Cricket - It's a funny old game

Cricket - It's a funny old game

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Beige Archives: Historic History: 1932 - Scientists outline ‘Fast Leg Theory'

This article first appeared on on the 15th of November 2010.
Scientists from England were hailed as the heroes of the War of the Ashes fought between England and Australia in 1932-1933 after they published a paper on the ‘Unified Theory of Fast Leg’. In the run up to the Ashes conflict, scientists from both countries had been working round the clock to develop ways in which to gain an advantage over their opposition, and historians from both sides agree that England’s victory in the race for scientific dominance was crucial in undermining the power of Australia’s flagship destroyer, the HMS Bradman.

However, boffins from Australia were not impressed by the details of the theory and a formal response printed in the renowned ‘Australian Journal of Physics, Chemistry and Cricket’ stated that “this theory is based on a series of flawed assumptions and is not in the spirit of Newton’s second law of Thermodynamics”. Despite this, the theory was employed to great effect during the war and after each day the bodies of fallen Australians were laid out in a line, giving the theory its common nickname of ‘Lines of Bodies’. The invading English army was successful in their campaign and returned to England with their small urn-shaped spoils.

Throughout 1933, Australian scientists continued to provide evidence of algebraic irregularities proposed in the Unified Fast Leg Theory with General Stan McCabe saying “The Bay 13 infantry may break the odd rule, but even they know not to mess with Euler’s laws of rigid body motion”. The international scientific community eventually agreed and the universe’s physical laws were amended so that England’s Fast Leg Theory became illegal and ceased to be employed on the cricketing battlefield.

The fundamentals of the law were reused, however, in the Allies’ successful Battle of Britain campaign with a huge number of the Luftwaffe pilots falling for the leg side trap.

The Beige Archives: Draw with India leaves New Zealand fans 'confused'

This article first appeared on on the 9th of November 2010.

The drawn test match between lowly ranked New Zealand against number 1 ranked India has left almost every New Zealand fan 'confused' as to how to react.

"Given the slightly below average performance in Balngladesh I was fully expecting India to crack the thousand mark in their first innings." said one life-long cricket fan in Auckland earlier today. "Me and my mates were watching and looking forward to being able to throw some clever and devastating insults at the Black Caps for a solid 5 days, but events on days 2 and 3 completely threw us off our stride and we got all confused and it wasn't enjoyable at all."

Worse was to come though as the Black Caps, inspired by a man dressed in a Chris Martin costume, took the advantage on Day 4 and were in with a great chance of stealing a massive upset going into Day 5.

This resulted in many fans throwing off their traditional mantles of doom and gloom and actually supporting their team for once in what has been described as the biggest show of unity in New Zealand cricket since angry mobs chased John Bracewell out of the country.

However, the final day belonged to just two players - Brendan McCullum and Ross Taylor who assured New Zealand cricket fans that the bowling woes were finally over. A couple of Indian batsmen also scored some runs.

As a result the fans new found optimism was quickly replaced by uncertainty over how the result was supposed to make people feel. The mood was summed up by a national paper's headline being "We Drew! Yay?". However, the article largely went unread as it was buried on page 28 behind 67 articles discussing the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

The Beige Archives: Cricket Journalism enters 'Golden Age'

This article first appeared on on the 28th of October 2010.

Cricket fans have heralded the start of a ‘golden age’ of cricket journalism after a recent influx of insightful and detailed articles on the sport. A well known Cricket Information website lead the charge earlier this week with the headline “Broken Thumb hurts Katich”.

“This kind of intellectual rigour and analysis is what has been missing from the reporting of cricket stories,” enthused an ICC spokesperson earlier today. “Headlines like this are really putting cricket on the cutting edge of modern sports commentating”. Cricket has long languished well behind other sports in terms of eye-catching headlines, although the 2002 headline “Nobody Caresses Balls Like Vaughan” attracted a huge amount of interest and won the coveted “Article Not Quite Living Up to Its Promise” award.

