The Heavy Ball

Misunderstood hookers, and an all-new IPL auction

Jacques Kallis and Sunny G star in a most unfortunate mix-up; and the triumph of the human element

Jacques Kallis celebrates his 34th Test century, India v South Africa, 1st Test, Nagpur, 1st day, February 6, 2010

Kallis: a good thing he wasn't on a pair  •  AFP

In a misunderstanding of mountainous proportions, Jacques Kallis has taken great exception to former India great and present commentary legend Sunil Gavaskar calling him a "hooker".
Apparently, while commentating on the current India-South Africa Test series, Gavaskar said, " Kallis is one of the finest hookers cricket has ever seen, and his knocks have given immense pleasure to millions of fans." Due to a most unfortunate misinterpretation, these comments have led to a war of words between Kallis and Gavaskar, and the situation threatens to spiral out of control.
"Gavaskar is a great player and I have great respect for him, but calling me a hooker just isn't on," said an agitated Kallis. "Also, he has no business giving his opinion on my knocks. I agree they aren't bad, but they don't really compare to the great knocks of Arjuna Ranatunga, David Boon, Jesse Ryder, and indeed, Sunny himself," he muttered, looking a little confused as the South African team PR officer hit himself over the head with a copy of Beyond a Boundary by CLR James.
A number of cricket experts have also agreed that Gavaskar's statements were inappropriate, since cricketers' knocks, other than those of Andrew Flintoff and Sourav Ganguly (and, if you count advertisements, Dilip Vengsarkar) haven't been seen in public and cannot be commented on.
Gavaskar has reacted with more than a little annoyance, saying, "Oh, please. That's not what I meant. What's the matter with people these days? Does every statement need to come with annotations, footnotes and disclaimers?"
"It's insane. If I call someone a good driver, I'll offend Michael Schumacher fans. If I call someone a good cutter, it'll annoy Planescape: Torment fans. If I call someone a good flicker, I'll get sued by Yahoo. Is there no end to it?" he asked, before attracting the ire of Apple Corp. by adding, "What a bunch of nut jobs."
At last report, things seemed to have worsened when an unidentified man was seen trying to console Kallis by saying "Arrey yaar, don't keep it in your memory," in a thick north Indian accent.
Meanwhile, the arguments in favour of using technology in umpiring decisions may yet have an unexpected fallout. In the face of stiff resistance to using television cameras in more areas of umpiring, the ICC may decide to do away with umpires altogether, and let the players argue it out amongst themselves.
"They want human element, eh? Errors are part of the charm of cricket, eh? Well, the luddites can have their 'human element'. No umpires from now on. Hah," said ICC General Manager (cricket), David Richardson. "We'll let the players sort it out on the field, just like in backyard cricket. Nothing more charming than that," he said.
The decision is likely to have far-reaching consequences for international cricket, such as prolonged interruptions while the teams argue lbw calls, thrilling mid-pitch fisticuffs, and nobody daring to disagree with Shahid Afridi or Graeme Smith.
In other news, under fire after the Pakistan-players controversy and renewed security threats, the IPL is reportedly considering doing away with the minor inconvenience of organising pesky cricket matches altogether and simply auctioning away the trophy. Attempts to reach the various people involved in decision-making for matters regarding the IPL have been futile, since Lalit Modi has been a bit busy.

Any or all quotes and facts in this article may be wholly or partly fiction (but you knew that already, didn't you?)
Anand Ramachandran is a writer and humourist based in Mumbai. He blogs at