Beer, Chips and Cricket

This is a site about drinking beer, eating chips and thinking cricket. I am not a former player, a television commentaror or a journalist; my qualification to being worthy of hearing is that I drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of chips and think a lot about cricket. The thoughts need not be politically correct and often include colourful language but there will be no deliberate bias towards any player, community or state. I don't care about popular opinion or perceptions and I speak it as I see it.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Quota shota

Ok so this is not a cricket topic - but this is the only forum I have so here goes.

U guys must have read about Pramod Mahajan being in hospital and being very critical etc ... coz his brother shot him and his liver / kidneys / etc r damaged severely. While I feel sorry for the man (life is short ... and everyone should enjoy it to the full - Chuckster's philosophy), it was ironic that at this time of talks about backward classes and reservations and social equality etc, we the public lost a great chance to see practically what could have been a very strong statement.

Specialists were flown in from Hyderabad, London and Bangalore (maybe more places too ... I dunno) but were any of these specialists those who became doctors coz of getting their seat through the 22.5% SC / ST quota that has been prevalent for a long time now? I think not ... these were all guys who r considered to be the best of the best ... and while I do not know their castes etc (any of them could be SC / ST or not ... I have known some brilliant people of these castes) I do know that the govt. (or the BJP party ... or whoever is looking after Mahajan's treatment etc) would not dare to pick someone who became a doctor / surgeon etc not coz he was the best but coz he was actually far back in the rankings but got it coz of quota.

This was the crucial point where a point could have been made - "See, here is one of those who benefitted from the quota system ... and today he has done these complicated surgeries and saved Mahajan's life ... this shows that selecting people under quota does not indicate the person is not good or qualified or meritous".

But then ... do we really expect the politicians who pass these laws for increasing quota percentage etc to go to these quota candidates? Of course not ... they will get their treatment from London / Paris / New York ... or specialists flown in from Hyderabad and Delhi and Bangalore ... we, the public, will go to the Munnabhai MBBS types.

Wonder why none of the news channels have brought up this point? I know that the man's life is in danger and all that ... but here I am not talking about Mahajan at all ... I am talking about the people who plan to increase reservation on the argument that this doesn't make the quality go down and at the same time the backward communities come up ... what better way to prove it than to get treated by such quota candidates when the whole nation is watching the developments on TV?

BTW< i was watching this program on TV some days back where they were debating among three important people (one was an author on dalits and social equality etc ... and the others also somehow pro-reservation ... today being anti-reservation is political suicide) ... so one of the audience asked "Sirs ... don't u think the quality of people coming out of the IITs / IIMs etc come down coz of these reservations?" and the author guy says "No ... I disagree with that ... rather than the quality going down, I can assure u the quality will go up coz of the OBCs getting their chances" ... he didn't really give a reason for this brilliant analysis of his ... just put forward his view that the quality would definitely improve ... and the show was worth watching for the hooting and booing that followed this answer.

See guys ... for those reading this blog, let me make it clear. It is not about people ... the SC / ST / OBC / General people ... it is about whether reservation will have the benefits intended or not. It hasn't in 50 years ... just coz u increase it, why should anything change? Another 50 years later, since it will not make any difference then also, there will be calls for increasing it again ... and again ... and again ... and soon we will have 200% reservation. It is not about changing the percentage of reservation ... it is about implementation of how reservation helps.

Two guys study in the same school, study together, play together, have same kind of incomes in their families, obviously have same kind of brains ... and finally when both score the same marks in entrance exams etc, one gets something and the other doesn't coz the first one was a quota candidate. How does it make sense? If the guy didn't have money to go to good schools or take tutions or pay the fees, I can understand it ... but not in the above case mentioned coz everything is bloody same. And that is what will happen once reservation happens ... the guys with no money and willingness to learn and study etc will not be the ones entering the premier institutions ... it will be the sons and nephews of netas and businessmen who would have studied in the best of schools and had plenty of money .... and who spent their time in playing the fool than in studying. Why should they waste their time??? Quota is there, na???

