Cricket Player Manager
Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 101

Thread: ***Official*** Great Articles of Cricket

  1. #1
    SJS
    SJS is offline
    Hall of Fame Member SJS's Avatar
    Virus 2 Champion!
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Mumbai India
    Posts
    19,268

    ***Official*** Great Articles of Cricket

    There are so many cricket articles one has read that are absolutely priceless and one would love to share them with friends. However the headache of typing out articles is a big problesm.

    Looking for something on the legendry American cricketer Bart King, I came across this excerpt from one of my prized posessions, Bradmas's "The Art of Cricket". So I thought of sharing it here and also to request other members to post ather good articles here which they may come across. from the history of the game.

    This piece by Bradman on Seam and Swing Bowling makes as fascinating reading today as it did forty years ago when I first read it.

  2. #2
    SJS
    SJS is offline
    Hall of Fame Member SJS's Avatar
    Virus 2 Champion!
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Mumbai India
    Posts
    19,268

    Brilliant !!

    Watch cricket and learn, George
    Stephen Moss
    The Guardian
    Monday March 6, 2006

    George Bush's batting shows promise, if the photographs of his net session in Islamabad are any guide. The hands are in a good position on the bat, excellent for cover driving. His stance is a little crabby - he looks like he's lining up a putt - but that can be rectified. The president's bowling has less to offer. He is crouching at the point of delivery, his arm is too low, and he has the ball in the palm of his hand rather than between his fingers. At the moment, his potency is on a par with England's Ian Blackwell.

    We should be pleased that the US president is learning the art of cricket. Much of the current geopolitical instability can be traced to America turning away from the game in the early part of the 20th century and adopting baseball. Cricket was once an American fixture: the US was strong enough to beat the West Indies in 1888, and the Philadelphian Bart King is recognised as one of the greatest bowlers of all time. But cricket's subtle pleasures and amateur traditions were outgunned by fast-paced professional baseball.
    Cricket became a joke to Americans. Groucho Marx was once taken to a match at Lord's. After half an hour's play, he turned to his host and asked when the game would begin. Baseball's attraction to Americans was that it was a faster, brasher game than cricket - a quick hotdog rather than a lazy tea on the lawn - and, crucially, insisted on a decisive result. Draws are not an option in modern America, or in the Bu***** world view. Perhaps cricket will teach him that life isn't like that. Cricket rewards patience and persistence. Batsmen rely on defence - they get two innings in a game, not nine - and attack only selectively; and a draw can be deeply satisfying.

    Witness yesterday's peculiar denouement in Nagpur. England think they can win, then settle for a draw. India seem to settle for a draw, then play for a win. Then, with the game beautifully poised, the Indian batsmen accept the offer of bad light, and after five days' play and 660 man-hours, the game is declared a draw. Could an American comprehend that? No one who truly appreciates cricket's narrative complexities and its suspicion of "closure" would wage anything so unwinnable as a war on terror. Back to the nets, Mr President, and get that front foot forward, or you're sure to be caught at silly point

  3. #3
    Cricket Web Staff Member archie mac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    canberra Australia
    Posts
    10,748
    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    There are so many cricket articles one has read that are absolutely priceless and one would love to share them with friends. However the headache of typing out articles is a big problesm.

    Looking for something on the legendry American cricketer Bart King, I came across this excerpt from one of my prized posessions, Bradmas's "The Art of Cricket". So I thought of sharing it here and also to request other members to post ather good articles here which they may come across. from the history of the game.

    This piece by Bradman on Seam and Swing Bowling makes as fascinating reading today as it did forty years ago when I first read it.

    And people wonder why he was the best
    You know it makes sense.

  4. #4
    The Wheel is Forever silentstriker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    37,972
    Quote Originally Posted by SJS
    There are so many cricket articles one has read that are absolutely priceless and one would love to share them with friends. However the headache of typing out articles is a big problesm.

    Looking for something on the legendry American cricketer Bart King, I came across this excerpt from one of my prized posessions, Bradmas's "The Art of Cricket". So I thought of sharing it here and also to request other members to post ather good articles here which they may come across. from the history of the game.

    This piece by Bradman on Seam and Swing Bowling makes as fascinating reading today as it did forty years ago when I first read it.

    The guy is the man.
    Quote Originally Posted by KungFu_Kallis View Post
    Peter Siddle top scores in both innings....... Matthew Wade gets out twice in one ball
    "The future light cone of the next Indian fast bowler is exactly the same as the past light cone of the previous one"
    -My beliefs summarized in words much more eloquent than I could come up with

    How the Universe came from nothing


  5. #5
    SJS
    SJS is offline
    Hall of Fame Member SJS's Avatar
    Virus 2 Champion!
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Mumbai India
    Posts
    19,268
    NO ONE WRITES TO COLONEL
    - Vengsarkar should pick a team instead of picking on great players
    Mukul Kesavan - The Telegraph Oct 11, 2007

    Dilip Vengsarkar, the current chairman of selectors, has been in the news most recently on account of his public warning to India’s ‘seniors’ (read Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid) that they couldn’t take their places in the team for granted, that they needed to earn their keep. Vengsarkar has a habit of shooting his mouth off, but this statement was so unnecessary that it drew a double reproach: one from India’s cricket board, asking him to stop making public statements about the team, and another from the new captain of India’s ODI team, M.S. Dhoni, who went out of his way to praise the performance of India’s veterans, saying categorically that the team had no replacements for them.

