Monthly Archives: November 2011

Irritation Maximum – Ten Cricket

“And the umpire has gone to the…… Kyunki har ek friend zaroori hota hai…”

No, though it may be that way, I’m not talking about players befriending the umpires. I’m talking about what the Indian viewers watching the SAvAUS series were put through. After a horrible experience of watching India’s tour of South Africa last winter, TEN CRICKET put us through agony yet again.

During the SAvIND, there were excessive, I mean,  HOLD YOUR HEADS TOGETHER OFF BEFORE YOUR TEMPER EXPLODES THROUGH YOUR SKULL EXCESSIVE number of advertisements on screen, ruining half the possible pleasures of watching the game. And to make things worse, the money licking channel would snap the video before the cricket could allow it. ( Piece -1, Piece-2, both via cricinfo)

This time, Australia’s tour of South Africa, nothing much different. As it is, the videos were late by 2 minutes, like as if it swam across the Indian ocean to reach out TV sets. Wickets would fall and boundaries were hit and my mobile beeped the news before Ten Cricket carried the visuals of the ball before the one on which the event happened. That was sad at a whole different level. But if I cut all my contacts with the social networking, I might watch the match live.

I might.

But then, His Highness Sir Lord Ten Cricket had to bring along his favourite pig along – advertisements. It was like as if Mr Ten Cricket was in constant hurry. Drinking money all the time, wanting to pee, and close the zipper before his weewee could finish the business.

I watched the third sessions on all days, and only once do I remember watching an event being shown all through till the end of the action – Haddin walking till the ropes after being dismissed in the last session of last day of the last test. Ignoring that mistake (right?), Ten Cricket would snap the video RIGHT after the ball hit the bat. The bowler would be running in to bowl the next over by the time the clutches of the blood sucking advertisements would loosen. And only then we would figure out if there was a run, or a wicket or a dot, or a fist fight in the last ball of the previous over.

I was in office when this occurred, but I think it is not hard for me to imagine it, when someone tweeted – “The third umpire goes upstairs, and…. it’s an advertisement break!”

This Mr Ten Cricket can’t wait for a couple of minutes to watch the verdict from the third umpire. Mr Ten Cricket could’ve peed in his pants if he wanted to pee that much. If anyone gets injured, Mr Ten Cricket’s army of advertisements will appear as soon as the physio gets off his seat. You might wonder where the button is, on the physio’s chair? Drinks break would see the ads come before the umpire signals drinks. Mr Ten Cricket signals drinks.

If I see an ad break go for so long, I keep thinking that it is either drinks break or a fall of a wicket (depending on when I see that string of advertisements). And it’s become so frustrating that I can’t remember what advertisements came in. Ok, one I can remember – Irfan Khan in one Vodafone ad. Clearly feeding me more ads when I’m not hungry hasn’t worked in your favour, Mr Ten Cricket (cc: whoever sent him that fodder).

All this for what? Profit? If Ten Cricket’s coverage in the Middle East can save the nuisance, why not in India? How do other channels manage to make enough money from neutral series and stay afloat, with quality? I didn’t find this during the Ashes on Espn-Star Network. A sports coverage which has no time or money to cover the nuances of its art has no business continuing doing so. I will take any other feasible alternative to watch a cropped coverage of the game.

Quoting the basket legend Michael Jordan’s retort to his team owner, during from 1998-99 lock-out period, where the owners locked players out from playing games because they couldn’t make enough money from the NBA season-

“If you can’t make make profit, you should sell the team.”

TEN CRICKADThe Ad comes in, before Cricket could end.

A foolish cricket fan

Two test matches have been played in the India-West Indies series, and I’m yet to watch a single ball live. Last time they were in India, my dad was able to watch some days’ play live, the ones on weekend. I have myself to blame for missing day-1of first test, yes, but now, I have to pray for the Bombay game to reach day-5 to catch a glimpse of a game live.

How hard is it to organize a game that can ease into the weekends and then finish on a Monday or a Tuesday? BCCI go against the government’s Sports Bill, but the 9-to-5 schedule of test matches on weekdays makes it look like an Indian governmental functionary than many others actually do. Sarkari kaam…

I was atleast able to follow the game by some mean. People come to me a day or two after the test asking how much XYZ scored, or, how much lead India has over West Indies now.  Cricket is slowly slipping out of people’s mind. Such a scheduling is pushing us fans away from the game. In other words, it is not attracting us towards it.

