Run Outs – The lazy, the brilliant and the silly

March 11, 2013

Run outs – One of my favourite cricket moments. Perhaps they are most often debated ones among fans after a close LBW call. “Where is that idiot looking?”, “He could have made that run on one leg. He had so much time”. “It was X’s call. X was running to the danger end. Y had no business denying the run”. Comments like these pour from us fans. But what causes run outs ? How much are they avoidable.? They are often the product of several ingredients, miscommunication, a brilliant piece of fielding or something else. I have tried to list the various causes for run outs and provide some video examples. I think at least one of them is necessary to have a run out.

1. Laziness

In some situations there is no chance of a run out. A batsmen is in a position where he can comfortably make it, but goofs up badly by being lazy – not dragging the bat to simply taking it easy. This run-out of Sehwag by Sangakkara  fits the category.



2. Suicide

At certain times, like during the end overs of a limited overs game, a pair may decide to take a run though their only hope of not getting out is the fielder making a mistake. This might be done to get a good hitter on strike or simply to gather that extra run off the last ball.



3.The misjudgement

This is similar to the previous category in that both batsmen agree to run, but both feel that they can make it safely and they are wrong. It might turn out that one batsman trusted the other’s call and responds straight away.



4. The hesitation aka “YES NO YES SORRY”

Sometimes one or both batsmen are not so sure whether the run is on but decide to proceed after some stop-start. Eventually the batsmen is just short and everyone feels “They would have easel made it had they gone straight away”.

Yes! No! Yes! Sorry!!


5. Ball Watching

In the above three situations, there is some communication between the two batsmen. In this category, that completely goes out of the window. One of the common causes is ball-watching. Either batsmen or both are looking at the ball and not at each other and one of them just keeps running. This usually results in both batsmen ending on the same side of the wicket. When this happens, the ball-watcher is mostly the striker. Two things can happen. The striker mishits the ball ( an inside edge or gets hit on the pads ) and sort of starts wondering about how he should have played the ball and pays no heed to where the ball has gone. The non-striker sees the run opportunity and starts running. The second possibility is that the striker hits the ball very sweetly but straight to a fielder. He instinctively thinks “Wow that felt good. I should get some runs for that” and starts running. Now again  the non-striker is aware of the real situation and doesn’t want to run. By the time the striker realises it is too late.

Watch your partner too


6. Brilliance

These are rare instances where none of the above applies. The batsmen are going for a run they would make it 99 out of a 100 times, but the fielder manages a spectacular stop or throw or both and finds the batsman short. This is not just a case where there has been a diving effort / direct hit, a case where the fielding act borders fluke.

The brilliant


7. The chaos

This may not be a category in itself, but may result when you have two or more of the previous four. Usually happens when lower order players or some notorious runners like Inzaman are involved and becomes highly likely in a “runner” situation. Here is an example. Watch till the end. There is a small surprise.

No words

I think that none of the run-outs except those caused by 1 and 5 can be avoided. If you don’t risk an occasional misjudgement, i.e if you want be 100% sure when you run, you are likely to miss out a lot of runs. Hesitation will always be there as long as humans play the game, as we always doubt our and other people’s judgement.

Was injustice done to Afzal ?

February 20, 2013

Afzal Guru was hanged about a week ago and the execution stirred u quite a lot of discussion with some welcoming it and some intellectuals condemning it . I was beginning to wonder whether it was injustice as many of the intellectuals were claiming it. So, I decided to go thought the final verdict of the Supreme Court. I have not tried to examine whether the evidence was satisfactory or that whether it was genuine. I am not competent to do that. What I have tried to do is to see if the verdict was one-sided and unfair when looked at from a layman’s perspective. One of the often quoted passage from the judgement by Afzal sympathizers is this one.

The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, had shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender

This read in isolation does give an impression that the Court decided like, “The Parliament was attacked.  We need to show that we caught the culprits. Let us hang this fellow over here.” The above passage actually comes in the part where the Court is trying to decide on the punishment once concluding that Afzal Guru was guilty. The conscience part is being used to justify  death penalty for the offence, which the Supreme Court has recommended to be used only in “the rarest of rare cases”.

