Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo !

Success is catastrophic, it boosts your ego. Failure is the one that keeps you going.
In fact, the greatest people to have ever lived; have attained their success just one step beyond their greatest failure. Failures are not to be buried, in fact one must seek inspiration from them. And that’s exactly what Virat Kohli has done post his worst ever tour to England.

Brash, arrogant, upfront, cocky, bewildered – these were some of the attributes linked to Virat Kohli before his 2014 English tour. His aggression on the field and readiness to confront made him the man to watch out in particular in that series.To the contrary, there wasn’t anything worth remembering which he did on that tour.Actually, you could say it was dismal and was the leanest patch in his career.

He wasn’t reading the ball at all and had severe technical glitches in his game. Someone who could whip the ball outside the off-stump towards mid-wicket, was struggling with his off- stump. He was perishing to the swing and had no clue where his off-stump lay. He was completely taken off- guard with the English tactics and the fourth stump line stumped him mentally.

This was an excruciating phase he was keen on performing in the English conditions, a place which offers bowlers and batters a competitive platform to test their skills mentally and physically. Virat had failed miserably and not only did it hurt him immensely but his fans too.

Virat’s body language on that tour lacked lustre. He looked uncertain and his scores in ten innings read dismaying 1,8,25,0,39,28,0,7,6 and 20. He, alongside his fanatics were brought down to earth firmly and the King’s reputation was dented badly. The much anticipated and talked about The Virat Kohli had failed where it had really mattered for him to excel. He had fluttered on the English soils, which are supposed to be the litmus test for any player to be acclaimed amongst the greats and Virat had lost that chance.

He struggled to decide which ball to play and which one to leave. The positivity, confidence and assertiveness was lacking in his demeanour. It was a timid posture that he presented, unsure of his technique and quitting against the building hype and pressure.

Even I, as fan; could not fathom the sudden slump in his form and luck. It was a shocker. Whatever he did on that tour, was a bigger blunder than the former. All I can say is that it was a phase that needed to be forgotten by him and his fans and yes,the boss did overcome that feat in his own style.

Post the tour, he worked on his shortcomings – fitness,regime, focus and most importantly the sheer inability to not put a price on his wicket. 

He fought his way back to bury the dead and created new milestones game after game. He made four gritty tons in Australia post that tour and did bring significant accolades after taking over the captaincy from Mahendra Singh Dhoni. With maturity and hardwork in his first ever Test series as a skipper, he became the fourth Indian to score a hundred on captaincy debut after Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar and Vijay Hazare as he hammered the Kangaroos at Adelaide.

By making another century in the second innings of the same match, he also became the only second player in Test chronicles to score hundreds in both innings of a Test on captaincy debut after Greg Chappell.

After that, there was no looking back.

In his next assignment in Sri Lanka, King Kohli showed his magical touch and flamboyance not only in his batting but leadership too. He became the first Indian captain to win an away series, after losing the first Test. With the achievement, he also became the youngest Indian captain to have won a Test series outside India.

Virat maintained the same consistency in his game from that tour to beating South Africa 3-0 and white-washing the kiwis at home. There’s nothing stopping this beast now.

Well, I am so glad that the failure occurred early in his career and it did prove a blessing in disguise.

Virat now looks to be on a different note all together. He is in the form of his life, creating symphonies in every match. He is much more focused and has dealt with temperamental issues in a way, you cannot even imagine. He is a wolf-pack who believes in marshalling his troops from the front. He kills aggression with his bat,not with words and is the perfect role model team India needs.

He has evolved from being a brat to becoming the ambassador of the game. He is an inspiration for billions. The best part – he has become a lot more patient, respectful of the opposition and has learnt it the hard way as how to wait for the ball. He is not committing to play the early ball anymore and that has happened due to better coordination in his footwork, balance and head positioning.

Also, he has minimised playing any sweeps and cuts, the shots which he wasn’t even trained on purpose from his childhood days. In an age defined by flashy stroke plays, he is sticking to his grit and core values. He fancies playing the flicks, cover drives and loves being conventional without playing the ball in the air.

