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Sight Screen

Monday, October 31, 2005

Of insults and injuries...

Scyld Berry, in the Telegraph, is all fussed about the itinerary for England's Test tour. The allocations are not, he believes, on the basis of rotation policy.
If there is any cricketing intent behind the selection of Ahmedabad, Nagpur and Mumbai, it must be that the board want three grounds that can provide slow, big-turning pitches. That would play into the hands of India's spinners and make life correspondingly hard for England's quartet of pace bowlers.

Not sure how much research Berry did before writing this, or whether he has followed Indian cricket at all lately. For instance, Nagpur: the last time a Test was played there, McGrath was 3/27 in the first innings, Gillespie 5/56; in the second innings, McGrath 2/79; Gillespie 4/24, Kasprowicz 2/39. The quicker bowlers took 23 out of 35 wickets to fall in the game; the side with the better pace attack won by the small matter of 342 runs.
Would England have preferred Chennai, say -- where the last Test played saw 24 out of 30 wickets falling to spin; I mean, even Shane Warne took 6 in an innings on Indian soil there for christ's sake (not denigrating Warne -- but face it, five-fors have not been thick on the ground for the leggie on Indian soil).
Or maybe Kolkatta? Where, in the last Test played, Kumble and Bajji spun India to a win against Pakistan (which arguably plays spin better than England)? Again, had Kolkatta and Chennai been picked as venues, would the writer have said the intent is clearly to mess with England by preparing spinning tracks?
Christopher Martin-Jenkins is if anything even more incensed.
The official explanation is that these cities have been chosen on a rotational basis. The cynical guess might be that it is a plan to destabilise the successful England team, sending them to grounds that will suit India’s spinners and where there may not be the luxurious hotels to which they have become accustomed. Economically, the places make no sense.

*Sigh!* Someone needs to tell CMJ that India has progressed a little, teensy little bit since the Brits gave our country back to us -- England won't get the hotels they are accustomed to? Not likely, if they've lived all their playing lives in Buck Palace -- but we do a fair job of putting visiting teams up, mate. As to the 'cynical guess' about destabilising England with spin -- what's the matter, I thought this team had conquered its biggest spin bogey in Warne; is there already the belief in England that this was an aberration?
Again, CMJ:
At worst, it is evidence of a calculated insult to English cricket.

A couple of scoreboards for your consideration, Messers Berry and CMJ: Number one. Number two.
Which beg a few questions:
1. Why would it be more insulting to be offered this venue now, than when you were last there?
2. When last your team was there, did they have to stay in tents on the roadside? I mean, were the hotel facilities adequate? Did anyone check? In the interim, the country has progressed, surely, not regressed -- or is there evidence to the contrary?
3. And finally, this -- never mind our Machiavellian designs; if you had to pick three venues where the guess, cynical or otherwise, was that your team would *not* be subjected to spin, which would those be? Take your time, no rush... we have over 35 to chose from.
I mean, sure, the ECB is within its rights to discuss, object to, turn down, any and all proposed venues -- but I hope like heck the ECB comes up with better reasons than 'insulting'; 'spin-friendly' and such. Be a bit like if we were to object to Lord's because making our bowlers run up slopes is a deliberate ploy to destroy their rhythm.


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    By Blogger Joe Powel, at 13:10  

  • totally agree with your analysis. man, these guys still suffer from the "white mans burden" syndrome.. we can say that the cynical guess is that he doesn't like those 3 cities and at worst he is racist

    By Blogger criclogic, at 13:10  

  • lol prem. Way to go man... First the proteas and now the Poms... the build up to the POM tour sure is going to be interesting.. in the man while Kudos mate

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:14  

  • prem,
    i would like someone like harsha or anybody ink column asking them straight, exactly the points u mentioned.from my part i definitely will email and ask.
    (And u not writing much nowadays)

    By Blogger MAHER, at 13:15  

  • methinks excuses are already being made in case of a bad performance by the team... btw the poms hardly have to travel much for the tests.. would have loved if they had a test at kolkotta, then jaipur and then chennai... wonder what messers cmj and berry would have to say then..

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:16  

  • one ashes win and the pommies think they are royalty....what..now are we supposed to pick venues so that their supporters can have a nice sight-seeing trip?? Stupid!

    By Blogger cartan, at 13:17  

  • Worma did raise this day before match,

    Here's a list of last 20 test matches played in India. Do decide for yourself if you see a more-or-less fair rotation of venues or not.

    Eng 1st Test in Ind 2001/02 at Chandigarh
    Eng 2nd Test in Ind 2001/02 at Ahmedabad
    Eng 3rd Test in Ind 2001/02 at Bangalore
    Zim 1st Test in Ind 2001/02 at Nagpur
    Zim 2nd Test in Ind 2001/02 at Delhi
    WI 1st Test in Ind 2002/03 at Mumbai
    WI 2nd Test in Ind 2002/03 at Chennai
    WI 3rd Test in Ind 2002/03 at Kolkata
    NZ 1st Test in Ind 2003/04 at Ahmedabad
    NZ 2nd Test in Ind 2003/04 at Chandigarh
    Aus 1st Test in Ind 2004/05 at Bangalore
    Aus 2nd Test in Ind 2004/05 at Chennai
    Aus 3rd Test in Ind 2004/05 at Nagpur
    Aus 4th Test in Ind 2004/05 at Mumbai
    SA 1st Test in Ind 2004/05 at Kanpur
    SA 2nd Test in Ind 2004/05 at Kolkata
    Pak 1st Test in Ind 2004/05 at Chandigarh
    Pak 2nd Test in Ind 2004/05 at Kolkata (refused to play in Ahmedabad)
    Pak 3rd Test in Ind 2004/05 at Bangalore (Delhi stadium wasn't ready)

    SL three tests at Delhi, Kanpur, Chennai

    Eng three tests at Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Mumbai

    By Blogger MAHER, at 13:18  

  • Prem,

    Did you consider that CMJ and SB may have had trouble finishing their morning rituals when the last came to Ahmedabad? Maybe they are too embarassed to talk about it and fear that Ahmedabad may be the reason why their plumbing got blocked.


