Since I started the best of the decade series, instead of running a long year end post; I’d thought I’d do the decade wrap up – not only the best but the worst as well!
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
This post was picked for Blogadda's Spicy Saturday Picks
(In no specific order of preference)
If you ever wondered how did Laxman learn to weave his magic wand on 14Mar,2001 in Kolkata, go back a year in Jan’00, to the last test of the disastrous tour down under. He had opened in the test match and single-handedly destroyed the Aussie bowling. His 167 in the team total of 261 was followed by second highest score of 25! That just about explains his dominance over the Aussie attack. The reason why the Aussies respect him a lot can be traced to this very knock.
The innings was intoxication at its best – you would just drown in the beauty and wide array of strokes on display, the ease in his batting, the delicacy of his wrist play! Sigh a-la Azhar in prime form. As a friend once said, “Sachin is God, but there are strokes that Laxman plays at times, which Sachin would only dream of.” I dare not debate with him!
If a list of the best knocks in the history of Indian cricket or World Cricket is written – this one will feature right at the top of the list and stand there undisputed. What he achieved with this knock does not merely amount to an Indian victory to be stored in cricket’s record books. In that one knock, he truly reflected the attitude that John Wright and Ganguly were trying to build into this team – to make them world beaters. In that one knock, he showed that his team was not the one to give up, had the courage to get up and fight, had the courage to conquer all demons and withstand all attacks. In that one knock, he got Dravid out of his self-imposed shell, did wonders to the team’s confidence, and laid the first brick to India’s success in test cricket – of achieving the Numero Uno position. In that one knock, he re-assured the fans of their belief in this team. In that one knock he thanked his family, team-mates and the fans for their undying, relentless support to this crazy bunch.
In that one knock – Laxman weaved his magic forever on us.
Of the numerous shots he played that day – one remains stuck in my head forever – replayed a million times, in awe of this man. Warne bowled a delivery leaving the leg stump, Laxman got behind the delivery, his bat almost facing the on-side and hit the ball in the extra-cover region. That was as classy an extra-cover drive you will ever see but against a ball wide of the leg-stump! Not a single soul moved on the field – Warne stood still wondering what had just happened.
The magic had begun – one hour into the day’s play, my friends called me to check if I was coming to college for the final year project. I had said, “Are you kidding me, did you even see the first hour of play? Laxman and Dravid seem to be onto something special today – cannot miss that. I’m not getting out of the house for the next 2 days!”
I never regretted bunking college for those 2 days.
93 runs of 6 innings in his last tour down under was not a memory that could be erased easily for someone who had a 50+ average in tests since his debut in 1996 and was India’s most dependable batsmen. The failure on that tour had played on his mind for long. He looked in good form against Zim before the Aussies set their foot on Indian soil; but double failure in the Mumbai tests had the fans wondering if the demons had been erased at all.
This knock broke all the shackles in his mind, and it was fitting reply to all his critics who had run him down. Did you see the expression when he got to his hundred on day 4? Fist punched in the air, a jump and bat pointed at the press box – Dravid almost mouthing Take That! I cannot forget that – the ever so calm Dravid reacting in that manner. He had finally let the steam out!
The knock resulted in setting up India’s famous win and one of the best test matches the world ever witnessed. The innings transformed him completely and did wonders to his confidence. He has not looked back since then. He has gone to play many pivotal knocks for India in her wins abroad and at home. Till date he remains her “Wall”, the most dependable man in the team – The Best Man ever!
In conditions that were fully conducive to swing, Ganguly made the bold attempt to bat first on winning the toss. Dravid and Bangar held fort, one of the finest displays of batting in test match cricket. Dravid’s defence was par excellence and his shot selection impeccable. His innings laid the foundation for the huge total which inspired two fantastic centuries by the Captain and Sachin later next day. This innings set the tone right for the rest of the series, one in which India hardly faltered. A series win was not possible then, but it was fitting that he came back as captain in 2007 to lead India to a series win against the Poms in 21 years.
If it weren’t for the magic woven by Laxman and Dravid in 2001, this one would be right on the top of my list. Call me a sentimental fool, but I’ve immense respect for Dada whatever people may say about that bloke. He is responsible for India’s turnaround in cricket – he deserves as much credit as anyone else, for India becoming the best side in the world today.
In a test foiled by the rain gods, Ganguly came out to bat when India were 62-3 against Australia’s 323. Along with Laxman he launched a fantastic counter attack against the Aussies. He did not have a great record against them and had dealt with enough sledging from McGrath and Co. This knock was a nice slap in the face at their home ground. They did not expect Ganguly to fight it out and he kept surprising them as always. India took lead in the first innings which made a huge difference to the psyche of the team. The knock defined the series to follow – India was on the backfoot only once in the entire series in MCG. The remaining three tests tilted heavily in India’s favour.
Ganguly has always been the ‘Capital A of Attitude’ installed in this Indian Team.
The knock helped erase his ghosts of past. The knock helped shut the critics up who always had one sore point against him, that he does not guide India to victory. (I have always disputed that point and the proofs will run into pages!) But more than anything, the knock helped a nation smile. Mumbai’s favourite son had this to say after the knock:
"By no means am I saying this will make everyone forget what happened in Mumbai but I'd like to thank England for coming back and playing Test cricket and we've witnessed a wonderful Test match - people are enjoying cricket the way it's meant to be.
"What happened in Mumbai was extremely unfortunate and I don't think by India winning or me scoring a hundred, people who have lost their loved ones will feel any better. It's a terrible loss for all of them and our hearts are with them, but whatever manner we can contribute to making them feel better we'll make that effort
Somehow it was only apt that her favourite son was responsible in giving the city something to cheer about.
As much as Sachin’s knock helped take the ship safely to the harbour, it was Sehwag’s blitzkrieg that set the ship racing like a speed boat. His 83 of 68 not only demoralized the England bowlers but almost sealed the victory for India. A target close to 400 was reduced to 250+ in no time on day 4 and that makes a huge psychological difference. The disdain and total disregard he showed to the England bowlers never got them out of their shell. Sehwag proved once again that on his day there is no one yet born who can stop his hammering.
Sachin’s most tons abroad have gone in vain – either in losses or drawn matches. There have been very few instances where he has hit tons abroad and we have won. There is nothing to fault with him – in the 90s he was the sole performing batsmen until Dravid walked in to keep him company. It’s only since 2001 that India began to record wins abroad and a good unit was built with some excellent batsmen and competitive bowlers.
