Tag Archives: Cricket

Ashes, Champagne And Yuck: The Ill-Defined Peeing Episode

england players

By Ganesh Subramanian

So after the final test drew to a close after England’s late charge towards victory was halted by bad-light, the Poms well and truly got to lay their hands on the historic Ashes urn. Australia was totally outplayed in the series and England fittingly won the series 3-0. No doubt the historic rivalry of the Ashes transcends ages and generations, but that doesn’t call for an utterly disgusting way to celebrate the victory. For those who are wondering what I am talking about, a few players of the England team celebrated their victory by urinating on the Oval pitch.

Now comes the apology from the English camp for any offence that might have been caused to anyone by their actions. A few lines from the apology statement published in ecb.co.uk website are given below:

“The England cricket team would like to state that during our celebrations after winning the Ashes at no time was there any intention to disrespect Surrey CCC, the Oval or anyone else involved in the game we love,”

The interesting thing about this statement is that while England says that it did not have any intention to disrespect Surrey CCC, the Oval or anyone else involved in the game we love, what they actually ended up disrespecting was the very spirit of cricket by their “taking a leak” act. It was a shameful act to hear itself, let alone see it for the true connoisseurs of cricket. Wonder what MCC has to say on the English players’ actions given that MCC is the custodian and guardian of cricket!

The apology goes on to say that the act was a simple error of judgement from the English players more than anything else. How much more mean could that excuse be? No international player in his sane senses is expected to indulge in an act like that whether it’s a feeling of euphoria after the victory or something else.

In a series already marred by DRS controversies, Lehmann-Stuart Broad spat and so on, this was the last thing the series or more importantly the game of cricket needed. With interesting happenings in cricket on right now with Zimbabwe beating Pakistan in an ODI after 15 years, India A squaring the test series with RSA-A after their 2nd test loss, etc this post Ashes episode leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. One can only hope that in their quest for becoming a world-beating side, the English team learns a bit of modesty and humbleness also along the way.

Indian Cricket Since Independence: Why Not Much Has Changed In 66 Years

world cup team 1983

Kartik Kannan delves deep into Indian cricket since Independence and brings to you his opinion as to why he thinks not much has changed though we think otherwise. 

66 years post Independence in 2013, the Indian cricket fan must be elated looking at the way India have progressed from wanting to draw test matches, to wanting to compete, to wanting to regularly win. We’ve found our icons, we’ve made biopics on our heroes, we’ve become the central power in world cricket, and as audiences we’ve made cricket a central source of our happiness. We’ve won 2 cricket World cup’s, a T20 world cup, and mildly basked ourselves in the sunlight that Test cricket affords to the number one team. We have the crowning jewel in the IPL where the world comes to play cricket, where computer analysts and commentators dissect every 1/120th of an innings. Not a bad journey, for a side that was left to fend for itself in the post-colonial hangover of the British Raj, Isn’t it?

Not Quite! Indian cricket finds itself today, not too far from where it started, looking at patterns that and the big picture, despite the highs of Indian cricket, that are reminded to us in various re runs on the sports channels. Indian cricket has always resembled a Renault Duster, by the collective aura of its individuals, but when it comes to the seminal moment of the 4-wheel drive working in tandem with the steering wheel and the accelerator on a rough terrain, the experience that’s more often been given has been that of a cranky Maruti 800. We always have some part that doesn’t work, and the other sturdy parts take the pressure. The end result is that we have a Maruti 800, which goes by a few pleasant drives, but still is continually searching for its service station, despite having the highest number of service stations. The service stations’ are exactly BCCI’s coffers. No cricket board makes the kind of wealth like the BCCI make, but still the Indian cricket team is searching for the recipe that makes their concoction consistently tasty.

