5 things Spain should do to avoid defeat

Spain must look to their bench for revival. (c) fifa.com

I know this post will be redundant after tonight. And I’m sure Spanish team management is not going to read my blog OR consider my suggestions even if they read it. But I have a suggestion to Mr. Del Bosque, rather 5 suggestions. Hope they apply their mind and pull off a win today, which looks increasingly difficult with the current situation and Chile’s form

  1. Play with 4-1-2-1-2 formation, or essentially a diamond formation with two up front. Generally Latin American sides play a similar football that allows wingers more space and support for the forwards. Besides, you can have a floating defensive midfielder who will control the passing from behind the half way line. It gives cushion to the back 4 and more options to attack through the flanks
  2. Send Sergio Busquets home. He still thinks he is playing for Barcelona. Instead, if the above formation is adopted, play Alonso at the bottom end of the diamond, Silva and Juan Mata on the wings and Iniesta just behind the front 2. He can be later substituted by Fabregas or Xavi depending on how the match progresses.
  3. Play both Costa and Torres upfront. Spain needs to score goals and quickly. For that matter even Pedro can be considered in place of Torres, given the current form. If Spain scores 2 goals in the first half, they can substitute Costa with Xavi and have a traditional 4-5-1 formation (or 4-2-3-1 option). If they let a goal in, they can substitute Mata with Pedro/Villa and play in 4-2-3-2 formation.
  4. Play Raul Albiol in place of Pique. Pique was horrible in the central defense. Azpilicueta can also be replaced on the right (or was it left?) by Juanfran. Playing Juanfran will give them more option on the wings where he can run down the flanks to support Silva.
  5. Retain Casillas. However we may debate, he is still their best keeper. Da Gea is injured I guess and Pepe Reina has lost place in Liverpool goal since long. So leaving Casillas will be the last thing to do.

Spain are you reading this?

Holiday: Review with a pinch of difference

Image (c) indiaglitz.com

Fan of action movies? Super agents representing covert intelligence agencies? Intelligent, fast and pacy plots?

Fan of Bollywood action, thriller, spy movies?

You can;t say yes to both, mind you. Because there is a difference. Intelligent movies have to be intelligently made and is generally understood by intelligent people. ‘Holiday’ has 2 of the 3 ‘intelligent’ stuffs (may be one and half). But which ones is a question worth answering. Now for the review, Holiday is a story of an Army captain, on a holiday to his home town, who also happens to be a covert agent of the defense intelligent agency. His job is any body’s guess… tracking and foiling terrorist attacks. The movie is about how he prevents serial blasts happening in Mumbai, hunt down and finally kill the terrorists. Thats it! There are some good things about this A. R. Murugadoss creation. And there are some glaring mistakes. Here is my take on the movie, the pros and cons, unlike a traditional review.

The Pros:

  1. Akshay. He has worked hard to be the smartass covert agent who outwits his opposite protagonist. He is likable as a funny bridegroom, believable as a patriotic agent. Lucky that he got a role that suits him and full marks on doing justice
  2. Story. It is an interesting plot. And Murugadoss has been able to unravel it bit by bit much like a hollywood movie except… okay I will tell you the cons later
  3. Farhad. The villan. He is a guy audience will love to hate. Traditionally, in Hindi movies, we haven’t had young villans… or very rarely. And most of them have been adequately styled. But Farhad as the boss of the sleeper cells+terrorist group is very much a common man types. He excels with his frowns and growls
  4. Songs too are nice. Some foot tapping numbers are good.

