Garden of Eden

February 19, 2010 by

What a thrilling Test match. For those that missed it, like me, you can go watch the highlights here. India essentially won with 3 more balls left in the minimum quota of overs. There was a whole other over after that, but Amla would have been on strike for that one and he was not going to throw it away at the last moment. However, there were still 20 or so minutes left in the day’s play (assuming the light did not deteriorate quickly), so India would have had a few more chances. Nevertheless, it was too close for comfort.

An interesting incident that happened was when Virender Sehwag kicked the ball over the boundary to keep Amla on strike (so that Morkel would be on strike for the next over) and signalled 4 runs to the umpire. The umpire allowed the single and levied a 5 run penalty on top of that. The umpire obviously has not watched Lagaan. I am not sure if this is against the law, but I do know that this has happened in international cricket before and nobody was penalized. In one incident, the ball was hit to a part of the ground where there were no fielders, and so the batsmen ran 5 before the fielder (I think he was Indian) kicked the ball past the boundary to keep them to 4. Sehwag must have been thinking about doing that for a while: he almost did that once earlier, where he was just running next to the ball and essentially escorting it to the boundary, but then collected the ball and threw it back. Maybe he was aware of the law and realized the ball was not going to make it to the boundary.

In any case, if kicking the ball over the boundary on purpose is against the law, I suggest we legalize it. After all, one team is giving up 4 runs simply to change strike. If a team has built up a huge run buffer, then why not? Also, it’s so easy to workaround this law. Sehwag could have simply put his foot on the boundary line while picking up the ball and returned it as if he was trying to field it. I can think of tons of other way to skirt this law. So, instead, let’s just legalize it, and have fun watching fielders kick the ball over the boundary.

There was also another interesting incident during this Test match. To counter Harris’ outside-leg-stump line, Sehwag started to use the reverse sweep. The first one was almost a switch-hit (I don’t think he switched hands though) and the ball was hit in the air in front of square and made it to the boundary. The second, a more traditional sweep which I think also fetched four. The third time, though, he tried to repeat the first stroke, but got the top edge and the miscued ball landed safely in no-man’s land around gully. Shortly after that, the large screen at the ground flashed a message to Sehwag begging him not to play the reverse sweep anymore (written in “text-message” English, as a lot of Indian people now do even when not texting)! How odd is that? The screen operator must have been a Sehwag fan.

On a final note, Amla’s grandparents must be the happiest folks on the planet with this match. Being Indians who hail from my home state, I assume they were hoping for a narrow Indian win despite a valiant unbeaten rearguard effort from Hashim.


Not again…

January 31, 2010 by

Just heard about Afridi’s misdeed on the field: the odd, never-before-heard-of biting-the-ball incident.

One thing is clear to me here, Afridi is a cheat. And as long as he thinks he will get away with it, he will do anything. Does anybody remember the pitch tampering incident?

And, of course, these are only the times that he was caught. In light of that other incident, the ban of two Twenty20 games for this offense seems too light. Yet, Kamran Abbasi thinks he’s still Pakistan’s best choice for captain. I beg to differ, of course. However good a leader or charismatic a person he may be, he’s not fit to lead for the same reason Jeff Skilling was never fit to lead Enron: the complete lack of ethics.

Edit: There’s been a lot of talk about ball tampering not being a big deal, and that it should perhaps even be legalized to give the bowlers an even chance against the modern bats. That’s an entirely different topic that I am not going to get into. My point is simply that as it stood in that game, only bowlers from one side were getting an unfair advantage, and hence it is flagrant cheating and a big deal.

The Little Master

November 7, 2009 by

Peter Roebuck pays homage to Tendulkar’s on-going 20-year career in this excellent article: 20 not out.

As much as the loss in the last game against Australia was disappointing, it was a supreme pleasure to watch Tendulkar’s 175. He’s on the wrong side of the equation as far as age is concerned, and won’t be at the crease for too long. Cherish his last few days, and try not to miss a game he’s playing in.

