Archive: Mar 2007

Antigua antics

WI-Aus MatchAntigua is beautiful. And the brand new stadium is stunning. Every seat has an unobstructed view and you feel really close to the action. But here are a few little tips to make your cricket matches even more fun.

1. Take a folding umbrella. Rain has interrupted play at a number of matches during the World Cup. Today was no different (in fact, for the first time, the reserve day will be used and the West Indies will bat tomorrow). We thought we were really smart that we thought to take an umbrella with us. However, all walking-stick umbrellas were confiscated at security. Goes to reason – you may poke someone’s eye out or shoot a missile at a player.

2. Bring food with you or buy food well before the lunch break. It appears that the basics of managing process are not part of the Caribbean plan. The menus at the concession stands have over 50 items. And each one is prepared *after* you place your order. So, after standing in line for over 45 minutes (in the rain, sans umbrella), we were still not at the front of the line.

3. Take empty bottle caps with you to the game. Really – you know, the screw on ones for colas and water? Take them. When you buy a drink they unscrew the top and only give you the bottle. Apparently, it is a safety mechanism to ensure that you don’t refill the bottle and hurl it onto the field at your favorite, incompetent team. But what that means is that you are carrying a half-used bottle around with no cap and liquid sloshing around.

4. Get there early. At least for Antigua, you can’t drive to the stadium. You drive to a parking lot and then take a shuttle. Except the shuttle doesn’t go when it has a few people. It has to be full. We tried to explain to the driver that we were going to the game late and no one else was going to show up, but it still took him 15 minutes to be convinced.

And why is it that everyone wears their team shirt to the game even if their team is not playing? Maybe I’m just being bitter since I can’t wear an India shirt. The game (or the half that was played today) was a blast. Matthew Hayden, congratulations on a brilliant 158. Go West Indies!

Highlight of the day: Rubbing shoulders with Jean-Luc Picard.

India out of the World Cup

India is out of the world cup. They have only themselves to blame. They batted like they didn’t care, on a wicket where batting was not hard. And yes, I publish this before the game is officially over, but that’s a risk I am so willing to take!

Dhoni and Sachin are peas in a pod – can succeed only when there is no reason and always fail when they need to succeed. Bad run-outs. Agarkar playing so carelessly after his captain goes up to him and tells him to play properly. Ah… the whole team has failed pathetically. They lack the will to win. Crumble at the sign of any fight from the opposition.

The bowling… well, 27 extras. Wow. Letting them get to 254 was a mistake, but the batting made made even 150 look like a tough target.

Here’s the positive – I won’t be wasting any more time on watching. Yay! Hours and hours of free time are opening up like a vista in front of me. It’s been fun folks (well not really fun either), but it is all over.

I will say this. This team has played well in the past. When they are on fire, there is no team as fun. I’ve grown up watching some of these guys. So, for those memories, thank you. But this chapter is closed.

Good night and good luck!

It’s in India’s hands

Dravid said, after the loss to Bangladesh, that they are only going to worry about what’s in their control – he got his wish. The Indian team are now in control of their destiny in the World Cup. If they win on Friday against Sri Lanka, they are pretty much through. If they lose, they are out. As simple as that.

Today, Sri Lanka whipped Bangladesh. Bangladesh had a much worse day in the field, but it also showed how badly India played to lose to them. But, that’s all in the past.

Since Bangladesh has a significant negative Net Run Rate, they need to beat Bermuda by some enormous difference (350? 400? something like that). Let’s assume for a moment that that will not happen since no team has ever won by that margin.

So, all in India’s hands. Almost everyone wants them to lose –

• Sri Lanka wants to win because only if they win do they take 2 points through to the next round

• Bangladesh wants Sri Lanka to win because that’s really the only way NRR doesn’t matter and a mere win against Bermuda will put them through instead of India

• All of Pakistan probably wants Sri Lanka to win so that they are not the only big team eliminated and so that arch-rival India keeps them company on the long trip back home.

However, ALL OF INDIA wants you to win!!! So, Team India, time to step up, time to play big. It is in your control – go for it!

