Sunday, February 22, 2009

A proud moment for every Indian

What a night at the Oscar's for Indians. At this point in time, as I scribble a few lines here, 4 Oscars have come our way. 2 to ARR, 1 to Resul Pookutty and 1 for 'Smile Pinki', a documentary based on a small girl living in rural Uttar Pradesh.
For the common man, it was ARR representing India at the Oscars. When he came up on stage, I felt a deep sense of pride and I am sure every Indian would have felt the same. It was quite a short speech. The message conveyed was very profound, his humility dripping with every word. It was a speech much like the one he made at the Golden Globes. He thanked everybody who has been associated with the film and its music. He thanked his mom, what a proud moment for her!!!
Coming from humble beginnings, ARR has reached phenomenal heights. The Oscars notwithstanding, his music has made him an internationally known figure. Personally, I wouldn't rate Slumdog even close to his best. But, for those who are not familiar with his compositions, Slumdog would have simply swept them off their feet. May more such laurels come his way.

Above all, it was great to hear a line in Tamizh at the Kodak Theatre. Thank you Rahman!!
எல்லா புகழும் இறைவன் ஒருவனுக்கே !!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Is it the end of an era??

When was the last time you saw (or read!) about Australia losing badly. Not so long ago I am sure!!
If the way they played against South Africa wasn't puzzling enough, the series versus New Zealand has been inexplicable so far. The targets have been modest at best, the bowling pedestrian and fielding mediocre. Having set low standards in every department it may not be such a huge over statement to say that the Kiwis did outplay the Aussies in 'every' department of the game.
As far as I can look back, I don't think there has ever been a weaker Australian team. Their A team was much better until a couple of years ago!! Former players have gone on record and said that other teams have actually started closing in on Australia though their standards have not fallen per say. This rule may be just fine for India and South Africa, to sing the same song for the Kiwis is taking things ridiculously far.
If you have managed to catch a highlights package of the first one day against the Kiwis, you would know for sure that both teams were desperately trying to make the other win. But there came point when the Kiwis lost their patience and decided to win it themselves.
Unfortunately for Australia, the poor runs of Hayden, Hussey, Clarke (to a certain extent), Symonds' problems, injuries to Watson, Clark and Lee coincided. With more than half the side unable to perform for one reason or the other, it was a huge burden for Ponting to carry on his shoulders. To his credit, he has done reasonably well so far. The form with the bat is the sole reason he is still leading the side. Or is it? The truth is that they can't afford to lose Ponting at this stage. I am pretty certain he would be in this team even if he had an extended poor run. How else can you explain the selection of David Hussey? From over ten matches he doesn't have a single three figure score. For a batting alrounder that's appalling by Australian standards. Remember this bloke called Bevan??
I am no Australian fan, as you might have guessed. But, the way they have gone about their game has been meek. It seems as though they have already resigned to defeat. Where is that indomitable Aussie spirit? This may well be just a phase in their cricket. The serious issue is that there appears to be a genuine dearth in the talent-the pool is drying up. As a result, four season old 'babies' are trying their hand at international cricket. Gone are the days when you needed to be over 25 to be in the national squad. Australia was one team that has never believed in precocious talent, Gilchrist, Hayden, Hussey, Martin, Bevan, Ponting, Clarke are all examples. They all went through the grind of the first class games for about 5 years before they could break-in to the ODI team, let alone the test team. The reasoning was that they had to be seasoned and mature enough to handle the pressures of international cricket. Fair enough.
I wish to make one more point. Contrast the Indian team of the mid nineties to this Australian team. India depended on Tendulkar just as Australia do on Ponting. Ponting is taking a "well-deserved" break, so that he can be fresh for the South African tour. Imagine Sachin's plight. Could he have afforded such a break? Granted there is far too much cricket these days. Think of how long Sachin has been carrying the side and the hopes of an entire nation on his shoulders. Now that's a legend for you!
To conclude that Australian cricket is on a downward spiral and that their dominance of world cricket is over might be a little pre-mature now, the signs do look ominous.