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Darling, I think I’m going to need… more ties!

That’s the emotional climax of the Just For Men advert that we’ve seen about 18 times today while watching the IPL. We’ve gone through hatred and emerged the other side, joining in with the ‘more ties!’ bit, punching the air for emphasis.

It’s astonishing the level of advertising you’re exposed to while watching the IPL. Apart from the ad breaks, there’s sponsorship all over the stadium and the players’ clothing. Every TV graphic has a sponsor’s name attached to it and then there’s the commentary.

Aside from having to talk about Citi Moments of Success every two minutes, everything else that the commentators say is an advert for the IPL itself.

This can’t be good for viewers and the worst part is that we’ve just realised how much it’s affected us. We bought some Indian train tickets yesterday for when we’re over there next month and we were offered a range of payment ‘gateways’.

At the time, we didn’t know why, but we went for Citi Bank.

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Ross Taylor hits fastest Test hundred by a New Zealander

Ross Taylor plays quite a flukey contextual masterpieceAre breathtaking innings all about how many sixes are hit and how few balls are faced?

Ross Taylor’s 81-ball hundred against Australia wouldn’t even be half as good as Yusuf Pathan’s 37-ball IPL hundred if that were the case. Clearly, it’s all about context.

A DLF Maximum is commonplace. In Twenty20, batsmen are obliged to score very quickly. In Test cricket, you have a choice – which makes innings like Taylor’s more audacious and more absorbing.

It’s been a low-scoring match and Taylor wasn’t short of time. He was also up against five international bowlers, rather than the one or two you get in the IPL. What does he do? He chances his arm. There’s such a broad scope as to what a player might do in a Test match – that’s the context.

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Have you lost interest in IPL 2010 yet?

We have a bit.

It’s not so much that we don’t really care about any of the teams – you can get over that. It’s more the feeling that none of the matches actually matters yet.

They’re still going to be playing in a few weeks’ time and maybe then the table might have started to take shape and there’ll be some context, but at the minute it feels like we can just ignore the IPL for a while and then return for the important bit.

Even Andrew Symonds thinks there might be a bit too much cricket when the two new teams have joined as well – and he doesn’t even do anything else with his life other than mooch about in flip-flops and sit on his fat, saggy arse watching Aussie Rules in the pub:

“Lalit needs a band of merry men who are going to put their heads together and ensure they get it right. He obviously wants the IPL to be the best and the most special thing in cricket. But to get that you have to look after your cattle, you can’t just keep driving and whipping them.”

We like that he calls himself a cow. He is kind of bovine-looking. Think it’s the neck.

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A cricket bat from an unusual angle

Bobby K sent us this:

Is that really a bat?

We thought it might look pretty cool if we cropped out all the background.

Oh, yeah, I can see it now

It didn’t really, but we’re including the picture anyway.

You invest 10 or 12 seconds in cropping a photo and you want to share it with the world.

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Bangladesh v England – no protagonist, no narrative, no cephalopods

Good films come in two forms:

  1. The writers are smarter than you and have constructed an ingenious plot where the story slowly unfolds, keeping you rapt
  2. The writers are far stupider than you and haven’t a clue about plot structure, so just to keep things moving, every now and again they introduce an octopus with wings or a robot with no face that always feels disappointed

In both those cases, you have no idea what’s going to happen next, so you pay attention. In between those two extremes are films where you can predict everything that’s going to happen after about the first two minutes. Most films are like this and you basically just watch them unfold, exactly as you expect them to.

The Bangladesh v England Test series threatened drama, but delivered virtually none. England won 2-0 and had to work quite hard. This wasn’t an enormous surprise.

More faceless robots crippled by perpetual disappointment!

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Sourav Ganguly – Kolkata Knight Riders’ main man?

There can’t have been many sentences written about Sourav Ganguly more damning than this one by ‘Cricinfo staff’:

“This is not the end of the road for Ganguly because he remains Kolkata’s brand image.”

