Showing posts with label cricket. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cricket. Show all posts

Rahul Dravid's speech at Bradman Oration. Well, sort of...

Couple of days back Rahul Dravid supposedly gave an outstanding speech at Bradman Oration.
Immediately the internet was abuzz with lot of questions about that speech. Here below are some of the questions and my answers to them.

1. Did Rahul prepare the speech himself?
Of course not. He is a cricketer. That means he knows only one thing - how to pose for ads.

2. How do you know that he did not prepare for the speech?
Because, he had asked me to prepare the speech for him.

3. So, was that speech..?
No. He did not like my version. I think he does not have any sense of h..

4. So, who prepared that speech?
Hard to tell. But I can see Ramachandra Guha's style at couple of places. For instance, it has obscure historical references with exact date and time and it completely lacks humour. If you had seen my version...

Wait! Wait! Don't hit the BACK button of the browser.

-----------Transcript of Rahl Dravid's speech if he had gone with my version--------

Thank you for inviting me to deliver the Bradman Oration.

As I stand at National War Memorial, I reflect how meaninglessly the words 'war', 'battle', 'fight' are used to describe cricket matches.Yes, we cricketers devote the better part of our adult lives to being prepared to perform for the cola and energy drink brands of our countries. But this building, however, recognises the men and women who lived out the words - war, battle, fight - for real and gave their life up for the country because one loony said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

Oh! This is memorial is not for that war. The earlier one. I see! Well moving on...

India's first Test series as a free country was played against Australia in November 1947, three months after our independence. Gandhi wasn't interested as riots were going on all over India. But he couldn't protest because he was observing day of silence. So we sent a production crew to the places affected by riots and set sail for Australia. We didn't do well in the series. However the production crew shot some wonderful scenes for the movie Gandhi to be released some fifty years later. But the histories of our countries are linked together far more deeply than we think and further back in time than 1947.We share something else other than cricket. Before we played the first Test match against each other, before you guys started knifing Indian immigrants in dark streets of Sydney, Indians and Australians fought wars together, on the same side. In Gallipoli, where, along with the thousands of Australians, over 1300 Indians also lost their lives. Sadly, the slain Indian soldiers had died of wounds on their back made by bullets of Australian make.

But I find it incongruous, that I happen to be invited to deliver the Bradman Oration. I know that Sachin is down with flu and Dhoni missed the flight and Ashwin preferred to go to Great Barrier reef with his wife. But I still find it incongrous. I don't say that only because Sir Don once scored a hundred before lunch at Lord's and my 100 at Lord's this year took almost an entire day despite my desire to prove to the management that I can play Twenty20 for India.

But more seriously, Sir Don is the most venerated cricketer in India not to have played there. There is a story that I thought I should bring to your notice. On June 28, 1930, the day Bradman scored 254 at Lord's against England, was also the day Jawaharlal Nehru was arrested by the police. Nehru was, at the time, one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement and later, independent India's first Prime Minister. Yet your newspapers chose to publish Bradman's feet on the first page and Nehru's arrest on the supplementary. Basically the terms of relationship between us were you don't give a shit about us. So we decided we will not give toilet paper to you. In IPL, Indians and Australians have shared toilets where only health faucets are provided.

Now, you might think Indian cricket represents only two things - money and power. You are wrong! It also represents glamour. The eleven people here represent sixty brands in India and occupy forty percent of ad spots on Indian T.V. Sure, Sachin takes the lion's share of it. But we get the advertisements where they need a cricketer with a more manly voice. The field is now spread wider than it ever has been. Last season, Rajasthan, a state best known for it's palaces, fortresses and tourism sent two cricketers for the advertisement of a two wheeler. Of course, the Jharkhand has the sole ownership of all advertisements related to milk products and ceiling fans.Like Bradman was the boy from Bowral, a stream of Indian cricketers now come from what you could call India's outback and sell products on T.V ranging from paste to soap to the people in cities. After Munaf Patelmade his debut for India, the road from the nearest railway station to his village had to be improved because ad executives from the cities kept landing up there. I can say with confidence that Indian cricket is the best bet for your advertisement needs.

