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Rahul Dravid … by Vedam Jayashankar

22 Aug

Since Rahul Dravid has recently retired it is a good moment to salute his genius and more importantly his public image.  It cannot get better than this … hats off we are all proud of you.

Now coming to the book review – The book is a fairly easy read with simple language and the pages fly.  However, the book fails to weave a match in front of the readers eyes.  I would rate the book extremely readable but not a must-read.

Some of my favourite parts of the book –

* Sanjay Manjrekar (I presume 😉 ) has been mentioned directly and covertly at many places … and ohhh boy I liked it.  ” … there were biased elements in the media who wrote nasty things about him.  There was a television commentator who probably believed that Rahul edged him out of the Indian team and hence struggled to say anything good about him … ”

* Rahul would catch the early morning BTS bus from Indiranagar to KSCA and work in the nets from 6:15am till 9am.  He would then change into school uniform on the deserted stairs of the Western Stand, for in those days there was no changing room facility in the outside practice ground.  He would wolf down the breakfast he has brought from home on the same stairs and then, with cricket kit and school bag thrown over his shoulders, he would run the couple of kilometers to school.  Armed with his favourite fruit, apple, which he would devour while jogging to school, Rahul would reach late; at times a couple of hours would have lapsed.  Further he would skip the last period of the day to attend nets in the evening and would once again go home in a crowded BTS”

* Also there is a mention of how he would have different friends for play (i.e., cricket) and for work (i.e., exams).  Though this fact does not cast a good light on him … defines how he could be successful in both academics and sports.

* A quote from Dravid himself “… the problem would be keeping to Sri (J. Srinath).  He gets tremendous movement off the seam, even with the new ball.  The problem is that most of the time the tilt is into the right-hand batsman – the unnatural side for me as wicket-keeper.  And the angle of the ball keeps passing the batsman, keeps going away on the leg side.  This at his genuine pace, would not only test the wicketkeeper, but end up bruising the fingers of his left hand, i.e., the right-hand batsman’s top hand.  Unless a wicket-keeper can collect Sri’s delivery cleanly all the time, he would end up with broken or bruised fingers…”

* A quote from TE Srinivasan “… Kiri was mad or absolutely brilliant to stand upto Chandra …”

* The origins of the Dravid name is very interesting; and also the side note of Iyers in Tamilnadu are not considered Dravidians in the first place 😉

Some nit picking –

* Eulogizing of Pushpa Dravid.  I am sure that Rahul and all the Dravid’s are very proud of Mrs.Pushpa.  Mrs.Pushpa is successful and all the accolades and respect are well deserved.  However, the extempore used to describe her in a book meant for her son seems out of place.  I would rather have liked to know how she influenced her son rather than how she became successful.  The detail of her struggle and achievements belongs to a biography of her own.

* More attention should be paid to spell check – Thimmappiah has been spelt as  Thimmappaih 😦 South Indian names are not to be spelt in any which way.   However this may be a mistake of the proof readers and not the author.


Profile of Rahul Dravid.

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.

What a match

26 Nov

A pitch clearly prepared to ensure a Tendulkar hundred … unfortunately the master did not oblige 😦

The highlight of the match was the final day’s play where seventeen, yes seventeen, wickets were lost and the match was drawn!!!  However one question remains – did Ashwin choke in not taking the last run fast enough.  Life’s lessons come at a very high price!

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