Friday, 27 February 2009

Order of the Put Before Disorder

Australia is shrinking but environment activists need not disrobe or/and demonstrate. This is strictly about Australian representation at Indian Premier League II.

Epitome of larrikin patriotism Ricky Ponting put Country before IPL and summarily booked himself a Companion of the Order of Australia medallion. This was the precise the provocation behind putting together a list of seven other cricketers who put something before some other thing in recent past.

Sample what comes first for whom.

1. Mohd ‘Yo-Yo’ Yousuf: Put Christianity before Islam, Islam before Christianity, ICL before Pakistan, IPL before ICL, ICL before IPL, Pakistan before ICL…to be continued.

2. Brad ‘Machiavelli’ Haddin: Put gloves before stumps.

3. Michael ‘Love-struck’ Clarke: Pre-vice captaincy, put ailing father-in-law before team; post-vice captaincy, put team before marriage. Pup skipped IPL I to be with ailing Pop-in-Law and now cricket commitment puts his marriage with Lara Bingle on hold.

4. Allen ‘Fraud’ Stanford: Put himself before law. Now he comes first, followed by Vijay Singh, Michael Owen, Kevin Pietersen, ECB, WICB and FBI sleuthhounds.

5. Bryce ‘Sleepy’ McGain: Put a sound sleep before a cricket tour and missed the flight to South Africa. What else you expected from someone who knew Australia had sleepless nights ahead?

6. Andrew ‘Fredalo’ Flintoff: Uncannily, he too preferred a nap before a tour and almost missed England’s flight to the Windies. Doosra is told it was part of his preparation for the tour. The nocturnal booze cruise in the Caribbeans to be precise.

7. Mitchell ‘Cupid’ Johnson: Put girl friend before Queensland. ‘Midge’ dumped Queensland and moved to Western Australia to be with his lady love Jessica Bratich. Jessica being the national karate champion, it’s not known whether Midge did it under duress.

(P.S. Doosra takes a nine-day break, solely because it's my last chance to dissuade my parents from completely disowning their unworthy son. So friends, Roman and countrymen, make the most of my absence, enjoy every nano-second of it before I return and hit back with vengeance. See you all. Happy blogging)

Monday, 23 February 2009

Bucknor to go and why you still can’t rejoice

(An open letter to Steve Bucknor, requesting him not to quit)

Dear Mr Bucknor,

Despite knowing well that this act of mine would invite umpteen fatwas and death threats besides casting serious aspersion on my sanity, I take the pain to write to you with a faint hope of being able to convince you not to quit umpiring.

Sir, I know you must be pained by the celebration all around the sub-continent where Talibans, LTTEs, Mujaheedins and Fidayeens have declared ceasefire and joined the euphoria triggered by the news of your imminent retirement.

And I have to admit that yes, the common sanction against coconut – hope you remember your moniker – is finally about to be lifted and SAARC countries are also set to put behind their apprehensions and resume trade with Jamaica once you leave the scene.

Your critics, I must admit they are quite a sizable population, say once you exit, no player would be adjudged OUT for edging in the previous match, World Cup finals would no more be a murky business to be conducted in the dark, Andrew Symonds (i.e. in case he ever picks a bat again) would have only himself to score those runs and East and West may not meet but at least the gap would not increase further.

And then there are others who say to err is human but to steadfastly err is Bucknoresque.

Personally, I would request you not to heed any such nonsense and carry on fingering. You turned a deaf ear to your critics for two long decades. Why allow them a sense of victory now?

Dear Sir, I think I made my point and believe that I have succeeded in my mission to convince you not to go.

If not, then I must tell you the truth. And I hope you can take it.

Dear Sir, you have been a blot on the landscape, a caterpillar in the salad, a fly in the morning cup of tea, a strand of hair in curry, the lone bogey in a rare flawless front nine of a scratch golfer…And your post-retirement plan to groom umpires has scared the hell out of us.

We consistently believed one Bucknor was bad enough for cricket. You read it right, Sir.

Sorry Sir, but we simply can’t encourage umpiring decision, often seeped in prejudice, to carry over to the next match.

Yours sincerely

Som of Doosra

Pix: Reuters

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Test cricket is almost dead, long live Test cricket

There is definitely more to the ongoing England-West Indies Test series than meets the eye. And not just because it pits the inventors of the game against its most popular practitioners.

I always felt West Indies' plight is inseparably entwined with that of Test cricket. Or vice versa.

Since the sun set on the Windies empire, the Australian hegemony ran its full course and then the pretenders to the throne, the antipopes -- India and South Africa - staged another coup. By then, West Indies had covered the entire gamut between sublime and farce.

Uncannily, Test cricket's fate has not been different either. First it lost ground to ODIs and now Twenty20 threatens to mothball it and put on display in a museum for hopeless romantics, and reluctant students, to rue its demise.

Lying on her deathbed, Test cricket can only hope for a graceful death. Fortunately, ICC backs euthanasia.

But lo and behold! Just before you bury the seemingly soulless carcass, you realize there is enough life left in the body to throw up the kind of drama which is beyond the realm of younger formats.

The Sabina Park massacre was a throwback to the Windies pomp, a blast from the past, an atavism that warmed the cockles. And the Great Escape at Antigua Recreation Ground proved that at times, a draw can be the most exciting of all outcomes.