Honestly, I have never seen a player as dedicated as Virat. After his failure, not only did he work on his mental fitness but physical agility too. He was won so many games for India just by his running abilities. Can you believe that ? He runs with the same intensity in Whites as he does in Blues.

Virat is too good a player to repeat the mistakes. He doesn’t go after the bowler’s reputation now and believes in living every ball. He understands the context of the game really well and realises how crucial his wicket is to the opposition. The very fact that he knows the bounty on his wicket, yet never allows the pressure to surmount on his head, makes him as the world’s best modern day batsman.

If Virat can overcome his failures, so could you! Let’s treat him as an example to help us outgrow ourselves. Stay Kohlified !

References – Driven.

Sorry Bollywood! Please don’t make a biopic on Rahul Dravid.

Off late, there is this resurgence in Bollywood towards making biopics on sports stars. But the problem is they do not know how to make one !

Bollywood lacks good editors. They surely don’t know what not to show. I mean look at Azhar. Firstly, it wasn’t even needed. The entire plot was morphed. As a Cricfan , it was bullshit. Qualities like erratic behavior, affairs etc give orgasmic sensations to the script writers and without even thinking, a movie is made in India. From the bottom of my heart, I condemn biopic makers.

Dhoni : The Untold Story was even worse. Being a Cricket fanatic, I could predict everything. And who cares about Mahi’s love affairs. And why would I be interested in Dhoni’s flings and mushy romantic songs. I mean why ? Why can’t they keep it crisp and show something real which a fan would love to know. For instance – board room politics, his equation with Sehwag & Gambhir or the Meiyappan saga. Something which hasn’t come out in open ever.

Bollywood thrives on masala. The sole criteria of making a is biopic is that the sportsperson must have some controversial/ glamorous background or should possess some cliched middle class struggling life plot. Rahul Dravid, if we talk about, doesn’t fit in the pattern !

Rahul Dravid is a legend, an inspiration to many. We are talking about a man, who is the epitome of simplicity, very humble and down to earth. He’s a man, who resigned from international cricket as if it were no big deal. A true gentleman. I don’t think any movie would ab able to depict what he has given to team India.

Every time I see a biopic made by Bollywood, deep inside I secretly play, Oh dear Lord ! Please stop them from making a movie on Rahul Dravid.  Bollywood biopics have the capability to ruin anything and justifying Dravid’s stature would be a daunting task.

Moreover, I feel glitz and Dravid are never in sync with each other. It’s a highly odd alliance.  Dravid had been an ideal student, an ideal player, the goodie good guy which gets overshadowed by either the topper of the class or the villain. There was no room for the second best. He wasn’t aggressive like Ponting, he wasn’t loved like Tendulkar, he wasn’t cherished like Lara, he was just Dravid who did is job meticulously and left to live his personal life with grace.

Citing an example from Bangalore. Dravid is like CTR. Everyone knows it serves good dosas in Bangalore. They’ve never advertised it ? Do they need to ? NO ! People acknowledge and love it. Similarly, no film can ever display Dravid’s grit, his passion and his will power because it could just be felt from his game and no reel can ever replicate those moments. It will ruin everything.

As a sincere fan, I hope no biopic is ever made on Rahul Sharad Dravid  because of the fact that it won’t do justice to him.

Why is Virat Kohli the Jesse Pinkman of Cricket?

Watching Breaking Bad is so much fun on various levels, especially if you are a cricket fan. The way Jesse Pinkman has become an epitome of awesomeness over a period of time, Virat on the similar lines is a household name in the Indian cricket. His batting is equally delightful as Aaron’s acting.

Here are 7 reasons why Virat Kohli is the Jesse Pinkman of Cricket –

1.Style-Quotient
He has a style which completely resonates with his ‘I-don’t-care-if-you-like-me-or-not’ personality, completely resembling Jesse’s persona. Not to forget, his batting is equally classy as Jesse’s one-liners. BITCH!

2.Evolution
Jesse’s product was not up to the mark initially. The meth-crystals were only 95% pure but gradually he mastered his skillset. In a similar fashion, Virat eventually worked on his game to become the most consistent batsman of his era.

