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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

A Calmer You by Sonal Kalra: The nation wants to know...

...the answer to these five questions from the World Cup

columns Updated: Jun 29, 2019 19:20 IST
Sonal Kalra
Sonal Kalra
Hindustan Times
Why is ICC in love with monsoon?
Why is ICC in love with monsoon?(Photo: Instagram/KP24)

Like on any other thing, I am not an expert on cricket either. Actually far from ever even hoping to be one. But kya hai na, here in India, it is easier to become a certified expert on cricket than scoring above 95% in board exams. Because we all know what a cake-walk it is to score above 95% in exams these days. I think 90 se toh start hi hoti hai percentage aajkal. Anyway, back to cricket and of course, the World Cup. We basically dived right from the elections into the World Cup, so never really got the time to take off our war gear. Hence, the explosive discussions before and after every match. In good fun, therefore (writing this specially so I don’t get trolled), I thought of some questions we all seem to be asking, just as the Cricket World Cup moves to a fiercer phase. Considering my supposed lack of knowledge (just because someone on Twitter said women can’t understand cricket), I got my male colleague, Samarth, to give me valuable insights. I don’t know if Arnab does, but the nation definitely wants to know…

Q. What is Vijay Shankar doing in the team?

You know, I feel for him. Too much pressure on the guy right from the day his name got announced in the squad. But then his performance is making the troll army go right at him, match after match. I know some of you would remind that he got two wickets in the match against Pakistan, but uss din toh Pakistan was in the mood and form to give us Karachi and Islamabad wrapped in heart-shaped gift-paper if we wanted. Shankar’s performance against Afghanistan and then the West Indies again raised the big question mark as to why him and why not Rishabh Pant. But what does the poor guy do…he’s supposed to be an all-rounder but it’s just too much pressure for him to come at the dreaded number four position. No one seems to have the answer, and everyone except Shikhar Dhawan is twiddling their thumb wondering what to do with Vijay Shankar. Mean meme: Vijay Shankar is a deadly combination of Jaspreet Bumrah and Virat Kohli. Bats like Bumrah and bowls like Kohli!

Read: A Calmer You, by Sonal Kalra: All you irritating people out there, gotcha!

Q. Does Sanjay Manjrekar listen to his own commentary?

Because if he ever does, then doesn’t he wonder why he says what he says at times? He has good knowledge of the game but speaking the most obvious, random sentences on the mic won’t really show it off. Recently, a fan officially complained to the ICC about Manjrekar’s allegedly biased commentary. Biased or not, I’m not sure, but saying things like ‘If it doesn’t rain today, there’s a high likelihood of a full game happening’ makes you go whoa and choke yourself on the remote – all at the same time. Giving mood and colour to the commentary is another thing, but describing the recipe of Nagpur Chicken Curry for ten minutes, or advising Indian fans to buy umbrellas from the UK as a ‘long-term investment’ can make you want to bang your head on the TV screen. The man is, however, high on entertainment value if cricket bores you, and is also good at cracking and taking jokes in good spirit, which is a great asset. By the way, if you are supremely lucky on a given day you could get Ramiz Raja in the commentary box as a bonus. Some joys are priceless. Mean meme: Indians agree to collectively throng temples, mosques, churches and gurudwaras the day something positive will come out of the mouth of Sanjay Mumbaikar… sorry, Manjrekar.

Q. Why is Dhoni batting slow in this World Cup?

See, I am a big Dhoni fan, but even if you are smaller in size, I’m sure you love the man for what he’s brought to Indian cricket. So it’s a bit disconcerting to see him get criticised for turning the last couple of ODI’s into test matches. Yes, Akshay Kumar is recreating the iconic song Tip Tip Barsa, but Dhoni and Jadhav need not have extended the sentiment to cricket at such critical times. And to make matters worse, Sachin fans and Dhoni fans clashed head-on the former’s opinion on the slow batting issue. That’s like two religions fighting when their Gods are actually pretty cool with each other. Thankfully everyone, including the third God, Kohli, and the experts have come out in support of MSD’s strategy. So all is perfect on the track between India and the cup. But, still for safety, keep all songs that have ‘tip tip’ in the lyrics away from Dhoni’s playlist. He already has Ravi Shastri around him.

Mean meme: Snail, a shelled gastropod whose movement can be best described to students by playing Dhoni-Jadhav’s innings from India-Afghanistan match in World Cup 2019.

Read: A Calmer You, by Sonal Kalra: How tasty is your meal, by the way?

Q. Will Mohammad Shami ever get the man of the match award?

Hat-trick bhi le li, ab bechara kya hi toh kare to become the MOM? There’s no doubt that Bumrah rocked the match with Afghanistan, and that Kohli played a captain’s innings in the clash with West Indies, but Shami must be singing ‘Apna Time Aayega’ to no avail for several days now. Matlab de do nah Man of the Match. He’s proving himself from a situation of very little expectations, and that’s not a mean task, I tell you. Bhuvaneshwar Kumar is also fit now, and itching to get back. So if there is a Mohammad Shami fan club, right now is the time for them to stock themselves with enough ‘pijje and burgers’ and give a dharna somewhere to demand a Man of the Match award for their hero. Jokes apart, he’s risen to the occasion beautifully, and in the process raised the confidence level of the team. Deserves a pat.

Mean Meme: If Shami can’t win the MOM award, shall we ask for instituting a DAD award?

Q. Why is ICC in love with monsoon?

I know it’s already decided but may I suggest Cherrapunji as the venue for the next World Cup? Considering we love rains so much, I’m sure ICC selectors sit with a world map and a rainfall index and choose the places with the maximum probability of baarish. Because you see, colourful umbrellas make for beautiful photographs and TV footage. In this World Cup, the points scored by the rain should far exceed the points scored by the playing teams. Going by the Indian legend that marrying frogs ensures rain, some die-hard cricket fans who have spent a lot on match tickets are forcibly getting frogs to divorce. It’s an emergency situation.

Sonal Kalra is a very serious follower of the game of cricket, with views that should never be taken seriously. Disregard all the above with a pinch of salt and a dash of smile, but just agree with her on one thing. #JeetegaTohIndiaHi. Mail her at sonal.kalra Follow on Twitter @sonalkalra.

First Published: Jun 29, 2019 15:57 IST

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