“My body is my journal and my tattoos are my story.”
—K L Rahul.
“Yes, vegetarianism is supposed to be healthy and all that, but I have seen many fat, unhealthy vegetarians to know that it is more about eating less and eating healthy, than being a vegetarian or non-vegetarian.”
“I am 100 per cent method, 80 per cent skill and 150 per cent madness.”
Mohinder Amarnath, in his latest column, anointed Lokesh Rahul as the next Rahul Dravid.
He may be right, he may be wrong.
Much earlier, Cheteshwar Pujara was Dravid’s logical successor.
Then, it was Ajinkya Rahane.
Now, it’s KL.
It’s never easy to step into the shoes of colossuses.
I’m sure each of the above would rather be recognised for themselves rather than somebody’s clone.
And it will take some doing to match Dravid ‘s feats and consistency over a sustained period of time.
Greatness doesn’t occur overnight.
In some way, Dravid seems a little short-changed by these comparisons.
Is it because his achievements are the result of constant improvement, endeavour, discipline, technical correctness and correct temperament rather than simply genius, wristiness or off-side godliness?
No one points to any of the current lot and claim that they’re the next Tendulkar, Ganguly or Laxman.
Comparisons are sometimes drawn between Kohli and Tendulkar, but the Indian test skipper has etched out a stellar place for himself.
Coming back to the question, is Lokesh the next Dravid?
He’s surely the next Rahul.
“The world changes for the better when we all crib—cribbing is good.”
“If Test cricket was a shop, it would have been shut down a long time ago for lack of customers.”
“We grow up with fairy tales, but in life there is no happily ever after. And if there were, I would get bored of life. To me, life is interesting when one is struggling.”
—Imran Khan, cricketer and politician.
Anil Kumble is the newly appointed Team India coach.
That must be the most important job in the country after the Prime Minister’s, right?
Wrong, dead wrong.
Sanjay Manjrekar , in his column for The Week, describes the job thus:
“’Tell me, who is this guy with the Indian team, is he a player?’
‘No, he does not step onto the field.’
‘Is he a selector, does he pick the players?’
‘No, he does not, the captain and selectors do that.’
‘Okay, then, does he make the critical game-changing decisions on the field, with regard to bowling changes, field setting, batting order, etc?’
‘Nope, that again is done by the captain.’
There you go, that is the actual reality of an Indian coach and his position within the team. Hence the media excitement, every time, around the appointment of an Indian coach, baffles me.
In contrast, when a far more important and influential position outside the players is filled, it’s only duly noted by the media. That is the chief selector’s position.”
This is not to deride or belittle Anil Kumble’s credentials in any way.
Much has been said and written about his stellar cricketing record, his courage facing the West Indian quicks and his mental strength,
Kumble recognises the above reality and claims that he’ll be more of an ‘elder brother’ to the side.
“I certainly believe that as a coach of a young team, you need to be hands-on and you need to really get your hands dirty as well – train with them, be a part of their training. And be with them more like an elder brother, in every aspect, not just on the field, but also off it. That’s something I will be focusing on.”
Manjrekar concludes his piece thus:
“In Indian cricket, the captain and a couple of senior players basically chart the destiny of the Indian team. The selectors have an important role to play in this journey. If the captain is able, there is nothing wrong with this kind of culture; many great teams have been built like this.
So what an Indian coach really does is facilitate the needs of the captain and the core group and try and keep them in good spirits.
The coaches that actually make a difference to Indian cricket are those that coached players like Tendulkar, Dravid, and others, when they were kids. The grassroots level coaches.”
Kumble made a three-year-plan presentation to the Cricket Advisory Committee but has been appointed for only a year.
Ravi Shastri’s stint as Team Director and the results under his tutelage paved the way for the selection of an Indian coach.
Can Kumble prove as adept as John Wright or Gary Kirsten in handling this young side?
India play 13 Tests at home and his tenure includes the Champions Trophy.
‘Jumbo’ does not have a long rope and there is speculation that he was not an unanimous choice.
Kumble has no formal coaching experience but then neither had Shastri.
That appears to have made the difference since he was not in the initial shortlist.
The CAC selected Kumble—possibly—because he is a much younger candidate and can keep pace with the youngsters in the side. John Wright and Gary Kirsten were not too long retired when they took over the reins of the Indian side.
A younger person can be more hands-on; Kumble certainly believes he can be.
Is hands-on what the job requires? Depends on how you define it. Kirsten felt that it played an important role while he was coach. He used to spend hours bouncing balls at the senior players. His ability to handle fragile super-egos cannot be underestimated.
Kirsten’s right if we are go by what Manjrekar writes. And he is an expert.
Players like Virender Sehwag and Virat Kohli prefer to consult their old coaches on technical aspects of their skills.
Is it less likely that it’s not the same for the current batch of players? Ajinkya Rahane and Robin Uthappa have retained Pravin Amre as their go-to person for improving their willow skills.
It does appear that what a coach brings to the side is intangible but the results are visible and rewarded or penalised with much more alacrity.
Simply put, the coach is the fall guy should anything go wrong.
“The coaches that actually make a difference to Indian cricket are those that coached players like Tendulkar, Dravid and others, when they were kids. The grassroots level coaches.”—Sanjay Manjrekar.
