This blog attempts to function as a confluence of thoughts from the blogosphere on any matters pertaining to international cricket.
April 2008 - Posts
What would Twenty20 look like in the future in England? Cities, regions, or just plain old counties as it
is now? The last options seems entirely unworkable given the amount of money in the IPL and ICL. Is this, finally, the end of the counties' hold over English cricket? Q digs into the not-so-ancient history of Twenty20 cricket:
What I am going to delve into is what took place in Leicester, England in September 2005 - It was the International 20-20 Club Championship.
was an idea that originated from Leicestershire with the backing of
some Asian investors interested in cricket. The idea was to hold a
20-20 championship between the domestic 20-20 champions from around the
Will settles on regions as the best idea, because cities couldn't be inclusive enough:
We can forget 18 counties being involved. That much we know. And I’m
not in favour of city-based franchises either as this will inevitably
lead to some cities and towns being left out, or merged with a
neighbour. For example, thinking purely geographically, Gloucestershire
and Glamorgan would presumably be combined…but as what? Bristol or
Cardiff? Exclude one and you’re effectively ruling out 50% of the
England and Wales Cricket Board.
Regionalisation seems a fair and simple solution...
The BBC carries a story on splits within the counties on this question. AYALAC celebrates the climb-down from Giles Clarke.
And, lastly, those well known comedians in the Lok Sabha, pass the time discussing Twenty20:
And then came his questions,
"Where are the funds coming from? Should cricket lose its nobility? Should
gambling and betting be allowed in such an open manner."
The verbal jousting between the Speaker and Dasgupta went on for a couple of more minutes
only to the delight of the House, with Chatterjee telling the CPI leader,
"Afraid of you, the finance minister has fled." And as soon as Dasgupta had
finished, finance minister P Chidambaram returned to his
Dasgupta retaliated by saying, "I used to play cricket." The
Speaker, however, had the last word, asking, "Why did you not continue?" The
House had a good laugh before taking up the serious issue of the Finance
Why isn't Mark Ramprakash playing for England? Mark reckons it's all down to...what exactly? Is it social class or race or just being anti-establishment?
Why am I pointing all this out now? Well, there's much talk at the
moment as to why Mark Ramprakash can't get in the England side. Well,
if you go back and re-read some of the descriptions applied to Trueman
in the third paragraph, you might get an idea why Mark Ramprakash
wasn't given the extended run in the team he deserved, whilst people
like Mike Gatting and Graeme Hick were given every opportunity. It also
might explain why Owais Shah wasn't picked ahead of Andrew Strauss last
Also, if Ramprakash's surname was 'Richardson' or
'Roberts' I reckon he'd be in the England team today. Let's face it,
with an average of over a hundred in the past two years, and one ton
already under his belt this year, he certainly justifies it on form.
Sandy Gordon, he of coaching psychology fame, is doing research on emotional intelligence on and off the field. Perhaps Harbhajan and Sreesanth and all the various mental frailties that good county cricket players are exposed to when they step up to Test standard are related?
"While other sports play a similar form
of global entertainment that professional sport has become, only
cricket seems poorly equipped to deal with the market forces at work,"
he noted. "We will leverage off our current research on refining a
Cricket Mental Toughness Inventory, which was funded by Cricket
Australia," revealed Dr Gordon. He is also the senior lecturer at the
School of Human Movement and Exercise Science of The University of
Meanwhile, Sajith points to yet another synergy between film and cricket:
In an event, which has been lorded by the Bollywood, the epsiode was a replica of the
tear-jerkers seen on the small screen. Sreesanth, and his teary face, resembled Tulsi and Harbhajan resembled the strict father-in-law. But, to me it was Gabbar Singh v/s Mogambo. For once, Bollywood was rampant on the cricket field.
Bhajji has been banned from the rest of the IPL this year. But all the players are paid pro rata...so the fine is around 2.67 crore rupees! And the BCCI haven't got their hands on him yet.
Meanwhile, Chrispy rounds up the action in county cricket this week. Q goes over the stats so far in the IPL. And Rain No Play congratulates Jamaica on the triple. Finally, a lovely review of the biography on Clive Lloyd, Supercat, by Tooting Trumpet:
But to have seen him live (as I did many times) was to stare as this
long, stooped figure, so very black in the bright sun, loped to the
wicket, looked up at the umpire through his famous glasses and took
guard. Hush, and then the unveiling of those uncoached, but perfectly
honed strokes, all around the wicket, with a shot for a ball of any
line, any length. Like everyone who has ever met him or seen him at
work, my life was enriched by Big Clive and I am very, very grateful.
