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Sight Screen

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Ganguly's academy...

...has been duly inaugurated, it says here.
The academy, set up on a five-acre plot of land in collaboration with country's leading consumer electronics and home appliances company Videocon International Limited at the satellite township of Salt Lake, would initially train 700 youngsters.
Christened 'The Videocon School of Cricket', the academy has been established at a cost of Rupees one crore.
Ganguly himself would offer tips to the youngsters whenever he has time from his busy cricketing schedule.
"Whenever I will be free, I will try to help these boys," Ganguly said after the inauguration.

Note to scribes: I have never understood why a section of Indians have this obsession with the word 'would'. The Prime Minister would go to Singapore tomorrow; the Cabinet would meet to consider this; the BCCI would leak...
Sorry no. The prime minister will et cetera. And the reason for bringing it up is this: Saurav, among others, speaks good English. What earthly need is there to impose your syntax on his direct quote? No way in the world is Saurav going to say, 'whenever I will be free..' and such.

48 Comments:

  • Prem:

    Any insight into who gets sent to the National Cricket Academy? I mean, what is their selection criteria. I wonder how useful the Videocon Achool will be. In an earlier report somewhere (probably Telegraph) Snehasis Ganguly commented that it was better than the NCA in some respects and if it only had a swimming pool and something else (I forget what), it would be better.

    Do you have any experience, as a journo, of visiting any of the private cricket academies in the country? Are they any good or just money-making machines?

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 14:48  

  • Saudi blocks blogger.com
    Posted: 5 October 2005 By: Jemima Kiss Email: jemima@journalism.co.uk Authorities in Saudi Arabia blocked access to blogger.com this week, according to press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontieres .
    Find out how you can buy and sell anything, like things related to music on interest free credit and pay back whenever you want! Exchange FREE ads on any topic, like music!

    By Blogger Jerry Simpson, at 14:50  

  • Saudi blocks blogger.com
    Posted: 5 October 2005 By: Jemima Kiss Email: jemima@journalism.co.uk Authorities in Saudi Arabia blocked access to blogger.com this week, according to press freedom group Reporters Sans Frontieres .
    Find out how to buy and sell anything, like things related to music on interest free credit and pay back whenever you want! Exchange FREE ads on any topic, like music!

    By Blogger Seva Alieva, at 14:50  

  • good question here hjrsingh... i mean SG is the only cricketer of the current lot to start one so just curious why no one else has yet to start it. and yes, SG has always talked about starting one since, i guess, 2003!!

    so just curious if this is a money making machine or there is a real drive for the improvement of indian cricket

    By Blogger Mayur, at 14:56  

  • singh-saab: Like Amit's question on my favorite journos, in another post, this one merits a full-fledged entry. Lemme try and find time for it, before the week is out.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:58  

  • Actually, when I first read the article on SG starting this, I was impressed he was trying to give somethng back to the game. It may just be his name finally but there was some effort, right? And time will tell whether this pays rich dividends.

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:00  

  • prem:
    Speaking of English-writing skills. Man, are they declining in India. Just pick up the newspaper (or sometimes even your website), you will find typos, incorrect grammar, long unwieldy sentences. They also use invented words like "temping" (temporary staffing) etc. On my recent visit to India, i was told by a journalist that papers do not have the money for "proof readers".The trouble is the general population starts writing this way and accepts it to be normal. Thoughts?

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:09  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger losing now, at 15:09  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 15:13  

  • losing now :- That's only with the Internet editions of all these newspapers. If you read the print edition, you will notice that the standards are pretty good.

    By Blogger Oracle Guy, at 15:16  

  • I agree with oracle guy on that.

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:18  

  • Actually, Vengsarkar has been running an academy in Mumbai for quite some time now. And it is quite a successful one too. Read this ...

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 15:26  

  • prem: how ya doin'?

    700 youngsters! That's a lot. I am not questioning the intentions behind this endeavour but that seems like a lot of kids to coach. Wonder what kind of student-to-coach ratio the school will have? If its something like 100 to 1, wonder what the kids are going to learn?

