Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.


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.


“Does He Have to Do It Again?”: Audio Tributes to Rahul Dravid

The indefatigable Subash Jayaraman recorded Dravid memories of a bunch of cricket writers and fans across the globe for a great 22-minute tribute to the wonderwall. There are contributions from Sriram DayanandSiddhartha VaidyanathanJarrod KimberSamir ChopraNicole Sobotker and Sight Screen Editorial Members: MinalRohit Naimpally and Dilip Poduval.

Go listen.

My contribution was the music selection for the intro, interludes and outro. If you’re curious, here’s what we used:

  • Intro: first dozen seconds of the 1812 Overture by Pyotr Il’yich Tchaikovsky performed by the Skidmore College Orchestra (from musopen)
  • Interlude: shorter clip from the same clip as above
  • Outro: last dozen seconds of The Brandenburg Concerto by Johann Sebastian Bach performed by the US Army Band (from musopen)

Why did I select these? Well, because they’re awesome.

And because they are in the public domain.

The quote in the title is from Sriram Dayanand’s contribution to the audio tribute.

And if you haven’t been listening to Subash Jayaraman’s awesome cricket podcast, Couch Talk, I have no words for you.

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.


From Miss ESPNCricinfo Staff:

The Pune Warriors will remain in the IPL and its parent company Sahara will continue its sponsorship of the Indian team [..] The major concession Pune seem to have won is the restoration of its auction purse of $1.6 million and the licence to buy players who were not sold at the auction and also foreign players who were not part of the auction.

That’s blackmail. In a perfect world, the BCCI would have called their bluff and looked for another sponsor.

Also, in a perfect world the Pune owner would not have had to negotiate with the Chennai owner on the fate of their franchise.


Reinforcing my earlier point about modern changes to cricket, Andy Bull writes a great piece on the influence of DRS on the great game:

During Pakistan’s series victory over England it felt as though there was hardly a single facet of Test match cricket that had not been changed, one way or another, by the DRS; batting technique, bowling technique, the balance between bat and ball, the decision-making processes of the umpires and the experience of the spectators in the ground, all had been altered.

This isn’t to say that the impact has necessarily been negative. From that list I would argue that the only aspect of the game that is unequivocally the poorer for the DRS is the spectator experience.

Ultimately, what else matters?  Read the rest of this entry »

Why We Write

Sometimes someone else writes something and it feels as though they’ve pulled it out of your brain. Only it’s so much better, and clearer, than anything you could come up with. Here is American cricket-blogger Matt Becker:

Just last week, she (my wife) tweeted a link to a blog post about how to go about getting paid to do what you love, and it really amped me up about doing something that isn’t my mind numbing, soul sucking job, that there is a path there that I can follow if I want, that will lead me out of this cookie cutter existence does not make me all that happy.  Off of the grid, in a way, but still with electricity and high speed Internet. [..]

To take something and put every last ounce of yourself into it.  Make it something you are so terribly proud of.  And if you can do that, if you can find the time and the means and the idea, then, well, you have accomplished what we are all here for to begin with.

And that brings me back to this blog.  Despite the factual errors, and the lapses in posting, and the god awful typos (I am actually an above average speller), I am really quite proud of this silly little blog, and I really feel it could be the one thing that I do, that I make perfect, that I put everything into, that I sacrifice for.

Read the whole thing. I couldn’t figure out which passage to quote. I meant to link to this earlier, but really, I couldn’t figure out which part to quote.

You are most sweet. Srini.


“What a nightmare to convince them not to terminate tanveer and also not to take flintoff,” Modi wrote. “Warne went of [sic] the handle. But have managed it by using stick and carrot strategy. Thus they have [$]1.875 [million] only. Much love Lalit.” Srinivasan’s reply later the same day reads: “Thanks. You are most sweet. Srini.” The existence of the emails was first reported by CNN-IBN in September, 2010.

The Old Batsman on Sehwagology

Just plain great writing from The Old Batsman, waxing poetic on Sehwag:

This week, David Warner made his Test debut. Sehwag was more right than most of Australia. Warner does not have Sehwag’s talent, but he shares his worldview. There will be many more who do in the years to come, and then it will become the new orthodoxy. That is Sehwag’s true legacy. He has shared an era with Lara, Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting, Kallis, yet he is not one of them. As great as they are and have been, they are the old order, more connected to the past than to the future.

I fear that Sehwag is a once-in-a-lifetime event who is treated like a role model by the next generation. One can imagine approaching the performance of the old order (Dravid, Ponting, Kallis) through talent, coaching and practice. How do you train the new order? You can’t coach “don’t overthink it”. At least, I don’t thin you can.

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Occupy Fenway Park

Jarrod Kimber goes after every cricket board in the known universe and wants to Occupy Lord’s:

Maybe it’s time cricket’s 99% had more say.  Maybe it’s time we Occupy Lord’s.   Let us  show those in charge know that we are the people who finance this game, and our voices should be heard.  Sure Lord’s isn’t really the ICC home anymore, that’s now nestled in cricket’s heartland, but it’s the ground that calls itself the home of cricket, and it’s a far more grand statement than occupying some soulless building in a non cricket loving country.

It’s great writing, it’s honest and best of all, it ends with a call to action.

However, the good news is you don’t have to travel down to St John’s Wood with your sleeping bag, a few tins of fair trade baked bins and a guitar you can’t play.  You can just email the ICC’s independent governance review here

Unite. Unite all you deep, backward, short and silly fans of the game.

The title of this post borrowed from an idea from Matt Becker’s response to Kimber’s post, titled Occupy Bryn Mawr Park:

As you start to dip your big toe into the American Sporting Waters, you will be tempted to dumb the game down for the unwashed masses: don’t do this.  And, in fact, stop doing this everywhere else, too.

What I mean is: test cricket is cricket at its very best.  Full stop.   And this is coming from the uneducated cricket loving American. [..]

Other than that, remember this: it is a beautiful game.  Full of villains, and history, and magic.  I fell in love with it instantly and deeply, but only by accident.  Stop being so insular, celebrate your game, as it really is for everyone.

Uneducated cricket-loving Americans. We’re adorable and naive, aren’t we?

ESPNCricinfo and Conflict of Interest

This notice started appearing in ESPNCricinfo articles starting October 11, as far as I can tell:

*ESPN STAR Sports is a 50:50 joint venture between Walt Disney (ESPN, Inc.), the parent company of ESPNcricinfo, and News Corporation Limited (STAR)

I won’t take credit that it happened after my  Cricinfo article, but it did happen two days after Jarrod Kimber’s article on conflict of interest on Cricinfo.

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