The Cons:

  1. The main plot has too many breaks. The moment you start finding it interesting, Sonakshi Sinha appears from no where and (literally) covers the screen space. Then you have a lighter moment or a song, which is quite unnecessary.
  2. The terrorist group seems to have no motive behind causing the blasts. They just seem to be too happy to pull triggers. But why and what do they want to avenge, who are they working for, why are they doing it… nothing is explained
  3. Generally when a member of terrorist group is arrested, the plan is immediately put off and all the other team members go underground. But here, not only the team member escapes (rather allowed to escape), he also carries out the whole planned bombing exercise without talking to his handler or the bosses. Where does he get the RDX from? How on earth can he blow up the whole mumbai?
  4. Akshay is shown to do the whole work all by himself. He neither talks to a boss nor bothers to take help from any of the defense agencies/police. Who authorizes him? How can he take his own decisions? And all his friends seem to readily follow him in an arbitrary ‘game’ and end up killing terrorists. But none of them either verify or questions why should they kill those guys. Akshay is not their boss. Can defense men act arbitrarily?
  5. How come none of the 12 friends of Akshay are caught by Police?
  6. If it was so easy to blow up R City mall, why would the terrorist group wait for a specific date and time to blow up Mumbai?
  7. Why would the head of a terrorist group risk the whole mission to settle a personal score with the hero, just because he provoked him? Man! This beat me to core🙂

All n all, its a nice family movie. But if you are looking forward to it as a thriller, save me! It is probably at the lowest end of my favorite list. I will give it nothing more than a 3 star.

L41: The Dilemma

This is a part II of the story ‘I will’. Click here to read the part one.

Present Day: Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh

The haldi function went into late afternoon. The family had now started preparing for the grand ladies sangeet organised in the lawns adjoining their haweli. Rudra took time out and decided to retire to his room. Some one handed a hot cup of coffee to him and advised him to just lie down for a while. They were right. But the only problem was Rudra had no sleep in his eyes. He walked over to the balcony and stared at the horizon. Sun had not set yet. But it was cloudy. Monsoon was on the anvil. The balcony of Rudra’s room was on the left side of the haveli that overlooked the gardens, some shrubby trees and then the Antia lake. From a distance he could see few youngsters having a good time at the chai ki tapri. Then there was a couple cozying up behind a tree. Rudra thought of Laxmi… and then came back to his room.

Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh: Four and half months ago

After no feedback from the Rathodes for 15 days, Laxmi’s father had called up Raghuvendraji and politely asked what their opinion was. Apart from being a respected family, Thakurs were one of the largest cement dealers and retailers in Western UP. That suited very well to the Rathode’s construction business. It was a winning proposition for the Thakurs too. For Rudra’s father, it was much more than two families coming together for a wedding. On the same evening, he summoned Rudra to his room.

“What is wrong with you? Why are you delaying the proposal? Don’t you like Laxmi?” Raghuvendra Rathode had curtly asked Rudra that evening.

“Nothing like that Papa, just that I need more time to think.”

“How much more? 15 days have passed, for god’s sake! Is there a problem with Laxmi?” Rudra nodded. “Thakur khandaan ek izzatdar gharana hai, humein ladki pasand hai. Main aaj hi unhe phone kar deta hu. Rokke ki taarikh pakki kar lete hai. Baaki tayyariyan bhi to karni hai.”

“But Papa… kya main ek baar Laxmi se mil sakta hu?”

There was a pause and then his father said. “Hmmm… theek hai. There is a Cement dealer’s meeting tomorrow in Kanpur. I’m going and Laxmi’s brother Tej Singh is also going to come there. I will ask him to get Laxmi along. You meet her in the hotel. But remember… Khandaan ki izzat ka sawaal hai. Uska khayal rakhna”

The father son duo started early next day and reached The Landmark Hotel, Kanpur barely minutes before the conference started. Tej Singh was waiting in the lobby along with Laxmi, dressed again in an elegant looking green chiffon saree. Parties greeted each other cordially. Laxmi bowed and touched Raghuvendraji’s feet. They discussed business for a while with Tej Singh testing Rudra’s knowledge about the construction industry. Tej Singh suggested that if it was fine with Rudra, he could drop Laxmi to Unnao after they are done. After it was agreed, the two left the couple in the lobby and went for the conference.

