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Dravid, the cricketer of substance

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Rahul Dravid a Legend

For eight months now the Indian cricket fan has waited with breathless anticipation for the ultimate cricket icon, Sachin Tendulkar, to score his 100th international hundred. All this while, one man has stayed under the radar, doing what he has done with quiet efficiency for several years now. In this season of hype and noise, of made-for-TV fasts and high-pitched spectacles, Rahul Dravid has reaffirmed one’s faith in old fashioned values of solidity and integrity. The 38-year-old Bangalorean, in the autumn of a glorious cricketing career, has shown that true class doesn’t need a megaphone for self-promotion but only needs an unswerving commitment to one’s profession. In the process, Dravid has provided an inspiration to the silent majority who prefer their heroes to be performers rather than showmen.

To be in the limelight and yet stay out of it can’t be easy and yet Dravid has handled the highs and lows of life with equanimity and perhaps greater dignity than most of his peers. Remember Dravid’s first test in 1996 was also a debut match for Saurav Ganguly. Comrades in the revival of Indian cricket, their attitude to life and the game could have been scarcely more different.

Ganguly was the ‘Prince of Kolkata’, almost born to rule. Dravid, by contrast, carried a rather more prosaic epithet – ‘The Wall’. Ganguly was emotional and excitable, baring his chest to adoring supporters at Lords in a coming of age cricketing moment. Somehow, one can’t imagine Dravid revealing his biceps in public. When Ganguly was dropped, Kolkata came out on the streets. If Dravid were to be dropped, it is doubtful that the traffic would stop on Bangalore’s MG Road. Perhaps, Ganguly’s ebullience made him the better captain, but clearly Dravid’s dedication has ensured longevity.

Of his contemporaries, only Tendulkar stands ahead of him in terms of runs and centuries. Perhaps playing in the Tendulkar era has meant that we have never quite been able to appreciate the full range of Dravid’s skills. The Bradman age saw the emergence of many great batsmen but such was Sir Don’s influence on the game that all others were overshadowed. The Tendulkar phenomenon has had a similar effect. And yet, if Tendulkar is the artist, Dravid has been the artisan, chiselling away at perfecting his craft to the point where he can actually claim to be in the same exalted space as the Mumbai genius.

In some respects, Dravid actually has the edge over the mighty Tendulkar. For example, if you exclude Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, Dravid’s average in overseas series is marginally better than Sachin’s as is his contribution to India’s overseas wins. Quite remarkably, 32 of his 36 test centuries have come in wins or draws, confirming his stature as a true match winner. Add to nearly 13,000 test runs, the small matter of 10,000 ODI runs and 200 plus test catches, and his place as an all time great is assured.

And yet, more than the runs, it’s the character of the man that has stood out. In a long international career, there is only one controversy that one can associate with Dravid: when as stand-in captain against Pakistan in Multan, he declared the Indian innings with Tendulkar batting at 194 not out. For those who see Sachin as a demi-god, the declaration was seen as the ultimate act of apostasy, designed to prevent a living deity from reaching yet another milestone. For Dravid, it was the result of a philosophy that always put team above individual, a mindset that even led him to become a wicket-keeper for a while in the ultimate interests of Indian cricket.

2011 has perhaps best defined the man’s spirit. Dropped from the One Day side, not considered good enough to play in the World Cup, battling with form, it would have been easy for Dravid to opt out. Amidst a slew of talented young batsmen, Dravid could have been forgiven for feeling like an antique item. This was, we were repeatedly told, the era of 20-20 cricket, of heavy bats and big sixes. Technique was seen as a cricketing romantic’s nostalgic yearning; contemporary cricket was all about speed and power. Dravid’s best shot was his forward defence, head right over the ball, a stroke many believed was best left to practise in a coaching manual, not on the cricket field. And yet, it is that very defensive correctness that has seen Dravid succeed in England this year when the young guns around him struggled.