Also found smaller turn outs in stadia during both the English ODI and the WI test series. Myriad explanations and justifications came up for that. Cricket burn out, no-match series, “boring” series (???), and one more that caught my eye – the game is driven more by the television audience. People want to stay home and watch the game rather than go to the stadium. Have heard “when I can watch it here, why would I want to go all the way there and watch it?” Here’s my retort to them – “Why go on a vacation to any tourist spot if you can watch videos and photos of the place sitting at home?”

It was a horrible spring/summer of 1999, after which my family moved to Chennai. I joined my new school 2 months after it had started. In my first month in the new city, I learnt that my school had thrown holidays when Pakistan played the test there. Only one test had uninterrupted play since that, and that game had more security personnel than spectators (vs England, 2008). Never heard any other place giving anything remotely close to a holiday for a game played in the city. I don’t expect them to. I might have ten years ago, not today. It’s how the game has gone. Value for the game has decreased from a festival it once was to an ignorable passing vehicle today.

Test cricket attendance was decreasing, slowly, but I think somewhere recently it fell like an avalanche. Earlier, test and one-dayers existed. It wasn’t tough for people to go for test matches. Today, in comparison to those times, the pay, transport, roads, connectivity, communication and access have improved, but it somehow got tougher for people to go for test matches. I may be a fool in understanding this, but I would like to remain so.

T20 came in. Supposedly the game has been blessed with new fans with the arrival of the T20s. I hope that is true, I’m not yet convinced about that myself. Last night, I was called “shameless” for watching test cricket (SAvAUS, 2nd test, day-2, Steyn and Tahir bowling). Not the first such remark I’ve faced. Rolling back a couple of years, when my college mates were about to turn into bed, my alarm woke me up. It was 3:15 am, and I was heading to the TV room to watch India’s first test match in NZ. I was laughed at. Earlier this year, I “troubled” the sleeping watchman (who had absolutely no business sleeping when he must be doing his job) to watch Pakistan’s tour of West Indies. The college then locked the room permanently which made me miss watching on TV most of India’s tour of West Indies and the English tour. Internet streaming is only a consolation.

“Shameless”? Really? When I quack about dislike of T20s and ‘IPL’ cricket, or bite those fans, I’m a fool, a stubborn narrow minded idiot, but these people who can call me such must be saints, I guess. I have trained myself to ignore “Abbey saale, test match kaun dekhta hai?” comments, 5 years after standing on a dais and begging my class of 73 to give a little bit more importance to test cricket in my first year of college. (That was before ICL or IPL hit any of us.) But of course, I was a fool…

Jumping back to the India-WI series, I caught up with highlights of all days’ play (except last day’s of both test match), and I fail to see what’s keeping the BCCI with the commentators that were on there. Is there no way we can give them a feedback about them? It was easier to watch highlights, since most of their comments would not register on my mind, or, Yadav’s  innocent celebration would divert my attention, or Darren Bravo would make me nostalgic. It all helped, yes. Having heard those muppets over the years, why hasn’t there been any change at all? It’s something I rant about a lot, because a commentator is one of the three things I want to become one day. Atleast, wanted to. I would prefer radio commentary over television commentary, though. No regrets, I became of the other two things I dreamt.

I love this game, but my love was never tried and tested so much. Never before have I felt so distant from the game in my life.

-Bagrat

Have the doors closed on the Singhs?

Yuvraj Singh is probably one of the most frustrating cricketers in India at the moment. You look at the way he plays ODIs and you would think he *has* to be on the Test team – alas, the two formats are like chalk and cheese. And Yuvraj the ODI specialist and Yuvraj the test batsmen are two completely different players.

Yuvraj burst into the International scene with a bang while still in his teens, and showed so much potential – everyone knew he was a future super star.

He has still got it in him. Just look at his performance in the 2011 World Cup – Player of the tournament, 362 runs at an average of 90.50, and four man of the match awards to boot. Did I mention he also took 15 wickets in the tournament? You just can’t fault him…

But move over to Tests, and it is a completely different story. An average of 35 in 56 innings is barely passable and if you watched Yuvraj scratch around for his 25 in the first innings, you would start to wonder what he is doing in this team.

With Raina (is he another Yuvraj in the making?), Rohit Sharma, Pujara, Rahane, Kohli, Jadeja, etc knocking on the door, his position is the shakiest in the team. And considering the fact that he was an utter failure when India toured Australia last time around, would you pick him? He hasn’t scored a century in tests in close to 4 years. Sure, he has been in and out of the team in those fours years (which itself tells us something, right?), but 27 innings without a 3 figure score is just not good enough.

