Maria Sharapova and the Unknown God of Cricket

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Tennis Ace (and Russian Beauty) Maria Sharapova in a recent interview said that she had never heard of Sachin Tendulkar.The Internazionali BNL d'Italia 2012 - Day Nine

Sachin Tendulkar is India’s Cricket God and a global Ambassador for the sport. He’s broken almost every batting record in the cricket books and his career record is safe with him for at least the next 25 years. He was recently invited to the Royal Box as a Special Guest at Wimbledon.

The flat admittance from the former Wimbledon Champion has caused some sort of uproar in India coz apparently not knowing who Sachin Tendulkar is amounts to disrespect and insult of a man who is not only worshiped in India, but also held in the highest regard in the c10518648_796261810404542_3821327645841886991_nricket-loving nations.

And then begin the comparisons… Sachin has 4.4m followers on Twitter. Sharapova has 1.1m… She even has 7 million less likes than Sachin on her Facebook page.¬†(Awww ūüė¶ )¬†ūüėź … Loads of angry Facebook statuses and tweets accusing her of being arrogant and ignorant of the greatest cricketer of all time (which he undoubtedly is) and jibes of her popularity being less than Sachin’s.¬†(Who is Maria Sharapova???)¬†

This particular image on the left aimed at showing how Sachin touched¬†the ground with his hands to show respect to the pitch that gave him everything he has in life as compared to Sharapova who put the feet 10488049_599306550182783_5274747190593100345_non the net of the tennis court. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult for people to get that different people and countries have different cultures and touching feet amounts to no disrespect whatsoever in most cultures, but it does in India. What a juvenile and uncalled for attempt to malign her¬†impression on the Indian audience!!

Dear India and specifically you cricket-frenzied maniacs (and I speak directly to those multitudes of people who took offense at what she said, and not those who just had a sporting laugh at it),

I don’t have anything against you or Sachin. But I just wanna tell you to chill out and SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!¬†Maria Sharapova is a World No. 5 Tennis player from Russia. Here’s why that’s where the argument ends.

  • Russia got recognized as a cricket nation by the ICC in 2012. They know as much about cricket as most of you guys¬†are pretending to know about Football on Social Media¬†during¬†this World Cup¬†which, frankly, is quite embarrassing.
  • Sharapova has been playing Tennis since she was 2 years old. Tennis has been her world ever since.¬†Forget knowing, I don’t even think she’s concerned about Sachin and his records.
  • Lastly, she just said she doesn’t know who he is. She didn’t¬†mean any disrespect to¬†Sachin, cricket, India or your religion. Grow up!

downloadSuch serious reactions do nothing but project an¬†irrational and hooligan¬†image of our country and its people. Like Russia, countries like USA, Mexico, Portugal, Philippines, Brazil, France, Italy and many more don’t follow cricket. They have their own passions, own heroes and we aren’t criminals for not knowing them. I’m sure they don’t care that you don’t know who Eusebio, Honus Wagner, Luis Figo, Romario or Reggie White are. All these people are Legends of their own leagues and it’s perfectly OK for you to not know (or care) who they are.

It’s right and important to stand by Sachin and all famous Indians who have done us proud. Yes, we worship Sachin for his contribution to World Cricket. Most of us feel blessed and honored to have lived in a generation that watched him Grace the cricket field and every young imagesbatsman at any level of cricket in the world aspires to emulate him and will be lucky to achieve half of what he has…

But let’s not slate everyone who¬†doesn’t know him or think of him as fondly as we do.¬†There are plenty more out there like that. It’s the same¬†hate-mentality and myopic outlook which does no good to anyone anywhere. It just causes so many more serious issues and problems.

Learn to accept people and appreciate them for what they know, what they are and what they’ve achieved. Coz the World is full of beautiful people. You just need to open your eyes and see it.

Cheers.

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Slap, Slap, Slap and the Rapist Who Made a Mistake

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Ever wondered what’s wrong with our country??

India… The World’s largest democracy the perennial ‘potential’ global superpower? I’m sure you have. We all have… atleast once in the last few years. Everytime some incident happens- rape, terror attacks, communal riots, etc. we either curse some obvious targets and watch Arnab boss over his panelists on a thoroughly (un)biased debate on Times Now and/or go “iss desh ka kuch nahi hoga“.India

This past week, we got our answer.

Incident 1:

Yuvraj Singh scores 11 off 21 balls in a World T20 Final and is singularly charged for India’s defeat to Sri Lanka. The general public curses him and his family to hell, pelts stones at his house, accuses him of performing only in IPL coz he gets a bumper paycheck there and disgraced bald ex-cricketers call for his retirement on sub-standard news channels since, they have nothing better to do in life.

Incident 2:

Political revolutionary and Aam Aadmi Party chief, Arvind Kejriwal is slapped (yes, again) in public by a disappointed supporter and that slapper gets thrashed himself. Meanwhile, Kejriwal sends out a tweet urging non-violent conduct.

Incident 3:

SP Chief and former Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Mulayam Singh Yadav, shows that his Masters’ degree in political science is worth a hoot by coming out in defense of rapists… “Boys will be Boys. They Make mistakes. Why should we hang them?

(Yes, he used these words. He used these words.

