Yes, he did.
Yes, he did.
There are many stories about Rahul Dravid flying around, most of them about his brilliant batting or down to earth gentleman like personality. And they are all right, the man is a gentleman superstar. It was an honour to ever see him bat, and an even more amazing honour to meet him. But my story is a little different.
Rahul Dravid is the reason my wife and I got married.
Before meeting me, my wife was a cricket-obsessed nerd just like we are, and one day when she was trawling the shit soaked anus of the interweb, she found her way here.
One day I wrote about a torturous innings when Rahul Dravid made 3 ones off a katrillion deliveries at the G while being dropped 48 times.
It was fucking painful to watch someone you admire so much fail in such a prolonged and awkward way.
Anyone who saw that would have thought some billionaire had cloned Dravid’s body and just walked onto the field.
He was essentially a dog that had been run over by a car who was just begging for another car to run him over.
I think Mitchell Johnson was the car that day.
At the end of the day’s play I wrote all about this episode.
“Dravid batted like a man who had just been gelded. It was ugly to watch, and the fact a batsman like that could be given a Bronx cheer for finally getting off the mark is horrible.
If Dravid was my dog, I’d take him out to the country and I’d take a shovel as well.”
I was pissed off he was opening, I was pissed off he was doing it badly, and mostly I was pissed off that I had to see him like this.
I’d always loved Dravid.
Before an Australia India series, Australians would all start talking up Tendulkar, and then VVS Laxman, but Dravid never really did it for them.
They liked a fighter, but he was the other guy to them, the boring one. Even when he was making double hundreds in Adelaide.
So to see him like this just left me cold.
But, it wasn’t the first time Dravid had dragged his carcass around the crease like this.
And at one of the other times in the UK, my future wife had been there, and lived the same sort of horror I had. You know the horror, that it’s funny, but you wish it wasn’t happening to Dravid.
Seeing my words about Dravid meant she wrote a comment, and we bonded over seeing Dravid at his worst.
Later on we’d get married and she’d slip a ring on my left hand, which is very similar to my right hand that years later shook Dravid’s right hand.
Our wedding was at the Oval, the place of Rahul Dravid’s last overseas Test century.
At the reception the tables were named after cricket grounds. One was the MCG, and we used this photo.
Yes, that’s Rahul Dravid just a couple of days before he would set into motion a series of events that would lead my wife and I to marry.
So, when I say “thanks, Rahul”, I fucken mean it.
Genetic sexual attraction is as fancy way of saying that you’ve fallen in love with a relative. It doesn’t happen often, and most of us will never truly understand how a sister and brother or father and daughter, can have romantic feelings for each other, yet alone act on them.
Cricket has a similar syndrome that few fans could ever truly understand. Most fans want their side to be the best of the best. They want to be able to gloat to everyone who had the misfortune of not being born in their part of the world. They want to go into each series thinking that the opposition will be little more than road kill for their heroes. There are other fans including those who truly want cricket to be the real winner. And even those other sick fans who prefer their side to lose just so their natural pessimism is proved to prophetic.
Then there is the TRD fans.
TRD (Team Rebuilding Desire) is something that certain fans suffer from. While they get some satisfaction from their team’s heady success, they get much more from the new players coming into the team and replacing the old players they know everything about. The problem is, this turnover can also bring losses. Now true TRD fans don’t care about this, that’s what distances them from just the shouty guy who wants everyone dropped who hangs out at your local corner store. The TRD fans desire the new blood, they crave it like some tween heroine from an otherwordly novel, and they care little for things like ending careers or a few series losses.
I can finally out myself as someone who has this affliction. Over the years I’ve wanted everyone from David Boon, Adam Gilchrist, Steve Waugh and even Ricky Ponting to move on just so I can see the next crop come through. These guys don’t have to be dropped. They can retire if they want; I want new blood, not needless blood.
During the mid-90s I wanted David Boon dropped more than anything in the world, even though I loved watching him bat, just so I could see guys like Damien Martyn, Ricky Ponting and even Greg Blewett. It became far more important to me for these guys to come in than for Australia to keep winning. David Boon couldn’t shock me, I knew exactly what to expect from him. I could tell you how many times a day he’d readjust his box just by how many runs he’d made.