This paragraph comes a little  while before the above which I have never seen quoted anywhere else.

Short of participating in the actual attack, he did everything to set in motion the diabolic mission. As is the case with most of the conspiracies, there is and could be no direct evidence of the agreement amounting to criminal conspiracy. However, the circumstances cumulatively considered and weighed, would unerringly point to the collaboration of the accused Afzal with the slain ‘Fidayeen’ terrorists. The circumstances, if considered together, as it ought to be, establish beyond reasonable doubt that Afzal was a party to the conspiracy and had played an active part in various acts done in furtherance of the conspiracy. These circumstances cannot be viewed in isolation and by no standards of common sense, be regarded as innocuous acts. His conduct and actions “antecedent, contemporaneous and subsequent” all point to his guilt and are only consistent with his involvement in the conspiracy. Viewed from another angle, the Court can draw a presumption under Section 114 of Evidence Act having regard to the natural course of events and human conduct that the appellant Afzal had nexus with the conspirators who were killed and all of them together hatched the conspiracy to attack the Parliament House and in that process to use explosives and other dangerous means. We are, therefore, of the view that there is sufficient and satisfactory circumstantial evidence to establish that Afzal was a partner in this conspired crime of enormous gravity”

Reading the above, one can conclude that there was no doubt whatsoever in the Judge’s mind that Afzal was guilty. If it was fair to hang Ajmal Kasab, so it was to hang Afzal Guru.

One more thing that is often said is that the trial was unfair. I do not get any such impression ( at least about the appeal hearing in the Supreme Court ) because of the following facts.

The commuting of Shaukat’s death sentence. The Supreme Court rejected the confession statement given by Shaukat which was made to a Police officer. Common law dictates that confession statements need to be recorded by a magistrate. In this case POTA sections were invoked which allow confessions made to a police officer at least the rank of a DSP to be acceptable as evidence in court. The rejection was on the grounds that certain procedural safeguards for protecting the accused against forced confessions weren’t followed. It is important to note that excluding this has reduced Shaukat’s offence from being at the core of the conspiracy to “being aware but not coming forward to stop it without any valid reason”. To me  personally it seems like Shaukat was equally guilty, but was lucky that the evidence against him wasn’t that strong.

The court similarly rejected Afzal’s confession statement. But the other cicumstatntial evidence against him was so strong that even excluding the confession , his guilt was proven beyond doubt.  He as in close contact with the terrorists even moments before the attacks, arranged logistics, purchased ingredients for IEDs and so on.

Gilani and Navjot Sandhu’s acquittal by the Supreme Court as well as the HIgh Court. Reading through the Supreme court verdict, it is quite clear these two were nowhere near the core of the conspiracy as the other two.

So I reached the conclusion that this wasn’t a case where someone got punished just to make people happy, but a case where the law took its due course and found certain people guilty and certain others not guilty. Of course, it is a completely different matter that whether death penalty should be given in any case and whether it is alright for Governments to simply sit on clemency petitions for years.

Analysis of Test batsmen – Starts and Conversions

January 30, 2013

This analysis is done by making some adjustments to raw scoring data. If you are not interested in how  these adjustments were done and the my own statistical definition of a “start”  , you can skip to  “THE PLOT” section near the bottom.

I started this exercise with a goal of quantifying some of the terms used while describing batsman, like “He is a shaky starter”, “Has excellent conversion rate” , “Looks well set”. Apart from that, I wanted to see which batsmen start well , which convert well and which do both well. Everything will be in the context of Test matches.

First thing I had to do was to define a “start”. There is no consensus on this. Commentators use the term “start” to describe anything from 20 to anything approaching 50. What might be meant by a start is that the batsman has overcome his initial nerves, the renewed enthusiasm from the fielding side after a wicket and he has more or less got the pace of the wicket. Quantitatively we can define this as the score around which the probability of him being dismissed (immediately without adding a run to his score)  is not much different from a score everyone agrees that he is set, let’s say 50 plus. So I calculated the probability of a batsman being dismissed on each score from 0 to 400. There is very little sample on 300+ scores, but our interest lies much below that mark. ( The trend till a score of 105 is given below).