‘King‘ Chris Henry Gayle has all the answers.
Speaking to Donald McRae of the Guardian, the West Indian blaster defended his recent outrageous behaviour and comments in his inimitable blunt Caribbean cadence.
The Jamaican first reminded the journalist of his proud heritage and that West Indians always felt disrespected by the English. The reference was to Mark Nicholas’ stunning dismissal of their T20 prospects, ““The West Indies are short of brains.”
“That drove us even harder. How can you disrespect the West Indies when we were so dominant in world cricket for so long? We have to face it ourselves because our own board don’t defend us. So we have to fight our own war in the middle against these allegations about West Indies having no brains. How can you jump to that conclusion? It shows no respect. They smile at you – while trying to destroy you in the media.
We were very disappointed. We should have been one of the favourites but we weren’t even in the top five. As West Indians we have always been disrespected. As soon as we fight back they make it look like we are the bad one in the media. We’ve experienced these things over the years. So it’s no surprise.”
But it’s his autobiography Six Machine that’s hitting all the right (and wrong) notes across the world with excerpts published in most major newspapers.
From describing his triple hundreds, his mammoth 170+ in the IPL and staying at Vijay Mallya’s Goa bungalow, the memoirs cover it all. The voice is authentic and the style is no-holds-barred.
Chris Gayle reveals how his fledgling career was tended to by a woman.
He writes of his Kingston schoolteacher and first coach:
“Miss Hamilton is a wonderful woman. She kickstarted things and gave me that self‑belief. Most of the time, as a kid, you’re nervous. She would try to get in your head and give you confidence. She was also our football coach – so she was very talented and to have a woman lead you at a young age was really good.”
But Chris feels nothing about disrespecting Mel McLaughlin in January this year at the Big Bash.
His latest words on the sorry episode are even more dismissive.
“If she was upset she would’ve said it. At no stage did she say she felt offended by me. Then they wanted an apology and she came on air and said: ‘He’s apologised – so let it go everybody.’ You could tell she had been forced to say those things. Trust me. She’s of West Indian background. She knows the culture. From what I understand her mom is black. What do they call it? Samosa (Samoan)?
Yeah. So she knows. But people put things in her ears – just to slaughter Chris Gayle.”
Chris Gayle is remarkably insouciant and , perhaps, realistic when asked what if his baby daughter Blush were to face the same kind of behaviour 25 years on in a journalistic career.
“If you put yourself there you have to expect that. You have to deal with it. Not all situations are going to be the best. You have to brace yourself. You have to be professional, yes, but expect the unexpected at all times.It could happen to anybody. Anybody. It could happen again.”
Chris then accuses Charlotte Edwards of setting him up as a villain in her piece for the Times and threatens legal action.
“The first interview I did by the pool. The recorder was on the table. The interview lasted 2½ hours. Basically discussing the book, it went according to plan. But the outcome was very sad. That’s why I say people can’t be trusted – especially you guys.
I know. Obviously she came with a different mentality. Even that first interview I did with her she was trying to get me to say things about Shane Warne. I said: ‘Listen, this is not about Shane Warne.’ So the interview was good even if she didn’t get what she wanted.
I was having dinner by the bar when the agent texted. She’s leaving in the morning and wants to say thanks for the interview. I said: ‘OK, no problem.’ She came by and that’s how it happened. She started telling me her life story. She tried to ask me if I’d ever smoked weed. I said: ‘Listen, I’m a sportsman, how can I do those things?’ So whatever questions she asked me I asked her back. She went on to say she is a single mum. She had also been to a war [zone] and she was telling me that when all the media people come to drink they sleep together. I asked her: ‘Did you do it?’ And she said: ‘No.’ It’s not an interview – we’re talking at the bar. If she had a tape I wish people could hear it.
In the interview’s first line she says Mel didn’t get the chance to have a drink with Chris Gayle – but she did. That was her agenda. She put these things out to make me look like the bad one. She got the attention but I’m going to speak to my legal team.”
If Gayle’s version of the story is true, then it’s understandable why most sports stars prefer to be tight-lipped to the press rather than drop their guard and make off-the-cuff remarks. Every word could be misconstrued and twisted. And if Gayle’s infamous remarks to Edwards were off-the-record, then she is in serious breach of journalistic integrity. Neither party comes out smelling like roses.
“There can be no trust”, Chris Gayle says in his life story.
“There’s no sadness in saying that. It’s the reality. You can’t put trust in people. There’s no loyalty out there. You have to be sceptical – regardless of what that person says.”
Gayle’s account, however, of his relationship with his girlfriend cannot elicit much sympathy.
“I am the Six Machine. I am the only man in the history of the world to have scored two triple centuries etc. I am the only cricketer in the history of the world to have his own pole-dancing room in his house. I have a girl. I can’t remember her name. We’ve been together for nine years. Though mostly it probably sounds as if we’ve been apart. She doesn’t like World Boss’s pole-dancing room. But luckily loads of other women do. So it hasn’t been a total waste of money.”
Chris Gayle will make news wherever he goes as long he’s scoring runs—not women.
They’re merely sideshows in his grand design of things—in his “World Baass. Universe Baass. Multiverse Baass.”
That’s the uncomfortable truth and he expects the people in his life and the world at large to live with it.
Is that sad or great? You tell me.