Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Getting it wrong

Talk about getting predictions long. I brashly said on Chatterbox that Sehwag would return to form against Bangalore. He returned all right, all the way back to the pavilion for a duck.

Live chattering on the Bangalore v. Delhi game

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Poor Jimmy Anderson

This has to be one of the funniest quotes in a while (taken from Cricinfo's quotes page). Folks, here we have James Anderson professing ignorance about why Fidel Edwards subjects him to a "barrage of bouncers and verbals whenever he comes to bat":
I'm not sure what I've done. I don't have a clue. He just seems to crank up every time I come in, and I get a few words.
This is so plaintively said that one might be tempted, as the un-ironic reproduction (presumably) of this quote shows, to take Anderson seriously, and wonder why, indeed, does Fidel bother our poor Jimmy so. But of course, all one has to do is to remember that Mike Atherton memorably said about the same Jimmy, on observing one of his periodic outbursts directed at batsmen, that he'd be a rich young man if he got paid by the word.

Lesson for Jimmy: when you bowl, your actions are observable, not just to the batsman facing you, but to his team-mates sitting in the pavilion (oh, I don't know how, maybe because they were watching television, and even managed to see the slow-motion replays of your snarls and curled lip?) and they might just be inclined to take up cudgels and let you have a little taste of your own medicine.

Anderson is an unbearably petulant little ninny when he bowls; my only regret in this Edwards episode, which sadly, I appear to have missed, is that Fidel didn't manage to knock some sense into that pretty little head, preferably with a ringing-in-the-ears-inducing knock on the helmet.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Chris Gayle and test cricket

Is West Indies cricket a basket-case? Is the Pope Catholic?

Now that that is settled, lets talk a bit about Chris Gayle. On the face of it, a test captain talking about the stresses of the job in the middle of a test series is no big deal. Other test captains have done it before (my encylopedic knowledge of test cricket history fails me at this moment, but I know its been done). What bothers most people is the expressed preference for T20 cricket over test cricket (in the middle of a test series). Now that really seems to indicate Gayle's mind is not on the job. And given the context of his late arrival for the test series from a T20 tournament, the IPL, its made worse. The proverbial last straw of course, is that Gayle's comments have been made in the middle of a test series against England, in England, in the glare of the spotlight of a media that has appointed itself the Defenders of the Faith when it comes to test cricket. But I'm a bit of a Defender of the Faith itself when it comes to test cricket, so whats the story here? What judgment shall we pass on Gayle? (Passing judgment is fun; I highly recommend it to all and sundry: do it at least once a day, and preferably more often if possible).

Here is mine: Gayle showed a poor sense of timing. That's about it. I think he rates test cricket highly and takes it seriously. His expression after the win in Kingston over England earlier this year spoke volumes about what he thinks about tests. If you are a serious cricketer (and despite his hang ten demeanor, Gayle is a pretty serious cricketer, rest assured), you have to have figured out that test cricket is the highest form of the game and that winning a test is a big deal. At the same time, its not surprising that a man dealing with a board like the WICB, which arranged a two-test series which counts as a Wisden Trophy defense so early in the English season after West Indian players had signed their IPL contracts, and an English captain thats sniping at him, would get a little snippy.

But if Gayle loves test cricket, why is expressing a preference for T20? Well, fundamentally, (besides the ludicrous variance in the time spent versus money earned equations for test cricket and T20 cricket) if I was made to play on the lame roads that are now routinely prepared for test cricket, I would be indicating a preference for T20 pretty darn quick. Test cricket suffers worldwide from dead pitches (and a host of other factors, but this is a good one to start with) and its stars have to be frustrated by a situation in which their efforts come to a nought because of the obsession of the world's boards with preparing pitches that 'go the distance' without considering that this might be killing the golden goose.

And its being killed, no fear. I'm a bit of a Cassandra when it comes to this matter, and there'll be plenty more to say about this because this discussion isn't going away.

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Still looking for an IPL team

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A thing of the past

Just curious: when was the last time India played a five-test series?

Friday, May 08, 2009

High-altitude cricket

This cricket photo is an interesting one. My nephew recently completed the Basic Mountaineering course, conducted by the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling. As part of the course, the lads head up into the mountains for rock-climbing, glacier traverses, ice-wall climbing etc. The following is a photograph showing one of the other activities the budding mountaineers got up to. At an altitude of 14,600 feet. I wouldn't advise coming off a long run-up at that height.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Kim Hughes: Golden Boy

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Obama and cricket

I'm a user of the Advanced Books Exchange. And yesterday I received the following promotional email from them:
Yesterday's New York Times revealed President Barack Obama is reading Netherland by Joseph O'Neill. Netherland is an acclaimed novel addressing the impact of 9-11, but the book also concentrates on cricket and how sections of New York's immigrant community are devoted to a game completely alien to most Americans. The President will learn much about cricket and how it is a game governed by patience, controlled aggression, guile and unspoken rules.
From batting lessons from Brian Lara to reading novels about cricket, Obama is clearly set to make American history in more than one way.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Flogging the ICL players just a little bit more

Why do the ICL players need to be banned for one more year? Because they must be made to pay. What other reason could there be? I wish I didn't have to read about this sort of vindictiveness but so long as Lalit Modi is in charge, we'll get plenty of this. Congrats Modi. The ICL is over. You've won. Set off some fireworks. How I wish I could impose a "cooling period" on you.

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