When I think of why we are the way we are, I see the following reasons

a)   No Domination DNA– Indian cricket is reflective of its education system, where the focus is on numbers and individual merit, with little focus on teamwork. India also historically has been a nation that’s played catch up to its rulers, and has never gone on war by itself to conquest territories. So the DNA to dominate or ward off attacks has not genetically been there. India has seen a Tendulkar, a Venkatraghavan, an Eknath Solkar, but not a team like Warwick Armstrong’s ‘Invincibles’

b)   Lack of Worth Ethic and Discipline– John Wright and Greg Chappell’s notes on Indian cricket did briefly touch upon the lack of work ethic and discipline in Indian cricket, which never quite allowed India to get out of the quagmire they find themselves stuck in. Speaking of lack of the need to charter a vision, India has never quite had a moment to themselves to feel the need to start a revolution to having a world-class team in all forms of cricket. Not having a clear memo to climb cricket’s Everest and staying there, and not finding the right men to climb regularly has been India’s undoing.

c)    No effect from Drubbings– When the West Indies they were bounced out in the 70’s and shamed with whitewashes from Australia, they decided to meet fire with fire, and scouted for fearless cricketers who’s primary responsibility was to instill the fear of life into the opposition. They never looked back until Steve Waugh shot the Caribbean bubble in Sabina Park, that had grown 15 years without a negative result across countries. That moment of shame never happened to India, despite two incidences of 0-4 drubbings in Australia in 4 tours across 2 decades. As a result the strong urge to build the world’s best team has not originated from the stare in the eye.

d)   Passing Shower, but not a consistent Monsoon– Whenever Indian Cricket faced an acid test, it found its way out of a hole (Like Eden Gardens 2001, Cricket World Cup 2011 being instances), but never quite allowed the positive energy to translate into a culture or a DNA forthe full value chain to absorb (Selectors/Domestic Players/Current Squad). We’ve allowed talent and grit in the shape of a passing shower to give us our cricketing monsoon, instead of having steady rainfall. We don’t need drought, we don’t need floods, we just need a consistent and threatening monsoon, but do we have the right rainmakers who promise the parched Indian fans of cricketing glory?

e)    Rainmakers- The Administrators– The final point is the need of having a great administrative unit, to run the show. While great administrators have come and gone by, Cricketing administration is a combination of respect for the audience, financial acumen and a vision to run the game with growth in mind. India’s done brilliantly on the financial acumen, while Australia and England have done well in the other departments. India with the financial backing it has, needs to put its eggs in the right basket and bet on a vision, rather than allowing random politicians stripping the game’s sanctity through their misdeeds.

India will still manage to produce a leader like MS Dhoni, a run machine like Virat, but it will struggle to produce their version of the ‘Invincible’, unless India pauses to think where they want to be. Like just another Indian cricket fan, despite the passing showers, I keep hoping that the “Fire in Babylon” moment in Indian cricket is not too far away, as I pass yet another Independence day, waiting for Indian cricket’s independence from its prejudices.

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Stumped!

By Ankit Chandra

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Stumped! googlied! run out! (Inzamam Ul Haq style where u had no idea how could you get run out!) %^&*( %^&*( *()_+ ….>!!!!!

I mean, I am speechless it feels like I’ve grown in a Truman show where I was asked to believe in a particular world, and it turns out absolutely opposite!!!! OK. I will try to explain as much as I can, but beyond this I cannot do anything. Use your imagination, logic, background knowledge or what ever you want to use to get decipher what I want to say.

Hmm. clue number one. remember the moral science class? remember the course we covered? and remember the course we did not cover???

So the thing is, that the course we never covered was always assumed that we will cover by ourselves. Although, there were expectations all around you to know the course and score well in it, if there was a question asked.

Where were the questions asked? Right here!!! in real life!!!!!! God Damn!!! And what used to happen?? The questions were always ALWAYS out of course!!!! So there you are, who was not taught some particular chapters earlier, and then was indirectly told that everyone assumed that you knew the chapters and not only that, they also told you that every one in your batch knew the same stuff and therefore was expected to behave the same way. That was at least an assumption that you took with a sigh of relief, that the playing field is level.

5 years hence. You are in the real world with the education imparted to you at school, and home (most importantly), trying to find your place under the sun. To elaborate, now you are out there, (clue number two) trying to live your life socially, professionally, biologically, and ethically. And while you are trying to balance yourself on all the above mentioned …ally’s, you have nothing but those lessons you learnt in school.

So here is the meat. The lessons that you are using to balance your …ally’s with, include the lessons you never learnt in the first place!!!!!

So one fine day I am out in the big bad (really?) world, and I suddenly realize that other peers from my generation aren’t even following the same rules!!!!! WHAT??? am I like the biggest C***** in the world to have believed what the ‘others’ wanted me to believe????

