Saturday, March 24, 2007

The anguish of the wooden spooner.

In India, (and amongst Indian's abroad) most can be classified as either in love with the game of cricket and those who don't care much for it. I'll stick my neck out to say, that "those who don't care much are in a minority.
So though I am slowly drifting towards the minority, I would like to articulate the anguish If I can the anguish of a billion people at their one great hope of getting some "Feel good" going for them.
The Indian Cricket Team with more combined experience than a few other nations combined , was unceremoniously dumped out in the qualifying stages of the Cricket World Cup yesterday.
I have a million things to do, but I find myself constantly scanning for news stories on the aftermath of this most ignominious exit.
The post mortem to follow will have the saner voices reminding us that its "just a Game" and that "Nobody died". They will caution us against "Overreacting" and "Chopping and Changing".
Dire warnings will be given with respect to the talent pool .
They will blame the media for raising expectations too high and the adulation of a billion fans as being unbearable pressure.
So 2-3 months from now we will see the same bunch of incompetents save one or two, doing duty for India. Murdering teams at home and doing just enough abroad to create "History"(how does a test win in Ireland sound?).
We react strongly when told of by the likes of Malcom Speed, about our lack of infrastructure for paying spectators , lack of an assemly line of good young players and a lack of results in major tournaments.
We react even morre strongly when Ricky Ponting rightly taunts us about our results.
But make no mistake excuses run their course after a while. No One wants to hear team India's sob story. They are not held to the same stanadard as the rest of us dimwits when it comes to taking home a pay check and delievering results.
Unlike professional footballs teams in the US or the european soccer teams. We have no draft or acquiring players with better pedigrees, to turn this ship around.
So after public anger has died down the same people who criminally spent millions to bring home a wooden spoon will be rehabilitated.
Our 34 year old triumverate who have failed so often in unision , you would believe they are joined at the hip will happily retire on the millions they have earned. Move one to braodcast journalism perhaps, and nothing will change.
This is not just a game and it never was. Those who put on Indian colors know it. On the positive side those in India will have a whole lot less sleepless nights than they had anticipated.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Poor little Rich kids.

So Fortune magazine has gone through its ritual of identifying the worlds billionaires.
Thanks to the ferentic pace of growth witnessed in India, 36 Indian billionaires find themselves on the list. 10 years back I would put this number at 3.
A lot of these freshly minted billionaires have come under media scrutiny as to how they spend to share their billions with the rest of the country for the greater good.
Naturally they have drawn comparisons to billionaires such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. Who have pledged their billions to Humanitarian efforts the world around.
No that this affects anyone in particular , but I find this comparison both illogical and unfair.
Warren Buffet and Bill Gates have Billionaires for the last 20-30 years. Their approach to philantrophy has evolved over the years. To expect the same of an Indian paper billionaire is foolhardy. Maybe charity has forever been a game of one upmanship. But for what its worth , its just that, charity - A voluntary generous act or donation to aid those in need.