SBI PO 2018 is round the corner and all of you must be gearing to crack this exam so that you get a job with the largest public sector bank in the country. In order to get this coveted job, you need to be sharp with your English skills because that will decide your fate in the final merit list. So as to familiarize you with English, we have launched the vocabulary quiz series in which the newspaper articles will be used to teach vocabulary, an indispensable part of English language section in the examination.
Article: ‘Trumper, Worrell, Barrington, Bedi: A Similar Uniqueness’
Who is the quintessential Indian cricketer, the one who is representative of the country? The question was asked by the writer Rahul Bhattacharya during a panel discussion in Delhi recently.
The response to such a question tells us more about the one answering than about the answer itself. C.K. Nayudu is a good answer. He was India’s first cricket captain, and the man whose 153 for The Hindus against the MCC confirmed India were ready for Test cricket. Nayudu batted less than two hours, and hit 13 fours and 11 sixes against a team with four Test bowlers. With that, Indian cricket had arrived, a fact duly acknowledged.
Yet it wasn’t Nayudu who came to mind immediately. I thought of how Victor Trumper probably stood for Australia, or Ken Barrington for England. These have become cricketing clichés, although each generation might pick its own equally qualified players. Does Barrington even come up in a cricket conversation anymore?
It was said of him that when he went out to bat you could see the Union Jack fluttering on his bat handle. In 82 Tests, he scored 6806 runs at 58.67.While Peter May, Colin Cowdrey, Ted Dexter, Tom Graveney were the glamour boys, Barrington “made himself into an obdurate, cussed batsman because that is what was needed,” wrote Mike Selvey.
For generations, Trumper was the all-Australian cricketing hero, not for his batting average but for the manner of his playing. Many placed him above even Don Bradman. Neville Cardus expressed it best, if parenthetically, “whoever would not be spendthrift of language about Trumper, let him not write on him at all.” Cricketers have been admired, emulated, respected and esteemed. But few have been loved in the manner Trumper was. His funeral (he died at 37) was one of the largest attended.
What about the West Indies? Frank Worrell, probably, or Learie Constantine. Erudite, talented, playing cricket the West Indian way. Garry Sobers was one of a kind, a genius, and geniuses, by definition, cannot be typical. Perhaps that eliminates Constantine too.
When Worrell died, aged just 42, C.L.R. James wrote of him, “He was an authentic national hero…his firm adherence to what he thought was right fitted him to exercise that leadership and gift for popularity which he had displayed so notably in cricket. He had shown the West Indian mastery of what Western civilization had to teach…”
There were four of us in the panel expected to respond to Bhattacharya’s question. Not surprisingly, no two people chose the same person.
One picked Mohammad Azharuddin, exemplar of wristy Indian batsmanship, but equally containing a concentration of the flaws that make us human (or so the argument went). Another chose Kapil Dev (once again, flaws being a key in the argument). A third decided to pick a candidate from each decade, hence Tiger Pataudi (60s), Sunil Gavaskar (70s) and so on.
My choice was Bishan Bedi, spinner and artist, two features that were both Indian and both attractive to the romantic in us. In our minds we want all our sportsmen to be graceful artists who are also the best in the world at what they do.
Just as the photograph of Trumper stepping out to drive is recognized even today, Bedi’s bowling action has transcended the limits of time and embedded itself in the minds of even those who never saw him play.
Youtube has helped, of course, and even in the days of fewer and unsophisticated cameras, it is still possible to make out the bowler’s smooth, almost gentle, action. It remains one of the most venerated in the game. Bowling actions that are seen as ‘poetry in motion’ (almost a sporting cliché) usually belong to the fast bowlers. Ray Lindwall, Wesley Hall, Michael Holding, Dale Steyn.
But it isn’t just a smooth bowling action and a bunch of wickets. In facts, records do not matter when you are picking a country’s representative player. Trumper had an average of 39, Worrell 49. Barrington evoked the bulldog spirit Britain was renowned for. In all these cases, there are players with better records for their countries, yet what is important is beyond records.
In Bedi’s case, he is the argumentative Indian who, as captain, fought for his players, fought for his teams, and fought for what he believed was right. He also was a captain with empathy, one who, despite being a great player himself, understood those not as gifted.
Trumper, Worrell, Barrington, Bedi — what the four of them have in common is a uniqueness specific to their countries. You cannot imagine a Worrell playing for India or a Bedi for Australia. Perhaps it is this above all else that makes them representatives of the game in their own countries.
You, dear reader, will have a different set of names, I am sure. After all, there are no wrong answers.
1. Venerated (adjective): Regard with great respect
Synonyms: Revered, adulated, idolized
Antonyms: despicable, detestable, hated
Sentence: He is considered as the most venerated Sarod player of his generation because all his contemporaries also respected him a lot.
