Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Indian English

We Indians have a unique way to speaking English. Since English is not our 1st (or sometimes even 2nd) language, we tend to translate sentences from our native language word by word, and do not follow the right usage and grammatical structures. Here are some some examples I have noticed over the years.

English sentence - I came last night.
Indian thinking in Hindi - मैं  कल रात आया ।
Indian speaking in Indian English - I came yesterday night.

English sentence- The food tastes good.
Indian thinking in Hindi - खाने का स्वाद अच्छा है ।
Indian speaking in Indian English - The taste of the food is nice.

English sentence - I have a story.
Indian thinking in Hindi - मेरे पास एक कहानी है ।
Indian speaking in Indian English - I have one story.

English - Can I do this?
Indian thinking in Hindi - मैं यह कर सकता हूँ ना ?
Indian speaking in Indian English - I can do this, right?

English - We need another day.
Indian thinking in Hindi - हमें एक और दिन चाहिये ।
Indian speaking in Indian English - I need one more day.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The ultimate Sachin Tendulkar interview

When you hear interviews of most team mates of Sachin Tendulkar, they, apart from praising his humble nature and hardwork, also mention that he has a keen understanding of the game. However, this aspect is never explored by interviewers when they interview Sachin. All they ask him about are run-of-the-mill questions about his love for the game, his response to the praise he receives from people etc. I am waiting for the day when a good cricket analyst gets to interview him and asks some truly cricketing questions, that would give an insight into how his cricketing mind worked.

Here are some questions I would like to ask him -

1. Over his long career, there were a few instances where he got distracted by the sight screen not being in position or someone walking past the sight screen, and got out soon. This seemed to happen more to him than other batsmen. Did such distractions during an inning break his concentration to a great extent?

2. Sachin has been dismissed by debutants a number of times in test cricket. He has also stated in the past that he sometimes does not like facing part time bowlers. There was an instance in South Africa, where he asked Dravid to take strike against the bowling of Cronje and he would face Donald, as he was not reading Cronje well. What is the reason behind his dismissals to debutants and part timers? Is it because he has not had a chance to analyse their bowling before hand?

3. The concept of benefit of doubt to the batsman has gone out of the game in case of LBWs since the DRS has been introduced. Umpires are more inclined to give line calls out than before. And even if they give the line calls not out, many of them are overturned after replays. We know that BCCI's opposition to DRS started after the 2008 Indian tour to Sri Lanka, when Ajanta Mendis got most of our top batsman out LBW through DRS. Do you think Indian top order of the time was worried about getting LBW more often due to DRS, and this was the main reason for their opposition to it?

4. We have never seen Sachin get angry after a bad umpiring decision. However, we have noticed that he sometimes take deep breaths on his way back to the pavilion after a bad decision. Is that his way of calming himself? When did he feel most agitated by a bad decision and how did he deal with it?


I had predicted that something like this might happen in my blog post 6.5 years ago, :-)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Why Do We Love Sachin Tendulkar?

More words are being written about Sachin Tendulkar's retirement than perhaps any other cricketer in history. As most cricket fans know all his batting feats at the top of their minds anyway, many eulogies are focussing on the impact he has had on India outside of the numbers he has racked up on the field. Here is my take on why India loves him so much.

Cricketing heroes have always had superstar status in India, rivaling most top Bollywood celebrities. Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev had demi-god status during their heyday. MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli are the new age super celebs. This begs the question, how (and more importantly why) has India's love for Sachin been different than any other cricketer. While his great feats on the field, his longevity in the game and his gentlemanly nature are major contributors, there are some other more subtle aspects to Sachin that, I feel, are also a part of the reason why Indians love him like no other.

