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Thursday, May 11, 2017

Midsummer Night's Dream

A take on IPL

Searing heat, Holidays for kids so keeping them busy with hobbies, camps and books, Mangoes, Vacations, Guests, Ice cream/beer parties depending upon your age/vices, Swimming, and finally since 2008 IPL made it into rituals of typical summer landscape of lifestyle.
Every night 8 pm was the time to switch on, see the best of international cricketers  in a mix with the new Indian talent hitting "Maximums" , Fours, getting wickets, catching and getting runouts. 
Initially when it all began in 2008, there was MonkeyGate looming after landmark Indian tour down under, so coming at right time IPL diffused tensions and made cricket a gentleman's game again. But that doesn't mean the aggression has died down on field.
There are many naysayers who feel IPL is circus, fixed, over rated, overkill of cricket. corrupt. And add to that wham bam non classical nature of t20 cricket over the longer formats. But for someone like me who has grown up on watching cricket and being a diehard fan (self proclaimed), any ball getting a wicket, or any stroke getting run is cherished. Add to that the drama of asking rates , match situations, brilliant performances, wrong decisions, and on the field tensions. They may say that only foolish watch ipl where players, officials, broadcasters, advertisers , all those who matter make money while we spend it as well as time and efforts. But watching IPL has been fun for last 10 years or so. It's more fun than watching unending serials, talk shows and stereotype movies. Aren't these cliché as well ?
It's been one experience watching in comforts of living rooms but also another to watch it in stadium. It's a big pain , crowd, heat , queues, traffic etc, but still the atmosphere compensates for all this.
There have been issues , controversies, scams, owners problems,  accusations , even murders. But then watching Gayle hitting sixes, AB playing those incredible shots, Virat's skills, Malinga's yorkers, Dhoni's finishing, young players showing off their talent, incredible fielding all makes these issues irrelevant for someone who is focused on cricket. As far as T20 format is concerned its only way cricket can be globalised. Cricket is followed by at least 25% of world population so means something and cannot be ignored.
Uncertainty of results add the intrigue. Any bottom finisher team can upset board leaders on any given day.
Staring with Mcullum's innings, Sachins innings, Gilchrist final innings, Dhoni's sixes in last over, Gayle double century, Pollards hitting , hattricks, Maxwell miller hitting, KKR's consistency there are many memories. Add to that personal memories of get-togethers, parties, public viewing events , those seen at exotic places while on vacation around important memorable matches. It's been an enjoyable experience
Mumbai, KKR, CSK won twice, Hyderabad also did same twice though they had different owners. RR inaugural run under Warne was intriguing as well as conspiracy theory angle. Let's see who wins 10th one.
Please note i am not on BCCI payrolls or of any stakeholder but plain simple cricket fan. But it's been fun all the while. It's now a part of Indian Summer just like Alphonso Mango: Delicious.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dream Season for a Die Hard Fan.....

What a season this has been on cricket front as well as for the nation.

It's been a while that  this space had  commented 'on the field' moments on  subject as trivial as cricket. But as everyone knows including the big brothers (Orwellian reference in this age) that this space belong to a blogger.

The season started with 4 tests in WI which was on the road and then home season run of 13 tests. Nevertheless the efficiency of Indian team on its own  shores was always been granted. There were the aberrations as  I recount like 2000 series with SA , 2004 Aus series. These two series were won by pace  which followed  a set trend  by WI wins in 80s (Marshall Holding and others). I remember the terror of these fast bowlers. I remember that series when we grew up to  drinking Thumsup and getting a player picture on reverse of the lid and completing the team to win fun bottles. How fooled we were just after a triumph at the Lords versus WI  when we claimed ourselves world champions on that glorious evening in London in June 03. But it was '85 Melbourne which made us felt like real champions which was followed with Rothmans trophy victory in Sharjah . Only instance when foreign spinners won on Indian soil in my cognizant  cricket memory is 2012-13 England in India . The pitch strategy had to be blamed apart from exceptional skills by Cook, Pieterson, Monty and Swann....

