Thursday, September 11, 2008

Playing in India, not playing for India, matters for Ganguly

By John Cheeran
Sourav Ganguly is out of the Rest of India squad, and vast sections of India are discussing the injustice done against the Bengali icon and one of India’s prominent batsmen since 1996.
Australians are coming.
So an omission from the Rest of India squad could be interpreted as an end of the road signal. The omission would not have mattered much if not for Ganguly’s exasperating form during the Sri Lankan Test tour. Always considered as a good one-day batsman, Ganguly was left out of the Indian one-day team that defeated Sri Lanka immediately after the follies of Tests. That should have rung alarm bells for worshippers of Ganguly.
Any discussion about Ganguly will not be complete without pointing towards former Indian captain Rahul Dravid.
The selection committee, led by former Test cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar, had cast aside Dravid long ago from the one-day excursions.
Dravid, the quintessential Test batsman, survives the axe mainly thanks to a few gritty innings that he played on the Sri Lankan tour. Willingness to fight it out in the middle was there in quite contrast to the belligerent escapism that Ganguly brought to the batting crease. Now it may be ironic that Ganguly has been told to pack his bags after his most successful season as a Test batsman (does anyone remember the double century he scored against an harried Pakistan) in international cricket.
Reports say that coach Gary Kirsten and Test team skipper Anil Kumble did not bat for Ganguly when selectors sat together to finalise the squad.
How they could have?
Dravid, despite his low key performance in recent times, has been performing a crucial role for India batting at the critical slot of No.3. In terms of sheer utility value Ganguly is no match for Dravid. And Ganguly never cared for his fielding.
Ganguly knows by experience that silence is golden.
Why react when others are dusting up his obituary.
What if the Rest of India falters against the Australian attack? That will open the doors of Indian team to him again. Just sit at the boundary.
And even of you are not playing for India does it matter any more in the age of Indian Premier League?
Playing in India is what matters now you have Kolkata Knight Riders to dream of. IPL must be figuring prominently in Ganguly’s thoughts and that must be delaying an official declaration of the end.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Jeet Thayil / Malayalam's Ghazal

Editor's note: Jeet Thayil was born in Kerala, India, and educated in Hong Kong, New York and Bombay. His poetry collections include Gemini 2 and, English and Apocalypso. My most remembered and favourite lines of Jeet are below.
"where they (my lips) touched your skin, there would be constellations in your face, and world upon world in your absent body."

Malayalam’s Ghazal
Listen! Someone’s saying a prayer in Malayalam.
He says there’s no word for ‘despair’ in Malayalam.

Sometimes at daybreak you sing a Gujarati garba.
At night you open your hair in Malayalam.

To understand symmetry, understand Kerala.
The longest palindrome is there, in Malayalam.

When you’ve been too long in the rooms of English,
Open your windows to the fresh air of Malayalam.

Visitors are welcome in The School of Lost Tongues.
Someone’s endowed a high chair in Malayalam.

I greet you my ancestors, O scholars and linguists.
My father who recites Baudelaire in Malayalam.

Jeet, such drama with the scraps you know.
Write a couplet, if you dare, in Malayalam.
John Cheeran at Blogged