U know what it feels like? it feels as if u were fined a fortune by a traffic cop for having the wrong design of number plate (yes it happens), who later you found out was a fake!!!

I hope the clues helped you find out what I am talking about, or when u do find it out the hard way, lemme know… 😦

Indian Street Cricket From The Eyes Of Jack Hoyle – 3

The final part of the three-part series on Street Cricket in India from Jack Hoyle. Watching these pics and his travel, one thing is sure, he definitely has a good book in his camera. Looking forward to much more from him. 

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A young boy shows off his cricket ball as a game gets underway in a temple courtyard, New Delhi.

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A youngster waits in the wings as the older boys show him how it’s done.

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Next man in.

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It’s not just boys who are mad about cricket, plenty of girls are too. A group of boys and girls play in the shadow India Gate, Delhi.

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A young boy takes a large stride as the ball goes past the bat and towards India Gate, Delhi.

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The ball goes flying over the keepers head and towards the government buildings.

Keep watching this space because Jack is going to give us his presentation on Myanmar next, his last place of stay. 

Indian Street Cricket From The Eyes Of Jack Hoyle – 2

Here’s presenting the second part of the three-part series on Street Cricket in India from Jack Hoyle. Watching these pics and his travel, one thing is sure, he definitely has a good book in his camera. 

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The batsman makes a dash for it and picks up a quick single.

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Any patch of land will do. A recently ploughed field hosts an impromptu game.

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The ball gets lost down a rabbit hole

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A young batsman takes a swing.

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That’s what mostly happens in the ultra-short format on the streets. A big swing and a miss.

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No space is free from cricket. Local common ground in Khajuraho is taken over by a group of cricket players.

Indian Street Cricket From The Eyes Of Jack Hoyle

Jack Hoyle is writing a book on the madness that cricket incites in Indian minds. He is a fascinating photographer and here he produces street cricket in India while he travelled the country during the IPL. Here’s presenting the first part of the three-part series. Enjoy 🙂

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In the backstreets of New Delhi a group of youths squeeze a quick game in.

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In Varanasi a group of boys find space between the winding alleys. If the wicket keeper misses it’s a long chase to retrieve the ball out of the Ganges.

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The emblem of a street cricket club in Varanasi.

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A man sits oblivious as a young cricketer strikes the ball, while playing on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi.

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A typical Sunday in Khajuraho; the streets are closed and the adults look on as the young boys take each other on.

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A dubious action, but you can’t fault the effort as a young bowler comes steaming in.

Romi and Gang: Book Review

romi and gang

By Kartik Kannan

To paint an image, this is basically a ‘Swami and Friends’, for the kids who grew up playing Gully cricket in the 90’s. While ‘Swami and Friends’ and ‘Romi and Gang’ are different from the generations that they picturise, the quality and simplicity in writing is similar. The book is a refreshing read into the daily lives of Romi, Sulkhi, Golu and Sunny, whose lives are based around the 3 pillars of cricket, school and their tryst with the maidan. The story re-connected me with my childhood, and brought back memories of gully cricket. As an Indian, most of make that transition from child hood to Adult hood, by spending more time with our studies, gradually leaving the memories of gully cricket a distant and fading dream. This book has taken me back in time to re-affirm the importance gully cricket once had in the list of ‘priorities’

The first chapter draws the connect to its audience, like Tendulkar took to opening the batting in his first game. The image of a helmet(albeit a scooter helmet), 4 stumps, bat and gloves lying unused, as the 4 of them were busy searching for the lost ball in the bushes, replaying the trajectory of the shot to locate the ball. During my growing up years, I remember searching for a lost ball in the bushes , usually with a lot more gusto, so as to make hay (read as getting a few overs to bat), while the sun shone( make use of whatever little light was there).

Adding flavor to the description are the real world connects to ODI cricket played in the 90s’. Whether its the 1992 World Cup labels, the Bumper Sportstar issues, the posters adorning the walls or the parallels drawn between Romi’s innings of 47 and Sachin’s 47 ( In the 1995 New Zealand Cricket Centenary tournament). The innocence of the conversations makes you nostalgic of the simple 90’s, when ‘priorities’ had still not swamped you. I basically rediscovered that lump-in-the-throat feeling, that was last felt when India chose to turn up on Friday’s at Sharjah to lose to Pakistan in the 90’s.

