About how everyne is a football journalist now
Read this (here), and then comment about this.
About how everyne is a football journalist now
Read this (here), and then comment about this.
Horrible, sanctimonious, defensive post at F365 today.
And here’s my response.
You Brit media folks are funny.
You had a witch-hunt against Wasim and Waqar and Imran about reverse swing, and then when your own boys used that very skill to win you an Ashes, it was suddenly the best innovation in the world. Similarly the four fast bowlers of West Indies.
While the dirty foreigners were diving, it was all wrong. When Gerrard and Rooney were doing it, you feigned blindness… and when the evidence was glaring in front of your eyes, it suddenly cannot be SO bad. Bale is just jumping away from injury after all! Question, how many of Bale’s dives this season were when he was jumping away from potential leg-breakers? And if the dive was just to get away from contact, and if there’s been no contact, Bale and Suarez and Gerrard and Rooney should just get up and not writhe about in the ground like they have been shot. Isn’t it?
Be hypocrites, we all are sometimes. But agree that you are one, in this case. And don’t do it in the passive ‘it’s just to save his career’ manner that you did over here.
Bale’s a wonderful talent. And he dives. Just like Suarez. But of course you will not have a witch-hunt against him. He is the pet of the British media!
Here’s a nice post: and says a lot about football today and yesterday in the Europe, I suppose. The below excerpt by Johnny Giles, is a clincher.
“These were great players who loved the game. Weren’t getting much money, weren’t playing for the money. They should have been treated with more respect and dignity when they finished playing. When I hear about the clubs now moaning about the wages – now I don’t feel sorry for them because I remember the days when they treated payers very, very badly.”
I had visited Kolkata for a short while a few days back. And I came to know through magazines and newspapers that Mati Nandi has passed away in January this year.
Mati Nandi, for the lack of a better expression, was the person who gave me sports. Let me speak to you about Mati Nandi today. Let me speak to you today, blogging friends, about sports.
Our family is non-English-speaking, and my sister and I are the first generation in our family fluent in the Queen’s language. Anandabazar Patrika was the staple newspaper of our family, and The Statesman, the English language daily that used to be standard fare at most (supposedly) intellectual Bengali homes, was only a weekend visitor at ours.
Along with being a reputed novelist, Nandi was a sports journalist with Anandabazar Patrika. Well, not a very regular journalist when I started to read the newspaper, his reputation as a novelist was already big enough by then for him to tend to only cover the major sporting events. Rupak Saha, Gautam Bhattacharya and a few others did the regular sports coverage. The standard of sports coverage was high, and the analysis was far better than what you would find today in most English-language national dailies. And reading the Anandabazar back pages (while Baba or Ma would be reading the front page), remains a cherished memory.
And then there was Anandamela, the sleek, stylish magazine for kids that Anandabazar used to come out with every fortnight. In the days of yore, Anandamela used to come up with the Pujabarshiki (Durgapuja special) edition, and Mati Nandi’s fictional sports stories were a major attraction for me. Nandi was a serious novelist, and his non-sports-based novels and novellas were (as I was to know later) also of a considerably high quality. However, it was his writing on sports, mainly for kids, that I remember him for, and what this post is about.
I remember vividly the first novel of his that I had read. It was one called ‘Stopper’, the story of an ageing central defender, Kamal Guha. Upright, honest and dignified, Kamal Guha had been humiliated and hounded out by his club a few years back, notwithstanding his great record as part of that club. Guha believes that he has that one big match still left in him, where he can prove his detractors (and there are many of them) wrong. His life is built around football, his wife had passed away a good few years ago, and he is estranged with his son. And this one match, against his former team playing for a relegation-contender, becomes his raison d’etre, a metaphor of his life and all that he stands for ….