Please note that all these are numbers from batsmen who batted No:7 and above.Yes I might have included a few night-watchmen and missed an odd injured hero’s innings, but that might not affect things much. This dismissal probability itself reveals many interesting things. Unsurprisingly, naught is the most dangerous score for a batsman. 8% of batsmen who take guard do not get past this. But rather to my surprise, this probability drops quite quickly and at around a score of 10 (~0.03) becomes comparable to the probabilities in the 50s (~0.027). Also, the probability doesn’t fall uniformly with the score and shows a lot of local variations.To get a proper picture I took the average probability of continuous score of 5. This shows a very slow decline till about 40, from where we start to see minor variations. Also, the probabilities around the 90s ~(0.022) are significantly lower than just before and after (~0.027). Clearly batsmen know their score and a hundred means so much to them.


Now coming back to defining a “start”. This is how I defined it. Find out the probability of dismissal around a score where anyone would agree that the batsmen has settled down . This should not be close to or just after a hundred as it clearly affects how batsmen play. So I took the average probability of dismissal between 55 and 75 which comes around 0.0265. The “start” score would be that where the probability of dismissal first reaches this and is more or less maintained for 5 continuous scores. 32 is that score.

Now we have to define a conversion. I could not define this statistically like a “start”.Traditionally 100 is considered a *big* one, and I felt the value should be somewhere between 70 and 100. I decided to use 85 which is right in the middle.

Also, we cannot blindly mark an innings of 31 as a”non-start” and 84 as “non-conversion” just because they failed to hit the cut-off by 1 run. I used a function to give credits instead. For example, 32 would be given a credit of 1, 31 would be given 0.99 and so on. Similarly 0 is given a credit of 0  and 1 is given 0.025 . To get the number of starts the batsman got, we sum up the credits for all his scores. We do a similar thing for the conversion boundary. 8 5 gets a coversion credit 0f 1 and 84 gets 0.99 and it gradually reduces and a score of 32 or below gets 0 as conversion credit. Anything above 32 is given a weight of 1 (for start) and anything above 85 given a weight if 1 for conversion. The equations used are provided in the excel attachment at the end of the post.

Another problem is how to handle not outs. What if a batsman was not out on 50. He could have scored a 100 or he could have got out next ball. For this I predict the expected score by taking the average of the scores above 50 where he got out. Likewise for all his scores. For this, only the particular batsman’s personal scores are used.
So then I go through each score of a batsman , calculate the expected score if he had remained not out and then finally assgin start credit and conversion credit as discussed above. I then caluclate the percentage of total innings in which the batman got a start and the percentage of those scores which he converted to a big

The PLOT: Percentage of Good Starts Vs Conversion Percentage

This is how the plot looks like. ( If this graph is appearing too small, click on it to expand). I have plotted only batmen with 5000+ runs.And marked some of my favorite batsmen and also the extremes. The more one goes to the right the better starter he is. The higher  he goes up the better converter he is.


The Don is truly head and shoulders above everyone else. Interestingly he is not the greatest starter. Jack Hobbs is! He gets a start 74% of the time .  Considering he the era he played with wet wickets and that he was an opener, this is truly remarkable. The next is Rohan Kanhai with 72. Two modern day openers are close behind -Hayden and Sehwag- with around 66% starts. Ian Bell seems to be the worst starter with just 49%.

Bradman has the highest conversion rate 61%. The distant second guy Barrington is at just 51%. Carl Hooper seems to be very bad at conversion with just 25%.   Lara seems to be doing better than Tendulkar on both start and conversion which is slightly surprising as people consider Lara to be slightly more suspect at the start than Tendulkar.

The raw data was obtained using cricinfo statsguru

You can view the data points for other batsmen and also the dismissal probability at each score in this excel plot

Yet another fan selecting yet another team

December 11, 2012

Every cricket fan always has something to say on selection, especially when the team is going through a turmoil.  As everyone is aware the Indian Test team is going through its worst phase ever having lost 10 Tests within the space of 18 months. Most people are saying A, B and C should be dropped and X,Y and Z should be picked.

The selectors have already made some changes for the final Test. In my opinion dropping Harbhajan and Yuvraj hasn’t achieved anything. They have restored the status quo before the series. I think dropping Zaheer is a step in right direction, although I would have waited for one more Test.

