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  1. #1
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    Member Interview : Varun

    Many thanks to @Varun for his very interesting answers!

    ====

    PakPassion.net: What is the most interesting aspect of posting on PakPassion? What makes you comeback to it again and again?

    Varun:
    This is the best cricket forum out there. I'm a member of all of them including the Indian one, and the diversity and quality of discussion here is second to none. The other sub-continental forums aren't much better than a YouTube comments roll, and the Anglo-Australian ones are too inward looking for my liking. On none of these places will you find folks from outside the home countries, leave alone a genial bunch of users here who hail even from the associate nations, which brings about perspectives from all over the world.


    PakPassion.net: Which one match would you present to highlight cricket to a non-cricketing audience?

    Varun:
    Let me pick one each from the 3 formats:

    Tests: Australia v England, Brisbane 2010 (Ashes 1st Test) - After generations of humiliation, England walked into an Ashes tour with a shot at winning it down under. Into the intimidating Gabba they went, where they were tripped up by Australia in the first innings. Facing a 231 deficit, it could have ended in predictable fashion for England in that game and series overall, but they set the stall and put up a gargantuan 517/1 (d) with Cook's 235* leading the way. Australia never came back from that, and England went on to collect their once-in-a-lifetime win against Ponting's men that summer. Considering that Australia have never beaten England since 2001, and England have lost 9 out of 10 tests in Australia since that tour, this was some effort and the Gabba test - particularly the 2nd dig - was the inflexion point.

    ODIs: India v Pakistan, Lahore 2006 (Hutch 3rd ODI) - anybody remember this game? It was from the good old days of ODI cricket when we chased down 289 on a pitch that was doing all sorts in the first 10 overs. Sachin and Dravid weathered the storm until Yuvraj and Dhoni took us over the line quite comfortably. It fused Tests, ODIs and T20s in one package though T20 wasn't even mainstream yet.

    T20s: India v Pakistan, Johannesburg 2007 (World T20 2007 Final) - this game had a neat ebb and a flow to it and a fantastic climax. It was also full of errors from both teams, including Gul palming a Rohit shot over the rope at the end of our innings - in hindsight, that six won us the game. This game was the beginning of the T20 craze we are in now, by chance or design, so why not?


    PakPassion.net: Which is the one current playing rule that needs to be scrapped?

    Varun:
    Not a 'rule' per-se, but umpires who wait for a wicket to fall to then go upstairs and check if a bowler has overstepped the mark is lame. If they were doing the job as stated on the tin and like umpires of decades past have been doing all along, they should flag a bowler regardless. Because inevitably it turns out that the bowler has been no-balling for several overs up to the point, except that a wicket or the like hadn't fallen. It's unfair on both batsmen and bowlers.

    I recall that in a Pakistan ODI tour of England in 2016, the power to check this on the spot was given to the TV umpire, who would then transmit the call to the umpire on the field within a few seconds, but the latter opposed this decision soon after, claiming that it was a dilution of their responsibilities, so here we are again. Go figure.

    Other than that, if I ever cared to watch T20/IPL, I would have an issue with the made-for-ads 'Strategic Timeout', but thankfully I don't.


    PakPassion.net: Is Virat Kohli the greatest Asian Test captain?

    Varun:
    I like him so far. By giving the fast bowlers more teeth in and out of India he is taking our attack in a different direction. So far, it has only manifested in whitewashes at home with the odd wins in the West Indies and Australia, so let's await a few more years before passing judgement on where he ranks in the captaincy stakes. For the moment, I would still pick Sourav Ganguly over him, followed by Imran Khan but to each their own.

    As the years have rolled on, members on here might be too young to have seen Ganguly's captaincy, or even MS Dhoni's early days at the helm so folks are free to disagree as always.


    PakPassion.net: Tests vs Limited Overs- which format do you prefer?

    Varun:
    Tests, followed by daylight then the rest. I used to enjoy ODIs until the 2007-8 period, then T20s came in and ruined everything. Not that I like T20s at all, let alone the IPL or Big Bash or such leagues. I'll still take time out to catch events like the World T20, or stay tuned to important ODI games, but as a rule - 3/5/7 match ODI series do little for me, and I usually tend to forget the results a few weeks on. Tests on the other hand are timeless and it's great that a lot of the players who play the format feel so too.

