Monday, January 31, 2011

The XI: Lesser Names with Unexpected World Cup Performances

The World Cup looms, and suddenly the number of experts in India has exceeded the number of households. Everyone has started making lists of their own, whether a Southern Hemisphere World XI or the names of Trinamool Congress people going for a dharna to ensure that the India vs England match actually happens at the Eden Gardens.

I tried to find a list that no one has used till date. And then I thought of the little men: men whose names are rarely uttered when great players are discussed, but whose performances, one or more, are bound to come up whenever World Cup performances are discussed. Those men who had a single day of glory (which, incidentally, is a day of glory more than Fardeen Khan has ever had) and then disappeared into oblivion.

The list, then, in chronological order:
1. Gary John Gilmour, 6/14 and 28* vs England, 18.6.1975. (scorecard here)
Gilmour had played two ODIs, coming into the world cup, both against a nondescript New Zealand side. On a green Headingley track, though, the selectors decided to drop Ashley Mallett, the only specialist spinner of the side, and pick our hero - a somewhat burly, lazy guy whose main claim to fame was his ability to swing the ball. It wasn't only that - after Ian Chappell put Australia and Lillee bowled an over, Gilmour was asked to have a go from the other end - ahead of Max Walker and Jeff Thomson.

Mayhem followed. Gilmour swung the ball brilliantly under a cloud cover, and ran through the England top order. He took the first six England wickets - and left them reeling at 36/6. His wickets included Amiss, Wood, Greig, Hayes, Fletcher and Knott, and he finished with 12-6-14-6.

Once Gilmour was through with his spell, the Englishmen breathed somewhat normally, and some sanity was restored: they managed to amble to an honourable 93, Mike Denness top-scoring with a painstaking 27.

A good day's work for Gilmour, they thought. Only that it wasn't over yet.

The fact that they were bowled out too soon actually came to England's advantage. Using the gloomy surroundings, Arnold, Snow and Old ran through the top-order of their antipodean rivals: they were 39/6 in no time: they had lost McCosker, Turner, the Chappells, Edwards and Marsh, and all seemed over when Gilmour joined Walters.

Things changed immediately. What seemed a matter of survival for the others turned out to be a rather easy affair for Gilmour. He walked out and started playing his strokes. Soon he went past Walters, and before anyone knew, Australia reached the 94 without losing another wicket. Gilmour remained unbeaten on 28 from 28 balls, and was the highest scorer in the match as well.

Gilmour played in the final as well, taking five wickets. Despite playing only two matches he emerged as the leading wicket-taker of the tournament. However, injuries prevailed, and his career became restricted to a single match after the tournament. His final career read 5 ODIs, 42 runs, 16 wickets.

2. Dandeniyage Somachandra de Silva, 3/29 vs India, 16,18.6.1979. (scorecard here)
Long before Aravinda had been massacring Prasad and co. with the bat and Asoka had been tormenting Ganguly with his dreaded finger, another de Silva had defeated us with his leg-breaks. This was in 1979, before Sri Lanka had actually attained a test-playing status: the spell ensured that India's performance over the first two world cups consisted of a single victory, that too over East Africa.

Slow 50s by Wettimuny and Dias and a quickfire one by Mendis lifted Sri Lanka to 238, Amarnath taking three wickets. An asking rate of less than four (it was a 60-over match, remember) should not have troubled a line-up consisting of Gavaskar, Gaekwad, Amarnath, Vengsarkar, Viswanath, Brijesh Patel and Kapil Dev. Or that't what everyone thought.

Things started off quite rosily: a good opening partnership, and despite the loss of two wickets, 119/2 seemed to be a reasonable score. And then, strangely, Viswanath got run out. And how things changed.

de Silva clean bowled Brijesh. And had Vengsarkar out, caught (by Stanley de Silva - did I ever mention the de Silva clan's plot against India?). And then he clean bowled Amarnath as well. And he didn't concede runs either. And he won the Nobel Prize for chemistry that year. Okay, not the last bit.

India crashed to 191, which meant an embarrassing defeat by 47 runs.

de Silva continued playing ODIs till 1985 (an age of 43, no less). He did play 41 ODIs in which he took 32 wickets at an average of 49. Incidentally, this was the only occasion when he took three wickets in a match.

3. Collis Llewellyn King, 86 vs England, 20.6.1979. (scorecard here)
Quite a few people I knew has described King's assault as the most brutal they've ever seen. Let me put things into perspective first. One, it was a world cup final. Two, West Indies was reeling at 99/4 (losing Greenidge, Haynes, Kallicharran and Lloyd). Three, Viv was batting at the other end. Four, Viv himself playing his strokes with care, rather cautiously.

What do you do? Protect your wicket and give The King the strike, correct?

Nyaaaaaah.

King decided to outdo The King that day. They added 139 for the 5th wicket, out of which King scored 86, off 66 balls. He hit ten fours and three sixes, which meant that 58 runs were scored in boundaries alone. The strokeplay was savage.

Mind you, Richards ended up scoring 138* that day, off 157 deliveries - still one of the most memorable performances in a World Cup Final. But this man, for an hour and a quarter, did something unheard-of, before or after: he eclipsed The King.

Collis King played in 18 ODIs in all, and scored 280 runs at an average of 23. His second-highest score was, believe it or not, 34.

4. Duncan Andrew Gwynne Fletcher, 69* and 4/42 vs Australia, 9.6.1983. (scorecard here)
Imagine the drama: Zimbabwe are about to play their first one-day international match. We're all about the elebele status these teams are given in big tournaments: in Kolkata street cricket teams (or players) of such stature are called dudh-bhat (milk and rice - a direct reference to toddlers).

Indeed, they started off being 94/5 against Australia, well, not the world champions but always a good team nevertheless. This is when their captain decided to take things in his own hands.

He scored a crisp, unbeaten 69 off 84 balls. Remember, the Australian attack comprised of Lillee, Thomson, Lawson and Hogg, and yet 239 was reached.

Fletcher's job didn't end there, though: Wood and Wessels were cruising along, and the first partnership added 61. Fletcher came on to bowl second-change. He had a long spell, and pretty soon he removed the first four Australian wickets (Wood, Hughes, Hookes and Yallop). The miserly John Traicos (playing international cricket thirteen years after his appearance for South Africa) held things tight, and Fletcher marshalled his team quite efficiently in the field.

Australia succumbed to a 13-run shock defeat in the hands of the babies of the tournament,

Unfortunately, Zimbabwe's status meant that Fletcher's career was restricted to a single world cup - six matches. They included a 71* against the formidable West Indies, once again lifting his side from 57/4 to 217. He later had a decent stint as the coach of England.

5. Michael Robert John Veletta, 45* vs England, 8.11.1987. (scorecard here)
They don't make them any more: burly moustachioed hard-hitting batsmen from Australia. This was one born in Perth, so he was destined to be a character.

Veletta came into the World Cup Final following a 39-ball 43 against Zimbabwe and a 50-ball 48 in the semifinal against Pakistan. His hard-hitting skills meant that he was preferred over the all-round skills of Tom Moody in the final.

The Australians started off well, but it was a rather slow start. Boon, Marsh and Jones scored 132 runs between them, but took up 231 deliveries for that. Border, in an attempt to boost the run rate, promoted McDermott, who fell for an 8-ball 14, and Boon followed soon.

Veletta joined Border. The Englishmen had been doing a splendid job till now, but things started falling apart at this crucial juncture. Veletta smashed the attack in typical Western Australian fashion: he hit the ball hard and found the gaps. An unbeaten 45 in 32 balls didn't win him awards: but it probably turned out to be the difference between the teams in the end. Australia's seven-run margin remains the narrowest in World Cup Finals.

Veletta's career spanned only twenty matches, in which he scored 484 runs at an okayish average of 32. He scored two fifties, against New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

6. Meyrick Wayne Pringle, 4/11 vs West Indies, 5.3.1992. (scorecard here)
Pringle did play in South Africa's first World Cup match: Australia were bowled out for 170, and our hero conceded 52 off ten overs on debut without taking a wicket. He got dropped as a result.

In their fourth match, the Proteas decided to go for an all-pace attack, dropping Omar Henry. Pringle was brought back.

A formidable attack boasting of Ambrose, Marshall, Benjamin and Cummins restricted them to 200/8. This seemed to be a cakewalk.

Donald had the first go, and from the other end, Wessels decided to bring on Pringle, ahead of McMillan and Snell.

To keep things short, he removed Lara, Richardson, Hooper and Arthurton in his first spell, and West Indies were left reeling at 19/4. They never recovered, and crumbled to 136.

How important was the match, incidentally? Had West Indies chased down, they would have played in the semifinals instead of South Africa.

Injuries meant that Pringle's career lasted for only 17 matches, in which he did quite well, taking 22 wickets at 27.

7. Rajab Wazir Ali, 3/17 vs West Indies, 29.2.1996. (scorecard here)
This was dubbed off as yet another one-sided match: after all, what chance did the newbies stand against the might of West Indies?

Indeed, when Ambrose, Walsh, Bishop and Harper bowled out Kenya for 165, I'm sure not many people waited to witness the run-chase. I didn't. Indeed, Pakistan played South Africa on the same day, and since I didn't drink Malibu or called my friends maan, I preferred to watch Wasim, Waqar, Saqlain and Mushtaq take on the leaders of the other group.

As a result I missed out on one of the classiest examples of new-ball bowling ever seen on Indian soil (thank goodness Doordarshan were kind enough to dish out the highlights!). The wickets do not tell the story. Yes, he had Richardson clean bowled and Lara caught-behind (by the portly Tariq Iqbal), but the highlights told me that he beat the West Indian champions out and out that day, beating the outside edge on numerous occasions.

