Harbhajan Singh © Getty Images
Harbhajan Singh © Getty Images

 

By Rahul Namjoshi

 

There are some inspirational moments in a person’s life when he/she utters words of wisdom that even he/she doesn’t foresee the significance of and what that powerful concoction of words, pretty harmless in their individuality, can lead to. Many times these utterances make themselves public without any forethought and therein lies their beauty. Mary Antoinette’s infamous, ‘Let them eat cake’ was not a well thought philosophical discourse but just an off-the-cuff remark. She didn’t have enough time to ponder over these words even later in her life since it was cut tragically short by the same non-cake, non-bread eating idiots. Boy! Did those words entice a revolution or what!

 

Ashok Chavan, the ex-Chief Minister Maharashtra, similarly showed the world (quite inadvertently mind you) that he wore the pants in his family when he boldly proclaimed in front of the press that mothers-in-law are not part of immediate close family. Show another man who has been able to replicate this in public and one will show you a divorced/dead chap! The circumstances might have had something to do with his statement though. The press was pulling him down unnecessarily into a bribery scandal because his mother-in-law had received an apartment as gift. But there could be other potentially less dangerous explanations like – yes, it was indeed – graft. One isn’t aware of the state of his marital life following that bold statement, but what is sure that he isn’t the Chief Minister any more.

 

Our own Harbhajan Singh came out with a pearl a couple of days back when he expressed his heartfelt opinion that the Indian seamers bowled rubbish in the second innings of the Cape Town Test. They might as well have changed their profession and become dance show judges (well at least one of them) and he was the only person doing all the hard work out there in the middle. TMK (Teri Maa Ki for the uninitiated) was left unsaid, just in case Andrew Symonds was having a beer somewhere in South Africa. All this potent stuff was watered down by the rider of, “I’m not being critical, but just giving my honest opinion.”

 

Harbhajan may inadvertently be the originator of a whole new series in the MAD magazine, rivalling the popularity of Spy v Spy. But before those crazy guys at MAD get to it, one is going ahead and publishing a few of one’s, “We are not critical, but just giving our honest opinion” episodes for the recent South Africa-India Test series and have also thrown in a bonus feature on the Ashes for our arson inclined readers.

Here goes.

 

1) When will experts stop saying that Jacques Kallis is hugely underrated after he scores a hundred or gets the Man of the Match Award. He has scored 40 centuries and won 22 Man of the Match Awards in Tests. And every time one has to read ‘But Kallis is sooooo underrated’. Come to think of it, Kallis was chosen by Royal Challengers Bangalore, which had a knack of picking up many of these underrated players. How many times has one come across, ‘Dravid is so underrated’ (Harsha Bhogle said it a couple of weeks back) or even a ‘Kumble is so underrated.’ One is not trying to be critical here of all those cliché-spewing experts and analysts. One is just giving one’s honest opinion.

 

2) What was Mahendra Singh Dhoni thinking when he gave those additional two overs to Ishant Sharma after the paceman had got a gift of a wicket from Ashwell Prince? Didn’t he know that Ishant is a part-timer and a partnership breaker? Like a true blue part-timer, Ishant gave away some quick, free runs to Mark Boucher and the floodgates opened. After that even Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn were given free hits and added more than a hundred with Kallis. One’s mum could be a better captain than Dhoni. One is not being critical here

 

3) Harbhajan himself got nervous as soon as Kallis reverse swept him to stop him from bowling in the rough. The offie could have bowled the ‘Teesra’ or he could have bowled left-handed or he could have tried a bouncer. But our man would have none of it and started bowling much worse once the attack was taken to him. And what of all those other matches where he has bowled even worse stuff than what he accused his team mates of? One is not critical…

 

4) Graeme Smith tried to match Dhoni in his defensive attitude and at one point in time, with India still needing close to 200 runs in 15 overs, he had a sweeper cover for Alviero Pieterson. And for all the supposed firepower that South Africa possesses, they haven’t managed to force the issue on the final day in three of the last four Tests that they have played. Whether it was the timing of their declaration or inability to take 10 wickets is open to discussion. One is not…

 

5) For the Ashes fans: It seems Michael Clarke has retired from T20s and has relinquished his captaincy. Now with his good looks and fabulous acting skills one believes that he should realise that his true calling lies elsewhere. His prods outside the off stump and his generally cheerfully slimy nature can be used to good effect as a villain in movies. Why doesn’t he think hard about retiring from ODIs and Tests as well? Of course one is not being critical, but it’s one’s honest to god opinion.

 

(Rahul Namjoshi, an utter failure as an MBA, has no published novel to boast of and hence trying the next best thing – blogging. There, too, the results there aren’t too encouraging)