Four years ago, when the Indian team was picked to tour Australia, there was one notable absentee – Virender Sehwag. Back then I blogged about why he should be in the team in spite of his poor form (he eventually was included in the squad, but I digress). In the case of Yuvraj, I feel the exact opposite, he should not be picked in the Test team for the Australian team.

(BTW – You also need to read these previous posts – Good horses in unfamiliar courses (Oct 2011), the contenders (Nov 2008), the case for (and against) Yuvraj Singh… (Nov 2007) and you’ll realise that nothing has changed in all these years – Let’s just put an end to this persistence with Yuvraj and drop him from the Test team)

Having said all this, Yuvraj has one big supporter in the team – captain MS Dhoni, and that may just be enough to pen his name in the team selection. He could also end up scoring a century in the next game against the West Indies and find himself on a plane to Melbourne. I guess, the door hasn’t entirely closed on him yet.

For the other “Singh”, Harbhajan Singh, the door is closing a lot faster. Dropped from the team for the first two tests, is in itself an ominous sign. And add to it, good performance from his replacement, Ashwin and poor Ranji performances (none for 92 in the first game and one for 50 in the second match) don’t help either.

We all know that Harbhajan and Australia have a history, and some of his best performances have been against them. When Australia toured India last year, I blogged that Harbhajan needs to step up, but nothing has changed in the last 12 months to indicate that he has. If you take out his 7/120 against South Africa at the beginning of the year, he averages around 40 in the last 12 months. Not figures to be proud of. More importantly, he looked totally ineffective in England. Being in the top 10 wicket takers of all time doesn’t mean automatic selection if you can’t back it up with performance.

I will surely miss his fiery bowling when he is on a roll, combative spirit in the field and even his never-say-die batting abilities – particularly against the Aussies, but I am afraid he just needs to be left out of the team that tours Australia this time Sad smile

-Mahesh-

Top 10 reasons why Sachin Tendulkar hasn’t scored a century of centuries…

10. What? Another hundred? Aren’t you satisfied with ninety nine? Hundreds just get boring after a while…

Maybe to you Sachin, but not to the nation. Did you know that Jack Hobbs has 199 centuries to his name – Okay, Okay! They are just first class hundreds, but still?

9. Nervous nineties!

Hmm…I can see how that can be an issue. You have after all been out in the nineties 26 times in your career (not to mention the one occasion when you were 96 not out and Malinga bowled a wide to concede the game to India – Damn you, Malinga!) . But, you also crossed the nervous nineties 99 times – surely you can do it one more time.

8. I want to feel the way mortals do – and go through a lean patch of no centuries…

You’ve already been through a lean patch once, remember? We want you as a God, not a mortal. Common and get on with that hundred!

7. I want to get it against Pakistan

Oh, dear! I know you made your debut against them, but it might be a while before we have another match against them, and the nation can’t wait that long!

6. Waiting for Ricky Ponting to catch up

Ok. He was close to your record at one stage (at  least on test hundreds); but you’ve just left him too far behind. Did you know that your closest rival has only 69 international hundreds? And have you seen his form lately?

No way is anyone going to catch up with you. Just go ahead and get the hundred, dammit!

5. India has already seen a #1 Test ranking, ODI World cup win, World T20 win – the only thing remaining is this record. Don’t they need something to look forward to?

Puh-lease, let us worry about that. Just go ahead and get your damn hundred so that we as a nation can focus on something else.

4. I want to score it in a T20 international

Haven’t you retired from International T20s already? We don’t want to see you in that format ever again. (Ok, maybe just in IPL) – so, don’t even think about it…

3. Every time I score a hundred, India loses!

Not sure who came up with that. India have lost 24 of the 99 matches you’ve scored a hundred – so that makes for 75 matches that we’ve either won or saved. I’ll go with the .25 probability of India losing the game when you score a hundred.

2. I want to have the unique double of 200 international wickets and 100 international hundreds in tests and ODI’s combined. And do it in the same match!

Oh, yes – you’ve got a combined total of 199 wickets in ODIs and tests together. Let me talk to Dhoni and arrange for you to bowl in the next game you get a hundred.

But wait a minute, haven’t you got a wicket in a T20 international as well? That should make 200 in total. You’ve got no excuses any more!

