Published in Cricinfo, July 2009
David Morgan, President of the ICC might as well have been smirking in a military jacket sporting epaulets as he leaned back in his plush chair, stroking a cat, as he unveiled his latest threats to the game of cricket last month. “We are examining whether Test match cricket can be played over four days rather than five”, he announced, following it up with “I would be very surprised if within a year you haven’t seen some significant changes in Test match cricket.” Dwindling crowds and the propensity of Test matches to end in dull draws are the instigations for this apparently. Given the tumultuous and foundation-shaking times cricket is enduring, if you were hoping for reassurance from the gentlemen who purportedly “run” our sport, you were looking for a mirage in the desert. In the deserts of Dubai, in fact.
Published in Cricinfo, July 2009
As all those rugby loving Welshmen in Cardiff last week, perplexed by the unexpected opening act of an age old tradition of the island watched their city taken over by cricket, a lad from nearby Morriston, Swansea in Wales was the one who was so poignantly missing out there on the fresh turf of Sophia Gardens. Cardiff, as a choice for the first Ashes Test of 2009 was a tough pill to swallow for the more traditional venues, especially out in Manchester, but it would have been poetic if – Freddie aside – my favourite bowler from the previous edition of the Ashes of 2005 had lined up for the national anthems on July 8th, 2009, before the horns were locked.
Published in Cricinfo, June 2009
On the 20th of August 1969, the Beatles finished recording the song “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”, marking the last time all four band members were in the same studio at the same time. Indian cricket’s “Let It Be” moment came in Nagpur on the 10th of November, 2008, the last time Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman would be on the field representing India in a Test match for the final time.
Published in Cricinfo, April 2009
“We are all at our best, our societies flourish most, when we co-operate in the spirit of what in our country we call ùbúntù, the essence of being human, when my humanity is caught up in your humanity. I wouldn’t know how to walk as a human being, I wouldn’t know how to speak as a human being, I wouldn’t know how to think as a human being, I wouldn’t know how to be human, unless I learnt it all from other human beings. I need other human beings in order to be human, and we say in our part of the world, in the spirit of ùbúntù, that a person is a person through other persons, that we are made for interdependence, we are made for complementarity, for I have gifts that you don’t have and you have gifts that I don’t have.
You could almost see God saying “Voilà”, rubbing his hands and saying “That is precisely why I created you different, not so that you should be separated, but different to know your need for one another”.
Published in Cricinfo, March 2009
These are strange times. In the world we live in. There is hope in Washington, a mess in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the horror of terror in India, unease in the Middle East and above all, a sinking feeling in the homes and wallets of people across the globe. A day doesn’t go by without a gleeful, depressing or sanctimonious news report about another fraudster’s multi-billion dollar scheme to embezzle, subvert, misappropriate, grease away, palm off, blackmail and in much simpler terms, to liquidate the future of millions of people across the globe. People like you and me. The institution you have banked with for years has gone belly up and even in its state of rigor mortis, is leering at you, presenting its engorged gut in profile to you. Even as you are submerged in your own sea of apprehension and worry, there is anger swirling around you.
You feel violated.