We are the World Champions.

This is kinda awkward that after writing a post “10 reasons why I love Football, FIFA than Cricket” that raised quite a few eyebrows, I am compelled to write about Cricket.

Yes, because like every Indian lad, I was also born with Cricket, watching Sachin Tendulkar. I love FIFA but I do not follow club matches. I am not mad about IPL either. I love anything when it comes to patriotism, & conforms to national pride.

This, my friends, was an overwhelming moment in the history of Cricket for every single person of this Nation, apart from few women who never understand Cricket & also won’t understand why men love Cricket so much.

India becomes World Champion in Cricket, bagging the ICC World Cup 2011 home, and right at home.

It’s not just about being World Champions in ODI, but we are ranked #1 in Test Cricket which is the then genuine form of Cricket, when introduced as a sport.

Without any further introduction, let me talk about the moments that led to the historic victory. Again, this was the 1st Cricket WC being played in the life-driven Social Networking era, where people aren’t just watching the match on TV or elsewhere but simultaneously playing it right through their statuses on Facebook & Twitter.

Right when the Indian veteran openers crumbled early to the Sri Lanka pacer Lasith Malinga, as usual people on FB/Twitter started flooding letters of Pessimism & lost hopes on the Cup. But I had my faith intact; for I knew this time the trophy was ours. Few words of Optimism that I shared among my friends on Social Networks:

What I wrote on FB,

Let me make this clear guys, we r not a team that was during Mohd. Azharuddin, where once Tendlya went out, d next hope were Azhar, then Jadeja!

We’ve a much better team who av gotten us into finals by beating the 3 time WC Champs – AUSTRALIA! All pessimists, please book ur tickets to Lanka….MAIN AAG LAGANE WALA HOON unko! Jai Bajrangbali! Jai Hind!

The entire thread is here.

3 nervous hours pass by; Dhoni registers the winning moment by hitting the 2nd six, & making me feel like Paul, The Octopus! Jubilant to the core, I get on the bike with my camera packed and get out on the streets to capture frenzied faces of overwhelmingly ecstatic fans of Bangalore. Below are the few shots I took of the electrifying crowd celebrating with inexplicable joy with what we call a “Once in a Blue Moon” feeling.

The scene at the petrol bunk.

 

The daddy cool with his cute daughter

The overjoyed lovely lassies

The people who thought I was a press reporter, and that I should click them. I said Yes, I work for Indian Express. They kept posing until I tried to escape.

 

Right then, what I felt as I kept clicking, is that there were 3 kinds of people in these events who get us all the happiness, sacrificing their’s.

  • Police
  • Reporter
  • Photographer

You see everyone dancing, cheering; you too wish to be a part of it but your real happiness is in ‘not-disturbing’ & ‘preserving’ these precious moments forever!

Back home, I switched on the TV to catch up with the trophy lifting ceremony I missed. The pictures of the tears of joy in the eyes of Sachin was quite an emotional moment, for almost the entire nation, young and old, which has seen him playing since 1989. I was 12 years old, yet the memories of his 1996 World Cup’s contribution to India is still so vivid. He was just a one man team then. But today the Boys in Blue have aptly paid him the “Guru-Dakshina”, the much longed tribute for all the time he has served the nation. It was as if all his pain for 21 years had been healed. And having seen 6 World Cups, this one’s special where he has felt that fullness of life, and it’s so worth it.

With Dhoni speaking his straight talk as usual, must have surely silenced his critics. I always had my deep faith rested on him. He’s the coolest captain of Indian Cricket Team could have ever had. I wasn’t born in 1983, so I can’t comment on Kapil Dev.

It was definitely a moment of pride that was felt after 28 long years, a moment that will linger on Indian hearts and soul for the next 4 years for sure. For we can now flaunt to the entire world that we’re the proud citizens of a nation of billions, i.e. India who’s #1 at the T-20s (right when the format was introduced, 2007), #1 in Test Cricket and #1 in ODIs.

We are the leaders in Cricket. We are WORLD CHAMPIONS! Vande Mataram.

Pic Courtesy: Yahoo India

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When XIX Common Wealth Games 2010 – CWG was held in India!

CWG – I wish the acronym never had Wealth in it, so our dear IOC Chairman and the entire hierarchy under him wouldn’t have got misled. And would have rightly understood CWG is all about Sports but not unleashing Game Plans of Corruption to make enough Wealth for your seven generations.

