Anil Kumble at the IPL

I wish one of the Cricinfo guys writes about Anil Kumble the IPL player. At 40+, he is still India’s best bowler at T20 cricket. He rejuvenated the RCB IPL team, and seems like the one man who understands the T20 game the most.

Also, the funny thing is that right now, as the president of KSCA, he is RCB’s landlord and first employee, as the M Chinnaswamy stadium is KSCA’s responsibility.

A Plebian Argument

This is a rebuttal to a passionate, if somewhat over-the-top criticism of the idea of playing test cricket in a specific few venues in India, and selecting the others for One-Dayers and T20; in the fine blog Bored Cricket Crazy Indians. The disclaimer: I have visited the blog a few times, and have quite liked it, especially the ‘Player Profile’, which is hilarious. This post is aimed at the arguments, not the person behind them.

Dear Sir,

Rebuttal 1: Transformers, Sofia Copolla and Percentage Capacity Utilization:
‘Lost in Translation’ is an excellent movie. ‘Transformers’ is not so much so. Now, let’s hear it from the bean counters.
Here’s the truth. Test cricket is not instant gratification. It is not paisa-vasool in the normal sense of the term. No sporting event that lasts for more than 3 days can be for the entire duration (if you exclude the World Cup Football of course). There are ebbs and flows, moments of great excitement and moments of intense boredom. Indeed, there could be days of intense boredom.
Thus, stadiums will hardly ever be filled to the rafters for entire test matches (while they will be for One-dayers and T20s, you know that if you stick on through the day, you will go home entertained. Or at least have a result, reason enough to celebrate an India win or feel sad for a loss). Test cricket, is a different animal; a form of entertainment that is not based so much on the end result as capturing the moments within the game. Subtle. ‘Lost in Translation’-esque.
Stadiums are hardly ever filled to the rafters in India, nor anywhere else in the world for test matches. But that’s fine, isn’t it? It’s not about the percentage capacity utilization of a stadium that should decide whether the stadium should stage a test match. It’s something a little more subtle than that.
I have nothing against Motera. But Srinath’s 6/21 does not quite have the making of a stadium as much as a standing ovation to Pakistan, the dreaded enemy, after they have vanquished India even after Sachin’s masterpiece. Gavaskar’s 10,000th run does not make a stadium as much as an all-stadium farewell to Asif Iqbal, a minor cricketing figure in the larger scheme of things, but who was taken to heart by a people from another nation. Performances give a stadium its reputation, the fans give a stadium its heritage. Chelsea, for all its wins, will not be Liverpool yet.
Again, it’s a subtle thing. And percentage capacity utilization has nothing to do with it.
(Disclaimer 2: I do not know much about crowd participation in Motera, it might well have been impressive, it certainly has not been highlighted enough to have built a reputation for the stadium. I’ve never seen a game there, you can replace Motera with Mohali or Barabati)

Rebuttal 2: Bharat Bhagya Vidhaata?
There are around 10 major stadiums in India.
Four of them – namely Eden, Chinnaswamy, Chepauk Chidambaram and Wankhede, are in big cities with ideal locations.
The others, as the article suggests, are not. Far away from the heart of the city, with rudimentary transport facilities, they would certainly constitute a bit of a stretch for the casual cricket fan, when he/she knows that there is a good possibility that this would be a rain-curtailed 40-over day with the score progressing by 78 runs for the loss of a wicket. It would not quite be that dreary, why, it wouldn’t be dreary at all for the instant gratification seekers going for a One-dayer, mind you. 40 overs? Great, the One-dayer will be a 20-over thing then! Will they play Yusuf Pathan for Rohit Sharma? Who will open? Will India win? Match on!
But fair enough. Some cities are in a position of advantage in terms of stadium location, over others. What to do with that? Well, dear sir, you can do nothing. We can do nothing.
Know what? It’s not the BCCI who decides where in a city the cricket stadium is built. It is the city’s municipal authority, the political who’s who that take the decision. The BCCI, ahem, does not rule the country yet… but you never know that might change.
And now that a stadium is already made, it is the decision of that municipal authority if they can live with this white elephant and invest tons and tons of money to build another stadium in the heart of the city, such that it can be utilized for five days, every two years, for a test match. The one-dayers and T20s will not be affected, they are fairly paisa-vasool, and the crowds will still flock, be the stadium 20km outside city limits.
Can we do anything about it? Nope.

