Controversially yours

Hello there!

I see you have seen me and fail to recognize me. That is probably because my face now has as much botox as has J.Lo in her, er, never mind. No problem. I, as you all know now, am me.

I am sure you remember me. I am that chap who was on a one man mission against the stumps of the world. I hated the damn things. Hence I broke a great many of them. I bowl. Bowled, might be more apt. I was a bowler. Now I wear a bowler! Ha! See! I’m witty! That’s why I have a book and you don’t! Ha!

Anyway, I’m sure you already know who I am. I am that fellow who used to bowl real fast. Some were, of course, jealous. Hence they called me a chucker. Now you tell me this. How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? Or how fast would I chuck if I could chuck? Gotcha! Ha!

You’ve probably seen my varied hairstyles and hair-dos, and some hair don’ts as well. So don’t. Or do. As you like it. I have plugs now. Or so you think. I like to think of them as rooted to the crease. Of my head. Not the crease lines on my forehead. Which I like to think of as the boundary. Four-head. Boundary. Get it? Ha ha! I told you I was witty.

Fun fact: Did you know that I was the only one from my generation to never retire? Not once! I can see that disbelieving look on your face. Allow me to dispel the notion. Go and check for any records of me retiring. I shall give you two minutes. I see you have come back and have not been able to find a thing. I see that you jaw is on the floor failing to comprehend my stupendous feat. You are thinking of how I can be so supremely gifted and yet not have retired even once in spite of my contemporaries retiring at least once and in some cases, many times over. Well, that’s just me! Wink!

OK, I am retired now but I have never been retired in the past. Or so I think. Wait. Yes. I just confirmed. Never retired; only banned. Don’t look at me like that. There is a difference. Don’t believe me? Look it up!

Well, what can I say? I am special. Some people even called me the Rawalpindi express. Pfft! I hereby anoint myself ‘The Rawalpindi jet’. A train is too slow for me. I’m leaving on a jet plane. Now, don’t mock me because of my extreme bulk and size. I am not a jumbo jet. Not yet, anyway.

So I’ve written some stuff in my book. I have written Sachin, in the early part of his career, could finish a game. Well, I stand by it. Have you ever seen Sachin finish a game when he was 15? No? See! That’s what I meant! He only debuted at 16 and so could not finish a game at 15! And you think I’m stupid! Ha!

I see that the book launch in India has been called off because of this. Their loss, for they shall never get to see the epicness that is me in person talking about the epicness that is my book.  I also see that Wasim Akram has said that I have always been a problem when I was playing and continue to be one when I am retired. Hmmm. I am still looking for a good retort. I shall revert to you when I have one.

Last, but not the least, the PCB wants me to behave rationally. They want me to behave rationally? Really? Ha ha! I find that to be a bit of a farce. I have behaved nothing but rationally. I have not spoken a word about how someone at the PCB loved Brian Adams so much that he decided that Afridi ought to be 18 till he dies or about how the PCB actually thought that a matrimonial website was designed to fix matches. And they call me irrational. Humbug!

Controversially yours,

Chucky.

P.S I just found that retort. Wasim Akram spelt backwards reads Misaw Marka. Ha ha ha! See! I told you I was clever. What? You don’t get the joke? Pfft!

Professionalism in the backyard … and what a role model!

The other day, I was pretty jobless. As ever, I made my way down to the local cricket ground and sat on the parapet wall, watching the game. This kid got out. Now he was grumpy. Naturally. He wanted to fling his bat but since there was only one bat, he had no option but to hand it over to the kid who went in next. That, however, did not stop him from shoving it onto the other kid’s hand with an utter look of disdain and disgust on his face. The kid came up and sat next to me. He was still fretting.

‘The bloody umpire is blind! How was that an LBW?!’ he fumed. Now I was perplexed. I have played my fair share of backyard cricket but never have we had LBWs. ‘Wait. You guys have LBWs?’, I asked.