The comparatively unheralded ‘Aparajito Anando’ (Anando the undefeated) is in my opinion his masterpiece. Teenager Anando is a promising quick bowler and tennis enthusiast, whose life as a sportsman is cut short when he is detected with an incurable heart ailment. In his bed, looking over the playing ground next to his house and the various characters that inhabit it, Anando dreams of debuting for India against the mighty West Indies of Sobers, Kallicharan, Holding and Anando’s favourite Andy Roberts. Or of playing in the semi-finals of Wimbledon against the seemingly indestructible Jimmy Connors, with the winner to play Ken Rosewall on his swansong appearance (Anando hopes to beat Connors, and then forfeit the match against Rosewall so that Rosewall can at last win the Wimbledon title that has slipped his grasp thrice previously). And as the rearguard eighth wicket partnership between Gavaskar and Anando reduces the first-innings deficit and takes India to a somewhat respectable second-innings lead; and as Anando fights back against Connors to take the match to the deciding fifth set, we know that neither of the two matches will finish… these two matches are what Anando is living for. If they finish, so would Anando…
Nandi’s heroes and heroines are you-and-I sportspeople, people we know, people we can relate to. Sometimes they are fun, sometimes they are tragic, and sometimes they are triumphant. But Ananta of ‘Jeeban Ananta’ is not defined by his 9-21 against New Zealand in his first test match but rather his friendships with Jeeban and Bhramara; Naran is a winner despite not being able to meet his hero Emile Zatopek; We root for Prasoon Bhattacharya in ‘Striker’, for Nanida in ‘Nanida Not Out’, or for Koni the swimmer (and for Khid’da her coach) not because of their skills as players, but more for their unbending, principled personalities. We love Kalabati not only because she is a fine cricketer and a dedicated journo, but also because of her joie de vivre and compassion for the world around her. Those little victories – Shibaji winning the National boxing event in ‘Shiba’r Firey Asha’, Naran completing the Kolkata marathon, the protagonist being able to sign for the club he wants to in ‘Dol Bodoler Aagey’…. Even in ‘Dwitiyo Innings-er Por’, Raminder Singh coming in to bat while his life is falling to pieces around him, is a triumph as much for him as for Saroj the journalist, who is covering the series.
Most of the protagonists, while skillful, are common everyday people, with everyday chores, everyday worries, and everyday failings. Skills are important tools for Nandi’s heroes and heroines, but what makes them successful is their moral character, their heart, their effort. The immensely talented (but of loose moral fiber) Bhabanishankars of the world are never glorified. And the ones who had strayed, but had then mended their ways, are always allowed a fresh start. In Nandi’s stories, winning is very important, but not at the risk of a compromise on human values. Glorious failure is not an option, but neither is cheating to win. In sports, as in life, Mati Nandi’s heroes celebrate winning the right way. Nandi celebrated life. And truth. And honesty.
Nandi’s stories gave me sports. He made me understand sport from a broader perspective than the next win or loss, and what it stands for. And I am glad that he wrote in my native language.
Let me leave you with these few lines from ‘Striker’, said to the protagonist Prasoon by his mentor Harsho-da, loosely translated.
…. And a man’s challenges come in many shapes and sizes. A tree grows because of its base, its roots. A man’s moral character is his root. If one’s character has disintegrated, he cannot face his demons, he cannot make it.
Sachin is such a perfect creation, that it is easy to miss how ad-friendly he has grown, something he was bad at earlier. This is the perfect ad. And Sachin inspires.
Gilly hangs loose. And is just himself in this ad.
Sanga! The most stylish man in cricket currently?
The impish smile and the raised eyebrows ‘Kahan khel rahein hai hum?’ … Gautam Gambhir should be used much more in commercials.
The dignified Mr. Kumble. Doesn’t it fill you with pride that you are from the same country as this great gentleman? I am an unabashed fan.
Wasn’t EVERYONE waiting for the Dada IPL ad? The ‘Dada-ne bhi aap ko miss kiya’ lives up to the image, the man. There’ll never be another.
Oh Warney you rockstar!