Indeed, this has been the year when Dravid the batsman re-invented himself, not for the first time. In the late 90s, he wasn’t considered good enough for limited overs cricket. Not one to be easily disheartened, he worked at his game to the point where he was the top scorer in the 1999 world cup. This year, he was picked for his first ever 20-20 international, a seemingly desperate move by an Indian cricket selection system that was running out of options. Dravid responded by stroking three consecutive sixes, his way of reminding the Indian cricket fan that a genius in sport will not be chained by format.

It is possible that having answered every challenge, Dravid will seriously consider retirement soon. There are very few cricketing mountains he has left to climb and there will be no doubt a desire to spend more time with a young family. When he does eventually take the final bow, it’s unlikely to be a dramatic announcement. Somehow, theatrics and Rahul Dravid simply don’t go together. He will wish to fade quietly into the sunset, leaving behind memories of a bagful of runs, plenty of catches, but above all, a resoluteness of purpose. In an age of umpteen page three mini-celebrities, Dravid is a page one star to be treasured.

Source:http://tinyurl.com/d36trvj

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FDI In Retail Sector, The New Tamasha in town

November 29, 2011 4 comments

 India must be only country in the world where Political Right upholds Communist economics. Thought Right wing parties believed in free market?  Sagarika Ghose on twitter

FDI In multi brand Retailing

We always need something to make our parliament the most unproductive working space on earth. FDI in retail is the latest excuse our lawmakers needed to skip work. It is surprising to note, the parties which were advocating  FDI in retail during their tenure as government now seems to have a change of heart.

What we want now as citizens is a formal debate, not in the paid coffers of tabloids that are called news channels but where it really matters…In the parliament. Alas that is how traditional democracies work and India does not take pride in being traditional. We believe in slapping the ministers or going on hunger strikes but not in demanding a cultured debate in the parliament on an important decisions that govt has taken in recent years.

Like all Change, most of us are skeptical and some people like me in Retail industry have been eagerly waiting for this to happen, but neither of us have any clue on what the implications it would be have on the economy and society general.

I vaguely remember in the 1990’s when India was opening up its economy by an oft forgotten maverick prime minister and an extremely capable finance minister, there was the same kind of skeptic feeling. The doomsday predictions for the Indian entrepreneur. But twenty years ahead we agree almost unanimously,  that it was the best thing that happened to Indian industry. While I feel sorry, for my then favorite Campa Cola it makes me realise that it was a small sacrifice. We traded it for a Jaguar and Range rover. We also traded it for a steady 8% growth in the Indian economy over the last 2 decades and for an international outlook that India would be one of the countries that will bring the world out the current mess it got in to. We also traded campa cola for meteoric raise in the middle class income levels, a world class IT and telecom infrastructure and a putting India into an acronym called BRIC which is generally seen as the future of economic growth in the world. It is a small sacrifice.

FDI Retailing and its effects

FDI will also make the same kind of sacrifices.  It will bring the end of the great Indian middle man. Indian Retail is a complex business.There are so many layers of supply chain before the produce reach the retail floor and so many commissions that are exchanged in between that the actual producer… read farmer, is happy just to get his costs back  and some of his produce for his consumption. For a country that is being counted as the next global economic leader, we have  miserable infrastructure in the name of supply chain. We have tons of grain lost to mishandling and mismanagement every year. We loose a lot of perishable goods before it reached the retail floor.

If we expect that this infrastructure will be built by the govt we still live in fools paradise. But an organisation with a profit motive will ensure the supply chain is efficient and productive. this in turn will create new jobs, new businesses, new entrepreneurs. that is how economies grow.

 Would Indian small business be affected by FDI in retail

The biggest debate is FDI will kill the business of the local kirana stores. It will be the end of the sabjiwala at the corner of the street. There are few things against these arguments.