3.Highly Emotional
Virat is a man of principles and loses his calm if someone fiddles with them. He is brutally honest and keeps the emotions on his sleeve. He tends to get over emotional and attached to people he cares about exactly how Jesse was for Walter, Jane and Andrea’s son.

4.Takes Pride
His game overwrites any damn thing in this world in terms of priority. He takes pride in playing the sport and always gives his best no matter what it takes. Remember when India failed to qualify for the playoffs in the in 2012 World T20,he was into tears. On the other hand, he celebrates in a grand manner as well whenever India achieves something significant. Rewind your brain cells to the Champions Trophy 2013 final. Jesse too loves what he does.

Virat -Jesse

Yeah Science !

5.Has seen life
Virat, in a very young age has seen all the phases of his life. Lost his father when he was in his teens, toiled hard, backed his strengths, got a celebrity girlfriend, defended her thoroughly when she was blamed for India’s loss in the 2015 World Cup semifinal and now is the proud captain of the Indian National Team.

On the same lines, Jesse moved out of his parents’ house due to drug related issues ,stayed alone, went into deep shit, found a good mentor ,started working hard, went into a real relationship, lost her, moved on , earned a wealthy sum and survived liked a boss !

6. Street Smart
Raised in the middle-class household in Delhi, Kohli has been a street smart person right from the start. He knows how to tackle situations on the fly and shows creative exuberance in dealing with various on-field scenarios just like Jesse. I still remember Jesse’s brilliant plan to use magnets to destroy the incriminating evidence on the defunct meth distributor Gustavo’s laptop that had been locked away at police headquarters. Virat too did destroy Australia with his running, many a times.

7.Breaks Bad
Kohli is not afraid to take risks, challenge the stereotype mindset. He is honest, bold, brash and confident about his game. He is a rebel and the future of Indian Cricket. Gone are those days when Indians used to get sledged. He is not a monk and believes in fighting aggression with aggression, exactly the way Jesse does. He is harmless till someone does not invade his territory.

Yeah, that’s totally Kafkaesque !

Cricket, larger than life !

As a kid,never did I realise that Cricket will be an integral part of my life.
Not just does it bring back those nostalgic gully Cricket childhood memories but paves way to a meaningful life ahead.

It empowers my eyes to glitter, to fantasise and to be happy !

I think even though I’m a big time dumbass, I suck at keeping up with the technology, I find grace in being old-schooled, I have a family pack abs, I am not earning in dollars like majority, but I am blessed.
I am blessed to be passionate about something.

I have something to look forward to apart from work, alcohol and the Friday nights.

Cricket makes me a poet. It makes me worth existing. I know it sounds too exaggerated but it makes me feel alive.

If I closely respect my journey in this world,  it’s like a Test match – there have been numerous ups and downs. I failed at relationships, at my startup and many other places as friend, as a son, as a brother but Cricket never judged me. It keeps me going.

I may not have arrived to making it big with respect to Cricket but it does make me feel like the King especially when I am writing. And you know what, I will make it count eventually.

Cricket makes me realise how self belief and hard-work will actually sort everything you actually dream of.

Dreams do come true and it’s you sheer ability to dream that makes a dream, no longer a dream !

I am lucky to have witnessed Dravid, Sehwag, Klusener and Virat play.
Each one has played a significant role in being who I am. And guess what, each one has instilled me to be the weird me.

I bond over Cricket with people. In fact, most of my references at work or at social gatherings are from Cricket.

As I write prose on the sport, I feel valued deep inside. No one in this world makes me feel this special like Cricket does except my begum !

You’d be amazed to know the purpose of my life. It has got nothing to do with money or fame.
It’s all about watching the sport at the world’s best venues and the game at Lord’s would be the defining moment.

Now, why so much gyaan was offered. Let me explain –

1. I am not a motivational speaker or anything of that sort. It’s never too late to figure out what you are good at. In fact, a friend of mine who’s left everything and is pursuing her career as a voice-over artist.

