Labels: In-flight cricket
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I had just completed my book "Out of My Comfort Zone" last year, and I thought a foreword penned by a cricketer would add to the book. I also decided that it should ideally be by an opposition player, as I felt that any Australian would paint a picture of me that might have been flattering but not entirely truthful. The first player who came to mind was Rahul Dravid. His was one of the most respected names in the game, he was honest and articulate, and in many ways played his cricket the way I did - not too flamboyant, mostly steady.
I called him, gave him a stiff deadline and asked him if he would be able to write it. Being the nice bloke that he is, he agreed immediately, and within a couple of days sent a wonderful piece for the book.
Rahul is the kind of person whom young cricketers can look up to not only because of his success but also because of the way he conducts himself. His remarkable career is proof that nice guys don't finish last. He believes one can be ruthless on the field even while maintaining decorum. He is also a player any captain would like to have when the chips are down, and it's obvious that challenging situations and tough oppositions bring out the best in him. Finally, he is a complete team man who goes about his work with minimum fuss and maximum efficiency.
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"Munaf, Sreesanth and R P Singh were performing well. Once I am fully fit and in good rhythm, getting back into the team will not be a problem."
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The focus, tenacity and intelligence that personify his batting may be characteristics handed down from his mother Pushpa, who at the age of 55 did a doctorate PhD in art, The Sunday Telegraph wrote on Sunday.
She has now retired but taught architecture at Bangalore University for 30 years. "She's very determined woman so I guess that's something that rubbed off," he said.
"I get some of my temperament from my dad as well, who's a relaxed sort of person. He's retired now but he was a food scientist for a company that made jams and juice, that sort of stuff; he worked there for 30 years.
"I think the environment they helped create for me when I was a kid, encouraging me to play cricket and whatever I wanted to do, helped. I would not have been able to achieve any of this without the support of my parents, family or my wife."
Labels: Rahul Dravid
Yet he almost didn’t make it to cricket. ‘‘His father had decided to pack him off to Africa’’, says Javed ‘Khairoo’ Ghanchi (21), the Patels’ neighbour on Mirza Street, a relatively plush area with concrete roads and neat ground-plus-one houses. ‘‘Mirza-ji (Munaf’s father) had even sold a chunk of his 20-acre zameen to send him there.’’
Ghanchi, Munaf’s close friend, would know. Every family in predominantly Muslim Ikhar has at least one son living in Zambia, Nigeria or somewhere in the United Kingdom, sending expatriate earnings home to supplement the income from the cotton farm.
And Munaf, Ghanchi says, ‘‘has never worked on his farm’’. Instead, he was the carefree sort — even at cricket, which the other villagers would play with a passion once the cotton fields had been tended to.
‘‘That’s because he was a genius with the bat’’, says Dr Maqsood Patel, physician to Munaf and the entire village. ‘‘He has three centuries to his credit.’’
Another friend, Siraj Chhadat, adds: ‘‘And all of them scored at a strike rate of over 100, mind you.’’ There’s even talk of his volleyball prowess, especially smashing.
Labels: Munaf Patel
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A last-ball six off Sourav Ganguly made little-known Rajasthan wicketkeeper Dishant Yagnik an instant hero at the Sawai Man Singh Stadium on Monday.
As the ball soared over extra cover to clear the ropes, this 22-year-old left-hander from Banswara conquered his feeling of disbelief, raised his arms in triumph and hugged last-man Harvinder Singh. After all, the duo had taken 14 runs off Ganguly's final over and scripted Central's thrilling one-wicket victory over East in the Deodhar Trophy league encounter.
Inspite of Pathan scoring 35 off only 25 deliveries, the signal that was sent by demoting Tendulkar wasn't a good one. The little champion, when he came in to bat, scored at a strike rate more than 100 runs per ball as if to show that he has not lost it. Then, what about Harbhajan's promotion above V V S Laxman and Mohammad Kaif who is an acknowledged one-day specialist?
Yes, we have seen Pathan's promotion in one-dayers work in India but this changing of batting order was exactly the same thing that Ganguly was castigated for in Zimbabwe. Now, it's called experimentation but when the former skipper was doing it, it was called spreading panic. Guess it depends on what media relations one has.
Laxman, known for his abilities against spinners, gave his first hand impression about England's left-arm tweaker Panesar.
"Panesar is a good spinner, and with a little bit of experience he will be a handy player for India," he said.
Labels: Monty Panesar
"I'm not the hard-nosed control freak that I have been portrayed. I'm thorough, a realist, a pragmatist and I'm honest. Much has been written and said, a lot of it misleading, but in essence I told Sourav that if he wanted to save his career he should consider giving up the captaincy. He was just hanging in there. Modest innings were draining him. He had no energy to give to the team, which was helping neither him nor us. It was in his own interest to give himself mind space to work on his batting so that it could be resurrected. He was not prepared to do that. What I didn't realise at that stage was how utterly important to his life and finances being captain was."
"I don't think anyone can imagine just how much of a goldfish bowl it is until you are in it. I have travelled here before and been conscious of it but once you are inside that bowl it is quite amazing. The job I do carries with it an enormous responsibility, not so much to my employers but to a cricket-mad nation. I genuinely feel that, while I am being paid by the BCCI , I am working for the people of India, those who support the team, and they are many and varied and from all walks of life. I am lucky that I have been exposed to many different aspects of this country."
"It is an unnerving experience to drive out of stadiums after we have won games or lost them and see the streets lined with people from all walks of life, particularly those from poorer communities whose only glimpse of the team would be as the bus flashes past and to see their faces light up. The only thing I can liken it to is the Beatles motorcade when they arrived in Australia in the 1960s. People lining the streets from the airport to the city. That happens here every day with this team.
"There was a very poignant photograph in the paper one day recently just before we played in Lahore. A lot of Indian supporters wanted to come to the match. Now they can cross the border but you have to drive there, then leave the car and walk across and get a car or bus the other side. It is a huge effort for many to support the team.
"The picture was of a woman, elderly, scrambling through the border. It is for people such as her that we are playing the game and the players and I realise that. We pinned the picture on the dressing room wall to remind us. We drew a lot of inspiration from that."