Then in the mid-2000s I felt the same. So Australia’s collapse in 2008 was perfect for me. Because I don’t even need the next big thing. I just need lots of new things. I need the old things repackaged. I need the new things still in the box. I need the damaged things. I need the things I never wanted. I just need it new. I need Michael Beer, Phil Hughes, James Pattinson and Matthew Wade. I need Bryce McGain and Patrick Cummins. New, fresh, different.
Right now you’re probably assuming I just have a one-off illness, it’s even possible you think I’ve made this up, that TRD is just some figment of my imagination. But I bet there are some Indian readers who get this. They love Sachin, Rahul and VVS, but their TRD means they want to see Che, Rohit and Ajinkya now.
To some of you this may seem sick and wrong. You’d want us locked up and our tickets taken from us and given to loving normal fans who don’t need to get their satisfaction from something this disgusting. You probably think we should all change our ways and continue to support and appreciate our aged greats.
This may not be normal to you, but please let us get our kicks from something as simple as a selector or coach saying, “we’re in a rebuilding phase, we’ll be looking at some new faces soon for sure”. Nothing makes a TRD happier than that.
RS: Chappelli, it’s stuck my friend, jammed in tight, we’re going nowhere right now.
IC: I know, Ravi, but Australians don’t give up, if Les Favell taught me anything it’s to fight until the very end.
RS: It seems that the machine doesn’t always work in Australia after all.
IC: You know full well that it’s not about the machine, it’s about the individual people, and that’s what makes Australia great.
RS: Yet here we are, stuck in the elevator, and we may go down without all guns blazing.
IC: I have the utmost respect for Australian engineers to get the job done right, as long as the powers that be just let them get on with doing that job.
RS: Make no mistake about it; I hope you’re right. If this were an Indian elevator getting stuck, you’d be claiming we were in third world conditions.
IC: India has changed a lot these days, Ravi.
RS: It’s just what the doctor ordered, but your old imperial chums don’t always see that.
IC: I have no chums.
RS: You hit the nail on the head there.
IC: Let’s just calm down a bit now, I’ve rung upstairs for assistance.
RS: One just gets the feeling that we may not be able to trust technology in all cases.
IC: Who paid you to say that?
RS: That sets the cat amongst the pigeons.
IC: Look, we need to get together, work hard, and achieve something here.
RS: We’re at a crucial stage; it’s touch and go.
IC: Holy shit, mate, I think the cable is breaking, we’re fucken screwed.
RS: Tracer bullet.
RS: Tracer bullet.
RS: At the end of the day…
All legspinners are freaks.
Mushtaq Ahmed had hands of doom.
Shane Warne’s wrists were radioactive.
Anil Kumble could see into the future.
Imran Tahir had a magical alice band.
Tiger Bill O’Reilly was an actual tiger.
And Bryce is the human spreadsheet.
Legspinners aren’t normal.
Rahul Sharma is not normal.
He’s massive, maybe 8 foot 9, or taller.
He doesn’t spin it, but he still deceives, perhaps the hardest skill.
And he has a special legspinning bionic eye.
Some say it’s because he suffered bells’ palsy or something similar when he was a child.
The man is just another super human mutant legspinner.
Now this doesn’t mean that Rahul Sharma is going to be the best spinner in the world, or even India’s first choice spinner. But it does mean he has an advantage that no finger spinner could ever have.
The world has been calling out for a tall wrist spinner with a bionic eye for years now, and Rahul could be that man.
If he was in the X-Men, he would be called eye spin, and his super skill would mean that his straight ball would be undetectable to the normal human eye.
He’d kill you while you were still waiting to see whether he’d bowl a leggie or a wrong’un.
His eye would also be silver or gold, which, if I was his manager, I’d have already sorted.
The man is uncanny, this should not be hidden, it should be celebrated like we do for the rest of the legspin freaks.
Legspinners aren’t supposed to be like other people, and Sharma isn’t, he’s better.
NDTV wanted the lighter side of cricket when talking about India, so they locked Sam and I into an ADL oval room. I talked to them about Sophie’s Choice, North Korea and horror films.
You can watch it here, if you feel the need.
I also wrote this.
Brad Hogg’s comeback and George Bailey’s rise don’t seem to have made people all that angry.
That’s odd, isn’t it?
Australia have picked an oldy and a dude to replace a dude with roughly the same record of the other dude who is slightly older. Where is the disdain, the outrage, the editorial’s sprouting anti-Victorian intent and how Australia are overlooking their future for some old dude the commentators all like?
