Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Cricket: A defense of the term

The absolutely mind numbing conflation of cricket, business and entertainment has been brought to the fore by the latest scandal to hit the IPL. Gideon Haigh has called it the "biggest cricket story in a decade". If you read anything about the IPL these days, it is nearly impossible to avoid reading about the disaster that this latest scandal has been for Cricket. Which leads me to my favorite question - What exactly is this cricket we are talking about?

Monday, April 26, 2010

Google search vagaries

In the last 24 hours, since Lalit Modi got suspended by BCCI, it appears that there has been a burst of interest in Lalit Modi's IPL blog. As a result, two posts that a wrote a while ago on Mr. Modi's posts have received lots of hits, way more than I get every day. I re-post these here in response to this renewed interest.

I stopped following Mr. Modi's blog after these two posts. These posts have nothing to do with recent events, but such is the nature of google search.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The game that never was

I write this as i'm watching the IPL Final. I watch as a skeptic and I will write as one. This is not live commentary, and will be available only after it is fully written, and not "live".

If you have a look at the line up of the Mumbai and Chennai IPL teams playing the IPL final, you will find two reasonably high quality outfits. Neither can match a top Test team for quality, but each is probably as good as a full strength first class side. Mumbai probably has the deeper bowling line up - Fernando, Malinga, Zaheer and Harbhajan Singh, while Chennai's two best bowlers are better than any in the Mumbai line up - Muralitharan and Bollinger. This is reversed in the batting. Chennai undoubtedly have the deeper batting line up, while Mumbai have Tendulkar. Chennai has the edge batting wise, while Mumbai probably has the edge (marginally) bowling wise. This means that Chennai should be favored in a big game. The general consensus however, favors Tendulkar.

Friday, April 23, 2010

20 Years at the Top

20 birthdays as an international cricketer. 31045 international runs in 702 international innings for India, 93 international hundreds, 147 international half centuries, 239 catches, 199 wickets. He has played for 7 different India captains, played in 279 India victories, 237 defeats.

Enough said.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is the Kochi scandal really a big deal?

The recent scandals surrounding the IPL and Mr. Modi (and Mr. Tharoor) are only the latest in a steady stream of incompetent stupidity that accompanies the the IPL. Dileep Premachandran argues that while the cricket speaks for itself, the IPL is in danger of coming undone thanks to these scandals. This argument struck me as being a little bit odd. I am unable to agree with any part of such an assertion. I think it is very hard to sustain the assertion that high quality cricket has been played in the IPL. It is also very hard to sustain the assertion that the 2010 edition of the tournament has been especially scandal plagued, if by "scandal" one is referring to things that happen on account of carelessness, incompetence, grandstanding, extreme ethical maneuverability and the like. A scandal, the way Dileep Premachandran uses the word, is any whiff of wrong doing that causes embarrassment - embarrassment that is bad enough to bring the whole edifice crashing down.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More Dissonance

"Deccan resist gutsy Collingwood to reach semis"

Collingwood made 51 in 42 balls, and was at the wicket for 13 1/2 overs, and was dropped thrice. All this sounds desperate rather than gutsy to me. But this is Paul Collingwood we are talking about, and just as Brian Lara is considered a genius, Paul Collingwood is considered "gutsy". Hence, any time a few things happen to Collingwood - in any type of game, we get "gutsy Collingwood".

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


The T20 format has become a mainstream format in Cricket. The IPL continues to grow, and the ICC T20 World Cup would be an annual affair if it hadn't been for the last, dying vestiges of the idea that the ICC runs a sport and not a multinational corporation that is answerable to shareholders whose capital it spends. I have argued (quite a few times) on this blog about the influence of this new format and its effect on the contest between bat and ball. Some claim the contest has become more intense. In a narrow, technical, arithmetic sense it has - but even in this sense, one would have to be especially myopic and goal-oriented (to put it charitably) so see it this way. Others find it more exciting, whatever that means. Mr. Modi maintains that the IPL T20 is singular in its pursuit of innovation - yet another buzzword whose meaning is not clear. If one is interested in meanings, then watching the IPL is like looking at a page in a book written in a script which you cannot fathom - which instigates no memory, no illusion. Perception is dead in such a case.