Ok, now coming to further changes I want to make.


The incumbents:

Tendulkar: The Nagpur Test should be the last he plays. He has looked completely out of sorts.  He hasn’t scored a 100 in  his last 16 Tests.He averages 22 in the last five Tests, in mostly batting friendly conditions  . Everything pointing that the situation is not going to improve. I have always felt that Tendulkar will find a way to make runs, if his body allows him.But, he seems to have hit the limits of ageing.

Sehwag:  He has done alright in the past five Tests, but I think that he would not be making too many runs if he opens abroad. So I would push him down to number 4 in the Australia series. Although, he shouldn’t have any problem opening in Indian conditions, I think it is only fair that the new opener who comes into the team has given the relatively easy task of opening at home before tougher assignments abroad.

Kohli: He has by far been the shock of the series. ODI player of the year of 2011 and he was easily India’s best batsman in the last two Tests in Australia and the series against New Zealand. There have been a few soft dismissals getting out to full tosses, driving too casually and not quite getting behind the line while defending. Still, he should be given one more full series against Australia.

Ashwin:  His bowling has been the most disappointing after Kohli’s batting. Still he should be given one more series because of two reasons . There aren’t too many spinners performing in the Ranji arena  evident from the fact that Harbhajan was picked as the fthird spinner against England  . Second is his batting. He has been India’s second best batsman against not just on terms of batting average but also in the manner in which he has scored the runs. I do believe that he has it in him to be No.6.

Gambhir: Of what I have seen of him he seems to be a worse opener than Sehwag.  When Sehwag has a go at balls outside the off stump, he tries to give a big whack which means that on bouncier wickets a thick edge has a chance of going over the slips. But, Gambhir seems to be not able to get rid of that half a guide- half a push poke outside the off stump. The shot at best gets a single . It has been really irritating that he has not been able to build the discipline to avoid that shot.  But I would still keep him in the team for the final Test but drop him for the home series against Australia. I would have Rahane opening with Unmukt Chand ( not Vijay or Mukund they are proven failures ) . This would give Unmukt a look at a top quality attack  and Gambhir something to think about. I would play Unmukt for the entire series no matter what.. If he fails very badly, we can fall back to Gambhir for South Africa.

Ishant: I just don’t know what he did to get back into the team . He wouldn’t play another Test until he picks up a truckload of wickets for  seasons in first-class cricket.

Dhoni: I would keep Dhoni around as captain as I feel Sehwag  wouldn’t make a very good captain and there is nobody else who has played a decent amount of cricket and is sure of his place. How long ? Till Pujara or Kohli assert themselves . This might mean possibly till the end of South Africa series.


Possible new faces against Australia:

A Rahane: He is already in the squad against England and likely to play in the final Test.

U Chand: I am purely going based on promise with this guy.

R Jadeja: There is a theory that you pick players when they are in form so that you give them the best chance to succeed Although, I am not totally convinced that Jadeja can make it big in Tests, but he has been scoring big very consistently in domestic cricket. He deserves to have a crack.

R Sharma: I am going to him in spite of the fact that he has failed miserably in ODIs. I still want to give him a chance because talent-wise he looks the most capable of standing up to genuine quick bowlers.

P Kumar: He did very well in England and  West Indies but has been overlooked for some reason. I would take him any day compared to Ishant. He swings the new ball which could get a wicket or two even in Indian conditions. He is very accurate. So he would be useful to squeeze the runs at least during later overs when he is not bale to pick wickets. He won’t leak runs like Ishant.

V Aaron:Pace.

This would be my squad against Australia:

A Rahane,  U Chand, C Pujara, V Sehwag, V Kohli, R Jadeja, R Sharma, MS Dhoni, Ashwin, Ojha, U Yadav, P Kumar, P Avana, V Aaron

I feel a player should be given at least four Tests before being discarded. A test match here and a test match theer doesn’t really help.  If we go by this there so many slots filled by youngsters against Australia . Even if a few of them do well, Indian cricket would have moved forward.


