‘Capturing Cricket – Steve Waugh in India’ assessment: Journey of a Waugh photographer


A brand new documentary follows the previous Australian captain’s journey as he captures the nation’s obsession with the game

Two many years in the past, for those who needed to sum up Steve Waugh’s relationship with India, it could be – “it’s complicated”. As captain of Australia from the late 1990s, Waugh inspired his team-mates to uphold the ethos of Australian cricket – to be deeply respectful of the nation’s cricketing legacy and on the identical time, bask in “mental disintegration” to psyche out the opposition even earlier than the primary ball was bowled.

In the midst of a record-winning streak in Test matches in 2001, Waugh wouldn’t relaxation till Australia scaled what he known as the “final frontier” – successful a Test collection in India, one thing Australia had not achieved since 1969. Following the customary pre-series confrontation, Australia got here inside two wickets of breaching that frontier however fell quick. Waugh by no means ever achieved his aim. With a billion Indian followers within the opposition, the decided Waugh was by no means going to be charitable along with his phrases.

Yet, off the sphere, it was as if Waugh flicked a swap. A gathering with Mother Teresa within the mid-90s impressed him to take up philanthropy work for Udayan, an NGO for leprosy affected youngsters at Barrackpore in West Bengal. But his love affair with India started a lot earlier. From his first tour in 1986, Waugh felt the urge to hop off the group bus and oblige the 1000’s who needed his autograph and to seize gully cricket along with his digicam. As an energetic participant, Waugh authored a number of tour diaries on cricket, absorbing the international locations he visited, pushed by his urge to develop as a world sportsman at a extra holistic stage.

Nearly 16 years since his retirement, Waugh returned to India on a photograph expedition to provide his photograph guide, “The Spirit of Cricket – India”. The 17-day journey included 9 cities – Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Delhi, Agra, Mathura, Jodhpur, Dharamsala and Baroda. His journey can also be an hour-long single half documentary, produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation titled “Capturing Cricket – Steve Waugh in India”, that simply dropped on Discovery Plus.

A movie crew adopted Waugh and his companions – former Australian cricket group photographer Trent Parke and buddy Jason Brookes, who Waugh described as a “Merv Hughes character to keep the spirits up” – as they captured the “organised chaos” of cricket in Mumbai’s maidans, tennis ball cricket with the Maharaja contained in the Lakshmi Vilas Palace in Vadodara, Buddhist monks in Dharamsala enjoying cricket on a “spiteful” pitch and extra, with Harsha Bhogle’s vibrant narration within the backdrop.

Cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh with the then oldest residing first-class cricketer and historian Vasant Raiji at his residence, in Mumbai on Monday, January 13, 2020.


The movie is much less on Waugh’s pictures abilities however retains the concentrate on his knack for locating magnificence amidst the filth and dirt, and his evolution as an individual, as narrated by former team-mates. Former spinner Gavin Robertson speaks of Waugh the reluctant superstar, who needed to step out of his consolation zone (by the way the title of Waugh’s autobiography) to be a profitable ambassador for the sport. Child cricketing prodigies as younger as three years outdated, made well-known due to social media, are a few of the topics Waugh’s group visits and captures superbly.

Of course, Waugh by no means resists the urge to seize the bat and have a knockabout with the locals. A bunch of blind cricketers in Bengaluru are in all probability nonetheless in disbelief that they compelled an Australian legend, with practically 11,000 Test runs, to play and miss the ball round 20 instances when he took on the problem, blindfolded, to face their bowling.

There are clichés within the movie that Indian viewers want no reminding – that cricket is a faith in India and that it’s now a profitable profession alternative. Waugh’s companion Brookes, couldn’t assist however level out the “respect” Sachin Tendulkar confirmed by leaving his footwear outdoors when he and Waugh visited the house of Vasant Raiji – then the oldest former first-class cricketer in India – on his 100th birthday.

With 17 days of journey condensed into one hour of movie, not all cities get sufficient airtime. Jodhpur barely will get any protection. There can also be the tendency in all cricket-themed movies in India to maintain it Mumbai centric, on the expense of smaller cities and villages which have equally compelling tales to share.

Case in level is a sport performed round a rubbish dump by the banks of a river in Mathura. Waugh, capturing the sport from a rooftop, acquired so sidetracked clicking the monkeys round that he did not evade the ball coming straight at him. As a batsman, Waugh’s greatest weak spot was the quick ball aimed on the physique. This incident, caught on digicam by the person himself, should have introduced again reminiscences.

Capturing Cricket – Steve Waugh in India is streaming on Discovery Plus

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