He did come back to finish off the tail, and West Indies, the once mighty West Indies, slouched to 93 all out. For whatever reasons Maurice Odumbe was awarded Man of the Match.

Not being awarded Man of the Match possibly broke Rajab Ali's confidence forever. Till this match his career read five matches, ten wickets at 12.3. He played four more matches and took a solitary wicket, conceding 132 runs.

8. Khaled Mahmud Sujon, 27 and 3/31 vs Pakistan, 31.5.1999. (scorecard here)
This was a no-brainer: Pakistan had won all four of their matches so far, while Bangladesh had managed to beat only the hapless Scots.

The Pakistanis were generous in showering wides: there were 28 of them in the forty extras they bowled. Mahmud contributed a crucial 27 off 34. Bangladesh accumulated 223/9, by no means a match-winning total.

It was at this point of time that Aminul Islam played a masterstroke: he gave Mahumd the first over for the only time in his career (five years hence he would go on to bowl the second over in another match, against Sri Lanka).

What followed can surely be classified as drama: Afridi fell to Khaled, Ijaz to Shafiuddin Ahmed, Anwar was run out, and then, Mahmud had both Inzamam and Salim Malik trapped leg-before. Before they knew it, Pakistan were reeling at 42/5 in the 13th over.

The middle-order fought a bit, but the Bangladeshis held on, and Pakistan were skittled for 161.

Mahmud played 77 ODIs in all. He scored 991 runs at an average of 14, and took 67 wickets at an average of 43. For most players match-winning all-round performances like this are considered special: for Mahumd it was possibly something on another planet.

9. John Michael Davison, 111 vs West Indies, 23.2.2003. (scorecard here)
What? Canada plays cricket? And they have a cricketer to boot who shall score the fastest world cup hundred?

The story was simple. Canada batted. After three overs they were six without the loss of a wicket. After eleven overs they were 93/0. As simple, as elementary as that.

Davison reached his hundred in 67 balls, and fell for 111 off 76 off Wavell Hinds. Mind you, this was not plain, mindless slogging: eight fours and six sixes meant that 68 runs were scored off fourteen balls from boundaries. Which meant he also ran his singles pretty well.

He was the third batsman to fall, with the score at 156 off 22.1 overs, which meant that he had scored more than double of what the other batsmen had, as he fell. It was then that another obscure cricketer took over: Vasbert Drakes took 5/44, and Canada were bowled out for 202 in 42.5 overs. Hinds, Lara and Sarwan chased down the target in 20.3 overs, but not before Davison had his revenge.

Davison exploded once again in the World Cup, against New Zealand: he scored 75 off 61, and removed Astle, McMillan and Cairns. But then, that performance was largely overlooked, as the impact wasn't this dramatic. His career spanned 27 matches in which he scored 766 runs and took 31 wickets. Just like Fletcher, he would probably have had a substantial career, had he played for a test-playing nation.

10. Collins Omondi Obuya, 5/24 vs Sri Lanka, 24.2.2003. (scorecard here)
Kenya accumulated 210/9, Otieno scoring 60. Obuya, batting at eight, remained unbeaten on 13.

Sri Lanka lost Jayasuriya early, and then Atapattu; but Tillekeratne and Aravinda steadied the ship, and at 71/2, victory seemed inevitable.

Obuya had taken nine wickets from his first eighteen ODIs at a regal 78 runs per wicket. Bringing him on first change here was probably the best move in Tikolo's career as a leader.

The leg-breaks worked. Tillekeratne was out, caught by Suji; Mahela was deceived by the flight and was caught and bowled; Sangakkara was caught behind, and so was Aravinda; and Obuya finished off the murder by having Vaas caught and bowled.

He bowled unchanged, and by the time he finished, Sri Lanka were 123/7, well beyond redemption. They finally succumbed for 157.

Obuya had a decent world cup, taking thirteen wickets from nine matches at 28, earning a call-up from Warwickshire. However, his bowling somehow plummeted into insignificance, not even bowling in the past 21 matches. His career numbers read 29 wickets from 86 matches at 51. He played as a specialist batsman, and managed 1,517 runs at an unimpressive 24.

11. Niall John O'Brien, 72 vs Pakistan, 17.3.2007. (scorecard here)
Ireland surprised all and sundry by tying their first match of the tournament. This time they took things a step further: they bowled out Pakistan, struck by match-fixing and other stuff (including Woolmer's mysterious death later in the tournament) for 132.

That was only the half-way mark, though. The target needed to be achieved. Mohammad Sami certainly wasn't going to get away easily: he removed Bray and Morgan with 15 on the board. O'Brien joined Porterfield.

O'Brien decided to play his strokes. He scored 39 off a 47-run partnership for the third wicket before Porterfield fell. Botha scored a duck: 69/4 now, with O'Brien on 46 (out of 55 from his stay at the crease).

O'Brien was now joined by his brother Kevin. They had another partnership, and Niall finally fell for a brilliant 72 (the others, including extras, managed to accumulate just twenty during this span), and the remaining runs were scored off by the lower middle-order after a few hiccups.

Niall still plays for Ireland, his forty ODIs yielding 924 runs. He has scored six more fifties, but the 72 remains his highest and his best.

***

Performances that missed out narrowly:
Gary Gilmour, 5/48 vs West Indies, 21.2.1975. - this was one Gilmour performance too many for the list
Vic Marks, 5/39 vs Sri Lanka, 11.6.1983. - a very good spell, but against the minnows of the time
Ken MacLeay, 6/39 vs India, 13.6.1983. - another spell, but achieved mostly when India were going for the slog during the chase
Kirti Azad, 1/28 vs England, 22.6.1983. - Botham's wicket and an 28 off 12 overs: the only thing that kept him out was a better performance by Amarnath in the same match
Andy Waller, 83* vs Sri  Lanka, 23.2.1992. - scored off 45 balls; kept out because Andy Flower overshadowed him by a serene 115*
Mark Burmester, 3/36 vs India, 7.3.1992. - wickets of Srikkanth, Tendulkar and Azharuddin: left out because India were going for the onslaught
John Davison, 75 and 3/61 vs New Zealand, 3.3.2003. - just like Gilmour, this was one Davison performance too many
Austin Codrington, 5/27 vs Bangladesh, 11.2.2003. - a historic maiden win for Canada, but unfortunately, Codrington's wickets comprised of the tail

***

Players that missed out narrowly (on the ground that they weren't really lesser names):
Winston Davis, 7/51 vs Australia, 11,12.6.1983.
Saleem Yousuf, 56* vs Pakistan, 16.10.1987.
Geoff Allott, 4/37 vs Australia, 20.5.1999.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Karan Arjun - a musical saga

The idea for this post came to my mind the moment I saw the name of the first responder to my previous post. I am not a Shah Rukh fan - I never was. However, he has possibly been a part of the maximum number of I-love-but-almost-no-one-I-know-does movies: Kabhi Haan Kabhi Naa, Oh Darling! Ye Hai India, DuplicatePhir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani, Badshah, Chak De! India, Om Shanti Om and, above all, Karan Arjun.

It's debatable whether the movie holds a bigger place in the history of Bollywood or in my life: this was the only movie that I watched during the three-month vacation (they called it study-leave) before my +2. Mind you, this was the balcony at Priya, valued at Rs 12/-, and I had to pay Rs 20/- to buy it from the black-marketers (his initial value was Rs 30/-, which meant a profit of 150%).

The next three hours remain among the most unforgettable of my life: I can easily bask in a gooey puddle of nostalgia by reliving them, but then, I seem to have picked up a highly contagious variant of acartohygieiophobia of late.

They remain the best-spent twenty rupees of my life. Well, almost, now that I remember my first pack of... well, forget it. Let's not deviate.

Of course Karan Arjun is a pathbreaker. It's a masterpiece. It's a miracle. It's not only the best Salman Khan movie that has ever existed, but it's also the best Mamta Kulkarni movie by a gargantuan margin (I mean, it's better than works of genius like Bhookamp, Aashik Aawara, Waqt Humara Hai and Beqabu, not just individually, but all four of them put together).

It had Amrish Puri. It had Kunti Raakhee as the mother. It had mere Karan Arjun ayenge. It had the inimitable Ranjeet. It had Kajol at her fleshiest best. And above all, it had two reincarnations of the same sex.

My words, alas, aren't worthy to write a full review of the movie. I shall have to restrict my creative desires to a review of the musical album. If, some day, I turn out to be the blogger I aspire to become, I promise to write a full review on one of the greatest movies anyone has ever dared to make.

Let's get started, then:

Sooraj kab door gagan se (video here):
Move aside, Yaadon ki Baarat: you never had Kumar Sanu, Udit Narayan and Alka Yagnik teeing off with ho-o-o-o-o (well, I suppose the 26-letter alphabet isn't good enough to depict Sanu's nasal genius).

What does one start with? The simple brilliance of the lyricist? He needs to elaborate the significance of pyar ka bandhan. How does he do it? With examples, of course. He uses four sets: sooraj-gagan, chanda-kiran, khushboo-pawan and bahaar-chaman. Immediately the audience slips into ease: not only has the poet been elegant enough to use four amazingly rhyming words, but the visual impact of the brothers being in love with each other is also incredibly prominent. It's a wonder that they didn't kiss each other in the process (reincarnation of a gay incest relationship would be too much to handle for an audience of any kind):
And then, the lyricist drops in the first hint: janmon ka, ye sangam hai. Oh, have you seen a hint more conspicuous? When the brothers are reborn, the audience gasped: so this is what he meant by janmon ka? Wow. That subtle.

