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Sight Screen

Friday, November 18, 2005

Upper cut(-worma)

From Boycott who is, as usual, pulling no punches. Some obvious facts, interlaced with good observations.
Well they're in real trouble this time because they're 1-0 down against Pakistan and if they continue with their gung-ho batting approach they will be down further.
And as for the usual 'we bat like this only, and often win' line from the English camp, he has this to say
You might argue that is the way the top order play, and that they have won Test matches that way.

But if a slowcoach player blocked out one end in a tight run-chase, people would play merry hell.

A good cricketer is a thinking cricketer and there was some unsound thinking this week.
And quite true too. Subcontinental cricket is a whole new ball game for this undoubtedly talented and successful team, and it seems common sense to atleast gauge the right approach, I would think? Or atleast learn from the Aussies, who did the same mistake on Indian tour...and made amends in 2004.

Meanwhile Pak has decided not to risk playing Shabbir, lest he be called again. Probably Naved would come in place, as Inzy hinted. But it can even he Razzaq or Afridi played as a specialist bowler. With Inzy still showing faith in Raza, and rightly so IMO, this is probably the only way of getting Afridi in. Btw, look at the picture in the article closely. Wonder what 'remedial' work was done with Shabbir, and by whom...but they're playing with the career of this hugely talented bowler, if he is indeed willing to rectify.


  • Worma,

    That picture on the BBC website is a file picture.. Shabbir Ahmed has a full on beard now.. And bowls much slower than he used to when he was first called for chucking...

    he is more of the hit the deck kind of bowler, but that was not visible in the recent test against the English... More line and length on or outside off..

    my question is.. the ICC wants to take action against the bowler for chucking, for not being within the 15 degree angle ( whatever that means) etc etc..

    But are the ICC going to do anything to punish the people who perform the remedial action.. these gents are appointed by the ICC and if they are failing in thier jobs, what action will the ICC take against thier own? And is there a penalty clause that allows the ICC to fine the Home Board for playing a player who chucks?

    By Blogger SHRI, at 12:56  

  • shri...the problem is...these people can say 'ohh we did all the correction and all....but the guy goes and screws it up in the match'! There's no way they can be held accountable on this.

    and thx for telling me that that is a file photo. I didn't watch much of the match..only the final day when Shabbir hardly bowled

    By Blogger worma, at 13:01  

  • Worma,

    Adding to what shri said, Even if the picture is current, I would not comment looking at a still picture. Rules do not say you cannot bowl with bent arm. Its only that you should not strech your arm. If his arm remains like that even at the time of delivery, its not chucking. Only when it straightens from that point, it is called chucking. Just my 2 cents.

    By Blogger Yorker, at 13:04  

  • yorker...ok I agree we shouldnt rely on that picture :-)

    Btw, I'm not sure if one can bowl with bent arm...even if its kept bent at all times of delivery. Although I agree rules would not be clear on this.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:10  

  • forgot to add...i agree not to rely on pic....but anyway the comment in my post is valid...since he *was* found breaking the rules...and reported.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:11  

  • fair point yorker.. thanks for that... Worma, no balls can be corrected by practising, bowlers try new grips, new wrist positions etc etc.. if all of that can happen by putting in hard yards at the nets, then what is preventing the ICC from mandating that the entire corrective procedure/rehab program for a bowler called for chucking should last 6 months in which the bowler is required to mandatorily bowl for x number of hours daily at the nets and is required to play a minimum of 5-10 domestic/A level matches during the course of which the action will be monitored.. Why do a 20 day job, say everything is kosher, and then go through the whole process again?

    and after all that, if the player is still called for chucking, fine the home board a significant amount so that this is not repeated.. should work as a deterrent

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:12  

  • shri, the difference between this and a no ball is that this is supposed to be a deliberate act of cheating (or atleast can be used that way) while a no ball is bad for the bowler in all ways. So if he does practise and rectify it, he's likely to stick with it in a match. While he may deliberately break the chucking rule to gain extra advantage (like Shabbir, who's supposed to have been reported for the 'effort' ball, meaning he's trying extra..probably thats when knowingly or unknowingly he's breaking the limit)

    Do you think these bowlers get caught each time they chuck on the effort ball? I don't think so. And they know there's a chance of getting away with it. I do feel Shoaib also does a similar bend on effort balls, and often gets away with it.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:18  

  • ppl on a different note i checked out the surfer today but cudnt for the life of me find where i can comment ... care to help anyone ?

