Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Rahul Dravid

There is an excellent interview with Rahul Dravid at Cricinfo about slip catching. Rahul Dravid is one of the greatest cricketer ever to have played for India. I have always felt that he was always under appreciated and it made me sad that he has not been considered for the 2011 WC squad. He has done everything that has been asked of him in ODI. The last question of the interview aptly brings out the true personality of Rahul.

Do you remember all 200 catches?
I can't remember every one off hand, but if you show me the scorecard I will remember.

I have no doubt that he will sure be able to point out the exact context of the catch.

Even though there is lot of criticism about money having invaded cricket in the last two decades, but it has also given some of the most committed students of the game in Indian cricket. To name a few, Sachin, Rahul, Saurav, MS Dhoni.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ilaiyaraja #2

This past week I was watching Uthiri Pookkal, a movie directed by J Mahendiran based on a story by Pudumaipithan. The last time I watched this movie was in 1987 or 1988, i don't remember clearly. It was shown on Doordharshan as a Friday late night film. I vaguely remembered the climax. The movie begins with a title song by Ilaiyaraja " Hey indha poongathu". You can see this song here via You Tube.

I heard this song for the first time in my life and it affected me deeply. I generally like songs that Ilaiyaraja sings. He brings lot of emotion into the song and a sense of real worldness to them. You might have noticed it in the version of Thenpandi Seemayile from Nayagan that he has sung. Uthiri Pookal is an absorbing movie and as i continued to watch, later in the movie Ilaiyaraja has used the tune of the above mentioned song as an humming background by SP Sailaja. The humming starts at 2:27.

I am finding it very difficult to get this humming out of my mind since last week. I was able to find it on Youtube.

I personally like music of the kind that leaves me wanting/yearning for more. Like "Sili hawa choo gayi" from Libaas by RD burman or the innumerable Ilaiyaraja songs.

It really pains me to a great extent that Ilaiyaraja never received national award in his first 7 years of music direction.

I have been wanting to write my very subjective interpretations of Ilaiyaraja's music and what it did to me when I was growing up and what it does to this day.

I hope to meet him one day and ask him about some of his music that literally leaves me in tears like the one above.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Roger Federer: (Un)arguably the GOAT

Whenever I see an article that says RF is Greatest of All Time (GOAT), there is always a qualifier "arguably". I don't know what else the guy can do. Anyway I myself don't believe in GOAT, but he is the best I have seen since I started watching tennis 25 years ago. There is also this constant comparison of him and Sampras, but I think that is a wrong comparison. The person he should be compared with is the great Ivan Lendl. In the chart below I show how Federer compares with Lendl, Sampras and his greatest rival, Rafael Nadal. Though i personally don't like Nadal kind of play, I like the intensity he brings in to the match.
In the chart below, winning percentage(# of matches won/total matches played) in a season is plotted vs the year (Year is normalized to reflect the total year they played as professional tennis players). Notice the longevity of Lendl at the top of his game, only partly matched by Federer. Federer's greatest years were undoubtedly 2004-2006 when he was always above 90%. Only Lendl has 5 years above 90%. Federer may not be able to match that, but he is the only player apart from Lendl to have lost the Year end # 1 ranking and regain it, Federer doing it this past year.

It is interesting to note that Sampras never had even a single year with winning % above 90. Clearly Federer is towards the end of career as per the historical data shown in the chart. I only hope Nadal curve doesn't fall of precipitously.

As somebody noted, since 2004 Australian Open, Federer has lost in a Grand Slam event only to the eventual winner. I hope he breaks the 286 weeks record as #1 currently held by Sampras. Of his 62 titles, 16 are GS and 16 are Masters.

I hope I can get to the US open this year to watch him play.