Tag: IPL (page 1 of 8)

Mark Wood’s IPL experience with Chennai Super Kings has helped him make his choices – but where will he go next?

Mark Wood (ECB)

You may remember that earlier in the year, we wrote about the weighted, weighty decisions faced by Mark Wood this season.

Wood’s long format career has been in the balance of late. An IPL contract seemed likely to keep him out of all early season first-class cricket and a consequence of that would have been reduced likelihood of playing any Test matches.

Fortunately, he bowled a load of toss in India and on such small things do career paths hinge.

Mark Wood’s performance for Chennai Super Kings

Wood took 0-49 from four overs in the opening match of this season’s IPL. He was the most expensive bowler on either side. He hasn’t been asked to play again.

At some point since then, Wood approached the team bosses and said something like: “Um. If you don’t really need me, could I maybe go home and play cricket?”

The Chennai Super Kings people said yes.

So what happens next?

In the short-term, Wood will attempt to secure a Test spot by playing precisely one first-class match for Durham ahead of the Pakistan series.

Technically, he is “the man in possession” having played England’s most recent five-day match, only it never really seems to work like that for bowlers.

Also, he didn’t make an unarguable case in his most recent Test outing and there’s also a case for saying that England would be better off trying to identify a short-pitched specialist as the third seamer.

Whether he plays the Pakistan Tests or not, that single County Championship match is the only one Wood is likely to be available to play until England’s short format commitments come to a close on July 17. Durham then have just one more Championship match in which he’ll be able to showcase his red ball competence before the India Test series starts. He’ll probably be rested for it.

What happens longer term?

That’s the bulk of Wood’s season. That’s his opportunity to “nail down a Test spot”.

Should he fail to achieve that aim – which, given the circumstances, seems entirely possible – he could instead train his hammer on the shortest format and try and nail down an IPL spot.

A man who prepared for this Test summer by playing the IPL and who prepared for the IPL by playing a one-off Test match might at some point conclude that he’ll get better results if he narrows his focus.

Conclusion

Being a professional cricketer can really get in the way of being a professional cricketer these days.


Does the IPL deserve its reputation?

IPL 2018 anthem (all images via YouTube)

The 2018 IPL is underway. It is the 11th edition.

Back in 2008 the IPL was a bombastic upstart that threw huge sums of money at all the big name players. Now it is a bombastic-yet-fairly-well-established competition and it only throws huge sums of money at some of the big name players, but also at a few players who you don’t really know all that well.

Things have changed but things also haven’t changed. Either way, it’s a good time to take a look at the IPL’s reputation to judge whether or not it’s deserved.

One of the challenges of attempting to do that is that it’s quite hard to pin down the IPL’s reputation. The tournament is vast and sprawling and different people have very, very different opinions on it.

We took the not-at-all scientific approach of asking a bunch of people who happened to be on Twitter on a Saturday afternoon to try and sum up the IPL’s reputation. After that, we cherry-picked answers that we felt had the ring of truth about them. The end result was a series of different qualities, each of which we will now examine.

This is not a short article, but hopefully it is the kind of article where you are happy that it’s long because you find it to be fun and enjoyable and not the kind of article where you’re forever checking how much you’ve already scrolled through and how much scrolling you still have left to do.

Here are some commonly mentioned aspects of the IPL’s reputation and analysis of whether or not they are deserved.

(1) The IPL is over the top, gaudy and ostentatious

Here’s a shot from eight seconds into this year’s IPL theme tune video.

At this point, you’re quite legitimately concluding that what’s about to follow is probably not going to be a work of extraordinary subtlety.

This is ten seconds in.

Hitting a flaming ball with a cricket bat initially seems kind of ludicrous, but two seconds later they’ve already made hitting a flaming ball with a cricket bat look like a very reserved way to promote a cricket tournament. It does after all greatly focus on cricket, rather than on tigers.