In other news, the same website’s commitment to Top XI lists has been praised as comprehensive and vital. Their upcoming list of the top XI lists has been described as ‘the icing on the cake’.

However, not everyone is happy with a number of comments on forums expressing outrage that Sachin Tendulkar was not included in the top XI cricketers in the All-time lists for Australia or England.

The Beige Archives: Popular Soap Opera 'IPL' Starts Fourth Series

This article first appeared on on the 11th of October 2010.
Popular Indian soap opera ‘IPL’ starts its fourth series soon and early indications are that it will rival the record breaking ratings at the end of the third season which were due in part to the ‘whodunnit’ storyline involving Lalit Modi (brilliantly played by journeyman character actor Lalit Modi).

However, there has been friction between some of the key players with both Rajasthan and Punjab expecting to be missing from the fourth series. Rajasthan, the surprisingly popular underdog from series one, has been inundated with job offers and rumours are growing that it will star in the new Harry Potter film.

Punjab’s agent is citing ‘creative differences’ and stated that “Punjab just doesn’t like the direction the creators are taking IPL and we believe the IPL is moving away from its roots”.

In a further twist, there is speculation that a third major participant might be missing from the hit show. Newcomer Kochi has been absent from recent rehearsals and sources inside the IPL studio say that it is possible the character of Kochi might remain, but could be replaced by a different actor. Commentators agree that the IPL series was long overdue for such a common soap opera tactic.

The IPL series is almost unique amongst soap operas in that it is still filmed in front of a live audience. Given how these audience numbers have dwindled since series one, this may soon change.

The Beige Archives: Historic Moments in History - 1981: Chappell Invents Bowls

This article first appeared on on the 22nd of August 2010.

On the 1st of February 1981, Australian brothers Greg and Trevor Chappell invented the game of lawn bowls during a one-day international cricket match against New Zealand.

When asked how he got the idea, Greg said "a number of my friends had been joking and asking me whether there was a slower and more boring game than cricket and it just came to me".

New Zealand batsman Brian McKechnie was to face the final delivery of the match when Trevor Chappell switched from cricket to bowls unexpectedly. McKechnie remembers the incident like it was yesterday. "I was thinking that I was going to have to hit a six and it would be a massive win for us. Then Trevor walked in and introduced the world to bowls. The first thing that went through my head was "man, I wish I'd invented that"".

The historic moment has had ongoing repurcussions for a number of the participants. Trevor Chappell has expressed his disappointment that he is remembered as "The Bowls Guy" and no-one remembers his distinctly average cricketing ability.

The story has a dark side unfortunately. The batsman at the non-strikers end, Bruce Edgar slipped into obscurity and suffers from depression. "Why does no-one remember my contribution to the game and the incident?" he said recently. "I had one of the best views of Trevor's technique but I never get asked to join any bowls clubs. And I was in the famous photo! I didn't even get a free meal out of that".

The Beige Archives: Ryder to commit to international cricket - or beer

This article first appeared on on the 7th of August 2010.

Jesse Ryder stands at a crossroads of his career today as he mulls over whether to commit himself fully to professional cricket or being a world famous drunken lout. Ryder, the Black Caps first dual international since Jeff Wilson played both rugby and cricket for his country, has recently conceded he was finding it difficult to maintain the standards he set for himself in both disciplines and was thinking about which one he wanted to focus on.

New Zealand Cricket’s Ruler for Life Daniel Vettori said he hoped Ryder would pick cricket and admitted that “we need him. We have no openers whatsoever. No offence Tim [McIntosh]”. He even pledged support for McIntosh and Watling for them to become international beer-swilling superstars and offered them “all the kegs they need” to get started.

Ryder does have support as a dual international from Australian batsman and big drinker David Boon. “I managed to maintain both careers to a high standard for a number of years” said Boon. “Of course, I don’t remember any of it, but I do have a number of momentos including a traffic cone and a 'Give Way' sign"

Boon came to fame when he drank 716 cans of lager on a flight from Brisbane to Sydney.