‘Of course’, he said in a matter of fact way and looked at me as if I had landed from the planet Zork and asked him if this was the planet Earth. ‘The problem is that these stupid kids can’t umpire. They don’t know what a proper LBW is. I wish I could umpire but I need to bat as well. I hate this! I was due for a century today’, he continued. ‘All because of this BCCI! I wish we had UDRS here. Clean not out!’

‘Clean not out!’ brought back memories. Now, this kid was all of 12 but was talking about the politics of cricket. When I was 12, the only politics I knew of was that there were these guys dressed in weird looking clothes that ran the country.’ I was intrigued.

‘The BCCI? Why? You want the UDRS implemented?’ I asked innocently, leading him on. ‘Of course! Don’t you know that hawk-eye uses the same technology that is used in missile guidance? If it’s good enough for the army, it should be good enough for the BCCI!’ I was blown away. No pun intended.

‘You know, sometimes I wish we were in Pakistan’, he said. I knew I would be sorry but I went ahead and asked anyway, ‘Why?’ ‘Well, see that kid who went out to bat? He’s the captain. He saw that the bowling was weak and he could improve his average. So he went out to bat! If this was Pakistan, I would’ve just banned the captain. But since this is India, he thinks he is Dhoni and promotes himself up the order any time he wants!’ What depth!

‘No wait. You guys maintain averages?’ ‘Of course! And strike rates, too. How else can we find who the man of the series is? In fact, I have the highest average among all the openers this series.’ If the content was stirring, the manner in which he said it was even more so. ‘Of course!’ it seems!

He suddenly found his train of thought again. ‘Or England. You know they have 3 captains for the 3 formats of the game. I bet if this were England, I would be one of the captains’, he said and lifted the non-existent collar of his round-neck tee-shirt. And before I could say anything else, he went on, ‘or the West Indies! I would ban him from even discussing with the board! Ha ha!’ An evil laugh to top it off. Brilliant!

I was beside myself with amazement when I realized that this pint sized man sitting next to me and slyly mocking world cricket was actually a smug 12 year old kid. I had to show my supremacy of course. It was a matter of pride. So I asked him in this condescending tone, ‘So… who is your favourite cricketer?’ In truth, I sort of knew the answer already. Sachin Tendulkar. It had to be.

‘Manoj Prabhakar’, came the reply. Now I could no longer keep my jaw from falling down. ‘Manoj Prabhakar? Why? I mean, if you’d said Sachin or Saurav or Dhoni or even Sreesanth, I’d not have been surprised. But Manoj Prabhakar? Seriously? I mean, have you even seen him play? He was way ahead of your time. Manoj Prabhakar? Seriously? Really? Really?’ I was hysterical and I knew it. I calmed down.

The innings was over and it was time for the kid to go field. He looked at me as if I were a deranged lunatic who had just gone off his rocker and jumped off the wall to go back to the field. I called out before he could go. I was still shivering.

‘Why?’ I asked, in the calmest tone I could muster.

‘Because he got opening batting and opening bowling’, said the kid and ran off. Kids will be kids.

He grabbed the ball from the umpire and went to mark his run up. ‘Right arm fast medium’, he said.

Afridi to retire from retiring

Afridi to retire from retiring

-          By our Staff reporter

Islamadad, June 1: In a bizzare move, avant-garde and often radical Pakistani cricketer and erstwhile captain, Shahid Afridi has decided to retire from the international game.

Afridi has been stripped off his captaincy by the Pakistan Cricket Board with seemingly no explanation given.

Afridi has been left hurt by this and said, ‘Today is an important day in my life. I retire from International cricket. I have been belittled by the Pakistan Cricket Board and I cannot take it any longer. Also, more importantly, I want to go out with a boom boom and hence I shall be a trend setter. I shall be the first person in history to retire from retiring.’

He continued, ‘I have retired too many times now and I’m sick of retiring. Hence I shall never retire again but I will, however, retire from retiring. No, I will not use the DRS on this one. This decision is final.’ Afridi was left teary-eyed and the press, confused.

