Posted in Cricket

Don’t Super-sub me!

Even if the super-sub position commands any kind of eminence, I don’t think I want to be playing in a team where I am brought in as one. Actually, It would be worse to be the person for whom I am super-subbed for..

While I am waiting for the rain clouds to pass through as I sit in my hotel suite office desk browsing through the latest in sports from Zimbabwe & New York, something in me wanted to thank Matthew Spurlock for inspiring me to write this.

Change is not easy and it will always be faced with resistance. In that light, my opinions on the new ICC rules could very well be termed as words arisen as a result of reluctance to change. But come on, the game of Cricket has seen its share of changes over the past few decades and nothing has baffled me as much as the Super-sub rule. The Powerplay rule that was also introduced along with the super-sub rule during the 10 month trial period is definitely more meaningful and I can bet it would have many supporters.

For those who are wondering what the heck I am ranting about here – ICC has introduced a new rule in One Day International games wherein teams can use a player as super-sub (he can actually bat or bowl along with fielding). For example, the Indian team can name 12 players..including let’s say, Laxman (11) and Kumble (Super-sub). Depending on the course of the first innings (irrespective of who is batting or bowling), the team can decide to bring in Kumble. If India is batting first, Laxman can bat and when India is bowling second, Kumble can come into bowl. This will essentially serve the purpose of having Kumble as a super-sub but if India has to bowl first then if Kumble comes into the field to bowl as a super-sub for Laxman, then he has to bat too. This will not work for India as they would have lost a batsman (unless of course Kumble defies all logic and bats brilliantly). So the bottom line is that since the teams have to announce their 12 even before the toss, this rule to me does nothing but add confusion. I am not a purist of the game or anything but I find this rule a little muddled and nutty.

Here…reproducing something funny I read somewhere in the net.

————————

The ICC has confirmed that it will “tweak” the new rules designed to spark up one-day cricket after the concept was trialled during the just-completed England-Australia three-match series.

“On balance, we think it was an improvement but there is still some work to be done,” ICC chairman Waqar Botham_Chappell was quoted as saying.

The most major change will involve the new concept of the “super-sub” – a 12th man who can replace one of the team members to add extra bowling, batting or fielding expertise at a vital moment.
“We think this was a terrific innovation but our exit polls suggest fans had trouble knowing which player on the ground was a ‘super-sub’. With that in mind, we’ll ask ‘super-subs’ to wear a different uniform to their teammates,” Botham-Chappell said.

“We’re thinking of having the ‘super-sub’ take the field wearing lycra, with short shorts and a cape. He might wear a mask too, and gloves with matching boots, in his team’s colours.

“It would also make the ‘super-sub’ easier to spot if he moved in a different way to the other 10 players fielding, or the other batsman, or whatever. Ideally, before chasing a ball to fine leg, the ‘super-sub’ might prop, stick a hand in the air and yell in a deep, Heroic voice; ‘Have no fear, I’ll get it!’ and then kind of zoom as he chases down the ball.

“I guess at the end of the day, we would just like the ‘super-sub’ to be a little more, well, super.”
Botham-Chappell said the other change that might be modified would be the ‘powerplay’ concept.

While ‘power plays’ where the fielding team can alter fielding formats for five over periods will be retained, a fourth ‘powerplay’ will be added, where a team member can challenge the captain for team leadership.

“There have been times in one-day matches where a vice-captain or a senior team member might have a major disagreement with some crap captaincy by the skipper, but short of muttering to the slips cordon, there’s not much those people can do,” he explained.

“Under the new ‘powerplay 4’, any team member can make a ‘powerplay’ on the skipper, calling for a team vote on who should captain the team for the rest of the game.

“We think this will lead to a great deal of interest for spectators, especially in Pakistan, where the team captaincy might change four or five times in an innings.”

—————————–

At least I am not alone. There are people out there who are as buffaloed as I am with the rule.

Posted in Uncategorized

Blog Muzzle

..I am talking about just my blog…

Lots happening and that is not the reason why I have not updated my blog. And it is not the Mangal Pandey disappointment either. I guess I just went through a “mentally slow period of time”. But I hope to have recovered from it as I am on a vacation right now with my family. I promise to post a short travelogue of our “Mooselaneous adventures” from the Eskimo land soon after we get back.

Posted in AR Rahman, Movies - General

The Falling of “The Rising”

There were at least 100 people waiting outside. It was Saturday and the time was past 9:00 PM. The temperature was probably in the 70s. “Should we just drop the idea and may be go home?”.

Better thoughts prevailed and we walked into the movie hall. There were 2 Indian movies being screened in that theatre (the other one being a Telugu movie) and the large crowd can be attributed to that and not just the Mangal Pandey fever.