Yet I believe this is also a time for introspection within our game. I was surprised a few months ago to see the lack of crowds in an ODI series featuring India. Empty stands do not make for good television. Bad television can lead to a fall in ratings, the fall in ratings will make media planners and advertisers look elsewhere. If that happens, F1 racers might undercut us in selling cola brands. Does cricket want that?

One of the biggest challenges that the game must respond today, I believe, is charting out a clear road map for the three formats. Test cricket is the gold standard, it is the form the players above thirty five, which means I and Sachin want to play. Of course, Sachin is fine with other forms as well. But I am not. The 50-over game is the Diamond standard. It has kept cricket's revenues alive for more than three decades now. Twenty20 ,the platinum standard,  has come upon us and it is the format fans want to see. We need to choose a middle path - a path that is acceptable to fans, advertisers and me, I mean, cricters of thirty five plus years.

Thank you.

If you liked my version of Rahul's speech, may be you would like my version of KBC 5 episode as well.

When they didn't want Sachin to do it..

You know how Dhoni and co., Harsha Bogle and co. (and your driver , cleaner and co.) wanted to do it for Sachin in the last world cup.

Well the truth is little more complicated and is being revealed by me for the first time in these columns.

They wanted to do it for Sachin but didn't want Sachin himself to do it.
Did Sachin know it? Yes of course!
How did he feel about it? Damn pissed of course. I mean, even kids right around age of three start wanting to do things themselves. They pour the water from jug themselves. They go to the toilet themselves. Even the fact that the fluid projectile misses the target by a feet and turns the floor into... well, Sachin was damn pissed. Let's just leave it there.

How do I know all this? No, not about three year old kids. About Dhoni and Sachin. Well, I was watching the semi finals between India and Pakistan in an open air theater with booze and fun minus the booze and fun. Sachin was trying to dig a hole for himself. But no sooner was it deep enough the pakistanis tripped right into it spilling Sachin's catch. So I was thinking that it was Sachin's day after all and
then he shot himself in the foot with a horrendous shot.

The crowd went silent but for this guy next to me. He went "yessss" pumping his fist. I looked at him. No, he was not wearing any green dress. I got curiouser and scratched him. He turned out to be a normal Indian fan bleeding blue. But he got very upset. Maybe I had scratched him little hard.

Guy oozing blue: Why the hell did you do that?
Me: Why are you celebrating sachin's wicket?
Guy Bleeding blue: If he hits hundred India will loose.
Me: You are joking, right?
Guy bleeding more blue: No, everybody knows. why do you think Pakis were leaving those catches!
Me: Well... But he just scored a century against England.
Guy bleeding bucketful blue: Yes. And we lost it. That's when Dhoni and Co. said you don't do it. We will do it for you.
Me: Can't he score a hundred and we also win?
Guy in a blue pool of blood: No way! He scores, we loose. It is the just like the body language thing. If the batsmen see a bowler's shoulder drooping they hit him for six no matter whether it is yorker or bouncer. In fact, some batsmen don't even watch the bowler. They just look around for the fielders with drooping shoulders and... (he starts spitting blue in the mouth now) Sunil G.a.v.a.s.k.a.r and he fell.

Well, I talked to Gavaskar. He didn't know about "doing it for Sachin". But he absolutely agreed about body language. He told how he had advised Gary kirstein to dry clean Indian shirts and Ashish Nehra with extra starch so that their shoulders will not droop in the field.

I could not get to the bottom of the "He scores. We loose." theory. The only scientific reasoning I can come up with is : Maybe, players like Sreesanth and Nehra get so psyched when Sachin scores a century that their shoulders start drooping even after all that starch and then body language phenomenon take over. But scientific explanation or not, everyone on the street believes "He scores. We loose" theory. Dhoni included. That's why he said "We will to do it for you."

So probably the blue bleeding guy was right. But too bad, I scratched him hard.