If someone says - I will make primary education free for backward classes below a certain income level, I will give 100% support ... in fact, I will say - "don't limit it to backward classes ... include general too ... coz not having money is the same for general and other classes". So make primary education free and compulsary (I think it says that in our constitution or something ... but u don't see our netas scrambling over themselves to promote that ... that won't get them votes) ... negotiate with schools and colleges so that money is never a constraint for anyone ... we pay an education cess in our income tax ... hell, increase it from 2% to 5%, put the remaining funds from govt. resources and let the economically backward sections have free education ... that will be a 100 times more effective than giving reservations at job / higher education levels.

Or else, let the next operation on a big neta be done by one such quota candidate ... remember, not a backward class member who qualified on merit but one who didn't qualify on merit but got in coz of quota ... and if the netas who propose such things r ok to go to these people for treatment, we, the public can be more comfortable with the thought too.

Ok let me end this with some cricket stuff ... ;-) What is Gavaskar's problem in life nowadays ... one day he was talking about "I am ready to sweat it out for India 365 days an year ... players who complain of over-cricket should pack up and go home" etc etc ... and then the next day "Ponting and the Aussies have had a hard year ... while Ponting might have crossed the line in questioning the umpires etc, I am not too worried about it ... these things happen when players play for so long continuously" etc etc etc.

Firstly, this "sweating it for the country" thingy ... as I have frequently posted here, when any of the sportsmen / film personalities etc yap about "desh" and "honour representing the country", my blood begins to boil. Gavaskar is so vocal about all things under the sun ... he was so hurt to see the support staff wearing the Indian colours / crest / whatever ... and he he keeeps yapping about the honour of representing the country ... I really wondered how a desh bhakt like him doesn't open his mouth when the BCCI says in court - "we r not the indian cricket team ... we r a private body etc etc etc". Why did he not shout from the rooftops - "what shame on behalf of the BCCI to talk like this ... I have always thought of myself as representing India ... and I am ashamed to hear my employer speak like this". Kinda might cut down all that lovely money he makes from being the BCCI's blue eyed boy ... he is on so many committees and things ... who cares what the BCCI says about it not representing India or anything like that ... all that counts is that lovely green paper ... ;-)


The Chuckster

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Dhoni the opener

The fun part of the 6th ODI at Jamshedpur - which we lost comprehensively to England - is that people r talking of many things ... like how special Dhoni is ... and how Sehwag / Kaif should be dropped ... and how the new ball bowlers r too raw. No one is speaking about one very interesting development that happened and that is Dhoni "opening".

See, I know it is his home town and all that but I don't think Dravid / Chappell r those kind of romatics at heart ... sure, they wanted to send him up the order but that is coz he could give them a flyer and not coz the crowd loves him.

We knew Dhoni has had a nice time coming at 3 now and then ... but this time it was opening and remember, they had Uthappa standing in the reserves while Dhoni opened. This means specifically that they have this option in their mind - is Dhoni the man to be opener at the world cup?

I have already committed myself on my blog here - according to me, Sehwag should not be opening in the world cup (though I believe he should be in the team ... lower down). SRT has no other place - if he is not injured - except at the top. Hence one opening spot up for grabs and a couple of posts back, I was wondering if Pathan would be the one.

Yes, Pathan could do it and I am sure his average won't be too different from Sehwag's career average of 30 odd in ODIs ... but after Dhoni's innings yesterday, suddenly he looks a more possible bet at the top than Pathan.

Dhoni dazzles us with his power packed strokeplay ... sometimes we don't consider that he has much more in him than hoicks over mid-wicket. If hitting the cover off the ball is the requirement, Dhoni can do it as well as anyone else can. If short pitch bowling is the sore point for Sehwag, for Dhoni it really isn't a bother coz he has quite a decent (but ugly looking, as all his shots r) pull shot. Like Sehwag, he has that amazing confidence and arrogance about his shotmaking. He has also showed now in more than one innings that come the situation, he can buckle down and run his singles too.

