After Sachin who if not Sehwag!

FORGET the hype involved in 'India Moves on EXIDE'. Reflect upon the EXIDEA of Sachin by which Ten so recharged his Test batting battery as to power his way to 176 as his parting Eden shot. Abandoning Sourav & Co to the ODIum of Jamshedpur and Nagpur! Veeru gave the "Rajkotingling" lie to the 'No Sachin, No Sehwag Show' notion with that balla-in-hand 114, no fewer than 80 of his rapacious runs coming in bountiful boundary hits. This after the first two ODIs had seen Veeru rather awkwardly poised with not a fine-leg to stand on, as the Najafgarh Ke Sholay sparks here yielded but 28 & 1. 'No Sachin, No Immediate Sehwag Show' thus meant Sourav's India displaying only that much steel in the city of Jamshedpur. Leaving the Gayle field open for the Caribbeans to Nagpur orange squeeze us 2-0.

Santro, as 'The Sunshine Car', made Preity Zinta look that much less 'The Sunshine Star' opposite Shah Rukh as her India so hit the losing track yet again. As the Zing Zinta, if Preity had hoped to have Sanjay Manjrekar humming to her, in an aside mellifluously, Mausam hai Parsiana from the word go, Sourav and his boys certainly sold for a song this daintily dimpled 'scorer'. Let down a Preity pneumatic as they come and enigmatic as they go. Such a 2-0 setback also took some of the SonyMax flavour out of 'Kapil Dil Se' hailing Bendre Sonali as 'Sona Lisa'.

As a committed Dev watcher, I just cannot get over how much, face to face with a Bollywood beauty, Kapil looks like Dharmendra did when he first landed, starstruck, at the 4th floor-show office of 'Filmfare' - as 'Mr. Deeds Come To Town'. Dharam himself I know to be an ardent admirer of Kapil Dev as the daredevil achiever. At Tunbridge Wells if not on SonyMax. 'Cricket Masala' on this dotty chatty channel we already have. Just wait and watch what Ruby & Co do to the World Cup come 2003. Aided by Kaps and abetted by Sri. Changing the World Cup's very shape and substance - placing the SonyMax mike in front of a Kapil so vividly catching Viv, on BBC TV, even before Neena came to hand. Ruby mining is something for which South Africa has always been famous. So the 2003 World is a Kap Cup from which you sip Sony, Instant Sony.

Only Jonty Rhodes so far has cramped Kapil's style on SonyMax. The cosy colloquial strain in which Jonty came across had even the eloquent Kapil lost for words angrez. Until 'Bombay To Goa' Sonali came along to take the full blast of the Haryana Hurricane in her still stunning stride. The amazing thing about Kapil is how he has failed to gain Little Mastery over the English language after a playing lifetime spent in Wisden accomplishing. In shunting Sunil to that rueful second spot during the century that was. Well, this century belongs, brand ambassadorially, to Kapil alone on trendy Sony. When the waistline of demarcation between cricket and films finally disappears on the Little Screen, the big-made Kapil Dev is sure to enjoy the dubious distinction of having contributed manfully to the chic change of pace. Dev's 435th wicket is yet to come - on Sony. Just you wait and watch Dev and his Deviyan gatefold as the show world goes by.

On DD, by Contrast on your Remote, Manni is cent per cent cricket, holding his own opposite Mikey and Bishy alike. It is sad that Manni's voice, all Punjabiat in Hindi, should fail him in English too. Otherwise Yashpal alone has been heard, so far, to match Manni in cricket commentating knowhow. Yet those who know only cricket, what do they of 2003 cricket know?

'Advantage, DD!' in one direction at least. In the direction by which the 'Sushmash' of Hindi and English is no longer being DD foisted upon the listener-viewer. At long and lingering last, DD has moved in the right international direction by consigning its Hindi commentators to the National Network - to 'The Lost World' of our TV mindset.

Where we commend DD for a sea change in outlook, it is distressing to espy espnstar lose cricket caste by identifying The Ashes as ASHES on the screen - even before that 'abbreviation' of England to 79 by Australia at the 'Gabba. No solace was this scale of English loss to Harsha opting to bring us the mirror-long face of Nasser Hussain, with a touch of genius, from 10.30 p.m. during a weekday on ESPN! Thereby offering telewatchers Hobson's choice between hearing sour-puss Nasser Hussain hold forth on ESPN and, on STAR PLUS, Smriti Malhotra (just their Irani cup of tea as Tulsi) unfold as Kyunkii, Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi. No marks to Harsha there for imaginative scheduling.

Full marks to Jason Dasey, though, for making STAR's Sportsline such fulfillingly compelling viewing night upon night. You rather look forward to hearing Jason resonate with a certain aptitude. The evening Jason began his capsule by asking in style, "Why, oh why, had Nasser Hussain to put Australia in?", Dasey came up with a Sportsline catchline sounding arresting enough to find its niche in TV anthology. Well done, Jason, keep it going just the way you are doing it. The emotion and passion in your voice - so full of meaning and feeling - speak for themselves. Only just see, 'Jasey', if you could still get your prog exec to amend ASHES back to 'The Ashes' - For Our Eyes Only. If only because, whoever it be Ash Rai ultimately weds, we will need that 'The' to be in place to spotlight the twosome as 'The Ashes'!