And when Salman lips Mamta ke mandir ki hai tu sabse pyari moorat, the intelligent viewer smiles in acknowledgement: of course - a direct reference to the fact that he'd need to convince his mother about Mamta Kulkarni - the girl he'd bring home as her bahu.

And you think it stops there? It would be wrong if I had missed out on Rakesh Roshan's mission to use the movie as a literacy campaign:
Did I mention that the line says "janmon ki deewaaron par hum pyar apna likh jayen?" Janmon ki - isn't that subtle? Wow.
There are also direct references to The Great Epic: as they stand in front of The Sun, taking turns to sing the lines one by one, it's Arjun who eclipses The Sun, not Karan: of course, sons do not deliberately put their fathers into background. And remember how Arjun used the eclipse to his advantage to behead Jayadrath?
The song review, of course, would not be complete if I do not mention the tribute paid to two classics:
Mother India
Deewaar
And a Hollywood one (who cares if released three years after our movie?):
The Mask of Zorro
Magic. There's no other word for it.

Jaati hoon main (video here):
Yet another work of genius, as expected. The song starts off with Shah Rukh and Kajol getting, a tad, er, unstable, inside a, well, stable. Shah Rukh's virtually owns a farm here, and is yet depicted as poor: this is a superb take on world economy - on the fact that the people we usually consider rich are not, well, rich by global standards.

Since he stays in a farm, it's expected of Shah Rukh to often pose as if he's riding a horse. Enlightened people call this innertia of motion.
Don't laugh, Kajol: read your mechanics books again
Next we get to the classiest lines of the song: jaadu tere jism ka, teri or khniche mujhe.
The entire jism?
Of course not.
Which part, then?
Can't you see where Kajol is?
Come on, it can't be that direct.
Can't you see a windmill in the background?
So?
Which country do windmills typically represent?
Netherlands.
Yes. So which part of the jism now?
(Just an afterthought: you can find an alternative meaning of jism here.)
So you think Papa Roshan is all about subtle physical hints? No, my friend. He does not approve of free sex among the youth. See the message, in uppercase, and in big red fonts, that he sends out to the younger generation:
And then, in the second antara, we get to know about the tragedy: Shah Rukh is colour-blind. The frustration seeps out in Sanu's voice as he utters leke tere lab ki laali, jeevan ko rangeen karenge...

Whose lips do you think he mentions here? Kajol's? Think again: this is exactly when he utters those lines:
And all along I was wondering what that poster was doing inside a farm. Stupid me. How could I have ever thought that there exists a prop without a purpose?

Ik munda meri umar ka (video here)
Initially this seemed to be a very straightforward song of seduction. Rakesh Roshan was possibly speaking on behalf of all Indian apparel manufacturers: even if the girl concerned is Mamta Kulkarni, even if the voice is that of a 65-year old Lata Mangeshkar, the tune is incredibly monotonous and the lyrics are the flattest ever, you just need to shift to Indian outfits to woo an apparently disinterested man. If that's not patriotism for you, what is?

That's not all, though. For aspiring biology students, Rakesh Roshan has put up a lesson of sorts: what if the poor kids are not aware where the human heart is? The director cleverly uses the song for some basic physiology lessons:
"dilon ki ye baaten nahin jaanta"... why the plural, though?
However, all discussion about this masterpiece remains incomplete without the two soccer references. This was 1995, and what happened in 1994? Have a look at Mamta Kulkarni's outfit above, check out the IFA shield winners here, and check this out:

And on a much larger note, who won the 1994 soccer world cup? Now check this scene:
And compare to this:
Two homages paid. In one song. Priceless. Simply priceless.


Sooraj kab door gagan se Part II (video here):
I have always loved when a song has multiple versions in a movie. Traditionally the slower version used to appear with the word SAD, inside parentheses, next to it. This, strangely, though slower than its parent version, is also the happier one in the context of the movie.

Not much to say here, other than the obvious reference to Mahabharat: in their previous lives both brothers had earrings: this time only one of them has a kundal on. Guess who?


Bhangra pa le (video here):
Yes, Raakhee, dressed in new attire, puts tilak on the foreheads of her sons.
Are they going to a war? No, guys. They're going to sing bhangra pa le. I did sit up straight in my comfortable balcony seat. This is going to be serious stuff, I thought.

No, that isn't what the pathbreaking song is all about. This stretches even further, beyond the fact that they had used the synonymous and homophonous jindri instead of zindagi (oh, the genius!).

We get back to Mahabharat again. The brothers get to share a woman (or whatever they get of her), mostly because one of them has his woman abducted. Welcome to the the ancient brothers-on-one-leg-lift-her-lehenga dance:
We also get a flashback during the song. It's not uncommon, but in this case, well, Shah Rukh is reminded of jaati hoon main during the song: I do not typically think of other songs while singing one, but then, that's what separates Bollywood superstars from us, isn't it?

And then, as things start warming up, both heroes draw swords. I'm shocked: are they going to re-enact that Zorro thing from the sooraj kab door gagan se? Then the lyrics stream in: sachchai ko kaat sake, aisi koi talwaar kahaan? Magical.
And in case you've missed it, note the East Bengal colours.

Genius. Sheer genius.

Mujhko Rana ji maaf karna (video here):
Bollywood has come a long way over the years. However, the one thing that I really miss in them are court-scenes. This song made me relive those long-lost court-scenes from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. If you do not believe me, just scan through the lyrics here. No objection milord, no order-order, no taaziraat-e-Hind dafa 302 ke tahat, no nothing: just dismissal of a case for adultery through a song.

Who said Bollywood lyrics was on the decline? Morons.

There is also the array of emotions Amrish Puri has displayed throughout the song. The sheer range shows his portrayal as a connoisseur of Rajasthani folk music depicting court-scenes, and in the end he starts participating, first in the gup-chup, then in an eerie lantern dance, and then in an all-out jig. Not only does the great man participate himself, but he gets the rest of the gang to join in as well.


I'm not sure which one displays ecstasy most accurately, but the emotion is unmistakable: that's how connoisseurs react at Dover Lane every year
The gup-chup dance; even Ranjeet cannot resist it
The lantern dance: look how the connoisseur and his team form a queue
Yayness!
And in case it's not evident from the last two pictures dance, the song features Feroz, the person who had played Arjun in B R Chopra's television saga (they're simply too obsessed about the epic, it seems). Here's a close-up:
The other Arjun
Epic stuff. Literally.

Jai Ma Kaali (video here):
This is one of the most informative songs ever.


For example, there are massive (humongous would be a better word) Kaali temples in Rajasthan with waterfalls inside them. Since the village doesn't seem to have electricity, it's very likely that the falls are natural. Thanks for the knowledge on geography, Mr Roshan: it's not everyday that you come across a waterfall in the rugged topography.
Then again, we get to see the brethren, clad in harem-style-dhotis, vest-like jackets with black diagonal stripes and uber-smart bandanas, complete with camouflaging war-paint on their faces. This, again, is accepted as perfectly normal attire for Shyamasangeet practitioners in Kaali temples in obscure Rajasthani villages:
As an addition to the Wikipediaesque knowledge base that the song is, Rakesh Roshan also teaches us a four-step process to win back the woman you love from her captors, however powerful:
Step 1: Walk past the girl
Step 2: She stands up
Step 3: She takes a step backwards
Step 4: Mission accomplished; now continue with the song
The dumbstruck audience doesn't really have an option but to pray, demand or grumble for a sequel to arrive. They might as well utter mere Karan Arjun phirse aayenge.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Son of The Sun

The initial reaction that I receive when I utter the name Karna is that of sympathy, often accompanied by a comparison (often uncalled-for) with his half-brother, Arjun. Indeed, Karna was a great donor (daataKorno, or a donor as generous as Karna, is a phrase often used in Bengali to emphasise generosity) and a very loyal friend. He might not have done the best possible thing at times (calling Draupadi a prostitute in public, for example), but he was someone people usually respected a lot.

There are a few side aspects as well. People generally sympathise with Karna because he was rejected at birth by Kunti, and was rejected by Draupadi in her swayamvar (though she later went on to confess that she had the hots for our hero). What people casually overlook that despite the rather humble background of his foster-parents, Karna was given an entire kingdom (Anga, present-day Jharkhand) at a very young age. He was a friend of Duryodhan; he was generally loved by all; and he was born with supposedly impregnable kavach (armour) and kundal (earrings).

I've found this rather intriguing, by the way: though the Pandavs were all exceptional people in one way or the other (sons of Gods were meant to be exceptional), none of them actually bore a physical appendage from birth. Also, I understand an impregnable armour, but why were tough earrings so important? To protect the organs named after himself?

I do not have a problem with all this. What I do really have a problem with is some people trying to establish the fact that Karna was as good a warrior as Arjun, if not better, and had he been lucky, he might have defeated Arjun on that fateful seventeenth day of The War.

Luck? Let us investigate. Let us find out the factors generally seen as reasons for Karna's defeat and analyse them:

Drona refusing to teach him:
This was the pre-reservation era, so Drona could afford the luxury of rejecting students from a "lower" caste at his will. He had done it with Ekalavya, and now he sought out Karna. Of course, Drona was someone with one of the most spectacular births ever (mentioned in details here), so he was possibly justified.

However, did it do Karna any real harm? He went to Parashuram, fooled him to believe that he was a Brahmin and took lessons from him. Parashuram's students included people of no less than Bhishma and Drona (albeit at earlier times), so he didn't really lose out on a lot as a result of Drona's refusal.

