Nov 29, 2005

Watching cricket with Prem Panicker (A small update as P.S.)


Prem Panicker, arguably India's best cricket-writer, started his own blog a week after I started mine.. Ever since, I have been following his blog; he has a unique style of writing and is helped by his having played cricket and working as a cricket journalist for Rediff. During the Pakistan's tour of India earlier this year, he wrote ball-by-ball commentary and his insights into the game, which made it a wonderful experience.

His blog is extremely famous, as you can see from the site meter.. half-a-million hits in six months.. He first covered the Natwest series in England and the Ashes; he would get up at wee hours in the morning to follow most of the matches played in England (he stays in NY). Then started India's season with the one-day tournament in Srilanka.. He would stay all night, writing posts and replying to the comments and questions.. The first match of the tournament - Irfan Pathan, who was off color the previous series vs Pakistan comes to bowl.. Within a couple of deliveries, Prem was quick to note that his bowling action was different this time and he is likely to bowl as good as he did when he debuted. And, it did happen and continues to be true..

Unfortunately, that was one tournament where India's performance was pretty bad; so, many guys who followed the game from ball one, got irritated and started fighting in the blog, swearing at one other, the players and even Prem.. Then, he resorted to 'Bloggers only' for commenting and some sanctity was restored, because everyone as a registered blogger is trackable and hence be complained to google in case of abuse.

Then, a spammer attacked him; Prem was disabled from commenting from his own blog.. After trying a few IM'ings with the loyal bloggers, he decided that whenever he is 'blocked', he would just write the highlights as separate posts.. Since most of the matches took place off the working hours of PST, his friends in google couldnt track who the spammer is and where he is from. A few weeks ago, the spammer came out calling himself 'achinb'.. He would block Prem, and openly leave comments that he has done his job.. Prem, and all of us, could only watch.

In the meanwhile, he added more contributors to his blog, such as Verma (Worma), Ruchir Joshi and Toney who were regular followers/cricket enthusiasts/good writers. Whenever any significant cricket news props up, one of them would put a post, thus making Prem's blog as a one-stop site for all things cricket. They still run the blog whenever Prem is away/sick/busy.

The exploitation of the bug in blogger, which allows anyone to post on anyone's name happened there too.. (Tamil bloggers would remember what happened in Chinmayi's and Narayanan Venkitu's blogs a few weeks ago). Despite the 'bloggers only can comment' option, many guys faked Prem's name and started commenting as him.. Luckily, they could not do anything about 'posts'..

Recently, the Saurav Ganguly spat hit his blog too.. Like the rest of Indians, the bloggers were also discreetly polarized as Pro- or Anti-Ganguly.. There was huge hue and cry when he was dropped from the squad.. but, things were OK as long as India was winning. The series win against Srilanka shut the mouths of Pro-Ganguly guys and they were literally waiting for an opportunity.. Still, they would whine whenever Sachin, Sehwag or Dravid (who are potential 'competitors' to Ganguly) failed.

India lost a couple of matches to South Africa.. esp. the Kolkata game was pretty bad. As most of you know, there were widespread agitations (which included politicians and some Bong cine stars); the Indian team was given such security, which made one wonder whether they are playing in India or in Pakistan.. There was constant jeering/booing at the Indian cricketers even inside the stadium.. Those fielding near the boundary were constantly abused.. The pitch was uncharacteristically green, which was the Cricket Association of Bengal's unique way of protesting Ganguly's exclusion and India lost the match badly.. Eden Gardens reclaimed its notorious infamous reputation of the 'Worst, over-aggressive and volatile crowd'..

In Prem's blog too, tempers were flying high.. people started abusing one other and almost everyone was angry.. Pro-Ganguly guys were happy that India is losing but still angry for what happened to Ganguly, and Anti-Ganguly guys were angry that India is losing unjustifiably, due to the politics and emotions related to one man. The bloggers' families were brought into discussion (u know what I mean) and Prem was soo sick of all those that he wrote a post that he would delete his blog in 24 hours.. After the requests and suggestions from his loyal fans, he decided to disable 'comments' options for his posts..

During today's game, he just wrote the posts based on his views for every 10-over period and anything that he felt interesting.. But, I missed the 'comments' part, which would happen during the game.. Hard to believe.. but there would be 10 guys commenting at the same moment.. The comments would run into thousands.. the positive commentary was soo good, I never enjoyed cricket more.. Now, due to some crooks, who despite being educated behaved like rowdies, the fun of watching cricket is reduced.. Hope the advances in blogging help revive the comments thing with some 'censoring' method...

P.S.: For the first time, I had put up a vote machine in my blog and some of you voted in it.. I was obviously the first to vote in it, predicting a 4-1 win for India.. 5 out of 9 voted for India's winning 3:2 while 2, for SA's 3:2 win.. that is a good 7 out of 9.. Anything could have happened in Chennai, so most of you were correct.. :-) Plz. vote in the next poll too..

