Thursday, November 15, 2007

Clay god?

From an unidentified commentator on DD National after one of Sachin's cover drives in the Gwalior ODI:

"Sheer pottery in motion!"

(And no, this doesn't mean I've started watching cricket again. But I did see just enough of Sachin's innings to make it a very good day, with two of my favourite sportsmen doing very well: the other was Nadal, who played a superb match against Novak Djokovic at the year-end Shanghai Masters.

Tip for moderately enthusiastic tennis fans who think Grand Slams are the only things that matter but would like to expand their horizons: this is a good time to catch up with the men's game, which has suddenly become very interesting. The likes of Djokovic, Andy Murray and the two Davids, Ferrer and Nalbandian, are challenging the duopoly at the top, which means we might see a time very soon - hopefully within the next 2-3 years - when a Grand Slam is actually won by someone not named Federer or Nadal.)


  1. I think he said 'poetry in motion' and not 'pottery' - though it did sound somewhat like pottery :). There were some more 'poetic' moments during the match like -'aankhon hi aankhon mein ishara ho gaya'.

    I know Nadal is your favorite, but no one can beat the grace & class of Federer :)

  2. First off, it's not a duopoly at the top, it's a monopoly, with Federer having held the No. 1 ranking for almost consecutive years now, and having won 8 of the last 10 Grand Slams. And David Ferrer challenging Federer and Nadal? In Bizarro World, maybe.

    But it's certainly an exciting time for tennis, and the abundant talent of the new crop - Djokovic, Murray, Gasquet, Gulbis - has a lot to do with that.

  3. I agree with vineeta. It is poetry in motion. you need to clean your ears Jai. And to think of it you have done a whole post with dirty ears. and i dare you to keep this comment.

  4. Anon 1: I said duopoly in the context of the distribution of Grand Slam titles (and AMS titles for that matter, at least till the first half of 2007) in the last three years. Even if that distribution is Federer 8, Nadal 3, they've still hogged everything since the 2005 AO. And of course, no argument about Fed being leagues ahead of everyone else, even though I'm a Rafa KAD.

    Anon 2: you think you need to "dare" me to keep the comment? Heh. Nothing could persuade me to delete it, considering the year-end comments list is only a month away now. (This year I might even give away prizes.)

    And sorry Vineeta, but it is pottery.

  5. The commentator is Ashok Malhotra . He played for India during the 80's. You can catch him on Sahara being overly critical of the Indian team everytime they lose. This portly gent is also in a habit of dishing out some very banal and insipid commentary.

    Anyway Sachin's innings was a masterclass yesterday. I wonder why he can't play with this same youthful abandon he played with yesterday. His handling of a very quick Shoaib Akhtar was topclass. The superb flick of the legs to the fastest bowler in the world was a pure treat. This is even more wonderful when one see's the Maharaja of Kolkatta hopping like a Kangaroo against Akhtar and then eventually getting out.

    There can be no doubt about Sachin's class , he can even play such brutally quick bowling with ease . In his opening spells at least it is almost impossible to play Shoaib Akhtar at his best. For the first three overs at least the 'Rawalpindi Express' is as quick as he was in his heyday. It is another matter that after the first spell our 'Express' gets derailed and goes off the field for 10 to 15 overs clutching his knee.

    In my lifetime however I have not seen anybody bowl faster than Shoaib. Since I started watching cricket in the 80's , there has been no bowler who has bowled this fast. Perhaps a guy called Mohammad Zahid from Pakistan was as quick but he soon disappeared with a broken back.

    The point I want to make is that Sachin is great, for to measure greatness see how a batsman plays against accurate express pace. The time Sachin has for his shots is amazing and his ease on the crease was consummate.

    Also ,despite being an Akhtar admirer,I am happy that Pakistan has been plastered in this series .
    They were also beaten hollow in the last one day series in 2006 , which India won 4-1. These victories at least silence some stupid , rude and biased commentators like Aamir Sohail and Rameez Raja.

  6. By the way , why have you stopped watching cricket? You seem to have an anti-establishment streak in you *just joking*. Considering you prefer Nadal over federer.

  7. Shwet: lost much of my interest in cricket with Sachin's decline a few years ago, and the increasing shrillness of the typical Indian "cricket fan" put me off the sport further. Plus I think I had just overdosed on it.

    About Nadal: I first became a supporter of his for reasons that had little to do with his actual play - was just relieved that there was someone who could break the Federer monopoly/monotony at least 2-3 times a year - but gradually I started admiring him on his own terms. I think I have a fondness for players who start performing at a very high level ridiculously early in life and then manage to sustain it once the expectations start building up - when I see the discipline Sachin had at 16 and Rafa at 18, I start thinking of what an aimless moron I was at those ages (not suggesting anything has changed, btw) and have to gawp in admiration.

  8. While driving home, I was listening to the commentary on AIR FM and one commentator came up with "The Pakistani captain must put on his thinking cap, pull up his socks and recharge his batteries..."

    This must be the highest concentration of cliches I have come across!

  9. *grin* Incidentally, "clay god" is a fitting sobriquet for Rafa, no? Was the pun intended?
    Oh, and since you're a Rafa follower too, here's an article that might interest you:

    He says this:
    "I didn't say so before because it seemed like an excuse. I don't like to talk about injuries. I am preparing physically every day but I cannot run," he told Spain's El Pais daily published Tuesday.

    Awww! *sniff!*

  10. Empress of Blandings: no, hadn't intended it that way (was originally going to end the post with the "pottery in motion" observation), but once I got Nadal into it I realised it fitted him too.

    Yes, saw that interview - it was linked to on the Tennis World forum, which I regularly follow. Hope he can stay alright for at least the first half of 2008 - he has a heap of ATP points to defend at Indian Wells and Wimbledon, in addition to the clay season of course, and if he doesn't defend enough of them he'll probably lose the number 2 position to Djokovic.