1. I want to get to the century with a 4 or 6. Six hundred may be a bit ambitious, so waiting for the right opportunity to score 400!

Ok. That I can wait for. Is that going to be at the next game in Mumbai – in your home ground?

-Mahesh-

In memoriam – Roebuck.

Perched directly behind the bowler’s arm, Ajit Agarkar’s to be precise, in the Sir Donald Bradman stand at the Adelaide oval, the heat was flat, dry and in the mid-thirties. Capped with the strong Australian light, without a trace of humidity, it made one ask why Australian teams complained when they toured the sub-continent.

The air-conditioning notwithstanding, it made me perspire just to think of buttoning a collar, let alone yoking oneself to a tie. The Bhogles, Shastris and Gavaskars strolling around on breaks from TV commentary duties, contractually obligated to suffer under the noose, looked like they might have been far more comfortable in the South Indian veshti-banian (white wrap-singlet), or perhaps a loose cotton kurta.

Which was exactly what Peter Roebuck had on as he came around the corner, his straw hat crowning patrician features, telling a companion Indian journalist in that clipped and firm voice “I don’t know why you wouldn’t wear a kurta in such weather”.

The occasion was of course the watershed match when India trumped Australia in Australia for the first time in 23 years. It was notable for Ponting and Dravid’s double centuries, Ajit ‘Bombay Duck’ Agarkar’s 6-for, and it must be said, the teenage Parthiv Patel’s woeful ‘keeping.

For me, it was the first sighting of the man, long listened to, who it was said was getting to be a more widely read English writer in India than P.G.Wodehouse. For long had I admired his neatly struck coinages ‘leather-flingers’ and the one that combined English wit with a dig at the upstart colonials;

“Yousuf Youhana was only the fifth Christian to play for Pakistan, a number higher, one supposes, than have played for Australia”.

As the series made its way to Melbourne, Srini Vasan of Melbourne’s ‘Indian Voice’ organised a buffet with the cricketing faithful during the course of the Boxing day test. To bear out Kerry O’Keefe’s introduction in ‘Sometimes I forgot to laugh’, it was in a ‘one-star’ Indian restaurant out in the suburbs. The audience was largely of Indian origin and still delirious after the Adelaide win and Sehwag’s 195 on the first day at the MCG. We quietened down and listened in rapt silence to Peter’s views on the day’s play. The event concluded with what soon became an annual ritual; Srini presenting Peter with a kurta.

But that was not all. The restaurateur emerged with a bottle of wine. Peter graciously accepted the bottle but it was followed up with a marker pen and a semaphored request for a signature. Peter signed with a rueful smile and handed the bottle back to the clueless restaurateur amid much raucous laughter.

The Boxing Day Test buffet soon became a much looked-forward-to annual event thanks to Srini Vasan and Peter Roebuck. Given this was not a publicised event, a flurry of calls elicited the venue of each year’s event and Peter soon grew to recognise us regulars.

Mario Puzo wrote “The migrant retains with him a fossilized image of the country he left behind”. As these dinners progressed over the years, Peter, who travelled to India more often and widely than we could or did, became quite the voice of India. Peter began painting for us first hand the image of an India that was changing and growing beyond the realms of our ‘fossilized image’. Our discussions spanned Indian fast food to changing mores and moralities. One either imagined or sensed his wistful nostalgia for the fast disappearing days of genteel cricketers as epitomised by Bhagwat Chandrasekhar and the alarming rise of Cricket moms.

Far from the popular view the cricketing world has of him being an apologist for Indian cricket, I consider him to be more of a realist, closer to the action.
On one occasion, we were as usual playing armchair generals and castigating the BCCI. He took a contrary view and without disagreeing, made constructive observations that could only come from one who had begun to understand how such an essentially Indian organisation as the BCCI worked.

That was as telling a metaphor to underline that we had drifted away from comprehension while he had begun to arrive closer to the centre.

RIP Peter. The world of cricket will be a lesser place without you.
Soundar

P.S. Here’s a link to the last such event.

The Ten FASTments

The Ten FASTments

Harder they fall, stronger you become.

