More on Cricket
By Shoaib Hashmi


So, Okay! So you have cricket comment and stories and editorials oozing out of your ears. So it won't kill you to read one more piece, but I have to get this off my chest. Despite all our she-dogging, we seem to have knocked a solid little team together. Inzamam, if he wasn't so self-effacing, would be touted as among the top six batsmen in the world; and Youhana and Yunus are not far behind.
But the cricketer after my own heart is Afridi. This is not an afterthought. The thing is that he seems to be one of the few left who plays the game like it should be played -- like a Game. For him it is not war and it is not defence of the womenfolk or the honour of the people. And he uses the bat too like it should be used -- as a weapon to hit the ball. In that he is almost alone.
Some time ago there used to be many batsmen like that. Imtiaz Ahmed was one, and so was Majid. Then along came Boycott in England and Hanif and Mushtaq here, and somehow they spread the word that the bat was a wet rag to be hung out to dry in front of the wicket and keep the ball away from it, and lots of people followed, and the game went to the dogs for decades.
The upshot is that the beauty and elegance of test cricket has become a rarity, and we are saddled instead with the clownish multi-coloured uniforms of ODIs. Yes, yes I am not going to labour that because I know you are fans, and I will leave you with a subtle thought. Remember there is a difference between excitement and cheap thrills!
And we are also saddled with a bunch of former cricketers who want to be commentators. Will one of you be a good little boy, or girl, and tell them some small things given below that they need to be told:
# "If a team loses too many wickets at the beginning of the innings, its chances of making a big score diminish proportionately" is not some great analytical insight which we need some asshead to be telling us! Also there are other things which we have known for centuries and do not need to be told again, like:
#Any team which comes to open an innings comes with the intention of making as many runs as possible -- no team in the history of the game has been known to come in saying, "Lets make 77 bloody runs and call it a day!" And any team which comes in to field wants to get the other one out as soon and for as little as possible! It is possible that there was once a captain who said to his team, "Let's play silly-buggers and let them score a few thousand runs and maybe they'll give us a lollipop" but he was sent to the pole and no one does it any more.
# Batsmen sometime play good shots, and sometimes bad shots, and a bad shot does not become a good shot because some clumsy fielder stumbles and fumbles and lets it go to the boundary, it stays a bad shot. Also if you want to go on and on and wax lyrical about a shot, you should look up a thesaurus to find words -- you cannot describe every shot as 'The shot of the series for you'!
# There is this Indian commentator who thinks he knows more than any captain and his constant complaint is, "I can't understand why Tendulkar has not been brought in to bowl"! He hasn't because this other chap is bowling and doing a darn good job of it, and he has the ball and if you try and take it away from him he will expectorate in your countenance, that's why!
# Of all the dumb things brought into the game by the one-dayers, the dumbest is the 'reverse sweep'! It is the most inelegant, ugly and repulsive and repugnant shot anyone could play, and was unknown before the ODIs and the theory that the purpose of the game is to make runs even if you do it with the butt and make a fool of yourself in the process. I don't think any of the commentators will think of that one!


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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