This knock contributed heavily to Indian’s first series win in NZ in 2009. The master blaster was exquisite and if someone said that this bloke was playing for 20 years and was 36 years old – one would be shocked. The hunger for runs remains unchanged, the balance still perfect. It will remain one of Sachin’s best knocks – he played like the old Sachin would and finally resulted in an Indian victory
To last 11 hours and ensure a draw, after being asked to follow-on with two days to go and a deficit of 314 runs, is definitely not an easy task. He has had an awesome two years being adjudged the best player of the year and topping the batting ranks. But for me, this young lad is all about Attitude and Adaptation. He adapts to any situation perfectly – defend, attack, anchor. The bloke can do it all, and he shifts gears with amazing ease! If it comes so easy to him imagine what a great car racer he will make. His attitude is an inspiration for youngsters aiming for the India Cap. Heads down – work to be done – will do it! We need so many more like him.
He is my bet for the future and I am willing to put my money on him. The one guy who has impressed me after the Fab Four, my sole hope that the team will not falter after the 3 big guns of Indian batting call it quits.
Along with Laxman,Dravid and Sachin, he ensured India would see through the day and not squander the lead in the series.
To me he is undoubtedly the second Wall – truly a man of steel.
You don’t need to go to a dictionary to understand the meaning of the word – Mayhem. Just search for this innings and you will get your answer. Sehwag unleashed havoc and terror in one go on the Sri Lankan team that day. What an innings to end the decade for India. I was so freaking irritated when he got out on 293 and I think so was he for the first time in his life. Disappointed on missing a milestone, of being the only person in test cricket to achieve 3 triple centuries.
Sehwag is the mad-man of Indian cricket. I don’t think we will ever have a character like him again. His “I-don’t-care-what-you-bowl-if -it-is-there-to-be-hit-I-will-hit” attitude has more often than not WORKED and worked big time.
At times like this I hate being in Dubai, Brabourne is 20 minutes away from my home in Mumbai. He butchered the SL attack and effectively messed up their confidence. The other batsmen had to walk in and mark their attendance – Sehwag had sealed SL’s fate and ensured India would have it easy on their way to No.1
This amazing filmy video on the terror unleashed by Sehwag here.
It’s only ten best knocks I’m picking but I cannot end the post without mentioning these:
Another Dravid-Laxman partnership, this time around Dravid was in the Groom’s place. Set up India’s win. One of the best knocks I’ve seen. It makes you forget Ponting’s double in the first innings.
If he makes a double, India will not lose - this was almost the mantra when India started winning. Stood like a Rock of Gibraltar and was out only when he tried to accelerate. Pakis never looked like they could get him out.
Sehwag century on debut at one end and Sachin in prime form. Cricketing fans couldn’t have asked for a better viewing. The God and His Follower at their supreme best. India were racing at 4 an over and then at the end of the test match, one was left wondering how could a team that rushed to 350+ in a day could lose the game! Sachin scripted another beauty following his 169 on the previous tour in ‘96.
First triple hundred by hitting a six when on 295 and that too against Pakistan on their home soil! If it weren’t for those other ten exciting knocks this one was a sure shot in my ten favourite innings of the decade.
These are my personal favourites for different reasons – pure cricketing reasons, sentimental ones, for the attitude change those knocks brought in. I’m waiting to learn about yours!
P.S: Yes best Indian bowling performances and my personal year end wrap up will follow but maybe a day or two into the new year!
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
This is going to be one long post. The year end brings lots of memories – the decade even more. Tried to pick the best of what lies in my memory.
This has to be undoubtedly the series of the decade and the best in the history of Cricket! Aussies riding high on a world record, looking to conquer the “Final Frontier” landed on the shores of Mumbai in Mar 2001. They annihilated the Indian Team in Mumbai barring a sparkling batting display by God who produced not one but two gems – 76 and 62. Anyone present at the stadium on that day will never be able to forget the straight drives belted out by the little master. The innings remain stuck in the head more vividly than Gilchrist’s fire-power 100 off 84 balls.
The only time I cursed the curator of the Wankhede pitch for preparing an almost perfect wicket for test match cricket – only to have the Indian batsmen play spoilsport.
Verbal duels between Tugga and Dada followed leading to an interesting “mental disintegration” by both teams. Come Kolkatta Mar 13 and India looked all set to lose the series staring at a 274 run deficit from the first innings and ending the third day at 254/4. Miracles happen – did not believe in it until this day 14Mar,2001 - carved in gold in the history of Indian Cricket! Laxman and Dravid lasted the entire day – India did not lose a single wicket; wiped out the deficit and led the Aussies by 315 at the end of it. It was not defence but an awesome counter attack launched by the two men on everything that the Aussies happened to throw at them. The partnership was good enough to inspire the remaining 9 who bundled out the Aussies in the final session on Day 5. Kolkatta created a history that might never be repeated.
Aussies earned the dubious distinction of being the only team to have lost thrice in the history of cricket after enforcing a follow-on. The match left a permanent scar on the Aussie aggression; the Aussies since then have hesitated to impose a follow-on despite being in the most solid position.
Chennai was another enthralling test and the series saw the rise of Bhajji termed as Turbanator. The series laid the foundation for India to aim for the No.1 status (achieved a month back as the decade drew to an end) and the fascinating Aussie-India rivalry that followed in the decade. If you ask me where did India’s journey to No1 begin – I’d take you back in time to revisit 14Mar,2001 Kolkatta when two men put their hands up and proved the old adage that ‘Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties’. Well, if we get to see such uncertainties we will devour them with great relish and joy!
This series paralleled the 2001 series in terms of intensity and tense contests but what puts 2001 on the top of the list is the Laxman-Dravid batting miracle.
Aussies bullied the Poms in the opening test at Lords and it seemed like the old Ashes story would repeat. I don’t remember following any other series not involving India, as closely as I followed this one, ball-by-ball, not missing a single test match!
This was pretty much termed as Flintoff’s Ashes just ad the 1981 series was termed as Botham’s Ashes. 400 runs and 24 wickets pretty much ensured a victory for the Poms. What a pity the guy chose ODI and T20 over tests! I miss him on the field. With no great histrionics on field he played the silent assassin to perfection.
