Matthew Hayden’s been out of international cricket for a while now. It’s natural that he’d be a bit rusty. We’re not talking in terms of his batting. We’re talking in terms of his guff talking.
He’s not totally lost it though:
“This game, coming tomorrow night, is the opportunity to have that decision to find our balance and play the cricket that our talent is capable of.”
He’s also spoken about the fear of getting hit by the ball:
“Only if I watched it and executed the hundreds of thousands of balls that I have hit over my lifetime could I focus my energy on that.”
That’s The Hayden Way.
Sami has just pointed us towards The Hayden Way.
It’s currently a one page website which we might as well reproduce in its entirety:
So what does The Hayden Way do?
It prides itself on the delivery of unnecessary apostrophes.
If you want to know how to retire from cricket. Look to Pakistan. Look to Mohammad Yousuf, who’s executed a textbook Pakistan cricket retirement.
“This is my retirement. I have retired from international cricket.”
He then added:
“For now, this is it. For now this is my retirement.”
That’s how to do it. That’s how to retire.
Many great players bow out to a chorus of wailing from the fans. No-one likes emotion. Far better to retire in equivocal fashion, leaving the door open for a possible or probable return.
Either Mohammad Yousuf comes back (hurrah!) or one day in a couple of years time, we notice that he hasn’t actually come back, in which case we’ll feel all right about it because we’ve pretty much forgotten about him.
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.
Are 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.
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.
Bobby K sent us this:
We thought it might look pretty cool if we cropped out all the background.
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.
Good films come in two forms:
- The writers are smarter than you and have constructed an ingenious plot where the story slowly unfolds, keeping you rapt
- 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!
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’.
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:
- Be absolutely baffled as to why this is a significant moment
- 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.