Monthly Archives: May 2009

Tickets For Twenty20 India-Pakistan Match

I’m actually quite happy India’s not allowed to play Pakistan in a bilateral series, since it puts a premium on the games the two teams actually have to play in international events, like the Twenty20 World Cup. Before the latest ban, both countries’ cricket boards were killing the golden goose with boring series after series, which took away from the fun of it all.

So, in that spirit, enjoy the game. Ebay has tickets on sale (currently priced at 80 pounds a pop).


Australia Attacks On Indian Students Spill Into Cricket World

There’s been a spate of highly publicized attacks on Indian stuents in Australia recently. Pretty gruesome stuff — I think one student had a “petrol bomb” thrown at him — and another one was attacked with a screwdriver. The whole affair has received a lot of attention in the Indian media, especially after film star Amitabh Bachchan refused an honorary degree from a Brisbane university because of the fracas.

Things are getting even weirder now: apparently, a cousin of Harbhajan Singh alleges a Melbourne taxi driver killed his son and left his body on railroad tracks. I really don’t know how much credence to give this story, because the Deccan Chronicle — which published the charges — is fairly respectable, but its article does not quote any Australian sources (or any Indian police sources either).

But here’s my problem: Continue reading

BBC Cricket Documentary: “Empire Of Cricket”

Those outside England won’t be able to see it (unless an enterprising person does some illegal YouTube work), but BBC2 will air a documentary tonight on the social and cultural history of cricket. Here’s the description:

The English invented cricket, created its rules and a whole moral code for the game. They then exported this elegant game of bat and ball to the wider British Empire. But England began to struggle when the natives began to play the game so much better.

The English game was also divided by class and held back by its own traditions. Until the 1960s, cricket was literally divided between upper class gentlemen, the amateurs and lower class players, the professionals. Even the way players addressed the ball had class connotations, with exuberant off-side shots being presented in training manuals as somehow having greater value than more workmanlike leg-side scoring.

In telling the story of cricket in England, Empire of Cricket explores the careers of great cricketers from Grace to Hobbs, Hutton to Illingworth, Botham to Pietersen. It also shows how cricket in England has been influenced by historical and cultural factors that have shaped the game we know today.

UPDATE: I’ve been “watching” the documentary on Twitter, and it really does sound intriguing. For instance:

redpied: BBC 2 Empire of Cricket Brian Close with no Helmet on brave or reckless …………..or nuts

simonpjbest: Empire of Cricket just showed the precursors of the nPower girls.

English Premier League Woes May Interest IPL

For all the recent celebration of the 2009 IPL, I haven’t seen much in terms of numbers or spreadsheets. Did the IPL actually make money this year? Are franchise owners satisfied with the exorbitant rates they paid for some of their players? Or is it true that some — like Shah Rukh Khan — may look to dump their shares?

Today’s Wall Street Journal had an interesting piece on the English Premier League’s financial issues. With a much wealthier and more global audience, the EPL dwarfs the IPL’s monetary importance (and sets the target for Lalit Modi’s increasingly big ambitions). The U.K. broadcast rights alone for the soccer tournament cost the Sky network $2 billion and that too for only 3 years, whereas Sony picked a 10-year contract with the BCCI for $1 billion. In 2008, the EPL’s total revenues — from TV rights, ticket sales and merchandising, reached nearly $4 billion. What’s the number for the IPL? Continue reading

Giving Away Twenty20 Club Secrets

Is it going to be awkward for IPL franchise players to suddenly play against each other in the World Cup?  I wonder if they felt they shouldn’t let on too much during the tournament, lest they give away their favorite strategies and game plans to potential opposition. 

Apparently not. Here’s South African coach Mickey Arthur:

Apart from the cricket, Arthur said, [South African players] returned with information from players of other international teams who were involved in the Indian league. These inputs have been added to the South African tournament blueprint during a short strategy-cum-bonding camp that the team, which leaves for England on Friday, assembled for after the IPL.

“The IPL has been very good for our players,” Arthur said. “They have got stuck in and taken responsibility for their franchises. We have discussed what the guys did well and what they haven’t. We will use that information on completing our eventual final blueprint.

“We wanted them to find out whether anything was being done differently by other teams. By and large, though, there isn’t much of a difference from what we have on our original blueprint. But it’s always good to get some outside information about other strategies.”

Throw Tomatoes at Lalit Modi

Via Crucket, 2,379 tomatoes have been thrown at Lalit Modi already. Sure, they’re only virtual ones, but that’s what counts in the modern era.

Taking On Jimmy Anderson

Just when I started to like Jimmy Anderson — that is, think he has a chance against the Australians — Samir Chopra at Eye on Cricket writes the biggest smackdown I’ve ever read. This is in regards to Anderson’s blow-up with Fidel Edwards:

Anderson is an unbearably petulant little ninny when he bowls; my only regret in this Edwards episode, which sadly, I appear to have missed, is that Fidel didn’t manage to knock some sense into that pretty little head, preferably with a ringing-in-the-ears-inducing knock on the helmet.

Is Retirement Obsolete?

Given how well Anil Kumble, Matthew Hayden, Sanath Jayasuriya, Adam Gilchrist, Shane Warne and so on did in the 2009 IPL, should we put aside the ritual of retirement altogether?

Obviously at some point, it’s necessary, since a 50-year-old Kumble may not be as good as a 30-something one (though I recall the 1996 World Cup featuring one 47-year-old from Holland, I think). But, still, Jayasuriya’s pressing 40 and I’d hate to see the Sri Lankan team without him, and even though the Australian team claims to have moved on, wouldn’t it be so much more menacing with Matthew Hayden at its head? (And wouldn’t the English team look so much better with Mark Ramprakash in it?) Continue reading

Shilpa Shetty and The IPL Closing Ceremony

Why did the ubiquitous Shilpa Shetty, part-owner of the Rajasthan Royals, fail to show up for her scheduled dance in the IPL closing ceremony? From “ThaIndian News”:

“I was just not prepared. It was an international platform, not some village nautanki. I had to be fully ready. And I just didn’t get time to rehearse. So I regretfully had to say no. But I’d rather not give anything less than my best when I’m representing my country,” Shilpa told IANS.

Not that I care, but I’m sure Shetty could have found some time, what with her constant appearances at Royals matches. Either she was unceremoniously dumped, or the ceremony organizers had enough of Shetty’s endless self-promotion.

And what about Preity Zinta, always ready with a cheer for her Kings XI Punjab? Here’s some more completely unsourced, probably untrue, baseless speculation:

The co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab was nowhere to be seen when her team was being awarded the Kingfisher Fair Play Trophy . The reason, well pretty obvious Preity did not want to stand next to her ex beau Ness Wadia while the trophy was being awarded.

Top Monthly Views For A Cricket Blog, Update

Just a little update on previous post about cricket blog’s monthly views. I’m nowhere near Cricket With Balls’ 30,000 hits, but the IPL was good to me. I’m all set to hit 13,000 hits in May, three times what I received in April. As much as I hate the league, I’m sorry to see it gone.

What’s next? Well, I imagine the World Twenty20 Cup will provide much fodder, as will the Ashes (a chance to crack the Australian-English blog market). The Champions League later in the year will also nicely round things out. This is all very good, because it seems like India will have a lean season after their series against the West Indies.