Dhaka March 22, 2011

Being there for Rampaul's 52nd

Wandering through the streets of Mirpur on the way to the Shere Bangla, it was impossible not to sense that there was not quite as much excitement in the air as there might have been
57

Wandering through the streets of Mirpur on the way to the Shere Bangla, it was impossible not to sense that there was not quite as much excitement in the air as there might have been. Of course, had tomorrow’s game been Pakistan v Bangladesh instead of Pakistan v West Indies, as it so nearly was, the excitement levels would have been visible from the moon. It may well have been audible on the moon.

When Sarwan and Russell were at the crease last Thursday, the West Indies had been cruising to victory with calmness and panache, and Bangladesh was poised to party again. However, whenever West Indies are cruising to victory these days, they do so with the ghost parrot of preceding collapses chuntering loudly to itself on their shoulders (“you’ll probably lose, you’ll probably lose,” it chirps, whilst pecking away at some seed and commenting about how good Desmond Haynes was). Dhaka was duly deflated, and Bangladesh were grotesquely outclassed by South Africa.

I well remember my nation’s reaction in 1999 when, as hosts, England were knocked out of the World Cup at the earliest available juncture - it was a mixture of disgruntled chuntering from cricket fans and comments of “what World Cup?” from the public at large. Overall, analysts categorised it as a “mild huff”. In Bangladesh, however, there is a genuine sadness not that the West Indies had catapulted a winning position into a canal, but that the Tigers’ batting had come up shorter than Mushfiqur Rahim himself. Most would have accepted two wins against the Associate team plus a victory over England before the tournament began, even with a failure to reach the knock-out stage. But to have twice batted like a wedding cake under a steamroller has left a palpable sense of disappointed regret.

Time for a few more thoughts on the last group match in Chennai. I have seldom experienced such a powerful sense of collective anti-climax as when Tendulkar missed out on giving the crowd his 100th 100 by a disappointing margin of 98 runs. As some consolation for the stunned crowd, they will at least be able to tell their grandchildren: “I was there. I was there when Ravi Rampaul took his 52nd ODI wicket. Here is my ticket to prove it.”

India’s play between Dhoni’s dismissal and the pivotal dog-intrusion/wickets-flurry had had an air of lethargy reminiscent of the last days of the Roman Empire. It will be fascinating to see the impact of necessity on their play in the quarter-finals.

Physically, the current West Indies look like a classic West Indies team. They have three toweringly tall bowlers, and batsmen who play with daring, flourish and panache. Unfortunately, the three towering bowlers are two medium-pace dobblers and a slow-left-armer. And the batsmen play with daring, flourish and panache for approximately twenty minutes at a time, rather than for a decade-and-a-half.

EXTRAS

- My own build-up to the quarter-finals has been somewhat disrupted by my impending one-night-only stand-up tour of Bangladesh (consisting of a single gig at Naveed’s Comedy Club in Dhaka tonight, Tuesday). I wrote recently about how a stand-up gig can be equated with a session of Test cricket. I will let you know in the next blog what my score was. I have no idea: (a) if there will be a crowd; (b) if there is a crowd, what the balance will be between Bangladeshis, expats and the assorted members of the cricket media whom I have told about the show; or (c) whether I have any jokes in my comedic locker that any of those three social groups will find funny. However, even if the crowd is 100% local Bangladeshis, I expect the language and cultural barriers to be significantly less difficult to overcome than at gigs I have done in Liverpool.

- As exclusively revealed in the ZaltzCricket twitter feed, the ultimate source of all cricketing fact, the ECB has announced that, following a computer simulation exercise, England have retrospectively won the 1971 World Cup.

An ECB spokesman said: "We were worried that Andrew Strauss and the lads might feel the pressure of trying to become the first England team to win a World Cup, so we thought we’d try and win an old one for them first. We tried buying the 1983 trophy of India, but they wanted ridiculous money for it. So we developed a match-generating computer to play the unplayed World Cups of previous years. We inputted all the relevant 1971 data into it, and we are delighted to report that England walked it."

In a one-sided final against old enemies Australia, the ECB reports, England smashed 523-8 in their 60 overs, with spin-king Derek Underwood clubbing a 34-ball century. Then, legendary wicketkeeper Alan Knott ripped through the Aussies, taking 7-13 as Ian Chappell’s team subsided for 45 all out.

The ECB refuted Australian complaints about the margin and manner of the result (“typical baggy green whingeing, why can’t they just be happy for us?”), but did acknowledge that the computer simulation “may need a little fine-tuning”.

