Monday, March 14, 2011

Oh Ravi!

I must start off with an apology for all the heartburn that was caused on account of the non-appearance of a blog post for a while . I have been responsible for preparing the United States of America for a terrifying addition  in the form of an aspiring butcher of the unwell public. To make matters worse, the butcher has strong opinions about the Oscars.

Today , my topic deals with something very close to the heart of the  Indian - One Day Cricket. At this time , the World Cup goes through its motions and ESPN Star have assembled a commentary team of over fifty experts. None of whom display more expertise than one star, or more correctly , sun. This man is, of course, Ravi Shastri.

As the death overs drew close in the  exciting India-South Africa match , Ravi Shastri's astute observations were on air for the world to hear. The score was two hundred and sixty odd with the South Africans needing two hundred and ninety odd for a victory. Johann Botha landed bat to ball and the umpire lifted his arms in the air to indicate six runs. Simultaneously, the marvellous electronic scoreboard augmented the total by six and reduced the runs required by six. Even more simultaneously , Ravi Shastri yelled :
"Six runs! That's six more added to the total and the score moves to two-sixty-four. That's six less required and South Africa now need thirty more runs".
Knowing that Ravi Shastri's wit was now approaching its most penetrative , I called my sister(an unenthusiastic sports fan at best) to sit next to me and Enjoy. Ravi Shastri obliged almost immediately by observing that when "Johann Botha hits the ball , it stays hit" . We tried to interpret  that ; what we came up with is this, viz., unlike Bradman, Sobers, Lara, Ponting, Sehwag , Kallis and Tendulkar who regularly cheated the ball  after they had struck it , by magically extracting it's hit-quotient, Johann Botha truly 'hit em like a tracer bullet'.
Twelve balls left and eighteen to get. Ravi Shastri , dramatically waved one finger in the air, pointing out that while at the start of the innings the run-rate was under six , it had now  risen to nine an over. He triumphantly concluded that Wickets made all the Difference and that required run rates could skyrocket in a few overs. His co-commentator Robin Jackman tried to point out that it was the end of the innings and run-rates really did not matter. Our man was having none of it. With one over left and fourteen to get , he observed that the required run rate was now 14.00 and the game was slowly moving out of South Africa's grasp.
Four balls and four minutes later the game had moved rather quickly out of India's grasp. Ravi Shastri was comforting in his post match comments, though, with pearls of wisdom that included 'No team likes to lose' and 'After all it is a World Cup' and 'In fact, India are one of the hosts.'
Which brings me to the man's most singular characteristic. In sixteen years of hearing my idol intimidate  the spectators during the pitch report, chivvy the captains into making revelations about their teams at the toss, and yell  the dignitaries' names at the presentation I have realised that the word 'sorry' does not exist in Ravi Shastri's vocabulary. He uses , in its place the delightful phrase 'In fact'.
I quote :
"And that's the end of the over . It's two for eleven. In fact , eleven for two."
"Tendulkar running under the ball , Tendulkar watching the ball , Tendulkar catching the ball. In fact it's Virender Sehwag."
"That's the FIFTH time umpire Steve Bucknor has made a controversial decision against India in the match - the batsman was clearly not-out. The Indians would be Very Disappointed , and the captain may have something to say at the end of this game. In fact , it's Billy Doctrove, who's the umpire. In fact it's the first bad decision he has made, in fact he's been very very good. In fact it was Harbhajan Singh who was bowling and the decision has , in fact gone against the Australians."


  1. There's no like button?

  2. No article on Ravi Shastri is complete without the proverbial "Trace of Bullet" reference.

  3. Well , yes :) I forget that one. Even Danny Morrison uses that!

  4. Well yeah Shashtri and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and at time Bhogle when he acts as the messiah of all sound reason and as the rightoeus one should be punished in the ICJ for crimes against humanity.