    By Blogger obelix, at 15:26  

  • Prem:

    A minor beef with you.

    You insist on spelling Ganguly's first name as Saurav instead of Sourav (which, to my knowledge, is the official spelling). I can understand why you do that since you are a non-Bengali, that is, you spell it the way you say it. Now how will like it if I spell Tendulkar's name as Sochin which is how Bengalis say it?

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 15:28  

  • better then playing gully cricket obelix. u doin fine? Long time...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 15:29  

  • And what about "Drobid" hjrsingh?

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 15:31  

  • saurabh: i am doing good. thank you.

    I attended one such 'academy' myself when I was in my early teens. It was a summer-holidays thing. It wasn't fun. Just too many kids and not enough attention from the 'coaches'. It was all over even before it started.

    I think I had more fun playing gully cricket. : )

    By Blogger obelix, at 15:38  

  • I wonder how many of these 'academies' are just money making enterprises...

    By Blogger obelix, at 15:40  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 15:50  

  • yes, gully cricket is fun, but it didn't do you any good, did it :-)

    Anyway, never been to an academy in india so can't comment. Lets hope its for a good cause...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 15:52  

  • gulli-cricket should at least in theory, inculcate the street smart attitude, if nothing else. Remember, most of the big stars in the subcontinent have been the contribution of gulli cricket.

    By Blogger Toney, at 16:29  

  • a slow day...i thought could post some of the responses to sanjay jha to lighten your day from his website
    Karthik(AF) :
    Sports jouranlism is an art. If you sincerely do not know how to write sports articles take some course or read the articles of others. You should realize is it worth for readers to invest their time in your article. So far, all your editorials have been rated poor. Did you every analyze why they do that? Indian fans are extremely knowledgable about their cricket. There are 1000s of much better writers out there than you. It is just that they have better things to focus on full time than this. So when you do reporting you have to be very careful of what you say and what you write. You should not shove your personal opinion down the throat of your readers. You may be an ardent follower of Ganguly. Mind you we were also appreciating him. But we love Indian cricket more than any individual. So if you were a responsible writer you should have written things in the interest of Indian cricket not against it. By now you must be aware your irresponsible journalism has earned a permanently bad name for you. Like Ganguly you take a break or take a course! Your trying to sensationlize issues have worked against you not in favor of you. One more thing. What is with these polls? I cannot believe you are getting some sponsors for this website!

    By Blogger tombaan, at 16:40  

  • All Rounder(IN) :
    I guess I have to agree with most of you guys here. It was disgusting to read one-sided tirade of Mr. Jha. As a journalist, you have some responsibility Mr. Jha and please dont use the website to vent your personal feelings. As for the quality of your writing, I must say you are thoroughly disappointing. The web site has taken a beating and if anyone has missed gossip and loose talk at Pan Ka Dabbas or Auto Stands, they can can pick it up again at CricketNext.Com. Instead of reporting objectively, Mr. Jha you have stooped to undignified levels. Please take it easy and dont publish silly articles and conduct stupid polls. Thanks. Shall we say that you and Ganguly both have to go for the sake of Indian Cricket!

    By Blogger tombaan, at 16:41  

  • OPEN LETTER TO SANJAY JHA (IN) :
    OPEN LETTER TO SANJAY JHA(IN) : Sanjay Jha, Please stop writing insane articles. Seriously. You always think you are too smart and you think you have unearthed some secret. instances "THE MYSTERIOUS FIRST LEAK : HARSHA BHOGLE USED AS A PAWN?" "10 REASONS WHY GREG CHAPPELL IS "MENTALLY UNFIT" TO BE INDIAs COACH" "WHY IS CHAPPELL HIDING IN ZIMBABWE? DID HE MISCALCULATE BCCI ELECTION RESULTS?" Dude, grow up. why will Chappell hide in Zimbabwe? is there any valid point in the article? Of the 10 reasons you stated is there any hidden pun we did not get? You always try to use bombastic words. Dude, cricket writing is not about displaying your *ing smartness. I dont know if someone actually pays you for doing your research and writing such articles.I cant even say you are biased. You are a complete idiot. How can a professional website have a headline like "LIAR Flintoff now calls Ganguly selfish and lazy individual". sincere opinion.