  1. Thou shalt fell the stumps, and anything before it.
  2. Thou shalt serve your duty in terrifying the cowards under the hoods of helmets and behind  guards and swords, with bare hands.
  3. Thou shalt run up as long as you wish, it is the prequel to awesomeness.
  4. Michael Holding is a God. Thou shalt worship anybody with brutal pace and lethality.
  5. Thou shalt vow to be merciless. Brian Close’s chest is the bull’s eye.
  6. Thou shalt remind the batsmen, they are over-rated. Bowlers swing better than batsmen.
  7. Thou shalt feel sorry for batsmen, but only after thou becometh the one they fear.
  8. Thou shalt employ verbal torture. Thou can’t talk for long after he is out.
  9. Thou shalt do away with fielders. Keeper and umpires suffice.
  10. Every wicket deserves a celebration, for, a soul leaving the holy land of the pitch deserves a send-off.

You are the master of your slave.

(photos credit : http://www.bbc.co.uk and http://www.crickipedia.com)

-Bagrat

Testing Times: Hobson’s Choice

This piece has been written by Venkataraman Ganesan (@venky1976)

Test Matches Vs T20: To choose or not to choose

The cricketing world, over a span of a fortnight has been regaled with a couple of Test Matches which have been invigorating in nature embedding within each of them thrills and spills galore.

A gallant Zimbabwe put up a distinguished and admirably creditable performance against a much stronger Kiwi side, eventually losing a veritable humdinger by a mere 34 runs on the last day of the Match.

A depleted West Indian side gave the much vaunted Indian Test brigade a few substantial jitters prior to capitulating in a fashion that has almost mirrored the health of West Indian cricket over the past many years.

Elsewhere Pakistan and Sri Lanka, played out a couple of salubrious draws before Pakistan secured a morale boosting win in a Test Match. The three match series which was not only a test of character – given that it was played in the shadows of the spot fixing trial — but also of sustenance against the energy sapping humidity of the desert land that is the UAE.

And more recently, we have had a bizarre Test match played out between Australia and South Africa at Newlands.

Upon a bare reading of the preceding paragraphs one is bound to conclude — and rationally so — that all augurs well for the future of the version of the game played in whites. However in reality, behind a deceptive veil of encouragement and euphoria, there lies a murky truth. It would not be a mere verisimilitude to propound that the future of Test cricket is indeed at a crossroad.

Whilst a statement such as this might irk a multitude and invoke varying levels of emotional reactions, the fact is that Test Cricket of late has become a child of the lesser God, giving away ground in a rapid fashion to the stimulatingly ‘bikini’ version of the game, that is “T20”.

The dwindling numbers that troop to the stands to watch the men in white (and in some cases literally empty chairs are the sole and impartial spectators) are in stark contradistinction to the mad scramble to grab tickets sold in colours of both ‘black’ and white, for the rights to see a T20 battle. This bears ample testimony to the lament espoused by the author.

It is true that, on account of cricketing fatigue and an overkill of the shortest version of the shortened game, crowds might have lagged behind in attendance during tournaments such as the Champions League T20 and the now ubiquitous IPL during the last season. For example the final of the Champions League this year between Mumbai Indians and the Bangalore Royal Challengers were not played out before a gallery packed to the rafters

However, there is absolutely no doubting the fact that the current flavor of the cricketing feast is spread over 40 overs lasting a few hours.
What is it that gives a cricket fan more pleasure watching a few men sporting clothing of various colours and hues heaving and hoiking cricket balls outside the stadium than watching a batsman essaying a perfect front foot defensive shot in copybook style or shouldering arms to a ball pitched slightly outside off-stump? Shouldn’t a real cricket aficionado get the same pleasure in watching Glenn McGrath bowl a metronomic line and length ball after ball as he derives from watching a marauding Chris Gayle deposit balls into the stratosphere under a bank of brilliant lights? I for one cannot fathom the difference.

Many of the arguments that are espoused in favour of according preference to T20 over Test Match cricket vary from the silly to the senseless. Let us analyse some of the common grouses postulated against Test Match cricket and in favour of T20 Cricket and common-sense rebuttals against the same:

Test Match Cricket is too very long in duration:

Of course that is why they are termed as “Test” Matches. Test Matches measure the skill of the gladiators squaring against one another not only in terms of their talent, but also more or even most importantly against their temperament. Test Match cricket is more of a mental or even sometimes spiritual attrition rather than a matching of slam-bang wits. On his/her day any batsman (or bowler) can have literally 15 minutes of fame in a T20 game, tether the opposition and scuttle their chances of victory. More often than not such 15 minutes would amount for nothing but vainglorious futility when it comes to a Test Match.

