Fantastic Mr. Stokes

 

Hear that on repeat at least three times before you proceed any further. It’s of utmost importance. The importance of you doing that can’t be overstated. The mission if you choose to accept is to follow everything I say.

Last Saturday evening, lord lord lord
Last Saturday evening, lord lord lord

I went to the stadium, lord lord lord
I went to the stadium, lord lord lord

And I took along my placard, lord lord lord
I took along my placard, lord lord lord

Along came Jesus, lord lord lord
Along came Jesus, lord lord lord

So I picked up my placard, lord lord lord
And he hit one over, lord lord lord

He was bowled soon after, lord lord lord
But he had done enough, lord lord lord

He came on to bowl, lord lord lord
And he took a wicket first up, lord lord lord

He took another wicket, lord lord lord
And he took another wicket, lord lord lord

The main batsmen were all gone, lord lord lord
And he took some more catches, lord lord lord

I went home happy, lord lord lord
I went home happy, lord lord lord

That’s the story of big Ben Stokes, lord lord lord
That’s the story of big Ben Stokes, lord loooord looooorrrrd.

Vivo IPL 2017 M44 - SRH v RPS

Now stare at the photo while listening to this song.

 

fantastic-mr-fox5

 

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Safin’s got one, why shouldn’t Dravid (get one)?

Quoting from an article of Dravid’s teammate:

“What motivated him still, after all these years and so many runs? Dravid said that as a schoolboy, he remembered many kids who had at least as much desire to play professional cricket as he did – they attended every camp and net session, no matter what the cost or the difficulty of getting there. But you could tell – from just one ball bowled or one shot played – that they simply didn’t have the talent to make it. He knew he was different. “I was given a talent to play cricket,” Dravid explained. “I don’t know why I was given it. But I was. I owe it to all those who wish it had been them to give of my best, every day.”

What a brilliant inversion of the usual myth told by professional sportsmen: that they had unexceptional talent and made it to the top only because they worked harder. Dravid spoke the truth. Yes, he worked hard. But the hard work was driven by the desire to give full expression to a God-given talent.”

 Quoting from an article of Dravid’s wife:

“Only once, I remember, he returned from a Test and said, “I got a bit angry today. I lost my temper. Shouldn’t have done that.” He wouldn’t say more. Many months later, Viru [Sehwag] told me that he’d actually thrown a chair after a defeat to England in Mumbai. He’d thrown the chair, Viru said, not because the team had lost but because they had lost very badly.”

Quoting from an Englishman who saw him play at the Oval:

“While Sachin – perhaps distracted by the hoopla over breaking a record that nobody even knew existed until it was created for him, bespoke – floundered on that 2011 tour, Rahul’s reputation grew even greater in this country. It is hard, sacrilegious I dare say, for Indian fans to consider, but I believe that in the UK at least, Rahul’s bravery, modesty, professionalism and courtly determination make him even more loved than Tendulkar.”

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I am not Dravid’s wife. Heck, I am not even a girl to wish I was Dravid’s wife. I didn’t take care of his kids when he went overseas. I didn’t share a dressing room with him. Nor did he share any batting tips with me. He never presented me with a bat, and I never ever shook his hand. I didn’t share a record number of century stands with him, and I wasn’t at the other end when he brought up his 13000th test run. No, I wasn’t at the other end when he got his 10000th ODI run either. Truth be told, I wasn’t even in the stadium on each of those occasions. Was he disappointed by my absence? Absolutely not. I am not his Dad, and I didn’t watch every innings of his.

If I said I would choose him to bat for my life, would anyone even care? It’s not as if I have a 400 to my name. He didn’t discuss his retirement with me, nor will he discuss his future plans with me. 

All I can say about him is therefore from what I have seen of him on the TV, and how bland is that? Why would anyone want to read this? Anyone having a TV at home could have written this. 

Apart from his debut at Lords and his Jammy commercials, the earliest memory I have of him is him fielding at short leg, particularly in test matches against South Africa. Even to this day, I feel a bit disappointed whenever a commentator passes an opportunity to mention his name while recalling some of their favorite short leg fielders. He took quite a few screamers squatting in that position but one catch I am particularly fond of. This one catch was to get rid of Gary Kirsten and what made this catch remarkable and long lasting was that Dravid in his desire to get to the ball which had looped up generously over Kirsten’s head crashed into him in order to complete the catch. Both the batsman and the fielder ended up in a tangle right there on the pitch and the umpire, too engrossed by all this commotion didn’t bother to raise his finger. That is, until Dravid emerged out of the tangle appealing for the catch. As soon as he did that, the umpire’s finger went up. Oh, what a legend. (To be honest, I don’t quite remember if he was given out lbw or whether he was rightly or wrongly given out caught. All I remember is Dravid appealing and the umpire’s finger following suit.)

