And Gambhir wins!
That seems to be the way this is working. It was four years between Gautam Gambhir’s first and second Test hundreds. Now he’s hit two in two innings.
He’s basically an attacking batsman who doesn’t feel he HAS to attack, which is pretty much what you want in a Test opener. He can career along at near enough a run a ball alongside Virender Sehwag, like he did in the second innings of the last Test, or he can edge along safely like he did today, setting a platform for later mayhem.
He’s someone who knows not to get himself out, but who can impose himself on the opposition too – which is vital. Gambhir and Tendulkar decided they didn’t want Cameron White allowing the main bowlers a breather, so they removed him from the attack via the simple method of repeatedly carting him to the boundary.
Gambhir plays a good game off the field as well. “There was no way he could have got me out” he said about Shane Watson, before rather optimistically trying to encourage Australia to persevere with their part-timers: “The way Katich bowled, a couple of balls really spun.”13 Appeals
How much do you care that this match is for $20million? Would you care ten times as much if it were 20/20 for $200 million?
No. Would you balls.
So how could Sir Allen Stanford possibly pique your interest? What prize might get you interested in the outcome of this match? He wants you to be interested. He can’t buy history or prestige, so what could everyone’s favourite wife-fondling, moustachioed Texan billionaire do to get you up for the match?
Our feeling has always been that the prize is irrelevant, but having given it more thought, we reckon we could engineer a situation where we would care.
The tactic is simple. There should be some sort of trophy that the winning players would wave around with triumphant looks on their faces – only the trophy would make them look like idiots. We’d care who won that.
Obviously, the players would have to care sufficiently to wave said trophy like they meant it, so maybe they could still win $20million and the trophy could be a sort of physical representation of that fiscal prize. It wouldn’t have to literally embody it by being a big dollar sign or anything. As long as the players knew they had to wave it and that waving it meant they’d won all the money, that’d do.
Our favourite idea for the $20million trophy so far is just a big blackboard that says “I’m a knobhead” on it.
We hasten to add that we think the players are innocents in all of this – fortuitous innocents, but innocents nonetheless. Regardless of that fact, we’d still care who ended up waving an “I’m a knobhead” sign.
Thanks to Ceci for the above image.10 Appeals
It’s a shame the Stanford 20/20 for 20 match is floodlit, because a match of this financial magnitude being abandoned because of bad light would be too gloriously hilarious for words.
There could be rain delays though and we wouldn’t bet against it. At times cricket can seem wilfully offended by any kind of grand occasion and can usually be relied upon to supply scenes of high farce at the crucial moment.
See the denouement of the 2005 Ashes, when Australia’s batsmen came out to bat in poor light when everyone already knew England had won.
See the World Cup final when Australia and Sri Lanka needlessly retook the field when in fact the match had already been decided.
See the 2007 English Twenty20 Cup final, when no-one realised Kent had won, because they did so off a no-ball.
Build it up as much as you like, Mr Stanford, but the simple fact is that your $20million match will probably be decided by a wide in a rain-revised run-chase.3 Appeals
It was only a matter of time before they introduce BIGGER and therefore BETTER balls.
But the Miami Vice style attire? That’s a step too far.5 Appeals
What will the victors in the Stanford 20/20 for 20 match become?
They will become “dollar millionaires” or ‘not real millionaires’ to you – because of course we don’t have dollars in this country.
It really brings it home that this isn’t really about you, the supporter and it isn’t even about the teams taking part, because the whole marketing of the event revolves around it being ’20/20 for 20′ and about each winning player earning a million.
If you’re English, those things aren’t true. At the time of writing it’s 20/20 for £12,622,279 and each winning player will earn £631,114.
That marketing is not aimed at England, yet the national side is one half of the on-field spectacle.
Cricket prizes should never be in US dollars, whatever the event.14 Appeals
Thus far scores in the Stanford Super Series have been heading south faster than Boris Johnson after being offered chips and gravy by a whippet in a flat cap. Scores, in order, have been 146, 124, 121 and 109.
These aren’t the scores Twenty20 marketers want. They want sixes to all parts and bowlers getting humiliated.
