Statutory warning: This piece may cause indigestion to some IPL fans
In school, I was regarded as a tenacious cricket player. I was 9-down batsman for the B-Team of the class: this was mainly because there was no C-Team, and despite the B-Team Captain’s careful search, there was no position below 9-down. My classmates admired me: like, “It takes lots of guts to play when you know you have no talent”! At school I loathed cricket the most; and the next most repulsive thing, Algebra, wasn’t even close! My father, uncles and cousins played and (more importantly) talked cricket – I couldn’t afford to fail them. So I played on.
Now I don’t hate cricket anymore. Partly, because there is no pressure on me anymore to uphold khandaan ki izzat; but mostly because modern cricket is very funny.
Take the case of cricket uniform. After 2 centuries they suddenly decide that all players should wear numbered jerseys instead of whites. I can understand a number identification if the referee needs to red-card a player who is swiftly changing positions (as in football or hockey). After the bowler has set his field you know who-is-where and everyone is as static as the Rock of Gibraltar. So why import an irrelevant practice? OK, OK, they did it for a lark— sense of humour and all that.
Their numbering system is even more hilarious. Tendulkar sported the #99 jersey for long. If you lined up all the players you cannot exceed #11; and if you added the physio-therapist, the psycho-analyst and other underlings of the team, you cannot exceed #21 ! Pray, why #99? A Tendulkar-fan told me he (Tendu) likes 99 because it is the highest number. Higher than what? What if Virat Kohli liked #99.94 (Bradman’s average), would you give it to him? Fortunately, due to divine reasons (Vaasthu, numerology or some mumbo-jumbo), Tendulkar switched to jersey #10.
No, the problem is not solved yet. Now, Ashwin and Mishra both sport the #99 jersey. Mercifully, they have so far not played together in a match. I think Dhoni has engineered it that way, so that he can focus on cricket rather than Number Theory.
Then, there are commentators who have not progressed beyond 3rd Standard mathematics. In one limited over match, after Team-A had played, the “expert” commentator had this to say. “If Team-B can hold on to their wickets and quickly score more runs, they might win”. He made a 2nd Standard problem (find the greater number)look like complex Probability Theory!
Which brings me to a more complex theory. I downloaded the Duckworth-Lewis rule, with explanations. It is longer than Bayes Probability theory (although in fairness, it must be said that it is shorter than the Information Technology Act of 2008). How can you expect the cricketing fraternity (of 3rd standard fame) to apply this ? Are you sure someone like Yuvaraj Singh (who sports a perpetually perplexed look) actually comprehends this?
In Shakespearean plays, a comic scene is usually introduced after a serious Act, to relieve the tension. Now IPL has imported a similar practice from the USA. There a few Barbie doll look-alikes who are paid to shake their butt at random intervals. You like this comic relief?
Then you would also love the cheer leaders-shaking their butts from the balcony, when the expert commentator commences his delivery. And I am sure you are rolling in mirth when the commentators themselves do Bhangra at the start of every match ! See, I told you cricket was funny.
Pssst… you think it would be a nice touch if the umpires did a strip-tease before placing the bails on the wickets? Just being helpful…..