Hum draw karenge Test match ek din…

A new psychologist has joined the Indian cricket team, who has given a new theme song to the players to get them out of the current mess they are in…

Please sing to the tune of Hum honge kamyab

Hum draw karenge Test match,
Hum draw karenge Test match,
Hum draw karenge Test match ek din,
Ho ho ho mann main hai Vishwas,
Poora hai vishwas,
Hum draw karenge Test match ek din.

Chalega match paancho din,
Chalega match paancho din,
Chalega match paancho din ek din,
Ho ho ho mann main hai vishwas,
Poora hai vishwas,
Chalega match paancho din ek din.

Hamare wickets nahin girenge saath saath,
Hamare wickets nahin girenge saath saath,
Hamare wickets nahin girenge saath saath ek din,
Ho ho ho mann main hai vishwas,
Poora hai vishwas,
Hamare wicket nahin girenge saath saath.

Nahi darr kisi foreign pitch ka,
Nahi bhay kisi pace bowler ka
Nahi darr na bhay ek din,
Ho ho ho mann main hai vishwas,
Poora hai vishwas,
Nahi darr na bhay ek din.

This Spoof by Sunil Rajguru

The way we see Sachin…

Sachin enters the pitch.
Commentator: And this is the 50,000th time Sachin is entering a cricket pitch!

Sachin waits at the non-strikers end looking at Sehwag.
Commentator: And this is the 250th time Sachin is at the non-striker’s end!

Sehwag hits the ball and Sachin runs.
Commentator: And this is the 15,000th time Sachin is running a run for his partner.

Sachin plays a dot ball.
Commentator: And this is the 20,000th dot ball Sachin has played in his life!

Sachin hits a 4.
Commentator: And this is his 2000th ODI 4 and 3000th overall!

Sachin takes a single.
Commentator: And this is his 5000th single, what a record! What a player!

Sachin sips water from a bottle.
Commentator: And my statistician has just informed me that Sachin has just completed 20 years, 20 weeks, 20 days, 20 hours and 20 minutes of his international career! Wow! Gush!

Sehwag hits a 6.
Second Commentator: And what a glorious shot! Whenever…
Our original commentator cutting him short: …Sachin plays alongside him, Sehwag plays his best! What an inspirational player Sachin is!


Moral of the story: Most surveys will show Sachin Tendulkar to be the greatest cricketer of all time. But there are other not so invisible players who do great deeds and a team’s victories are greater than the sum of all records.

© Sunil Rajguru

How I got hooked to cricket…

New Delhi 1971. The whole neighbourhood had gathered for my naming ceremony. My father’s side seemed to have a great fascination for Ps. My grandfather’s name was Pundlikrao. My father’s is Pralhad and sister Pratibha. I was to be called Prakash, but the God of Cricket had other ideas.

While the pandit was busy chanting shlokas, one neighbour was in a faraway land. In England, to be precise. India’s new star was batting. Suddenly the neighbour put his transistor down and yelled, “Gavaskar has scored a half-century! Gavaskar has scored a half-century!” Soon the baby was forgotten and there was an atmosphere of jubilation all around. My neighbour walked to my mother and said, “Bhabhiji, now you have to name your son Sunil. Who knows, he might open the batting for the Indian team one day.” Protests were useless and my parents relented. My father is a great cricket fanatic, but little could he have guessed that my skills would be so rock bottom that I wouldn’t even make it to the B team of my hostel dormitory (which had only 26 inmates in the first place). But then a man lives on hope. At any rate, I was saved from having the same initials as my father.

At the age of six, my father got transferred to London. England is a country whose national game is cricket, but national craze football. Cricket was alien to me. Football was home and it seemed the easiest, simplest and greatest of all games.

One Sunday, I saw my father glued to the TV for hours. It was an India-England Test match. I decided to sit down and watch, much to the delight of my father. I sat and sat and sat and sat… Nothing seemed to be happening. A man would throw the ball. Another would block it with the bat. A third would pick it up and give it back to the first. After six balls they would change ends (sometimes you do need an ad break to make things exciting) and repeat the monotony. An occasional “run” would bring about some action. Could this actually be a game? This seemed more like a brilliant cure for insomnia. I kept asking my father for details, but he kept saying, “Sshhk, don’t disturb!” “Disturb!” I muttered to myself, “What is there to disturb? There’s nothing happening in the first place!” I got up and went. My father didn’t even notice.