Throughout it's history, the Indian cricket team's strength had always been it's batting. While we always had good batsmen who made loads of runs periodically, the lineup was mostly brittle and crumbled under pressure against good bowling attacks and overseas. When Sachin took international cricket by storm in the early 90's, he became India's most consistent batsman after Gavaskar. And while Gavaskar had mostly helped India draw Test matches with his big hundreds, Sachin was helping India win ODI games (and occasionally Test matches as well). Throughout the 90's, Sachin used to be India's sole hope of winning tough games against good teams. Sachin gone, game gone. Heartbeats across the nation used to rise when Sachin came into bat. Everyone knew that one false shot from his bat will result in India's loss. Every Indian fan who followed Indian cricket in the 90's is witness to the extreme nervousness that used to run through their veins when Sachin came out to bat. It was as if the whole nation was batting with him. The whole nation rejoiced when he hit a four or six as if every one of us hit it. And all of us lost hope when he got out. We have had many great batsman in India after 2000, who have single handedly won India countless games. But in all their cases, we knew that they were not our only hope. If Sehwag got out, Yuvraj would come in. If Kohli got out, Dhoni would come in. But in the 90's, Sachin was India and India was Sachin. This connected Indian fans emotionally to his batting like never before.

Perhaps another subtle reason was his personality and demeanor. Tendulkar has always looked younger than his age. When he started at the age of 16, he looked like a 12 year old. His boyish charm endeared him to women and elderly people who may not have followed his cricketing exploits closely. Everyone in India felt like he is a kid from their extended family. Even today, he looks much younger than 40. And to top it all off, his personality is quintessentially Indian. He is a mild mannered person in every sense (not as aggressive as Ganguly, abrasive as Kohli, articulate as Dravid, astute as Dhoni - everything apart from his batting is mild), trying to stay clear of any controversy (sometimes even at the expense of not taking a stand on issues that matter like match fixing, DRS, IPL fiascos etc.), with limited leadership qualities (with limited success as Captain of India and Mumbai Indians). Perhaps all these traits that are common to most Indians make us feel that he is one of us, and not someone different.

While we all know that Sachin is as special as it gets in terms of cricketing ability, we feel he is one of us as a person. He is like someone from our family who has made it big. We feel he belongs to us, like no other public figure. That's why we love him so much.       

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nothing Strategic About It

The IPL has brought in a lot of novelty into Cricket. While some of them have added value to the game and the telecast of it, like Spidercam, stats seemingly appearing on the surface of the ground, innovative stokes like the scoop and reverse scoop; others, like Cheerleaders, the Mongoose bat etc. mostly been rejected as gimmicks. 

One new idea implemented in the IPL has been the concept of a "Strategic Time-out". The idea of a timeout is borrowed from NBA and NFL, where coaches of both sides have the option for calling for a fixed number of timeouts during the game. Reason being - The strategy in these sports is run by the coach (like soccer). There is no concept of an on field captain managing things on the field. Also, these sports are played very fast with no time to stop, discuss among players and coach and re-strategize (like time between balls and overs in Cricket). Hence, a timeout helps the team and coach to get together and plan the next step. In high octane games  like NBA, it also allows the players to catch a breather and start with full energy again. Otherwise they would loose steam after a while and the game would become slow and boring. And the icing on the cake is that it allows some ads to be put in between the game. There has been a case for having timeouts / smaller playing intervals in other sports like soccer and hockey for similar reasons. The Indian Hockey League (started a few years back with a model similar to IPL) has 4 quarters instead of 2 halves, for similar reasons.

However, none of the above apply to cricket. In cricket, the real time strategy is done by the captain on the field. He has enough time to speak to players after each over (and even between balls if required). Plus there are drinks breaks when teams can get together for discussions. The timeout has been added in the IPL for purely commercial reasons, to have 2 slots of 2.5 minutes each for ads, in addition to the 1 minute slots at the end of each over. As to why it is called "strategic", both teams have been given a slot of a few others (5-10 and 11-15 i think) when they can ask for a timeout at the end of any over. This can he done by a team if it feels that it needs a break to re-think in case the opposition is running away with the game. But since captains do all the strategizing at the end of every over anyway, no one uses the timeouts for any strategic purpose. Apart from the advertisers and BCCI, that is.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cricinfo turns 20

