Kunal Diwan

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Outer Party slacker.

Blog Posts by Kunal Diwan

  • On the BCCI's prohibitive media guidelines

    An obsession with controlling information manifests itself in many ways.

    ROLE REVERSAL: The strictures on media personnel at matches in India are devoid of rationale.


    To control information is to gain power. To that end, the BCCI has gagged commentators and administrators alike. The tendency of an establishment to conceal its internal machinations from the public is expected, if not condoned, but the Board’s stance of denying access to IPL matches to certain sections of the media is not as easily explained.

    This is what Clause 7 of its restrictive IPL media guidelines reads like:
     
    Reporters for websites, radio channels, electronic news agencies, production houses and representatives of agencies whose primary business involves the commercial sale and licensing of images/photographs rather than the supply of images/photographs to news publications for bona fide editorial purposes, will not be granted accreditation.

    The IPL may be dwarfed against the backdrop of India's general elections. BCCI's cash cow, however, is second to none when it comes to practicing a bizarre exclusivity. While sundry media organisations are free to cover the elections, the

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  • Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL

    Welcome to another season of a league that many watch but few trust.

    DALAI WITH THE LIE: MS Dhoni greets the Dalai Lama before an IPL-5 match at Dharamsala.


    Bad name: The IPL has come to represent all that's bad in cricket. Greed. Dishonesty. Fixing. Favouritism. Each season has seen its own outbreak of misdeeds leading many to view the IPL as a greasy pit of temptation and moral deviance. As viewership records are broken season after season, it’s unfortunate that the staple of an entire generation is something that has served largely as a playground for the rich and unprincipled. Human avarice is nothing new or novel and yet, at a more personal level, it sucks knowing that one has reported on matches that may have been, ahem, tampered with. Makes you feel like a fool really.

    CSK: The IPL's strongest outfit since the league's inception, Chennai's aura has been peeled off layer by layer to reveal a rotting inside. Served by galaxy of superstars, and led by India captain MS Dhoni, the franchise's very genesis was mired in controversy. Then there were allegations of favoritism, and last season the Meiyappan betting scandal drove the franchise

    Read More »from Why I'm not looking forward to the IPL
  • Will India do better in the Test series?

    MS Dhoni's men have lost six of their last seven completed ODIs and nine of their last 10 Tests on Tour.

    ONE-MAN THINK-TANK: MS DhoniIndia overseas have lost six of their last seven completed ODIs and nine of their last 10 Tests. Swaddled in those defeats was a cliffhanger of a draw at Johannesburg, where MS Dhoni’s men dominated only to be deprived by Faf du Plessis and AB de Villiers on the final afternoon, and an equally topsy-turvy tied ODI at Auckland. Now that the latest wipe-out in New Zealand has dislodged India from the No.1 spot, a placement that anyway drew immeasurably from a packed domestic calendar, the general tone going into the two-Test series against the Kiwis is that this Indian team overseas is rather more competitive in the longest format than it is in ODIs.

    The viewpoint has little statistical backing. Over the past three years, since the 2011 World Cup win, India have failed to make an impact abroad. That of late they have been less of a pushover in Tests (the sample size being painfully small, two matches in South Africa) may have some element of truth to it, purely for reasons of team

    Read More »from Will India do better in the Test series?
  • Vintage Tendulkar wows Wankhede

    The maestro bats like old times before a packed house.



    MUMBAI:
    A common feature of near-death experiences is that the contents of an entire lifetime flash before the eyes. Did Sachin Tendulkar go through something similar on his last, long walk back to the pavilion? In the 100-odd yards that he traversed after being dismissed for 74 by Narsingh Deonarine, did he travel several years in his head? Did Tendulkar's mind make an involuntary journey back to Karachi and Manchester, to the dust bowl that was once Sharjah, to the heartbreak and salvation that was Chepauk, to the innumerable grounds that he had made his own over the last two-and-a-half decades?

    Having frozen time the previous evening, Tendulkar on the second morning of the second Test reversed it, all the way back to the days when batting gave him more joy than anything else. There were drives off the middle of the bat, audaciously attempted upper cuts, authoritative sweeps; the freedom with which Tendulkar approached what was possibly his ultimate Test innings was the most

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  • Like only Tendulkar can

    India brought to a standstill by what may be the master's last hit.

    A guard of honour by the West Indies team and the umpires greets Tendulkar.

    MUMBAI: At precisely 3.35 pm on Wednesday afternoon the march of time as we perceive it was arrested, possibly on one last occasion, as Sachin Tendulkar strode out to bat in his 200th and ultimate Test match. The little master emerged from the pavilion to a guard of honour presented by the entire West Indies team and the on-field umpires, almost 24 years to the day since he had debuted as a wispy-lipped teenager against Imran Khan’s mighty Pakistan in 1989.

    The score at the Wankhede was 77/2. India had just lost both their openers in the same over. Tendulkar’s first concern, one that has remained unchanged through almost a quarter-of-a-century of international cricket, was to ensure a safe passage for India.

    ALSO SEE: Scores | Photos | Full Coverage

    But it was not going to be easy. Even by the usually uproarious Indian standards of noise, there was unprecedented clamor in the stands, and only one name being chanted. Tendulkar had been out cheaply to off-spinner Shane Shillingford in the

    Read More »from Like only Tendulkar can
  • Yuvraj, Sharma star as India 'A' thrash West Indies ‘A’

    One-off Twenty20: The Indian team cruised to a massive 93-run win over a wayward West Indies 'A' at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.