Our favourite part of the tiger shot is the disclaimer beneath which states: “These are stock shots and no animals were harmed in the making of this film.”

They say that because this is what happens next.

The tigers blew up!

Or at least an explosion was displayed at the exact moment that the tigers walking out of the fire towards one another would have touched noses. Maybe it’s a logical leap to conclude that we’re meant to see this as exploding tigers, but we put it to you that it’s a logical leap we are encouraged to make.

This is a very important example of how big things are marketed in India.

Here is a thing that no-one in India has ever said about marketing a big thing: “It’s good, I like it – but do you not think that maybe it’s just a little bit too much?”

No-one has ever said that. No-one will ever say that. Subjected to an assault of singing, dancing and explosions, people are far more likely to say: “Maybe we should have more singing, dancing or explosions.”

Then someone else will turn to them and say: “Let’s have more of all three.”

Everyone will nod and agree and then at some point someone will suggest the addition of tigers.

Here is another very minor, low-key example of the phenomenon. It is nice and small and manageable and easy to understand. When they named the Chennai franchise, they concluded that calling them ‘Kings’ would be insufficient, so they went ahead and called them ‘Super Kings’ instead.

Complaining that Indian entertainment is over the top, gaudy and ostentatious is like complaining about India’s geographic location on this planet. What do you honestly expect anyone to do about it?

If you have a problem with the over the top, gaudy and ostentatious nature of Indian entertainment, here are your options:

  1. Deal with it
  2. Fail to deal with it

Technically, you could also ignore it, but we’re writing this from the perspective that you’re in some way interested in the IPL and are doing your best to enjoy or endure it. As such, those are your two options.

(2) The IPL is a slogfest

This is a bit of a ‘yes and no’ which we are aware is not an especially satisfying way to deal with such a thing.

Yes, the IPL is kind of a slogfest, because it is a Twenty20 cricket competition and Twenty20 cricket is kind of a slogfest.

No, because when you say ‘slogfest’ there are connotations to your use of that word. It is very rare for someone to speak in complimentary terms about something they are labelling a slogfest.

The original pejorative description of Twenty20 cricket was ‘hit and giggle’. This has fallen out of use a bit because it makes the format sounds like a fun, knockabout, amateur sort of thing.

This is in no way appropriate any more because people are pumping millions of moneys into these franchises. We’ll tell you what people pumping millions of moneys into something don’t at all enjoy: giggling from the people paid to produce results. Giggling implies that you’re not taking things at all seriously and if someone’s invested millions of moneys, that isn’t going to go down well.

So the slogging. The crux of this issue is this: in cricket, runs and wickets do not have set values. The value of each fluctuates from game to game, and, in a more general way, from format to format.

In the shortest format, wickets don’t really have much value at all until the point you lose your tenth wicket and aren’t allowed to continue scoring runs. Runs are the meaningful unit of currency and with reduced likelihood of being bowled out due to the constricted nature of the game, there is greater incentive to try and hit fours and sixes. That is how the game is built.

To explain why it’s not just slogging, let’s think of a ‘slog’ as being a wild hack where there’s just as much chance of being dismissed as hitting a six.

(1) If all 11 batsmen hit exactly one six and play no other scoring shots before getting out, the team will make 66, which is pretty much guaranteed to be a losing total.

(2) If all 11 batsmen hit exactly two sixes and play no other scoring shots before getting out, the team will make 132, which is okay in some circumstances, but probably also a losing total.

(3) If all 11 batsmen hit exactly three sixes and play no other scoring shots before getting out, the team will make 198, which is good enough to win most matches.

Our point is that a batsman can’t mindlessly swing at everything. If his decisions are inevitably weighted towards runs and away from preservation of his wicket, then there is still a decision to be made every ball. It is not just a slogfest.

Additionally, bowlers and fielders also play cricket.

