Monday, June 27, 2011

Times Change, Cricket made to change.

DRS, World Cup silver lining for the associate nations and some ODI complications were some of the things that have been finalised upon in the first 2 days of the ICC board meeting in Hong Kong.

ICC has made "modified" UDRS mandatory in all tests and ODIs. Modification? HotSpot and audio tracking are mandatory, while hawk-eye is going to be optional. So, if you see India playing in the series/tournament, don't expect hawk-eye in it.

So, it is clear there won't be hawk-eye in place for the series in England. And that renders any line call vs lbw decisions non-referable. So, if the umpire calls it outside the leg tough it pitched in line, the bowler can only swear at himself and move on, of course that swearing will earn him a trip to the match referee's room for breaching laws and Similar conditions for the batsmen in a different scenario.

So, how is the umpire going to know where it pitched or had the impact with the pad if the ball-tracker is not trust worthy? Remember those days when there was no hawkeye, and the TV telecast production company would just show the replay, and when the ball hits the pad, they would make the batsman's image go translucent so you could see the stumps behind him? Why not just go back to that and get rid of all the complications with ball tracking devices. Refer the close lbw decisions to 3rd umpire and ask him to take that decision. As for the edge, you have approximately 235325 cameras in the cricket ground for every angle, and then you have the hot-spot cameras in all directions. Did I miss anything?

The ICC decides to hold a qualifier for the 10-team 2015 World Cup, to be held just before the tournament I feel. I don't have more details to add to it right now, not sure how many teams will fight for it, how many spots will be made vacant for grabs after deciding upon the number of teams that get automatic qualification into the World Cup. This has made the word "world" buy a little more meaning into it, nevertheless.

Now, to some other changes that have been brought in.

No runners. Batsmen will not be allowed the comfort of using a runner to run for him during the course of the match. Even if one of his leg break into two and his team needs two to win off the last ball of the game. He has to do that on one leg. If the ICC can look at what I'm trying to say, that decision must be changed.

Powerplay overs can only be employed within the 16th and 40th over. Maybe some day they will make it mandatory to be used between overs 20 and 30.

Captains will be suspended if they breach the over-rate twice. Used to be three earlier. With so many confusions and complications, I have no idea how many would want to lead their side in ODIs from now on. There are so many factors that are bound to waste your time.

And here comes the icing on the cake. Or whatever.
There will be two balls used in every innings of an ODI. One from each end. ICC says that will help sustain the swing on the ball for a longer period of time. This has effectively removed spinners out of the equation for ODIs. As it is they are made to bend to the ugly T20. Now, there is never going to be an old ball. There were times when spinners would come in around the 15th to 20th over and carry on to the early 40s. I can't imagine what kind of bowling is to be witnessed now on. More of dart spinners...

Not like pitches made around the world support any swing. The subcontinent is just a dust bowl. Pakistan plays its games in the UAE, dust of dust bowls. Only a few stadiums in England, SA, Australia support swing, very few. NZ tracks have been nothing like they were before the 2003 WC. And WI pitches are dead corpse, given what they used to be.

A ball for each end my foot.
25 overs per end. So, assuming you want one of your opening bowler to finish the innings off (which would need him to bowl from the other end for the last over), you will need atleast two bowlers to bowl from both ends at different points of time. Or one, if you have that many bowling options. Now, the field has to shine two different balls, take care of 4 sides of balls, learn the science of two different balls. I won't be surprised if there are ten more Trescothics and Yardys in the next 5 years.

God save cricket. That fat lady is coughing.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Life of a Tracer Bullet

She had to wait for 15 minutes outside the bathroom, made to listen to some mumbling noises from inside, and after a few irritated knocks, the man appears, with his toothbrush held in his right hand like a microphone and yapping "I just get the feeling that tooth has got to give."

Mrs Bullet has been having such trouble for ages, and says it has peaked now, because Mr Tracer Bullet is utterly bored after his stints at the world cup and then at the Fancy Dress Cricket League, popularly knows as I-P-L.

He appears at the breakfast table wearing a suit, looking at the 1985 model of video camera placed on the showcase looking over the dining table and say out loud "ARE.YOU.REAAAADYYYY? I just get the feeling sun is out, and it's going to be a cracker of a contest." Mrs Bullet was not sure if Polly wanted a cracker or breakfast.

She recalled, when 2 weeks ago the kid and her friend were having a fight over the breakfast table, he stopped the two, flipped a coin and asked one of them to call heads or tails. And went to the winner of the toss with a spoon as a mic and asked "So, what will you do today? Any changes in the team?"

He kept pestering the maid who was washing utensils until one of his "That's a cracker" finally made her drop a plate and crack it. And he retorted, "nothing can be done, that fell down as straight as an arrow. The umpire has raised his finger."

Once the offended maid was gone, Mrs Bullet made him do the dishes, but she realized her grave mistake as he started throwing the kitchen sink for 3 days in a row.

He always makes sure that he cleans one half of the house, and says emphatically, "See, there is shine on one side and rough on the other. What this does it, it will generate some swing. All you have to do is bowl straight, bowl full and let the ball do the rest." Mrs bullet dejectedly said, "he never did the rest" and pointed out piles of dust on one side of the living room...

He does love to watch movies. Less of tamil, and even less if it is a Vijaykanth movie. He hates Vijaykanth, because he is the one man tracer bullets fear.

Mrs Bullet says he also likes to cook. He adds random ingredients and teaches anyone who would lend their ear "what this does is, it will make the going smooth." And as a good father, he always tells his kid "make no mistake", a local version of "do the right thing" or "be a man".

He has a few cats, and lets them amongst the pigeons every evening. Most of the irritated pigeons have already left his household for different reasons. One of them agreed told us, "we used to have a nice time until the recent times. We had a nest over the Air Conditioner outside his bedroom. But we found that it was not a peaceful place to like, as that man would suddenly get up in the middle of the night and scream at the top of his voice 'DHOOOOOOOONIIIIIIII' and get back to sleep. We are all woken up, and people in the neighbourhood put on their lights and after that it is very difficult to sleep, you know. We are moving to LSK's home. He sings well."

Tracer Bullet's favourite festival is Holi, he says, as he happily recalls that ever since his childhood he would carry the water pistol in his hands and run from door to door firing on all their cooking gas cylinders.

He goes out to eat with his friends every Saturday night. Most of them got their PhD from American universities, and a couple of them were medical practitioners. If he is unable to make his mind up on what to order that night, he would just tell the waiter "I'll have just what the doctors ordered", and keep eating till something gets to give. It's mostly the patience of the people at the restaurant.

So, as the lights are put out, no guns are left to blaze, Mr Tracer goes to bed with a phoney mic on one hand and "Best IPL Commentator Award" in the other. And Mrs Bullet whispers, "Oh God I hope they take him away to England in July."