What happened in between at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is backstabbing and both ICC and WICB officials have blood on their hand. Apparently, they can't wait to let it die a natural death.

Test cricket is almost dead. Long live Test cricket.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Dale Steyn, Steve Irwin reincarnated

Not that I liked Steve Irwin. It's not because I champion crocodiles' right to privacy so blatantly breached, on-camera, by the motormouth Croc Hunter in his pomp. Germaine Greer had a problem with that (a must-read piece for whoever cares for nature) and she clearly didn't shed crocodile tears after a stingray – otherwise as harmless as Ajantha Mendis has been to India in the recent ODI series - stung Steve to death.

I was rather more haunted by a photo of a number of mutilated stingrays scattered on a Queensland beach, a backlash by the Croc Hunter's admirers.

The only thing I remember about Steve's wife Terri is that she once invited Britney Spears to join her and her daughter in some Australian bush to get over the multiple personality disorder that was troubling the pop star.

Their daughter Bindi, like her father, proved a smart kid and effortlessly stepped into Steve’s shoes to become a celebrity TV show host. Much to Michael Clarke's chagrin, the showbiz prodigy went on to replace Pup's girl friend Lara Bingle as the new face for Australian Tourism!

The only more precocious child I can think of is Alfie Patten, who became a father at 13 somewhere in East Sussex last week.

Well, before the foreword gets bigger than the book itself, let me announce that legions of Croc Hunter fans can now rejoice.

Confirmation comes that Dale Steyn is actually Steve Irwin reincarnated.

When the rest of the world was deriving sadistic pleasure from Australia's misery, Steyn felt he didn't have time to waste. And what better way to prepare for a home series against Australia than wrestling with crocodiles?

Pix: Getty Images

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Since my last post...

1. Brad Haddin has discovered the 11th way a batsman can get out;
2. Daniel Vettori's SMS to Haddin created frictions, sending sparks flying all over Australia. Doosra understands once the Victorian bushfire is under control, Vettori will be chargesheeted for arson.
3. It took a president, a shaman and a coiffeur to make Lasith Malinga's return from wilderness possible;
4. Rajasthan Royals ensured the support of Indian truckers, Richard Gere and subsequently HH Dalai Lama in this year's IPL by selling stakes to Shilpa Shetty;
5. Shah Rukh Khan's Kolkata Knight Riders helped Bangladesh double its Gross National Income by buying Mashrafe Mortaza.
6. West Indies unleashed an Australia-bred White West Indian, Brendan Nash, and a 6’7” high-extension tower in Suleiman Benn, whose deliveries, Poms claim, come like oracles from heaven;
7. Kevin Pietersen convulsed with laughter after he: i) topscored for Poms in the Sabina Park massacre; ii) derived sadistic pleasure as Strauss’ captaincy honeymoon got over before it started; and iii) found Vijay Mallya has emptied his pocket to engage his service.

Monday, 2 February 2009

7 lucky charms that can revive Oz fortune

I feared earth will come to a screeching halt on its axis, Paris Hilton will be either canonised or cannon-foddered and Harbhajan Singh would spend an entire season without slapping teammates/abusing opponents/ruffling BCCI lawyers.

But miracles do happen and somehow we all survived despite Australia no more being the numero uno ODI side.

More than anything else, Doosra tends to believe that Punter & Party have been done in by poor luck on more than one occasion and suggests, free of cost, seven lucky charms the Ozzies need to bring the stars back on their side:

1. Beckham’s Goldenbuns: A strange pre-derby ritual takes place at AC Milan these days where teammates squeeze David Beckham’s buns, for it guarantees win! Beckham meanwhile goes down in soccer history as the lone footballer whose legs were not his most valuable physical asset.

2. Shammi Kapoor: Cricket Australia need to make a music album for each tournament and get it released by Shammi Kapur. Come on, it doesn’t cost them a fortune for they already have a crooner in Brett Lee. This ritual has worked wonders for Aamir Khan over the years and no reason why Australia won’t benefit from it.

3. James Carville’s underwear: History remembers Carville – the spin doctor who masterminded Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign. -- didn’t change it for an extended period to ensure success. Ricky Ponting can surely borrow the talismanic piece of cloth from Carville and walk out for toss.

4. Roy Emerson’s shorts: If borrowing/exporting underwear, that too a used one, doesn’t exactly appeal them, there is a ‘shorts-cut’ way and they don’t need to travel all the way to USA either. Aussie tennis legend Roy Emerson used to wear a pair of lucky shorts to extend his winning streak. Why doesn’t Cricket Australia borrow it from ‘Emmo’ and make replicas and dole out?

5. Steve Waugh’s red hanky: The source of the legendary red rag obduracy. Chances are high 'Tugga' threw away the soiled piece of cloth and a neighbourhood Kangaroo chewed it up. Still what’s harm in making a query?

6. Red Shirt on Sundays: No need to get shirty at the suggestion. Ever cared to know secrets of Tiger Woods’ success?

7. Obama’s Trinkets: CA should use the diplomatic channel and ask PM Kevin Rudd to convince Barack Obama to part with his trinkets. (Statutory Warning: The trinkets include idol of a monkey god and hence all precautions should be taken before handing it over to Andrew Symonds.)