One Last time – Sachin Sachin!

sachinfan
sachinfan

Phew ! So it’s really happening then. I don’t even know what has hit me, but It definitely is falling apart. The sinking feeling is  taking its toll.

As a 10 year old boy, all I wanted to do was play Cricket. I clearly remember, our teacher asking us Fifth graders, what we wanted to become when we grew up, and 90% of the class wanted to become a Cricketer like Sachin. Little did we know, what we were talking about.

Being admitted in an all-boys schools, made matters worse. The long & short breaks were spent rushing onto the cricket field and playing Leg Cricket ( A version we invented, as we could not bring a cricket bats to school).

The obsession exaggerated in 1996. India had just lost their World Cup Semi Finals to Sri Lanka at Eden Gardens and the country was coping with the loss in their regular old fashion. Angry bottle throwing fans and a sobbing Vinod Kambli. Images best forgotten.

Meeting Sachin Tendulkar
Meeting Sachin Tendulkar

Never did I know, that this Semifinal loss would turn out to be my blessing in disguise. In April 1996, a month after the World Cup loss, dad told me about Sachin being in town and there was a faint possibility to meet him. Actually, one of dad’s friend, used to work as a Caretaker in Anand Mehta’s ( Sachin’s in-laws) bungalow in Lonavla, and had informed him about Sachin’s arrival. That was enough information, for my world to turn upside down. I was slowly sensing blood rush through my brains. Two days later, I was waiting with my dad and sister in the bungalow’s corridor with my newly bought Autograph book ( Yes, you needed one then!).

And then opened the door. Welcoming us was the man himself. Dang, gives me Goosebumps even today. I have no idea what happened for the next 30 minutes. There is a good possibility I must have been staring at Sachin’s face with my mouth wide open. I am pretty sure my dad did the talking. Still staring. 30 minutes go by. Then something happened, which I remember distinctly. While we were talking there was a Dachshund kind of a stray dog sleeping on the floor . Sachin didn’t realize the dog was just behind him and while taking a step back, accidentally stepped on the dog’s tail; to which the dog whimpered in pain. That’s when my dad said in Marathi

 

“ Tyala mahit nahi ahe, to Sachin cha pai ahe”  

( The dog has no idea, but it’s Sachin’s foot, that’s is making him wry with pain)

And I remember Sachin chuckling his heart out. The meeting was over , I shook his hand and stepped out smiling, but had forgotten to do an important part. I had forgotten to click a picture with Sachin and realized that as soon as we stepped out of the house. There was no way we were going to go, without a click. Knock, knock.

This time Jesus opened the door. As if all the god’s from across the continents, had gathered up and showing their faces one by one. With the same amount of composure, he agreed this picture with me and my sister, making a happy boy leave the room with this favorite trophy.

Having watched him for 2 decades on the Television screen and once in person, hasn’t changed anything. I still feel the same sadness, I used to, when he gets out and still feel like blowing up the TV set when that happens time and time again.  Why don’t I do it for a Dhoni or Kohli ?Coz, Sachin feels like one of u, even today.

There are innumerable Sachin moments that I can recollect, be it the 114 at Perth in 1994, 98 against Pakistan in 2003 or 175 against Australia in Hyderabad, but my favorite one; was the interview Virat Kohli’s mother gave on India winning the 2011 World Cup.

She was more happy for Sachin winning the World Cup than her own son, which really summed up, what the nation feels for its most loved son. The call has been made. History has been written again. But be sure of the fact,  that we will cheer for you the loudest with full-throttle guffaw, this last time as well, when you take on the field.

Sachin Sachin! Sachin Sachin!

Top 10 – Indian Batsman to look out for this Pepsi IPL 2013

Pepsi IPL 2013

Time to throw away the Whites and Don the Colors people. Here is look at the Top 10 Indian Batsman in the Sixth Edition of Indian Premier League.

