Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Main aur Mera Mobile!!!

A cousin who is an expert at mobile technology asked me about the extra features I would like to have on my cell phone. As always, whenever exposed to a question which requires a little bit of thinking I was clueless. More often than not, I am happy with the given situations. “I am fine with whatever I have got” was the reply from an expertly mediocre. But my dear sister has been a university topper. And like a typical topper, she kept probing till she got success in getting me answering. Here are a few

· The cell phone should automatically switch off when I am being scolded by my wife, my mother, my boss or my client on phone. It should stay in such a position for at least a couple of hours. Problem is, if this wish is fulfilled, the phone might never get chance to switch on.

· It should be able to give electric shocks to people standing around me when I instruct. This will get me some space in Mumbai locals. But I would soon be caught. Actually, the phone should be able to fart with a nice melodious ringtone. Yeah but fart should not be worse than mine because that would be fatal.

· The phone should automatically be able to make sounds like “Haan, hmmm, sahi baat hai” etc whenever I am asked to play Kofi Annan (when on phone face to face you just have to be the punching bag), in the most notorious bi lateral wars in Indian families.

· The cell phone should be able to answer few standard questions in a telephonic interview. “What are your strengths MR. Awasthi?”, “I can shag ten times a day, you bitch” is what I would like to say to these terribly stupid HR questions. “Well I take my work very seriously. Sometimes I take it so seriously that it takes a toll on me and my body which in turns affects my work, But I do not give up and keep working hard” is what I ended up saying a few times which means “Don’s give me much work, I hate to loose on my sleep”. Why cannot my cell phone google the answer and reply it in a fluent manner.

· “Am I talking to Mr. Awasthi?”.

“Yes you are”

“Mr. Awasthi, you took a personal loan from our bank and have been paying on time.” (That is because your bank does ECS from my salary account even before I realize the salary has been credited.) “We would like to give you a golden offer...” Even if I disconnect the call, my concentration has been damaged in the place I need it most – toilet. I hate when I get a call I am forced to attend while I am involved in an activity which decides my mood for the day. Why cannot my cell phone tell people that I am busy meditating hence need not disturb.

· “Aur Sunao”...”Bas yaar..”

“Aur Sunao..” “Bas Yaar..”

And it goes on for five more minutes. The cell phone should count these minutes of precious conversation and send the bill to the party on other side who went hell-bent on “Aur Sunao”. If two guys get on these lines, they should immediately hang up the phone. If it’s a guy saying these lines to a girl, he wants to talk but has run out of topic. Of course, heterosexuality is the basic assumption here.

· If you are married or belong to a strata of the society I always dreamt to – have a girl friend, you must have been facing the same problem Not only you need to tell your wife/partner why you love her and how much you love her, you also need to quantify it. After each answer, you learn what you should not say. But you never learn what you should say. Why can’t my cell phone do an artificial intelligence here?

· It should send hourly reminders to people who owe me money. It should block people who owe their money to me.

· Whenever boss is scolding me, it should automatically send a reminder to the client that it’s the boss who would have a better view on the company than me hence its the perfect time to call him.

· Why cannot a cell phone carry a small peg of Glenn Fiddich with them? After all, they were invented to make our lives easier.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Finally!!!

Finally there were two good matches after the not so surprisingly boring matches. Few things I liked about IPL are that the matches are played with good intensity. Players try their hard to abide by IPL defined spirit of cricket. Apart from that the Abhishek Nayars, the Pragyan Ojhas, the Virat Kohlis are getting some exposure they would have got in ages if they had got. But a few doubts still remain

· Two good matches meant you can enjoy a fair competition. Everyone likes to see close finished rather than the second innings being all about reducing the margin of defeat. But, at the end of the day its your team playing against my team. So if I am supporting Rajasthan Royals ( lets assume because considering the team, I don’t think even Emerging Media would be doing so), I love to see Greame Smith hitting Royal Challenger Zaheer Khan for sixes. But had I done the same if the very same bowler was royally challenging the SA southpaw? No. because the loyalties change with in a month. This creates a conflict. IPL can only succeed if there are club based loyalties built but the very same loyalty would be competing with very strong country based loyalty. To me this conflict management will be the key to IPL’s success. Till than I can watch every match because I have even watched the exhibition matches with considerable interest.