    By Blogger GK, at 13:22  

  • gk, the comments are enabled on 'wicket to wicket'. I dont think you can comment in the surfer.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:23  

  • oh ok

    By Blogger GK, at 13:26  

  • worma,
    Very true about Shoaib effort ball; much like the one that got Sachin in the World Cup. Pay attention to his action in that delivery if you get a chance to watch the game again-- huge chuck. Another real worry I have is the habit of bowlers with suspect actions wearing 3/4 sleeves to cover their elbows, even in hot conditions. Something that was started by Saqlain Mushtaq-- and now followed by Harbhajan Singh, Shoaib Akhtar, Shabbir Ahmed and Shoaib Malik. Surprisingly, one who does not do it is the player with the most suspect action of all-- Muttiah Muralitharan (although, judging by that picture and what I have seen of Shabbir recently, he's giving Murali a run for his money). Odd how 3 of the Pakistani bowlers have suspect actions-- 2 of which in my book are beyond suspect-- Malik and Shabbir almost always chuck on every single delivery. BTW, if they are not willing to risk Shabbir bowling for fear of getting called again, are they going to do the same for Malik? If not, what message is that sending to Malik? We think Shabbir is too important to risk getting suspended, but you...

    By Blogger Sahir, at 13:28  

  • Worma... Do you think that a 20 day regimen with bio mechanic experts etc actually remedies the problem? or is it a cop out used by the ICC and the respective boards to save face? If a bowler is called for chucking, why cannot the ICC mandate a more rigorous rehab program wherein the bowler is monitored continually for a space of 3 to 6 months playing club/domestic/ A level cricket ? If there is a real problem, can the bolwer mask it for an extended period of time? And if he can, and is called again, fine the board and ban the player concerned..
    But enough of this sham of a bowler bowling, being called, rehab, bowling again, being called,rehab, bowling again....

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:28  

  • worma,

    For your question, if people can bowl with bent arm. I don't think one can bowl with a bent arm if he can naturally straighten his arm. 99.99% can straighten their arm to 180 degree. But Muralitharan cannot. In full strechted position his arm is not at 180 degree. Remember the demonstration he did with the brace fit to his arm. I am not saying he does/ does not chuck. He might be taking advantage of his natural disability and using that on certain balls.(I am saying he might. Don't mean to suggest he does). But if a person can straighten his arm fully and he chooses to bowl with bent arm, he is loosing for himself. You do not gain anything bowling with bent arm.

    By Blogger Yorker, at 13:29  

  • sahir, you can add afridi to that list.. esp the faster ball he bowls.. if thats not chucking, i am mickey mouse..

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:30  

  • worma.. article on the FT

    Give peace a sporting chance
    Published: November 18 2005 18:16 | Last updated: November 18 2005 18:16

    Simon KuperThe Indian and Pakistani cricket teams have long been chummy, writes Simon Kuper. Used to playing each other around the world, the Pakistanis often visit the Indians’ hotel rooms for a chat. It’s even been known for a host to sneak a guest a glass of alcohol.

    The next time they meet they’ll have something to toast – the United Nations has named both teams “spokespersons for the international year of sport and physical education 2005”. This rewards their recent tours of each other’s countries, which have supposedly helped bring peace to the subcontinent. The United Nations and non-governmental organisations everywhere are seizing on a new idea – that sport can encourage peace and development. You see the offshoots everywhere now, from NGO workers dressed as condoms parading around African football matches, to Palestinian and Israeli kids being made to play football together.

    I met the chief proponent of sport-for-peace at the International Football Arena conference in Zurich this month. Though Adolf Ogi looks like a cheery grey-haired innkeeper, he was president of Switzerland before becoming the UN’s special adviser on sport.