    And well he might, given that Ganguly’s and Tendulkar’s recent form has been outstanding in the one-day game. Dravid’s form in the four matches against Australia has been disappointing but he played a couple of outstanding innings against England in the limited overs series that followed the Tests, and given that he voluntarily gave up the captaincy in both forms of the game in the very recent past, he’s scarcely the sort of player who needs to be told not to be complacent.

    This is unlikely to stop the chairman from offering his opinions to the press because indiscretion has been his watchword since he was appointed to his present office. After his retirement from the game, Vengsarkar wrote columns for a while, the copyright for which was vested with a company of his devising called Dilip Data Syndicate. Given his current rate of indiscretion, he could revive that company to sell his opinions to the newspapers, a sort of rent-a-quote service, so that the remainder of his tenure could be profitably used.

    It’s not unusual for national selectors to behave oddly. For many, it is their return to the limelight from the shadows of retirement, their last reprieve from the obscurity into which all ex-cricketers disappear. Actually, that should read ‘used to disappear’. Now, thanks to sports channels and news channels on television, cricketers of all sorts remain in the public eye long after becoming has-beens in the game. Nikhil Chopra and Syed Saba Karim, two cricketers with very modest international careers, figure in a comic cricket show; Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Arun Lal have successful broadcasting careers; Ajay Jadeja overcame scandal and retirement to become a fixture on cricket shows and figure in celebrity dance competitions; and Navjot Singh Sidhu is more than a mere member of parliament, he’s a cult figure.

    But perhaps it’s unfair to compare Vengsarkar to these men, who are, after all, much younger than him, players who were still playing at the highest level when the great tide of globalization came to lift cricketers to levels of fame and wealth unimaginable in the period in which Vengsarkar played his cricket. On the other hand, I can think of players of roughly his generation who remain more vivid in public memory than Vengsarkar. I’m not talking about Gavaskar, who, as India’s greatest batsman, is an immortal with whom comparisons are odious. Nor of Kapil Dev, for the same reason. Perhaps the best player to compare him to is Ravi Shastri.

    Like Vengsarkar, Shastri played for Bombay. He was six years younger but he retired from international cricket around the same time as Vengsarkar did, in 1992. Like him, Shastri captained India occasionally without ever becoming captain of India in his own right. Vengsarkar led India for as many as ten Tests, played international cricket for India for sixteen years (as many years as Gavaskar did and five more years than Shastri) and was a part of the side through the glory years in the mid-Eighties when it won the World Cup in 1983, the so-called world championship of cricket in 1985 and the series against England in 1986, in which triumph Vengsarkar played a leading role.

    And yet, the contrast between the current standing of the two couldn’t be more marked. Shastri is possibly the most successful cricket commentator India has produced, the Board was literally begging him to take over the team after the debacle in the World Cup, and he has just accepted, on his own terms, the headship of the Board’s cricket academy. Vengsarkar, on the other hand, vanished from the mind of the cricketing public for a dozen years and when he returned as chairman, he courted the attention of the media whereas someone like Shastri accepted fame as his due. And the cricket academy Vengsarkar runs is called, forlornly enough, the Elf Academy.

    It isn’t just Shastri. Take Mohinder Amarnath. If Shastri is six years younger than Vengsarkar, Amarnath is six years older. Like Vengsarkar, he had a long career (nearly twenty years of Test cricket with gaps in between) and a Test average just above 42, which is better than good. But Amarnath pops up on television as an expert, as a commentator, as an actor in commercials: he is a figure in the world of cricket whereas Vengsarkar, before his elevation to the chairmanship, was not.

    But perhaps the reason for all this is that Vengsarkar is a self-effacing sort of fellow, not the pushy sort who courts the media. This is hard to believe given how keen he is to supply sound bites to the press, but let’s give him the benefit of doubt. Even here, his post-retirement obscurity is puzzling. For Gundappa Viswanath, the most modest, retiring cricketer this country has ever had the good fortune to produce, remains a presence in the cricketing public’s mind despite his shyness in a way that Vengsarkar doesn’t. This might have something to do with the fact that he was a genius, but if you look at his figures, Viswanath has a lower batting average in Tests than Vengsarkar, and fewer centuries. He played his last ODI a year before India won the World Cup in 1983 and he never experienced the adulation and publicity that Vengsarkar and his team mates did after the coming of network television in 1982. And yet Viswanath has a hold on the affections of Indian cricket fans that Vengsarkar can only dream of.

    Vengsarkar’s invisibility is puzzling because he was a first-rate cricketer. He scored seventeen Test centuries, many of them to win or save matches for India. He was, after Gavaskar, our finest player of fast-bowling in the Seventies and Eighties, he helped us win a Test series in the mid-Eighties which was our last win there for twenty years, and throughout his career he was an elegant, pivotal presence at number three in the batting order. He was affectionately called the ‘Colonel’ because of his organized, near-military bearing and he did score those three splendid centuries at Lord’s. He was an unlikely contender for obscurity when he retired, and yet that was his fate.

