March 12, 2010

Three captains and one bat

Pakistan's latest saga, and things to look forward to in the IPL
55

Pakistan hand out bans like toffee; and those handing them out pretend they are pristine. Australia's vice-captain leaves his team behind to offer solace to his girl, who is suffering the after-effects of a dubious relationship. Another South African storms his way into world cricket - for England. The world's most hyped tournament slithers, rather than storms, in. That's a lot of unusual things for a sport played by so few.

Pakistan continue to make every other nation look like the epitome of good management. Big zamindar arrives, cleans up the shed; next zamindar puts the old chickens back in. The cricket lover, like RK Laxman's common man, looks on, perplexed and neglected. To be honest, the Pakistan cricketers don't have much sympathy around the cricket world, but what of the fans? What about the little eight-year-old who wants to wear a replica Pakistan cap and cheer for Afridi and Yousuf and Younis? What happens to him? His heroes, and those who manage his heroes, frequently seem to have less passion for the team and the country than he does. His lot is to be let down. I wonder if people blinded by egos even realise that.

On that count, India have been blessed. The results will be good one day and bad the next, and fans will be delighted and frustrated in equal measure. But when the disease of match-fixing threatened to infect India, the eight-year-old (and the 30-year-old who behaved like the eight-year-old) had proud people to look up to. Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman, Ganguly, Srinath - these were men of character. Fine cricketers they might have been but fine people they were too. Their solidity, as much as their results, took cricket through its testing years.

I wish Pakistan cricket well because I have been a child and have had my heroes, and when some of them let me down later in life, I felt the pain. But the pity is that six months from now a new zamindar will have arrived, armed with a firman from a patron. The same people will be back. If they can give the little child something to smile about, if they can be heroes, it might still be worth it. Essentially Pakistan need an Imran: proud, competitive and above board. He was great when he played but they need him more 25 years later.

Essentially Pakistan need an Imran: proud, competitive and above board. He was great when he played but they need him more 25 years later

Michael Clarke's predicament reminds me of something Allan Border told me 18 years ago when I was ghosting his column to help make ends meet on a tour. He worried for young players, he said, because not all of them had stability in their private lives. It's as true a statement as any you will hear. The likes of Tendulkar and Dravid and Kumble came from stable families, they married solid girls and have lovely families of their own. It's an aspect of success that is rarely studied.

Meanwhile the IPL, as a cricket tournament, has crept in. Lalit Modi told me this week that once the cricket starts it will need no promotion, and I hope he is right. One reason it's been low-key could be India's first game at the World Cup of hockey, which showed that India could still rally around another sport. All of us, except those that run hockey in India, know it. But when the hockey sadly tapered off, the news boycott came in the way. I don't know the details of the dispute but I do know that if I took great pains to produce a product, if I licensed it to somebody and a third party used it for profit, I would be very upset.

But there is enough in the IPL to get people going once it begins. It is no secret that I enjoy Twenty20 cricket as much as I do Test and one-day cricket, but in particular I will be looking out for three captains, and one bat! Neither Warne nor Gilchrist nor Kumble has played much cricket in recent times and this might well be the last time we will see them on a cricket field. Proud men and excellent leaders and each an adornment to the game. They will be up against young men who won't give them an inch. And while I will be expected to be neutral, I will silently wish they hold their own.

And then the big man with the Mongoose. Matthew Hayden's bat has always been a brute, a club. And now he arrives with this big handle and small blade, which looks a bit like the oar he might keep handy when he goes fishing. Well into retirement, he could still be the key for the Chennai Super Kings.

Harsha Bhogle is a commentator, television presenter and writer. He is on the IPL commentary team

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cpcommand on March 19, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    I have been a bit disheartened by some of the disparaging comments made by the users here regarding Harsha Bhogle. I am not sure how many of them actually know that Harsha is one of the pioneers in his league. He has been in the Commentary business as long as I remember and I have seen him grow in stature over the years. He is one who has the command on the language, has great understanding of the game, one of the most respected indian commentators in the world and also has the business credentials (remember he is IIM, Ahmedabad product). He not only played cricket but has seen cricket from close quarters almost for over 25 years. So he is highly equipped to discuss cricket and write about it. Apart from his expertise, he also provides great opinion. So before we pillage players/commentators of his stature, we need to respect their credentials. Every Tom, Dick and Harry who hasn't lifted a cricket bat/ball in life doesn't get the freedom to ridicule them guys however they want. Respect

  • Pavan_2020 on March 18, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Not Sure why people are chastising Harsha for nothing. its a simple article which tells facts for what they are - as i read it, he did not make any personal comments nor did he offer any family counselling advices. all he did was underline the importance of a stable personal life in this age of competitive cricket for successful professional career. as for pakistan - well if you want to read between the lines nobody can help you but on the face of it he does acknowledge the trouble india and pak went into w.r.t match fixing, luckily india had individuals and management which were determined to pu that behind, while pak was not so fortunate - which again is a fact. did heroes of india not let their cricket fans down - Harsha is a hyderabadi and being a hyderabadi myself - i know and can relate to Harsha - believe me our Hero did let us down (if you know whom i am referring to) and when hyderabadi cricket fans were gasping for air, laxman came around as a breath of fresh air...

