Thursday, January 01, 2009

The fall of an empire

People in South Africa, India and every other cricket playing nation must be rejoicing at the good times ahead. Yes, the Australian Cricket team has well and truly fallen from the lofty heights reached by them over the past several years. I don't think the rest of the pack has made significant improvements in their levels and caught up with the aussies. But it has been a combination of aussies losing their quality and other teams getting their show right that has led to the current state. The aussies are now in a state of free fall. The empire has finally fallen.

I have stopped following the Australian domestic season (don't even know if it is still Pura Milk or something else !) quite sometime back. But looking at the occasional reports the situation is pretty bad. Rebuilding is going to take a long time. I only hope that their decline is not as bad as that of the current West Indies cricket setup.

The selection committee seems bit clueless at the moment. They have definitely gone soft since Trevor Hohns days. There is no greater testament to that than their continued persistence with Hayden. Their mentality towards the choice of spinner for the team is appalling. These must be bad times to be a spinner in Australia - in one day, out the next. I think the selectors are expecting to replace Warne with someone close to Warne. Sorry, that is just not going to happen. Not overnight, anyway.

Any team would struggle when you take away the quality of McGrath, Warne and Gilly at almost the same time. Those are three once in a generation players who luckily for Australia turned up during the same generation. Warne revived the dying art of leg spin (wrist spin in general), McGrath took metronomic accuracy to an all new level and Gilchrist defined wicket-keeping allrounders. 

Gilchrist's role seems to be the one that is reasonably filled for now. Haddin is not another gilly, but he is not bad either. The lack of form (and focus ??) of Symmonds is another headache for the aussies. Watson is a decent allrounder, but by no means world class. The immediate task of rebuilding must therefore target improving the bowling strength while also fixing the allrounder problem.

I think there is another important problem facing the Aussies. It is that of Captaincy. Ricky Ponting is a very poor captain when the chips are down. His body language is often very bad when things aren't going his way. The only good thing about Ponting's captaincy is that his batting after being made captain has improved. Unlike England, India or just about any other country, Australia don't seem to have a culture of past captains playing under a new captain.

It often happens that with the end of the captaincy stint, the player goes out of the national team. This is where the dilemma is. Ponting is still by far the best Australian batsman and still has few years left in him. If he is not the right man to be captain, who is ? and whoever is made the new captain, can the selectors break the tradition and manage to accommodate Ponting in the team ? Also, will Ponting's bloated ego be able to fit in the new setup ? 

2009 is going to be an interesting year for world cricket in general and Australian Cricket in particular. We could find out answers to most of the problems raised above. At the end of the year, we will find out if Australian Cricket has managed to steady the fall or if they continue to go deeper into a bottomless pit, towards the state of Caribbean cricket.

Although the current and future states look bleak, the past has been fantastic and a joy to watch. In fact, the current state of things makes one realize just how darned good was the product that was built by Border, nurtured by Taylor, peaked under Waugh and had been slowly declining under Ponting. I will leave with some very good lines by Peter Roebuck recently.

At such times it is tempting to examine the causes of the collapse. Perhaps it is simply that Australia ran out of great players and luck, a combination that often goes together. Perhaps, too, it is better to remember the numerous glories of the last 15 years and not their limitations. In their stint as the game's flawed exemplar, Australia have played attractive cricket, scoring quickly, encouraging legspin, fielding balanced attacks, scorning stalemates and not sledging quite as much as might be imagined. Australia were ruthless, sometimes unscrupulous, but seldom dull. Taken as a whole, the teams led by Mark Taylor, Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting have enhanced the game, especially its five-day format.

