Rajan's Wrong-Un: Ganguly's spite no match for great Bedi

What is it about splenetic former Indian captains? True, Sourav Ganguly has never been one for diplomatic niceties. The Prince of Bengal did his bit for relations between India and Australia over the weekend by saying the Baggy Greens are overrated, and worse even than crisis-stricken Pakistan. "The days of Australian dominance seem to be over," Ganguly wrote in his newspaper column. Yet this vitriol was merely upholding a venerable tradition of spiteful, outspoken former captains of India.

After their country's poor performance in the 2007 World Cup, seven former captains – Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Mansur Ali Khan "Tiger" Pataudi, Ravi Shastri, Kris Srikkanth, S Venkataraghavan and Chandu Borde – issued a joint denunciation of the side. "Tiger" Pataudi even went as far as saying players should be disciplined properly from a young age, "so no 'aaltu-faltu' cricketers come through to the highest level. "Aaltu-faltu" is a very derogatory Hindi term meaning "useless".

But even they were as nothing compared to Bishen Bedi, the former captain and left-arm spinner. He once accused Muttiah Muralitharan of being the "best shot-putter in the history of cricket", "a chucker", and "a monster... going berserk with his action", whose every wicket should be marked "run-out". In 1990, when coach of the national side, Bedi was so disgusted by his team's abysmal cricket he threatened to throw them into the sea.

Compared to the great Bedi, Ganguly sounds like a pussy cat.

Strauss can live up to his name

"Andrew Strauss" is an anagram of "Eastwards Runs". Let's hope there are plenty.

Why Pietersen might be England's best hope – with the ball in hand

Much of the talk about England's build-up has focused on Kevin Pietersen's promotion to the top of the batting order. But might he be a match-winner with ball in hand too?

Conditions in the subcontinent should suit his brand of bowling. More slow bowler than spin bowler, the crumbling pitches should offer plenty of natural variation for his looped off-breaks. And for fast bowlers toiling away in the heat a few tight overs from Pietersen ought to offer some welcome respite.

Perhaps the fact that many pundits have completely ignored Pietersen's potential utility as a bowler says something about England's lax attitude to converting part-time trundlers into all-rounders. In recent times, several English batsmen – among them Mike Atherton and Michael Vaughan – who might have developed useful side-lines in spin have shown unfailing commitment to wasting their bowling talent.

If Virender Sehwag and Chris Gayle can get through 10 overs – sometimes allowing their teams to play an extra batsman – why can't Pietersen?

A Kiwi, some beer and a Durban club

Talking about all-round talent, it was on this day eight years ago that Chris Cairns, the Kiwi all-rounder, contributed to South Africa's night-time economy. With scant regard for local custom, a drunk Cairns took off his shirt to belch out the Haka war dance in a Durban nightclub. Shortly after, he was thrown out, hit on the back of the head, and collapsed on the pavement. Ironic, really: he was only there because New Zealand had cancelled a World Cup fixture against Kenya in Nairobi for that day – on security grounds.

Lookalike corner

Plenty of excitement about Virat Kohli, who on Saturday became the first Indian to score a century on debut, with his 100 not out against Bangladesh. But I fear many people are missing the most interesting point about him, which is that he also starred in Mamma Mia!, The Duchess, and The History Boys. Either that or he's a dead-ringer for English actor Dominic Cooper. Were they by chance separated at birth?

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
This weekend's 'Big Hero 6' by Disney Animation Studios
arts + ents
News
i100
News
Budapest, 1989. Sleepware and panties.
newsDavid Hlynsky's images of Soviet Union shop windows shine a light on our consumerist culture
Arts and Entertainment
Eleanor Catton has hit back after being accused of 'treachery' for criticising the government.
books
News
In humans, the ability to regulate the expression of genes through thoughts alone could open up an entirely new avenue for medicine.
science
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee