Sunday, April 27, 2008

The weed and the monkey

It was a firecracker waiting to explode, and when it finally did, we had Sreesanth shedding crocodile's tears and an Harbhajan being well.....obnoxious! A lot has been written about it, and I'm guessing Sreesanth better shoulder his share of the blame.

We all know Harbhajan and his disciplinary problems, but the fact remains that more often than not he has been a good bowler, letting his bowling do the talking and generally gives back only as good as he receives (which probably is human). Sreesanth on the other hand, as the Hindustan Times wrote this morning, is more a 'showman than sportsman'.

They really hit the nail on the head, describing him as an 'attention seeking problem-child'. I have seen the same happen with a cousin of mine, who always loved provoking everyone while playing cricket (and of course crying when he got it nice and hard) and like many a kid threw a typhoon of a tantrum whenever he got out.

There's no excuse for being obnoxious, however great one may be, and Sreesanth is on par with Bhajji on the 'obnoxiometer'. It's rather creepy to hear him talk about himself in the third person, and his innate ability to rile his own team-mates must be frustrating for the Indian cricket team/coaches. I don't know if he ever sat down with a (sports) psychologist and discussed matters, and I'm guessing even the best in the business would tear their hair out trying to figure out the stuff Sreesanth is made of!

I'm waiting to see what the final decision on the matter is.

PS: Has anyone found a resemblance between Curious George and Sreesanth?

IPL blues

The IPL has a become the key focus of cricket lovers over the past week - some debating its raison d'etre (1,2,3), while more recently it's been the Sreesanth-Harbhajan controversy.

With regards to the idea of the whole tournament, I think that whoever invented T20 was undoubtedly smart. The days when people would faithfully sit next to their radio and listen to the commentary of many a stalwart, are long gone by (it's a different story that the radio commentators of this day are rather strange). Today, we multi-task and are perpetually on the run, so if we could condense the usual 90-overs of a test match (or 50-overs of an ODI, for that matter) minus all the dot balls into a T20 slugfest, then we have a game on! Oh, and we get to see our dream XIs, often seen only in exhibition games, actually become reality (imagine Dhoni, Hayden and Hussey on the same team!). (Note: I was wondering if anyone remembers those exhibition games organized by MRF in the late 80s, where the Windies played against a World XI in India?).

Despite the whole idea of dream teams becoming reality, the concept/skills on display are rather unappealing. According to me, I might tend to agree with Dr. Ramachandra Guha, who wrote:
“In my opinion, Test cricket may be compared to the finest Scotch, 50-overs a side to Indian Made Foreign Liquor, and 20-20 to the local hooch.
“The addict who cannot have the first or the second will make do with the last.
“The pleasures of the shortest game are intense but also wholly ephemeral. There is no time to savour delights offered in such a rushed and heady fashion. The medium form allows one to take in the booze more leisurely…. After spending a whole day at the cricket one can, as it were, remember individual sips of the drink that one has consumed. On the other hand, after a Twenty20 game, all one remembers is that one got drunk, and one’s side won, or lost….
“So long as only hooch is on offer, I will not be seen anywhere near a television set broadcasting a cricket match. I will resume my drinking habits once the IMFL and the Scotch reappear on the menu.”
I do plead guilty to watching a few games, but have been left with an overall sense of disappointment. One of the prime reasons has been the 'money factor', which I think has been grossly over-exaggerated - I cannot fathom how David Hussey makes more money than his more accomplished sibling "Mr. Cricket" Michael Hussey! Although one may draw parallels with soccer, I think the 'masala' component (cheerleaders and all) of the IPL tends to eclipse the cricket.

It is also painful to watch some really good players like Dravid, Jaffer and Laxman simply struggle to adjust to the demands of this game. They're just not cut out for it! And to top it all, Dravid has been bestowed with a 'player/icon' status! Laxman atleast had the magnanimity to give up his icon status, so that his team could spend the money on buying better players!