Thursday, April 23, 2009

IPL 2, Cricket, Dravid and Ganguly

Indian Premier League (IPL) Season 2 is on the roll in South Africa. Last time around, I could only get into the IPL fever, after half the tournament was over, it was more of a function of my lack of patience with 'not interactive' mediums, namely Television. Once into the League, I chose my team in with proper care, entirely on my whim. Bihar, not being a cricket centre of any repute (crowd holliganism does not count) nor any metropolitan attributes, does not find it self with a team. The other non-existent teams, I could cheer for might be the Ladakhi Lions. Though, I wonder about what the Patna IPL team might be called, I am certain, it will be along the lines of Patliputra (the ancient name of Patna) or Magadha or maybe it will be Bihari Babus. And in trying to stay away from dumb 'non-interactive' mediums, we will use the comments section in this post, to collate possible funny and exciting non-existent IPL teams and I would also bully you into suggesting some names for my home team (hint, Bihar).

So, Rajasthan Royals, led by Shane Warne, was going to be my team. For their low profile, lack of Bollywood stars, behaving like they were on the sets for a movie shoot at the Super Bowl in the United States. For Shane Warne, the best captain, Australia never had, leading a bunch of second grade domestic Indian cricketers. A class of cricketers, who would not have otherwise made it to the Indian cricket team. That is how obscure, they seemed before, Warney, brought them together, and went on to actually win the first edition of IPL. So this time around, I was keen on watching the champion team's first outing against the Bangalore team.

The point of this post being to register some thoughts on IPL but primarily, the motivation found its origins in Rahul Dravid's performance. So this is a salute to Dravid for quiet dignity, unassuming rectitude, temperance, and patience. In his professional sporting life of 14 years, Dravid has been under attack for his slowness in adapting to limited overs format and in 20-20 format but his grittiness being such, in IPL 2, Dravid with his anchored innings deserves the credit for the win over Rajasthan Royals (66 runs in 48 balls) and consistent performance despite the losses in the next two games, Chennai (20 runs in 18 balls) and their final loss tonight (to Deccan Chargers) where in Dravid ticked 48 in 27 balls.

There will not be press statements on issues that penalise Dravid, bad treatment during his India captaincy, after his resignation, being unceremoniously dropped and constantly being threatened due to his supposed 'slowness'. He even took to wicket keeping to serve the team. But you have never heard him claiming to being victimised. Just a simple man, trying to do his job, taking the adulation and the brick bats with equal élan. The contrast with our spoiled cry baby, Saurav Ganguly, cannot be starker. Reading some of the reporting on him, specifically, The Telegraph sports reporter, Lokendra Pratap Sahi, who is constantly beating the-Ganguly-as-captain drum. The most vociferous are of course that chauvinist group, that prides itself in its enlightened modernity, a section of Bengalis. Some of the reactions to this sacking of Ganguly II is nauseating and unsurprisingly, deja vu. Eloquent phrases are used, 'planned Ganguly's execution as captain in advance', 'rob Ganguly of the captaincy', 'discriminated against Ganguly (who displayed excellent all round capabilities even in the last IPL), 'insulted India's successful skipper' etc. I can go on, but this is so painful. This second round of an aggrieved Ganguly has two villians and one of them happens to be an Australian (predictable by Bengali standards) and the other a Bollywood star (a quote on SRK following the controversy, the least said about SRK the better!).

One can relate to the disappointment of being removed as captain but to actually go on about this cribbing and twice over, is only maniacal. Ganguly of course is not responsible for all of the crying but his toleration or assent, is the reason behind the continuing saga. A gross over estimation of his capabilities and contribution, a self image so vain, it reduces his talents, for which he would have been remembered. Both Dravid and Ganguly began their professional lives together, when one watches the Ganguly saga and his refusal to come to terms with reality and the bitterness, he is going about creating for himself, one can only admire Dravid for his grace. Dravid in an interview once remarked, 'On the off-side, first there is God, then there is Ganguly'. I think I will only remember the eloquence and the grace of the man who made this remark, rather than the brilliance of Ganguly's off side stroke play.


Utpal said...

Awesome read Satya. Enjoyed it.

I also thought that Ganguly had more natural talent compared to Rahul Dravid when they started off. But with time Rahul has continuously grown, and today is one of the greats of the game. Ganguly on the other hand, in my view, cannot be put in the same bracket.

The last sentence of yours tells it all.

Gossip Girl said...

So much for IPL being for the younger lot, Sachin and Jaysuriya, two of the oldest players just made one of the fastest centuries together, ironic huh!

I would want a Vishakapatnam Vipers and Thiruvananthapuram Tornadoes!How about a Gantok Gangstas' except that sounds like a rap gang though!

Im quite liking the idea of Bihari Budbaks... ;)

itinerant said...

Utpal, I liked your piece on Dravid better. Uncanny, that we did almost at the same time. Though, I have to admit that this was my first post ever on cricket.

I admit I am a arm chair critic on cricket, ignorant too in many ways, some of the more serious cricket junkies get offended at my dismissive opinions for the stuff they take so seriously.

Gossip girl, Bihari Budbaks, wins hands down. You ought to register it, it puts the finger on the pulse, as they might say in medical parlance.

Your alliterative skills are excellent. But the whole idea of Vishakapatnam Vipers and Thiruananthapuram Tornados are tongue twisters and to my mind potentially unattractive teams.

Now, Bihari Budbaks is almost a steal, the contest on inviting names for the Bihar team is hereby closed.