On the smile we never saw

24 hours — almost — after that magical World Cup final, some thoughts on the moments that made the game, and on the smile we never got to see. In other words, my “match report”.

From the dept of ‘Hamam mein sab…’

The story, in brief: In 2014 the Delhi High Court ruled that both the BJP and the Congress were in violation of the FCRA when the parties accepted contributions from Vedanta, the London-based MNC.

The government appealed; the case is now in the Supreme Court. And meanwhile, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley slipped a clause into the latest Finance Bill by which he — with retrospective effect — changed the definition of ‘foreign companies’, so that Vedanta is now an ‘Indian company’. In other words, he changed legal definitions in order to make kosher what the court said is a criminal act.

The full details here, as reported in The Wire.

Keep this story and the implications in mind when you next wonder why the BJP, having made the many scams of the Congress its main election issue, is now dragging its collective feet on every single one of them.

From the dept of ‘now what to do’?

Maharashtra Chief Minister and BJP leader Devendra Fadnavis says those who do not chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ should leave the country.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat says no one should be forced to say “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.

Smriti Irani wants the national flag to be flown “prominently and proudly” at all universities in order to instil the spirit of nationalism.

The RSS number two Bhaiyyaji Joshi is ambivalent about the tiranga and makes the case for the bhagwa dhwaj — and also for Vande Mataram as opposed to Jana Gana Mana.

Now I am confused. And judging by all these remarks, so are the nationalists.

PS: Today is the big game: West Indies and England, in the final of the World T20 Cup. See you on Twitter for that one. In passing, here is the post-semifinal analysis I did for the Huffington Post a couple of days ago.

The irony of India’s batting effort was that through every phase of the game, we outperformed our par for this tournament. During the power plays, India has averaged 5.7. In this game, it was 9.1. In the mid overs (7-15), we averaged 6.8
coming into this game. Here, we averaged 8. At the death, we average 9. Here, it was 13. By any yardstick, this was our best batting performance in the tournament. Yet, the number that will hover over any post-mortem is “8” – the number of batting resources left unused.

From the dept of hahahaha

Tomorrow, HRD Minister Smriti Irani will release the results of a government survey on top universities. The survey will say that India’s two best universities are JNU and Hyderabad University.

You could wiggle out of that one by suggesting that surveys are always subjective, except that its findings are validated by the National Institutions Ranking Framework — a body created by Ms Irani’s ministry last year.

The date of the survey is not — unfortunately for the “nest of anti-nationals who engage in politics and do not study” brigade — April 1.

Open thread

Much to write about, folks, but also much to deal with in that space we call real life. So off this for a bit; hopefully back later this evening.

Meanwhile, open thread — for you to bring up whatever caught your eye. See you soon.

‘The first Virat Kohli’

That is how Ramesh Srivats assessed Virat Kohli’s place in the pantheon, in response to a reader question on whether VK is the next SRT: “He is the first Virat”.

The full “beer pe baashan” video above. (Okay, not “full” — the full version of conversations that take place when we get down to beer sessions is strictly NSFW. Oh, and apologies for the delay — things got unexpectedly undone).

In a piece as immaculately paced as the innings it celebrates, Siddharth Vaidhyanathan cuts to the beating heart of a Kohli special. By the end of it, Sid says, the real shock of what was accomplished is that it came as no shock at all.

That sense of inevitability is what kept Ramesh Srivats and I going over several more beers after we were done recording the latest episode of Gyandromeda, above. That, and the conundrum of the “thinking cricketer”.

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Rage of Angels

The best shot that Virat Kohli played this Sunday came after the match.

As he coped with the aftertaste of adrenalin, and as adoring teammates, past greats and present opponents took to social media to exhaust their stock of superlatives, Kohli’s first thought was this:

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