  • on March 18, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    Mr harsha u are trying to compare india with pakistan at a time when pakistan is struggling. where was this article when pakistan won the t20 championship and qualified for icc champions trophy semi finals? and whats your credibilty of writing such an article? can u tell me how much first class matches have u even played? please do not be personal about a cricketers life..

  • sudzz71 on March 18, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    Yet another hyperbole ridden, cliche infested article from yet another cricket writer. What's with cricket writers and commentators these days? nothing is normal, no shot is just a good shot its the best that ever was, no act of a player is just a simple act of a sports jock its a combination Hercules, Machivelli, Napolean etc etc.

    Lets get some perspective here, what we see is only 25% of what there is, we seek from our commentators and writers insights into the sport, the thought process, the deviations from more established practices etc.

    If we wanted to read about sordid love affairs, about family values and solidity, about politics and corruption there are other forums, magazines and channels we can go to.

    Mr Bhogle should well remember that he came into this business due to his love for the sport and that's what he should continue to offer not necessarily choose to be a historian, storyteller, financial advisor, relationship counselor all rolled into one...

  • myousaf on March 17, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    Unless I have read it properly, I think the article supports what all Pakistani want to say. Mr Ejaz Butt probably wants to see some ''Boom Boom Butt'' playcards in the next 20/20 worldcup. He probably will see ''Boom Boom but...''

    To make Sulman Butt captain is a joke. If he scores a 50 Pakistan will lose and if he doesn't ....

  • ShreyasRao on March 17, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    It is no doubt that India have been blessed with a good management which runs cricket professionally no matter what politics they play to get elected to the board. I am waiting keenly to see my idols like Kumble,Dravid,Sachin and Co. get into the administration. Good article Harsha. Its always easy to relate with your article/commentary because it is from a of a cricket fan 's heart.

  • SydneyK on March 16, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    @McGorioum I can understand your sentiments, and nobody denies work done by Imran. In fact Harsha here is suggesting same, they need Imran like man again. But when it comes to interference I would say you guys are on worst side. Most of your media is India centric and will not leave single opportunity to blame Indians. Just recently I did read an article on dawn daily calling Indian cricket as a whore of Indian corporates. Now this is even more harsh comment on worlds most successful cricket body by worlds worst hit cricketing nation's media. And whatever information Harsha has collected is based on your media only. Well building cancer hospital is great help to nation but match fixing and related scandals are worst for cricket.

  • Ibizzz on March 15, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    I totally agree with you Pak-United .. there are some problems with our cricket Board, but there is a hope and a dream, which has made Pakistani team alive .. Ups and Downs r part of ones life .. instead of critzing the teams going through their bad time, we should all hope that one day they will learn from their mistakes and will come back as a strong side ..

    im surprised to see some ppl here comming up with stupid comments on Cancer Hospital, dude its a responsibality of every citizen to work foer the betterment of the nation, NOT JUST THE GOVERNMENT .. even though none of our player is playing in IPL ... he have proved that we r among the best sides in the world ..

    India is at 1st position in Test and ODI's i blv .. but i would like to know the names of the teams they Played Against in the last year and have Won those .. ???

    to all my pakistani brothers .. Dont Give Up .. its just a metter of time .. things will be alrite soon Inshallah .. !!

  • on March 15, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    I don't see anything wrong with the article but for the family matters and a couple of hurt pak ego. Talking about personal life was off the journal for a person of Harsha's calibre. True, that Indian Board is towards generating money, I would say they are marketing it well. The only thing that was in bad taste was the way they went on stop ICL. In IT industry MICROSOFT did, BCCI follows suit. Agreed that Imran Khan is great cricketer and honourable philanderer. SRT has been helping a number of spastic children. So is Kumble. Cricketers like Rahul, Sourav, Yuvaraj, Zak, Robin Uthappa and a number of other indian cricketers have donated towards noble causes year after year. Why forget Mcgrath, Mahela Jayawardena, Steve waugh, Shaun pollock and Andrew Strauss. There are other cricketers too.We only notice how fat their bank balances grow, not their off field philanthropic activities. Imran did it in a big way, that does not make other cricketers any lesser.

  • McGorium on March 15, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    The Shaukat Khanum hospital: That was just for AbbasKhan's boast that your players don't build cancer hospitals.Yeah, because the need is not as acute,but I understand that SRT et al do contribute to charities. I'm no fan of the BCCI:they are as much of a Zamindar network as the PCB.We have the Pawar network and the Dalmiya network,and Pawar has the power for some time,giving stability.Nobody would say BCCI is a professional body like CA or ECB but they run a decent domestic setup.They have used their clout to get away with a lot of things(in Aus,SA).The ICL saga was clearly anti-trust and since it's a business, should be covered under monopolistic laws(I think there's a lawsuit pending).Bangladesh has won the odd ODI,but where are they in tests?I didn't say passion is not important, but you need more:structure,discipline and management.Everyone playing intl. and domestic cricket has passion but not everyone is a Dravid or Akram or SRT or McGrath.