    Ogi comes from a mountain village so removed from world events that when he was born, in 1942, his parents named him Adolf simply because it was a family tradition. So was skiing. “I owe everything to skiing,” he told me. In the 1970s, when the Swiss were still kings of the sport, Ogi was director of the country’s skiing federation. Later he parlayed this into a political career, during which he invented his catchphrase, “Joy reigns.” On retiring, he decided he was “too young to lie in a hammock” and persuaded the UN’s secretary-general Kofi Annan over hikes in the Swiss mountains to try improving the world through sport. Annan gave him the job at a salary of $1 a year.

    At first glance, it doesn’t look like such a dumb idea. Nobody except perhaps the Taliban is against sport. It undeniably brings people from different countries together. When the Pakistani cricket team visited India this year, the country’s president, Pervez Musharraf, went to watch, met India’s prime minister Manmohan Singh and agreed with him to open the militarized Kashmiri frontier. The leaders also said peace was “irreversible”. This was much better than nuclear war. Ogi asks: “Who opened the doors? The sportsmen! How did they do it? They played cricket.”

    Indeed, India-Pakistan matches often reveal the friendship between ordinary people. When the Pakistanis won in Chennai once, they ran a lap of honour to an ovation from the Indian crowd. In Karachi last year, the Pakistani fans applauded India’s last-ball victory. Clearly George Orwell was wrong to say “sport is an unfailing cause of ill-will”.

    On the other hand, occasionally it does cause ill-will. In one India-Pakistan match, Indian spectators pelted Pakistani fielders with stones. At another, Hindu nationalists distributed handbills claiming that Indian Muslims had been cheering for Pakistan.

    Every now and then sport does marginal good or harm, but most of the time it makes no difference whatsoever. Sport may make ordinary people more friendly to the people across the frontier, but then wars are rarely caused by xenophobia among ordinary people. Famously, there has never been a war between two democracies. It’s dictators, warlords and senior bureaucrats who tend to fight wars and they don’t care much what ordinary people think.

    Such arguments don’t deter Ogi. The man is so persuasive that he has convinced the world economic forum in Davos to host a session on sport next January. He fishes out a newspaper cutting about the two Koreas’ plans to field a joint Olympic team in 2008. “Here sport contributed significantly,” he insists. But surely if North Korea’s “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il were the type of guy to be dissuaded from nuclear war by a sports team, the peninsula wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in. In any case, the Yugoslavs fielded united national teams for decades before chopping each other to bits. I asked Ogi why he thought the 20th century, which saw the rise of international sport, was the bloodiest century ever. “It’s a paradox,” he admitted.

    However, his dream goes beyond peace. Ogi also believes that sport creates better people. “Sport is the best school of life,” he said in Zurich. “I learn to win without thinking I’m the best. I learn to lose without thinking that’s the end. I learn discipline. I learn rules.” But if sport is good for you, that doesn’t explain all the sportsmen who cheat, fight, get drunk, assault women or indeed kill civilians in war.

    Nothing discourages Ogi. He finishes with his trump card – his account of seeing footballs being given to children in African refugee camps. “These kids are often traumatized. But when they play sport, they forget everything. There is no vaccination, no medicine that has the same effect. I’ve seen what it does – I have saved the pictures in my head,” he says.

    And here he is surely right – playing sport makes people happier. I saw it once in Khayelitsha, a township outside Cape Town. About 200 kids had gathered in a meadow, where a man from sporting goods company Adidas explained that it had been decided in Germany to give them 98 footballs. The children applauded, some by slapping themselves on the cheek. Then they leaped 20 at a time on the baskets of balls, chased around the meadow after them, going completely crazy. For survivors of genocide stuck in a camp for years with nothing to do, footballs could be even more important. A decent ball – made, perhaps, in Pakistan – costs about $10. It can make dozens of kids happy for weeks before it bursts. It’s not world peace, but it’s something.

