Karachi Test pitch preview with Archimedes

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While England’s hell-for-leather batting approach of the first Test was again seen in the second, it was often tempered by either (a) conditions or (b) getting out. What we can conclude from this is that pitches matter. So what can we expect from the National Stadium in Karachi for the third and final Test on Saturday?

Last time around, we ceded the floor to soil enthusiast, film director and Limp Bizkit frontman, Fred Durst for our pitch preview. We don’t want to imply any kind of falling out with Fred – or “Dursto” as we tend to call him – resulting from his wide-of-the-mark predictions on that occasion. We just thought he’d benefit from a game off and focusing on his turf management studies with exams looming.

It’s also good to get different voices and different perspectives. With that in mind, we asked Ancient Greek scientist, Archimedes, to step in and preview the third Test pitch.

Archimedes says…

Hmm? What? Sorry, I was just watching TikTok. Have you seen these ‘trick shots’ that people do? Mad stuff. Just mad. Like doing a massive golf putt with a hot dog or booting a footie into a basketball hoop off a trampoline. Just crazy. I mean I guess they have, like, a thousand goes and only post the footage of the one time they actually managed it, but there’s still something about it that sucks you in. I can’t get enough of them.

Karachi then. Okay, well, um, I’ve not really seen the pitch because I’ve been dead for well over 2,000 years. But just sort of setting that aside and looking at recent results, I’m going to say it’s all about building partnerships.

Man, have you seen this one? It’s a fella with a bow and he’s firing, like, 20 arrows all at the same time and popping a balloon with every one of them. Okay, maybe not 20 – but it’s a lot. Oh it’s a snooker one now. Reminds me of Big Break. They used to do trick shots on that.

Anyway, er, yeah, partnerships. There’s actually been a few Tests here in Karachi these last couple of years and that’s the thing that stands out to me from them. Pakistan were shot-out for 191 by Sri Lanka in the first Test back here in 2019, but they then put on 555-3 in their second innings. Pitch flattened out, you think – except Pakistan bowled Sri Lanka out for 212 to win the Test.

Then in 2021 when South Africa played here, the first 15 wickets went down for 341 runs before Fawad Ahmed made a hundred. There weren’t many fifties in that Test, but Pakistan’s tail really wagged in that first innings, so it definitely looks like there’s periods that favour the batters.

Sorry, I’m still thinking about Big Break. Do you remember it? With John Virgo and that comedian. Forget his name. Londoner. Bit racist, I think. Basically Bullseye but for snooker. Virgo did the trick shots.

Sorry, sorry, yeah… The most recent Test in Karachi was in March when Australia toured. The Aussies made 556-9 and then bowled Pakistan out for 148. But just look at the individual scores in Pakistan’s second innings when they saved the game: 96, 1, 6, 196, 9, 104 not out, 0, 9 and 0 not out. I mean honestly. A crazy innings with Babar Azam to the fore.

[Long pause]

Oh, hey, er, sorry, I was just googling John Virgo. I just couldn’t quite believe it was his real name. Looks like it is – at least as far as I can tell. But guess what I’ve just found out? He guested on another of these shows: Full Swing. I mean you can guess what Full Swing is, can’t you? It was the whole Bullseye, Big Break thing, but for golf. Jimmy Tarbuck presented it. Only ran for one series.

Why don’t they do a cricket one of these shows? Get Tuffers on, or Swanny, or Jason Gallian. Do a few trick shots. Swing it round a wheelie bin and into a pint pot; lofted drive that lands down someone’s chimney – that kind of thing.

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  1. My first emotion was one of excitement at the thought of a famous Brazilian footballer pontificating about cricket.

    Then my excitement multiplied (did you see what I did there?) when I learned that the correspondent is in fact THE original Archimedes – he of Syracuse no less.

    I was a little disappointed not to get a bit more on the dimensions of the playing area and some formulae to enable the calculation thereof – I’d have though that sort of contribution would have been playing to Archimedes strengths.

    Still, he did show all his workings, which is what we should expect from one of the greatest mathematicians of all time.

    Unfortunately, by all accounts he was not a great batsman. On hearing the death rattle of the stumps, as oft he did, Archimedes would stand at the crease for 30-40 seconds pondering and then exclaim “Eurika!”, having worked out what the ball had done to beat him. Fantastically clever chap, he was.

    1. Was there a Brazilian footballer called Archimedes, or was Socrates as far as it went? I can confirm, at least according to Wikipedia, that “Hino Rubro-verde” (“Red-green anthem”), one of the songs of São Paulo team Associação Portuguesa de Desportos, was composed by Carlos Leite Guerra and Archimedes Messina.

