Follow this, watch that

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< 1 minute read

This pitch and this match are being slagged off by many people, but we’ve found it compelling because it’s been so alien. It hasn’t been a match that’s been great to watch, but it has been fascinating to follow because cricketers are so rarely tested in such conditions. As a result of that, it’s been very hard to predict what’s going to happen and unpredictability is the lifeblood of sport.

Normally when a pitch is flat, it’s possible to score runs, but this has been something entirely different. It’s been like some quasi-religious exercise in patience and restraint. The players’ emotions and impulses have changed more rapidly than the score. It’s been a trial by status quo.

It’s not been a trial by Status Quo, you understand. Francis Rossi hasn’t been handing down judgments regarding Ian Bell’s use of the feet – although he doubtless has plenty of interesting things to say on the matter. It also seems likely that he’d identify with a bunch of men achieving a lot through near endless repetion of the three things they’ve found to work.

Speaking of work, it’s also been like that. Always good to see how professional sportsmen cope with the grinding monotony that constitutes life for the rest of us.


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  1. You can say whatever you want, but I wouldn’t like to see too many pitches like this one. There wouldn’t have been any interest even if we were playing a team with Dwayne Leverock in. All over the world there are pure batting tracks like Galle or The Wanderers, and they can be terrible, but what you’re proposing is not a step up, it’s a step down, down into an abyss from which test cricket will never recover. I watched much of it sat in my chair in a hotel in Calcutta, and the local press were as dismissive of the pitch as the English commentators (it was better being in Calcutta than at home in the grim northern rain, like some scene from one of those Lowry pictures of matchstick men). Time after time the bowlers trundled in, again and again the batsman dead-batted it back. It was so predictable it was like watching one of those parades they do in the army. Now I’m all for difference, but this was ridiculous.

    Got to go Caroline, it’s time for a marguerita, or something like that.

    1. God no, we weren’t suggesting more of this. We meant to emphasise that the match was intriguing precisely because it was so unusual. We’re happy with pitches like this once a career.

    2. I was actually wondering what Bert was up to this morning as I drove through a damp, dark Berkshire at 6.30, listening to Giles Clarke being interviewed during lunch and imagining him (Bert, not Giles) seething. I certainly didn’t imagine him sitting in a raffeta chair in Calcutta being punkawallahed and of course I’ve no idea what Bert looks like (my Bert is a sort of cross between G.K. Chesterton and Voldermort) but I’m pretty sure I got the seething right.

    3. I am inclined to believe Bert looks more like that condescending Willy Wonka meme that we see so much. Complete with the top hat.

    4. You’re all correct, of course, with a dash of Brad Pitt and George Clooney added in. And I’ve been told I bear more than a passing resemblence to Kenneth Williams. However, right now I am more frustrated than seething. Frustrated because this is either Let’s All Ignore Bert’s Work Day, or worse, none of you is old enough to know any of the twelve Status Quo singles I put in my first comment. COME ON! I thought the inclusion of Dwayne Leverock was a complete giveaway.

    5. Whatever you want
      rock in. all over the world (good one)
      down, down
      pictures of matchstick men
      in the army. Now

      I have a few others, but I needed a discography and so don’t feel I should include them.

    6. I’m sorry if my tangential comment made you feel underappreciated, Bert, I thought you would relish the unsolicited oportunity to savage Clarke. Don’t, Stop, I ain’t complaining.

    7. Touche.

      As for Clarke savaging, I need a run at it. I didn’t hear the interview in question, so I’m not in the slightest bit angry. Now if I’d heard him speak, that would be a different matter entirely.

  2. If England had lost I’d had have hated the pitch, as it is I tolerated it because it was a close Test.

    It was essentially a 650 v 700 with twos instead of boundaries and fielders saving singles instead of catching because there was no carry.

    It did have the added value of being utterly the wrong pitch for the home side’s need, to a hilarious extent

    1. If England had lost this series, the majority view on the bevy of pitches we got in this series, would be different.
      Thank God England won the series, otherwise a few groundsmen in India would have got suspended by ICC!

  3. Unpredictability? What unpredictability? This match was entirely predictable from the time Dhoni and Virat batted for an entire day. And then India decided to bat for an hour on the fourth day just because they can.

    But then again, had England collapsed, we would be singing a different tune with no reference to the pitch. Brings to mind a story about Einstein I heard as a boy (a story that is almost certainly untrue).

    Journalist: Dr. Einstein, what are your thoughts with regard to the experiments that proves the theory of relativity?

    Einstein: Now that my theory has been proved correct, Germany would declare that I am a German and France would declare that I am a citizen of the world. Had it been proved false, France would declare I am a German, and Germany would declare that I am a Jew.

  4. I think we’re losing sight of what’s important right now. Shane Watson looks likely to captain Australia in the next Test.

    1. There’s a nice comment on Cricinfo that reads:

      “there is a difference between ordinary day-to-day intelligence and cricketing intelligence. Shane Warne is a perfect example of having the latter whilst not having the former. Shane Watson is a perfect example of not having either.”

  5. It is said that Status Quo, before they became famous, resided, en masse, in my road.

    A friend bought me the following book, in which the above factoid is stated:

    Other rock and pop giants are said to have spent time (and/or resided) in my road before they became famous.

    But (as far as I know) no famous cricketers have lived here.

    Much like Nagpur, my road would probably not be conducive to taking wickets. But I think it would have a little more bounce.

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