Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Now over to the main theme of this post.
Date: 19.01.2010, Mumbai, India
Event: Players’ auction for the 3rd Indian Premier League
66 players from different nationalities had been registered for the auction. Between the 8 franchisees they had 13 slots available and a cap of $750K on the spending. Very few players were bought this around. Kieron Pollard, Shane Bond, Wayne Parnell & Kemar Roach were the ones with highest price tag. No Pakistani player was picked. Australians were also avoided. Very few franchisees seemed to be willing to spend too much this time around on others. Some highlights in this year’s auction were
- Champions League is the perfect stage to be noticed. Kieron Pollard would definitely agree. 4 franchisees wanted him at $750K & went though a “silent tie-breaker” to decide where he goes.
- Franchisees are looking for availability rather than just star power. That’s the only possible reason why in-form players like Haddin & Swann were ignored.
- Not a single Pakistani player was selected. This has already led to huge uproar across the border. There is no cricketing logic as to why Afridi, Gul, Aamer, the Akmal brothers would all be ignored. The turbulent political situation between the two countries was the main reason. I personally don’t think that it was a deliberate conspiracy by all the franchisees; they were just playing it safe.
- The “Silent Tie-Breaker”: Now this was the one issue which really made the auction into a big tamasha. If more than one franchisee had bid the maximum amount (750K) for a player, then the silent tie-breaker would take place. Those franchisees would then put in a figure on a piece of paper and give it to Lalit Modi, who would announce the highest bidder. This amount is not disclosed and goes to the IPL and not the player. Now, if this is not bribery, then what is? Lalit Modi does seem to continue finding innovative ideas of making money.
- The drama of Mohammed Kaif was even weirder. He was the lone Indian in the auction and a last minute entry at that. Nobody picked him in the first round. And in the second round there was great interest with 3 franchisees bidding for him. Curious!
- Players from Associate countries are overlooked. Picking Damien Martyn over Ryan ten Doeschate or Rizwan Cheema simply makes no sense.
So all this tamasha has ended (hopefully). And now I wait for the actual one to begin. I like watching the games. They are fun and good evening entertainment. But all this drama does leave a bad taste.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Interest in the game was further aided by Big Fun. In the Nineties, it was a pretty popular chewing gum. People would keep chewing while playing, in a bid to emulate the cricket heroes. Now with Big Fun would come a cricket player sticker (probably the real reason for its popularity). In the mid-nineties they started giving Trump Cards with player career stats. I had a pretty huge collection of over 100 cards. Name labels for school books with cricketers on them were amongst the more popular ones.
Then there were a plethora of board games. They were totally unrelated to cricket, but the scoring pattern was in runs & not points. Computer & video games hadn’t really come in a big way those days. So these were the main pastimes.
Then there were the cricket books. I have read all of Sunil Gavaskar’s writings, Keith Miller’s autobiography, World Cup books and many more. Television coverage had also improved with matches being telecast from all over the world.
In the “noughties” came the internet in a big way. Cricinfo became one of favorite websites. I could follow multiple matches from all over the world at the same time, while continuing with other activities also.
My cricket watching career roughly follows Sachin Tendulkar’s cricket playing career. And I remember almost every match result since then. Amongst the 3 forms, Test Cricket is my favorite, ODIs have been over-killed and T20 should be limited to national level and World Cup, there shouldn’t be any bilateral T20 matches.
Among the activities/hobbies picked up at Planet-I was blogging. The blog was supposed to be about and every thing in this world. But quite a few posts turned out to be on cricket. So I decided why not have a fully dedicated cricket blog? And hence this blog came into existence. It was also a part of my New Year resolution (do something which I love doing). I liked writing, I loved cricket, so why not write about cricket. And hence the birth of this blog. I am not sure if anybody would read another website/blog on cricket. However the posts would keep on coming, mostly on the current happenings. An occasional down the memory lane kind of post would also be there.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Cricket is not just any other sport. It’s the “Gentleman’s Game”. And it is probably the only sport which has its own “spirit”. Not sure about the meaning of all this, but cricket certainly is one of the most complex pass times invented by human kind. The rules are complex, the duration is long, it can be beautiful without producing any result and be boring while producing one, it’s a game filled with numbers and more numbers, a true statistician’s delight. One can’t learn cricket at one go. It’s a process which evolves with time. For me it evolved from the game of Bat & Ball.
As a kid growing up, I remember a plastic bat & ball set amongst the first toys. The game was pretty simple then. Hit the ball, which was thrown towards you with the bat (Me holding the bat, and my father doing the bowling). From this humble beginning the game grew on me.
As I stepped out into the neighborhood play area the game evolved further. Slowly concepts like runs and getting out also came in. The bat became wooden. The ball would become a tennis ball, and occasionally the proper cricket ball. One learnt the rules as one played along. Bowled, caught and run out were the only modes of dismissal available. Of these the bowled was the most controversial as the stumps being a set of 3 lines drawn on the wall. There were interesting rules made up for our own convenience.
- Hitting the ball in specific areas got different amount of runs (2,4,6)
- Late Run was not allowed. The batsmen should have started the run immediately after hitting the ball. (Generated quite a few controversies)
- Double Bat – Contact twice with the bat was out.
- Ulta Bat – Getting hit on the back of the bat was out.
- Half crease No Ball – It was a no ball if the ball bounced before the half way mark on the pitch.
- One Hand One Bounce – During certain games, if the fielder catches the ball with one hand after it has bounced once you can get out.
- Single Batsman playing - Generally the last man played alone.
- Half Pitch Run Out - With single batsman on the crease, for a batsman to be run out, the throw had to hit the stumps on the side towards which the batsman was closer.
- Multiple Times Out for really young fellows in the team. They had to be dismissed more than once before they could be finally given out.
- Batsman exchanging bats - Generally only one decent bat would be avaialable. Sometimes after completing one run, the two batsmen would start off. If the throw was coming in fast then, they would stop mid-pitch and exchange bats, claiming that this had been their real intent throughout.
- No Bad Light - It would be pitch dark, but the overs had to be completed. Nobody winning the toss ever chose to field.
- No LBW - Well to be honest as an youngster nobody really knew the rules of this method of getting out, so wasn't ever used. (Quite a few pronounced it as LPW for some reason)
However once the game shifted to playground more of the traditional rules came into play. And these became obsolete. In such games depending on the number of players available, the non-striker would serve as the umpire; both teams would be fielding etc. Games were played in the evenings with 5-10 overs a side games being played. (Twenty20 is the form of the game closest to the one which I have ever played. Although it certainly is not my favorite form)
So this was the story of how the game began for me. As a simple game of Bat and Ball.