From the corner of the eye, Rudra had been observing Laxmi. She was nervous. But some where he sense the brewing dissent inside her mind. Now that the two were out of sight, Rudra turned his attention to Laxmi. The tightly draped chiffon saree was perfectly showing off her petite figure. She was sans make up, but was wearing beautiful earrings, the same medium sized bindi and an elegant looking pearl necklace… and was still neither talking nor paying attention to Rudra’s observing eyes.

“I’m new to Kanpur you see… so you will have to suggest me a place we can go to. What is good around here?” Rudra finally broke the silence.

“Its warm outside” Laxmi said with looking at Rudra, “We can go to the cafe in the hotel. I’m sure you have questions… I have too. Lets settle it here”

“Whats the matter Laxmi?”

“Whats the matter? You are asking me? I told you to refuse the proposal, also sent you sms that day and pleaded you to not pursue it. But you didn’t. You kept on asking why, why… sent ajju to convince me. And even though I’m still saying no, through your father you confirmed our wedding? Can’t you understand? I DONT WANT to marry you!”

Laxmi was loud enough to unsettle the lobby. The passersby had now started taking notice of the argument about to happen between the young couple. “I think we should go to the cafeteria.” suggested Rudra. “No! I think we should go home.” Rudra let out a sigh of disappointment and reluctantly nodded.

Kanpur to Unnao is a 25min drive. But due to the flyover construction near Shukla Ganj, they had to take the highway route, which was going to give Rudra that extra 20 minutes, in what he was thinking as the last attempt to set things right. Refusing to marry Laxmi was never an option with Rudra. Not because he had fallen in love with her. But because if the marriage was not to happen, at all, one of them had to die or runaway and thus forget their families… forever. His thoughts wandered all over the place, trying to find the best way to explain this to Laxmi. For 10 minutes, no body spoke. Then she broke the silence.

“Look, I’m sorry I shouted… and that I didn’t take your calls or reply to messages. I thought you will understand. But now that your father has already confirmed, I want to confess this. I don’t think I will be able to keep you happy… or love you ever. Our marriage may happen. There are many who see benefits here. But are we going to be happy with this relation? I don’t think so. It will be my mistake. I think I will have to live with it, and now you have chosen to live with it too. I’m sorry, but I can’t help.”

“Laxmi…” Rudra spoke softly after a momentary silence. “If you don’t mind, can I ask you some thing?” She nodded. “Are you in love with some one else?”

Present Day: Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh

Laxmi’s candid confession had some what unsettled Rudra that day. On their way to Unnao, Rudra had insisted on meeting Om, the guy Laxmi thought she loved. He was a simple guy, a graduate who had just got an entry into the Indian Army. He was about to be commissioned. Laxmi had introduced him as her fiance and Om hadn’t reacted. He was fine with Laxmi marrying some one else. They spoke about Om’s eagerness to join the Army, the life of an officer and how he had chosen between lot of money, fancy degrees and dying for the country. It was a strange conversation. He hadn’t spoken to her for a week after that meeting. Neither did she. When his father proposed the date for the rokka, he had called her.

Laxmi and Om were classmates. He was one of her good friends and knew her family too. Although they loved each other, Om never tried to talk to Laxmi’s family or go out of the way to marry her. For him, nothing was more important than his ambition to join the armed forces. Laxmi, for him, was a responsibility he was happy to wear but not to carry. Laxmi knew this. Then why do you love him? Want to marry him? Rudra had asked on the call. The reason was freedom. Om was the only child of his parents. His family, although well to do, was small. They neither had the baggage of their clan nor the tradition of their caste. And going to DU for higher studies, work for companies, start own boutique, travel abroad… Laxmi had ambitions too. She thought Om could fulfill them. A day before her rokka to Rudra, she had written a letter to Om asking him if he could run away with her. On the same day he had sent back an envelop that contained her letter along with a copy of his commissioning letter. The answer was obvious.

