Don’t go overboard with the sentiments, Warne was just another flawed human being

There is an unwritten rule in most human societies that one does not speak ill of the dead. You can be the worst murderer, thief, rapist or sociopath and beat your wife every day of the week, but the moment you die, you have to be treated as some kind of saint.

This kind of hypocrisy is so embedded that at least in one language there is a specific word to describe it: Sinhalese, the language spoken in Sri Lanka. [Despite all my efforts, I just cannot recall the word which was told to me when I was in the eighth standard many moons ago.]

Courtesy: megapixl.com

That rule appears to be asserting itself in Australia following the death of cricketer Shane Warne, a player who revived interest in the art of spin bowling when he came on to the international scene in 1992; this was after fast bowlers, predominantly from the West Indies, had ruled international cricket for two decades.

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Vale Shane Warne, the man who revived spin bowling

The master has gone. Spin legend Shane Warne bows out, bowled for 52.

Australian leg-spinner Shane Warne has shuffled off the mortal coil. He died in Thailand on Friday at the age of 52, felled by a suspected heart attack.

The leg-spinner arrived on the international scene in 1992, a blond-haired kid from Melbourne, but did not catch the attention of the game’s pundits right away.

It took a while, but under the captaincy of Allan Border he grew in stature and slowly became the go-to bowler when Australia needed a wicket.

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Branagh’s Death on the Nile is an insult to Agatha Christie

After viewing the film Death on the Nile which was released this month, one just has a single question: why was this film ever made? It is a terrible effort, one that takes the plot of a well-written book by a famous author, makes ludicrous changes to suit Hollywood’s woke agenda, and then compounds that with terrible acting, hoping that the so-called big names in the film will attract a crowd.

Kenneth Branagh released one film based on an Agatha Christie novel, Murder on the Orient Express, in 2017, and chose to play Hercule Poirot himself, giving a truly terrible performance. But it looks like he wasn’t satisfied with that; he’s back as Poirot again in Death on the Nile, making one long even for the bumbling Peter Ustinov to rise from the grave and reprise the performance he gave when the same book was adapted to the big screen in 1978.

Picture courtesy Pixabay

Death on the Nile tells the tale of a couple who are on their honeymoon; the husband was formerly in love with his wife’s best friend. This woman is extremely wealthy and ends up as the first of three people murdered during a cruise down Egypt’s most famous river. The best friend tails the woman and her husband, annoying the hell out of them. Poirot happens to be on board and is given charge of the case; he solves it, with the story ending with one of his well-known denouements.

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Old is gold: 1937 crime thriller Death on the Nile is being remade

In recent years, there have been a number of remakes of old films, underlining the fact that people in the industry appear to be running out of good ideas.

That trend will be emphasised in February 2022 when a version of the Agatha Christie novel Death on the Nile is released, with Kenneth Branagh playing the role of the detective Hercule Poirot.

It is worth noting that this film was first made in 1978, with the late Peter Ustinov leading a cast full of big names: Mia Farrow, David Niven, George Kennedy, Olivia Hussey, Angela Lansbury and I.S. Johar.

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The world has become the domain of liars

There’s a common element to much, if not most, of the news that flits across the TV screens: lies.

People attempt to add a touch of sophistry to lying, by trying to create classes of lies, but in the end it all adds up to the same thing: saying one thing when knowing that the opposite was correct.

One well-known example: the current president of the United States, Joe Biden, came to office promising a US$15 minimum wage for the country. He also promised to provide medical services for all and forgive at least a part of the billions in student debt.

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The heart of football has stopped beating. Diego Armando Maradona is dead

Un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios,” (“a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”). —How Diego Maradona described his exploits to a select few reporters sniffing around for the day’s killer quote after the quarter-final against England in the 1986 World Cup.

Diego Armando Maradona is dead. By any measure, the man was the greatest footballer who ever lived, a short, stumpy man who seemed to have the ball on a string, one who looked terribly clumsy but who had the feet of an angel.

He died of a heart attack, no doubt brought on by the way he abused his body, with cocaine and alcohol use high on his list. The genius on the field was a man who could not control his self-destructive urges.

Maradona came from a poor background, being raised in a shantytown on the outskirts of Buenos Aires. His talent was spotted at an early age, when he appeared for trials with the Argentinos Juniors, for whom he played 10 days before his 16th birthday.

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Vale, Robert Fisk

The veteran Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk died recently at the age of 74, and his death means one of the Western world’s journalists who best understood the region has left the scene.

Fisk lived in Beirut for most of the 30-plus years he covered the region and reported the troubles in Northern Ireland before venturing out of the country.

He reported on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and the continuing woes in that country. Fisk interviewed the al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden thrice and also covered the US invasion of Iraq.

Robert Fisk.

Some questioned his approach to journalism; he did not believe in getting opinions from both sides, so-called balanced journalism. Rather, it was his belief that the job of a reporter was to provide an outlet for the underdog.

His famous example was that of the liberation of a concentration camp. And he asked whether one should be expected to get a quote from a SS guard for balance, a query which nobody has attempted to answer.

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Racism: Holding and Rainford-Brent do some plain speaking

Michael Anthony Holding, one of the feared West Indies pace bowlers from the 1970s and 1980s, bowled his best spell on 10 July, in front of the TV cameras.

Holding, in England to commentate on the Test series between England and the West Indies, took part in a roundtable on the Black Lives Matter protests which have been sweeping the world recently after an African-American man, George Floyd, was killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on May 25.

Holding speaks frankly, Very frankly. Along with former England cricketer Ebony Rainford-Brent, he spoke about the issues he had faced as a black man, the problems in cricket and how they could be resolved.
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The BBL is going downhill slowly, but surely

The ninth edition of Australia’s annual 20-over cricket tournament, the Big Bash League, ended on a rather downbeat note, with the final reduced to a 12-over-a-side affair, though the fact that it would rain on the day was known well in advance.

Despite that, the Sydney Sixers, a finalist and the eventual winner, did not want the game shifted to Melbourne due to the home ground advantage that it claimed it would have.

The other finalist, the Melbourne Stars, would not have minded moving the game so that the full 20 overs could be played, but moving it to the MCG, which was the alternative venue, would have afforded the Stars home-ground advantage. Shouldn’t professional teams be able to play at any venue and win?
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Fast bowlers have lost their balls

There was a time in the 20th century when there were more class fast bowlers in the game of cricket than at any other. Between 1974 and 1994, pacemen emerged in different countries as though they were coming off an assembly line.

It made the game of cricket, which many call boring, an exciting spectacle.

From Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson, to Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Colin Croft, Joel Garner, the late Malcolm Marshall, Imran Khan, Sarfraz Nawaz, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Devon Malcolm, Bob Willis, Ian Botham, Allan Donald, Fanie de Villiers, Richard Hadlee, Courtney Walsh, Curtley Ambrose, Patrick Patterson and Craig McDermott, they were of several different types and temperaments as is to be expected.
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