL field. Still in the points tally, they share equal misery with Royal Challenge, having logged four points each.
So success can’t be reduced to getting your line up right as Vijay Mallya thinks. You require that extra brew to have the fizz in your performance. Or it seems.
Despite Adam Gilchrist, Rohit Sharma, Venugopala Rao and enjoying a reasonably sharp bowling attack Chargers have failed to produce long lasting innings. In fact, to the horror of Deccan Chronicle messengers, Chargers have not won a single match at their home ground, a feat even achieved by even a stolid Rahul Dravid.
May be, Chargers should try eating at least a sport page of Deccan Chronicle and Royal Challengers should have swig of Kingfisher beer as they enter the field hence forth.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shah Rukh in IPL Country: King without boundaries

By John Cheeran
What a difference a single player can make to a team’s fortunes?
Shoaib Akhtar again proved that he deserves the marquee status the cricket world has accorded him despite his tantrums. On Tuesday night, Akhtar first gave hope and then a resounding victory for Kolkata Knight Riders against a strong Delhi Dare Devils squad in the BCCI-led Indian Premier League Twenty20 Championship.
If someone can recognize such star value, then he must be none other than Shah Rukh Khan. It is not surprising that Shah Rukh has brought in Akhtar to be the Knight in Shining Armour for his Kolkata outfit.
SRK did better than his cheerleader girls to rouse the crowd at Eden Gardens. It seems to me that SRK, as the one who writes the pay checks, has usurped the chair of coach John Buchanan. How can Kabir Khan of Chak de India just watch from the sidelines?
But Shah Rukh knows that his tactical prodding alone is not enough to lift his team when the batters post a below part total. To move on to winning positions you need to have impact players such as Akhtar.
Well, Vijay Mallya must be watching the Knight Riders.
Shah Rukh is the King, the king of good times, at least for the time being.
The beer baron may be fuc-King his good times!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mallya is kicking his own arse in the IPL

By John Cheeran

Vijay Mallya, the king of good times, is having nightmares. And generously, Mallya is passing on his nightmares to his hired bunch of cricketers.
Mallya is in the habit of kicking arses, and has already done that to Charu Sharma. Mallya’s dreamboat, Bangalore Royal Challengers, is foundering in the waters of Indian Premier League. After having too closely associated with his franchise, Mallya has become the butt of jokes as Bangalore offers little challenge to its rivals.
Corporate sector loves to bandy about the accountability factor. If you do not succeed, you have to bow out. But how you go about reveals a lot about your corporate culture.

You play to win. But you are bound to lose too. Not all companies can register similar levels of growth in the same market. The fact that there is no space for draws in the Twenty 20 cricket can sound a bit cruel to parties involved and especially to former Indian skipper Rahul Dravid, in Bangalore’s ugly experience in the IPL.

You cannot change course midstream. I can’t understand why Mallya is chafing at Sharma and Dravid for having chosen wrong players to lead the Twenty20 charge.
May be it is time Mallya realized that it is he who has made the wrong choices. Once the auction was over, come whatever may, you have got to back your guys, till the last match, instead of distancing yourself from the freefall. When Mallya tells the equity holders that he let himself bypassed by Sharma and Dravid, it shows that he lacked the courage to stand by his own convictions.

Otherwise, Mallya has done nothing wrong, but sadly, he thinks so. Mallya had little choice but seek expert advice from men who are familiar with things cricketing how to put together a cricket team, albeit twenty20, and run a franchise. Bangalore did not lack such people with Mallya free to pick the brains of the current Indian Test team captain Anil Kumble and former Indian skipper Dravid. Indian national team’s bowling coach Venkatesh Prasad is the guru of Challengers. Still, the premium brand Royal challenge lacked the kick when it came to hitting over the top.

To me Bangalore Royal Challengers look much the same as the Indian team that took part in the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies. That team led by Dravid had all the elements and tactical nous but came a cropper on the field.

Dravid is having another crisis of leadership, whether he would like to admit it or not, thanks to a series of choices that has failed to fire.

Royal Challengers have been dubbed as a Test team by the media. Apparently Dravid would have believed that in any format, those guys with sound basic skills tend to do well. But in the short run, Dravid has been proved wrong by Daredevils, Knight Riders etc.

I’m sure Mallya’s HR department will take over players’ auction from the likes of captain and the CEO of the side for the next round of IPL.

Not all crises have the luck of throwing up a saviour and Mallya will have to wait.
Not all problems have solutions but Mallya will have to take a deep swig before he can cheer on his challenge in the IPL.
Till such time, he should ogle at the babes on his calendar sheets.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Men in White; Men in Black

By John Cheeran
I enjoyed reading Mukul Kesavan’s Men in White, a book of essays. It took me almost a year to get hold of the book and then last month, I read through it.
Being an irregular reader of Kesavan’s columns’ at The Telegraph, Calcutta, these offering was far from satisfying. I did not understand the hype regarding a book which is essentially a compilation. In fact to sell his book, Kesavn wrote a blog with the same name at and after the publication of the book he stopped it.
And unfortunately when I was in Delhi in April, an acquaintance’s blog watch column in a tabloid, bemoaned the end of the blog! It is indeed good to have such friends.
I, however, want to salute Kesavan for coming up with some bold statements regarding the nature of cricket journalism in India.
Kesavan rightly points out how cricket journalists in India, and that includes former cricketers-turned-writers, fail to look facts at their faces.
And this opinion too one has read before at Wisden Asia cricket magazine. Kesavan writes that even guys such as Sanjay Manjrekar puts Barry Richards, who played only FOUR Tests, much higher in order when they make a list of batting greats, and ignores someone like Sunil Gavaskar, who was the backbone of Indian batting close to two decades. And Manjrekar at least should have watched Gavaskar in action many times over, being a Mumbai-based cricketer.
Kesavan rightly attacks the servile attitude of Indians for blindly holding onto the indexes supplied by the white cricket establishment. And immediately he refers to Graeme Hick, and how the player was exposed in the international arena for what he is worth. He would have been another Barry but for playing for England and coming a cropper.

