Friday, August 03, 2007

An open letter to Sreesanth

Dear Sree,

I live in a part of New York City that is famous for its street-toughness, so I think you'll fit right in, and as such, hope you will consider stopping by sometime to hang with some of the locals sometime. But you might have to tone down some of your act, which brings me to the real subject of this letter. You see, Sree, I'm a big fan of the Indian cricket team, and one thing we've lacked over the years has been an aggressive fast bowler that could stay fit, be menacing and cunning in equal measure, and most importantly help us win matches overseas. Now, when you burst upon the scene, I was inclined to think that you were the package. And you haven't disappointed me. You did help us win a test in South Africa, and you have certainly impressed folks like Alan Donald and Michael Holding, two men who I'd have loved to have had in the Indian side. But you are in danger of falling prey to the same emotions that make you a fast bowler, and that make you such an interesting person. This recent business at Trent Bridge was over the top, as you well know, and I think for the sake of two entities - the Indian team and yourself - that you turn down the volume dial of those voices in your head and concentrate upon the one thing that got you to where you are today, living a life that millions and millions of Indian kids can only dream about: fast bowling in test matches over the world. I'd give my right arm, leg and various other body organs to be able to do that, to have your talent, so it pains me to see you pissing it away. I love the Mallus for their aggressive streak; and I'm a Punjabi, so you know how much it means for me to have to acknowledge anyone other kind of Indian as being remotely as tough as I think Punjabis are (to be honest, this is all Punjabi bluster, I think Marathas can be just as tough). But, but, all aggression needs to be calibrated. And beamers, extravagant no-balls, shoulder-barges don't speak of calibrated aggression, they speak of unhinged immaturity. So tamp it down just a bit, but don't lose the feral streak. Stare if you want. Slip in a little catty comment once in a while. But concentrate on the bowling.

If only you knew a little about the psychology of the batsman. They don't mind being hurt; they don't mind being abused. What they do hate is getting out. That drives them absolutely, totally, bonkers. So try and do that. The satisfaction you will feel will exceed anything you might experience when you snarl at someone that has smacked you for four, or fended off a bouncer. The batsman is still there, and you're still trudging back to the end of your run-up. Why not get him out, send him on his way, and get to high-fiving and hugging your buddies? And making it to highlight films for the right reasons? Right now, people are talking about Trent Bridge, but they are talking smack about you, and not talking about the performance of your team. Is that what you want? That your teammates accomplishments should become obscured by your behavior? I don't think so. So get back to the nets, work on the outswinger, the seam position, and all of the rest. Work on your batting too; you can really tick off the guys in the other team if you hang in there as a Number 11. In fact, that might not be a bad time to mouth off all you want.

Fast bowlers are guaranteed glory if they take wickets and bowl their sides to wins. You're a fast bowler. Its gotten you to where you are. Its the only reason you aren't another face in the crowd. So be one.

And do come to Brooklyn sometime. I heard the old-fashioned street rumble is back in fashion. I'd want you on my side if I got into one.

Cheers,
Samir

3 Comments:

Anonymous straight point said...

SC

For the good intention and the detail to which you have mentioned about his antics and glory he might achieve...

i think would re-phrase a famous quote "no body died" and we did won the match (inspite of his antics)...

IMHO we are taking things very seriously. he is young and will definelty learn in process and infact he must have been "talked out" by now about his role and priorities...

the thing is we indian are not used to of someone doing things from indian team which we have witnessed since ages from opposition teams...certain nel is the case in point...amongst others...

i think he is definetly the package you are talking about and give his age you would "give" one day of bad day at office given the fact that he too must have reflected upon...

team has enough break in our its hand and i am sure sree will return with vengeance in oval...

thats what i feel...

7:50 AM  
Blogger Soulberry said...

May I request you to append my signature to this most sensible letter in case you plan to have a signature drive?

Wise words there.

8:32 AM  
Blogger Samir Chopra said...

Straight Point: Thanks for your comment; I think we are in perfect agreement. Sree is a kid (only a kid would admit to having written a letter to God before the match!), and just needs some talking to. He has been thrust into the spotlight very quickly and is struggling with it a bit. And, as you mention, neither the Indian media or the global mediaperson is used to an Indian sportsman behaving in a way which is quite accepted elsewhere. In fact, it is because of that that I think he needs to tone it down a bit, because it attracts too much attention right now. And I think that can be done without losing his basic aggressiveness. I was suprised by the intensity with which the Sky commentators and other sundry journalists went after him. I simply can't imagine them making such a fuss about pacemen from other coutnries. All in all, he should be in for the Oval, and hopefully, will have the last word.

11:02 AM  

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