6 01 2008

I will leave all the hot air creation apropos the Sydney thriller to those far more capable than I, such as this blog.

I will instead focus on one of my pet peeves which is pronunciation.

 I particularly think those handed the microphone should research the correct pronunciation, as us great unwashed generally tend to take our cues from them. Commendations are due to Ian Chappell (Romesh Kaluwitharana) and Peter Roebuck (Srinivasaraghavan Venkatraghavan) for their punctiliousness.

I will generally try and point out where the transgressions occur, such as this.

Interestingly though the moustaches and lovelies of Sun TV are regularly guilty. Celebrated instances in the past include Sexoslovakia and Shane War-nay. 

And yesterday it was Mike Who-say for Mike Hussey.


If there be a heaven on earth..

4 01 2008 would have been the SCG yesterday when Lacchu’s grace brought to mind, among other things, Brearley’s immortal lines about Azhar.

“..if his genius could be bottled, the future of Test Cricket is secure” or words to that effect.

Watching the extended highlights on Foxtel reminded me of two pieces of poetry.

“Mazhai, pala koti thanthi-hal udayadhorr isai-kkaruvi.” Subramanya Bharati.

The bard was listening to the raindrops on his roof when he made the observation about rain being a multi stringed musical instrument.

Lacchu’s bat as a musical isntrument? Not far fetched at all.

Sab kucch dekh liya

tujh ko dekh kar

utthe nahin hain haath mere

is dua ke baad.

A substitution of ‘dekh’ for the original ‘maang’ in Agha Hashr Kashmiri’s original urdu couplet and, batting-wise, I had seen all there was to be seen and I have no desire to see any more after this benediction!

Didn’t know, didja?

3 01 2008

The airwaves and opinion columns are abuzz with the woeful umpiring decisions of yesterday, not least here.

And this blog is fast turning into the ethnic version of Mediawatch.

Listening to Russell Mark discuss this on ABC radio this morning, I was reassured that had the Symonds appeal been turned down in “Delley, Moom-baaai, Calcutta wherever, they would have torn the place down”.

And just in case you are thinking this is a towering, sorry, tubby intellectual like Greg Ritchie passing judgement, no, Russell Mark is none other than Rajyavardhan Rathore’s coach.

He travels often to India, so he knows what he’s talking about.

And just because some of you readers might have been born in India, spent a large portion of your lives there or even travel back regularly doesn’t mean you know the mindset, or indeed the pronunciation, come to think of it.

Listen to Rusty, he knows.

Gut Busters

2 01 2008

A most hilarious piece by the Herald Sun’s Jon Pierik is here.

The Print Edition is titled ‘Gut Busters’ and carries the sub-title, ‘Lazy Indians on strict diet’ and spills the contents of a purported memo by Gloster and King advising the boys to stay away from fried food, chocolate, red meat, mayonnaise, Indian sweets and fizzy drinks.

It also goes on to say they will be allowed one day a week without dietary restrictions. This is accompanied by a picture of a steak and chips laden plate.

Damn, now you tell me!

If by inference, unhealthy food is all they’ve been having before Gloster and King’s penmanship, then it certainly seems to have done a fine job of keeping their waists under 26″.

The Herald Sun is always rushing out sensationalist tripe, however this seems a new low, certainly down there with Anshuman Gaekwad’s infamous ‘they’re on drugs’ claim.

I however have a lot of faith in Pierik. I am sure he will find further depths to plumb.

And as he does, you will hear of it here.

Day 3.

31 12 2007

28 Dec 07.

Refer this for details of the match.

My boss is a MCC member. He applied in the ballot for a table at lunch and was allotted the third day. We accordingly donned jacket and tie on a day where the temperature was due to hit 37’c and rocked up around 1230 at the members’ entrance to meet with his assortment of mates.

This was my first visit to the Members’ Dining Room after the refurbishment. As concrete, glass and steel structures go, it certainly is up there among the best.

There is also something to be said about being able to watch cricket in airconditioned comfort while sawing away on the sole vegetarian item on the menu, ricotta and spinach in a kozhukkattai shell, served on a bed of clarified butter (ghee to you and me) infused with finely chopped chives.

As you’d expect, this dish had an exotic French name, but I was not able to liberate the menu in the interests of this blog.

One is supposed to leave at the door one’s plebeian impulses before entering the hushed surrounds. Clearly no one told me, for, when Zaheer bowled Symonds I erupted with a cheer that would have been at one with the tricolour wavers in the erstwhile Bay 13.

If the MCC was a dictatorship, I expect I would have been taken away and quietly shot for this gaffe.

As Zaheer was reflecting on what might have been (it was a no-ball) and Jumbo closed his eyes and rested a palm on a fevered brow, I was copping it from my table mates-all Aussies to a man.

Let us draw a curtain, gentle reader, over this unfortunate episode.

Post coffee, we went out and sat in comfortably padded seats. This was more like it. We were part of the crowd, were bathed by the same warm air, were uncomfortable under our collar and ties, and got booed each time the Mexican wave went around. Perfect!

All that was required to complete the experience was waistcoated waiters in white gloves bearing flutes of champagne. However the MCG’s strict liquor laws prevented alcohol beyond the confines of the Dining and Long Room.

However all I needed was my coffee at 5, and surprisingly, they had run out!