We might argue that Dhoni would be the same as Sehwag or he might be worse ... but from what he showed in the only chance he got, he deserves some more attention. If we had a great opening combo standing around, Dhoni would have had to look elsewhere ... but when we r searching for a partner for SRT - and there is none in sight - it seems a good gamble to give Dhoni some good games and evaluate this strategy to its end. Definitely, IMO, this strategy has had a good beginning.

Read Krish Srikant's column today morning where he says "though Dhoni batted very well ... blah blah ... he is not a regular opener ... blah blah ... we should look for specialist openers ... blah blah". Krish, hope u r not trying out for the coach's job in the near future???

Cheers guys ... long three-day weekend for me.


The Chuckster

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Desh ke liye ... ya paise ke liye?

This is not really a cricket post but since related to sports, here goes. U guys must be aware of the Commonwealth gamesh which were held in Australia some days back ... well, next games r in Delhi and hence one of the events in the closing ceremony of the Australian games was something akin to "handing over to the next host". Several Indian stars like Aishwarya Rai, Saif Ali Khan, Rani Mukherjee among others (don't know other names) went there for this event and when the newsmen chased them for sound bytes, gave whoppers / lies / whatever. There was Aishwarya gushing on some news channel about "I am proud to be here as part of the Indian contingent ... always feel honoured when I can do something for my country ... blah blah" ... and it turns out that each of these stars got fees in the range of a few crore rupees for being there and doing their part in the event. I read some report relating to the total expenditure for getting these Bollywood stars to be somewhere around Rs. 30 Crores or so. I wonder how much money Samresh Jung got ... he won 5 or so gold medals (not 100% sure how many ... he narrowly missed the record for the max no of golds in one edition of the games) and as far as the commonwealth games goes, that counts slightly more than Aish shaking her booty at the closing ceremony.

And what about the Sports Ministry who spent this money on getting the stars for the show ... coz it was "India's pride" at stake ... Question for them - how much money r u planning to spend on training and facilities for the sports people who will bring honour to India at those Delhi games?

As for the Bollywood bimbos ... I don't mind their taking money for their acts ... after all, we can't expect any better from them ... but why give that sickly smile and croon "desh ke liye" dialogues?

The Chuckster has always been against this concept of "desh ke liye" this and "desh ke liye" that ... whether it be film stars or cricketers. I personally don't count any of the cricketers in my list of "heroes of the country" ... they get huge amounts of money for what they do ... I am sure they evade their taxes ... and we know they beg for waiver of import duties for their Ferraris. Sure ... take all the money u can earn ... that is the smart thing to do ... but please don't yap about "desh ke liye".


The Chuckster

Reservations must for the cricket team

When will we implement reservation in the Indian cricket team? I am totally against the concept of reservation but if it is happening in educational institutions and also in the employment sector, why leave out the cricket team? I firmly believe that while reservation at the primary levels of education, when properly implemented and monitored, will lead to the benefits sought by the proponents of reservation, bring about a total of 49% reservation in the job sectors (public and private) and in the higher echelons of education will only lead to the lowering of standards.

I have struggled to get where I am today, and while that might not be exalted position held by CEOs and CFOs, I am doing ok! I competed with lakhs of students to get my MCA seat and then I competed with many others to get the company of choice from campus ... and I will be damned if someone says I had it easy coz I come from the "general" category. My dad didn't know anyone and we never paid a single paisa as capitation / bribe etc ... and if I can do it, so can others. Asking for reservation today, 60 years after independence, is akin to begging ... since anyways without it, we can't get the good jobs, lets twist up the entire scenario by asking it as our right ... play the "oppressed and backward" card to get what is rightfully not ours and what we rightfully can never earn in terms of merit.

Anyways, lets leave the topic of reservation's rights and wrongs ... and get back to cricket. If we get 49% reservations (including SC / ST / OBC etc) in Central Universities, government jobs, educational institutes and even in the private sector, we should definitely have it in the Indian cricket team. See, these cricketers earn lakhs and lakhs of rupees ... sums of money we could never imagine earning in one year (yes, in many years, we might earn what they earn in one year). Why should the oppressed and neglected people of this country miss out on this huge pile of wealth? Who gives a phuck if they cannot bat or bowl better than the guys presently in the team ... they have credentials that r beyond all this ... they have a certificate stating their status for free lunch ... or a free shot at the riches showered on the cricketers. I really feel they shouldn't let this golden opportunity go.

