November 24, 2012

Earn money while watching cricket

Andrew Hughes
Abul Hasan became the second No. 10 to score a debut Test ton, Bangladesh v West Indies, 2nd Test, Khulna, 1st day, November 21, 2012
If you had bet on Abul Hasan to get a hundred, you'd have done the game a great service by breaking the back of the bookie circle  © AFP
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From time to time, I like to take a financial interest in a cricket match. Not in a Giles Clarke, or a Salman Butt way; my financial interest in a cricket match doesn't mean stopping other people from watching the cricket match, or knowing in advance what's going to happen in the cricket match.

It's just that some cricket matches - the long ones - the ones that go on all week, can be, well, ever so slightly mind-numbing. If it weren't for the outside chance of scooping a fat sum, those five-day bat-a-thons in Bangladesh or Bangalore would be as unappealing as back-to-back performances of Der Ring des Nibelungen in Klingon.

People say that T20 is for the youth with their goldfish attention spans, and Test matches are for us grown-ups. This is wrong. Before I was bitter, cynical and addicted to doughnuts, I was also young. In my summer holidays, I'd run out of stupid things to do outside by the second week of August, so I'd dump my bike, crash on the sofa, and tune out for a few hours to the somnolent ramblings of Tony Lewis and Jack Bannister.

Time has no meaning when you're young. But as you get wrinklier, it becomes a scarce resource, which you're loathe to squander on watching cautious men eke out risk-free runs on pitches of Gobi-desert aridity. In other words, life's too short to watch Alastair Cook bat.

Unless, of course, you're on him at 4/1 to top score. History's on my side here. Georgian cricket was all about the gambling. Lord Thrashem, fuming at losing 10,000 guineas to Lord Gout on a game of "guess the number of frogs in the bag" would go double or nothing on a one-innings match. Two teams would be bought, bribes paid, umpires threatened and the whole affair would end in a riot of drunken fist-fights.

Cricket's gone downhill since then, but we can keep up those noble traditions and enliven proceedings by having the odd wager. But what do you bet on? My preferred method of handing over my money to shady offshore companies is to try to guess the top scorer.

This can help you see the game in a new light. To me, the fourth one-day international between Sri Lanka and New Zealand was not a one-sided, soggy non-event; it was a thrilling, emotional rollercoaster of an afternoon, in which Dinesh Chandimal secured his reputation as the greatest batsman of the modern era.

But sooner or later, every gambler meets their nemesis. In my case: Bangladesh. The problem with Bangladesh is that Nos. 8, 9, and 10 are as likely to top-score as Nos. 1,2 and 3.

I exaggerate. But only slightly. How else do you explain Abul Hasan's century, the kind of innings that has you wiping your screen furiously because that must be a speck of dust, not a third digit? I particularly enjoyed the fact that on 84, he repeatedly charged Fidel Edwards, who was bowling bouncers at the time. Who didn't smile when they read that?

I don't know what price Abul was to top score, but I'm guessing it featured a healthy string of zeros and quite possibly an exclamation mark. If you picked him, feel free to add the words "Cricket Genius" to your email signature. And if you're a Bangladeshi selector, award yourself the weekend off and a celebratory muffin. You've earned it.

Andrew Hughes is a writer currently based in England

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Posted by Misam Jaffer on (November 29, 2012, 11:55 GMT)

Dear Andrew,

Don't let haters get into your head. You are awesome and so is your sense of humor!

Cheers,

Misam Jaffer

Posted by TJ on (November 25, 2012, 4:43 GMT)

"In other words, life’s too short to watch Alastair Cook bat"

LMAO Another great article!

Posted by Eye on (November 25, 2012, 2:54 GMT)

That was really great to watch...

Abul Hasan rocks \m/

and this article is also a very good one...

Posted by asitha on (November 25, 2012, 1:26 GMT)

well i think test matches is the heart and soul of the game of cricket,because it is like a Shakespeare tragedies which has lot act , some time batsman come on top some time blowers come on top, sometimes fielding can lift you up or luck maybe in you're side, so its more complicated than people may thought ,play test cricket is fight with you're character whiled holding you're nerve, i love test cricket more than shorter version of cricket

Posted by Miraj Ahmmod on (November 25, 2012, 0:11 GMT)

That fearless batting of Abul Hasan could be ever remembered if he could add few more runs to be the top scorer in test history on debut as #10 batsman. Consistency is the main problem for BD players, but they are coming, no doubt. Thanks for the writing.

Posted by Zeeshan Mahmud on (November 24, 2012, 20:38 GMT)

Hehe, the same selectors chose Naeem Islam for upcoming ODI and Nafees in the current test who survived after giving catching practice to West Indies fielders from a no-ball....

Should they also get teh celebratory muffin, or rather 'pattice'?

Enjoyed the piece, nonetheless.

Posted by Khalid Shams on (November 24, 2012, 15:13 GMT)

True indeed

Posted by AVS on (November 24, 2012, 13:20 GMT)

Ha..good read !

Posted by Matthew Orme on (November 24, 2012, 10:21 GMT)

Obviously you at cricinfo publish any article sent in.. I will be writing and sending some in soon. I hope you enjoy putting them up. Will you require my profile and photo. I won't require payment on first 10 articles published. But unlike this article you will receive quality substance and facts...

Posted by Alistair Campbell on (November 24, 2012, 9:20 GMT)

What a poorly written piece. Not only does your lack of cricket knowledge stand out, but your petty comments about the past are surprisingly annoying. I stopped reading quarter of the way through to write this, as I didn't see anything good coming of my time. Well, first off, Bangladesh and Bangalore are two different wickets. In fact, you referring to Bangalore as a dead rubber of a pitch is in fact testimony to your lack of knowledge of the game. I have been to the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore and it is a belter of a ground. It's quick, the seamers get some help, which is unusual to find in a place like India. I would have agreed with you had you mentioned just Bangladesh or referred to some other pitches in India (Chennai, Mumbai etc), but well, who am I talking to, right? Please do a better job of writing articles the next time, not only will you gain admirers by doing research, but it also help you in the long run.

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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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