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"Test cricket is dead" Jun. 30th, 2009 @ 03:34 am
That is the headline on this article by Samar Halarnkar in the Hindustan Times. It's interesting to read that as an Englishman, given that England is often said to be unusual in its continuing support for Test cricket. That in itself is hard to judge right now, given that the sparse crowds for the West Indies series might be blamed on poor scheduling and cold weather, and an Ashes series is always going to be a draw.

I'll bow to Halarnkar's personal knowledge when it comes to India, and it's obvious to anybody that Test crowds there have declined in recent years. It's also fair to say that in reputation at least (whether fair or not is not the point here) admiration for India's impressive rise is tempered somewhat by a feeling that it's in danger of losing some of its soul in its ever more intense quest for the mighty dollar. However, I'm not entirely convinced by Halarnkar's use of statistics. To quote from the article:

In 2004, 51 Test matches were played worldwide. In 2005, 49. In 2006, 46. In 2007, 31. In 2008, 47. In 2009, 17. Yes, I can see the spike in 2008. But it’s just that, a brave spike in the declining career graph of cricket.

That sequence really tells us nothing useful, for several reasons. Firstly, the sequence is far too short to draw any sensible conclusions: if the trend is implacably downward over the next five years, then there'll be a point to be made. The inclusion of 2009 in the list is silly: we may be almost exactly halfway through the year, but here in England we've played only two-sevenths of our Test season. So the list more fairly reads 49, 46, 31, 47. I don't think you can tell anything much from that. (Correction: 51, 49, 46, 31, 47. The point stands, however.)

Secondly, a few years earlier, there had been a significant increase in Test cricket: Zimbabwe and Bangladesh joined the party, and England started to stage seven Tests each summer instead of six. The presence or absence of a two-match series against Bangladesh really doesn't tell us much. And of course quality and quantity are not the same thing: for all the years Australia were thrashing England, they consistently played far less domestic first-class cricket than we did.

I'm not trying to stick my fingers in my ears and pretend Twenty20 hadn't happened - though it might be noted that India are still startlingly reluctant to host T20 internationals, a lack of experience which may not have helped them in the recent tournament. I do think Test cricket is under threat if not managed considerately, and that even we in England shouldn't go taking it for granted. However, I think Halarnkar is wrong to extrapolate the situation in India to the cricketing world as a whole.
Current Mood: awakeawake

10 reason why the T20 World Cup is better than the IPL Jun. 14th, 2009 @ 02:28 pm

  1. No “soap opera” happenings on the sidelines if you can discount the genital warts (well, the PCB cannot exist without pulling off some embarrassing stunts) and the “team unity” press conference (Dhoni does do things differently).
  2.  No DLF maximums. A hit over the boundary is a six and not a product of a real estate company.
  3. No shilling of tournament magazines (which by the way is one of the crappiest ways to spend a hundred bucks…not that I spent a single rupee) and continuous thanking of the sponsors. We get the fact that they are funding your food, drink and parties. Stop banging it in our heads.
  4. One can actually see the action without putting the TV on mute. The T20 WC commentary team is diverse, subtle, speaks when necessary, does not shout with excitement unless something extraordinary has happened and more importantly, is knowledgeable. The IPL commentary team was the exact opposite except for its diversity. Also this time we got Kumble. The man used to bowl leg spinners, has captained the country and is a thorough gentleman. Now one can see that he can talk like Benaud also. And that voice! Holding sure got competition for the manliest voice in the commentary box.
  5. The boundaries are long. Very long. A six (not a maximum) has to be actually earned. It is no surprise that the most successful batsmen here are good technicians and not flat track bullies. One could say that IPL 2 also had lesser sixes. But it was more due to compulsions since the tournament was moved in the last minute and that the end of season South African pitches were not flat tracks. If it had happened in India, we sure would have seen 65 yard boundaries, flat tracks and unreal amount of DLF Maximums (not sixes). After all, it is all about repeating your sponsors’ names until it is drilled in the very essence of our being.
  6. There is a real purpose in watching the game. An IPL match seems just like a form of entertainment and the players seem to represent their employers and not their countries. I do not mind the Mumbai Indians losing (they do play pathetic at times) but never like the Indians losing (even when one feels that they seriously need a kick up their back sides now…which the West Indians have provided in style). City based franchisee competitions still has to find acceptance in cricket like it has in football. Then again, even the format in football is criticized as being too money centric and one that discounts club loyalty.
  7. The cricket is of a higher standard. The IPL does have some of the best players but not all of them are the best. The 4 overseas player restriction means that a minimum of 56 Indian players had to play. And India and for that matter any other country does not have that many world class players. So you had the finer players having to shield the weaker players. All IPL teams were a mix of great players and those whose standards were not up to it. Here there are no such issues and a team can play its 11 best players. We do have weak teams but the better teams do not seem to have weak links. Hence a match between two top teams is of a better quality than the match between the top two IPL teams.
  8. Not much of Modi. In the IPL, when the commentators were not shilling the magazine or the sponsors, they were singing paeans about the lisping egomaniac. Everyone was sucking up to him whether it is Shastri (Moses Modi. Really?) Granted Modi has done a great job in getting the IPL show running. However it is not as if cricket would have died a miserable death if he had not been born. In this World Cup, there was just one shot of Modi standing in his usual showman style and gesturing towards no one in particular. The commentators kept quite and I kept my finger off the mute button.
  9. No opening ceremony. Granted it was cancelled due to bad weather. Seems like the Gods above were in a good mood and spared us the agony.
  10. No strategy break. Enough said.
Current Mood: awakeawake

