A random collection of essential reading matter:
#1. I used to think Groucho Marx’s letter to Warner Brothers was the gold standard for laugh out loud letter writing — till I chanced on David Thorne’s efforts. This weekend, I had occasion to add another name to the list — Aadisht Khanna, who was kind enough to cc me on a series of responses to people who had written in to him about his last column, on fighting the Love Jihad. Checked my email at what was not perhaps the best time to laugh out loud, and as a result got, from family members, some harsh words for inappropriate laughter. I’m hoping Aadisht will, one of these days, create a column or blog post around those who mail him, and his responses. In the meantime, here’s his latest: a treatise on how Lalit Modi, Amitabh Bachchan, Deepak Chopra and others can help save the Indian tiger. If laughter is the best medicine, AK is rapidly becoming my go-to physician.
#2. Another favorite columnist, Girish Sahane [the fact that many of my favorite writers are now doing columns for Yahoo is not exactly a coincidence], is insightful on the recent equation of homeopathy with witchcraft, which prompted several people and entities in India to go off like so many misguided missiles.
#3. Following on from the earlier post on Vinay Kumar and the BCCI’s chronic inability to manage its product better, here’s Gideon Haigh, with a good read on the subject.
The dearth is not simply of up-to-date information but of meaningful analysis, and not merely of how money is being raised but how it is being allocated. Indian observers are transfixed by the aforementioned $4.13 billion valuation ascribed to IPL by Brand Finance, a figure almost entirely meaningless: because the IPL is not for sale, the value is unrealisable. They remain perversely incurious about how the BCCI spends its vast resources. During their dispute with the Indian board in January, India’s taxation authorities came up with a figure of mysterious provenance but extraordinary implications: on the actual promotion of Indian cricket, the BCCI spends just 8% of revenues. Never mind Lalit Modi – why is this not a scandal?
#4. Chris Gayle sends Suleiman Benn off to the doghouse. The reason why, is brilliant — and an object lesson for other captains:
“I actually asked him to leave the field,’ Gayle told reporters after the game. “As a captain, it was a situation like you ask a particular bowler to do it and he said he never done certain things before. That why you have practice sessions, to practice. I asked him to simply bowl over the wicket. I don’t see why it should be a problem.
“He wasn’t up for it and if you’re not up for it, why give that particular bowler the ball. I just see it that he [Benn] doesn’t want to take part. It was my call to actually ask him to leave and tell him that he is not needed anymore.”
#5. Curioser and curioser: India apparently arm-twisted Sri Lanka into opposing the nomination of John Howard as the next ICC president. Speculating on the basis of a speculative story is bad policy, but still: how did this go? India opposed; India got those over whom it has some influence to oppose [where would Sri Lankan cricket be without these once a week ‘tournaments’ with India?]; India then had a meeting with Howard; India withdrew its opposition? Now I am even more curious to know what the quid pro quo was.
It isn’t as some believe, that he truly is the best man for the job. And it isn’t that he will be Test Cricket’s savior, the readiness of the board to jump into bed with the BCCI over the Champions League should tell you all you need to know about that. Nor is it that he will give a strong voice to Australia’s (once again, NZ’s concerns can be, urm…, well reviewed a little later) interests and counteract the increasingly powerful Asian bloc – I doubt anybody can make a significant impact on that, though there is no doubt that this is one of the reasons Howard has been selected. The real reason is that this is Cricket Australia’s rather lame effort to assert themselves on the international scene by taking a bold and provocative stand. It will win them no friends, renew enmity once dead with certain boards and eventually all they would have engineered is a nice fall flat on their face.
As mentioned before, I don’t honestly see what danger Howard would bring to the most dysfunctional of sporting bodies, the ICC, or for that matter how much his predecessor Sharad Pawar could either. If it were up to me, politicians would be kept a few astronomical units away from cricket administration, but all that said, when was the last time an ICC CEO made any real impact on the sport, positive or negative? And since when has the ICC not been torn by some rift or the other and the formation of these retarded blocs opposing each other for a variety of political reasons. And to be honest I’m sick of hearing about these bungling has-beens and their desperate efforts to grab the limelight. If the game was meant to be about the administrators there would have been deliberate efforts to make their actions more entertaining. Like in the IPL.
More reading matter, as and when I stumble on them. Found any interesting links? Cricket, or anything else at all? Please to share.