Thursday, May 31, 2007


The Great & The Downright Ugly

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I have a lot of time for Mukul Kesavan. He writes in a very readable and lucid manner and is never shy of expressing his opinions, how ever controversial or non-mainstream they may be. His application of linguistic tools in crafting his preview of Pakistan's chances in the recently concluded World Cup were, well, simply sublime.

This post is not attempt to sing the praises of Kesavan's literary genius, but an attempt to illustrate the difference between a what a comment piece should be and one that where the writer has, quite obviously, lost it.

I read this from Kesavan and felt a sense of happiness that my heart had been longing for. In fact, Kesavan's made me reflect on something I had written during the World Cup in relation to Sachin Tendulkar's future in international cricket.

Kesavan made his points at a time that is witness to every idiot who calls himself a cricket journalist, doing his utmost to discredit the manner in which Tendulkar constructed his back-to-back centuries against Bangladesh.
This particular point is one I had made earlier and one which Kesavan put rather eloquently:
"On the matter of Tendulkar thwarting the team interest by scoring too slowly, it's worth remembering that India scored over six hundred runs at four runs an over in less than two days and there was enough time after the declaration for Zaheer to wreck the Bangladeshi top order. There's a difference between a proper nostalgia for a younger Tendulkar who took attacks apart and the unlovely, irrational instinct to savage a great player because he has been diminished by time. Yes, Tendulkar isn't the batsman he was and his decline is the more poignant for having been accompanied by a change of style: a great attacking batsman has become a nudging accumulator. But I suggest that till we find a young batsman who can nudgingly accumulate at the same rate as Tendulkar does now, we leave him be. I don't think Suresh Raina or Yuvraj Singh are credible rivals for his batting spot. In the South African series Tendulkar was well below his best but it's worth remembering that he played rather better than his captain did."

That was the good news. The downright ugly news comes in the form of an Andrew Miller write-up, also on Cricinfo, contending that although the Late Percy Sonn was a fathomable compromise as President of the ICC, cricket will go to the dogs if an Indian becomes the next President of this esteemed organisation ahead of the "representative of cricket's old world", David Morgan.

Sharad Pawar or any other current BCCI official would also be my last choice as President of the ICC. I would have agreed with Miller had it not been for these words:
"With Pawar installed at the head of the ICC, the way would be cleared for the takeover of the ICC [emphasis added] that has long been threatened by the frustrated Indians, who represent 70% of the game's income..."

I would like to assure Miller and those who sympathise with his views that no greater harm could come to the game than if a "representative of cricket's old world" were to head the ICC. For all of the BCCI's lack of administrative ability, let us not forget that it was a former President of the said organisation that taught the ICC how to make money.

The only attribute the old world is going to bring to the post of President is the stick-in-the-mud, holier-than-thou attitude that was the hallmark of the ICC before Jagmohan Dalmiya revolutionised it - for better or for worse.

It could surely not have escaped Miller's mind that the "old world" he so yearns for are the same colonial chauvinists who refuse to accept a female into their haughty surrounds. In this context, we can only ponder in great horror at the treatment that would be meted out to those inept and greedy Asian gentlemen who have not a clue of how to manage the old world's great game.

Miller's alternative is "even less palatable".


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