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Ravi Shastri: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Ravi Shastri has cricket on his mind.

What he said:

“I’ve watched more cricket than I’ve played. So there’s enough in this upper-storey here (pointing to his forehead) that can be used before I forget it.”

Ravi Shastri eases into his new role as Team Director. The cricketer-turned-commentator believes that he can contribute not just from his playing experience but from observing as well.

He said:

“I have already started talking to them [the selection committee] and we have no issues on that. My job is not to select an Indian cricket team, it is their job, but my job is to at least communicate with them and see on what lines they are [thinking] so that we both are on the same page. Probably discuss talent, discuss what would be the kind of team you need in Australia.

See, combinations are very important. You have got to identify your strengths and see who are the right people to manage those roles and areas of your strengths. That importantly comes up with the team. Prime importance, I believe, will always be given to current form. I think form is very important.

My job is to communicate with whoever is there and I will not take a step back. At the moment, I have been communicating with all the five.”

He added:

“My job [as director] is to ensure that everything is in order. It’s not just about communicating with the players. It’s also about giving your views, your inputs as a former player, and as a broadcaster. I’ve watched more cricket than I’ve played. So there’s enough in this upper-storey here (pointing to his forehead) that can be used before I forget it. That’s what I tell the players. Don’t be afraid to ask me questions, because there’s enough there for me to be able to contribute. Yes, obviously you’ll have to have a dialogue with the selectors as to where they’re coming from and what their train of thought is. What we feel as part of the Indian cricket team, so that there’s healthy communication and you get something that’s best for the Indian cricket team.”

On working with Duncan Fletcher and MS Dhoni:

“Absolutely, he is brilliant. He is a seasoned campaigner. He has over 100 Test matches as a coach for various teams. The good thing is Fletch and me go a long way back. We know each other. I captained the U-25 team against Zimbabwe in 1984 when he was the captain of Zimbabwe. He has got a fabulous track record. It is how we use the knowledge that he has in the best possible way and communicate with the players.

The boss is the captain on the cricket field. I am in charge of the coaching staff. That’s put into place. My job is to oversee things and see things go all right. Who cares who’s the boss? At the end of the day, you win and to hell with it, yaar. Jisko boss banna hai bano. [Whoever wants to be the boss, let him do so].”

What Shastri really meant:

“Now that I’m director I’ll be able to force the players to work on my freely provided suggestions from the commentary box. Theory becomes practice, eh?”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Now this is what I call life coming full circle: From player to commentator to super-super coach!”



Kapil Dev Nikhanj: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Kapil Dev Nikhanj

What he said:

“I used to hate England because they ruled my country but I am happy they gave us the game of cricket, which they can’t play very well, and the English language, which I can’t speak very well.”

Kapil Dev Nikhanj cannot resist taking a dig at the English in his acceptance speech. The former Indian skipper was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the Indo-European Business Forum (IEBF) at a ceremony in the House of Lords in London.

The presentation was for his contribution to cricket and  his work in upliftment of poor and destitute communities through the Khushii society.

What he really meant:

“I’m happy we’re free of the British and that we now Lord it over them at the ICC even though we still can’t speak the Queen’s English equally well. I, of course, suffer from short-term memory loss and have forgotten that Team India surrendered the last three Test series.”

What he definitely didn’t but could have:

“It’s time the English relinquished sovereignty over the language as well. There are more English speakers in India than in the whole of UK.” 

Ravi Shastri: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Ravi Shastri

What he said:

“Narine makes you no better than a blind, a lame or a mentally challenged person. Compared to him, video games are a child’s play.”

Ravi Shastri attributes Kolkata Knightriders’ stupendous show at the Champion Leagues T20 to one man, Sunil Narine. The West Indian mystery bowler continues to bamboozle his opponents.

Shastri said:

“While everything on this Earth is being figured out, Narine it seems is a mystery forever. It’s not that batsmen can’t see him or watch the ball fizz out of his hand.But what they perceive and how the delivery behaves are two opposites.”

Shastri—writing further—said:

“Rivals thus end up playing 16 to KKR’s 20 overs. The handicap of one-fifth of overs is too big to overcome in a format where a win is often secured off the last ball and a margin of 5-10 runs is routine. The related effect of batsmen giving wanton charge to other bowlers and rushing to their doom is less appreciated.”

What he really meant:

“The opposing bats are like handicapped golfers—at a disadvantage before they begin.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“What’s West Indies doing with a world-class spinner? Aren’t they supposed to have burly, fearsome pacers instead? And if he’s so good, why aren’t they winning more?”

Ian Chappell: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t


Ian Chappell

What he said:

“Not only is it important to keep the contest between bat and ball fair, it also pays to remember kids are great mimics.”