(3) The IPL has incredibly passionate fans

Okay, we’re going to address this one by telling you two stories from when we went to watch Bangalore Royal Challengers v Deccan Chargers in 2010 (a colourful time during which we wrote this). The first story is from when we were at the match. The second story is from when we were at a hotel.

Story One. Here is a not-very-good photo from when were at the match. Sorry about the quality. We seem to remember that cameras were banned and mobile phone technology was not-so-good back then.

We just wanted to give you a small flavour of what the crowd was like. You will notice that a lot of people are waving flags and at least one person is wearing a crown.

You also cannot hear the crowd. We’d gone there with our friend Tronco and when the RCB batsmen first walked out, it was loud enough that we could scream “this is loud” directly into his ear and he still couldn’t hear us. Whenever anything happened from then on, it got louder.

The boy who was sitting next to us was certainly passionate. He told us he was supporting both RCB and DC, but in reality he was supporting sixes. He didn’t even clap for most fours, but when there was a six, he was out of his seat, eyes bulging, nearly falling over. It was very weird. He wasn’t bothered about wickets either and it was hard not to conclude that his love for the DLF Maximum was entirely detached from its significance in the match.

There was also a middle-aged guy a few rows in front who was very definitely passionate. It was much less clear whether he was following the match too closely. He was mostly just into dancing.

He was dancing to everything. At the time, this seemed very strange to us because we grew up in a world where even sitting down on a chair in the pub is considered effeminate. In the world of our early adulthood, pubs were for standing in and nowhere in the world was for middle-aged men to dance. (Look, we’re not saying we agree with this view or that most of the people who populated this world weren’t dicks, but this was the environment and we have inevitably internalised many of the values whether we like it or not.)

After a while, we started to notice that Dancing Man was representative of a certain proportion of the crowd. Everyone was having a very, very good time, but the noise was constant in a way that wasn’t necessarily all that related to what was happening on the field of play.

We can’t say what the actual split was between people who were dead into the game and people who were just dead into the experience. Personally, we remember and cherish the experience and honestly don’t know who won the game. It’s worth mentioning that it was a very good-natured crowd too. We can’t imagine any of the players were getting abuse.

Story Two. A little while later, we had to spend ten extra days in the hotel because we couldn’t get home because of the ash cloud. We were on our own by this point and so took to chatting about the IPL with the staff. There was one guy who was very definite that he was not a cricket fan and not an IPL fan either.

Almost immediately after saying this, he dissected Harmeet Singh’s technique when bowling his leg-break slower ball and followed that up with a dissection of the same bowler’s technique when bowling his flipper slower ball. We are an actual professional cricket writer and we’re still not fully sure who Harmeet Singh is.

It seems that in India, the average person is far more likely to know their cricket shit.

This is hardly surprising because during the IPL, cricket can be hard to avoid. We picked up a copy of the Deccan Chronicle one morning during our stay. Six and a half of the 16 pages were devoted to IPL news of some form. There had been bombs at Chinnaswamy Stadium, but that only warranted a page and a half – the rest was all Lalit Modi and Shashi Tharoor, match reports and opinion.

The ash cloud got 150 words. Mark Ramprakash’s divorce got 100.

(4) The IPL has too much advertising

There are few parts of the IPL that haven’t been sponsored. Grounds are sponsored, shirts are sponsored, highlights reels are sponsored. They’ve even found advertisers for moments, like for a six or for a ‘perfect catch’. This means that corporate names can also lodge themselves within the match commentary.

After the match, there are awards – all of which are sponsored and many of which are flimsy and very obviously made-up purely to secure yet another sponsor. Man of the match is fairly conventional, but to this we can add ‘stylish player of the match’, ‘super striker of the match’ and doubtless a few others that we haven’t the will to find out about right now.

There’s an official strategic time-out partner. There are co-presenting sponsors. There are any number of ill-defined associate sponsors.

They’ve even named an ‘umpire partner’ – something which might come as very shocking news to some of the umpires’ actual partners.