Cricket For Change May. 15th, 2009 @ 09:11 pm
A happy story for a change.


Bedouin and Jewish kids playing cricket in the desert, with each other. This is a great idea, there's little to no contact between communities, and therfore there'll never be understanding.

Next year they're planning to give Palestinians and Jews a go in Jerusalem, wish them luck!

Rajasthan Royals Fans May. 16th, 2009 @ 12:34 am
Hi Guys,

Community for Rajasthan Royals Fans. Please join and enjoy!! Post and keep updated about the activities of your favourite IPL Team!!  


Test ticket prices May. 15th, 2009 @ 03:37 pm
The cheapest adult ticket for the Chester-le-Street Test was £30. That's considerably more than the cost to go and see Australia v South Africa, which is completely insane. The ECB always used to point out that our grounds are smaller and that Tests in England attracted big crowds... but that's simply failed this time around. I understand that the official attendance was given as 5,000 - but that most people who were there thought 3,000 might have been nearer the mark.

The weather was fine yesterday, so there was every incentive for pay-at-the-gate spectators to turn up. The nature of the opposition, the climate in NE England in mid-May, the fact that there's a recession on and the fact that most England fans consider this whole West Indies tour a side-issue to the Ashes were all known long in advance. You can get away with Premier League football pricing for the Australians, and I'm sure the grounds for that will be full, but for West Indies in May? Doesn't look like it.

£30 for one day's play against a relatively poor team at an unattractive time of year in a (to most) distant ground in a dreadful economic climate is simply too expensive. And a mostly empty ground does not look good on TV, so it's not even commercially sensible. How many more spectators might have been attracted had there been a basic admission of £20 or so?
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed

Fake IPL Player Apr. 21st, 2009 @ 12:48 pm

Whoever writes this has a fantastic informant netwrok or balls the size of watermelons.
Current Mood: amusedamused

Who'll be all out first? Mar. 27th, 2009 @ 09:45 am
Aus in their T20 or England in the ODI? Quick wickets seem to be the order of the day!

Arise, John D'OHson. Mar. 20th, 2009 @ 09:55 pm

Current Mood: excitedd'oh

Dubai Mar. 8th, 2009 @ 01:58 pm
Anyone have any strong views about the whole playing in Dubai thing? I'm a little concerned about some the language they are using and how much of the pie they might want.

radio commentary? Mar. 5th, 2009 @ 07:55 pm
A long long time ago, I used to listen to All India Radio whenever matches weren't shown on TV or if there was no power.

These days I live in US so I either follow the games on cricinfo or try finding some p2p stream on the net (which I don't really prefer). So, the question is, is there a way to listen to radio commentary in US for the India-NZ or SA-Aus matches? There used to be some internet radio but I can't find one that works.

Any suggestions?

The Pakistan situation. Mar. 3rd, 2009 @ 10:00 am
Firing on Lankan players. Some players reported to be injured
One can safely assume that Pakistan can kiss international cricket in its home grounds goodbye.

P.S.: The reports say some players are "seriously" injured. Considering the subtlety of the media, the same could prove to be untrue. We have to wait some time to get confirmed news.

WI and balls? Mar. 2nd, 2009 @ 07:15 pm
Will the current series against England be known as the one wherein the West Indies finally grew back their balls? I presume there will be some tears of joy shed if they win the series.

Centuries Mar. 2nd, 2009 @ 03:37 pm
Has anyone kept a track of the amount of double centuries and triple centuries have been scored in the past 10-15 days. The amount seems astounding!!

Follow-ons Feb. 28th, 2009 @ 04:31 am
It seems to me that follow-ons aren't enforced as often as they were earlier. Anybody have any stats to prove otherwise?

Aust v SA Feb. 27th, 2009 @ 11:58 pm
I was going to say what happened to Australia - but they've recovered, thanks primarily to Marcus North. I've been hoping he'd get into the team for a while, but a lovely debut performance.

I'm waiting with anticipation to see how Duminy plays in the SA innings...
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