One full hour: no scorecard

V. V. S. Laxman... going on 30 by November 1. — Pic. G. P. SAMPATH KUMAR-

IN Wilko's Test series preview, remember what Ravi said? With a startling EspnStar turn of phrase did Ravi, doing some Kiwishful thinking, note: "We should be now kicking them on their butt!"

IN Wilko's Test series preview, remember what Ravi said? With a startling EspnStar turn of phrase did Ravi, doing some Kiwishful thinking, note: "We should be now kicking them on their butt!" On the button Ravi certainly was in encapsulating what Sourav's India should, ideally, have been viewed to be accomplishing. But how could even Ravi have allowed for Rahul's India responding so Mohalistlessly to NZ's 630 for 6 (decl) — Have allowed for certain pillars of our batting crawling like caterpillars? For Dravid's India not only to follow on but lose three primetime wickets (Sehwag, Rahul, Sachin), in a Mohali heap (18 for 3), by way of being a "draw".

Rahul's India (in so being shot out for 424) fell 7 woebegone runs short of that no follow-on target. How devilishly DD, at this crucial stage, failed to display the Full Indian Scoreboard — Through one full hour after India ran 206 short. After NZ had clinched two more prize wickets (Sehwag & Dravid) in Stephen's second stab at Rahul's India. During that baffling hour of No Full India Scoreboard (only Match Summary), DD unveiled some 60 spots.

How the MAK-like spots still come DD-thick and DD-daft! How crudely suggestive (with its "Lagey Raho, Babuji, Lagey Raho!" punchline) sounds that Alpenliebe bloke. As that beachcomber spooner ventures to plant a Lollipapi on that Gaaon Kii Gori! As an immediate follow-up, trust DD, masterfully, to air that highly sophisticated Grasim Uncrushables visual. Which telewatcher here would view Supermodel Sheetal Malhaar as "uncrushable"?

If a Sheetal crush on the Malhaar Girl is just what does "suit" viewers, have we had a more polished ad (even from Pepsi) than that waiter looking lost in the elevator with Sachin! How one wishes Sachin bats as savvily as he acts here! At least in the ODIs now. Alongside an Eden-reborn VVS `Going On 30' during the very November 1 Saturday on which this issue publishes. Over to that classy Yeh Dil Maange More spot. Who is that waiter with Sachin? As those lifelike wax models of Kareena and Fardeen have the other two in the elevator stumped for a while? That waiter is Vijay Raaz. None other than the Vijay Raaz you espy, doing a near Kapil "Palmolive ka jawaab nahein!" encore, for BSNL. A Vijay Raaz — lather laidback — brushing aside that mobile call, saying: "Zaroorie meeting mein hoon!"

For all the ham-handedness of DD in piling on the ad agony, it is amazing how much these spots do for careers (outside cricket) having just not taken off on the Little Screen. Rewind to the same BSNL spot featuring Vijay Raaz and envision that plump mum having her baby taking her papa's mobile call. It is Pooja Madan you get to mobile view here. A Pooja who's been a TV sidey for some time now. Yet one DD spot (aligned to cricket) does so much to bring Pooja Madan to recurring public notice. For a clutch of serial roles to come.

All this while India, under a Vijetalisman-misplacing Rahul, huffed and puffed. Failing to avert the follow-on with its batting in a Mohalimbo. Some two-bit idiot-boxing artistes drawing max kilometreage out of Indian Cricket. While our own team, "Samunsung", loses Rahul caste by letting NZ "Videocon" India.

This after we get a strange piece of DD misinfo from a Sanjay otherwise on the red cherry. During that Test in which India so misleadingly looked teleset to "Ahmedabadger" New Zealand, Sanjay let us into why Super Laxman (ultimately 64) came in to bat ahead of Duper Sourav (finally 100 not out). The Indian captain was evidently away in the loo! What surgical precision in Sourav diagnosis, Sanjay! You are here to do serious cricket commentary, not sing Laara loo laara loo. And revive the Big Screen Jadoo of the Lotus Eyed Nalini Jaywant!

Strange things have been happening on the rectangular screen. WISDEN, mercifully, 20:20 disappears from DD's English orbit. But reappears as a WISDEN sponsoring the expertise of Saba Karim on the Hindi Aaj Tak. Saba Karim, Test-eased out by DD, is simply superb in the Hindi bowling analysis he provides on Aaj Tak. But is this not the Saba tracing his regional roots to Laloo Yadav? Recall the time when Saba, as Bengal-Bihar's conscience 'keeper, appealed for a catch? To have Laloo Yadav, in the VIP box, demanding to know: "Kaahe ko raad macha raha hai Karimba?"

To the Karimba role-misplaying Parthiv, imagine how Sourav would have reacted. Plus Sourav would not have let Stephen field a pre-match unfit Nathan at all. For Rudy Koertzen to get to "red-card" the Nathan substitute — a ball's throw away. Sourav would have spot shot down the 12th-manly Kiwidea. Where Rahul just let things be. B. K. Nehru-authored title evidence of why "Nice Guys Finish Second."

The vicecap image of Rahul (13 & 5) certainly took a beating at Mohali. Even while we, in Sourav's absence, were idly having a second look at that "Hero Honda ne di tumhen sone kii angoothee!" spot. Guess who's the Dil Se Girl taking mobike umbrage here? Isn't she Gujju Bhairavi Raichura playing Urmila (to a Niki Aneja making such compulsive Ajai Sinha-viewing as Simran) in Astitva?

Such titbits you zeroed in on as DD's spots infested presentation of cricket was miserable as miserable could be. Watch the slick "Aakhir hum bhii toh hain team mein" Samsung spot having Divya Datta looking so Punjabindaas as Apple Annie. With our applecart upset in the Tests, our players, hopefully, have done enough — in the one-dayers — to justify such high-visibility "ad-ons". For, till the Mohali Test, all talk of our cricketers being near World Cup Beaters had sounded as hollow as that pompous DD Sports pedant "announcing" the channel's sporting shocks to come.