Misbah-ul-Haq untroubled by Venn diagrams

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If Bryce McGain to Ashwell Prince and Dale Steyn to Paul Collingwood made the beast with four backs, their progeny would be Misbah-ul-Haq against England in Dubai.

Misbah is a man of extremes, as capable of batting for a draw when there isn’t one on offer as he is of making the fastest-ever Test hundred – but seemingly with little in between.

On the face of it, 102 off 192 balls is as close to a bog standard hundred as you’re ever going to get, but look a little closer and you’ll see that it’s half Tavaré, half Afridi.

Against the seamers, Misbah made 26 off 120 balls. Against the spinners, he made 76 off 72 balls. If we’d have been Alastair Cook, we’d have brought Ian Bell on and told him to bowl cutters, just to see what would have happened. Perhaps the bipolar computer inside Misbah’s head would have fused, unable to decide on a course of action. Dismissal by Venn diagram, effectively.


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  1. Good call yer maj.

    I recall that when Bell was first rising up to international level there was quite a lot of talk of what his “useful” bowling might yield. So far, not even comedy.

    Incidentally I think a big Misbah hundred plays into England’s hands in the long run as it will persuade Cookie not to retire at 36, since he clearly has five+ good years aheads of him. Incidentally I want to see more 45 year old Test batsmen scoring centuries. I’ve got a few years to wait on this one, clearly.

  2. If Venn diagrams could yield dismissals, then I’d be up there with the 400/500 test wicket bowlers’ club, would I not.

    To be clear, Venn diagrams don’t take wickets.

    Think two spheres. One says “Venn diagrams”, the other says “wickets”. Those sphere’s do not overlap at all.

    In short, KC, sphericals.

    1. Agggghhh, errant apostrophe!!

      I should never post after a 48 hour work marathon. Why do I never learn?

    2. Strictly speaking, a sphere is a two-dimensional surface. It is not the same as a ball, which is the volume enclosed by a sphere (but not including the sphere). Think of the sphere as the set of points defined by the equation x2 + y2 + z2 = 1, whereas the ball is the set of points defined by x2 + y2 + z2 < 1.

      The intersection of two spheres is therefore a one-dimensional circle, not a disc (a line, not an area). In Venn diagram terms, this is analogous to the intersection of the two Venn circles being only the two distinct points where the circles cross, not the area so defined.

      In the game of cricket, what is commonly referred to as “the ball” is better described as “the sphere and its associated ball”. This distinction, however elegant in its accuracy, doesn’t matter for HawkEye LBW decisions, because it is strictly impossible for the ball alone to intersect the stumps without the sphere doing likewise. Nonetheless, much confusion has been caused by sloppy commentators discussing the ball hitting the stumps when in reality only the sphere can.

      I have debated this point at length with Ian Botham on Twitter.

      1. We daresay his argument was: “Test cricket is the flagship. Don’t mess with it.”

        It usually is.

      2. Alternatively, Botham’s argument might well have been, “so how many test wickets have you taken, Bert?”

        That’s his other argument.

        But thank you, Bert, once again, for explaining the physics of it all to us. But please answer just one more question on this fascinating topic. If someone is talking absolute drivel, are they talking balls or are they talking spheres?

      3. Are there, therefore, only 14 men who can triumph in a verbal confrontation with Lord Beefy? Can he then invoke the ‘well how many test runs did you score?’ argument? This would then reduce the pool of potential sparring victors down to one man?

        In the Ian Botham Argument Winner Venn Diagram, there is Kapil Dev, and there is Everybody Else.

      4. Third and final question: “and how many test catches…aha”.

        Moral of this story: don’t get into an argument with Ian Terence Botham…

        …that’s Sir Ian Terence Botham to you (and me).

  3. “The beast with four backs”? Is that a human millipede or something?

    (Because otherwise we’d have gone an entire post without a reference to defaecation.)

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