« Home | dancing down the track !!! » | WALK » | White Lightning » | Fingers pointing up! » | One's that are very important » | A Hit , and lots of Giggles » | Hit and Giggles » | the PERFECT 10 » | On Tour - 2/2 » | On Tour » 

Sunday, December 02, 2007 

Hawk Eye

The Jamia cricket ground is the very best in the national capital region. Although devoid of flashy stands, scoreboards, tv screens et al, the ground has everything good cricket grounds around the world should have - green outfield, long boundaries and a one paced wicket. It was the first time I was playing on this ground, which hosts many of Delhi’s Ranji matches. I have been to the Kotla, unfortunately not to play, but no less fortunately to watch. The Kotla ground is about 15-20% smaller than this one, or atleast was before its recent renovation. But it could not have gotten bigger than this one by any means.

The match was a good one, we lost by 5 runs but it was good, enjoyable and challenging cricket. I went in to bat with 24 needed of 10, but the big ground got the better of me as I could get only one boundary and in the end it was just a tad too much. But I felt good about having tried hard, despite some poor show by some team mates.

On my way back to gurgaon, my cab got punctured and I and the other six team mates boarding the cab were stuck. As we waited for a cab reinforcement to arrive, I slid myself into an interesting conversation. The starting piece of the conversation/debate where I joined was one of my team mates capturing how Sachin Tendulkar had won a match for India even after Azharuddin and Jadeja had allegedly fixed it. According to him and the ‘legend’, Anshuman Gaekwad, the then coach, told Sachin that the match has been already fixed and the little master promised that he will get the match back.

There are two things about my character that come out during discussions and debates. One, a strong desire of playing devil’s advocate, and a second slightly complimenting trait of not believing in such super hero stories as the one mentioned by my friend. Every one pictures Sachin as the god today. Sure he is an umatched talent, one that the country will not see again, but his talent and skill is the only thing that has performed 100 percent in his career. His perseverance and application has been short of 100 many times. That is by no means to say that Sachin fixed matches, but I believe he should not be naturally assumed to be the good guy when there is controversy and allegations surrounding others.

Why would Sachin fix matches anyways? This was a response from one of the participants of this conversation. “He has so much money and admiration already why would he do it”. By venturing to answer that question, two points come up in my mind for deliberation. Firstly when was the last time a man realised that he has now earned enough money that he doesn’t need to earn anymore? I don’t think such people exist or ever existed for that matter. It’s unlike human nature to give up on luxury and comfort. The second point is what else could make someone fix matches. While there is only one obvious reason that comes to mind, it is only natural to believe that this reason will apply more to Azharuddin rather than Sachin or Jadeja.

Someone then actually remarked what if the D guy was involved in forcing these people somehow to throw matches. That Azharuddin had relations with some conspicuous people related to the underworld has been in public knowledge. But is it only money that could have forced him to throw matches, if at all he did. Azharuddin may have had a liking for swiss watches but he couldn’t throw matches. I have been watching cricket for 18 years now and I think I can tell who is going wrong where. To my knowledge Azhar never fixed matches on the field. There could have been something off it, like the Shane Warne and Mark Waugh incident where they sold insider information about team composition and pitch condition; I can never say anything about that. But on field I never felt and still believe Azhar never threw matches.

And Jadeja, well I would believe for a moment that Sachin, Sehwag, Mongia could have fixed matches but not Jadeja, and don’t get me started on Saurav Dada Ganguly, for he is virtually the other D in cricket. Sachin owes a lot of his success to Jadeja and Robin Singh because these were the two people who were winning matches for India during that period between 1996 and 1999. While Sachin was ofcourse getting runs at the top, these guys were finishing off matches in ways Sachin dreams of when he goes to bed. Add to that the fact that Jadeja was the icon of fielding in India along with Azhar and Robin Singh. But oops Tendlya wasn’t doing well in that department.

As 1999 approached towards an end there was a strong feeling that Azhar might soon quit captaincy. He was not very much in form either with the bat. So the crown of captaincy would have to go to Jadeja, the then vice captain. But somehow it didn’t settle well with some people. The match fixing saga thus unfolded, putting Jadeja, Azhar and Mongia out of the game. Sachin’s friction with Nayan Mongia was well known and when Sachin would be captain it would have been difficult to have him in a key position like the wicket keeper. Somehow Samir Dighe who ‘accidently’ belonged to Mumbai was drafted in the team, after MSK Prasad’s pilot project was over. No offence to both these gentlemen but they were dwarfs in comparison to Mongia even in terms of batting ability.

