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
# 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!