“What a weird game! Give me a football any day,” I thought to myself, “And I always thought my father was such a sane man!”

Then we returned to India: A country whose national game is hockey, but national craze cricket. So I said, “Let me give a good shot at this game.” I found that I couldn’t bat (even touching the ball was a monumental task), couldn’t bowl (the wide is my all-time favourite delivery) and couldn’t field (falling was much easier than stopping the ball). My friends found the whole story of my naming ceremony hilarious. So I slowly lost interest.

Then India won the World Cup in 1983. Everything changed forever.

I thought everyone had gone mad. This seemed to be India’s greatest event of the year, maybe even the decade. There must be something to it. And we were World Champions after all! So I decided to find out what it was all about. (Off the field this time) I started reading books on rules and followed newspaper reports. I watched matches and discussed them. The complexity of the game started fascinating me. Like millions of others, I became hooked.

I think two things attracted me to cricket. The first is my fascination for numbers, statistics and co-incidences. I think you’ll agree that no other game in the world can offer such a rich scope for figures. Secondly, at my heart I am a chauvinist. For me it’s either India or bust. The Indian football team doesn’t even participate in world cups. I can’t even remotely imagine an Indian challenging Roger Federer and winning Wimbledon. We don’t even exist in the scheme of things of most games on the planet. Where does that leave you? Abinav Bindra’s feat was great, but watching shooting doesn’t take too much of your time. Cricket is the only game where you feel you can rule the world and kill all your spare time to boot.

It affects even those people who don’t watch. My classmate gave one such example. It was Reliance Cup 1987 time. My friend and his father were going through a crowded market. Suddenly the whole place went berserk. There was clapping, shouting and cheering all around. A man came out of the shop screaming, “Chetan Sharma’s got a hat-trick! Chetan Sharma’s got a hat-trick!” Much to my friend’s surprise, his father got carried away and joined the group of revelers. He shouted “A hat-trick for Chetan Sharma,” and danced with the crowd (even on one leg at times, much to the shock of my friend.)

When the din died down, my friend’s father left everyone speechless when he asked, “Who is Chetan Sharma? What’s a hat-trick? And what’s going on?”


The only negative was that by the time I reached college, cricket began to rule my moods. A match day was greater than my birthday. A Test match rest day was unresting. (Thank God they abolished those) If India lost, I was in the pits. A victory and the world suddenly seemed a beautiful place. When we lost to Pakistan for the umpteenth time in Sharjah days, I punched the wall so hard that I fractured my knuckles. I stopped watching cricket for a few years. (Javed Miandad’s last ball six was still vivid in my mind) When I started watching again, match fixing happened. So I stopped watching for a few more years. Actually this trend started when Gavaskar retired and I didn’t watch the subsequent Test matches played by India.

Then I realized that such an extreme approach doesn’t work, especially when one is working and has a wife and kid. The difference in time zones of various cricket playing countries doesn’t help sleep and moods either. So my mantra is: As long as India is winning, enjoy it to the maximum while it lasts. When India is losing, shut off. Totally. Don’t watch the matches or news channels. Don’t read reports and don’t waste your breath discussing it all the time. It’s not worth it and there’s so much to do in our lives today, use the spare time wisely. After all Ganguly, Dravid and Kumble all gave it their best shots. And despite everything, Dhoni is still the best man for the job. But his life depends on cricket while mine doesn’t. That puts a lot of things in perspective.

Thanks to this philosophy, I must say that I enjoy cricket more nowadays than in the past.

T20 World Cup? What T20 World Cup? All I know is that the India-West Indies series begins on June 26. If we lose that, then there’s always the ICC Champions Trophy in September. If we lose that, then there’s always…

Much like that famous line in Casablanca: We’ll always have Lord’s, 1983 and Johannesburg, 2007.

© Sunil Rajguru

5 reasons why India exited T20 WC 2009 early…

1. Face it guys, we were outmaneuvered

Opposition teams have always been trying to find chinks in our armour and this time they succeeded with the short ball.
a. Their bowlers (West Indies and England) bounced our batsmen out of the tournament.
b. Our bowlers couldn’t do the same.
We couldn’t adjust to the English conditions despite the fact that there were four games played before the Super 8s. In the batting in the two crucial matches of the Super 8s, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina and Ravindra Jadeja were the biggest failures and they also happen to be the most inexperienced. We have to give credit to West Indies and England bowlers. They did a good job, with these three in particular.
On this count, Kirstein and Dhoni take the blame.

