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Sight Screen

Saturday, September 03, 2005

A bit on blogs

Good morning, you guys -- you do know it's the Labor Day weekend, right? :-) Meaning, posts will be few and far between, since I'll be at a friend's place over the weekend. And um, won't be following the India-Zimbabwe game -- the next live gig, mine at least, will be the final.
Will do a round up of India-related content, later in my evening once I get where I am going. For now, a general note:
A few friends asked in mail what the idea of this group blog thing is. Rather than respond individually, figured might as well do that on here: Briefly, it's this; I keep looking for one place where you can go for a compilation of cricket content from around the world -- news stories, columns, analysis, interesting blogposts, the works.
Haven't found one yet, so I thought, why not start one? Consider this a baby step -- first, we get a group of guys together; once everyone settles in and finds a posting rhythm, we try and figure out who can do what, when, so that on any given day, all bases are covered.
At least, that's the way I thought this through, prolly be a few teething troubles before it all falls into place. For now, need to run, it is 12.30 and if I want to get where I am going, need to make a start.
Happy Labor Day all, see you in my evening.


  • Hey Prem,

    What do I need to do to become a contributor to the blog? Or has my Kapil Dev practical joke disqualified me?

    Salman's Shirt

    By Blogger Salman's Shirt, at 12:37  

  • i would like to know as well ?

    I would certainly be interested to put forth my thoughts as well.


    By Blogger RamantheB, at 12:51  

  • OH MY GOD...


    By Blogger Kannan, at 12:52  

  • kannan.. my thought exactly. :)
    I never knew much about the mystery of Nayan Mongia. But it is pretty obvious that his team mates did not trust him to deliver in the crunch. I can't think of a single guy who had a supporting thought for Mongia or at least remnisced about how great it was to have played with him.

    By Blogger Vijay, at 13:27  

  • salman's shirt, ramantheb,
    Please send a cashier's check in the sum of... :))

    By Blogger Vijay, at 13:30  

  • Sorry to digress, Are any of you watching the game between Scotland and Italy ( world Cup qualifiers.. the game is electric)

    By Blogger RamantheB, at 14:04  

  • Depending on the pressure of contributing, it may or may not be a good idea to be a contributor on the blog.

    Maybe commeting is a decent option for me now ;-)

    By Blogger RPM, at 14:09  

  • Salman's Shirt, ramantheb : why don't you check out by sending an email to Prem. I'm also just a fan like you guys, so no reason why you won't be able to post.

    vijay, and kannan : about Monigia, even I was shocked. But then I rememberd these recent articles that Prem had linked to, regarding his post on selection processes and that Sachin Tendulkar's selectorial meeting related article where he stormed out etc. remember ? in that meeting sachin was asking for Mongia and Kambli in the team, and selectors gave him Sabakarim and Azhar instead. So....knowing that now, I wonder what the whole deal with Mongia ? Whats the background story on him. Lets see if Prem can tell us more sometime.

    By Blogger worma, at 14:58  

  • Prem,
    Agree with Worma, i think we need your take on Mongia and just what is the inside story behind what happened and what caused him to be out of favour eventually.

    By Blogger Harsha, at 15:11  

  • Here is Dileep Premchandran's take on Mongia- after he retired.


    My guess is that he is out because:
    1. he is tainted by the match-fixing problems we had in the past; and
    2. his team mates don't trust the guy to perform in the crunch.

    #2 is a critical issue. You've got to trust the guys you work with. Especially- a wicket keeper.

    Maybe when one of the current players retires from cricket, the beans will be spilled. Or the journalists in the know (maybe Prem?) would be willing to give some insight into this mystery.
    I join in on the call to Prem to give us the scoop on this.

    By Blogger Vijay, at 15:56  

  • In view of being at a friend's place... hardly polite, when he's throwing a party supposedly in my "honor", to sit around browsing and posting, especially the former...

    Will, instead, respond to the big question posted on here, in lieu of posts. But first, this -- there is no 'qualification', educational, monetary, whatever... for joining up on the blog, guys, sheesh...

    I just quickly cherrypicked a few people who I found posting regularly, on the presumption they had the time, and inclination, to be part of the exercise... will wait a couple weeks so everyone settles into some kind of rhtyhm, then gradually add more names.