Regular retail and what you really need now

What happens if you lose your gloves towards the end of winter? It is still cold outside – freezing in fact. So, you need to wear gloves even though spring is just a few promising weeks away.

Well, you could go over to the nearest general retail outlet and buy yourself a pair, right? Wrong. Oh so wrong. I lost my gloves (or rather just one glove which makes the other one a decorative plant warmer). My first inkling was to look on eBay – whatever it is, you can get it on eBay, baby! But in addition, I decided to check out the retail stores as well.

I trekked to Macy’s – “Gloves? Oh no, we’re out of gloves, we have our spring season in already. Try H&M or The Gap.” Same story at H&M. Same story at The Gap where I got “Try H&M, they always have it. No?? Well, then Macy’s!!”

Regular retail is messed up beyond belief. Really long product planning cycles are the key problem. Lead times are so long that what gets sold for spring (not *in* spring) is probably decided in the fall of the previous year and all orders are placed.

But the consumer is made to pay for this silly process. Spring season items arrive in late Feb when most of the country is still covered in snow. Can you really think of buying that short pink skirt when you walk into the store in three layers, a scarf, ear warmers and a winter coat? I can’t. And on the flip side, you have to buy your winter boots when it is 80 degrees outside and the last thing you can think about is trudging through snow.

To save you from this messed up world, eBay to the rescue. I got online. Did a search for the brand of glove I had. I immediately found a pair that was just a couple of shades lighter than what I had, but otherwise exact. It was listed with Buy It Now. Hit buy, paid via PayPal and was done in exactly 2 minutes and just a few clicks. Amazing. The gloves cost a third of what they would at retail and arrived in perfect condition four days later, brand new with tags still on them.

When we were doing user research for eBay Express, this point kept coming up – off-season retail. It is such a critical market. Why should retail stores dictate when you can buy gloves? What happens if you really need them like I did? They just don’t care because their economics will not let them care. But with eBay’s distributed warehousing, where each seller has a pair or five, the cost structure is very different. Even all these years later, even having worked there for so long, I am still amazed by the power of the model.

So, if you ever want to buy boots when you really need them or a bikini when you really want it, head on over to eBay.


The match, not the country. Well, the match against the country’s cricket team. This is a must-win match for India. More than must-win, India needs to score at least 350 to get the net run rate in their favor. Time for the Indians to step up, time for the people who are failing to try to make it work. After all, folks, it is Bermuda! A match that should have been inconsequential has taken on monumental proportions.

To all my non-Indian readers, apologies that there is so much cricket on this blog of late – but I am Indian and it is in my blood 🙂

Post-script to the Indian innings: If you could bat like this what on earth were you guys doing against Bangladesh? Sleep-playing? Sure, they are a better team, but still… Well, at least you’re awake and alive now. Welcome to the World Cup, Team India! 413 is brilliant. Yes, it is against Bermuda, but still good.

Post-match update: India wins. Still some areas they could have done better. Like fielding and the inability to close things out – letting Bermuda get to their highest WC score of 156! But at least we won and the Net Run Rate for India is now +2.507. Based on what happens on Wednesday with Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, the scenario will become more clear.

———— Blogging the match (why? I don’t know… it helps calm the nerves)

2nd over: Robin Uthappa learns from Sehwag. Fishes outside his off-stump. Edges to a second slip. Dwayne Leverock stands at first slip, but he stretched from first slip, kept stretching and got it! Amazing. I think the guy weighs 300 pounds – amazing to see him get it. The bowler, Jones, is so happy that he’s in tears. Aww. I like Bermuda.

4th and 5th overs: After some usual swishes, Sehwag actually hits a couple of clean fours. Fingers crossed, fingers crossed. Please, please don’t give it away! If there is a time to redeem yourself, Sehwag, now is it. Step up to the plate!

6th: Two smashing fours from Sehwag. Sivaramakrishnan says “Could this be Sehwag’s day?” Don’t jinx him please!! Argh. Commentators curse is powerful.