· IPL will do better by not playing on sleeping beauties. A so called terrible pitch is better because it produces batsmen who can fight their way out and not the one who just clear their any of the legs and hit.

· You may or may not agree with the above two but you will definitely agree with the fact that IPL will do everyone a favour by not appointing Sony as a broadcaster. I would better watch Greg Chappell fighting with Sunil Gavaskar over some law of cricket rather than listening to Akashay Kumar about his cricket playing days in and around Red Fort/India Gate.

Let’s see how IPL copes when such a terrific hype created around it fades away with time. Let’s wait for the second season and see where SRK is dancing – in stands or in some more marriages.

Anyhow, today it was people from outside Mumbai coming to Mumbai, using Mumbai’s ground and being completely inhospitable when RC beat MI. I hope there are not any problems tomorrow.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Few things!!!

Few things I have realized after watching today’s IPL matches

· For some, game remains the same. After over one year of his retirement, Glen Mcgrath can still suffocate the batsmen with his irritatingly accurate line and length. Even the ones who would have played him million times in nets, Shane Watson, try to see him off. And it doesn’t matter the version of the game, a champion bowler remains a champion bowler.

· Shane Warne will always be kicked by Indian batsmen be it old mate Sachin Tendulkar or a rookie Shikhar Dhawan. He will never get any reprieve especially on Indian “spinner friendly” tracks.

· An emerging business group has to be mindful of its cost structure. May be this is the reason Emerging Media was so reluctant to shell out USDs in the auction phase that they overdid it and got penalized for the same. They also got a man to do double role for the same amount of money – Shane Warne being captain as well as coach. They cut some cost by not declaring an Icon Players as well.

· Set Max will always be a terrible broadcaster but pro women. If in 2003 they launched Mandira Bedi as a women power missile firing from her cleavage, they have roped in chikna models as anchors to attract the audience from the other side of sexual divide. ICL broadcast is much better.

· At last but not the least, I will always pray for IPL’s pre mature death.

Knightridden Challengers!!!!

Finally it happened!!! Finally Kerry Packer wore the Indian kurta-pajama and danced the bhangra. With the korbo, lorbo jeetbo Kolkata Knight Riders crushing the josh of Royal Challengers , IPL finally kick started. The moment I was done with my returning the favour of my miniscule salary to my employer by the act of looking busy till 6:00 PM, I bought my daily dose of Mid-Day and rushed my way into the train. Front page was all IPL and my neighbour almost snatched the news paper from my hands to see the ad. I missed the opening ceremony which was being described by every commentator using three phrases – “out of the world”, “never seen before” and “mind-blowing” apart from being short. As if they were asked to use these and only these because only these collections of adjectives were sponsored. I wondered if Mr. Daruwala Mallaya had made his entire fleet of air hostesses lap dance. To my disappointing amazement, it was just a few gymnasts and dancers performing the age old ritualistic steps. Obviously, they would not have seen it before because who bothers to see such age old boring antics? They must have enjoyed the “short” part of it.

Finally Zaheer Khan made a comeback to some kind of international cricket but the way he was welcomed, he might soon consider a re-visiting his rehabilitation. If Brenden Macculum was unstoppable, Dada showed that he can score near-sixes through his top edges even in 20-20 while facing the chin music. Perhaps no one had told Ponting that even if he is facing Zaheer Khan, next change will not be Ishant Sharma because he is in his side. But the imported artillery of Knight Riders kept firing and they reached a score which Royal Challenger, considering their perfect life saver test batting line up, would have been proud to score in a day. But they were disappointing. Not because they lost badly. But with Dravid, Jaffer and Kallis as their top 3 batsmen, one expects them to play till stumps at least. These three soft gentlemen didn’t even give a chance to Dada to settle the scores of chin music with an Australian captain. He would have though of placing Ponting in silly point and bowl four overs of driveable and cuttables. But every drive ended in slips and every cut into stumps. Even Ajit Agarkar made his presence felt but most of us would have prayed to God that selectors don’t get any feelings and give us another dose of his duck-worth performances in the national side.