I came to know today that Cricinfo has just turned 20. While reading some of the articles, I realized that I too have completed a decade of following Cricinfo. As a huge cricket fan since childhood, Cricinfo has been my daily companion for the last 10 years. While I do not recall the very 1st time I visited the site, I do remember that I regularly started visiting Cricinfo in 2003, when I entered B-school. Getting access to a broadband network for the 1st time in my life, I began checking scores and reading articles on a daily basis in my Hostel room. I still remember the day when I followed Brian Lara's march towards 400, and "multi-casted" the event on our internal messaging software to the entire Hostel. We would even go to the extent of opening the site on the desktops in our classrooms used by our Professors to share their presentations, and project the ball by ball commentary on the projector, so that cricket crazy students like me could check the score while we waited for the Prof. to enter. I remember how, as a Class Representative, it was my duty to close the window as soon as a Prof. entered our classroom. One one occasion, I mistakenly minimized the window instead of closing it. In those days, when a batsman was dismissed for Zero, Cricinfo used to make a duck walk across the screen. This happened even if the browser window was minimized. And as you would expect, soon after a Prof. started teaching, a duck appeared nonchalantly walking across the projector behind him. Thankfully for me, he did not notice the collective chuckles of the students and turn around to see what was being projected on the wall behind him.

Just like we sometimes get nostalgic about our lives before the internet and mobile phones, I am thinking back to the days before Cricinfo. In those days, I used to religiously subscribe to magazines like Cricket Samrat and Sportstar, for my dose of Cricket scores and articles. And I used to note down details of all Sachin's Test 100s in my notebook, for reference. This also gives you some idea about how long Sachin has been playing.

Happy 20th birthday to Cricinfo !

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Legend of Sir Jadeja

Jokes about Ravinder Jadeja have been doing on the same rounds on lines similar to Rajanikanth Jokes for the last couple of months. A friend of mine, who is not a cricket fan, asked me a few days back what the fuss was all about. After giving him a detailed explanation, I thought of posting it on my blog, for the benefit of other non-cricket-crazy junta.

Ravinder Jadeja has been getting selected for the indian ODI team since 2009 as an "all rounder". Although his bowling is acceptable, his batting has not been good enough. Till recently, he used to keep getting selected without putting in any good performances. Apparently, this was because Dhoni liked "his potential". So much so that Dhoni also got Jadeja into the CSK IPL team.  General cricket fans were frequently frustrated with his non-performance in the side and jokes started being made on him and Dhoni in social media (like the Dhoni proposing Jadeja for Indian President etc. etc.). 

In the 2012-13 season, Jadeja made 2 triple centuries in domestic cricket. Someone making 2 triples in the same season is very uncommon. And that too by a batsman who does not look like a good player. This was analogues to Irfan Pathan or Harbhajan Singh making 2 triple hundreds, when none of the great indian batsman of the past have not done so. Part of the reason was the extreme flat nature of the wickets he played on for his side Saurashtra.

Then he got selected in the Australia Test matches, again against popular wisdom. Making runs in flat wickets against poor bowling in domestic cricket is one thing. Test cricket is another thing. Though his batting was poor in Tests, he surprised people by bowled very well (on tailor made pitches for spinners, it must be said) .

After that, people started making Jadeja jokes on the same lines as Chuck Norris and Rajanikanth. His CSK team mates like Dhoni and Raina also joined in with some tweets about his "super-natural" powers, calling him Sir Jadeja.

And the "last straw", was this.

Needing 2 runs to win of the last ball. Jadeja was caught on third-man. But the umpire called a no-ball. And they won the match. Now people have a real example of Jadeja's "super-powers" :-) He won them a match inspite of getting out on the last ball.

The legend of Jadeja is growing !!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Raipur Cricket Stadium

One good side effect of Indian Cricket becoming super rich due to IPL and other money spinning endeavors of BCCI is the money being spent on making new stadiums and renovating old ones. The renovation before the 2011 World Cup has completely transformed many of the great cricket venues in India. Wankhede is a completely new stadium now, built from scratch. The new stands in M.A. Chidambaram stadium look beautiful, and provide much better ventilation than before, from the stifling heat in Chennai; the solitary old stand remaining is still an eyesore though. The Eden Gardens renovation might have improved the spectator facilities, but does not seem to have helped improve the aesthetics or atmosphere in the stadium. The decrease in capacity from 90,000 to 55,000 is a big letdown.

