Saturday, June 22, 2024

Cricket pastime and more

Musings by Shekhar Nambiar

The cricket season seems never ending. Not that this is bad. It gives people who do not know how to spend their evenings something to do. 


The IPL series has sprung surprises and showcased talent, the sort you don’t get to see among the regulars of the Indian teams, be they from ODI, T20 or Test cricket. Young Rinku Singh andYashasvi Jaiswal are becoming darlings of fans across the country.

Rinku Singh

Cricket World Cup

Notwithstanding the disturbing and troubling news from across the border, the announcement that the Indian-Pakistan faceoff will be at Ahmedabad on October 15 is a silver lining.On October 5, New Zealand will play England in the first match of the World Cup, also at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

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India will play its first match against Australia at the Chepauk. Played in the round-robin format, the matches will be played across India – Ahmedabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Delhi, Indore,Dharamsala, Guwahati, Rajkot, Raipur and Mumbai.

Dhoni, the most popular cricketer.

Dhoni everywhere

There’s the ever-growing fan following of Dhoni wherever he goes to play, apart from the ‘Dhoni Dhoni’ chanting Chepauk crowds.

Dhoni may be a CSK player but he’s the most popular star player in all of IPL. Much to the disappointment of most fans, especially in Chennai, Dhoni has not been coming out to bat much, and if he does, it’s time for the end of play.

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The Dhoni chant can be heard in every CSK match, in Chepauk it being the loudest.

It has also been a season of upsets. Gujarat Titans are among the top teams in the standings but Delhi, SRH, KKR and Punjab are somewhat teetering and lagging. But then it’s still a fair bit before conclusions can be drawn.

Disha Patani and Sushant Singh Rajput in MS Dhoni-The untold story as Sakshi and Dhoni.

Film makes comeback

The week saw the re-release of ‘MS Dhoni: The Untold Story,’ no doubt also making the fans of the late Sushant Singh Rajput, who played the protagonist, happy. Rajput played Dhoni’s extraordinary journey with elan and consummate skill. It won accolades and grossed record opening box office collection besides the stellar performance of Rajput.

Sanju Samson

First released in 2016, the Star Studios’ movie had been a blockbuster and a hot favourite of the Indian diaspora across the world. The film will be yet another opportunity for Dhoni fans to retrace the legend’s life and career path from a small-town boy to a star cricketer.

Talking of the film and Dhoni, one can’t but mention the growing number of star players from the small towns and cities who are making it big in Indian cricket. Rinku Singh and Yashasvi Jaiswal being just a couple among them.

Sreeshant as commentator

Players who were kept away from first-class cricket are getting a renewed chance. There are examples galore, including that of Sanju Samson and Sreesanth. The effortless ease with which Samson hits sixes and leads his team has had his erstwhile detractors take back words. There were moments too when he showed his leadership qualities such as during this week’s match in Kolkata against KKR, when he blocked a wide to allow Jaiswal try and hit a century. Then there’s Sreesanth who is back in the limelight in a new avatar as one of STAR’s expert commentators.

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Bringing in fresh faces to commentate is a good thing. They bring in a new perspective and change from the run-of-the-mill types and jaded faces who have ruled the roost far too long. The relatively new trend of having female commentators into men’s cricket is welcome and proves giving equal opportunities works. The commentaries by Mithali Raj and Anjum Chopra are measured and even-toned, neither overexcited nor too melodramatic.

Advertising at its best in the IPL

Indian advertising

Advertising in India has always been creative. There are any number of examples of companies and brands having nurtured and encouraged talent. Amul, Air-India, Bajaj are but a few good examples. This particular IPL season, copywriters and cinematic advertising’s creative people have brought out some very evocative copy and ad clips, one better than the other. The blend of Bollywood and cricketing stars have brought some hilarious clips, messages that are easy to comprehend and not contrived or complicated to understand.

Rohit Sharma and Aamir Khan in IPL advertisement.

Aamir Khan and Madhavan come together with cricketers in what are some comical ad clips that seem to go down well with those who receive the messages.

In one particular advertisement for a ‘used car seller’ three former cricketers – Anil Kumble, Sachin Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh – appear to be having a whale of a time in a car and out camping in a spectacular locale that could be Goa or Kerala.

Kerry Packer, the initiator of cricket wars

Cricket’s reigning king

IPL has indeed become one big Indian global event. And no matter what pundits may have called the mela that Kerry Packer created a few decades ago, club cricket in its IPL avatar is here to stay in the subcontinent, and elsewhere, making mince meat of every other form of cricket tourney, including English county cricket.

Indians have learned that cricket means money, and that means power, in the ultimate analysis. That’s why powerful peak bodies of Australia, England, New Zealand and the once-powerful South Africans and West Indies are literally eating out of BCCI’s hands.

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Shekhar Nambiar
Shekhar Nambiar
Shekhar is a communications professional who has spent a good deal of time in international organizations and in the development sector. As he puts it, it's been an "exciting journey" for him, beginning his working life as a journalist, with some of the best editors and professionals, before venturing into public affairs and then forays in the private sector. He believes "every day brings new challenges, achievements and success, and the key is to play a small part in whatever it is that you're doing". He tries to keep pace with new tech, and learn a new word a day, of course, "Gen Z lingo!"


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