Tuesday, January 09, 2007

World Cup in West Indies

Do remember the time when India toured West Indies in 1997-1998? There was a journalist callled R.Mohan, who worked for the 'The Hindu' newspaper. He has since left the paper 'under a cloud'. Possibly because his name got entangled in the match fixing controversy. That particular series was a really boring series with very few high points. Boring because of India's slow and painful batting. Sidhu took a lifetime to hit a double century in Jamaica and Ganguly batted even slower, inexplicably so, to take away any hope of winning in Trinidad. This was an uninteresting 5-Test series, between two really low-ranked out-of-form teams, which India lost it in one mad session, in Barbados, getting all out for 81. Ganguly was dropped for the rain-washed Guyana test and Bengal went on its 365th strike for that year. But my intention is not to review that series.

R.Mohan was a decent sportswriter. Typical of the cricket writers who worked for 'The Hindu' he would never express a real opinion. He would always play it safe and make sure that he was on the good side of most players. I am positive all writers for this newspaper do this so that they can get those 'exclusive' interviews from the players. ('The Hindu' was the only paper to praise Azhar and Kumble when even they didnt have any clue as to why the 5 people who matter thought that these 2 could play this game called cricket). Between 1997 - 2003 Kumble bowled at least 2 out of 6 balls down the leg-side, could never bowl to left handers, was De Silva's whore until he retired, and batted like an idiot (Sachin's first ODI game as captain in SL comes to mind). But R.Mohan would insist on calling Kumble as 'accurate' or use words like 'laser precision' etc. Whenever this Kumble took 5-wicket hauls on a rank turner at Kanpur or something - R.Mohan would be quick to call Kumble a 'gentle giant' or something as nonsensical as 'he hit back at the critics with his performance'. But I still liked R.Mohan mainly because he wrote well inspite of having to be politically correct.

I used to read R.Mohan's Tour Diary without fail during India's tour of WI in 1997. This diary appeared in the SportsStar. It was a very interesting diary where he logged his experiences,observations, adventures of the past week (SS was a weekly magazine). The only act of courage that Mohan ever did in his journalistic career was call West Indies unfit for hosting a World Cup. India by then had hosted 2 World Cups. Although the convenience, scheduling, arrangements, and operations in the 87 and 96 WC were poor and much critisized, India did a creditable job. Mohan compared the manner in which World Cup was conducted in India and Australia and concluded that the facilities, hotels, transportation, lodging and communication systems were too horrible in WI to even imagine hosting a World Cup. He claimed that even if they dramatically improved in the next 10 years WI would still do a horrendous job with the World Cup. The analysis on different venues and hotels were really detailed and a reader could easily see why WI was unfit to hold a world cup. WI had just applied for/or had just been given permission to host WC 2007 at that time. The news of this article reached people in WI and it soon spread to taxi drivers Bell Boys and everybody's uncle. So the next week's tour diary was very interesting. Mohan narrated as to how he was ill-treated by 'all and sundry'. Co-journalists were rude to him, Taxi Drivers began to pick up arguments with him. So even the small motivation for him to be not so politically correct would have dissappeared.

So its 2007 and World Cup in WI is nearing. Looking at news items where WI is making a fool of itself during WC preparations makes me believe Mohan predicted correctly. They aren't just screwing up within the West Indies but also screwing up as far as visas for touring spectators are concerned. All these are indicators of an organizational disaster of epic proportions. Don't be surprised if there are schedule disruptions, game disruptions or tourist inconvenices in WI during Mar/April. The arguments (selection/otherwise) between different countries that comprise the WI haven't stopped also. They maybe one of the richest boards in the world, but I personally don't think they have the facilities or the organizational unity/discpline to conduct a tournament of this magnitude.

33 comments:

tilotamma said...

R.Mohan also used to be hajjar fond of Kapil Dev, if I remember right. Which cricket fan wasn't back then, but it was great to see him praised in print.

