Monday, March 19, 2012

Why this Kolaveri?

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By all accounts, this has been a good cricket week for India. Tendulkar has cracked the code and scored the 100th hundred. While we celebrated his monster achievement, we were given a window into the future by Virat Kohli’s stupendous knocks.

Rahul Dravid gracefully called time on his career and left with his head held high. Aakash Chopra (fast becoming one of my favorite cricket writers) gave an account of the technical adjustments made by Dravid on Cricinfo. Never has technical stuff sounded so cool. Back and across…back and back…bat coming from gully….high backlift….weak off-side play…still till delivery…mmmmm….mmmmm…good….But I digress…

Kohli talked about pressure to perform against Pakistan. This was strange to me because here’s a guy under no pressure because every time he walks out to bat in a chase, India knows we are in for a great ride. Eleven centuries already and he’s not even opening the batting. India it appears has already gone beyond the Tendulkar era. Kohli has already given so much to the team that a few failures don’t mean much. Fans will allow him the space to score a few eggs. Yet he has this desire to keep doing it over and over and never give it up.

Sure.... for my old-fashioned ass, his over the top celebrations are blasphemy. But I have watched enough NBA and NFL to know it’s alright. So long as he keeps delivering bad behavior is going to be forgiven. Poor Kambli was born in a different, sterile era. His tattoos and bling were not considered cool enough for him to stay in the team after scoring two double hundreds before his pal Tendulkar had scored even one. But I grieve for someone who knew the rules and didn’t play by them. He ended up committing career suicide.

Sehwag and Gambhir were put in their place by the selectors, BCCI President and captain alike. Gambhir celebrated too for his century, but promptly scored a duck and reduced himself to a complete idiot. It’s interesting that the “senior” wants to act like the “junior”. I am a Gambhir fan in reality. Only lately has he made it to my shit-list. Gambhir was a huge contributor over the last two years and the way he handled Steyn and co in SA was fantastic. Unfortunately, it appears that attitude isn’t aligned with heart. Gambhir has adequately served as a successor to Sidhu when it comes to opening the batting. He knows his place.

I must be the most idiotic cricket fan because I have been taken in by the Rohit Sharma hype. He’s not done much. Not yet anyways and I’m already a huge fan. I have barely watched him. In the few times that I watched him in the IPL and ODI games he gave glimpses of his talent, but not big scores. Yet, I’m taken in. I’m sold. Inexplicable!

Kohli endorsed his batting and the conspiracy theorist in me saw that as a rub against the seniors. I don’t know why, but Kohli didn’t say it was a pleasure batting with Sachin. He picked out Sharma. Maybe he was playing up his Vice Captain role as being the main cheerleader for the younger crew. Who knows? But I saw conspiracy.

And for all of this fun, I’m mad that India lost to Bangladesh and that they are once again at SL’s mercy to be in a final. Let’s hope that DPMD and Sanga are getting enough IPL dollars to do Indian cricket a favor. I’m looking for a juicy match against Pakistan. It’ll be terrible if Pakistan were to steamroll Bangladesh in the finals instead of a nail-biting encounter against India. Historically, I remember only one instance in my adult life when a batsman followed up a great performance with a greater one in an ODI tournament. Tendulkar in desert storm! Now it could be Kohli’s turn to turn in a performance like that.

Hopefully, that will convince Tendulkar that Indian cricket’s future is in good hands. This is how the world of music must have felt when Beethoven arrived on the scene following Mozart.