Royal Challengers looked happier in their dressing rooms as compared to the ground. But the supply of divine liquids expected from the owner and face of the team as Khatarnak Kaif , one cannot blame them of rushing to the dressing room every time they are forced to the grounds.

Knight Riders looked happier in the ground as compared to the dressing room because it was occupied by the owner and his "Rendezvous fame – Simi Grewal in pants" friend Karan Johar. And we know cricketers love to play straight drives. They must have been shocked when SRK revealed the team strategy to a TV channel () –

“So I want to tell all of them, please if you are watching this I am dying to meet you, but I am just trying to get the backend of Knight Riders done. So I’ll be there.”

Now I know what Karan Johar kept whispering in his ears in the most seducing manner during the entire match. May be he wanted his backend done too.

All in all, the match had all the excitement but I didn’t know who to support, how to get excited, when to feel sad and why to feel tense. It looked more of exhibition match in nature for the cause of uplifting the homosexuality in a conservative society through the means of buoyant alcohol consumption.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Mufti

Being a big news channel fan, I switched on to one of the channels I consider serious and was shocked to see the “breaking news ticker” – Mufti Mohamad Syed demands common currency (Indian & Pakistani) for the state of J&K. As expected, there was some furor in the political circles against the statement. Since I had a flight to catch early morning, I switched off the TV and dozed off being sure of the fact that the controversy would continue for next few days with Mufti’s statement being brutally scrutinized and criticized.

To my amazement, the very next night when I got some access to news channels, there wasn’t even a hint of the news. The controversy had disappeared like a flash in the pan.

There are two major areas of concerns, first the statement it self. Mufti Mohammad Syed is better known as a former CM of the state with the most media-covered point of his life being the kidnapping incident of his daughter Rubiya Syed and she getting freed in return of few terrorists getting released. I don’t comment if bowing down the demands of terrorists was correct that too by a leader who is supposed to lead by examples. Most of us would have done what he did. But as soon as the nation bowed down, Mufti owed a lot to the nation – irrespective of even if his loyalties are not with us assuming the conspiracy theories don’t prove that it was all a well staged drama. Assuming it was not, one expects better responsibilities form such a person. But the expectations were belied when I heard him demanding “common currency” for the state of J&K which we so proudly have been announcing over the years to be integral part of the nation. At least we believe in it, others and ground reality might be otherwise. Mufti’s statement blatantly exposes a scary truth – presence of pro Pakistani population in J&K. Because in this age if you want to gauge the real trends of demographics of a particular region, see what politicians are promising. Which is why OBC quota has suddenly become the bigger tool for the social reforms after Raja Ram Mohan Rai’s or Mahatma Gandhi’s efforts in their days for the betterment of the society? Common currency demand clearly showcases that our politicians believe it’s perennially important to woo the existing pro-Pakistani public in J&K because it’s a sizable chunk and it’s not at all an integral part of India as GoI claims. There were eyebrows raised in few corners as expected but no one condemned the statement with the intensity they showed in welcoming the OBC quota. After all, later secures votes whereas the former carries the risk of jeopardizing it.

The second area of concern was the speed at which the issue died down. Here was someone demanding the acceptance of currency (which is the lifeline of any nation’s economy, of Pakistan) live on TV and our Sabse Tej News channels were more interested in showing why Khali the Bali ran away from a fight in WWF. The issue got less than deserving space in most of the news papers. Perhaps our media thinks it’s more important to unearth the love bites on a popular actress’s back rather than cover, discuss and condemn a statement made by a responsible politician (???) which doubts the national integrity.

Hail the politics and its coverage, to hell with the rest!!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Krazy 4

Societies keep changing and so the means taken to reform them, at least in movies. If it was self sacrifices in 60s-70s, a 6’2”tall angry young man fighting the system in 70s-80s, heroes surviving the bullets to kill villains with a “tere liye to mere haath hi kaafi hain” attitude, media is the new Raja Ram Mohan Rai of 21st century. It might have started with Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani but really took a centre stage with Rang De Basanti inspiring Munnabhai and now 4 mentally troubled patients from some mental asylum from Khandala.