Rudra was lying on his bed, thinking about that day. On the wall opposite to his bed, he was looking at the picture of him and Laxmi. It was taken on the rokka day. It was the first time when they stood together, neither of them smiling. I almost ran away yesterday night. But I couldn’t. I can’t commit if it wont happen before our wedding… or after.  Laxmi had whispered in Rudra’s ears while this pic was being taken. The astonishment was showing in the pic. His thoughts were broken by a buzz on his mobile. It was a message from Laxmi.

“Do you have any plans to run away before the wedding?” It read.

“Nope. Who should I run away with? But if you have any such plans, let me know. I’ll save my trip to Unnao :-)” Rudra replied.

“That trip toh you will have to take Thakur sahab… aagey bhagwaan ki marzee :-)”

To be continued…

L40: No, I will

“No!”

Present day: Chandra Vihar Colony, Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh

Rudra felt a bitter sour taste in his mouth. As if the ‘no’ was being rubbed on to him so harshly that he’d never have her back again. Suddenly some one patted on his back and his open eyes came back to the real world. He could now see his 50 year old, over grown bua rubbing a hand full of wet turmeric powder on his face, or whatever of the face was left untouched. He got up, looked around to see over a 100 people cheering.

“No” he shouted, “Get away from me!” as he pushed his bua, almost felling her to ground. The cheer stopped. Now people were staring at him. All shocked at his reaction. And then he heard some one talking to him. It was a familiar voice, his mother’s. “Kya hua beta? Kahi lag gayi kya? Thik to ho?”

Where am I? He thought. The haldi program was underway at the Rathode household. He turned to bua and apologized with folded hands. “Sorry bua, par mujhe lag rahi thi”, he said. Bua forgave him and started again, smearing Rudra’s face with turmeric as hard as she could. Afterall, it was his wedding. The baraat was to depart next day, Rudra was getting married to Laxmi two days later. But… was he?

5 months ago: Unnao, Uttar Pradesh

A white Scorpio made a quick stop at the Balram Dhaba, just on the out skirts of Unnao. Rathode family disembarked and settled on the cots put up under the shed. 4 and half hours of non-stop drive had tired every one down, except Rudra. He had seen Laxmi in the pictures and was keen to meet her in person. He had spoken to her on phone and she seemed quaint & shy, almost uninterested at times. But then this is how arranged marriages are, he had thought. Laxmi, though studied from Kanpur, was still from a small place. So she must be shy. He had made up his mind to ask her to take him around Unnao, and then ask her in person, alone, if she was really interested in marrying him. But Raghuvendra Pratap, Rudra’s father has declared that they would reach on time, 3pm and leave in an hour. And Rudra wouldn’t go against him.

The Rathodes were welcomed in the grandest manner. A brass band, flowers, garlands, traditional welcome through deep and tika, ladies donning expensive silk sarees… the wedding already seemed fixed even before Rudra could meet Laxmi. It made him nervous. Rudra was born as Rudrapratap Singh Rathode in one of the very well known Thakur families of Jhansi. They were land lords, who later converted their lands to large businesses and became a wealthy clan. But Rudra was unlike a typical Thakur. He was tall, but slim and clean shaven. He did his engineering from Delhi and MBA from Bangalore, had worked in MNCs, traveled abroad before coming back to Jhansi to take care of family businesses. He taste was western and wrote his name as Rudra Singh, because he thought Thakur Rudra Pratap Singh Rathode was too cliche. So when his to-be-father-in-law introduced him as Thakur Rudra Pratap Singh Rathode, he was all but proud. It actually made him blush.

After rounds of various snacks, popular sweets, scores or introductions, finally some one suggested that Laxmi should be brought in. Rudra’s eyes lit up. Without being obvious, he began surveying various exit locations from where Laxmi could emerge. There was some movements amongst the ladies. Rudra started tracking their eyes. Finally, after a momentary silence in the room, two elderly ladies arrived, behind whom Rudra could see a silhouette of a young girl in her early twenties. Draped in a red Banarasi silk saree and a medium sized bindi, Laxmi looked stunningly beautiful. She was slim and moderately tall, which suited Rudra. As against the picture, Laxmi was less fair but more sharp in her looks, Rudra thought. For a while he could not take his eyes off his future bride before realizing half the gathering was staring at him. Embarrassed, he started looking elsewhere.