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:35  

  • sahir: yeah ofcourse I know about the SRT delivery..was going to mention it as an example for Shoaib earlier :-) And that 3/4 sleeve was patented by Waqar...and yes, he must be earning a huge royalty on that IPR :-)

    Btw Malik was reported for only very few deliveries...Shabbir's report was more indicting....thats what I read. Also notice that Malik anyway hardly bowled in the match...I think they would anyway try him as batsman, and use his spin in desperate times...maybe they'll play afridi and not need him.

    shri: 20 day regimen is to show the bowler the technique of how to bowl correctly. Then its his responsibility to go back and practise it to perfection. But I agree, a regiorous rehab monitored by ICC would be much better(although not if the bowler does it again deliberately). But I dont think the boards would accept that :-)...not if its a Murali or Shoaib they are missing. Btw, banning the bowler, as you suggest, is part of ICC process. If a bowler is banned thrice (I think) then he cannot come back for one year (or some such rule...but its there)

    yorker: yeah I know Murali's case....and yes I agree that that type of situation is allowed. What I was wondering if someone who can straighten his arm in normal condition (and not a Murali-like defect) would be allowed to bowl with bent arm.

    By Blogger worma, at 13:46  

  • worma,
    You're mistaken about Malik being reported for a few deliveries. His offbreak was deemed to be at 34 degrees and doosra at 67 degrees of flexion respectively. Those are astoundingly poosr numbers. But supposedly, he rectified the problem. Until he bowls again in a match situation, of course. I just wonder, how many times does a bowler have to be reported before an automatic long-term suspension is handed down. I believe this is the 3rd time Shabbir has been reported within the past 2 years. Not to mention, he was reported a couple of times at the start of his career.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 13:55  

  • yorker,
    "You do not gain anything bowling with bent arm."

    Unless of course, you straighten it somewhat prior to releasing the ball.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 13:59  

  • sahir: I meant this time only few deliveries of Malik were found problematic.

    And btw, I think Shabbir has to serve 12 months ban if called again. This report clarifies some of your dobts http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/england/4445094.stm

    By Blogger worma, at 14:09  

  • sahir, also read this for more clarifications http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/cricket/rules_and_equipment/4404874.stm

    By Blogger worma, at 14:11  

  • worma,
    Thanks for the informative links. I still worry that Shabbir will just not bowl the effort delievery while getting tested. He will simply bowl well within himself and maintain a good action. Although the law says:
    "If the expert feels the bowler is not replicating their action from match conditions in the laboratory, they have the authority to recommend the bowler be suspended."
    I seriously doubt the expert will be willing to make such a drastic assessment.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:20  

  • Yeah, right, now Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar, everyone's chukcing? Give me a break. No one has ever questioned Afrid's action, and it's been a long while since anyone (at the official level) said anything about Shoaib Akhtar's.

    Shoaib has a congential dis-order in his arm , he can't straighten it at the best of times, let alone when he's bowling.

    And if you're going to allege that his effort ball is a throw, then I might as well argue that every bowler's effort ball is a throw. Know Peter Roebuck. He says it all the time, in fact, I reckon that's pretty much his 'when-I'm-bored-do-this-in-my-column' idea : talk of how Lee/Flintoff/Harmison/Shoaib's effort balls are throws. I don't like Roebuck, and I don't like such allegations either.

    Malik, on the other hand, I think will have to forget about his bowling, and try and concentrate on his batting. He's good enough talent.

    Shabbir though, I have personally always have had reservations about his action, I think he's not going to be picked in the 2nd test. And Rana will come in his place. I think Inzi's keen on giving Raza another chance (as was pointed out in the thread), so that could be pretty much the only change that will happen.

    But personally I'd like to see Afridi get in the mix some how. I want that tail to be shorter.

    And I'm sick of all this repeated remedial work and then getting reported again, must have been better in the old days when umpires could simply call no-ball when ever they thought some one chucked. I don't want to keep living with the false hope that one-day Shabbir will be cleared for good - the ICC should make their minds on him so that we can decide if some one else needs to be brought within the team squad in his place (in the long term I mean).