    By Blogger tombaan, at 16:42  

  • Sanjay Jha, Please stop writing articles on cricket. You are the biggest fool who could become a cricket writer. Please add the poll "Sanjay Jha should quit cricket writing" YES/NO. MY Answer is a YES. fellow readers please respond here with your answer.

    By Blogger tombaan, at 16:44  

  • YES YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

    By Blogger suraj, at 17:03  

  • YES a million times

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:12  

  • Hey Prem,
    I created a Blogger account just to leave comments (I'm more of a Xanga man myself). Just had a slight followup to your last post, made slightly more amusing by the context:
    "Saurav, among others, speaks good English."
    This is actually incorrect. The correct sentence is "... speaks English well." 'Good' is an adjective, and you're actually qualifying the verb 'speaks', which requires an adverb. I've been corrected on this as well, so it kinda jumped out at me. :-)

    By Blogger Chirag F, at 17:18  

  • A BIG YES!!!

    By Blogger Raju, at 17:20  

  • http://www.cricketnext.com/showmessagedb.asp?from=7904&click=yes

    I love this comment

    Karthik(TJ) :
    Sanjay Jha is an insult to cricket journalism. His opinionated verdicts in the Chappell-Ganguly issue is an ultimate crap that he can churn out. So far the allegations they make against Chappell are absolutely ridiculous. Being an Australian he is going to drill you like anything to get in shape. Our Indian cricketers act like bunch of sissies. We all know what kind of a sissie Ganguly is shacking his hips like ladies and chasing the ball and failing 95%! If you want to become a great team you need to go the extra distance. If you are going to be like couch potato why the heck you play international cricket? Dravid never had any injury like Ganguly. Dravid played monumental innings, he kept wickets, he took more than 120 catches. Yet he is fit. This idiot Ganguly hardly lasts couple of balls but somehow gets injured! I got click in the hand cluck in the hand pluck in the nose. To support such an arrogant prick who lost a test series to Pakistan single handedly you must be a real lunatic Sanjay Jha.

    By Blogger Boom, at 19:52  

  • Prem,

    Strangely, in this case the scribe may be right and you wrong.

    Here is what Bill Bryson says in Troublesome Words (p.218):

    Quote
    ''This is not simply a matter of grammatical orderliness. It is a question of clarity - of telling the difference between what may happen and what will happen.If you write, 'the plan will cost 400 million pounds'you are expressing a certainity.The plan either has been adopted or is certain to be adopted. If you write, 'the plan would cost 400 million pounds', the statement is clearly suppositional.... A common failing in British journalism is to present the suppositional as if it were a certainity. An article in the Guardian about union proposals...went on to say,'the proposals will create up to 20000 new jobs,... will be phased in over three years... will cost up to 8 million pounds, and so on.In each instance the thought should be qualified: 'the proposals would create up to 20000 jobs'.

    Unquote

    Clearly in the journalist's mind, Ganguly's participation in his academy is suppositional (which Ganguly reinforces by saying 'I will TRY') and not a certainity. He is absolutely right in using 'would'.

    Cheers
    Ravi

    By Blogger Ravi Abhyankar, at 23:15  

  • oracle guy: I have read the print versions. Believe me ..it is full of errors. On my next trip, in a month or so, i'll collect some, scan and post some.

    By Blogger losing now, at 23:55  

  • "To become someone like Sourav, you need to have talent.". Yeah right !!! In other words this can be translated as You need Talent to
    -> Indulge in politics
    -> Find the right backers
    -> Divide and rule
    -> Quote meaningless statistics when people question your form
    -> Avoid fast pitches
    -> Divert core issues
    -> Put self before everything

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 02:54  

  • Prem, I noticed that you do not come out in the open and strongly say what you feel anymore. Maybe it is just my opinion. I see a little sarcasm here and there in your writing style, but, when punters like Sanjay Jha are advocating their skewed thoughts loud and clear, powerful cricket gurus like you and Dileep are kind of in a shell. Maybe you are disgusted by it all...I dont know, but, there are lots of us folks here who want to know how you feel about issues in black and white. Much like your analysis on your live chat sessions during matches.