Along the way Australia have taken part in three of the greatest series ever staged, in the Caribbean, India and England. Always it has taken a mighty effort to bring them down, and that remains the case. Australia may not have been liked but they have commanded respected, sometimes amounting to fear. It has been a time of Waugh and Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne and broken moulds. But nothing lasts forever and now it is someone else's turn.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Taking stock of winter

  • Snow is NOT beautiful. It is bitterly cold when it snows and I can't see how everything covered in white is good looking. The only time snow is better or acceptable is when compared to rain. Give me plentiful sunshine any day !
  • If the Sun is out in all its glory and it is nice and bright outside doesn't necessarily mean it is hot outside. Heck, it need not even mean it is warm. You could have plentiful sunshine with sub-zero temperatures as well. :-|
  • Ice falling from the sky might be an amusing thing (like snow) to see but it makes road conditions miserable and you won't realize just how frigging difficult it is to drive (or even walk !) on ice till you experience it.
  • Ice skating (the traditional way) might look fun, but it is no fun if you topple over, twist an ankle or injure yourself in any other way. I don't think the pain is worth it. So, you want to experience skating on ice ? Just try walking on the road after there has been an Ice rain.
  • Winter is also a good time for deals. When you see an offer and feel that it really is a deal, just buy it. The longer you sit on it, the more you are going to get confused. 5 different websites will offer 5 different offers for the same product with not much of a difference in terms of cost. Looking through all of them will only waste your time and most likely you will end up buying the first one that you saw. Also, once you buy a product, forget about looking for it anymore unless disappointment is a good friend of yours.
  • Once the mercury goes into sub-zero region (and am talking in Celcius scale although it really shouldn't matter), it makes hardly any difference if it's -10 or -20. You're screwed either way.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

And a Semester goes by ...

Yes, it's over. Done and dusted ! Phew ! 

People said Grad school was no joke and that it can be quite tough. People also said that Texas is very hot and on the upside, winters are much more tolerable (for someone used to Indian winters). I realized late that I had absolutely NO clue about the severity of both the things. But then again, I don't think anyone would realize that till they experience it. 

Nightouts in lab, nightouts at home preparing for the mid-term, worse still, nightouts to complete a homework, preparing 'legalized' cheat-sheets for the exam only to find that it was a collossal waste of time, living on readymade powders (courtesy: The Grand Sweets & Snacks, Adyar, Chennai), realizing that we are the only hapless souls sitting in lab at 5 in the morning, catching the first bus of the next day to go home and sleep (for the previous night ???), realizing just how deep is deep sh*t - well, the list goes on and all I can say is that, I have seen 'em all and will continue to see 'em next semester. Phew and sigh !

On the positive side, I took up to playing Tennis (albeit only for couple of weeks before the vicious cycle of the previous paragraph set in :|). I did not realize just how tiring a game Tennis can be. But it is also lot of fun and I look forward to resuming it sometime (I might probably need to buy a better racquet and not settle for some cheap stuff, but I need to be more regular to justify the investment). I realized that not buying the UT Sports Package while in India was a big mistake. College Football is a BIG thing here and quite rightly so. It definitely gets addictive especially if your team is one of the best in the country ;-). The atmosphere, passion and support is just unbelievable. 

There were also plenty of 'Free Food' oppourtunities throughout the semester. Some, really worth it (read: Pizza) and some, a total waste of time (read: grass and other leafy things which I believe should be fed only to cows :|). There were also some hopelessly sad moments when we had to sit through presentation of a Chemical company for the sake of free food. aaah ! the pitiable state of Poor Indian Graduate Students (PIGS, as my friend Sid calls them). 



At least the 'pundits' were right on the cold part. Yes, Texas does get cold, very cold. Heck, it even snowed in Austin on one night ! . But, it is nowhere near as cold as some of the other places. I can definitely vouch for the midwest ! It even threatened to reach zero degrees in Farhenheit in Cincinnati ! 

It's been less than 6 months, but after being roasted in the August heat of Austin, am now freezing in the December cold of Cincinnati. It has been fun, painful, enjoyable, depressing, frustrating, satisfying, relieving et al. Overall, it has been a new experience and am thankful for it.


Thursday, August 21, 2008

A journey begins ...

I had written most of this stuff for people back home in India. Guess it makes for a good excuse to bump up a rotting blog through some C&P stuff. ;)

I am finally getting proper internet access here from Austin. So far, whatever I have seen of this place and America in general has more or less convinced me as to why this place is everyone's dream (at least for Indians !). The places are just beautiful, the people polite and things all very simple and easy.