Ian Chappell writes that bowlers with dubious bowling actions should be called early and their actions rectified before they go on to become successes on the domestic and international playing fields. The attendant adverse publicity casts aspersions on the game and its proponents.

Chappell said:

“…because kids are mimics and will copy the heroes of the day, and a sure way to eradicate dodgy actions is stop offenders before they reach the first-class arena.”

The player-turned-commentator adds:

“…the one area of the chucking issue the ICC hasn’t addressed is the law as it applies to on-field immediacy. How come a batsman is protected when a bowler oversteps the front line by a millimetre but he isn’t when a trundler suddenly pelts one after bowling the bulk of his deliveries?

Batsmen need immediate protection in this case rather than getting a letter from the ICC six months later apologising because they have discovered the delivery that uprooted off stump was illegal.”

What Chappell really meant:

“Kids are impressionable and bound to imitate their heroes. If they (heroes) have feet of clay, kids have no firm ground to fall back on for their mimicked actions. Besides, the mentality becomes one of ‘ If they (apparently) can get away with it, why can’t I?'”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I could teach apes to bowl and they’d bowl every ball cleanly.”

Gautam Gambhir: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Gautam Gambhir

What he said:

“I have enjoyed when a gorgeous cricket ball declines the advances of my well-manicured cricket bat. But loaded with the perseverance of a sincere lover, my bat wins.”

Gautam Gambhir waxes lyrical on the value of practiced perseverance. The Indian opener confesses, that unlike Andre Agassi, he loves his sport.

Gambhir wrote:

“Whenever I look at the Gautam Gambhir in the mirror it seems tennis star Andre Agassi is reading out passages from his autobiography, Open. Agassi says he ‘hated tennis with dark and secret passion’. This is after tennis gave him identity, fortune, silverware, a few wanted and unwanted perks that a successful, young man is prone to get, later on a beautiful wife and most importantly adrenaline of being in a competition. But the fact is he hated his sport. You’d say either Agassi teamed up with the publishers to sell his book, or he’s just being cynical. Sorry, neither.”

Gambhir adds:

“Unlike Agassi, I love my sport. I can watch any game of cricket on TV. Even if the repeat telecast is for the 600th time, I’d be glued with excitement of a woman watching serials on conniving ladies. I might bat like a novice in the middle but I just love batting and its romance. I have enjoyed when a gorgeous cricket ball declines the advances of my well-manicured cricket bat. But loaded with perseverance of a sincere lover my bat wins. It then starts to caress, cuddle and later even lovingly thump its once shining lady.

But the real challenge lies beyond these dreamy passages. You wake up on a match day and you are in company of fear of failure. You turn on the shower and instead of water you have expectations beating on your body. You dress up but in reality you are wearing the image of a celebrity that the outside world wants to see you as – a champion or a loser.”

On Andre Russel, his Kolkata Knight Riders teammate:

“Even in the past he has been our Superman. On most occasions he’s dancing, grooving, laughing and when he gets bored he does all of these all over again. He secretly admits that he wants to dress up like a Jamaican but can’t do it as he’d stand out among ‘sober Indians’.

Amid all this, he is still a bloody good cricketer. There is a method to his power-hitting. Just recall his use of the depth of the crease while hitting those sixes against Chennai Super Kings. He does 100 meters under 11 seconds which I think anyone having a Jamaican passport does. I told him that his Mohawk hairstyle needs a bit of a mojo as it has flattened out. He just gives me a hearty Jamaican laugh as if to say, ‘No mojo skippermaan, my hair needs Viagra!’ Don’t be surprised if Andre actually tells me this one day.”

What Gambhir really meant:

“My love of the game is based on practice and perseverance. The more I persevere and practice, the better I connect. “

What he definitely didn’t:

“Now if James Anderson and company were here, I’d show them how well I’ve mastered their ‘Lady in Red’. For now, I love hammering the ‘White Widow’ on Indian soil.”


Sanjay Bangar: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Sanjay Bangar

What he said:

“If you put on a face that is not you, you will be found out.”

Sanjay Bangar has learnt one thing for certain in his first year as coach.

What he really meant:

“Players respect you if you’re genuine. You cannot don a mask; it can slip at the most awkward moments. Be natural, be yourself and you will have their respect.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’d love to star in Jim Carrey’s ‘The Mask’.”

Rahul Dravid: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Rahul Dravid

What he said:

“I am a married man, do you think I would have any other answer?”

Rahul Dravid is not averse to wives and girlfriends joining cricketers on tour. The former India No. 3 pooh-poohed notions that the practice adversely impacts players’ performances.