G said...

With such low expectations if things are rosy. Everyone will have lots of egg on their face..

To me the first and foremost problem will be flight delays... other than that everything should be ok... Flight delays can create havoc... Watch the proceedings...

-G.

Nilu said...

Mohan a pathhi thapppa pesina, 'ingotha I will thee kulichhify...in the days when there was no telecast of away test matches, Indian cricket lived in his writing.

nidhin said...

azhar couldun't play cricket????

first the sachin tirade and now this!
'tis blasphemy!!!!:)

B a l a said...

"They maybe one of the richest boards in the world,..."

No way..Never WI board had money... then why they have this sponsor issue sometime before.

Hawkeye said...

tilo,

R.Mohan, although i dont revere him as much as i revere Nirmal Sekhar, help bias my initial opinions about cricket and many players.

his pieces for SS were much better than the ones he sent to the newspaper

Hawkeye said...

g,

i dont think WI can comfortably accomadate so many tourists.

Hawkeye said...

nilu,

i totally agree. i said he wrote well. i formed my opinions on players based on his writing. i grew up and didn't like many of his player assesments.

he praised bowlers like binny madan lal etc. too much.

Hawkeye said...

nidhin,

ganguly got a place in the tam for 2-odd years because he was captain. azhar was there for 4 years. at least gangls captaincy record, batting was good abroad. this fellow azzu bai purely survived 8 years on home bred trracks. go check out scores on Ind Vs Eng in 1996

Hawkeye said...

bala,

causality. india also had a sponsor issue.

Deepa said...

Not really a good post to read for someone who bought tickets. And you hate Kumble?!!

G said...

Hawk,

Did u get tickets? Which games are u going...

-G.

G said...

Hawk,

If there is no accomadation confirmed ppl will be scared to travel in the 1st place... My guess is any kind of flight bungling between islands can cause havoc...

Listen to the man who went to POS last year to see InD play Windies and Got to see my GOD(Lara)... LOL..By the way if ur wondering who I'am Take a Guess...

-G.

Anonymous said...

An unrelated fact - Mohan fathered a squeaky, high-pitched female child, which went on to torture Tamil Film Music listenets with these assets. Anuradha Sriram.

Hawkeye said...

G,

Im thinking seriously about going. not made plans.

I am not able to guess. does your name start with G :-) ? gimme a hint.

anon,

see theres something i didnt know.

deepa,

i dont rate kumble highly. i think there werent many spinners to challenge his place and he got into the teamm by default. i certainly dont think he is accurate (he bowls 2 balls down the leg side in every over) and he cant bowl to left handers at all. his personal record Vs team impact ratio is poorer than tendulkar's.

G said...

Of course my Name starts with a G.

Hawkeye said...

that was a joke. i put the smiley and all.

i need a real hint.

G said...

The clue would give my identity away in a minute

Ok i was your classmate.. with a G. that should get you going

Hawkeye said...

ganesh babu! kosa nayee

Ganesh said...

There you go...

Anonymous said...

sponsorship problem or not, WI board is faar from being the richest board in the world. I think they are closer to being the poorest cricket board in the world.

In fact, they were running huge losses until last year, when Allen Sanford from Texas poured in a lot of money to conduct 20/20 tournaments among the islands. While it was also planned to conduct a 3-way one-day series, it never materialized.

I would be surprised if they had managed to turn it around in a year. anyhow, they must be hoping WC will get them moving financially.

-SR

Harish said...

Trust me, jus 2 days back I was wondering for the nth time why Mohan had quit from The Hindu..

how the his name matchfixing maatify?

Hawkeye said...

harish,

one of the people who was a bookie in match fixing named mohan. This was a big issue and some news items appeared on this. so mohan left. i dontknow if he was sent out/asked to resign/resign voluntarily etc

he started a web page called cricketnext.com or something like that

Hawkeye said...