2. Whenever I am extremely sad or happy, I leverage it to bring back my sanity to maintain the equilibrium. You could try too.

3. It’s one subject, I am extremely confident of. Even when it comes to addressing a gathering of thousands. I have an answer to query – what are you good at ? People spend their entire lives figuring out that.

4. It keeps my priorities straight – Cricket, Family, Pizza (in that order). It helps me declutter the best from the rest.

5. It gives me the role models to admire and to learn from.

Thank you Cricket for sorting my life ! I hope every gets theirs’ in shape through their passion.

Truth triumphs evil ! Passion triumphs boorish!
Happy Dussehra.

ESPNCricinfo, The Voice of Cricket is Trembling!

Being an ardent Cricfan, ESPNCricinfo is like the Bible to me. Like the pug from those Vodafone advertisements, I have been religiously following ESPNCricinfo ever since I had an internet connection. ESPNCricinfo happened to be my drug which did justice to my life’s ideology, “Cricket is life, rest is mere noise”.

But, it longer seems to bring in that positivity and adrenaline rush. With a heavy heart, I am admitting the fact that it has lost its mojo. There are vultures flying around to grab the piece of meat and the threats are serious. If not taken care now, people will drift away to other players like Cricbuzz & Sportskeeda and within no time relevant website traffic is surely going for a toss leaving to substandard viewership, thereby killing the voice of Cricket eventually.

I’ll be very honest and unbiased. Here are the things which are completely lagging in ESPNCricinfo currently

Not at all youth centric.
Cricinfo needs to break the barrier of monotonous technical reporting.  Even if they have to write technical blogs, they should make it interesting by relating it to something a youngster likes. For example the latest TV shows like Game of Thrones, True Detective, Breaking Bad and Suits. Hire young blood. Don’t be the Nokia of smartphone. Please evolve!

No focus on girls.
Females constitute 48% of India’s population. In an era of feminism, Cricinfo offers nothing to that segment. They must create some content keeping their interests like Travel etc. in mind.

Bad mobile app.
Considering the fact a lot of population travels in cabs and mobile is the way, this is a must. They are missing out on user engagement. I do not use Cricinfo’s app. It has TOO MUCH of content. They need to declutter it and make the app swift.

Very British.
Your average word length per blog is above 1000. They need to reduce it to maximum 700. And a slightly casual approach should be taken. It is high time Cricinfo invests in a bit of trolls and memes on social media with a bit of bantering on Twitter. Also, the Blogs are plain vanilla. No doodles/ caricatures are used to generate curiosity.

Presence on social media is less.
Cricinfo’s presence on Twitter, Instagram and Quora (the most user loving site after Facebook) is very minimal. Quora consists of variety of users with experts on History, NASA, Dating, Football, Books, and Photography etc. Moreover, there is no thought process to encourage user-generated content. Till day, I have not come across any promotion where guest writers are being encouraged.

The write-ups have become too insipid and the editor needs to revamp his strategy before it’s too late.

Bad Promotional Ads.
Also, their sponsored ads on Facebook aren’t well targeted. People do not have time to read so much. In case of Canvas ads, keep the best four with the catchiest titles for promotions. Half the people do not click because of the dull title. Ad copies need to break the shackle of mediocrity.

If I were to manage the editorial team for a day, here’s what I would put things to their table.  

Play the man, not the oddsThe fact that I have seen a lot of movies and sitcoms, I can easily play with the psychology of the reader as I understand what he/she wants. For example I wrote a blog why is Virat Kohli the Jesse Pinkman of Cricket, involving two of the most talked about personalities in Cricket and TV industry. It was not only admired but shared like anything.
I’d encourage more such write-ups.

Explain things to a layman – For instance if you would ask me to describe the difference between Lara, Tendulkar and Dravid. I would not even go into their records. I’d say –
Let’s say Cricket is a pizza.
Sachin is the cheese – Delicious. Loved by masses. Essence of it.
Lara is the topping – Veggies/Bacon/Jalapenos etc. Flamboyant to see.
Dravid is the crust – The foundation. Gets overshadowed with other lucrative layers but if not baked well, the rest won’t taste good.

