ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 / Features

Sri Lanka v Canada, World Cup 2011, Hambantota

Where do the minnows go from here?

Watching Associates get hammered in World Cups is dispiriting, but there must be a way of ensuring they play against big teams more than once every four years

Osman Samiuddin in Hambantota

February 20, 2011

Comments: 42 | Text size: A | A

Such days make for a dispiriting - and complicated - spectacle. The two matches in Chennai and Hambantota on Sunday are precisely what the format and the World Cup don't need, yet it is the very existence of such matches that allows cricket to think of itself as a global game.

Much has been said on the issue of the Associates in the run-up to this tournament. Probably the most thoughtful and reasoned assessment of their plight came from Ricky Ponting, who in his sporting old age, appears to have found a wisened balance.

The World Cup needs to be more competitive, he said, and that can't be argued with. The first two days have seen individual and collective quality, but no competitiveness. But Associates also need to be given a platform to develop. They only get to play big teams once every four years. There, they get duly battered, go away, come back four years later and go through it again. Here is the real plight.

Occasionally there is hope: Kenya's run in 2003, Ireland's performances in 2007. But where do they go from there? Into the glass ceiling Ireland spoke of a few years ago? Mostly, there is what happened to Kenya and Canada on Sunday. What, Ponting asked, do they learn from such batterings?

Canada showed some spirit and bite in Hambantota. For 25 overs in the field they can say they had things under control. But it was always a precarious kind of hold, prisoner to the gulf in quality of superior opponents and their own lack of exposure to it. Once Mahela Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara decided to take the game away, they simply went on and did so. As Canada's Sri Lankan coach Pubudu Dassanayake later acknowledged, they knew what to do; the plans were in place; presumably some kind of SWOT analysis coaches love doing was carried out as well. They just didn't have the tools to do it.

In four World Cups since 1979, Canada has won one game, against Bangladesh. Yet there is something to build on with this side. There are young players coming through. They have coaches with international experience. The ICC facilitates their preparation for such tournaments.

But without playing any top-flight cricket outside the World Cup, how do they grow as players, as a team, how do they build? Not by playing top sides every four years.

Dassanayake seems a cheery man, so he insisted that his players would have learnt something from the 210-run defeat to Sri Lanka. "Mainly this is a great experience for my youngsters," he said. "Playing against great bowlers like [Muttiah] Muralitharan and [Ajantha] Mendis, it gives them a lot of confidence. If you talk about talent they are all talented but just not exposed at this level. We can coach certain things but it's all about them going and experiencing this and getting the belief they can compete against top players."

They might very well take something from this, but where do they take it? These sides want to become full Test members. Ultimately, that must be the aim of everyone involved in cricket. By not playing regular top-level cricket, or not, as may be the case, playing in future World Cups, that will not happen.

Ponting's suggestion - taken up by Mahela Jayawardene as well - that there should be another way of getting them to play constant top-flight cricket offers a solution if there is seriousness about finding one.

"You need to give them opportunities to play more regular cricket with top nations," Jayawardene said. "Maybe on and off they need to organise certain things for them because their cricket can be improved. Cricket is a global game and we need to try and make sure everyone plays and comes to that standard one day."

Until - and if - that day comes, associates, as Dassanayake put it, are in the dark about where they go next. He is not alone.

Osman Samiuddin is Pakistan editor of ESPNcricinfo

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Comments: 42 
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Posted by Mark on (February 23, 2011, 16:28 GMT)

Also SuperSharky. I agree with everything you say, you are spot on teams like Canada or US for that matter should be given more exposure to top flight competition. Rather than once every 4 years. Canada and US can compete in the WI domestic competition regularly or Holland, Ireland, Scotland or France, Spain, Italy in England's domestic comp. Or Afghanistan in India's or Sri Lanka's domestic comp, its a tall order to ask the associate nations to turn up once every 4 years and expect to compete with the test playing nations.