    Okay. Next post, Mongia, then I am out of here.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 18:00  

  • I definately like this idea of multiple contributors. I visit Sight Screen quite regularly when I have a few minutes.. us cricket starved Indians in the US tend to enjoy whatever scraps we can, even if we cannot indulge in the matches themselves.

    More contributors means more frequent posts and all the names I see on the list seem to have capable and incisive voices, judging from their posts in other threads.

    By Blogger Sidhant, at 18:12  

  • prem...was doing the last madatory check before hitting the bed, now you've made me wait for the Mongia post !

    By Blogger worma, at 18:22  

  • Hi Prem,

    Hope all well at your end. Are you guys just going to stick to cricket or do you have any plans to include other sports i.e. India related Hockey, Chess, F1, Tennis (Davis Cup coming very soon)

    By Blogger Balaji, at 18:25  

  • ..and meanwhile reading this, meanwhile, makes me really feel awed at the Zim cricketers. With problems like these, and with the hopelessly small pool of players to choose from, if they still manage to be competitive in 1 out of 10 games, its a 'miracle' no less !

    But ofcourse this also highlights the point which Wright, the most sensible of all voices calling for Zim ban, made recently that he is not asking for the ban going by poor results, but going by the infrastructure, or lack of, that currently exists in the country.

    By Blogger worma, at 18:31  

  • Ooops, hang on... strange comp, typed in a bunch of stuff on Mongia and lost it all.

    Gimme 15

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 18:37  

  • :-))

    By Blogger worma, at 18:47  

  • ..more on that new Zim contract row here. And this bit is imp Players' representative Clive Field did not rule out the possibility of the two forthcoming Tests against India being cancelled. and 14th Sept is when we'd get to know what happens of this whole thing...and whether we get to taste our first series win outside the subcontinent or not :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 18:50  

  • By way of general background, you guys need to remember it was only in January 1996 that I began following cricket as a reporter.
    Also by way of background, before Rediff (Nov 1995) I was with Sunday Observer; my colleague and friend, Krishna Prasad, was already sniffing around the betting story at that point, though it would be some time before he and Aniruddha authored that expose for Outlook.
    Right, so keeping that in mind, I remember thinking at the time that the Prabhakar-Mongia go slow against the Windies was just one of those inexplicable things about Indian cricket that frustrate you to hell and back, but do not have a more sinister explanation.
    The first time I had a bad taste in the mouth about Mongia was at that infamous 1996 Bangalore camp. By sheer accident, Rahul Dravid was sitting alone in a corner of the pavilion, when I strolled up, he seemed in a chatty mood and we ended up speaking at length.
    When he finally got up to go, I raced over to the canteen, borrowed some paper and a pen (I wasn't carrying my notebook at the time) and came back to the pavilion to transcribe the chat from memory, before I forgot key bits.
    I was engrossed in that; after a while, though, a conversation nearby intruded. I was, you need to remember, in a chair against a pillar, the voices were coming from the other side and I realized the people talking didnt know I was there.
    There was a couple of selectors, and there was Mongia, telling them about his fellow players. Uncomplementary stuff, mostly, about attitude, about form. Startled me; I thought that was very bad form, to talk behind their backs in that fashion.
    Then of course the betting scandal broke, and like most other reporters, I too was tapping into people I knew, as was Faisal; collecting information from various sources. And the surprising thing then was not that names like Azhar and Jadeja, and even a couple of former 'legends' being named, we had all heard those names before, but the frequency with which Mongia;s name would come up.
    Moreover, his name was taken by people who did not all move in the same circle.
    By then, a couple of selectors were vehemently opposed to his selection, as was SRT; there was a selection meeting at the time, where conventional wisdom was he would not be picked. Yet, the night before the selection, one selector told me he would make the cut; money, he said, had changed hands, with a particular former off spinner turned selector reportedly the main, but not only, beneficiary.
    Next day, when the team was announced, Mongia was the keeper.
    There are lots of little titbits like this that could round out the picture, but I think one more will do to explain why he fell out of favor.
    Remember when SRT led to Aus, and midway through, injury to the keeper mandated a replacement? SRT spoke to the selectors on the phone, and asked that they send him anyone but Mongia. By then, though, the selectors and Dalmiya were in 'teach him a lesson' mode for his questioning their decisions and, most especially, opposing Azhar's selection. So, out of spite, they picked Mongia.
    Think back to that time. Remember those tearful confessions Mongia made to various reporters, about how when he landed in Australia, no member of the team would speak to him?
    He never said why his own team would diss him that way -- but the thing was, it had nothing really to do with match fixing (most players were of the mood to treat their colleagues as innocent unless proven otherwise) and everything to do with his politicking, the way he would set one person up against the other.
    Over time, the team had caught on; they couldn't insist he not be picked, but they could, and did, freeze him out when he joined the team.
    The ultimate irony is that he now wants to be a selector, this same guy who has in his time manipulated his own selection.
    Bottomline -- if Mongia is an outcast from Indian cricket, and even his own state association froze him out at one point not so long ago, it is IMHO with very good reason. That he was allegedly corrupt is half the story; that he was a slimy manipulator not beneath playing games with his own colleagues was the other.
    And with that, guys, am out of here, likely for the weekend. Will resume posts Monday, when I get back to NY.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 18:55  