The Emirates flight to Dubai was quite comfortable. The breakfast was quite sumptuous as well. Starting with a lemonade, they had few mini idlies (with molapodi mixed), vada and some upma kind of preparation - all soaked in sambhar. Then they had fruits and a muffin with butter and jam to go along with coffee. The entertainment system was quite good as well (movies, audio, games - all controlled by a remote as well as touch screen !), although it took me sometime and the air hostess' help to figure out where to plug in the headphones !. They also had a nice cozy shawl for our comfort, to go alongwith a small pillow. After having the heavy breakfast (at around 5.15 AM India time), I watched some TV and slept well.

After clearing the security at the Chennai Airport, as I was waiting for the boarding call, I happened to catch a glimpse of Rajinikanth, who came late (about 15-20 mins after the last passenger) to board the Cathay Pacific flight to HongKong. The flight landed in Dubai almost on time, but it arrived far from the main terminal (near the new terminal that is being constructed). A lengthy bus ride took us around the huge fleet of Emirates aircrafts (nice little trick from Emirates to showboat ;) )and dropped the ongoing passengers for connecting flights. The security check at Dubai is almost straightforward. We have to remove all metallic items, including belts and then simply walk through the metal detector. If it beeps, we have to remove the item for checking, else, we are clean to go. The Dubai airport looks more like a shopping mall. As I was in a hurry, I couldn't look around much, but from what I could see, it was Massive and lots and lots of duty free shopping. Definitely a place to visit for holiday and travel !. Just before landing in Dubai, the in-flight TV shows the gates for connecting flights from Dubai. So, getting around in Dubai is made simpler.

I met up with Kiran (my roommate) near the gate for JFK bound flight and joined the queue along with him. We couldn't find any place for making a call or using a comp. They must have been available somewhere outside, but we had already checked in for the flight. The flight from Dubai-JFK was just as great !. Of course, the economy class legroom wasn't great for a long haul, but it was decent enough. The entertainment system on this Boeing flight is simply AMAZING !. There is a massive choice of entertainment ranging from movies to tv shows and audio - and all of them comes over a wide variety of genres. The games are plenty of their own. We can also make calls and send sms/email through the remote/handset, using our credit cards. One has to travel by that flight to experience the treat provided by Emirates. The food was excellent and sumptuous again. If needed, one could go to the rear of the aircraft and get food/water/juice based on availability. The air hostess' are multi-ethnic, but the asians appeared to be lot more cheerful ;)

I was watching bit of movies/tv and sleeping in between (I watched Kungfu Panda and My Cousin Vinny - apart from few episodes of Friends, Simpsons, Family Guy etc). Halfway through the flight, I changed my window seat with another small boy who was sitting next to me and got an aisle seat. But the journey was quite pleasant at both the places. They served breakfast, some refreshments in between and lunch later on. We were handed over immigration and customs forms shortly before the flight landed at JFK and were also shown videos on how to fill them. They questionnaire was quite straight forward. To our surprise, the flight departed Dubai only about 10 mins late (usually 30mins-1hr late) and reached JFK about 20 mins before time !!.

The immigration and customs at JFK was a mere formality. This was the biggest surprise of them all. I had anticipated huge queues for Immigration and lot of scrutiny for Customs. Immigration counters were all empty before it got filled by passengers from our flight and once that was cleared, we had to collect the baggage. We needed to pay $3 for using the trolley. The system is quite simple. If we put extra money, we get refunded. I put a $5 bill and got 8 quarters (25 cents) in return. After collecting the baggage, we went for customs. There we just handed over our form and they let us go. No opening of baggage or anything. We then dropped our baggage at Emirates connection gate for the next flight and then took a 'Air Train'. This train at JFK, is a wee bit similar in planning to chennai's own 'parakkum rail', in that it runs across and over the city's roads. It basically connects different terminals (International and Domestic) of JFK. We then got our boarding passes for the connecting Delta flight. Here, if we had booked the ticket online, we had the option of issuing the boarding passes ourselves using the kiosk. I used them - again, quite simple and self explanatory. After getting the boarding pass, we had to clear the TSA security for domestic flights. Here we have to remove everything, including shoes and belts. We are also not allowed to carry water beyond this point.