    It may be that India’s cricket establishment took too long to call upon his services: the politics of the Indian cricket board is indecipherable to anyone outside its grubby structures. Or it might just be a function of personality: there are people who are instinctively liked and there are others who seem to have had a charm bypass. Whatever the cause of of Dilip Vengsarkar’s long years in the wilderness, he would do well to remember that he was a fine player in his time. His reputation would be better served if he used his past experience and his present eminence to pick the best teams he can instead of picking on great players and playing to the gallery. The regard of posterity should be a greater prize for a cricketer of his standing than fifteen minutes of ‘fame’.

  6. #6
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    2005
    Posts
    80,401
    Love the Viswanath-Vengsarkar comparison.
    RD
    Appreciating cricket's greatest legend ever - HD Bird...............Funniest post (intentionally) ever.....Runner-up.....Third.....Fourth
    (Accidental) founder of Twenty20 Is Boring Society. Click and post to sign-up.
    chris.hinton: h
    FRAZ: Arshad's are a long gone stories
    RIP Fardin Qayyumi (AKA "cricket player"; "Bob"), 1/11/1990-15/4/2006

  7. #7
    School Boy/Girl Captain skipper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    147
    This is a controversial article but very interesting one: http://content-aus.cricinfo.com/colu...ry/259676.html

  8. #8
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    2005
    Posts
    80,401
    Haha, didn't think it was controversial at all TBH, no-one exactly seemed secretive about the whole thing.

  9. #9
    SJS
    SJS is offline
    Hall of Fame Member SJS's Avatar
    Virus 2 Champion!
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Mumbai India
    Posts
    19,268
    Cricket - the sound of music

    Sir Neville Cardus, CBE, wrote about cricket and music (for what was then the Manchester Guardian) and did it so well that there was hardly an aspiring journalist of any talent over the last 25 years of his life who had not read him, envied him, or tried to emulate him. He was certainly an inspiration to John Arlott, a considerable writer and cricket commentator in his own right (more of Arlott below), whose voice breathed the essences of summer into millions of homes by way of radio or television.

    I first met Cardus at a dinner, in Manchester. (The picture brelow was taken at that event. Cardus on left, Redhead centre, and myself). His greatest successes were already behind him.He was a bird-like man, very sharp and attentive; a sparrow. His early background was poor in cash (though not in character). He had high intelligence and intellect; he was an aristocrat of words and ideas and turned quite ordinary happenings into events, and quite ordinary people, usually cricketers, into characters. Dull and ponderous people became homely wits and sages through his pen. It pleased him to embellish them and he served their egos and his career in a single act. His words made immortal many who would otherwise have vanished from human recollection. His music was cricket and his cricket, music. I approached him with fear, and with some awe.

    Brian Redhead, then editor of The Guardian in Manchester, said, at around midnight, at that dinner, "Come Neville, back to the Guardian - let us hear the roar of the presses." And Cardus said, "Certainly not." There was no rancour in it, but it was positive enough. Brian Redhead left on his own.

    Cardus, Mancunian, born I889, knighted in I967, died I975 (recreations: conversation, walking, anything not in the form of a game or sport), had heard enough presses. He had probably seen as much as he wanted to see of young journalists, too. He did not, in his later years, relish the way they addressed him immediately as Neville. It was, he felt, an impertinence, not necessarily to him but to the generation he represented. It was not his style... In his own early years in journalism such familiarity would have been severely condemned. He joined the Guardian in I9I6, first contributed, (not very good) cricket articles in I9I9, and was assistant to Samuel Longford in music criticism. From I9I2-I9I6 he had been cricket coach at Shrewsbury School.

    A colleague of mine, Peter Thomas, Associate Editor of the Daily Express in the North, and myself conspired to hire him for occasional articles, since he was our favourite, and that is how Cardus came to write for the Express's Northern version. The newspaper paid him a modest amount of money, I forget how much, but it was far more than he got from his own newspaper (Facts areexpensive; opinions are free, as Patrick Barclay, a talented writer himself, was to say to me) and he was delighted.

    Thomas was a cricket fanatic. He dabbled in statistics - dates, run rates, and so forth. At one stage he phoned Cardus and said, "Neville, according to my records you have described amatch in detail, yet you could not possibly have been there." Cardus said, "Well, it felt as though I was there."

    When I met him at his London flat and we left for lunch, he darted through traffic like a ferret. He wrote for me an article about Lancashire versus Yorkshire, a piece summing up the traditional rivalry, and he did it,in longhand. The prose, as ever, was superb. I framed it.

    Only cricket, in sport, has a worthwhile literature and this is largely due to Cardus.

    I met him a number of times. When I looked back on my notes of him I came across a transcript which I had done from tape, with no attempt to structure the words; and because I thought that transcript (of a conversation in his London flat) was a gem, a true reflection of Cardus, relaxed, himself, here it is:

    " We poor kids in Manchester... I think I must have been one of the first to join the Independent Labour Party, and in those days it was no advantage for a poor boy to be a Socialist. You could not get a job easily. We saw this great discrepancy... I lived in a semi- slum with no inside bathroom, no inside lavatory, no rent restrictions; and there was no welfare state. You did not get a doctor unless you could afford one, and within a quarter of a mile was Victoria Park with all the wealth in the world. Manchester was very wealthy. And we used to see the people going to the HaIIe concert in their carriages and we did not want to throw bombs at them because we thought that Socialism by argument would bring about a redistribution of wealth and we, one day, would go to HaIIe concerts too.