2. Transcended (verb): Be or go beyond the range or limits of a conceptual sphere
Synonyms: crossed, surpassed, excelled
Antonyms: failed, surrendered, lost
Sentence: His music transcended the boundaries of countries and made him popular in all the parts of the world.
3. Emulated (verb): Imitate somebody or something
Synonyms: Followed, imitated, contend
Antonyms: neglected, rejected
Sentence: Everybody tried to emulate the style of his batting but none succeeded.
4. Adherence (noun): Attachment or commitment to a person, cause or belief
Synonyms: Attachment, faithfulness, loyalty, obedience
Antonyms: Inconstancy, disloyalty
Sentence: The teacher demanded nothing but strict adherence to the routine set by him at the beginning of the term.
5. Spendthrift (adjective): A person who spends money in an extravagant and irresponsible manner
Synonyms: Profligate, prodigal, wasteful
Antonyms: miser, frugal, thrifty
Sentence: He was such a notorious spendthrift in his lifetime that he could not leave anything for his children.
6. Graceful (adjective): Having or showing grace and elegance
Synonyms: Elegant, stylish, tasteful
Antonyms: stiff, ungainly, inelegant
Sentence: The hostess of the part looked graceful in that beautiful black dress.
7. Obdurate (adjective): stubbornly refusing to change one’s course of action or opinion about something.
Synonyms: obstinate, mulish, adamant
Antonyms: amenable, submissive, yielding
Sentence: The boy was too obdurate to accept any advice given to him by the seniors.
8. Embedded (verb): Implant an idea or a feeling so that it becomes ingrained in a particular context
Synonyms: impacted, encapsulated, assimilated
Antonyms: rejected, neglected
Sentence: It was embedded in the minds of all the protestors that nothing would happen to the education system of the country by the steps taken by the government.
9. Probably (adverb): almost certainly, as far as one knows or can tell
Synonyms: apparently, seemingly, plausibly
Antonyms: certainly, unlikely
Sentence: He will probably end up being another victim of illiteracy since the Right to Education Act proved to be a complete failure.
10. Quintessential (adjective): Representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or a class
Synonyms: Typical, prototypical, stereotypical
Antonyms: common, ordinary
Sentence: The Prime Minister was considered as the quintessential politician – visionary, strategist and street-smart
Direction (1-5): Answer the following questions as directed.
1. Which among the following is similar in meaning to the word ‘acknowledged’ as used in the passage?
Solution: Option 1
Explanation: The given word means accepted or recognized the importance of something. Among the given words, ‘approved’ means accepted something, ‘accustomed’ means being habituated to something, ‘assimilated’ means internalizing something, ‘fragmented’ means getting into pieces and ‘assisted’ refers to helping somebody. That makes option 1 as the correct answer among the given options.
2. Which among the following is similar in meaning to the word ‘eliminate’ as used in the passage?
Solution: Option 3
Explanation: The given word ‘eliminate’ means doing away with something. Among the given options, ‘justify’ means giving reasons for something to prove it right, ‘defy’ means to neglect something, ‘eradicate’ means to stamp out, rattle’ means making somebody nervous or worried. That makes option 3 the right choice among the given options.
3. Which among the following is OPPOSITE in meaning to the word ‘cliché’ as used in the passage?
Solution: Option 5
Explanation: The given word ‘cliché’ refers to something that has become overused or shows lack of original thought. Among the given options, ‘partition’ means separating something, ‘demagogue’ refers to a political leader who appeals to the popular desires rather than to rational thoughts, ‘utility’ means something that can be used, ‘brittle’ refers to something that is hard and difficult to break whereas ‘absurdity’ refers to something that cannot be used because of its nature being completely devoid of any truth. That makes option 5 as the right choice among the given options.
4. Which among the following is similar in meaning to the word ‘cussed’ as used in the passage?
Solution: Option 5
Explanation: The word ‘cussed’ has been used in the passage in the sense of being annoyed or something awkward. Among the given options, ‘tactful’ refers to having or showing skill to deal with other people, ‘intelligent’ means being smart, ‘gracious’ means courteous, kind and pleasant whereas ‘pragmatic’ refers to a person dealing with things with practical knowledge rather than theoretical considerations. That makes option 5 the right choice among the given options.
5. Which among the following is OPPOSITE in meaning to the word ‘admired’ as used in the passage?
Solution: Option 3
Explanation: The given word has been used in the sense that somebody is given respect and recognition. Among the given options, ‘appreciated’ means encouraged, ‘contested’ means competed with somebody else, ‘abused’ means speaking to somebody in an insulting manner whereas ‘accumulated’ means getting together. This makes option 3 the correct choice among the given options.
Word of the Day
Concomitant (adjective): Naturally accompanying or associated
Synonyms: Attendant, associated, collateral
Antonyms: irrelevant, accidental, unrelated
Sentence: She loved him, with all the concomitant problems that may crop up if they end up staying together.
All the best!