Tuesday, January 31, 2023

The Gandhian Cricket Story

The Lucknow pitch was mourning on the eve of Martyr's day. It had decided not to allow violence. Hence no batsman was able to "hit" the ball for a six, not even Surya Kumar Yadav. It was a night of near total nonviolence. As hard as they tried, nobody could send the ball over the ropes in 239 attempts.

Only batter who looked comfortable and capable of big hitting was Washington. No wonder, with that American name, he seems to have no reverence for Gandhi. Fortunately, SKY ran Washington out to ensure there won't be any blasphemous violence. 

Hardik Pandya hails from the home state of Gandhi. But the New Zealand Captain Mitchell Santner proved to be more aware of the occasion than Hardik. Hardik had 3 overs of spin left in his kitty but he chose to unleash violence through pace. Santner on the other hand got everyone to bowl spin and even tried to coax his fastest bowler to "spin". It was truly magical that New Zealanders were more Gandhian than Indians as they chose to "Spin" in honor of the Saint of Sabarmati.

Finally, it was a tight finish with the hosts choosing not to hurt the sentiments of visitors in an exhibition of true Gandhian ethos. Lucknow, the city famous for its Ganga - Jamuni Tehzeeb of Nawabs combined Gandhi with Modi and declared, "Na Maaroonga, Na Maarne Doonga !".

Newer generation unfamiliar with Gandhi and his values called it boring Cricket. But it was truly Gandhian Cricket where T20 was played in Test Match mode. No, not the Bazball type but the 1947 mode. Perhaps we can call it Gandzball. Finally, as Shastri (Ravi, not Lal Bahadur) would say, "The game of Cricket was the winner !" because New Zealand couldn't believe they lost it and India couldn't believe they won.

PS: Hope the ICC slaps some demerit points on Lucknow pitch. It wasn't a pitch. It was Mirpur in slow motion.

Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

Thursday, January 19, 2023

Shubman Gill : Enormity of That Double Hundred

It's a special, very special knock by Shubman Gill, a lot more special than the very recent and much quicker Double hundred by Ishan Kishan. Here are some tidbits that tell the story of enormity.
Shubman: 208 of 149 balls
All others: 128 of 151 balls
Shubman: 19 fours, 9 sixers
All others: 12 fours, 2 sixers
Both sixers were hit by Rohit and no other batsman cleared the boundary after Rohit got out.
Second highest score: 34 (of 38 balls) by Captain Rohit as no other batter came anywhere near 50.
SKY with 31 of 26 was the only other batter to strike at above 100% (SR: 119.23) while Shubman scored at 139.59 strike rate.
Collective strike rate of all other batters was 84.77% compared to Shubman's 139.59%.
Shubman scored 61.9% of the runs coming of the bat and 59.6% of the team total, playing just under half of the 300 balls.
Shubman had a reprieve, thanks to missed catch by Latham. But that's always part of the game. The way he plated from 48th over is testimony to his ability to switch gears.
This was indeed a very special knock and in the process, Shubman Gill became the "Fastest Indian" to 1000 ODI runs.
The Shubman Gill era has officially begun !

Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans
All reac 

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

The Elephant in the Room

Disclaimer: This is about Test Cricket. Hence keeping Rishabh Pant, white ball Cricket and Sanju Samson fans out of the debate.

Rahul, Pujara and Rahane have faced a lot of flak for non performance and fitness issues over the past 3 years. Both Purane were dropped and Pujara has come back through some gritty performances thanks to a fruitful English county season. Rahane continues to strive in domestic Cricket. Rahul at least has two overseas hundreds in two test wins in England and South Africa, though his overall performance in non century knocks has been pathetic. 

But as far as red ball cricket is concerned, the Elephant in the room is Virat Kohli. He has had absolutely horrible three years.

2020: 116 runs at 19.33 

2021: 536 runs at 28.21

2022: 265 runs at 26.5 

A total of 917 runs with 5 scores of 50+ in 36 innings in three years. Overall, his average was 26.2 in the last 3 years.

Monday, December 12, 2022

An Ode to Cricket

In the green fields of summer

The cricketers play,

With bat and ball they battle

For victory each day.

The bowlers run and hurl

Their pitches with all their might,

While the batsmen stand and wait

To give their best a fight.

The wicket falls, the fielding team cheers,

Another batsman takes the crease,

Determined to score runs

And bring his team to victory with grace.

Thursday, December 1, 2022

Diarrhea of Runs

First day of Rawalpindi test between hosts Pakistan and England became the first ever test where Umpires offered bad light to bowling team to save them from English batters.

On a day when England scored at 6.74 RPO, Joe Root with 23 of 31 balls was the miserable failure for England with a pathetic strike rate of 74.19.

Pakistan's most economical bowler conceded 5.64 RPO in 17 overs.

England had 4 centurions, with Zak Crawley scoring 4th fastest ton (86 balls) for England. That record lasted a session and a half as Harry Brook did better in 80 balls.

Ben Ducket's hundred was really pedestrian with a strike rate of just 97.27.

4 centuries and 504 runs in a day are new records for Bazballing.

If England were to bat full 90 overs for the day, they could have had a fifth centurion in Ben Stokes and a total in excess of 600.

England players were leaking till yesterday. But once the game began, only Pakistan bowlers were leaking.

England hit 73 fours and 3 sixers in 75 overs, making it at least one boundary every over and 310 runs through boundaries.

Pakistanis taught the English how to wash their arses during diarrhea. English players did a great job of it on ground. Dho Daala !

Finally, the Umpires saved Pakistan from English WMD.

Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

Friday, October 28, 2022

SKY is an Illusion

While Indians are busy rejoicing Pakistan's loss to Zimbabwe, Suryakumar Yadav walked away with yet another Player of the match award. But the stunning fact is SKY, like "Sky" is an illusion.

Yet again tonight, Rahul prodded around, Rohit loitered and Kohli labored. Then arrived SKY. Or did he ? The sky was overcast but SKY wasn't. SKY was as bright and blue as SKY. Suddenly it rubbed on Kohli and there was Sunshine. We didn't notice and before that, SKY hit the last ball of the innings to bring up yet another fifty with a strike rate in excess of 200.

We can see sky but we cannot catch the sky. Ditto with SKY. Bowlers and fielders seldom get to catch him. SKY doesn't play to the galleries. The galleries plead with him to grace them and the spectators become gleeful fielders.

Other players hit the ball. SKY imposes himself on it. Others time the ball. He whispers into the ears of the ball in the last moment as to which direction to be taken. SKY is an Architect. He measures the distance between two fielders and then sends the ball between them inversely proportional to their respective speeds. The ball attains thrill in beating both the fielders to the ropes. No wonder he's been an Architect of many an Indian wins in a short period.