If Aamir Khan is such a perfectionist as the media claims he is (or has made him to sound like one), then his decision to do this movie, in my mind disproves all that. He may have done a decent job as an actor in the movie but how on earth such a “thinking actor” chose a script that is largely a collection of loose scenes connected rather incoherently, is a question that all non-hardcore-Aamir Khan fans will ask.

I would not like to pay any importance to all the furor the Historians are creating on the authenticity of the Mangal Pandey story (much like the “Bose” controversy) because I do believe that a movie is generally someone’s interpretation of something – be it history or fiction. But even by leaving aside that controversy, I still couldn’t digest the movie entirely.

The agony was worsened only by the fact that my main reason for watching the movie on the second day of its release was not justified. A R Rahman apparently had 3 period movies offered to him around the same time and he chose Mangal Pandey only because of Aamir Khan. I guess I feel disappointed for Rahman. I have never seen a Ketan Mehta movie before but I can tell now you that I don’t have to worry about having missed something and I can also tell you that Ketan Mehta did not deserve Rahman’s music for this movie.

Every single song in the movie was butchered in one way or the other. If Rasiya, Main vari, Holi Re and Takey Takey found no room in the script but were still forcibly included, then the title song looked ridiculous on big screen with those 4 strangers riding atop and chanting “Mangal Mangal” with no absolute sense of any purpose. The director lacks any kinds of imagination and creativity in filming songs. Al Madath was the only song in my mind that fit the flow of the script. The movie would have been 20-30 minutes shorter (that much less agony) had not been for those songs that were butchered.

My disappointment is echoed by a few other reviewers who loved Rahman’s score for the movie. But many reviewers and average movie goers have shunned the music after seeing the movie. I cannot expect an average movie-goer to be intelligent enough to differentiate direction from songs. But the net result – as it seems obvious now is that the songs have not reached the audience.

For the beauty of this album’s sake, I hope the movie does not fall in the box office quickly. At least, the longevity of this movie will make the music being aired/promoted a little longer thus giving a chance to be appreciated.

Well..this has turned out to be an “out and out Psenti-Philmi” blog!

Posted in Humor - General, Miscellaneous

Atkins tanks down

When I heard in the radio while driving a week ago that the company that popularized low-carb diet and brought in a revolution in American culture is filing for bankruptcy (well “the diet revolution” lasted for only 6 months but it is ok..All fads in the US live only that long), my wife and I turned towards each other and smiled.

Smiling is really an emotional downplay of how we really feel about this topic and how we felt precisely at that moment. We are not enemies of Dr. Robert C. Atkins. But it is just that we feel that the exploiting power of such diet gurus who manage to hypnotize millions of ignorant Americans who are made to believe that they have a weight problem (in many cases that may be true) and that the gurus have just invented the next best thing in the world – “their new diet plan”, is plain obnoxious and disdaining.

“I am on the wagon”, said a fellow teammate – “so let’s just go to “Randy’s*. They have a nice dinner buffet and I can get all I can eat steak & pork chops”.

“But…you drank with us last night”, I was polite yet curious.

“Ha…ha..I meant the Carb-wagon”.

Thus the revolution spread its roots everywhere across the middle & upper class America. People were carrying carb calculated charts (pocket size) all the time with them.

“How would you like your burger sir..?”

“No buns..and some lettuce..cheese is ok..”

“Mustard..or Mayo sir..?”

“Hmm..wait a minute. Let me check my chart. Hmmm..No mustard. I have already had my 0.2 g ** of carb for the day. But lots of Mayo…because that has only 7g of carb in it **. Plus I will be eating a steak for dinner..and I need not worry about carb count for my dinner. So yeah..just throw some Mayo in it..”

“Who cares if there is 25 g fat in that Mayo. Right..?” I whispered, making sure my friend did not hear it.

“So how is your burger”? , this time it was loud enough that he could actually hear it.

“Not bad..”

“Looks like something dipped in Mayo to me..I can’t see the burger at all”, again whispering to myself.

“So how do you order a chicken sandwich? Chicken Sandwich with nothing to sandwich..and just a chicken?..ha….ha..”, I got a big kick out of this joke.

“How did you get into this Atkins thing?”, I asked gathering all my humility together.

“Well..my wife has been reading about this and says it has worked on her friends. So here I am. Plus this seems like a fun diet as I get to pig out – literally. I am not a big Veggie guy anyway..”

The next day, I forwarded about half a dozen links to him. All talking about the myths behind the Atkins diet and how it may be effective in the short run but could be a disaster in the long run and so on and so forth. Of course, there were not many first hand living stories to substantiate the negative impact of the diet in the long run. And of course, my objective of doing this was basically to educate my friend – who is otherwise one of the smartest men I have met in my professional career. I just wanted him to make some informed decisions. As I expected, he told me he would ignore my mail (even though he said he read all the articles I sent).