Since I had some time before the connecting flight, I had some tiffin stuff that I got from India. By this time, I was quite tired. The flight for Austin departed about an hour late, but it reached Austin on time. We were served some refreshments (biscuits, water/cool drinks etc) on flight and the journey was quite comfortable although I slept most of the while. Kiran had called his senior from JFK to inform of our arrival and he was there along with his friend to pick us up. As told by Vijay (local contact here), Austin airport was more or less deserted at this time, except for arriving passengers. But it was beautiful and well lit. We traveled back to the senior (Ashwin's) apartment by car. There are few more tamil guys living in the same apartment complex and I am currently staying in one of the guy's apartment. The apartments are all quite beautiful, with either carpeted or wodden flooring. Not all apartments come furnished and we may have to buy. But these apartments were furnished and quite beautiful with lovely couches and seatbacks !.

Today, I got some of the initial formalities done. The student ID card was issued in just 2 minutes. Ashwin took us to the place and showed few places around the campus. I then opened a bank account and have deposited some of the cash, all the traveler cheques and the DD. Because the DD was a large amount, they will credit it after 5 days, but that should be fine. The staff there were really helpful and talking about India, weather and stuff. They also gave away a complimentary Tee shirt for opening the account. It has the college symbol in front and is of the college colour (burt orange). The entire bank process took less than an hour and they even issued me a debit card, with my name printed, in that time. (This is efficiency at its best.)

The campus is quite huge and beautiful and it will take us sometime before we get used to the directions and lot of time before we explore completely. Ashwin dropped us in the evening for a 'movie day' event for new international students. Lot of people from India had come as well as from other countries. We watched The Pursuit of Happyness and refreshments were given away. The sun here sets only at around 8 or 8.30 ! We have traveled a couple of times in the University Shuttle ! It is completely air conditioned - like the G18 (bus in Chennai), but only many times better !

We went to a Grocery store called HEB with the senior. It was so massive ! and almost everything is available here. :) We are mostly finalizing the apartment where we are staying temporarily now. The seniors will be moving out by 17th or something and after some cleaning it should be ready for move in. Hopefully that is settled soon and after that phone and laptop will have to be done !

Austin is as hot as chennai ! It is really hot at this time of the year. but the campus is quite beautiful, with fountains and lovely buildings ! There is a super view of the State Capitol as well and at night, the buildings are really beautiful !

Monday, January 07, 2008

Making the most of now

People back home, here in India, would have seen the spate of new, innovative ads from Vodafone advertising to "Make the most of now". Vodafone took over from Hutchinson-Essar in India. Orange network was also a part of the Hutchinson network (not sure about the current status) and I guess Orange operates in Australia. My point is, am not sure if the same ads or similar ones appear in Australia, but the Australian Cricket Captain, Ricky Ponting definitely seems to be inspired to "Make the most of now" and how !!!. He is attempting to make a mountain out of a mole and unfortunately for the game of Cricket, he is being successful so far in this attempt.

In Harbhajan Singh, Australia found someone who could challenge them on the field - both in the cricketing skills department as well as in the verbal barrage. In him, they also found a weakness that they could exploit - his hot headedness. Most (I am now suspecting, ALL) of the current crop of Aussie cricketers are not just hot headed, they have hugely bloated heads, thanks to crushing victories over various opponents over different conditions over a long period of time in both ODIs and Tests. They go into matches not just wanting to win, like all teams, but expecting to win and win convincingly at that. They have shown of late that they don't take it well when they are being challenged, especially in the verbal department along with skills on the field.

There is no room for Racism anywhere, let alone sport. But the more pertinent question is, was Harbhajan Racist ? Did he make a comment meant to insult Symmonds based on his Race ? I wouldn't be surprised if Harbhajan did not even know what was Symmo's background or race. So, it is all the more surprising when the Match Referee Mike Procter goes on record saying "I am satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Harbhajan Singh directed that word at Andrew Symonds and also that he meant it to offend on the basis of Symonds' race or ethnic origin." He also says that this was not a case of taking the word of an Australian over an Indian. Well, Mr. Procter, then what is it ? Common sense (or naivety, depending on how you view) tells me that in the hearing, the Aussies would have charged that the comment (whatever it might have been) was meant to offend based on race. Indians would have naturally denied the allegation about the race. So, how did Procter arrive at his conclusion ? Unfortunately, only he would know, unless he cares to explain. But don't expect that to happen.

