From smack-bang in the middle of the bell curve

Archive for March, 2009|Monthly archive page

Virender Sehwag – Force of Nature

In blah, sports on March 13, 2009 at 5:39 am

While most of my cricket posts are now segregated on my ‘other’ blog : Outside Edge, some merit the crossover…

Smite me oh mighty smiter! For long, I was a non-believer. I thought the back foot, anchored, as if driven into the ground would be your undoing. I thought the incoming delivery from a good length would breach your defenses like an almost molten knife through butter. I thought those with strong shoulders and the ability to clock the high 130s kph would hobble you with rib-ticklers. I was wrong!

I believe!

Others have raised their arms in appreciation of the natural disaster that struck New Zealand. Jrod was amongst the first to found the religion of Sehwagology, which states amongst its scriptures:

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, but if he bowls a wide half volley hit it like it stole your donkey or ox.”

Naked cricket has an enterprising visual representation of the innings: Sehwag Modern Art
BL Nguyen tracks the revival of the man since his comeback to the side in 2007 : Can Franklin stop Sehwag?

On his blog, New Zealand bowler Ian O’brien gives a first-person perspective of dealing with the most destructive batsman in world cricket today: Dark times and demons

It’s been a while since cricket saw something that took your breath away while having you drooling for more. Contests in mediocrity between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the horrendous attack that was far more than cricket, the snooze-fests between England and the West Indies. Cricket needed this.

The unleashing of the destructive force that is Virender Sehwag. There are numerous players who eviscerate bowling attacks on their day. Not Sehwag.

There is nothing approaching surgical precision about Sehwag’s batting. It is just pure unadulterated violent power and timing. The backlift seems to commence even as the bowler is completing his delivery stride. The front foot steps out of the way to let the arc of the bat describe almost a full circle. The angle of the bat is not bound by traditional encumbrances like being vertical of perfectly horizontal. It hones in on the ball at whatever angle can offer maximum violence. He doesn’t look to hit them very high, just very hard. Most of his sixes don’t seem to go too much over head height as they thunk into sightscreens, scoreboards, hastily vacated seats.

Before being dropped, his areas of scoring were between point and thirdman. Creating room from deliveries on off-stump to flay them over point. The short delivery into the ribs used to be seen as a way to keep him quiet and to get him out. It’s apparent now that he’s been working on his on-side play. In Wednesday’s innings, he was offered almost no width. I can’t recall a boundary scored behind point. He was planting his feet and launching them into the midwicket region. Short stuff was murderously pulled or hooked.

It was scary to watch. And I’m an Indian supporter!

Daniel Vettori better be sending expedited orders for “Miracle Gro” to groundsmen for the test matches. Or atleast hand out hard hats to spectators.

Praise the lord! or as Jrod and Miss Field would put it “Praise be to Sehwag!”

Chinese curses and perspective

In blah, ISB on March 5, 2009 at 12:32 pm

I wonder what those in the ISB class of 2009 have been feeling, ever since the world went to hell in a hand-basket, or so it seemed starting September 2008. If they’re like me and my peers from the batch of 2006, most of them took a break from their in-progress careers to “upgrade” their qualifications, to potentially change career tracks and definitely to improve earning potential in the medium and long term. Some, with very specific thoughts on where they wanted to be, others, with a much foggier idea, looking to ‘sample the menu’ as courses unfolded and options made themselves available.

The challenge, I clearly remember wrestling with, was to show patience and refrain from the temptation to latch onto whatever job opportunity came along first. Seniors philosophically remarked how a large percentage of the batch would’ve switched jobs come month two, so it didn’t even really matter what you picked on campus anyway. Wonder how I would’ve reacted to being told that the challenge wouldn’t be “which” but “if”. The atmosphere in a highly competitive environment is brittle at the best of times, with CTC comparisons and “sexy” industries or job functions causing people to fret about the appointment letter in hand just because “so-and-so got offered xx” and “the other got into that much vaunted field of xxxxxx”.

As those who’d “been-there-done-that”, most of us would nod/smirk knowingly when hearing about the current batch talk about the nightmare that term 2 was or how sleep-deprivation was so big a deal. It’s been almost three years since I graduated. I know a lot more now about my career preferences than I did while handing over the key to my room in SV2-H12. Yet, I’m glad I’m not answering questions about how to deal with the scenario that seems to have paralyzed so many companies into freezing recruitments.

Logic suggests, its temporary. Logic suggests, only businesses operating out of 4 X 4 Sq feet and selling crushed betelnut with an assortment of flavours and wrapped in betel leaves, namely corner paan-shops can afford to not continuously induct fresh managerial talent, and expect to grow and satisfy investor expectations. Logic suggests that the great Indian middle class that has got its first taste of Mcdonalds, Playstations and Power-steering will want more, much more. Logic suggests that this phase should be a very short-lived hiccup in an otherwise upward trend. That come 2012, those of the current batch will be a more sought-after battle-hardened group of professionals than those preceding them.

Logic, struggling at the best of times to explain the gaps in the actualized versus the expected, is going to be even short-handed now. It’ll be a challenge to take the measured decision rather than the convenient one. Here’s wishing them all the ability to maintain that elusive animal called perspective in times, that the Chinese, call “interesting”.

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