Posted by Mark on (February 23, 2011, 16:14 GMT)

I totally agree with Husnain Lotia who wrote

"In the 2003 World Cup, the Canadian team was not supported by the country, and came to play at their own expense. Some of them even lost their jobs because their employers would not grant them leave!! Such was their resolve and passion to play the game, and that too at the highest level.".."I do believe they are still amateurs, but dont know if they receive any financial support from the Government of Canada.. kudos to them anyway!! I salute their love and dedication to the game" Agree! Lets not forget Sri Lanka in 1979 world cup was in the same boat as Canada. Obviously SL being a passionate cricket playing nation helped in becoming a world beater.Canada should doing better given that it too has a long cricket history of cricket communities there playing the game. Also the great Don Bradman in 1932 when he toured US and Canada said of Brockton Point, Vancouver,which Bradman was moved to say was "surely the prettiest ground in the world".

Posted by Sharky on (February 23, 2011, 13:24 GMT)

Posted by ssjumbo on (February 21 2011, 08:38 AM GMT)

We only have to think about the FIRST EVER match of the world cup in 1975. England 334 and India 132 -3.. Gavaskar's 36 not out in 60 overs. India only beat East Africa in 1975, lost all 3 in 79 including to Sri Lanka , who were considered minnows. Then in 1983, they won the cup. And they are world no 2 and no 1 in money terms. Only solution is to let Canada, Zim, Kenya play regularly against top teams so that they can improve. Appearing straight to world cup from their weekend cricket won't help anyone.

Posted by Sharky on (February 23, 2011, 13:19 GMT)

I agree, please don't stop the development of the Associates Nations. It must be a World Cup for the world and not just for Test Playing nations and 1 lucky country. They need the World Cup and Champions Trophy for their development!!! What if they told India in the Seventies; "No, sorry, your the minnows, you can't play!" Or if they Told Sri Lanka in the Eighties; "No sorry, your the minnows, you can't play with us!" Or if they told South Africa in 1992; "No sorry, your the isolated minnows, you can't play!" Or if they told Bangladesh not to play in 1996 World Cup. Their upset against Pakistan was huge. And they had upsets in the 1999 World Cup, those are memories to remember. And remember Kenya upsetting a few in 2003, by reaching the semi-finals. In 2007 Ireland beat Pakistan. These are the type of results that gives cricket life. Not only does it wake up the Test playing nation, but gives hopes to more than a million under-dogs. And without hope, I don't see cricket develop.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 21:49 GMT)

IMO ... The World Cricket League system (which is an excellent way for associates to get themselves ready for international cricket) could simply be extended to the top teams. With promotion and relegation as it is currently. Therefore the WCL 1st Division becomes the top 6 (india/aus et al), next 6 is Division 2 and so on. This is held every couple of years currently and would remove somewhat the glass ceiling - also it could simply replace the champions trophy and whatever other league gimmick they are proposing for the full members in ODIs. Really very simple - then the WC can simply be the top 8 or 10 or 12 or whatever they decide based on the WCL.

Posted by Muthuvel on (February 21, 2011, 19:44 GMT)

How come everybody is forgetting the SL story, SL used to compete in Indian domestic circuit and used to get defeated by TN and Mumbai, then they learnt and became strong enough to beat any top side and then by sheer hard work and dedication became world champs and look at them now such a mighty team. Domestic tournies in nearby test nations is the only solution. bangla come to india, afg go to pak. zim go to SA, Canada go to WI, Holl go to Eng.

Posted by miraj on (February 21, 2011, 17:09 GMT)

the best way to go for ICC would be schedule tournaments with Test Playing Nations A teams and all these so called minnows, including canada..the competition would still be at the highest level and it will give good exposure to our crickets..also ICC really needs to control these boards and how they run the game in their respective countries. in canada there seems to be so much turmoil within the cricket board and its different leagues. there is lot of improvements to be made and hopefully ICC has some plans in place to help these countries..

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 11:31 GMT)

It's a real tough situation. But I think the ICC World Cup must go on like this. They may get thrashed but there is an improvement every time. If we don't allow the minnows to play, then there will be a even bigger gap between top-flight and minnow countries and reversing the decision will do it more harm. The best solution is to have teams tour these places. Also Canada could be included in WI's domestic season or of any other country (just like how Netherlands used to play in one of England's limited-overs tournament).

Posted by Tony on (February 21, 2011, 11:02 GMT)

The test playing nations could do more to help - England at least have a regular game every home season against Ireland or Scotland, and some touring sides also play an ODI against them. But otherwise apart from the odd game here or there the test sides don't do much to help the associates develop. All of the test playing countries should be made to play at least one game a year against one of the top-six associates - that way the associate sides would get a couple of major games a year.

