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India’s Victory, Cricket Capitalism, and the Death of Fast Bowling by Sajid Huq

March 31, 2011

Sajid Huq

Of course, like most avid cricket fans, I am a big fan of Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, and even Zaheer Khan. I even enjoy the IPL, and very aware that the Indian team is at least as good as the Sri Lankan team, regardless of who wins on Saturday. It’s a tight call, hence no prediction this time. The India-Pak game was far easier to predict.

To be fair, the Indian team deserves to win the World Cup though because of their consistency in overseas and home tours in 2010. However, there are some negative unintended consequences to a victory by Indians on Saturday, April 2nd, in Mumbai’s Wankhede stadium.

Cricket Capitalism will become larger, to the extent that it may even threaten cricket as we know it. For starters, the IPL will have vindicated itself not only for the commerce it generates, but also for generating the next generation of Indian cricketers.

The powers-that-be will deem the IPL to be a good filter for Ranji players to prove their shot-making and temperament. They will be on the lookout for more Suresh Rainas, Yusuf Pathans, and Munaf Patels.

Given that is has vindicated itself for its ability to generate commerce, advertising revenues, and so forth – the IPL will only feed off an Indian World Cup triumph, and become bigger. There will be more franchices, more teams, more foreign players, more games, more celebrity ownership, and more Bollywoodization.

In the IPL, since Indian players predominate, the “Indian style” of cricket will catch on more and more. In the bowling department, this will simply mean the death of traditonal fast bowling (And no Brett Lee’s success in all forms of the game is not a rule, it’s an exception). Read more…

An India-Pakistan match to forget by Sajid Huq

March 30, 2011

To be frank, this was an ugly cricket match. The highest scores from India and Pakistan, Tendulkar and Misbah, both playing innings best described as forgettable. Tendulkar edged and nicked his way to an 85, offering as many as four clear chances. Misbah played almost as if he was determined to stay not out and salvage some sort of an average from the tournament.

But it was predictable.  I wrote how India was expected to outclass Pakistan although I didn’t imagine it would be such a poor game of cricket.

To be sure, Pakistan was unlucky on account of dropped catches. But they also witnessed a one-off inspired bowling performance from Riaz, who surpassed all expectations. And it is one thing to blame luck for dropped chances, but another when the team in question does it too often.

India looks good. They may win the contest. But I am afraid this team is not the all-round force of nature one has come to expect from the best teams in the world – as was the case with the last two World Cup winning Aussie teams.

All said and done, India, may the force be with you.

Why the India vs Pakistan World Cup Semifinal will belie they Hype – Sajid Huq

March 28, 2011

What will happen day after tomorrow – as I argued in my World Cup 2011 India Pakistan semifinal analysis – is that Pakistan will get a mauling.

Shahid Afridi’s “green storm” (as some Pak bloggers have called it) will come short. There is no way – I have argued in this piece that Pakistan’s mix of Afridi’s fast-ish leg breaks, Ajmal’s skill, or Gul’s guile – will enjoy the sort of success they have against more brittle opposition (with only Sri Lanka being the exception).

The batters up the India order can play pace as well as anyone else on Indian tracks. The middle order is in fine nick and can milk any spinner – and a man like Dhoni is not down for too long – so expect him to fire if needed.

Then there of course, is the wiley Zaheer, whose pace pales in comparison to his Pakistani counterparts, but has more than his share of astuteness.

To not ignore the Pak batters, the Akmals are handy and will contribute on Wednesday, as may either Misbah or Yunus, and certainly Razzak. But in the overall scheme of things, they will not be able to bat their way to victory.

This, of course, is all in fun. If I eat my words on Wednesday – at least we will have a contest on our hands!

Hollywood Graduates to Sufism

July 12, 2009

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Wanderer, idolater, worshiper of fire,
Come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times,
Come, and come yet again.
Ours is not a caravan of despair.
~Rumi

I am very excited about this.  Daniel Day-Lewis and Al Pacino to star in a Muzaffar Ali (of Umrao Jaan fame) biopic on the Great Master. Read here.

Slain Tamil Tigers leader Photos

May 23, 2009

Just-released family fotos of the slain Tamil Tigers leader Prabhakaran. Hope it’s okay to be touched by t4ee9376140d2c3fd111d3d4993bad3274ee973c540d2c3fd2bd26c4a00562e87hese.

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The Perfect Lounge

May 20, 2009

Outdoors, under a speckled sky, beside a gentle stream with a transparent floor over the water. Red lanterns and fireflies. Large wooden square tables surrounded by cushions in dark velvet. Bowls of freshly cut fruit and great big jars of colorful cocktails. Live musicians and performers. Cats lazying around… Open to all.

In Other Rooms, Other Stories

April 27, 2009

Because rooms are like nations.

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