July 10, 2010

Make the next Murali a Bangladeshi

Andrew Hughes
Paul Collingwood sharpens his hand-eye co-ordination during England's practice session, Bristol, July 9 2010
Ask yourself: do you want this man, smelly kitbags and all, in your living room?  © Getty Images
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Have you seen the cricket in 3D? Oh, you must try it. 3D is marvellous, it is the future, you get, like, these dark glasses and when you put them on you can watch in 3D. Yes, I know, three dimensions! It’s the way of the future, 3D. Did you know that Sky are pioneering 3D? Didn’t I tell you? Yes, 3D. Cricket matches in 3D. Incredible, isn’t it. Sky are doing it. Yes, that’s right, 3D coverage of cricket. Only on Sky. It’s really wonderful, this 3D. 3D, 3D, 3D, 3D, 3D.

I apologise if my opening paragraph was a tad annoying. I hope, though, that it has conveyed to you something of the experience of watching Thursday’s one day international. Like particularly obtuse opponents in a rather frustrating game of Battleships, there was only one number-and-letter combination that the Sky employees were interested in. Again and again they rammed home the news of broadcastingkind’s latest technological advance until it displaced almost every other thought in the viewer’s head.

Ian Botham described it as though the players were miniature cricketers in a goldfish bowl and you were in there with them. That to me sounds like the disturbed nightmare of a feverish patient, not an arrangement that I might care to pay £36 per month for. It may well put the players in your living room, but frankly I do not particularly want James Anderson scowling at me from the chaise longue or Paul Collingwood walking across my carpet in his muddy boots.

And the key thing to note here is that we mere subscribers were not granted this peek into the world of tomorrow today. The 3D revolution was confined entirely to selected public houses, to which the Sky massive were directed. Thus, many years after the banning of alcohol advertising in sport, the nation’s main cricket broadcaster was directing its viewers to the nearest watering hole. For all I know, Nick Knight and Nasser Hussain were standing outside Trent Bridge, encouraging would-be spectators to try the Red Lion instead.

Of course, Bangladesh were playing and so this meant that, when they were not entreating us to enter the extra dimension, the commentators were delicately pacing that perilous border between insulting and patronising. They managed to restrain themselves fairly well until after darkness had fallen, but by then it was too much for David Lloyd to bear and the outlawed phrase that had no doubt been the subject of many an internal email, finally limped apologetically out into the open, dressed up in those distinctive Lancashire tones:

“It’s only Bangladesh,” said Accrington’s favourite son.

It’s. Only. Bangladesh.

Sometimes I wonder whether the words “it’s” and “only” should become permanent prefixes or somehow incorporated onto the badge of the Bangladesh Cricket Board. But though they got another thumping at Trent Bridge, to go with the 23 previous such outcomes this year, they have the batsmen; they have the fourth and fifth seamers and the back-up spinners. They are just one world-class bowler away from being contenders. We need a new Murali, so God, if you are listening, if there’s any justice, let him be a Bangladeshi.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Keywords: Commentary

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by HeadHammerShark on (July 14, 2010, 17:21 GMT)

"Around 10 of the last 16 caps handed out to England ODI players have gone to those with dubious nationality claims"

Not that I want to let anything stupid like facts get in the way of a good rant, but of the last 16 ODI caps for England, precisely 3 were born outside the UK and have "dubious nationality". Of course they each qualified under the ICC residency rules so there is absolutely nothing dubious about it at all.

But apart from that - SPOT ON.

Posted by mpb645 on (July 11, 2010, 15:56 GMT)

Time that England stopped this practice of taking players from anywhere on the basis of a cock eyed definition of nationality. Players like Pieterson, Kieswetter, Morgan etc were born and raised elsewhere and represented their countries before electing to join the England gravy train. Around 10 of the last 16 caps handed out to England ODI players have gone to those with dubious nationality claims.

This only serves to restrict the opportunities for real British/English youngsters and to take the spotlight off the declining facilities available in our schools and colleges.

Posted by Bangla on (July 11, 2010, 7:02 GMT)

Well, guess who won at Trent Bridge? (:D) I'm sure they aren't "only Bangladesh" anymore, with or without Murali. Great article though, nice read ..

Posted by Lorenzo on (July 11, 2010, 6:24 GMT)

"It's. Only. Bangladesh." More prophetic words were never spoken. Dude, what's it gonna be, Espanya? Nederlanden? Say it. Say it....a thousand bucks rides on ye utterances.

Posted by Alan Powell on (July 11, 2010, 3:34 GMT)

I think that 3D will allow the average person to realize the athleticism and skills that cricketers are demanded to produce consistently at the top level and therefore gain a greater respect for what the guys do. I would also be interested in whether it helps with the catches that are questionable eg disputes arising where the ball seems to hit the turf.

Posted by Raman on (July 11, 2010, 1:18 GMT)

Bangladesh made a great fun of you, Andrew in 2nd ODI

Posted by CricketPissek on (July 10, 2010, 23:49 GMT)

3d in cinema is superb. watching avatar in 3D at the IMAX was mind-blowing! 3d at home.. i dunno man. for games, i can imagine, but not for tv shows incld sports. those specs cost £100 each (which i know will go down, but still) it would be a bit lame if ur friends come over to watch the footie but u only have 2 pairs or something. maybe getting High Def. coverage for all international cricket should be a higher priority?

Posted by gautham kamath on (July 10, 2010, 22:23 GMT)

IPl semi finals and the final were shown in multiplexes in 3D in India.

Posted by Carl on (July 10, 2010, 16:58 GMT)

Pathetic Article. You give us a bias account of 3D in the opening paragraphs then suddenly switch to how Bangladesh needs a world-class bowler to compete in cricket. No, they need some quality batsman who can get runs, as well. Apart from Shakib and Mortaza, they have a team of awful players. Oh, and by the way, I love 3D. It is awesome, especially with HD as well :)

Posted by Aniket Utkur on (July 10, 2010, 16:09 GMT)

Oh Boy... whats up with you guys?? Do you have to criticize everything new? If this was attitude everybody.. Humans would still have been in caves.. Change is the only constant my friend.. live with it..

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andrew Hughes
Andrew Hughes is a writer and avid cricket watcher who has always retained a healthy suspicion of professional sportsmen, and like any right-thinking person rates Neville Cardus more highly than Don Bradman. His latest book is available here and here @hughandrews73

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