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Sight Screen

Saturday, October 08, 2005

'Cricketing' updates(-worma)

Yes, this means an intention, in this post, to leave out anything related to *that* issue.

First up, here's an eminently readable piece from one of my favorite cricket writers, Osman Samiuddin, about Shoaib Akhtar. It takes a look at where Shoaib stands today, at the age of 30, and where he goes from here. Here's an interesting excerpt, but do go read the full thing.
Everything that needs to be said about Shoaib Akhtar has already been said. And broadcast. And written. Many times over. When his mood is right, when his body is right, there is no sight in cricket more exhilarating, more likely to raise hairs. There are few bowlers in the world with a capacity as destructive as his. At all other times, he is difficult, his performances erratic. He is a maverick, a loose cannon, his own man and a hindrance to the team. Pakistan cannot do without him and they also cannot do with him.

Next, a short interview with Sachin on his comeback. Some portions of it were already published earlier (regarding team unity etc.)
There is pressure on Tendulkar now and he says it isn'’t about playing international cricket once again. "‘I'’ve done that for 16 years. The only pressure is about living up to my expectations."’
I would think that he has been doing that also for so long, and so well. Its only living upto some of the fan's expectation which has led to much being written and spoken, often unjustly, about him in the past. And is sure to continue for as long as he plays.

Read here...I S Bindra is out to prove what we often discuss here. That there is much business potential in domestic cricket in India. And he is taking the organisation of Challenger tournament very seriously...has acquired corporate sponsorship for the three teams and for the tournament title.
"For PCA, we are looking at this event as a bigger event than the previous India-Pakistan Test match we hosted earlier this year. At the end of the day, domestic cricket is more important because it gives you bench strength to choose from which we are utterly lacking now," he said.


  • Blogging toward financial sanity
    Editor's note: Columnist MP Dunleavey and eight other women have come together online to strip away the myths surrounding money, lay bare their assets and liberate themselves from debt.
    Find out how you can buy and sell anything, like things related to private road construction on interest free credit and pay back whenever you want! Exchange FREE ads on any topic, like private road construction!

    By Blogger Jerry Simpson, at 13:01  

  • Web 2.0 day three: Silly business ideas
    Admission to the Web 2.0 Conference costs $2,800. That's a big chunk of change, but the place is sold out, and the small conference rooms and the one large presentation hall are beyond full most of the time.
    Find out how you can buy and sell anything, like things related to private road construction on interest free credit and pay back whenever you want! Exchange FREE ads on any topic, like private road construction!

    By Blogger Rosa Benito, at 13:01  

  • Great to hear about the marketing of domestic cricket being taken more seriously!

    On Shoaib Akhtar,
    With all the international cricket played these days, it is nearly impossible for a fast bowler to play into his upper 30s. Shoaib has never placed an emphasis on fitness, and judging by the extra pounds he is currently carrying around, I don't see that changing. All athletes, especially fast bowlers, will testify to the increasing physical demands once you cross 30. The best of Shoaib has come and gone. I predict a terrible cricketing season ahead for him, signalling the end of his career. Pity, because Samiuddin hits the nail on the head when writing, "[t]here are few bowlers in the world with a capacity as destructive as his." And a terrific entertainer to boot. However, despite my predicted decline of Shoaib, Pakistan cricket will forge ahead with a few young pace bowlers I rate very highly- Rana, Gul, and Sami.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 13:24  

  • By the way,
    Those of you interested in watching the Challenger Trophy:
    willow.tv is broadcasting it live for a very affordable $9.95.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 13:28  

  • sahir...agreed that it doesnt look very promising for him in coming future. But one thing that I still see him doing is those once-in-a-while destructive spells....I think he still has a few of them left (and from what I read, he did produce a couple of those in county). I guess with Shoaib we have to reconcile to the fact that we've take what we get...with no expectations.