The movie was advertised as a hilarious comedy though Rakesh Roshan must have found it tough to find comedy in it. Hence the comedy of the year 2008 has suddenly turned into a light movie with a message like Munna Bhai series. To prove this point, you will even find Diya Mirza in the similar help-the-reforms role. Juhi Chawla makes a comeback doing the kind of challenging and off beat role even Shobha Khote could have done.

I have never understood one thing – if you are aiming to make a comedy, make it. Why to bring the boringly emotional angles and romance-without-a-bed-scene fiascos in the movie. This is why David Dhawan-Govinda-Kadar Khan movies were good - just comedy, nothing else.

Coming back to movie – 4 patients come to city with their doctor to Mumbai where the doctor get kidnapped and they unearth a politician-police-underworld nexus to free her with the help of Sabse tej channel – Aaj Tak. In between they sing songs on Mumbai-Pune Expressway and somewhere in Mumbai streets. Makrand Deshpandey appears somewhere to pull Irfan Khan for a Rakhi Sawant item song where he avoids getting close to a ­Nana Patekar-Tanushree Dutta accident. SRK somewhere appears from somewhere with a ponytail trying to get a MJ look and you cant help but wonder the reason for him to keep this extra bunch of hair - may be an attempt to kill Bobby Darling’s career or a special request from a self proclaimed heterosexual director’s fantasies.

Movie does have some good satirical moments and dialogues like “Log tiranga pehan ke rishwat lete hain, main to rishwat leke tiranga pehna raha hoon” but they are far and few. The movie has 4 good actors but they are wasted because of loose direction. Apple Singh makes an effect even in a 2 minute cameo proving the point that it’s not the length but the quality of scene leaves a lasting impression. The movie could have done without all of its song because they only give you a choice to make a quick visit to the loo.

The movie tries to convey a message but looks confused about which one – patriotism or lack of it, heartless society or corruption in it. In the end, the movie joins the list of “could have been a good satire with a bit of unconventional and better direction”. But do not miss the Hritik Roshan’s dance number once the movie ends – he is terrific.



Thursday, April 10, 2008

Quota Quotes!!!

No matter if you support the Supreme Court verdict on quota for OBCs because your support depends on if you are a beneficiary or being penalized by the decision, you must appreciate one plane simple but hard-to-believe fact – the verdict gets unanimous support from all political parties. Tell me, when was the last time you saw all our vote seekers on the same platform. We all crib about the politicians throwing chairs and mikes in their respective rings aka Parliament House/Assemblies. At least now we see the politicians happily respecting a decision they should. After all, it’s a fair decision not like some office of profit bill forced upon them by a politically illiterate president. They stood together then and stand together now – the commonality which binds them is there for everyone to see.

But the creamy layer hitch has left a bit sour taste in an otherwise sweet mouth, that too with the inclusion of MP/MLAs and their legitimate generations in the creamy layer. One of the objections is against their inclusion in this layer because a politician doesn’t hold a salaried post and doesn’t earn a penny. CPI (M) stands out by welcoming the creamy layer theory which I did expect. I don’t find them always right but they are truly left – opposing something what everyone is supporting.

The decision made Arjun Singh feel vindicated and washed away all his sins – “This OBC facility will not affect other students, as there is no clash of interest. People had misunderstood reservation. I have been fighting for this since I was the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. I feel vindicated after the courts judgement. This is a very historic judgment. Hundreds of students belonging to the OBC category will be benefited by it.”

Can some one explain to me the “No Clash of interest’? No doubt people must have misunderstood the reservation because Arjun Singh would have explaining it.

Anyhow, the overall reservation covers SCs/STs/OBCs and some minorities. But what about the Sons of soil who have been deprived off their breads from migrants? Or the Mallu Sikhs or the Christian Yadavas or the….castes and breeds one can hardly ever imagine have surfaced over the years. What about the Bangladeshis who are welcomed by an ignorant generosity and have been living as a neglected part of the society? Are they not a neglected class even though they deserve much better because we believe in “Atithi Devo Bhava”. Don’t they share a piece in the pie?