  • cpcommand on March 19, 2010, 17:04 GMT

    I have been a bit disheartened by some of the disparaging comments made by the users here regarding Harsha Bhogle. I am not sure how many of them actually know that Harsha is one of the pioneers in his league. He has been in the Commentary business as long as I remember and I have seen him grow in stature over the years. He is one who has the command on the language, has great understanding of the game, one of the most respected indian commentators in the world and also has the business credentials (remember he is IIM, Ahmedabad product). He not only played cricket but has seen cricket from close quarters almost for over 25 years. So he is highly equipped to discuss cricket and write about it. Apart from his expertise, he also provides great opinion. So before we pillage players/commentators of his stature, we need to respect their credentials. Every Tom, Dick and Harry who hasn't lifted a cricket bat/ball in life doesn't get the freedom to ridicule them guys however they want. Respect

  • Pavan_2020 on March 18, 2010, 19:23 GMT

    Not Sure why people are chastising Harsha for nothing. its a simple article which tells facts for what they are - as i read it, he did not make any personal comments nor did he offer any family counselling advices. all he did was underline the importance of a stable personal life in this age of competitive cricket for successful professional career. as for pakistan - well if you want to read between the lines nobody can help you but on the face of it he does acknowledge the trouble india and pak went into w.r.t match fixing, luckily india had individuals and management which were determined to pu that behind, while pak was not so fortunate - which again is a fact. did heroes of india not let their cricket fans down - Harsha is a hyderabadi and being a hyderabadi myself - i know and can relate to Harsha - believe me our Hero did let us down (if you know whom i am referring to) and when hyderabadi cricket fans were gasping for air, laxman came around as a breath of fresh air...

  • on March 18, 2010, 9:16 GMT

    Mr harsha u are trying to compare india with pakistan at a time when pakistan is struggling. where was this article when pakistan won the t20 championship and qualified for icc champions trophy semi finals? and whats your credibilty of writing such an article? can u tell me how much first class matches have u even played? please do not be personal about a cricketers life..

  • sudzz71 on March 18, 2010, 5:09 GMT

    Yet another hyperbole ridden, cliche infested article from yet another cricket writer. What's with cricket writers and commentators these days? nothing is normal, no shot is just a good shot its the best that ever was, no act of a player is just a simple act of a sports jock its a combination Hercules, Machivelli, Napolean etc etc.

    Lets get some perspective here, what we see is only 25% of what there is, we seek from our commentators and writers insights into the sport, the thought process, the deviations from more established practices etc.

    If we wanted to read about sordid love affairs, about family values and solidity, about politics and corruption there are other forums, magazines and channels we can go to.

    Mr Bhogle should well remember that he came into this business due to his love for the sport and that's what he should continue to offer not necessarily choose to be a historian, storyteller, financial advisor, relationship counselor all rolled into one...

  • myousaf on March 17, 2010, 22:08 GMT

    Unless I have read it properly, I think the article supports what all Pakistani want to say. Mr Ejaz Butt probably wants to see some ''Boom Boom Butt'' playcards in the next 20/20 worldcup. He probably will see ''Boom Boom but...''

    To make Sulman Butt captain is a joke. If he scores a 50 Pakistan will lose and if he doesn't ....

  • ShreyasRao on March 17, 2010, 7:30 GMT

    It is no doubt that India have been blessed with a good management which runs cricket professionally no matter what politics they play to get elected to the board. I am waiting keenly to see my idols like Kumble,Dravid,Sachin and Co. get into the administration. Good article Harsha. Its always easy to relate with your article/commentary because it is from a of a cricket fan 's heart.

  • SydneyK on March 16, 2010, 0:10 GMT

    @McGorioum I can understand your sentiments, and nobody denies work done by Imran. In fact Harsha here is suggesting same, they need Imran like man again. But when it comes to interference I would say you guys are on worst side. Most of your media is India centric and will not leave single opportunity to blame Indians. Just recently I did read an article on dawn daily calling Indian cricket as a whore of Indian corporates. Now this is even more harsh comment on worlds most successful cricket body by worlds worst hit cricketing nation's media. And whatever information Harsha has collected is based on your media only. Well building cancer hospital is great help to nation but match fixing and related scandals are worst for cricket.