    "Today the young people want to pull down the things they can't get (he was speaking in I97I) We did not. We thought by reason, rationalism... The Fabian Society - Bernard Shaw was a great figure in our lives ... we thought that by conversation and argument we could get this redistribution of wealth ... The difference between Socialism today and Socialism in those days is that they seem to want to drag down rather than lift up. That is where I am against them. We are all rebels at one time, with different standards. So what was a rebel yesterday is a Conservative today.

    And I remember the time of the no-hat brigade. This will sound very simple now, but we caused a sensation by walking about Manchester without hats. To go about without a hat - the old Conservatives used to think we were nudists. My wife's father said, ' I'm not going to have my daughter married to a young man who walks about Manchester without a hat.' What always amuses me today is this talk about the permissive age. I do not think it is more permissive than it ever was, except that it is more frank and publicised now. It has become almost a fashion to be permissive. So in a sense, paradoxically, once it becomes a fashion, it ceases to be permissive. There was a time when, to be moral, you were immoral and you were more or less looked upon as an outcast. Now you are looked upon as an outcast if you are not.

    "My wonderful Aunt Beatrice, who worked at a hand laundry at the house I was born in, where we used to take in washing - was at the sort of beginning of Gracie Fields. She used to do this laundry business at home, ironing. Iron in front of the fire - spit! And these four-letter words! I do not remember a time when I did not hear them. I remember those words as being select and with a sort of distinction about them. I did not imagine the time would come when people would flock to the theatre to hear somebody saying a four-letter word. It seems so old-fashioned,

    "And that is the extraordinary thing about the I970's. It became a fashion to be immoral, fashionable to be permissive. The whole point of being permissive is that you were not fashionable. That is what amuses me. It does not seem to me to be as avant garde as they think it is.

    " Now within the world of the arts, you have composers like Stockhausen, not half so advanced as the development section of the first movement of the Eroica symphony, which astonishes me every time I hear it; whereas I know what Mr. Stockhausen is going to do before he begins. And if he were to lose a score, I could finish it for him. I heard a discussion the other day: the symphony orchestra was doomed. This was among the highbrows of the BBC. There would be small orchestras.

    "What packs in the audiences today at the Festival Hall? Last week, Eroica Symphony. No soloist. Packed. The week before, a Bruckner symphony. No soloist. Nothing else in the programme: packed, not by old peoplebut young people. I think the vast majority of young people today are just the same as the vast majority of young people when I was young. I know six young people who spend their time
    at night seeing to old people. And that is where the young people today are a dam'd sight better than we were. I never thought of going about helping old people. We had to help ourselves.A swing back to religion?

    That I could not say. That is the thing that baffles me. I do not think that the young people are inclined to the churches as we were. I, as a boy, used to go toSunday school; every young boy went to Sunday school. I found everything boring. I was never much interested. And I never had. any religious instinct, but we had in those day an ethic just as severe as the Christian one, which we got from humanists like T. H. Huxley. God was watching us I remember being left in my poor house one Saturday afternoon. My parents had gone out and I was alone. On the mantelpiece was a penny and I took it. Then I had to put it back because I thought God was watching.If there was no god there was the Recorder. There was a sort of belief. Even if you did not believe; you had the creed of Huxley and Herbert Spencer, a completely forgotten philosopher. We had this conduct, this ethic; and since the end of the last war we have been in the melting pot. No real force of religion, but, on the other hand, not an ethic; but I do think young people are beginning to formulate a decent ethic and I should say I would be optimistic about the future.

    " I remember an old saying - a pessimist is one who spends a week-end with an optimist. I think you must not be sentimental about life. But there is a good generation of young people. This is a marvellous technological age. If you want great bombs you can have them. If you want great symphonies you can have them. Why we can't make a synthesis and have technology and the arts ... it is a curious age and there are probably too many people in the world.

    "A lot of things I would like to be: I would have had to have had six lives. If I had it over again I would. I only made one mistake. When I was a young boy you could not afford a piano in your house and I tried to be a singer because it did not cost anything; but what I would love to do now is to play the piano well enough to please myself, just for pleasure - not to be a professional pianist like Rubinstein or Horowicz.

    "I suppose every man, when he gets to my time of life, always thinks he lived in the best time and when I say I lived in the best time I must repeat myself and say I lived in a period which could not be imagined today, of poverty when we had all sorts of problems; you might have a good week, and a week when the main meal of the day was your incredible concoction called pobs. They used to cut a slice of white bread in cubes and put it in a basin and pour tea and condensed milk and stir it. People seemed to get on very well. We were not ill. You never used to hear the word frustration. Never heard of that. Never heard the word complex.

    And as regards health services, if you had a sore throat my old grandmother used to say, 'Put some brown paper on your chest.' And if you had this or that you put a hot water bottle against the stomach and somehow we survived. Of course, a lot of people. did not. It produced more individuals. It had to. I never counted myself the poor boy who made good. I just wanted to enjoy myself. I did not go to the library to improve myself. I used to go and wrap myself in literature; just do the things nature wants to do. It is like being hungry. I wanted to read and play cricket. It had never occurred to me that I was going to be a writer.

