• On the eve of the India-West Indies match in Chennai, I visited the MRF Pace academy, a few minutes away not too far from the Chidambaram Stadium. Nestled in a leafy corner on the campus of the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School in Chetpet, the Academy wasn’t easy to locate.

    But having arrived there, I realised it wasn’t the best time of the year to be visiting. The training season was a few months away. The Academy looked quiet, empty. On the practice wickets, a few youngsters were having an evening knockabout. I caught their attention as I walked past the Academy gates.

    Upon closer inspection, one of them turned out to be an India discard from the mid-00s, now with an IPL team. It seemed he had gained weight. Or maybe the myth about TV adding 10 pounds works the other way around.

    Two boys were in the academy gym. One of them walked out, and I chatted him up about what was going on at the academy. He said his name was Varun. He played for MRF; that he had been training

    Read More »from Will Delhi Unleash the World’s Fastest Indian?
  • Ishant Sharma (Deccan Chargers)

    An IPL record of 25 wickets in 31 matches for a frontline bowler is woeful. Ishant was an accurate pacer operating in the high 140s. But since IPL 1, his pace has slid steadily, his confidence dips when under attack, and he has lost his edge. From being Zaheer Khan’s understudy, he’s joined India’s burgeoning army of also-ran pacers. But if he wishes to, he can start his turnaround now. A good run in the IPL would boost his chances of returning to the team that left him out of the World Cup. A lot will depend on how Kumar Sangakkara handles him.

    Irfan Pathan (Delhi Daredevils)

    Irfan has gone from being India’s most exciting all-rounder since Kapil Dev to its biggest regret. He was the player you built a team around. But he slowly lost his swing and pace and veered out of limelight. The good news is he has been plotting his comeback. With him in form and good health, India can have the luxury of five bowlers — and we know how MS Dhoni favours pacers —

    Read More »from 9 Players India Wishes a Good IPL
  • Meet Charvi.

    She is the seven year old daughter of my colleague, Priya. And she stole my heart as the April 2 World Cup final unfolded at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

    I remember the exact moment. It was the 10th over; Nuwan Kulasekhara straightened the second ball of the over onto the middle stump line. Virat Kohli, who at that point had gone 10 balls without opening his account, flowed into the shot, and with perfect timing and unsuspected power, flicked hard to beat the fine leg fielder to the fence.

    There were close to 20 of us in the Yahoo newsroom in Bangalore at the time, watching on the two screens in the edit bay. And as the fielder retrieved the ball and threw it back, all was silent.

    It was a stark contrast to the earlier mood. We had gathered in the newsroom a good hour before the game; as Zaheer marked his run up, the first of many bottles of beer was being opened; as the game progressed and India dominated with the ball and in the field, the beer was supplemented by

    Read More »from To be seven years old again!

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