2. The captain is going through a bad patch

Dhoni will always be remembered as the man who won the inaugural T20 World Cup. He has played against and won one-day series with 5 of the Top 8 countries (South Africa aur Windies baaki hain). Cut him some slack. He got it wrong this time.
a. His poor batting form affected the team.
b. He made strategic errors vis a vis team selection and batting orders. But he had the grace to admit his mistakes in public. It takes a lot of courage to do that. It also means you’re willing to change.
Great captains Ganguly, Dravid and Kumble could not get out of their slumps and had to let go of the captaincy. Lovers of Indian cricket should pray that Dhoni gets his devastating form back fast, or else we’re in real trouble.

3. IPL fatigued our top players

Dhoni, Sehwag and Zaheer looked totally jaded after IPL2. And this showed in the World Cup. IPL2 was too close to WC for comfort. A stopover in South Africa on the way to England doesn’t exactly freshen matters. For this the BCCI and Modi should take the blame. If you try to kill the Golden Goose to get all the Golden Eggs in one day, then you’ll be left with absolutely nothing. As it is, the international schedule is getting more and more grueling and now this IPL comes along (no matter how great it is).

4. The relentless media badgering affected team morale

Sehwag was injured and couldn’t participate in the whole tournament. It should have ended there. Non-stop harping of a captain-vice captain rift will never help matters. Think over it. No international team could rock Captain Cool, but the Indian media finally succeeded angering the Indian captain and that too in the middle of a World Cup!
Team morale was down, there’s no doubt about that. We lost to England by 3 runs. With South Africa, we crashed from 55-1 to 118-8. That’s the sign of a team extremely low on confidence.

5. Periodic crashes are a way of life in Indian cricket

From 1968-71 we won on the foreign soils of World Champions West Indies, tough New Zealand and (at that time world beaters) England. But we had to wait 15 years for a repeat.
From 1983-85 we won all the major ODI tournaments with ease: the World Cup, mini World Cup, inaugural Sharjah Cup and the Asia Cup. But we totally lost steam after that for no rhyme or reason.
In the nineties, we were invincible in home Tests. We won the Hero Cup, kicked the Aussies in Sharjah in 1998 and chased 300 plus in a final with Pakistan. Then along came the match fixing scandal.
Ganguly proved to be the best captain ever, but he still went down in a quagmire. Dravid won foreign series in West Indies and England, did some record chasing and thrashed opponents. Even he couldn’t last.
Dhoni was going through too much of a dream run and like a crash in the booming economy, the Indian cricket team also came down to earth.
Now is the phase of rebuilding again. What do you do? Give the captaincy to Yuvraj or Sehwag? Somehow I don’t think that’s going to work. Dhoni is still the best man for the job. He has handled pressure well for two years (this tournament was definitely a blip) and he’s still innovative and captain courageous.

Parting Shot

By the 2007 ODI World Cup, international teams had figured out Dhoni the six-hitting batsman and he fell. Coincidentally the team also crashed out. But he reinvented himself and became the world’s number one batsmen.
In the 2009 T20 World Cup, international teams figured out Dhoni the Mr Cool captain and he fell. Coincidentally the team crashed again. Now he has to reinvent himself again and become the world’s number one captain.
In the last 3-4 years, the centre of gravity of the team has shifted from Tendulkar to Dhoni. Our fortunes depend on him now. He needs all the support to reinvent Team India. Knowing the fighter that Dhoni is, he’ll definitely do it, if left alone and given the freedom. 2011 will be a big year for India. Forget 2007 T20 WC. It’s dead.

© Sunil Rajguru

Is there life after cricket?

cricket-166794_1280Come the World Cup and a cricket-crazy nation like India is bound to go berserk. Now, with the World Cup reaching its climax, life’s a hollow emptiness without the willow. Nero might have fiddled while Rome was burning, but no one is going to budge from the TV room while cricket is being played.

Newspapers and magazines write cricket. Companies and business establishments think cricket. The TV buffs see nothing but cricket. And what about the cricket nuts? They see cricket, think cricket, talk cricket, walk cricket, eat cricket, sleep cricket and dream cricket. In fact, they breathe cricket and live cricket. Parks and open spaces are filled with crowds and heated debates. If there is anything mightier than the bat, it is the ball. Restaurants resonate with the names of cricket stars and offices reverberate with endless figures, statistics, numbers, overs, runs and matches.