The ECB spokesman added: “But you can’t argue with technology these days. The result stands. Well played England. There will be an open-top bus parade next week. We hope that Ray Illingworth and the boys having won the ‘71 Cup will take some of the pressure off Straussy and the guys before Saturday’s quarter-final."

Ian Chappell, meanwhile, announced his retroactive resignation following news of his team’s 478-run drubbing. He tearfully told a press conference: “Sure, Knotty bowled surprisingly well, but it was a World Cup final and we were awful. As skipper, I have to take responsibility. I hereby would have retired on the spot from all cricket. Please erase my captaincy and batting achievements post-1971 from the record books."

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • aditi prasad on March 25, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    Hi, ravi rampaul you r damn good.... i love u...........

  • njr1330 on March 24, 2011, 18:41 GMT

    Keep it Scouse!

  • Shaz on March 23, 2011, 17:48 GMT

    That was a good one, Andy!

  • derek ( manchester ) on March 23, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    nice article man impressive.

  • Apratim on March 23, 2011, 14:44 GMT

    I'd have imagined that your gig at Liverpool were attended by more Bangladeshis compared to the one in Dhaka!

  • chris on March 23, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    Sorry, I got it wrong last time. You haven't won over those who take everything you say ever so seriously, not many of them anyway. Well it makes me laugh.

  • M on March 23, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Whatever you do Mr. Zaltzman, please please make sure to blog on the QF between SA and NZ. I am an NZ fan, and if they lose, which they probably well, I need your comedy to cheer me up!

  • rajsrawat05 on March 23, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    @Muhammad Kashif This one is for those who understand humour... Andy is absolutely brilliant...Great sense of humour.! Besides he is so good with stats...beats me 100-nil in a game of cricket... Great work,Andy ! I salute you...

  • Mabby on March 23, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    U have some nerve Zalts-hole! I hope u(and others like u) get over ur biasness

  • Gv on March 23, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    lol, dude, you are awesome

  • aditi prasad on March 25, 2011, 20:41 GMT

    Hi, ravi rampaul you r damn good.... i love u...........

  • njr1330 on March 24, 2011, 18:41 GMT

    Keep it Scouse!

  • Shaz on March 23, 2011, 17:48 GMT

    That was a good one, Andy!

  • derek ( manchester ) on March 23, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    nice article man impressive.

  • Apratim on March 23, 2011, 14:44 GMT

    I'd have imagined that your gig at Liverpool were attended by more Bangladeshis compared to the one in Dhaka!

  • chris on March 23, 2011, 13:50 GMT

    Sorry, I got it wrong last time. You haven't won over those who take everything you say ever so seriously, not many of them anyway. Well it makes me laugh.

  • M on March 23, 2011, 12:40 GMT

    Whatever you do Mr. Zaltzman, please please make sure to blog on the QF between SA and NZ. I am an NZ fan, and if they lose, which they probably well, I need your comedy to cheer me up!

  • rajsrawat05 on March 23, 2011, 12:08 GMT

    @Muhammad Kashif This one is for those who understand humour... Andy is absolutely brilliant...Great sense of humour.! Besides he is so good with stats...beats me 100-nil in a game of cricket... Great work,Andy ! I salute you...

  • Mabby on March 23, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    U have some nerve Zalts-hole! I hope u(and others like u) get over ur biasness

  • Gv on March 23, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    lol, dude, you are awesome

  • Anonymous on March 23, 2011, 9:49 GMT

    English have won this "world cup 2011" now they are just playing to the crowd!.

  • Rameez on March 23, 2011, 9:40 GMT

    Andy i'm a huge fan of yours but your last few blogs have not been up to the mark, you seem to be pretty off colour. Parts of those blogs have been good but you've probably set really high standards with your earlier posts particularly in the confectionery stall. Good luck with writing the next one, will be looking forward to read it!

  • olivers army on March 23, 2011, 9:21 GMT

    You can take the n out of bungle, but you can't take the funny out of Zaltzman.

  • Aditya on March 23, 2011, 8:13 GMT

    "Please erase my captaincy and batting achievements post-1971 from the record books." Fabulous!

  • Asanka Liyanarachchi on March 23, 2011, 7:23 GMT

    Andy, I created a computer program to calculate the improvement of a writer in a given period and according to that, since the start of your sub-continent trip, your writing has improved by 450%.

    Based on those figures, I would like to advise you to extend or even consider not going back to your motherland. I hope you take this seriously.