Umpire’s wife: “Are you having a parallel relationship with Paytm?”

Umpire: “I, um… what?”

But it’s only on the TV coverage where you get the full IPL effect. Ad breaks are punishingly frequent and last time we watched it, they were doing a thing where they occasionally shrunk the live action picture so as to display banner ads at the bottom and down the side.

The ad break ads (it says a lot that we needed to invent that term) were mostly for aspirational stuff. Phones, LCD TVs, Mont Blanc pens and plush furniture featured heavily.

Let’s quickly do some TV advert awards.

Our all-time favourite Indian TV ad. It was from 2003 or whenever the hell it was we first went over there. It was for Rupa Jon pants and featured a man in white Y-fronts who advertised his sole garment by saying: “You’re number one!” He accompanied that statement with a bold, joyful finger point to emphasise his message. It really was very entertaining. We can’t emphasise that enough.

The most jaw-droppingly perplexing ad that we saw while watching IPL matches on TV in 2010. As we remember it, the guy was a hangman and he’d had a bad day hanging people (a successful day really in terms of doing his job, but in a more meaningful sense a bad day because his job was to hang people). He walked home feeling all bad and then when he got home he switched a solitary lightbulb on and felt slightly better because of the fact that he had either (a) a lightbulb or (b) power for the lightbulb. (We’re honestly not sure how much of this is accurate due to it being a long time ago and because the final slogan was in a type of writing that we cannot read.)

The ad that best sums up an entire country that isn’t India. In Canada we once saw a prime time TV ad which suggested that the viewer might want to “impress all of your friends with a giant rig” – that’s ‘rig’ as in ‘truck’. Oh Canada.

Anyway. Yes, clearly the IPL has too much advertising. We could probably have done this one a bit quicker.

(5) The IPL is overrated and overhyped

This is to some degree connected to (1) and (4).

Of course it is overhyped because that is how the IPL presents everything. It would be very odd indeed if the one solitary thing it didn’t oversell was itself.

Of course it isn’t going to be shy about taking opportunities to talk itself up. It would be very odd indeed if, in amongst advertising 10 million other things, it neglected to advertise itself.

The IPL thinks that it’s the best and has always thought that it’s the best. There are two aspects to this that warrant our attention.

Firstly, the IPL is, and pretty much always has been, the best T20 competition. It is the best-funded and therefore the best-staffed, both in terms of players but also in terms of people trying to work out smart ways of winning cricket matches. So yes, the IPL is within its rights to think it’s the best.

What’s changed is how people regard T20 competitions. Initially, ‘best T20 competition’ was a bit like saying ‘best-looking deep sea fish’ because it was a label that didn’t really have any value in broader terms.

Now, thanks to all the great players and thinkers who have been involved for a decade, ‘best T20 competition’ pretty much means ‘most sophisticated and forward-thinking cricket competition’.

However much or however little you value that, T20 competitions are unarguably far more important to the game than they once were and the IPL is the most significant among them.

(6) The IPL is too powerful

The idea here is that the IPL is a talent sucker; that other parts of the sport are losing players and becoming devalued as a consequence.

You could argue that the arrival of the IPL represented a very obvious tipping point for a sport that had already spread itself too thinly and was asking too much of its players. Cricket’s foremost domestic league lasts seven weeks. That is not, by the standards of most sports, unreasonable. The problem, really, is what was already happening.

International cricket long ago lost sight of the idea that it is supposed to be about big occasions where the best players play the best players and everyone is at their best.

County cricket has also been affected, but it only expanded deeper into April in the first place to allow even more international cricket to take place.

The IPL could see the end of the philosophy of ‘more of everything’ in cricket and that isn’t such a bad thing.

(7) Most people outside India are at best apathetic about the IPL

A common refrain from outside India is that they don’t care about the IPL and can’t even find a way to care about the IPL. This is not the same as no-one caring about the IPL because it is quite obvious that in India very many people care about the IPL. (This division of caring makes total and perfect sense because it is, after all, the Indian Premier League.)