The Beige Archives: England Twenty20 win "my greatest trick yet" - David Blaine

This article first appeared on on the 18th of May 2010.
Illusionist David Blaine has claimed that his skills with magic have fooled the world into believing England are the world's best Twenty20 side.

"Last year, they lost more games than they won and did nothing in either of the previous two championships." drawled Blaine from the inside of a toaster. "But using my skills I have, over the last two weeks, constructed an elaborate tapestry of wonder and have created my most outlandish stunt to date. I, David Blaine, have made England appear to be a formidable Twenty20 cricketing unit".

Some were quick to seize upon this explanation for England's victory: "Yes! It's a trick! It has to be a trick. No way they could have won otherwise. No way. No way at all." gabbled a distraught Michael Clarke as he was bundled unceremoniously into the boot of the Australian team's coach.

There were some who were skeptical of Blaine's boasts however.

"This is just another example of him claiming to do something physically impossible when there must be a more rational explanation." said former England captain Nasser Hussain. "People will always look to the mystical or supernatural to explain the unexplainable but maybe, just maybe, for the first time in history England actually had a great limited overs side".

Hussain has since been detained in a maximum security mental health facility.

The Beige Archives: Vettori blames "lack of injury woes"

This article first appeared on on the 11th of May 2010.
New Zealand cricket mastermind Daniel Vettori has blasted his players for their lack of injuries and has claimed that this directly led to their elimination from the 2010 World Twenty20 championships at the Super 8 stage.

"As a NZ selector, I've long had the relatively straightforward job of just picking the 11 least unfit players in the country." fumed Vettori. "This normally meant picking a couple of batsmen, a couple of bowlers and the rest basically being specialist fielders with the odd spectator who happened to be at the ground roped in for good measure".

However, with New Zealand having a fit squad of 15 players for the tournament, Vettori and his team of auxiliary back-up selectors were left with the unfamiliar role of actually having to select a team.

"I had to worry about team balance and it was all very unfamiliar and confusing." Vettori continued "I'll be giving the guys a good grilling - we can't have them all being fit at the same time. That's just as bad as having the guys all having a good game at the same time, it just isn't right. Fortunately, we didn't have that problem this tournament".

Vettori declined to comment over whether NZ would introduce unfitness training sessions. He also declined to comment whether these would be lead by Jesse Ryder.

The Beige Archives: Modi brought down by "those pesky kids"

This article first appeared on on the 27th of April 2010.
Beleaguered IPL Chairman Lalit Modi has proclaimed that he "would have got away with it if it hadn't been for those meddling kids" in reference to the initial investigations into his finances that were undertaken by a group of teenagers and their pet dog Scooby Doo.

Fred, the spokesperson for the group (known as 'Mystery, Inc'), said “We started off just looking into claims that Chinnaswamy Stadium was haunted, but that just turned out to be a man in a sheet. However, while being chased along pointlessly long corridors again, Shaggy and Scooby came across a couple of files in an office. It all kind of escalated from there”.

Modi was very vocal in what he felt was a complete lack of focus by the media on the real story. “Why are people so interested in my financial dealings?” he asked incredulously, “there is a TALKING DOG in the courtroom for %*#@s sake!”

Shaggy was unavailable for comment as police were speaking to him in regards to a number of drug related offences.

The Beige Archives: Referral system "incomprehensible - say Duckworth & Lewis

This article first appeared on on the 21st of March 2010.
The cricket referral system has been slammed by Frank Duckworth and Tony Lewis, the joint heads of the ICC's Department of Accessible Rulings. "I just don't understand why it is so complicated and open to misinterpretation" said Duckworth earlier today.

Duckworth and Lewis came to fame in 1997 when they developed a formula for predicting which side would be the most confused by their Duckworth-Lewis system that had been introduced the previous year. Since then they have spent their time writing haikus explaining the LBW laws.

