This is a rapidly typed-out, tongue-in-cheek, meant to be taken lightly, collection of thoughts on the up coming cricket world cup in India. (I am not using the ICC or sponsor’s name share, as they don’t pay me to advertise their name on my blog! For the record I actually don’t know if it is the Pepsi, Sahara, or LG world cup, and I don’t give a damn)
1. Here is my pick for what should be India’s A team, under most conditions:
Sachin, Sehwag, Gambhir, Kohli, Raina, Dhoni, Pathan, Bhajji, Zaheer, Nehra, Munaf. This team may or may not win, but this plus the bench we have selected is the best possible combination India can play.
Yeah I know there have been sensible & melodramatic noises on Piyush Chawla’s selection, lack of reserve wicket keeper, no place for Sreesanth originally, noises on bias in Ashwin’s selection, some people calling for Dravid’s recall etc. To me, these are marginal calls that could have gone either way, and would not impact the final result. I strongly believe that if the A team above, can’t win you a world cup, Sreesanth / Piyush / Ashwin / Dravid / Saha / Kapil Dev at 50 plus age, cannot. While no cricket team selection is ever controversy or debate free, I have seen far worse to care about this one (Deep Das Gupta, Sameer Dighe, MSK Prasad, Sujith Somadunder, Shiv Sunder Das, David Johnson, Noel David, Dinesh Mongia etc)
2. By the next world cup, I hope we watch footages of Dhoni’s boys lift the cup, so that:
A. Sachin finally gets what he so well deserves, more than any other cricketer playing in the tournament. Also, I am pretty sure that if we don’t win, he is going to play on and on, till one fine day he is playing with his son in the 2023 world cup.
B. People finally stop calling Dhoni just a lucky captain. I am not a Dhoni fan per se, and neither do I believe he is always right, and I do think it’s about time he fired as a batsman. But it is annoying to hear the “Yeah he is just a lucky dude” line. Well if he was just lucky, he would win the bloody toss more often
C. Much as I can admire Kapil and his devils, whose 1983 victory changed the cricket world, it is getting a tad boring to watch the nostalgic Kris Srikanth (MS office spell check cannot tell you how many Ks are there in his name!) / Sandip Patil interviews every 4 years some time around February! Especially Srikanth claiming he just hammered the living day lights out of Marshall and co (well he didn’t actually say that, but he is capable of saying that. But he did actually claim to drop one of the KKKs in his name, if India wins the WC). Just as I believe every Indian cricket supporter should know the story of Kapil’s 175 at Turnbridge wells in 1983, the next generation deserves its heroic success stories from 2011. Okay, I am asking for too much now, just win the cup at least now, will ya?
3. If at all we don’t make it, I am wishing its the Wakka Wakka time for South Africa, because:
A. It is boring to watch Aussies win all WCs. Also, it is going to be quite difficult for Ricky Ponting to shove Sharad Pawar out of the post world cup presentation dias, compared to the act a few years back. Sharad Pawar has been taking rugby tackling lessons from Andrew Symonds.
B. Anything to do with how Sri Lankans play cricket is boring and annoying
C. A Pakistan win would be the dream of bookies and crooks involved in the game. Not that other countries are not rampant with bookies, but Pakistan takes the cake for the most creative ways for cricket corruption
D. We will miss the preachy English press and ex-cricketers advice the world on the supremacy of test cricket. If they win an ODI WC, we would have to put up with stories of how Neil Fairbrother was the greatest ODI cricketer ever. Or I have to hear Michael Atherton speak about how his masterful innings of 12 from 60 balls in the 1992 world cup, laid the foundation for the resurgence of ODI cricket in England. Or some such BS.
E. It’s a shame to watch supremely skilled South Africans choke non stop at the final hurdle for 20 years. (If I am South African, I would be hoping badly that they either win, or get hammered in the group stage playing risky and aggressive cricket, instead of them having to die wondering in the knock outs; However if I were to cherry pick 1 team for India to meet in the knock outs, it would have to be South Africa)
F. I don’t see any other marginal contenders, or any underdog stories like 1983. But if you an a kid from Ireland or Afghanistan, please feel to dream on!
4. I hope one day the 13th century feudal lords that run BCCI, provide spectators on the ground with facilities that they deserve for the money, time and energy they bring. I don’t see it happening now, but I hope we can do a half-decent organizing job. The Common wealth games mess, and the Eden Gardens fiasco point otherwise, but I am hoping with my fingers crossed, for a miracle on this! If they screw up again, I would propose that Sharad Pawar, N Srinivasan, Shasank Manohar, and co, should be deported to the wildest section of the Eden Gardens crowd, during a match where it is announced that Saurav Ganguly is making a comeback to international cricket, only to be replayed by Shahrukh Khan at the 11th hour. A punishment option for the less violent readers would be that they be sent as contenders to a dance talent search show, where the judges Sreesanth and Harbhajan slap for participants every hopeless dance move.
5. Some how I miss the WC buzz. May be because I live abroad, or maybe somewhere along the line I grew up with less time for cricket and even less time for the match fixing rampant LOI tournaments, or may be I lost all faith in India winning any tournament final as soon as Ponting and Martyn started annihilating us in 2003. I wish I can conjure up all the cricket watching excitement and craze I had from the 92 to 2003 world cups. This world cup has been designed to be a bore by organizers who haven’t learnt lessons from the last one. Let’s hope the cricketing action on the field brings back cynical and bored fans like me!
6. If you are a teenager, or young kid following the world cup with crazy devotion, here is all I can say: Enjoy and absorb every minute of the WC, whatever the match results. A world cup at home, and when you are young and passionate about the game, is a once in a life time event. 1996 world cup was not the best ever, and India lost out in a shameful manner, but it’s probably the world cup I followed the most and is so strongly entrenched in my mind. And if god forbid, India crashes out, remember it’s not the end of the world! But if we do win, you would have memorable I was there stories to tell your kids one day. My dad still gets dreamy eyed about how he bought a T. V just before the 1983 world cup, and how everyone switched of the T.V for good at the lunch break when it looked like we were all set to loose. Only to hear the radio commentaries tell a different story a few hours later…:)
7. That said, ODI is definitely too boring for my liking, and I do hope it is the last world cup in a format where the matches as well as the tournaments itself are getting long, boring, and tedious. Bring on the test championships and the plethora of international and club T20s I say! An awesome world cup, where the best team wins an exciting final, would be a great way for ODI cricket to ride into the oblivion. So in a nutshell I am hoping ODI cricket can go, and that it can go with a bang, and if possible Sachin / Dhoni and co provide the bang. Vijay Mallya can take care of the post world cup victory fizz 🙂
1. Just as there would always be a King Viv Richards for batting, and 100 other pretenders, to me the king of cricket satire is Andy Zaltzman. I do not ever hope to do cricket satire regularly, and I do not claim to be remotely as funny. But this guy’s articles crack me up, and serve as a massive inspiration for this blog post!
2. The blog title, is what is known in cricketing terms, as a googly
3. Harbhajan Singh took offence to P.S 2, and asked me to correct it from googly to doosra