    "The only thing I made tip my early about in life was that I was not going to work for a living. define work as something you would give up tomorrow if you came into a fortune. I had to work hard as a kid, pushing handcarts about. Then I got into an insurance company. Two agents in Bridge Street, Manchester, used to represent the United Dutch Marine Insurance Company. Two very gentlemanly men used. to sit in the Conservative Club all day. Myself and the head clerk used to make out the insurance policies in ink, no typewriter, and the bosses came back from the Conservative Club, signed the policies, and went home. I did this from I903 until about I9I I and I remember one of the directors of the Theatre Royal coming into the office with his daughter; and they were just saying goodbye to these two bosses of mine and they were going round the world. Aftert about eight months they came back again, looking very tanned, and I thought: My God, while I've been sitting on this stool they have been round the world. How can I get out of this office?

    "I read a book by a completely forgotten American humouurist named Artemus Ward, who used to spell all his words differently - B4 for before - and he told the story of a man in solitary confinement who sat there for ten years and one day a bright idea occurred. He opened his cell window and got out. His window had been open all the time. I thought: The only way I can get out of this office is to walk out. I had the decency to tell my boss I was going. He said, What are you going to do?"'I said, 'I am going out,' and I applied to an advertisement for a professional coach at Shrewsbury."

    " In cricket, I go to Lords a good deal and I can tell you exactly what is going to happen. At half past eleven when the match begins, two bowlers are going along with the new ball and I know how they're going to set the field. There are to be three short legs and they are going to bowl in-swingers. Then, at about I2 o'clock, or quarter past I2, they will take off these new-ball bowlers, who only bowled about two, three or four overs, and two other bowlers come on, quite unrecognisable from the two who have been on before. And at lunch the score will be 80 or so and I will know exactly who they played, and at Lords, on a beautiful day, there will be about 2,000 people.

    "Now they say you need some bright cricket to attract crowds. You get bright cricket in these one-day matches, which is the sort of cricket I used to play in Manchester. I could play for Lancashire in Saturday afternoon cricket, but I could not have played for Lancashire in I9I0. Now 40,000 people used to go to the Lancashire and Yorkshire matches. To see sixes? No. It was not done. Old Harry Makepiece used to say, 'Lads, we've won t' toss, it's a good wicket; now, no fours before lunch.' It was a game of character, humour, a feud.

    "What I miss in this country is the spirit of individual risk. Australia is not the same. Although the Welfare State has been an enormous godsend to the people who need it, we pay a price...You have here a most wonderful means of communication - television. Can you imagine what Jesus Christ would have done with it? Or Herbert Spencer, Bertrand Russell? What have they got there to give us a lead, an inspiration, that I got when I was young from Shaw, Keir Hardy, those great figures who made us something to live for, some idealism? What is the new light? With all respect I can not say I am going to get a new light from dear David Frost.

    "What does disturb me, what I really do get pessimistic about - and I am glad I am not 30 - is the machine. It seems to me that the machine has now taken charge. It is going to dominate. And my God, we'll probably have a computer soon as Prime Minister. They need not break up the machine. Why can't we put it at our service? You can't go in the country without cars. First thing I would do as a benevolent dictator: I would stop the use of cars in cities. Getting a dam'd nuisance, you know. Then again, there is a sort of lunacy. People tell me they are going to Sydney in 48 hours to save time. What are they going to do with the time saved?

    " I do not believe in this giving too much: grants for students. I would certainly give grants to gifted poor boys. I would have given a grant to myself at I6. I thank whatever gods there be that I got on the wavelength of Emmott Robinson and Dick Tyldesley, and I could get on the wavelength of Elgar and Toscanini and Kathleen Ferrier and Bemard Shaw. That, to me, composes a full circle of life and that you can not get from university.

    " I used to go to music halls and hear Marie Lloyd singing and the musical comedies like Flora Dora and people would say: 'You are wasting your time. Why don't you go to the HaIIe concerts? It was from that that I graduated and today we have people listening to the Beatles who know a bit about Mozart, too, and that is what I call a real education."


    - Geoffrey Mather
    Last edited by SJS; 22-10-2007 at 01:37 AM.

  10. #10
    SJS
    SJS is offline
    Hall of Fame Member SJS's Avatar
    Virus 2 Champion!
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Mumbai India
    Posts
    19,268
    And then, Arlott

    IT WAS inevitable that, having known Cardus, I should be curious about John Arlott and the opportunity to meet him and discuss cricket came when he announced that he was retiring. "I have got to rest," he said. "Two more seasons of cricket would probably kill me." It was I980. His voice had been heard in radio commentary on every Test in this country since the war. Was it so demanding? "Well, a I6-hour day if you are driving I00 or 200 miles to a match and back doing a full day's work. How many people in their mid-sixties do that?"

    To mark the start of the final season the BBC assembled its commentators at The Cricketers' Club in London and a score or so people heard a short tribute to the man before he made an elegant reply in which he quoted Oscar Wilde's lady - She did not know anything about music but she was very fond of musicians. It was some oblique reference to his own work "I've always got on well with cricketers. I might not always have been accurate about them..." In the end emotion welled up to block the words. Shortly afterwards, he and I left to discuss what made his the name that evoked, now that Cardus was dead, the essence of cricket, going beyond the mere statistics of play to the heart and soul of the game.