    The next generation of Pak bowlers are really talented (Shabbir is also included in that list you gave) but still a long long way to go. And unfortunately they dont seem the enjoy a good mentor in their developing years....something which was always there in Pak cricket. Probably Rana, the least 'talented' of them all, is closest to being ready to carry Pak bowling attack in the coming years.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:34  

  • @worma
    shoaib akhtar is a flop. he is at best redundant - at worse he causes more harm to his team than the opposition. period.

    By Blogger GK, at 13:56  

  • worma,
    Shoaib probably still has the ability to produce the odd devastating spell, but only in conditions highly conducive to swing and seam. Any time the ball moves at the sort of pace Shoaib is still capable of delivering the ball at, batsman will struggle. The major problem with his bowling today is the number of boundary balls he bowls. It doesn't cost him as much in conducive conditions since the odd unplayable delivery is around the corner. However, when the assistance is not there, the gun-barrel straight poorly directed deliveries really cost him. Not to mention, his inablity to bowl more than 14 or 15 overs in a day of test cricket. Considering pitches around the world are getting flatter and flatter, Shoaib is unlikely to bowl in conducive conditions very often. Additionally, in the upcoming series against England, I expect the Pakistanis to make a concerted effort to produce pitches not conducive to fast bowling. While some bowlers try harder the flatter the wicket is (Flinoff, Rana, Hoggard), Shoaib tends to sulk big time and the effort level drops dramatically after taking a little stick. By the way, the only reason I did not include Shabbir in my list of young pace bowlers is because he is nearing 30 himself.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:09  

  • gk..I agree with you when you say that he may harm the team. But at his 'best'...well he's the most destructive bowler in current world cricket, IMO (which is from what I have seen him do, when at his best). Whether he is physically and mentally capable of getting there(where he was as recently as the Pak tour down under) again is the question.

    By Blogger worma, at 14:10  

  • sahir, I agree that he bowls four deliveries...and cannot go beyond 15 overs etc. But one thing I strongly disagree on is that he does not need assistance from 'conditions' to bowl one of those spells. He has bowled some of those spells in flat conditions...usually with the 'reverse' assistance in the case...and that is likely to happen in Eng tour also.

    Again, what mental and physical condition is he in, nobody knows :-)

    And I didn't know Shabbir was nearing 30!

    By Blogger worma, at 14:13  

  • I am back on this blog after a long time and was pleasantly surprised that worma is back. I hope you had a wonderful vacation.

    sahir, thanks much for the heads up on willow.tv coverage of the challengers. This is probably the most important edition of this tourney. Would have been better if SG had also played. wait..please do not respond to this sentence since I want to keep this thread "cricketing", as worma put it.

    By Blogger blueboy, at 14:19  

  • Rediff reports that the BCCI is mulling changes in the new players contract.

    Linking on-field availability of players to emoluments, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is mulling changes in the new players' contracts to include clearcut provisions on the amount payable to cricketers who have to sit out because of injuries.

    The maiden edition of the contracts, that expired last month, had not been forthcoming on the issue, and the long injury-induced lay-offs of players including Sachin Tendulkar and Laxmipathy Balaji have prompted the BCCI to consider tightening loose ends.

    Logically speaking, a contracted player, who has to stay away from the field due to injury for six months, should get 50 per cent of the contracted amount," a BCCI source said.

    When these contracts were first introduced, one of the reasons the players insisted on the contract was to ensure that were taken care of when injuries hit them. Now the BCCI is claiming that if a player is fit for only 50% of the season, then he would get only 50% of his salary. If the BCCI puts in this clause, and a player injures himself on the field in the 1st game of the season trying to field/bowl, then there is a possibility that he might probably 1 or 2 percent of his salary. What kind of motivation is this for the player. The BCCI is effectively telling the players not to give that extra 10% on the field, which usually is the difference between winning and losing.

    I apologize for posting on an unrelated thread. Hope worma or prem can start a new thread with this.