Where’s Dhoni? Can we have a word or two in Tamil, please?
Edit: Here’s Dhoni. One word in Tamil. Idli Sambhar, what’s more!
Am not a doom merchant, but click here
Matt Hughes in the Times says about Arsene Wenger:
…after a 3-0 home defeat by Chelsea on November 27, he claimed that Didier Drogba, the match-winner, was overrated and that the runaway leaders would drop so many points as to allow his side back into the title race. Wenger’s views on Drogba still seem like sour grapes…..
Here’s what Wenger said (also check the first comment to the article).
““Drogba is a good player. It’s funny because he doesn’t do a lot, but he’s efficient in what he does. You would be surprised by the number of balls he touched today. Jimmy Greaves was a great player, you still remember him. And Drogba is a great player, nobody can deny that. He’s very efficient.”
Spot the difference?
And of course everyone has a opinion.
Please do note this piece by Bobili Vijay Kumar (click here) in the Times of India. It says pretty much everything about my view on this subject.
I would vehemently say that cheating is wrong and every self-respecting woman should leave her husband if he cheats. However, not the self respecting gold-digger. And the ones who fall onto a celebrity for either the sue-money or the 15 seconds of fame. Yes he is famous, yes he has the money, and yes he is desperate for some company (and maybe some sex). but taking advantage of somebody’s desperation … that’ wrong, no?
However, Accenture is right in rescinding Tiger’s contract, and stopping their sponsorship of Tiger. This is what I mentioned on an ex-senior-colleague’s blog.
Well, as an ex-employee (and otherwise) I would say that’s warrented. If you are sponsoring, thereby showing someone off as your spokesperson so as to say, you would expect an absolutely clean image to go with champion performance (and mind you, before this recent revelation, Tiger was almost too good to be true….. Sachin-esque, with worldwide scale and scope).
It’s Accenture’s money, not Tiger’s. Whatever Accenture’s past might have been ***, it is solely Accenture’s decision how it wants itself to be perceived. and if it is that of a group that does not support infidelity or dishonesty in its spokesperson’s personal life, then right or wrong, that’s Accenture’s choice.
*** Accenture (the business consultancy organization, which now also does Technology and Outsourcing) was formed, as a separate business entity from the Tax and Audit consultants Arthur Andersen, a few good years before (as opposed to after) the Enron controversy. The name change was because the consultant organization could not be called Andersen Consulting (as it was originally called as part of Arthur Andersen) due to copyrights on the Andersen name. Enron happened with Arthur Andersen, the Tax and Audit organization which had been a separate legal entity from Accenture for a while before the incident. Implicating Accenture of Arthur Andersen’s crimes is the same as hanging a man because his cousin is a murderer.
And of course you have seen the blog, haven’t you**? If the cave you stay in is so far removed from human contact that you have failed to have visited this site yet, well, here it is (click here).
And let me look into my crystal ball, what would be the next wave of goss on that front?
There will be a million bloggers, in their need to be famous, that will proclaim themselves to be the one. They will be the ‘fake fake IPL players’. And there will be many of them, who will be proclaimed by the media as the ‘fake fake fake IPL player’, namely, the ‘real fake IPL player’…
But eventually, the ‘real fake IPL player’ (RFIP) will never be found. Like the abominable snowman, like the chupacabra, like the sasquatch, like Keysar Soze, the RFIP will disappear soon after the IPL v2 ends. Just like that, he will be gone….
And the biggest trick that he will have played, will be to make the world believe that he did exist…
Now wait a minute. What does my crystal ball tell me, then? Is it that the RFIP never existed?
That indeed is what it seems like, to my limited mind.
Why? Now here’s the reason….
It cannot be a player, for the simple reason that if it were, he would have been found out by now. It is not tough to track down the IP, located the cyber café/ laptop/desktop from where the posts go out, and many must have tried this already….
To no avail.