Peter Roebuck

28 12 2007

27 December 2007. 

Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test.

Oz. 343 all out. 

India 196 all out.

Srinivasan of the Indian Voice arranges a dinner around each Boxing Day match with noted writer, commentator and raconteur Peter Roebuck.

This time it was at the Chennai Banana Leaf, a change from the venue of previous years, Bala da Dhaba.

The time was for 7.30 pm. A lot of us rocked up early and began a philosophical post mortem of Day 2.

Dravid shouldn’t have opened. Flem said this played like an Indian pitch;So why 196 all out? Sachin was all class. Lacchu and Dada were not bad either. Kumble has been such a lion of a captain and bowler. Why didn’t he get the gig earlier?

You know.

Peter and Srini turned up on the dot at 7:30 pm. I was lucky enough to have Peter at my table. After a hello and a firm handshake, we got talking.

My view is that he talks cricket all day and was going to talk about it shortly anyway.

We therefore discuss in no particular order,

a) his literary influences

He doesn’t commit to it, but when I suggest Wodehouse and Waugh (Evelyn not Steve), he admits to have read them.

b)  Cricket writing.

Peter has heard say that Mukul Kesavan’s Men in White is good, but is interested in my opinion nevertheless. I, having read the book, am less than complimentary about the credentials of someone who has not played more than gully cricket.

c) The rapidly changing socio-political landscape of India.

Narendra Modi, the purportedly inclusive, non xenophobic urban Indian, the ultra-modern Bombayite versus the untouched aspect of small town Indian youth. The growing self confidence of the ‘global Indian’.

d) Awards for excellence in Cricket Writing.

That was me indulging in a spot of sail-filling, pumping up tyres-whatever you will. All sincere to be sure. He was charmingly self deprecatory about it all.

All too soon, it is time for the buffet (Dosa, Uthappams, idlis, naan, sambar, veg koottu, pulao, paneer curry, carrot halwa, kheer, appaLam, raita, green salad-for those who take an interest in such minutiae) followed by Peter taking the floor.

Peter talks along the expected lines

At least three games preparation needed to try out your openers in Oz, blame BCCI for this lack of preparation, under confident Dravid, unrelenting Aussies, classy Sachin, Kumble, pro Buchanan, good raps for Troy Cooley and Peter Kirsten, try opening with Yuvi in the 2nd innings with Dravid back to #3. Not a selector in sight, however Sharad Pawar and twenty of his chamchas are landing-why? Maybe fourteen of those are tax specialists suggests a wag.

Quite a free wheeling Q&A follows with these nuggets emerging.

‘Greg Chappell is that most dangerous of things, a visionary’.

‘If Shane Warne had played in Ian Chappell’s team of the ’70s, he would have gotten 150 wickets and faded away’.

‘I have been to three farewell press conferences, Langer, McGrath and Warne-two out of three were very complimentary about Buchanan. I won’t say who wasn’t’.

‘Cricket will be a lot poorer for the retirement of Warne. We still haven’t fathomed how much of a loss cricket has sustained’.

‘Everyone likes Harsha Bhogle. Everyone enjoys being on air with him. He has this innocence that’s charming’.

‘In print you had better be able to back up your story. On air though-it is not held as much against you-unless Darren Berry’s listening.’

As ever, one suspects Peter would have loved to hold the floor all night, but for the minor inconvenience of the restaurant needing to close. We reluctantly broke up around 10.30 pm.

Donations to his charity were sought and to everyone’s credit, I think people dug deep.

I look forward to next year. Thanks again Srini.

Boxing Day

27 12 2007

Whew! what a day. Here it is, in little vignettes.


Wearing eye-disturbingly bright saffron, green and white on a wintry overcast morning to the train station had returning,bleary eyed, all night revellers rubbing their eyes-in pain I think.

“Off to the cricket are we?”

“How’d you guess?”


Our politician inspired chic was a one-of-its kind. All credit to our costumier Suchi. So much so the Herald Sun, ABC sports, Indian Link and South Asian Times snapped us and again.


The MCG with the re-built Ponsford and Members’ stand looks more of a glass and concrete pile than ever. But the turf’s sparklingly green. What we weekend park bumblers would give to dive on this surface. And Jumbo, Dada and Lacchu choose to topple every single time.


All the talk of the hostilities Sreesanth would have had to face had he made the trip would really have amounted to nought, given how outnumbered the Aussies were by the Indians in the old Bay 13.

Any time they tried to work up an ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie’ they were met by ‘bye, bye, bye’.


Really, it is time we came up with some original chants.

‘Jeetega bhai Jeetega’ is soooo pre-historic.

Any ideas?


The Telugu crowd had the catchiest cry, though it does not make much sense to me.

‘Goom talakala gula gula gula

Ooh ah ooh ah’


It must be the first ever time a streaker streaked (stroke, struck?) with an Indian flag for company. Wasn’t an Indian though as we are just taking our baby steps in liberating ourselves of prudery.

Next time the Indians roll around this guy may well be the first Indian streaker, the A$6000 fine notwithstanding.


Usually the crowds begin filtering away from around 4.30 pm. Not today. An engrossing last session, especially with three helmets crouched around the bat, ensured that the seats didn’t clatter back up until after the last ball was bowled.


It will be fun going back to work tomorrow and giving my colleagues some curry!