Friday, January 30, 2009

RIP Bill Frindall

RIP Bill. Thanks for the wonderful afternoons I spent at the British Council Library in New Delhi, poring over your magisterial book on test cricket records. Your work was a labor of love, and deeply appreciated by this cricket nerd. I never minded taking the 470 out to Rafi Marg in Delhi's burning heat, because I knew I would be lost in your book's pages once I got there. And how those numbers made my head spin as I tried to imagine what feats had made them possible. I remember once telling someone that I preferred Frindall to Wisden when it came to cricket statistics; could higher praise be imagined? And I loved your contrariness about World XI games. You were right; they should never have been given test status.

Thanks again.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Remembering radio days

Symmo the Not-so-bad

To be honest, I am utterly perplexed by the furore over Andrew Symond's interview with Roy and HG. As I've said before on this blog, some concession must be made for radio interviews as compared to television interviews. Invariably, the former tend to produce more loquaciousness on the part of the interviewee. Second, this was on the Roy and HG show! What did people expect if not something a little out there? A radio interview, and one with Roy and HG is precisely the place I'd expect a sportsman to say something that would raise a few eyebrows. Sure, there is a history with Symonds. But if CA are so worried about him, then they should just put a complete media gag on him. This sight of a grown man being let out to play but then castigated again and again is unedifying.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And over at Different Strokes

I'm getting seriously flamed over at Different Strokes. Check it out and join in the fun.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Back home from home

A belated happy new year to everyone. I'm finally back from an amazing trip to India, which left me with no time whatsoever to blog as often as I thought I would. And I didn't watch as much cricket as anticipated. I did manage to follow South Africa's twin triumphs over Australia and Mumbai's bagging of the Ranji Trophy for the 1876th time. But my crickt watching was sporadic at best; my social calendar simply did not allow for extended periods in front of the television (which given the last two days of the Mohali test, was just as well).

When I did watch cricket, I was awestruck by the number of commercials shown in the overbreak, which often meant missing a delivery or a replay. And sometimes the screen itself would be colonized by commercials. It is also seems to be a standard practice to repeat commercials in break after break; thus very quickly, I seemed to have memorized a set of commercials, whose lines and jingles I knew by heart, and which quickly permeated my subconscious, leading me to hum and mumble odd bits of sloganeering at inopportune moments (for instance, I have "lets get rolling" running through my head right now).

But the best part about watching or following cricket in India has nothing to do with television, particularly. It has to do, I think, with just being around a lot of people that have cricket on their radars. And thus, the expressions of concern, inquiry, anger or exaltation about the game that follow, and that suck you into empathetic affirmations or skeptical rejections. Being able to talk about the game as part of the daily fabric of life is the true joy of following cricket back in India. It is to be reminded that there are places in the world (unlike the US), where cricket is part of the conversation, part of the daily package of sights and sounds. Cricket isn't just on the screen or on the net there; its all around.