November 12, 2008

Mike Holmans

From the Stanford to the serious

Mike Holmans

In theory, England and their new captain are on a roll after beating South Africa in September. While conceding that England looked almost competent during that series, I feel it only reasonable to point out that they win ODIs at home quite regularly and the trouble invariably starts overseas. It’s not so much that the wheels come off when they play abroad as that the wheels fall victim to airport baggage handlers and never arrive.

The dismal history notwithstanding, England fans are obliged to clutch at any straws of optimism which offer themselves before the games get underway and grim reality sets in. We can try hoping that India will be so drained after beating Australia in the Tests that they will do a South Africa and roll over and play dead, but since they are replacing almost the entire batting line-up with fresh faces anxious to impress, it’s a faint hope. However, that means that for the first time in living memory the Indians will not be five times as experienced as our lot and may lose their heads once or twice and give England a chance to blow an easy win rather than being crushed as per usual.

There are seven ODIs to endure, so I suggest we play a bit of bingo to keep our spirits up. Just keep this list handy while you’re watching and see your score mount:

Ian Bell gets well set but fails to push on for a ton - 1 “I’m not thinking about the IPL. I just want to do my best for England." - 1 James Anderson goes for more than 16 in death over - 2 Paul Collingwood drops easy catch - 3 Commentator reacts to above with “You don’t see that very often.” - 1 Yuvraj Singh hits Stuart Broad for six sixes again - 50 Broad hits Yuvraj for six sixes - 100 Patel takes Patel’s wicket - 10 Ravi Bopara makes significant contribution - 25 Ian Botham says that Pietersen should be batting at 3 - 1 Luke Wright plays but scores no runs and doesn’t bowl - 2 Harbhajan Singh hits team-mate - 10 Peter Moores ascribes latest loss to players’ existential angst - 20 Run out as Pietersen attempts impossible single to get off the mark - 2 Fellow-commentator patiently explains Laws to Botham - 5 Three Indian fielders collide underneath Flintoff skier - 3 Alistair Cook plays while series still alive - 50 Umpire Bowden dislocates shoulder while signalling six - 20 Pietersen caught off switch hit - 4 Reference to Stanford as cameras pan across to England WAGs - 1 Batsmen forget about third powerplay (or are all out before taking it) - 10 Play interrupted by insects or birds - 2 David Lloyd mispronounces “Guwahati” - 3 Zaheer Khan gets revenge by bowling Matt Prior with giant jellybean - 40 Steve Harmison bouncer clears boundary - 6 Elephant stops play - 100 Gautam Gambhir given out caught off elbow - 15 Graeme Swann wins car and complains it is neither pink nor Ferrari - 8 England win dead-rubber game - 1 England win game while series is alive - 100

Eyes down and look in. Good luck, all!

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Posted by Debjit Banerjee on (November 22, 2008, 1:54 GMT)

Ha ha ha. Loved your list. It surely lightened my mood at office!!! My favorite ones are the Yuvraj and Broad ones along with the shoulder dislocation and patel taking patel's wicket. Looking forward reading good stuff from you again in future. - from an indian who should be working instead of posting here ;-)

Posted by Nilesh Kulkarni on (November 14, 2008, 21:40 GMT)

So hilarious..I laughed my butt off. I am counting my points already.

Posted by Deshi on (November 14, 2008, 19:53 GMT)

I was impressed by Ravi Bopara - what an inning! Too bad he is late down the batting order.

Also too many sixes, so bopara making good contribution and umpire dislocating shoulder signalling sixes - predictions are in right direction

Posted by Roger@1stslip on (November 14, 2008, 10:32 GMT)

Jagadish,

If the BCCI continue to insist on so many repetitive ODI's, even the Indian fans will eventually get tired of them and they actually risk killing the concept off.

Posted by Jagadish on (November 14, 2008, 4:07 GMT)

Mike, the deal has typically been a 3 test 7 odi series. See the Google cache of the ECB media release - "The ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India have had a long-standing agreement that India’s tour to the UK would directly reciprocate the three Test matches and seven one-day internationals played by the England team in India earlier this year."

This time, I guess the BCCI told the ECB that the only slot available was between the Aus and Pak series. I don't think anyone needs to defend which one of the 3 is the least important as far as the BCCI and Indian cricket is concerned.

The two boards are basically doing the same thing. The ECB also wants to maximize the revenue it gets from the Indian team. In the case of the BCCI, everyone has a mindset that they're out to kill test cricket.

Posted by Mike Holmans on (November 13, 2008, 21:03 GMT)

Jagadish,

India in England is 3/4 Tests and 5 ODIs. The deal isn't quite reciprocal.

The basic difficulty with a 7-game series is that it's all too likely that one side dominates and it just gets repetitive.

Posted by Jagadish on (November 13, 2008, 16:45 GMT)

Nice one, Mike.

As for 7 ODIs being two too many, the ECB and the BCCI have had a 3-test 7-odi deal for the past 5-6 years now, right from the 2001/02 series. Surely you don't expect the BCCI to agree to the ECB milking the ODIs for what they're worth when India tours and not expect the same in return! The ECB and the BCCI could have always worked on better scheduling so that this wasn't sandwiched between series against Australia and Pakistan. That's what has resulted in the 2 test series, since England's players wanted to go home for Christmas.

Posted by Mike Holmans on (November 13, 2008, 11:40 GMT)

@Christopher

Ordinarily, I would suggest Henry Blofeld as the resident idiot, but I doubt he'll be going to India. So you may score for any observation of the relevant gaffe by any member of the TMS team.

@Roger

7 ODIs are far too many, especially when there are only to be two Tests. However, I have been informed that there is a little-known clause in the ICC playing conditions for ODIs which states that all ODI series in India must end with a 4-3 result.

@Gizza

Thanks, although it is more because I find it difficult to take ODIs seriously than a hangover from Stanford.

Posted by Gizza on (November 13, 2008, 10:53 GMT)

Haha wonderful stuff from Mike. The lack of seriousness in this article makes me think that you're still in Standford party mood.

Posted by Christopher on (November 13, 2008, 10:00 GMT)

For those of us who can't afford Sky, who are the Test Match Special equivalents of Botham and Lloyd please?

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