February 18, 2011

A Cricketing Metaphor

Since the time Cricket broadcasters and Indian advertisers deemed it fit to push L-shaped ads, Pop-up ads, Exploding ads, Crawly ads in the middle of a delivery of all things during the recent India – South Africa cricket series, heralding a new low for even the greedy broadcasters and the even greedier BCCI, reducing the cricket telecast to interspersing cricket between unending intrusive advertising rather than the other way round, I’ve come to dislike brands who intruded into my viewing pleasure so blatantly and put me off all things cricket in print and on TV.

I steer clear of the clutter now, and am apprehensive of switching on the TV for fear of running into yet another segment of Dev’s Devils from 1983. I’d want India to win this year’s World Cup if for nothing than at least so we’d spared of the aging narrative of the 1983 team repeated ad nauseam each time the World Cup swings into view. I’d rather have Dhoni’s Dhulaiwaley given the bar stools four years hence, not that they’d offer any more insight and drama on the studio camera, but at least the faces would be different.

I think it’s a good enough reason for me to cheer the Indian team on. And this coming from someone who, barely out of primary school, sat through the grainy broadcast of the 1983 final on EC TV where the players were indistinguishable from the Lord’s grass, cheering them on on the strength of radio commentary since the fierce hiss on the only TV in the neighbourhood had all but turned the commentary on TV barely audible.

Fortunately, the streets are relatively free of cricket advertising heading into the World Cup unless you’d consider the India Today cover plastered on a Telephone Box at the corner of Nanabhai Lane in Fort a part of it.

Even so I’m delighting in the snatches I overhear on my way about the city. And none more so than the exchange between two youths I overheard recently on my way up the crowded stairs at a suburban railway station.

In rush hour local train traffic I negotiate the stairs connecting the over-bridge servicing railway platforms more from instinct than anything else. The steps are barely visible among assorted feet jamming the stairways.

On reaching out to steady his friend who stumbled on a step behind me, nearly falling in the crush of bodies, the smiling saviour could not resist quipping in jest:

Rough Wicket Hai,
Gir Jaogey.
Simple Delivery Bhi,
Googly Hai.

And the magic was back on. Show me the remote.


Tom said...

I wish you and India the best of luck in the World Cup although I'll be cheering on England! Unlike you I can't watch the tournament where I am so have to follow it online, but I hope the TV coverage doesn't become an advert-fest and detract from the actual games and tournament.

Best of luck again and may the best team win!


Ugich Konitari said...

Simply wonderful ! And the young slim youth, with a black rexin bag containing an empty lunch box, slung across his torso, slips through the crowd, creating a path for himself, where none existed....

VioletSky said...

You have a good point that if they win, at least it will be new faces and a new match that will be endlessly rehashed and analysed for the next decade until another moment in the sun.

Meena Venkataraman said...

:))... Hahaha.. Great post..kept me smiling!..
Am not a cricket lover..but its hard to be untouched by the game when you are in India and its exatly because of incidents like the one you mentioned...
Cricket does seep into all layers of everyday life ... many a time not entirely invited

Agnija said...

Entertaining post! Brings back memories. I remember the '83 World Cup vaguely where one of the commentators kept saying "Kapil Dive" for "Kapil Dev". For a while after that, I was addicted to cricket, then it wore off, until out of the blue it sprung back again in 2003. I remember driving all the way to Maryland to watch the finals between Australia and India, into the wee hours of the night. Even remember some fans singing "O Palan Hare" from Lagaan. They were so bad at it, that the Australian fans in the room thought they were chanting something terrible and got all riled up into counter acting the "curse". Hilarious! However, I don't think I will be sacrificing sleep this time around, though!

Anil P said...

Tom: Nice to see your comment here. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and your wishes to the Indian team.

England are a tough team for sure and stand a chance as good as any if they make it to the Quarters. But they'll miss Eoin Morgan for sure. Kevin will be the key.

I too hope for the same. Ten Cricket turned the India - South Africa series broadcast into a shameful episode of ad-fest reeking of greed. Hopefully people have wisened up to it and will make a noise if it goes down that road.

My wishes to the England team. May the best eleven on the park win.

Ugich Konitari: Thank you.

It's amazing how he came up with the quip on the spur of the moment. It left me smiling through the train journey.