Azhar was handed a life ban by the BCCI. Ajay Jadeja and Mongia were reprimanded for 5 years. Jadeja appealed to the court and won the case, and it was only a small matter of four years. Mongia was later exonerated by the BCCI and brought back in the team, only to point fingers at him because he walked a caught behind decision in a test match at Mumbai against Australia. This for a man who kept wickets with a broken nose at Kolkata during that Very Very Special Test win for India. When Sachin Tendulkar made 136 runs with a back ache against Pakistan at Chennai, it was a monumental effort. And the effort took centre stage rather than the fact that India couldn’t win the test match.

With Azhar and Jadeja out of the team, India was in severe dearth of leadership. The ‘aaila go get it’ boy was no good for the top job. But he took the job, only to relinquish it quickly in 2000. The decision was baffling at first sight, but a good one taken keeping the longer run in mind. Saurav was made the captain. But this time, it was important to check anyone from threatening to take leadership of the team until Saurav was ready to let go (i.e never) or Sachin was ready for another time. The obvious victim was then asked to do the dirty work. But this guy was too good for Sachin and Saurav. He was asked to open the innings, he looked uncomfortable but applied himself and succeeded. He was asked to keep wickets in one dayers, he looked stupid, but applied himself and shouldered the march to the WC finals. Then this man entered his purple patch, perhaps more purple than even Sachin had seen in terms of sheer number of runs. The tours of England and Australia stamped the mark of this guy as the best Indian batsman. But when his chance to take up captaincy came, people were reluctant to vacate the position. But Dravid had to get there one day and he did, and with that started a whole era of Indian cricket albeit 3 year long. I will touch upon that someday, but watching the 2007 WC matches I feel like asking people who is throwing matches now?

Somewhere in my conversation with team mates, the point on BCCI’s role came up. Make no mistake this organization is hand in glove with every cricketer. Yes every single cricketer. I guess the famous lines of the movie Anand go well with BCCI. You can easily imagine Dravid telling Dhoni – ‘hum sab rang manch ki katputliyan hain, jiski dor BCCI ke haath me hai, kab kaun kaise uth jayega ye koi nahi janta…ha ha ha ha ha’. But I feel BCCI is a few steps even further. As someone pointed out in the discussion, if tomorrow it were proved that Sachin is involved in any sort of malice, the entire cricket in the nation will halt. No one would want to watch cricket. Aha! That means BCCI will not be able to mint money which they are doing so easily right now. So is there a chance that BCCI may have been covering up for Sachin. Of course as much as I stood by Azhar and Jadeja on the basis of my knowledge of cricket, I will stand by Sachin as well. He never threw matches. All I want to say is that even if he was involved in a blip off the field BCCI will make sure it doesn’t get public. Ganguly also had his uncle running the BCCI for most of the time he was playing.

As the discussion went to the other side of a half hour, people started to virtually shout at me for defending Azhar and Jadeja and suspecting Sachin. The tension was broken by the news that after having waited for an hour there would still not be any cab reinforcements. We decided to take an Auto and leave for our respective places. On the way a discussion of Taslima Nasreen’s books ensued, about Islam and its practices. But all that is not or can not be related to my blog, so I will leave that for the wise.

P.S. – In the 1998-99 tour of New Zealand when Anshuman Gaekwad was the coach. India lost the test series 0-1. Azharuddin had the 2nd highest average after Dravid. The one day series ended 2-2 with one match rained off. Mongia had the 2nd highest average with one match winning knock (I till remember that match). Dravid again topping averages, with Azhar and Jadeja ranked 4 and 5 respectively. Sachin Tendulkar averaged 18.25 in 4 matches ranked 8 in averages above Nikhil Chopra averaging 16. I know numbers don’t reveal much, but then again nothing really does.

Very nicely written !! The point of BCCI covering up Sachin.. a real possibility, considering the disastrous effect it will have on cricket in India.

Dada Rocks!!
I dont care about anybody else :P

I should understand the poltu of cricket from you in more detail sometime....might just be of help somewhere

yeah!! dada rocks. although too bad jadega ka kat gaya ... i thought he would have made a good captain,

BCCI have smart people at top position, wont be surpised if anything comes up regarding them covering up cricketers or lettin go the choosen ones.

P.S. Dada Rocks!!
Don't drag him into further controversy through u'r blog now!

atish - u bengali communist bastard...bloody dada ke pille
sunny and AC - i think u missplet sucks as rocks...dada truly sucks man
arts - poltu i guess is always helpful, you and i can not shy from that

We never discussed cricket or what. I totally stand by whatever u wrote in this blog. Great one. Probably the best ever.

Post a Comment

ASHES is powered by Blogspot and Gecko & Fly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
First Aid and Health Information at Medical Health