April 19, 2005

That Reminds Me - Ogden Nash

Just imagine yourself seated on a shadowy terrace,
And beside you is a girl who stirs you more strangely than a heiress.
It is a summer evening at its most superb,
And the moonlight reminds you that To Love is an active verb,
And the stars are twinkling like anything,
And a distant orchestra is playing some sentimental old Vienna thing,
And your hand clasps hers, which rests there without shrinking,
And after a silence fraught with romance you ask her what she is thinking,
And she starts and returns from the moon-washed distances to the shadowy veranda,
And says, Oh, I was wondering how many bamboo shoots a day it takes to feed a baby Giant Panda.

Or you stand with her on a hilltop and gaze on a winter sunset
And everything is as starkly beautiful as a page from Sigrid Undset,
And your arm goes round her waist and you make an avowal which for masterfully marshaled emotional content might have been a page of Ouida's or Thackeray's,
And after a silence fraught with romance she says, I forgot to order the limes for the Daiquiris.

Or in twilight drawing room you have just asked the most momentous of questions,
And after silence fraught with romance she says, I think this little table would look better where that little table is, but then where would that little table go, have you any suggestions?

And that's the way they go round hitting below our belts;

It isn't that nothing is sacred to them, it's just that at the Sacred Moment they are always thinking of something else.

April 14, 2005

Second two One-Days.

Well, things have a taken a complete turn around. Pakistan did exceedingly well to level the series, and look better placed to win the series.

In the third match, same story was repeated - win the toss, score lots of runs and defend them. Only difference from the first two matches was that India did not at all put up any fight. The batting collapsed most embarrassingly.

It is in the Fourth match that Pakistan announced a decided advantage over India. They lost the toss, and were rather mediocre in the field and conceded 315 runs in 48 oversaw. But then they came out and won the match quite comfortably, not withstanding the seemingly dramatic last ball finish. They were helped to a large extent by extremely inept bowling of India, but they deserve credit for sticking in there. Indians have to improve their bowling to lay any claim to being a top team in one-day cricket. The lack o quality bowling is a major reason for our languishing at 8th in official one-day rankings, above only Zimbabwe, Kenya and Bangladesh.

It was heartening to see Sachin Tendulkar regain his form and score a fantastic 123. Of course, it is sad that India did not win the match. It is his 38th hundred and 9th in a losing cause. Go here for his record in the matches that India lost. Sourav Ganguly was very disappointing and he looked very unsure and hardly inspiring. His six match ban might be a blessing in disguise. In any case, this will give him time to relax and assess the situation. BCCI is challenging the decision and the ban might be removed. In any case, he is not playing the fifth one-day.

April 13, 2005

Ode on a Grecian Urn - John Keats

Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e’er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

April 9, 2005

Wisden - Tendulkar controversy.

The following is a good article which analyzes the meaningless spite against Wisden for what appeared in Wisden Almanac 2005. Indian Express wrote a misleading article attributing things to Wisden that were not there. The following article lets us know everything that appeared in the Almanac on Sachin. Also look at my earlier post on this issue.

Tendulkar, Wisden and a furore of ignorance.

April 8, 2005

Good article.

This is a beautiful article with very vivid description of the changing trends and the emerging standards in one-day cricket by Harsha Bhogle.

April 7, 2005

Wisden on Sachin Tendulkar.

For whatever it is worth, here is a summary of what the Wisden Cricketers' Almanac 2005 says about recent performances of Sachin Tendulkar. Well actually, I do not know how true a summary this is of the actual material from the Almanac. I did not look at the original, but this summary in the Indian Express seems to make its own points.

First, it has a factual and precise description of his recent performances in terms of his share in the team's total runs. And it questions, based on this, has the superstar been reduced to a mere passenger in the Indian team? Well, no one can deny that he is not performing up to the mark of late. And it is definitely true that he seemed to reject his bewitching fusion of majesty and human frailty in favor of a mechanical, robotic accumulation since World Cup 2003. This is the major problem with Sachin recently and he has to address this. But observe that there was a time when he did bewitch the audiences with a fusion of majesty and human frailty.

Now the article makes a more serious statement, and it is not clear if it is coming from the Almanac. It tells us that Sachin Tendulkar has not done much in terms of ensuring that the team won and that he is yet to play that defining innings that has won the game for the country. This is total rubbish, of course. It has become fashionable to quote Lara's innings against Australia to belittle Sachin. It proves nothing more than the fact that none of his innings was as dramatic as that innings of Lara and people conveniently forget innumerable great innings that he played for the country and that were significant in terms of the result of the match. I will shortly post a list of such innings. The article goes on to prattle a list of facts to make its point. These facts can prove only so much.

April 5, 2005

First two One-days.

Indians really played well in the first two one-days. In spite of the fact that both Sachin and Sourav, who had been for a while the back bone of Indian batting in ODIs, did not contribute at all we ended up scoring big scores. 356 in the second match is truly phenomenal. In fact, it is the third highest score ever for India and the highest score against Paksitan. Sehwag, Dhoni and Dravid stand out, of course, as the biggest performers.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni's innings is heartening and after some time a new face made a big impact in Indian cricket. His 148 is the highest score by an Indian against Pakistan in One-days and the 9th highest score by an Indians in ODIs. Here is the list of top 9 scores by Indians in ODIs and here is a list of top individual scores in ODIs by all countries. So as such it is a very commendable innings. Of course, it is too early to make any long term statements, but he is a very good prospect. Considering that he is just 24 and his wicket-keeping is good, one can expect much from him in the years to come.

Sehwag was majestic. I watched a one-day match completely after some time. I must say I am most impressed by Sehwag. He graduated from being just a big hitter to a very matured and still very exciting batsman. The way he sent Pakistani bowlers to all parts of the ground was simply breathtaking. He made 74 of 40 balls in the second match. If he stayed longer, he would surely have broken the record for the fastest ODI hundred by an Indian. Here is a list of fastest 100s in ODIs. Dravid was very solid as always. In both matches he played very crucial innings at the crucial junctures and was a major reason for the eventual scores.

Toss was a major factor and we were lucky to have batted first. But our bowling was decent. Particularly in the first match we were defending only 281 and Pakistan had a very good chance of getting there. In the second match also we bowled well and kept getting wickets regularly.

With 2-0 up, we should play really badly to lose this series now. If we continue this good form we will win it soon.

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