Venkat Ananth

A freelance journalist based in Mumbai. His interests include cricket, football, international relations and blogging at

Can we have more intelligent cricket stories, please?

For someone who loves the game of cricket, irrespective of which teams play, I must concede that covering cricket matches almost became an untenable career option for me. I joined journalism to be involved with the game I loved. Of course, like most aspiring cricket writers, I made a cardinal mistake about the way sports coverage functions – I assumed what I wrote would change the way things are perceived. However, that is not the reality. My initial perception of ‘changing the system’ with my work was soon shattered; I learned that it’s not just the content but how this content ...

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Commonwealth Games make us proud (but sometimes they don’t)

This Sunday, as the Commonwealth Games were declared open during an opening ceremony to remember, as an Indian citizen, I felt goose bumps, odd tears of joy and an unabashed sense of exhilaration. We witnessed a cultural display which did justice to what my country is all about. A spontaneous crowd gestured to rake up the volumes once the Pakistani contingent arrived for the athlete’s march. Everything else to do with that day was exciting. As I typed this piece, (touching wood and with fingers-crossed) the event seemed to have flagged off without any major issues. Contrary to the average citizen’s ...

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An open letter to Ijaz Butt

Dear Butt Saab, I must confess, wholeheartedly enough, that I am a big admirer of the way you’ve run Pakistani cricket. Quite professionally, to the best of my knowledge. Equally, you have done an awful lot for Pakistani cricket, both within the country and the larger international stage. Your tenure as the Pakistan Cricket Board Chairman, a post you largely acquired by a typical sub-continental virtue of jugaad, is perhaps hailed as the Golden Age of Pakistani cricket, leaving behind mortals like Abdul Hafeez Kardar who did nothing. You have presided over a period in Pakistan cricket, which was full of achievements galore. ...

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September 1, 2010

The lament of a jaded cricket fan

Sunday, August 29th, 9:30 am: I wake up, turn on the phone, check my twitter timeline, and I see that almost everybody is tweeting about one topic. Just to be sure, I click on the link, and read the News of the World story. And I say to myself, ‘Bugger off, cricket! You’ve lost me again.’ My visceral reaction was one of disgust. News of the World is a paper I tend to rubbish for its shady reputation, but this story was too fact-driven, the proofs within too clear-cut, to be ignored. So, I am disgusted – but at what, or whom? ...

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Bowling with teeth

For genuine connoisseurs of pace bowling, Pakistan’s tour of England has not only been resuscitating or made for compelling, if not compulsive, viewing but, in its own unassuming manner, it has also been reassuring, given all the public concerns about fast bowlers turning into no less than “dinosaurs” or “dodos.” All three pace batteries, Australia included, have displayed an acute sense of skill, class and discipline, which underscores the very essence of fast bowling, and made for a healthy distraction from events in Sri Lanka, where getting 20 wickets against two top batting line-ups was seemingly unachievable. The context of ...

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An Indian look at Pakistani cricket

Let me try to do something most Pakistanis would think twice about – make sense of Pakistan cricket, as it stands today. You are justified to ask me as to why someone like me, sitting here in Mumbai is trying his level best to try and see through the muck that people at the PCB’s HQ in Lahore aren’t quite able to. There is a reason. And as a promise, I shall try and keep my nationality aside throughout this post, just to try and put things in much-needed perspective. The mood in India towards Pakistan cricket has somewhat changed, and ...

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Adios, Murali!

One of the greatest stories of this generation might be coming to an epic end. It’s not just a story of a sportsman’s ability or the undisputed talent that a man can possess, but one which epitomises the triumph of strong human character. It is also a story of a man who knew he was past his peak, his body had gone through 18 years of wear and tear and he was honest enough to decide to walk away from the game, rather than be pushed or even nudged to do so. Muttiah Muralitharan’s illustrious career was one of undisputed talent, unconventional genius, and some wickets to ...

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