Curse 1: Parashuram
The story goes like this: Parashuram was once sleeping with his head rested on Karna's lap (I assume that it was the softest option he could find). An insect stung Karna and sucked blood (from a place not covered by his armour, or, more importantly, earrings), and Karna tolerated the immense pain with the noble intention of not letting his teacher wake up.

Little did he know that by doing so, he had actually exceeded the universally accepted endurance cut-off for Brahmins and had entered into the Kshatriya domain. His teacher cast one look at him, and took out his endurance chart, as shown below:
The illustrious axe-man thus cursed his student that he shall forget his lessons in the moment he shall need them most.

Now, put yourself in an identical situation:
1. You've been cursed that you shall not remember organic chemistry in the JEE hall.
2. You're allowed to carry study material inside the hall.
3. You've got years and years to prepare that study material.
How would you have solved the issue? And I'm not even mentioning Ghajini here, since Harvard MBA graduates who write diaries in Hindi don't really count.

Curse 2: random Brahmin
Karna was not a good student of history, otherwise he would have taken deer-hunting more seriously. The courses of the two great epics of our nation have been dictated by two shots at what the shooters thought were deer: as a result Dasharath and Pandu were cursed, and we all know the rest.

He made the same error, and shot the cow of a Brahmin. The Brahmin, instead of asking for his cow to be replaced, cursed Karna that when he would be in dire straits in a war, the wheel(s) of his chariot shall get embedded in the earth.

This could have been, once again, solved easily:
1. He could have used back-up chariots. If one went down, just shift to the next one.
2. He could have shared someone else's chariot. It wouldn't have been his chariot.
3. Easiest of all, he could have trained himself to ride something without wheels. Like what? Remember, he was the king of Anga, modern-day Jharkhand: which is where the Dalma Hills are, and anyone in West Bengal is aware of the headlines the oversized Dalma fauna makes. Come on, even the King of Gods used an elephant, and there were at least two super-elephants in Kurukshetra itself - used by Bhagadatta and Shalwa (is this the one who had rejected Amba?). What stopped Karna from training himself from fighting on elephant-back? And even if we assume that he suffered from serious vertigo, he could at least have taken up cavalry training - something without wheels.

The conversation with Kunti:
I won't go into the details of this. True, Kunti, whose brains were surpassed by only Krishna's, chose the best possible moment to come to his eldest son. Karna vowed that he wouldn't kill any of the four Pandavs barring Arjun. It's true that Karna had actually spared all four of them at various points of time during the war, and had, say, Yudhishthir been down during the war, a lot of things would've happened differently. For example, Bheem might have been crowned king in the end, Draupadi would have had the same partner 20% more frequently, and the way up to heaven in the end would've ended in a remarkable anticlimax.

But then, the duel with Arjun would have happened anyway, and his own fate would have remained the same in the end.

Giving away the kavach and kundal:
We all know the tale: to save his son Arjun Indra needed to acquire Karna's kavach and mysterious kundal. Our hero's father anticipated this, and warned Karna about this. When he learnt that Karna cannot refuse anyone anything, he asked Karna to ask for something in return: Indra's ekpurushghatini (ekaghni in some versions) weapon, which roughly translates to "killer of exactly one person".

The barter was made. Karna severed his twin protections (one of them, in case I haven't mentioned before, being somewhat irrelevant), and Indra handed him over the lethal weapon.

So, did Karna lose or gain out of this exchange? Would the kavach have really helped him? As we shall find out, it did not aid him in previous encounters, with Arjun or otherwise. The weapon, though, came in serious aid when Ghatotkach threatened to win the war almost single-handedly for the Pandavs.

Something has always confused me: why did Karna not start off Kurukshetra like this?
1. Enter the battlefield.
2. Find Arjun.
3. Cast the weapon at him.
That would have helped rewrite history, isn't it?

Shalya's sledging:
We all know what Shalya did as Karna's charioteer on the seventeenth day. What most are not aware of is that Arjun was the receiving end of much more severe stuff (one might even call it verbal bashing) on the same day from - hold your breath - Yudhishthir: possibly the only time he had lot his temper. Arjun's fault? Karna was still alive.

Karna crumbled under verbal pressure, something that even club cricketers do not succumb to these days. Arjun simply motivated himself after the Yudhishthir confrontation. We all know who won.

***

Now, let us take a closer look at Karna's military career. I am not going into ball-by-ball details - this is a simple summary of the various military experiences he had been through. I wonder how many Karna fans I would be able to convert with my effort, but it's at least worth a try.

The arena
Imagine this. An entire batch of students graduate. They're about to demonstrate their skills in an arena. Now, the star student walks up and shows off incredible stuff. Then, there enters a challenger. He demonstrates everything Arjun had (so Drona's tutions, however great, were not necessarily the best), and challenges the latter to a duel.

Oooh - the drama!

Kunti recognises Karna (possibly from that useless kundal of his) and faints. Kripacharya asks Karna about his identity. A random charioteer walks up and hugs the challenger and acknowledges him as his son. Kripa claims that Karna's birth made him ineligible to fight Arjun. Just for the sake of it, a detailed account of Kripa's birth can be found here.

Duryodhan intervened and coronated Karna as the king of Anga, but the two half-brothers were kept apart for the time-being.

Verdict: Arjun 0, Karna 0.

The swayamvar:
Draupadi's swayamvar had attracted a lot of people: mostly kings, but the open-to-all nature meant that Brahmins were also welcome. Karna was the first one to tie the string to the bow, but then, Draupadi rejected Karna because of his birth. Once again, if you're really keen on Draupadi's birth, please visit here.

The rest is history. Arjun, disguised as a Brahmin, did the necessary, and just when the Pandavs were about to sneak away with Draupadi, many of the kings challenged them: Karna led them by getting involved in a direct duel with Arjun; and losing it promptly; with his kavach, and more importantly, his kundal on; without the chariot excuse, either.

Verdict: Arjun 1, Karna 0.

Defeat by the Gandharvas:
When the Pandavs were in the forest, it occurred to Duryodhan to pay a visit and make fun of their temporary poverty. He, accompanied by his brothers of various degrees of glamour, made the journey. He was also accompanied by Karna and his kundal, Shakuni, and a seriously sizeable army.

Then, things started going wrong. A cohort of Gandharvas attacked the Kauravs, and turned out to be more than a handful for them. Karna was the only one to provide some resistance, and even he was defeated by the Gandharva King Chitrasen. Duryodhan and Dushshasan were taken as captives, while Karna ran away with his life.

Who did the army go to for help? The Pandavs, of course. They came. They saw. They conquered. Chitrasen tried Gandharva magic, but Arjun turned out to be seriously good: the Kauravs were released. The entire incident shook Duryodhan so much that he contemplated suicide, only to be talked out of it with some effort.

Verdict: Arjun 2, Karna 0.

Defeat at Matsya:
Duryodhan's spies possibly made him suspicious that the Pandavs were hiding somewhere in Matsya; combining this with the facts that the Matsya commander-in-chief Kichak was dead and the Matsya kingdom was famous for its livestock, Duryodhan launched a two-pronged attack: he joined hands with the Trigarta (Haryana, possibly) king Susharma.

Susharma went around the Matsya kingdom (north Rajasthan, possibly) and attacked from the south. Duryodhan's army took the shorter route and attacked from the north.

Susharma's army attacked first: the attack was repelled by the Matsya king, Virat, helped by the four disguised Pandavs. Bheem (as the royal chef, Vallabh) played a significant role, and the attack was dealt with, successfully.

As all this was happening, Duryodhan's army attacked the unprotected northern gates of the city: it was the entire army this time, including the Who's Who of Hastinapur. Bhishma. Drona. Kripa. Duryodhan. Karna (with his overhyped kundal). Dushshasan. Ashwatthama.

The palace had only one male left: Uttar, the young prince of Matsya (I have always found it amusing that someone called Uttar would be required to protect the northern flank). He kept on boasting that he could easily have taken on the army if he had a charioteer. Arjun, disguised as an eunuch (well, he was actually serving a one-year curse by Urvashi), volunteered.

As Uttar approached the army, he, well, to put it rather subtly, wished he had been wearing a yellow dhoti on that particular day. He panicked, got down from his chariot, and tried to run away. The eunuch chased and brought him back (let's swap roles); he also got to a certain tree and got the weapons hidden atop it.

What followed was possibly the greatest solo display in the book: Arjun felled the entire Kaurav army; he didn't even kill them - he simply made all of them unconscious (some sources say that Bhishma only pretended to be so, since he did not want to fight Arjun).

An entire army. Defeated. By one person.

Verdict: Arjun 3, Karna 0.

Day 13: Abhimanyu
As we know, Karna did not enter the battlefield for the first ten days, and was only used as a supersub for Bhishma. The first two days of his presence were somewhat eventless: the shangshaptak army (sworn to kill or die), led by Susharma, challenged Arjun and took him away from the centre of events, whereas Drona had turned his focus to capture Yudhishtir alive.

The cat-and-mouse game carried on for two days: Drona tried to reach Yudhishthir, but he was kept away by the likes of Dhrishtadyumna, Satyaki and Bheem.

Then came the thirteenth day. Drona, under the impression that Krishna and Arjun were the only ones who knew how to penetrate it, invoked Chakravyuha. He was wrong: Abhimanyu knew the way into it but not the way out (see here to learn why).

Yudhishthir asked Abhimanyu to enter, and instructed his entire army to follow him. However, the entrance was guarded by Jayadrath. As per Shiva's boon, Jayadrath would be able to defeat all four Pandavs (barring Arjun) and their entire army for a single day.