  • Ibizzz on March 15, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    I totally agree with you Pak-United .. there are some problems with our cricket Board, but there is a hope and a dream, which has made Pakistani team alive .. Ups and Downs r part of ones life .. instead of critzing the teams going through their bad time, we should all hope that one day they will learn from their mistakes and will come back as a strong side ..

    im surprised to see some ppl here comming up with stupid comments on Cancer Hospital, dude its a responsibality of every citizen to work foer the betterment of the nation, NOT JUST THE GOVERNMENT .. even though none of our player is playing in IPL ... he have proved that we r among the best sides in the world ..

    India is at 1st position in Test and ODI's i blv .. but i would like to know the names of the teams they Played Against in the last year and have Won those .. ???

    to all my pakistani brothers .. Dont Give Up .. its just a metter of time .. things will be alrite soon Inshallah .. !!

  • on March 15, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    I don't see anything wrong with the article but for the family matters and a couple of hurt pak ego. Talking about personal life was off the journal for a person of Harsha's calibre. True, that Indian Board is towards generating money, I would say they are marketing it well. The only thing that was in bad taste was the way they went on stop ICL. In IT industry MICROSOFT did, BCCI follows suit. Agreed that Imran Khan is great cricketer and honourable philanderer. SRT has been helping a number of spastic children. So is Kumble. Cricketers like Rahul, Sourav, Yuvaraj, Zak, Robin Uthappa and a number of other indian cricketers have donated towards noble causes year after year. Why forget Mcgrath, Mahela Jayawardena, Steve waugh, Shaun pollock and Andrew Strauss. There are other cricketers too.We only notice how fat their bank balances grow, not their off field philanthropic activities. Imran did it in a big way, that does not make other cricketers any lesser.

  • McGorium on March 15, 2010, 16:28 GMT

    The Shaukat Khanum hospital: That was just for AbbasKhan's boast that your players don't build cancer hospitals.Yeah, because the need is not as acute,but I understand that SRT et al do contribute to charities. I'm no fan of the BCCI:they are as much of a Zamindar network as the PCB.We have the Pawar network and the Dalmiya network,and Pawar has the power for some time,giving stability.Nobody would say BCCI is a professional body like CA or ECB but they run a decent domestic setup.They have used their clout to get away with a lot of things(in Aus,SA).The ICL saga was clearly anti-trust and since it's a business, should be covered under monopolistic laws(I think there's a lawsuit pending).Bangladesh has won the odd ODI,but where are they in tests?I didn't say passion is not important, but you need more:structure,discipline and management.Everyone playing intl. and domestic cricket has passion but not everyone is a Dravid or Akram or SRT or McGrath.

  • McGorium on March 15, 2010, 16:15 GMT

    @pak-united:By political situation, I was referring to availability of visas and such. The government did assure it at the time, but you just need one bomb going off in Delhi or Bombay, and the "blame/invade Pakistan" brigade will raise it's head. The government will do what it always does to save it's skin: scale back diplomatic relations,and cricket is the first to get hit, because it's so big.You also have to realize that a fringe party like Shiv Sena can score more points by picking on Pak than Aus. A lot of people don't know about the racism issues in Aus and fewer care. Pakistan is an easy target to make a political point. It is an insult to invite them and not pick them,and that it was better had they not been invited at all. I don't think security was the issue here: GoI can provide it if Pak players come. I think the owners of IPL teams chickened out at the potential backlash (it's a business first, and nobody wants a controversy.Look at the Sena going after SRK!

  • malmanca on March 15, 2010, 13:28 GMT

    This is very bad journalism.....pouncing on someone when they are down...where was your voice Harsha when India would continously get trounced by Pakistan in Sharjah. The recent performance of India and the lack of discipline showed by the Pakistani team seems to have given him a new set of you know whats...

  • pak-united on March 15, 2010, 6:49 GMT

    last but not least, just like jadeja and azhar are "ancient" history people will forget afridi's actions too, life goes on. they all have been penalized, done deal.

  • pak-united on March 15, 2010, 6:44 GMT

    Mccorium: Whether it was Kapil Dev's vision or not but he still was a part of it, accomplices are as much to be blamed along with the guilty. BCCI didnt let it succeed, true, but it shows that they only want cricket to be THEIR way, when harbhajan singh was facing a ban they threatened to cancel the tour in Australia, not sure how good is that for the game in addition to the points you have brought up as well. to believe is to have a positive attitude, to have a positive attitude is to dream of winning and i think pakistan has proven it worldwide on two occassions, its good enough. Bangladesh "believed" that is WHY they beat" invincible" Australia a few years ago. India "believed" that is why they are number one in ICC test rankings, "believing" made imran khan, kapil dev, javed miandad, sunil gavaskar and the list goes on. so" believing" does matter afterall.

