"To be honest, I still don't know how we , the Deccan Chargers won the damn thing in 2009".
-Herschelle Gibbs in his autobiography To The Point
Herschelle Gibbs langorously usurped the thunder and lightning from the usually tumultuous, tempestuous world of cricket earlier this week. No mean feat, that! Gibbs, the bald-headed , fairly queer, unpredictable problem-child of South Africa dumfounded everyone by his initial installments of his forthcoming book, To The Point. . But first, a brief diversion to some serious domestic cricket and its grotesque ways. Hyderabad's Ranji Trophy team showed a remarkable penchant for the brand Forever 21, a record that may be difficult to obliterate even for those with a recurring predilection for suicidal urges. It is indeed a highly dubious accomplishment-21 runs all-out! I will not be surprised if Mohammad Azharuddin forgets his flirtatious endeavors ( pun unintended) for badminton administration and decides to salvage the dissipating pride of his Charminar city instead, by resurrecting his now-dead wrist-borne flicks. Is the term Deccan Chargers best suited only for IPL exhibition or is it just a flimsy misnomer? And to believe that the mighty VVS Laxman, India's towering mountain belongs to the woebegone team! On the flip side, that's cricket for you! Surprises, even bizarre ones, never cease to occur. Like Gibbs! Gabby Gibbs! The man who scored 175 runs against Australia in 111 balls, after some late night alcohol-binge party.
Herschelle Gibbs, the controversial South African batsman has come out with a clear slam-bang-thank-you Maam autobiography with Quentin Tarantino twists. Thus, it has some macabre, sadistic violence on an ex-wife in a moving vehicle , an infantile wicked obsession for experimenting with seedy weeds, the miraculous destruction of a hangover-afflicted player on poor Ricky Ponting's 434 runs failed defense, and some pedestrian if not altogether plastic description of pornographic confessions, such as group sex and wanton debauchery. This is the same man who had quickly acquiesced to late Hansie Cronje's implorations for match-fixing. And then equally quickly rescinded on that pledge.
Expectedly, the rather cynical sort will dismiss Gibbs book as " shocking, sacrilegious and scurrilous", deliberate falsehoods manufactured as standard trade techniques for book promotion. Release a few juicy excerpts to a susceptible media looking for breaking news, let the viral spread as fast as melting butter on hot toast , and then wait for the inevitable curiosity to translate into a single-digit number on the best-seller lists. The truth may be hidden somewhere between the extremes of likely willful exaggeration and untold factual narration. Gibbs, despite his colorful epicurean excesses is honest enough to admit that his calisthenics on the field was far overshadowed by his capricious pyrotechnics off-it. That admission by itself takes the wind out of the sails of the self-righteous variety who will expectedly trash the cricket book as salacious pulp fiction meant for mere dollar signs. Frankly, I am amused at the initial sanctimonious balderdash floating around , already condemning the book as third-rate crappy assimilation. Really, huh? I am not so convinced.
In India, we have peculiar time-honored tradition , an unwritten unsaid code that ensures that even our die-hard paparazzi tabloid sorts will never ever cover that self-defined sacrosanct zone of notorious "nocturnal misadventures" of our high-profile sports superstars, business bigwigs, and our political leaders. Thus, we live in a world of grotesque dichotomies; while we silently ignore the dark-haired concubines of our numerous shady leaders , we perceptibly gloat over Monica Lewinsky's tainted jacket painted purple and buy bad raunchy joke books about Bill Clinton. We condemn Savio Berlusconi as a perpetual pervert. And surreptitiously watch You Tube versions of Carla Bruni's modeling-days interviews propagating sexual promiscuity. Wayne Rooney, John Terry, Ashley Cole, Tiger Woods , David Beckham, Kobe Bryant have all become household names in India more because of their no-holds-barred exploits off the field than their professional dexterity on it. But you will never hear a single steamy story about our great monogamous great heroes. Not even during the much-turbo charged IPL parties in South Africa where apparently hedonism was completely redefined. Or the officially sponsored IPL parties of the last season on home shores.
But if we are to believe, the Indian players , most famously our illustrious cricketers, are personifications of pure running water from a pristine mountain spring. It is considered blasphemous to even suggest that a fetching model even as much as accidentally brushed against our consecrated, hugely lionized role-models. In fact, our representation of Indian stalwarts off-field action almost serenely espouses Bollywood-kind romanticism with sterilized antiseptic direction, the Nawab of Pataudi-Sharmila Tagore and Gary Sobers-Anju Mahendroo kind. Other than the occasional indiscretions of a Ravi Shastri and Sandeep Patil in their heydays, we never really heard anything remotely gossip-worthy, even as rumor-mills churned out syrupy stories on Imran Khan's unquestioned legendary conquests on Indian soil. The Fake IPL Player , in fact, was born to fill that nauseating impotence that prevents a true-blue journalist from somehow calling a spade a spade, because of some strange time-honored practice which has frankly already crossed its expiry date.
Gibbs makes a most sincere, almost endearing light-hearted confession : To be honest, I still don't know how we, the Deccan Chargers won the damn thing ( the second edition of IPL in South Africa after coming last in the inaugural edition) in 2009.
Frankly, neither did we.
Gibbs may or not have a bestseller on hand, but effectively his official career with his national team is now virtually over. To the Point might still be his most audacious risky shot yet. At some point in the future , some disgruntled disillusioned Indian cricketer marginalized on account of petty politics might just face a premature end to his career. Who knows, at that point, defying all obsolete conventional practice and historical traditions, he might just want to make a point.