1. The super stores that will not come up next to a B block of Amar colony in Lajpat Nagar. These are super stores which require 30000-40000 Sqft. of retail space even for their smallest stores. so they are going to be destination stores in places where the real estate is cheaper. Since you would not be taking your car for a 5 km drive in our traffic (also with the cost of gas) to buy eggs and bread for breakfast, kirana stores will co-exist. Their assortment may change over time but they will profitably co-exist.

2. There will be a metamorphosis of the existing retail space. The Kirana stores will morph into more organized retail stores. The new investment into infrastructure in supply chain will assist this transformation. These store will be more retail efficient and more profitable.

3. The entrepreneurs who run these kirana stores have always been astute entrepreneurs. They have an amazing ability to acclimate to the business environment. That is why that sector has been operating successfully for ages. So they will as I said before morph and trade and trade profitably

But saying that, I  also agree that there will be a massacre. All inefficient retail space will be wiped out. Middle men who add no value to the supply chain will be wiped out. But this is  expected of a free economy. The market dictates and then it is the survival of the fittest.

We have always under estimated the Indian Entrepreneur. The license raj and closed economy era of the yesteryears has been designed to protect them. But we already have a precedence that once out of these shackles og government control the Indian entrepreneur  has always done well in the global competition.

The Industrial policy 1991 had crafted a trajectory of change whereby every sectors of Indian economy at one point of time or the other would be embraced by liberalization, privatization and globalization. FDI in multi-brand retailing is in that sense a steady progression of that trajectory. The Govt has by  far protected the domestic industry from the adverse effects of a change that both logical and essential.

The proposed change will require a more informed and inclusive support from the political parties and the Industry. One hopes that the government would stand up to its responsibility, because what is at stake is the stability of the vital pillars of the economy- retailing, agriculture, and manufacturing. In short, the socio economic equilibrium of the entire country. As this political space develops in the coming weeks lets sit back and watch the tamasha in our parliament

__________________________________________________________________________

“It is a win-win situation for everyone. With the amount of money to be invested in back-end, supply chain and farm sector will benefit,” Future Group Chief Executive Officer Kishore Biyani told PTI.

Even the small and medium enterprises will benefit. Eventually consumers will get a lot of choices and they will get products at better prices, he added.

Shoppers Stop Vice Chairman BS Nagesh said: “I welcome FDI in retail. Capital is required for the market whether it comes from domestic or foreign investors, it will help grow the sector in the next 3-5 years.”

Commenting on the impact of opening the sector to foreign players he said: “There will be no impact on the domestic industry as there is enough market. At the end of the day the consumer will benefit.”

This is an article by Nandan Nelkeni couple of years back on FDI. Cant find the source URL but i had a clipped copy, so i pasted it here for those who wants to read the views of someone from outside the industry.

https://sunilscove.wordpress.com/2011/11/29/nandan-nelkeni-on-fdi-in-retailing/

For a more humorous take on FDI have a look at a curation of popular cartoons on the net related to FDI, in this post. FDI CARTOONS

Nandan Nelkeni On FDI in Retailing

November 29, 2011 Leave a comment

In the early nineties an unusual window of opportunity opened up for India. As western companies kept increasing their dependence on information technology, they began to look at India and its large pool of technically qualified human capital. Advances in communication technology made it possible to connect remotely to computers in New York and San Francisco using satellites and fibre optic cables.

This external opportunity coincided with the opening up the Indian economy. The reduction in tariffs, freeing up of the rupee, abolishing of licences, and reforms in the capital markets unleashed enormous entrepreneurial energy. Most important was the serendipitous coalition that emerged that freed up the software industry from the clutches of regulation. It was a motley crowd of far-seeing politicians, risk-taking bureaucrats and a bunch of maverick entrepreneurs who, while tiny at the time, were fully prepared to face global competition.

This led to policies that allowed free flow of foreign capital, massive investment in broadband capabilities, zero tariffs on imported software and a favourable tax regime. Surprisingly, rather than the much touted technology companies from the West, it was a set of indigenous companies who soon took the leadership position.