This was that day. Abhimanyu rushed through, and suddenly realised that he was trapped inside, alone.

In an incredible display of valour, Abhimanyu kept on defeating one Kaurav rathi after another: he killed Lakshman, Duryodhan's son. He almost killed Dushshasan. And he held off the likes of Karna and Drona quite easily.

The Kauravs, Karna included, had only one option: they surrounded Abhimanyu from all sides. A team of seven warriors (Drona, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Karna, Kritavarma, Bhurishrava and Brihadval) attacked him from all directions simultaneously.

Abhimanyu responded by killing off Brihadval, and making life difficult for the others. Then, on Drona's advice, Karna went behind Abhimanyu and severed his bow. He tried multiple weapons, and lost each and every of them, including both wheels of his chariot, which he used as shields. Ultimately he fell to the rather low-profile son of Dushshasan, who hit him when he was just gaining consciousness.

Not only did Abhimanyu show incredible valour, he also showed the limitations of the Kaurava army. If he could defeat each and every one of them this easily, what would Arjun do?

Verdict: This wasn't really a confrontation with Arjun, but this was the first time in Kurukshetra that Karna was up against a seriously good warrior. And he could only compete being the part of a group. That too by attacking him from behind. Great warrior? You decide.

Day 14: Jayadrath
Arjun, of course, had to kill someone to avenge Abhimanyu. Strangely, he chose Jayadrath, not the men who surrounded and massacred the helpless kid (can you imagine Thakur saying mujhe Gabbar nahin, unke checkpost-wala guard chahiye?).

Drona created a vyuha inside a vyuha (suchivyuha - the needle formation - inside chakrashakatvyuha - the vehicle-with-wheels formation), and kept Jayadrath at the heart of the suchivyuha. He would be surrounded by Karna, Shalya, Kripa, Ashwatthama, Bhurishrava and Brishasen (Karna's son, in case you're not aware) - all seriously good warriors. The outside vyuha entrance was manned by Drona himself. The plot was to defend Jayadrath, and get Arjun to take his own life.

Arjun started off in a mad rush. When he reached Drona, Krishna simply drove the chariot past him and was out of reach before Drona could react. Mind you, Arjun started this mad rush absolutely alone, unaided, matched only by Sehwag in the 21st century AD. Soon after, Yudhishthir sent Satyaki behind him (who went past Drona, once again). Bheem was sent next, and the chunk of humanity, certainly not one for subtleties, simply smashed Drona's chariot, massacred his charioteer and went on to join forces with Arjun and Satyaki.

At this point of time, Karna, for reasons only known to him, broke the plan and challenged Bheem to a duel. He was not alone: Duryodhan sent sixteen of his brothers to help him. Bheem possibly used tally marks as he killed each one of them (the count was thirty-one now) - and emerged in a fierce duel with Karna.

Of course, Bheem was no expert in long-distance duels. Karna was a far better archer, and soon he lost his bow, and as he proceeded on foot towards Karna, his sword and mace as well. He had no option but to fling elephant corpses (!), but it was clearly a losing battle. Karna did spare him, though, thanks to his promise to Kunti.

Karna's deviation from the original plan also motivated Bhurishrava to come out of the innermost ring; he was killed, though, in a fight that was basically the outcome of multiple vows and promises made over generations (there shall be a blog post on that some day).

Arjun marched on, though, occasionally stopping to create random lakes out of nowhere to provide water for his exhausted horses. We all know the rest: he reached Jayadrath, Krishna covered The Sun (Karna's father, in case you've forgotten), Jayadrath peeked out and was beheaded. Karna and team were unable once again to contain Arjun. It didn't even strike Karna to use his one-time-use killer weapon, which might have decided the war that very moment. I wonder what he was saving it for.

Verdict: Arjun 4, Karna 0.

Day 14: War at night - Ghatotkach
For whatever reason, they decided to carry on the war at night as well. Karna launched a furious assault on the Pandavs, and when a tired Arjun wanted to counter him, Krishna decided to send Ghatotkach - of course he had Karna's stupidly unused weapon in mind.

The rakshasas were supposedly stronger at night, and Ghatotkach turned out to be more than a handful for the Kauravs. He didn't rely on sheer power or military ability - he used magic to great effects. He summoned random animals and birds of prey, accompanied by demons and ghosts and other non-trivial entities; he disappeared and reappeared; he flew; he threw multiple weapons in multiple directions simultaneously; he killed the opposition rakshasas; it was like Dale Steyn bowling at you from both ends, unchanged.

Karna was forced to use up his prized possession: as Ghatotkach realised what was going to happen, he increased his size many times and fell on the Kaurav army, which was, unfortunately, converted to a two-dimensional pulp.

Verdict: 0-4 down in bilateral contests; no kavach or kundal left; main weapon used up. And still people would blame LUCK for the upcoming defeat. Also, I suppose if Abhimanyu and Ghatotkach attacked the Kauravs together, they might have won the war without any help from their parents.

Day 16: Pandavs dominate
After Drona's demise on day fifteen, Karna was appointed senapati. The first day was pathetic for the Kauravs: Bheem and Arjun killed them at will; Duryodhan was almost killed by Yudhishthir TWICE on the same day; and even Nakul reduced Kaurav counts by plenty.

Karna did manage to stop Nakul after a fierce duel, but spared his life for his promise to Kunti. He killed a lot of Panchal soldiers that afternoon, but as a unit the Kauravs were no match for the Pandavs: and Arjun was simply more than a handful.

That night Duryodhan had Karna up for a show-cause: why are you not confronting Arjun? He did have a point there.

Karna possibly meant to say "er, I'm 0-4 down in bilateral contests, and I don't have my main weapon, kavach and most importantly, my kundal, and I'm also at the receiving end of two potent curses and have been too stupid and lazy to counter them, so I'm mortally afraid of taking him on". Instead, he blabbered something like "he-has-a-better-chariot-and-charioteer-and-horses-I-need-better-ones-myself-to-take-him-on. It-would-be-nice-to-have-Shalya-as-my-charioteer."

Sadly for Karna, they were granted. Even the Shalya bit. Poor soul. He really didn't expect Duryodhan to trust him to the extent of removing possibly his second-best warrior from direct confrontation.

Verdict: Not much. See previous verdict. Now he had to fight Arjun. What were the odds the previous night, guys?

Day 17: The other four Pandavs
Karna did take on Yudhishthir, of all people, early in the day. Yudhishthir showed surprising skills and felled Karna; Karna recovered and had his revenge, and once again Karna's promise saved another Pandav's life. Bheem joined the scene now; he showed sublime archery skills, for once, and had his revenge: his arrows made Karna lose consciousness. Hell, what chance did he have against Arjun now?

Arjun, on the other hand, was quite brutal on the Kauravs. He took on Duryodhan, Kripa, Kritavarma and Shakuni simultaneously, and defeated them easily.

Karna was stopped by Yudhishthir, Nakul and Sahadev: the three Pandavs fought valiantly, but they didn't really stand a chance: Karna defeated all of them, and wounded Yudhishthir severely, who left the battlefield on Sahadev's chariot. Once again, three more Pandav lives were saved thanks to Karna's vow.

Arjun returned to the "pavillion" to see Yudhishthir in the ICCU. He possibly expected him to be on saline, but Yudhishthir, for once, uttered the choicest of words: Arjun felt so humiliated that he rushed to kill Big Brother, and it was only thanks to Krishna's intervention that sanity was restored, and Bheem's royal career did not take off. They brothers possibly even shook hands.

Thus charged up, Arjun returned to the battlefield.

Verdict: The same as before. Additionally, Arjun is now more brutal; Karna's own charioteer is sledging him; and two lesser Pandavs have already felled him earlier in the day. Arjun is yet to be defeated, barring temporarily by Bhishma on the ninth day. Mwahahahahahahaha.

Day 17: The final duel
Whatever excuse Karna might have had to avoid Arjun went straight out of the window: Arjun killed Brishasen soon after his return.

They met. To be fair to Karna, he put up a gallant fight. The highlight of the duel is possibly the intervention of Ashwasen, the son of Takshak. Arjun had killed his mother when he put Khandav to fire, and he sought revenge. He disguised himself as an arrow and entered Karna's quiver, and was cast at Arjun.

For some reason, this was supposed to be an unstoppable arrow: Arjun's repertoire had no answer to him, and Krishna intervened in the end, pressing the chariot with his toes to dig the wheels inside the ground by a few inches. Arjun lost his golden crown (a crown so famous that Arjun was also called Kiriti - the one with the crown) as a result.

Krishna recovered the chariot, and the fierce battle continued. And then it happened: Karna's chariot wheel got stuck in the ground. Karna pleaded mercy (and - heehaw! - asked Arjun to fight fair). With one final desperate effort, Karna hit Arjun on the arm and had him unconscious as he tried to recover his wheel, which, with a proper back-up chariot, would have been a totally unncessary act, as discussed above.

Arjun recovered. Cast an arrow. After a while the wheel extracted itself on its own, and Shalya returned with an empty chariot.

Verdict: It's up to the reader now.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Lagaan match

It's over a week past that time of the year, folks, when Aamir Khan usually decides to launch his new release. Last time he attempted an idiotic threesome which turned out to be rather iconic. I was so engrossed watching it that I had left my favourite woollen cap behind in a NOIDA theatre.


The first Aamir Khan movie that really made me even consider him was Baazi: I remember watching it at Basusree, and it was the only movie I had watched in the short time span between my Higher Secondary and J2EE examinations. Baazi, though a dud in the box office, was actually a sleek, smart production.