    By Blogger Zainub, at 14:21  

  • yeah...the whole process is a bit subjective. Actually its a bloody mess...with seemingly no fool-proof way out :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 14:22  

  • zainub: Well...frankly...Shoaib's effort ball looks suspect to me on the screen(I can't measure the degree with my naked eye). Report or no report. His issue anyway grown too big to be seriously troubled by ICC (like Murali). And yes, I know many others have suspect effort balls. Do you remember that controvery that during Champions Trophy all leading bowlers were secretly monitored and most were found over the limit, including McGrath!

    I thought Shoaib's problem was different from Murali, and he has hyper-felxion or some such thing? That his elbow bends backward a bit giving impression of the bend? Anyway, point is that this thing is visible only in some deliveries, unlike Murali who has it in all his deliveries.

    But if Rana comes in place of Shabbir, how do you get Afridi in? And would you go in with only one spinner (assuming that Malik wont bowl?)

    By Blogger worma, at 14:28  

  • Zainub,
    I agree that Afridi's action seems clean to me. Shoaib's is also clean on almost every delivery, but I always tend to notice a rather huge straightenting of the arm on certain short-pitched deliveries. Not all short-pitched deliveries, but when he so chooses, which is why I am a supporter of the square-leg umpire calling no-balls. A player can be reported later, but during the match, delieveries the umpires feel are not legal should be no-balls. Otherwise, theoretically nations could trot out bowlers from the first-class level to deliberately chuck to win one big match. About Shabbir and Malik-- the less said about their actions, the better. They've almost always been unclean. I agree that Malik has the potential to be a good batsman at the Test level and at the ODI level, he already is a good one. Still not entirely convinced about him opening though.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:34  

  • Zainub,
    Do you know what the conditions at Faisalabad are going to be like? I've heard there is quite a bit of rain at this time of year. Are the covers good enough to not let any moisture seep through, or will the rain make the pitch lively for the seamers?

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:39  

  • Sorry for the belated response, just got my self in a bad mess.


    Yes, I remember the ICC research during the CT. It found out that quote 99% of the bowlers very crossing the existing bend limit. And that is why the new law (15 degree) was formulated, so that we didn't have to ban 99% of international bowlers. Under the new law, Shoaib's effort ball seems legal to me. As does Lee's, Flintoff’s and Harmison’s.

    I think we're going to drop Shabbir for all money, so I haven't considered him for selection. Some how, I've managed to persuade my self to give Raza another chance, which means there's only going to be one change in the team from Multan (i.e. IF (BIG IF) I was selecting the team)

    Malik Butt Khan Inzi Youhanna Raza Akmal Afridi Sami Shoaib Kaneria


    I know Malik doesn't look like an opener - but I'm reluctant to make Afridi open, and he is reluctant to open at test level too. There is no one else in the squad that's an opener. So I guess for the meanwhile we'll have to stick with Butt-Malik as a combination, and thinking about it, it did work in Multan, they put on 80 odd in the first and about 30 odd in the 2nd innings. That's a good return.

    As far as the conditions at Faisalabad are concerned, the forecast is dry for the weekend:

    BBC Five day forecast here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/5day.shtml?world=2173

    And in case the forecasts are wrong and it does rain, it's an international ground, so I expect the covers to be of international standards.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 16:00  

  • zainub: thats more like your team :-)....Afridi as a specialist bowler. I have a feeling your wish may be granted this time...depends a bit on the pitch. Because remember, you may be bowling spin in the 11th over of the match (that too day 1 pitch)!

    And btw, has Akmal been considered as a test opener ever?...I mean just various options and plans floating in media? I thought he has a pretty compact game, although just saw one series. And didn't he open in that Aus ODI when he scored a century?

    By Blogger worma, at 16:08  

  • Akmal has never been used or talked of as test opener, or at least I've not heard of such talk. As you know he's opened in Australia in a few one-day games (and that century was against WI), but that was the end of that. He hasn't even opened in one-day games since then. And I don't think I like the sound of a wicket keeper opening the innings - unless they're as good as Alec Stewart, which Kamran isn't. His scoring areas are a bit limited - square of the wicket on the off side and around. And he does waft out side his off stump too - (rememver his first innings dismissal at Multan?) - I think he's fine at 7.