    By Blogger blueboy, at 14:43  

  • worma,
    When was the last devastaing reverse-swinging spell by Shoaib? December 2003 against New Zealand. Since then, there has not even been a two or three wicket reverse swinging spell. Almost 2 years later, having been caught for ball tampering twice since, I do not see another one of those spells coming. Make no mistake, Shoaib in his prime had no problem taking wickets on flat pitches, but now Shoaib does. Currently, when the ball is reverse-swinging, I see Sami as a better option to attack from one end by going for the toe-crushers, while Rana turns the ball around and gets it to leave the right-handers from the other end.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:45  

  • blueboy,
    I wonder why the BCCI cannot get insurance to cover players' contracts in case of injury? Would be the sensible solution, but alas, we are talikng about the BCCI.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:49  

  • The other side of the coin is that the BCCI has to do something to ensure that players do not slack on the fitness side knowing that they are paid anyway and hence not bothering to prevent avoidable injuries. It's a tricky situation, let's see what happens.

    By Blogger blueboy, at 15:02  

  • sahir..you may be right...cos I havent seen one of those spells lately. And I would be very disappointed if he doesnt have that ability anymore. But as i said...not expectations :-)

    blueboy...yep..had a nice vacation....and challengers sure look interesting this time. I esp like the new format (of having a full national team compete with newbies) and some of the youngsters are really coming up nicely in recent times.

    blueboy, let me read that article in full...but from what you posted it seems that that privision is in case of long injuries (more than 6 months) and that they would pay only 50% of the salary. I think it may not be too bad...isnt that so in corporate structure also?

    And what is this 1-2% that you quote? There is a 'contract' amount...irrespective of the actual matches a player plays...and then there is match fees. All these discussions are about the contracted amount I think?

    sahir, I think our players do have insurance cover, and these issues highlighted here are besides the insurance money. Maybe Prem can confirm on this.

    By Blogger worma, at 15:05  

  • blueboy,
    Referring to your other side of the coin, simply don't renew the contract of a player that consitently spends a great deal of time on the sidelines, while refusing to undergo supervised physiotherapy to get fit.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 15:06  

  • sahir...as I said...my understanding was that there was a contract money..paid to all the players according to their grades (3 I think) and then there is a match-fee per ODI, test match. The ones not in playing XI (or 12?) get less match-fee...while the ones missing out are not paid anything. So, this means the players have an incentive of remaining fit to play as many matches....yet they have the fall-back option of contract money in case they have injuries...so that they dont hide it. I think the system is similar to other countries.

    Just read the rediff report, it also says that BCCI will consult players' representatives before finalising the contracts....seems reasonable enough to me.

    By Blogger worma, at 15:20  

  • blueboy, let me read that article in full...but from what you posted it seems that that privision is in case of long injuries (more than 6 months) and that they would pay only 50% of the salary. I think it may not be too bad...isnt that so in corporate structure also?

    I did not get this impression. The 50% salary was quoted by the BCCI official only as an example. I do not think that the injury clause kicks in only when the player is injured for more than 6 months.

    And what is this 1-2% that you quote? There is a 'contract' amount...irrespective of the actual matches a player plays...and then there is match fees. All these discussions are about the contracted amount I think?

    Worma, yes,all the discussions are about the contracted amount. But, the contracted amount was put in place to protect a player if he is injured for the season. Now, how does it make sense to reduce that amount in case the player gets injured. Assuming I am a fast bowler playing the 1st match of the season and lets say I go for that extra effort ball to knock over an important batsman, and in the process I get injured and becomes unavailable to play for the rest of the season. If the BCCI pays only a reduced contract amount, then I am left with next to nothing since I will not be able to earn any match fees for the rest of the season.

    Also, consider the case of another contracted bowler who goes through the entire season without playing in the XI. Wouldn't it be unfair if he gets the full contracted amount since he wasn't injured?

    By Blogger blueboy, at 15:26  

  • blueboy and worma,
    I too am excited about this year's Challenger Trophy. However, I'll reitierate my disappointment at the non-selection of Munaf Patel and Ambati Rayudu. Additionally, another player, missing from the Irani Trophy and Challenegers, I would like to see given another opportunity, in the longer version of the game, is Wasim Jaffer.