As we came to know later on, the Match Referee had instructed both the Captains before the start of the series asking them to report to him immediately, any issues of Racism. I am almost convinced entirely that he sought to mean that with respect to Crowd behavior, given both Australian and Indian crowds have been alleged of racist behavior in the past. Ponting very conveniently took it to mean anything remotely racist on field as well. So, once again, was Harbhajan racist ? Ponting and rest of the Aussie team would like us to believe so, but thankfully, there are still enough sensible people around the world to not buy that truckload of trash. Did Harbhajan mean to offend Symmonds ? Oh hell yes !. Symmonds by his own admission, let Bhajji know what he thought of his antics and it is but natural that Harbhajan let Symmonds know what he thought of him :-D, but did he mean to make a racist remark ? Hell NO!

So, was Harbhajan completely innocent ? Well, far from that as well. There has been a previously acknowledged crowd problem during Australia's tour of India with monkey chants surrounding Symmonds. I am not sure if it was communicated before the tour about between the teams as to what was construed as Racist by each of them. Even if that wasn't done, Harbhajan must have known better with his choice of words. But you don't punish a mistake like that with an allegation of racism and a subsequent ban. Ricky Ponting wanted to make the most of the opportunity, but he was naive and stupid enough not to realize that he was charing an opposing player of racism. Such an allegation is not a joke. Ponting quite simply failed to gauge the gravity of the allegation.

Harbhajan Singh is a brilliant character. The game needs personalities like Bhajji, Monty Panesar on the field. They are the ones who can light up not just the team, but the crowd as well. They are easily excitable and almost always give their 100% for the team's cause. Of course, such personalities have to be pulled up whenever they cross the limit, but not through such means without any forethought about the implications. This was an issue that Ponting needed to discuss with Kumble at the end of the day's play or at the end of the match and the Indian Management must have pulled up Harbhajan for that (it is a different matter if they would have really done that - but that is the best course of action from Ponting if he had any respect for the game and did not want it to go into disrepute).

Was this Punter's idea of a Mind Game, especially since he was woeful in tackling Harbhajan in the skills department ? Probably yes. Ponting has shown himself to be extremely stupid and hot headed at the best of times. He has shown qualities of a brilliant captain at times, but on most other occasions, he has shown himself in extremely poor light and unfortunately now, he has dragged the entire Aussie team along with him. A terrible act of immaturity and arrogance based on the belief that he could get away with anything since he is the captain of the world champions. Unfortunately, not for the first time though, Ponting and the Australians have demonstrated behavior that is unbecoming of true champions of sport.

The reaction in India is along familiar lines. Cricket is the most practised religion in India. The reaction of the majority of the crowd is almost always at an extreme (either end). Now those are during normal circumstances. These are not normal times, but extraordinary times and hence, the reactions are similarly that much more severe. There seems to be almost an unanimous feeling of being cheated and quite rightly so. India did not deserve to lose the Sydney test just as much as Australia did not deserve to win it. India played brilliantly for three days and decently for the last couple. They shouldn't have let Australia score 400 on that pitch in the second innings, but now, that really doesn't matter.

India were cheated, but not by the Aussies as majority seem to be liking to believe, but by the Umpires. It is not the fault of the Australian team that there were so many ridiculous decisions in that test match that went against the Indians. Including the last day, Australia did not do too much different from what other teams, including India have done on the final day of a tight test match. Indians have been equally guilty in home games of excessive and borderline ridiculous appealing with plenty of close in catchers. It doesn't make the job any easier for the Umpires, but unfortunately, in a close game, the excitement is at an exalted level and that is how the game is being played nowadays. India are just aggrieved at being very very harshly done in by some very crucial decisions and hence they are pointing at the behavior of the Aussies as well apart from the Umpiring. To that extent, the reaction by the one of the finest gentleman to have played this game, Anil Kumble is well and truly justified.