Afridi blast onto the scene as a flamboyant teenager with a century off 37 balls. He has since donned many roles in the Pakistan team such as player, captain, vice-captain, player, bowler, opening batsman, 11-down batsman, opening bowler, leg spinner, pace bowler, thrower, drinks boy, apple eater, beard grower and idiot.

This announcement comes as a shock to the cricketing community as Afridi is fairly young. He came onto the scene as a lanky 18 year old and remained an 18 year old till he was 27. He only recently turned 28. The announcement puts an end to a blossoming career. ‘I’m 18 till I die!’, he once famously proclaimed.

He will be missed. However, he is widely expected to make a comeback soon (See footnote)

Footnote:
Lifecycles of a Pakistani cricketer:
Debut –> Vice captain –> ban
Debut –> Ban.
Debut –> Captain –> Ban.
Debut –> Vice captain –> Retire.
Debut –> Captain –> Ban –> Retire –> Comeback –>Captain –> Strip of captaincy –>Retire.
Debut.

The Lighter Side – This Week In Sport : Episode 10

Welcome to the another edition of ‘The lighter side – This week in Sport’, a weekly-once-in-a-while review show of all the goings on in the world of sport over the past week.
Before we get to the show,

a disclaimer: All the reports here are based on completely baseless unreliable sources. We only compile them and present it to you. If we catch hold of our reporters, we will sue them on your behalf.

On tonight’s show:

Dada is back
The IPL rolls on
Man United and Barca
Saina-Gopi
Man City

 

Dada is back

Sourav Ganguly fans rejoiced as they saw Dada in action again. Only this time, he turned out in the colors of the Pune Warriors. He stroked a fluent 32* in his first game back against the Deccan Chargers. Fans all over India were heralding the return of the charismatic ex-captain and were hailing it as a new dawn in Indian cricket. Said one supporter, ‘this is truly a new leaf in the book of Indian cricket. Dada has moved to Pune and has shown that moving all over India is now simple and easy. He has proved once again that India is becoming like Pakistan. Retired players are coming back to play and then going back into retirement. All he has to do is get a ban and soon he will be offered honorary Pakistani citizenship because he has almost fulfilled all the criteria to be a Pakistani player. He has also been a captain. We would like to wish Dada all the very best!’

When asked on how it felt to be part of the Pune franchise, Dada replied, ‘well, it’s not really that different. When I was in KKR, the first season, we played in a black jersey. Now I am in Pune and playing in a black jersey. When I played for KKR, we were at or near the bottom of the league. And now Pune are near the bottom of the league. The only difference is that Shah Rukh Khan is not here. But that is ok. Now that, from Kolkata, the King is gone, the King is Khan’, he said, clearly in his self-modesty mode. With the left being walloped by the Trinamool congress, there is talk of Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee following Dada to Pune and contesting for re-election.

 

The IPL rolls on

After an exhilarating world cup, the cricket just does not seem to stop. The IPL juggernaut continues to roll on with exxxxttraaaa innings, more exxxxtraaaaaa innings and even more exxxxxtraaaa innings. When asked about the naming convention, the head of Sony said, ‘see, we are very committed to the promotion of traditional values in cricket. Even though the IPL is a T20 tournament, by giving extra innings, we are promoting test match culture. Also, we promote viewership of technically correct batting by placing the likes of Arun Lal and Navjot Sidhu on the screen. They were technically sound batsmen on their day.’ When asked what about when it was not their day, he responded, ‘they were batsman.’ Insightful.

Chris has whipped up a gale in the IPL storming to the leaderboard of the orange cap standings. With hitting prowess as this, other teams have been left pulling their hair out at missing out on signing him for a measly $400,000. When asked, Gayle said, ‘Ya mon! Those men did not buy me but here I am in Bengaluru. I’m royal, mon! I just want to hit the ball and I am hitting the ball very well mon! I also like that flashy orange cap, mon. That’s why I’m scoring this way.’ Indian captain M.S Dhoni seems to have discovered his brutal streak once again. When quizzed, he said, ‘well of course.’ Typical.

