Friday, April 20, 2007

F@#% YOU Anand Vasu. Enough is Enough.

Cricinfo profile of this self-proclaimed "expert" goes like -

Anand Vasu (Associate Editor)
When the IT revolution took place sweeping vast tracts of southern India in its wake, Anand Vasu stayed well clear of it, nimbly evading engineering college. Cricinfo's longest serving writer, Anand is a veteran of the glory days of ball-by-ball commentary from Valsad to Vizag and was the site's leading expert in cajoling government department staff to put up telecom lines, before mobile phones spoit it all. He supports Tasmania and Hampshire, and likes nothing more than espousing lost causes. An opening bowler who stayed undiscovered by MRF Pace Foundation in his hometown in Chennai because they were too busy working on Dilhara Fernando, Anand moved to Mumbai and had to abandon his first-choice career teaching basketball to school kids. But he continues to be a poet in his spare time and an avid consumer of single-malt scotch whiskey at all times. And you're more than likely to spot him with his collar turned up, in silent tribute to ML Jaisimha.

From the above - possibly written by himself - if I were a psycho-analyst, I would describe Mr Vasu as one not so successful academically yet full of false vanity; insecure; unhappy in relationship (if one such exists!); lacking any focus, and possibly an alcoholic one too!

Not so successful academically yet full of false vanity - Lots of people flunk IITs. But very few try camouflaging it with "nimbly evading engineering college". Also a self-proclaimed supporter of "Tasmania and Hampshire" probably tries to remind us losers how "un hep" it is to support usual teams like India in World Cup or Uttarpradesh in Ranji.

Insecure - "likes nothing more than espousing lost causes"

Unhappy in relationship - blames others for his fault. An opening bowler who "stayed undiscovered by MRF Pace Foundation" not because HIS lack of abilities.

Lacking any focus - He tried Cricket and apparently tried MRF but "his first-choice career teaching basketball" and then he quit trying in Basketball too!

Possibly an alcoholic one - "avid consumer of single-malt scotch whiskey at all times". This "single-malt scotch" also doubles up in the above "vanity" point.

So, I would urge a fair degree of caution when you read any cricket report by him in that Cricinfo website. Especially this report published today is so full of personal vilification disguised as an "expert analysis" that you would be sure of at least one thing mentioned above. Anand Vasu does always remain high on some shit! Whether he earns enough money - or any at all judging by his standard of reporting - to imbibe on "single-malt scotch whiskey" is unknown, but I would be surprised - and shocked - if he does!

So what's wrong about this report?

"It has emerged that the selectors, and senior members of the board, are far from impressed with Ganguly's recent ODI performances."

I don't even know how to react to this extremely parochial, naive, and may I say Dravidian journalism! Ganguly's recent ODI performances are bad?? Man, even Greg Chappell could not say that. We are talking about the person whose 2007 average in one-dayers is abour 63 - the highest in Team India! If you took him out from the team that played West Indies and Sri Lanka before the World Cup -- India probably would have lost both the series as well!

"His 129-ball 66 against Bangladesh, 114-ball 89 against Bermuda, and 23-ball 7 against Sri Lanka conveyed the impression that he was more concerned with making runs for himself than the team."

Vasu seems to be suffering from an incurable case of "boiling frog syndrome" where he neglected the recent records -- and yes, effectiveness too -- of all other Indian team members to shed his venom against one single person. He is singularly focussed to see Sourav Ganguly go away from every cricket field so that Cricinfo's pet first-bencher Rahul Dravid is left with no real competition thereby enhancing the website's balance sheet. Cricinfo apparently has its material future growth tied with the longevity of Rahul Dravid's tenure as Indian captain and its exclusive contract with him. So much so that last time we had to bear looking at an avoidable bare torso of an Indian captain's -- it was not even tied to the celebration of the team's win in a hotly contested final of an International tournament (Chappell probably forgot about this win when he said India hasn't won any tournament outside after 1985!).

If Ganguly -- on Vasu scale of concerns -- forgot about "himself" and rushed as Dravid so badly wanted him to in that Bangladesh match, India probably would have folded under 145 judging by performance of the rest. Accepted that Ganguly's strike rate in Bangladesh match is nothing to brag about -- 66 in 129 balls -- a paltry 51%. But remember he was on crease watching THREE top wickets of Sehwag, Utthappa and Sachin gone by 15th over. India was 40/3 at the end of 15 overs. Had Ganguly tried to rush it up and played a rash shot like another ex-captain Kapil Dev did against England in 1985 -- he too could have been dropped in next game just like Kapil was! And the incredible chemistry Rahul shares with Sourav, the later may never have been recalled! What I don't get is why no one is asking Rahul 'the wall' Dravid about bad strike rate and less runs scored! 14 runs in 28 balls in that Bangladesh match! Something to write home about, ain't in Anand? If it were an unbiased journalist, he would also have shed light on the more apparent reason India had lost the game. Rahul Dravid won the toss and, defying the popular judgment for that particular pitch, decided to bat first! If I were a bad partial "journalist" like Anand Vasu, Rahul's motive would be - "I wish Sourav gets out quick in this mother of bad pitches and then I could just drop him in Super Eight" . That - like Anand Vasu says - is thinking for 'himself rather than for the team'. But I am not indicating any such conspiracy. Not yet! Though a point to ponder is Greg Chappell's clear disenchantment with Dravid opting to bat on that day.

"Of all three high-profile omissions, it seems that Ganguly is the one whose future is at risk. Is this the end of the road for him? Dilip Vengsarkar, the chairman of selectors, said emphatically that Tendulkar and Ganguly would be considered in the future but a young batsman taking the chances afforded to him could well make it difficult for Ganguly to return. After all, with no domestic cricket left to prove his form in, Ganguly will be under intense pressure to score in the Tests against Bangladesh. A couple of failures there and he might well be out in the cold."

Looks like Vasu knows quite a bit more inside stories than everyone else! Is it Dravid himself speaking with him or it is just how he feels after consuming the 7th shot of 'single-malt whiskey'? He had assumed - just like he did this time - it's farewell for Sourav last time Ganguly was ousted by the unholy trinity of More, Chappell and Dravid. ("Ganguly deserved a better farewell") In another he doubted - "it was now not so much whether he could make it back to the Indian team, but whether he still deserved a place in the Rest of India team". To think of how prophetic Vasu is, Ganguly not only earned a place in the team -- he was the highest run-scorer in consecutive two series -- 'man of the series' in the later one after his recall. Incidentally, Ganguly is the second highest run-scorer for India in this World Cup too.

It makes one wonder why Vasu or Cricinfo is so intent on seeing the best performing batsman in 2007 - and the man of the series in the last one at home - retire!! Vasu the astrologer probably needs to change his brand of single malt or switch to another career. Teaming up with Mandira Bedi doing some non-cricket stuff could be a good starter!

And why exactly Vasu's definition of "recent" encompasses only last three matches and not last 10 matches Ganguly played in last 18 months eludes me. But then I, luckily, did not HAVE to "nimbly evade" Engineering and -- having earned my degree from a premier institute -- am quite proud of my quantitative abilities. Since Mr Vasu is probably too busy sipping his single-malt to check the facts, let me just help with it -- Sourav's average in 9 innings played over last 10 matches in 2007 is 63.62 with a strike rate of 72 - the highest among Indians scoring over 300 in the same time range!

I think if Mr Vasu's bowling average -- even in the so called "gully cricket" -- were half as comparable to the above he would not have stayed undiscovered by MRF!