I hope I get to see pocket radios on the roads once the slug fest kicks off.

VioletSky: Oh yes. I've heard the same faces saying the same things every four years, simply because they were the only Indian team to bring home the cup.

It'd be good to see the current lot lay their hands on the World Cup.

Meena Venkataraman: Thank you. The bloke who quipped was fast with his word construct, on the spur of the moment really.

Like you rightly said, it's moments like these that liven up the atmosphere heading into the tournament.

Quip Translated for non-Hindi audience -

The youth likens the steps on the staircase to Rough Wicket, as in a difficult cricket pitch (wicket) to bat on, cautioning his stumbling friend that he could fall (Gir Jaogey).

Implying with Simple Delivery (a easily negotiable ball bowled to a batsman) that while the steps might seem easy to negotiate, they could be tricky.

A Googly is a trick delivery bowlers will bowl to batsmen, with the ball seemingly shaping up to go one way, but will actually go the opposite way and likely fox the batsman into getting out.

Agnija: Thanks for sharing your memories.

1983 was quite something. It was a different age, a different sensibility among the populace. There was a wide-eyed simplicity to it all.

Lagaan did heighten the interest for sure. It was fun reading of your experience involving the Indians and Australians.

20-20 made cricket an overkill. Am hoping for some great cricket matches unfolding this time around.

Lynn said...

Thank you for clarifying what the jesting quip means. Very clever of that young man to say that. We don't follow cricket in the states, but I can certainly understand the excitement of this tournament.

Riot Kitty said...

LOL! I'm with you - I rarely watch TV.

That looks like a super crowded commute - reminds me of taking the subway in NY.

Anil P said...

Lynn: Thank you. He got it to jell well on the spur of the moment.

The United States has a cricket team of its own now. I wouldn't be surprised if it's largely made up of players with origins in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, England, and Australia.

The ICC is making an effort to popularise the game in America. Hopefully it'll bear fruit.

Riot Kitty: The quality of content on the TV is atrocius.

The platforms and trains are actually far more crowded than they appear in the picture.

karen said...

Hi Anil. We are watching India v Bangladesh right now.. I will obviously be supporting South Africa in the World Cup, and enjoyed the recent SA/India series. Sorry to hear about the overly intrusive ads, and hope that things have improved for the World Cup?

Anil P said...

Karen: The India - South Africa series was a keenly fought one. Most of us who saw it enjoyed every bit of the fight between the two.

The ad-fest appears to have been toned down by a bit.

Wish you and the SA team the best, and happy watching the match-ups.

Kamini said...

Lovely. That brought a smile to my face!

Anil P said...

Kamini: And knowing that it did brought a smile to my face :-)

Tom said...


India vs England - what an amazing game. Seems fair the result was a tie in the end my friend!


Anil P said...

Tom: It was amazing, no doubt. Old warriors to the fore. The tie was only fair considering how the teams played.

Anonymous said...

nice to see everyone so involved in the WC...what a match it was between Ireland and England.Ireland defeated their old enemy in an epic contest, which seemed utterly beyond the realms of possibility when they were halfway through their innings.Cheers!

mashhood said...

My best wishes for Indian Team...

Arunima said...

sirji, take the remote.

Anil P said...

Anon: Few things motivate as the prospect of beating the 'old enemy'. It was a humdinger of a match.

Mashhood: Thank you.

Arunima: Taken ji :-)

Ms.N said...

hope u caught the final... all the history bashing seems to have paid off!!!

Anil P said...

Ms.N: Yes, I did. On hindsight, that India Today cover in the picture above seems so prophetic now even if it was said more in belief than certainity.

It's paid off handsomely, hasn't it? :-)

Tom said...

Congratulations to you, Anil, and to India, on a well-deserved victory! The best team definitely won.

England were really hit-and-miss unfortunately, and never looked good enough to get beyond the quarter finals, but I think the best two teams of the tournament made the final which is how it should be.

Anil P said...

Tom: Thank you for the wishes. I think it was the tough match-up against the Australians in the Quarters, and the Pakistanis in the Semi-Finals that steeled India into chasing what appeared to be a steep Sri Lankan score.

England had the talent, but like you rightly said, consistency was lacking. Hopefully the English will come out better for the experience the next time around.