    GO..PREM..GO !!!

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 03:01  

  • Chirag F said:
    "... speaks English well." 'Good' is an adjective
    -> I bet you must be feeling on top of the world with this opportunity to bash prem at his profession (writing) !!!

    hjrsingh said:
    You insist on spelling Ganguly's first name as Saurav instead of Sourav
    -> Man...Who gives a fu** ?

    Prem, from here on in, I bet you will know better than to start a debate on the english language in a cricket blog !!! I am a big fan of yours and this post and the comments it has solicited is a bit disappointing, to say the least.

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 03:15  

  • Prem...good that u brought out this topic of bad English. Have u lately watched NDTV.They have changed the entire English language topsy turvy.
    Sample this: And for the records,this is a post match summary at 7.30PM IST that goes something like

    "And India "would" go on to win the toss.India opened with Saurav and Sehwag.After the initial few overs,Sehwag would be at his aggressive best and "would" go on to make a century"

    Are they reporting ona past event or predicting a future event??

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 03:35  

  • Okay, after hearing arguments from all the sides, the verdict is in. "My" verdict :-) Folks, following is my "Good, Bad and Ugly" verdict based purely on my reading, watching, hearing and most importantly, intuition. I guess a man's body language speaks louder than words. So here we go, in reverse order:

    Ugly
    Saurav Ganguly : Well, his performance tells it all. I'm sick of anybody who keeps dwelling on his "past performance", that too against sides like Kenya, B'Desh and Zimbabwe. More tragically, his so-called proteges - Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan - too seem to be going downhill along with their patron-saint. Won't say anymore though can write endlessly.
    Sunil GavaskarGive this guy any post that doesn't come with accountability. Anything that comes with accountability, trust SG to say he has too many "other" commitments. He is the cricketing-equivalent of business world's airline industry. Start being a billionaire (or world-class team), ask Sunil to join in and bingo, you are a millionaire (or indian cricket team)! No wonder, the ICC World XI is doing how it is doing in Super Series. Also, notice what kind of conflicts of interests he has in the various roles he has. Sunil reminds me of my fav movie character - "Manuji" of "Bollywood Calling".
    Jagmohan DalmiyaDo I need to write anything here?

    Bad
    John WrightLooks almost certain that he was mis-treated (or maybe abused) by one or more players during the end of his stint as coach. Why does he keep quite even now?

    Good
    The TelegraphSurprise! Surprise! Telegraph had the guts, despite having a predominantly Bengali readership and a certain LP Sahi on its payroll, to call for Ganguly's sacking in one of its editorial. As for the seeming "blot" of having LKS on its payroll, I suppose any newspaper would die to have someone like LPS on its payroll with his deep penetration into the current cricketing establishment.
    Greg ChappelHe is just going about doing his job. As for lack of so-called man-management skills, would people care to look at how some of the highest-paid and "reputed" soccer coaches like Alex Ferguson behave with non-performing members of their teams?
    Harsha BhogleI don't understand why Harsha has to be apologetic. As a broadcaster, it is his job to get scoops and sensational stories. If Gavaskar passed him stories about senior players' complaint about Chappel, it is surely not Harsha's mistake.

    By Blogger Raag, at 04:23  

  • Prem....read this....

    http://sify.com/news/internet/fullstory.php?id=13957777

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 04:30  

  • In my opinion, Harsha represents all that is worst in TV commenting.It is the medium where the viewer actually sees what is happening and the role of the commentator is to add something extra to make it meaningfull for the viewer.Instead what we have from Harsha is the constant blabbering bordering on tediuos and especially on distraction.I read somewhere that towards the last few overs of the third Ashes test, where the English team had to score 129 odd runs and struggling when the seventh wicket fell,there was hardly any commenting from Richtie Benaud and Atherton for the last 30 minutes.When asked later, Benaud reportedly said that" I did not want to intrude on my viewers with my blabber when the game was so exciting.All that the viewers needed to know at that time was the number of runs to be scored and wickets remaining".A true professional!!

