Decision Review System. X-Factor. Super Sub. Power Play. The Hundred. Power Surge. Twenty20. These innovations over the last twenty years and the changed preferences of the audience have turned cricket into something that was barely recognizable from the form in which it was played in the 90s and one can rest assured that it won’t look the same a decade or so in the future.
If one were to describe a ‘draw’ in cricket, there won’t be many better images than the one created from the above lines of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Test cricket is unique as it has four possible results: Win, Loss, Tie and Draw. The difference between a tie and a draw can be explained in the following words: In a tied test both sides can equally lay claim to success in the game, a sort of joint winners without the word ‘winner’ used. If one were to explain this in the context of Limited overs cricket, the Natwest Series final of 2005 ended in a tie between Australia and England and they were deemed to have shared the trophy. (Though this was the situation in simpler times, we have since moved on to the era of Super-Overs)
When Matt Renshaw had to answer an unexpected call of nature during the 2017 Border Gavaskar test at Pune and paid heed to it by retiring hurt, the former Australian skipper Allan Border wasn’t impressed. He remarked “I hope he is lying on the table in there half dead. Otherwise as captain I would not be happy” to Fox Sports. This wasn’t the first time Border had urged for his countrymen to give their all on the cricket field, having fired up Dean Jones during the tied Madras test in 1986 with the ‘Weak Victorian’ comment. The idea was for the individual to stand up and fight for the country and the team.
‘Upset’ in sports terminology is a reference to an underdog doing the unimaginable by either holding a superior side for a draw/tie or defeating them. There is something about the ‘Rocky Balboa’ experience that excites our imagination. Perhaps, the fact that the less touted also have their moment to shine is what makes them connect with the viewers. It could mean anything from an inexperienced side stunning the world champions (Ashraful taking the fight to Australia and winning in Cardiff 2005) to a non-test playing Kenya entering the semi-finals of the 2003 World Cup in South Africa after having beaten the likes of Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe.
After India had been shot out for 36 in the first Test at Adelaide, there were two kinds of reactions which dominated the social media and cricket columns: One was of shock and horror at this unexpected turn of events after a balanced start to the Test with India in a lead going into day 3, while the other was to fight the fire which could have engulfed the team in case an inquisition was carried out.