I made a note of the director's name. A few years later I saw his name on the poster once again, once again with Aamir Khan's rugged (well, they tried to make him look rugged) face spanning half of the poster. The movie was called Lagaan.


The name attracted curiousity in itself. What could lagaan possibly mean? It certainly wasn't lagan (effort). And since the movie wasn't in Bengali, Aamir and team surely wasn't inviting everyone to an orgy.


Deepayan, on his way out to Madison, WI, saw the movie in Delhi; he emailed me that it was the second movie with Suhasini Mulay in it where Amitabh Bachchan was the narrator AND the protagonist was called Bhuvan. Yes, we used to be insane. We possibly still are.


Anyway, all that is not why I want to write the article in the first place. I loved Lagaan. It remains one of those rare movies that I have watched four times in theatres (twice in Menoka, and once each in Basusree - alone - and Hind). There has never been a movie - Sholay included - where I have shouted, cheered and clapped so much during a movie.


But this is not about all that, either. It isn't even about the fact that it had A K Hangal in it, who looked the same as he did in Sholay. This is about something that I have always wanted to do: write a report of the match, and present a scorecard with maximum possible information.


***


Let's get started with the squads, then:
In batting order, the Champaner XI (let's call them Indians, for the sake of patriotism) comprised of:


  1. Bhuvan the wonder-what (Aamir Khan), captain: your long-innings batsman and first-change medium fast bowler; reminiscent of Jacques Kallis, it's just that Bhuvan led his side as well
  2. Deva Singh Sodhi, the ex-militant Sardar (Pradeep Singh Rawat): yet another quality batsman and opening bowler; two all-rounders of this quality in the same side can actually make any side a quality one
  3. Arjan the blacksmith (Akhilendra Mishra): a hot-headed powerful batsman, possibly not the ideal no. 3
  4. Lakha the woodcutter (Yashpal Sharma): another specialist batsman who could field quite well as well
  5. Bagha the mute temple drummer (Amin Hajee): yet another hot-headed powerful batsman
  6. Ismail of unknown profession (Raj Zutshi): given his cool temperament, batted 2-3 slots below where he should have done; also a smooth-actioned leg-spinner
  7. Ishwar the village doctor (Shri Vallabh Vyas), wicket-keeper: also a decent batsman; possibly in the high 50s, I wondered why he was made to keep wickets
  8. Guran the tantrik (Rajesh Vivek): doesn't look quite convincing, but a surprisingly innovative and improvising all-rounder
  9. Goli the relatively rich farmer (Daya Shankar Pandey): a fast bowler with a curiously legal action
  10. Bhura the chicken farmer (Raghuveer Yadav): possibly the first specialist fielder in the history of the game; brilliant fielder, didn't bowl, batted at ten
  11. Kachra the crippled untouchable basket-maker (Aditya Lakhia): the mystery leg-break bowler (did someone mention Palwankar Baloo?)
In case you don't remember them, here's a team picture:
Left to right: Lakha, Guran, Bhura, Ishwar, Goli, Bhuvan, Ismail, Bagha, Deva, Arjan, Kachra
Ashutosh cleverly slipped in a scene where the British not only announced their squad, but also their batting order (which they, much to my relief, adhered to during the match). Here's what Captain Andrew Russell said after a practice match:
Smith and Burton (wicket-keeper) will open, with Smith to face, followed by myself at number three, followed by Brooks, Wesson, North, Benson, Harrison, Flynn, Willis, Yardley.


If you're really keen on the real names, I can provide you with two: Paul Blackthorne played Captain Russell, and Howard Lee played Burton (who subsequently went on to act in Pyar Ishq aur Mohabbat, Bose: The Forgotten Hero and The Rising: The Ballad of Mangal Pandey). For the other nine, you can look up here.


***


I was curious regarding who would officiate the match. Apparently the match was given a larger-than-life shape in 1893, and hence they got "neutral, honest" (British) umpires from Kanpur.


It was scheduled to be a three-day, one-innings match. The catch was that the Indians had to win the match: even a draw or a tie would result in the British win the challenge.


The most obvious blooper was the fact that the match involved six-ball overs. Six-ball overs were introduced in England in 1900, and in 1893, they used to have five-ball overs (this was since 1889; till 1888 they had four-ball overs).


The other not-too-obvious blooper was that they used the front-foot no-ball rule that's prevalent now (at the point of delivery, some part of the front-foot is supposed to be behind the popping crease); the law was implemented as late as 1969 (yes, The Don made all those runs when the ball was delivered from a yard or two closer).


In case this is not clear, have a look at the screenshot below (first over of the match, Deva to Smith):
No, that's not an 1893 no-ball, Ashutosh
Did they allow the substitute fielder as a runner in 1893? I have no idea, but I think they did - they wouldn't have made an error that glaring. But the error they did make was that Tipu wasn't wearing the same attire as Ismail.

What about beamers? The recent rules are quite strict on them, but in 1893, well, they were legal deliveries, and bowlers weren't banned either for overbowling them.


***


The Indian crowd, by the way, was incredibly colourful in their remarkably authentic attire, especially the women (long live Bhanu Athaiya!). They largely sat on the ground. There was a marquee, mostly for the team and their immediate family.


The British were quite organised in their cantonment, mostly seated on chairs. There was a foursome that deserves a mention here - they had some interesting comments throughout the match, which were mostly drowned in the frenzy inside the theatre, but you can pick them up on television.
Left to right: Major Warren, Colonel Boyer, Elizabeth Russell, Major Cotton
There was also Ram Singh, a British orderly of sorts, who provided commentary in Hindi; this had an awesome script - it was thought of well enough to suit the connoisseur and the ignorant.

Right, then, let's get to the match.

***

DAY ONE:


Russell wins the toss and elects to bat.

Smith takes strike, as promised. Deva gets to bowl at him.

Two things should be noted here: Bhuvan's field placements are quite good. He knows he needs slips for the new ball. But since there's no grass on the pitch and absolutely no moisture (well, had there been moisture, the movie wouldn't have happened in the first place), he has just one slip. To boot, he has placed his best fielder Bhura there. He also has a long leg (deep fine leg), and has placed Bagha, the one with the strongest arm, there.

There's no sight screen, though. Just when Deva is about to bowl the first ball, a man on horseback passed just behind him.

The fielders, though, seem remarkably confused, and everyone seemed to chase the first two balls. This is a definite blooper - they seemed to be act quite sensibly during the practice sessions.

The first few overs remain quite eventful, including Smith being bowled off a Deva no-ball (see above) and Kachra's leg-breaks reduced to uselessness, since he was unwittingly asked to share the new ball.

Interestingly, Bhuvan stood at slip himself for Kachra. The only other close-in fielder, Lakha, is at forward short-leg. Oddly, there is no sight of The Specialist Fielder nearby - one would expect him to be lurking around for the main strike bowler.

Bhura comes back as first slip for Deva, and keeps on for Kachra as well. I wonder what the logic behind Bhuvan placing himself at slip for the solitary over could have been.

Lakha, meanwhile, keeps true to his word, drops Smith off Deva and misfields incessantly.

***

And then, a few overs later, we get the first glimpse of the scorecard: the British are 62/0, with Smith on 32 and Burton on 26. Simple arithmetic gives us a total of four extras.

Bhuvan replaces Deva, Smith glances the first ball towards fine-leg, runs for a single, is sent back by Burton, and is run out by a distance, thanks to a good throw by The Specialist Fielder.

We do actually get a perfectly valid scorecard entry!
Smith      run out (Bhura/Ishwar)    32  1/62

We see the scorecard yet again, at the end of the over. It now reads 66/1, but it doesn't show the individual scores. This means that Burton is on something between 28 and 31, and Russell is on anything between 0 and 4. Interestingly, Goli stands as the solitary slip for the over - and I kept on wondering why.

And then, it's explained: he's supposed to bowl from other end. And, keeping to the team tradition, we have ANOTHER slip fielder now - Ismail!

Goli, with his peculiar action, baffles Burton twice. There is a commotion regarding his action (which also involves Elizabeth - of course, she'd have received a 75% match fee fine or something like that these days for entering the ground). Goli is allowed to carry on, and promptly bowls Burton next ball:
Burton               b Goli        >=28 <=31 2/66

Brooks walks in. Russell helps him decipher Goli's mystery, and they keep on making merry. They show a glimpse of the scorecard at some point of time, the British 132/2, with Russell on 38 and Brooks on 32.

This means that since Russell's entry, there have been 70 runs - of which Russell has scored 38 and Brooks 32. This removes the ambiguity regarding Burton - we now know his actual score:
Burton               b Goli          28  2/66

The extras, then, remain at four, which is remarkably impressive for an amateurish side with an almost geriatric wicket-keeper.

The partnership continues to flourish: Lakha drops another catch, and so does the hard-handed Bagha. Russell's strokeplay makes Colonel Boyer utter "I don't think WG Grace could have made such confident strokes", making it possibly the only occasion when the great man was mentioned in the history of Bollywood.


***


This also made me wonder - could the sentence have another significance as well? Since 1888 Grace was not the cricketer he used to be. He had almost given up bowling and averaged in the 30s every season (possibly today's 40s-equivalent) till the return of his form in Summer of 1895. Would Col. Boyer have uttered the same words, had this match been pre-1888 or post-1895? I'm not even mentioning his 1870s career.


***


Coming back to the match, the slip fielders keep on changing as well. Deva is seen bowling with Bhuvan and Ismail in the slip at various points of time in whatever remained in the day. And then, Bhuvan surprises all and sundry by placing Guan at a widish first slip off his own bowling - the fifth slip fielder of the innings. Luckily, the high score meant that the slip was largely absent, especially for the fifth bowler, Ismail.


