| NAME GAME: Sachin Tendulkars name has nothing to with Raj Persauds sons name, Sachin
Is this the end of the world?
This cricketing disaster in England shouldnt be a surprise. Back on January 2, 2011, I did warn (India to face new battle of Britain): India had better start preparing for the England tour in good time for their opponents will unleash a new generation of giant fast bowlers in helpful English conditions.
Michael Vaughan was already gloating (There is no reason why we cannot be the No. 1 Test team), as was Darren Gough (Were the best team in the world at this moment). Andrew Strauss declared his intention to get to number one — India next summer is an important step on that way.
Indian cockiness was reflected in a blog from one Mahanda Patel of Delhi: The English only won because the Aussies were truly dire so dont gloat too much. Come and play India and then get back to me!
The man whom I consulted was the psychiatrist Raj Persaud, who has had his own troubles because of an unfortunate plagiarism row but whom I consider to be a friend with a good understanding of the Indian psyche.
On the upside what is really interesting about the Indian reaction is that Indians have come to expect India to be No. 1, says Raj. Although people followed India passionately 20 or 30 years ago, there was no expectation that India would be even in the top three. Now, the expectation is that India should win. In terms of Indian pride, thats a good thing.
Indians are a bit like followers of Manchester United, who view it as a disastrous season if they havent got, at least, one cup, Raj points out.
He suggests: What will be a signal of India as a maturing superpower is being able to ask why they are losing and to do something about it.
Raj concludes: The really interesting thing are the next two Tests. Do they have the grit and character required to fight back? English sports character is meant to be about what they teach on the rugby fields of Eton — Never say die.
The English view is, Play up, play up, and play the game, remarks Raj. In a way it does not matter if you go down as long as you went down fighting. Is the Indian team going down fighting? It doesnt look that way.
Incidentally, Rajs son is called Sachin.
Nothing to do with Sachin Tendulkar, he protests. I just like the name.
| GOOD LORD: Sir Gulam Noonloyal Indian: Nat Puri.
Lord (Gulam) Noon, honorary vice-president of Surrey County Cricket Club, was at Lords on the Sunday of the opening Test.
He called the Indian defeats a terrible disaster.
Too much sex and money, he commented, tongue-in-cheek.
Nevertheless, Noon has booked a table for entertaining friends at the Oval. Businessmen buy the boxes and pay the hefty amount for tickets. They come for enjoyment and spend their time away from their business. These boxes are very expensive — they can cost £50,000. But Indians are prepared to pay even £1,00,000 for a box. Both matches were terrible disappointments.
I dont mind India losing but a game should be entertaining, he said. About Tendulkar, do you know what the English people were saying? I personally heard it, He must score a century and England should win. That sort of favouritism they were showing to Tendulkar.
I have played a good amount of cricket in my days at club level but this was bad cricket, Noon maintained. Two teams play, one team has to win. I dont mind that but the way they have lost — 319 runs — can you imagine? The ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) hyped the matches because they believed in India. This (series) was hyped to the extent like this was the Ashes. It is not even in the interest of English cricket that India should play so miserably. Financially, it will be a disaster (if this carries on).
Noon wonders whether excessive wealth, suddenly acquired, has made the players indolent and complacent. I am asking myself, Is too much money doled out to them through the Indian cricket control board and through advertising? I am asking myself is that the reason for their (lazy) attitude? I want good cricket, yaar, not a one-sided match.
|TASK FORCE: Road construction in Churachandpur, Manipur
Bhaji & Puri
One cricket fan taking Indias defeat philosophically is the tycoon Nat Puri, who was in his usual box at Trent Bridge.
Bhaji (Harbhajan Singh) was given out when he wasnt out, claims Puri. What would have been (the result)? But after Ian Bell got a life when he got out, both (Tim) Bresnan and (Matt) Prior were also out (but given not out). I think the Indian team did very well considering the bad umpiring.
Puri, recent past president of Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club, gifted £50,000 to Virender Sehwag in March, 2004, for scoring 300 runs in a Test innings.
I have been watching Indian cricket for a long time, Puri reminds me. When everybody asked, I said, I am glad Dhoni withdrew the appeal. But if Ian Bell was a (gentle)man, he would have said, Thank you, but I was out. Andrew Strauss came and asked, For sportsmanship sake, withdraw, but the previous day they got Bhajis wicket when everyone knew he wasnt out. In my eyes, Strauss was fine but when he asked (for Bell to be reprieved), in my eyes he became unsporting.
Basically this is the same (Indian) team which was winning all the things, Puri argues. If those two wickets had been given (Bresnan and Prior), then the whole England team would have been out for less than 300. And that would have been a different ball game.
Yes, I will go to the Oval to support India, Puri adds loyally.
|PARTY GIRL: FATIMA BHUTTO
Salman Rushdie, 64, should be gratified he has been included by Tatler in a group of nine legendary lotharios — even though a lothario is a man who behaves selfishly and irresponsibly in his sexual relationships with women.
Also included are Mark Shand, 60, who plays polo on elephant back in India and whose sister, Camilla, is married to Prince Charles; former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 64; and Hollywood star Sean Penn, 51.
The glossy says of the four times married Sir Salman: The literary knights sword is still unsheathed.
Salman has been seen with, among others, Riya Sen, who is quoted as saying: I think when youre Salman Rushdie, you must get bored with people who want to talk to you about literature.
With Riya, men may pick an even more unusual topic — her grandmother.
One woman Salman has not been seen with — yet — is Fatima Bhutto, now a full-fledged party A-lister.
The Pakistani author was among society beauties photographed attending the London launch of critic A.A. Gills new book, A.A. Gill is Further Away.
Sachin Tendulkars year-old one bucket per person bath policy has provoked veteran environment columnist Geoffrey Lean to hail the little Master as being one of the greenest cricketers ever to wear whites.
The book to watch out for, Our Lady of Alice Bhatti by Mohammed Hanif, author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes, has just arrived from Pakistan.