The rest is history. An industry that was US$50 million dollars in 1991 is well on its way to be over US$50 billion by 2011. And India went from being perceived as an economic basket case to teaming up with China for the leadership of the Asian Century.

Most importantly, it has and will further create millions of jobs for all the young educated men and women that pour out of our colleges. India’s first middle class was created by the jobs in government, PSUs, banks, and the railways. Their children got to work in the air-conditioned offices of IT and BPO companies.

A similar opportunity awaits us today. In a low inflation, low-interest rate global environment, with tremendous over-capacity in many industries, it is very difficult to raise prices. In fully optimised economies, it is difficult to get volume growth either. The only way for companies to grow their earnings is to reduce their costs by operating and procurement leverage. That is why they scour the world looking for cheaper and high quality products to stock the shelves of department stores and supermarkets. In this world the retailers who directly reach the consumer are our best allies to take our produce to market.

What are the areas that retailers are looking at to source from India? They are apparel, home furnishings, consumer durables and agricultural products. Today the volume of products procured from India is estimated to be about US$4 billion. Wal-Mart alone is estimated to source about US$20 billion from China.

It is reasonable to assume that if we hook up our manufacturing and agriculture to global consumers through the gigantic retailers, we can generate annual exports of US$50 billion over the next 20 years. A friend from Fortune magazine once told me that what the submarine cable is to India (a gigantic pipe to ship knowledge services to the West), Wal-Mart is to China (a gigantic pipe to ship manufactured products to the West)!

Moreover, it is a great opportunity to kickstart the agricultural sector. Today the US spends about US$100 billion on agricultural subsidies. In Europe the subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy are around Euro 40 billion. In the US, the subsidies are under threat due to the humungous budgets deficits. In Europe, the increasing cost of providing benefits to an aging population combined with the burden of EU enlargement will put enormous stress on the CAP.

Agricultural subsidies will disappear in the next ten years, not because of the Doha round of the WTO but because of the oldest reason in the world, that they will become unaffordable. And it will take us that much time to get our agricultural act together to exploit this opportunity. Moreover, 100 per cent FDI in retail satisfies all the conditions for FDI considered as politically correct today.

First, the retail industry is amongst the most sophisticated users of technology. The growth of Wal-Mart and Dell is simply because they manage the best global supply chains on the planet. To get the right product at the lowest price to the right consumer at the right time at the right location, when you are dealing with thousands of products, many of which are perishable or have short fashion windows, and to still make a profit, is the most difficult job in the world.

The huge advances in technology today, whether it is RFID for tracking products, data warehouses for understanding customer behaviour, or IP-addressable refrigerated trucks, are all about improving distribution. Our supply chains will get upgraded with technology dramatically, reducing waste and intermediation costs. This will lead to lower prices for consumers and higher prices for producers.

Secondly, it will significantly augment our productive capacity. The US$50 billion in exports, combined with another, say, US$10 billion of organised retail domestic will create the need for thousands of factories, to make jeans, curtains, fans, cans, bottle caps, and what have you. It will be the catalyst to manufacturing and agriculture what IT was to services.

And finally, it will create millions of jobs in the factories, the fields and the transportation companies. In an economy growing at 7-8 per cent it will be additional jobs as the expanded domestic capacity caters to urban areas which will grow from 30 per cent to 50 per cent of our population in the next 20 years.

And, who knows, like in the software, the telecom and the airline industry, the ultimate winners may not be the foreign companies but our own homegrown entrepreneurs who time and time again have shown what they can do when they have been unshackled and exposed to global competition.

Over a decade ago, we did some far-reaching things that put the sparkle back in the eyes of our educated urban youngsters. What right do we have to deny to the millions of kids growing up today, the same opportunity in our fields, factories and stores? The only way not to let them down is to create the supply chain pipes that will connect our farms and factories to the consumers of the world. For that we need 100 per cent foreign direct investment in the Indian retail sector. There is not a minute to lose. We should just do it!