21 comments:

Kris said...

Got to know about Prem's blog..yeah..Blogger has to find a solution for this bug.....

ada-paavi!!!! said...

blogger has to find a solution for this bug, but i doubt if they would

NaiKutti said...

while the hacking has to be prevented, looks like the comments in prem's blog was disable due to other reasons (personal fights)... these can't be eliminated unless people debate in a more civilized fashion without calling names and mud slinging...

and now for the hacking... i wonder if that can be prevented... some solutions will come up, and soon there will be more geekier guys to crack that... its like a virus (computer or a physical) -- a one-stop cure can never be found, only a make-shift cure can be found :-)

tt_giant said...

Thats the problem with public blogs (for that matter, all blogs are public!). It is going to be a never ending cat and mouse chase. Blogging technology and security systems would advance and so would the intelligence level of hackers. In this casem, we must only hope that followers of cricket are not that tech-savvy!.

ada-paavi!!!! said...

did u watch the elections??
srinivasan frm tn is treasurer, hopefully guys like badani and l balaji ll get a place in the team now.

and this is the end of dada

Raju said...

Kris and Vatsan, high time they do something..
-----------------------------------------------------
Karthik, yeah.. I have mentioned about it in the penultimate para of my post.. There was terrible mud-slinging on that fateful day..

I was surprised that an advanced company like google still had loopholes to allow hackers..
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Deepak, mm.. some of the cricket-fans are indeed highly tech-savvy.. IMHO, the hacking can be simply prevented by just ensuring maximum protection to the blogger.com website, just as any other website.. Well, easier said than done, huh?
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Vatsan, Nope.. I just saw the results.. They look promising.. I donno much about Sharad Pawar per-say, but some of his aides such as Lalit Modi, Rajsingh Dungarpur, IS Bindra are better than the chamchas of Dalmiya camp.. I dono about Srinivasan either..

About this effect on the team, I would better say the board has nothing to say on team selection. Badani and Balaji, if they are consistent and fit, would get their chances.. and if Dada performs well in the forthcoming test series, he would remain in the team.. though it is a bit harsh on Kaif/Yuvraj.. There is no scope for short-cuts..

Paurna said...

I made this post on one of the forums last week.This pretty much sums up what i feel about this issue

Just finished watching sports news on NDTV.Well i don't mean to offend the bengalis but are they all really this egoistic and obstreperous.Their inexplicable behaviour is deplorable.Can't they accept a plain simple fact Ganguly is not in the best of form and needs to do well in the domestic circuit before he can be considered for selection.

Just harping on past records isnt good enough.there was this bengali actress named Rupa Ganguly talking on ndtv.This is what she said"What the selectors did was a mistake.Our reactions are completely justified".Give me a break.Does being a captain of the National team for 5 years warrant your inclusion in the team irrespective of your performance.

Does every state complain when their state player is dropped from the team.Did Andhra Pradesh protest when Laxman was dropped?

Ramya said...

spammers will be spammers.. i guess they'll trouble you wherever you go!!! thats kinda irritating.. what happened to prem panicker happens to soo many people who bring up controversial topics in their blog.. Blogger should do something about this..but i wonder if they would.. nice blog, by the way..:)

Ananth said...

Raju,

Yes, I think we miss alog with Prem's comments while watching the match. Hope he gets back to interactive live chat session in the rediff website itself which was there during the Ind-Aus 1999 series. btw, Balaji hasnt played the last ranji trophy match. Is he injured ?

Ananth

Raju said...

Paurna, mm.. even forums are not free of abusive languages.. so, I think we would see ever worse incidents in the cricket Prem is setting up with the help of Arjun.

I have to second you on ur opinion about Bengalis. Though obviously not all are this aggressive, the fact that the ugly heads are raised more often from that part of country on matters like this makes me feel that, on an average, they are more egoistic. As I mentioned in one of my previous posts about not being able to digest Ganguly's exclusion, it is because they see themselves in every successful Bong. I totally agree with you on Ganguly's form..

Prem also touched upon this when he said "one player will be booed in Bangalore and another in Kolkatta and that is a very bad precedence".
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ramya, welcome here. The spammers are unique species, similar to the 'Fear factor' people you wrote.. They want psychotic pleasure by doing weird things..
----------------
Ananth, mm.. I really miss Prem's comments.. Hopefully he would switch over to the cricket forum soon during the matches. I didnt know that he did live chat sessions in 1999 itself.. that is wonderful too.. But, he is sort of away from Rediff nowadays.. since he is incharge of its sister version 'India Abroad' in US.

I think Balaji is injured.. otherwise, he would have surely played the Ranji match.

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