The backdrop of the school, adds more memories, whether its the PT room’s active inventory, or a scooter (I imagined a Bajaj) within the school premises of a teacher which we eyed with mischief, or conversations with a topper girl, whose parent taught at the school.

I am not going to talk more about the suspense or the climax, but I’d recommend this for a beautiful Saturday read, so that by Saturday night you are hunting all your childhood friends on Facebook to re kindle the emotions of childhood so beautifully captured by Tushar in ‘Romi and Gang’.

PS: While we don’t require to any more handle clumsy antenna’s on the terrace to get any free feed/signal from Prime Sports any more, I’d give anything for the sheer fun of what we did growing up in the 90’s, to be associated with cricket(even if it means looking like Sachin in Ambrose’s pads) I am going next month to my native city, to catch a glimpse of whatever’s left of the little maidan that we once used to play cricket in. Thanks Tushar for rekindling the memories.

Some More PS: You can purchase the book here in its print avatar, or buy the kindle version here

Rebuttal To 11 Rules For Women During Cricket

female rebut

By Shwetha Kalyanasundaram

Dear Menfolk,

It is becoming increasingly ostensible that you seem to be laboring under the delusion that you are entitled to special manly treatment. We allow you to think you’re the boss because it suits us, but the consequences of your behavior, especially during cricket matches do need to be addressed.

So here’s getting certain things straight…

1. Cricket for women isn’t unfathomable, ubiquitous, and completely pointless, which may be the case for a man trying to knit!

Conversation with women is like a sporting competition, you either win or lose, not both. Mind you, we never make it easy for you all. Looks like you realize how tough it is to talk to us and use cricket as an excuse to save yourselves from the shame that may befall on you.

2. A remote in your hand all the time? Maybe it is like a security blanket or something to do with being “in control”, that’s probably the only time you are in control fella!

3. “Do not get distracted” should be your bible! We would dress and do as we please. If the game interests you more, keep your eyes glued onto the idiot box only!

4. Neglect us at your own peril. Pretending you are blind, deaf and mute during a game is not considered acceptable behavior and will result in a stream of unrelated-to-cricket conversation that will require your due participation.

5. Don’t blame us for making faces at your bunch of friends. Their faces must remind us of several comic characters that we can’t help a laugh escape our throat. For your sake, we stifle it! Let me just remind you that your friends come over to watch a game because their own partners/wives/significant others must have put their foot down about watching it at their house. And you thought ‘twas your company that they enjoy…sigh!

6. Please, if we see you are distressed because your team is losing and we say “get over it, it’s only a game” or “they might win next time” that is because it IS only a game and can in no way be considered as important as going to see a new movie. Besides, at least we are showing interest.

7. If we decide that watching a game with you can be construed as “couple bonding time”, you will accept this with gratitude. This is the price you are obliged to pay for our showing what supportive partners we can be by showing such gracious tolerance of the things that interest you.

8. Match replays are always there for you to catch up with the “lost” game!

9. You think we’d be happy having you around all the time?!? Spare us; we definitely want our “me” time – time away from your constant bickering!

10. Same as above! We’ll be glad to have you out of our way!

11. We don’t mind having cricket tournaments all through the year. Saves us the trouble of heaving you to the malls to indulge in one of our favorite pastime.  Worried we’ll be alone?!? Naah…we are taking along (y) our li’l plastic friend – CREDIT CARD!!!

George Bernard Shaw referred to cricket as a game played by 22 flannelled fools and watched by 22,000 bigger fools. Looks like we know who the bigger fools are (chuckle). Your loss (that is, money) is our gain (read goodies)!!!

Ciao couch potatoes!!!

11 Rules For Women During Cricket

Robin Choudhary lists down the rules that women should apply on themselves during cricket matches. This is for the benefit for the entire human race because we know no sex can survive without the other.

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LIST OF RULES!!
1. You should read the sport pages so you are aware of what’s going on in the world of cricket and can join the conversation with the men in your life. If you fail to do so, you will be looked at in a bad way or be totally ignored. DO NOT complain about not receiving any attention.

2. The television is not shared during cricket matches and the remote will strictly be in the hand of the men folk at all times without any exceptions.