I would suggest not to go by the copybook style of writing and try out such things.
This is surely going to be a big plus.

Woo women – Again, people who love to read are mostly females. They need to design content which the women would like by read by drawing parallels with the books they love or anyhow.  And don’t forget women gossip and they have a huge following. Once a female likes a Blog, she will tell 5 of her friends in person and just imagine a girl with thousands of followers sharing a Cricket Blog on her social media profile and the kind of men it would bring on the link. Pure organic bliss!

Quirky Merchandising – Cricket is no less than a Superhero. I designed this quirky piece of clothing sometime back. When Batman can sell, why cannot Cricket. Moreover with these new-gen kids going gaga over Football and their merchandise, it’s time to act cool and get push such products.

cricket-beer-gf


“In short, Cricinfo currently publishes what they think is right, ideally it should be the other way round.”

Their numbers have dipped from 150m to 100m in the past six months and more damage is expected to occur.

That’s it for the time being. I’ll update more loopholes. I care and cannot let the Voice of Cricket tremble!  I hope it reaches to some sensible person in the management and some adequate action takes place.

-Lalit Vijay

Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi – The colonial hangover remedy!

Hailed as one of India’s greatest ever skipper, Pataudi defied reality. He lead India in all but six of the forty-six Tests he played and notched up nine Test victories, a winning ratio of meagre 22.5% against nineteen losses and twelve draws. These numbers reflect the unstable state of Indian Cricket at a point when India was struggling to catch-up with cricket-playing nations of the front rank.

He wasn’t a great captain statistically, no doubt.

But what he did, laid the foundations of an enduring team devoid of any barriers. His prime game- changing contribution to Indian Cricket was integrating and contemporizing it at the highest level. He didn’t make the players feel if they belonged to Mumbai, Bangalore or Delhi. Rather, together as a unit, marshalled them to be the best in their domains and gave them the confidence to beat any team not only in the subcontinent but overseas too.

Tiger led the self-respect movement, inspiring them and gave them the ability to see them at par with their colonial counterparts. He thrashed that colonial hangover and gave the balls to the timid Indian squad to look right into the eyes of the world and allowed their game to do the talking.

Throughout the 60s, Tiger led India under serious constraint, given the limited resources at his command. The outstanding feature of his team-building was forging, sharpening and getting the best out of the world’s best spin attack. Without Tiger’s intelligence, there would have never been a combination of Bedi, Chandrasekhar, Venkatraghavan and Prasanna.

India and pace never go hand and hand and Pataudi was very well aware of this. Instead, he decided to carve his own niche and focused on working towards the Indian strength.

There was not a single instance where in a team was being built around a left-arm orthodox spinner, a maverick right arm leg-spinner and two world-class off-spinners. The greatest trick he played was to rotate them in tandem, bought fielders closer, gave a bowler all the liberty in the world and triggered panic in the mind of the batsmen. Not only did the bowlers rose to the occasion but the close-in fielders ignited spark through their fielding at a time, when India was considered to be one of the worst fielding units.

They didn’t win enough but told the world on the face that boss, team India has arrived to the party. Do not take us lightly anymore. He instilled the attitude of mutual respect and added a refreshing vibe to the Indian Cricket.

He believed in Cricket as a game of fierce opposition, fair play and sportsmanship. In a way, he was the Shammi Kapoor of Indian Cricket. If Shammi redefined Bollywood in 60s by wooing his heroines with passionate ardour, Pataudi changed the face of Indian Cricket by becoming the first cricketing superstar in India whose appeal involved a mix of brilliance, charm and charisma.

Apart from being an exceptional leader, he was a maestro in hitting cover drives and even defended runs at the same position while fielding. His reflexes were lightening quick!

Right through his school career at Winchester, England he had a reputation of a class Cricketer which paved way eventually when he went on to become the only Indian till day to captain either Oxford or Cambridge. That year he stared in a blaze of glory and would have broken all records for University Cricket, but for the most unfortunate injury which he suffered in a serious car crash and lost his right eye. Later, in spite of the injury, Mansur Ali Khan started his career in India in the year 1961 where he represented Delhi against North Punjab and never looked back.