Q rounds up the blogging take on the slap. Soulberry reconsiders the big previous Bhajji incident with Symonds. Nestaquin is rightly sympathetic to Sreesanth:
Spare a thought for the victim of his wrath and disrespect,
Shanthakumaran Sreesanth, who wept openly after the violent snub. I
doubt that it was the sting of a slap in the face that caused his tears
but the shock and emotional embarrassment of being struck without
warning by one of his national team-mates publicly. It obviously cut
Sreesanth is no saint on the field yet by all reports he is a
gentleman on the other side of the boundary and it is a mark of his
congenial character that he has forgiven Harbhajan unconditionally.
Despite the goodwill, I suspect, much like another of Harbhajan’s
victims, Andrew Symonds, he just wishes it could all be forgotten as he
now has to relive the incident time and time again as it is played out
by the administration and the media in the weeks, months and years
And Homer links to one side of the insider's story:
the match, when both the teams were shaking hands with each other
Sreesanth met Bhajji. Bhajji twisted Sreesanth’s ears for behaving in
an appropriate manner. Sreesanth did not respect a senior player like
Bhajji and used nasty language for him also. Seeing this Bhajji lost
his cool and with his hands he asked Sreesanth to go away.
Unfortunately the hand hit Sreesanth below his eyes. He thought that
Bhajji wanted to slap him on his temple. Sreesanth couldn’t tolerate
this misbehavior and started howling. Standing next to him V R V Singh
didn’t know how to stop Sreesanth. He hugged Sreesanth and the TV
cameras starting covering it. The whole world then only saw Sreesanth’s
What does the other sides' version look like?
Harbhajan Singh slaps Sreesanth after an IPL game. Or did he? Ducking Beamers has the story about hierarchy just right:
...More than one observer has noted the strict hierarchy that exists in
South Asian teams, with junior players required to slavishly do the
seniors’ bidding. I think John Wright wrote about how amazed he was to
find players scurrying around carrying tea and biscuits as the legends
lazed about during team meetings.
There’s something about that here: Sreesanth, who is still in his
early 20s, just got chided in public, and rather than being outright
angry about it, he falls into himself, distraught and emotional. It
reminds me of my days in all-boy Catholic schools in Bombay, when just
a hint of reproach from older students would do enough to ruin your
Homer has a less than sympathetic take on Sreesanth. As far as Harbhajan goes, this is not just an IPL matter but also directly a BCCI problem, hence the show cause notice.
And see this article for a history of his on-field misbehaviour, which ends:
Symonds accused Harbhajan of racially abusing him during the
infamous Sydney Test but an ICC investigation conducted after the BCCI
threatened to pullout from the tour found him not guilty.
The Australian team did not take too kindly to the verdict and
opener Matthew Hayden even went on to describe Harbhajan an "obnoxious
little weed", a comment for which he later apologised.
The whole nation rallied behind Harbbhajan during the furore and the
same man now finds himself at the centre of yet another ugly episode
but this time against a teammate.
Malcolm Speed has been forced out because he favoured putting pressure on Zimbabwe? And might have supported the ICL's bid for recognition direct from the ICC?
In an extraordinary development today Malcolm Speed, the ICC's chief
executive, was put on paid leave until his contract expires on July 4
after a severe falling-out with the ICC's president, Ray Mali, over the
organisation's handling of Zimbabwean cricket.
David Morgan, the
ICC's president-elect, described the news as "the result of a
fundamental breakdown in the relationship between the CEO and a number
of board members, including the president, over a variety of issues
that include Zimbabwe."
In related news, the ICC is for the first ever time not holding its meeting at the Marylebourne Cricket Club:
For the first time in the ICC's 99-year history, the world governing
body's annual conference will not take place under the aegis of MCC at
Lord's. After the British Government refused a visa to Peter Chingoka,
the head of Zimbabwe Cricket, the ICC was left with no alternative but
to move the June meeting to its headquarters in Dubai.
Does anyone remember the effect Mandira Bedi had on Set Max's women viewership? Politicians and therefore the police are getting concerned about cheerleaders:
Some politicians say the cheerleaders are "vulgar and obscene".
Mumbai police say they will be checking that the cheerleaders' performances do not violate entertainment licences.