Not-so-surprisingly, now we know many acronyms, have coined enough, simply a good no. to confuse us on what the original CWG stands for ,after a few days.
Even the Maoists must be aware of the ongoing disorganizations in New Delhi and would be having their wishful laughs looking at the mess. Not to forget the Porkistanis who on NDTV’s Facebook posts about CWG, keep swearing in the name of Lord, celebrating the failure as a curse for ‘Indian Occupation of Kashmir’.

The Shame and the Agony:

How would you feel as a ‘responsible’ citizen of India (please exclude our politicians) when the President of CGF, Mike Fennel faces embarrassing questions like “Has India let you down?”. Worse when he replies “we all would have learnt a lesson in working like a country like India. And at the end of all of this, India would have learnt a great lesson.”

How would you feel when these filthy images are 1st out on bbc.co.uk, titled ‘Athlete’s village’?  And you want me to be fraking positive about it! Why shouldn’t there be criticism? Why shouldn’t there be sarcasm or tantrums thrown out to Mr. Kalmadi n Co.? It couldn’t get more outrageous when they say that different countries have different standards of hygiene! It seems our IOC officials never flush their toilets and have paan-stains all over their wash-basin. But why-the-f**k feign it to be the standard for entire country and mislead outsiders on our image!

At least the officials should have an iota of conscience that any mess in such a huge international event would not only put the country to shame but also cause embarrassment to many Indians who go abroad to represent or work, who would be at the receiving end of any informal discussions.

A sporting event whose current investment would be hardly around  Rs.7000 crores is now estimated to be   Rs.77000 crores!!! Is there an end to the amount of corruption?

Mr. Kalmadi promised it to be the best Games ever, better than Beijing Olympics. Now it has turned out to be the costliest! This is definitely not expected from the CWG chief, who also has a defence background! I just hope it isn’t as bad as the ill-prepared Athens Olympics where they were planting trees even on the day of the Games.

A game whose bid was won in 2003 has turned out to be the costliest Games ever! Whose money is it? It’s mine and yours. It’s mere Tax-payer’s money, damn it! Isn’t Ajmal Kasab’s expenditure enough who’s yet to be executed!

But after all this, the most agonizing news you hear is Games Village is not ready. 180 Flats still in ‘unlivable condition’, athlete’s bed collapses, AC doesn’t work, no water in the toilet et al.

Role of Media:

The CWGPR is already doing its job of digging the positive out of the worse. But no, you cannot simply keep expecting media to bring about positive stuff out of Pandora’s Box. I would rather say Media has done a good job of busting out the means of corruptions and showcasing how CWG has become an event of cash cow for the IOC officials.

The news on CWG preparations has not been good since last 60 days or more. Yet, it didn’t ring bells for our politicians/bureaucrats to get things rolling at a breakneck-speed. The result – India is the world news for all wrong reasons. Thanks to their “Chalta Hai” attitude. Plus put it back on media.

Neither Media bashing all the time helps, nor should Media keep carrying negative news, at least once the countdown is over for heaven’s sake! Just because BBC showcased filthy pictures of the Village, all of them followed the same. Herd mentality. Nothing different was shown in the movie – Peepli [Live]. If Aussie/English/Kiwi media is bashing India then why is Indian Media backing them?

What we can learn from South Africa:


I am at loss of words to applaud RSA to have beautifully conducted the FIFA WC 2010. It doesn’t restrict to just one but 2007 ICC WC Twenty20 and two IPL championship events including the ongoing one. Despite racism issues and a massive AIDS prevalence among the population, they could deliver. Why can’t we, being the 3rd Most Powerful Nation in the World?

 

Lesson for future:

We continue to think time-n-again that all these money could have spent on poverty alleviation or Elementary education. Or better infrastructure for sports in general. But they would never be spent since there has to be a specific and dedicated program on these known and chronic issues.

So if at all we bid for such an event, we should be committed to it with heart and soul. Lest there is mismanagement, we should be accountable for it, accept blame rather than being arrogant and playing blame games.

When Sports Committee’s chairman has never played any games, how would he have the spirit then? These specimen shouldn’t be appointed as bureaucrats or ministers.

Not sure what’s in store ahead and after CWG. But there should be a probe and all those indulged should be charge-sheeted and made to pay the damage done to the entire image of the nation. We have to adopt the Chinese/North Korean way. Execute all those responsible for non-execution of the games!

CWG will still be a Success:

With issues every morning, looks like CWG is going to be less about sports and more about the issues faced by athletes. And they won’t stop cribbing now, even with the slightest of discrepancy that is possibly manageable.