His great performances post the accident is a testimony to his sheer fighting abilities, self –belief and passion for the game. Any other Cricketer would have given up when he stood up for his nation and delivered with pride. He just believed in playing fearless Cricket. Discipline was one thing that kept him going. The trait was evident at the parties and that too in Delhi, where procrastination is treated to be some sort of divine light.

Other players and captains have done better than him no doubt. For instance, Dhoni has more trophies than him, Kohli strikes better and Ganguly fared more aggressively but Pataudi belongs to an altogether different league, beyond numbers and comparisons.  Numbers do not provide justice to the royalty of the prince. In his case, it was all about triumphing odds and becoming an icon by inspiring the helpless Indian squad to become invincible in their game.  He evolved Indian Cricket.

Thank you Tiger Pataudi.

References – Pataudi, Nawab of Cricket.

How does it feel to not have a job!

Ever wondered how does it feel to not have a job? I mean when you had a job once but you are no longer employed, neither are you working for yourself. It happens when either you’ve been sacked, you’ve quit or you do not know what to do with your life anymore.

It’s scary! Been there, done that. I belong to the league where I had quit my white-collared 9-5 IT job which paid enough to have arranged a good Punjabi bride at the age of 25. Instead, I ran behind my dreams, invested my time and money into my passion, found my true love in the process and started my own company which failed miserably after a year or so. But it did teach me the most valuable lessons of my life.

The failure made sure that I realize the value of money. Who your real friends are? How badly your relatives want you to fail and more importantly what I wanted to do in my life. So, coming back to the phase where my parents wanted me to go back sit in the same air-conditioned office which suffocated me every time I wrote a line of code. I was sure that I wanted to be into associated with writing, something which I really liked or the only thing you could say I was good at.

I was at the crossroads, torn apart between a failed son and a rising self. That was the phase of a few days, I mean very few wherein I was at home, doing nothing and everything pointed to just one thing – you are a loser man!

Here are the things which make you feel worse! –

a) Your parents think you have lost it. You are a just an immature kid who doesn’t have any sense of direction in life.

b) Actually they don’t think that. The relatives make them feel so. I honestly, despise majority of them for the very same reason. They make you feel like a piece of shit. Everything boils down to just two things -CTC & BHKs. It depresses you to the very core.

c) Your confidence is crushed every time when you open Facebook.

d) You overthink and every statement made by others either looks like a taunt, sarcasm or an insult.

e) You start doubting yourself whether are you the good for nothing guy, really?

f) The above point becomes too overpowering when the maid asks the question everyday– “Bhaiya aaj bhi office nahi gaye?”

g) You cut down on your hobbies, your lifestyle and and basically self-pity takes over.

h) You become desperate to not talk to anyone, you keep sinking in a cocoon.

Okay, enough of sad stuff, now the positives. –

a) Since, you do not have money at all, you learn how to survive with the bare minimum necessities. Eggs and Maggi become your best friends. Also, your liver thanks you every day for giving it a break.

b) You start valuing your skill.

c) You figure out people you can bank upon. Ultimately it boils down to your parents and 1-2 very close friends at max. I was lucky, I had another very special person backing me all the way. My Love!

d) Auto- decluttering: Time has its own means to filter out people from your life. I wouldn’t say that crap – We are all busy. We need not stay in touch but at the end, I’ll be there. Bullshit! If you haven’t heard from me in 6 months, I’ve cut you off!

e) You start appreciating small things.

f) You realize that it’s a fake world.

Ultimately, time and your passion heals everything. I too moved on gracefully in a span of a few days.

I’m not the advice person usually but this phase can fuck you big time, so, one advice I would like to give is to be on top of your game – you should be good at what you are doing/ intend to do and never listen to anyone. Go blindly with your heart. You have nothing to lose as you’ve already hit the rock-bottom and you’ll eventually earn your money and self-respect back.