April 16, 2009

Harbhajan and Symonds are now team-mates

Introducing ESPNcricinfo's Page 2, a space where entertainment is the sole objective

I don't know how owners of large department stores that make you wind your way past things that they want you to see feel about doing so, but I feel a bit sheepish about luring you in with this headline. Though it does not lie, Harbhajan and Symonds are only bit players in this piece: the main agenda is something else.

Now that I have secured your attention, allow me to lead you on to a brand new section on Cricinfo. Unlike department stores, I won't guarantee satisfaction, but I have a hunch it will bring a smile to your face.

You have two choices. You can click on this link to check out the section right away and then come back read this if you need to. Or you can read on and explore later.

I recommend the second option.

So let me tell you what Page 2 is all about.

To start with, it will not have news and scores, which form the core of Page 1, otherwise known as the homepage. It will have elements of opinion, a blog or two, lists, games, byte-sized features, and even "stats" - though unlike the ones you have seen on Cricinfo.

With Page 2, Cricinfo is venturing into new territory. And after having put it together we are now wondering why we waited so long. It is no coincidence, however, that it is being launched during the IPL: Page 2 mirrors Twenty20.


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Twenty20 was born out of a strikingly simple idea. It stripped cricket of all its adornment - and even character, it can be argued - to pursue one objective: entertainment. You could say that it reduced a grand game to a merely entertaining one. But in doing so it has opened up a new world, and the sport is richer for it. It is a tribute to cricket that it can accommodate three distinct forms.

By the same token, Page 2 makes no apologies about making entertainment its sole objective. It is not a deviation from our core values, but rather an expansion of our range. Cricinfo has always been, and will remain, a serious site for serious fans. But like Twenty20 itself, Page 2 will serve as an aperitif to a substantial main course.

Even though its scope is currently limited to the IPL, there is a lot to sample. Try out The CV, our alternative player profiles, or Quick Singles, where cricketers provide glimpses into their lives off the field as well as on it.

In Hit or Miss, poet, dancer and soon-to-be novelist Tishani Doshi will offer daily meditations on a love that she is hoping to reignite (with cricket, lest you get ideas), and in The Daily Dose our reporters at the venues will bring you the sidelights from South Africa.

If you still don't believe that the IPL has changed everything, try this cricket dictionary, by Andy Zaltzman, of The Confectionery Stall fame. And for further evidence, sample Rules from Hell, inspired by the various edicts of He Who Must Not Be Named.

In You Asked For It you will find rubbish answers to questions our other q&a columnists on the site, Geoff Boycott and Steven Lynch, would dismiss out of hand.

EyePL TV, our daily cartoon, will take a look at the other side of the tournament; and there's more comic relief courtesy the exploits of Thwackman, cricket's first superhero, who stumbles into the world of the IPL.

Plus, there are lists, quizzes and crosswords, and we also have Ian Chappell, David Lloyd, Sanjay Manjrekar and yours truly trying to beat each other at Fantasy cricket.

So, welcome to Page 2. The section is evolving and lots more features will be added as the tournament progresses. If you're missing a navigation that helps you get around, that will be taken care of in a couple of days too.

For once we urge you not to take us seriously. Join us in having some fun. And let us know what you think.

Before I go, here's the piece that made the headline possible.

EyePL TV, our daily cartoon, will take a look at the other side of the tournament; and there's more comic relief courtesy the exploits of Thwackman, cricket's first superhero, who stumbles into the world of the IPL.

Plus, there are lists, quizzes and crosswords, and we also Ian Chappell, David Lloyd, Sanjay Manjrekar and yours truly trying to beat each other at Fantasy cricket.

So, welcome to Page 2. The section is evolving and lots more features will be added as the tournament progresses. If you're missing a navigation that helps you get around, that will be taken care of in a couple of days too.

For once we urge you not to take us seriously. Join us in having some fun. And let us know what you think.

Before I go, here's the piece that made the headline possible.

Sambit Bal is the editor of ESPNcricinfo

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