    By Blogger laks1234, at 05:54  

  • Hi,
    I am new to this blog. I have been following this blog for quite sometime. I just noticed a interesting comment on Sunil Gavaskar. Although I am an ardent fan of him. You are right anything with accountablity this man refuses. Nice observation. I have always seen that when Agarkar comes to bowl these guys have all superlatives in the world.

    By Blogger Deepak Anekal, at 06:33  

  • RAVI,
    nice one on sify abt hacking ...

    By Blogger rajesh, at 07:03  

  • For the benefit of those who could not read the article on which Harsha sent his classical response...Sanjay Jha (it is mentioned as Zaa- i guess it is one an d the same) ..this guy is a Saurav 'pawn' ..he also came on one of the NDTV cricket controversy program..and almost got a pasting from Navjot Sidhu...read on

    The mysterious first leak..

    Sanjay Zaa | Saturday, October 01, 2005 9:46:24 IST
    The mysterious first leak.. WAS BHOGLE A PAWN?


    --Select--NewsSportsDiaryEditorialsIn MumbaiOpinionsSpecial ReportLakme Fashion WeekThe Uppercrust ShowSpecial SectionBooksHealth CheckBusiness ExtraWoman's ExtraBombay FirstShow BuzzCelebrity InterviewsGuest ColumnStray ThoughtsRound and AboutBooksEating OutPoliticsInternet HumourTarotscopeAsit ChandmalDr.Shirin WadiaMehraboon Irani
    for :

    It’s a question everyone has been wanting to ask but decided not to pursue. Perhaps there was too much to chew on in the last few days. So here goes the sequence of events of the Greg Chappell-Sourav Ganguly clash “leak” as it probably occurred:
    l Its genesis began in that famous farcical game at the Mutare Sports Club.
    l Chappell hassled captain Ganguly by going for the toss, without even informing him. At that time, Rahul Dravid and Ganguly were at the nets practicing. Or plain simple, nobody wanted to go for a toss as a form of protest. This point is slightly nebulous at this stage.
    l Ganguly advised by Chappell to drop himself from the playing squad. Ganguly is incensed.
    l Senior players along with Ganguly speak to Sunil Gavaskar telling him their woes; Chappell is bullying them into an obsessive frenzied physical fitness regime.
    l Gavaskar knows there is serious trouble brewing between the captain and coach, but decides to stay mum. Reason attributed is, he is out there in Zimbabwe along with Ravi Shastri, another BCCI Review Committee member, as a TV commentator only.
    l Gavaskar and Shastri are aware that Chappell and Ganguly are headed for a show-down, but decide not to intervene.
    l When Ganguly returns after scoring a hundred in the first Test , ESPN Star Sports commentator, the ever-smiling and congenial Harsha Bhogle, asks him what is brewing in the team. Ganguly tries to dodge that.
    l Bhogle questions him again, as if just to confirm what he is already aware of. Ganguly, provoked gently by Harsha confirms that he was asked to step down.
    l A Pandora’s box is opened. All hell breaks loose! Indian cricket hits it’s biggest crisis!
    What this implies:
    l Who told Harsha Bhogle about the Chappell-Ganguly fracas? Was it Shastri-Gavaskar, as they were confided in by the Indian team members?
    l If Gavaskar-Shastri denied sorting out the mess because they were there as TV commentators, why did they entertain the Indian cricketers to begin with? Did they mislead them by just hearing them out and then passing on the information to Bhogle to be used as a media news story by the sports channel whose TRP ratings during the series was abysmal till that point?
    l Since they knew the information was highly sensitive, shouldn’t they have immediately called up the BCCI president and informed him about the impending crisis?
    l By allowing the matter to drift out of hand, didn’t Gavaskar-Shastri aggravate matters by getting Chappell to get upset with Ganguly for going public, which led to the now celebrated six-page e-mail which held the country to ransom?
    l By sheer default, haven’t the two BCCI Review Committee members then abdicated their responsibility towards Indian cricket just for some commercial gains? And shouldn’t they have at least informed BCCI about it instantly?
    l Is it true that they were apparently not “empowered” by BCCI to resolve the issue then and there?
    l In which case, the other crucial question: should the BCCI have Gavaskar and Shastri in the Review Committee when they are also doing TV commentary as very often the two roles may be in conflict, as it has been in this case?
    l So by sheer default, thanks to it’s own people and procedures, isn’t BCCI itself responsible for the first leak to ESPN Star Sports (rumoured to be their channel-of-first-choice for TV rights)? After all, weren’t their two senior representatives part of the TV channel that leaked the news from the dressing room to begin with?
    l Isn’t it surprising then what transpired at the BCCI review in Mumbai where essentially nothing really happened? Shouldn’t BCCI then drop Gavaskar and Shastri from the Review Committee as there are too many grey areas which can be politically and commercially exploited?
    l0 What happened to the enquiry on “indiscipline” in the Indian team just prior to the team’s departure to Zimbabwe at the hotel, when some players, including Ganguly, arrived late for a press conference? Wasn’t the writing on the wall clear then itself that the captain and coach were on a collision course?
    l Has BCCI ended up using both Chappell and Ganguly as pawns in this deadly game of cloak and dagger?
    Courtesy: Cricketnext.com

