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Sight Screen

Friday, September 02, 2005

Same difference

If you read these words someplace, who would you suppose they referred to?:
I was shocked by just how defensive ... (the captain) became.
When X Lower Middle Order Man came in to bat, Mr Captain placed a sweeper on the cover boundary before he had scored a run (and he got off the mark with a squirted single in that direction). To the all rounder, before he had scored 40, Bowler X was bowling with no attacking fielders at all.
How does such an approach make the batsman feel? The All Rounder must have been encouraged to believe that the opposition regard him as no end of a batsman and this must not only help his confidence no end, but also enable him to cruise along without having to take risks. At the same time, the bowler must think his captain has not much regard for him if he can't give him a single attacking fielder. He must also wonder how on earth he might get a wicket, except by waiting for a mistake.

Reckon it is a pissed off commentator talking of India in the field? Nope -- Mike Brearley, no less -- and his target is Ricky Ponting, whose captaincy appears to have left the professor totally underwhelmed. There's some neat tactical stuff in there, of which a further sampler:
When Tony Greig was captain of England, he almost always kept two slips for the quicker bowlers, however otherwise defensive he might have been. After all, the basic line is off stump or just outside, and the bedrock of one's strategy is to find an outside edge. This, of course, also applies if the aim is to swing the ball in for a leg-before decision or to bowl someone, for being able to pose such a threat gives the bowler his best chance of inducing a slip catch with the ball that goes the other way, or stays straight.

6 Comments:

  • Prem, A not related to this post question?
    Where is Faisal these days? Saw his articles with Ind exp for some time.... but now he is missing even from thr.

    Used to love both u guys... the way u wrote abt cricket...

    Hope he finds out the link to this blog someday... and joins us in the lively discussion

    By Blogger Yeda_Yakub, at 02:57  

  • yeda: Faisal's making the move to television. He knows of the blog, I think lately he's been a bit rushed in the transition and hasn't been able to be online much

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 03:10  

  • Prem, Thanks for the update..

    Wrong question to ask on a public forum... but what r ur future plans? U can choose either of the 2 ways... U r equally gud in
    - Being direct... to the point
    - Giving clues

    No no.. I am not a prospective employer... neither the one waiting to fill in ur shoes... Its just out of curiosity.. because ever since I first reaad ur articles... always wanted to chk whr u r heading to

    By Blogger Yeda_Yakub, at 03:20  

  • Prem, could not resist the "cut-past" of Gideon Haigh's dairy (from Monday August 29). I once argued with a good mate of mine on similar lines that Cricket in England is not as dead as the media makes it out to be.

    ***
    "An editorial in this morning's Independent is the latest contribution to spontaneous theorising about the sudden popularity of cricket in England. It strikes the pragmatic, no-nonsense tone beloved of leader writers the world over: "No doubt this renaissance will inspire cerebral discussions about what lies behind it and whether it constitutes a part of a wider revival of interest in all things English. We suspect it is less complicated. Cricket has become popular again because the English cricket team has rediscovered the formula for success. Quite simply, everyone loves a winner."

    At the risk of sounding cerebral - heaven forbid - this suspicion of The Independent's seems utterly wrong-headed. For one thing, what's happened this summer isn't a case of cricket suddenly becoming popular; it's an instance of the discovery, by some poorly-informed people who know no better, mainly in the media, just how popular cricket is. The spectators attending the Tests bought their tickets months ago for a small fortune, and do the same every year: they have merely seen their abiding faith rewarded. If we take Johnny Borell of Razorlight as our representative celebrity espousing a love of cricket and thus epitomising its new fashionability, he discovered the game in 1997 and thus has lived through some very dark summers since, from the horrors of 1999 to the dashed hopes of 2001. There are many easier loves to nurture: if he had simply been looking to latch onto a winner, he'd have adopted the Chicago Bulls. And if winning was all that mattered to sport lovers, all spectators would naturally gravitate to those teams that do - which they demonstrably do not, otherwise the Boston Red Sox would have won last year's World Series amid funereal silence.

    The editorial describes cricket as "a once universally loved but now neglected national sport", and contends: "For years it has been a poor relation of football, its decline symbolised by the falling number of children playing cricket at school". Whether cricket was ever "universally loved" and whether it is "now neglected" by comparison both seem debatable propositions. Football has probably been a more truly demotic sport for almost a century; the comparison is, in any case, flawed because it is of a sport where the loyalties are largely tribal with one where the allegiances are mainly patriotic.

    What has failed over the last few decades, furthermore, has been not cricket but England's cricket team: there is a big difference. The popularity of cricket at the grass roots is sensitive to a host of other factors before a country's fortunes in the international arena: cricket was withering on the vine in the West Indies even as its mighty Test XI thrashed all comers. And even if we are to accept a decline in cricket in England, at least in visibility, dwindling support for cricket at schools seems less likely to be a "symbol" of it than a contributing factor. Cerebral theorising has its limits, to be sure. But that is no reason to be as utterly uncerebral as The Independent"

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 03:39  

  • Prem, arn't you glad Faisal is not online! I remember last time he was on this blog...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 03:49  

  • Funny comment from Mary Ann Sieghart's article in the Times. Who said women don't have a sense of humour...

    "I joined in the debate about whether a ball should have been given LBW. I even wrote a leader on the Test match"

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 04:25  

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