Play concludes (after an odd number of overs, going by the ends of the umpires) at 182/2. The scoreboard clearly shows 182/2, with Russell on 62 and Brooks on 54. Batting card at the end of day's play? Piece of cake:

Smith      run out (Bhura/Ishwar)    32  1/62
Burton               b Goli          28  2/66
*Russell   not out                   62
Brooks     not out                   54
Extras                                6
Total (for 2 wickets)               182
Bowling: O M R W
Deva     ? ? ? 0
Kachra   ? ? ? 0
Bhuvan   ? ? ? 0
Goli     ? ? ? 1
Ismail   ? ? ? 0

***

We all know what happened that night: Lakha got caught, and vowed to change sides.

***

DAY TWO:

Deva starts proceedings, and the reformed Lakha takes a stunner at point first ball off Deva. Brooks falls, and this being the first ball, my job becomes remarkably easy:
Brooks     c Lakha   b Deva          54  3/182

This brings Wesson to the crease, and starts off with a lovely cover drive. Russell and Wesson bat quite well, Bagha drops another catch, Ismail bowls without a slip yet again, and Russell sweeps someone (must be one of the spinners, possibly Ismail, since Kachra was introduced much later in the day) to reach his hundred (which was, incidentally, applauded by Elizabeth, among others). Almost at the same time, Wesson hit some wonderful strokes to reach his fifty.

At lunch the British are 271/3. 89 runs in the first session, with Russell scoring at least 38 and Brooks at least 50, so we can accommodate no or one extra.

During a conversation with Colonel Boyer, Russell mentions that he was looking for a total of around 600.

***

Proceedings start after lunch. Deva bowls with Bhuvan as a first slip, Wesson takes a single (at least 51 now) and then - Bhuvan brings Kachra back for what would become the turning point of the match.

Kachra bowls without a slip, the ball pitches way outside the leg-stump, turns sharply behind Wesson's legs and hits the off-stump. Mind you, he was bowling over the wicket, which makes the angle even more grotesque. The umpire raises his finger amidst all the incredible reactions, and Colonel Boyer estimates the turn to be around three feet, which is about four sets of wickets.

Kachra continues, this time to North, with Bhura as slip. North falls first ball, caught at slip, and amidst the roar, Major Warren reminds the audience that Kachra is on a hat-trick. Benson walks out, and for some mysterious reason, steps out and tries to hoick the first ball, misses it, and is stumped.

The Indians mob Kachra, and just the way this glorious game has removed all hurdles of diversity over the years, his untouchability is forgotten. The entire team hugs him, forgetting that they had refused to play with an untouchable some time back.

Ram Singh and the scoreboard concur that from 295/3, the British are now 295/6. This allows me to make the following entries:

Wesson               b Kachra      >=51  4/295
North      c Bhura   b Kachra         0  5/295
Benson     st Ishwar b Kachra         0  6/295

***

At this point of time, Major Cotton utters "He's done it, by George!"

Huh? George? George who? George IV was a rather insignificant ruler till 1830. The more prominent George was George V, but didn't he rule from 1910? Who knew him in 1893? It was all Victoria at that point of time,  who is this George supposed to be then?

The screenshot doesn't show him, but it's really Major Cotton who utters it

***

This was followed by the most interesting change of the innings. Suddenly Bhuvan decided to introduce Guran, his sixth bowler, replacing Deva, his fastest bowler, for some unfathomable reason. Not only that, when Guran bowled his first ball to Harrison, he had two slips (for the first time in the innings) - and amazingly, both were new slip fielders: Deva and Lakha. Not only that - Bhuvan places himself at short point and Bhura at forward short-leg (mind you, he was bowling round the wicket), making me wonder that if Guran is really this good a bowler, WHY WAS HE NOT BROUGHT ON EARLIER?

You're lucky your team doesn't question a lot, Bhuvan!
To add to that, the field isn't spread out after Harrison steps out and hits him for two sixes off his first two balls. Guran has his revenge, though, flighting one over Harrison's head and having him stumped. Whether this delivery was legal is questionable, but I do trust the director on this.

Guran, of course, kept on yelling non-trivial expletives at the British. It took me the first subtitled version to realise that he was saying something non-trivial (I didn't catch the Hindi after 500 or so re-runs, but here is what the subtitle says):
You Tea-drinkers! Fleabags! Boot-wearers!
Tea-drinkers? Them? Aren't we the producers of Darjeeling and Assam? This called for some research.

Apparently, prior to East India Company, tea was used in India as a medicinal herb, not as a beverage. The East India Company made Assam the largest tea-producing area in the world in the 1850s, and at that point of time, only Indians who interacted with the British knew of it as a beverage.

Nice work, then, Ashutosh. Very well-researched.

***

Nothing else is known about this partnership, other than the fact that Guran was bowling from the other end of Kachra (the umpires are different), so there must have been a single, whether off the bat or otherwise, to have brought Harrison to the other end.
Harrison   st Ishwar b Kachra      >=12  7/307+

This brings the incredibly ancient-looking Flynn to the crease. He skies one, and Bagha is finally able to cling on to a high catch. Since there has been a change of ends to bring Flynn to the other end, the score must have been 308. Flynn's own score remains unknown, though:
Flynn      c Bagha   b Kachra         ?  8/308+

We get another glimpse of the scorecard, then: 320/8. Bhuvan brings back his seamers: he himself bowls to Russell (with Lakha as the lone slip), and has him caught by Arjan at long-off. This is quite fitting, since these are the two people who were humiliated directly by Russell.

Deva cleans up the tail by clean bowling Yardley (with Goli at slip). The British score 322. The best possible batting scorecard that can be obtained here is somewhat like this:

Smith      run out (Bhura/Ishwar)    32  1/62
Burton               b Goli          28  2/66
*Russell   c Arjan   b Bhuvan     >=100  9/320
Brooks     c Lakha   b Deva          54  3/182
Wesson               b Kachra      >=51  4/295
North      c Bhura   b Kachra         0  5/295
Benson     st Ishwar b Kachra         0  6/295
Harrison   st Ishwar b Kachra      >=12  7/307+
Flynn      c Bagha   b Kachra         ?  8/308+
Willis     not out                 <=14
Yardley              b Deva         <=2 10/322
Extras                              >=6
Total (all out)                     322
Bowling: O M R W
Deva     ? ? ? 2
Kachra   ? ? ? 4
Bhuvan   ? ? ? 1
Goli     ? ? ? 1
Ismail   ? ? ? 0
Guran    ? ? ? 1

The highlights of the innings, of course, are the mysteriously rotated slip fielders. Here are the long-awaited screenshots:
See what I meant?
The Indians began their chase in an emphatic fashion. Bhuvan opened batting with Deva and took first strike. The first partnership was a pretty decent one: Bhuvan and Deva put up 71, Bhuvan scoring 20 and Deva 49.

One of the salient features of the innings is Burton's position when he keeps wickets. He stands incredibly close to the stumps, even for the express pace of Yardley with the new ball.

Then, with Smith (the first-change bowler, after Yardley and Willis) bowling, Bhuvan hits one straight, and the ball hits the wicket at the non-striker's end as Deva backs up too much.

This is a relatively easy entry:
Deva S S   run out (Smith)           49  1/71

Russell utters "don't forget the crease" as he walks passed Deva. This is possibly meant to be sarcasm, but I never got the humour.


Arjan walks out. This is where the director has made a DEFINITE blooper. The camera follows Arjan to the crease. He takes guard. He TAKES STRIKE. I still have hope that it's the first ball of a new over. It is Smith.


Okay, Ashutosh, this is the first directorial error you have made in this match (I'm ignoring the factual ones). Since the other Bollywood directors would have made about ten times, I forgive you.


Arjan hits three boundaries, is sledged (by Smith, who was actually present when Russell had insulted Arjan a couple of months back, and repeated the same lines), loses his cool, hits one in the air and is caught by North at deep mid-wicket. This was the last ball of the over, the batsmen cross over as they do this, and Lakha has to face the first ball of the last over of the day, to be bowled by the ominous-looking Yardley.


On Russell's instructions Yardley bowls a beamer hitting Lakha on the head; he loses balance and falls, shattering the stumps. This would possibly have earned him a serious ban today, but he gets away in 1893.


An anguished Bagha walks out, hits two incredibly strong hits for sixes, loses his cool, misses the line and is bowled next ball.


Yardley's yorker smashes Ismail's toe the next ball (he's carried off in a khatiya), and Ishwar survives the loud appeal the next ball, the last of the day.


The scorecard shows Indians 99/4 at stumps, with Bhuvan STILL, yes, STILL on 20, and Ishwar on nought. Bhuvan's inactivity makes my job a bit easier, though I'm still left with four unexplained runs.


Before I type the scorecard at the end of day's play, it might be interesting to show the position of Burton and the slips for the last three balls of the last over:
Fourth ball, bowled to Bagha


Fifth ball, bowled to Ismail


Last ball, bowled to Ishwar
The scorecard, then:

*Bhuvan   not out                    20
Deva S S  run out (Smith)            49  1/71
Arjan     c North    b Smith       >=12  2/87
Lakha     hit wicket b Yardley        0  3/87
Bagha                b Yardley       12  4/99
Ismail    retired hurt                0  at 99
+Ishwar   not out                     0
Extras                              <=6
Total     (4 wickets)                99
Bowling: O M R W
Yardley  ? ? ? 2
Willis   ? ? ? 0
Smith    ? ? ? 1


DAY THREE:


They didn't show us the beginning of the third day. The first ball they showed was a strange square-cuttish stroke from Bhuvan for a four: Major Cotton utters "that must be the first fifty in the history of Indian village cricket."