Let’s have investments come into India and not go to China. We have brains but we have shitty politics-dominant-bureaucracy. Let’s not make this as a deterrent. Whatever it costs, whatever it takes, let’s make XIX Common Wealth Games a success! And it will be a success despite the odds!

May be we could just think the worse is over, and show solidarity as committed citizens.  Jai Hind!

10 reasons why I love Football, FIFA vs Cricket

 

FIFA – Football Is Freakin’ Awesome!

So, we’re in FIFA season now. A time I await for 4 long years. For most Indians, it’s cricket that takes priority, better say – the most popular sport in the country. But a large mass has been following FIFA too as evident from their posts and updates on Social Networks.

As far as Social Media universe is concerned, Copa Mundial 2010 will be the 1st to be played out in the Facebook/Twitter era!

So, here are top 10 reasons why I am fond of Football than Cricket.

  • Game Duration: Each football game lasts for 90 mins (max to 4 mins extra on certain cases) as against 4 hours of a 20/20  or 8 hours of an ODI Cricket match. Even in a single 20/20 match duration, 2.5 FIFA matches would have been over!
  • NO Adverts/Commercials: The best thing about this game is you get seamless viewership and unlike cricket where the feeling is like seeing the Match within the Ads & not the other way round. You see them to the extent that lest you missed a wicket fall, you have to catch the replay- only after the ad!! Worse, you may even miss the 1st ball of bowler’s forthcoming over. But in case of football, even during the breaks, you get to hear from John Dykes & see Mayanti Langer & not the fashion-faux-pas hit Mandira Bedi!!
  • Players don’t laze around: Now, this is a game where not a single player, out of 11, gets bored like the fielders at the boundaries/gullies and at times the ball never reaches them even after a couple of overs. Every single player, right from the Defender, Mid-fielder, Striker keep running from pillar to post. Even the goalie keeps jumping as to make sure he doesn’t fall asleep. (Like Portugal’s goalie in FIFA World Cup 2010 where #POR pumped 7:0 vs #PRK)
  • Referee/Umpire: Have you ever seen a big-bellied referee in a football match who’s emotionally challenged due to his obesity? Forget referee, even the linesman needs fitness more than the players.
  • Commentators: Just one commentator. And simply gives you an adrenaline rush. Unlike cricket where you have multiple commentators (now Field Umpires/Players too :O) who at times go to chat about their housewives or the cricketer’s latest crush (let’s keep Harsha Bhogle out of this)
  • Crowd/Fans: If you have seen a FIFA or any football match per se, it would be needless to explain the 300+ million fan following across the entire globe. And my my, the fanciful face-paintings, the craze, the beauty, the mass singing/dancing/jumping/tub-thumping, roars (be it the deafening Vuvuzela =====<() )…even after so much to be offered from the game, we still stick to the game! Not to mention the footballers who don’t leave themselves behind when it comes to fashion with all the fanciful tattoos and hairdo.
  • Conduct: Cricket is relatively a game with gentlemanly conduct until we see more of Sreesanth(s), on & off the field. But football does have frequent spats, verbal hurls, faking fouls against the opponents et al. Not to forget the perfect Zidane head-butt and the recent Kaka Red card vs Ivory Coast.
  • Nations Count: Out of 400 football playing nations, around 208 nations are FIFA national soccer teams. Out of these, only 32 make it to the World Cup! Whereas, you have only 10 major cricket playing nations (alongside Holland/Afghanistan/Kenya) out of which 4 are already playing FIFA WC 2010!
  • Ease of game: I can even make my mum understand it without much worrying about explaining her the intricate Duck-worth Lewis methods & other cricketing jargons from the bowler’s/fielder’s/batsman’s and umpire’s end! However, the irony is she says, she understands cricket but fails to understand football. So, all I told her that two teams run with the ball to put in the opponent’s post! That’s it. Done. 🙂
  • Match seldom stops: The tenth and one of my best reason is that a football match never stops even if it rains! Nobody runs with a huge thick polymer sheet to cover the turf! Rather the soccer players look all the more wildly sexy with their wet look and muscles flexed visible through the drenched jerseys (No, thanks I am straight). The match still goes on and on until the ball floats.