Posted by Imran on (February 21, 2011, 10:39 GMT)

What the cricketing world now needs is a full time world league. Something like the UEFA Champions league in football. You can buy / transfer / trade players from all over the world for or from your own country leagues. That way players from the associate nations would be competing at a higher level. I am not talking about leagues like the IPL where there is a limit on foreign players, if there is indeed a limit on foreign players it should be fixed at 5 or 6 foreign players at the most. Every year in the soccer world cup you see new teams showing up and creating upsets in the grandest scale.Cameroon / Senegal / Ghana / South Korea, all of whom were considered underdogs at the time of qualifying for the world cup, now they have star players representing many of the premier clubs in the world. Cricket needs a League, very very badly. It needs to pushed hard by the ICC if the game is to get better worldwide, or else we will be seeing the same teams over and over. It gets monotonous.

Posted by ashok on (February 21, 2011, 9:20 GMT)

No other sport has such a three version format but Cricket. The most powerful format of the game is 50 over game, which brings the best talents around the world. But as people want more entertainment out of everything, I would say lets remove the nonperforming teams and fine tune a world cup with just 10 teams (9 top plus 1 Associate). let the Associative country play another tournament by which they are selected as 1 for the world cup. I thumb down BCCI on this, as its 1 main reason to bring up the T20 world cup...Lets just scrap the T20 world cup and play T20 only in IPL. Kapil Dev's IDEA of ICL was too good, but it has changed the liking of the fans...

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 8:57 GMT)

In the 2003 World Cup, the Canadian team was not supported by the country, and came to play at their own expense. Some of them even lost their jobs because their employers would not grant them leave!! Such was their resolve and passion to play the game, and that too at the highest level. I was also disappointed to find all the commentators speak only of the Sri Lankan team. throughout the match it was always about what the Sri Lankan batsmen were doing and then what their bowlers were doing. Very little comment, if at all any, on the Canadian boys. Almost as if they did not exist... I do believe they are still amateurs, but dont know if they receive any financial support from the Government of Canada.. kudos to them anyway!! I salute their love and dedication to the game

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 8:29 GMT)

I like the idea of insisting that the "A" teams of the elite nations tour the so called "minnows". As for the World Cup, all the ICC need to do is have four groups of three teams in the first round. The top two in each group go through to the quarter-finals. The smaller nations still have something to aim for over the next four years and the first round only needs to last two weeks.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 8:15 GMT)

i would simply suggest that they have practice matches of touring international teams with minnows rather than the first class teams.... e.g when india goes to australia they should be playing canada or afghanistan for warmup rather than victoria or whatever the domestic team is... or atleast they should have minnows get regular practice against the A teams of international teams...

Posted by Dennis on (February 21, 2011, 7:58 GMT)

I can,t see how this is a good look for the World Cup with NZ and Sri Lanka thrashing the minnows yesterday . The big Guns India , SA , AUS , PAK, ENG WI still to play the minnows in their group and if they bat first .Schwag ,Ponting ,Watson, Gayle, Afrdi ,McCullum Dilshan and co with their heavy bats , powerplays , short bounderies , and facing nothing more than net bowlers ,and if the go big and long into the 50 th over we could see a 500 + score in this WC .

Posted by Priyal on (February 21, 2011, 4:56 GMT)

I do agree with Pointing & Mahela....minnows need more exposure....they need to play more cricket against the Test nations.....just imagine the development of Kenya or Ireland had they been given opportunities to play more cricket against the Test nations after their some good performances at the earlier world cups....they would have come in to this world cup as a bit more better prepared teams......the best example is Sri Lanka & Bangladesh who got more exposure in their earlier days.... I THINK ICC SHOULD MAKE IT MANDATORY FOR ALL TEST NATIONS TO PLAY AT LEAST 5 ODIs AGAINST THE SO CALLED MINNOWS....B'BAZ WITHOUT THE INTERVENTION OF ICC THESE TEST PLAYING NATIONS WILL NOT TAKE INITIATIVE AS THESE WOULD AFFECT THEIR RANKINGS....

