Monthly Archives: June 2010

England’s Loss, England’s Win

England! I address thee and ask: would you rather have a victory over Germany in football, or a series whitewash against Australia in cricket?

Wait. Don’t answer that.


Stop STAR Cricket Before It Hurts Me

I’m watching highlights of the England v. Australia ODI (the one that revealed Eoin Morgan as the savior of English cricket), and there’s a new annoying feature cricket broadcast producers have tacked on: a scroll bar at the top showing cricket news and trivia.

No, really! Not only do we have to contend with silly advertisements at every interval — or, for that matter, those that spring up even when a ball is bowled — but now we have a portion of the top of the screen taken up with sill, distracting nonsense. While it’s interesting to note that R. Binoy took the most number of wickets in the 1983 World Cup (who knew?), it doesn’t necessarily compete with watching Mon Nouvel Amour Morgan slamming the Australians to pieces.

Stop it.

Cricket Isn’t Soccer: Where Are The Ads?

In my third installment of cricket versus soccer/football, I want to ask: where are the commercials in a soccer game? Has anyone else noticed this? Isn’t it amazing to watch a sporting event for 45 minutes straight (before half-time) without all those noisy interruptions? (Or does this only happen during the World Cup?)

Contrast this with cricket coverage, and you realize which game holds the advantage in this case. Part of the problem here is cricket’s format — ball, by ball, by ball — which allows for the interruptions. Soccer flows much better (if we’re dealing in metaphors, cricket progresses sentence by sentence, soccer by free verse). Moreover, cricket stoppages are rampant (rain/bad light; wickets; drinks breaks), while soccer picks up on its own (stopping only briefly for a foul).

Whatever the case, it’s lovely to see the whole game unfold.

The Gambhir-Kamran Akmal Spat

Cricket Online, my still-favorite cricket highlights website (despite its new advertising blitz addition), just put up scenes from the emotional India-Pakistan encounter in the Asia Cup. I’ll reserve comment on Harbhajan and Shoaib, since both are incorrigible showmen most concerned with themselves.

But just a quick point about Gambhir and Akmal. Gambhir gets mad at the Pakistani wicketkeeper for appealing twice unsuccessfully (and loudly) for a behind-the-stumps catch. On both occasions, the appeal seems somewhat implausible — but that does not matter. Like lawyers, cricketers are allowed to make whatever argument they want to the presiding judge (in this case, the umpire) and let him decide the case. Now, ideally, you wouldn’t want cricketers appealing when they have conclusive evidence of a batsman’s innocence, but I submit it’s allowed, just as we don’t require batsmen to walk after they know they’re out.

To summarize: pipe down, Gambhir. I defended you when Albie Sachs penalized you and Shane Watson, but on this occasion, you went too far.

An Elephant Haunts Sri Lankan Cricket

Looks like the chronically empty stands in Dambulla may not be Sri Lanka Cricket’s only problem. From Island Cricket:

Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC), that has come under heavy attack from several fronts during the last few months was in for a surprise attack Monday night when an elephant attacked an SLC vehicle carrying two employees of the board.

The two female employees attached to cricket operations and finance divisions were being driven to their hotel in Habarana from Kandalama where they attended a function conducted by the Asian Cricket Council.

Afghanistan Cricket Documentary

H/T Cricket With Balls: The documentary chronicling the Afghanistan team’s rise from obscure nobodies to the next big thing in the ODI world (give or take 20 years) is out. No screenings in America yet, but once it comes to New York City (as I’m sure it will), I want everyone to join me for a looksie. Promise?

Details here.

A Question For Cricket South Africa!

I will never understand why silly cricket boards decide they need to do their best and scrub YouTube and the internet of highlights of series past. I just do not understand it. There I was, hoping to relive the England v. ┬áSouth Africa Test Series of 2009 — just to pass the time — only to find copyright claims instead of videos on my favorite cricket highlight websites.

This has really got to stop! Even the IPL, the world’s most money-obsessed cricket league, saw the benefits of the Internet and diligently posted not only highlights but entire matches for this past season. Really, Cricket South Africa, do you think you stand to make any money from selling highlight reels to cricket channels? (Or am I missing a major point here?)

Quick Thoughts On That India-Pakistan Match

What a doozy! Amid all the talk of the death of the ODI, we have one of its finest examples: ebb and flow of the format, along with the suspense now expected in Twenty20s. But some more quick thoughts:

1. Remind me again what Saeed Ajmal is allowed to bowl — the doosra, or his normal off-cutter? Or is he allowed to bowl whatever he wants? I can never keep up with these spinners.

2. Shahid Afridi loves his hair. He loves being able to run his hand through it, again and again. Just thought I’d put that out there.

3. Speaking of people who could do with some more vanity, I give you Waqar Younis and his increasing girth. I don’t know if he thinks looking like a father figure will convince the young ‘uns to play nice, but the man needs to stay in shape. (If only because he can then pull a Gary Kirsten and yell at his wards for not being as fit as a 40-odd year old man.)

4. Harbhajan, Harbhajan, Harbhajan. If nothing else, the man has an impeccable sense of timing and destiny. I hate him. And love it.

Cricket Isn’t Soccer: A Question Of Balls

Continuing my series exploring the difference between soccer and cricket (no, really, they are different!), consider the question of “home advantage.” A number of media outlets have pointed out that visiting teams are having a hard time adapting to South African conditions (those damn vuvuzelas!); the local grass is some weird hybrid, and the damn soccer ball — so carefully crafted by some South Asian village, no doubt — is doing some weird things.

Right. As The Washington Post put it, this is all whining, and wouldn’t be tolerated in cricket. Sure, some captains put out a whimper or two about SG balls when they visit India, but they also know no one really cares. Much more than other sports, cricket tolerates differences and varying conditions (in pitch, weather, balls, bats). Not only does it make visiting teams try harder, but it has led to a range of different styles of game (spinners in India, e.g.; swing bowling in England).

So, get over it, people. Besides, Brazil’s gonna win anyway.

Cricket Takes A Stab At Relevance

Soccer has the World Cup, a billion or so viewers (just not in America). Cricket — we have the Asia Cup. In the middle of Sri Lanka. Come watch, please!