I have no shame in admitting that I frittered away all my year-end vacation glued to the TV watching the two Cricket Test Series that finished recently – England vs Australia and India vs S. Africa. Australia is in somewhat of a sorry state currently, and England just unleashed years of frustration on their ozzie brethren on their way to a dominating 3-1 series win. While I wish India and S. Africa played a 5 match series themselves instead of just 3, it was some of the most enthralling Cricket I ever watched. There were sessions of play when I wouldn’t dare get away for a single ball. At the risk of sounding like yet another Cricket snob, it is difficult for me to imagine how anyone who grew up watching and playing Cricket could embrace T20, but I whined about the absurd popularity of T20 before and don’t want to repeat myself.
Well, IPL is back again with their 2011 auction.. and the only redeeming aspect of this tamasha for me is the return of my hero Navjot Singh Sidhu. It gives me an opportunity to revive my ongoing series with this title capturing nuggets of wisdom from my favorite sardar.
What did I learn from Sidhu on money?
Money is like manure, it is no good until it is spread.
What did I learn from Sidhu on imagination?
Imagination resembles the wings of an ostrich, enables them to run, not to soar.
You think you can get such off-hand profundity quoting a Thomas Babington Macaulay from your Michael Athertons, David Gowers and Richie Benauds of the world? Think again.
IPL.. and you might get to watch some Cricket too!
So the IPL is in full swing. I can’t seem to muster enough excitement for it due to the reasons I explained before regarding why I haven’t warmed up to T20 as much. Still, I have been trying unsuccessfully to fake some interest to not lose touch with perhaps the biggest marketing fad ever in India and not to appear ignorant when talking to friends and family. Yes, it is somewhat like succumbing to peer pressure for that bottle of alcohol at a school party, you know it is no good, but you might do it anyway to avoid risking social ostracism. Thanks to its marketing success, IPL has become this popular party that you want to be seen at even if the host and the rest of the guests are complete strangers. And while you are there, you might get to watch some Cricket, loosely speaking, that is if you understand what the game is. Otherwise, you can watch the dancers, strangely all white, gyrating to some very loud bollywood music they perhaps never heard before, managing to fake as much excitement as I have for this tournament. That’s what IPL is all about.. nevermind the fact that other than a few money bags that own these franchises who might call the city or region of the team’s namesake their home, which in itself should mean nothing to the average fan, I don’t see a compelling reason for any fan allegiance to their local teams.
Najot Singh Sidhu - man of many talents!
I figured if I am going to watch it, it is only reasonable that I root for my Hyderabad team, but I realized the Deccan Chargers who used to call my Hyderabad home don’t even play their home games in Hyderabad this season, they play in Cuttack and are spearheaded by a couple of retired Ozzies which makes it simply impossible for me to even consider faking an interest in them. Screw the Chargers! So, here I am, still searching for a hook when I witnessed the TV studio show in between the innings today for the Kolkatta vs Punjab game, and there was Navjot Singh Sidhu in all his glory, eliciting his Sidhuisms just as fluently as ever while the host is barely able to keep a straight face through out the show. Maybe he has been back on TV for a while now, but I haven’t watched enough to notice him and it was great to see Sidhu being Sidhu on TV again. It was a considerable loss to Indian Cricket shows when he decided to enter politics after a popular stint as a TV Cricket analyst. For my money, he is the best in India by miles with Jimmy Amarnath a distant second. Would you rather hear another boring analyst uttering the same old trite remarks like “there’s still a lot of Cricket to be played” or a such stream of conscience nuggets as “You got to choose between tightening your belt or losing your pants” from a bubbly Sidhu delivered with unbridled energy? I will take the latter, thank you!
If you think his quotes are all about a joke or a punchline, you are missing the hidden wisdom behind them. To avoid such a calamity, I am starting a new series called “What did I learn from Sidhu today?” from the voice of the man himself, gleaned from his wise remarks during this IPL season. This means, I might be watching a lot of Punjab games, so I might as well root for Yuvraj and my favorite overseas player, Sangakkara. Besides, I always thought Preity Zinta was cute.
Here’s a clip from Sidhu today, on how Punjab needs to respond to a formidable score from Kolkatta.. what if they are headed for a huge loss when I last checked.
So, what did I learn today?
Not only strike while the Iron is hot, but make it hot by striking!