Then more introductions followed. Both fathers boasted their businesses and the brothers, Taus and mamas were discussed. One of the Tau also ended up suggesting a wedding venue, which was thankfully ignored. Finally, an intelligent younger brother volunteered to take his didi and kunwarji around the Haveli. Rudra rose, but sat immediately seeing his father’s reaction. Reluctantly, he allowed. Within a minute, the over enthusiastic younger brother was dragging Rudra along the stairs, asking non-stop questions about ‘Amrica’ and girls on DU campus while Laxmi quietly followed.

“Ajju, mere liye paani laoge?” Laxmi asked her young brother after they reached the terrace of the Haveli, which was at the farthest end of the house. Ajju quickly ran behind. Rudra was glad she at least spoke some thing.

“Achha hua jo aapne use nichhe bhej diya.” said Rudra. “Main to taras gaya tha aap se baat karne ke liye. Jaanna chahata tha ki aapki is shaadi ke baare mein kya rai hai. Because you never spoke on phone, I mean hardly spoke.”

“Aapki kya rai hai?” replied Laxmi. “Do you want to get married to me?”

Rudra blushed. “Well, I mean… pata nahi. Meri koi girlfriend to nahi thi kabhi bhi. So main ye rishton ke baare mein jyada jaanta nahi hu. But yes, when I saw your pic, and today when you came… Although I know we should not be rushing into this. And we should know each other more. Par pata nahi gharwale humein aise akele milne denge kya. Isliye, I mean… Shayad haan. Haan, I want to marry you.”

“Would you have married me even if I was not a Thakur?” Laxmi retorted. Her tone was not exactly polite, and now she was looking him in the eye. He was surprised.

“What do you mean? Thakur hone ka in sab se kya lena dena? Of course yes!” He could hear faint footsteps in the background, Ajju was coming back with a glass of water.

“And would you not want to know if I want to get married to you?” Asked Laxmi again, with the same tone.

Rudra was taken aback. The sound was now louder. Ajju would be here any moment, he thought. “I don’t understand. Some thing wrong? Is it that you are not happy with this marriage? You don’t want to get married to me?” Laxmi stared at him hard, then looked away. She was silent. “Tell me! Will you get married to me?” said Rudra. Ajju had now reached the terrace. He was at the gate, holding a tray with two glasses of water and a plate of snacks in his hand.

Laxmi gave a cold hard stare to him and with a firm voice, said “No, I will not!”

… to be continued

Awesome 3 day fruit diet plan

Image courtesy (c) Filariasis.com

Believe it or not, this 3 day fruit cum salad diet plan has helped me reduce 2 kgs in just 6 days and that too with minimum exercise, sufficient eating and regular routine. Here is how you can follow what I did:

Day 1:

As soon as you wake up, have a full glass of water. It will help you detox a little bit and also quell some overnight hunger. Then have an early breakfast of 1 slice of brown bread/ one chapati without butter. Day 1 is going to be much less on calorie intake. So in case if you are worried of fainting or fear of giving up, you can have a boiled potato without salt or half a glass of milk without sugar.

Light exercise is fine, such as climbing 50 steps or walking for 500 meters. If you exercise, you can have lemon water with a dash of honey after that.

Eat a balanced fruit diet for lunch with sufficient carbs and juices. During my diet, I had 4 bananas and an orange. If possible try to avoid evening snacks. But if you feel tired, you can have an apple or a kiwi or similar fruit that has less fats and is low on sugar.

Have just a small bowl of rice with plain dal (lentils) or curd. Try not to add sugar or salt.

Day 2:

Follow the water routine of Day 1. Instead of a brown bread, have egg white (boiled). You can have 2 or three eggs but try not to stuff yourself.