    It remains to be seen what the new ODI league does to rekindle long term interest in the format, while T20s will continue sailing on the back of the lucrative domestic leagues regardless.


    PakPassion.net: Where would you rank the current Indian Test team led by Virat Kohli in history?

    Varun:
    I think they're pretty cool with both bat and ball. The only 'elite' players are Kohli and Jasprit Bumrah, and the rest nicely support them home and away. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane are a downgrade over Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, while Mohammed Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are quite injury prone but they seem to be clocking up the results or at the very least going down with a fight as seen in the tours of South Africa and England.

    The rankings say they are #1, but our best #1 team was the side of the late-2000s, and this side still has a way to go before arriving at that pedestal on the prestige stakes.


    PakPassion.net: Do you copy any batsman or bowler when playing cricket?

    Varun:
    Haha, I don't play any cricket anymore. I watch a lot of it of course, but the only 'sport' I play regularly is Foosball (with an S). Besides that, I like swimming, climbing mountains and gaming Formula 1. That's the wide world of sport for yours truly.


    PakPassion.net: What are your thoughts on Babar Azam as a batsman?

    Varun:
    He seems to be simmering well, but can do with a 'breakout' series - and not one against Lanka or West Indies. With one of those in the bag, there will be serious conversation about having him in the so-called 'Fab 4' - in place of Root: Kohli, Steven Smith, Kane Williamson and Azam. A little bit of initiative in ODIs wouldn't hurt either - his SR of 87 slightly flatters him at this point, because it always occurs to me that he refuses to put pedal to the metal when the situation demands it.

    He hasn't succumbed to the temptations of fame like the Shehzads or Akmals before him, which is a minor miracle. But the next 3 years are key.


    PakPassion.net: Is the lack of Indo-Pak cricket in recent times adversely affecting the two teams when it comes to handling pressure?

    Varun:
    I don't think it's affected India at all, and Pakistan have other issues to contend with than just on-field pressure. It's probably 20% of the game, and can't substitute for mediocre batting and bowling (and fielding in case of Pakistan) skills.

    And let's face it - Pakistan have been clocking up losses to India in high pressure World Cup games for time immemorial, so historically too there is little precedent.


    PakPassion.net: Where do you stand with respect to revival of bilateral cricket between these two great rivals, should sports and politics mix?

    Varun:
    Start it right away. 5 Tests, 7 ODIs, 3 T20s. Bit iffy about it being held in Pakistan, but anywhere in India or the UAE will do.

    The only issue is that it'll be a big bore - India will demolish Pakistan. And then it's time to grab the popcorn, as the ex-players *cough Shoaib Akhtar* will have a gala time on TV calling for the heads of anyone and everyone with a green shirt on. And that might end up more entertaining than the cricket itself.

    Pakistan's best shot was playing us when they had Younis and Misbah, alongside Ajmal or Yasir Shah at their peak a few years ago. They'd certainly have done better than what South Africa have shown this month.


    PakPassion.net: Young Indian player which you think has the most potential?

    Varun:
    Mayank Agarwal looks rad. Not young though - as he's nearing 29 but he seems a rock solid Test opener. He is a bit like Akash Chopra from the days of yore with afterburners plugged in, so he sets himself for the long haul. Being an Indian batsman means he's worthy against spin by default, but he seems better against the fast men which bodes well for tours to come. When are we set to tour England next? I'll be watching closely.

    I hope he gets a better partner than Rohit Sharma though, because let's face it - that's not going to end well. Beating up on the hapless West Indies or South Africa at home and turning into Harbhajan Singh away means we'll be 12/1 at every turn and corner. Hope to be proven wrong though.


    PakPassion.net: Since you're a frequent flyer (I think), what's your favourite airline and commercial airliner?

    Varun:
    Yep, I'm interested in aviation and have networked well in the industry over the last 10 or 15 years. I take time out to pen trip reports, spot planes at airfields around the country, and keep the hobby alive online and offline. When it comes to frames themselves, older the better - I'd much rather ride on a clunky Airbus A310 than a new-gen composite Boeing 787, and as a thumb rule I prefer Airbus (European) over Boeing (American) in general.