Pietersen couldn’t have asked for a better debut. His SA roots combined with the Aus-Brit rivalry made him a force to reckon with against the Aussies. When these two batted you wondered if the Aussies were batting seeing the aggression being oozed out.
This was the Wizard of Oz’s last Ashes in England and how well he said goodbye. He revived the memories of the “ball of the century” when he had Strauss out in a similar fashion in the second test. He took 40 wickets in this series and crossed the coveted 600 figure mark! I miss him too. Don’t you wish that some players remain immortal? Warne was one such player. There will be none as good as him ever again! For a lovely write up when he called it quits – read this piece from another cricket fan I respect, who also happens to be one of my best friends and cricket buddy.
The series went right down to the wire after the first test match. Second one was won by England by a mere 2 runs – Brett Lee and Kasparowicz’s heartbroken faces are still etched in memory. Ponting’s brilliant match-saving hundred at Edbagston along with Warne and Lee for company; and Lee and McGrath’s rejoicing at the end of the tense 4 overs was worth savouring. The Trent bridge match was Flintoff’s match all the way – a few hiccups getting to 129. Finally Pietersen ended the series with a stunning 158 at the Oval.
To both the teams we take a bow!
This was my dream come true – in the form of the game I detest, but hell we beat Pakistan in a World Cup Final. It made up for everything I hate about T20.
Every damn Indian cricket fan I know has cherished this dream and Dhoni’s young brigade made it a reality for us. I can never forget the screams and the shrieking that followed as Shreesanth waited for the miscued hit of Misbah-Ul-Haq, with Pakistan needing 6 runs of 4 balls to win the cup! We almost died of a collective heart failure.
Yuvraj’s sixes of Broad and the hammering lent to Australia, the tied league match with Pak. The first T20 cup in SA had some memorable moments and every time India won we gaped in awe. Who would have expected this kind of performance after the dreadful debacle at the ODI WC in WI just a few months back. The celebrations that followed in the country were humungous and as the Boys in Blue passed my Worli house I was stuck in Dubai following it live on TV with mom on the phone commenting live! Cruel fate wasn’t it?
WTF was my exact expression when Sehwag and Sachin belted sixes off third-man and square against the Pakistani pacers. Chasing 270 odd they had raced to 50+ in a mere 5 overs. The match’s fate was sealed in those 5 overs. Though we lost 2 wickets to consecutive deliveries, Sachin, Dravid and Yuvraj wiped out any hopes the Paki bowlers might have had. Sachin’s 98 of 75 will always be among his best knocks - listed in the hall-of-fame. Pakistan dropped him thrice in the match – so even though it was not a chanceless knock, it was still a priceless gem among the many he has gifted us.
The entire brigade did well barring the league match against Aus which was India’s second match at the Cup. They turned the tide around after that match – not losing a single one on their way to the WC final in 20 years. Sure I was crushed when they failed to win or put up a great fight but the matches against Eng, Pak, SL, and NZ were fantastic. The key to India’s success was its pace attack – Srinath and the 2 left armers – Zaheer, Nehra. They bowled exceedingly well in the conditions – remember Nehra’s fantastic 6/23 against England at Kingsmead. The top 5 batsmen were in the best form and fired when needed ably supported by young guns Yuvraj And Kaif
As much as we rue India’s lost chance, the campaign remains special for the way the team fought and looked the next best team to the dominating Aussies in the tournament.
The bliss of a much awaited first ever test series win in Pakistan soil. Remember 1989 – Manjrekar’s solidity and Sachin’s fearlessness against the terrifying Pakistani bowlers. Drawing that series was a victory in itself. The scene set-up again 15 years later was different – the Indian team was more aggressive and assertive having scuffed up some victories abroad by then. Sehwag’s first triple hundred at Multan is unforgettable – only he can think of going for a six and getting to his maiden triple hundred when batting on 295! The series was marred a little by Dravid’s controversial declaration when Sachin was on 194* but the victories at Multan and Rawalpindi pretty much put that in the backburner.
Dravid’s masterful 270 in the third test ensured that we would not lose. Balaji and Pathan did a fantastic job and were ably supported by old war-horse Kumble. The last wicket was that of Kaneria c Ganguly bTendulkar. There could not have been a better ending to this fairy tale.
This one makes my list only for the awesome run-chase of 414 by the young South Africans. It will not make it to the top spot among the best run-chases of the decade. WI chasing 418 against Australia and winning by 3 wickets is No.1 in my opinion cause Australia was on the top of its game during those years and no one had expected such a comeback after a 3-0 rubbing in the previous 3 test matches. The second best is 387/6 by India against England purely for the sentiments attached to it. The England side was valiant enough to comeback to a terror-stricken country to complete the test series. Kudos to them for their attitude! 11 days following the Mumbai terror attack (one of the worst the country had seen), the run-chase was set up by the Mad-Man who blasted 83 of 68 deliveries and later led by India and Mumbai’s favourite son. The victory brought some much needed smiles to this terror-stricken nation.
Going back to the 3rd best run-chase of the decade - Duminy was on his debut and supported AB DeVilliers ably to pull the final plug on the Aussies. Watching the South Africans beat the lights out of the Aussies in broad daylight on their home ground was a delight!
SA won the next test easily and lost the third – setting up an exciting revenge series at home but sadly they lost it without much fight! This is an interesting rivalry building up as SA gains strength with its youngsters and Aus looks to rebuild the void left by Langer, Gilchrist, Warne, McGrath, Hayden.
When was the last time before this event that I was happy to see Pak win; let me recollect – Never. I like their players – I am a huge fan of Wasim Akram but the fandom ends at that. I do not cheer their wins but this time I did. They have not had any international cricket thanks to the terrorism in their country and the World Cup too has been taken away post that dreadful attack on the SL players. I’m not sympathetic to the country but to the players yes. No athlete deserves to lose out on the opportunities cause of the political mess his country is in. They are a bunch of talented blokes – sheer raw talent and the world needs to see it. We need the Pakistani team – heck how will we enjoy India-Pak rivalry?
I was glad they won the cup, they needed it and their country needed it much more. The players to re-assure themselves that they are competitive enough for the world cricket and the country cause in the numerous terrorist attacks only this good news could help bring a smile and forget the woes for a little time.
This series was one of the most interesting ones wherein the pendulum kept swinging in favour of SA and NZ and Australians were never in contention for the final race. I don’t recollect that happening in a tournament that involved Australia at their home ground.