India vs England Test Series 2012 Preview

November 14, 2012

I have done this exercise a couple of times before. Once when India toured New Zealand in 2007 and when India toured Australia last year. I was quite close to the actual result on both occasions (1-1 in New Zealand and 0-3 in Australia).

I hope for India’s sake that no one in the team is looking at 4-0.  If they do they might end up losing the series.

I think these three things will be key to the series.

Pitches: Efforts will be made by curators to make all pitches turn -if possible – even from day 1. But what is also crucial I feel is the pace and bounce. The pitches that were used against New Zealand had some pace, so that once a batsman got beaten in the air by a spinner he could not adjust. If we get similar pitches, India should fancy their chances.

Reverse Swing: To me England have just one world class spinner. Apart from Sehwag and Gambhir, I think others in the Indian team would treat him with respect ( provided the pitch is turning ). I think it is unlikely that he runs through the Indian top-order ..  England ‘s fast bowlers would have to help out Swann and reverse-swing might be their friend.  I think Anderson and Bresnan are quite capable of getting it going. Reverse-swing in India becomes prominent in some series  (like against Australia in 2008) and is almost non-existent sometimes. If the squares are lush, then reverse swing might not appear and hamper England hugely.

Sweep: It is likely that this shot is going to be the shield and spear for most English batsmen. Apart from Prior, none of them like to leave the crease. They do have two players who have employed it with great success  in India in their coaching staff ( Flower and Gooch )who can help out the current lot. The problem to the fielding team with the sweep is that it is impossible to defend. It can be  hit anywhere from very fine to wide of mid-on.  The Indian team needs to come up with an answer for this shot.

Now let me try to predict the result of each Test.


The wicket is known to be a sleeping beauty.  Only 5 out of the 11 Tests here have produced results. The main problem with the pitch is that it gets too slow too soon.  There is very little bounce for the faster bowlers . Even if there is turn for the spinners, they get played off the back-foot.  The only way I see a result in this match is the team bowling first using the first day life to grab some wickets. So it might be a blessing in disguise to lose the toss here.

I also feel India might be slightly be vulnerable on the first morning if  they are batting. There is a lot of talk of revenge going around and a hothead and a maverick open the innings. They might try to prove the England bowlers something and  if they are too aggressive, we might be looking at 10/2.

India win:20%   England:10%  Draw:70%


I feel the Wankhede pitch will be the one turns the most. Remember this one ?   The pitch also doesn’t get very slow like Ahmedabad (at least very early ).  It  produces two results for each draw (which is fantastic by Indian standards .)So we can expect a result here and most likely in India’s favour.

India win: 60% England win:30% Draw: 5%


The history of the ground suggests almost Ahmedabad like situation (18 results and 19 draws ) but off late there have been a lot of results.More precisely, since the beginning of the nineties there have been 9 results and  draws. So we are looking at another result here. Also, one stat the Indians would be quite happy to look at is that they have won the last 5 Tests that have produced a result here. There is probably something in 100,00 people screaming for you.

India  win:85% England win: 10% Draw:5%


There are  grounds  in Nagpur and the match is going to be played on the newer one. There have been 3 Tests and all have produced results.  Also, the wicket might be the fastest of  the four , which isn’t saying much. If my predictions so far are holding good, India are likely to 2-0 up by now and they will slack off.  The wicket might offer a bit for the English seamers like it did against South Africa.

India win:30% England win:40% Draw:20%

Result: 2-1 to India ( Sorry folks, no 4-0)

I have made a lot of big statements here. Let’s see how much comes true.


November 12, 2012

I woke up this Sunday very determined. The previous day had been really bad while playing cricket. It was the worst thing that happens to someone on a cricket field – dropping catches. It is quite easy to get over a duck or an over where you get thrashed for 20 odd, but dropping a catch should be the most embarrassing and it keeps hurting for each run that batsman scores. I had dropped not one but two. One was at cover – the ball hit hard slightly to my right . I stuck my hand out . I got it in the middle but it popped out. The second one was a dolly at mid-off . The sort of pace and loop that people use to throw the ball to the umpire. I still can’t quite figure out how it came out. I consider myself a safe catcher and this was completely unacceptable to me.