In the longer version of the game a player needs to be consistent, constantly on the alert and should possess an enormous degree of patience and perseverance. Also prior to the advent of this “hit the ball as hard as you can using as heavy a willow as you lay your hands upon” game, from times immemorial (post the abolition of the ‘timeless” test concept), Test Matches have been played over the duration of 5 days and also in front of packed crowds!

Test matches are boring:

This is one excuse which even goes beyond the realms of being lame! People who propose this excuse either are perhaps not aware of the nuances of the game. The term ‘boring’ has to be one of most frequently used and abused adjectives found in the English language. There is a multitude of evidence that point to the fact that Test Match cricket could also be a knives’ edge affair, keeping the adrenaline pumping and the nerves jangling!

Right from the time Frederick the “Demon” Spofforth knocked off the prodigious English batting line-up to give the Aussies an improbable victory more than 100 years ago, Test Match cricket has been embellished with feats of courage, gallantry and passion which has resulted in extraordinarily absorbing and gripping Test matches. This honest game has also provided unimaginable results such as the tied test matches played out between Richie Benaud’s Australia and the late great Sir Frank Worrell’s West Indies in the 1960s followed two and a half decades later by an equally enthralling tie between Kapil Dev’s India and Allan Border’s Australia. Examples are too very numerous to proffer and to be extremely honest, Test Match cricket does not require a justification for existence and need not offer a concrete case for preservation.

Test Matches are not result oriented:

If at all Test Matches are a dull, drab and a dreary affair, more often than not the benign, placid and impotent tracks on which they are played out, form a primary cause. A classic case in point is Sri Lanka grinding a hapless and helpless Indian attack to dust on a sleepy and stubborn featherbed at Colombo in 1997. But for exceptions such as these, even drawn Test Matches have incorporated, within their duration, an element of excitement, uncertainty and improbability.

Even within a drawn Test Match there can be found examples of many battles which when accumulated provide for great viewing and, for posterity, deliberating pleasure. For example watching a dour, determined and dedicated Mike Atherton, possessing the demeanor of a corpse and a perfectionist’s technique to thwart a fearsome pace attack of M/s Donald & Co, with an eccentric Jack Russell for support is indeed an exquisite experience. Also seeing a clash of the Titans such as Shane Warne Vs Sachin Tendulkar; Ian Botham Vs Viv Richards; Imran Khan Vs Jacques Kallis, etc. is indeed a sight for the Gods! Also with entertainers par excellence such as the peerless Viv Richards and the eerily funny Derek Randall, Test match cricket has always provided its fair share of honest exuberance and entertainment.

There are no cheerleaders in the game:

Although I thought I would not dignify this banal excuse with a rebuttal, I thought a short and appropriate riposte was deserved. Instead of drooling, and ogling skimpily clad nubile nymphs gyrating to the latest track in the realm of hip-hop each time a wicket falls or a stump goes cartwheeling, Test Match cricket, has beyond the boundary, young and agile boys (not for a minute I am suggesting anything that would portray me as a pedophile!), who not only do the task of retrieving a ball lashed beyond the ropes but also obtain precocious and invaluable insights about this wonderful game! The lithesome grace with which some of them catch a ball that come flying towards them or stop them with their tiny bodies perfectly behind the cherry brings a cheer to the viewer.

Whilst cricket of every kind bestows upon the viewer its own dimension of pleasure and the occasional pain, it would be a travesty of justice to choose one at the cost of the other. While T20 might be an occasion to celebrate, an event to soak oneself in with unblemished glee, there is no reason as to why a Test Match ought to be anything different. There are plenty of challenges and moments of cathartic brilliance offered by Test match cricket which can never be a true prerogative of T20 cricket. The universal expectation and discussion in reverential tones about the plausibility of Sachin getting his 100th ton, every time he comes out to bat or the hushed expectation when Murali has the ball in his hand with a packed close in cordon are magical moments which a T20 game can neither equal nor better. In conclusion it needs to be emphasized that while instant gratification may provide a momentary ecstasy, it is prolonged bliss that bestows real bliss and pleasure! For a true cricket lover, Kieron Pollard depositing a ball onto the front seat of a car in a car park adjoining the ground, with its windshield in smithereens, might not give the same joy as watching Rahul Dravid bringing his broad blade down in a perfect arc, with the front foot firmly forward to a slow off break bowled by Marlon Samuels.

For in both instances the winner is Cricket!

— Venky