Azhar doesn’t know a thing about field placing. Ask the bloke at the grocery store, he knows all that there is to know. Gooch doesn’t know what’s in store for him; the chap behind the restaurant counter smugly knows all. Shastri can’t understand what’s going wrong with him. The pan-patti wala can comprehend that quite easily. “Scindia can’t even select a team of the Nineties; I could choose one for the 21st century!”

“All this — and much more;
at your local grocery store.”

One ice-cream shop in Fraser Town proudly offers a 5 per cent discount the day India wins a match. Another shop in the same locality gives a similar discount when any ‘fan’ wants to talk to a ‘star’ Down Under. One innovative service centre on Langford Road declares in the paper” “Watch the World Cup live in AC comfort while you buy our tyres or get your wheel balancing, wheel alignment and engine tune up,” and hence the newspapers seem to be filled with little else, with most dailies devoting one full page to the pyjama game. Letters to the Editor are numerous on the rights and wrongs committed on and off the field. “Ah! Azhar could learn a few things from me!” Everyone seems to think.

Can companies fall far behind? Kapil and Tendulkar prefer Boost while Manjrekar prefer Complan. From Complan boy and Complan girl to Complan star. Boy, you’ve come a long way. However, Kambli would settle for something new from Nestle. Power might be an old favourite and Action the official for the Indian squad in the World Cup, but Prabhakar clearly prefers Status from Lakhani.

Eveready changes its tune from ‘Give me red!’ to ‘Give them power’ ‘n ‘Charge ‘em up’, a scheme to courier messages to the Indian team Down Under with an autographed acknowledgement in return.
Another ad in the paper screams:
“Listen to Sunil Gavaskar’s views on India’s chances in the World Cup, call…”

The magazines too leave no stone unturned with the fullest tournament coverage and all sorts of ‘Guess who?’ contests. Bush is back yet again with its great catches, hooking everyone from Tom Alter to Kabir Bedi.

As one commentator keeps on saying in every match; “It’s all happening here.” Well, it’s all happening here too!

With the latest satellite TV witnessing a full boom, cricket maniacs shouted, fretted, fumed, and clamoured in the latter part of February to get their connections fitted on time, from the ‘friendly neighbourhood Star-man’, who instantly has become a superhero overnight. For in Star TV lies salvation from frustrating blanks like ‘Sorry for the interruption’ and ‘Break in satellite link is regretted’, hallmark of Doordarshan, India Ltd.

Come a win and jubilations and fairy lights all over, with merrymaking galore, but come a loss and gloom casts it pale shadow over the country. A newly married youth commits suicide in Surat “in total despair and frustration following India’s defeat.”

However, the cricket fanatics of this nation are always on the hunt for a scapegoat and Ravi J. Shastri, erstwhile ‘Champion of champions’ fits the bill perfectly. He is now ‘Slowcoach of slowcoaches’ and hence must go. Residents of Girgaum, Bombay, garland his cutout with chappal malas. The nation proves that it can raise any mortal to the pedestal of demi-God and bring him back down to earth with equal ease. Effigies of Shastri are burnt with the same zeal and enthusiasm and hatred as one would set ablaze dummies of political leaders.

Posters in Malleswaram advise Scindia to do away with Shastri. Four enterprising youths on two motorbikes ride through Bangalore with posters of ‘Shastri Down Down’ to make their point. Manmohan’s budget wouldn’t budge them. The Punjab polls won’t interest them. Bush’s pre-election jitters couldn’t shake them. Russia’s latest update can’t affect them. Shastri’s performance, however, is enough to give them sleepless nights and he must go.

Another cricket crazy nation appears to be South Africa, fresh after 20 years in the wilderness. Someone suggested that F.W. De Clerk hold his referendum on the day of the S. Africa-Australia tie as very few people would turn up to say no! One Cabinet Minister said at the beginning of a press conference, “Let’s keep this short, I want to get back to the commentary.” With the news of its victory over Australia, South Africa virtually came to a halt. Financial markets went on hold and radio stations broke into their normal programmes to announce the victory. Even the president himself was interrupted from a weekly Cabinet meeting, which he stopped and then sent a telegram, a congratulatory message to the team.

With the countdown to the World Cup final beginning, the question everyone must be asking is; “Is there life after cricket?”

(This article appeared in Deccan Herald newspaper on March 23, 1992)