When I hit the ground again, I took close to 20 very high ones during practice. Only one did I miss. And many more fast flat ones. I told myself, “Let that ball come anywhere within 20 metres of me. The batsman’s a gonner.”

The first match started and we batted first. It was 15 overs per side. I got a hit for the last two and managed 4 runs of the 3 balls I got. It didn’t bother me much, it was the fielding I was looking forward to.

I was fielding once again at mid-off and not much action in the first 10 overs. In the eleventh over the batsman tried to hoick one over long-on, slightly miscued it and it started to come straight towards me. In fact, as I realized mid-way it looked like it would sail over me. I turned around sideways and kept running for what seemed like a minute to me, with images of Kapil’s famous catch off Richards flashing inside my head. I was within two steps of the mound which we were using to mark the boundary when the ball hit my cupped hands. It came out slightly, but I managed to hold on. Ah! Redemption at last! I have taken a tough catch that is often missed by international pros. I turned right, threw the ball over my back and started running around the boundary pumping my fist Brett Lee style.

Just then I realized that no one else was celebrating. And I heard a big yell from the bowler. “It’s a no-ball, you fool. Throw the ball in. They have already run three”.

“Now, where did that ball go ?”

(Based on an old hearsay cricket story).

மரபுக்கவி முயற்சி

November 7, 2012

வெகு நாட்களாகவே மரபுக்கவிதைகள் எழுத வேண்டும் என்று ஆசை. முதல் நான்கு இங்கே. இவற்றில் முதல் இரண்டும் கலிவிருத்தங்கள் , அடுத்த இரண்டும் நேரிசை வெண்பாக்கள்.
அனலும் புனலும் புவியும் வளியும்
பனியும் வெயிலும் கதிரும் மதியும்
வனமும் வரையும் உடலும் உயிரும்
உனையும் தந்தான் உணர்வாய் மனனே

அந்தி மழை
யாக்கை நடுக்கிடும் நள்ளல் அடைமழை
ஊக்கம் கெடுத்திடும் காலைப் பெருமழை
நோக்க நனைந்திட மோப்ப இனிதாம்
பாக்கள் புகழ்ந்திடும் மாலை மழையே

மழை நம் விருப்பத்துக்கெல்லாம் பெய்யாது  எனினும் , மாலை மழையே மனதுக்கு இனியது என்பது என் கருத்து. காலை எழுந்த உடன் மழை பெய்தால் திரும்ப தூங்கத்தான் தோன்றும் .

என் மருமான்
வளியைப் பிடிக்க முயன்றிடுவான் போன்றே
களிப்போடே ஆட்டிடுவான் கையை – தளிர்க்கரமோ
நாற்றமுடை மென்முடியைப் பற்றி இழுத்திட
ஆற்றா(து) அழுதிடு வான்

ஒன்றரை மாதம் நிறைந்த என் தங்கை மகன் பற்றியது. தன் தலை முடியைத் தானே பிடித்து இழுத்துக் கொண்டு வலியில் அழுவான் .

கடல் நீர்
நாவுணரா நுண்ணளவு உப்பைப் பெருநதி
மாவேலை கொண்டு கலந்திடும்  – ஆவியாய்
வெப்பத்தில் நீருயரப் பின்கீழே தங்கிடும்
உப்பால் உவர்க்கும் கடல்

இது நம் செந்தில் கவுண்டரிடம் கேட்ட பல கேள்விகளுள் ஒன்றுக்கான பதில்

சில  சொற்கள் வழக்கில் இல்லாதவை. அவற்றின் பொருள் கீழே .

வளி – காற்று

யாக்கை – உடல்

ஆற்றாது – தாங்க முடியாமல்

ஊக்கம் – ஆர்வம்  (mood, enthusiasm )

நள்ளல் – நடு இரவு

நோக்க – பார்க்க

வேலை – கடல்

உவர்ப்பு – உப்புச்சுவை

Customized meanings of borrowed words in Tamil

August 5, 2012

Under the influence of English all regional languages of India have undergone a lot of change ( for the worse in my personal opinion ) and many English words have become part of the regional languages. Tamil is no exception. What is quite interesting is that some of these borrowed works take slightly different and sometimes completely connectionless meanings compared to English. I have listed ten that came to my mind.