Australia have picked a player who has been retired for years. I’m not even sure we knew that Justin Bieber was a thing when Brad Hogg last played, and Zach Galifianakis was a fat funny dude starring in such classics as Speed Freaks. Hogg isn’t exactly Bob Simpson, who was dragged from a retirement village to save Australian cricket.
I suppose if your lifestyle-hosting career is working well or you’re dating a famous model/actor/it girl, you don’t need to make a comeback at 40, but for Hogg it makes perfect sense. Statistically you can make an argument for Hogg. His economy rate is 5.4, he takes wickets, and no one has a better strike-rate on twitter abusing Mitchell Marsh. The only number not on his side is his age.
However, if you see Twenty20 as a way of easing young Australian cricketers into the team, then picking a guy who’s been retired four years who is only year younger than your selector is odd.
Then there is Bailey, who I am really glad is being given a chance to captain any Australian XI, but it’s not as if he’s hitting the captaincy with a stellar Twenty20 season behind him.
And age is also quite odd, as he’s a few months younger than Michael Clarke, and only a few months older than Cameron White. There’s no doubt Bailey can captain, he’s won more than his share of silverware, but so has White. Neither White nor Bailey made a cracker in a high class and low performance Melbourne Stars middle order this year.
You’d think that one of these decisions, if not both would be the catalyst for the first vicious attack on the John Inverarity reign as chief selector.
But it’s quite clear that virtually no one cares. Australians may casually enjoy the Big Bash League, and they may even make the trek down to see the odd match, but at the end of the day, you could have a man with a rubber chicken stuck to his head as captain and some bloke’s dog as the spinner and people would still spend more time discussing Shaun Marsh’s form or whether Punter (Ponting) should retire.
For all the hype and concern, Twenty20 is still just that thing people watch
It’s a witty retort on a hot summers day, it says more than almost all words except cuntox and it’s funny when little kids do it.
When it was used in the first Test, by Meg Clement, at the kiss cam, that was funny.
When used by Kohli and Sharma there was something a bit wrong with it.
I don’t care if they go kart instead of train, I don’t even care if they freebase heroin off the asshole of the local kebab shop owner.
They are free to prepare their minds and bodies in whatever way they think will help them perform.
However, the finger is one of defiance. It’s a big fuck you at the world.
Sure, it’s a bit dated, and we’re waiting on modern culture to devise a new gesture, but right now this is the gesture we have.
With India, it’s hard to see defiance.
This tour they’ve more dropped their pants and waited for Australia to roughly manlove them.
Giving the finger while being consensually sodomised seems odd.
It could be why Sharma and Kohli weren’t looking in the direction of those they were trying to finger.
I get the rage, ofcourse.
Rage at the way you are playing, rage at the way your opposition are laughing at you, rage at the fact a fumbly wicket keeper who is short of runs is calling you soft,rage at your media abusing you and rage because Australian fans are experts at throwing verbal rotten tomatoes at any team who is struggling.
It’s a tough tour, and we understand the finger, maybe even respect it, but a bigger finger would be one where your bowlers pitch the ball up and get it moving, where your batsmen extract that same digit to apply themselves under pressure and your captain spends more time working out theories to dismiss the batsmen and less time trying to cover for young players.
I think the biggest finger India could possibly hit Australia with would be a win.
And you know, they’ve done it in Perth before.
Sehwag, Dravid and Tendulkar have all had some fun at Perth. And if a left arm swing bowler, tall right arm bowler, pretty damn quick young bowler and a tally finger spinner aren’t a good set up for Perth’s bowling conditions, I don’t know what attack is.
After losing the Sydney Test last time, India stuck up a finger.
It wasn’t some petulant finger with their back turned, they looked Australia in the eye, smiled a cheekily, slowly raised their hand and popped out a defiant middle finger.
Maybe they can’t do that again, this time they look too far gone. But let’s hope if they try to give Australia the finger again, they are at least looking in the right direction.
Recently, like most of you, I’ve had all 99 of Sachin Tendulkar’s 99 international hundreds tattooed onto the inside of my eyelids.
It’s the ultimate mark of respect for Sachin, and only non believers would do less.
But every time I went to sleep, something bothered me.
One hundred seemed to be missing.