    My favourite airliner would be the Airbus A340-600 - too bad it was put out in the early 2000s and as fuel prices soared over the following years, its business case with 4 guzzling engines fell flat for the airlines that mattered. There are now under 60 of the type in operation worldwide, and the clock is ticking.


    PakPassion.net: A lot of the Indian posters here called you anti-Indian and some even doubted your 'Indian-ness' post-Pulwama - How do you react to such posters?

    Varun:
    I think it all comes down to the fact that I find the Kashmir newsreel very boring. I hail from the most distant state from Kashmir - Tamil Nadu - and don't have a dog in this fight. They probably can't point me on the map, and I don't care much for them either. I wonder if the keyboard warriors par excellence actually have some stakes in this game. In which case, more power to them.


    PakPassion.net: You come across as a pretty rational person, seems you don't use emotions in your posts (from TP section on sensitive issues). Is the real @Varun the same?

    Varun:
    Pretty much. I don't know how to use emotions bar sarcasm. If I do, I'm probably faking it - it's hardly organic.
    Last edited by Abdullah719; 25th October 2019 at 16:40.


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  2. #2
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    Great interview by one of the many great Indian posters on this forum.

    However, I am fairly certain it was Hafeez whose dropped catch spilled over the boundary in the WT20 2007 final.

  3. #3
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    Brilliant read, very expressive in your thoughts and good to see another Test comrade.

  4. #4
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    Excellent read. Some great answers.

  5. #5
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    Always great to hear Varuns views!


    For the latest updates on Cricket, follow @PakPassion on Twitter

  6. #6
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    Good fun answering them questions, and being here on PP!


    Have some Sehwag in your life.

  7. #7
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    Very good read, great poster.

  8. #8
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    Good read. Level headed poster

  9. #9
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    Excellent interview.

  10. #10
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    Brilliant read.

  11. #11
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    I am not judging you but isn't your answer on Kashmir then applies on Tamilian support for LTTE, Didn't you guys blame northies for not doing enough for the Tamilian of SL. You made a very controversial point about why you do not care about what happens there, so I am mentioning you. Otherwise great interview @Varun
    Last edited by sweep_shot; 26th October 2019 at 10:15.

  12. #12
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    Yeah this poster is willing to accept another opinion. He is not one of those who thinks that Pak fauj will throw flowers to firing Indian soldiers. As he is in Tamil Nadu can see things much clearer from afar. We know how most Indian's think they are winning some war even when their soldiers are showing the white flag! Views should always be impartial.


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by PakLFC View Post
    Yeah this poster is willing to accept another opinion. He is not one of those who thinks that Pak fauj will throw flowers to firing Indian soldiers. As he is in Tamil Nadu can see things much clearer from afar. We know how most Indian's think they are winning some war even when their soldiers are showing the white flag! Views should always be impartial.
    Works on both sides.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mesozoic View Post
    Works on both sides.
    Not really. India officially never accepts Pak killed its soldiers. It is the Indian soldiers and generals who tweet the truth.


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by PakLFC View Post
    Not really. India officially never accepts Pak killed its soldiers. It is the Indian soldiers and generals who tweet the truth.
    Don't want to derail this thread.

    But, here we go. Here's Pakistan not accepting India killed it's soldiers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/17/w...n-t-claim.html


    And here's India not "officially" never accepting that Pakistan killed it's soldiers.

    https://www.indiatoday.in/india/stor...377-2019-09-02

  16. #16
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  17. #17
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    More sensible than SIF Good read, thanks for the interview.

  18. #18
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    Good read.

  19. #19
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    Awesome interview, enjoyed the take on the diff formats....a tad pessimistic on the 12/1 though..c'mon m8-u gotta show more faith in the hit-man...
    spot on about Babar needing a monster run to catch up with Root, Vk KW, SS, warner etc...
    and yeah...india-pak test matches...sighhh....bring it on

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mesozoic View Post
    Don't want to derail this thread.

    But, here we go. Here's Pakistan not accepting India killed it's soldiers.

    https://www.nytimes.com/1999/07/17/w...n-t-claim.html


    And here's India not "officially" never accepting that Pakistan killed it's soldiers.

    https://www.indiatoday.in/india/stor...377-2019-09-02
    NYtimes and Indiatoday.in as news sources You gotta do better then that to impress me boy!


    PP's own self proclaimed sharpshooter and defender of Islam and Pakistan.


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