Tag Archives: BCCI

IPL and the Shit by the Pool Theory

The recent sting operation by India TV exposed five cricketers who were caught asking for money to bowl no-balls. It’s not as if the earth stopped moving after watching the video (Skip the bullshit, the real action starts at 8:08)

Before anything else, let me make it clear that I don’t take sting operations very seriously. It’s a cheap trick to play, and there is no guarantee that the person is speaking the truth in the first place. Now, if you take Shakti Kapoor, who has spent 15 years of his life playing lecherous characters, get him drunk, and put a hot woman in front of him, obviously he’ll say that the entire industry engages in casting couch. What did they expect? He’ll say “Nahi, beti. Aise kaam nahi karte. Ghar jaake so jao!” ?? In fact, my respect grew for Shakti Kapoor because he didn’t pounce on the girl right away.

Now, if Shalabh Srivastav has to convince the ‘stinger’ to get some money, he has to act cool and nonchalant about it, saying that everyone does it. I am not saying that the IPL is clean as Chidambaram’s chit, just that you can’t take someone’s words seriously when they’re trying to impress someone else.

Looking back, have the owners made an ‘ass’ of themselves??

And also, the IPL was never known to be a fully transparent organisation. Since its inception, unlisted companies with shady backgrounds have been a part of it. Take for example the case of Modi’s kin having stakes in many of the franchises. Or the rules being bent for RCB to buy Chris Gayle in the middle of the 4th season, where he went on to slam his team into the finals. Or how the BCCI is the only organisation where politicians from every major political party work together for the betterment of the game. Or simply how Laxman Sivaramakrishnan is allowed to commentate when he clearly is less interesting than a Class 8 Chemistry teacher.

When the IPL became the money-spinning monster that it is now, many of the veteran sages of the game (Shastri, Gavaskar) had said that the league would primarily benefit domestic players. One cannot deny that salaries have shot up. While a domestic player would earn 450 rupees per day in the 90s, he earns 35,000 per day of a domestic test match. Compare that to the $4.13 billion it earns (figures of 2010) yearly, and it is chickenfeed. The BCCI shares 26% of its profits with the players, the major chunk of it goes to its bigger stars.

Now, to come to the Shit by the Pool theory. Suppose you went to swim in a pool. After a lap, you stop to take rest and notice that there is some pigeon droppings by the side of the pool. Do you feel happy that the shit is not inside the pool you’re swimming in? Or would you assume that there might be lots of shit in the pool too?

Everyone knows that the IPL is a murky field. If India TV wanted to do some serious journalism, they should have asked how people like Vilasrao Deshmukh and Arun Jaitley have such a strong hold over the BCCI? How can the owner of one of the teams be the President of the BCCI? Why does the BCCI not open its accounts for scrutiny under the RTI? Give us that, and then we’ll bother. What’s the point of faaltu mein ruining the careers of five players we haven’t even heard of?

Slowly but surely, this news will pass. Sidhu will say something like “Oye, Guru! Pride is like an underwear. Once there are holes, you cannot wear it.” The Sports Minister will make a little fuss about it. India TV will play the video till the 2014 General Elections.

By the way, aaj kiska match hai?

The Most Annoying Indian Commentators

Maninder Singh: Maninder Singh was signed by Doordarshan as a part of their historic show – Fourth Umpire. Between ads of Mysore Sandal Soap and Dandi Namak, Maninder Singh peppered the match with his own wit and understanding of the game.

He’s a nice chap and all that. Friendly, smiling, and safely neutral. He does not have the balls of Navjyot Singh Sidhu, nor any radical suggestion. But he has the one outstanding quality that is required of a Doordarshan commentator – boredom.

Maninder Singh can make Inception seem like Shaadi No.1. Picking out the most obvious and boring points in every department of the game, Maninder Singh was instrumental in maintaining the brand and image of Doordarshan.

Then he got caught doing cocaine.

Atul Wassan: It is said you don’t have to enter the ditch to see if it is dirty. Atul Wassan follows the same principle when it comes to commentary. Having played for India for a full year, Atul Wassan uses all his acumen and understanding of the game to criticize everything – from Rahul Dravid’s footwork, to Dhoni’s follow through.

What makes Atul Wassan a handy commentator is his ability to easily shift from English to Hindi – and successfully transform the most exciting match into a drab affair, but easily understood by the entire nation.

Arun Lal: is the only one to have truly crossed over from Fourth Umpire to the Big League. Arun Lal can be regularly found pissing off firang commentators, and making them smile with his jokes, after he has had a hearty laugh at them himself.

Arun Lal is also heard in the IPL, where he displays extremely creative usage of terms like Karbonn Kamaal Catch and DLF Maximum. Sample this.