Another favorite memory of his is that time when he opened with Sachin in an ODI against South Africa. The lights had come on, the target was stiff, Donald was a fearsome proposition, and worst of all, it wasn’t an ICC knockout match. But Dravid did deliver a knockout blow to all his detractors (there were was no dearth of them back in the day) when he hit the mighty Donald for an all-mighty six. You know I kid when I use Dravid and ‘all-mighty six’ in the same sentence. For all I know, he must have just cleared the fence, but that’s not the point. The point is, that shot revolutionized the way his defenders defended him. From then on, “remember the time when he hit Donald for a six” became the rallying point. (It’s not that he was a lesser batsman before that six, that six was needed to get the point across to some ignorant fools who didn’t get the game of cricket, but still had the loudest voices and the harshest things to say.)

After this, there was the 1999 WC where he topped the points system designed to adjudicate the Man of the Tournament, but still lost out to Lance Klusener. He did, however, end up as the tournament’s highest run-getter, inspite of his team getting knocked out in the super-six stage. ICC later tweaked the rules and made the points system the sole basis for deciding the Man of the Tournament in the 2003 WC (won by Sachin Tendulkar.)

Once the new decade started and a couple of years were left outside off stump, Dravid really started coming into his own. His strike rates began to improve and simultaneously, all sorts of weird things began to happen on the cricket field. Douglas Marillier happened, Matthew Hayden started walking ala Ranatunga, but before the bowler had released the ball, Ajit Agarkar was blossoming, with both bat and ball, South Africa went crashing even before a knockout game, Afridi had stopped ageing, the Aussies had stopped losing, Anwar was in mourning, Azhar was in hiding, and all sorts of crazy things kept happening. (Might have got the timelines a bit screwed up there, memories aren’t organised neatly in a stack, as you must be knowing.)  

Anyway, the point is Dravid had matured into such a complete all-round cricketer that the ICC felt obliged to start its yearly awards honors. Dravid picked up the inaugural awards for both ICC Cricketer of the year, and ICC Test Cricketer of the year. After this, Dravid went on playing for a good part of 8 more years and I see no reason to speak about events just passed, especially since even those with weak memories can recall very vividly this time-frame. Adios, and thank you Dravid! 

//The only time I watched him in a stadium, he got a 50 off 22 balls; and the effort at Eden Gardens, you all are familiar of; should have written about that time when Azhar gave him a 10 over spell during that fixed series against South Africa and how he duly delivered with a neat spell of 2 for 40-something, including the wicket of Lance Klusener for a duck//  

Lighthearted banter

Sachin’s fans are up in arms and screaming their lungs out holding datasheets showing the percentage breakdown of match results following Sachin scoring a century. Why this outpouring of bookish defensiveness? A few of us were cheeky enough to latch on to the string of results ever since the WC and dared to poke fun at the God.

Using the same argument, Torres has a great overall record too, but has that stopped anyone from poking fun at his recent slump? No, it hasn’t. So I guess it’s only fair to admit not every Sachin’s century leads to a defeat and not every game finds Torres failing to score. But right now, that’s what’s happening and the mischievous ones have every right to indulge themselves.

I guess what I want to say is all of you with your bowels in an uproar, take your datasheets and stuff them in there.

Will Sachin score a match-winning century or will Torres find the back of the net first? The race is truly on, and until then the jokes won’t stop. Grin it and bear it.

P.S: Came across this classic tweet following Arsenal’s fuck-up against Liverpool- “Did Sachin score a century for Arsenal?”

Sports fan science fiction

Consider a person who bets in such a way that he stands to gain money when his favorite team loses. He unwittingly does this thinking he will be happy irrespective of the result. After a while, he realizes he doesn’t care about losing money as long as his team wins, and he feels happy for that. However, what he fails to foresee is his subconscious associating earning money with misery.

What happens at the end? The poor guy quits his job, and his family him.

