Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

Tag: Cricket

A Weighty Issue: Two English Journalists Talk About Samit Patel

All this talk about Samit Patel. I can’t stomach it.

It is a weighty issue.

Is he hungry.. for success?

Yes, at the highest level. But sometimes I feel he is being waisted.

Ah but the weight of expectation is pretty high now.

That’s food for thought.

He is a player worth his weight in gold.

That’s a lot of gold. But does he really measure up when compared with the competition?

There’s a growing body of research that shows he can make it at the highest level.

It’s just a matter of mind over platter, you know.

True. He just needs to quit cold turkey.

A trip to the paint store is in order. He just needs to get a little thinner.

Fat chance. All this talk is wearing him thin.

I get the feeling this might all just be wishful shrinking.

If he succeeds, he can enjoy a heavy bottom-line.

A waist is a terrible thing to mind.


You Have Got to Be Kidding Me

India will travel all the way to South Africa for a single T20 match on the 30th of March. Nagraj Gollapudi writes:

The Twenty20 takes place three days after South Africa finish their tour of New Zealand with three back-to-back Tests. It is also a week after the end of the Asia Cup, and five days before the start of the IPL in Chennai.

In a recent episode of the podcast CouchTalk, Gideon Haigh suggested that this match was a you-scratch-my-back-i’ll-scratch-yours gesture.

And they’re calling it the Mandela Cup. If I was Mandela, I’d start some uncivil disobedience right about now.

Stop Praying for a Whitewash in Australia

I follow politics– U.S. politics– quite closely. In the two years preceding the 2008 election, you could say I followed it more than anything else.

In politics, broadly speaking, there are two types of people– the partisans and the ideologues. The partisans fundamentally want their party to win, and will give up on smaller points of ideology. The ideologues support a cause, and will oppose everyone opposed to their cause, regardless of party affiliation. Obviously, there is overlap between the groups depending on the cause.

Over a long enough time scale, neither side is obviously right. The partisan can claim to shoot for the 80% good solution instead of waiting for 100%, keeping the big picture in mind, and positing that the only way to effect change is by winning elections. The partisan votes for the team that is mostly like them.

The ideologue favors building movements, affecting public opinion. They may largely vote for a particular party, but this is by providence, not by design. The ideologue may be pure in intentions, but also may have the effect of sabotaging long term gains for ideological purity.

The partisan, on the other hand, may do the opposite. He may sabotage short term gains for electoral success. The mental calculus of the abominable partisan goes something like this: “I hope the economy tanks by November, so the ruling party loses and my party wins.”

And this is where we switch to talking about cricket.

Venkat Ananth, the writer for Yahoo! Cricket, has been beating this particular drum for quite some time now:

Four months ago, when Indian cricket should have been introspecting for its failures in England, the BCCI had two clear options – one, to bite the bullet, conduct a thoroughly honest review of everything wrong with Indian cricket and introduce correctives to fix the inherent systemic flaws; or two, to remain firmly in denial as if they never happened.

He launches in to an epic rant on every popular criticism of BCCI and the Indian cricket establishment. I agree with much of it, disagree with some.

Until he gets to this bit (emphasis added):

Lastly and more importantly, I hope that India gets whitewashed in Australia. Call me unpatriotic (and I’ve defended a lot of that tripe in the past), but quite honestly, that could be the best possible result for Indian cricket’s long-term interest, in my view.

So let me get this straight, dear partisan friend. If India end the series on 2-2, coming from behind to win the last two tests in what would turn out to be the most dramatic series in recent memory, you would be unhappy.

Thank you, I have no further questions.

The thing about partisans is that they need the world to fit their narrative. If the economy tanks by November, Obama is toast. So if you oppose Obama, you may end up hoping the economy doesn’t improve. In 2004, catching Saddam Hussein was viewed as a political victory for George W. Bush. As a partisan opposed to Bush, you may wish Saddam had not been captured. For all the wrong reasons

These are wishes (and people) removed from reality, but they pervade our political process.

The weird thing about Mr. Ananth’s article is that what he ultimately wants is an ideological victory– for the BCCI to change to suit his ideal. And it’s a worthy ideal.

But he’s willing to give up the present. He’s willing to give up on short-term victories, on short-term miracles. He’s willing to give up on the grind. Like a comic book villain, he wishes for short-term devastation, so that he can build a new world order.

If I ever wish for an Indian loss for the greater good, dear reader, I give you the permission to slap me sideways.


438 is just a number. So is 400*. And 99.94.

As is 219.

The running meme is that Tendulkar is God, and he’s made as good a case as any for divinity. In my book, however, he’s more the chosen one than an actual God.

Sehwag, on the other hand. I could make a case for Sehwag.

But I won’t. Sehwag is no God.

No. Sehwag is a prophet. Sehwag is a way of life.

I wanted to show you the scale of this record. What 219 means. It took 26 years to go from Viv Richards’ 189 to Sachin Tendulkar’s 200. Gradual– 11 runs over 26 years. A year later, Sehwag blew the record out of the water by 19 runs. Tendulkar’s 200 was like breaking the four minute mile. Once others believed it could be done, they smashed past it.

Take a look:

Highest Individual ODI Scores Over the Years

Highest Individual ODI Scores Over the Years

In Which Mr. N. Srinivasan Interviews Mr. N. Srinivasan

Here at Deep Backward Point, we are very proud to bring you the first in our series of interviews with the power players of the world of cricket. Today, you are in for a special treat.

Our interviewer for the day is Mr. N. Srinivasan, renowned businessman and owner of the IPL champion Chennai Super Kings.

