FEBRUARY 14, 2015

India v Pakistan, but it's muted this time

Samir Chopra: The build-up to the World Cup clash seems restrained with fans from both sides not feeling particularly bullish about their team's chances
India have a 5-0 unbeaten run in the World Cup against Pakistan, which makes them ripe for the toppling © AFP
FEBRUARY 05, 2015

Pakistanis should stop crying fixing

Hassan Cheema: The obsessive tendency to paint players as corrupt following every defeat has served to deflect attention from the team's real problems
JANUARY 29, 2015

Sri Lanka in a World Cup funk

Damith Samarakoon: For a Sri Lanka fan, the team's losing streak in the New Zealand ODIs is perhaps the equivalent of getting paralysed by poison. Your body is immobile giving the impression that you've died, but inside, you are still very much alive. Screaming.
JANUARY 28, 2015

Backyard cricket

BC Lara c Valderrama b Teapot 48

In his piece for the Guardian's Spin, John Ashdown draws on his childhood memories and mulls on how the seemingly rigid rules of cricket can be warped - with a little creativity - to allow its practitioners a quick game anytime, anywhere.

Problems occurred whenever our dad could be persuaded to bend his back for a couple of overs. The problem for the batsman was two close catching fielders, Valderrama on the off side, a (usually) far less reliable human on the on. The problem on the scoreboards was that the new bowler would refuse to play the role of any cricketer since 1970, invariably nominating himself Fred Trueman or picking a random object from the kitchen. This led to several destructive spells against the cream of the world's early 90s international middle orders for Fiery Fred and the occasional frustratingly random "BC Lara c Valderrama b Teapot 48" in the books.

JANUARY 26, 2015

A letter from Bradman

Vaibhav Verma: How I unearthed a precious gem while shifting stuff from one room to another in my house
JANUARY 17, 2015

World Cup 2015

Tiger Shoaib appeals to the Prime Minister

Shoaib Ali Bukhari is the Bangladesh fan who paints his body like a tiger, attends most home matches and screams all day from the grandstand at the Shere Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. He has traveled to India, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe over the last nine years following the Bangladesh team.

Usually he is financially supported by corporate houses, current and former players, board officials and a supporters group for his travels. But this time he has struggled to find sufficient funds in his quest to travel to Australia and New Zealand for the World Cup.

As a result, he has appealed to the country's Prime Minister to help him. In a press conference arranged by a supporters group called BCSA, Shoaib said that he is itching to watch the World Cup in person, and knows that his support is what the team requires. The BCB has assured that he will get match tickets.

A motor mechanic by profession, Shoaib has gained following even among the Bangladesh players who call him "Tiger". Taskin Ahmed and Al-Amin Hossain, speaking at a press conference in Mirpur, said that he inspires them.

Al-Amin said: "We always see him in Bangladesh, so we will surely get inspired by his presence when we will see him in Australia."

DECEMBER 22, 2014

The charm of the Boxing Day Test

Jonathan Wilson: This annual fixture is special not just for the cricket, but also because it satisfies one of the tenets of Christmas - bringing people together
DECEMBER 07, 2014

Healing by putting your bat out

Russell Jackson: Touching tributes by strangers all over the world have helped immensely in recovering from the pain of Phillip Hughes' death
DECEMBER 06, 2014

The problem with watching England

Nicholas Hogg: It's not just about wanting your side to win; there's also the matter of which players you want to do well
DECEMBER 02, 2014

On growing disenchanted with the game, and the bouncer

Santosh Vijaykumar: A fan on how his appetite for cricket and excitement at witnessing a good dose of short stuff at the Gabba this December waned once news of Phillip Hughes came in
NOVEMBER 13, 2014

Embracing Maxwell's unpredictability

Russell Jackson: Fans pop a vein when his ludicrous tactics fail, shrug when he succeeds. Either way, cricket's first bona fide troll is not about to change
NOVEMBER 07, 2014

Acknowledging the Indian who doesn't care for cricket

Samir Chopra: Yes, such a tribe exists, and it cannot be dismissed easily in this age when we constantly worry about the game's future
NOVEMBER 04, 2014

Dear West Indies cricket

Nicholas Hogg: A letter from a fan who grew up idolising the great Caribbean sides of the '80s
OCTOBER 23, 2014

The renewability of cricket

Samir Chopra: We as players and spectators have a great deal to do with the perceived complexity of the game, simply because we change over time
OCTOBER 19, 2014


Has cricket hit the roof?

Cricket's dominance in India might not be fading just yet, but the team's performance has not been as compelling as the last decade and high-profile retirements since have also had an impact on viewership. Ashok Malik, in Asian Age, wonders if a saturation has been reached, especially with other sports enticing the average fan.

Cricket viewership, even Indian Premier League viewership, is not growing. It has either reached a ceiling (IPL) or a floor (Test cricket). Even limited-overs cricket (the Fifty50) game, the mainstay of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), is showing a worrying pattern. On-ground presence is lower than previously. The BCCI is masking it by hosting matches mainly in smaller cities and towns, where the novelty may still be there. As for television, a comparison between the India-West Indies limited-overs series of 2011 and 2013 would be telling. Both series were played in India. The first was played in the aftermath of India's World Cup victory and showed a TRP of 3.4 (male/15-34/Sec A, B and C). By the 2013 series, the TRP number had fallen to 2.2. TRP figures for the just-concluded (October 2014) India-West Indies series were not immediately available.

OCTOBER 12, 2014

The visceral beauty of fandom

Kartikeya Date: It is the fans' money and attention, and the players' skills and efforts that are indispensable to sport. Investors and broadcasters merely market the show
OCTOBER 09, 2014

Confessions of a Pakistan fan-turned-cynic

Ahmer Naqvi: It is time we accept that the team is a lesser force now, and will be. Highs are momentary, enveloped by a sense of hopelessness
SEPTEMBER 09, 2014

Moeen Ali: England's man of the summer

Kamran Abbasi: He has won respect with his cricket doing the talking, not letting himself be crushed by shameful boos from fans
SEPTEMBER 05, 2014

The unquestioning loyalty of the sports nut

Russell Jackson: True sports fans are like Harley-Davidson loyalists. Poor marketing and tacky innovations will never turn them away from the game they love
SEPTEMBER 01, 2014

The power of booing

Jonathan Wilson: It has value when used against players who have transgressed - particularly if they have somehow offended the spirit of the game