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Sight Screen

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Mushtaq Ali RIP

Padma Shri Mushtaq Ali, India's oldest living cricketer, is dead; Cricinfo marks his passing with an obit by Boria Majumdar, whose book 22 Yards to Freedom, which I picked up while in India earlier this year, is next up on my to-read pile; an account from the archives of the India-England game of 1936 (when he became the first Indian to score an overseas century); and Ali's own random takes on life and cricket.
I find myself wishing that during my days as cricket correspondent, I'd spent time with the older players, soaked in their history and gained more perspective, through their eyes, on the events of the present.
So many players, so many experiences and stories -- it's a project someone out there in the Indian cricket space might want to sink his or her teeth into.
The Prime Minister, I notice in passing, has expressed 'deep shock and grief'. Not to crib, but I do wish our heads of state wouldn't put out these by rote press releases -- a fixed template that begins with the words 'The PM/President/CM has expressed deep shock and grief at the passing of *insert-name*, ask a minion who the heck this guy is, and insert as appropriate 'was a legend of music/dance/film/cricket..'
Someone needs to tell them that they don't *have* to mourn the death of someone just because he is dead; no statement at all is preferable, really, to a say-nothing statement the VVIP probably never even saw before it was released by a PIB minion.

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