    On a side note,
    Anybody know what happened to Tinu Yohannan? A tall, naturally athletic, rather promising seamer not too long ago, seems to have drifted off the face of the planet. 3 ODI matches (against West Indies and Sri Lanka; both great batting lineups) with a bowling average of 24.4 and an admittedly high economy rate of 6.09, indicates a bowler that ought to have been provided a little more opportunity.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 15:26  

  • worma, I am not saying that the BCCI has done anything wrong. If the comments made by the BCCI official can be taken as a guideline for whats coming up, then I see a reason for players to feel that they have given a raw deal.

    By Blogger blueboy, at 15:29  

  • sahir, jaffer definitely deserved a longer run at the top in the test vmatches. He is one of the very few indian players who is wonderful on the back foot against the fast ball. He did a fair job in the west indies for us.

    ambatti rayudu has time on his hands. If he is good enough, he will put this disappointment behind him and come back strong.

    By Blogger blueboy, at 15:36  

  • Tinu was one of those who realized soon that they were not good enough at international level.

    Raydu had very ordinary last 1.5 yrs in domestic cricket

    Patel has been injury prone since last 1.5 yrs

    Admittedly both jaffer and Das should have been given more opportunity.

    By Blogger J, at 16:12  

  • blueboy, if that 50% is just an example...then sure I would also wait and watch how much it is. 1-2% is a poor number, no doubt.

    And yes, the contracted amount has to protect the injured player....but that is not the 'sole' reason for putting contracts in place. Its just a standard way of remunerating professional players. They get a fixed amount for becoming pro for the board, and then an appearance money. So a person sitting injured for more than six months (yes I got the impression that six months was spoken seriously in that report, but lets wait and see....also Prem may have a view on this, he knows the earlier contract issues, players opinions etc) then there is surely some logic in the argument that he gets less off his contract salary than a fully fit player (as you also said, the player would have an incentive to look after his fitness well enough). But again, the percentage that he gets is important. Should not be 1-2% !

    And as for you example....well the bowler wont get injured for 6 months or more because of an effort ball, would he? Thats why, as I said, the 6 month duration quoted there is important(if true) and also the percentage he gets paid is important.

    Also, as I said earlier, I believe there is an insurance cover for our players. Remember some stupid media sensation recently when a 'scoop' type report came out that Sachin had filed some medical bills for reimbursement....and some official said that yes its done for insurance claims. So, I think there is enough cover that way. Lets see if Prem knows something about this.

    As for a contracted bowler who gets through the entire season without appearing in any match getting more money than someone playing matches and getting injured...I have three points:

    a) Such a bowler is obviously not useful to the team...and is likely to loose the contract for next season...or atleast downgraded

    b) He would not get any match fee....which is not small change. Its significant money when you compare that with the contract amount...so the bowler playing more matches is getting that as well (although he has more chances of picking up injury).

    c) If there is insurance cover for the players, then the bowler playing and risking injury not only gets the match fees (as compared to the one sitting out) but also gets insurance money. So he may not be at so much of a loss.

    Finally, I dont think drawing up contracts is so simple...as you also said earlier...each move has a pro and a con argument...and it has to be a fine balance. But I do believe commercial contracts around the world have similar sounding clauses for long term injuries etc...although I am not sure how close are these to CA or ECB contracts. But I was happy to note that BCCI was willing to finalise the contracts after taking input from players' representatives...if they are indeed doing it seriously

    By Blogger worma, at 16:23  

  • http://www.expressindia.com/cricket/fulliestory.php?content_id=79653

    Interesting link showcasing the new kids who have been chosen to play in the Challengers. Interesting to see Piyush Chawla and S Nadeem earning high praises. Given the state of the spin bench strength or the lack of it, this will be music to the ears if they are indeed talented. The one name i am most interested in is VRV Singh. I really am inquisitive in knowing the pace at which he bowls. Can be a really handy bloke in the bowling department if he is indeed as good and quick as he is made out. Remember Munaf Patel being hyped up a few seasons back - really hope the same doesnt happen to VRV.