But, just as allegation of racism is serious and wrong, alleging the Aussies of cheating is also extreme. I have been a big fan of Australian cricket team for over 15 years now. I have admired them for the way they approach the game. Hard, professional, but mostly fair. Sadly, of late, the fair part is being ignored more often, especially in tight situations. :( I play the game in many ways similar to them. I sledge a lot, not abusive, but friendly banter, trying to get under the nose of the opposing batsmen while fielding. It is a different matter that, I did not play at any major level, but my point is that, some kind of bantering on the field is good and nice fun. :D But if you give, you must also be ready to take it.

Some of the incidents on the last day of the Sydney test makes me quite sad that it has to come from a team that I have been supporting for so long. I have played games, where we have appealed like crazy, mainly to infuriate the batsmen and make him lose concentration and also chance our luck. These rare games are the ones where the temper has been very high due to some incident or the other. BUT, I have never played as a professional and definitely never in the full view of millions of fans worldwide, not to mention the tens of thousands on the ground. Ricky Ponting and the Australians were doing that at the SCG and they behaved at times in a manner that is befitting of where I have mostly played cricket - in the backyard or gully cricket, as it is called in India.

What I saw was NOT professionalism. It was madness. It was a dangerously, mad desire to win. To secure the series, to equal the record. Unfortunately, it was a mad desire to win at any cost. The cost in this case has been professionalism and sportsmanship. I wouldn't say the Aussies cheated, but they definitely did not conduct themselves in a sportive manner. It was full of gamesmanship.

Symmonds has gone on record saying Australia were upset with India's celebration after their semi-final win over Australia during T20 W'Cup. How different were Australia in Sydney ? For Christ's sake, that was the Semi-final of a W'Cup, against arguably the best side in World Cricket by a very young team who had been almost written off before the tournament even started. What did he expect India to do ? To mourn for Australia's exit from the tournament ? Bollocks.
The Aussies might probably argue that Sydney was as excitingly close as a Test Match win can get and also it was a record equaling win. But, everyone has their own reasons to get excited and celebrate. If they really respected the game and its great ambassadors, they would have at least bothered to shake hands with one of the finest and someone who played the most brilliant and gritty innings, befitting a captain, Anil Kumble.

There has been enough written about Flintoff consoling Brett Lee at Edgbaston after Australia lost by 2 runs. 2 Runs Mate, that is still closer than 8 minutes, in my book. Andrew Flintoff wasn't the vanquished then, he was the Victor, but he had the wits (at least then :P) to respect and recognize Lee's contribution. Pitiably, none of the Aussies had the same wits to acknowledge Kumble's part. The Flintoff - Lee moment, I believe was recognized as the moment of 2005. The year has just started, but Aussie celebration might be tough to remove as one of the most Shambolic events of 2008. :(

In an ideal world, sense would soon prevail. Harbhajan should apologize for whatever was that he remarked (I believe he has already done so and if so, that should be that). Aussies should give up on their kiddish complaint and bury this and move on. But, we don't live in an ideal world. This has blown into a huge clash of egos and worse still, of national integrity. It is sad that, yet again, in a cricketing controversy involving professional cricket boards, National Pride is being dragged and brought to disrepute. Ponting being Ponting and Australia being Australia, I don't expect the inflated heads to be reduced by any measure. These are tough times for Cricket and sadly, I only see it getting murkier and tougher.


Comments - Most welcome. Scathing Criticism - Welcome. Baseless Abuse (Anonymous or otherwise) - Thanks, but no, thanks.

P.S: As much as the anger of the Indian Cricket fan is understandable and to a large extent justifiable, if only they realized and acknowledged that, election after election they are actually being cheated by the politicians and reacted even in half as reactionary a manner as this to issues more pertinent to the Country, things could be so much more better.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Cricket for Dummies

The farcical showpiece tournament of ICC is well and truly over. They keep moaning about globalisation of the sport. For any sport, capturing audience in US is monetarily, a huge boost. So, here we go, let us try and explain this wonderful game to the dummies :P, in US who think baseball is way better (haha hehe huhu - gilli is way better than baseball). Credits for most of the ideas to the original author (whom I am not aware of), I shall take the credit for only publicizing this now and take any bouquet and/or brickbat that might come along for the same :D.

