From VVS to 'TVS'

REWIND to end-March 2001 - to Steve Waugh predicting (in 'Eden 281' writing): "He is potentially as good as Tendulkar." What's VVS got that 'TVS' hasn't? 'TV Sachin' hasn't? A Sach complex when face to face with 'TVS'! During that final Test of class in the duo's India-rescuing 214-run stand vs Carl's Caribbeans, we had a rare ready opportunity to Eden 'monitor' the matter. During the 176 that saw the Tiny Ten carry the 'WISDEN 100' battle to Laxman's own giant-killing 'home' ground. Laxman we beheld to be 66 (off 202 balls) as Sachin fell - for the fifth time in his Test career - in 'the nervous 170s'. Fell in going for the four that would view him cross the Rubicon to 180 (from 176)!

As Sachin so departed at 301 for 5, the Windies bowling should have been plum 150 picking for Laxman. Yet VVS we saw merely bat Carl's Windies out of the match. In 154 not-out sum, VVS now is content to play second violin to 'TVS'. Maybe Laxman's bat-in-hand 154 (off 397 balls, 17 fours) figuratively compared with Sachin's 176 (off 298 balls: 26 fours). Yet, during the 425 balls that witnessed this trendy tandem put India on 214-run velvet, any Laxman comparison with Sachin looked in no way to be on Steve bond paper.

Sachin thus Cal 'discovered' himself in big-century style, lending only so much substance, and no more, to Laxman's Eden 154 not out. 'Taste The Thunder' ran the call of the 'Thums Up' trio comprising Akshay Kumar, Vidya Malawde and John Abraham. As The Thunderball-bearing of India's batting did Sachin resonantly respond. Indeed Ten looked almost to be batting in a willowy vein calculated to 'hamstring' VVS! Tele envision Ten stepping in at 11 for 2 - his team still 128 in the red. For Ten to take command from here the striking way Sachin did is the Brown Blaster in action.

The 20:20 brigade is welcome to 'Wisdeny' Tendulkar credit yet again, arguing that Sachin only 'drew' - the crowd. This would be like Lala Amarnath proclaiming: "Vijay Merchant could bat only to save the Test match for India, never to win it." Whereupon Vijay gingerly demanded to know from me: "How many Test matches did India win in my and Lala's time?" Not one! Whereas Sourav and his India's Test-victory run now was in 'live' telly danger of being interrupted - as Sach lost his Cap yet again lbw - to Asoka de Silva for the third time in three Tests. The hour in which Sourav (16) thus left looking defeated (India: 87 for 4) was the one Sachin MRF handpicked to deliver. With a 'Ten ton' orchestrated to grow on viewers - to 176.

That 'TVS', when so freewheeling, should be out of the TVS Cup is the GTX Magnatic irony of it all. Run your first run quickly by all physical means, Sachin. But not so quickly as to hamstring yourself for the one-day Cup-running to come! A TVS Cup in which we continue to suffer DD in cynical silence. Now that Arun Lal works for the Indian Cricket Players' Association and gets paid by Doordarshan, trust him to feed us with TV gems like "Kumble is bowling even better than before", as Anil (with two tail-end wickets) returns innings figures of 54-9-163-3. Arun Lal would have served viewers better by getting his neo Cricket Players' Association to lodge a hush-hush protest with Dalmiya's Board about Asoka de Silva staying put, in India, as the elitist panel umpire for all 7 ODIs on top of 3 Tests - "Thande ped de bahaane aaye"! 'Thanda Matlab' DD, how it Coca-Cola 'spot' edits out the Generation Typifying Girl In White - Karishma! A Karishma rooted in the viewing psyche as giving the 'well' bred Aamir Khan her "Femina 'Look' Of The Year".

Look, is Arun-Ravi's credibility in commentary not eroded as the twosome functioning, now as spokespersons for our top players, now as spot telecasters? It never is clear whether, on 'Laal Ghoda DD', Lal Arun is doing English or Hindi commentary duty. This may be Economy, DD Style. But surely viewers have a right to know how DD let the World Sport-Nimbus hook-up push Danny Morrison, lacking true international stature, down our ears? What is Danny's tele locus standi in an India-Windies series? Danny just can't help us empathise with the Windies point of view the way Michael Holding and Ian Bishop do, can he? Yet for DD, I suppose, if it is not Geoffrey, any Tom, Dick or Danny would do.

Really, how DD, concentrating by reflex action only on its spurious 'spots', continues - with sadistic contempt - to deprive its viewers of some of the finest moments in a match. The price to pay for letting the Prasar Bharatiya Janata Party call the shots? Sanjay, for his DD interface part, projects only himself tellingly. By telling us 'WISDEN 20:20' is on the way and then cutting the ground from under Charu & Co's cooling heels.

By showing us 'all the action of the day' in a racy glossy package - well before L. Sivaramakrishna Aiyar and Gordon Greenidge could get a word in Rahul edgeways. The 'Charueful' act comes to view, in the end, only at the point Narottam Puri DD-did once. Sushma Swaraj, having miserably failed to clean up what Rupert Murdoch so descriptively called "fairly raunchy" Hindi Cinema, now vicariously ensures that her DD has a 'spot' on tap for each shot missed. DDT is what her DD urgently needs.