The series most memorable for Shane Bond’s outstanding bowling. Why he was never able to sustain himself is such a mystery, he is a delight to watch! Sad we get to see so less of him! NZ were led splendidly by Stephen Fleming. My favourite though were the two knocks which I caught live on television. Cairns’ century against SA and Bevan’s century against NZ; the two innings and the two matches had the same script written all over again in a span of 10 days.
Cairns walked in at 73/4 in the 19th over chasing 244 and hit a marvellous 102* enabling NZ to win by 4 wickets. We witnessed a re-run of the match with a different cast later. Chasing 246, Aus was reeling at 82/6 against the Black Caps when Bevan produced the magical innings of 102* to glide them through. However Aus failed to make it to the finals and the two better teams in the tournament were through. SA finally won the series
This was India’s moment of glory and a fine revenge after the much maligned Sydney Test. Gambhir was the pivot in the league matches and scored 440 runs at the end of the series. Dhoni played the perfect finisher but the finals belonged to Sachin Tendulkar. His innings in both matches helped set up wins for India. The young bowling brigade of India – Sreesanth, Bhajji, Pathan, Praveen Kumar and Ishaant bowled extremely well to guide India to its win in Australia after 23 years!
This features in my list purely for my love for Tugga’s side not Ponting’s blokes. This was the side whose foundation was laid in Taylor’s reign and ruled supreme under Tugga’s leadership. Steve Waugh was a heartbroken man after the 2001 series loss; the one land which he so badly wanted to conquer remained unconquered during his reign.
I’m extremely clear about my feelings for Ponting. He is a great batsman but a miserable example for his team-mates in terms of attitude off and on the field. His brashness has rubbed on to his teammates leading to fiascos such as the Sydney test which had his own country men turn against the team. Therefore, if Ponting had captained in the winning test match it would’ve been painful – but he was out due to injury and one of my favourite Aussie players Adam Gilchrist, led his team to a fine victory.
The final score read 2-1 but it was never a close series. Australia had the upper hand from the first test. India put up a spineless defence marred by injuries to Sachin and Ganguly’s last moment back out from Nagpur match after seeing the green top. The series saw the birth of another fine player – Michael Clarke whose century debut reminded me of Steve Waugh of the earlier days. McGrath and Warne could not have asked for a better last series in India! The Aussie team had finally won their “Final Frontier”, a dream long cherished by Waugh!
Those are my favourite series of the decade – and you were saying yours were?
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The first question arising in the minds of all those readers of ‘5 point Someone’ is how “inspired” is the movie from this book. Rajkumar Hirani, prior to release of the movie, kept saying that it is only inspired from the book and is not an adaptation of the book itself. Just like Slumdog Millionaire was ‘based’ on Vikas Swarup’s ‘Q & A’, 3 Idiots is also based on Chetan Bhagat’s ‘5 Point Someone’. The basic plot of 3 students entering IIT ( here renames to ICE) remains the same. The movie and the book’s story differs. A few chapters from the book are entwined to form a different story. Let’s give credit to both – Chetan Bhagat and Rajkumar Hirani.
Chetan Bhagat penned a marvellous piece - a piece all we engineering grads(even though we did not make it to IIT but made to the states' best colleges) identify with. Rajkumar Hirani identifies the hidden message of “the education system gone wrong and people stuck in the indefinite rat race” and combines the two. Not his brilliant best but a great effort nevertheless.
Rancho, Raju and Farhan are not Alok, Hari and Ryan. Raju is the character closest to Alok. Rancho seems more based on Ryan but has a dark secret like Hari. Some events from the book are lifted such as Hari-Neha’s romance, Alok’s suicide attempt, the final climax of theft. But Hirani adds his own twist even to the sub-plots. It’s a story re-told, in a manner how he would’ve written the book.
Through his previous two films, Hirani with minimal melodrama and the usual Bollywood gibberish, kept his viewer tied to the film at every moment. I’m not sure I can say the same about 3 Idiots. The overall package is delightful but some scenes could have been avoided and the movie definitely needs some editing.
That whole scene about the baby delivery on a ping-pong table via a webcam and the kid kicking at All Izz Well could’ve really have been done away with. Pia’s wedding melodrama – the typical bollywood style could also have been avoided! A trifle hard to believe that she waited 10 years to finally cave in to marriage to the same Price Tag Character. And even more surprising is that Price Tag waited 10 years for a girl who dumped him. It could’ve been more realistic to bring in another guy or not bring anyone at all.
The plot though is witty, especially interactions between the professors and the 3 Idiots. Loved that bit about definition of a book, FARHANITRATE and PRERAJULISATION, Induction Motor and Exam Papers. My favourite scene though was the one where Chatur (Handicapped with Hindi) delivers the hilarious speech twisted by the mischievous Rancho. The theatre was in splits at the kiddish gimmick – but it works to tickle the audience.
Aamir is brilliant yet again, his Rancho steals your heart. He looks a very believable 19-20 year old with his gait, innocent looks and wise cracks. He is undoubtedly one of the finest actors of our time. No two thoughts about that! Madhavan is a favourite of mine since the Banegi Apni Baat days. I have liked him in every damn movie of his, his innocence is charming. But Sharman Joshi takes the cake – his amazingly simple face. He gets away with the wittiest of remarks while keeping a straight face and he shines in two scenes for me – one at his interview and the second when facing rustication. I liked the guy who played Chatur too. Brilliant – especially in that teacher’s day scene! Oh to keep a straight face and act that scene out knowing what the dialogues mean! Tough act for him and he does a brilliant job.
Kareena is good in the few scenes she is present – very true to her Geet in Jab We Met. Boman Irani is ok and we don’t grow to like him despite him being the villain; unlike the previous two Hirani movies where we loved Dr. Asthana and Lucky Singh. Irani’s Viru Sahastrabuddhe a.ka. Virus just does not grow on you and I felt this is another place where 3 Idiots falls short as compared to Hirani’s previous 2 movies.
I thought that the music was fairly decent and the songs were incidental to the plot not forced as is in most cases. Shreya Ghosal and Sonu Nigam are wonderful in the ‘Zoobi Doob Song’. I’m absolutely in love with ‘Behti Hawa Sa Tha Woh’ – Shantanu Moitra brings back the magic of Parineeta and Yahaan in this number. ‘Give Me Some Sunshine’ and ‘Jaane Nahi Deenge’ are good numbers too. In fact the one song which is a super hit and will almost be a national anthem just did not impress me in terms of music! Just my opinion, you could differ.
