'Sach' a STAR show

OUR LGenius Ravi would have us make-believe that, in Sourav's 2002 team, India have their best World Cup gambit since 1983. A thoroughbred viewpoint Arun Lal has only to 'Laal Ghoda' second for us watchers to conclude that, Bees Saal Baad, it is at least the Indian Cricket Players Association's conviction that Sou Dada's India have the ammunition. Kaheen deep jale kaheen dil - set by Hemant Kumar in transcendental Sohani - had Diva Lata believing in her voice again. This at a tremulous point in her career when Lata M felt she had lost her most precious gift - her voice. So is the 1983 World Cup our most precious gift, abiding on Lata Polydor record as Bharat Vishva Vijeta. India must first genuinely believe they can regain the voice in which Sourav challenged Steve when the Champ Aussie Captain tried to get at our Gang from 'down under'. Right now, with the odds '4-3' against India, the 'Ravictory' forecast is best taken with a grain of Tata Salt passing off as Desh Ka Namak.

'Kareenamkeen' the Kapoor Charmer might look, as her Talking Eyes send the Come Hither Signal to look for the World Cup Winning Writing on her Beckoning Back! Yet, no piece of cheesecake is lifting the World Cup, afresh going to be at the star-turn of the century when even Wisdename Kapil Dev is all tinsel talk and no action hero. How freewheelingly our 'Captain Hero' rides through the seven ODIs this 'Kiwinter' is going to be all-determinant. If we concede Brownie points to Black Caps New Zealand the way we did to All Blacks West Indies, our World Cup is full.

Selective sips from the rim of the Cup is what 'Sachignome' has been taking as the STAR of the Show. Courtesy, Jagmohan Dalmiya with his liberal approach to playing men, matters and moments. The moments recaptured by Sachin, as Harshaped by the Bhogle Boy, are priceless, of course. Yet, at the end of the night, as Sachin lives to fight another World Cup day, the impression is growing that Ten, generally, has only goody-goody things to say about his peers. This matter of players agreeing to do some mutual TV back-scratching, remember, could get to be the legendarily 'heard thing' after a while. As driven home by the ESPN series on Superstars of Cricket now unfolding. This is a pitfall Elfin Sachin, as a One Man Show, needs to watch out for, if he is not to sit 'exposed' on the Little Screen sooner than he thinks. There was a lull during which to mull when Ten was in no November position to stride to the middle. So 'Sachinspeak' it was in an effort to keep Ten's mega name in the third public eye. Only snag - Sachin, come December, already seemed to have reached 'The Uncertain 170s' here! TV is all about the hazard of a boomerang. Sir Donald Bradman built a unique aura around his name, in the era of sound, only by being so accessible and no more to the media. On the single day he scored, single-handed, 300-plus in a Test match, Brads quietly shut himself in his Leeds hotel room and listened to some music. Radio Australia and the BBC alike got after him for that, yet The Don remained unfazed - will-o'-the-wispy as ever.

Sach, for his STAR part, might argue that, in this age of MTV, you have to be articulate at least in the cause of your own chosen channel. But that channel must also be, as a market force, highly discriminating in how much it gets Ten to speak about whom, when and where. I am afraid STAR here has overtraded on the enduring magnetism of Sachin. EspnStar might have been rather keen to remain in the telepicture while Sony was Ruby polishing the art of a 'different' style of cricket presentation altogether. In such a meretricious setting, when it was pointed out to Sony that Ruby had outraged cricket sentiment all over India, that channel's chief came up with a devastating counter. "Surely Ruby is not worse than Navjot Sidhu - you can quote me on that!"

Whether it be Sherry or Sachin on TV, chances of an 'overfill' are there. In Prime Sports times, Farokh Engineer seemed such a natural for TV. But soon it emerged that the Farokh vein of hype was volubly misplaced in a medium so compact as TV. You need to be a Tony Greig to carry off the hype here. Tony is the original - hype is what underlines his 6-foot-6 stature. So was Henry Blofeld a draw in his own time with the distinct 'ear' ring in his tone. TV represents a broadcasting technique in which you need to keep updating yourself. Sanjay Manjrekar has comprehended the TV technique in its essence. Though I prefer to believe it was not Sanj I heard say, on DD, "the Lord's"! Ajit Wadekar, coming over in eloquent Anglo-Marathese, was unfailingly enlightening with his "The Gavaskar" and "The Vengsarkar". But for Sanjay to prefix "the" to Lord's sounded nothing short of sacrilegious vis-a-vis the Mecca of Cricket.

Sanjay we now might not see and hear for a while. But Farokh we might. Engineer finished Test cricket with 0 & 0 in the January 1975 fifth and final (Wankhede Stadium) Test vs Clive Lloyd's West Indies. Given a pair of blobs we thought we had lost Farokh forever. But back, in two shakes of a duck's tail, was Farokh on Diana Dors' BBC, encapsulating our 1971 England rubber win as if he had never gone away. Certainly Farokh is 'hypey' enough to Engineer his way into the SonyMax Ruby scenario as an eyewitness to the Haryana Hinglish Hurricane hitting Tunbridge Wells - with that never-never 175 not out.