So it cannot be a regular rant by a disgruntled Ranadeb Bose (As Gulu Ezekiel claims here.. did he have a fallout with Ganguly after the biography?) or a needing-the-fame Anureet Singh. This is planned, and must have been brewing for a while, Whoever is writing the blog must have been planning this for a long while. And while I, willy-nilly, might still be convinced that there is some cricketer somewhere who can pull it off in terms of the writing skills yada yada (no, fat chance that Ranadeb or Anureet or Akash Chopra has that level of writing skill, this blog is genuine mirth… and yes I know that Akash Chopra has written a book, which I have not read yet… but I have indeed read his blog on Cricinfo, and it is honest, prosaic, solid and unexciting, pretty much like the player himself), the technical skills involved to ensure that the person is not caught, must involve some experts.
It cannot be a player in cahoots with a few other buddies of his with the necessary technical skills, because the secret will have definitely been breached… The more the people involved (if this would have just been for fun), the more the chance of the leak…
It cannot be a journo. No journo will commit that kind of professional suicide … the guy/ gal will definitely be ostracized by the media once the news comes out (and trust me it would have by now)… and the fear of libel is a big fear. It’s big, powerful, important people they are trying to take on (in whatever humorous way).
So who is left over?
One of the teams? In a bid for self publicity?
Well, that’s my hunch. One of my hunches, rather.
The IPL v2 has been a success, willy-nilly, I suppose; but has definitely not been the kind of success that the IPL had been the last time…. And what better that to spin some controversy (and fun, might I add) into the whole thing?
KKR itself would have been a possibility, Shahrukh Khan is one of the rare celebrities that has learnt the art of laughing at himself (kudos to him for that)… but would he allow his team to get into this mire of controversy? It’s his money at stake after all….
But then, the money KKR makes is not through winning or losing the tourney (and the team is pretty weak, there are few chances anyway that they will make it to the top), but through ad revenues etc etc….
So it may very well be KKR. Of course Ganguly and Gayle and Agarkar and McCullum and Buchanan and even the rest of the team would have been kept in the loop.
The doubt is that the other teams are not left out of the fun… and they might sue for damages. C’mon, at least Sresanth would definitely sue. And the secret would have to be out sometime for sure, if that many people are in the know.
And the other candidate might be the IPL committee itself…. They do need the publicity, this is a story! A real story! A scoop! Truth or otherwise!
And why would they care about whether a team does well or badly, when all they need is to just ensure the tournament is a success and they make their money, right? And this issue is giving the tournament a lot of publicity.
So is it the IPL committee itself? Will they do something incredulous like this?
And both the parties I have mentioned have the money to gather the technical wherewithal and writing prowess to create this monster…
And well, you and I have all started blogs at some point of time. Isn’t it tough to be popular? How strong, really, is word of mouth? Is it strong enough for a blog to get this incredible level of publicity in just a few days? Without someone in the background playing God? I doubt it very much.
So there, just my two pence into the whole debate.
And don’t come back to this blog and laugh at me tomorrow when some unknown XYZ cricketer (or even Ranadeb or Anureet or even Akash Chopra) owns up to being the RFIP… Or rather, please do. I do not claim to be the lord and master of all analysts, and it is nice to eat humble pie once in a while.
** If you are remotely interested in the IPL.
Unfair? Yes. Not the sacking, but the way the matter was dealt with. I wonder why they fuck it up every single time!
Will he make it back to the Indian team, if he tries a comeback? Yes he will.
Or no he won’t, if the selectors have their way, but that will be the death-knoll for Rohit Sharma, Badrinath or Tiwary or whoever replaces Ganguly. Ganguly will perform a few heroics in the domestic scene…. and for every time the newbie underperforms, the vultures in the media will be let loose on them. Remember Mohammed Kaif?
What would one give to have the Australian system, where a Mark Waugh is told well in advance that he has one year left to his international career… and that’s all. And what would one give to ensure that Dravid is given that flexibility…