I don't know who among the present set of cricketers is brahmin and who is not ... neither do I know or care about any other details of caste / sub-caste etc ... but when the rest of the country is moving in this bold direction of giving equality to the oppressed people, can the cricket board (under Pawar, a Congress ally) be far behind? We should immediately implement the law so that of a squad of 15 at least 7 should be from the SC / ST / OBC category.

Or we can wait ... till the self-immolations happen and r forgotten ... till the protestors fade out ... and when the proposal (as it is now) becomes law. Maybe the world cup would be over by then ... maybe Chappell would be gone by then ... or imagine having to tell the poor chap - "Mahender Singh Dhoni is a brahmin (have no idea, really ... just for argument sakes) ... so we sacked him and replaced him with ABC ... he keeps worse then Parthiv Patel and bats worse than Anil Kumble ... but he is one of the 7 selected on the basis of bringing up his community / caste which has been oppressed for years.

LOL ... feeling sick even as I laugh about it.


The Chuckster

P.S. - For those of u who think I make light of a serious issue facing the country ... yes, I make light of it coz that is the only way I can see of making people know my anguish. Cricket is something the entire country associates itself with ... hence the co-relation between reservations and cricket.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Cricketer's egos ... cont.

When I say "cricketers get big egos" (as in my last post), just include ex-cricketers.

I put this on my blog some time back but will repeat it coz it is that good - Sidhu on his weekly program on NDTV regularly equates the selector's job to that of high court and supreme court judges. His solution to the selection process cleansing is - pay the selectors 20 lacs per annum and watch them produce great results / transparency / whatever.

20 frikkin lacs???? I can imagine the ex-crickters slobbering all over Pawar / Dalmiya / etc and kissing their ass to get that job. Sidhu didn't explain how it would all work out with the transparency / accountability / etc ... I think he has not yet thought beyond the "equal to high court / supreme court judges" and "pay them 20 lacs per annum" arguments. I dread the day he does.

Anyways, the rest isn't that important, is it? With 20 lacs per annum in the pocket, who gives a fig anyways?


The Chuckster

A couple of links ... and other crap

What r Zaheer and Nehra upto?

Zaheer doesn't know what is wrong ... hmmm, I guess he can't correct it then. lol ... if a guy who bowled 145 bowls 125 and says he doesn't get it, then what can u say?

Nehra is singing a very different tune to some months back when he was quoted as saying "it is ok to try youngsters but when the seniors come back, they should be given preference"

Criticism of chappell in decent language

Chappell ain't perfect and his man-management skills have been pretty poor on some accounts (on some other accounts, u can say he has done good ... a la Yuveraj). If people don't talk about Chappell's "hidden agenda", I find it much easier to read the article to the full. What hidden agenda ... what is he, an Aussie agent sent by the Australian govt to screw the Indian team so they can never draw a test series in Australia again?

BTW, I read a very good statement in one of the notice boards I frequent ... the discussion was (sighhhh) the Ganguly - Greg thriller, for which one of the guys on the board posted "When Chappell came in as coach, he was Ganguly's best friend where his future as a player was concerned". So true ... Ganguly's batting was going to the dogs and who better to advise and correct the problems than an acknowledged master ... he didn't even have to approach him on an individual basis as he did earlier in Australia ... as coach of India, Chappell would have been present day in and day out to work out problems. Instead, Ganguly tried to be smart and hey, he is gone. Like they say, he was too big for his boots.

As I type this, India r 2 down for 130 odd chasing 230 odd at Kochi ... Sehwag flunks once more and all I can say is - "Hey Chappell and Dravid .... u dumb-asses ... can u move the guy down the order PLEASEEEEEE?????". Regular visitors to this blog have seen me advocating a shift down the order for Sehwag for more than an year and a half. The only time they did it, he made 70. Don't they get it that Sehwag is not having an off day ... his career average in ODIs easily suggests that he has been a failure ... of course, for those considering an average of 30 odd in ODIs for a batsman having 55 as average in tests, as not bad ... well, u deserve him, guys!!!