I do not like FIFA World Cup. I simply love it. 🙂

N.B. My personal opinion, agreements (from Soccer fans) n disagreements (from hard-core Cricket fans) are most welcome! 😀

5-Minute-Motivation Videos

With FIFA kick-starting in a couple of days, I couldn’t help myself writing a blog post dedicated to the spirit of sportsmanship, to a game. A beautiful game. My support will as always be rooted for good ol’ Argentina.

Here, I give you four kick-ass videos that have indeed kicked my butt big time with the sort of inspiration and vigor they offer, infusing in you, the spirit of that Sportsman who could go to any extent…any…to get that GLORY for his NATION, his TEAM, n his INDIVIDUALISM! I get all the more charged up listening to the speeches (below with the videos). I am filled with vivacity & life watching them. Simply makes me have a burning faith-  ‘Impossible is Nothing’.

Being an athlete of yesteryear, I crash and burn with these. And I will continue to.

VERSUS 2009 Full Trailer

This is the Original VERSUS ad in 2009 which was remade by Nike later and released in 2010.

The speech is quite a fire-up one. Here it goes:

Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting: The Theory of Evolution claims that “only the strong shall survive”. Maybe so, maybe so. But the Theory of Competition says “just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked”. That’s right. See, what every long shot come from behind underdog will tell you is this: The other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds may be turned against you.

Fair enough… But what the odds don’t know is this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion has a funny way of trumping logic. So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows and the clock starts ticking, just remember: out here, the results don’t always add up.

No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, all bets are off. Don’t be surprised if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling “Uncle”. And then suddenly, as the old saying goes, “We got ourselves a game

Any Given Sunday – Peace by Inches – Al Pacino

Below’s the speech from ‘The Godfather’ star:

I don’t know what to say really. Three minutes till the biggest battle of our professional lives. It all comes down to today. Now either we heal as a team, or we’re gonna crumble. Inch by inch, play-by-play, till we’re finished. We’re in hell right now, gentlemen. Believe me. And we can stay here, get the shit kicked out of us, or we can fight our way back into the light. We can climb out of hell. One inch at a time.

Now I can’t do it for you. I’m too old. I look around, I see these young faces, and I think… I mean I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me, and lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror. You know when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. And so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small.

I mean… one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow too fast, you don’t quite catch it. The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second. On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the fucking difference between WINNING and LOSING! Between LIVING and DYING!

I’ll tell you this – in any fight, it’s the guy whose willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. And I know if I’m going to have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what living is! The 6 inches in front of your face…

Now I can’t make you do it. You’ve got to look at the guy next to you, look into his eyes. Now I think you’re gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You’re gonna see a guy who will sacrifice himself for this team, because he knows when it comes down to it, you’re gonna do the same for him.

That’s a team, gentlemen. And either we heal, now, as a team, or we will die, as individuals. That’s FOOTBALL, guys. That’s all it is. Now, what you gonna do?

Derek Redmond: (1992 Barcelona Olympics)

I saw it once, twice, thrice. I got goose bumps. I got my heart heavy & I couldn’t stop the whimper breaking out of me. For an athlete knows the pangs of another. So truly heroic…HATS OFF – Derek Raymond, Take a bow!

Kerri Strug: (1996 Atlanta Olympics)

Yet another, I am not giving up, come-what-may video.

The list would go on…grab some and let me know. Just do it!

When Cricket catches Capitalism.

History repeats itself. Perhaps we love to repeat history (2007 ICC Cricket World Cup) quite early. I am talking about a very popular Indian sports,  I am talking about the Indian Cricket at an International level – a game that’s almost present in every Indian blood by birth. But unfortunately this blood has gotten spurious and needs transfusion.

So, when was the last time you as an entire nation burst crackers, waved Indian tri-color flag, came out on the roads late in the night with that can of KF beer and danced away your happiness, unplugged? The last I remember was when the Men in Blue bagged the ICC World Cup T20 trophy back in 2007! When IPL never existed.

When India loses, the entire nation bleeds. When CSK/MI/RCB etc. lost, how many bled? It means a lot to the whole cricketing and non-cricketing nations to some extent, when a team is the World Champion. I repeat, WORLD Champs! How much did it matter to Australia/NZ/South Africa/England when CSK won the IPL championship?

It does carry immense weight when The President of a nation congratulates a National Team on their triumph and the heroes among them are awarded Bharat Ratna/ Padma Vibhusan/ Arjuna/Padma Bhusan awards. How many you think will win a National Award for giving their blood and sweat for the exhaustive IPL matches!! Still, they barely give a hoot. At the end of the day, it’s the buck that matters!

