Friday, June 22, 2007


Ted corbet , one of the greatest cricket reporters of all time , once said “ All my instincts from 50 years around cricket tell me that Muttiah Muralitharan’s action is illegal” . I and thousands like me believe in those words. Obviously the first question that you are going to ask is why then he has so many admirers around the globe . The answer is that whatever the methods the results are so fascinating , so wonderful to watch, so devastating that we don’t like to miss a ball that he bowls. But in simple language he throws and in cricket it is not allowed. We know the arguments supporting his action that he has a born damage and he can’t rectify it. But it is not an excuse to break the laws. Does murali bowl like Alfred shaw bowled in the 19th century, as Bill O’reilly bowled in the 20th century and as mcgrath bowls in the 21st century ? I bet after comparing we won’t call Muralitharan legit. The fact is that you don’t need a biosensor or super-slo camera to see that he is bending his elbow. you can see it with your naked eye. John arlott , the greatest commentator of all-time, after the 1948 test humiliation by Australia said “ somewhere there is a youngster who has seen Miller and Lindwall and who is ready to answer their fire with fast bowling of his own” . and so it happened that within 3 years Fred Trueman was devastating , within 5 years Brian statham was Starting his marvelous test career and frank Tyson was unleashing thunder bolts as if he were the god mars. So the problem is that with Murali gaining so much success from his twirling action, there will be 10 or 15 Muralis in international cricket within years.

Statisticians around the globe has found that Muralithran has supporters which is almost square the number of people who oppose him ! and most of them are in the subcontinent because those who oppose him are mainly the English and the Australians and frankly we don’t like them, one for their previous authority over us and the other for their bloody-mindedness. But the sheer amount of the number of his supporters doesn’t make him legit. Of course he is a great entertainer, he is a bring-me-on-the-edge like performer. But there has been so many like him before he came and if we approve him it will b irreparable injustice towards them. Wisden chose him as the greatest bowler of 20th century . If the criteria was only the on field performance but not the other controversies, where was Shane Warne? We don’t know how dinosaurs disappeared and we don’t know why Courtney Walsh who on and off the field was glittering was omitted. We don’t know how Wasim Akram, arguably the greatest left armer of all time if we tend to ignore the comparatively shorter career of Alan Davidson, didn’t come first in the list. The fact is that murali is using his bent arm to gain an unfair advantage over the batsmen and also over other bowlers just like performance enhancing drugs. Change your perspective about his twirling arm as a performance enhancer, and you will feel the seriousness of the occasion. The argument that we should go on with him for purely his entertainment value is fully absurd. Tomorrow Marian jones will eat up kilos of steroids and run 100m in 5 seconds, only to entertain the spectators. Adam Gilchrist will use a wider bat, though he doesn’t need it, and blast all the bowlers, only to entertain the spectators. The laws are for everybody to obey. A certain muralitharan is not excempted from it. ICC conducted a secret poll among all the 12 elite panel umpires after the 2003 champions trophy in srilanka , about various matters which included a question involving muralitharan’s action. Eleven umpires agreed that he is chucking and no marks for you for guessing Asoka Desilva as the name of that odd umpire who supported him. So he knows it and all others know it and still he goes on. It is amazing that his greatest supporters in contemporary cricket are Australians like Gilchrist and Ponting. But are they trapping him? There is a thing which the Australians call the Tall Poppy syndrome, deliberately blowing the image bigger and when the time comes, cutting it to original size. And if someone gets hurt in that process who cares. With this they showed how to handle murali in the last test series between them in Srilanka in which they thrashed them 3 – 0. I admit he is a great competitor. He waded through all these controversies and still wading successfully. We always like to see champions struggling , struggling against their opponents and also against themselves and coming out with flying colours. In the 2004 test series against Australia in Australia, Sachin Tendulkar suffered a terrible series low scores. In the last test in Sydney also, he was struggling. He struggled to make 300 odd runs in that test match and almost brought a series victory. But he did nothing outside the laws. Recently Kobe Bryant was spending his time setting up a defence against charges of rape. On four occasions this year Bryant has flown from pre trial proceedings straight to a game, literally moving from court to court. Yet his response has been 42 points against San Antonio Spurs, 36 against sacamento, 31 against Houston Rockets and a shot to win the games versus Denver. But he did nothing outside the laws. And We expect Murali to be so.

The Preamble of cricket says “ Cricket is a game that owes its unique appeal to the fact that it should be played not only within its laws but also within the spirit of the game. Any action which is seen to abuse this sprit causes injury to the game itself “. We request Mr. Murali to keep the laws and spirit of this great game by stepping OUT. I admit Muralitharan is a superb athlete, but more suitable for baseball. Let him join the White Sox, the Yankees, or the Dodgers. THER IS NO PLACE FOR HIM IN CRICKET.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


A flashing victory in the first round and a shameless defeat in the second. How often have we seen that from Sania Mirza? It is time for us to accept that she is not good enough to win matches consistently or she can’t win matches if she holds the same attitude. And I feel pity towards the supporters who are behind her because she doesn’t make any effort from her side to improve or improvise. The first step towards solving a problem is to identify and admit that you have a problem, which she is not ready to do. She has immense potential but turning potential to performance is an altogether different matter, which requires a lot of sacrifices.

And more embarrassing is her pre match talk. It reminds me of WWF. She will announce how scant respect she holds towards her opponent and how she is going to destroy her opponent. She gives us a feeling that she just needs to turn up to move to the next round. And as usual after the match, which obviously has ended in a defeat, she would sheepishly make some excuses in front of the flashing cameras. She thinks that uttering some nonsense against her opponent is fashionable. Sachin Tendulkar never talked about attacking bowlers but has dominated almost all the bowling attacks around the globe for 16 years. Pete Sampras won 14 Grad Slams without uttering a single word about the guy who stood at the opposite side of the court. After defeating Andre Agassi in the 2005 US open final, Roger Federer said that it was his privilege to play against Agassi in a slam final. This is the stuff champions are made and it is high time that Sania should learn it.

Once after beaten by a 100 odd ranked player, during the following press conference Sania said that she was off colour that day and also even her opponent was not playing well. But unknowingly what she meant was that a player who is much below her in rankings doesn’t even need to be at her best to defeat her! With money, fame and short skirts she can be in spotlight for some time but over a larger period when she hangs up her boots( or racquet) she will be evaluated in terms of her achievements which is a big zero at this time. Sport persons or teams are always defined by certain moments, which stay with them until the end of their life. Maradona and the hand of GOD, Borg and the 81 Wimbledon Final, Manchester United and their 99’ treble of FA, EPL and Champions league,Australia and their hatrick World Cups and 16 Test wins in a row. These are the moments which will stand the test of time. And it is unfortunate that India’s latest tennis star doesn’t even have a single notable moment in her career.

It is completely up to her to put a wholehearted effort and start her journey to glory rather than concentrating on latest fashion and media hype. And if she is not ready to do that, it is time for her stop playing tennis.