Interacting with the audience after delivering the keynote Dilip Sardesai memorial lecture, he said:

“On a serious side, cricketers travel 11 months in a year, I think wives and girlfriends should be allowed to travel with players. You can’t start blaming wives or girlfriends for performances, that’s not done.

Since I’m married, I would say yes. Wives, girlfriends, or a partner of any gender should be allowed, because the Indian team travels for almost the entire year. You can’t start blaming them for the players’ poor performance. In fact, if you don’t allow them, that would be a bigger problem!”


What he really meant:

“Do you really think I wish to argue with my home minister (wife) about this? Spare me the torture.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“I’m going to be the best man at Virat’s wedding.”

Fake Quinton De Kock: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Fake Quinton De Kock

What he said:

A fake Quinton De Kock Twitter account was in the news with leading dailies attributing the above tweet to  the chubby-faced South African opening bat.

Saeed Ajmal has been banned with immediate effect from all international cricket after his bowling action was deemed illegitimate by the ICC.

Bio-mechanic analysis revealed the the Pakistani off-spinner flexed his elbow as much as 35 degrees against the permitted 15 degrees.

The bowler can apply for a reassessment anytime once his action has been rectified. However, he is permitted to take part in domestic cricket under the supervision of his country’s cricketing board, the PCB.

Maninder Singh, a former India left-arm spinner, squarely blamed the ICC for the current mess.

He said:

“”The problem started with Muralitharan. The menace should have been stopped then. If that had happened, all boards would have taken steps to prevent this.Now it (chucking) has become a norm, it is like ‘if he (Murali) can do it, anyone can’.” 

On young bowlers choosing the wrong role models:

“This has ruined careers. Whether you call it 12 or 15 degrees, it is to be blamed.” 

On why English and Australian bowlers are not called that often:

“People there are basically honest, and they will own up. We don’t, and in fact start backing them.” 

Former India all-rounder Madan Lal said:

“”Even in my academy, so many boys bend their elbows. They see lot of cricket on TV and try to imitate them. It gets difficult to correct them once they are set in their ways.” 

English: Saeed Ajmal in the field during a 50-...

English: Saeed Ajmal in the field during a 50-over warm-up match against Somerset at the County Ground, Taunton, during Pakistan’s 2010 tour of England. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saeed Ajmal’s reactions:

“It is disappointing to learn the result of the biomechanic test in Brisbane but I have not given up. I don’t see the ban as a major problem as I know I can work out on the flaws and make a comeback.

Obviously, I have to follow their advice but from what I know is that once we get the full medical report, we have a right of appeal and to challenge these findings.

I want to play in the World Cup and see my country doing well and I will do whatever it takes to be ready for the tournament. I am a fighter and I know what I have to do to get back into international cricket before the World Cup.” 


Bishan Singh Bedi tweeted:

Speaking to the Times of India, Bedi said:

“”It was inevitable. But it’s a decision taken too late, when all the damage has been done and Ajmal has taken so many wickets in international cricket.

What was the ICC doing till now? All those batsmen who lost their wickets to him, all those teams which lost a game because of an Ajmal spell, should they now come forward and say we have been wronged? If they can’t, then what is the point of rehabilitating these bowlers.”

Bedi added:

“Most people who claim to be mystery spinners enjoy an unfair advantage because they are being allowed to bowl illegal deliveries.What is the point of correcting their action in a laboratory and then letting them loose? Is the ICC a reformatory school? A chucker cannot reform. He is merely rendered ineffective.”

What the Fake Quinton De Kock really meant:

“Saeed Ajmal can’t bowl! Saeed Ajmal can’t bowl! With or without his 35 degrees of hyper extension…Ajmal can’t bowl…”

What he definitely didn’t (or did he?) :

“I’m famous, not Quinton De Kock.”


Rodney Hogg: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Rodney Hogg

What he said:

The former Australian fast bowler was reacting to Australia’s first defeat to Zimbabwe in 31 years in an ODI game.

What he really meant:

“We were canned then and we were caned now.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“Red Bull,anyone?”

Sanjay Patel: What he said, really meant and definitely didn’t

Sanjay Patel

What he said:

“They can go on holiday, or go back home. They can even come to India if they want.”

BCCI secretary Sanjay Patel minces no words about Team India’s bowling coach Joe Dawes’ and fielding coach Trevor Penney’s options on being relieved of their duties post the disastrous result in the Big Test series against England.

What he really meant:

“What they do now on their own time is none of the BCCI’s business. It’ s a purely professional transaction. They’re hired based on past results and recommendations and fired based on results and feedback. Can they have it any other way? Besides, they deserve a holiday—a well-earned one—and I can recommend no better place to vacation than India.”

What he definitely didn’t:

“How about Tourism India roping in Dawes and Penney as brand ambassadors?”


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