    By Blogger ap-dxb, at 08:35  

  • For more on the controversy...now it is MJ Akbar's take digressing from his usual Political writings...interesting...read on...



    Royal Blush
    The Asian Age India | M.J.Akbar

    It would require a government to fall to get the kind of newspaper attention that the minor brawl between Indian cricket coach Greg Chappell and captain Sourav Ganguly received. Or not.

    Falling governments are not such big news anymore. Even when they don't fall, they slip each day, and how often can you ruin the front page, or the television screen, with a stumble over Iran, or a twisted ankle over Lalu Yadav?

    The public is hungry for real conspiracy: press conferences that rip a gut with poisoned sabres, and emails that slice through an artificial reputation like hot tongs on a gas balloon. They want the principal actors on the public stage to wear designer shirts even if they don't have style, and our political life is a trifle short on such niceties. I mean Praful Patel can claim a seat at any high table in the world of beau monde, but he is not in charge of conspiracies in his party.

    So could Jyoti Scindia, but he is not in the Cabinet, yet. Dr Manmohan Singh's sartorial qualities have improved considerably ever since his tailors were put on the government budget, but he is not in charge of conspiracies in his party either. Defence minister Pranab Mukherjee's tailor, alas, still lives in Bolpur. Home minister Shivraj Patil does his best, but someone should tell him that while white shoes with white trousers and white jacket may be de rigueur for a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security, it is not going to make the cover of the Cosmopolitan.

    Actually one of the best-dressed politicians is Lalu Yadav, if only he could do something about his ear-hair, but only when he is not pretending to be poor. The khaddar of his kurta-pyjama is spun from the finest cotton, and starched with an aesthete's precision. But Lalu can't send email so he can't really be the kind of conspirator that modern media thirsts for. There are of course those who have been able to bridge the two worlds.

    The BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) has the same chef de mission as the BCCI (Board of Control for Congress in India), Rajiv Shukla. But when you have weighed the balance carefully, on objective scales, you have to conclude that the political class cannot really match the cricket class in terms of media coverage.

    The most reliable commentators on both cricket and politics are the bookies, but the bookies are kept as far outside media limelight as possible, because they compete directly with journalists for occupation of the punditry space. Once upon a time, the journalist was king. Anyone who wanted to know anything about the present and future of politics would ring up a Delhi journalist, possibly one smoking a pipe. Such a journalist's word was the fatwa of fatwas.

    The journalist would be quoted at Mumbai parties in tones of hushed reverence. If his august presence was actually visible at any party, hostesses would order a waiter with an appropriately nourishing tray to hover permanently around him. Guests would hang onto the pundit's every word, giving curvaceous babes a permanent inferiority complex. The luckier journalists can still maintain a foothold on the social circuit, but there are too many cynics around who have got far better information on the Bihar elections, and the fate of Rabri Devi, her eldest daughter and Lalu's various brothers and brothers-in-law from the bookies. The big difference is that the journalist puts your whisky where his mouth is, while the bookie puts his money where his mouth is. Who would you rather trust? It's a no-brainer.