Posted by Calvin on (February 21, 2011, 4:04 GMT)

With the 50 over tournament itself under risk, who knows...the world cup itself might be scrapped. These teams have a better chance in Twenty20's. But I would still like to see them in the world cup and also I would like to see top teams play with these folks at least once a year.

Posted by Santanu on (February 21, 2011, 3:53 GMT)

Thanks Osman for this. I had been thinking about this and was planning to post something in the Inbox. But since you have brought this out, I better leave a comment and go from there. Yes, there was a time when the Associate teams used to get more exposure. In 1998 for example, Kenya toured India and got huge exposure. In fact, Kenya, Bangladesh (in 90s, Bangladesh was also an associate), UAE etc. used to be invited in big tournaments. But this is not the situation anymore. The only way to expand the horizon of international cricket is to involve these associates with the bigger teams more often. For example, a team that visits India may play a tri-series which involves Nepal or UAE. A team that tours Pakistan may play a tri-series involving Afghanistan. A team touring South Africa may play a tri-series involving Kenya, a team touring West Indies may play Canada also and so on. This way, these teams will be able to raise their standards and play tests in near future.

Posted by Peter on (February 21, 2011, 3:52 GMT)

The Associates have to play World Cup cricket - or at least be given the chance to do so. In my lifetime, I've seen Sri Lanka and Bangladesh become Test playing nations. It took Sri Lanka more than a decade to be competitive. Bangladesh? Give them time. The bottom line is a nation doesn't start off as the finished article in Test cricket. It takes years of thumpings against truly great cricketers before you earn your stripes. That's the nature of the game at the top level. The current Associates need the same level of support now as those that have gone before them. A better way to go would be to have 16 teams in two years' worth of home and away qualifiers for the World Cup, with eight teams going through to the finals tournament every four years. That would at least give the Associates a proper fighting chance to make the eight-team finals tournament, plus create two years of worthwhile context to the endless number of ODIs played around the world.

Posted by Senehas on (February 21, 2011, 3:49 GMT)

Players from Test playing nations play Cricket as their profession. ICC must introduce professionalism to Associate countries (making them busy). playing regularly against Top "A" sides, Organizing a mini wold cup for "A" sides Vs. Associate member teams,Organizing a tournament like I.P.L for minnows, taking care of player's financial needs, Financing Associate member's Cricket boards, improving cricket infrastructure, will benefit them immensely.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 3:30 GMT)

The case for more monetary and quality of play for everyone is ensured by greater regular participation of the minnows and not reduced access

Playing regular domestic cricket of full members and a set number of ODI matches in the form of Tri-Series when full memebrs play each other is one way to controlon costs as well as develop the game atb the same time.

This is going to be a long process for the growth of hte game but we have to begin somewhere..

Posted by Ram on (February 21, 2011, 3:27 GMT)

I agree with Gizza. If the minnows regularly plays with the B teams of the top playing nations, then they will get a good exposure. This will be a win/win situation as the B team of top playing nation will also get exposure in a foreign pitch which will come handy if and when they qualify to play international cricket. ICC should take the lead here and talk to the Boards of the individual nations so the game of cricket can get more attention in other countries.

Posted by Shrikanth on (February 21, 2011, 3:18 GMT)

Neither 20-20 nor World cup fixtures will particularly help these associate nations. What they need is a lot of 3-day First-class cricket (both home and away) against strong/medium-ranked state sides from across the world. That's the only way one can improve technical skills. Not by chasing 350 in an ODI game.

I wonder why this is so difficult for the authorities to grasp.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 2:51 GMT)

I can't help but ask how many times have any of the top nations played Zimbabwe or Bangladesh ? Australia and India especially.

to speak of good is one thing and actually doing so is another.

Posted by Bhaskar on (February 21, 2011, 2:42 GMT)

Ricky Ponting has indeed presented a rational and thoughtful point of view that many will possibly share. In my opinion, bilateral (or trilateral or quadrilateral) ODI series needs to be completely done away with. Let there be a year-round/ season-round ODI league featuring countries in some arrangement of brackets maybe like they have in Davis Cup for tennis. So it is possible for minnow teams to play big ones once in a while, and at the same time not extending the torture beyond that which is necessary.

