What is it with Navjot Singh Sidhu? How does his mind work? Does it? What I wouldn’t give to crack his skull open just to study the intricate circuitry of his brain (not that I ever passed Biology in school). The skull-cracking would of course have side-benefits.
I chanced on a debate on NDTV India a couple of days ago, a discussion on various cricketing topics with Sidhu as the star “expert”. It was fascinating to watch the silly man leapfrog from one topic to the next without ever spending more than 20 seconds on the subject actually being discussed. Thank to his prolonged ravings, the channel never managed to explore any issues with any depth.
One of the topics, for example, was Wisden’s recent comment that watching Sachin Tendulkar has become a colder experience. (If you want to know more about this controversy, and how the Indian media has merrily blown it up, read this piece by Wisden Asia/Cricinfo editor Sambit Bal.) NDTV’s focus was, roughly speaking, “Has Tendulkar lost his magic?” So what does Mr Sidhu do? After making exactly one, highly dubious observation on Tendulkar (“he is the one cricketer from our country to be universally acknowledged as the best”), he picks on the description of Wisden as a cricketing Bible and commences a long rant about how Wisden can’t be compared with the Bible, the Koran or the Granth Sahib, which are all set in stone and must never be questioned by mortal man. (Where’s Dan Brown when you need him?) The poor anchor had to interrupt and say, “We have to take a short break now, but when we return we’ll hopefully get back to Tendulkar.”
The break was followed by a completely unprovoked thesis (declaimed in Sidhu’s trademark brigadier-general style) on the hegemony of white nations, how the Lords cricket ground is erroneously referred to as the “Mecca of cricket” (by now, religious references had acquired strange and unforeseen prominence on this show) and how cricket would be nothing without the money that pours in from the subcontinent. All true of course, but it had nothing to do with anything. Then, five minutes after blasting Wisden, Sidhu suddenly changed track to gush about what a high-quality magazine it is, and how it shouldn’t be accused of racism. The man has no focus. None.
The infuriating thing about NSS is that he’s still capable of producing the odd remark that’s genuinely entertaining. (On this show, again going off on a tangent, he likened Sehwag to a motorcycle rider performing in a ball of fire: “We all watch, enthralled, because he might die at any time.”) But how much boring nonsense must one sit through to get to that one moment?