Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

Category: Link List


When I was a kid growing up in Baroda, I used to mispronounce the word commentator as “commentraitor“. Must have been cute or annoying, at the time.

These days, it seems apt.

The best assessment comes from a third [commentator]: “It feels like I am working not on the game itself, but in the grand Indian cricket commercial.”


Soccer is in Trouble (and so are we)

You know Soccer, right, the sport where commies chase the ball? It’s in trouble. Brian Phillips reports on the large scale match-fixing for Grantland:

Right now, Dan Tan’s programmers are busy reverse-engineering the safeguards of online betting houses. About $3 billion is wagered on sports every day, most of it on soccer, most of it in Asia. That’s a lot of noise on the big exchanges. We can exploit the fluctuations, rig the bets in a way that won’t trip the houses’ alarms. And there are so many moments in a soccer game that could swing either way. All you have to do is see an Ilves tackle in the box where maybe the Viikingit forward took a dive. It happens all the time. It would happen anyway. So while you’re running around the pitch in Finland, the syndicate will have computers placing high-volume max bets on whatever outcome the bosses decided on, using markets in Manila that take bets during games, timing the surges so the security bots don’t spot anything suspicious. The exchanges don’t care, not really. They get a cut of all the action anyway. The system is stacked so it’s gamblers further down the chain who bear all the risks.

In a way, we’re lucky there hasn’t been enough cricket played to make this viable. I think.

With the proliferation of T20 leagues, especially in countries with underground gambling, sketchy law enforcement and a dysfunctional judiciary, match-fixing in cricket is only going to get worse. At the same time, the England and Australia often market cricket as though it’s a sport purpose-built for betting.

Cricket Australia is reviewing whether this is a good idea. And the ECB works with Betfair to monitor the betting markets.

But in my mind, it’s a question of when, not if, cricket will face it’s next major betting scandal.

The Essence of Blogging

King Cricket, the greatest blog in the known universe, gets down to the essence of blogging:

There are so many things by which to be irritated in life, but sometimes it’s important to really latch onto the least consequential and least logical of those in order to distinguish yourself from everyone else.

If you want a reason why I’ve blogged less here, and more on The Teesra, this may be it.

For a while, a lot of blog posts here were irritations and reactions. That latest tedious article by Sharda Ugra doesn’t seem as insidious after a two-day pause. Often I read some of my earlier blog posts– and many blog posts by other people– I appreciate the craft, I appreciate the logic, but I can’t recall what got us so riled up.

That’s not to say that there aren’t things worth a blogger’s anger in the world of cricket– the sport is full of soft corruption that spoils the fan’s relation with the players, and a player’s relation with the game. And I intend to write about all of that. But only after careful consideration.


Meanwhile, on The Teesra

The Teesra is about 8 months old now, and while I’d like to say it’s learning to crawl like a human of that age, it’s really just doing this weird belly scoot that a lot of kids pick up on their way to learning to walk.

Which is a circuitous way of saying that I’ve been erratic at updating The Teesra, but once in a while I do write/create something that is fun. For me, at the very least. I still have some novel ideas for that site, including broadening the voice and the writers, but only time will tell if I get to any of them.

Today, I put up 23 pictures that tell the story of India’s descent in to denial. So that’s pretty good if I say so myself. But there’s a lot more from the past few months. A few highlights:

And there’s more. And there’s more coming soon.

USACA Melodrama: Presented Without Comment

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Here’s the full thread.

Chomsky for Cricket Australia

Jarrod Kimber, with top notch satire in the form of Noam Chomsky expresses an interest in playing Test Cricket for Australia:

“In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, Test Cricket is more than just an ideal to be valued – it may be essential to survival” said Chomksy.

Luckily, Chomsky’s normally in form. (sorry, that’s a context-free joke).

England, Be Proud of “Pom Africa”


I’ve wanted to write about the xenophobia of many in England who regularly test their immigrant cricketers for their “Englishness”. And I’ve wanted to write about those outside England who mock and criticize England for the same. But David Mutton just did it, and did it better than I would have:

I am English, British and a European, a New Yorker and as the years go by I will increasingly become an American. Any child I am lucky enough to bring into this world will be an American citizen, and if by some miraculous inversion of genetics they become a sporting star then they will almost certainly represent the United States. There are hundreds of millions of us with these dual allegiances and shared cultures. And it is something to celebrate.

Amen. Wish you had a country that attracted the best and brightest from around the world.

A similar, but different, sort of phenomenon surrounds the IPL (and the Indian market in general). The best cricketers from around the world increasingly make their money from the Indian market.

There are still no questions of national allegiance, but team allegiances are murky. India is the new frontier.

There’s a gold rush analogy, or one about a wild west for hired guns in there.

Either way, in the end you’re left with Califonia.



Everything that needs to be said about the debate on “saving” Test cricket from a T20 future in one line from Mukul Kesavan:

“It’s useful to think of Test cricket as a tropical rain forest that nurtures a diversity of things bred out of the monoculture of limited-overs cricket. Diversity escapes the balance sheets of money men, but it is, as ecologists have taught us, invaluable.”

Unfortunately, it follows 1500 other words on the subject.

If I was to get pedantic for a second, diversification forms the bedrock of balance sheets of money men. But then I’d slap myself for getting in the way of such a great metaphor. And if I was to get pedantic for another second, it’s actually a simile. Not a metaphor.

Pointless Statistics

Pointless statistics. I’m guilty of them too. Here’s how they break down, courtesy of a tweet from (the truly awesome, sorry to pick on him on this one occasion) Mohandas Menon:

Nathan Lyon (5/68) – the only 2nd Aussie off-spinner after Ian Johnson (7/44 at Georgetown Apr 1955) to take a 5-wkt haul in the Caribbean

AWESOME RECORD 5-wicket haul!

Or is it?

About 50% of the words in that sentence are caveats.

  • Caveat #1: the 2nd
  • Caveat #2: Aussie
  • Caveat #3: off-spinner
  • Caveat #4: in the Caribbean

Like being the tallest midget, who also happens to be the fattest thin man in the world.

Coming Soon: The Teesra

On April 16, 2012, I will launch a new web site called The Teesra.

What is the Teesra?

Well, like the Englishmen earlier this winter, you’ll have to see for yourselves.

Let’s just say that I believe I have a sense of humor and I want to see if you agree.

The Teesra
The Teesra on Facebook |