Tuesday, 4 November 2008

..And Bhajji Would be Robin

Now that Anil Kumble has announced his retirement, it seems odd that so much coverage at the beginning of this series was only about the batsmen, the Fab Four, and how it might be the last time that we might see them all together, but not much was said about him. Consider, for example, this article on Rediff comparing them to the original Fab Four - Sachin as Paul, Sourav as John, Laxman as George and Dravid just falling short of being Ringo because he wasn't as much fun. Thinking over that analogy, I realized that it didn't work for me simply because the author wasn't aiming high enough. Instead, I present to you the true super-group to compare the nucleus of the Indian team to - the Justice League (albeit without Wonder Woman)!

To start with, Virender Sehwag would obviously be the Flash - all quick reflexes and fast scoring, but not necessarily the smartest in the pack. The occasional match-winning innings, but otherwise quick supporting roles, as it were.

Rahul Dravid would be the Martian Manhunter, brooding, introverted and yet with great abilities. He can shape-shift from stodgy Test batsman to innovative ODI-player when the mood becomes him, and yet also be strangely vulnerable at times to fire, or at least fiery fast bowling. His arange of abilities would put him second only to Superman.

Who, of course, would find his parallel in Sachin Tendulkar. Supernaturally talented, expected to carry the hopes and dreams of at least a billion people, and as his testimony after Sydney proved, he is considered to be the defender of Truth, Justice and the Cricketing Way.

Considering that Sourav Ganguly is called the Prince of Calcutta, he would be Aquaman - the King of Poseidonis, the underwater kingdom. He has his own powers, including the ability to withstand a lot of pressure, and to pierce the off-side (even without a harpoon for a left hand, heh), but mostly his powers are supplementary to those of the other members of the team.

The Green Lantern would be personified by VVS Laxman - with the bat in his hands, he has the almost magical ability to visualize strokes and bring them to reality, and yet without it, becomes a mere mortal, dropping the simplest of catches and looking somewhat lost.

Which brings me to the last of the founding members of the JLA (except of course, WW) - Batman. Amongst a group of supernaturally gifted heroes, he is 'only' human. It might seem like he'd get his butt whipped by pretty much anyone else out there, and yet, when the going gets tough, the rest of the team picks up its cues from him. To quote Wikipedia: '
Unlike most superheroes, he does not possess any superpowers; he makes use of intellect,..., physical prowess, and intimidation in his war...'. That would pretty much sum up Anil Kumble quite nicely, too, I would say.

Like all such comparisons, this post too is basically a lot of faff. You could come up with any number of reasons why these comparisons don't hold true, since these are after all merely sportsmen out to entertain, not to save the world. And yet, for at least one player, I think the comparison would hold. I remember watching M. Night Shyamalan's 'Unbreakable' back in college, and coming away tickled by the concept of the Square Jawline of Good, as explained by Samuel L. Jackson's character, Elijah Price - basically, that comic book heroes are always depicted as having sharp, square jaws. In cricket,then, there can have been few men with squarer jaws or greater claims to heroism than Anil Kumble.


  1. Joe, that was a wonderful comparison ....very astute indeed!

  2. Thanks Rahul. Incidentally are you the Rahul Banerjee from College (MukWest/Physics Hons/Class 0f 2003)?

  3. Arey.. kya baath hain.. Sachin ko superman bhanadhiya aap... sabaash.. the defender of honesty bit was quite a low blow.. I like the kumble bit as well.

  4. Arrey thankyou-ji thankyou-ji to you all.

  5. batman is so much of a dark and complicated character, and kumble is ...well sweet...but yea, the intellect and the physical prowess bit are pretty apt.

    the other comparisons are like totally spot on, though bhajji is more plastic man than robin.

    oh, btw, ragu pointed me to ur blog sometime back.

  6. Hi Rasika - yeah the comparison doesn't completely fit, but then that's true of all comparisons (Though I definitely think the Martian Manhunter is a better fit for Dravid than Ringo Starr).
    Comparing Bhajji to Robin was meant to convey the fact that he's been Kumble's sidekick all this while, and will now have to go on to establish himself in his own right - sort of like Dick Grayson going from Robin to Nightwing...

    Thanks for commenting, by the way.