Cricket, Food

This and that

I’ve just come back from a vacation plagued by flight mishaps which has had me spend loads of time in airports. Its dawned on me just how important a welcoming airport is. I’ve been thinking of things every big city airport should have (other than the important things like clean loos) – a ‘real’ sleeping area with curtain separations and keep silent signs, accessible wireless internet, an entertainment area with books to borrow, video games, movies to rent and perhaps a gym/swimming pool. I dont mind all of these facilities being charge-able, I’d pay a lot for a comfortable bed for instance. This might seem over the top but I spent eleven hours waiting for flights so all this could have been very useful. However, not sure if these investments would actually be profitable.

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I also (with my abundant powers) ban the production of dip-tea – the kind with teabags. Why oh why would anyone drink this when tea-leaves-tea is so divine?
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A team of Karnataka cricketers – Kumble, Srinath, Prasad backed by Dravid are now running the Karnataka State Cricket Association. This can only be a good development I feel since these individuals are known for their integrity and ‘change maadi’ mindset as Cricinfo says. There is however a risk of extremely high expectations and it will also be interesting to see how they manage their many commitments. However, if they succeed then it could potentially pave the way for several ex-cricketers to actually give back by managing the game – be part of the change process instead of simply griping about it. This is great but also disastrous, cricket fans like us might have to tolerate Arun Lal and Sivaramakrishnan’s commentary for a while more.

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Cricket

Ridiculous!

If you thought ‘Dekh lega India’ and similar such ads are hilarious then check this one out. Sky sports’ Ashes advert – must admit that Stuart Broad in a gladiator costume is one of the most ridiculous things I have seen in a while.

Cricket, F1

Ferrari Collapse

While much ado about the IPL continues, Ferrari has only marginally improved on its disastrous F1 season. The Spanish GP had Massa qualifying fourth (with KERS!) and  he ended up sixth after a nightmarish fuel calculation mishap. Obviously, this team is far from the one that made it a habit of outthinking its competitors, it can’t even seem to calculate how much fuel an F1 car requires.  Michael Schumacher visuals during races only serve to bring back memories of the halcyon days. That said, the first four races of the season have definitely been the most exciting I’ve watched – Brawn, Red Bull while clearly leading have had competition from Toyota, Mc Laren and Renault.

As I type this, the Deccan Chargers are imploding yet again. Sigh.

Cricket, Random

Wishlist

These are the things I would like from the New Zealand test series

1) Balaji in the XI and swinging it

2) Rahul Dravid in ‘the wall’ mode eking out run after run while the likes of Sehwag and Gambhir flash away

3) The Zaheer-Ishant new ball combination bowling amazing spells

4) Less hype around Dhoni and his (apparently) wonderful captaincy

If all this doesn’t happen, I’ll settle for a glorious Laxman hundred.

Cricket

Think Pink

The Sydney test between Australia and South Africa kicks off tomorrow and there is an important cause that it will support. Breast cancer awareness is critical to early detection and ultimately a cure for the individual. I am not heartless (I think) but I believe that this isnt quite the right place to promote this cause.

So – the facts: the wicket will have pink stumps, players will have pink grips and stickers on their bats, Glenn McGrath can be seen sporting a pink bandanna ahead of the test and if effect the SCG will “turn pink” according to an Australian newspaper. This will be very effective in raising awareness since the test will have a huge following despite being a dead rubber.

I loathe having to characterise this as politics but this tag seems the most appropriate one. My primary fear (and this might seem really trivial considering the people suffering due to breast cancer) is that this is the start of an uneasy, permanent association between cricket and politics. Test cricket watchers tend to be purists and the purpose of a test match should not be a cause of any kind. If the cause is secondary then it becomes a side show and if it is the primary purpose then it hurts test cricket.

Worse, I’m scared that the tenuous relationship between sport and politics will be manipulated by politicians, administrators and presumably “evil” forces. Cricket isolated South Africa during apartheid but Zimbabwe is still merrily playing on. The Munich Olympics is a doomsday scenario we obviously don’t want a repeat of.

More than anything, I want to watch cricket for cricket’s sake.

Cricket, Travel

Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme

I wrote this in April 2007 and didnt post it for some reason. Somehow all the things I’ve said here are still relevant.

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Back from another training trip. This one was much better than the first in every way. Its got to do with expectations I think, when you’ve been there done that, you end up doing just what you want to do, not what is expected of you.

While I’ve been away the Indian cricket team has managed to crawl itself into quicksand once again. It seems to be a process of reinstating hope in the cricket fan – when you’re so low, you can only head in one direction from there.

Gummy bears are brilliant. Recommend them as wonderful additions to ten hours of classes per day. Weekends included.

The beach is beayoootiful. Whether its during the day or by moonlight, the sound of the sea is a calming influence.

I will swear eternal loyalty to anyone who is willing to make sambhar for me twice a week.

Cricket, Indian-ness

Obnoxious Weed

Yet another cricketing tournament, yet another Harbhajan debacle. Cricinfo labels him the “the prime candidate to carry on India’s rich legacy in spin” but he is far from all that. While his bowling has improved in recent matches from his alterego “Bhajji, the flat ball thrower”, its his character that is lacking. This is particularly surprising considering his senior partner – Anil Kumble is the model of composure, statesmanship and respect.

His captaincy of the Mumbai Indians IPL team has been dodgy at best. His spat with Sreeshant (not exactly an angel himself) continues an ongoing problem as a hothead and his story seems more and more like a Shoaib Akhtar prequel. India would do well to drop him and pick someone like Piyush Chawla or Murali Karthik. They might be not be the proven performers but they definitely deserve and value their India caps more.