    "I owe almost everything to Neville," he said. "I remember reading 'The Summer Game' when I was in my teens. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to this semi-mythology of cricketers and always said to Neville that any success I had was due to the imaginative stimulus he gave me.'
    Both were from poor backgrounds ("I came from generations of farm labourers," said Arlott). Both developed an intense feeling for words and had deep loves beyond cricket (in Arlott's case, poetry, wine, good books) that enriched their commentaries on the game. More than most these two men liad provided a literature for cricket. "I was," said Arlott, "a madly-keen cricketer from the age of five or six. I bowled everything, none of it very well. I batted determinedly and there was a period when I did not get out very easily, largely because was not playing any strokes. I played the game enough to know the problems and that is more helpful, perhaps, than being a highly successful player who does not appreciate the difficulties of a lesser player."

    At I2, he saw first-class cricket and the revelation was at hand: he was to discover Jack Hobbs (who declared: "It is literally true to say that I crept into first-class cricket through the back door as the big gates were opening wide to allow W. G. Grace to pass out") and the great cricketers of his era; something like climbing a mountain from the top. Arlott was a BBC poetry producer when he began cricket commentaries in I946. An early superior at the BBC told him, "You have an interesting mind but a vulgar voice." It was easy, at that stage, to think of Arlott as being beyond such insensitive pinpricks, but he suffered much from insecurity that came out of the hard times of his youth.

    " I think," he said, "that anybody who grew up in a slump had a desperate fear of the sack.

    If you got the sack in the early thirties you never got another job as far as you could see and I was threatened more than once."

    In people's memories, of course, earlier cricket is always superior cricket. Like wine, the recollection of matches past rnellows and takes on rich undertones.. (Arlott stripped his memories of sentiment.)

    "Cricket changes. It changes with social background. The quality of it, the tempo, the aim and character change in any period. It was a gambling vehicle in the days of Regency bucks, a game of Muscular Christiinity and eminent respectability in the Victoiian period, joyful and dashing in the Edwardiin age, alternately promising, and threatening between the two wars, increasingly technical subsequently, and nowadays it has promotions, sponsorships, entertainment through television. It reflects its society.

    "Cricket had to change to live. It had to be faithful to its social background. If it had remained static it would have meant that it was not what it had always been: a developing sport closely linked to the community in which it is played.

    "Most of us regard heroes of youth as the greatest we have seen. I have never seen a better batsman than Jack Hobbs. But I do not think there was anyone in that period more exciting than Viv Richards, or a finer all-rounder than lan Botham. There were very few more classic
    batsmen than Gregg Chappell.

    "No, I would not say cricket has deteriorated. I would say that, in England, in particular, much of the talent for a long time was siphoned into Soccer because Soccer paid more money. That was why Packer, in the end, was likelier to be a good turn to cricket than a bad one. Is cricket a worthwhile dedication for a lifetime's work? Good heavens, no. Anybody for whom cricket was everything would not half be a limited chap. No time for arts, general culture, politics. Cricket is a part of life but it is a game, to my mind the greatest, most complex of all games, but still a game. It is the game that, above all, has transcended the barriers of class."

    I found it inexplicable that Arlott was moving to Alderney (from Alresford in Hampshire). I had to look it up - "The Northernmost island, area 3 sq miles., pop. I,500, of the Channel Islands."

    It was where he had spent the happiest days of his life with a wife who died and with his eld son, also dead.

    " I shall never forget those days. My present wife and youngest son are prepared to share this ideal with me and I am going there to die. It is as simple as that" - followed by a quick retraction: "That is over-dramatic ... To spend the last years of my life..."

    He said he would like to be remembered as someone who never did anybody else any harm and, with tliat, we rejoined the rest, who were, at that point, discussing some words of Lord Annan in his report to the government on the future of broadcasting - "John Arlott must be as part of the English summer as strawberries and cream."

    Not for long, I thought; not for long. And of course, he died. How soured by life, I will never know.
    [/INDENT]
    -
    Geoffrey Mather
    Last edited by SJS; 22-10-2007 at 01:36 AM.

  11. #11
    SJS
    SJS is offline
    Hall of Fame Member SJS's Avatar
    Virus 2 Champion!
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    Mumbai India
    Posts
    19,268
    Deconstructing Munaf
    K. R. Guruprasad, Hindustan Times

    "Ikhar?" "Woh toh Munaf Patel ka gaon hai." (It is Munaf Patel's village). My autorickshawala Ajay remarks on this fact while striking a deal to take me from Bharuch to Ikhar and back in one day. "You are not the first one," he adds. "Once Yusuf Pathan (Irfan's brother) hired my rickshaw to Ikhar. He went to meet Munaf."

    Well, I guess, it is a good way to start my visit, to travel in the rickshaw graced by Yusuf.

    Ikhar is about 30 minutes drive from Bharuch. The first impression is that it is smaller and more isolated than I expected. Almost like it is frozen in time.

    And it being the month of Ramzan when I travelled last fortnight, most of the villagers - predominantly Muslim - are asleep. They are fasting and are tired after getting up at 3am to pray.