Sometime in 1998 I seem to remember Sachin making a hundred against New Zealand or Sri Lanka in Asia or the middle east or something.
It was about 107 off 144 balls on a pitch that was slower than you’d think, but Sachin had the requisite skill, patience and courage to get through it.
I seem to remember some exquisite drives, awesome work off his pads and he was particularly harsh on the spinners. Yeah, you remember it too, don’t you.
It wasn’t the best innings of his career, nor the worst, it was just a purely forgettable ODI knock that for some reason, was never put into the ICC database.
Things like that happened all the time, Ian Harvey’s 7 wicket haul against South Africa was never recorded either. There was a lot of meaningless cricket in the late 90s, unlike now, and things got missed.
The good news is, with this hundred rightfully recognised, it means that Sachin has made 100 international hundreds.
I knew you could do it, Sachin, or should I say, I knew you’d done it, Sachin.
What an achievement, imagine how old and good you need to be to do that, pretty good, very old.
Now Sachin doesn’t need to feel awkward from the moment he raises his bat at 50, web site designers don’t have to change the formatting of stats pages to have number of international hundreds on them and the rest of us can go back to not caring how many international hundreds batsmen have.
So, it’s all-good now, yeah.
Hail Sachin, the king of kings, the 100 of hundreds, the grand poohbah of the willow, you are statistically freaky in the best possible way.
But no need for too much celebrations, because you scored your 100th 100 ages ago, and it was grand, I’m sure, I just don’t really remember it.
Unlike this 107 in Asia, or the middle east, against Sri Lanka, or New Zealand, around 199, or so, which I remember very clearly.
It’s not an easy decision to come point out a flaw of the greatest human being to ever where (some people may write wear here. I can see why. However, I am moving the English language on and using where as people think where are Sachin’s pads in the overall scheme of things. It’s risky, and some may see it as an error, but really you are a big stupid head and I am the one who is progressive, I where the golden crown around here) light blue buckle cricket pads.
Sure, I could have taken in to the grave, so that only Sachin and I knew the real truth.
Some may see it as the honourable thing to do.
Why sully Sachin’s name just so you can sell your book?
But truth is also important, and what are we if we hide the truth to make our heroes look less human.
If you prick Sachin, does he not bleed and tell you to stop pricking him?
Sachin is human, which is a good trait, and because of this and my desire to sell copies of my book let me tell you about the time I saw Sachin blink.
It was a warm day in December, there was a warm northerly blowing and my girlfriend of the time had decided to come to Victoria Vs India with me.
Before we got to the ground she was complaining, it was never going to be a good day.
Earlier in the match I’d seen the ego of Hodge annoy Ganguly by batting for days.
Now I was just there to see Sachin bat.
Sehwag came and went, as did the man playing cricket just so he has something to write about, at 3 Dravid should have come in but instead it was some random dude that no one wants to remember, and so Dravid didn’t come in till 4. Shortly after the game was abandoned to ensure that no one committed suicide from boredom.
Sachin was due to come in next.
the crowd of 300 Indian students and my girlfriend and I were ripped off.
During the day, to avoid any sort of conversation with my girlfriend, I spent most of my time looking at Sachin in the dugout.
To be honest, he didn’t do much, he had the look of a man who wished he had a good book but instead was being chatted to by Ganguly.
At one stage Cameron White started warming up, earlier in that match he had taken 4/59 in a blistering attack on everything Indian.
It was perhaps the greatest spell of legspin in that match.
White tugged up his shirt sleeves with a pinching manoeuvre and then whirled his large shoulders around in masculine artistry as Sachin watched on intently.
With the shoulders a blur of frenzied excitement, Sachin blinked ever so slightly.
It was a short blink even by blinking standards, and I doubt anyone else even saw it, but I did.
As his eyes shut I assume Sachin saw into the future to see what a force Cameron White would be and went about finding a way to destroy him.
It may have been Sachin’s only ever blink, but he used it wisely.
Years later Sachin would be dismissed by White in a test match, he allowed this to throw people off the trail.
No one has seen him blink since that day.
When you or I blink, it shows our weakness because we are providing moisture to the eye by irrigation using tears and a lubricant the eyes secrete.
When Sachin blinks, it shows he is human and superhuman at the same time.
There is no account of Sachin’s eyes or Cameron White’s shoulders in my latest book.