10. Gautam Gambhir

Gambhir

 

 

 

With Dhawan and Vijay scoring centuries in Test Matches, Gambhir’s return seems doubtful. When it comes to T20 Cricket no one can underestimate Gambhir’s performance as captain of the reigning IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders.

 

 

 

 

 

9. Murali Vijay

Chennai-Super-Kings-Murali-Vijay

 

 

 

With a good showing against the recent Aussie series, Vijay would be the standout opener Chennai Super Kings will heavily depend on. Look out for the explosive cover drives.

 

 

 

 

8. Suresh Raina

Suresh Raina - Chennai Super Kings
Suresh Raina – Chennai Super Kings

 

 

 

 

He could be a questionable customer when It comes to cementing his place in the Test side. But, when It comes to T20 Cricket, nobody can hold the hand of Suresh Raina.

 

 

 

 

 

7. Cheteshwar Pujara

Pujara 204 vs Australia
Pujara 204 vs Australia

 

 

 

With his dependable performances in Test Matches against England and Australia, Cheteshwar Pujara definitely is becoming the poster boy for Indian Test Cricket. It will be interesting to see his performance in the shorter format for Bangalore Royal Challengers.

 

 

 

 

 

6. Shikhar Dhawan

Shikhar Dhawan - Sunrisers Hyderabad
Shikhar Dhawan – Sunrisers Hyderabad

 

 

 

With a Blitzkrieg effort of 187 against Australia in his Test debut, Shikhar Dhawan definitely registered himself in the record books. Although the thumb injury might restrict his IPL 6 entry. Still keep a close eye on this Moustache Madman.

 

 

 

 

5. Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar - Mumbai Indians
Sachin Tendulkar – Mumbai Indians

 

He might be soon reaching his 40, but the old legs just don’t seem to tire out. The Superman might just play his last IPL for the Mumbai Indians, but who knows as he has time and time again surprised us.

 

 

 

 

4. Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli - Royal Challengers Bangalore
Virat Kohli – Royal Challengers Bangalore

 

 

 

Probably India’s next Cricket captain, ICC One day player for 2012. You would only be a fool to not underrate Virat Kohli.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Unmukt Chand

Unmukt Chand - Delhi Daredevils
Unmukt Chand – Delhi Daredevils

 

 

 

Pepsi India’s new brand ambassador and the India’s future, the selectors and public will watch this lad from Delhi closely as he battles it out with the big boys.

 

 

 

 

 

2. Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni- Chennai Super Kings
Mahendra Singh Dhoni- Chennai Super Kings

 

 

 

 

Do we even need to say anything else…

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. Yuvraj Singh

Yuvraj Singh - Pune Warriors
Yuvraj Singh – Pune Warriors

 

 

Battling Cancer and coming out stronger in his biggest Test of his life, Yuvraj Singh definitely would be raring to go for the Pune Warriors having been out for the last 2 seasons. YouWeCan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheteshwar Pujara- A Poster Boy for India’s Test Cricketing future

Pujara 204 vs Australia
Pujara 204 vs Australia
Pujara 204 vs Australia

With too many eyeballs and cricketing trolls waiting to devour on the flesh and skin of the Indian cricket team before the start of the Australian tour, It was always going to become a tour worth forgetting or worth remembering for the Indian Cricket fan.

Worth forgetting because of the Indian team’s dismal performances in the last one year of Test Cricket and Worth remembering coz It might just be the last time their Little Champion- Sachin Tendulkar entered the cricketing field.

In the midst of all the expectations from Dhoni and his comrades, one man who definitely seems to have gone unnoticed, having stood quietly in one corner is the Unflinching Cheteshwar Pujara.

A man, who kept knocking on the selection door for the last 5 years,finally getting his call up for the national team in 2012 for scoring not just hundreds, but big ones for his state side Saurashtra  in domestic cricket.

With immediate expectations, of him being the successor of Rahul Dravid, Pujara had his critics scrutinizing his every move right from Day one.

