Sunday, February 01, 2009

Little bits of cricket

1) In 2008, while the rest of the Test-playing nations had many a match to ponder over, the Pakistani team sat at home twiddling thumbs. 2009 does not promise to be much better either. David Furrows has an interesting option for the PCB to explore - play at a neutral venue as a "home team". It is not as far-fetched an idea as it first seems...
The third option is far more compelling because it offers potential entry to the Big Four club. It involves long-term planning to host series in other Test-playing countries, both during the remaining 58 months of Pakistan's existing TV-rights contract and beyond that time. Pakistan could play most of its "home" series in England, scheduling Test matches on days in summer when England is not playing home Tests. There is little cricket overseas at that time of year, and so the boards of the opposing countries are likely to see this as a potential revenue earner. Headingley, Old Trafford and The Oval would offer substantial gate receipts due to the local Pakistani diaspora.

(...) There are now eight Test grounds in the UK, but with Lord's usually hosting two Tests per summer, inevitably two or three counties miss out on hosting an England Test every year. Pakistan's home Tests could be a lucrative consolation for those venues.
2) Peter Roebuck chimes in on Hashim Amla, a key member of South Africa's fast-surging team.
Hashim Amla counts amongst the most serene of cricketers. Nothing seems to ruffle him. Along the way both life and cricket have tried to disturb his tranquility, only to be met with a mild smile and a broad bat. Fast bowlers have pounded him with bumpers. Nothing personal, you understand, just that he was a new kid on the block and his back-foot game was regarded as suspect; mistakenly as it turned out. Refusing to hook, he simply parried the bouncers as he has everything else, and waited for the storm to abate, whereupon he resumed collecting runs in his unflustered way.
3) Sriram Veera watches Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar at a nets session in Sri Lanka and comes away impressed by the maverick. I really wish I could have his job!
And he (Sehwag) constantly teases the bowlers. "Patha nahi chal raha hai na, kidhar daaloon, kya karoon? (Struggling to find where to bowl, eh?), he asks one of the spinners. Both the bowler and the batsman laugh. Sehwag keeps watching Tendulkar bat, passing comments, “Shot Master! Wah ji Wah! (bravo).” He also pulls Tendulkar's leg now and then by praising the bowler who has got the better of him. Tendulkar simply laughs.
4) The ICL has been trying to get the ICC's attention as a legitimate enterprise. The ICC, kowtowing to the needs of the BCCI, has been putting things off. A January 31st meeting of the ICC was supposed to have discussed the issue. Not surprisingly they have, in the manner of most obtuse committees around the world, simply put off the decision-making till a later date. I think it is time the ICL called their bluff and took them to court.
The status of the ICL is still in limbo, with the ICC board having deferred considering the Indian Twenty20 league's application for approval pending further discussions between the BCCI, ICL and the ICC.

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