A happening, happening week

HOW Dhanraj Pillay and his lads showed Sourav & Co the wizardly way to put it across an Australia looking near insuperable before the Perth-Sydney showdown!


HOW Dhanraj Pillay and his lads showed Sourav & Co the wizardly way to put it across an Australia looking near insuperable before the Perth-Sydney showdown! Maybe this was not the World Cup Final. But at least there was no inferiority complex visible about the way Dhanraj, Baljit, Prabhjot, Gagan and Jugraj made a 5-3 meal of the Kangaroos. Sourav and his men had approached the World Cup Final already looking self-defeated. While Dhanraj & Co were viewed to `stick' at nothing. In putting the white ball just where the Aussies didn't want it. While Zed and Sri diabolically put it just where the Aussies Wanderers wanted it!

To quote Jason Dasey, Brian Lara is arguably the best batsman in the world today. -- Pic. V. V. KRISHNAN-

As India and Lara let fly while Serena fell and wept, a happening, happening week it was for the whole idiot box of tricks to unfold. On vibrant view was a Lara just refusing to yield the batting palm to Sachin. Lara's 64 & 116 (showing him `go to Bridgetown') were worth going Murali miles to see. Making you comprehend why Jason Dasey had already subtly turned `Sportsline' coat — - in proclaiming Brian Lara to be "arguably the best batsman in the world''. By the way, `asey', why is Maninder Singh not coming to `Sportsline' view as much as before? As one who is no mere `turbanterer'? Not that Navjot is without expertise. But Sherry could do with some competition. Seeing that Mandira was no Sony Sardarni `telematch' to Sherry.

Back to cricket in the middle. Truly was Brian Lara as revealing, on his rousing return, as was Lara Dutta on her screen bow! All this while Katrina Kaif was viewed to be riding the crest of a wave — as the `Kingfisher Swimsuit Calendar' Girl on glam chestnut horseback. Always remember that Katrina now represents the freshetarian Salman Khan connection. A Salman from whom — rewind your mind — Sangita came but `on the rebound' into the flexi crickety arms of Our Man Azhar. It was as if an electric current had passed through Azhar — the way he felt `Bijliberated'! As Azhar called for bulk copies of the Bangalore newspaper featuring Sangita Bijlani and him on the front page, our still infant satellite TV speculated upon the Indian captain planning to swing not just his bat into action.

Only for our mediamen to be enlightened that Azhar wanted more copies of the paper not just for himself. But for the team's camp followers and for the world's glitterati-chatterati to get the message that Sangita and he were going steady. For us to get the message that Azhar was TV `vulnerable' not only at the wicket! Sangita pulling up our 1996 players touring England — for being tardy about getting into the team bus at the end of the day's play — would have had the telly paparazzi clicking away furiously today. For cricket and movies are now noticed to be so intertwined that the telly camera is just not going to be caught napping if, perchance, it espies Katrina Kaif and Mohammad Kaif within eye `catching' distance of each other. At a gathering like the recent IIFA bash in Jo'burg.

`Katrina Mohammad Kaif' would make for a snappy catchline, wouldn't it? But the career-oriented Kaif's having none of it. Kaif here is taking his cue from `running mate' Yuvy showing the shapely Shilpa a clean pair of heels. But, seriously, I want to know how do you keep the `All That Jazz' Jezebels away from our players when `Sunny Tonny' (even while being busy recasting our domestic cricket) is phoren game enough to show up at the Jo-burg Nite Without End? To think that the rangy Salim Durrani — tall and handsome as they come — could not get DD to be interested, in his heroics, even when he had, for grabs, the willowy TIME Magazine Cover Girl, Junagadh Jane Parveen Babi, as his 1973 Charitra leading lady. Never forget, Killjoy DD is due back `on the Milind Wagle ball' as the Kiwis late-September land in India. So mentally prepare to taste the DD thunder. As Sanjay yet again steals Wisden's thunder. Allow for Maninder to be consigned, meanwhile, to Hindi commentary on DD.

The News Channels mushrooming prove that Hindi, as a cricket irritant, is 10 times more popular than English in its spot Itchguard reach. Still is it really Laal Ghoda Arun Lal, backing his `Players Association That Never Was' to the hilt, you want to Punjabi-Hindi hear on TV? What a quick-change artist Charu Sharma, for his emcee part, must be! All teleset is Charu to re-defect to DD. Moving from a Mandira, `coming of cleavage', to what is still a pancake-flat male bastion. Yet it is not as if at least AIR did not try out a lady commentator once. Sadly, that lady broadcaster put out the score as something like `7 for 208' — instead of `208 for 7'.

This while Donna Symonds, in the Caribbean, is the `in' thing on radio and TV alike. In fact, all over the West Indies, radio has not shed its Tony Cozier sway. How come `sound' commentary has lost out only in India? You should have been hearing AIR's World Cup commentary to know the reason why. Technocrat Vijay Merchant, if still living, would have forgotten how to hold the bat straight if he had got to hear such AIR commentary — symptomatic of the Golden Age of Mediocrity. To think that there was a time when we `married' the spot-on AIR commentary to DD's `distant' visuals to get our cricket perspective right. Today DD Sports is what you would expect it to be in the benign custody of the `Prasar Bharatiya Janata Party'.