  • pak-united on March 15, 2010, 6:28 GMT

    @McGorium: while some of the points you made make sense, I'd have to refute the IPL one. the reason for that is because Aussies were threatened openly by shiv sena, but then security was provided for them. niranjan shah went as far as to meet bal thakre to discuss this. in addition, considering the political situation: pakistani cricketers' names should not have been used to promote IPL this season. what if pakistan reaches the finals, what the political dilemma not be a concern then? there is another school of thought advocating the concern of availability of pakistani players, you don't invite people to your house and then tell them to turn around. security for one team is provided but for another it is elusive. i am not sure about this but im assuming you are pointing towards imran khan's cancer hospital. it was done out of goood will and he wanted to help the less fortunate ones. its not only the responsibility of the goverment but every citizen of a country to help it prosper.

  • on March 15, 2010, 3:31 GMT

    the cricketing world should really see that pakistan player play in the IPL, pakistan hockey team went to India and play and turn out good so why the cricketer can play? If India and Pakistan to play the world cup final in India 2011 .

  • sabina2009 on March 15, 2010, 2:52 GMT

    A nice article by Mr. Harsha. I always enjoy reading his articles. Anyways, I believe that in order to be a successful cricketer, family value is a must. Mr. Harsha was right indeed that players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, they not only had success in their playing career but they also have strong success in their family lives. I do not know what happens to Pakistani cricketers. Why they always fall into the victims of Match Fixing?

  • Woody111 on March 14, 2010, 23:51 GMT

    Harsha, you write very well indeed but I must take up your point on 'proud people to look up to'. I think it's offensive to put Ganguly alongside genuine men like Tendulkar and Laxman. The latter are true gentlemen and the former is an arrogant, spoilt cheat. Tendulkar and Laxman would not leave an opposition captain waiting in the middle for a coin toss (Waugh in India), they would not purposefully put an arm out to obstruct the ball (last IPL) or wave their shirts around following a win (Lords).

  • McGorium on March 14, 2010, 19:53 GMT

    #4)Cancer hospitals:Our cricketers don't need to, our government does that for us(AIIMS,Tata memorial,to name a few).Then there are private ones like Appollo. T'kar and their lot do contribute to charities around the country. Kapil Dev did not envision ICL, Zee TV did. He was an exec on the board.BCCI used monopolistic tactics to kill off competition in ICL,for sure.ICL was never successful, because BCCI never let it succeed. That debate, though has nothing to do with the way the national teams are run. If belief alone was sufficient to make a successful team, Bangladesh would be one. India would be #1 in all forms of the game (I don't rate them that way) if belief and passion and such things were all that mattered. They're important, but you need a competitive system, and good admin to make it work, and this is where Aus excels. Pakistan's woes do stem from poor management (as was the case with India in the late 1990s)

  • krazzyindian on March 14, 2010, 19:51 GMT

    I am surprised how many of you have stated Harsha Bhogles expertise as cricket ! The only thing he knows about the game is the field positions. All these years he as masqueraded as a cricket commentator because of the Indians inability to criticise mild mannered, smiling persons. and this lack of criticism has encouraged him to comment on subjects that really interests him... gossip. Please people, have the courage to condemn these types of articles.

  • McGorium on March 14, 2010, 19:45 GMT

    @AbbasKhan: God, you have a huge chip on your shoulder. BTW, Ian Chappell has the same thing to say, if you care to read his entry. Look, Pak payers were not selected for IPL because of the political situation between Ind and Pak.Anyone with half a brain will know that, given what happened the last time.Why they were first invited at all is a mystery, but I doubt it was with the express intent of insulting them.Pak failed to win a single test,ODI,or T20 in their Aus tour. The results do speak for themselves, true. I don't buy the role-model theory, but Azhar and Jadeja are ancient history, just like Salim Malik. The current lot have not been going around beating teammates with bats,juicing on nandrolone or opium,or biting balls.Nor have they indulged in infighting to get rid of one captain or other, or refusing to play because his brother/best friend was dropped.If this is the passion you speak of, most teams would rather be without it.This is what Harsha means by lack of sympathy...

  • perfect_stranger on March 14, 2010, 13:48 GMT

    Choosing to compare someone with yourself when he's not at his best, would be quite unfair wouldn't you say? And if that person was at his weakest and you'd compare him to yourself then, perhaps shows your insecurities. Harsha, is this how you want India to look nice, to compare them to Pakistan at a time when Pakistan are at their weakest? Was that the purpose of your article?

  • on March 14, 2010, 13:38 GMT

    v.nice thoughts mr.harsha abt pakistan cricket.

  • qkfriend on March 14, 2010, 6:47 GMT

    Mr Bhogle, Whatever appreciation or respect I had for your sport journalism, you lost it today because of this baseless article of yours

  • niraj13 on March 14, 2010, 2:23 GMT

    Speaking of the storm going in Pakistan cricket, I could not help but comment that how could Pakistan players be so upset over not being selected in IPL when there own board is alienating them. They had no right to tell any of the IPL franchises that they were insulted because of being ignored for selection.