Do light exercise, such as stretching and brisk walking for 500 meters. If you climbed 50 steps yesterday, push yourself to 100 or at least 75. Instead of lime water, have carrot juice today.

Repeat the lunch the similar to Day 1 and try to avoid evening snacks as much as possible. If you cannot, just have half a glass of milk or a small banana.

Have a boiled egg and 1 brown bread/ plain chapati for dinner.

Day 3:

Repeat the schedule of Day 1 & 2 for Day three but skip eating eggs, potatoes and bananas. You can add tomatoes and cucumber to your diet in order not to dehydrate yourself.

Check you weight on day 4. I reduced 2 and half kgs! And wonder who created this diet plan? ME!  🙂

Some more quetions for Shri Shri

Blocking questions? image (c) ibnlive

Shri Shri, you have very well answered my previous questions. Thank you so much. But the latest closely fought cum abjectly surrendered cum ‘could have easily won’ test match debacle has prompted me to ask you few more questions. Are you going to answer them? No? No problem… the answers are obvious anyway. (PS: Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you about your relations with Meiyyappan or Srini or about your real estate investments or the sports management firm you own or even about your wife’s latest darkest shade of lipstick… oops!)

Q1: What did you tell the team before the start of the second innings that you didn’t when the test match started?

This is quite simple. You might have hurled the choicest of abuses at the team with help from Arsene Wenger (BPL leaders Arsenal lost 1-5 to historic rivals Liverpool last Saturday) or from Sir Alex Ferguson (ManU had lost 1-6 to their horrible neighbors Man City few years ago… at home). A just thing to do, Shri Shri. But the question is, why didn’t you do it earlier? We lost 0-3 to SAFs in the ODIs, then drew a test match we should have won, then lost a test match we should have drawn, then lost the ODI series to NZ 0-4. I must appreciate your patience. For you now have the dubious distinction of being the captain of a team white washed when they were no. 1 in both tests and ODIs.

Or may be you didn’t say anything at all. And the bowlers received an sms that they will get a night out with the Hollywood actress of their choice if they bundle out NZ for a less than 100. But poor lads were denied that luxury by Wagner and Boult, who both will be summoned by ICC for breach of bulls*** conduct, come July. You know why.

Q2: What makes you think Zaheer Khan is a better batsman than you?

He is not, right? Then why on earth were you rotating strikes? When Zaheer came in, we needed another 80 runs. It was a cake walk for you. You could have conserved him and then tried to score in bulk. NZ was not threatening with the ball. But instead, you were seen taking singles on the first ball and Zaheer was trying his favorite cow corner slaps.

Wait a minute, did you think Zaheer could score a half century the way he did against Zimbabwe an era ago and blasted Henry Olonga for 4 consecutive sixes? Boy!

Q3: Is it that Kohli and Jadeja never listen to you or you do not bother how they get out?

Option 1: Kohli listens but Jadeja doesn’t. It was a bad day for Kohli and as usual day for Jadeja. Hmmm, then we must sack him?

Option 2: Both don’t listen. Then what the hell are you doing? Why don’t you try your famous helicopter shot on them?

Option 3: Both listen and both forget what I tell them. – (Smiley) (Smiley) (Smiley) (Smiley)

Option 4: I care a damn! Well then, nothing needs to be said

PS: Post is just for gags!

Q & A with Shri Shri Mahendrasinghji Dhoniji

Image

(c) Santabanta.com

So, after a tete a tete with Mr. Kejriwal, here is my another tete a tete with Mahi. As always, I’m a common man and he is not. So he is not going to answer my questions. Then who is going to answer my questions? Will you tell this to me or should I tell you? I will… so read on!

Q1: Shri Shri, what is the reason for India’s abject failure on overseas tours, particularly under you?