    Impressive article!

  • xela on March 23, 2011, 7:21 GMT

    I have infiltrated! May I say you've been inspired in your work since you left Blighty's hallowed shores (does that damn with faint praise your pre-wc work...?). A really super effort, marvelous stuff. Loving your work Andy, how's the doll? *u** you Chris.

  • Asanka Liyanarachchi on March 23, 2011, 7:17 GMT

    Andy, I created a computer program to calculate the improvement of a writer in a given period and according to that, since the start of your sub-continent trip, your writing has improved by 450%.

    Based on those figures, I would like to advise you to extend or even consider not going back to your motherland. I hope you take this seriously.

    Impressive article!

  • P.Satish on March 23, 2011, 7:10 GMT

    Very funny blog from Andy Z again.

    Over the last few months that I have been reading you on Cricinfo I believe(like Lestrade did of Holmes) that you would have a decent career in comedy. Have you tried taking up comedy as a career? If not a pro, you can at least be amateurishly funny!

  • junkman on March 23, 2011, 7:00 GMT

    Who is this guy - Andy? Why is he talking about cricket!

  • Ahmed on March 23, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    Awesome stuff Andy... Still laughing at the following sentence about WI batsmen...

    "And the batsmen play with daring, flourish and panache for approximately twenty minutes at a time, rather than for a decade-and-a-half".. How do you come up with such stuff man??

  • Mike McNamara on March 23, 2011, 6:54 GMT

    Great humour. Perhaps a comedy tour of Zim this year. You´d go down a treat at the Dzivarasekwa Comedy Store.Think of it as Liverpool, but with sunshine. Almost as funny as our national team´s batting performances.

  • S A Raja on March 23, 2011, 4:51 GMT

    Hey Andy,

    You rock maann!!!

    This was quiet funny, "with spin-king Derek Underwood clubbing a 34-ball century. Then, legendary wicketkeeper Alan Knott ripped through the Aussies, taking 7-13 as Ian Chappell’s team subsided for 45 all out."

    Andy call me when u r in Bangalore at +919632694653, we shall go for a drink and the drinks are on me.

  • TJ on March 23, 2011, 3:28 GMT

    @Posted by: salim tyrewala at March 22, 2011 4:58 PM i could easily be funnier than this, with one hand tied behind my back.

    Every time I read this blog and eventually get dragged to the comments, I see some dude always writing "I can be funnier than this?". Like above^

    My humble response is, "How can you be funnier than AZ and not have his career reporting with funnier articles in Cricinfo?" And with "One hand tied in your back, are u trying to win on sympathy jokes"? I can imagine, it will be funny to look at u do a stand up with one hand tied to your back. You bloody comical genius.

  • USB on March 23, 2011, 2:57 GMT

    If your comedy act is half as good as you write, I am sure you would have done well...

  • Shahid Akbar on March 23, 2011, 2:33 GMT

    Why did I read this article? What a waste of time!

  • jeg on March 23, 2011, 1:33 GMT

    Pakistan should play their normal game. The team which fields better giving less extras would be the winners.Wesindies have very good youngsters who should be utilized well.

  • jeg on March 23, 2011, 1:32 GMT

    Pakistan should play their normal game. The team which fields better giving less extras would be the winners.Wesindies have very good youngsters who should be utilized well.

  • anand on March 23, 2011, 1:06 GMT

    Pakistan's batsmen are much like the West Indians,except they stick around for 5 minutes longer. Winning the World Cup is only a dream for both.

  • Dinesh Kaprawala on March 23, 2011, 0:16 GMT

    @ tyrewala, well your certainly off to a good start..

  • cric_fan12 on March 23, 2011, 0:02 GMT

    This article very well qualifies for the Page2 section. The 1971 world cup simulation part was the thing I enjoyed most reading

  • Kavin on March 22, 2011, 23:41 GMT

    Rampaul was getting some serious swing on Sunday. If Rampaul, Russell and Roach were to get together and breathe fire down the pitch all together - and not all in separate games - hmm... I'm just having flashbacks of Ambrose/Walsh/Bishop. But the West Indies batsmen would have to step it up anyway.

  • Me on March 22, 2011, 22:41 GMT

    Why the hell his article is under Pakistan vs West Indies.

    Blind Flatterer of Jai Ho!