    By Blogger Harsha, at 16:37  

  • Worma, u called Osman your favoutite!
    In all this comparision, he did not once mention Waquor. Is that fair? If anything Sohaib a right arm fast with excellent strike rate is more comparable to another SR champion Waquor tham Wasim IMO.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 16:42  

  • Worma,
    Wonder what Waquor to Osman is what Ganguly to PremP??

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 16:44  

  • prem, and worma (even though you didn't mention *that* issue),

    looks like all your barbs to the BCCI about their ineffectual gag order had some effect...at least on SK Nair, according to this report on Rediff.

    By Blogger dna, at 17:06  

  • Hey

    Saw this on DNA India


    Looks like the selectors are divided about including Ganguly in the team for the SL series

    By Blogger Bala, at 17:22  

  • cricktip....I like Osman for his balanced opinions...not because his favourite cricketers match mine :-).

    I think he used Wasim and Imran examples to show where Shoaib stood, at a similar point in their careers. And those examples were neither used to unduely glorify Shoiab, nor overly criticise him. So having another one(Waquar) in the list would have not been meant too much. Did you notice that he himself pointed out that Shoaib stood better than both Imran(in average) and Wasim(in num of wkts) after same number of matches!

    Anyways I dont think that article was meant to list contemporary greats of pak....so his missing out Waquar wasn't a big issue to me..compared to what he had to say about Shoaib.

    Also notice that he did say that statistics is often a fickle barometer. And I agree with him totally. Esp when its used as a standalone weapon. And this is what his comparion proved...that despite Shoaib looking 'statistically' better than either of those...his stature in the team and in world cricket in general...was way below those two.

    dna, yes seen that article. What to say. BCCI most probably cannot impose a gag order because the terms of such a gag might not have been specified in the contract. I remember reading somewhere that they might be looking to include it in the new contract. I also pointed this out when these issues were hot...that BCCI might be actually 'requesting' the players to restrain themselves.

    By Blogger worma, at 17:29  

  • Worma, thks for that explanation. It was better than Osman IMO :!)

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 18:51  

  • It will be very interesting to see what role IS Bindra plays should the Powar camp take over.

    I really hope domestic cricket takes off.
    Looking at the coverage of College Football and the attention it receives makes me really envious

    No wonder college Football serves as a feeding ground for the NFL.

    By Blogger Amit, at 19:10  

  • worma,
    You indicate surprise at the statistical comparison between Shoiab and Imran/Wasim: "Shoaib stood better than both Imran(in average) and Wasim(in num of wkts) after same number of matches!"
    Samiuddin rightly pointed out that statistics never tell the whole story, but in this case it is especially true. Shoaib's statistics are taken from the prime of his career (age 24-29), while Imran's and Wasim's are from a much younger age. After the same number of matches, neither Imran nor Wasim were considered the legends they are today. It was their improved performance in the prime of their career that made them statistically far superior and the legends they are today. It's rather easy to take a player who is in the prime of their career and compare them to someone not in there prime. For example if a batsman debuted at age 28 and averaged as much as Tendulkar did in his first 3 years of his international career, it certainly would not be appropriate to compare the figures statistically "after the same number of matches."

    By Blogger Sahir, at 19:46  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger teZasvi, at 20:42  

  • Read this article and decide for yourself if Shoaib merits a place in any team given the attitude he has!


    Worcestershire opinion:

    "Whichever Australian fast bowler comes next summer, main target Langer would be a positive breath of fresh air after Shoaib (pictured).

    The Pakistani Test fast bowler provided one match-winning totesport League performance although it was not enough for his team avoid relegation. There were a couple of wicket-taking sprees in a failed Championship promotion bid.

    His lack of fitness, unquestionable selfishness and superior demeanour left him "the worst overseas signing ever made by the club".

    By Blogger teZasvi, at 20:44  

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