On a side note, Sreesanth seems to have developed a thought that he is the best batsman in the league. ‘I have orange cap’, he said, referring to the Kochi Tusker’s cap color, and continued, ‘but in that cap purple color is also there. So I am best bowler also. I am best all-rounder. I will win Kerala election’, he said and wheeled off in a dance of triumph.

 

Man United and Barca

Manchester United have all but wrapped up their record 19th title with a win over reigning champions Chelsea. United only need one point out of their remaining two games to secure yet another title for Sir Alex Fergusson. ‘We knocked them off their perch’, read many a tweet, the ‘perch’ was apparently very clever since it was used on twitter with all the birds and all that. ‘Whoa! I’m gonna be a champion for the first time! Proud of myself. Awesome! I am epic! Wow! Awesome! They couldn’t have done it without me’, tweeted Michael Owen, whose chief job these days seems to be that of a cheerleader on twitter.

Barcelona have sown up their third successive title with a 1-1 draw in midweek. The players were expectedly ecstatic and partied hard into the night. Pep Guarliola sipped wine and threatened to quit in mental exhaustion. Lionel Messi kept running around between the other players shouting, ‘Goal!’. Dani Alves kept running up and down in straight lines. Puyol could not see anything through his mop of hair. Iniesta shied away. Mascherano did not know what to do. Xavi kept possession of the ball.

Sergio Busquets fell to the ground clutching his face.

 

Saina-Gopi


After months of speculation, it seems that a formal split is on the cards between World number 4, Saina Nehwal and long-time mentor and coach, Pullela Gopichand. Gopichand has revealed that Saina has written to the Sports Authority of India (SAI) that she wanted to train under P. Bhaskar Babu, a coach of the national team.

‘It is only a rumor. I have no problems with Gopi sir’, said Saina. Gopi said, ‘I don’t really have a problem with that. She has written to SAI, that she wants to work with Babu. I have heard that she was an ardent admirer of Sai Baba and now that he is no more, she wants to continue with SAI Babu. It is a purely emotional decision and I cannot help it. But, I have been approached by Sania to coach her. Apparently, Sania is tired of tennis because the racquet is very heavy and wants to take up badminton. Also, the Shuttle Federation’s new rule of wearing skirts seems to appeal greatly to Sania. She is very interested in taking up the sport and I am sure she will be a great success. Also, it won’t make much of a difference to me because ‘Saina’ and ‘Sania’ are anagrams.’


Man City


Facing a major PR disaster, Manchester City have come out and apologized to their hardcore fans about The Bluffer’s guide to MCFC that they published on their site. The page is an entry into the world of Man City for the new fans who according to the club ‘will start following the club now that there is champions league football.’ The old faithful are enraged about this document and feel that it is an insult to the existing supporters. ‘How dare they insult us this way? Do they think that they are being clever? How dare they say that “traditionally we don’t like red as a color?” This is an outrage. In fact, even outrage is generally represented in red to show the anger! They think that they are improving the marketing and branding when all they are doing is improving the … wait that did not come out right. They think they are being very clever by getting more people to support the club when they are clearly going to have more sup… No wait. That did not come out right either. Bah! You get my point. What they are doing is wrong. Don’t ask me why it is wrong. But it is wrong.’

Roberto Mancini, in his accented English said, ‘Congrats to AC Milan for winning the title. I think they played very well throughout the season. Good for them. But they won the title in Italy and we finished fourth in England. There is a difference, you see. That is Italy, and this is England. You see?’ We did see but were tempted to ask him the context of these comments. Before we could, he added, ‘that’s why it is different.’ Before we could clarify the situation, he was ushered away by a member of the Man City staff who claimed it was an ‘emergency’.

We later learned that Mario Balotelli had problems putting on his training bib again. Also, apparently, it was meal time and Mancini had to feed him Cerelac. After that, Balotelli drove off in his Maseratti.
 

That’s it from this week’s bulletin. We hope you enjoyed it. Until next time, its good bye from us …

The IPL – a few observations. Or something.