    By Blogger Prabu, at 13:19  

  • Guys..CMJ is the biggest apologist for English cricket. When I lived in England for a couple of years, there were these people who always believed that "colonizing India was the best thing that England did for the people of India". This guy is part of that group...still stuck in the "glorious past of the crown". Jerk!

    By Blogger losing now, at 13:19  

  • Are they gona play in Multan?? that's sure royal then.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 13:20  

  • prem,

    i dont know about racism..but the english do think they re better than the rest of the world, not just us.

    To take a slightly contrarian stance though,when India went to Eng for WC 99, we got some pretty lousy grounds, uptil the Eng game and the super six stage.

    The English obviously havent liked how India has pretty much become the centre of the game, and they have tried to belittle India in whatever ways they can. Dalmiya is regarded as sleaze by most, but their reaction to him was also very revealing, as ICC president.

    Aus came to India in 2003, and played their games in Mumbai, Bangalore, and the final in Calcutta.

    Last years test matches were in Bangalore, Chennai, and Mumbai, with the only not so conventional one being Nagpur.

    I think thats what got these buggers pretty incensed, that the Aussies demanded and got it, while the ECB appears to have caved in (for now).

    And yes, I do think that all talk of rotation aside, the BCCI has done this on purpose, just to give the tour a low profile.

    As for whether *I* think it is right or wrong, I dont really care -:)

    By Blogger Arjun Swarup, at 13:22  

  • Gujarat is my native and if these guys travell to Ahmedabad i will make sure they get royal treatment from our own Barmy Army.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 13:24  

  • Ahmedabad

    There's the sorted list including the SL and Eng tests. Seems quite fair doesn't it?


    By Blogger Prabu, at 13:26  

  • Arjun,

    The profile of the English tour to India will depend on how both of these teams perform prior to the start of the tour..

    if India is underperforming and the Poms are over performing, dont see much hype associated with the tour. Ditto for India over performing and the Poms underperforming..

    Its only if both these teams are playing superlative cricket that the public will believe the hype..

    And if the first class match that the Poms are playing against the pk side are any indication, the Poms will struggle.. With or without Flintoff and with or without Jones..

    As an aside, will be interesting to see G Jones keep on tracks where the bounce will be variable..

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:26  

  • Prem,

    Bet CMJ and SB believe that Hove, Chester Le Street and taunton are must visit places in the British tourism packages.. And the hotels there.. by jove, the best hotels in the world pale in comparison... And the stadia are large enuf to accomodate 20,000 crazy indian supporters.. and the hotels have adequate facilities to provide vegetarian food there..

    given that, is it too much to expect Indians to extend the same courtesy to 2000 odd tipsy poms?

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:33  

  • english already making excuses for losing ?? food poisoning, bad crowds, I forget what nasser husain created a fuss about the last time, and now the cities aren't good enough for them ?

    The tour is a long time away and the english have already started to complain and fret. Its going to be interesting to see how much worse its going to get as the tour approaches.

    By Blogger Shams, at 13:40  

  • dont forget the smog.. and the alignment of venus vis a vis the other planets...

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:43  

  • Five Star hotels in Ahmedabad and Nagpur..
    Please send to CMJ

    By Blogger losing now, at 13:49  

  • never mind losing now.. dont think CMJ will make that trip :))

    nither will 2000 other barmy poms.. but who cares?

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:53  

  • Prema:

    The Brits have been complaining ever since they have been touring the sub-continent. I remember the tours during the seventies when only major venues were selected for test matches and they still complained. Let's not pay any attention to them.

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 14:02  

  • Prem...exactly the point I raised in my post a couple of days back...and it looks like this thing is gaining momentum!

    You missed one more point....the three test venues that Eng has got are pretty much adjacent to each other....had one of them been Chennai instead of Ahmedabad (it may still be...if they raise the safety bogey)...then they would have complained about the 'hectic' travelling involved!!!

    Serisouly......someone did suggest above.....is there no way our media (you, Harsha etc) can tackle this??? Prem...I say this especially because the Aus, Eng tours are not just run by their teams..its the media brigade which leads the charge early on (Eng are trying to emulate Aus in this)..and this will keep growing and snowballing...unless there is some suitable and fitting reposte done in time (and done repeatedly). Possible?

    By Blogger worma, at 14:43  

  • hjrsingh said...



    it even gets under my skin now. How is it that you so cool man?


    By Blogger Prabu, at 15:02  

  • All I can tell these morons is SHUT UP and let your players play cricket. You guys seem to be more worried about this than the team itself. Already starting to find excuses(for losing) even before the tour has begun.

    By Blogger Akhil, at 16:13  

  • And let us not forget Ranatunga's grumblings before the SL tour began.


    He complained that:

    1. SL being ranked no 2 weren't being shown respect by scheduling matches in the "hinterland"! So far, they've played like they are No 7, not No 2!

    2. He said India would not do it to Australia or England. Well they've certainly done the same to England.

    Ranatunga has shoved his stinky foot squarely into his fat mouth. I hope it is stuck there for a while so he doesn't spew some more nonsense like Vaas is among the top 5 bowlers in the world.

    By Blogger TFFY, at 22:48  

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