    The streets are deserted but I approach a couple of elderly villagers sitting near a paan shop and ask for Haroon Handi, the captain under whom Munaf started playing cricket. They point to a nearby house.

    I get down from the rickshaw, walk up to it and knock. My endeavor to discover Munaf Patel, the person, had begun.

    Munaf on fire

    Just a day before I went to Ikhar, Munaf had bowled with fire in the second innings of the Irani Trophy game in Rajkot. He had picked up five wickets, leading the Rest of India to a win over Ranji champions Mumbai.

    In the first innings, however, he was not a patch on himself. He bowled insipidly. He picked up arguments with the fielders when he thought they could have been faster. He looked a harmless medium pacer at best.

    And then suddenly, he came back a different man. He began bowling aggressively. He glared at the batsmen, even got talking with them. I don't think he was asking after their health. He got them out.

    And after the win, he refused to speak to the media. He stayed put inside the dressing room, refusing to even come out. Just three days before that, he had told a national television channel about how he was unjustly left out of the T20 World Championship and the series against Australia.

    There was something going on in Munaf's mind. Was he always like this? I was asked to find out. So here I was, in Ikhar, to try and meet people who would know Munaf better.

    And Haroon Handi was the first I wanted to meet.

    The Bunker

    Haroon, captain of the Golden Cricket Club, is not home. "He is in the bunker," says a youngster from the neighbourhood.

    Bunker is what they call Haroon's ancestral house. Now, nobody stays there but the captain and his friends, including Munaf, hang out here watching TV or talking shop.

    I had to climb creaky wooden stair to enter a room with a low roof. Munaf is 6 feet 4 inches tall. He has to be crouching when he's here.

    Haroon, strapping and strikingly handsome at 31, is woken up. He doesn't seem to mind. "Munaf was my younger brother's friend," he begins. "One day, my brother brought him to me and told me that he could bowl. I saw him bowl and knew he was talented. Even at 16, he could bowl fast."

    There's a pause here. "But his father would not let him join the team. The family was impoverished and he wanted Munaf to take up farming instead. It took a lot of convincing to make him understand."

    Munaf, the man

    "Munaf was very aggressive on the field," says Haroon. "He did not like being hit for runs and would shout at fielders if they dropped a catch." That sounds familiar. "But he would be the first person to apologise later," Haroon adds.

    Haroon is somebody Munaf looked up to. He says Munaf used to take things too casually and so, he would shout at him to make him obey.

    "Once, he was selected for the district team after attending trials for only 10 days. We were to play Kheda the next day and supposed to leave for there by 2pm. Munaf suddenly went missing. An hour's search later, he was found hiding in the fields, clutching his cricket kit. His father had asked him not to play."

    "He was scared I would shout at him. I asked him to play just one match and then take a call." Munaf took seven wickets against Kheda. His father agreed to let him play.

    Munaf off the field, says Haroon, is a different man. He is fun loving and uncomplaining. "During his first match for my club, I suddenly asked him to bat at No.3. He smashed 56. But whenever the ball was bowled on his body he would try to get away. I forgot to wear the abdomen guard," he told me later.

    A 'rustic' and his family

    After his recent outburst in the media, a lot has been made about Munaf's background contributing. "It's just a lack of education," says Haroon. "If he was well educated, he would have known what to say and how to say things. But he has improved a lot."

    There's another pause and then he mentions that Munaf did not like spending time at house as a boy. "A lot of people stayed together in his house, many relatives. But apart from his father, nobody bothered about where he slept or ate. He would always be with my brother, even at night, even while praying."

    Haroon says Munaf had no interest other than cricket. "Even when we watched TV in the Bunker, he would sit with his back to the set and chat with us."

    Memories of childhood

    Sadik Hayat and Munaf met in Class III in the village school. "We were 8-year-olds then," says Sadik. Sadik, Munaf and Munaf Handi (Haroon's younger brother) were always together, a mischievous trio.

    "We were notorious," says Sadik. "If somebody left a cycle unlocked, we would take it and ride around for hours and then leave where we found it. If we found cattle on the school ground, Munaf and I would throw stones at it and lead it to some unknown place while the owner searched a long time for it."

    School held little attraction for the trio. "We used to steal mangoes from one of the trees over there," Sadik points to the spot. "We were caught once. Munaf pleaded our case and then we thankfully fled."

    "We would eat, sleep and play together," says Sadik smiling. "We had nothing serious to do, so we played cricket for the most and troubled the villagers… even now, whenever Munaf comes home, the first thing he does is send somebody to fetch me."

    Tu kal chala jaayega…

    Ikhar is largely a village of not too well to do cotton farmers. Many families have at least one member working abroad, mainly in countries in Africa and Europe. Many youngsters from here work as shopkeepers in African countries like Zambia and Mozambique to supplement their family's income.

    Munaf Handi, too, left for Africa four years ago.

    Says Sadik: "The night before he left, we three got together and spent the whole night chatting. Munaf and I sang him that song from the movie Naam…Tu kal chala jaaeyega toh main kya karunga…"

    Munaf too was set to go to Africa. "His father even sold some land to send him there. But a month-and-a-half before he was to leave, his father changed his mind and allowed Munaf to pursue cricket."

