Thursday, November 06, 2008

Peter Roebuck - The Vayishal Master

Sometimes, I wonder what Peter Roebuck smokes before he begins to write. He started off as a decent sports writer and had all the requisite equanimity. Reading his columns at some point used to be refreshing. Then he got popular, became sought after and became the Australian voice in Indian cricket media. At some point, surely, he must have noticed that fair criticism is allright in India as long as it is not directed at Indian cricketers. I guess he must've figured out this key aspect of his Indian readership at some point. That they viewed every white man with fair degree of suspicion and regarded the white man as fair and unbiased only as long as he praised Indian cricketers to the sky. Maybe he quickly found out that common sense, calling a spade a spade, and merit based praise/criticism was not favored by Indians. This may be true in Australia too but its moot and what do I know about Australian people anyway? What has baffled me is my recent suspicion that he thinks, he shouldn't write about cricket in cricket articles.
There is no real need to criticize Indian cricketers right now (at least their cricketing skills). This team is better than the current Australian team and are in general doing much better against them. But Roebuck seems to be "umm kottifying" by habit and has stopped writing about cricket. Right now, if I was asked to second guess what Roebuck thinks about Indian readers, I would say the following. He thinks that a majority of Indian cricket readers are idiots, they want cricketers to be compared to Bollywood heroes and written on par with Hindu mythological gods. That they would take flowery language and fake praise anytime over anything grounded in commonsense. What else can explain this complete piece of nonsense?.

Some men prefer to follow a predictable path and their stories tell of a slow rise to the top and an equally measured decline. To that end instinct is subdued, contention avoided and risk reduced. That has been altogether too dull for Ganguly. Throughout he has toyed with his fate, tempting it to turn its back on him so that once again he could surprise the world with a stunning restoration. Something in him rebelled against the mundane and the sensible. He needed his life to be full of disasters and rescues, and comebacks and mistakes and memorable moments. To hell with the prosaic. At heart he is a cavalier, albeit of mischievous persuasion.


Maybe I have read Roebuck too much. Maybe too many cricket articles are coming out today compared to the frequency of cricket articles in the past where weekly sportstar and daily The Hindu was the standard serving. But it is nauseating to hear the same thing being said about cricketers again and again and again. And half of it isn't about cricket. If its Ganguly, there are a few standard things Roebuck says about him- removing shirt in Lords, making Steve Waugh wait for toss, and century in Brisbane. With Kumble its "fighter". With Dravid its "technique". With Laxman its wrists. There is definetly more to the game and these cricketers than these standard cliches. I wonder what Laxman, Dravid and Kumble are thinking when they read Roebuck. Is it too much to expect cricket writers to write about cricket? Can't they write about real stuff? What the hell is this?

He did not give much ground to the modern game, with its fitness and diving and running between wickets and morning training and all that rot. It was brave of him to remain apart, for it left him exposed to ridicule, forced him to justify himself. But Ganguly was not scared of the pressure. Perhaps he needed the extra pressure the way a veteran car needs a crank. And, just in case, he had the populist touch. If Anil Kumble was the colossus, Sachin Tendulkar the champion, Rahul Dravid the craftsman, VVS Laxman the sorcerer, then Ganguly was the inspiration.


[bold emphasis in quoted para is mine] Here, he is explaining someone's inability to dive and field as a "brave" deliberate thing. I hope Gaundamani watches cricket, reads Roebuck and says "Ithellam avanukke theriyaadhu da nayee". Looking at the way his recent articles describe the game and its players, I wonder if he is watching the same game I watch. He seems to be explaining a game in the parallel world where collossuses, craftsman, sitthal, maesthri, kundu oosi vikkaravan, sarayam kaacharavan are playing cricket. I recognize that he is now being paid by Indian media and *has* to jalra. But athukaaga ippadiya. You should read his stuff in Sydney Morning Herald. He doesn't write cricket anymore. Total fantasy fiction stuff.
Reminds me of what my periappa said about every white man he didn't like; Worst fellow ba avan. Kaasu Vaangittaan.

16 comments:

Karthik Narayanan said...

Hey Hawkeye,

You are taking this personal man... He is just showing loyalty to his paymasters

Saapadra thatliye otta poda mudiyuma? :)

Have you seen how Andy Gray supports Liverpool, the club whose lifelong fan he is?

And, anyways, cricket is now a business. So what is wrong if the BCCI uses its clout in the media?

It might leave a bad taste in the mouth for some, but it is all business and it works....

Ram said...

Hawk... forgive my dumb question if it is.. but isn't vayishal supposed to mean drooling? or have I been in Chennai too short to remember it?

Extra-Ordinarily Ordinary said...

Peter Roebeck, was always the fair-weather fan. If now India were losing, then your bold face words would be much different and of course, would not be published in Indian media. :)

Alan Smithee said...

He is still better than Sambit Bal and Rahul Bhattacharya types. Thank God, Amit Varma is no longer in cricinfo.

venkiraja said...

Goundamani:"prachanai ellAm oNNuthAn"

The last line was too good! Infact my friend's dad uses the exact words! ;)

gradwolf said...

ellam orey kuttais mattais..

sports writers na david foster wallace or nirmal shekar..avalavu dhan...

maxdavinci said...

sports writers always pander to the readership.

I remm reading a BBC article on how Jenson Button came 8th in a race. The headline read

Button comes 8th, schumi takes pole!

I rest my case

sahana said...

I like this peripa of yours.

Rastafari said...

Worst fellow ba avan. Kaasu Vaangittaan.
ROTFL

The Talkative Man said...

haha, the goundamani response was just perfect :)

I guess indha kaalathla, there are too many vimarsanams..

-Eve of test match, all vetti officers/pensioners like Yashpal Sharma, Kirmani, MadanLal get on TV and ask "will the offside God click"?

-Match day: morning paper has a column about offside God.

-Before telecast, Mandira, Namitha types remind us(unsuccessfully) about off side God.

-Batsman walks out to bat: L.Siva reminds us to look out for "offside magic" if it happens

-Studio fellow reminds us @lunch that today may be offside special.

-Camera shows batsman face, L.Siva asks Border/Gatting etc what he thinks of offside God

-Batsman puts zero, gets out.

-L.Siva sings farewell song.

No wonder, these Robak-Gobak type fellows have to resort to writing poetry.

The Talkative Man said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hawkeye said...

karthik,

:-)

ram,

vayishal is not just drooling to flirt with a girl. It is any drooling activity to impress someone

LKS,

for some reason i think he is phony.

alan,

:-)

venkiraja,

:-) its the brotherhood of periappas i suppose.

gradwolf,

i likes nirmal for his over the top -ness but there are too many people like him now.

maxdavinci,

:-)

sahana, rastafari

:-). he constantly abused vellaikaaran for killing math ramanujan too.

ttm,

LOL. thank god i am not watching it in desh.

nivi said...

Its funny cause thats the same thing my dad and uncles say when a umpire gives a wrong decision :)

Well that article was wierd! sometimes i wondered if it was vanja pugzhachi

Vijay said...

Reasonable criticism...I concur.

Santhosh C said...

http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/current/story/377870.html

Ram said...

your claim is being proved time and again.. this time it is Dhoni - The Obama in White clothes!!!
http://content-uk.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/current/story/377870.html

His column should read, Everything except cricket, By Peter Roebuck