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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Curious Case of CSK

What is happening to Chennai Super Kings at IPL 2? The question that surfaced the other day in some column or some TV channel crops up again: Is MSD a lucky captain or is MSD an anagram for MDS (read MiDaS)? Well... at least for now, looking at 1 out of 5 wins and 1 washed out game that was a certain win (against a beleagured KKR), CSK's ante looks to be up and out.

If one took a closer look at The Curious Case of CSK, there is nothing strange. History is only repeating itself, only so! Last year it was Deccan Chargers Hyderabad, this year it seems to be CSK at the moment. At the moment because, they still have 9 matches to go and if they make the semis, which is not a very BIG IF, but an IF... then anything is possible. As the prosaic and hackneyed adage goes, cricket is a funny game!

Let's get back to what the curious case is. Last year DCH was doing everything right and still ended up the bottom of the table. It was the inability to put together the extra oooomph of winning touch. The problem was that they probably possessed too many big guns.

Adam Gilchrist, Andrew Symonds, Herschelle Gibbs, Rohit Sharma... and yet they couldn't wind it up! Similar problem for CSK this time around: Matt Hayden, Andrew Flintoff, Albie Morkel, Jacob Oram, MSD, Suresh Raina... and yet! May be when you have too many big 'uns you expect one to survive if another fails. Look at KKR - it is happening. Brendon McCullum, Chris Gayle, Brad Hodge, Saurav Ganguly and there's a few more as yet unvetted! When you know your stocks are limited, supply is handled frugally. A case at point: Rajasthan Royals in IPL - 1.

What other causes? The first 6 overs. The Power Play period. Last time around Gony, Balaji, Ntini, Amarnath and Murali were delivering. This time around, Gony is looking listless to say the least, Ntini and Amarnath are only seen being interviewed in the 7 and half minute time out or playing water-boys and Balaji has had some success. Joginder 'Iceman' Sharma is busy chewing his paan somewhere between the third man and the dug-out area. There is a limit to how much a recovering Balaji can do. So Murali is your only option. Also... that IPL truly derives from its local flavour is being proved time and again. Last IPL the Indian local recruits performed better in Indian conditions. This time around... it is the South Africans, barring Graeme Smith.

Look at what happened today to Royal Challengers Bangalore. They were struggling till last night. Suddenly, they cruised to a win, even if it is over KKR and even though the score line indicates a last ball victory. The four overseas recruits RCB played in the Eleven were all South Africans. It is indeed a strange scenario why Boucher came into the side this late. Boucher coming in because Rahul is back home is no excuse not to have played a man of the former's stature. I mean, he is the finisher for South Africa. Today RCB played Kallis, Roelf v d Merwe and Mark Boucher who are South Africans and play for South Africa. Of course, their captain is Kevin Pietersen. Now, we haven't forgotten KP is a South African by birth and almost, only almost played for S.Africa and moved to England when denied opportunity. And he is the biggest buy of RCB. So, again the local flavour doing the winning contribution theory holds water!

Eventually, here is the rub: may be CSK should keep Gony out and bring Ntini in. Rest
Albie... Yes, no point resting Badri because he is a pure batsman and his only problem is the inability to clear the ropes. Someone must tell Badri that his strength lies in playing inside the park than into the stands. When he is in flow, it is such a delight what his bat does to the cherry. The groundstrokes are breathtaking and next only to Sachin, Saurav, Rahul or VVS! Barring Mohali, no Indian ground was big enough last time. Also, his range of strokes are better than Morkel who either swings it right or left giving too much stump vision for the bowler thereby making himself vulnerable to well-bowled blockhole deliveries or disguised slower 'uns. He is more of an agrarian with the bat, Albie is!

I also do not think if Ntini, Balaji, Oram and Murali can't do it, neither can Albie win the match with the ball. So, either keep Badri and rest Albie or bring in another pure batsman. Grapevine, newspapers say, is M. Vijay may play instead of Badri, which is a bad idea. Kapugadera is no great slogger or match winner even in LOI for Sri Lanka except the odd contributions. So, why is he in the team in the first place? MSD seems to be in a fix. There is so much talent and shelf back-up, this team is spoilt for choice. MSD's golden touch is also losing out. Behind the cool exterior one can feel the sweat these days. He hasn't scored enough, hasn't middled enough and his ice-man Joginder has not delivered at death. More than Midas touch or luck what had served MSD in the past is his guts to try out lesser mortal and surprise the opponents with the unknown. People are getting used to his tactics. But to give the scenario a hard look and clinical analysis, nothing is wrong with CSK, they just need to understand they are very vulnerable if they don't shove the push hard to endemic levels up the opponent's face than minimal enema they are administering now.

There is a good match coming tomorrow against Wily Shane's Royals. If MSD passes this litmus test, CSK will march the rest of the way into semis. Remember, CSK has a 0-3 record against RR, and nothing like a victory to set this record right, in the process helping themselves to winning ways with IPL-2. All is not rotten in the state of CSK, yet!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

IPL 2 and the carnival...

