Monday, November 14, 2011

Top Ten Reasons Why Empty Stands Are Bad for TV

Ten reasons why low attendance at cricket games (test, ODI, T20) makes for a poorer television spectacle:
  1. Soundtrack for boundaries is missing
  2. Soundtrack for falling wickets is missing
  3. Soundtrack for bowler-plus-crowd appeal goes missing
  4. Soundtrack for dramatic entries or exits is missing
  5. Colorful backdrop for action shots of batsman turns into rows of seats
  6. Backdrop of exuberant fans with arms raised as bowlers celebrate a wicket is missing
  7. No witty banners, no outrageous costumes; in short, no carnival
  8. Soundtrack for feats shown on large screen televisions at ground is missing
  9. No standing ovations possible
  10. Television spectator likely to wonder why he is wasting his time watching a game that one seems to care enough for to actually watch at stadium

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Kotla Test moves on

Yesterday on Twitter (@eyeonthepitch) I predicted India would win by four wickets on the fourth day. I'm still happy to stand by that: the West Indies were never likely to do well in the second innings against the spinners, and India were unlikely to bat as badly again. India are now 152-2 chasing 276, and with a well-set Dravid and Tendulkar at the crease you'd have to back them. But given that an out-of-form VVS and an always-shaky-against-spin Yuvraj are in the wings, things might get a little sticky if early wickets go down.

There is also the worry that MS Dhoni might offer a draw and even worse, Sammy might accept.

On India's bowlers: Both Ojha and Ashwin took five-fors in this test and strange as it might sound, it does my heart good to see Indian spinners dominant at home as they should be). Yadav's pace shows promise though his action is quite ungainly; he seems to derive little from his run-up and delivery stride and instead, gets all his pace from the upper body, a method that is unlikely to work over the long run. Coaching seems required, much as I hate to say it.

Meanwhile so much has been written about the incompetent ticket selling at this test that I can scarcely add more, but this neglect of common sense is no longer benign, it is positively malign as far as test cricket is concerned.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Chain novels and significant numbers

Forgot to make the usual updates here on Eye on Cricket which note posts that went up at The Pitch. First up, a post on writing a cricketing chain novel, and then, a post on Curiously Significant Numbers.

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Spot-fixing and sentencing: The injustice of it all

Spot-fixing gets you sent to jail. That much has been established. The world of cricket has now paid witness to a historic trial, which has resulted in three Pakistani cricketers, Salman Butt, Mohammed Asif and Mohammed Aamer being sentenced for their roles in last year's no-ball scandal. This has, besides the usual grim humor, sparked some plaintive complaints who suggest the sentences were a) too harsh "jail time for no-balls?" or b) too unforgiving "Pakistani cricketers live such unimaginably hard lives, they practically had to fix a match or two in order to make it to the next day". Another theme is that this scandal shows cricket administration in a poor light (its hard to know whether to describe this as a theme or as the latest emanation from the We Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel Brigade). Lastly, there are some confused mutterings about cricket being hypocritical: we send fixers to jail but we don't crack down on all these other bad things: sledging or not walking, for instance.

Right. It might be useful to keep things straight. Fixing has long been a scandal in the game, and its continued presence has always threatened to render the game a joke. That this sorry mess went to trial was a relief; it afforded a break from the usual sequence of matchfixing scandal followed by board cover-up (usually carried out by the PCB). The accused had legal representation (some of it expensive and of high-quality); the trial was fair; the legal procedures for due process were followed and sentences have been announced. The three cricketers broke the law of the land (where the games were being staged) and have been punished by the law. There has been no suggestion of railroading, of a kangaroo court, or of any sort of legal impropriety.

So, I'd like to get clear on something: Where is the injustice? Are the laws unfair? Should Great Britain not have certain laws on its books? Should charges not have been filed? Or does the injustice lie in something rather more cosmic: Economic inequality in the world of cricket, which makes Pakistani cricketers do bad things? The unfairness of an incompetently run cricket world bearing witness to an efficient dispensation?

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