    Sadik, remembering, suddenly switches to another quaint Munaf anecdote. "There are qawwals here who sing and ask for money. A young Munaf would ask them to sing songs for him. Later, he would borrow their dhols, beat on them and sing. He would announce that as he sang as well as they did, he would, of course, not pay." Those once furious qawwals have now composed songs in praise of the fast bowler who made their village famous.

    Munaf incidentally, will also be separated from his remaining friend. Sadik is all set to go to Africa. "I am just waiting for my papers. Munaf Handi has arranged a job in a shop for me." And then he adds, a tad forlorn. "Not much can be earned through farming here. Munaf is lucky he doesn't have to go anywhere."

    Mr. Benevolent

    Munaf, by every account, was always very generous. "If anybody asked for money he would give them whatever he had in his pocket," says Sadik.

    Not many know that after quitting school, Munaf worked in a local ceramic tile factory for about Rs 1,200 a month. "We had to stand near the kiln and watch the line of tiles. If any were damaged, we would take it away," says Sadik. They both worked there for three months.

    "And knowing Munaf's generous nature, every pay day, people would ask for money. And he would give them 20 or 50 rupees without giving it a thought."

    Fame hasn't changed him. Munaf's former teacher at MM high school, Yunus Chahadat, says, "He recently gave one poor person Rs 70,000. He has always been like that. He also gave a labourer Rs 500 just because he said salaam Munaf bhai."

    A teacher's account

    According to Chahadat, Munaf was always very religious. "He has great belief in Godand this has helped him get wherever he has." And then he adds, "he was never a good student, he always wanted to play cricket."

    They initially tried to dissuade him from playing cricket but gave up after they saw his talent. There's a smile again. "Even now, when he comes to Ikhar, he doesn't behave like an international cricketer."

    "He hasn't changed one bit. He still never sits in front of me out of respect and still roams the alleys here talking to kids and giving them bats and balls and whatever he can."

    "Earlier, the villagers pooled in to pay Munaf's coaching fee and all that. Now, Munaf is giving money to the villagers."

    Ikhar, Munaf, the future…

    Ikhar is hardly a place where an international cricketer can train properly. It is made up of a couple of mosques, madrasas and a small school surrounded by houses and a ground with overgrown grass.

    Yet, Munaf wants to stay in Ikhar, says Chhadat. "He has been planning to buy a bigger house around here. We want him to stay in Baroda though, so he can train properly… but he is unlikely to change his mind. He will stay here. He is very stubborn."

    Many will want him to. Mohammed, a Class V student, is playing with a rubber ball in the school ground where Munaf played most of his cricket. "Munaf bhai aayenge toh saath mein khelenge (when Munaf comes we will play together)," he says happily.

    Munaf in Ikhar is not a star, he is just one of them.

    Once you have been to Ikhar, it is easier to understand Munaf Patel. He is one of a kind. A son of a poor farmer from a nondescript village makes it to the Indian cricket team. It is surreal.

    Despite all the success, one cannot take Ikhar out of Munaf. And the three people met in the village said as much. "He is not exactly what you see on TV."

    Yet, when Munaf takes his mark at the bowling run-up, he is aggressive, passionate and wants to win matches. The 7,000 people in Ikhar want him to keep doing that.

  12. #12
    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Heaven
    Posts
    8,443
    These newspaper pieces about Munaf are of extremely high quality and are key in understanding his physche (sp?). He seems like a geniune person and in the $$$ nature of international cricket, it is good that we have one of those. Let's just hope that he can improve his consistancy and bowl more spells like in the Irani Trophy. One his day, he is among the best in the world but off his day, he is among the worst in Indian cricket.

    The piece 'NO ONE WRITES TO COLONEL' is also a magnificent read. SJS, you are really displaying that Indian cricket journalism is the best by far, at times.
    The speed at which a fielding team gets through the innings is overrated.

  13. #13
    Cricket Web Staff Member Richard's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    2005
    Posts
    80,401
    Quote Originally Posted by Manee View Post
    physche (sp?)
    Psyche.

    Unless you mean physique.

  14. #14
    School Boy/Girl Captain skipper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    147
    Munaf seems genuine on paper. On field, he is one of the most lethargic guys around. He is seen as a guy who is atleast 10 years older than he actually is.

  15. #15
    Cricketer Of The Year Manee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Heaven
    Posts
    8,443
    Quote Originally Posted by skipper View Post
    Munaf seems genuine on paper. On field, he is one of the most lethargic guys around. He is seen as a guy who is atleast 10 years older than he actually is.
    If he can just be taught to be able to sprint over about 15 yards and have a strong throw, he can be fine at fine leg. Many great fast bowlers were bad fielders at the past like Courtney Walsh. The key is that most of them had good arms but Munaf can't seem to throw.

    Some major fitness and fielding training is vital for Munaf's growth as a player.

Page 1 of 7 123 ... LastLast


Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. The Official 20/20 is neither great or boring thread
    By Lillian Thomson in forum Cricket Chat
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 16-02-2007, 02:41 AM
  2. Interesting cricket articles
    By Pratters in forum Cricket Chat
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 27-06-2005, 07:01 PM
  3. Cricket Articles/Blogs
    By iluvcricket in forum Cricket Chat
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 13-08-2004, 04:28 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •