Pundits from Pakistan … by Rahul Bhattacharya

28 Jan

I rented this book with high hopes.  I had read glowing reviews from his peer sports writers.  Sorry to say that all the applause from the peerage seems to be a case of I-scratch-your-back-you-scratch-mine!  More than the book I am disappointed by the guys (Prem Panicker?) for applauding this sad book!!!

The book itself has some good anecdotes – but as a whole disappoints.  The matches are not well described – it does not spin the match in front of ones eyes.  The stuff in between matches is mostly unremarkable.  Overall only a devout cricket fan like me can read this.

One example of bad writing – tape ball.  Reading the text in the book the only thing I understood that insulation tape was used on a ball with a seam.  How about a photograph – or better description.  The tape ball concept is still far from clear after reading the text.  Oh yes there are many more.

However a few interesting anecdotes –

  • Sonny an editorial writer for Dawn quips “You know, the only culture shock I got on my first visit to India was the absence of security measures…”.
  • Shoaib Akthar’s credentials.  He is born with pancake flat feet and motor mouth, able to bend his elbows back by forty fie degress, he can bend his fingers till they touch his wrist. He has been banned for ball-tampering, for calling a tailender a twat, twice  for chucking.  He has been fined for making obscene gestures at spectators.  He has infuriated his team and administrators by dancing in the discos of South Africa after pulling out of a Test match with an injured knee and by jet skiing after pulling out of a one day match with an injured groin.  He has attracted a PIL by slagging off former Pakistani greats and by attending a fashion show on a holy night on the eve of a big match.  He has felled a top batsmen and held their bleeding bodies in his benevolent arms.   He has bowled the fastest spells that have ever been bowled.   He has turned matches around frequently and has missed more matches than he has played.
  • Ganguly on Dravid’s controversial declaration with Sachin at 194.n.o – “…Whoever it is made a mistake it’s for the team to accept it – for Rahul to accept it, for Sachin to accept it, us to accept it and go ahead … let’s finish this off as an issue …” profound and wise!!!! I see Ganguly in new light.
  • Abdul Qadir and his vision.  “Complete thought of live by Abdul Qadir – Discipline, Truth, Unity and Faith”!  Profound!!!!!! LOL!  Anyways – what Abdul Qadir offers “I can give some zabardast prograams, hot rograams, biknewali probrams to TV radio whoever.  Match fixing ho ya ball tampering – pehle, ab, sab”.
  • PILs –
  1. Fayaz Ahmed v/s Wasim Akram.  For appearing in the Royal Stag advertisement.  Status: Rs.24,000/- in damages awarded to the plaintiff.
  2. Najmal Abbas v/s Wasim Akram.  For applying for the post of Indian bowling coach.  Status: case withdrawn after it was established that this was untrue.
  3. Najmal Abbas v/s Taquir Zia, chariman of the PCB for the early exit from the 2003 World Cup.  Stauts:  case withdrawn after the team’s success in the next tournament at Sharjah.
  4. Syed Muzzamal Hussain v/s Shoaib Akthar, Ramiz Raja and Aamir Sohail.  Fr attending a fashion show on the holy night of Shab-e-Barat, and that with a key one-day match slated for the following day.  Status: case withdrawn towards the start of the series, to prevent distraction.
  5. Najmal Abbas v/s Shoaib Akthar.  For demeaning Pakistani cricket greats in an interview to the Guardian.  Status: case withdrawn towards the start of the series to prevent distraction.
  6. Najmal Abbas v/s Wasim Akram.  For statements from Irfan Pathan and Zaheer Khan that his coaching had helped them.  Status: case dismissed by a Lahore court.
  • And finally my favourite – match fixing
  • Karachi, 1955, Lala Amarnath, the Indian team manager , is seated in the room of Abdul Hafeez Kardar, the Pakistan captain.  The two gents have, among other things, recently taken the unusual step of slapping each other in the hotel lobby.  This is a reconcilaiton tea meeting onthe eve of the last Test of the series.  Lala’s back is to the door, and so the man who enters the room with the words, “Any instruction for tomorrow’s game, skipper?” has his guard down.  This man is umpire Idris Beg.
  • Bombay, 1960, Pakistan’s captain, Fazal Mahmood, clean bowls his counterpart, Nari Contractor, in the opening Test of the series at Braboune.  Contractor is on his way back to the pavilion  when the umpire S.K.Ganguly sticks out his arm to signal a no-ball.  Why, enquires Fazal, has not the call come earlier?  Replies Ganguly “chewing gum got struck in my throat”.

———

All copyrights respected.  The anecdotes are mostly verbatim with minor alterations.  The spirit is 100% same as in the book.

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