Monthly Archives: April 2009

Tim Bresnan And Graham Onions Are Not Real People

The Telegraph‘s diligent reporting aside, I refuse to believe Tim Bresnan and Graham Onions actually exist. A few months away from the supposedly biggest Test series in the white cricket world, and the English selectors choose two complete unknowns, who don’t even have YouTube clips to their name (the ultimate proof, I tell you)?

Good Cricket Wicket has some positive things to say about the team, and Uncle J Rod likes Onions’ skiddish bowling, but I’m very worried. Shouldn’t this team be settled already? Why has it taken so long? Who knows — perhaps these bowlers will live up to their names, or provide a momentary blitz, as Ryan Sidebottom did before he also tapered out.


Umpire Referral Fouls Another Decision

Rajasthan Royals up against Chennai Super Kings. They neededd 99 runs from 54 balls (so, looks like they’re going to lose). Then this happens:

Balaji to Jadeja, 1 run, Jadeja chases a really poor delivery – short and really wide outside off – and the outside edge flies thick and fast, Parthiv dives and claims the catch and Jadeja stands his ground, the third umpire gives the batsman the benefit of the doubt, it looked clean at first but the replay may have suggested something else

Right, except everybody thought the catch was clean, including the commentators who had the benefit of a slow-mo replay. Mark Nicholas then noted studies that have shown how additional camera angles serve only to obfuscate than clarify, and we’ve seen this again and again with catches. Those who say technology will cleanly arbitrate cricket are not being realistic, and I’m not saying that because I’m a traditionalist.

Has Rahul Dravid Left The IPL?

Yes, but only temporarily, so he could attend the birth of his second child. From Dravid The Wall:

When he left, most of his Royal Challengers teammates were around to congratulate him in advance but the team management will now be sweating over his return.”He is absolutely vital to our team structure and we would like him back as soon as possible,” a member of the team management said on Saturday.

What effect does fatherhood have on a cricket player? We hear constant talk of players finding “maturity” as their careers progress, sometimes only two or three years after their debuts. Would Kevin Pietersen “settle down” on the pitch if he ever became a father?

Matthew Hoggard recently wrote a semi-readable account of his time away from the English team after he was dropped. It included this moving passage:

Still, there’s a silver lining, and that has been the chance to watch Ernie grow up this winter. I’m enjoying every minute of it, but I’m also getting an understanding of how hard it is as well! It’s not a walk in the park by any stretch, but you share the experiences and grow with them, and just live life as a normal person. A lot of people don’t get to do that – not just sportsmen, but people who have to work away from home. I was lucky enough to do it for six months, and I loved it.

The IPL Paradox

I alluded to this in my earlier post on Rahul Dravid, but I wanted to flesh the theory out a bit more: why do we care so much about a player’s IPL performance when we also argue the entire exercise (and, to a lesser extent, the format) is so silly?

I’m baffled, for instance, when I hear arguments that Ravi Bopara should play for England’s Test team based on his performance so far in the IPL. No doubt, Bopara is qualified (and may be more so than Ian Bell, Alex Massie’s views notwithstanding), but to say his all-too-brief IPL stint proves that is just too precious. Hitting balls out of the park for a limited time does not compare to facing Mitchell Johnson on swing-friendly English pitches.

And then, there’s Kevin Pietersen: does it really matter if his team, the Royal Challengers Bangalore, does not win under his captaincy? Why should it? Continue reading

IPL Rich Bully Their Way Around South Africa

A brutally incisive report from Neil Manthorp in South Africa about the IPL’s “money talks” attitude:

The Rajasthan Royals, as one example amongst dozens, formed a “strategic alliance” with the Cape Cobras in Cape Town and asked for an office at Newlands for the fortnight before the tournament and then its duration. Within days, the IPL franchise had spread like bacteria in a petri-dish leaving local staff without a desk, literally. […]

The opening party at a lavish hotel in Cape Town’s Waterfront was one thing at a million dollars but the hiring of garish yellow Lamborghinis and gold Rolls Royces to transport people who call themselves ‘VIPs’ from hotels to cricket grounds does not sit easy in the South African conscience.

And what of the IPL’s education scholarships, cynically trumpeted during the blatantly commercial “strategy breaks”?

The entire education “scholarship” budget is, depending on which press release you read from which of the 100-plus PR people of the IPL, between R8 and R9 million…Roughly the same cost as the crayfish and champagne-laden launch party.

Is Arindam Ghosh The Fake IPL Player?