The fact that people are even discussing this is a measure of the league’s significance. No-one in England is following the Ranji Trophy too closely. No-one’s following the Logan Cup or the Lankan Premier League. Foreign leagues are foreign. The fact that in its 11th season the IPL is suffering unflattering comparisons with the NFL in the US or the English Premier League is really kind of an achievement.

So, in relative terms, people outside India actually care very much about the IPL because they mention it and sometimes think about it a little.

So, with all of that in mind, does the IPL deserve its reputation?

Having weighed up the facts and pondered the detail, we would have to go with ‘sort of’.


As the IPL and County Championship loom into view, which fantasy cricket game is best?

telegraph-fantasy-cricket

If there’s one thing we like about fantasy cricket leagues, it’s eking out our few remaining fantasy points/doubloons over half a dozen all-but-unknown cricketers to complete our XI after going a bit overboard with our first two selections and an unsuccessful attempt to rein things in a bit with the next three.

If there’s one thing we don’t like about fantasy cricket leagues, it’s paying close attention to how our team is getting on as the season progresses. We don’t want to feel any sort of obligation to do ‘transfers’ to maximise our point-scoring. We just want to pick a team and then passively monitor them, checking in on them about once a fortnight and perhaps bemoaning the fact that our entire bowling attack is either injured or performing so poorly that they are no longer playing first team cricket. This to us is the whole point – the helplessness and underperformance.

That’s what we’ve been on the lookout for today: a kind of hands-off fantasy game that will if not exactly reward inactivity, then at least not punish it. They don’t really do this. They seem to want to you to repeatedly log in and do stuff. It’s almost as if that is the very thing they’re striving for with these games.

So, in summary, the best fantasy cricket game is all of them, right up until the point you submit your side. Our tactical withdrawal game-playing strategy also brings with it the benefit that you don’t have to pay anyone any money or give them your email address or owt.


Do the Rising Pune Supergiants have the finest name in the history of sport?

Rising_Pune_Supergiants

The answer is yes.

“Supergiants” beats “Super Kings” on account of it being one word. A ‘super giant’ would simply be a giant who was very, very good, whereas a ‘Supergiant’ is a massive dude with extraordinary strength and x-ray vision who can also fly. The fact that they are rising is merely an added bonus.

Kevin Pietersen is one Supergiant who will be rising in the Maharashtrian city of Pune this IPL season. In a massively unfortunate turn of phrase, his new captain MS Dhoni said of the grey-flecked controversialist: “He, like other seniors, has an added responsibility to groom the youngsters.”

Pietersen has got away with a fair amount over the years, but not sure ‘Dhoni told me I had to’ would serve as much of a defence in a court of law.


Might and will in Twenty20 and Tests

raina-sharma

Our friend who was once known as Uncle Jrod has written a piece for Cricinfo about the impact of the IPL on India’s Test performances. We can’t work out whether he’s been done up by the site’s subeditors or whether the headline and teaser are part of the general mischievousness of the piece. Probably the former.

Blaming the IPL for India’s Test defeats is tired, easy and to a great extent wrong. It’s one aspect of a bigger picture. As Jarrod is at pains to point out, the lack of first-class cricket is probably the bigger problem, even if the IPL contributes to that. There’s also the fact that this is nothing new. India were weak away from home and lacked reliable pace bowlers long before the 20-over format became such a huge, stinking beast.

But this isn’t actually what we want to talk about today. One passage in the article reminded us of something we’ve been meaning to say for a while.

“Umesh Yadav is big and strong. He’s the most moose like of Indian quicks. His strike rate is amazing. His pace is impressive. Dhawan at slip goes low, the ball hits the middle of his hands, he roles forward athletically. But it’s kind of a mirage. It’s the best of India, and what they can do. But not often what they do.”