Rebuttal 3: A working class hero is something to be…
Do you remember, sir, whose comment led to this sudden outpouring of ‘save test cricket via the Eden, Chinnaswamy, Chidambaram and Wankhede’ wailing from the media? Dhoni’s, and he is the antithesis of elitism. He is more small-town than I am (I hail from a smaller town than he does, however). And ask me if I would take your idea against that of this admirable, straight-speaking, working class hero, who is the captain of our Cricket team. Oh sir, you never had a chance, did you?

Un-rebuttal 4: One day is better than five.
Cannot agree more with your stand against 5-day passes. I could only go for the third day of the match. I do not think that there would ever be a moment in my cricket-watching life that will come near the experience. And this is verbatim from a facebook comment.

Perfection, is a rare thing, guys. That day, Sachin was flawless.

Regards,
Godof86

Interested?

I am trying to get myself interested in the World Cup T20.

But naah, not working out. I flip from T20 to Travel and Living or some news channel all the while, and if the football is on, I don’t even care.

Am I not a huge fan of T20? Absolutely, I’m not. Why? Because if the standards are not, say, Australia / Bangladesh, 20 overs are not enough to distinguish between a good team and a slightly worse one, and after that it is all about freak individual incidents determining the fate of a match, even a tournament.

An equivalent? A football match where the 45 minute halves are not played, and all that you have are the two extra times and then the shootout. One mistake could determine the match, with no chances of a comeback. One great move can. One bad decision by the manager can. One bad decision by the referee can. An incident like ‘That night in Istanbul‘ will never happen in this version of football, neither Anfield 1989.

But I was not this indifferent about IPL. I wasn’t. Why?

Because there were real personal stories. The Warne story. The Kumble story. The Dada story. The Sachin story. The Vijay and Ashwin stories. The Kallis story. The Rayudu story. The Dhoni story. The Manoj Tiwary story. You could see the stories unfold and unravel as the IPL progressed. And of course, the Tharoor story and the Modi story.

Even the World team trophy had stories. The T&T story was fascinating to say the least.

And in the World Cup T20, there is little story. Thus, it’s only about the game. And the game isn’t …. isn’t as story-worthy, standalone. Just in my opinion.

About why One-Day cricket will go, and Test cricket will survive in the Twenty-20 world…

Does anyone give even a rat’s a*s about this tournament? Kitply cup? While I am tracking Australia vs. West Indies. FYI, Chanderpaul is being massive as usual for West Indies, Clark won Australia the first test, and I think the three West Indian quicks are making a contest out of this series.

It just seems to me that people are only still watching One-day cricket because it is what they are used to. And because human beings are creatures of habit. And because they are showing cricket on TV so why the hell not, one has already paid for the cable anyway ….. People, IMHO, don’t really care about the One-day game any more. It’s not as fast-paced as Twenty-20, not as skillful or technical as Test cricket, so what does it really have to offer?

IMHO, nothing. Nothing at all.

And that is good. One-day cricket, not Test cricket, should go.

Look, are there any real fans of One-day cricket specifically? Really, what are the hallmarks of the One-day game that set it apart? It is fun, finishes quickly, and has big hits. Tell me, which of these traits does Twenty-20 not have, and in equal or greater measure?

What will serve Test cricket well is that it is an almost completely different game to Twenty-20. The charm of Test cricket is completely different from that of Twenty-20. And if Test cricket has survived One-day cricket (and has come out stronger, may I add), it will survive Twenty-20 as well.

And there are some of you who will argue that One-day cricket is the best blend of the two extreme forms of cricket that are Test cricket and Twenty-20, and thus offers the viewer the best of both.

I would tell you, are you kidding me? One day cricket offers viewers the worst of both of these extreme forms. It provides a diluted version of Test cricket mixed with a diluted version of Twenty-20…. and in my opinion, that is just too much water.

One day cricket does not have the every-minute excitement of Twenty-20. The middle overs can be excruciatingly boring, and a one-sided match really has nothing to offer. Will you watch an Australia v.s. Bangladesh One-day match? No. While you might not mind watching a Twenty-20 between the two countries. Why? Because it is thrill-a-minute, Ashraful will still hit a six of two, and it finishes in three hours. Hell, if for nothing else, for the pom-pom girls at least..