Arm Ball makes a compelling case, with evidence and all:

[The Fake IPL PLayer] mentions that he didn’t play the IPL season 1 and has been included in the team from season 2…He mentions that he is from Calcutta and has been brought up in the city of Joy…He is a BONG and has a lot of respect for Sourav, which is obvious. He says he made his debut last season…So if the fake IPL player if he has to be a KKR insider he has got to be Arindam Ghosh or it could be Shahrukh Khan himself.

There’s a lot of deduction and educated guesswork involved, but it’s a fair enough case. Not much info out there on Arindam Ghosh, but I’m sure some enterprising blogger will dig him out.

Baseball Tickets v. IPL Tickets

From The New York Times:

Under the plan [to reduce N.Y. Yankees ticket prices], those fans who bought front-row full season tickets in Legends Sections 15A, 15B, 24B and 25, which are behind the dugouts, will see their prices cut to $1,250 from $2,500, and will get refunds or credits.

Buyers of front-row full season-ticket plans in Sections 11, 12, 13, 27B, 28 and 29, along the foul lines, will see their prices cut to $650 from $1,000, and will get refunds or credits.

From some random blog I’ll assume is accurate:

The ticket rates for the matches are considerably very low this time.The IPL officialls have placed at a highly affordable rates. The lowest ticket cost Rs 70 (Indian rupees) and the highest ticket cost little more than Rs 1000.

Incidentally, this partly explains why IPL cricketers earn so much less than baseball players. First, the baseball season runs longer and is in a more lucrative market; second, franchise owners know they can recuperate salaries through unbelievably high ticket prices (I mean, come on! Over a $1,000 for a good seat? And this, after the discount? Who goes to these things?). Even lower priced tickets are more expensive: over $300 for grandstand seats; over $30 for terrace ones. Lalit Modi can only dream…

A ‘White Mischief Gal’ Knows The Law

My new favorite blogger, Amy S., posted this little nugget recently from Rebecca Lee, a White Mischief cheerleader:

“I went to Florida State University, and Cumberland School of Law, and I am actually a practising attorney. I have passed my board. I can do my work on the internet. I do a lot of boring contract stuff. Some people try to make us out as dumb girls, but cheerleading is on its way to become an Olympic sport, and so it’s quite a serious sport.”

Lee makes one good point and one bad one. She’s correct when she says people are wrong to paint cheerleaders as “dumb girls,” because, as Lee notes, we don’t really know a thing about their intelligence. On the other hand, Lee is wrong because cheerleading actively encourages this sort of discourse. It reduces women to dancing objects whose sole purpose is to celebrate and cheer the actions of the men. Cheerleaders have absolutely no agency; they are supporting acts and little more than eye candy.

So, if people wrongly say you’re stupid, Rebecca, it’s because that’s what cheerleading projects. Now, I’m sure it requires a fair amount of skill and verve and if it does become an Olympic sport, more power to it. But in the IPL context, cheerleading says only one thing: shut up, pretty woman, and dance for the men. And, by and large, it seems to have worked. After all, it convinced an apparently intelligent lawyer who contracts by day to dance for the Royal Challengers Bangalore at night.

Virender Sehwag Gives Paul Collingwood Some Good Advice

Via The Guardian‘s Lawrence Booth: Paul Collingwood asked Delhi Daredevils teammate and captain Virender Sehwag for some batting advice:

“I keep asking Sehwag, ‘What’s going on technically in your mind when the bowler’s running in? Are you saying, I’ve got to get this right?’ And he says: ‘No, no, no, watch ball, hit ball.’ In England we think about our feet being in the right place, hands going through. We over-complicate it.”

Watch ball, hit ball. That’s one for the Sehwagology scriptures.

Fake IPL Player Gets Mainstream Media’s Attention

The Guardian has a report on the “Fake IPL Player,” a (much-visited and much-commented) blog written by a supposed team member of the Kolkota Knight Riders:

The official response has been revealing. The team’s website referred to it as “poison pen writing of the dirtiest variety, but far too many factual errors“. But according to our man, there are frenetic attempts to smoke him out. In an entry headlined When the Going Gets Tough on Tuesday evening, after a rain-interrupted victory against Kings XI Punjab, the impostor says: “In Cape Town. Laptops hv bn banned. I’net removed fm rooms. But posts wl continue thru SMS, relayed by my bro in India.” Not exactly William from Stratford-upon-Avon, but you get the gist.

For my part, I think it’s an ingenious construct. Continue reading