Curious case of Mahendra Singh Dhoni

I was waiting for the fourth test match to begin to write this post. I have been waiting to write this post for a long time anyway. It needed the right motivation and setting to really express my concern, consulting advice, caution or a plain rant about the state in which Indian Cricket is right now.

MSD

(c) India Today

To be honest, I’m not a trade analyst or a cricket pundit. I’m little bit of a business analyst but I don’t consider Cricket as business, though it has become one now. I’m a pure cricket loving, patriotic Indian cricket fan. And I look at the game from the eyes of a desperate fan who wants to see his team win, or at least show some fighting spirit. This ‘spirit’ in the Indian cricket has been missing for the good part of 20 months after we won the world cup. To a large extent, this has to be attributed to one man called as Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

I’m an admirer of MSD’s cricketing style. He is a great player and massive hitter of the ball. I’m thankful to whoever the selector was who insisted on MSDs name and coerced Ganguly/John Wright to choose Dhoni ahead of any other wicket keeper in India (notably Dada’s favorite Parthiv Patel and Kumble/Dravid recommended Dinesh Kartik). He had taken the ODI arena by storm with some cracking centuries and then lifting the inaugural T20 world cup. Brilliant he was then, but mediocre he has become now.

There have been volumes of arguments on the ‘Talent v/s Attitude’ debate. Dhoni, to me, is a bit of both. But just like his nemesis Sehwag, he doesn’t have enough steam to either summon the talent when needed or show the attitude and grit when the chips are down. The grit shown by a captain to root his feet down and make sure everyone follows his visionary accord has been missing in Dhonis leadership. He is too cool, giving a feeling of carelessness towards the obvious problems in the team. His choice of players, tactics on the field and placements have been ranging from curious to baffling, which is why people have been questioning his decision making. Team selection for the 2011 world cup is an example.

Demeanor of a leader has to be staunch and authoritarian. Sadly, Dhoni exudes a passive vibe that mostly leaves the batsmen or bowlers to take their own decisions and push the game in all directions. This is what happened with a talented bowler like Ashwin in the just concluded Mumbai and Kolkata test. Dhoni should have walked up to him and told, “Listen friend, experimenting is good. But make sure you don’t give them a practice of playing all kinds of deliveries. Hold a line and attack. We need wickets.” I’m sure Dhoni didn’t say that and we know what happened. Lets take an example of a captain of a small batch of soldiers and a team of surgeons lead by an able senior hand. The captain soldier is more likely to give loud, aggressive motivational speeches to his soldiers. He is likely to shout “Company… March!” every now and then. This loudness is required to instill the confidence and passion in the soldiers. A surgeon on the other hand is unlikely to shout to slogan. For his kind of work, composure and patience is the key. Indian team under Dhoni is a legion of soldiers led by a surgeon.

Sachin Tendulkar is another example of a brilliant player with an abysmal leadership track record. Everyone knows Sachin is a classic example of perfect combination of talent and attitude. Sadly he was never able to infuse the same attitude, if not talent, in any of the youngsters he played with. His stint as a captain was limited. So it is difficult to say if he really groomed any youngsters. But Dhoni has been at the helm for a long period of 5 years. Baring Virat Kohli, Dhoni hasn’t been able to fixate anyone else in the team. Even Virat is fast becoming an ODI specialist. This is one reason I admired Ganguly. He went to an extent of dipping form in his own game to groom youngsters and build a team that laid foundation to the young Indian squad. Sehwag, Yuvraj, Harbhajan, Zaheer who went on to become important players in the team when he was at the helm. It lead to the transition of the team from the Azaruddin era to the Dravid-Laxman era dominated equally by batsmen and bowlers. Dhoni on the other hand had a legion of talented youngsters such as Kohli, Raina, Munaf Patel, Pujara, Ashwin, Ojha, Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Rohit Sharma, Rahane… but none has been able to really sparkle on the international test arena, let alone cement the place in the team.

Change is needed now. Even Ganguly, honestly or disgustingly, was asked stepped down (read sacked) when things were not going good. Dhoni got a readymade team of senior players who were all in form. Now that three of them have retired (Dravid, Kumble, Laxman) and two have been asked to leave (Zaheer, Harbhajan), it is important that we get a man who can rebuild the new team. But who? Virat Kohli? He is sporadic and new on the test scene. May be Gambhir or even Ravi Ashwin.  Lets see if the sun sets on MSD. I have been long waiting for a new sunrise.

Ek Number!

