Q & A with Shri Shri Mahendrasinghji Dhoniji

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(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!

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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!

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!

Why it makes sense to have different captains for ODIs and Tests

The recent results in overseas (and also domestic) test matches have again led me to think that we need different captains for the longer and shorter versions of the game of Cricket. There is no questioning the commitment of MSD– Maverick Singh Dhoni. But the facts, recent records and his own admittance shows that he is not fit to lead the team in the longer versions of the game. And to prevent fists of fury from some of my readers, I have reasons to prove.

One, remember when he won the inaugural T20 world cup for India? He was given a team sans the big names and players with international experience except Sehwag and Harbhajan. Every one else including Dhoni himself was either new or still very fresh at international scene. They were all domestic players, the Ranji class. Besides it was the first T20 world cup. No team knew the best strategy. So every one played to their potential without being too much into the ‘strategy’ thing. There were no egos to be buttered, no conflicts to be resolved. Just 3 hours of pure, cheeky cricket. Dhoni thrived (and eventually mastered the art).

Two, remember his innings of 183 not out very early in his career? Dhoni, to me, looks like a warrior with a cool head. He believes in individual brilliance than team games. T20 is about individual brilliance. Misbah ul Haq had almost single handedly won the world cup for Pakistan. But he goofed up at crucial junctures in both semis and finals. And we won the world cup. Even in the ODI world cup, he stepped up, said I want to hit the winning runs… and did. But was there a strategy for including or not including Piyush Chawla or Sree Santh? I wonder.

Three, ODIs and T20s are about quick decision making while tests are about patience and perseverance. Dhoni, to me, is a “I knock you out with one punch” guy. But that strategy can win fights not battles. To win battles, you need to plan your future, even if it is at the cost of few losses. Dhoni always accepted whatever team was given to him and played with it. He won the fights, but lost the battles… most of them. He hardly introduced young players, and didn’t stand by some of them who he managed to introduce (read Rohit, Pujara, Rahane, Mukund, Varun Aaron etc.) To build a world beating team, he needs to choose his players.

Remember the battle of Troy? I can compare Dhoni to Hector, prince of Troy. He managed to fend off the might of Sparta with astute, but short term strategies. Every one knew Troy couldn’t be a world beater… and they eventually lost to Sparta. But Hector is still known as one of the best warriors. Dhoni too is one of the greatest players India has had. But all his successors (Rahul, Anil Kumble or Ganguly) were all better test captains than him, sans Sachin Tendulkar. Without hurting any one’s sentiments, Sachin is (and will remain) the greatest batsman in the world. But he was equally bad captain.

India plays the next test series only in September 2012. I hope we find a worthy head to lead us in Tests while Mahi continues to pour success in the ODIs and T20s. Amen!

Even Steven on the boxing day!

(c) Reuters

This was the most anticipated day, perhaps, for Indian cricket lovers apart from the final of the world cup that India won. To be a bit unfair to Sri Lanka, India’s victory in Mumbai early this year to become the world champions of cricket has become less of a fanfare in my memory, thanks to the fact that we won it against Sangakarra an and his men. Had it been Australia or Pakistan, it would have been different.

Anyway, let us come back to the boxing day test match. I was sort of hoping India to bat and Sachin to redeem himself with a hundredth hundred at the MCG on the boxing day. Perhaps that chance went to his counterpart Ricky Ponting and unfortunately he blew it away after a fine fifty. Yeah unfortunately because I have loved to hate that man (RP, Rick, Punter or %$@$%# whatever they call him) and I wanted him to gracefully retire with a flowing century.

The day belonged, and rightfully so, to the two youngsters. One of them is a debutant, Ed Cowan who let Australia’s batting and other Umesh Yadav who, only in his third test beautifully led Indian bowling. So the boxing day was great with both sides dealing blows, neither of them killing. Match is in the balance now and it remains to be seen if Sachin scores his hundredth hundred at the MCG or not.

I’ll not be posting more about the series here, unless he scores a century or if we win the series or both.