  • Ozboy on March 13, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    Married "solid" girls. Advocating "arranged" marriages - are we? Ever heard of a starlet called Naghma? Hear of MS Dhoni and Yuvraj's Bollywood liasons? Also please leave Clarky's personal life out of this. Why are you comparing the unhealthy state of cricket administration in Pakistan with India. I can see this being offensive to the Pakistani cricket lovers. They are having a bad run - and you are trying to keep them down. They are a very proud and passionate cricketing nation and they will rise again. India has been blessed with the likes of SRT, RD, ZK and others - but you must remember they have strong pmanagement teams working out their every move to ensure maximum endorsements as well- nothing wrong with that. Pakistani cricket has not reached that level yet. So take it easy and just admire the fact that in spite of the chaos - they won the T20 WC. You stick to sucking up to Australia.

  • on March 13, 2010, 16:58 GMT

    4. Who are you to tell us our cricketers aren't fine people? Any of yours build a cancer hospital? No. Your greatest all rounder ever envisioned a new league that gave opportunities to young cricketers from around the country and you banned it, why? because it was succesful and not giving you a cut?

    5. Please Keep your concern about our children to yourself. Our kids have are still passionate about the game - tape ball cricket still produces some of the best bowlers from a system that doesn't exist as it is.

    Pakistan cricket right now is much of a victim of external circumstances as it is internal. There has been little to no cricket in Pakistan since terrorism hit the fan a few years ago - but still we persist. And we persist because we have believe. And we will win simply because we believe.

  • on March 13, 2010, 16:54 GMT

    1. Pak cricketers don't have sympathy around the world? Why, because your bigoted lot won't choose the world champions of the specific format as it'll make your hopeless chums look bad? If it weren't for a Misbah ul Haq brain freeze you would not have had an IPL even. We don't need your sympathy mate and we don't need your appreciation. Our results speak for themselves. 2. Our players and administrators have no passion for the game? they have their faults no doubt, the, but I'd rather have our passion for the game then the BCCI's passion for money - And your desire to dominate the game because of the said money. 3. India have been blessed with good fans and role model players? Really, so all that effigy burning when ever India gets thrashed is because the fans are letting off some steam? And your role model players of course never got into any match fixing like Azhar or Ajay Jadeja?

  • sathish_tom on March 13, 2010, 9:37 GMT

    Despite being a fan of you, I Strongly oppose your comments on Clarke's private life. It will be better if u don't repeat the same.

  • secondopinion on March 13, 2010, 7:08 GMT

    Why bring up solid family things? Firstly, it is bad taste. then its silly to say Dravid et al became great player because he /they came from solid background. By that logic, Botham, Imran Khan, Viv Richards, Terry, Woods. Leander Paes and numerous others who remained un-exposed, shud have failed miserably. Finally, what Michael Clarke in his private life is his business. some of the names Harsha mentioned have/had temporary feet of clay, as those from Bangalore or Calcutta know so well. Lets evaluate cricketers on cricket skills and results, and not if they smoke, drink or have girl friends.

  • vijaykrish on March 13, 2010, 6:24 GMT

    Hope they bring some innovations to the ball too - after all v need balanced developments in both the biffing and the bowling depts - else IPL will become IBL (Indian Boring League) !

  • WKeeper on March 13, 2010, 6:17 GMT

    I must say i like this article. As we all know there is so much talent in pakistan. it just need to be managed properly.I guess all he wants to say is sportsperson that we see is just the tip of iceberg and there are many things make or break a career than what we really think.

  • on March 13, 2010, 2:33 GMT

    those that complain about Harsha's take on the "solidity of a family" -- it's an op-ed column, not a piece reporting news. the author is bloody well entitled to his opinion and expressing it. Just you and I are in expressing our own opinions as readers in the comment space.

  • petra on March 12, 2010, 23:35 GMT

    Harsha, your reflections on 'Michael Clarke's predicament' and 'aspects of success' are topics for your dining table and not for a 'cricket' article. Stick to your expertice - CRICKET

  • SRAM20 on March 12, 2010, 23:22 GMT

    Harsha - Sorry to say this, but comments on a cricketer's personal life (including about his partner's) leaves this article in a bad taste. Whatever decision a player takes outside of cricket is his own life. It might or might not affect his cricketing life. If it does, its sad but again cricketers are human beings. They have their own lives and control it by themselves. Having a high profile partner is not wrong as far as Clarke is concerned. He will go back, sort things out and hopefully come back well. I wish you dont make such statements which put down Clarke or his partner like that.

  • imran.ahmad on March 12, 2010, 22:02 GMT

    An interesting write-up with enterprising observations. Pakistan cricket indeed is going through a turbulent period (how frequent such periods are is another matter). The present steps by the PCB are no doubt harsh but there is no doubting their intent. They are trying to mop out of the problem mongers whom they found out through an enquiry. Although they are not forthcoming with the details, but they are not alone in such company. Most of the cricket boards are not completely transparent in their functioning. Each has its share of fuzziness around it. Still, cricketers like Md. Yousuf and Younis Khan needed to be treated in a more respectable manner. There's no denying it. I just hope that the board is strong enough to stick to its decisions, coz nothing in its past gives such an indication. Coming to IPL, Mathew Hayden is a guy who enjoys his cricket a lot. His journey with a new bat is yet another example of him setting new challenges for himself. All the best for the big man ;-)

  • s_v_krishnan on March 12, 2010, 20:48 GMT

    Hello Zain_Utoronto, Can you tell what Harsha has crossed his limit? Infact you have to say Thanks because he want to see pakistani cricket back to normal. ("I wish Pakistan cricket well because...."). Don't just throw your frustration to gentleman like Harsha....