The cheerleading girls, wearing short skirts and
low-cut tops, have been hired from around the world to perform during
the matches which are also being heavily endorsed by leading Bollywood
Might this be the reason why cricket needs cheerleaders? The IPL is certainly drawing in more women viewers:
No less than 36 per cent of the television
viewership for the first two matches played on April 18 and April 19
was contributed by women, according to TAM Media Research. All told,
8.2 million women in six metros (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai,
Hyderabad and Bangalore) watched cricket on television those nights,
giving serials the miss.
For long, media planners have lived in the
belief that women do not watch sports on television and prefer soap
operas and films. Accordingly, women-only brands choose not to
advertise on sports channels.
A report has come out from Frontier Economics, a consultancy firm, offering up a regression on performance stats and IPL auction values. Batsmen are undervalued, for example.
Homer digs deep into the money question, quoting from Indranil Basu's article on IPL revenue models and an interview with some of the key money-bag men of IPL cricket. Meanwhile, The Atheist clearly has strong feelings about Allen Stanford getting involved with English cricket:
Anyway, this state or anger was topped today when I discovered that
Allen “Call Me Sir” Stanford is planning to bank-roll an expanded
English twenty20 competition to rival the IPL. Why we would want to do
such a thing is unclear, but Stanford is only prepared to organise such
a useless tournament if he receives assurances from the ECB that
they’ll guarantee his investment plus returns.
What marks batsmen as truly great? The best opposition concoct plans to dismiss them. And have to change them again and again as they adjust to one another:
"He is in the same league as Lara, but I've always felt Sachin has a
tighter technique. Because he's so solid, our bowlers have had to work
hard to get him out," said Ponting.
"At different times, we've
worked out different plans, but Sachin comes up with something to
combat them ... the sign of a truly class player."
The Economic Times reports that the IPL is doing very well in television ratings, perhaps because it's really a reality show?
to a ‘reality show’, Vodafone marketing head Harit Nagpal said:
“We invested in IPL anticipating such ratings. The format is such that it
combines the largest reality show in this country backed by Bollywood
entertainment.” Commenting on the sustainability of the event, Mr Nagpal
said: “I’m sure people who have stakes in the game will do
everything possible to make it work.”
D.S. Henry has his usual thoughtful daily round-up of people to watch out for. Srikanth writes about the lack of big pay-offs for all that money that was thrown around on individual players:
In general, the big money winners have not recorded anything out of the
ordinary yet barring possibly McCullum and Ishant Sharma. On the
contrary, some of the icons have been more of an embarrassment to their
respective teams. Captains of Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers
come to mind.
And Samir Chopra suggests that it's too late in the day for him to generate an interest in watching Twenty20 cricket:
I wouldn't begrudge the new generation of cricket fans the opportunity
to develop an entirely new set of dreams, fantasies and hopes, all
centered around a different version of the game. All I can do is hope
that test cricket will not be completely annihlated by this form.
Laxman and Ponting complain and the curator at Eden Park apologised for the pitch...as D.S. Henry puts it:
Well, yeah, if
you ask a pair of batsmen, of course
they're going to say it sucks. (It
makes them look bad, what do you expect?) Did anyone bother asking
Chaminda Vaas, who finished with figures of 2-for-9 in that game, how
much of a "shocker" the wicket was for him?
To drive home the point, have Twenty20 sixes become devalued, even boring?
Heavy bats, short boundaries and flat pitches have ensured it is raining 'six' in the IPL
when we contemplate, these 'six' have no meaning in the larger context
of the game. They leave no lasting impact and are mere statistics.
Finally, Richard Lake reviews the first week of county cricket.
Where goes nationalism? The Business Standard carries the big story about the IPL:
The successful launch of the Indian Premier League
by the Board of Control for Cricket in India on Friday at Bangalore
marks a watershed in the history of the game, and could well re-define
its future. On the sub-continent, at least, cricket has been an 'Empire
strikes back' kind of phenomenon, which is not surprising given the
colonial provenance of the game. It looks as if IPL may change that.
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match shows that people are willing to watch a match that has no
nationalist sentiment attached to it; indeed, it became clear that it
is has become more important to get 22 top performers to play against
each other, never mind the banner under which they are playing, than to
wage surrogate nationalist wars. All that the new generation, which has
no memory of being a colony, wants is a good game of quality cricket.
This is not unlike soccer, where loyalties are to clubs rather than
countries, except when a World Cup tournament is staged.