Bakhtin would certainly have mused at the intellectual audacity of whoever named the IPL 2 a carnival. It certainly is not carnivalistic, leave alone carnival atmosphere. "SOME ONE PLEASE BRING ON THE REAL CROWD PLEASE" Will the Real Slim Shady please stand up!!!

As the IPL 2 bandwagon rolled out on stage yesterday, this was the thought that came to mind at the end of the first over. It still is not IPL. For one, surely missing were the fans, the provincial element and the parochiality of it all that makes up for the atmosphere, the din, the noise, the clash of cymbals, the fanfare, the cheer girls from our own climes... and that distinct clamour an average Indian fan brings on as he frantically gushes and blushes upon sudden recognition that he is being covered by the tv cameras and the thought that he is for that one instant the cynosure of the world cricket watchers' eyes! Oh, the lack of it all! Alas... what boots it incessant care, as Tennyson's Ulysses says! Sachin slams a delectable FOUR and the crowd sits smug. Taylor loses his stump first ball and Kohli does a brilliant run out and Uthappa runs amuck... the crowd is unmoved, Kumble does a 5 for 5... shit happens. No Fun this Safari, I tell you.

How do you expect a Natal Ninja to understand and empathise with the Chennai Super Kings chennaiite fan? Or perhaps the IPL people must have attached a local hyphenation to the Indian teams - CSK-Cape Town Comrades or RCB-Kwazulu Natal Combine etc etc...

If Lalit 'the commissioner' Modi thought - wisely too - that England would be a bad idea to host IPL 2 1) because the English are not noisy and IPL thrives on the hoopla around it and 2) the English would be saturated with cricket by the time IPL bandwagon bids farewell and T20 World Championship starts the very next day, he was right. If he thought the South Africans with a native culture and the Zulu beats would add bindhaas to the IPL 2, he surely went wrong. The local Indians couldn't match the Indians in India and the local South Africans 1) didn't have any empathy for the teams and 2) are still white skins and for that matter too confined by their Genteel roots. I won't be surprised if during the Knight Riders match SRK invades the pitch or shouts and whistles with fingers in his mouth some voice comes over the PA System "Quiet Please. Thank you, Ladies and Gentlemen!"

IPL-Moditva has got the moolahs right not the hooplas! And what-o-what-o-what has Mandira the Extraaaaaaaaa Bedi done to her hair. I couldn't recognise the midget (in comparison) next to Simon Doull on tv before the match yesterday. This IPL is sooooooooo phoney, I would like to call it Indian Phoney League. Bring on the real crowd please!

Friday, April 17, 2009

A different summer performance camp that combines:

Creative Dramatics
Movement Theatre
Story Performance
Public Speaking and Debating

Dates: May 4 – May 22 (excluding weekends)
Duration: 15 days
Time: 10 a.m to 1 p.m

Age Group: 12 to 19

The workshop would attempt to serve as a platform for both the creative as well as the analytical energies of the participants. While the dramatics and theatre aspects would prepare them to learn about their own body, voice and gesture capabilities, the public speaking sessions would try and build self-confidence and self-belief.

The introductory sessions to debating would teach them to develop methodical approach to research, analysis, reasoning and assertive presentation of their ideas. We believe performance is not limited to stage and should extend to facing real-life situations.

An informed speaker is a good manager, a trained actor is a good communicator, but an informed and trained individual is a better leader. AND COMMUNITY NEEDS GOOD AND ABLE

For price details, application forms and enrolment, email

Masquerade presents...

Masquerade - the performance group


Peter Shaffer's

LETTICE & LOVAGE - a comedy

in the cast: Ramya Mukund, Maheswari Nair, Aishwarya Mahesh, Hrishikesh Siddartha & Dileep Rangan
Light Mgmt.: Harsha Ganesh
Sound Mgmt.: Mathivanan. R
Stage Mgmt.: Abhinav Suresh
Design & Direction: KK

Dates: 23 & 24 May, 2009
Time: 4 pm & 7.15 p.m
Venue: The Top Storey, Alliance Francaise, Chennai

Passes: Rs. 100/-
Available from 15 May 2009
For Booking Details, watch this space.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Summer is finally here!

Yes... I am truly kicked!

Just now I finished recommending a few movies to few friends. Am on this movie spree. And I am reading what I would truly name as the first indigenous attempt at espionage and counter-espionage about Indo-AfPak (a recent coinage of Mr. Obama admin) - LASHKAR by Mukul Deva. Hmmmm... interesting. If you are an Indian, inciting... if you're on the other side of the border... infuriating. How much it is true, I know not, nor would we probably know of! But... as a read, quite good. My brother is contemplating reading it, but plans to leave shortly back to Philly and is not quite sure if he would be encouraged to read it in-flight, what with a name like this! Crazy Americans!!!

More Later!