Human nature. Gluttony. When we ourselves, being in corporate industry slog for money and our tail points to the firm that lures us with a fatter one than the current’s.  And so are our players who haven’t woken up from the fantasy/voluptuous world of Sherlyn Chopra & Co. flaunting their silicones. After all,  Saheb…they are all single! So the attendance at the late night parties are quite inevitable for our bachelor boys, you see! Hence, quite unabashedly, the ones at the helm could direct the alibis to IPL’s late night parties and tortuous travels. They never got tired during IPL matches? There were quite a lot series played prior to IPL as well! Why can’t a single player say a BOLD NO to their team owner to practice for the ‘short pitch’ matches ahead? They can’t , because they are sold!

At the other hand, the selection committee would try to save the IPL baby for it’s quite lucrative for them. After all, we have our bureaucrats and politicians who have their murky deals & investments hidden in the entire Pandora’s box. Now what they could do is, blame the Indian Captain for blaming IPL. This is funny and this is a vicious circle.

But even if you wish to, you still cannot avoid catching the IPL frenzy, rather the most trending event being witnessed by a million Indians. Could you? So, why not join the bandwagon? But how? Pick up an IPL team, start updating statuses supporting the team & bashing the other team on Social Networks, even if cricket means quite less to you.  Welcome aboard,  you are catapulted to IPL mania now. But I always knew the consequence. Too much of cricket, be it post-IPL or pre-IPL, can never hold on to the charm. Needless to say why IPL is ostensibly ‘charming’ !

Could we ever have the 1983/2007 (ODI/T20)  history repeated? We surely could if we could stop cricket getting invaded by capitalists! As mentioned by few remarkable cricketers, if we could have a team dedicated solely for 20/20 for there ain’t a dearth of talent in India. Rather new talents can be discovered and nurtured, it means an opportunity for many Ranji players who never made it in the past and tough to make it in the future. It also means they make a better livelihood and make some bucks for exploiting their talent and that should get duly recognized!

For God’s sake, I do not wish to see the shamefully abysmal performance repeated again in the ICC World Cup 2011. If that happens, we Indians have lost our sense of cricket. We rather love to be swayed away with short-lived yet libidinous pomp and show!

Last but not the least, few old memories…

P.S. This is my personal opinion. Facts may have been wrong. Your opinions/suggestions would be highly appreciated.

The guy with a magic wand: 6 + 4 = TENdulkar!

The + Master Blaster; Little Master; Run Machine; Little Champion; Slashin Sachin; The Bombay Bomber; Legend Of India; God Of Cricket……….

The list goes on. So would I leave the readers of this post to connect the dots….

I can only think of Einstein and his E=MC² when I think of an equivalent here when talking about an immense talent and intelligence and not to mention the fan-following-furore! Nothing could create as much hysteria any given day as would Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s knocks/records ignite.

As (once upon a time) a hardcore cricket fan, I stopped following cricket once the then most-successful Indian captain Md. Azharuddin came into the news for all wrong reasons. My fanhood for Azhar died down along with cricket. Though you could give me a 1000 reasons that it wasn’t really the end of the game but I was way too hurt with it.

But anyways, watching few people play cricket right from childhood era is kind of euphoria. One such euphoria is watching SRT play even today at a time when I would have had fathered 2 kids had I gone by the Indian Govt.’s norm of boy marriage age OK TESTED @ 21.

As tweeted by one of my friends, “If you answer “Sachin” to any cricketing record question…you have a 80% chance of getting it right”.

I do not think I would be able to speak much on him when there are already a 100 biographies floating in the book-market. And 1,00,00,000 fans with infinite facts and figures. Needless to speak a word on what he is or what he means or what he did or does or will ever do. The name itself is enough!

Few nouns I would like to put in here which always fascinate me of him, for him, by him:

a. Grit

b. 3D – Dedication, Discipline, Determination

c. Stamina (never takes a substitute right from Over 0.0 till 50.0)

d. Focus

e. Confidence

f. Composure

g. Patience/Perseverance

Last but not the least, Congratulating Sach on his DOUBLE Century – ODI highest for being the 1st person walking on earth till date, I would end this short post dedicating a little note from the movie 3 Idiots from my side literally:

“Jahapana, tussi great ho! Taufa kabul karo” 😀

On behalf of Sachin Tendulkar aka Tendlya:

“For Men may come, and Men may go;

But I go on forever………………………….”      — Alfred Lord Tennyson

Click to enlarge