    The bookies certainly knew the end of the Ganguly-Chappell story long before the end was officially written in some hallowed five-star hotel in Mumbai. They said that it would be draw, and took bets of at least

    Rs 500 crores on their convictions. Needless to add, this is precisely what happened. How did the bookies know? Wouldn't we all like to know that?

    There is a term in Urdu called noori kushti, a wrestling match whose result has been predetermined by the sponsor, in which the wrestlers are full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Was the Ganguly-Chappell encounter noori kushti?

    The sound was loud enough to be heard from Zimbabwe to India, and the fury burnt acres of newsprint, but wait. The plot thickens. A theory has been floated by an afternoon paper in Mumbai, artfully called the Afternoon Despatch and Courier, that two popes of Indian cricket, Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri, planted the story of Ganguly's rift with Chappell (which was not a state secret on the Zimbabwe tour) on the talkometer-general of Indian cricket, Harsha Bhogle, who duly nudged and winked it onscreen, in order to improve the ratings of the dead series being televised by ESPN.

    Of all the reasons for this controversy this one seems the most cogent. If there is a conspiracy there must be a multinational around to blame, isn't it? How else can we remain a socialist, secular republic? Second, multinationals are always keen to live up to their reputations, as long as they can find locals to be their patsies, so the pattern begins to form. Third, if there is no television, there is no cricket. And there will be no television if there are no ratings. So if you can't get ratings by the game on the field, then you have to get ratings by playing some games off the field. This is logical. Pythagoras would have approved the symmetry of this construct.

    What impressed me most about this theory was its foundation. It was based on a highly believable cause. It tore the many layers of deception around the anger of the players and reached the heart of their woes: "Chappell is bullying them into an obsessive frenzied fitness regime". Some of the greatest names in Indian cricket have traversed the green while fielding in the regal manner of an ocean liner; there is a strong tradition of stately majesty which some players consider part of their inheritance. The modern culture of lightning reactions and sprinting speed to save a single run could be slightly distasteful to anyone called a "Maharaja", one who has prospered in the glow of smothering protection.

    A New Zealander like John Wright was bad enough. Now this manic Australian called Chappell comes along and demands total fitness. Absurd. It was only a matter of time before the unstoppable force met the immovable object. However, we will not know the full truth about this theory until the courts decide, for surely Gavaskar and Shastri will sue the newspaper for slander unless it prints a decent apology. You cannot sully the reputation of popes without inviting the wrath of God.

    I wonder if Sourav Ganguly, who has recovered the captaincy, quite realises what he has lost. Dignity. This has not happened suddenly. Decay is a slow process. It began with his silly and immature tantrums, done for television consumption: whenever he got out, it was someone else's fault.

    Any player with self-respect would have announced his retirement the moment he stopped seeing the rising ball. Ganguly has become a public mockery with his spasmodic batting, jerking like a puppet out of control. He knows he is not fit to be in the side, but cannot keep his hands out of the till, for cricket is serious money. Popes who double up as commentators often remind us of his past brilliance to justify his present place. That is utter nonsense. Of course he used to be brilliant. That was why he was honoured with the captaincy.

    But as captain of India, he is more than an individual of the team. A captain is a symbol of the nation. A captain without dignity is an insult to the nation and the game. Sachin Tendulkar was and is a dignified genius. When he felt that captaincy limited his contribution to the team, he gave it up. The team was more important. When Sachin was injured, he remained out of the team and repaired the damage. Sachin Tendulkar is a god to us, precisely because he knows the limitations of men.

    Sourav Ganguly is a god that failed because the demons of self-indulgence destroyed his genius. Sourav Ganguly is playing a game. It is not cricket.

    By Blogger ap-dxb, at 08:40  

  • I would like to know the difference between the Chappell email leak and the info which "inside sources" supposedly give. I mean that would also qualify as a leak as some confidential info might be given to some people for its use as required by them. Maybe this is a "selective leak" !!

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