But the problem is that we still use the mathematics of old ages where percentage is calculated out of 100. May be the parliament should amend the constitution so that the percentage could be calculated out of 200 or 300. This will give the chance to uplift every strata of society.

News keeps breaking!!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

One two three!!!

It was one of the most honest examples of product selling I have ever seen. The area where I reside in Mumbai has two Fames with in a distance of few hundred meters. Being a movie buff, I was suffering without a movie dose for over a couple of weeks. So I went to see Bhram, an Illusion. Seeing no crowd on the ticket window in the third day of the movie release made me a little worried. I asked the guy at the ticket window for the movie ticket only to get a reply – “Sir, kyon paise barbaad kar rahe hain. Sunday evening hai, jaake so jaiye.”. I asked him how the other movie is – Shaurya is and he said it’s equally bad. He said “If you are so desperate to see a movie, please go for One Two Three in the other Fame. Hence I decided to go for the movie and to my surprise the hall was full.

The moment I entered it was the new Eros of Bollywood, Upel Patel dancing with Tanish aka Nikky on screen. The hard work on her body and its exposure seems to have worked with Tanisha very well and he got another opportunity to oblige us with a cleavage show within two years. Just that the show was little restrained.

One Two Three is a decent comedy where most of the hall was laughing for a considerable good amount of times. Sanjay Mishra aka Apple Singh does an amazing job to tickle the funny bones along with Hirjee , Mukesh Tiwary and few more unknown actors. Audience looked bored only when the main heroes came on screen – Suneel Shetty, Tushar Kapoor and Paresh Rawal (who surprisingly looks boring).

I think Suneel Shetty looked best in Balwaan with his bulging biceps because he was one of the few pioneers to start the tradition of 6 packs in Bollywood. One should quit at his peak so that people ask “Why?” He decided otherwise to give us numerous chances to ask “why not and how long” about his acting. To make the matters worse, he is trying his hands at comedy. Even the participants of Biggest Looser Jeetega acted better than him on his reality show.

I really envy Tushar Kapoor and I know entire country does. After all with a looks as different from Jitendra's good looks as  Tendulkar's upper cut from Saba Karim's and talent for acting as good as my talent for Sumo Wrestling, he keeps resurfacing like phoenix. Even phoenix might be blessed as much as him. Still he has played a plethora of characters in The Lover Boy (Mujhe Kuch Kahna Hai), an honest policeman (Khakhi), an underworld don (Shootout…), surprise attraction(???) in an item song (Sunday). Just wait for the day when he will play Vijay in Zanjeer’s remake soon to be announced by Ram Gopal Verma. He plays an aspiring underworld don where his heroine Isha Deol looks more macho then him. Although, she looks more macho than the most. Sameera Reddy is just about a deep cut shirt and looks old enough to be casted opposite Paresh Rawal. Upen Patel and Tanisha are not even worth discussing.

Direction looks loose on most occasions but you cannot help but get the feeling that with a better work, the movie could have been much better. The movie does make you laugh on quite a few occasions especially with the supposedly supporting star cast. Pity is, if the movie clicks, the undeserving lead cast will take away the credit and Tushar Kapoor might well win the award for the Best Comedian award if no where else than at least in Star Movie Awards.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Disguised blessings!!!

If you have fallen flat in Ahemdabad after highs of Perth and CB series finals, please DO NOT loose hope and heart. Like silver lining in every dark cloud, like the brighter side of every coin (even the one which Anil Kumble tossed in Motera and called correctly), like the blessing in every disguise, there are some positives oozing out of the so called SA’s routing of country’s blue eyed boys.

Champions are perfectionists. That’s what Team India displayed when they managed to play exactly 20 overs - not a ball less, not a ball more. They played almost 100 overs in the second innings which is almost a 500% improvement. Are you still ashamed of your team’s performance which displays such a stupendous improvements with in a couple of days?