The referral system has been criticised by many players since it was first introduced in 2009, but it has been supported by New Zealand cricket supremo Daniel Vettori who said “controversies with this system deflect attention from our awful batting. Long may it continue. Er, the deflecting of attention that is – not our awful batting.”

However, most commentators believe that the referral system would improve long before New Zealand’s batting. Even the Duckworth Lewis system predicts this, but it enigmatically adds that by 2012 Mike Gatting would wear a goat as a hat.

The Beige Archives: Umpires defend 'Helmet of God' dismissal

This article first appeared on on the 13th March 2010.
Umpire Gary Baxter has quickly defended his decision to allow Australian captain Ricky Ponting to be caught behind off his helmet. "It is very simple", said Baxter at the post-game conference, "Both myself and [co-umpire Asad Rauf] agreed before the match to not take this game too seriously since it was a dead rubber and instead spent most of the game checking the score in the England-Bangladesh test on our I-phones".

This remarkably frank admission does go some way to explain the almost completely random umpiring that occurred during the game, with there being some speculation that every time a wicket fell in the Test, the umpires would shout "That's out!" and whichever hapless Australian was at the wicket had to make his bemused way back to the pavillion.

New Zealand cricket kingpin Dan Vettori denied any allegations of threatening umpires using hired goons (a.k.a. Jesse Ryder) and instead said that "fear doesn't breed that kind of bizarre incompetence. ICC training is needed for that".

Ricky Ponting declined to comment saying "I'm not one to talk about the performance of the umpires".

The Beige Archives: Guptill & McCullum score 1 run for every spectator

This article first appeared on on the 16th of February 2010.

New Zealand cricketers Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum paid tribute to the throngs of fans at Hamilton's Seddon Park by recording a partnership worth 1 run for each spectator. Starting the day with a partnership of exactly 100, Guptill and McCullum were humbled by the packed crowds who had come to watch the one-off test against Bangladesh and decided to do everything they could to repay the loyalty of all of the 341 supporters who were pressed into the ground.

"I was nearly late for the start as there were just so many people around the park pressing to get in." said McCullum. "It was so great to see so many people coming out to watch us and the Bangladeshi cricketers".

Bangladesh captain Shakib al Hasan said the noise that the massive crowd was making made it hard for him to communicate properly to his bowlers and fielders. "I was telling the bowlers to not give the batsmen any width and to bowl full, but they just couldn't hear me at all".

New Zealand Cricket Chief Executive Daniel Vettori said he was 'delighted' at the turn-out. "People said we were shooting ourselves in the foot by not having a single day of this test on the weekend and the turnout shows the fans have clearly voted with their feet".

Australian cricket captain Ricky Ponting has expressed concern over a similar tribute being planned by the New Zealand batsmen when his side tours later this month.

The Beige Archives: Afridi reveals addiction to cricket balls

This article first appeared on on the 1st of February 2010.
Pakistan cricket captain Shahid Afridi shocked the cricket world today when he admitted he was fighting a lifelong battle with cricket ball addiction. Afridi broke down during the post-match interview of today's loss to Australia when he was shown footage of himself taking several bites into the ball between deliveries.

"I thought I had this addiction beat", said Afridi, "but the tense match situation got to me and I cracked. Even though I knew that there were about 30 cameras on me and several hundred million people watching at home I thought I could get away with a nibble or two."

Afridi revealed that in his early career he was getting through 2 Dukes and 3 Kookaburra balls a day and that his preferred method of coping when batting was to hit the ball as far away from himself as possible. In more recent times he has instead preferred to get out early and avoid temptation completely.

However, Afridi isn't the only cricketer to have suffered from this condition. Former England skipper Michael Atherton revealed that he was once so addicted to cricket balls that he had to rub dirt into them to make them less appetising.

