Sunday, February 23, 2014

Bhaat Baaji Returns

Just over 3 years ago, I had a come across this series of videos of a Bengali gentleman talking some stuff on youtube and compiled it this blog post titled: The Bhaat Trilogy. They are great fun to watch and listen and me as well as some of my friends loved it. Suhel had even managed to track down the creator of these videos and we did have a fun email exchange with him.
Well, guess what - the man - N Da is back ! Here are a couple of teaser videoes: Teaser 1, Teaser 2 and the real thing here. Sit back and enjoy !

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Question Marks

What do you make of this Indian Cricket Team ? Do you think this series of win-less tours in South Africa and New Zealand is a continuation of the horrors of England and Australia tours of 2011-12 or is it a new beginning ? Do you enjoy the cricket that they are playing which lead to the Jo'burg and Auckland test matches being such close finishes ? Or are you completely in despair because we haven't won overseas in an awfully long time ?
Do you look forward to seeing a top six of Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Kohli, Rohit and Rahane ? Or are you outraging because your own personal favorite does not make the side ? How long do you think Murali Vijay will play test cricket ? Are you encouraged because he seems to bat for quite some time as an opener against the new ball ? Or are you mad it at him because he gets out after getting starts ? Are you still mad at him - because he is MURALI VIJAY ? What do you make of Shikhar Dhawan ? Do you think he will be a top class opener ? Do you think 2 hundreds and 7 failures is an acceptable success rate for an opening batsman ? Do you think Pujara and Kohli are well on the way to being all time greats ? Do you look forward to seeing them bat like you did for Dravid and Tendulkar in their pomp ? Are you convinced yet by Rohit Sharma ? Or will you never be convinced by Rohit Sharma ? Does Rahane give you hope with his little cameos and technique ? Are you happy with a keeper batsman in MSD who averages 38 or so ? Or are you unhappy with a keeper batsman in MSD who averages 38 or so ?
Are you a Ravindra Jadeja convert because he is electric in the field, takes wickets and hits out at batting at 8 ? Or are you shocked to see him as India's number one spinner ? Do you think Ashwin is the best all rounder in the world ? Or do you think he is shockingly inept as an overseas spinner ? Do you think Pragyan Ojha should play more for India ? Or do you think he has no chance as long as he can't bat ? What do you think about India's pace bowling ? Do you even want to think about India's pace bowling ? Does India's bowling have pace ? Does India have a bowling ? Who bowls for India ? Does it matter ? Why should India have to bowl ? Why should we have to see India bowl ? Should Zaheer Khan still be playing for India ? Should Ishant Sharma play for India ? Does Mohd Shami give you even a little bit of hope ? Are you already ready with your jokes when he drops his little pace ? Why have we forgotten about Umesh Yadav ? Will Bhuvi ever cut it as a test bowler ?
What do you make of our fielding ? When will we have a decent slip cordon that takes its catches ? Are you happy with the number of run-outs that we get ?
When will India next win test matches abroad ? Will India ever win test matches abroad ? Do you think DRS is a joke or not having DRS is a joke ? Does it even matter with all the shenanigans going around with world cricket ? Is your approach to watching a cricket match different now, with The Paper being in Position ? Are you anti BCCI or pro BCCI ? Are you Anti BCCI or Anti Indian cricket team ? Are you Anti BCCI But Pro Indian cricket team ?
Do you watch test cricket or just tweet about it ? Do you give a damn about what is happening now or are you sanguine ? Are you looking forward to the next test match or just waiting for the IPL ? Do you get up early morning to watch test cricket or do you create pivots on spreadsheets to analyse the upcoming auction ? Do you do both or neither ? Will cricket survive Srini ? Will it be stronger because of him ? Or will it do alright in-spite of him ? Do you have answers ? Or just some more questions like I have ?
PS: Idea of the post taken from this post by 7amkickoff 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Kevin Pietersen: Superstar

Earlier this week, the English Cricket Board ended Kevin Pietersen's England career by telling the world that they will not be needing his services any longer and thereby robbing cricket fans like me, the chance to see him play cricket at the highest level. The fact is that whichever way you look at it, the English cricket team is going to be much weaker without him. That is of no relevance to me. But as I fan of his batting, not getting the chance to see KP play test cricket any more is a great disappointment.
I am not exaggerating in the least when I say that in my 23-24 years of watching cricket, Kevin Pietersen has been one of the most exciting players to watch. You are unlikely to read a better tribute to KP than this one by Jon Hotten, and he gets it absolutely right when he says, "There were some batsmen more skilled and better than Pietersen in that phase, but he had this innate imagination and feel. His game was an act of creativity and it's no exaggeration to say that he broadened the horizons of batsmanship."
Imagination and feel - words that capture Pietersen's game brilliantly. At the batting crease he did things very differently and he did things which few, if any, could match. He was not the most consistent of batsmen, but he played more memorable innings than most. His thrilling three centuries in his debut series against his country of birth, his equally thrilling entry into test cricket in the 2005 Ashes which culminated with his marvelous hundred at The Oval; 100s in each of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, including that brilliant innings at Mumbai that will stay with cricket fans for the ages; his tons at Adelaide - there are plenty of special ones in there.

My personal KP favourite is his 149 vs South Africa at Leeds, a game before he was dropped  for apparently causing disharmony to the team. The entire innings is a classic but if you are short of time, jump to 7:39. He has crossed his 100 and then goes into overdrive. First he spanks and I mean he absolutely spanks the best bowler in the world Dale Steyn down the ground. Steyn is literally ducking for cover there. The audacity of that is unbelievable. Listen to Michael Vaughan describe KP's batting on the commentary. Next shot on the highlight reel - a sort of half pull, half flick through midwicket, again off Steyn,  described by Geoffrey Boycott on air. "Dismissive" he calls it, it is almost casual, make to look ridiculously easy - a playground stroke played against Steyn. And then to complete the trilogy of sorts of imperious strokes, he tonks Dale Steyn for a six straight down the ground. It is jaw dropping stuff. Dale Steyn is shaking his head in disbelief at all this. And so are you by now, I guess.

Kevin Pietersen was one of the few batsmen who could make me want to come home early from office or get up early from sleep to watch him play. These days, I am often watching cricket while also being preoccupied by doing something else - working on the laptop or some such, but KP had my undivided attention when he came to bat. He brought the viewer to the edge of his seat and go wow, more often than most and probably more often than any other English cricketer in its history. And that is because, he had this ability, this gift, this belief, to do extraordinary things on the cricket pitch. His uniqueness - right from his background and image to his massively wide stance, his onside play, his ability to take the  ball  very early using his great reach, his switch hits, his "flamingo" shot, everything - made him stand out from the crowd. Sure, you can have your players with better averages and more consistency and what not, but very few captured my imagination like KP and in the end that's what will stay with me.And as a neutral, he improved the image of the English cricket team and made them worthwhile watching while he was there.
It is unfortunate that we will not be seeing KP play international cricket any more. Of course there is the IPL and other T20 leagues and stuff, but it isn't quite the same thing. I have also had a chance to listen to him describing play as a commentator, or explain his own batting in some of the shows of Sky and he has this wonderful ability to talk sense and  describe things with great clarity. In due course, I see him as a top commentator as well.
For now, England can go back to executing their attritional, little game plan with harmony now without him, but I really don't have much time for them and their incompetent management any more.
Kevin Pietersen - Cricket's Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Farewell. And see you at the IPL.

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