I agree it’s difficult to make a comeback after you are staring down the long dark tunnel within the start of a test match. We have made a comeback once (Mohali) and allowed it twice (Kolkata and Karachi). So if the defeat is certain, well almost, after the first session why not make things a little better by shrinking the match to 3 days in place of 5

· At least 20,000 people would have come for the rest of the two days. Assuming 4 persons per vehicle it is 5000 vehicles. Assuming every vehicle consumes a liter of petrol (Gas for psuedes and ABCDs), it’s a saving of 5000 liter of petrol which is around INR 55 per liter. Calculation gave me such a figure that I would be on the moon to receive it as my bonus at the end of the year. You might say I am being conservative but what do I do? Some waiter in LA or NY or NJ or anywhere in US of A bought a 5 bhk flat stayed in it till he liked and forgot that it’s on a loan and did not pay the monthly bleeders – EMIs. This phenomenon of socialist distribution of resources at an alarming equality in a capitalist society is called “Sub Primes”. In the “Sub Prime” age, pessimism has a new definition.

· Indian females always complain of a second grade citizen – with the first wives of their husband to be cricket. Team India saved a precious Sunday which would otherwise have been wasted on a lost cause. Now, millions of men can spend their leisure time in Big Baazars and Reliance Fresh. After all it’s the happy families which make a nation better.

· Imagine the noise pollution avoided not only in Motera but also in your house - either joy of victory or defeat causing domestic turbulence.

· An early finish also ensured that the mourning to be taking place on Sunday so that the productivity on Monday could be saved which is the normal crib against the game of cricket.

· There are a few cricketing reasons too like in case the match would have got stretched to its normal length, Anil Kumble would have to bowl more which had shortened the age of his already injured groins hence his career. We need him till eternity don’t we? Or till his 700 wickets at least.

· Dada scored a defiant near-century which will definitely help boosting Knight Rider’s popularity since its going to face some stiff competition by Mithun Da’s Kolkata Tigers now. This innings will help him keeping his place in Knight Rider’s team for sure.

· We can practice for much talked about and the future of cricket (???) – The IPL in these two days. Or may be players are secretly practicing, if not for the game then at least for the theme songs for their teams and the music videos. Actually BCCI should have taken full benefit of India’s perfection and organized 5 T20 matches in these 2 days.

· S Sreesanth blasted Sale Styen in his cameo of 17 runs. This was confidence shattering for the SA pacers and he can very well do a “Shaun Tait”. Depriving the opposition off its prime pacers at the cost of one test match is not such a bad bargain at all.

I have borrowed some of the above from some of my friends but I hope they don’t mind. Even if they do, I don’t. I case you have some more to point out; you are most welcome in the comments section.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Wastage Unlimited!!!

In reply to Pakistan's 223, India was cruising along at 147 for one and looked all set to take a big first innings lead. Pakistan needed a miracle but Rahul Dravid looked all set and Sachin Tendulkar was all fit after the back injury at Chennai/Kotla which was going to hurt his career for quite sometime in the future to come.

Bang!!!! A scorching Yorker dismantled the timber behind Rahul Dravid. 100,000 people welcomed the little master only to see him getting a golden duck for the first time in his career to a Yorker which was even better than the previous one. A star was born or proved the shine it had shown in his very short career so far was a promising one – Shohaib Akhtar. Indians wondered, like they had done for so many years, on how Pakistan keeps getting timely replacements for their soon to be gone speedsters. Pakistan was proud to see that someone could take the lead once the two W's would go in next few years and by than he would get the traditional training of conventional banana swing, mysterious reverse swing, toe crushing Yorkers and beheading bouncers. For the next couple of ODI series, he was the biggest tormentors for the gentlemen holding willow in their shaking hands.

Pakistan moved to Australia for a tour which was named as Akhtar's bowling speeding bullets by the Chappels, Benauds, Waughs and the rest in Australian media. This is where Akhtar fell in the trap. The repeating adulations for his ability to bowl at rocket speed made him forget that it's a game of taking 20 wickets and not to win numbers showed by equipment called speedometer. The more hype was built around him, faster he tried to bowl and futile the results became. The Australian media succeeded in 'mentally disintegrating' him. Interestingly the talk was of speed and pressure was strategically built around only Akhtar. Pakistan was white washed and Akhtar finished with the figures of 6 wickets for 67.66 a piece in 3 tests.