  • cricster67 on March 12, 2010, 20:47 GMT

    The level of turmoil seen in Pak cricket is hard to find anywhere in present or past. People have done steroids tp match fixing to literally breaking the legs of a competitor (remember Tonya Harding?). However, this has been generally out of temptation for greater rewards. Pak seems to be embroiled in very deep cynicism of very concept of good and nobility. I hope they dig out of it soon, as it is one of only eight competitive teams in the world and any prolonged issues there are also bad for broader cricketing world.

  • on March 12, 2010, 20:34 GMT

    That so true, India has been so blessed. Players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman, Ganguly, Srinath personified class on and off the field. Despite being demi-gods at home and raking in millions they remain ever so humble & disciplined off the field. Dhoni as well comes off a focussed, heads down cricketer and leader. I really want to see how the IPL generation shapes up. Lets hope they can pass on the same legacy to the following generations.

  • zesu on March 12, 2010, 19:43 GMT

    i personally feel imran nazir is a very dangerous player in world cricket but i dont know why he didn't perform well in his international career.sad,but when he is in song,he is most devestating player

  • kartikverma on March 12, 2010, 19:39 GMT

    "The likes of Tendulkar and Dravid and Kumble came from stable families, they married solid girls and have lovely families of their own." What is your point? The fact that Michael's partner is a model makes her 'less solid' or her 'less lovely'. I'm sorry to say that that's just patriarchy seeping through your veins. Why mess with other people's private lives and that too make value judgements.. blah!

  • pagar on March 12, 2010, 19:16 GMT

    Same was being said about Pakistan before the last T20 World Cup that they are in total disarray and they don't have a chance. May be all this tomfoolery is a ploy by PCB to let rival teams become complacent. I would love Shahid Afridi to repeat his heroics from last year.

    Hayden has given up all pretense of holding a cricket bat. That thing looks like a big hammer which he will undoubtedly use to swat the medium pace bowlers around the park.

  • on March 12, 2010, 19:11 GMT

    Afridi should be only Pak captain....All PCB officials should be kicked.....all are foolish coward.... except pakistan others would come & stand besides players..and bloody pakistan board ...shame for pakistan cricket... they are showing justice but all are fake show....officials should be changed immediately....

  • on March 12, 2010, 19:10 GMT

    i think this bat mongoose can be used only on those pitches where there is not much bounce.

  • KhanXpress on March 12, 2010, 18:42 GMT

    Looks what Pakistan did to themselves. They have only themselves to blame. Hate only brews hate.

  • on March 12, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    if pakistan wants to win t20 worldcup so they have to choose abdul razzaq as captain other wise shahid afridi is best for captaincy salman butt is not illegible for captaincy he is to young.

  • on March 12, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    Actually pak has a lot of talents but the selectors r unable to utilize their skills if you look at the new annouced squad for T20 world cup.Imran nazir name is not existing in the squad.He is a natiural talented and agressive player but the selectors are ruin his talent. always in and out in and out from the team....

  • ZainHaq11 on March 12, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    A good article Harsha,

    But Harsha, Please dont cross the line when you are writing about Pakistan.I agree the Country as a whole is in turmoil. I have great sympathy for a country that once produced then likes of Imran, Wasim, Waqar and Miandad has finally been hard hit by stupid politics, controversies and the likes of IJAZ BUTT.

    Please do not forget the fact that despite not being invited into IPL last year in SA and being at the lowest point in its history, Pakistan shocked the entire cricketing world when they lifted the World T20. I agree that they were not able to carry it on from there, but it shows that Pakistan as a cricketing country still exists.

    The 180 Million Pakistanis still sympathize with what Pakistan is going through at the moment and I have hope that, Inshallah, we will bounce back from this turmoil very soon.

    Pakistan Zindabad

  • on March 12, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Well said Dr_najeeb ...Choose ur words carefully Harsha .Excluding that its fine its the lleast anyone expect from ur article

  • Cybertox on March 12, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    Is matty really going to bat with that ridiculous looking thing

  • Jhammatian on March 12, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Ijaz butt is considering PCB his homeland and take decision what he likes or wants. When whole of Pakistan Nation and also all the world is saying that Afridi is deserving and capable of Captaincy so why there is soo delay in announcing. and I personally think that changes are needed in PCB official not in the players.

