Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

Tag: India

Third and Fourth Test Songs Called Off Due to Chronic Depression

I was going to write songs for all Tests in this series. I know.

But I just can’t. I know boy bands have been getting away with it for decades now, but I can’t keep writing the same song.

If I did write the songs, they would be cover versions of this line from the second Test song:

[England] 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

Read the rest of this entry »

Ranji in Ireland

Henry Kelly in the Irish Times traces the great Ranjitsinhji’s Irish connection:

A few years ago while on holiday in Connemara, I spent an afternoon with Martin Halloran, then the last surviving member of Ranji’s staff at Ballynahinch. [..]

Martin remembers hearing [of Ranji’s death] with sadness and disbelief. “You’d meet people on the road crying their eyes out and we even convinced ourselves that he’d died on April 1st and one of the men said he was still alive and it was just his idea of an April Fool’s joke”.

Ranji never married, though Martin told me with a wink: “He always had a nurse with him”.

Great stuff.

A Message from Michael Jordan to Mahendra Singh Dhoni

MJ to MSD, across time:

Before India’s Awesome Fightback/Terrible Defeat

Alan Tyers writes an awesome choose-your-own-adventure style article on the state of the India-England series:

Off the pitch, however, a spat between [Voice of the New India / triumphalist buffoon] Ravi Shastri and [much-respected former England captain / bitter has-been] Nasser Hussain has further ignited simmering bad feeling. The DRS is just one battleground between the BCCI and the ECB as they fight over [the very soul of our great game / television money] and cricket adjusts to the [exciting / distressing] shift of power from Lord’s to Mumbai.

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.

How to Lose Like a Champion

In professional sport, there is only one measure of “better”– it’s not who got more points, or got more yards, or carried themselves with more dignity, or who was “winning” for the majority of the game. Ironically, being “a good sport” usually means you’re losing.

The only measure of “better” is who won. The best teams in history are known for the number in the Wins column. Cricket– and especially Test cricket– expends significant effort to obscure this fact.

So you lost. Too bad. Makes that #1 tag feel a little heavier to carry around. This is your gift. This is your curse.

Admit it, you got outplayed. However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to lose by being outplayed than to lose by acts of god [1]. Of course, in the grand scheme of things, it’s better to win.

But you lost.

Of course, if you’re smart and you’re good, all of this talk about winning is to your advantage. Because nobody remembers the margin of victory, as long as you win more than you lose and you win when it matters.

England were better on the day. And this is okay, as long as it’s usually qualified with “on the day”. And it will always be qualified, as long as you win more than you lose and you win when it matters.

This is how you build a dynasty.

You know this. You’re playing the long game, nine-dimensional chess. You lose when you can afford to lose, but you win when you must. You know this because this is how you got here. This is how you won the World Cup.

[1] It is also better to win by outplaying your opponent than by acts of god. Unless the gods are members of your playing eleven. Read the rest of this entry »

The Long Game

Aye, fight and you may die, run, and you’ll live… at least a while. And dying in your beds, many years from now, would you be willing to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!

— Mel Gibson as William Wallace in Braveheart

Shut up, William Wallace. You never played a Test series. You, Mr. Wallace, are playing Twenty20. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is playing a Test series. Mahendra Singh Dhoni is playing the long game. Read the rest of this entry »

We’re Arrogant

Dear James Lawton,

We are arrogant, but we’re not tourists. We own this place. The home of cricket? Yeah, it’s been moved. It may have once been this patch of grass on Saint John’s Wood Road in London, but these days, the home of cricket is a side-street in Ranchi that you haven’t even heard of.

Hell yeah, we’re arrogant. We were arrogant in 1981 in Australia, and not because Sunil Gavaskar walked off the field with Chetan Chauhan at the MCG. We were arrogant because we bowled Australia out for under a hundred.

We’re arrogant. Venkatesh Prasad was arrogant in 1996 in Bangalore, not because he stared down a Pakistani opener. He was arrogant because he’d just uprooted his off-stump.

No kidding, we’re arrogant. We were arrogant at Lords, and not because Ganguly screamed shirtless for the members in red and gold jackets. We were arrogant because two 20-year olds had just chased down 326 in your backyard. In the erstwhile home of cricket.

We’re not arrogant because we’re jerks. We’re not arrogant because we bought this place. We own this place. And we own it because we win.

Mr. Lawton, we’re arrogant, but we’re not tourists. Our arrogant king, Saurav Ganguly, and his wall-in-chief, Rahul Dravid, practically grew up here. Zaheer honed his skills here. Even Anil Kumble scored a century last time we were here. Hell yeah, we’re arrogant.

Finally, to the meat of your article– the specific case of arrogance through the rejection of ball-tracking. Let me offer up a quote I found:

The Indians say that the predictive capacity of Hawk-Eye is less than infallible and, scientifically and practically, they may have a point.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. You know who wrote that? You did, Mr. Lawton. In the same article.

We’ll be arrogant in England, Mr. Lawton. But it won’t be because we undermine umpires or reject technology. It will be because we win.


Indian Cricket