This was the first occasion when real pressure was built around Akhtar and he succumbed. Things hinted a change after that and with a string if injuries and avoidable incidents, next few years were more of a decline of a career which promised to raise new heights for as long a time as lightening strikes. His brilliance on the ground was displayed here and there. But they and Akhtar's appearances were more and more gaining the reputation of "far & few" and injuries were coming faster than he wanted to bowl.

A combination of age, fitness issues and politics for which Pakistan cricket is famous for ended the careers of two legendary W's. The Samis, the Shabbirs, the Guls kept appearing and disappearing meaning Pakistan could not have the luxury to boast of a fast bowling line up it had become so used to over the years. This also meant Akhtar would enjoy the superstar status, come to bowl when his body and leisure allowed him to, give glimpses of talent he had. In case he did not want to bowl, he would fall down on the ground complaining of an injury in his ribs which even detailed of X-Rays and the rest could not find. Captains did complain with tight lips knowing he still was their best bet. Not that other resources were incompetent at the international level but none of them had the ability to change the match like Akhtar could – ask Australians about the test they played against him in Sri Lanka where they were reduced to 127 odd from 74/1 in just one spell of lightening fast bowling.

If Pakistan was regretting of not utilizing his bowling talent to the fullest, he doubled their regrets by making sure others cannot bowl as well – ask Mohammad Asif.

When he came to India few months back saying this will be his final tour here, I was a bit surprised because he has hardly played as per my memory. He played 48 tests in a career span of close to ten years taking 176 wickets. For a bowler of his ability and talent, this rate of less than 4 wickets per match is much below par performance by any means. Perhaps he had lost his interest in the game much before – may be Rawalpindi 2004 is an example because no bowler would fake an injury and leave the ground given the situation of the match as it was than.

He was seeking an alternate career in Bollywood (La Mohsin Khan) during his last tour to India. Be it his reported (reporters were their at 4:00 AM or so to report this, WOW!!!) topless sprint with always topless Salman Khan at bandstand or a so called affair with the lady who challenged a certain Indian batsman's batting more than Hogg & Lee in Australia or his display of hidden singing talent (???) on some show on TV where his desperation for a Bollywood entry was so brutally exposed when he put aside his self respect to kiss Mahesh Bhatt's never ending forehead.

Anyways, with a ban imposed on him for 5 years, he is unlikely to play international cricket again assuming PCB doesn't lick their own spit once again as they have done so often in the past and call this ban off. I also assume the news not to be the April fool pranks floating around like Tendulkar retiring or Vilas Rao Deshmukh quitting.

Interestingly, he can play in IPL. Now tell me, Dinesh Mongia or JP Yadav is not eligible to play international cricket because they are rebels in BCCI's book which ICC reads. Akhtar is such a disgrace to PCB that they don't consider him to play for Pakistan ever (by the time ban would be over, he would be too old to bowl forget bowling fast) but he can play in IPL. Perhaps PCB/BCCI/ICC haven't read the equality theorem (or something like that, I don't remember the name correctly) where a = b means b = a.

Or may be PCB takes orders from ISI who have strategically planted Akhtar in the dressing room of Knight Riders so that he can do a Mohammad Asif to India's emerging pace sensation Ishant Sharma and we are forced to go back to the biggest potential all-rounder ever Ajit Agarkar's days or relying on another emerging Agarkar in Shantakumaran Sreesanth. If that happens, PCB won't be held responsible because they have already disowned their spoilt brat.

Anyways, if this is the end of Akhtar's career it's really a sad one. It's the end of a bowler who needed nothing in terms of pitch, weather, exceptional fielding or umpires help to send batting orders packing. He had the hostility of Walsh but he lacked his honesty towards the game, he had the guile of Akram but he lacked his grit, he had the curving swing of Younis but he lacked his commitment. But he never needed the poison spitting mouths of Mcgrath or Donald like those three. In his career he just displayed glimpses of his talent but when he did, he looked like a champion and a true crowd puller. You would love to watch him bowl no matter if he is in your side, against you or you are a neutral viewer. He was a classical case of "would have been" and temperament letting down the talent or an ultimate wastage.