      Everybody knows that Julius Caesar played cricket for Surrey, as did his dad Benjamin J. Caesar (guess what the J. stands for, no prizes*) and his brother Fred B. Caesar (a 20% bigger prize for guessing what the B. stands for**). Julius had by the far most successful career of the three, even taking part in the first overseas professional cricket tour in 1859, when an English team including Caesar and John Wisden visited Canada and the USA. Caesar went for a drink in an Irish bar and got threatened with a revolver by an irate American, but other than that the tour was a success. They won all their matches despite adverse weather and drew crowds of tens of thousands of people, before the U.S. Civil War and rise of baseball put North American cricket into rapid decline: with any idea of a follow-up tour of the Americas cancelled by the political situation there, two of that touring team went on the first English professional tour of Australia in 1861 instead. https://www.espncricinfo.com/story/icebergs-snowstorms-and-the-fair-sex-432225

      Obviously you all knew that already, but did you know that Julius Caesar de Miranda (1906-1956) was the first Prime Minister of Suriname?

      * Yes, it’s he was Benjamin Julius Caesar.
      ** You got it, he was Frederick Bowles Caesar. Which is ironic as it seems he was mostly a batsman.

      1. Sir Julius Caesar was also Chancellor of the Exchequer from 1606 to 1614, then Master of the Rolls from 1614 to 1636. Gets about, doesn’t he?

        His son Sir Charles Caesar was also Master of the Rolls in the run-up to the English Civil War; Sir JC did keep the naming tradition by having another son called Julius Caesar, but the nominative determinism went awry and he died young after being stabbed in Italy – apparently not a political assassination but following a fencing (the sharp pointy kind) dispute.

      2. I’m not trying to be funny, but if there wasn’t a Brazilian footballer named Archimedes, there blooming-well should have been. It’s certainly not my fault.

      3. Does Archimede Morleo do math, like an American, rather than maths like a proper mathematician?

        And more importantly, does the singular Morleo Archimede have some insights for us about the Karachi cricket pitch?

      4. Sir Julius Caesar suffered from high cholesterol all his life supposedly caused by his high fat red meat diet. His son Charles Caesar, seeing his father suffer so, invented a salad that now goes by the name of Caesar salad. Later an American chef named Cardini stole the recipe (he was aided in this quest by his first name, Caesar, that removed all doubt).

        I doubt you will find this on the interwebs anywhere. You have to come right here, to this site, where facts reside. Big, huge, hanging facts.

  2. Archimedes might make a useful old-fashioned lower-order agricultural slogger, given his long levers.

  3. In other news, are any readers current or indeed from the 3rd century BC attempting to navigate the various ballots for 2023 Ashes tickets and finding the process and accompanying comms to be, well, how should I put this… dogdirt?

  4. Screw Archimedes. His importance to cricket is entirely due to his statement (not even a proof) that no matter what score a batsman gets, assuming it is a positive integer, if you have enough of them it will always be enough (*). It was the early exploitation of this property that led to the famous Million Man Match, when a team comprising one million farmhands from Shrewsbury beat an invitational Chairman’s XI at Lord’s by just short of a million runs. Irritated at being handed a kicking by what the MCC considered as “practically Welshmen”, they introduced a rule stipulating that neither team was allowed to have an arbitrarily large number of players.

    Still, he can’t be worse than Durst. At anything, including writing songs. This latter statement is easily shown from a) Archimedes being dead, and b) listening to Durst’s songs.

    (*) This was later re-written in non-cricket terms that for any x and y, there exists an n such that nx is greater than y, but Archimedes original version was as stated.

  5. I’m just pleased that Archimedes had heard of Jason Gallian. Did he have any views on him? Or Darren Bicknell? Maybe they could do a double act?

    I’m not a Notts man myself, rather a fan of the county that employed the other (dare I say better?!) Bicknell – and I’m surprised Archimedes didn’t pick someone from there; I know for a fact that, not only could Brendan Julian swing the ball round corners, but his favourite equation was ‘that the volume and surface area of the sphere are two-thirds that of the cylinder including its bases’ – given that’s carved on Archimedes’ tomb, you’d have thought they’d have gotten along. Maybe Julian’s penchant for bowling wildly inaccurate balls followed by wickets during AXA league games in the 1996 cup winning year was enough to put him off, but it always endeared him to me…

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