“The minimum they need is a DLF maximum. HAHAHAHA

Kindly note the clever juxtaposition of the word minimum next to the word maximum. Very very clever. Arun Lal truly is dharti ka laal.

Ravi Shastri: I know many of you will be shocked to find Shastri in the same list as Maninder Singh and Arun Lal. But fact is, Ravi Shastri is the Jackie Shroff of cricket commentary. Very popular at one time, and a rambling, has-been at present, Shastri’s booming voice has become as pleasant to the ears as the Nokia ringtone.

He says the same thing over and over again. “That’s just what the doctor ordered. He knew exactly what he was doing. That’s gone to the boundary like a bullet. Clean as a whistle. Lofted in the air, high and mighty.” It is a barrage of similies, proverbs, one-liners and comparisions that are as old as the hills.

The revelation that Shastri and Gavaskar are paid by the BCCI to air the views of the board wasn’t shocking to me at all. On some days, Shastri has this distinct, drunk look on his face, you wonder if he took one large swig and sat down in the commentary box.

The icing on the cake was the toss of the World Cup final. MS spins the coin, and this is when the commentator should announce what was called. Shastri has no clue what’s going on, and then after everything is over, turns to the camera and says,

“We will do this again. The problem? The noise”, he says, pointing to his ear.

I was a tad disappointed him and Gavaskar didn’t break into the naagin dance after the World Cup was over.

One of those days when Shastris not Sobers! 😉

Sunil Gavaskar: The Holy Man of cricket, the God under whom every Indian cricketer, critic and fan is supposed to bow down and pray. Gavaskar has an opinion on everything, even when it is not related to Indian cricket. Not that it’s a bad thing.

The only problem is that he makes sure everyone around him knows what he feels, and agrees with him. Watching him have a go at the Australians is fun, but only for five minutes. After that, it is a preachy sermon on ethics and values, and how cricket has been degenerated because of T-20, and ethics aren’t a part of cricket anymore.

Here, I would like to point out two incidents. One, the 1980 Australian tour, where on being given out, Sunil Gavaskar wasn’t very pleased. It’s funny to see him lecturing on the need to be ‘walk’ when judged ‘out’. Well, walk he did. Only, he took his non-striker along with him, and refused to play the match. Not very ethical, are we?

The second grudge I have against Gavaskar is his criticism of T20. He very smartly avoids saying the word ‘IPL’ in his rants, but serves along with Shastri as part of the IPL’s Governing Council. Why not quit that job and work towards promoting Test cricket? Or better still, why not just accept the money and shut the hell up?

It’s this hypocrisy that makes me puke.

Gavaskar, Shastri and Bhogle share inside jokes and giggle around, screw the match and the audience. Coz apart from the regular match fees, they are being paid 3 crores to pass the BCCI’s word. Who gives a fuck?

According to a news report last month, it was reported that “the two respected opinion makers have been contracted by the BCCI for an annual fee of Rs 3.6 crore each to spread the Board’s gospel – on issues such as UDRS, IPL, or umpiring decisions that may be adverse to Indian interests.”

A “senior BCCI member” is quoted as saying “They cannot say anything that goes against the policy or interests of the Board,” A “top BCCI official” is also quoted saying “Yes, both Shastri and Gavaskar are employed with the Board as commentators. We tell the TV companies that they have to take them on board as our official commentators,”

If only they asked the audiences what we thought of their opinions!

Harsha Bhogle: Probably the most disappointing of the lot is our man Harsha Bhogle. For many years, Harsha Bhogle was our man in the box. He was not a cricketer, but had a fair understanding of the game, and made interesting conversations with the experts. He brought in views that spectators feel, and showed that it is possible to understand the game without being old, or boring.

But then, he got himself a hair transplant. For me, that was selling out.

Ever since, Harsha Bhogle is all over. He has written books on cricket, on success, on winning, and picking one’s nose. Anything you need to know, Mr. Bhogle will be there to tell you. He started writing articles on how other sports can catch up with cricket, and how Team India is the prime example of leadership skills. He sold tea, and gyaan, and advice, and started sounding exactly like Shastri and Gavaskar.

Now, after two decades, I think it is time for Shastri, Gavaskar and Bhogle to retire. There isn’t anything new or original they say anyway. And the BCCI could save 7.2 crores a year, and use it judiciously for other things that have long been pending.

Like that surgery for Shreesanth at NIMHANS.

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(PS: I know many of you will demand for Sidhu to be put on the list. But may I gently remind you that Sidhu is not just a commentator. He is a laughter critic, an MP, and an entrant into Bigg Boss. Such varied interests transcend the realms of a mere commentator, and deserve special mention. Also, I don’t wish to meet Sidhu at a parking lot!)