Ravi Shastri May 12, 2010

Cricketainment to the rescue

Can’t figure out how to calculate net run rates for the life of you

‘I’m the needlepoint champion of the world’ © AP

The lot of the Indian cricketer is not always an easy one, and on Tuesday they found themselves in a familiarly perilous position. On the one hand, as Ravi Shastri helpfully suggested to the Indian captain, it was imperative that the players should relax and not get too tense about the whole thing. It’s only a game, after all. On the other hand, this was a match that they absolutely had to win! By at least 20 runs.

But for this spectator, much of the tension was removed from the situation due to the prominence given to the words “net”, “run” and “rate”. Now, individually, these are three perfectly honest and dependable words. I feel I know them, I can trust them. But put them together and they become as palatable as a mojito served with tomato juice and a slice of garlic; a cocktail of definitions that somehow doesn’t quite cause the right neurons to fire in the Hughes brain.

I realise, of course, that there will be large numbers of readers spitting out their coffee at this shameless display of mathematical inadequacy, readers for whom calculating the net run rate is as straightforward an affair as brushing one’s teeth or remembering the names of one’s children, but there it is. My name is Andrew and I can’t add up. Admitting you have a problem is the first step, they say.

But for the benefit of those of us for whom maths is a form of torture (I am far from convinced, for example, that the Spanish Inquisition had nothing to do with the invention of quadratic equations) there must be a simpler way to determine which of four identically pointed teams can progress to the next bit of a competition. And, more importantly, this being Twenty20, there must be a solution that is a lot more showbiz.

One obvious method is to give precedence to the team from the country that has the best flag. On the face of it, this would appear to give Sri Lanka an unfair advantage. But we could get round that problem by having the players design their own team flags, thus rewarding the hitherto overlooked cricket skills of needlepoint and cross-stitch. (I understand, for example, that Roelof van der Merwe’s embroidery is the cause of some jealousy in the South African dressing room).

If that’s not your cup of char, we could instead institute Commentary Bingo in which a miked-up Ravi Shastri would stand in the centre of the pitch commentating on highlights of a game replayed on the big screen. Captains would be given little cards on which would be printed a range of well known and loved phrases, such as “Bang!” and “That’s gone!” and “This one could go down to the wire!” The first captain to fill up their bingo card would leap out of his deckchair and shout, “Cliché!”

But if you prefer that the issue be decided in a more athletic fashion, I have come up with the definitive tournament tiebreaker. The deadlocked teams could line up in a relay race over an obstacle course filled with wacky pitfalls. For example, players might have to carry large rubber banknotes across a tank of mud and place them in the pocket of an enormous inflatable tax inspector, or kayak their way across a lake full of custard whilst a man in a Ray Price costume hurls foam swear words at them.

Now that, as chief executives like to say, is cricketainment.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • fanedlive on May 13, 2010, 13:50 GMT


    Your joke was like a very well directed bouncer. Although it is targeted towards my people, we have no answer to it. Pull a leg, pull towards leg: just loved it. Keep them coming. :)

  • fanedlive on May 13, 2010, 9:34 GMT

    The team that can completely endure all that L Sivramakrishnan and Sidhu have to say, will become winners. Never has commentary been taken to such heights as what these two have done. An honourable mention here is Danny Morrison. The fool and the intellect may commentate together, but neither talks any sense my friend.....

  • fanedlive on May 13, 2010, 9:07 GMT

    There, this is where teams have gone wrong. See, Andrew you wrote an article, I wrote a comment, people saw the comment and forgot the article...I am getting so many responses for my comment. Same way with the teams who saw so many external factors such as money, the playing conditions, the atmosphere and what not and forgot the main reason that they were there - to give full 100% and play to their potential. High time these teams started an introspection. For the record, I am from India but am a strong supporter of West Indian cricket and spontaneous humour. Humour writing in my opinion was an art mastered only by PG Wodehouse.... No pun intended....

  • fanedlive on May 13, 2010, 0:22 GMT

    This is awesome. I'd much rather have this form of tie-breaker (especially as my BlackCaps didn't make the semis, despite beating two of the teams that did). Piggy Styris and Dan the Man strike me as closet Bingo enthusiasts. And I'd have to back Team McCullum in a steeplechase.

    And as for you Srikanth - just because you don't get this type of humour, doesn't mean you have to slander it in his comments. Or read Page 2 at all really...

  • fanedlive on May 12, 2010, 19:21 GMT

    AWESOME!! The Inquisition and stitching lines take the cake. Thanks.

  • fanedlive on May 12, 2010, 17:41 GMT

    Loved what you wrote. Srikanth its ok no need to worry mate he is just trying to pull a leg here although you might be from india so you dont know how to pull towards leg. :)

  • fanedlive on May 12, 2010, 16:27 GMT

    Damn Srikanth... I laughed, so Ireland for the 2011 World Cup it is!

  • fanedlive on May 12, 2010, 15:06 GMT

    Srikanth sounds far to pissed that his teams out of the WC, man this is humour take it for what it is!!!great LAUGH and read while sitting through a boring class on stress! ironic almost

  • fanedlive on May 12, 2010, 14:04 GMT

    Well said, Srikanth. I love to laugh, but I cannot stand manufactured humour.

  • fanedlive on May 12, 2010, 13:49 GMT

    Good work, Andrew! Loved the article, esp. the last two solutions!

    Srikanth, rot at home; go get some anger management sessions, for good humor is something you wont appreciate.

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