    Bangalore: It was one-way traffic at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday as India ‘A’, before an expectant weekend crowd, outclassed West Indies ‘A’ by 93 runs in a one-off Twenty20 game. The margin of victory made for a poor match. But there was much on offer that the masses had come looking for: big hits, dropped catches, a bizarre over and, eventually, an Indian win.

    Batting first, the home team posted a piddle-inducing 214/7 in 20 overs as Yuvraj Singh (52), Unmukt Chand (47) and Kedhar Jadhav (42) left the bowling side punch-drunk and battered.

    The West Indian chase caved in under the weight of runs. Only opener Andre Fletcher (32) kept them in reckoning for the first five overs, before the pressure of a tough pursuit manifested as total collapse. The visitors folded for 121 in 16.2 overs, leg-spinner Rahul Sharma cashing in with five wickets, not all the product of good bowling.

    Action in Images
    'We wanted to win by a big margin'
    Edwards stuns India 'A' into submission
    I like to bat

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  • I like to bat long, says India A top-scorer Aparajith

    The 19-year-old made 78 against the West Indies 'A' while most of his colleagues flopped in the series decider.

    Baba Aparajith

    ALSO SEE: Report & Scores: 3rd ODI

    BANGALORE: The faint quaver in his voice ill behoved him, but for the most part young Baba Aparajith handled the rites of a post-match dissection – make that a post-loss dissection – with the same assuredness that he showed at the crease.

    And why should he have not.

    The son of the Indian cricket team’s media manager, the 19-year-old top-scored with a patient 78 as the ‘A’ side went down in the third and decisive ‘ODI’ to their West Indian adversaries on Thursday, and said later that he was out here to be his own man.

    “I just wanted to be myself,” he described his 96-ball knock.

    “Each time I bat I follow a process, a routine, that helps me to relax and express myself better at the crease.”

    If means of expression was what he was seeking, he need have looked no further than at the other end, where Yuvraj Singh was holding a masterclass in conveying the message to the bowler.

    Yuvraj slammed three massive sixes as the pair compiled 112 for the third wicket -- Read More »from I like to bat long, says India A top-scorer Aparajith
  • India 'A' bow to Carter's big-hitting

    2ND UNOFFICIAL ODI: West Indies 'A' draw level with 55-run win.

    Jonathan Carter scored 133. (File photo)BANGALORE: No.4 batsman Jonathan Carter scored a maiden List A hundred and fast-bowler Miguel Cummins claimed four wickets, as West Indies ‘A’ pummelled their Indian counterparts by 55 runs, equalizing the three-match unofficial ODI series at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here, on Tuesday.

    The visitors, outplayed in the first game on Sunday, pulled themselves up in dramatic fashion to put it across the hosts. Carter, 25, was dropped when he had scored 6 and received a run-out reprieve on 66. He went on to smash a 132-ball 133 that took his side to a challenging 279/6, after Yuvraj Singh sent them in.

    EARLIER: India 'A' win first ODI

    The pursuit was never quite on for the Indians. Robin Uthappa (10) and Mandeep Singh (3) were out with just 19 on the board, and Unmukt Chand, who seemed to have overcome his early uneasiness at the crease, only flattered to deceive when he was third out – holing out to long-on for 38.

    DEATHBLOW

    Hope remained so long as Yuvraj (40) was in the middle. But the home

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  • It is good to be challenged: Yuvraj

    After a thumping hundred on Sunday for India ‘A’, Yuvraj says he’s just happy to score some runs.

    Yuvraj and Pathan added 125 runs in 55 balls.

    BANGALORE: That he was back to his best – in his first competitive game in almost four months - was frankly obvious in the manner that Yuvraj Singh constructed his scorching hundred: a watchful crawl to begin with, then a slight opening of the shoulders, and finally the unapologetic arrogance that has been the hallmark of this once-burly murderer of bowlers.

    RELATED: Yuvraj, Yusuf smash West Indies 'A'

    Pathan and Yuvraj added 85 runs in a period of four overs. “Just five years,” he quipped when complimented on having regained his youthful looks, “most people say I look at least ten years younger.”

    “It has taken a lot of time for my body to heal, but it's getting better and better. Tim (Exeter) has done wonders for Zak (Zaheer Khan) and me. I shed weight, worked on my diet and lung capacity…I just wanted to get sharper on the field. I’m feeling stronger now and also quicker…those are the aspects we worked on. I also thank the National Cricket Academy who have played big part in my comeback.”

    Lean and lithe after a gruelling six week-long stint Read More »from It is good to be challenged: Yuvraj
  • Frozen in memory

    How would you like to remember Sachin Tendulkar?

    At a friend’s place, on the mantelpiece, sits a photograph of his deceased father. The picture is a strange one. The grimace, the forced smile conveying an undercurrent of despair behind what is – the taking of a photograph – usually a happy moment. My friend later told me that the picture was clicked during the terminal stage of an excruciating illness; the object, once a vital and forceful building contractor, reduced to a mere shadow of the man he was in his prime.


    Which reminded me of Sachin Tendulkar's fast approaching final day of international cricket. For, is that not like the impending death of a loved one ravaged by cancer? At least that is what Tendulkar, and his irrefutable, fathomless affinity for game have turned it into.

    For almost three years now Tendulkar the cricketer has been in the grip of a festering malaise. While his contemporaries have all heeded the call of their wearying bones – none more exemplarily than Rahul Dravid -  Tendulkar has rationed out his grace

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