Nandan Nelkeni, EX president and managing director, Infosys

This is an earlier article by Nandan Nelkeni, i donot have the source but a copy of the article.

Kolavari…What and Why?

November 28, 2011 17 comments

“It feels nice when people are open with their praise for your work. I honestly didn’t think the song would be such a craze. This has made me realize that people universally want only simple lyrics and simpler tune from filmmakers,” begins Dhanush, who has both penned the lyrics and sung the Kolaveri number, “My poor broken English lyrics, written in a silly tone, and borderline singing has proved to be advantageous for the success of this song.”…                                                                                                    Dhanush

The first time I heard this song, it had not gone viral it had some 200,000 hits on YouTube. I stumbled upon it quite by accident while searching for a KOLA bear. Out if curiosity for the word “kolavari” I watched the video and there was something about the entire song that made me listen to it couple of times. With a mental note that i am going to pass it on the social media i quite forgot about the song.

But last week it came back to me on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Blackberry, Gmail and on telephone. Finally yesterday on Mainline newspapers and and the tabloids that we lovingly refer to as National News Channels. In about four days it had gone to 4.2 million. We can add another couple of millions that must have come from that various clones of the original upload. Then there are mutations and covers of the original upload that have come up so we can conservatively add another million to it. To put it in perspective, the entire population of Sweden or Austria has seen this video in the last couple of days.

There are a zillion songs like it on the cyberspace which do not enjoy the same kind of euphoria.So I watched the song again to figure out what is it that has made the song go viral…. I was not able to find anything spectacularly different in the song, but an uncanny ability to transcend different languages.

It has a catchy tune, shehnai is really good and a tone to the song that makes one want to listen to it. Added to that is the basic rustic Desi beats make a great recipe for success.   In fact the fist time I listened to it, I did not even pay attention to the lyrics, I was lost in the tune of the song. But if you listen to it couple of times then you realize that while the lyrics in isolation does not have any meaning but they have a sublime effect on you. Kalavari sounds like poetry with a poetic license to have absurd lyrics, to convey a powerful emotion….Kolavari

While i don’t have the data but if we look at the demographics of people watching this video i guess it will be a delicious smorgasbord of people from across India. I might not be surprised if it went viral not in India but outside India in the expat population of US or Canada or Australia and then trickled back to India.  Whatever be the case it definitely is a success story and there is no point in discussing why it went viral.

what does  does Kolavari mean ?

I am told, Kolavari is made up of two words…KOLA and VARI.  Kola refers to Murder, Vari can be interpreted as rage or aggression. So etymologically it means “Murderous rage” in the context of the song the pain or anger that comes with lost love. This simple yet powerful emotion is a definite connect with people across all demographics, this creates the universal appeal of this song.

Love’vu Love’vu Oh My Love’vu
You Show To Me Bow’vu
cow’vu cow’vu Holy cow’vu
I Want You Here Now’vu
God I am Dying Now’vu
She Is Happy How’vu?

The above is such a classic emotion when a relationship goes sour how can you be happy? when you make me so sad…

But we have seen more powerful lyrics, greater tunes, not making up to the 100 hits on YouTube…so what is that makes it so viral. A little birdie gave away the secret Rajani went on you tube and clicked “Like” on his son-in-laws video…..you know the rest….

If you have not heard it then go and be part of the madness that we call Indian Cinema. Some of you might actually like it.

The Lyrics

Hello Boys.. I am Singing Song..
Soup Song.. Flop Song..
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee?
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee?
Rhythm Correct..
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee?
Maintain This..

Why This Kolaveri? Dee..
Distance’la Moon’nu Moon’nu
Moon’nu Color’ru White’tu
White’tu Background Night’tu Night’tu
Night’tu Color’ru Black’ku
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee?
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee?