What has been most gratifying about this collected cricketer is not just his composure in piling up runs steadily, but making each and every run that flew from his bat count. With the growing hoopla around Twenty20 cricket replacing One day cricket and with experts like SanjayManjrekar vouching for the shorter format going forward,  here is a Cricketer who seems to have become the tranquilizer shot in Adrenaline rushed Indian team following their stints with Twenty20 cricket.

Nobody denies, that all these runs by Pujara  have been amassed in Indian sub-continental conditions. He has yet to make himself count overseas. Has got out at the pull-shot thrice, making him more vulnerable to the stinging delivery on bouncy tracks abroad.

What cannot be forgotten is his innate ability to stay at the wicket for longer hours. His four centuries to date have totaled to 1800 minutes at the wicket , i.e.; almost 30 hours of Pujara slogging it out in the middle. With Test matches, getting over in 4 days’ time, here is a cricketer who is doing just more than scoring big runs in the middle in his bit to tire the opposition out. If ever the growing speculation of fielding three separate teams for the different formats comes to fruition, here is a Cricketer who definitely fits the bill, for more than one reason.

As Sunil Gavaskar in this year’s inaugural MAK Pataudi Lecture in February 2013, emphasized the importance of Ensuring Test Cricket remains the Pinnacle of the sport, Pujara could very well become the poster boy for the longer format inspiring the next generation which seems to be getting lured to the glitz and glitterati of the fast-food ( Twenty20) cricket.

Only time will tell, how long this young lad continues to serve the sport, which has just started to take his notice.

Parvez Rasool – Valley’s reason to Smile

Parvez Rasool Giving valley a reason to smile
Parvez Rasool Giving valley a reason to smile
Parvez Rasool Giving valley a reason to smile

The curfew in the valley still hasn’t been lifted. The streets still seem to have no names. The silence which continues to haunt most of his hometown, has not yet deterred Parvez Rasool, the 23 year old Jammu and Kashmir all-rounder, who wielded his spinning wand on the visiting Australian team’s fortune, on the opening day of the Board President’s XI vs Australia at the M Chinnaswamy stadium in Chennai.

The  very place where it all started. The very place which brought the young cricketer unfounded limelight for the wrong reasons. And the very place, where he was made to prove his integrity as a cricketer, a price Rasool had to pay for hailing from the valley.

Looking at the bright side, scalping a 7-45 against the mighty Australians, is a feat which would easily not go unnoticed.  A feat, which not only earned him the respect, from his Indian counterpart R. Ashwin, but also got him the opposition team’s top scorer and opening batsman Ed Cowan‘s acknowledgement.

Hailing from the beautiful ‘Town of Chinars’, Bijbehara; a small town situated on the banks of river Jhelum, one of India’s transcendental river’s with a population of 20,000, Parvez Rasool has a story worth making a movie about. Starting out watching his father play the sport at district level, Rasool took up Cricket seriously playing for his school and state’s U-14 and U-16 team followed by his Club cricket representation for Bijbehara Sports Club, a prominent base for South Kashmir cricketers. But his big break came when he shifted base to Srinagar, playing for Srinagar Sports Club which led to his selection in Jammu & Kashmir Senior team in 2008.

But, the coming of age for this young cricketer came in three seasons later when he plundered 594 runs and pillaged 33 wickets in 2012-13 Ranji season, only to be rewarded with a selection to the India A side that played England in November 2012, the first cricketer from the valley to have the honor of playing against an International team. Not only that, he was hand-picked to bowl at the nets to the senior Indian team ahead of India’s third and final game against Pakistan in December 2012 getting to rub shoulders with Dhoni and Virat Kohli, which still happens to be the cricketer’s best moment.