And finally, the movie gets you all nostalgic. It took me back to my engineering days where the average performers were not even recognized. If I go back to college today, I know only a couple professors will recognize me. My engineering memories are about my friends and about the weird characters I met. I thank them all for teaching me what life is all about! The pressure to do well in college was killing at times but I know some blokes and gals around, helped me in having fun and enjoying those crazy 4 years. I will never forget them for the rest of my life!
As the book was about real life characters whom we all have met in our life, the movie too keeps these characters real. I’ve met a Rancho in my engineering college, he was not as mischievous in the plot but he defied the norms of the education system degree, he is doing great in his life today.
I met a Chatur too in my college – many of them in fact and we average students were so looked down upon by them. I have no clue what he is upto – might be a millionaire by now:-) He mailed me once after my cricket articles were published on the net, expressing surprise at my ‘hidden talent’ – I never replied – don’t think he deserved one. I don’t need a stamp of approval from blokes like him. And there was another one who was pursuing his MS in the US of A and expressed surprise after learning I was among the top 5 in my MBA college!
We have at some point in our lives been victims to the peer pressure and the indefinite rat race. All toppers in our schools, but lost in the competitive world just like Raju and Farhan. I did not get to pursue my passion as my profession but atleast I’ve kept it going as my hobby.
The 3 idiots helped me reminisce lots of old memories. Revisit the lives of my long lost batch mates and secretly hoping that the most ignored ones have done far better than the ones who always hogged the limelight! Importantly, it sends a strong message that the bond of friendship is the strongest cause it does not come with any pre-conditions,expectations or requirements – the only one that is an exception to all the relationships that we have. I truly believe in it – for my friends have been around when it mattered the most.
Hope this movie renders a few lessons to our education system, the boring professors and the ‘my-son-will-be-an-engineer-or-doctor’ parents. Hope they learn to listen to what all the students are trying to say which is summed up beautifully in this number:
"Saari umar hum marr marr ke jee liye
Ek pal to ab humein jeene do jeene do
Saari umar hum marr marr ke jee liye
Ek pal to ab humein jeene do jeene do
Give me some sunshine
Give me some rain
Give me another chance I wanna grow up once again"
Sunday, December 13, 2009
It is raining in the desert land.Dubai generally gets a week of rainfall every December but last year it had also poured in April. This year the rains have set in and today was the day when this place received it’s heaviest rainfalls.
Needless to say the entire city was in a mess. Roads flooded, numerous traffic jams, and accidents. Dubai is not equipped to handle such rains and a little heavy shower can put the city in complete disarray.
But I love this weather – water all around , time for a nice walk in the rains, hot cup of tea with some onion pakoras! This weather takes me back to Mumbai’s monsoon.
I was ruing being in office today and updated my status message on FB and here is the little surprise I received from MDH in response to it in Marathi:
Friday, December 11, 2009
“We both are lefty – he uses his left hand to slap and I get the slap on my left cheek.
We both have the same aim in life- my death, but he wants to murder me and I wish to commit suicide.”
Monday, December 07, 2009
A friend from MBA days is soon to visit the Land of Sheikhs . I will be meeting him after 5 whole years and looking forward to catch up after such a long time. He requested that I put up a quick guide on what to do when one lands in Dubai.
- Dubai Desert Safari – The sand dune bashing followed by Arabian camp with sheesha, camel ride, kebabs and biryani, arabic coffee, photo sessions in local dress , henna and finally belly dancing! This is a must on every Dubai tourist’s to-do list. The weather is perfect. My experience 4 years ago here
- Dubai Museum: It is not a match for museums around the world but when one visits a new place one must visit a museum to learn about the place. The museum features a nice video on the growth of Dubai from a mere oyster trading place to the vast cement jungle that it is today.
- Jumeirah Road Drive – Drive along the Jumeirah road at night and enjoy the most up-market area in Dubai – the villas, the cafes, the restaurants, the beach park, the lovely mosques & Burj Al Arab.
- Brunch/Lunch at Burj-Al-Arab – The world’s only 7-star restaurant built in the sea. It is Dubai’s pride and the most famous landmark. If you are ready to dent your pocket, you must try the brunch/lunch at the 27th floor Al Muntaha Restaurant. The view and the menu is one hell of an experience.
- Madinat Souq : Visit this traditional Souq at the Madinat Jumeirah right beside Burj Al Arab. You may pick up a few souvenirs from the Al Jaber Gallery. The rest of shops are too expensive. The place though has kept its old traditional look and is a famous tourist site.
- Dolphinarium at Dubai Creek: The Friday morning shows come real cheap at AED 30/-. The dolphins and seals are a delight to watch and is total paisa vasool.
- Discovery Centre and Aquarium@ Dubai Mall: Various species of the water world have been kept in the best possible environment. You will be amazed at seeing the size of some crabs and fishes there!
- Night walks at Dubai Marina and The Walk @ JBR (Jumeirah Beach Residence) - Lots of restaurants/cafes around both places and excellent places to take a night stroll after dinner or head for a dessert. The Walk at JBR also has an adjoining beach.
- The Haridwar of Dubai. This is a place in Dubai Green Community, very far away from the city but if you have friends here, great place to go for a quiet dinner and walk by the lakeside. An amphitheatre in between which ends in a lake, and on the opposite is the Courtyard hotel from Marriott. Restaurant shut at 10.00 p.m. so grab an early dinner here!
- Abra – the open one and the AC one. The open one is cheap and looks scary. It’s Dubai’s waterbus that ferries people across the Dubai creek from Dubai to Deira and back for as cheap as AED 1/-. It’s fun experience. The AC one costs AED 4/- and is more sophisticated. Try both:-)
- Dubai Metro: Though only ten stations operational this is a must ride for all. Those who come in from Mumbai will appreciate it a lot more. The stations are suave, the trains tiny and the ride is pleasant. It runs parallel to Dubai’s best highway – The Sheikh Zayed Road and offers a great view. There are stations at the 3 famous malls of Dubai – Deira City Centre, Mall of Emirates and Burjuman. So hop in and shop and enjoy this joy ride.