The pitch appears to be made out of plasticine and one man who’ll be happier than most will be Graeme Swann, who didn’t look like getting a game before the series started, but who must be increasingly confident of a spot with the pacemen’s bouncers only endangering the batsmen’s ankles.13 Appeals
No win, no fee cricket starts today in the shape of the Stanford Super Series, which culminates in a $20million winner-takes-all match between England and the Stanford Superstars next Saturday.
We ordinarily support England, so we suppose that we’re supposed to follow them here as well. But why?
They won’t be facing a genuine international side. They’ll be facing ‘the Stanford Superstars’ who feature internationals, but are really just a contrivance. Do we really care if England win or lose to the Stanford Superstars? Are England going to win respect from the world if they win? Not really. It’s all a bit inconsequential.
Are we meant to care more because there’s $20million at stake? Why should we give a toss about that? It’s not like we’ll see any of the money. The only people for whom the money makes any kind of difference are the players.
That money might draw in non-cricket fans too, but they won’t be interested in the game. They’ll be interested on a purely voyeuristic level; not caring who wins, just how that win comes about. This match isn’t for cricket supporters. There’s no supporting going on here.
It might be good for the players to remember that fact. People say there’ll be more pressure on them for this match, but the pressure that comes from having other people’s hopes resting on your actions is greater than the pressure that comes from doing something for yourself.
Don’t sweat it, lads. No-one really cares.6 Appeals
If you’ve a question for Laurence Elderbrook, email us.
May I start this email by telling you how much I admire your restraint.
After being run out by an inferior colleague who failed to make any kind of call, I left the crease (with my dignity preserved, of course) informing my former batting colleague he was a ‘c*nt’.
So I ask, should I wait for an apology or shall I march round to his house and insist on one?
If I need to tell you the answer to that, you won’t get far in this world.
As the old saying goes: ‘You can’t get a grovelling apology without first letting them know how wrong they are.’2 Appeals
Quick recap of our submission guidelines for match reports:
(1) Don’t mention the cricket.
Ged Ladd writes:
The weather forecast for day three had looked far from promising all week and so waking up to rain and a dismal forecast came as a disappointment but no surprise.
My guest, Charley “The Gent” Malloy and I had a contingency plan. We’d go about our own business in the morning, then meet for a late dim sum lunch at The Royal China on Queensway, to be followed by a cursory weather inspection.
My morning passed swiftly, as did a very tasty dim sum lunch. A special duck cheung fun was probably my highlight, although I also particularly liked the prawn with coriander dumpling, the fried pork bun and the spicy chickens’ feet.
We emerged from Royal China to the very enticing sight of sunshine. “Is it possible?” we asked each other. How often do cricket nuts phone the ‘prospects of play’ line to find out what’s going on? We thought 15 minute intervals was suitably restrained.
At 4.05pm we learnt that the umpires had inspected and would inspect again at 4.30pm. The radar picture looked encouraging. We left.
Just one problem – Charley loves the pavilion but, expecting no play, had come out without a tie. Charley always admires my ties, which then turn out to be ones that my mum has given me. So it simply had to be one of mum’s choices.
Play was scheduled to start at 5pm, so we got ourselves some drinks in the upper terrace bar and took up prime seats under the south canopy of the sun deck.
A flurry of rain at 4.45pm and the hover cover returned. Then out came the roller as they started up the hover cover again to remove it.
I decided to count the crowd from where we were sitting. I ignored a few hospitality boxes. Upper Compo six, Mound three, Tavern six, Warner one. I couldn’t see the Allen Stand.
There were seven pigeons clustered about four pitches north of the Test strip. I realised, given my spectator count, that that was the largest spectator cluster other than members and hospitality boxes. The seven pigeons seemed to be walking in along with the fielders.
Soon the rain returned, but as far as we were concerned, 40 minutes of cricket had been better than none. So it was farewell to Charley “The Gent” Malloy, who wandered off into the distance before I realised that he was still wearing that tie my mum gave me.12 Appeals
VVS Laxman is a great player who doesn’t play one-day internationals or Twenty20 internationals. He’s been at Lancashire before and done extremely well and everyone like him.
It also bolsters Lancashire’s batting, which needs a little bit of enbolsterment right now. Hopefully the enbolstery brought by Laxman will spur his fellow batsmen into great feats of bolsteration as well.
This sort of talk presumably formed the basis of the contract talks.10 Appeals