Sunday, April 21, 2013

What If IPL match reports were written by corporate brochure copy-writers ?

by Anand Ramachandran, who has written copy for more corporate brochures than he would like to admit.

With M.S.Dhoni becoming a VP of India Cements, Australian cricketers being suspended for not making Power-Point slides and sixers being referred to as Yes!Bank maximums - what next in the corporate-bladization of cricket? Why, match reports of course! Why depend on silly journalists and reporters to crank out daily match reports when we can just hire some lame copywriters to write up reports using the same awesome techniques they use to sell companies and brands? That way, reading about cricket matches can be as exciting and thrilling as reading corporate brochures and watching corporate videos! Not convinced? Here's a sampler of Saturdays CSK-KKR match written in corporate-bladese.

CSK vs KKR -  A step towards a winning future.

CSK is the market leader in IPL cricket matches - with an unmatched record backed by strong consistent performance and a clear vision for our future roadmap.

A powerful combination of best-in-class fielding, efficient middle-overs management and top of the line finishing is what we at CSK depended on for success in the match against KKR on Saturday evening.

CSK - Delivering stakeholder value

Always at the forefront of innovation. First we inovated by opening the bowling with Ashwin. Next, we innovated by opening the batting with him. In the coming months, we will roll-out plans to open the fielding with him.

Our world class pace and spin bowling practices helped usher in a low total to chase, ensuring that KKR was restricted to a low total that is typical of our competitors in the IPL. It is performances like these that give our stakeholders the confidence that CSK will deliver the value they expect from the market leader in the world's premier T20 tournament.

The CSK advantage

Ravindra Jadeja reflected the CSK commitment to excellence by delivering several  best-in-class sixes in the end overs to ensure successful project completion within the stipulated time frame of twenty overs.

We drove forward our chase through a blend of innovation (Ashwin as opener) and proven best practices (Hussey as opener). When faced with challenges in the middle overs, our personnel responded by leveraging their core competencies and and hitting industry standard sixes in the end overs to see the project through successfully to the very end.

CSK - Driving onward with vision

India Cements VP Mr.M.S.Dhoni and India Cements MD Mr. N.Srinivasan - guiding CSK towards a better tomorrow.

Under the able leadership of India Cements Vice-President Mr.M.S.Dhoni (also the captain of the Indian cricket team), powered by our commitment to quality cricket, passion for winning and meticulous attention to detail, we confidently stride towards a better tomorrow for CSK, our players, our management, and most importantly, to you, our fans.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Watching the IPL is like watching porn.

I have a circle of friends who are die-hard test cricket lovers, and in today's times, this automatically means that you are required to loathe everything about the IPL, even if you don't.

Because of this, our experience of watching the IPL is eerily similar to that of watching that other great modern synthesis of physical athleticism, sex-appeal and entertainment - porn. 

Why? All of us actually watch it, but alone and in private - we would never admit to it in public. It is hard to imagine watching it with a group of friends, over a few beers, frantically pointing at the screen and yelling "Come on! Come on!". Everybody loudly denounces it as a bane of modern society, a money-making exercise created by greedy charlatans to exploit the immature and stupid masses. It is available in HD channels and as live video streams on the Internet. It features actors and models who never quite made it big in mainstream cinema. The similarity is undeniable.

In fact, the only two people in my extended social circle who seem willing to watch IPL games with me are my neighbour Sankalesh Jimmy, and my maternal uncle, who will will simply refer to as Ambi Mama. 

Watching the games with Ambi Mama can be fun, or not fun, depending on which side you take in the  raging international debate over whether T.E.Srinivasan was a better opening bat than S.M.Gavaskar. In fact, Ambi Mama sincerely believes that the entire creation of the IPL is the outcome of a heated argument between Gavaskar and S.Venkataraghavan on the Madras Cricket Club lawns in 1981. My uncle is one of the thousands of residents of Mylapore and Triplicane who routinely blame Gavaskar for absolutely everything - from the decline of the Ranji Trophy to substandard pitches to the excessive tightness of Madan Lal's T-shirts. Just about everything is Sunny's fault. When young Unmukt Chand was bowled by Brett Lee off the first ball of this year's tournament, Ambi Mama slapped his own forehead rapidly thrice before bellowing "Ayyo! Ayyo! Ayyo! Pochu Po! Yellam indha Gavaskar thappa solli kuduthuruppaan! Badavaaskar!" (Translation : Shite! Shite! Shite! That's down the toilet! That rascal Gavaskar must have taught him the wrong techniques! Note - there is no reasonable translation for 'Badavaaskar'.) 

He also believes that the third umpire should permanently be replaced by the late Swaroop Kishen, and insists on referring to Kieron Pollard as "Thyagu". He drives me nuts.

Unable to bear Ambi Mama's tam-brahm intensity, I decided that perhaps Sankalesh would be the better companion for a subsequent game. 

Sankalesh is one of those guys who totally delights in the IPL . He loves every minute of it - primarily because he can then come up with some bizarre theory to explain even the most prosaic of events. The other day he claimed that Sachin Tendulkar had deliberately scored a duck in the game against CSK.