7th: Oww. Another swish by Sehwag. Learn, for god’s sake! Move your feet! Ah, another one just misses the outside edge. Yikes.

8th and 9th: 4s from Sehwag. Hmm… is he back? Please be back.

10th: Four fours from Sehwag. Excellent. On a side note – Ganguly still refusing to take easy singles!!

12th: Sehwag’s fifty – yeah! Keep going – need to keep going today. Reclaim yourself in a big way!

13th: Ganguly dropped. Tough catch. Phew.

14th: Straight drive down the ground by Sehwag. Nice. Why oh why couldn’t you all play like this against Bangladesh?? And drinks.

Oh, a break for now. Blogging this helped me get over some of my nerves. I never knew all the benefits of blogging when I started 🙂

15th over: Two huge sixes by Sehwag. I have to stop asking why they couldn’t do this against Bangy. What’s done is done. Now they need to fight like men.

19th: After a maiden over, Ganguly hits a nice six!

20, 21, 22: Field is now spread (Bermuda did not take the 3rd and final PowerPlay) and India is now grinding away. Taking the singles, the twos. Moving along nicely. A time of consolidation.

23rd: Six from Ganguly on the first ball of the over.

26th: Bermuda takes the PowerPlay. Sehwag hits a big six. Gets into the nineties.

27th: Sehwag on 99. Ganguly drives down the ground for four that flies over the inner ring of fielders.

28th: Jitters. Swishing, swashing, flailing. Be calm. Get it together. Get your 100 and keep going, please. Mr. Sehwag! There it is. Congratulations. You needed it. We needed it. I hope you keep going. I hope this is a return to form. Finally, repaying Dravid. Yes, it is Bermuda, but better now than later. John Wright has a funny comment – Rahul signals to Sehwag: Great job, stay there, you owe me a 100 more.

30th: Fours by Ganguly and Sehwag. Oh, a mistimed shot. Sehwag skies one. Out for 114. Good job, Sehwag. Welcome back. Please don’t let this be an aberration against a minnow.

31-34: Somewhat tied down. A few runs here and there. Dhoni settling in, Ganguly not getting boundaries.

35th: Ganguly starts off with a lofted four. Ganguly goes down the track and is stumped. Out for 89. Nice job.

39th: Dhoni opens with a huge six. Yeah, let’s go. Another one in the air and he’s out! Still 12 overs to go. We need someone to power India past 350. I hope they don’t collapse again. Yeah, yeah, I know – no, I am not negative. I believe n de-jinxing this team 🙂 Tendulkar in.

40-43: Going along fine

44 and 45: Four and then six by Sachin and Yuvraj respectively.

46: Berserk. Two huge Tendulkar sixes

47: Yuvraj hits a massive six. Yeah baby!

48: Oh my god – two fours and two sixes. Yeah! Yuvraj on fire!!!

49th: Two huge Yuvraj sixes. And then, he’s out. 83 off just 46 balls. Amazing. But Tendulkar keeps going. Yes!

50th over: Six from Tendulkar first ball. Six from Dravid in the last ball of innings. Tendulkar scored 57 off just 27 balls. India finishes their innings at 413.


I spent all day watching India lose to Bangladesh. Bangladesh! Wow!

Sure, Bangladesh is the best of the rest (best of the teams outside of the top eight), but what a pathetic showing by India! I have to say that this goes to the arrogance of Dravid and the rest of the team. Nothing more than that – they all played pathetically. No effort in any department, they just meandered around.

And to Dravid – come on, dude! There is a limit to confidence and loyalty. You are single handedly jeopardizing India’s chances by supporting a player like Sehwag, who, with another pathetic performance with the bat has crippled India’s batting performance. The team and the team’s winning is more important than one individual. Time to realize that.

Hats off to Bangladesh. They came to the party ready and did a great job.

Now, given how things play out, India may not even make it to the 2nd round of the tournament. Every match is must-win from this point. Go big or go home, guys. I, for one, am pretty disgusted.