Then, somewhat amusingly, Ram Singh announces after a single that Ishwar has completed his tenth run. He takes a two and a single after that, so he moves up to twelve or more. The team score, at this point of time, is at least 143 (thirty for Bhuvan, thirteen for Ishwar, plus one run with an unknown scorer that Ishwar is seen running).


Ishwar's age catches up with him: almost two days of wicket-keeping and running between the wickets with a batsman half his age is possibly a tad too much for his fitness. Shortly, off Wesson, the fourth British bowler we get to see, Bhuvan, somewhat unwisely, calls for a third run, and a choked-for-breath Ishwar falls short of the throw from a person who is possibly Harrison.


I loved the conversation that followed:
Ishwar: Nahin daud paya, nahin daud paya (I couldn't run, couldn't run).
Bhuvan: Galti humaar thi (the fault was mine).
How many captains would acknowledge their faults like this?
+Ishwar   run out (Harrison (?))   >=13  5/145+

Guran emerges in a somewhat charged-up, violent mode. He's also shouting something really menacing, which I couldn't fathom even after thirty or so re-runs with the headphones pressed to me ears. It ended in loha bhasm ho jaye (iron is turned to ashes).


ASHES! WTF!! A reference THAT clever, THAT good? I love you, Ashutosh! Now I had to understand what he said, so I had to have a go for the subtitles. They said:
Tormentors of the weak! Beware! You shall pay! The sight of the oppressed turn iron to ashes!


My memories raced back, to another inspirational line by a cricketer in 1882. Was it intentional, a pep-up line, mentioning The Ashes? If it was, it was brilliant.


Anyway, Guran enters. To start with, he has an awesome stance, which defies the basic principle of classification of batsmen into right and left-handers. The British laughed in general, but when John Buchanan made such statements everyone seemed to take him seriously.




Guran taps the first ball he faces from Wesson in the air, then hoicks it over deep mid-wicket for a six. Russell obviously appeals, but wait - not for the wicket - but on the ground that "it's not cricket". Hello! What the hell, Russell? You could get someone out hitting the ball twice (with the second attempt made in order to score runs) since 1744, and Thomas Sueter had got out as early as 1786 in this match. Why did you not appeal, Russell?


And amidst all that, Guran keeps on batting. His style is surprisingly uncomplicated - he simply believes in hitting the ball over the bowler's shoulders, or his own, with astonishingly good results. Not only that, he yells the life out of bowlers when he's at the non-striker's end.


For me, this was definitely the most entertaining and innovative bit of the match. However, like all good things, this came to and end as Guran missed the line of an overpitched Willis delivery and fell leg before. He has hit at least one six, two fours and a single, so we put him at a minimum of 15. Ashutosh shows us the score, though: 192. A nervous Goli walks out to the centre, and is bowled first ball by Willis.
Guran     lbw        b Willis      >=15  6/192
Goli                 b Willis         0  7/192

Ismail stops Bhura and enters the ground. I knew that moment that he'd need a runner, and I was almost prepared to see Deva, when they, out of nowhere, and for no apparent purpose whatsoever, had the teenage Tipu with his locks, carrying a heavy bat and with no protective gear that a runner should adorn, walking to the crease. I wonder why this was needed at all. I wonder even more seriously why Rehman's percussionist went bonkers whenever they showed Tipu during the partnership.


The partnership was largely dominated by the bat, with some quality batting and inspired running between the wickets. The jurassic Flynn was suddenly asked to bowl right-arm superslow deliveries that were possibly supposed to be off-breaks. Ashutosh gave us moments of awe, for example, Yardley's unusual positioning of Russell just behind the wicket-keeper:


We also got to know the fact that they were 228/7 at the start of the mandatory overs. This meant that they required 95 from 20 overs at the rate of 4.75, a quite achievable task.


After some more lusty blows the scoreboard pauses to show Bhuvan on 98 and Ismail on 40. Flynn is asked to bowl at this juncture. He tosses one up so slowly that it's a miracle that it even makes to Bhuvan. The ball is duly dispatched over the bowler for a six, and the entire crowd stands up to applaud, irrespective of ethnicity.


Colonel Boyer comments, somewhat prophetically "I must say this country has a brave future in this game". Indeed. We're number one, you see, which somewhat overshadows your colourful Ashes exploits.


Ismail follows with a pull that takes him to his fifty. We get another glimpse of the scoreboard here: Indians 293/7. Bhuvan 114. Ismail 52. And then, Ram Singh shouts that we have three overs to go. This means that they have added 65 from 17 mandatory overs.


It's Willis.
Mandatory 17.1: Bhuvan cuts for a comfortable two. 28 off 17.
Mandatory 17.2: Willis steps up to bowl, Tipu leaves the crease and Willis removes the bails. This is possibly the first recorded instance of a batsman being Mankaded, especially without a warning. Colonel Boyer feels embarrassed, but the British have taken a wicket they should possibly have first issued a warning for.
Ismail    run out (Willis)           52  8/295

As Tipu and Ismail return, Ram Singh announces that the Indians now need 28 off 16. Wrong, Ashutosh. A plain and simple error. If you run out someone thus, the ball doesn't count. It should really have been 28 off 17.
Mandatory 17.3: Bhura joins Bhuvan. Bhuvan pulls for a four. 24 off 15.
Mandatory 17.4: Bhuvan cuts for a two. 22 off 14.
Mandatory 17.5: Bhuvan hits straight for a six. 16 off 13. Bhuvan and Bhura decide that they need a single.
Mandatory 17.6: Bhuvan hits to cover. Russell kicks the ball to the fence. Four runs given to Indians. In my opinion, though, it should be five - the single they ran, and the four, which should be counted as overthrows, since the kick was definitely an intentional one. I'm not too keen to give Ashutosh the benefit of doubt on this one, but still, 12 off 12.
Bhuvan has reached 130 at the end of this over. Bhura hasn't faced a ball.


Smith now.
Mandatory 18.1: Bhura hits the ball towards mid-wicket. As they cross mid-pitch, Bhuvan slips and falls. Bhura shows amazing presence of mind here by stopping next to Bhuvan. As the throw reaches a waiting Russell at the striker's end, Bhuvan stands up and starts his pursuit. Bhura pushes him aside, overtakes him and sacrifices his wicket.
Bhura     run out (?/Russell)         0  9/311
Bhura's brilliance
Had Bhura kept on running, or failed to overtake Bhuvan would surely have been out. Anyway, 12 more, off 11, but sadly, with the incoming batsman Kachra to take strike.
As Kachra walks out to bat, we witness the same spectacle once again: the entire village resting their hopes on the untouchable.
Mandatory 18.2: Bouncer (why?). Somehow negotiated. 12 off 10.
Mandatory 18.3: Bouncer (why?). Hits the ducking batsman on the back. 12 off 9.
Mandatory 18.4: Bouncer (why?). Hits the ducking batsman on the arm. 12 off 8.
Thou shalt try to york the number eleven, Smith.
Mandatory 18.5: They hit and run, and a single is somehow obtained. 11 off 7.
Mandatory 18.6: Once again, they hit and run, and a single is somehow obtained. 10 off 6.
Bhuvan is on 131. Kachra is on 1.


Yardley to bowl the last over.
Mandatory 19.1: Bhuvan hits a square cut. It pierces the field. It's a four. 6 off 5.
Mandatory 19.2: The clock strikes something, so following its precedences, Yardley bowls a bouncer (he usually bowls a beamer under such circumstances). It hits Bhuvan on his head, who somehow regains his senses and continues to bat. 6 off 4.
Mandatory 19.3: Bhuvan pulls, they attempt a second, but decide against it. This was terribly unstrategic of Bhuvabm who should definitely have tried to face all the remaining deliveries. 5 off 3.
Mandatory 19.4: Yardley pitches up (unlike Smith). There's a swing and miss. 5 off 2.
Mandatory 19.5: Yardley takes up the Smith fever, and bowls a bouncer. This isn't as bad a move as Smith's - it's the last over, after all. 5 off 1.
Mandatory 19.6: Yardley bowls a beamer, Kachra hoicks (possibly charged up by AK Hangal's shriek), and it's just a single. But then, it's a Bollywood movie - and almost inevitably Yardley had bowled a no-ball. 4 off 1.
At this point of time Russell makes that unprecedented exclamation in the history of the game: Gentlemen, we have one more ball. Back to your positions. He tries hard to send everyone back to the boundary, and still - this is what he ends up with:
North, listen to your captain for once!
Mandatory 19.6: You know it all, right? Everyone cheers, AK Hangal's face flashes, glimpses of memories, an almighty heave, Russell catches it, but outside the perimeter. 325/9, then, Bhuvan scoring 144 and Kachra 2:

*Bhuvan   not out                   144
Deva S S  run out (Smith)            49  1/71
Arjan     c North    b Smith       >=12  2/87+
Lakha     hit wicket b Yardley        0  3/87+
Bagha                b Yardley       12  4/99
Ismail    run out (Willis)           52  8/295
+Ishwar   run out (Harrison (?))   >=13  5/145+
Guran     lbw        b Willis      >=15  6/192
Goli                 b Willis         0  7/192
Bhura     run out (?/Russell)         0  9/311
Kachra    not out                     2
Extras                             <=28
Total     (for 9 wickets)           325

Bowling: O M R W
Yardley  ? ? ? 2
Willis   ? ? ? 2
Smith    ? ? ? 1
Wesson   ? ? ? 0
Flynn    ? ? ? 0

All over, then, folks. See you a decade after Lagaan II.

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