Assault – This word doesn’t mean an attack .The usage is “with ease” or “careless“.
This needs an example.
Internal evaluationnu “assaulta” irundudaatha. The professor loves failing people.

Duplicate – In English “duplicate” means something exactly alike the original. For instance you might have come across an instruction like this “the form must be  filled in duplicate and submitted” meaning one needs to fill  the same details twice over. But in Tamil it means “fake“.

Cinema – This word actually means a “movie hall”. But the usage in colloquial Tamil is “movie” itself.

Jacket – This is restricted to the thing worn by women on the upper body while wearing sari.

Mansion – This is not a bungalow, but a hostel-like place with a lot of rooms each shared by many people.

Rail – It’s not the track that a train runs on, but the train itself.

Teacher – Strictly female.

Tuition – Not the act of “teaching”, the usage in Tamil is restricted to special classes one takes outside school.

Trousers – The usage is restricted to shorts.

Xerox – Photocopy


There are things more important than cricket

July 17, 2012

Recently the BCCI said it would resume cricket with Pakistan with an ODI series scheduled this December. This comes in the wake of fresh evidence in the Mumbai terror attack probes lea. I am tired of this nonsense. Forces from Pakistan carry out one terror attack after the other, the Indian Government stops ties and resumes again only to be stopped by another attack. The world is not going to end if India doesn’t play Pakistan.  How would someone who lost a loved one feel when he sees our players mix with Pakistanis when Pakistan has not even accepted that people from there were involved in the attacks ?

The Indian Government  has been crying that the Pakistan government hasn’t done enough  to try the terror attack perpetrators.  What message does it send to the world if sporting ties are resumed ? Doesn’t it mean that India accepts that Pakistan has done well enough that normal relations can resume ?

Pakistan is a nation founded on hatred and suspicion.  The Islamist fundamentalists and the army rule there. I am not saying that all Pakistanis are terrorists, but that nation has got itself into a state where the forces that do not want peace with India are way more powerful than those that want. For example the army is way more powerful ( in influencing politics ) there than here in India. If Pakistan has peace with India and people stop looking India as a threat then the army would start losing its political significance. So it is highly likely that forces in the army would try to do something to damage the process and we have seen in previous attacks some people from their army getting named

A deer trying to make friends with a tiger is not diplomacy, it is just suicide.

Dale Steyn and the joy of watching a fast bowler

May 20, 2012

There are many beautiful duels in the game of cricket. A wily spinner against a fleet-footed batsman, a swing bowler in overcast conditions against a batsman with solid defence, but a genuine fast bowler against a good batsman trying to cut loose beats the other two in excitement. It’s the most raw of all contests.

I haven’t been watching the IPL, but this Sunday I happened to watch the second half of RCB vs DC. I was quite glad that I took an exception to my decision to not follow the IPL. I was mainly attracted to the TV after the noise that ensued in the previous over in which Manpreet Gony had been carted around by Chris Gayle. I stayed to watch the next over hoping to see how Gayle would play Steyn. Gayle got the strike in the third ball. The ball was just short of length and Gayle played a half push/ half cut that was hit in the air and a couple of metres away from a fielder. The next was a 145 kph bouncer that sent Gayle ducking for cover. Steyn’s message was clear. He wasn’t going to pitch anything anywhere near the full length.

The fifth ball not quite a bouncer. Gayle tried to back away to the leg side and hit it on the off side ( a shot he played for six to a similar ball in the last over from Gony ). But Dale was a touch too quick and he chopped it on to the stumps. More than the actual balls bowled , it was Dale’s attitude that really got me excited. “You could be the leading run scorer. You could be carting these medium pacers out of the park. But, if you take liberties with me, I am going to knock your head off”. I could sense this as he was running in.

Dale Steyn isn’t an out and out quickie of the Akhtar kind. He swings the ball beautifully and gets most of his wickets in Tests that way. Here he didn’t have  much to work with, but he managed to produce that magic needed to unsettle Gayle. It’s a shame that the contest lasted only thee balls. I would love to see Gayle take guard against Steyn in Cape Town on the first morning of a Test match. Unfortunately that may never happen. But I do have the memory of these three balls.