- Shawarma ( This is a chicken sandwich) @Roadside cafeterias
- Arabic – Hamoos, khaboos, Fatoosh & Falafel @ any Arabic joint
- Iranian Kebabs
- Lebanese Food (Karam or Arz Lebanon Joints)
- Fish Basket @ Sharjah ( King Faisal Road)
- Stolls/Shawls/Pashminas @ the textile market near Bur Dubai Creek. You can get some awesome bargains with some coming in as cheap as AED 8-10.
- Gold @ Meena Bazaar or Deira Gold Souq
- Spices @ Iranian shops near the Deira Spice Market
- Antiques and Dubai souvenirs @ Al Jaber Gallery in Madinat Jumeirah/Mall of Emirates
- Candle Stands/Tea light holders @ IKEA, Lifestyle stores and Home Centre
- Electronic items at the hypermarkets like Carrefour/ Hyper Panda/ Sharaf DG which give some good offers and are way too cheap compared to India.
Phew! Quite an exhaustive list and if you need more details you know whom to contact;-) So enjoy your trip to Dubai and do visit this Sheikh land once – it’s not a bad place and I’m pretty amazed with all that has been developed from what was once a barren desert!
Sunday, December 06, 2009
Not justified? Why should anyone justify – ICC put a ranking system in place 8 years back agreeable to all test playing nations and we passed through that system to gain the top spot. So all those who are shouting hoarse as to how India does not deserve to be at the top, please shout more and lose your voices. Fact of the matter is we are at the top and that’s it!
The details of the ranking system and calculation here.
We have had 3 series wins outside – WI, Eng (2007) and NZ ( 2009). We beat Aus at home in 2008 and drew with SA. Barring SA, the only team to have challenged the Aussies during their decade of dominance was India. Only the 2004 home series was forgettable; while in all others we dominated equally. We won the epic 2001 series, we levelled 2003 series in Australia, 2007 was almost ours if not for that awful,awful Sydney test, and in 2008 we decimated the Aussies at Home.
We won test matches in Eng, WI , Zimbabwe, SL, NZ, Pak and SA in the said period and recorded our first test series wins in Pak(2004) and NZ(2009) and series wins after ages against England(2007) and WI(2006).
Statistics below in terms of matches played and series played.
|Total no. of tests played|
|Total no. of test-series played|
|Overall Success %|
|Overall Success %|
|Won – Home|
|Won – Home|
|Won – Away|
|Won – Away|
|Success % Home|
|Success % Home|
|Success % Away|
|Success % Away|
We were given a paper to solve, we knew the marks per question and we knew what answers would fetch what amount of marks. The formulae were spelled out and all we had to do was to deliver the results. So we did, we did not cheat or copy like Australia did in the 2007 series in Sydney which would’ve been ours. We solved the paper to the best of our knowledge and we scored the top marks.
So now you think the paper and marks system is a farce cause finally an Asian country got to the top and the big daddies of world cricket stand defeated. Isn't it the same system by virtue of which Aus and SA ruled at the top. No system can be foolproof or perfect and will always have its pros and cons. This one was accepted and now we are at the top. The equation is fairly simple isn't it?
Take a hike – all of you. Yeah we are inconsistent, yeah we don’t have a great bowling attack, yeah our batsmen may not fire all the time and yes we will lose the crown cause our stupid board thinks that test cricket is boring with no tests for 10 months in 2010. But yet, we passed with flying colours and proved a point to the world and our stupid board.
Test cricket is where our heart lies and I speak for all those true cricket fans and for the players. This is where the real skill is tested – it’s now time to say Wake Up BCCI. We need more tests to ensure that we prove it was no fluke and we can sustain ourselves at the top.
A big thank you to Jumbo, The Fab Four – Dada, the Wall, the God & Laxman, the Mad-Man, the New Wall - Gambhir, the Speedsters - Zaheer, Ishant, Pathan, Sreesanth, the spinners - Bhajji,Ojha, Mishra, the Fill-in Guys – Karthik and M. Vijay & Captain Cool. To the entire support staff of the team. To Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad. To Mr. Greg Chappell for the turbulence you brought, which helped the team unite against you and prove your crazy proclamations false.
To you Mr. John Wright for showing us the way – for believing in the crazy team when no one did – for instilling that self-belief and finally to you Gary Kirsten, for carrying on the fine legacy of John Wright.
Thank you all for this proud moment– a moment carved in history - one that will be remembered for a long time to come!
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Sehwag is a phenomenon of his own kind. There was none and there will be none. When he stepped onto the scene comparisons were often drawn between him and the God. He sometimes plays shots similar to Sachin and has still maintained that brazenness and rebellious streak of the Sachin we saw in 90s; but I think the similarities end at that.
Sehwag’s brains work differently – rather abnormally from those of most cricketers. Would you and I who have just about got to playing gully cricket or maybe school or college level cricket , and approaching our personal milestone even in those inconsequential matches; ever think of hitting a six to get to it? I don’t think so and that sets him apart. From the time he has hit the scene, he has kept it simple – if the ball is there to be hit, I will hit it. Let’s keep it that. So whether he is on 99 or 199 or 299 and tomorrow, hopefully he will be on 399 gunning for Lara’s record, it will still not matter to him.
He is one cricketer who has managed to get most fans to be awe-struck and frustrated at the same time. When he is on song there is none other batsman we want to see – heck he even had our attention stolen on his debut in 2001 against SA when the maestro was batting with him on the other end. In that partnership of 220 for the 5th wicket with Sachin, we often felt that we were watching the same guy bat at both ends- only the scoreboard seemed to change the name.
Sehwag is not consistent. Halt before you start gunning me for this. When Sachin and Dravid are on the team, you will get what I mean. You are pretty sure that one of them will get a century in a series, you can’t say the same for this mad man. It’s almost upto him to decide that. He will show some short genius spurts and then get out in the most stupid manner; then he will comeback and turn the pitch into a slaughter house making you feel really sorry for the opposition. Yeah only he can bring that feeling into you, in fact I think he must also be feeling sorry for the condescending attitude he shows to the opposition when he is on a song. Sorry symphony is not what you associate with this man – you associate only murder.
He sets up the match for India every time he decides to go berserk. His innings need not result in a century every time but he ensures that the match has turned in India’s favour and it leaves little for his team-mates to do to seal the win. His innings has not only demoralized the opposition but has also ensured enough inspiration for his team to follow his suit.