This season has been most memorable acknowledging the winning ratio of Indian team .  To say that it was a team effort is a cliché' but then all stood up when it counted; be it skilful spin of Ashwin, unsung batting heroics of Pujara, Rahul, Rahane , Vijay and most surprisingly pace efforts led by Umesh ( who was exceptional in his bowling ahead of leading pacers servicing their respective teams like SA, NZ , Aus , Eng), Ishant, Bhuvi ( priceless wicket of Smith whom we had no clue of getting out but this bowler had that in final decider innings). Few new comers made their inclusions count like Kuldip, Nair, Jayant . Lost were  the old guards like Mishra (Hard Trier), Rohit and few more .  I would like also to acknowledge the rubbing effects of Captain HOT ( as against reference to MSD) who mattered in all the season with his bat except that the  law of averages caught up in final series where he mattered in a different role  countering everything said against him and his team verbally . We did not miss Dhoni thanks to non fussed Saha behind wickets and scoring crucial runs. And last but not the least it was light and sound show of Sir Jadeja.  Also Kudos to Team Australia and captain smith for their performance and spirit.

It was not just the result of series vs Australia but consistent performance of team against England , NZ and WI ( Not that I discount Bangladesh) that made all fans, who followed Indian cricket religiously since the times of Gavaskar and the great Kapil Dev take a special note. We always will miss the generation of Ganguly, Dravid, VVS, Kumble neither we ignore the impact of greatest SRT in all formats and game patterns. Then Dhoni led us to ultimate glories in WC, ICCT20 and CT. Next Gen comprisng of Sehwag, Yuvi, Bhajji, Gambhir, Pathan  also clicked when it mattered the most. Unsung heroes like Kaif (lords 02), Agarkar (Adelaide 03), Bangar (Leeds 02), Akash Chopra and few more with due apologies for non  inclusion.

But this is pinnacle of history for a hard core fan like yours truly. I hear someone say that victories in away conditions matter most which they do but for now it's the best moment. Then always there is a final frontier for everyone in cricket and life as said by indomitable Steve Waugh . Just to mention that the Final Frontier  is as fictional as star trek for all teams playing now. There were teams like  WI in 80s and Aus in next two decades who managed to dominate everywhere. Wishing that this team does same.  Dil Mange More......

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Come November

Citizen reviews year 2016.

It was really an year of hectic November activities be it demonetization , US elections  and international terror.
Rest of the events were not as important unless if cricket is your religion . I am one of those who admire Dhoni . End of era or baton change. Legal problems of BCCI apart good time to be an Indian cricket  fan but for one semi-final in Mumbai during ICCT20WC.
I am no more fan of clichéd Bollywood but Dangal got one  of the Khans back  on tracks (despite parental guidelines in TZP) . Big B  rules again in Pink.  Year starting with Natasamrat  for Marathi but feel it's time to  get off Ventilator and move on from going wild as in Sairat.  Sorry theatre folks (including those at Happy colony Kothrud sangha) was not there to comment.
On world stage US elections ruled under awe for the incumbent who had defied everything in past but had to accommodate a new comer who deserves a chance despite a surprise. Need a full stop on terror . Lot of expectations for a newcomer.  World had refugee and terror issues (europe , turkey etc) which are still to be solved. Brexit also opened Pandora's box.
On demonetization having debated with all stake holders ,  it was  a  good move . Though could have been implemented better. Point is we have someone who acts despite odds. Being away from action  never helped for  me to comprehend but nothing mattered eventually for those on ground that what ground reality is. Move towards cashless (or less cash) was needed. Opposition got further into abyss and really feel there would have been better leaders to challenge the incumbents. But then few idiots on helm spoilt that . Not good for democracy. State elections in 17 will help us really gauge the winds of change.
Don't want to comment on IT and business these days.  There is a game changer evolving every day. Exciting time to be an entrepreneur. Real estate though needs to reinvent after November.  Make in India story needs impetus  and innovation.
Pune will go to municipal elections in 17 and post November we have seen many equations changing.  Metro and other few important plans have been approved but feel really sceptical about implementation. Thankfully we had good monsoon in 16 which eased out few problems.  Pune no more is as safe it was say in earlier years but still in comparison to peer cities its ok.
Year  2016 experienced  November Rains  but then  only  the time will tell its consequences
Year 2017  is  very important  new year and  has lots in store.  All the best. Lets enjoy 17th year of millennium. Last few years left as a teenager.

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