Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Duncan Fletcher?

Duncan Fletcher as Indian coach? First things first. I'm not a big fan of coaches. Second, Fletcher is a big mouth, prone to talking too much about his wards to the press. This has the makings of a disaster in India's media scene.

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A review of Fire in Babylon

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fire in Babylon, at last

Satadru Sen and I saw Fire in Babylon today at the Tribeca Film Festival; a review should be up, soon, hopefully, on Different Strokes.

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Sunday, April 24, 2011

The commentator's sendoff

Brad Hogg, to Parthiv Patel: "Patel, on your bike! Go have a shower". Chuckle-inducing, if only for the reminder it served for what Hogg must have dished out to opponents when he was playing.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Willow TV Fail

I do not have the patience to type up my latest set of complaints against the holders of the exclusive rights to stream cricket over the net in the US. Suffice it to say their spectacularly disorganized website and non-existent customer service is really, really trying me at the moment. All the gory details very soon. Some numbers should help: 5 emails to support; 0 replies.

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David Warner the Kulhaadi

David Warner is what folks in Delhi call a kulhaadi player. That roughly translates as "axe" but a better translation to capture the flavor of that word would be "chopper" or "hacker". "Bludgeon" would be an even better description of Warner. I'm not sure that Warner will ever, ever, make it into the Australian test or ODI team, but his place with the Daredevils seemed assured, especially if he continues to make it easy for folks to apply local lingo to him.

I have never seen a pitch as green as the one on display in today's Delhi Daredevils v. Kings XI game - in Delhi. Harsha Bhogle is right; someone should have taken a photo of this for posterity. Why can't we see this in a test?

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Another one bites the dust

And Lasith Malinga will no longer be seen in tests. The formula is emerging: overbowl you best strike bowlers by making them play an impossibly crowded calendar, don't pay them enough for tests, then sit back and watch them retire from the longer version while they opt for better paychecks and more salubrious working conditions.

Farewell, Lasith. This summer won't be as much fun without you in whites, showing off your highlights.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

If you play a T20 game, they will come. Not!

Does the format of the game really matter? A T20 international is being played today in the West Indies and no one is there to watch it. Why does the world resent Indian "domination" of the game when they can't be bothered watching it, no matter what the format?

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Inshallah, we will win in the Caribbean

Back to bilateral international cricket, that species of the game, which increasingly finds it harder to justify itself if not part of a long-running rivalry. The West Indies and Pakistan square off today and it says something for the fall of West Indies cricket that one is not more excited. For these two teams have provided, in the past, some of the greatest test series of modern times. They are unlikely to provide any of the cricket or the intensity of those series in in the current encounter.

For one thing, the two teams present the cricketing face of two of the most dysfunctional cricket boards in the world and always manage to show traces of those forces that have systematically undermined the game for them. Pakistan still retains some of their flair; the West Indies struggle more than they do to bring their older panache and verve to the pitch.

Even more depressingly for this fan, the Caribbean does not seem to provide the right atmosphere at the ground either. Something has gone missing; and all the music over the PA, the banners, do not help. If anything they serve to remind us of the constructed nature of the excitement.

Still, I'll watch (if, who deserve a scathing post on their own, can get their act together). Inshallah, some good cricket might just show up. A new Pakistani quick might decide to make an appearance (as you can tell, I haven't bothered to check team rosters); the West Indies might implode even more spectacularly. Cricket can feature a car-wreck or two as well as anything else.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Time to bite the bullet

The ICC should bite the bullet on the World Cup: find a way to build in a qualifying tournament that lets Associates dream of making it to the Finals, and make the Full Members fight to get there. The details of how to make sure Associates get enough match practice to be able to compete with that afforded by the FTP to Full Members are important. If some Full Members are to be automatically qualified via rankings then those will come from the FTP schedule and Associates need something similar. But the most important point remains the same: let the Associates dream of the World Cup.

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