History:

Popularized by the English and Irish, the game's origins stretch back to the 700s along the Pakistan-India border -- the birthplace of the bat. Italian monks, traveling the East on missions, brought the bat-and-ball game to Europe in the 9th century. Nine hundred years later, English gentry took the game to New York and Boston.

Baseball, as it is played today, grew out of cricket in the 1800s. Kids in urban areas modified cricket to allow for more participants and faster games (a game of cricket can last for days.) The Yankees introduced the new game to their Southern adversaries during the Civil War.


Gaining a Foothold in the States

Ten thousand cricket players in the U.S. sounds like a large contingent. Only about 1,700 men play professional football, and fewer still play pro basketball (465, give or take a Michael Jordan like un-retirement ;-) ). Why don't more people know about cricket?

One major hurdle is exposure. Better pony up the pay-per-view dollars if you want to watch a match. Another hurdle is the language barrier. A majority of the players in the US are foreign-born South East Asians. Imagine a passer-by trying to figure out what's going on when players are shouting strategy in Hindi.

Cricket in American Baseball terms

  • Cricket fields have two bases (instead of four) signified by three sticks in the ground called wickets. Kids in New York replaced the wickets with bases.
  • A batsman in cricket runs between the bases like a hitter in baseball. However, in cricket, there are two batsmen, one at each base. If the hitting batsman runs, they both run, trading places.
  • A batsman does not have to run after a hit. He can chose when to run.
  • Cricket games have innings. But only two. Each team goes through its entire order (or 10 outs) one time.
  • Cricket bats are flat and crooked. Kids in Boston, New York and Philadelphia started using bats (probably broom sticks) because of more immediate availability.
  • Every time a batsman successfully makes it to the opposite wickets, he scores a run.
  • A cricket bowler is analogous to a baseball pitcher. The bowler throws overhand but keeps his arm completely straight. He also intentionally bounces the ball off the ground in front of the batsman.
  • If a bowler strikes a wicket, or a fielder catches the ball before it hits the ground, the batsman is out. Cricket fielders don't wear gloves, and some bowlers can throw even at 100 miles per hour (a few others bowl at the same speed ;-) )!
  • A batsman can hit the ball in any direction. No foul territory, no out of bounds. A home-run is worth 6 runs and the batsman continues to play.
  • Bowlers alternate after six pitches until they either reach 300 pitches, combined, or 10 outs. Further, each bowler can't have more than 60 legal pitches per match.


Feel free to let your creativity flow in the comments section and add on to this write-up. There is a fair chance, I might credit you and edit the blog. So, please do let me know who you are than being anon.


P.S: I have tried sticking to explaining only the basics of ODI (One Day International, for the uninitiated) for now, because I realize, even many in the Indian sub-continent (assumed to be land of 'experts' when it comes to this game) don't actually understand and/or appreciate the beautiful part of the wonderful game - Test Matches. :-)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Cross-Roads

Have you ever stuck to a principle/value/viewpoint in life for long and been in a mode of denial towards all those in disagreement to that viewpoint ?
Have you then, over a period of time, ever wondered if so many are against my viewpoint, is it the fault of the majority or my value system ?? :-O :-??
If so, how do you deal with such situations ?

A lot of us spend most of our time laughing at 'stupids', 'idiots' and 'despos' (I quote-unquote these words, because the people concerned are that only in our viewpoint and not by any particular general ruling). Things move on and at times it appears as if, those 'silly' people do achieve/get what they set-out for, stupid/idiotic as the means might be. And what happens to 'us' ? We too move on and find a new set of idiots/despos to laugh at. Are we losing sight of the bigger picture ? Should we abandon our value/viewpoint against stupidity and accept it as being 'normal', so that we too feel part of the majority ? Or should we be pig-headed and stick to it and comfort ourselves saying, "so what if the idiot got what he/she wanted... he/she only got another silly person". :-? /:)

Damn !!! I hate to think of the smirks on the faces of all those people whom I have laughed at. Damn ... they do deserve to have them. They are, after all 'winners' or should I say "Go-Getters", nonsensical as the approach maybe to my value system.