If he gets going he gets going big. Of his 17 100s – 12 are over 150 of which 6 are over 200 and of which 2 are triple hundreds and he is on the verge of becoming the first test player ever in the history of the game to crack 3 triple hundreds! None of India’s best batsmen – Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid boast of such huge scores. No I’m not comparing them – I’m just trying to make a point that this man too deserves his place which is unique in Indian Cricket’s hall of fame.
He might’ve got the total runs a grand or two less than he would’ve had he played himself in but that is not Sehwag and then there is no fun watching him. We have the Dravids, Laxmans, Gambhirs and Tendulkars take care of the consistency aspect, let Sehwag just be himself. He did play himself in after an unsteady start in the last match and see what resulted. Gambhir is a great influence on him, they play together in the Delhi team which has helped their rapport immensely at the international level. On Gambhir – the new wall of Indian cricket in another post.
Let Sehwag be the mad-man don’t ask him to change his game-plan. It will not work in 4 innings but it will work in the 5th and that should be enough for us. He does not move his feet, damn it not even when he hits those cover drives or those sixes with a straight bat and leaves me with a WTF expression in my mouth and on my face. So let him continue to do that till he decides to hang his boots. He will never get an expression like what a beauty or what timing or what a delight from us – all that we will keep saying is WTF! Yeah that’s the only expression that can describe this Mad-Man of Indian Cricket. So just let him be.
For there will be none again like him and we will keep reminding ourselves how god damn lucky we are to have had the bloody privilege to witness this Brutal Murderer – A Murderer we are so damn proud of!
Monday, November 30, 2009
This blog was quiet on the one day when every other blog was not. Though the first thing that I wanted to do was write – I refrained. It causes me too much pain – to revisit the blood bath of those 3 days, recall the nightmare through the eyes of those who survived and relive the torture that the victims went through.
I’ve personally not come to terms with accepting 26/11 attack and I know I never will. Yes my life did go on normally maybe because I was not among the ones directly affected – I did not lose any loved ones in that attack and I was not present in Mumbai then. But every gory detail I saw on the television set those 3 days, left me a nervous heartbroken person from within. Helpless and hurt – almost a victim; cause in my capacity there was nothing I could have done to help reduce the mayhem caused on that Black Wednesday night in Mumbai. People at least took the streets to join in the candle night vigils and support the ones who sacrificed their lives in this attack – I was simply at home far away from my city and my country – helpless.
I know there are ways that I can help but I wonder how much of help would that be. The perpetrators of the crime are still living scot-free and the one man who is held captive, still awaits a ‘fair trial’ despite millions having seen him live in action on television and at the CST murdering millions. Yes, we are a great democratic country with a fine judiciary system. I cannot change it, nor have I tried to, so I won’t blame it. I’ll just be patient and wait, just as I’m still awaiting those numerous decisions on the bomb blasts that have shaken my city in the last 16 years.
People talk about her undying spirit, her indomitable soul. Earlier she was beaten and she was hurt but last year she was raped. Brutally raped by 10 cruel demons in full view seen by millions and yet none of us could save her. She has got back on her own feet – forgetting the scars. A rape is the worst crime of all and cannot be forgotten – not for the victim and yet my darling city has managed to do that - lift herself up and resume normality yet again. How she has managed to do it, I do not know, but I do hope she knows that we have not forgotten and we will never ever forget.
Every year, every day we remember her and the ones who died saving her. We don’t need an anniversary reminder to remember that pain – it is living within us every single day since it happened.
I pray for the victims and their families that they will someday be able to find the peace they have been longing for and in the effort we all will too.
My beloved Bombay, My Mumbai, you make me proud – for all that you have endured. One day I promise you will be proud of us – for I know we will somehow figure a way out to get our revenge, we will in some way or the other – all your kids will find that way out.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Why is it that –
- What you expect from a person is not similar to what you will return to the same person
- When a person chooses to be silent over issues, you treat it as his acceptance and not defiance
- When it comes to family matters you allow only one side to prosecute and the other never to defend
- You forget old friendships because you now have new relationships
- The very people who hurt you once suddenly become dearer to you than the ones who have never hurt you
- You are so self-centred that you expect people to be in touch but you will not reciprocate the same
- You can choose so easily and take sides without giving it a second thought as to how your actions will impact the one whose side you chose not to be on
- You cannot take delight in seeing your near-dear ones prosper
- You are perpetually competing and cannot be content
- You put on such a façade especially to the ones who know you inside out
- You call yourself a dear one, but are never there when it matters the most
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
a. Lord’s – England
b. Sydney Cricket Ground – Australia
c. Johannesburg – South Africa
d. Eden Gardens – Kolkatta, India
e. Chepauk – Chennai, India
The journey so far:
1) I’ve been a good daughter to my parents – It’s the most satisfying feeling.
Monday, November 16, 2009
Loads of tributes were up on the net, television, radio and every possible media yesterday, and it got me wondering if I should chip in my two cents or probably even lesser. I thought I should not, just be a good reader, after all who am I to comment or even write about the Maestro. I’m no cricket journalist nor have I played the game – I’m just a small fan among the millions, that the game and God have.
But Siddhartha Vaidyanathan – one of the finest young cricket writers I’ve seen and met, goes ahead and writes ‘20 random thoughts from 20 years of Sachin’ (He wrote it on FB – Notes - once I figure how to link it up I’ll put it up); temptation enough for me to come out of my small ‘No post on SachinTwenty’ hibernation. With Siddhartha’s due permission to continue the tag – here goes my list of ’20 random things from 20 years of Sachin’.
Forgive the repetition, if any innings mentioned in Siddharth’s post are referenced below. Most Sachin fans will have at least 5-6 common ones. Those were defining moments for us – a generation that grew up with the Fab Five - Sachin, Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman, Kumble.
1) A short young bloke – all of 18 years of age hammered the Pakistani bowling of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Aaqib Javed and Waqar Younis. Some 50 odd off 40 balls and a partnership with Sanjay Manjrekar. I had just started watching the game, he is one of the reasons why my interest in the game has not faded away.