It is observations such as these that make Kesavan’s writing a pleasure to read. But as Kesavan accuses some of the leader writers of English newspapers, who had an uncharitable view on Sourav Ganguly, as being failed intellectuals, Kesavan himself can be classified as a failed novelist. And a failed novelist is any day better than an average Indian cricket journalist.

Kesavan quotes Christopher Isherwood of having said that he occupies the front of the second grade novelists, an admission of reality, I have a feeling that same can be said of our history teacher at Jamia Milia in Delhi.

How many average Indian cricket journalists have had the educational and family background that Kesavan has enjoyed? But that Kesavan is an elitist should not take away from the worth of his arguments.
And Kesavan comes across as someone who is irreverent when he berates AFS Talyarkhan, a highly rated sports journalist and commentator based in Mumbai, as an old windbag. I have read only a few columns Talyarkhan wrote for Sportsweek in the fag end of 80s. I haven’t listened to more than a couple of AFS T’s broadcasts. So I can’t make judgment on them. I’m sure Kesavan is correct in his criticism of AFST. But what’s the point of pointing finger at someone who is dead and buried in this case?
Can Kesavan criticize today’s windbags?
How does he rate Arun Lals, Harsha Bhogles?
Would he dare to criticize anyone of these jokers?

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Happiness and keeping the score

By John Cheeran
May be, just may be, I’m one of the happiest persons on the earth.
Happy? Me? Someone who is battling a midlife crisis and walked out of office without another job in hand?
I’m happy to be alive when newspaper front page screams at me that death toll in Myanmar is climbing the 50,000 mark. I can see, I can feel. I can sleep at the end of the day despite carrying an empty wallet with me.
There are many who have been taken away from life much before me. So I’m happy to be alive and sit at my corner and watch the world rush by to grab its share of the spoils.
Has it affected anyone of us that more than 50,000 lives were wasted, though in a natural calamity?
Hardly. What matters to us are the T20 scores.
20:20, a world with perfect vision.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

What price for getting the headlines right: Journalism in Dubai

By John Cheeran
Do you want to work as a journalist in Dubai?
Do you want to work for the market leader in Dubai?
Please take a look at these clippings culled from Gulf News, Dubai.
The editor / journalist who has given this sport page headline can't even get a world famous name spelled correctly.
Full marks for meeting the deadlines!
Such talent is rewarded without fail in the organisation!
God save journalism and readers of this newspaper in Dubai.

Journalism in Dubai: Take a close look

By John Cheeran
Do you want to work as a journalist in Dubai?
Do you want to work for the market leader in Dubai?
Please take a look at these clippings culled from Gulf News, Dubai.
The editor / journalist who has given this sport page headline does not know the difference between It's and its.
Such talent is rewarded without fail in the organisation!
God save journalism and readers of this newspaper in Dubai.

Where do you find editors who can't tell apart Its from It's? Go to Dubai! And Pick up a copy of Gulf News

By John Cheeran
Do you want to work as a journalist in Dubai?
Do you want to work for the market leader in Dubai?
Please take a look at these clippings culled from Gulf News, Dubai.
The editor / journalist who has given this sport page lead headline does not know the difference between Its and It's.
What a shame that despite the management investing hugely in American design (Mario Garcia) some of the flunkeys in editorial department makes the product a broadshit par excellence!
Such talent is rewarded without fail in the organisation!
God save journalism, and readers of this newspaper, in Dubai.

Gulf News: Giving Credit where it's due!

By John Cheeran
Do you want to work as a journalist in Dubai?
Do you want to work for the market leader in Dubai?
Please take a look at these clippings culled from Gulf News, Dubai.
The editor / journalist who has given this strap for the interview could not have fucked it up worse. He makes the Pakistani batsman Hameed say he has helped India win the Test during the 2004 series, when Pakistan outplayed India! Such powers of vigilance from a great journalist!
Such talent is rewarded without fail in the organisation!
God save journalism, and readers of this newspaper, in Dubai.

Gulf News, Dubai: It's and Its - all happening there

By John Cheeran
Do you want to work as a journalist in Dubai?
Do you want to work for the market leader in Dubai?
Please take a look at these clippings culled from Gulf News, Dubai.
The editor / journalist who has given headline for this sport column does not know the difference between its and it's.
Such talent is rewarded without fail in the organisation!
God save journalism, and readers of this newspaper, in Dubai.

Quality of Journalism in Gulf

By John Cheeran
Do you want to work as a journalist in Dubai?
Do you want to work for the market leader in Dubai?
Please take a look at these clippings culled from Gulf News, Dubai.
The editor journalist who has given this sport page caption does not know the meaning of the word astride.
Such talent is rewarded without fail in the organisation!
God save journalism, and readers of this newspaper, in Dubai.

'Dont' do this to journalism, my boss! Quality of journalism in Dubai!

By John Cheeran
Do you want to work as a journalist in Dubai?
Do you want to work for the market leader in Dubai?
Please take a look at these clippings culled from Gulf News, Dubai.
The editor journalist who has given this sport page headline does not know the difference between don't and dont. Such talent is rewarded without fail in the organisation!
God save journalism and readers of this newspaper in Dubai.

John Cheeran at Blogged