  • WOW..great story Prem. Thanks, as usualy, for enlightening us :-) Just one bit (maybe u wont read it now) was that why was sachin insisting on mongia's selection in that infamous meeting where he stormed out ? (the one u linked to in yest'day's post).

    Anyways, so I learn now...although had this feeling all the time, esp since that Aus tour, that Sachin and the team (even SG) was dead against having him..thankfully they all stuck together and froze him out. Ofcourse, how Mongia fell out with Dalmiya would be another story altogether !

    By Blogger worma, at 19:03  

  • Whoa, Prem... Great story that... We expect more of this from you at least here

    The first thing that came to my mind when I read this was the "infamous" ODI against WI... I felt the same way when he slogged after we were all set to win against Pak in the Madras test (I did not see the match bcos I was in the US at that time)... and this guy has the nerve to think that he could become a selector...
    Maybe one day he would... nothing is impossible in the murky world of BCCI.

    By Blogger Kannan, at 20:03  

  • I think it is dangeroud that Mongia is even thinking of that. Imagine how many Kale-like episodes could happen without us ever knowing anything. I dont know how my cousin knew it but she told me very soon during (or after) the 1999 Aus tour that Mongia was given isloation treatment for the very reason that he talked behind their backs. But how she knew this is beyond me. She wasnt in the habit of reading on rediff (not a big internet user), nor is she a reporter in any way. Frankly, I never believed her. Maybe, it was in some paper then (she's a huge SG fan by the way, so we have lots to disagree about when we meet each time). Anyhow, did Mongia's bday happen in b/w the tour too? I think there was some episode related to that which she mentioned too.
    I just checked, he's a Sagitarian (Ugh, I am one too) and the tour was b/w Nov and Feb, so she may have said something to me. Prem, any particulars during that team-snubbing episode?

    By Blogger Toney, at 23:22  

  • Prem,

    Group blogging is a great idea but could the name of the blogger be put at the head of the post rather than the bottom. It would avoid confusion. Andrew Sullivan had three bloggers contributing when he was on vacation and it worked out great.

    By Blogger Rishi Gajria, at 23:29  

  • Prem ,

    Did you do anything for The Afternoon in Bombay around 1992-93-94?

    By Blogger Rishi Gajria, at 23:32  

  • toney...
    Yeah, I recall reading on Rediff that he spent his birthday almost completely alone in his room.

    By Blogger Kannan, at 03:39  

  • I dont know how many of you in India watch the channel - Sahara News - and a program called "SILLY POINT" on every match-day, doing the analysis of the match, take user-calls, etc. Usually the program consists of Kirti Azad, Ashok Malhotra (both ex-selectors) and either Maninder Singh or Srinath.

    Yesterday, during the program, Maninder raised the point to both the ex-selectors that what happens during selection? Do selectors push people from their own zones, etc? In reply to this, Ashok Malhotra explicitly mentioned that during selections of India-A and Board Presidents XI teams, selectors push their zonal players!!! But this doesnt happen for TEAM INDIA. He was also claiming responsiblity of discovering players like sehwag, yuveraj, kaif and even dhoni.

    Kirti on the other hand, remained silent and said that when he tried to do things the other way, people wouldnt allow him to do it.

    So, now publicly, its been acknowledged that zonal choicism has a say in selection matters.

    Why have India-A matches from now on? or for that matter select BP11 teams for visiting teams? Its just a farce.

    By Blogger madhugr, at 01:44  

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