Posted by Rick on (February 21, 2011, 1:23 GMT)

Ricky Ponting could perhaps ask his own board at Cricket Australia why they don't invite teams such as Canada, Ireland and Afghanistan to tour Australia now and again. But one has to wonder what the organisers of this World Cup were thinking when they scheduled games involving Kenya and Canada on the same day for the first Sunday of the tournament. Two of the three hosts of this World Cup are products of the concept of allowing "minnows" into the tournament. It is mean-spirited and selfish for the ICC and its commercial hangers-on to suggest that this should not continue in 2015.

Posted by Chris on (February 21, 2011, 1:22 GMT)

Why not bring back the tri-series ODI format and make it that one of the teams has to be an associate. Don't overdo the number of lead up games tho. And make all Test nations have to use the tri-series format. Sure there'll be lots of ass-kicking for a while but it has to be if they are to get the experience they so desperately need to become stronger teams.

Posted by wayne on (February 21, 2011, 1:04 GMT)

Perhaps we need something akin to the tri-series they used to have in the Australian summer - two member countries, one associate. The associate might get hammered in the beginning, but I'd be surprised if after 4-5 games they didn't show some serious improvement. Do these series two or three times per year, and in a way it dispenses with those "meaningless" best-of ODI series between two teams we see so often. Keep the Intercontinental Series going, and provide two spots at the next World Cup for the two highest ranked associates (or a team made up of the best associate players). Also, as I said elsewhere, more needs to be done to develop the club comps in associate countries. We see a bit of this in Australia with the Big Bash (Ten Doeschate has done well playing for Tas), but it could be expanded to the 50-over game...

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 21, 2011, 0:46 GMT)

For the first time on my life I actually agree with Ponting. But who is willing to play minnows and risk their odi ranking points?

Posted by Chatty on (February 21, 2011, 0:45 GMT)

Don't the A teams of top nations play against Associates frequently? If yes, the Associates cannot say that they don't get competitive opposition. If however A tours are not there, why doesn't the ICC organise such series frequently? If Associates start beating the A teams of top natons, it will be a clear sign that they are ready to play against the first elevens.

Posted by Sankar on (February 21, 2011, 0:07 GMT)

Its so much relief that there will be only 10 teams in the next world cup, cutting down meaningless world cup matches. There might be an odd case of an upset here or there, but you can't possibly set aside 7 hours to watch a match involving minnows, especially in these times, when time is so precious. When a world cup starts, it has to be fervent, with very few dull moments; (we can't even stand it in a 2 hour thriller movie); but here, after all the build ups, we are presented with scores of 76,120 etc; fans hate this; I won't watch these matches even if I get free flight and tickets, for I lose valuable time. Let the ICC arrange matches for minnows with Pak, India, Aus U 19s, zonal teams etc first and then take it from there.. World cup is not a place for them; maybe not even T-20s..

Posted by Vinod on (February 21, 2011, 0:01 GMT)

This is what ICC not doing which it supposed to: develop the game. The entire concept of bi-lateral cricket series should be done away with; mainly because there is too much cricket these days and it is reaching a limit of saturation. What ICC needs to do is, conduct a One-Day cricket league with different tiers for different countries every year. The matches need to be decided by ICC and not by respective boards played across the world. In this way, all teams can play with all teams in a particular tier and there will be a one winner of the One-Day cricket league every year. Lower tiered teams should get promotion to the top tiered league. One-day World Cup cricket should be scrapped forever. The Cricket World Cup should be focused on T20 Cricket, where more and more teams around the world can play in a shorter and more competitively.

Posted by vijender on (February 20, 2011, 23:59 GMT)

I agree that Associate coutries need more exposure with test playing nations. Even if the itenary for the regular sides is packed with tests/ODI/IPL, I think it will be a good idea simply to play with regional teams i.e Ranji teams in India or say the australian domestic circuit because a fair share of players in the regional teams have played with the regular team at some point.And these interactions do not have to be on the international calendar either.I thinkk its only fair to give them a chance to flurish now that we have included them as Associate members.

Posted by Patrick on (February 20, 2011, 23:42 GMT)

There is clearly a fine balance to be struck between including associate teams and making the WC a competitive, attractive and worthwhile spectacle. Ireland, like SA, are not helped by England constantly stealing their better players. However, I am heartened by the progress of SL, who were in the early '80s frankly appalling and turned themselves into WC winners in 15 years and are now very competitive at Test level, even without Murali. Likewise Bangladesh - probably not quite as good, but one or two good bowlers and they'll be there.