Here are some of the reasons why Q likes Twenty20:
- Ganguly informing McCullum to be careful against Praveen Kumar as he nips the ball sharply.
- Boucher's stares at Kumar and Noffke when they bowled wide ones down leg.
- Zaheer subtly showing Ganguly the way and celebrating with Kallis.
- Ganguly getting his revenge and bowling Zaheer and celebrating with Ponting.
- Hayden back slapping Murali after the Sri Lankan made an amazing attempt at a catch at mid off.
And Ankit's take on the conclusion of the Pakistan--Bangladesh ODI series:
These days, we love the slam bang stuff. We love the ‘lesser’ teams
stand up and challenge the giants. There is a romantic in everyone who
wants Kenya to beat the West Indies (oops, this was a bit obvious).
The bottom-line being, sometimes people do not realise the prematurity
of a situation, and that’s when we get a 3-0 green-wash (Pakistan v
Bangladesh ODI Series, April 2008), and lots and lots more similar
happenings preceding it. What do you guys think about it?
Obaid bags an interview with the great man himself in Pakistan:
So on getting to Karachi I started hustling for an interview with the
great man himself. Despite my efforts it appeared that the interview
would not occur but on the day before I was supposed to leave I got a
call from my aunt (thanks and thank you Lodhi sahab) at 10pm that
Miandad was waiting for my call :) Wow! I picked up the phone and was
very thankful to him that I got to chat for about 20 minutes. Thank you
Miandad sahab - it was a pleasure talking to you.
FICA looks like it might finally "step up" as they say in baseball. And they should pay attention to US sports players' union efforts:
Smith said the players have realised their worth
after being showered with millions of dollars by the Indian Premier
League and its rival Indian Cricket League and feel they are better
prepared to handle the game's functioning.
"We believe that
because the players are better organised and that talent has been
radically revalued by the Indian leagues it's time to look at whether
the players can do a better job than the current policy makers," Smith
Finally, Samir Chopra's angle on the IPL media entanglement:
A peculiar market logic drives all of the IPL's actions; in its view,
the game is a commodity that has to be marketed, one which could be
rendered uselessly common and must be kept scarce (but only in
marketing, not in actual competition, the market for which will
magically expand provided the right sort of marketing is used).
The ICL lawyers have finally sought official recognition directly from the ICC itself. Makes sense, given that India just beat the World, right? Malcolm Speed says that the BCCI has never officially unrecognized the ICL, so the whole thing is still up for grabs. I wish I knew what the ICL's grand plan is...
"There are two
parts to that. Until recently the ICL had never sought recognition from the ICC,
so it never asked the question. About ten days ago lawyers acting on behalf of
ICL contacted ICC and sought recognition from the ICC," said Malcolm Speed, the
outgoing CEO of ICC, on Wednesday during an interaction with reporters.
"We are awaiting advice from our lawyers on that issue and I expect
it within the next week or so (after which) we'll respond to the ICL lawyers,"
"The question is never been asked whether ICC will
recognize ICL one way or the other. It's a fairly complicated legal issue and we
are taking legal advice," said the ICC CEO who will step down from his post in
Jrod is resolutely pesimissitic about the whole thing.
Meanwhile, Suresh Menon has a column on Graeme Smith having cheese and no whine about the Kanpur pitch, the one the ICC will be probing.
I really ought to be writing about the IPL. But can't it wait just a little longer? There'll be time enough for it with a game every single day just around the corner. Chrispy rounds out a World Test cricket XI:
So the Test XI of 2007-2008, as indicated by the statistics, is as follows:
Virender Sehwag (IND)
Neil McKenzie (SAF)
Kumar Sangakkara (SRL)
Mahela Jayawardene (c) (SRL)
Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WIN)
Andrew Symonds (AUS)
Kamran Akmal (wk) (PAK)
Brett Lee (AUS)
Stuart Clark (AUS)
Dale Steyn (SAF)
Muttiah Muralitharan (SRL
Q writes about the Shoaib "trial" in front of the Pakistan Senate Committee on Sport:
Enver Baig also said that "the Government should revamp the
PCB set up and sack the Chairman Nasim Ashraf because he and his staff
members were not professionals and they had ruined Pakistan cricket".
that Enver Baig is a member of the PPP, the political party that leads
the coalition Government, this demand will not fall on deaf ears. Nasim
Ahraf's days are numbered.
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