March 17, 2008

Mad Angles.

Mad Angles.

Appeared in the Hindustan Times on 25th March, 2008

Whilst shaving sharply, Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, can appear within: look your mirror-eye in the eye, slide that razor down in a single clean swoop, and you can be Sweeneyed too. It’s that look: Take no prisoners. Give no quarter. Whatever will be, will be…

The demon barber, often no different from the unrepentant twenty20 bully – be he from the ICL, IPL, English leagues or from 20,000 leagues under the sea. A Killer Whale of a time anyone?

They are at heart all the same: heartless. They will plunder bowlers as if they were wealthy Indian provinces from the medieval ages. Paradoxically, a T20 player’s innings is fleeting, almost butterfly-like, but far from pretty.

Most shots are on, barring the scoop over short fine leg. That comes with a lifetime of Misbah-ul-Haq’s baggage. But lighten up, it’s T20 - anything goes, and everything has to go. Even Misbah says so, for he’s had other baggage these days, from not being picked first shot at the T20 auctions to that “look, I can ballet” run-out versus India in a test. $125,000 later, is Misbah happy? Or do MBAs have their own twenty20 standards?

But what about cricket’s brand names: too standard? Why twenty20? Why not Six and out? Or Kamikaze. Or even Quickie. Take test cricket. Ok, don’t. Consider one-day cricket. Better than Fifty50? However, T20 sure has a ring to it - almost like T2 –terminator II, the avenging angel.

A vendetta ridden warrior prince, is that the prerequisite for a past master T20 player? Yuvraj Singh hurled Chris Broad abroad for 6X6, after Mascarenhas took him for 5X6. Result: Even better than any 4X4.

Yuvraj is by far, the world’s premier T20 player today. He’s also a very emotionally charged battery. A Duracel bunny, if you please–best left unplugged. Last thing the opposition needs is to get under his collar. Leave that to the lasses. In his neck of the woods, men are Mafiosi movie stars: with v for vendetta vitriol in their veins. They ride Bullets. Mess with them and you mess with the family.

But does every player need a little tickle that fires the imagination – and then backfires, smack into the tickler’s face? Try calling Sachin, elephant - in the wild or in a room. He’ll go smash two ODI finals into oblivion. More than twice the wash-load of a T20 game but very much the desired impact: Dho dala, or taken to the cleaners. A provocation has the desired effect in any language. So, don’t mind your language.

And still they’re talking about putting a lid on sledging, on the field, in the press. What will cricket’s song be- “when the saints go marching in” Err? Not quite human, is it?

In a way, T20 cricket has masala, solid Indian spice to it. Came from England, but so did chicken tikka masala - and you know what inspired that. T20 too, is inspired by the Indian landscape, of Bollywood’s tried, tested, and often testing revenge and relief theme. Yet it works. And almost always plays to packed houses spilleth over. Took Gavaskar to say that, “Hindi films are made by asses for masses”

T20, bees saal baad (20 years too late?), but in time to sign up at R.K. Studios. Another Karz? Om Shanti Om? It’s the remix. DJ is in the dugout. Item girls in the open.

Now, if T20 can somehow capture the energy of an edgy test, then we’re on to something. And though there are just too many nationalities adrift in both the Indian leagues – you’d be mistaken to think, it’s the United Nations; hope they don’t get as diplomatic.
Instead, get in the face, in the farce. Think WWF, hopefully without “the con of man”. Think “The Da Vinci Code” sans the Latin. Think that in spite of critical reviews, hits happen.



Aashrey said...

In fact, I didn't know that chicken tikka masala came from the UK. It's said to be Britain's true national dish. Woah.
T20 does have a nice ring to it.

Naked Cricket said...

F50 not the same, more like a suspect mutual fund

meraj said...

For many a poor orphan lad / The first square meal he ever had / Was a hot meat pie made out of his dad/From Sweeney Todd the Barber.

Aashrey said...

Mutual fund investments are subject to market risks.

The way T20 is going, F50's are probably like suspect mutual funds.

Naked Cricket said...

m - Pa Pie! (though not the sailorman)

aashrey - please (don't) read the offer document

Straight Point said...


please (don't) read the offer might gain something accidentally... ;-))

Naked Cricket said...

what's that something, SP?

Straight Point said...

name, fame, money ??

scorpicity said...

Ho Ho HO... that's a whole lot of movies in it... entertaining post true to the T20 format... cheers NC

Naked Cricket said...

scorpi, for 'morrow, add a "li" to the "ho".
chinese santa - ho-lee

Soulberry said...

Brilliant write up, Gaurav.

T20 will remain the Kulcha cholle kind of street food. One will not eat it every day but somebody will. It is an emergency food for some and a staple lunch for many. It has many configurations, minor blends differ in the overall taste, and the basic minimum use of satiating an unexpected hunger. There is little by way of nutrition and far less to grow from.

But it keeps you going till the next meal at home and you can put in another 8 hours of work till then.

T20 will get boring if overdone, but for every bored individual, there will be two ready to take his seat in the crowd. It will hav e a drive-in kind of viewership...the moolah raised at the toll gate will be useful for other things than just T20.

Can't wish it away now, and one shouldn't , as long as a test match is available on another channel to which we can switch if overcome by ennui.

Naked Cricket said...

Thank you soulberry.
Yeah, Channa chawal/channa kulcha@5 bucks is such a staple for a lotta office wallahs. Quite an analogy there.
Btw you made a telling comment on the NZL-Eng match (at Suave's); where are you watching?

Naked Cricket said...

Hi Guys,
This piece appeared in today's Hindustan Times. cheers!

Aashrey said...

Congrats nc.

Soulberry said...

Sorry Off Topic Gaurav - just wanted to tell you I left a short comment on the article you had writen in 2007. Thanks mate...those were the words i was using for two years now!

Will miss tomorrow and hopefully you all can describe in your beautiful ways his 400 or perhaps the first 500 in test cricket.

Naked Cricket said...

watched a post-match press con with Veeru; he was still in the zone. Strange sense of calm, but few smiles.
Personally, I'd like to watch RD smash 'em tomorrow.