  • sheru on March 22, 2011, 22:02 GMT

    many pakistani are not even supporting there county, clear reason to much politics runs in the blood of sum players. Kamran a guy who holds a degree in dropping catches, his brother ugly umer who is clever enough to declarer unfit when ask to keep against zimbabwe. I dont understand if he was injured why he came back?? Then we have a man who keeps 10000 pounds in his jacket wahab riaz, on the top we have low confident poor decision maker captain and coach?? why would pak win if akhtar and ajmal are not playing and how can they win if afridi dont give respect to razzaq.

  • Anonymous on March 22, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    "but that the Tigers’ batting had come up shorter than Mushfiqur Rahim himself."

    lol

    Hope Pakistan beats the crap out of WI.

  • morfi on March 22, 2011, 21:30 GMT

    Thanks Andy - as usual this is bloody brilliant. Just wondering if Chappy has resigned from cricket following the defeat or resigned from commentary after his horrific, sour grape whining against shahid afridi the other night.... ;)

  • yenjvoy on March 22, 2011, 20:17 GMT

    Andy, 2 points - you should have tried a web simulcast of your stand up show from Dhaka - I'm sure your global readership would have crashed the web server; and I am surprised you left out the complaint from Ian Chappell about the extravagant wicket taking celebrations by Alan Knott.

  • Reza Khan (karachi) on March 22, 2011, 20:17 GMT

    @qaiser and kashif...don't show your stupidity ...this is a seriously funny piece wasted on you...get a life, or a good english tutor...a sense of humour wouldn't go amiss either.

  • Mubin Tahir on March 22, 2011, 20:15 GMT

    As always Cool and awsome article....I love reading your articles....Whenever i see ur name in any article,i just open it spontaneously as i know it will be source of some smiles and even start smiling after reading ur name...

  • Arshad Zaidi on March 22, 2011, 19:38 GMT

    Andy: perhaps your writing style is witty and pleasing but I don't find any message or objective in your articles. Yet again I don't understand anything that you trying to convey. The subject is QF of World Cup but your article has all the rubbish except the subject. I wonder why people appreciate your articles!!

  • kris durga on March 22, 2011, 19:25 GMT

    west indies team for thier q final match against pakistan should be smith,gayle,,bravo,sarwan,chanderpaul,sammy,pollard,rampaul,russel,roach and bishoo. darren bravo should be the keeper for the match. most balanced and most likliest 11 to bring the cup home.

  • Arshad Zaidi on March 22, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    What is the message here in this piece of writing? As usual witty or perhaps pleasing but absolutely no substance. I am sorry to point out that overall you disappointed yet again with your writing. I had the impression you wanted to say something about QF of the World Cup..... Am i right?

  • Anonymous on March 22, 2011, 18:45 GMT

    diagree

  • Akif Shahzad on March 22, 2011, 18:41 GMT

    Agree with kashif waste of time useless what do we care abt the past...

  • Anonymous on March 22, 2011, 18:38 GMT

    It wasted 15 minutes of mine... GOOD LUCK TEAM PAKISTAN!

  • Qaiser (Cardiff uk) on March 22, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    Artical about Pakistan and West Indies q.final but unfortunately stories about the other teams who did not involve in this q.final.

    We all hope Pkistan will win the world cup and shut all the pundits up.

  • Sudeep on March 22, 2011, 18:07 GMT

    Loved your comment about the "last days of Roman empire" in some ways you might be spot on Emperor Augustus Caesar's(SR Tendulkar) career is coming to an end. With his departure the Roman Empire may fall in disarray with no heir apparent.

  • Muhammad Kashif on March 22, 2011, 17:53 GMT

    i thought the article is about the quarter final between pakistan and west indies, but it was nothing but waste of time

  • Farhan on March 22, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    English team love to watch such simulations ... as another Aussie/English final on the cards less likely (again) though

  • MAK on March 22, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Andy you're hilarious - I'm still cracking up at the WI bowlers comment. Kepp up the good work and wish I was there at your comedy night mate!

  • Siddhant Singh on March 22, 2011, 17:35 GMT

    Kiwis also need to develop similar match-generating Computer to organize 1967 World Cup and must try to win under able leadership of Barry Sinclair in order to boost the inconsistent confidence of Vettori's boys.

    And, of Course, Proteas have to win the First ever imaginary World Cup of 1963 under Peter Pollock in order to demonstrate their lads that they can end their ch**ing attribute as it was not impossible to do in 1963.

  • Umair Hoodbhoy on March 22, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    Looks like Rampaul is set to become another Gary Gilmour. Or at least 5/11 of one.

