Monthly Archives: February 2008

Shoiab Is A Freak

And speaking of chuckers, I always suspected Shoaib, as did Michael Holding (who conducted the ICC’s review and whose own action was regularly rated as the most elegant ever). But Shoaib always claimed that he never bent his arm; it simply looked like that because of something called “hyperextension,” which is a fancy word for a double-jointed elbow. Whereas most people must consciously bend at their elbow to get the chucker’s pace, Shoaib bends backwards — in order words, it doesn’t bend at all.

First, here’s what his bowling looks like. Highly suspect:

But have a look at this, and you realize that we’re not dealing with something human:

Why, Marlon!

When the ICC reviewed the allowed degrees on bowling actions, they conducted a thorough review of every bowler’s delivery. They found that only one bowler actually bowled within the rules as they then stood, and that was R. Sarwan, whose gentle off-spinners never hurt anybody.

His teammate, Marlon Samuels, however, didn’t even meet the new 15-degree standard that was eventually set, and his bowling career is now over. It’s not a big loss to the West Indies — Samuels only took 7 wickets in Test matches, and 57 in ODIs at an average over 40 — but just take a look at how awful this action looks. After all the debate over Murali, it’s nice to see what a real chucker looks like:

Nike Does Cricket

Have a look at this ad. It’s a bit too long and the music in the background is absolutely horrible, but otherwise, it’s quite exhilarating. Watch out for the Sreesanth and Khan cameos.

It’s Racial Vilification, Mate: Hayden’s Racist Turn

There are two parts to this post: the first, unsubtle and emotional, the second nuanced and, uh, emotional. Let’s to it:

1. Matthew Hayden is an absolute idiot. No, I don’t care that he called Harbhajan an “obnoxious weed,” partially because I think he’s justified. Indian players are worshipped and adored, and too many of them — Yuvraj, I think, in particular — act as if their reputations will absolve anything (see Dileep Premachandran’s horrifying post about India’s crazed younger cricket players and their “attitood”). So, Harbhajan may not be that cheery a guy. Whatever.

No, my problem is this: Continue reading

A Bit Too Earnest, Symonds

Second-to-last post on Symonds. I’ve noticed a pattern with our dear Andrew. In the final slog overs, Symonds naturally wants to hit, hit, hit. Successful bowlers have realized, however, that he gets a bit ahead of himself. Watch these three videos, all of which show Indian bowlers — Sreesanth, Pathan, Sharma — out Symonds with slower balls in overs at the death. Looks like Symonds might want to keep his bat in his hands just a bit longer before he swings all that frustration in the open.

Pathan bowls Symonds here with a slightly quicker ball, but gentle medium pace overall:

And of course, the infamous Sharma off-cutter:

Symonds v. Sharma, The Verdict

I don’t want to make a big deal about this, because in the end, 15% of anyone’s match fees is a piddling amount (well, compared to the million dollars Sharma just earned). But it seems pretty clear from these two videos that Symonds started the fight. Sharma has his finger in the air as he looks at Symonds, but he doesn’t say anything until Symonds gets the suntan moving.

Watch as Ravi Shashtri, mostly fair and judicious, notes that since the match referee acted strictly by the books, he could have saved Sharma with a similarly technical interpretation of the rule as well. He says that Sharma’s fingers were not pointing towards the pavilion per se, but to the President’s box (which goes unmentioned in the ICC’s voluminous Code of Conduct). So, technicality for technicality, Sharma should have been let off. Yes, here we have it: cricket and lawyerly parsing — the British Commonwealth at its greatest.

The Goldilocks Method

Sorry about the title. Really, I am. But this is an exciting time for the Indian ODI squad: Dravid and Ganguly are out, and it won’t be long before Tendulkar leaves as well and the youngsters can stand up on their own. The bowling order looks complete, but the batting line-up is something else: Sehwag remains forever unpredictable, and the No.3 position — occupied usually by the best in the game (Ponting, Sangakarra, um, Ian Bell?) — is hard to pin down. During the series, the management has tried IK Pathan (silly; he’s a perfect firewall before the tail); Gambhir (better, but still, too early); even Uthappa.

The trouble, as I see it, is Sharma and Yuvraj: Continue reading

Tete-A-Tete

Regular readers will know that I have mixed feelings about Andrew Symonds: I defended Indian crowds when they brought out their finest monkey impressions last summer (and their being Indian, the impressions were fairly spot-on). But then, during the much-ado with Harbhajan in Sydney, I felt that Symonds deserved the support he got from his captain.

This latest episode, however, I cannot forgive. First of all, he chose to spar with my latest Indian idol, Ishant Sharma. And second of all, it’s one time too many for me. Looking at the video, I cannot tell if Sharma starts the dialogue, but it certainly looks like Symonds chooses some fighting words in response. (We all recall what he did when Sreesanth celebrated a tad too brightly in the Future Cup series.)

So, a word to Symonds: when you are dismissed, let it go and walk back to the pavilion. [See below.]

Kiwi Cricket Goes From Strength to Strength

What on earth is this about? Cricinfo reports:

Jesse Ryder, the New Zealand opener, is expected to be out for action or three months after injuring his right hand following a window-breaking incident at the Christchurch Stock Exchange bar.

Ryder’s injury occurred at 5:30am, the morning after New Zealand’s series win against England when he was trying to gain access to a toilet area that had been accidentally locked. He was scheduled to be operated on in Christchurch Hospital this afternoon.

Ryder requires a reconstruction to the exterior tendon on his index finger, a flap reconstruction, and a skin graft. It is expected to be six weeks before he can start light training and up to three months before he can resume playing competitively so long as there are no complications.

Bowler’s Celebrations (Part II)

I wrote earlier about how enjoyable it is to see a bowler celebrate a wicket. It’s certainly an exciting ritual, especially because they come so rarely. Batsmen spends hours at the crease; they score boundary after boundary. But for a bowler, it’s just one moment that provides the climax (so to speak), and usually, it’s just as unique as their own action.

Fidel Edwards, for instance, has his trademark “now you see me, now you don’t” hand in front of his face. Cute.

Bu, again, it’s Ishant that does the trick for me. No special moves for him; no frantic paces. He just stands there, in the middle of some of the greatest cricket grounds of the world, and soaks in the applause. Arms outstretched, he’s at the center of it all. (My word, he really does get me hot and bothered!)

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