    Kick out the old defaulters : Ijaz Butt Wasim Bari Intikhab Alam Yawar Saeed Zakir Khan

  • on March 12, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    Interesting bat, waiting to see how it works for Hayden. And I agree with Harsha about the sort of role-models we had here in India, very lucky!!!

  • zizou313 on March 12, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    gbeing a pakistani , this whole circus created by the PCb has hurt pakistan cricket more than anything . at a time whne teams like india , Autralia and south Afruca aim for the 2011 world cup Pakistan cant sort out its internal problems. there is an urgent need for the board to have a clear vision and build for the 2011 world cup.

  • Dr_Najeeb on March 12, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    Hi Harsha I always been an admirer of the good and articulate cricketing sense that you got. But i certainly did not like some points in the article. Like "Pakistan continue to make every other nation look like the epitome of good management." not the Pakistani nation, may be the cricket team?? And we always had and we still have proud people to look to up to.. And lets not forget that the cricket has never been clean, and flares up and charges players in Pakistan may be for a reason that we dont have someone as able as Chandrachud whose commission cleans up the mess which every one doubts to stink? Honestly, looking at the Azharuddin and hansie cronge involvement in match fixing, players who were role models, heroes, big names! who really would you expect with 100% certainty to remain men of honor? Angels dont play cricket Harsha...

  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on March 12, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Nice piece Harsha. Would like to read another detailed article from you on how stability in private life enhances professional output.

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  • Sidhanta-Patnaik on March 12, 2010, 10:05 GMT

    Nice piece Harsha. Would like to read another detailed article from you on how stability in private life enhances professional output.

  • Dr_Najeeb on March 12, 2010, 11:00 GMT

    Hi Harsha I always been an admirer of the good and articulate cricketing sense that you got. But i certainly did not like some points in the article. Like "Pakistan continue to make every other nation look like the epitome of good management." not the Pakistani nation, may be the cricket team?? And we always had and we still have proud people to look to up to.. And lets not forget that the cricket has never been clean, and flares up and charges players in Pakistan may be for a reason that we dont have someone as able as Chandrachud whose commission cleans up the mess which every one doubts to stink? Honestly, looking at the Azharuddin and hansie cronge involvement in match fixing, players who were role models, heroes, big names! who really would you expect with 100% certainty to remain men of honor? Angels dont play cricket Harsha...

  • zizou313 on March 12, 2010, 11:05 GMT

    gbeing a pakistani , this whole circus created by the PCb has hurt pakistan cricket more than anything . at a time whne teams like india , Autralia and south Afruca aim for the 2011 world cup Pakistan cant sort out its internal problems. there is an urgent need for the board to have a clear vision and build for the 2011 world cup.

  • on March 12, 2010, 11:35 GMT

    Interesting bat, waiting to see how it works for Hayden. And I agree with Harsha about the sort of role-models we had here in India, very lucky!!!

  • Jhammatian on March 12, 2010, 12:43 GMT

    Ijaz butt is considering PCB his homeland and take decision what he likes or wants. When whole of Pakistan Nation and also all the world is saying that Afridi is deserving and capable of Captaincy so why there is soo delay in announcing. and I personally think that changes are needed in PCB official not in the players.

    Kick out the old defaulters : Ijaz Butt Wasim Bari Intikhab Alam Yawar Saeed Zakir Khan

  • Cybertox on March 12, 2010, 12:50 GMT

    Is matty really going to bat with that ridiculous looking thing

  • on March 12, 2010, 13:46 GMT

    Well said Dr_najeeb ...Choose ur words carefully Harsha .Excluding that its fine its the lleast anyone expect from ur article

  • ZainHaq11 on March 12, 2010, 15:59 GMT

    A good article Harsha,

    But Harsha, Please dont cross the line when you are writing about Pakistan.I agree the Country as a whole is in turmoil. I have great sympathy for a country that once produced then likes of Imran, Wasim, Waqar and Miandad has finally been hard hit by stupid politics, controversies and the likes of IJAZ BUTT.

    Please do not forget the fact that despite not being invited into IPL last year in SA and being at the lowest point in its history, Pakistan shocked the entire cricketing world when they lifted the World T20. I agree that they were not able to carry it on from there, but it shows that Pakistan as a cricketing country still exists.

    The 180 Million Pakistanis still sympathize with what Pakistan is going through at the moment and I have hope that, Inshallah, we will bounce back from this turmoil very soon.

    Pakistan Zindabad

  • on March 12, 2010, 16:57 GMT

    Actually pak has a lot of talents but the selectors r unable to utilize their skills if you look at the new annouced squad for T20 world cup.Imran nazir name is not existing in the squad.He is a natiural talented and agressive player but the selectors are ruin his talent. always in and out in and out from the team....

  • on March 12, 2010, 17:09 GMT

    if pakistan wants to win t20 worldcup so they have to choose abdul razzaq as captain other wise shahid afridi is best for captaincy salman butt is not illegible for captaincy he is to young.