Possibly the answer is, he doesn’t know. Mahi himself has played very well in the last couple of series. But for some reason we have always faltered. We abysmally lost in England. Didn’t learn anything, lost in Australia again. Then played mostly at home, saw Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman retire, played no overseas tour until the recent ‘shorter than T20 match’ test series in SA and lost it as well. So I have no reason to believe that Dhoni knows how to win overseas. Yes his predecessors also didnt win a series. But some have done well than him. And if he is rated the best ever Indian captain, which he is, he should have known the answer. So does the problie in team selection? Lets find out

Q2: Why have you persisted with the likes of Rohit, Ishant and Suresh Raina for that long?

Very difficult one for Mahi. Rohit is a great talent, time and again Raina has finished games for CSK and Ishant looks like a menacing fast bowler. But they all have been consistently inconsistent. Rohit has mostly failed when it mattered and Ishant has mostly not taken wickets when he should have (save today’s performance). But a question Mahi might ask us. If not them then who? At least as of now I cant see any one else we can play in place of Rohit. Ranji has produced some new contenders. But the irony is, top run getters in Ranji change every year. So the lack of consistency starts from there. Besides if we go by Ranji record alone, Rohit was a phenomenal player. As for Ishant, I think the think tank at office has messed up royally. He was indeed a menacing bowler. But time wore him down. He is slowly going the same tunnel where the likes of Munaf and Irfan Pathan have traveled. Classic case of talent mismanagement. May be Mahi thinks he can stem the rot. Otherwise the replacements and peers of Ishant (Shami, Bhuvi, Yadav, Aaron, Pandey) will follow the same route. 

Q3: You have mastered the art of pacing the innings. Why do you think every one can do it?

As much as Dhoni criticizes the team in public, the culture the team is getting into is the same that he himself follows. Dhoni is lazy when he comes to bat, takes time to settle and then hammers every bowler. He is able to do it. But what about others? Shikhar Dhawan never knows what is right. Should he let the ball go or put the bat in the way. We have lost 2 ODI series back to back without registering even 1 win due to poor death bowling and lack of mindset by the opening bowlers. If not captain, who else will guide them?

Q4: What makes you think we are the best fielding side?

Obviously we are not, and you know it. But when the players of national level stop following basics, it hurts. Mahi himself was an average keeper when he came on the international scene. But he was a better batsman than his rival (DK) and he proved his worth eventually. When he started playing, we had the best slip fielders in Dravid and Laxman who were followed by Ganguly, Tendulkar and Sehwag. Even Kumble has fielded in slips. Number of catches these guys have collectively dropped in the whole career is probably lesser than number of catches current team dropped in SA and NZ. It has cost us matches. And I’m sure Dhoni is worried about them as a captain. Slip fielding is more like wicket keeping without gloves. It needs a patient mindset and the eye on the ball… always. I remember Mongia used to help the slip fielders. Isn’t Dhoni telling them how to hold on to catches the way he does? 

Q5: Do you think you can turn this team around?

Obviously he thinks he can. I have a doubt, though. He has the best talent at his disposal. They all, as individual players, are menacing. As an opposition, I’d have been fearing for my life to bowl at Dhawan, Rohit, Kohli and Pujara. But it is not happening. I see the reason in the way Dhoni manages the team. He is consistent in his own performance because he is methodical. But at times, especially in sports, one needs to be passionate. I always remember Tendulkar’s assault on Warne as the classic example of passion followed by Laxman’s 281 & Dravid’ 180 at Kolkata & Galguly’s 144 on a bouncy Gabba. We have to win not because we are superior on paper. But because we believe we can ans must win. Australia’s recent turn around is a classic example. They had an inconsistent lineup with misfiring seniors (Warner, Watson, Johnson), inexperienced fringe players (Bailey, Smith, Rodgers) and not-so-potent individuals (Siddle, Harris, Lyon). They were led by a mild mannered leader who wasn’t able to unite the team only 2 series ago. But they fought. And boy, how! Can we do it? We did it once under Dhoni (T20 world cup 2007). Can we do it again?

Yes!