There was a phenomenal surge of low-carb products hitting the market, in the next few months. Consumers who were not even bothered about any of these were made to read the Net Carb values of what they were eating and for no reason were made to feel guilty if they bought a product that had more net carb value than another similar product which was being sold as a “low-carb lifestyle product”. Thus the average American mind was brainwashed.

Carbohydrates are not bad. In fact, it is the preferred source of energy for the human body. Yes. Protein and Fat can also provide energy..but that’s not what the human body wants. To put it simply, from what I know, if you deplete your system of carbs, you will deplete yourself of a longer life. Your brain cells will go dead sooner – your neurotic system will start functioning slower – You may have stronger muscles and leaner girth. But you will never be able to use them. I am not a nutritionist, so I shall not proceed with my theory of “anti-anti-carbism” here, even though I have strong beliefs in it.

30 months after my first revolt against the revolution that started, here I am writing about the death (or somewhere there of) of an anti-carb diet which like many other diet programs tried to defy nature and lost its battle. It is just that this happened too soon and I could recapture the entire life cycle of this fad vividly because of its short life. The reasons for the company tanking down are not exactly what I would have wanted because there is no clear indication that those Americans who bought this idea of low-carb lifestyle have stopped believing in it. However, it is clear that many couldn’t stick to it while the myth very much looms over the American skies tempting those who dare to adapt the lifestyle. But for now…

When it comes to Carbohydrates, I am a “complex” person.

* fictional restaurant name; as a substitute for a real one

** not real values

Posted in AR Rahman, Music - General

3-D minus D

I started writing this three days ago. Things were a little different then. India had lost their first match in the triangular (cricket) series against SL, the July 26 Mumbai floods were just beginning to recede and most importantly I had finally had my 2nd golf lesson. But today, when I dust this page and start typing again, I realize things are not so much the same. Well…in some ways.

How about the stone cold “wall” who anchored the Indian innings and made sure they reached shore safely? For all those Dravid detractors, here is what I have to say – “The Wall is here to stay”. I am not a big fan of Dravid’s captaincy. Even though he may be a more intelligent cricketer than Ganguly, I think Ganguly’s aggressiveness and arrogance were what that had helped India to pull their socks up in the International scene. We cannot take much pride with the fact we beat the Windies. West Indies is no longer a force to reckon with and beating them just ensures that you are not in the bottom half of ICC rankings (which India is anyway in, according to the latest list). But a win is a win. Getting back to Dravid..Dravid has the composure that you don’t normally see in Ganguly, so he is more like Tendulkar in that aspect and yet he is a little more unemotional unlike Tendulkar. That makes him a perfect fit for a manager’s (or in this case captain’s) job.

The second bout of incessant rains in Mumbai only made things worse and the public is clearly frustrated with the administration’s chaotic relief efforts which have not reached more than half of the affected population. Such tragedies normally affect the poor and I normally get choked up every time I think of the unfairness in this whole game (of life).

The airport has opened up. It was funny to watch (courtesy Zee) the Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel, trying to portray a pretty picture and ruling out any lack of preparedness on their part in making the airport fully operational. How does it matter when the whole world now knows that all it takes is a day’s worth rain to bring the commercial capital of India to a grinding halt? Media will focus on the Mumbaikars’ spirit and their ability to spring back and highlight it as a special quality. What other choice do they have? They have their livelihoods to deal with. I have family in Mumbai and there were some tense moments last week because we were not able to get hold of them for a few days. We managed to get an update over the weekend and fortunately everyone is doing well. Hand Fans and Wet Wipes which were our gifts the last time we visited India came handy to folks who were without power last week.

If success in Golf can be measured by the “club-ball-connect percentage”, then I had a pretty successful week in golf. I had a connect percentage of 98. Not enough to beat Vijay Singh in the Buick Open the way he did – What kind of course were they playing in..? An appallingly high scoring tournament.

Finally here is something on the event that I was looking forward to this past weekend. The “A R Rahman 3rd Dimension World Tour Kick-off”. After the July 07 bomb blasts in London, there was justifiable apprehension if the concerts would go on. To add to the organizers’ woes, the Mumbai rains ruined their 3-D equipment which eventually could not be shipped to UK. In spite of all these hurdles, I was relieved to learn that both the Wembley and the Birmingham concerts went really well. This may have been a not so auspicious a start – because of the 1 less D factor, but I do hope they get over the hang-ups and move on. The usual grumbling among some sections of the Hindi audience fills up the first paragraph in their concert reviews – that there were a lot of Tamil songs and they couldn’t understand why (6 out of some 30 odd songs – is that a lot?? Give me a break!). But on the whole, the Rahman crew provided some entertainment to the South Asian population in London which must have come in at the right time after the traumatic month they have had.