India v Australia Day 5

(This was written for FirstPost before start of play on the final day)

677 runs and 22 wickets in 360 overs over four days; eight of the first 20 wickets to those quick bowlers who were at peak levels of skill; control of the game shifting from one team to another at least once every day, often once per session — the first four days of this Test have been a template for what Test cricket at its best is supposed to be about.

If pitches could sue for libel, the JSCA would get millions without the jury leaving the box. “Rolled mud”? “Nothing like we have ever seen before”? Really?

The final day begins with one result — the draw — possible; another — an Indian win — probable. And odd as it may seem, Australia’s fate is entirely in its own hands — not in the pitch, not in the hands of the Indian bowlers and, while we are on the subject, not in the vagaries of DRS reviews that seem to be dominating conversations to an unwarranted degree.

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On Harsha Bhogle

“Even in regard to cricket commentary, games organized by the BCCI have a contractual condition that there can be no criticism of the BCCI or its selection process, thereby curtailing an exercise of free speech. Objective commentary ought to be permitted about everything connected to the match, allowing the commentators to express themselves freely and objectively. “

Brevity was the soul of the latest news item from the cricket world:  commentator Harsha Bhogle had been unceremoniously axed from the ongoing 9th edition of the Indian Premier League.

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Trump, Modi and the “preference cascade”

If this is true, then in both America and India, beneath the veneer of sophisticated political discourse, there lies a primal core that cares about more basic things, like race and identity and so on. In fact, maybe the exact same impulse explains both Trump and Modi: the instinctive attraction for a strong leader who will lead our tribe well and shit on all others.

That clip from a beautifully articulated Amit Varma piece on the “preference cascade” as it plays out in realpolitik.

Manu Joseph on Kanhaiya Kumar

Here, Manu Joseph is saying something. I haven’t quite figured out what — but it is something.

“That hope is beginning to die”

The quote above from Tavleen Singh, veteran journalist and author of Darbar.

With apologies to Indian Express for an overlong clip, here is Singh’s set-up:

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Reading list

#1. A million mutinies are about to erupt now, says Swarajya. And concludes its exhaustive catalog of flashpoints — all valid, and worth a read – with some advice for the prime minister. The coda:

By the end of his term, Modi will learn that the fiscal deficit or jihadi terror are not his worst nightmares. Indian society is in churn, and this needs leadership of the highest order at every level. Modi needs to ride this wave, not try to duck it. Or else he could become a mere footnote in history – like his predecessor.

#2. From Haryana, this report. Which again confirms something that is sick and ugly about contemporary society — to wit, that you can wrap yourself up in a flag, or a cause, or both, and indulge your most perverse desires to your heart’s content. And, corollary, that in such situations the police will side more often with the perpetrators than with the victims:

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A thought for today

“The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself…  Almost inevitably, he comes to the conclusion that the government he lives under is dishonest, insane and intolerable.”

That, from HL Mencken (1880-1956), journalist, fierce defender of personal liberty and critic of the establishment. A lot of what he wrote seems particularly apt for the age — not just India, but also for the larger world around us. More samples:

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