Truly Inglourious Basterds

Team India’s inglorious and humiliating exit from the second consecutive World T20 Cup would not have surprised even the most die hard Indian supporters. The portents were there right from the time the team was announced mid way through IPL 3.Players like Piyush Chawla,Ravindra Jadeja,Murali Vijay,Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma,who had indifferent or just adequate IPL 3 were selected not only  on reputation but because of their reputed connections with the powers that be…The  Captain and the Chief Selector.

Players like Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu,Pragyan Ojha, Amit Mishra who had showcased their talent  in abundance were left in the lurch simply because the Captain and his cronies in the selection panel did not deem them good enough.

Added to this farcical team selection was the mysterious ‘injury’ for the second  T20 World Cup in a row,after England 2009, to India’s most destructive player in all forms of cricket, the venerable Virender Sehwag.Is it just a strange coincidence or quirk of fate that after playing  most of the matches of IPL 3 ,Sehwag pulled out of the World Cup without suffering from any obvious on field injury. Somewhat similar occurrence had happened just before the last T20 World Cup in 2009.

There have been on and off media reports and speculations about serious differences between the Captain and Vice Captain and of Delhi coterie versus Dhoni coterie and one hopes that this was not one of the reason why Sehwag was absent from this world cup.

The team won its two group games against  Afghanistan and S Africa, but never looked in a sparkling form and lacked the cohesiveness of a  crack unit looking to best the World.

The mysterious stomach bug that afflicted Gautam Gambhir and rendered him hors de combat for an important match, the almost zombie like demeanor of Yuvraj Singh while batting and fielding, persistence with out- of- match- practice Jadeja and  fit for Indian pitches only player M Vijay, turned out to be the biggest chinks in the Indian armor,  under utilization of performer like Pravin Kumar followed by his pull out  from the tournament due to injury  were just some of the bizarre instances that sabotaged India’s short lived and botched  campaign.

In the Super Eight matches against  Australia and W Indies, the batsmen especially so called  big guns like Gambhir, Vijay,Raina,Yuvraj and Pathan were caught out of their depth against some hostile fast bowling and mostly got out fending short pitched deliveries angled into their bodies. India lost both the matches rather tamely.

A similar strategy had  been employed by India’s opponents  in the 2009, T20 World  Cup  in England with  virtually similar results.

In the final must-win match against Sri Lanka after being 90 for 1 at half way mark India lost their way against both the slow and medium pace bowlers, could muster only 163 in 20 overs and then bowled and fielded shoddily with neither heart nor purpose to lose by 5 wickets,  unable to defend 13 runs in the final over and 3  of the final ball which was hit for a six.

In the critical phase of the tournament, the team could neither chase nor defend successfully. When push came to shove, India were pushed as well as shoved away from the competition. After each defeat the millions of cricket crazy followers kept waiting for that elusive  team India victory  which ultimately never transpired leaving a feeling of deja vu or having being taken for a  ride once again.

Some media reports suggest that Skipper Dhoni is blaming the after match IPL parties for the  lack luster performance. This is laughable and akin to a school boy saying he failed the all important exams as there was a party at home so he could neither  study nor sleep.

Like the captain of a ship,Skipper Dhoni is fully responsible for the  performance of  his players and if they have been consistently found wanting at the international level it is a reflection of his own judgment and performance as a Captain and player.

After the come from behind title victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup, Indian team lead by MS Dhoni has really struggled in this format of the game and needs to do a reality check to be acknowledged as a truly great team in all formats of the game.

They can perhaps take inspiration from the Australian team which failed to  make even the Super Eight stage in the last World cup, did its homework in the interim, got rid of the  non performers including the ageing but  inspirational Ricky Ponting  and is now the only undefeated team in this World Cup and favorites to lift the only World Cup which has eluded them so far.

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Yet another Card in UAE

This is with reference to the current hullabaloo in UAE related to the national ID card .

On the occasion of Mother’s day today ,it would have been apt to announce the launch of      ” Mother of All Cards ” ( pronounced MOCK ).The most striking feature of this card will be to authorise  the holder  to legally and compulsorily carry many other officially and unofficially mandated cards viz.National ID card, labour,driving license,e-gate,UAE banks’ debit and credit cards,vehicle registration card, health insurance card,e -dirham card, card of  preferred money exchange company, permit for alcohololic drinks card etc etc.

This card should be made compulsory from midnight today and instead of denial of mundane  RTA  related services like vehicle registration,license renewal etc,  people found in violation should be slapped with any or many of the innovative penalties.These can include:

A one month ban on visit to all Dubai Malls and Supermarkets. Grocery stores excluded.A typical draconian penalty for those caught twice without the “mother of all cards” can be to announce a indefinite ban on visits to all beauty salons.

A fortnight long,  weekend enforced  ban on visit to  all fast food outlets and restaurants,including take away food and home deliveries.This will be enforced for those expatriates with families in UAE.For bachelors a similar  ban on visits to the pubs,watering holes,all bars and  purchases at all the MMI and A+E stores will be applicable.

No access to the cars for one week for those not carrying the “Mother  of all Cards”or MOCK card.For those expatriates  who do not have a driving license,no access to metro and bus for a week.In addition,violators can also be barred from taking their cars to a car wash,both automatic and manual for a period of one month.

Cutting off the telephone( mobile and landline) connection as well as Wifi internet.For bachelors this will include a complete ban on sending SMSs too.A dubai expat can live without  proper food for days  but not without his mobile phone or WiFi access.

Denial of specific TV channels .For example, No football  channels especially the upcoming Soccer World Cup in South Africa,  final deciding matches of EPL and  various European leagues  to those from Europe and blanking of all channels broadcasting cricket and political news for expatriates belonging to the Indian sub continent.

Another  draconian penalty can be to announce compulsory two-three day weekend leave from work, for  a period of three months  for the housemaids/servants of those  expatriates who fail to produce their” Mother of All Cards” pronounced MOCK

These and other such strict measures will ensure speedy compliance and will be a real tribute to all the Moms on this international Mothers Day as everyone knows that a mother is strict only to ensure a better future.