My solution - If SRT's back, toe, shoulder, elbow etc all hold till the world cup, let him open with Pathan ... I no longer consider Pathan as a makeshift batsman and unless Robin Uthappa does something unique in the chances he gets, we r gonna be one opener short by the time the world cup is on us ... and then we will have no option but to make Sehwag open. So the best solution that occurs to me is - Let SRT and Pathan open from now till the world cup ... that moves Sehwag down the order and that is "exactly" what I want. Of course, as regular readers will remember, in the Chuckster's team, Kaif doesn't find a place in the 11 ... in the 14, sure ... but not in the first eleven.

BTW, Robin Uthappa is a guy who can bat (open), bowl (medium pace) and keep wickets. If India wrap up the series in this match, we could see Dhoni being rested for a couple of matches and Uthappa / Dravid taking up the keeper's job. I definitely favour some rest for the wild haired one ... he has been doing a great job and hasn't had injury problems yet but one shouldn't push it when it comes to over-playing players. After crouching down and up every bloody ball over the past few series and doing his but with the willow too (and not just useful 15s and 20s we r used to from Indian keepers), I don't think he will complain if he can put his feet up for a couple of games.

Anyways cheers

The Chuckster

Dhoni's six and "fan support" comments

I have read a lot of descriptions of the six Dhoni hit a match back ... over midwicket and which made people talk coz it was the most un-cricket like stroke u could ever see. Given below is an excerpt from Prem Panicker's blog.

Click here the match report in which Dhoni hit this six

Dhoni then rubbed gratuitous salt into the injury with a shot to which no name has yet been given – a whirl of feet and arms and bat, that propelled an attempted yorker miles over the wide midwicket fence.

Anyways, I thought I woudl add my own description to the shot. If I had to describe it in words, I would say - "Imagine the hammer throw competition in the olmmpics ... the athletes whirl the hammer (while holding it by its chain thingy) around and around and around and around ... and finally let go. So at the time they actually let go, what would be their stance / position of body etc. Dhoni was somewhat the same when he hit this six.

I have said this before and I will say it again ... he is one of the ugliest batsmen around but damn, he can be devastating.

As for his recent comments about not getting the fans support (alluding to the Mumbai test among instances), really these cricketers do get a huge ego when they come into the national team. Also, there was Yuveraj in a recent interview here to LP Sahi from Telegraph India, Calcutta ... where he says in response to the Mumbai crowd booing of SRT - The Mumbai crowd shocked me... It’s okay if an Yuvraj or somebody else gets booed, but Sachin? Those who showed such disrespect should have spent the money educating themselves instead of turning up at the Wankhede.

So now Yuveraj has the right to make insulting remarks about people who felt they were being short changed by bad performances of the players??? From what reports I have followed, no one shouted abuses related to mother and sister related activities ... no one threatened to perform un-natural sex acts on him ... what they were doing is booing and whistling to display their displeasure at a performance from a player they had come far and wide to watch. Not just in that match ... this feature is becoming a regular in matches now irrespective of Sunil Gavaskar's love for his "little champion".

So no one can boo SRT ... no one can whistle to show his displeasure at pathetic shots from a once-great player. Otherwise they need education ... and Yuveraj Singh is the voice of God who decides what the public of India spend their hard earned money on.

We have fawned on these cricketers for so long that they have lost touch with reality. The Indian fans r today no different from what they have always been - fickle. But as a paying public, who invest time, money and emotional quotient - many times more than the players, I believe - they definitely have the right to applaud the good efforts and boo the bad efforts. Yuveraj and Dhoni r talking like beggars now ... asking for alms in the form of praise from the public. If and when the players have been worth it, they have earned the cheers of the Indian public which has never shied away from celebrating its heroes.

Anyways, Yuveraj is 24 years old and Dhoni something similar (dunno exactly how much) ... I am sure they r now men of the world and we can expect many more worldly-wise comments from them. LOL.


The Chuckster