2) 1992: Sydney –148 * and Perth – 114 Vs Aus. India had a disastrous tour down under. Sachin ensured Warne had a forgettable debut . I woke up early every morning along with Papa, to follow his innings live on the radio. I still have the recordings of the highlights. Sachin, according to my mum managed to do the impossible – wake me up in a jiffy without an alarm and her yelling. That mesmerising innings of 114 tops my list of his best knocks. I cannot forget it, that image of him, all of 5ft4in. standing tall and hitting straight drives off the likes of Merv Hughes and McDermott, will never fade away from my memory.
3) His disappointed face after getting out at 88 in Napier in 1990. He was only 16 then. I saw the recording later – I did not know to react! Heck most guys don’t even know what to do in life at that age – and this bloke understood the importance of a 100 in a test match.
4) 59 in his second test against Pak in Pakistan after a bloodbath! Guts, determination, rock solid concentration, man of steel. The nation knew a star was born, the kid knew he had passed the acid test. Still have the newspaper cuttings.
5) 1992-93 tour Vs SA – What I remember is he was given out in one of the ODIs when he was batting well on 20 odd. I cannot recollect the match or the umpire – he was given out caught when he had not edged or gloved the ball. I saw a small tear in the eye of a 19 year old then. The only time I think he reacted as a teenager.
6) I had seen him play live at the stadium before but this one was special. I had bunked school and gone to see him bat. On a dreadful Wankhede pitch, he played a gem of an innings of 85 against the WI in 1994. He showed why he is a class apart. His knock and partnership with Manjrekar – inspired Srinath to play havoc with the bat and ball later.
7) 1994 Vs NZ. The Kamikaze Kid -he was called after that innings hit NZ real hard. 82 of 49 balls which changed the way India approached opening batting in ODIs. I’m glad I was wide wake- I’m glad Papa had the VCR on. I watched that knock a million times later. And again when he got out , he had the regret of not getting the century. That hunger for runs is still alive – 20 years on.
8) Wankhede is the only place where they cheer the fall of Indian wicket; that is until Sachin arrives to bat. They are a fair crowd appreciating a good game, but they are only human and they are hugely flawed when it comes to Mumbai's favourite son.
9) As Siddhartha mentioned in his post – Gods had descended on the cricket field in Cape Town 1996-97 SA tour. Azhar and Sachin had murdered the SA attack in the most delicate manner one could visualize. The array and beauty of the stroked played that afternoon will remain unparalleled for a long time. Adam Bacher pulled a stunner out of mid-air. and Sachin did not move for 2 whole minutes. He was the last to get off the ground – stunned by the catch and not able to believe that his dream run was foiled at 169.
10) 1993 – Hero Cup Semi-final Vs SA. I need not say more – that last over he bowled. His eagerness to come on to bowl when SA needed 6 runs and people call him a choker. Blah!
11) 1998 Vs Australia – Chennai. He hit a first ball 4 of Warne and was out the same over. He was in crackling form and he messed up – the anger showed. The brunt was borne by Aus in the 2nd innings – that 155* will make to any best innings list in the world
12) 1998 Vs Australia – Sharjah. 1998 was his year – his year of complete dominance in world cricket and over Australia. No player has as many runs and centuries as he does against the Big Daddy of international cricket. A reason why he is so loved and revered Down Under. I rate his innings in the league match much higher than the one in the final. India came out to bat needing 8 per over to qualify, after the sandstorm break. Aussies would’ve preferred to have been hit by the sandstorm than the Sachinstorm that hit them later. Again given out erroneously – he wasn’t looking to qualify he was looking to win!
13) 1999 Vs Aus. LBW or HBW ( Hand before wicket). That whole dismissal is replayed a million times in my mind and even after a decade I cannot fathom how weird it was. I hated Daryl Harper for that!
14) 1999 Vs Pak, Chennai – 136. We were in our college following the match on the radio. Cheering and shouting every time he got a run. My heart skipped a beat when he got out and I almost died when we lost the match. I came home mouthing all possible abuses the guys had taught me against those 10 buggers who could not get the balance 49.82% of the victory target. I came home and cried – the only time I recollect doing that after India’s defeat. I know Sachin too cried after that defeat. He proved why he was ‘GOD’ in cricket and a mere mortal like us at the same time.
15) 1999 WC Vs Kenya–England. Grit, courage, determination, concentration, patriot, team player, awesome role model, obedient son. That one moment defined all of that for me in him - Sachin kissed his helmet, looked up and waited a moment, then wiped his eyes and got onto his business of decimating the Kenyan attack. Of all the centuries against all the best attacks – this one is my sentimental favourite. It’s not easy to deal with the loss of a parent and get on with your work in a matter of days. I’ve been through it so I know – not comparable to his feat but I could relate to his psyche then.
16) 2001 Vs Australia – Kolkatta. You cannot keep him away from contributing to famous wins. His 3 wickets in the second innings were as valuable as Laxman and Dravid’s knocks! His delight after getting Warne out to a googly was as innocent as a child getting his favourite chocolate. Sachin remains that little innocent 16 year old still at heart.
17) 2003 WC – 98 Vs Pak. Phenomenal. He slaughtered and butchered the Pakistani bowling and along with what was left of their confidence. He made them mere spectators as he unleashed terror all around. I loved his comment at the presentation – never seen him rub salt on opposition’s wounds so hard – “Well they are yet to beat us in a World Cup”. How true!!
18) His run of 90s in ODIs in 2007 – He would’ve amassed 50 centuries by now had he converted those 6 ( 2 each against Pak,SA, and Eng). I’m not getting any young to handle these heartbreaks, I told my husband then.
19) 103* Vs England , Dec 2008. Following close after the worst terrorist attack on Mumbai – Sachin, Sehwag and the rest gave the country and Mumbaikars a reason to smile. It did not wipe out the scars but it did lift the spirits of millions a little, just a little, but it did. Dilip Premchandran summed it up for us -
“Those that aren't Indian struggle to fathom exactly what Tendulkar means to so many millions, and it's doubtful whether even those that live here really comprehend just how much a part of the national consciousness he has become. He is such a unifying force, a personality capable of stirring the emotions in every nook and corner of a vast land. And in these times of distress and anger, it was so very appropriate that it would be Tendulkar who put the smiles back on at least a few faces.”
Sachin has given us more than 20 reasons to smile and cry in the last 20 years – it’s difficult to sum up only 20.
My favourite quotes to end this tribute:
“I’ve seen God, he bats at no. 4 for India” – Mathew Hayden
“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don't know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives” - BBC Sports