    Let's give Malik-Butt a run through this season, not series, and see how they do. I rate Malik as a player, and even though his technique is such time and again it exposes him (especially when he's opening in a test) but I'd back him to improve and adapt, sooner rather then later in fact.

    And in the name of consistency of selection (which he rarely show) we should stick with Butt and Malik for the moment.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 16:18  

  • Shoaib Malik did well and Pak should continue with his for time being. Later on I can see him occupying #4 position once Inzy retires. I thought Asim Kamal was good at #6...showed lots of courage and bats sensibly...will be interesting to see if Hasan Raza grabs his opportunity. Would like to see Yasir Hameed make a comeback provided he knows when to leave the ball outside off. If he tightens up his game - Hameed & Butt can solve Pakistan's opening problem.

    By Blogger ClannZú, at 16:22  

  • zainub, yeah I wasn't saying Malik should not get his share of chances. Just brought up Akmal since you mentioned lack of alternatives. I think Woolmer also rates him highly, mainly for his attitude, and would surely give him enough run at the top.

    clannzu: yes I also liked Kamal's temprament...dunno why he fell out of favour

    By Blogger worma, at 16:36  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 17:11  

  • Asim Kamal is an excellent batsman, with the sort of temprement I wish all our young players had.

    He hasn't exactly fallen out of favor, still is in this squad. In fact, he was pretty much neck and nack with Hasan Raza to take that number six spot in the lead up to the first test. But he didn't do him self any favors by bagging two cheap scores in the Lahore warm up game against England (whilst Raza racked up 100 odd runs in 2 innings), considering he was already under a bit of pressure, (failed very poorly in the series of 3 warm up games the PBC organised in the lead up to this series in b/w Pakistan XI and Rest of Pakistan). He's going to come back in the team at some stage eventually. As channzy said Inzi's not going to be around forever (as scary a thought as this is, it is true!).

    Hameed will have to have a good solid season with Peshawar to get back in the reckonning. The Quaid-e-Azam trophy is currently going on but I haven't checked out too many scores off late (it's hard enough to follow 3 international series at the same time!) so I don't know how he's coming along. But he'll have to work hard, he's formed a reputation of him self, some people here think he's a flat track bully ala Hick, and will never succeed at test level, but I believe there is never a never in cricket. He'll have to work hard to shake off that reputation.

    By Blogger Zainub, at 17:22  

  • zainub, by falling out of favour I meant why was he even being 'tested'...I thought he should have been an automatic selection in the team. Atleast for a while. He's done very well whenever given a chance, I just don't understand how can Woolmer have missed out on recognizing this.

    By Blogger worma, at 17:33  

  • The trial games where more about getting the players a bit of match practice more then anything else. But I agree Worma, Asim should have been in the side automatically. Now though, it would be stupid to get Raza in the side for one game and then drop him, and bring back Asim again. Or may be it wouldn't be?

    Now I'm undecesive again :(

    By Blogger Zainub, at 17:42  

  • zainub: :-)...yes it would be wrong on Raza. I think he needs to be given a chance in all three matches, now that he is in there. And even if he shows some promise (not necessarily a 100...a gritty 50+ would do) then atleast one more series. Thats how it should be.

    Its unfortunate for Kamal to have missed out, he should be kept close to the team and made to feel a part...his form in domestic should not be scrutinised (if at all he's released to play) and should be the next reserve batsman for the middle order in case a vacancy arises this series or next.

    This is how it should be with any normal selections....not just these two. Like in India, despite much controversy, we still keep Yuv and Kaif as our middle order reserve for tests, despite their sometimes lean patch in ODIs, because they showed a lot of promise the last time they got a test chance.

    By Blogger worma, at 18:17  

  • I concur with both of you,
    I wouldn't have brought Raza in place of Kamal in the first place, but now that the selectors have shown faith in Raza, they must maintain it throughout the series. It makes absolutely no sense to bring someone in for just one game. It also sets a bad precedent for future debutants if they feel one match is all the opportunity they may get before being dropped.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 18:54  

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