Sledge v/s Cutting Edge

Now I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. You won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country. Men, all this stuff you’ve heard about America not wanting to fight, wanting to stay out of the war, is a lot of horse dung. Americans traditionally love to fight. All real Americans, love the sting of battle. When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers … Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in Hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans. Now, an army is a team. It lives, eats, sleeps, fights as a team. This individuality stuff is a bunch of crap. The Bilious bastards who wrote that stuff about individuality for the Saturday Evening Post, don’t know anything more about real battle than they do about fornicating. Now we have the finest food and equipment, the best spirit, and the best men in the world. You know … My God, I actually pity those poor bastards we’re going up against. My God, I do. We’re not just going to shoot the bastards, we’re going to cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks. We’re going to murder those lousy Hun bastards by the bushel. Now some of you boys, I know, are wondering whether or not you’ll chicken out under fire. Don’t worry about it. I can assure you that you’ll all do your duty. The Nazis are the enemy. Wade into them. Spill their blood, shoot them in the belly. When you put your hand into a bunch of goo, that a moment before was your best friends face, you’ll know what to do. Now there’s another thing I want you to remember. I don’t want to get any messages saying that we are holding our position. We’re not holding anything, we’ll let the Hun do that. We are advancing constantly, and we’re not interested in holding onto anything except the enemy. We’re going to hold onto him by the nose, and we’re going to kick him in the ass. We’re going to kick the hell out of him all the time, and we’re going to go through him like crap through a goose. Now, there’s one thing that you men will be able to say when you get back home, and you may thank God for it. Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, What did you do in the great World War Two? You won’t have to say, Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana. Alright now, you sons of bitches, you know how I feel. I will be proud to lead you wonderful guys into battle anytime, anywhere. That’s all.

That, of course, is a version of the General George S Patton Jr speech. If you read the longer version, its must-win attitude is timeless and applies to virtually every aspect of life. Almost.

Cricket, is not dissimilar to war. Everyone’s playing for pride. And to win. And yet, the difference is that it has a marketing audience. Us.

Ideally, we love our champions clean. Those that reach the pinnacle of greatness with their honour intact and without smudging their respective countries. For thats the idea of sport. The true test of Faster, Higher, Further. The best of the best. The Don. Sir Gary. Sir Richard Hadlee.

Occassionally though, we’ll settle as a spectacle for second best : that fighter who might not always win, but will try till his last drop; even if its without too much principle. And thats when it gets grey. When biases and prejudices come in. Somebody always identifies with him. Everyone has an opinion about Javed Miandad and Steve Waugh.

Everyone that falls within these two categories in varying degrees over time qualifies as our hero. Passes the Patton doctrine, so to speak.

The ones that don’t make it are the ones that don’t perform and are seen by some or all of the marketing audience and/or the players themselves as neither willing to fight nor with the scruples. Or unable to maintain the balance between the two.

In this Trent Bridge Test, a number of players from both sides came close enough to crossing the scruples line. Some came back in the game – performed and fought.

Others will need to step up and do so quite soon. Matt Prior and Sreesanth come to mind.

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9 thoughts on “Sledge v/s Cutting Edge

  1. Cheers Sfx… I wouldn’t be too worried about Sreesanth… yet.

    Given India’s schedule over the next six months, if white line fever afflicts him again at the Oval, I would sit him out till the Pakistan series – should be a chastening experience.

    However, white line fever or not, SS should be on the plane to Australia..And if his antics on the field rile up the Aussies, so much better for us đŸ™‚

  2. well homer, the chastening exp comes much earlier.. he’s not playing the SL/A match, which naturally means he is not playing the 3rd test, which in turn means RD is trying to make him understand the value of a place in the Indian team (silliness will not be permitted)..
    Great, Ranadeb Bose plays the 3rd test (tho he is not the best equipped for it), so be it.. We don’t tolerate insubordination..
    Will the brits do it..Well KP says he is the wrong man, Cook is indignitant when produced with the evidence, Moore asks the messenger to be shot (switch off the microphones please!!!!), and Collingwood like pink jellybeans.. Who sits out of the next match from the Brit team??
    Why????????????
    Maybe RD actually still brings him(Sree) in the team but most probably he won’t.. He is too much of a gentleman.. An irony when Brits were supposed to be so and the Indians were supposed to be natives…. Role reversal anyone?

  3. I still want to ask this one question.. who is Prem Panicker? Last test.. Day 3 his website carries this great spinning theory about the pitch having some great brown/black spots on the pitch helping the spinners.. I still havent been answered this q? Given the description of the pitch, it wudnt last for 4 days.. We just about won with Kumble getting the last 3.. And he gave away some 100 runs didnt he?

  4. I have always wondered about all the NRI’s out there talking about Indian ckt.. Sfx, Homer, Karthikeya.. Do you guys in your cocoon always see things in the right perspective.. I know its a very scandalous q

  5. Homer,

    The point of the post – using Prior and Sreesanth as examples – was a bit more generic really, but as Rahul says, appears that Ranadeb’s performance on day one seems to have put a different spin on things. I think Sree might yet get the Oval game for sheer experience (or Ranadeb’s inexperience).

    The point was – they have to perform first and unbutton their shirts from swollen chests later….

  6. Rahul,

    I wasn’t on the bandwagon (as was still very much in India) but since well before the turn of the cenury, Prem’s a very respected name – partic in what you call the NRI circuit. Rediff was the one stop shop for all things India and at rediff, prem was running the cricket shop.

    As with every opinion (you’re in markets – you would know!), there’s room for error – but there are always fans and good for them!

    About perspectives, I think its extremely flaky to generalise. With channels running “Match ka mujrim kaun?” and programmes on Yuvraj’s love life before his innings and astrological predictions and ex-cricketers singing patriotic songs in z-minor, I wonder how India keeps it perspective – and admittedly there is a lot of stuff both within and outside the country which is far beyond the acceptable. Thats when taste buds come in. Thats why you and I visit the sites we do, i guess

  7. The problem is that in Sreesanth’s case the antics seem to get worse as his bowling gets worse. If nothing working out well, he seems to get frustrated and starts venting.

    Theres a difference between following the Patton doctrine and being interested in being seen to be following the Patton doctrine.

    A lot of people have come down hard on Sreesanth – he’s gaining a reputation as a bit of a showman. I don’t blame people for giving him that reputation.

    Its not as though Sreesanth is genuinely quick and puts in explosive effort like a Shoaib might. He’s a medium fast swing bowler who will not survive without patience and accuracy. Hyperactivity every ball suggests that he hasn’t really figured out what is expected of him yet.

    I would consider Munaf Patel a far more passionate trier than Sreesanth – minus the theatrics. He seems to be able to concentrate for more intensely and bowl where he wants to bowl. He has never lost his action the way Sreesanth seems to.

    Theres a very real chance that Sreesanth may end up being the biggest waste of talent since Vinod Kambli for India… the similarities between these two are uncanny.

  8. Dravid will back Sreesanth – but at some point, if this kind of nonsense goes on, they will be forced to take a policy call the way Ajit Wadekar did with Vinod Kambli.

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