White’tu Skin’nu Girl’lu Girl’lu
Girl’lu Heart’tu Black’ku
Eyes’su Eyes’su Meet’tu Meet’tu
My Future Dark’ku..
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee?
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee?

Mama, Notes Eduthuko..
Apdiye Kaila Snacks eduthuko..

Papapa Papapapa Papapa Pa Pa..
Seriya Vaasi..
Super Mama Ready.. Ready 1 2 3 4..
What A Change Over Mama..
Ok Mama.. Now Tune Change’ju..

Kaila Glass’su.. Only Ènglish’sa..
Hand’la Glass’su
Glass’la Scotch’chu
Èyes’su Full’la Tear’ru
Èmpty Life’fu, Girl Come’mu
Life’fu Reverse’su Gear’ru

Love’vu Love’vu Oh My Love’vu
You Show To Me Bow’vu
cow’vu cow’vu Holy cow’vu
I Want You Here Now’vu
God I am Dying Now’vu
She Is Happy How’vu?

This songu’gu For Soup Boys’su
We Don’t Have Choice’su

Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee
Why This Kolaveri Kolaveri Kolaveri Dee

Flop Song..

Picture Source : http://www.facebook.com/kolaverikolaveri

Rahul Dravid….The last Gentleman

November 19, 2011 3 comments


For eight months now the Indian cricket fan has waited with breathless anticipation for the ultimate cricket icon, Sachin Tendulkar, to score his 100th international hundred. All this while, one man has stayed under the radar, doing what he has done with quiet efficiency for several years now.        Rajdeep Sardesai

A text book technique, herculean determination, impeccable concentration and never-ending commitment to the team describe Dravid… the player, in a single sentence. There is something about Rahul Dravid that has always been awe inspiring. It is not his accolades on the field that mesmerize me, but it is how he gets them. The intensity with which he takes the field is what separates him from the rest of his peers. Books have been written about his technique; some with praise and some scathe his technique as being redundant, in the current high pitch, money driven era of T20. But everyone agrees that he is the last of the generation, who plays the gentleman’s game the way it should be played…Like a Gentleman

Of his contemporaries it is only the master blaster who is ahead of him in runs and tons and when we dig a little deeper we find Dravid actually has a slight edge over mighty Tendulkar. For example, if you exclude Zimbabwe and Bangladesh, Dravid’ s average in overseas series is marginally better than Sachin’s as is his contribution to India’s overseas wins. Quite remarkably, 32 of his 36 test centuries have come in wins or draws, confirming his stature as a true match winner. Add to nearly 13,000 test runs, the small matter of 10,000 runs in a format that is not his specialty and 200 plus test catches, and his place as an all-time great is assured.

I am told batting in Australia and England is the toughest challenge for an Indian batsman, because of playing conditions and Pakistan is tough because of pot boiling pressure that the matches generate. It is sometimes poetic that Dravid earned his prosaic title: THE WALL playing in these countries, I wanted to check how, the two greats of Indian contemporary cricket, fared in these three countries. So cricinfo came to my rescue. The data is given below.

 While the result has not been checked for statistical significance, the result does indicate Dravid brilliance when he plays in tough conditions. What came as a new insight and a surprise to me is the fact that Rahul has a better average even in the limited format version of the game which we generally assume Tendulkar is the clear master.

Century to win ratio is another statistic that Sachin Tendulkar has made popular. It is argues incorrectly that when Sachin score a century India does not win. (Read my previous analysis on this) while it is not a correct statistic, it still is a fun statistic that we can use to compare batsman. So I wanted to see how these legends stand against each other.

Rahul Dravid in a test match is a formidable player. His ability to save a test or win a test for India is well documented and it reflects in his Century to win ratio. When he hits a century he is able to save or win the match about 89% times compared to Sachin being able to do that 78% only.