One-day cricket does not have the technical nous of Test cricket. That does not require explanation, does it? Can a One-day game ever have a Ponting-Ishant nine-over bareknuckle battle? Can the One-day game accommodate Michael Atherton, the archetypal test player and such a joy to watch? Battles of that kind, players of that kind make Test cricket what it is, and that’s what One-day cricket can never capture. And yes, I hear your question, and that being – will you watch an Australia vs. Bangladesh test match? Well, here’s my answer. Did you ever? Nothing has changed. Test cricket has survived Australia vs. Bangladesh Test matches, and will continue to do so until Bangladesh becomes a decent Test-playing nation.

Therefore, One-day cricket should go. It has done its bit*, and it has nothing more to offer. Tell me, mail me, does One-day cricket really have anything more to offer? Anything new? Anything different?

(* – Increased the scoring rates, improved fielding, ensured more results)

The art of scoring 180 runs in a 20-20 match

This friend of mine, an ardent cricket fan, has suggested his version of how an above-par score of 180 or so can be reached at any 20-20 match, without much of a hassle. I put up his thoughts as under, with a bit of typo-correction of course 🙂

While I agree to quite a bit of this in principle, my views on the same will come up soon…. Waiting for your views on the same as well…. And yes, I mean YOU.

To add, if you have any snippets of sporting information, or want to engage in some proper sporting debate, (the ones who read this blog, albeit few, are genuine sports enthusiasts), please do email me at godof86@gmail.com and I will be happy to put up your thoughts here. And my commentary, of course if I have anything to say int he first place.

——————————————-

Everybody agrees that a total between 160-180 is a decent, fighting total in 20-20 giving you a decent enough chance to win the game. Let me show you how easy it is to get to this total if 20-20 were played like any other game of cricket.

The art of singles is being quickly forgotten in 20-20 and people are trying to slog everything out of the ground.

If one were to focus on getting the singles which I believe are far easier in 20-20 with largely defensive fields set in this format of the game….

That avergaes to 6 runs an over which is 120 runs

Add to that 10 boundaries which is one boundary every two overs – again in my book realistic

Some crazy hits to the fence only 3 sixes – one every six or so overs – 18 Runs

Simple Math – 120 + 40 + 18 = 178. (Edit: 120-10-3+40+18=165+{15 extras}=180)

Again you might think i am trying to make it sound simple while it actually is not that simple to get 6 singles in the over.. no its not simple but that is the avergae considering there are always the 2’s and 3’s.

The subtle things like left right combination are ignored and forgotten. They key to most sports is to keep things simple. Yes there are the Tendulkars and Messis of the world who make genius look simple but that is a freak, you dont plan for it, they just happen

Also the lessons learnt from the 20-20 world cup are also forgotten, its very important to keep wickets. Atleast one of the two openers needs to stick around for 10 overs even if he scoring at just run a ball. How does he not get frustrated and keep a healthy scoring rate….Answer: SINGLES

I am really happy about the IPL and what it is doing for cricket specially Indian cricket, but we need to remember something, BPL is the worlds biggest league but England dont win the world cup. The limit of 4 overseas players is a good rule and they should always keep it otherwise IPL will become another BPL, very glamorous and loads of money but no contributions to tha national cause.

Age is one criteria that i dont always agree with: Youth … Youth … Youth i belive is the worst thing that can happen to Indian cricket. Agreed Ganguly is way past his prime and this is the perfect time for him to hang up his boots even if he has a couple of good knocks left in him. Sehwag Gambir Sharma Yuvraj are good. but except for Rohit Sharma none of the others are exactly YOUTH YOUTH YOUTH. they are all 27 years old atleast which is the time when normal great crickets mature (unlike Tendulkar who went through that at 20) They are ready for  the one day cricket and i agree with that. But, to drop Laxman and Dravid to accomodate Yuvraj in test team would be foolish.

THis is where i like what IPL is doing, it is showin the character of a player, I particulary like this Gony guy  who plays for chennai, Chawla is begginning to show that he is a real quality bowler, Yousuf pathan should figure in the scheme of things. I still dont like Munaf patel as a bowler and i would pick a trivedi over him in my line up anyday. The other guy who has gone unnoticed but has impressed me is this guy called Vijay who bowls for deccan. He is a nobody who has the best bowling figures in that team. IPL is definitely good for these blokes.

Well it was more like a phone call between us and me talking for a long time without being interrupted 🙂

——————————–

Agree to the last line to the T, just that in our conversations, dude, one never gets to speak for so long without the other barging in 🙂