"Did you know that Mumbai Indians never lose when Sachin gets out for a duck? Which is why he selflessly sacrificed his wicket for a duck against Chennai and won the match for his team. Who says he isn't a matchwinner?", he said.  "Other players can win matches by scoring hundreds or fifties, but only Sachin can consistently win matches by scoring ducks. What a great team man!"

Of course, I had to ask why, if this stratagem was clearly so effective, Tendulkar did not simply resort to it all the time. It did not faze him. "You think it is easy for Sachin to get out for a duck? It is in fact easier for him to score a fifty than get out for a duck. Look at the stats - he has scored 15 fifties in T20 but only five or six ducks. But each one of them has been a matchwinning one."

As you can see, it's been a stressful week of cricket watching. But it was not without its moments of delight. Chief among these was watching Jaspreet Bumrah, whose bowling action is surely one of modern cricket's great sights. He looks like one of the Autobots would if he, in the middle of transforming into a sports car , suddenly changed his mind and bowled some medium-pace instead. Three wickets despite that action! Or perhaps because of it. This is why I love the IPL - the larger viewing public may have never seen this kid otherwise.

P.S. - The keen observers among you may have noticed the departure from the Fake News format. I'm tired of that - so I may do it once in a while, but no reason not to do more generic stuff. I think.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Trappist Monks Claim Manmohan Singh's Long Silences Offend Their Religious Sentiments, Want Government of India Banned.

The monks of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, commonly known as the Trappists, have demanded an apology from the Government of India - claiming that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's long periods of absolute silence offends their religious sentiments.

"The sentiments of the Trappist order have been hurt by the silence of Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, which is an obvious attempt to mock our belief of devout non-speech." said a spokesmonk for the Order, before being immediately excommunicated for breaking his silence.

Another monk then took over the duties of briefing the media, resorting to dumb-charades to convey his message.

"Four words. First word. Now? No? Okay . . here? This? THIS! Got it. Third word. Rhymes with ? Ball? Another word? Another word for Rhymes? Oh sorry - another word for ball. Round? Sphere?" he said angrily to the reporters gathered.

Quickly getting frustrated with his chosen method of communication, he then handed out printed press releases to the audience, shaking his head to show his displeasure.

According to the words of the release, "The sentiments of the Trappist order have been hurt by the silence of Indian Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, which is an obvious attempt to mock our belief of devout non-speech. His non-words have upset the many thousands of Trappists worldwide.We demand that the Supreme Court of India ban the Government of India at once, until Dr.Singh apologizes to us, and promises that he will not mock us by being needlessly silent ever again. If the court does not do anything about this, we cannot guarantee that there will be law and order in Indian cities."  The trappists also claimed that they had proof of Dr.Singh's offensive and damaging non-statements, and provided a CD featuring 60 minutes of complete silence recorded in the Prime Minister's voice as evidence to back their claims.

Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh, pleased that his team mates have guessed the first word, signals "second word" in a session of dumb-charades with finance minister P.Chidambaram and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad (not in picture).

The Congress party has, of course, been quick to rubbish these allegations.

"It is ludicrous to say that the Prime Minister's silence has hurt anyone's religious sentiments. How can anyone be hurt by someone NOT saying something ?" said Communications and IT minister Kabil Sibal, beginning fairly strongly and logically by his standards. "And so what if they cannot guarantee law and order? Neither can the Indian Government. At least on that, we're on the same page.", he quipped.

 " We need to protect freedom of non-expression. The Prime Minister, just like every Indian citizen, is guaranteed the right to free silence by our constitution. It is our duty to protect these rights." added Mr.Sibal, slowly starting to chip away at a block of irony he had been hiding under his armpit.

"Also, the CD is clearly doctored. The silence on the CD sounds nothing like the PM's silence. It has been morphed." he said, slowly but surely returning to form.

"Also, everybody knows that Dr.Singh has been making a constant effort to be more like Beyonce. So these days he lip-syncs all his silence. I don't see why the Trappists are getting so offended." he concluded, cranking it all the way up to eleven in his inimitable style.

Mr.Sibal has also ordered the immediate arrest of three people for not forwarding any cartoons about Dr.Singh on social media, claiming that the non-forwarding of cartoons insults the Prime Minister's habitual silence. He has also warned that people who don't tweet or don't post FB status updates would be at risk of getting arrested for defaming Dr.Singh. "We are using infra-red USB Bluetooth to monitor every tweet that isn't tweeted and every FB status that isn't posted. If the CBI finds anything defamatory, offensive or downright mean about the Prime Minister's silence, we will take action.", he said, reminding people, for the first time in his life, of Sunny Leone.

However, many people in India have actually sympathized with the Trappist Order on the issue. "If they want Manmohan Singh to speak up, and the Government of India banned, then I'm all for it." said a world famous Wildlife Photographer, on condition of anonymity. "If the Government itself is banned, then people will have the freedom to watch films like Vishwaroopam and freely distribute the cartoons of Aseem Trivedi. What a great . . . oh, wait . . . " he trailed off.

Needless to say, both the Trappist monks and Dr.Manmohan Singh are choosing to stay silent on the matter - ensuring that this controversy will never end.