Yes, he used these words. He used these words.)

Sorry, couldn’t resist the Arnab rap reference. ūüėõ

And guess what.¬†His punishment was to be subjected to the biggest cliches in the history of politically correct opposition in democratic India – condemnation, public¬†outrage and the Women’s wing’s demand for an apology.

*slow clap* well done, India. Well friggin’ done.

  1. The man who single-handedly won us 2 World Cups, fought Cancer and earned his way back into the most competitive international cricket team in the world plays one bad innings and we go and damage his house. Some even went so far as to say that he should’ve died of cancer than come back and play such an innings. Pathetic. From a God to the Devil in 21 deliveries.
  2. The man who¬†started a wave of political revolution in India; a man with a pure heart and clean intentions who is responsible for half the political awareness among young India today slapped and his face blackened in public because some random douchebag didn’t like something he did.
  3. But, the man who comes out and supports rapists as if they were 5 year olds who broke a toy only gets public outcry, condemnation and the prime airtime on the evening news. And ultimately, him and his son will be elected to run UP for the next 5 years because the multitude of senile people in that state will themselves vote him back to power, and the rest of the country will go back to work the next morning.

And there’s your answer. That’s what’s wrong with this country and that’s also exactly why¬†iss desh ka kabhi kuch nahi hoga.

Educate the masses. Teach them sense and rationality. Then, a generation or 2 down the road, there could be hope for us.

Jai Hind!

India: Caught Offside

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In the early 21st century, for the first time ever, Indian kids have had an option of choosing their¬†favorite¬†sport. Till the ’90s cricket was the sole sporting religion in India. Yeah, you could say hockey is the national sport and blah and blah but nothing ever beat the buzz of a crunch cricket match.

 

With the advent of televised football all-year round, starting with the English Premier League, followed by the Bundesliga, Serie A and most recently, the Spanish La Liga sport enthusiasts have found a new first love… so much that any kid around the age of 15 would rather spend a few grand on his¬†favorite¬†football team’s jersey than on a Team India jersey. It was the same case with me. Around 10 years ago, I was all cricket. But then came the English Premier League. The rest, as they say, is history. As of today… football trumps cricket, everyday.

 

Let me tell you why…

 

Firstly, football is a continuous game. The only boring stoppages in a game are for goal kicks and throw-ins. Others like goals, free-kicks, corners, etc. arouse a sense of excitement. 90 minutes divided into 2 action packed¬†halves of 45 minutes each¬†(well, unless you’re watching the Serie A or La Liga, save their main derby games). Time flies by and its barely 2 hours spent per match. Also, there’s a very distinct factor of¬†unpredictability in football. You can never know when a goal will be scored, or when a harsh tackle or a referee howler will flip the game on its head.

 

One-Day cricket on the other hand, is aImage 100 over game split into 50 over innings which last roughly 3 hours each at an average of 14 overs an hour. Yes, its exciting at times, but, I can’t help snooze off between an innings. Its painful to watch a bowler make a run up, bowl the delivery, watch the batsman play and wait the bowler take a slow painful walk back to his run-up starting point only to repeat it 50 X 6 = 300 times in an innings and 600 times in a standard¬†ODI, not counting extras. Given that we still play Ashish¬†Nehra from time to time, its a crucial factor.

 

Moreover, the game lasts 6 and a half to 7 hours on an average. Either you spend 6 hours watching the same thing over and over again or you watch part of the match which is just as pointless.

 

Secondly, football is a club-dominated game rather than nation-dominated. Club football takes precedence… always. The point is that with Top Tier¬†National leagues, national knock-out cup¬†tourneys¬†and European Championships, every weekend is new. Your¬†favorite¬†club will rarely play the same opponent twice in the same month, or even quarter of a year. Unless, of course its the last knock-out stages of the European cups which showcase nothing but the very best clubs on both ends of the pitch. So no¬†complaints¬†there.

 

Plus, there are transfers that see players moving from one club to another in the blink of an eye. One moment, he’s your favorite player, the next day he plays for another club, possibly a fierce rival. *oooh, Robin van Persie!! ;)*Its that sort of thing that gives you the kick (pun intended).

 

Contrarily, cricket is a nation¬†dominated¬†sport. National teams battle it out against other countries in long, sometimes over-stretched series’ against the same nation (Remember India vs. Sri Lanka last year? THAT!). You might have an occasional tri-series but nothing too exciting until the world cup. I’m sorry, but, I’m not going to spend 6 hours each on a 7 match ODI series of India against the same set of 11 players for 3 months. How much more monotonous can it get?? Clean bold!

 

And Sachin has retired, too. *silent tear*

 

Although it would be wrong to suggest that football has taken over from cricket as the primary fanatic sport of India, among the urban sections of the society, a high octane football match brings a bigger buzz than the climax of a long ODI series.

 

Having said that, I must¬†add that an Indian kid’s passion for his country’s cricket team knows no bounds during big international tournaments like the World Cup and Champions Trophy. I cite this from personal experience… I am not a big cricket follower but I was proud to lose my voice cheering Team India on to a memorable victory vs. Australia at the Motera Stadium in Quarter Final of the 2011 World Cup.

 

Yeah, I love football. A lot!
But its always Team India time during the World Cup.