I am saddened just thinking of his impending retirement (which could very well be a couple of years away). Let’s hope he pulls a Jack Hobbs or Sanath Jayasuriya.

Vermeulen set fire to Zimbabwe Cricket Academy

September 13, 2009 by

Apparently, that is old news. Very old, in fact: it happened in 2006. How did I not hear of it? Peter Roebuck reports on the extraordinary personality of Vermeulen. Absorbing story.

Warfare on the field

June 6, 2009 by

I ran across this little post on the Esquire magazine’s website.
Cricket: International Warfare on a Ball Field

I always find it fascinating to see the “outsider’s” opinion of my favorite sport.

IPL Ad – Season 2

April 6, 2009 by

The second season of IPL is upon us. And I came across these ads from Sony Max, the broadcaster of IPL in India. Good stuff.

Tendulkar vs Ponting (Part II)

April 6, 2009 by

My first post about these two batting greats was three years ago to the month, and it still continues to attract an audience. So, I decided it was time for an update.

Here are the current career stats for both:

Mat Inns Runs Avg 100s
Sachin Tendulkar 159 260 12773 54.58 42
Ricky Ponting 131 221 10960 56.20 37

And here are their stats since April 2006 (ie, since the last post).

Matches Runs Batting Avg. Centuries
Sachin Tendulkar 27 2304 51.20 7
Ricky Ponting 26 2168 49.27 6

Nearly identical stats. Both Tendulkar and Ponting struggled with injuries but are now back. There was talk 3 years ago that Tendulkar would fade away and Ponting would take over the world record for the most number of Test centuries. Neither has happened. Ponting was playing tremendously around 2005/06, but since has returned to more earthly form, allowing Tendulkar to keep pace (and even pull ever so slightly ahead).

Ponting is slightly younger than Tendulkar and hence people have been conjecturing that Ponting will be ahead when both men put their bats away. However, both might still end up playing for about the same amount of time. Tendulkar has not mentioned anything about retiring and it feels like he wants to just carry on as long as he can. Given that he is ahead at the moment, I would say that he’ll most likely be ahead when they both retire.

We’ll have to wait a few more years to get the answer. Until then let’s enjoy the last few years of both these batsmen.

Obama in white clothes

November 12, 2008 by

Peter Roebuck weighs in on Dhoni. Great stuff (from both).

Post-series analysis to follow soon.

Finally, it’s happening…

July 22, 2008 by

I had first written about it nearly three years ago. It’s been a while, but finally it’s happening. Read all about it here.

Cricket is evolving. And not a day too soon.

All hail Ajantha Mendis

July 6, 2008 by

The Asia Cup final is going on right now and Mendis has turned the game on its head. India were coasting at 76/1 after 9 overs. Now, it is 98/5 from 16. Currently, Mendis’ figures read 4-0-8-4. That’s 4 overs, 8 runs, 4 wickets. I’d heard a lot about this 23-year-old gem that Sri Lanka discovered, and finally I got to see him in action today. It seems it was also the first time for the Indian batsmen. Frankly, I’m quite disappointed the way they handled him (it seems they hadn’t done their research on him), but this post is not about India. It’s about Mendis. And what he can do for cricket.

Cricket will be that much more interesting because of him. I can’t wait to see Tendulkar play Mendis. India has some of the finest players of spin (Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman), and Mendis playing a Test against them is a mouth-watering aspect. Or even the Aussies. I am anxiously looking forward to these contests. They should be thrilling. Looking at the cricket schedule, India is touring Sri Lanka at the end of this month. What good timing. What might have been a drab series, at least to me, now has become very interesting. Let’s hope Tendulkar is fit and back in the Indian team by that time.

For those that haven’t seen Mendis, here’s a short video of the buzz he created when he first joined the Sri Lankan national team to play against the West Indies.