Oddly, our focus here is not Umesh Yadav’s moose-like qualities, nor the misspelling of ‘rolls’. No, it’s actually a key difference between Twenty20 cricket and Tests. We think we’ve got this idea clear enough in our head that we can get it across in a couple of sentences, so we’ll give it a line all of its own and maybe even put it in bold.

Twenty20 is about what you might do. Test cricket is about what you will do.

To help us outline our point, India have helpfully recalled Suresh Raina to their Test team. He seems as good a player as any to use as an example.

Raina might hit a hundred in India’s first innings. Make no mistake, he’s a player who sometimes comes off and when he does, it’s eye-catching. Thing is, he’s not what you would call reliable. He averages 28.44 in Tests.

In Twenty20, what you might do is useful. Most innings feature a lot of batting failures – it’s the nature of the format. If five batsmen fail and one makes a hundred, you’ll probably win. Failures are less costly because wickets don’t always affect the outcome of the game. You can afford to select a whole bunch of high-risk, potentially high-reward batsmen because doing so isn’t actually risky at all. In 20 overs, there’s always another batsman to come in.

In Test cricket, wickets define the game. If five batsmen fail, you’re conceding an awful lot of ground. You simply can’t afford to carry too many people in a Test match because everyone’s needed. Consequently, it doesn’t pay to select players on the basis of what they might do. Far better to choose on the basis of what they (probably) will do.

While there’s huge overlap in the qualities needed to succeed in both formats, there’s also a fundamental difference. The ability to maximise what you can get from a finite number of deliveries is not the same as maximising what you can get with time constraints of minimal importance.

People get confused though. As Twenty20 leagues get more coverage, perception is skewed. A handful of match-winning innings will always draw more attention than a whole slew of solid but unremarkable ones and the players who deliver the former are more likely to get talked up. People say these players have more ‘ability,’ but this overlooks the fact that it is often high-risk, high-reward ability in a format that rewards such an approach.

Funnily enough, India are actually pretty good at distinguishing. Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Lokesh Rahul weren’t elevated to the Test team off the back of intermittent Twenty20 overachievement, which is another reason why it’s misguided to blame the IPL for away Test defeats. Or at least it was. Now Suresh Raina’s back and he seems to owe his selection to his proficiency at a high-risk, high-reward style of play.

Maybe Raina can adapt. Only time will tell. He might well score a hundred tomorrow. But then again, long-term Test success is never built on what you might do.


Chris Gayle’s 17 sixes were no great surprise

The worth of a Twenty20 player cannot be measured via a single innings. That’s a mistake many people make – they confuse aberrations with excellence. It’s therefore worth underlining the sheer inevitability that it would be Chris Gayle who would break the record for the highest individual score in the shortest format.

It doesn’t actually matter all that much that he was facing Ishwar Pandey, Ali Murtaza and even an over from Aaron Finch (although Luke Wright’s four overs for 26 look pretty fine in this context). Whoever was bowling, it takes phenomenal ability to hit 30 of the 66 balls you face for boundaries. As a child, we never once managed it when bowling a tennis ball to ourself via the wall of the garage and we were bowling underarm and umpiring as well.

Gayle finished with 175 not out, having hit 13 fours and 17 sixes in another good advert for his core strength. His team, Royal Challengers Bangalore, won. You may well have guessed that last bit.


Delhi Daredevils’ big mistake

Since they added extra teams, the IPL now takes even longer to take shape. Relatively speaking, it’s still early days, but thankfully one team is doing badly enough that it is actually worth remarking upon. Step forward Delhi Daredevils.

After helping Delhi Daredevils to their feet again, we examined them closely and we can exclusively reveal where they’re going wrong.

Delhi Daredevils on paper

However, let’s first take a look at what’s right, because they’re not short of good players and they actually topped the league last year, even if they didn’t win the competition.

