Dravid played a Dravid-esque inning yesterday, and in his honor, I present a single chart to show you his awesomeness.
And Sachin Tendulkar’s even more awesomeness.
Over at Cricinfo today, Osman Samiuddin makes the case for a Pakistan cricket players association:
There has never been a greater need for one than now. Shahid Afridi’s needless legal battle with the board is only the latest in a burgeoning collection. Shoaib Akhtar’s fight with Nasim Ashraf, the former chairman, went to the Lahore High Court in 2008. Pakistan’s ICL players took the PCB to the Sindh High court as well. These will not be the end.
I would argue that India needs one as well. The current Sri Lankan Premier League dispute is a perfect case. The BCCI has barred Indian players from appearing in the SLPL, saying that the players may find themselves in a bad contract with a private organization with no recourse. This is the kind of dispute a players association should handle. Players must get advice from a body that represents the players. Not the sponsors, or the team owners, or politicians, or hidden agendas, but the players.
This is largely a conflict of interest issue. What is the mandate of the BCCI? The BCCI has multiple interests to look out for– players, broadcasters, “cricket”, sponsors, politicians, money, state associations. So what happens when two or more of these interests are in opposition?
So far, the BCCI has walked a tight-rope quite well. It’s especially difficult when you can simultaneously run the risk of angering Maharashtra supremo Sharad Pawar, and god-to-billions Sachin Tendulkar, and some of the richest men in the country in Ambani and Mallya. Keeping all these interests straight is difficult, if not impossible.
And sooner or later, I predict, there will be a breaking point. Already the injuries to Sehwag and Gambhir, aggravated through the IPL, have brought up significant conflict of interest issues. The ICL was another issue where players could have used collective bargaining and better advice.
India has a players association. Or at least had one. It was launched with much fanfare in 2002, Arun Lal was its secretary and Dravid was pushing for its recognition as late as 2008. Anyone know what became of the Indian Professional Cricketers Association?
As I watched India (barely) successfully chase 225 with 3 wickets to spare against West Indies on Saturday, it seemed that a pattern had emerged. This match resembled many Indian chases in recent times, where it would appear the batting line-up failed, but it would still be a successful chase because they bat so deep.
So I went over their recent record in seven consecutive successful chases since the World Cup began:
On 6th May, 2011, the story broke: Sports Illustrated India had a big match-fixing cover story. More than a month later, turns out what they had was either circumstantial, hearsay or just plain bunk.
Here’s their silly central conceit, in awesome pictorial form:
Go on, and read the rest of the article. Actually, don’t. It is a terrible piece of journalism, as evidenced by the picture above. They either had no story, or had no one to back up the story they had. Either way, the story they ran with was this.
Bad people have been seen with other people who have been heard talking to these other people who may represent cricket players. Or not.
Also, what kind of magazine has no web site? For a brand like Sports Illustrated, with a story as “big” as the one they broke last month, to not have a web site is criminal. I could go on a rant like my epic Willow TV one, but I just don’t care about SI the way I care about Willow. So someone else will have to fight that battle.
I’ll just say that they need to hire a web developer. And real journalists.
This World Cup was unlike any other. I told part of the story at the end of yesterday’s BoredWaani podcast on experiences watching cricket in the US, but wanted to elaborate below.
Reason #2: The Baby
My wife and I had a baby 5 months before the World Cup began. So the 5am starts weren’t an issue; one of the three of us was bound to be up at that hour.
But if you’ve ever had a baby, you know that you can’t deposit yourself in front of a television for a 7-hour game. You can’t deposit yourself in front of a television for T20. You can’t for more than 5 minutes until the baby is much older. I hear some people have to wait until their kid goes off to college. We’ll see.
So here we were: a cricket-loving couple with a 5-month old that was a higher priority than the World Cup. Sachin Tendulkar may be God, but his smile doesn’t make grown men weep. Just the way it is. His backfoot punch past the bowler, on the other hand…
This is where the iPad came in: we watched more cricket on the iPad than on the television. At 5am, without getting out of bed, we’d reach over to the iPad on the nightstand and flip it on. One ear bud in my wife’s ear, one in mine, drift in and out of sleep, sometimes with the baby sleeping between us.
As the day would begin: the baby’s playing in her room, Tendulkar’s playing on the iPad in a corner. We’re changing the baby, Ponting’s lying on the changing pad next to her. The baby goes to sleep, ear buds to hear Ravi Shastri.
Ubiquitous cricket. There’s nothing like it.
Reason #3: India won