  • harish chilkoti on March 22, 2011, 17:18 GMT

    Amazing!!

  • salim tyrewala on March 22, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    i could easily be funnier than this, with one hand tied behind my back.

  • Rob on March 22, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Andy, your writing is truly excellent, you're incredbly witty, and on behalf of all scousers, please accept my profuse apologies for whatever prompted you to put that remark! Keep up the good work, and if you ever (dare) do stand-up in Liverpool again, I'll personally ensure the atmosphere will be at least slightly better...

  • Jetinder on March 22, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Andy. You have got to be the best C writer i have ever encountered in my life. C here, is for cricket, comedy, counter-terrorism, multi-Culturism (multi being silent). Ever since I can remember I have been running away from reading materials once the realization kicked in post kinder garden that books would never again have a high degree of images to explain what in the world they were talking about. But your witty and intriguingly written posts have made me fond of reading again, I actually look forward to reading your posts. I just wish I had known about your existence a few years ago when I was still in high school, would have prevented unnecessary migranes for my english proff. PS: I am the first to comment on this post. PSYCH!!!!

  • Mohan on March 22, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Many Indians would say that "we saw Yuvraj's 13 ODI century( First in World Cup) and Virat Kohli's 13 ODI half century and R Ashwin's debut in this WC match".And for the extras in the quaterfinal match b/w England vs SriLanka,If England loses,Andrew Strauss might say "We won the ashes,but were reduced to pale ashes ourselves in subsequent series and in this WC.and Apoligies to England for losing to Ireland.I expect Kevin'O Brien play WC on our side next time!!!!!

  • KeepItFoolish on March 22, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    I enjoyed your ontological argument for England's World Cup victory.

  • No featured comments at the moment.

  • KeepItFoolish on March 22, 2011, 14:20 GMT

    I enjoyed your ontological argument for England's World Cup victory.

  • Mohan on March 22, 2011, 14:51 GMT

    Many Indians would say that "we saw Yuvraj's 13 ODI century( First in World Cup) and Virat Kohli's 13 ODI half century and R Ashwin's debut in this WC match".And for the extras in the quaterfinal match b/w England vs SriLanka,If England loses,Andrew Strauss might say "We won the ashes,but were reduced to pale ashes ourselves in subsequent series and in this WC.and Apoligies to England for losing to Ireland.I expect Kevin'O Brien play WC on our side next time!!!!!

  • Jetinder on March 22, 2011, 15:52 GMT

    Andy. You have got to be the best C writer i have ever encountered in my life. C here, is for cricket, comedy, counter-terrorism, multi-Culturism (multi being silent). Ever since I can remember I have been running away from reading materials once the realization kicked in post kinder garden that books would never again have a high degree of images to explain what in the world they were talking about. But your witty and intriguingly written posts have made me fond of reading again, I actually look forward to reading your posts. I just wish I had known about your existence a few years ago when I was still in high school, would have prevented unnecessary migranes for my english proff. PS: I am the first to comment on this post. PSYCH!!!!

  • Rob on March 22, 2011, 16:08 GMT

    Andy, your writing is truly excellent, you're incredbly witty, and on behalf of all scousers, please accept my profuse apologies for whatever prompted you to put that remark! Keep up the good work, and if you ever (dare) do stand-up in Liverpool again, I'll personally ensure the atmosphere will be at least slightly better...

  • salim tyrewala on March 22, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    i could easily be funnier than this, with one hand tied behind my back.

  • harish chilkoti on March 22, 2011, 17:18 GMT

    Amazing!!

  • Umair Hoodbhoy on March 22, 2011, 17:32 GMT

    Looks like Rampaul is set to become another Gary Gilmour. Or at least 5/11 of one.

  • Siddhant Singh on March 22, 2011, 17:35 GMT

    Kiwis also need to develop similar match-generating Computer to organize 1967 World Cup and must try to win under able leadership of Barry Sinclair in order to boost the inconsistent confidence of Vettori's boys.

    And, of Course, Proteas have to win the First ever imaginary World Cup of 1963 under Peter Pollock in order to demonstrate their lads that they can end their ch**ing attribute as it was not impossible to do in 1963.

  • MAK on March 22, 2011, 17:39 GMT

    Andy you're hilarious - I'm still cracking up at the WI bowlers comment. Kepp up the good work and wish I was there at your comedy night mate!

  • Farhan on March 22, 2011, 17:49 GMT

    English team love to watch such simulations ... as another Aussie/English final on the cards less likely (again) though