They have Morne Morkel, who was the top wicket-taker in 2012 and he’s supported by some of the better Indian seam bowlers, such as Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav. Opening batsmen are critical in Twenty20 cricket and Delhi have Virender Sehwag and David Warner who are then followed by Mahela Jayawardene further down the order.

It’s all good, right?

It is NOT all good

Take a look at Delhi’s squad and there he is, stinking up the place like a medium-paced chunk of ancient cheese that someone’s been sick on. Delhi have the right to field the 35-year-old innocuoso, Ajit Agarkar.

He may not be playing, but it’s hard for any player to avoid being tarred by association. If Agarkar’s in the Delhi squad and you’re in the Delhi squad, that makes you equals, which means you must embrace mediocrity with all your heart. Every time he turns up for training, he’s lowering the bar with his filthy long hops, bringing everybody down.

Frankly, we won’t be surprised if Delhi fail to win a single match this year.


The best players for a fantasy IPL team

We selected a fantasy IPL team on Cricinfo and were about to set up a league so that people could compete against us when we suddenly thought: ‘No, wait, this is bollocks.’

Do you want to know who the best players are for a Cricinfo fantasy IPL team? It’s whoever happens to be playing today. That’s the game.

You have a ridiculous number of transfers open to you, so the game is basically just to go into your account daily to transfer players. It’s not about picking guys you think will perform well; it’s about staying on top of things. It’s about checking the fixture list and ensuring you have the maximum number of players appearing each day.

You know you’re having a bad week when you’re this angry about the rules of a fantasy IPL game. You might say we should get some perspective, but that isn’t the problem. This isn’t what we’re annoyed about. This is just overspill.


Two things wrong with the 2013 IPL

Let’s start slowly. We’ve plenty of time. Two things for now. More may follow.

1. Adam Gilchrist is playing

Adam Gilchrist is about 110 years old. More importantly, he is not a cricketer. He was once, but he isn’t any more. No cricket competition should field people who aren’t cricketers.

2. Six terminology

We’ve come to terms with sixes being referred to as ‘maximums’ even if we get MASSIVELY ANNOYED when someone calls fours ‘boundaries’ in such a way as to imply that the two words are synonyms. They aren’t. A four is a type of boundary. A six is still a boundary as well. It’s not ‘sixes and boundaries’. That makes no sense.

But that’s not our point. Our point is actually something we’re slightly less annoyed about. On the homepage of the IPL website, they list ‘IPL leaders’. These are the players who have scored most runs, taken most wickets and so forth. One of the categories is ‘maximum sixes’.

Firstly, this mashes together two terms for the same thing, but more importantly, they aren’t listing the players who’ve hit maximum sixes, because no-one has hit the maximum.

Chris Gayle hit the most in 2012, but he also played out plenty of dot balls and ran a few singles. He therefore cannot have struck ‘maximum sixes’. He spurned literally hundreds of opportunities.

We’re happy for the ‘maximum sixes’ category to remain, but only if it features no players whatsoever.

… and one thing that’s right about the 2013 IPL

Royston Dias might play and all sports competitions are greatly improved by the inclusion of players with funny names.


Sourav Ganguly’s hair

If you’ve missed or boycotted this year’s IPL, you have only missed one thing: Sourav Ganguly’s hair.

Young Sourav brought himself on to bowl against Delhi and promptly bowled Kevin Pietersen first ball. He then went on a raised-fist jaunt across the field sporting a bizarre bouncing flap of hair.

The image we’ve linked to above simply doesn’t do it justice. It was like he’d slept in a pool of Rogaine which had affected only one side of his head, giving rise to a huge wedge of hair, far longer than the rest, which was reaching out to the world, eager for new experiences.

Sourav has a history of bad hair. For a time, he was doing that thing where men shave too high so that their hair line goes up from the ears towards the eyebrows. It made him look like he had learning difficulties.

Update: Here is the full horror in video form. (Thanks to Deep Cower)


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