I reckon the best thing is not a sixteen team WC, but a ten/twelve team set up. Slashing the tourney time (50-odd days is ridiculous) it also means that those associate nations involved are the best of a mediocre bunch. The ICC should concentrate on supporting the global game as a priority ie short WCs, and secondly giving lesser nations a chance at competing and ultimately improving.

Posted by Aries on (February 20, 2011, 22:44 GMT)

The best way for these teams to succeed is to allow them to play domestic Indian, Australian or English County cricket on a regular basis. This way the players are exposed to top level cricket and get the required experience. ICC (BCCI) should insist on this format for minnow nations. I can bet after 4 years in the next world cup, these teams will come up with a lot of surprise.....just a thought.

Posted by Girik on (February 20, 2011, 22:27 GMT)

Another good suggestion I have read (On the Ponting article) is that maybe these minnows should play against the A teams or just the domestic teams more often. You DO learn a lot from losing against good teams but you don't learn a lot from getting thrashed by good teams. To be honest, Aus A, Ind A, SA A, Eng A, etc. can all probably beat these minnows too but the games will be closer and therefore the minnows will get much more out of it.

Posted by Girik on (February 20, 2011, 22:16 GMT)

The minnows should be playing against one strong team at least once a year (50-over cricket) but those games shouldn't be given ODI status. List A is sufficient. Like in the olden days, teams used to play many first-class teams before playing the main nation, eg. on a tour of England, One-dayers can be played against Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands (not all three at once but maybe two games by one guest country).

But the stats of the players shouldn't be inflated and the minnow's stats deflated and discouraged hence no ODI status. It should be a learning process. Zimbabwe and Kenya can be warm-up games on a South African tour. Bermuda and maybe Canada can be warm-ups on a WI tour. And so forth.

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 20, 2011, 22:14 GMT)

There should be a tournament where the Associates play B teams from the Test nations and/or regular bilateral series between them, ie England B v Ireland

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 20, 2011, 21:50 GMT)

Great article, I totally agree and I'm very disappointed that the ICC has decided that there will only be 10 teams from now on.

I think the full member nations should very concerned about the ICC decision to lower the number of nations in the world cup and increase the number in the T20 world cup. The future of cricket for the ICC is with T20, clearly. Associate nations will have no chance of achieving test status if they can't even play competitive 50 over games. The goal of all teams is to get test status, and to dominate test cricket, the highest form of the game. A lack of competitiveness to achieve test status will make test cricket more and more irrelevant. The greater number of nations playing competitive T20 will make that form of the game more relevant.

Posted by Eoin on (February 20, 2011, 21:15 GMT)

Minnows have got to go. Getting thumped and demoralized is not helping anyone, and I feel even more sorry for the fans who have to go through all that. The champions trophy was the perfect example of how these kinds of tournaments should be held. Simple format, two weeks, hassle free, competitive and most importantly entertaining. Since thats what people have been going on about so much lately. Is 50 over cricket still relevant? What does that even mean? I seriously don't understand. Is test cricket still relevant? Is T20 relevant?

Posted by Dummy4 on (February 20, 2011, 21:13 GMT)

Loved the way , Rizwan Cheema attacked Murali but with almost no support he had to attack each and every ball . Maybe with more support from his teammates he can pull a surprise or too in the coming matches. Also, the thinktank of the Canada team should give chances to the youngsters they have in their bench. Even Sachin didn't score centuries from the word go. He took 5 years to score his first century in an ODI so I hope they will give chances to the younger guys who will try to get some exposure ,which will help them to combat the international bowlers in future,if ICC allows them to play in future.

Posted by Philip on (February 20, 2011, 20:56 GMT)

Surely, it all comes down to funding and further opportunities. The latter can't come without the former.

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Osman SamiuddinClose
Osman Samiuddin Osman spent the first half of his life pretending he discovered reverse swing with a tennis ball half-covered with electrical tape. The second half of his life was spent trying, and failing, to find spiritual fulfillment in the world of Pakistani advertising and marketing. The third half of his life will be devoted to convincing people that he did discover reverse swing. And occasionally writing about cricket. And learning mathematics.

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