It is a Nagpuri word. I’m in Nagpur… finally!

For work and for using my 24 hours to good effect. On the first day I reached home in 10 minutes flat. In that much I never crossed my vicinity in Mumbai. Weather is good. Thinks are looking good.

Ek Number!  😀

Keh ke le li!

 

(c) Wikipedia

Anurag Kashyap is a good man. And till I saw Gangs of Wasseypur I thought he was a brilliant director too. But after watching GoW, I’m compelled to believe that he too has fallen in the trap of sleaze. I’m sorry, strong words but I cant help it.

I simply loved the way Black Friday was made. I am a fan of narrative style of film making. And that, I must say, is the best part of Gangs of Wasseypur. But that apart, AK has gone over board in portraying, what now the whole of India believes dirty side of Jharkhand (erstwhile Bihar). I’m not sure if this is what he wanted to show.

We are Indians. Where our heart truly lies is in creativity shown in its vibrant best mood. The reality is we don’t go to movies to watch what is happening in the neighborhood. Some times we like movies that touch the real picture in the country (Black Friday, Bandit Queen, Paan Singh Tomar) and we get impressed with the heroics of some of us. We are a country where Ram kills Ravan, Krishna kills Kansa and Arjun lords over the Kauravas. Though I agree that there are more demons fighting with each other than gods in this Kaliyug, I dont want to see them in the crudest possible manner.

This is indeed my personal opinion about a movie I felt was a bit too much to digest. I now hate Anurag for making me watch it, because I loved him till GoW. But I have had enough of it now. I want to believe that AK didnt direct any movie after Gulaal and didnt produce any movie after Shaitaan.

We love you AK, but we hate Gangs of Wasseypur!

Nokia takes us for a drive

(c) liveside.net

I was a fan of Nokia drive. Though I never had a Nokia phone that had the ‘drive’ functionality (because I am not a fan of Nokia phones. I haven’t used a Nokia for a long time), I had heard good things about it and had used it some times on some one else’s phone. This Sunday we decided to put it to use. It failed miserably and I have decided never to use a Nokia phone again (forget drive).

It was a rainy Sunday and my family declared they wanted to go on a long drive. Every one goes to lonavala. So we decided we will got o a new place called Arnala. We had heard there is a beach resort and the road to Arnala is very scenic. I knew which direction to take. So we set off at around 10am. Quarter of a way ahead, we thought instead of asking people,we will us Nokia drive on my wife’s Lumia. And like an obedient husband I followed the lady and the phone, some times ignoring the directions given even by locals. 🙂

At around 1pm after 2nad half hours of driving through scenic roads and a half hour unscheduled wada pav – samosa break, we had traveled only about 30kms. We had reached a point where there was no road ahead (only boulders that damaged one of the reams of my vehicle). The phone was saying “You have reached your destination”, my wife was saying sorry my Nokia disappointed, the other three members of the car were livid about the whole thing and I was staring at an open plot full of muddy water. 🙂

It took me 10 minutes and some ultimate driving skills to take a U turn on that piece of land. It was a husband’s time to share I told you so glances. After all I was always against buying a Nokia. It had ruined the day. We returned with frustration as now we didnt have much time left for a picnic. Thankfully the weather was kind. We had some local food, lots of bhutta, bought a score of Mangoes and finally set off for a return journey. This time the drive functionality said sorry I cant connect to the network as if it was too embarrassed to show us the directions again.

Thanks Nokia!

Sunny Side Up!

Review: Nissa Sunny!

I have been thinking about writing this one for a long time. Only paucity of time preventing me to do so. So here it is… short but very important review of the caaar that promises a lot to the Indian market. But will it deliver? Lets find out.

(c) carsingh.com

Exterior: Let me candidly admit that Sunny is not the best looking car around. It looks like a married female in her early 30s (sorry women, no offense meant). I hope you get what I wanted to say. While every other car is going for a look makeover, Nissan should have given Sunny tighter lines and more sporty look. Best thing about the look though is the paint job. Sunny comes in as many as 9 different colors and the paint quality is very good.

(c) Indiaoncars.com

Interiors: Sunny, as it is marketed, is all about the comfort it gives inside more than the looks outside. Every thing inside the car gives you a perfect Japanese feeling. The interiors are done up in Griege (grey+beige) and give the car a different feel, if not too luxurious. Audio systems, ABS, climate control and air bags come as standard and the higher version also has a push button start. Steering & gearbox are nicely placed and seats (+ steering) are adjustable. If the front seats impressed you the rear seats will drive you mad. There is so much space around that all three passengers can sit cross legged or one can make his small child stand between the front and rear seats. Sitting is very comfortable, ideal for long drives.

