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Harsha Bhogle discusses the early influences that shaped his commentary, censorship, unsavoury trysts on twitter and physical attributes in television presenting. Arun Venugopal of the Hindu has more.
You will find very few networks on cricket broadcast actually taking on matters of this sensitivity. So, for example, you won't find anyone talking about why a Pakistan player shouldn't be in the IPL. [These are] very sensitive matters that you have got to be careful not to inflame. In my case, I am very clear that my job here is not to be an opinion-maker, but to be a storyteller. I believe I am an opinion-maker on Twitter, in my articles. But, I have never ever been told, 'You will not say this'. I have just been told, 'Let's not say something that might offend.' That was a long time ago. In recent times, I haven't been told that.
Sunil Gavaskar's 10,000th run, Richard Hadlee's 400th wicket, Anil Kumble's cleansweep, cricket's 1000th Test in 1984 and its 2000th in 2011 - Qamar Ahmed; has seen them all. The Sharjah Test; between Pakistan and Sri Lanka is his 400th as a reporter, and he has been present at 19% of all Tests played to date.
His favourite is Gavaskar's last innings, a 96 in a losing cause against Pakistan in Bangalore, memorable because even spinners had the ball rearing chest-high on a poor pitch. Michael Holding's furious 14-wicket haul at The Oval in 1976 is Qamar's bowling equivalent.
A first-class left-arm spinner in Pakistan in his youth, Qamar was based out of the UK for most of his reporting career. In addition to having written extensively in English, Urdu and Hindi, he has also been a broadcaster for Test Match Special, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Television New Zealand, among others.
The press in Sharjah missed the chance to perform a guard of honour with their laptops, but the PCB and Pakistan team presented Qamar with mementoes and two signed Test shirts, wishing him many more matches in the press box. It is a sentiment Qamar agrees with heartily - he said: "I am not retiring as long as I'm on my feet."
The Great Tamasha mirrors India's rise as a nation to its rise as a cricketing power. James Astill, author of the book, documents the evolution of cricket - with its introduction during the British era to its extravagant and controversial avatar, the Indian Premier League. Speaking to Will Davies of the Wall Street Journal, Astill explains his take on the sport that verges on obsession in the country and believes it is an apt tool to describe the India's story.
I wanted to tell that story, but not through the usual all-India generalizations - not from the usual New Delhi vantage. There have been too many books like that already. Rather, I wanted a unifying theme or a story, which would allow me to reflect on India's broader narrative. And it was only natural that I found this in Indian cricket - which is spectacularly rich and politically powerful, also riven with infighting and corruption, and just unbelievably popular. Most of India loves it. And I love it too
As yet another summer of cricket comes to a close, the Old Batsman muses how cricket's complexities allow a different face to each age of the player and how the elements of the game one takes pleasure in continuously shift.
Once you pass the point at which professionals retire, it takes on a new hue. Before that moment, however delusionally, you can convince yourself you're playing the same game that you always have. You're not yet entirely divorced from the young kids who come in to thrash their 60-ball hundreds or mark out their 20-yard runs. Soon though, there's something different in the way that they look at you, and you realise that they are occupying a psychological terrain that you have surrendered.
If the first day of the Ashes set the tone for the rest of the series, this one will be remembered as much for the skittish attitude of both teams, as for Australia's deficiency in the batting order. It's a view that Greg Baum, writing in the Age, and former England captain Nasser Hussain, in his column for the Daily Mail, share. Baum, in particular, believes the poor batting, especially by Australia had a lot to do with temperament.
Conditioned by short forms more like T-ball, contemporary batsmen are not technically or temperamentally suited to toughing it out on days like this. The pitch was challenging, but not the ogre they made it look. It is not a new theory, but it [is] every year more apparent."
For Paul Hayward in the Telegraph, and the nerves on both sides are likely to show through.
Modern sports stars pretend to know how to objectify hype - to block it out - but few can say they have really mastered the art. The more they say "we have to treat it as just another Test match" the more the other side of the brain is gripped by panic.
While the Test saw seven Ashes debuts on both sides, it was the experience of James Anderson and Peter Siddle that impressed the most. Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail calls Siddle a 'classic Aussie dark horse', while Malcolm Knox, in a column for the Sydney Morning Herald, analyses why Siddle and Anderson found success on the first day.
What Siddle had discovered was the humble off stump half-volley. On this wicket, a few full balls might have gone for four, but the others bent in the thick air or nipped off the crusty wicket. Anything pitched within a step of the batsman's crease was a chance. Loose technique and concentration at the other end would do the rest. Only Siddle, among the Australian pacemen, had the wit to realise this and the control over his nerves to execute it.
In a piece in Man's World magazine, Sharda Ugra shares her experience of being a ghostwriter on two vastly different cricket biographies - John Wright's Indian Summers and Yuvraj Singh's The Test of My Life: From Cricket to Cancer and Back.
Now that the books are done, in hindsight, I think it would be close to impossible to take on an ultramarathon without either affinity or respect for the subject. A key commandment? Abandon your ego and your own stylistic imprints, replicate the narrator's own voice. The book, after all, belongs not to you but to the sportsman whose life it contains. It is he who must speak, authentically and credibly, to the reader and hold their attention. That's what you're there for.
The longest-running sports annual in history, The Wisden Cricketers' Almanack has remained steadfast through wars and global crises and even technological revolutions. In Wisden India, six editors of the Almanack share their thoughts on what it means to be a Wisden editor.
The Kanga Memorial Library at Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, a beloved haunt for cricket history buffs and probably one of the only sporting libraries in the country, is fighting for survival with administrative apathy. In the Mid day, Clayton Murzello explores the library to find some its rarest classics moth-eaten and dust-laden.
First-timers to the Wankhede Stadium won't find the library without having to ask around simply because there are no sign boards leading to the premises which comes in between the plush Cricket Centre and the Wankhede Stadium. The dark alley leading to the library is indicative of the times.