The 11th season of the Border-Gavaskar trophy, which starts on February 22nd in Chennai promises to be a nail-biting affair, like its previous encounters. The visitors on the first day of play must certainly have got a taste and smell of  what would be offered on their platter, this Indian summer. With speculations over the team’s selection for the First test, especially around the choice of the out-of form Harbhajan Singh, being awarded a last chance based on his past laurels against the Aussies and that of R. Ashwin, who seemed to have had a rather disastrous outing against the English, Parvez Rasool’s performance certainly seems to have given a wake up call to the two spinners. The selectors are clearly looking to make bold choices. They proved it with selection of Rahane, Dhawan and Vijay over Gambhir, Yuvraj and Raina and wouldn’t hesitate putting either or both of them under the chopping block.

After all, Dhoni has stated his desire of creating a pool of players for 2015 World Cup and with Rasool’s batting average of 38.57 with three hundreds and two fifties in his 7 First class matches along with 33 wickets with Economy rate of 3.04 this Ranji season, should definitely motivate the youngster to knock harder at the selector’s doorstep, if his turn comes up.

In the wake of the recent tragedies at the India-Pakistan border along with everyday accounts of gunfire and bloodshed, the valley and its people are in dire need of reasons to smile. Parvez Rasool has this chance of proving out to be that reason.

Are the String pullers (BCCI) of Cricket, being pulled this time around

String pullers BCCI
String pullers BCCI
String pullers BCCI

These are testing times for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). I don’t know If it’s the team’s bad fortune, that’s rubbing off or just pure plain karma. The string pullers are certainly being pulled this time around.

The Fair trade regulator Competition Commission has charged the Cricket governing body with a whooping penalty of Rs. 52.24 crore ( US$ 9.792 M) for indulging in market abuse and anti-competitive practices. For more details click here. All this, before the sixth edition of the much anticipated Pepsi IPL6 starting in April 2013.

Be it the recent account of 100 crore (US$ 18.709M) penalty levied on the owners of Rajasthan Royals by Enforcement Directorate (ED) or the Indian captain MS Dhoni being made the Vice President of India Cements, a company under the chairmanship of the BCCI President, N. Srinivasan. The recent spate of checkered accounts within the BCCI, provides good indication of the trouble brewing within its quarters.

I feel bad for the 12 million dollar babies recently adopted or selected, in the recently held IPL auction . They must be a worried lot right now.

Not to forget, the recent allegations of doping and betting in Cricket Australia, thus shedding poor light on the sport all across.

Question marks like these, clearly raises eyebrows of the general public paying their hard earned money, watching these games in stadiums. If transparency is diluted in matters of sports regulations and sport controls, it only makes the Cricket fan lose confidence, thus making the game lose its credibility.

Transparency International, a non-profit which monitors and publicizes corporate and political corruption in international development, has released a blue print defining boundaries of cricket and cricket administration in January 2012.

It’s time the International Cricket council which in Oct 2012 had promised to fight the war against corruption takes stringent measures to eradicate this problem.

Coz, It won’t take long, for a thriving sport to lose its sheen . Not because of individuals playing the sport, but because of the people pulling its strings, sitting in an office, somewhere else.

Why Helicopter-Shot ?

dhonihelicoptershotsix

 

Dhoni with his famous Helicopter shotIt’s April 3, 2006 the 3rd ODI between the India England series at Fatorda, Margao.

James Anderson is bowling the 48th over with the then India wicketkeeper, Mahendra Singh Dhoni playing at the strikers end.

The cricketing world for the first time witnessed what we now call the Dhoni invented & patented ‘Helicopter-Shot’.

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The game of cricket is undergoing a sea of change. IPL is garnering support beyond expectations.

With increasing demands, the players have adjusted to the new workloads by reinventing themselves.

Be it the Dhoni’s with their Helicopter shots or Kevin Pieterson with his Switch hits. They have in their own ways disrupted the Game of Cricket. Making a brand like Pepsi Co (who now is the official sponsor of the IPL starting 2013) endorse this unorthodox style of shot-making through their Ad campaign ‘ Change the game’.

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With Helicopter-shot.com we intend make the attacking game evolve even further.

We at Helicopter-shot are dedicated to obsessively profile cricketing game changers Disrupting Cricket on topics of technology, innovations, news articles and products which we will keep you posted.