The various new stadiums that have been made in tier 2 cities of the country like Nagpur, Pune, Indore, Ranchi etc. are taking top level cricket to these cities on a more regular basis. One hopes that this will also help in improving the associated infrastructure like roads, airports etc. The latest addition to this list is the new stadium in Raipur, that hosted its 1st IPL game on Sunday. I was glued to the telecast to see how it pitted against the other new stadiums in India. From what I heard in the commentary, it seems to be a good one. I am hoping to hear some in-person feedback from friends who attended the match in the stadium soon. Meanwhile, here is an aerial snap that I captured during the telecast.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Best Siddhuisms from the World Cup

Beware of the naked man who promises you his shirt.

Stop calling the world dirty and first clean your spectacles.

Great minds have purpose, others have wishes.

You ask the same question to 10 people in India, you will get 20 opinions.

A hair and a hair can make a mare's head go bare.

Best of the lot - Democracy is like a barber's chair. It fits everyone's bottom.

Most humorous -
Siddhu - A pessimist burns his bridges before they are built
Harsha's reply - And an optimist dreams of a bridge and thinks it is there.

P.S. - Here are some old gems from the verbenator.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Best "Yes Minister" Episodes

I first saw the Yes Minister series as a child. Although one would imagine that the mature satire of this famous series would be beyond comprehension of a young kid, I was somehow hooked to it completely. Perhaps it was the influence of my dad who loved the show as it reflected the frustrations he had endured by being a part of the Indian bureaucratic system all his life, that drew me to the series. I simply loved the fabulous interplay between the Minister James Hacker and his Permanent Secretary Sir Humphrey Appleby, the amazingly convoluted ways in which the characters uttered the simplest of phrases and the brutal satire on the state of the civil service and politics.

Over the last few days, I have had the opportunity to catch all episodes of this epic series again on YouTube. Although each and every episode is stuff of sheer genius, here is my list of 5 favorite Yes Minister / Yes Prime Minister episodes (Not in any particular order).
  1. "The Death List" (on YouTube - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  2. "The Skeleton in the Cupboard" (on YouTube - Part 1Part 2Part 3)
  3. "Party Games" (on Tudou)
  4. "The Key" (on YouTube - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
  5. "The Tangled Web" (on YouTube - Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
And here are the episode ratings given on IMDB.

Readers are requested to share their favorite episodes as comments.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Chronicals of a chronic cricket fan.. Part III..

6th December 1991 -
I young kid was glued to the TV set, watching cricket being telecast live from the land of Oz for the 1st time on Door Darshan. India were playing the West Indies in Perth. India batted first, and as used to be the case very often in those days, failed to cope with a fast wicket, and were blown over for 126 only. But our bowlers soon staged a comeback, reducing the Windies to 76 for 8, and then 113 for 9. And then Anderson Cummins and Partick Patterson began their last wicket stand. Slowly but surely the chipped away at the runs. By the end of the 40th over, scores were level. Mohd Azharuddin, the captain had bowled out all his four regular bowlers by then, and had to resort to Sachin Tendulkar. The young kid who had seen the last 2 wickets for West Indies add 50 runs and frustrate all Indian bowlers, had finally had enough. "Now we have even run out of main stream bowlers. They are surely going to score the 1 run needed and win." He thought to himself and switched off the TV.

Later that night, when he switched on the TV for his dose of Door Darshan Samachar, he got the shock of his life when he heard that Sachin had taken the last wicket and the match ended in a tie !!

15th January 2011 -
A young professional was watching a live steaming telecast of an match between India and South Africa being played in Johannesburg, on his laptop. India batted first and were blown over for 190. South Africa began the chase well, but faltered in the 2nd half of their innings. Indian bowlers reduced them to 177 for 8. But then Wayne Parnell and Morne Morkel took South Africa to within 2 runs of victory. Given that Harbhajan Singh had bowled out, and Zaheer Khan had just finished an over from the other end, skipper MS Dhoni opted for the ever lethargic Munaf Patel to bowl. The professional had had it by now. Munaf Patel's fitness levels reminded him of cricketers of 70's that he had seen on achieve footage on Youtube. "All hope is lost." He thought to himself, closed the window and decided to do something else.

When he checked the Cricinfo commentary and score 5 minutes later, he saw that lazy bones Munaf had had Santa Clause visiting him 3 weeks late and gifted him 2 wickets of wide long hops (video), and ensuring that India had won by one run !!

P.S. - Here are Part I and Part II.