Driving: Sunny is powered by both Petrol and Diesel engines, identical in capacity but different in power delivery. Petrol version is more peppier, generates 99 Bhp and is quick too, thanks to ultra light composition of the car. Diesel is again a typical Japanese feature. It doesn’t generate the power, but is very good at low speeds and I’m being told that the car this big returns an awesome mileage of 20kmpl on diesel. Though Sunny engine is silky smooth and is very comfortable to drive, the suspension is a little tacky. The car shivers on uneven roads (which are plenty in India). It is too kind on bumpers, allowing them to make the presence felt.

Competition: Best thing about Sunny is that it is at least a lac cheaper than all its closest rivals. It also has more space and almost the same features as others. These things are good enough for the car to sell, though in looks it is no where nearer to Verna or New Fiesta. Suspension is on a weaker side. But given the mileage and other features, it more than makes for it. After all you dont get every thing in one car, do you? So much I wish if I had a car with the looks of Verna, space of Sunny, suspension and ruggedness of Fiesta, comforts of City, diesel engine of Vento and services of a Maruti Suzuki. 🙂

Overall: A very strong competitor. Cheaper and more spacious than its rivals. Will it be a winner? Only time will tell.

Who says we are corrupt?

Magic "trouble" money

(Photo credit: madhavaji)

… and another story of corruption in cricket has surfaced. Should we be worried or surprised? I think not!

Think of a situation. If I tell you that I was on my way to ‘so and so’ place. But I was delayed because I was stopped by a traffic cop. Or if I tell you that I had to go to the office of district magistrate or to the PF office to get my long standing hard earned money back stuck in the heap of files, your obvious question mostly likely to be is- Kitna Diya?

Pardon me for using the names of certain departments affiliated to the Indian government. I meant no disregard to any person in particular. But even if I spoke of any other department, it wouldn’t matter much because the sentiment (about corruption) is pretty much the same every where. Besides, I haven’t stayed or even visited any other country than India and also in India, I have stayed at very few places. So people from the ‘other’ places that I haven’t visited can safely assume that my comment is not about them.

Anyway, as a matter of fact, we have all grown up as corrupts. Our lives started with If you pass your exams with XX%, I will give you YY arguments. But every one knew they were all futile arguments because the kids who indeed passed with XX% were going to do so any way. And most of the kids who didnt, got the YY despite abysmal shows in exams. Thank fully, my parents, particularly father, never engaged me in the game of XX and YY. He probably knew I was not fit to gain the XX% and wouldn’t be lured into slogging hard even for a YYYYY reward. But more than that he knew instigating the unfair reward system inside children’s minds was wrong. After all, as school going kids, weren’t we expected to study?

What we learnt as children, the unfair reward system, we carried it through to our professional lives. No wonder every ‘babu’ expects a cut for passing a file, work he is supposed to be doing any way. And why blame babus? We have, with an intention good or bad, deliberately greased hands of some unwilling honests for personal gains. Remember the watchmen of girls hostels? the lab attendants? the juniors who carried your roses?

We have all grown up corrupts. We have seen our parents grow old corrupt, even though unwillingly. Though the money the country has lost due to corruption only in last 2-3 years would have been sufficient to eradicate poverty and free us of income tax, we have not learnt any thing from mistakes. Kasab is still alive. A Raja is out of the jail. Congress is still in power. Anna Hazare’s lokpal is still a dream. We are still bribing the traffic police.

Who says we are corrupt? This is how we live! Jai Hind!

The Xtra Day Special

I was wondering for a long time, what to write about this extra day we get once every 4 years. My wondering went far to wonder what other people might be wondering to do on this wonderful ‘Xtra’ day. Then I thought we all wonder what other people are doing but never wonder what our government is up to. I went to a search engine and typed ‘Government Initiatives’ in India. With some flipping and scrolling and then trying combinations, I came across this->

Gujarat Solar electricity project

Translation of Marathi wordings: Ahmedabad- To generate more electricity, the Gujarat State Electricity Board has come up with a novel idea of literally putting up solar panels on a flowing canal. By putting up solar panels on the approximately 100 kms long canal, they have not only saved space, but also provided cover to the canal (thereby reducing evaporation in Summers).

I never thought government could be so innovative. This can only happen in Gujarat. Bravo!