Right. So real cricket has begun.
We’ve had tracer bullets, matches ‘going down to the wire’, DLF maximums, Citibank moments of success and in the end, cricket has always been the winner. Well, the BCCI has anyway. Add to this Navjot Singh Sidhu’s doses of verbal diarrhea (now egged on with a small flourish played by a band in the studio encouraging his menagerie of utterly unrelated and completely gag-worthy metaphors and similes, aka, Siddhuisms ) and you know that we are well and truly into the IPL.

With all the teams in action so far, we have gotten a glimpse into what lies in store for us over the next month and a half. Well, here are some observations:

Dhoni still got it
M.S Dhoni continues where he left off in the world cup. Well, of course. Captain cool maintained his cool in a tight finish and guided the super kings home, ably assisted by some brilliant batting from Kolkata and histrionics from Shah Rukh Khan before the game. Chennai hosted a mildly motherblade opening ceremony but thankfully the cricket on offer was more exciting. Also, the Southee-Madras jokes are here to stay.

Yuvi is captain too
Yuvraj Singh looks set to guide his Navi Mumbai, er, Pune warriors on the field. With a sleek black jersey (albeit, not sleek enough to cover his paunch), Mr.Singh led from the front to guide his team to a formidable victory. But in the end, cricket was the winner. Or whiner.

Preity Zinta still thinks cricket is an insect
3 seasons as team owner of an IPL team does not look to have improved Ms. Zinta’s cricketing knowledge. When asked about her King’s eleven team, she proudly replied that her old team had given 3 captains to the IPL, Mahela, Sanga and Yuvi. Also, she thinks Christian Bale is a batsman and not batman.

Nita Ambani is marginally better
Mrs. Ambani takes a cue from former India captain Md. Azharuddin and calls her player, ‘the boys’. Also, she might be having problems with Mukesh. She said that she had not heard from him all day. It is most likely because of that ‘lucky’ shirt that he sports every single game. ‘Due for a wash’, the missus thinks. ‘Cost cutting’, Mr.Ambani thinks.

Kochi … oh Kochi!
The new kids on the block are most certainly the most glamorously dressed with a bright orange jersey with typewrite ink spilt on the sleeves. The colors may have been strategically chosen by Sreesanth though. Rumor has it that it is his plan for camouflage amongst the cheerleaders if things go wrong with his bowling. Actually, make that ‘when’ things go wrong.

Siddharth Mallya does not get featured on tele as much without Deepika on his side
It’s official. As if you did not know it. Without Deepika, Siddharth is just another liquor baron’s son. Wait. Even with her, he is still that. But one with Deepika padukone by his side. While she was busy ‘shaking’ it, he cut a forlorn figure sitting with father and owner of Bengaluru, I mean, the Royal Challengers of Bengaluru, Dr. Vijay Mallya. The camera focused on him once when his interview was taken and when he got stuck answering questions, he did not have his stock dialog, ‘look! It’s Deepika!’ to divert the attention to.

Uthappa is fat!
He can toss his medicine ball around all he wants and wear his bandana but Robin Uthappa is fat. The likely theory is that he blames his name for it. Perhaps if he were Robin Dosa, he’d be a lot less so.

Malinga is more than just a mop of hair
Malinga once again proved that he is more than just a mop of hair with a round arm action. He proved that he is a bat and stump breaker as well. Also, his affection for shoes, most often belonging to opposition batsmen, knows no bounds.

Sanga continues where he left off
Sangakkara’s jersey color might have changed but his record as captain certainly has not. He continued from where he left off with the King’s XI and has lost the first couple of matches this season as well. He also has learnt to call it aloud. The toss, that is. Also, in spite of a much changed team, the aspect that is most noteworthy about the Deccan Chargers still remains to be the owner’s daughter.

Watson plays the IPL …
… In Bangladesh. Someone just forgot to tell Shane Watson that it was the Australian national team and not the IPL in the second one-day against Bangladesh. Perhaps, it was a warm up for the IPL. Perhaps it was part of his contract.

Last word: Ravi Shastri. He always manages to have it, doesn’t he?