The Beige Archives: "Richards ahead of Sehwag" - says dictionary

This article first appeared on on the 17th of December 2009.

The current debate as to whether India’s Virender Sehwag is better than former West Indian player Viv Richards came to a sudden halt today when a spokesperson for the Oxford English Dictionary revealed that, according to the current alphabet, Richards is indeed ahead of Sehwag.

“A lot of people have brought up strike rate, or batting average, or intangible factors such as ‘wow factor’, ‘destructive capabilities’ and such like, but alphabetical order is irrefutable.” said OED chief editor John Simpson. “Richards is about 11,453 places above Sehwag in fact. Fairly conclusive if you ask me”.

Supporters of Richards welcomed the news saying that “common sense has prevailed” and that “everyone can now go back to arguing about Ponting and Tendulkar”.

Whilst most Sehwag fans have accepted the result in good grace and have conceded defeat, a small group of Fundamental Sehwagologists refuse to surrender and have locked themselves up in an armed compound in Texas.

The ICC's military division has declared that they intend to neutralise the resistance by dropping 10,000 copies of the dictionary on the site, all of which will have the two cricketers' names highlighted in yellow. This action was hailed as the most useful thing the ICC have done in a decade.

After the OED ruling was announced, former Australian batsman Mark Waugh was heard to say “Alphabetical ordering? Just wait til I tell Steve”.

The Beige Archives: Swann considers bowling via Twitter

This article first appeared on on the 17th of November 2009.

England spinner Graeme Swann announced today his intention to start bowling through the medium of Twitter. The announcement, appropriately made through his Twitter feed, signals a potential further advance for technological assistance within cricket and could boost the appeal of Test cricket to today’s youngsters.
Swann, on his latest update, said “Looking at bowling through Twitter. Leave me more time to make fun of Broady! LOL”.

An ICC spokesperson was quoted as saying that “we are interested in looking at this further. Obviously we have no idea what this ‘Twitter’ thing is, but if there is the opportunity for us to make money off it then we will consider it”.

Former players, such as Geoffrey Boycott, have come out in opposition to this plan however. “It’s ludicrous” fumed Boycott, “how the lad Swann plans to describe his deliveries in just 140 characters beggars belief. He’ll not be able to describe any appreciable turn or bounce and even my grandmother would be able to read him”.

Other current players are more enthusiastic about taking up the option for themselves. New Zealand opener Jesse Ryder is openly a big fan saying “my favourite pub has internet access so this is like a dream come true for me”. However, there will be some issues to iron out – after Ryder had an internet practice session, ICC officials and umpires were unable to agree on an interpretation of Ryder’s last update of “you’re my besht friend you are”.

The Beige Archives: Vettori invades Poland

This article first appeared on on the 1st of November 2009.
New Zealand cricket captain, coach and star player Daniel Vettori sent shockwaves throughout the world today when he orchestrated his team’s sudden and comprehensive invasion of Poland. This signals that his lust for power has not been sated by his elevation to every major position in New Zealand cricket.

The invasion was one-sided with the Poles unable to cope with Vettori’s guile and variations in flight. No other member of the New Zealand attack made any significant contribution however.

The invasion comes as a massive public relations disaster for the ICC, who, following last week’s crisis talks with Vettori, had confidently spoken of “peace for our time”. ICC chairman David Morgan was extremely disappointed with the developments saying that it makes the ICC look "weak and foolish", but most commentators agree that they fail to see any difference.

Vettori, or Supreme Generalissimo Vettori as he is now known, has issued a statement saying his one goal is to create a “master-race” of left arm spinners who will take over the world of international cricket. England spinner Monty Panesar is excited by the prospect saying "maybe in a team full of left-arm spinners I've got a chance of getting a game".

Many international leaders have condemned the actions of Supreme Generalissimo Vettori, with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il saying that “no one man should have that much power – it isn’t right”.

In other news, French president Nicolas Sarkozy denies that France has already surrendered.