White noise is a random signal (or process) with a flat power spectral density. In other words, the signal's power spectral density has equal power in any band, at any center frequency, having a given bandwidth. White noise is considered analogous to white light which contains all frequencies.

Who am I?

Neo-hippie cinephile. Follower of the great Jim Morrison who once said "If the doors of perception are cleansed, everything would appear to man as it truly is, infinite."

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Almost Always Wright

It is interesting that India is still viewed as a land of great religion and mystic charm, while she has produced a generation of Godless beings such as myself, and yet, we aren't running amok tearing our hair out, because we have something equally mystifying - cricket. The game may have started on the cold English green lawns, meant to be enjoyed amidst polite cups of tea, but it has certainly evolved into a passion of the pajama, as can be read on the sleeves of a billion people. An important figure in this evolution, at least, from an Indian perspective, along with Sourav Ganguly, is the quiet, resilient Kiwi opening batsmen of yesteryear - John Wright. Over the years, we have always heard media speculation about him, with almost no returns form the man. Professional to the core, he chose to do it in his book, after retiring. Written with the help of Sharda Ugra and Paul Thomas, his autobiography "John Wright's Indian Summers" is mostly excerpts from John's diary and is a very straightforward and realistic account what actually happened in the golden years of Indian cricket and the profile of a much loved lonely man.

The book begins with the end of John's cricketing career and talks about his body telling him to stop, but his mind not agreeing, leading him to his coaching career. He started off with the English county team Kent and produced results. After failing to land the job as the Kiwi coach, John landed arguably the second hottest seat in world cricket. The Kent job couldn't have been more different from the India one.

From the outset, the decision to hire a foreign coach was met with a lot of resistance, especially from ex-players, who thought they could do a better job. However, John did make friends as well, in Raj Singh Dungarpur, and was also, in Jagmohan Dalmiya's good books. He doesn't talk about Ganguly all that much, treating the relationship as more professional than personal. Kaif seems to be a favorite of his, along with Javagal Srinath, VVS Laxman and Anil Kumble. According to the book, he was very drawn to players who weren't from the big cities.

I think the most important reason that his tenure as coach worked was that he recognized the fact that cricket was a religion in India, and identified answering the hungry public with results, as one of his action items. There are passages in the book that talk about people lining up for hours in small towns to wave at the tinted windows of the passing bus with their heroes in it, and rendezvous' with the cab driver, or an enthusiastic teenager, who had grave justification for shuffling the batting order.

He also recognized that each player needed different one on one coaching, such as Tendulkar needed more direction, while some of the younger players needed more technical tips. He was the first coach to push for and succeed in getting the Indian team a trainer and a physio. One of his regrets is not being able to manage a bowling coach. I am sure he is glad that since his departure, that has been taken care of.

The Pakistan tour receives more attention than others in the book, not just because of the Indian team's astounding success there, but mainly because of the off-field activities, like the warm hospitality or the affinity in culture that John observed. What makes this book appealing to even non-cricket enthusiasts, I would imagine, is the lack of cricket data and an emphasis on the emotions and the little humorous anecdotes of the players while on tour. The great Aussie series at home is mentioned, but again, Harbhajan's state of mind is discussed more than how many wickets he took. Ganguly waving his shirt at the English is discussed but not how much he scored. John doesn't talk about the statistics from the disastrous Kiwi tour, but instead chooses to talk about his chagrin at having to play on crazy pitches and defend his team in front of his friends. The ambition of the man comes to the fore as he calls the World Cup campaign mostly a failure by citing the crushing defeat to the Aussies in the final.

The media often showed John to be a meek man. This is far from the truth and nothing but a revelation of the myopia of the media in failing to recognize professionalism. John says he tried to maintain his grim face during games, and after a while stopped caring about the media reports calling him cold. He accepts mistakes like loosing his temper with players initially, with the maturity reflected by gray locks.

The depressing parts of the book deal with internal politics in Indian cricket, mostly in selection committee meetings, about how, real talent is getting overlooked at the grass root level. He was also very lonely during the weekends in India, when all the players went home, but he couldn't. He spent a couple of Christmases alone - a quiet meal, a lonely beer, the same hotel room, and also lost his father during his tenure as coach. The loneliness ultimately got to him and he quit after transforming the team in six years.

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