While Sachin has a lower score I still will not go an record to compare these players. They had different roles in the team and each of them delivered as best as he could. Sachin played a lot more matches and has been playing for India from the age of 16, it is but natural that he has more chances to fail and he did not have Rahul Dravid playing in the initial career. Dravid always had Sachin and Dada to back him up so it is understandable that Dravid has a better score than Sachin


If we want to look at Dravid’s place along with legends of the game, we need to benchmark it with the gold standard of test match batting. Sir Don Bradman’s 99.94 average in 52 consecutive tests. So these are the most productive 52 match streaks as purple as Bradman’s. Ricky pointing stands next to Bradman even though he is 25 runs short of him. Interestingly enough as expected we find Rahul Dravid sitting quietly on the 5th place just after Kallis and Sobers. Sachin is not far. Even though Sachin stands 8th on the table the difference between him and Dravid is almost negligible.


Source http://tinyurl.com/cboum4p

There is another statistic that I came across and while this was no surprise I was just not expecting it. Dravid is currently the number one batsman for the year 2011 in the long format of the game. This is the Top five batsmen for 2011 as on Nov 20th.

# Batsman Mts Inns Runs Hs Avg 100 50

1

R Dravid (Ind)

10

19

952

146*

59.5

5

2

2

IR Bell (Eng)

8

11

950

235

118.75

5

2

3

AN Cook (Eng)

8

11

927

294

84.27

4

2

4

KC Sangakkara (SL)

9

17

923

211

54.29

3

4

5

DM Bravo (WI)

9

18

735

195

43.23

2

3

Dravid resembles sportsmen of the last era. He often reminds me of Ivan Lendl or Mats Wilander of yesteryears, they never lost their cool on the tennis court, in a win or a loss; they came to the court and did what he was best known for, playing a classic tennis match. But how many of us remember them? We were so enamored by the likes of boom boom Becker, erratic Ivanisevic, or the temperamental McEnroe. Their serve and volley games and their antiques on the court and sometimes off the court made us read about them and follow them like fanatics. I don’t question their talent, they had a style that screamed of their accolades, had a mass appeal. In the same sense as a Star and an Actor, we love our stars but Actors make the movie watchable. Dravid like Lendl and Wilander reaffirms one’s faith in old fashioned values of solidity and integrity. He has shown that true class doesn’t need a megaphone for self-promotion but only needs an unswerving commitment to one’s profession. He is probably the last of the few who help us explain why cricket was called a gentleman’s game.

Rahul Dravid statistics are taken from Cricinfo.

Mansour Bahrami…The entertainer

November 1, 2011 Leave a comment

Mansour Bahrami

From an early age he worked as a ball boy within a sports complex in Tehran, Iran. He observed many of the best Iranian tennis players in action but he was never allowed to play. Eventually he snuck onto one of the courts but his first racquet was destroyed by an outraged armed guard who also beat him badly for his misdemeanour. He resorted to learning the game through the use of his hands or frying pans or broom handles. Bahrami has often commented that his outrageous shot making ability resulted from mastering tennis using such unusual implements.

Tennis career

The time came when the Iranian team was short of players and Bahrami was finally permitted to play the game on a tennis court. His talent was obvious and he reached the Davis Cup team (and helped the team to victory at the age of just sixteen) but in the late 1970s the Islamic Revolution within Iran led to tennis being viewed as a capitalist and elitist sport. He spent the next three years playing backgammon as all tennis courts were closed down. In desperation he fled to France with his life savings, soon gambling these away in a casino. A number of friends supported him financially as he began to play a few tournaments within France.

While his best days were behind him and he never maximized his potential in singles, he became a successful doubles player who even reached the French Open doubles final in 1989 in partnership with Eric Winogradsky. His weakness and indeed his strength was an inescapable thirst for providing a crowd with a show. He often lost in the early rounds of singles tournaments due to his tendency to play trick shots from the off or when he was bored with winning too easily. He was able to play more seriously in doubles where he felt that he could not be seen to be letting his partner down.

 

Text : Wikipedia, Video : YouTube

 

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