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Sight Screen

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Paper Round -- India

1. Headline news, in Indian Express and elsewhere, is the selection committee fiat that Sachin Tendulkar will have to demonstrate match fitness in domestic competition, before he returns to the national side after his injury layoff. Fair enough -- there can be no 'VIP reserved' berths in the national side anyways.
2. In the Telegraph, this story about wicket keepers and their contrasting ambitions -- MS Dhoni wants to make it to the Test squad; Dinesh Kartick wants to earn a slot in the one day side. Cool -- this is news? As is Hemang Badani wanting to play more for India? Badani, at one point in his career, used to go to enormous lengths to work on his game. For instance, just ahead of the Steve Waugh-led assault on the Final Frontier, he watched all the videos he could find of Australia in action, and filled notebooks with observations on the lines and lengths the bowlers bowl, the quality of fielders in various positions, and such. Wonder if that level of enthusiasm has persisted, through his years in the wilderness.
3. Vidyut Jaisimha, son of the late ML Jaisimha, adds one more to the list of cricket academies in our country.
The academy is unique in itself as it is an indoor one and will be run 365 days as the name suggests. Apart from five nets, most of it laid with artificial turf imported from the United States, the academy also has a bowling machine.

Be nice if some newspaper/site could compile a list, broken down statewise, with short takes on the structure and facilities at each of these academies. Might in fact be a welcome change from asking Kapil Dev what he thinks of Sachin Tendulkar.
4. Dr Ali Bacher, who masterminded his country's return to the international arena, tells the Telegraph that while he is all for providing equal opportunities for colored cricketers, the current establishment in South Africa is taking things a touch too far.
Confirming that a quota system existed at the provincial level, Dr Bacher said: “A couple of years ago, the Board decided four Blacks have to figure in every provincial XI… Well, there can be practical difficulties: What if a Black wicketkeeper pulls a groin muscle just before the toss?”

5. In his weekly column, Peter Roebuck talks of ships and shoes, Olympic bids and French cuisine, pre-Ashes mind games and the growing popularity of Twenty20.
What effect this madness will have on English cricket is hard to predict. If nothing else it will remind old and young alike of the simple joys of giving the ball a whack. And as Antoine de Saint Expury remarked: "If you want to build a ship, don't instruct the men to go to the forest to gather wood. Instead, teach them to love the sea."

6. On Rediff, a discussion board on the new rules in place in ODIs has attracted a ton of feedback. Interesting -- the most common comment seems to suggest that the substitution rule will mark the death of the all-rounder. Shouldn't it by rights be the other way around? Shouldn't a player who can chip in with a quickfire 40-50 runs, or bowl 5-6 tight all rounders, be the ideal supersub, giving his captain the option of wild-carding him into the game?
7. And just to underline what a slow news day it has been, Deccan Herald tells us -- actually no, Kapil Dev tells us, through DH -- that Dravid and Kumble are the backbones of the Indian team. Actually, it's a bit like Indian cuisine in New York. What they do, they make this basic gravy, by the gallon. Then on, it doesn't matter what you ask for -- mutton, chicken, fish, veggies -- they just grab the appropriate article and toss it into the gravy.
Same difference -- Kapil, I suspect, spoke *once*, for a couple of minutes, at a press conference. For the past few days, that media interaction has come repackaged as mutton curry ('Sachin has more to offer'); chicken kurma ('Sehwag's reflexes and strength are a revelation'); vegetable masala ('Rahul and Anil are the backbones')...

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