No, Mr. Bhogle. Indians Are Not Culturally Suited to the Shorter Form.

by Devanshu Mehta

A curious paragraph from Harsha Bhogle where his hypothesis is that India does better at the shorter format because they are culturally aligned:

One-day captaincy is much more about instinct and short-term rewards, which we in India are naturally adept at extracting. We see opportunities quickly, we rush in, we are satisfied. A space opens up in a crowded local train and we edge in there, a new counter opens at a bus station and we are first in the new queue; our eyes are forever darting around looking for an opening because if we miss it we may not get another. As a wonderfully instinctive person who has his wits around him, Dhoni revels in these conditions. A five-day game is more like booking your ticket early and reserving a seat rather than charging around looking for one.

The paragraph is curiouser because Dhoni is, in fact, a former Indian Railways ticket collector.

I could write a similar paragraph about how India would obviously do better at Test cricket because they are used to waiting in long lines for their LPG cylinders. Patience has been bred in to them at a young age, so obviously they were number one in Test cricket.

But I don’t have a deadline and a word limit looming.

Another line from Bhogle in the same article:

India are not too bad, as we saw even in the Tests in England and Australia, over short bursts. Maintaining that quality over longer periods is a different skill, and like peace in the modern world, it is a bit scarce in India at the moment.

Less egregious. Mostly just a writer conjuring up a catchy simile. But it’s mostly untrue. The modern era is among the most peaceful, even if it’s people are more nervous about random acts of violence than any previous generation. A graph from the Wall Street Journal (also click through for a graph on homicide rates over the centuries):

Also, India have actually been quite good in away Test matches as recently as one year ago. So wrong on both counts, Mr. Bhogle: it’s a peaceful world where India have recently played good, patient Test cricket.