He will be interviewing Mr. N. Srinivasan, the Secretary of the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

Let us begin:

CSK owner Mr. N. Srinivasan: Good morning, sir!

BCCI Secy Mr. N. Srinivasan: Good morning.

CSK owner Mr. N. Srinivasan: My you are a handsome gentleman.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: So are you, if I say so myself.

<awkward pause>

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: Ahem. So let’s begin. How did you get involved in cricket?

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: I’ve always been a great lover. Of the game. What a sport it is. Chess is my favorite sport.

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: Chess? Two part question: one, did you mean cricket? And two, is chess a sport.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Err.. yes, cricket. Cricket! That’s right. Jolly good sport. Chess is for.. err… nerds.

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: But you’re also the president of the All India Chess Federation, right?

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Nerds, I tell you! Golf. Now that’s a real sport. As President of the Tamil Nadu Golf Association, I always say-

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: You mean cricket.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Ah yes. The one where you swing at balls. That one.

<awkward pause>

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Don’t look so smug. How did you get interested in.. err.. cricket.

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: Well, I’m really a businessman. Got cement running through my veins. Really, a heart of cement– that’s what you want in a man. So anyways, a good friend of mine runs the BCCI– err, that would be you— and you told me they were selling some IPL teams and they would be a good investment for the company. So we put some money in to buy a team.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: That’s it?

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: Yeah. And I always wanted to see Dhoni dressed in yellow.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Well of course!

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: And that was it. I don’t know why everyone thinks it’s a shady deal. It’s not like you benefit from this.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Of course not! I am an office-bearer in the BCCI.

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: Right. And I’m a simple managing director at India Cements.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Exactly, just a little managing director. Nothing more.

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: Err.. well, I’m the vice-chairman too.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: VICE chairman. VICE.

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: And our.. that is, my father started the company.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Minor detail.

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: And it’s not like I can do anything financially inappropriate with CSK. The BCCI would rake me over the coals, like Kochi and Punjab.

BCCI Secy Mr. N. S.: Well, I’d never let that happen.. honest.

CSK owner Mr. N. S.: Shush!

<tape goes silent>

Earlier on DeepBackwardPoint:


Miandad Myths

As a connoisseur of Miandad mythology, this almost-myth about Miandad by Steven Lynch really caught my attention. Does Miandad hold the record for most innings without being dismissed lbw?

It would be a record… if it were true. But Javed Miandad was actually out lbw 33 times in Tests (from 189 innings, not 288). The other urban myth is that he was never given out lbw in Pakistan – but that’s not true either, as he was dispatched leg-before on eight occasions in home Tests, although admittedly it was quite a long time before the first one. He’d been playing Tests for more than nine years before he was lbw at home, to Ravi Ratnayeke of Sri Lanka in Sialkot in 1985-86.

The Trent Bridge Test, in Song

As you know, I’m writing and performing a song about each Test in the India v. England series. Here is the one for the Lord’s Test. Without further ado, here is song two:

That’s a digital banjo and funk beats. And here are the lyrics (though I improvized to match the beat, so they are not precise):

Sreesanth and Ishant, having tea for two
Praveen joined in while the bounce was still true
By tea, they got England on a plate
How you gonna win a game from 120 for 8?

Hey Stewie Broad, you might not be aware
They call you Barbie on Twitter, that just don’t seem fair
‘Cause your batting like Beefy and bowling like him too
Though India’s chasing really well at 117 for two.

Hey Mr. Dravid, show a little rage
That you’re payin bills at your advanced age
VVS and Yuvraj tried to do their part
But that swinging ball from Stewie Broad was rippin’ it apart.

Let’s get that run out, out of the way
Bell was an idiot, to walk away
Dhoni held up the spirit of the game
Was he a sucker for Flower mind games.

Ian Bell batted on, and on and on
And on and on and on and on
India went on to promptly collapse
Maybe ’cause they wanted day 5 to relax

Hey Mr. Dhoni, what you gonna do?
You and your boys look like you haven’t got a clue
Tell you the truth, you don’t look like #1
Cause your team’s out there playing like it’s 1991

Why India Lost, in short

It’s not because of lack of passion.

It’s not because of the IPL.

It’s not because they were undercooked.

It’s not because of an underperforming spinner.

It’s not because Bell was re-called.

It’s not because of Erasmus’ umpiring.

It’s not because India missed Sehwag.

Or Zaheer.

Or Gambhir.

It is because they were outplayed. England played better cricket.

Anyone who says otherwise is trying to evade the truth. Trying to avoid accepting reality. The reality that, at the moment, England are the better team.


The Lord’s Test in Song

About 12 hours ago, I had the idea for writing a song for each Test match in the England v. India series. Kind of crazy, I know. But here is the first one.

The Lord’s Test, in song (lyrics below):

Sehwag needed surgery
but chose the Indian Premier League
Consequently Lord’s missed out
on Sehwagology

Alastair Cook failed to score
When Zak let out a great big roar
Cricketing gods took their revenge
When Zak fell in a heap

KP got out to left arm spin
I’m just kidding, no he didn’t
Praveen got a fiver and
then KP scored a double

India kept on losing wickets
Broad pitched up and got his chickens
Dravid was rock solid but the
Champions were in trouble

Second innings started well
For Ishant and his joyful hair
After lunch though, Prior grasped
the Match in England’s claws

Sachin had a nasty virus
Gambhir had his elbow smashed up
India had to bat four sessions
Escape with a draw

India kept on losing wickets
Same old story, same old chickens
England won since on the day
They were better at cricket.

One more thing, ‘fore I forget
A little thing called D R S
Must be mentioned in this song
for the English press.