You’ll always have that, Sourav. You’ll always have your skills as a ‘brand ambassador’.

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NEW OBSESSION: Danny Morrison commentary

We haven’t had a weird obsession with a trivial element of cricket in ages. Luckily Danny Morrison’s bizarrely beguiling intonation has stepped into the breach.

Hanging on his every word

We don’t dislike Danny Morrison, but he’s not a good commentator. Despite this, we find ourself listening to him far more closely than any other IPL commentator. This is because we’re fascinated with his halting, percussive speech patterns. We wrote about a fairly typical piece of Danny Morrison commentary last week. He basically talks in unrelated bullet points.

But the staccato delivery’s not even half of it. His commentary’s weirder still when he draws out his sentences to give added emphasis. What he’s actually saying pretty much never warrants that emphasis, so you find yourself in a constant state of puzzlement.

Pay attention: significant plot development

The best way we can describe it is that it’s as if Morrison is narrating the match, rather than commentating on it. What we mean by this is that he describes a leg-bye as if he KNOWS that this is a match-turning event; as if he’s already privy to what’s going to happen later on and is giving you hints.

There are only two ways to react:

  1. Be absolutely baffled as to why this is a significant moment
  2. Be absolutely baffled as to why Danny Morrison feels it necessary to make this seem like a significant moment

Why does he do this?

Our guess is that he feels obliged to make every on-field event sound momentous. By applying an excitable, momentous way of speaking when describing inconsequential events, he confuses everyone.

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Ashes on free TV could mean four counties going bankrupt

Sounds good to us. Can we choose which ones?

The ECB have felt it necessary to spend half a million pounds on some research that shows how badly off they’d be if the Ashes were put on free TV rather than Sky. We can’t help but think that an organisation that does that has no concept of the value of money.

The study also says that the ECB are ace because around a fifth of their expenditure is on ‘grass roots cricket’. The ECB think this is a large percentage. We don’t, because we don’t believe they should subsidise county cricket clubs so much. In our eyes, the ECB’s responsibilities are to grass roots cricket and the England team.

In other news, two more IPL franchises have been sold for jaw-dropping sums of money. For some reason, the IPL is awash with cash. It might be something to do with broadcasting matches on TV to as many people as possible at a decent, predictable hour.

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Tamim Iqbal – Bangladesh’s best batsman

It’s been good to get to know the Bangladesh players a bit better these last few weeks. There are a handful who stand out and others who seem interchangeable.

Shakib al Hasan’s their best bowler and bats reasonably well. Mahmudullah is looking good so far. Mushfiqur Rahim is a very talented batsman and a gash wicketkeeper – which puts him on a par with most international glovemen. However, the player who’s really stood out has been Tamim Iqbal.

Tamim Iqbal is a vicious opening batsman, but not irresponsibly so. Considering that it was only today that he turned 21, he’s pretty sophisticated.

It was all-out attack as he hit 85 off 71 balls against England today, but he showed during his one-day hundred against the same opponents a couple of weeks ago that he can drop down a gear and not get carried away. Since his first Test hundred, which he scored against the West Indies last year, he’s passed 50 in half of his Test innings.

Imagine what his average would be if he’d played a few Tests against Bangladesh.

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Mongoose in the IPL – most inevitable press release ever

There aren’t many things you can rely upon in this world, but the Mongoose marketing department is one. Sometimes Mongoose press releases take unexpected forms, but their arrival is inevitable.

After Matthew Hayden used the Mongoose to hit many of the 93 runs he hit off 43 balls for Chennai Super Kings against Delhi Daredevils, we said to a colleague: “How long until the press release?”

Two hours.

It’s not a very good press release. The only real highlight is a hint at a potential pastime for Hayden when he gets a bit older:

“I look forward to bringing it out again to entertain once more.”

“The suspect showed no remorse for his crimes nor the effect they had on the Kingaroy women’s tennis team, therefore he has been sentenced to 100 hours community service.”

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