3. Crawl, sit and walk, do anything but do not pass in front of the TV while the LIVE game is on. Do not distract should be your bible. During all this time please wear full clothes because just in case if you catch cold by wearing short clothes to attract, I won’t have time to take you to the doctor, or look after you during the World Cup month.

man love cricket

4. During the games I will be blind, deaf and mute – unless I require a refill of my drink or something to eat. You are out of your mind if you expect me to listen to you, open the door, answer the telephone, or pick up the baby that just fell from the second floor….It won’t happen.

5. Please do not make any funny faces to my friends when they come over to watch the games. In return, you will be allowed to use the TV in non match times.

6. Please, please, please if you see me upset because one of my teams is losing, DO NOT say “get over it, it’s only a game” or “don’t worry, they’ll win next time”. If you say these things, you will only make me angrier and I will love you less. Remember, you will never ever know more about cricket than me and your so-called “words of encouragement” will only lead to a break-up or divorce.

7. You are welcome to sit with me to watch one game and you can talk to me during half-time but only when the adverts are on, and only if the score is pleasing me. In addition, please note I am saying “one” game; hence do not use the entire tournament as a nice cheesy excuse to “spend time together”.

8. Most importantly, making love is out of the question during the entire month. It has to be a ‘quickie’ and that has to be during half time as well.

9. Tell your friends NOT to have any babies, or any other child related parties or gatherings that requires my attendance because:

a) I will not go,
b) I will not go, and
c) I will not go.

10. But, if a friend of mine invites us to his house on a Sunday to watch a game, we will be there in a flash.

11. And finally, please save your expressions such as “Thank God the tournament is over”. I am immune to these words, because cricket is an ever-lasting affair and after one comes another tournament.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Regards,

The Menfolk

Ball-Tampering? So What?

Cricket - ICC Champions Trophy - Group A - England v Australia - Edgbaston

 

Accusations of ball-tampering by England aren’t such a scandal as they are being made out to be. The game has left it open to cutting corners, by all teams concerned, says Jaideep Ghosh.

Cricket is a strange game. It has, over the years, succumbed to the pressure of commercialization to such extents that rules being bent to suit the free flow of commerce have made it a little bit of a joke when it comes to discipline and fair play.

The current situation, where for England fast bowler Bob Willis and others have cast aspersions on the England team in the ICC Champions Trophy have been met with indignant protests from the team management. “We don’t tamper,” is the flavour of the protest.

Point is, so what if they do?

Here is a game where the arm is bent to get more purchase and the parent body allows it. The bats stand on the verge of violating the dimension norms, but that adds to the run-gathering. Grounds are of all shapes and sizes, from 60-yard ovals to 93-yard hexagons. You can use DRS, and then, you can do without it. Switch hits, reverse sweeps, everything is on the cards and nothing is sacrosanct.

So why should scratching the cricket ball a little bit be such an issue?

The irony is that it was the same Englishmen who had gone ballistic when Pakistan came up with the dubious art of reverse swing. They were never short of criticism, suspicion and accusations against the Pakistanis, and other teams, mostly the sub-continental sides, since the batsmen weren’t being able to handle the reverse swing, and the bowlers were unable to master the art initially.

So for them to act coy about using a little bit of magic fingers to get the ball to act according to their whims is where the issue is. Otherwise, every team does this.

It seems that the designated ball polishing job is given in the current side to skipper Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara (not sure if is sub-continental credentials have anything to do with this). Essentially, the job goes to players of lower profiles, or higher credentials of ‘sporting’ behaviour.

Why? Simple. They aren’t under scrutiny of the TV and press cameras that much.

Using lozenge-derived glycerine-enriched saliva to polish the cricket ball isn’t such a rarity either. One of India’s players, renowned for his squeaky-clean reputation and demeanour, always had a toffee in his cheek while playing. But since he was above and beyond reproach, it never became an issue.

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Zaheer Khan got incensed during one series in England when some smart alec dropped some jellybeans near his bowling run-up. It wasn’t a joke. The suggestion was pretty direct.

So all those throwing up their hands in horror at the red cherry, or its white cousin, being polished of scratched the ‘wrong’ way need to take a chill pill. Nothing new there. Cricket,after all, isn’t just cricket any more.

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