Not the brightest sporting Sunday

AC Milan beat Boca to win the FIFA world club title, Manchester United beat Liverpool to go on to the top of the Premier League, albeit for a couple of hours, and Arsenal beat Chelsea to regain their position at the top. What’s wrong with all these clubs, beating each other up. (That, my dear friends is the PJ of the day)

‘Yesterday’ had a plenty of potential to turn into a great sporting day but all those hopes petered out on the TV screen as the day dragged on. The rot was set rolling with the non-match between Australia and New Zealand, and a mis match between AC Milan and Boca (who) later in the afternoon. The match might have been entertaining, but it certainly couldn’t keep me hooked once the fourth goal went in. The absence of Riquelme was quite a deterrent and the presence of Inzaghi as the striker up front wasn’t much help either.

The big games which followed in the evening were tightly contested affairs. They were so tight that there was no room for entertainment which by the way isn’t about mid-field scuffles. Considering the matches, a draw would have been a fair result in both the games. Having said that, football is an uncompromising game which kicks you in the gut if you don’t stay on top or rather don’t jump high enough, just as Petr Cech found out.

The day was rescued to a certain extent courtesy Dale Steyn, whose bowling of late, has become a pure joy to watch. Those four wicket taking deliveries, certainly went a long way in cushioning the blow delivered (to the South African supporters) by their own batsmen earlier in the night.

There was also the small matter of ICL over on Zee, where Cairns let one and all (including his team) down to hand over the inaugural cup to Chennai Superstars .

The coming Sunday doesn’t have many events but it does feature a clash between Real Madrid and a Messi-less Barcelona, late into the night.

Dud -> wouldn’t that be monday

Dude -> did you invent the days of the week ?

Lacklustre round up of a Fabulous sporting week-end

Hamilton did all that he could (and finally succeeded) to prevent himself from winning the drivers’ championship, but no one’s complaining. I was from the first, apprehensive about a rookie winning the championship because it doesn’t bode well for the “experienced” campaigners and the sport itself. Fortunately, Lewis choked big time and that’s the only thing which can justify him losing the championship to a guy who was 17 points behind him with two races to go.

A commentator towards the end of the race,,cheekily (but rightly) pointed out that Alonso was relieved to lose to Kimi rather than Lewis. No one can blame the poor guy for he was the defending champion and losing his title to his rookie team-mate would have been humiliation unparallel.

Having said this, there is still a decision to be made by the FIA regarding the fuel irregularities of BMW and Williams. If they get stripped of their positions, then Lewis will undeservingly become the world champion. The race stewards had dismissed the case due to lack of evidence but then, FIA is infamous for all it’s dubious decisions, so i guess we will have to wait and see.

Moving on, South Africa won the rugby world cup(as predicted 🙂 ) beating England 15-6 in the final. Amazingly, there were no tries in the whole match but who cares as long as RSA keeps winning. Speaking of South Africa, they did manage to lose against Pakistan (in cricket) courtesy of Pollock who ran out Morkel, when they were cruising towards an improbable win.

Nalbandian beat Federer in the Madrid Masters final but it was not a big surprise seeing the way in which Nalbandian was playing through out the tournament.

On a personal front:-

First it was the La Liga season and now this F1 season, am i living a dream ?

Both of them were simply superb and the scripts they ran on would have been dismissed as far-fetched were they not happening for real. I would have been gutted, had i been supporting either Barcelona or Lewis but i am ecstatic, for i supported Real Madrid and Kimi. Too bad i had no one to share my joy with, as i was the only person watching TV at home on both occasions.

Colossus Kallis

I almost posted a new entry the other day except for the mis-firing [:)] wordpress server which mysteriously refused to acknowledge my latest offering. Lately i have had nothing to comment on except for sports and i am afraid that this one also belongs to that genre.

South Africa beat Pakistan today in a test match. Ain’t that great !! Kallis was back and he duly showed how indispensable he is for the Proteas. Without him the result would have been a whole lot different and the decision to drop Pollock was much awaited,  especially considering the subcontinental tracks where swing is as rare as pleasant climate in Hyderabad.

Steyn is a bright prospect especially in test matches for he is bowler wyho knows only how to attack. The only problem with him is that he is as inconsistent as Sreesanth and gifts away many runs. Harris might have got some wickets but he doesn’t look like one for the long-run. He relies a bit too much on the batsmen’s mistakes to get his wickets.

As you might have noticed, my Champions League predictions have gone hay-wire (yet again). May be i should stop being so conservative and start predicting a few upsets in the upcoming matches.

Predictometer :- [effective since 1st October]

Football -30%

Cricket- Yet to predict