Ganesh :-) phone number anuppu da hawkeyeview@gmail.com

anonymous,

they work in US $ and were like the top team until mid 90s. they had huge sponsorship and money. Infact until late 90 WI players were the highest paid players in the world.

Saravanan said...

Mohan was my favourite sport journo until I started reading Nirmal Shekar. When Mohan quit Hindu, I thought he moved out of Hindu for greener pastures. Later I came to know about the allegation Mohan's links with bookies. In one of his interviews after the match fixing scandal, he was asked why he quit Hindu. He replied that in Hindu he wanted to work on areas other than cricket/sports but Hindu mgmt didnt agree with that. So he quit Hindu. But he could not achieve the following/popularity he generated when he was in Hindu. Mohan would have become sports editor if he is in Hindu now.

Anonymous said...

hawkeye .. I definitely don't know the exact numbers, but I do know that WI cricket board hasn't been doing well financially in recent times ..

If you look at the New York league during the playoff season, you will find a lot of players from the WI (WI intl u-19, regional players etc.) ..

Immediately after the series against India, the entire WI team (Lara included) was here in NY for a weekend playing against the US invitational XI teams ..

Franklin Rose plays for the S California region ..

all of these players who come to the US to play cricket get paid, but it can't be much .. there is no money for cricket in the US (as of yet) .. so it just makes me wonder about the overall status of cricket in WI at the moment ..

SR

Aarti Mohan said...

I can see why my dad was hugely popular, if people can talk about him 10 years after he left the Hindu! :-)
As for the squeaky child, wonder where that piece of news came from, ridiculous! Anyways, free country, people can say what they like!!!

- Aarti Mohan

Hawkeye said...

arti,

:-). Thanks for the comment. I was a huge fan of your father and had lot of respect. as i unfortunately have to keep explaining this again and again - that doesn't mean i cant criticize him.

please tell him what a commentor had mentioned before "in the days when there was no telecast of away test matches, Indian cricket lived in his writing." this is so true.

Aarti Mohan said...

Will convey :-) I am sure he will be pleased to know that people among the younger gen read his writings too. I always get the feeling that the days of good cricket writing has been replaced by cameras ready to show the smallest grass between the stumps!

Srikanth said...

I have always been intrigued by why R.Mohan left Hindu.. I am from Vizag where Hindu for some reason
was quite popular even though it never was published in Andhra at that time and hence didnt carry any local state news..(late 80's) when I was still not a teenager.. (I will say maybe R.Mohan was probably one of the reasons why Hindu was popular!!!)

I can tell you that I have very pleasant memories of reading R.Mohan's reports - after all, at that time, there was no TV coverage like how there is today..
Have to mention Nirmal Shekhar's tennis reports as well and both thier Saturday Sports special articles!!!

Ranjit said...

I too grew up reading R Mohan's articles in the Hindu and the Sportstar and I admit I stopped reading sportstar once he left the Hindu group. I feel his articles were well balanced and he did provide on several occasions his own insight. I admit he was probably quite fond of Azhar (as I was too) and was particularly lyrical whenever Azhar came up with a gem. Still cannot figure out exactly why he left the Hindu though it is said that he had some differences with the management on the betting issue. And I still look forward to reading his articles and wanted to read his take on the present "crisis" in the Indian team (Greg vs Seniors) and stumbled upon this blog when I googled his name!

Ranjit said...

Of course, I forgot to mention Nirmal Shekhar who continues to be outstanding (though I do feel he should avoid putting analogies to Sampras (earlier)/Federer(now)and Ayrton Senna in any article that he writes) I was also fond of S Thyagarajan who as far as I know is the only dedicated hockey journalist I have come across.Yes, the Saturday sports specials used to be a real treat with R Mohan, Nirmal Shekhar and Thyagarajan and occasionally KP Mohan on athletics.

Anonymous said...

go suck, bastard, fuck ur self sideways.