UPDATE: In other news, Pakistan lost to Ireland. If there could have been a more pathetic display than India’s Pakistan put their hands up and grabbed that title. Pakistan is pretty much out of the World Cup.

My name is…

Vidur Kapur took to comedy after an undergraduate degree at the London School of Economics and a PhD from the pinnacle of Economics, the University of Chicago. And thank god he did. The world needs a comic of his caliber more than it needs another economist – he is fabulously hilarious!

**Warning** The following clip has adult content. Please only view this if you are an adult. ***End Warning***

Ok, with that warning out of the way, forget the first 25 seconds, but the rest is ROFLMAO material.

Maybe I find it funny because I’ve had my name mangled so many times, albeit mostly well-meaningly. I wonder what would happen if the next time I answered with – “Look, my name is Shripriya. It is a classical, ancient, Indian name…” Even if I never use his line, the thought of doing so will certainly cross my mind!

I discovered Vidur here

Best Nike commercial of all time?

“Nike says it is amongst their best Nike commercials of all time. In dealer conferences in the US, they are showing this ad at the beginning and at the end. It may later be shown in the UK and elsewhere also,” says Dias.

While there have been quite a few links to Nike’s first ever cricket commercial, finally, Rediff does a more in-depth story about how it call came together.

Agnello Dias, a Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director at J Walter Thompson was responsible for making the commercial a reality. He says:

“For all of us who have played cricket on the streets, we know we have to play a quick game — to bowl or strike the ball — before the next car comes by,” says Dias. “The game in the ad is being played in a traffic jam and captures the chaos and disorder of an everyday cricket field in India, where there could be 21 matches being played at the same time!”

I think the ad does a great job of communicating the chaos. It also does a great job conveying the passion that people in India have for cricket. A game can start at any time. Anyone is up for it if they have 5 minutes. One of my closest friend’s brother was a bowler who trained at MRF Pace Foundation, trying to make the Tamil Nadu state team. I remember when he’d come back from practice and all the little kids in the colony would beg him to play street cricket in the cul-de-sac. He’d steal a quick glance to make sure his parents weren’t monitoring him and he’d run out to play with them.

The music is fun. I wish I could get a “song” length version. Maybe Nike could loop it a couple of times and put it out as an MP3?

Featuring a Konkani song in the ad was Dias’ idea. He shared the idea with ad filmmaker Abhinay Deo and made him hear Konkani music on his car stereo while eating vada pao in Kalbadevi, south Mumbai. Dias wrote the lyrics and the song is loosely based on an old Goan song.

Other little tidbits about the commercial

  • Where it was shot: On a set in Karjat, near Bombay
  • Time taken to compose the track: The initial composition took around two days. The final track was finished in 2 hours.
  • Time to shoot: One month (!!) Wow, that’s longer than some movies!
  • India’s bowlers Sreesanth and Zaheer Khan play cameos in the ad and are not the star attractions

The World Cup Opening Ceremonies are on as I type this. Can’t wait for it to get going. I love cricket!!!

And if you haven’t watched the ad, here it is. Do you think it is the best Nike commercial ever?

International Women’s Day

IWDI missed International Women’s Day since I was sick as a dog. Lots has been written about it – pros, cons, how to celebrate it, how not to, whether to, whether “celebrate” is the right word… You get the point.

But Charlie O’Donnell recognized the day by linking to his favorite female bloggers – and he included me on that list. So, thanks to Charlie, I did kind of participate. Thank you Charlie. And thanks for introducing me to some cool blogs.

RIAA messing up again

The RIAA could kill music. Left to themselves, they will kill music. All their purported efforts to protect music and artists is a load of junk.

The latest effort is the per-stream fee being imposed on webcasters. This will bascially kill off most, if not all music streaming on the internet.

Yup, RIAA – that should really drive up sales – not!

An excellent overivew and review of economics and potential impact can be found here.

UPDATE: It is RIAA boycott month. Show your support – buy no music from any RIAA affiliated label. Gizmodo’s leading the way. I’m signed up – no new music in March.