Pakistan vs India, 1st ODI open thread

Pakistan won the toss, and invited India to bat.

Shoaib Akhtar is not playing, but Pakistan have struck early and India are 1 for 21 in the sixth over.

Update – Sachin Tendulkar hit 100 exactly and India have motored to 328. Yikes!

Gimme a tailender

It’s perhaps a bit disconcerting that I should admit this, but what the heck. I find the current India / Pakistan series completely dull and utterly arduous. I’m not actually watching it – more’s the pity – but, by all accounts, it sounds like a dreadfully painful match. I want Ashes cricket and I want it now. I want Steve Waugh to be grinding a hundred; Mike Atherton to scratch out one of his even uglier innings; I want Merv Hughes to spit at Peter Such, and laugh at his pathetic attempts to get bat on ball; in fact, I want a return to genuine tailend batsmen.

The loss of tailenders has been a disaster to cricket. They are now a rare beast, lurking among the local leagues around the world. For the lower-order batsman playing for their countries, they can now either hold up and end or score relatively freely. WHAT? I didn’t sign up to that, thanks very much. What about our tailend heroes? Tufnell, Such, Fraser; Hughes, May, McGrath; Walsh, Ambrose, Benjamin. And, of course, Danny Morrison, although his record-efforts of saving a Test (correct me if I’m wrong, which I usually am about anything historical) do edge him out of the class of a genuine muppet.

I want these back. I don’t want super-slick, multi-dimensional, do-it-all (and B&Q) players. I want batsmen that can bat brilliantly. When the batsmen roll their arms over, I want them to do a Bob Willis impression (his bowling action, not his suicidally-dull voice) and make a fool of themselves. Nevermind if they concede 12 or 30 from the over – give us some chuffing entertainment and stop taking it all so seriously. And I want brilliant bowlers; bowlers who couldn’t bat even if they had weekly training sessions with Boycott and Bradman. I want them to fall over, ideally on their stumps, or on their arse, with predictable regularity. Make them look foolish, and give the fans what they want!

Not a clue what I’m on about, but perhaps it explains my dislike of cricket’s new found “slick” and shiny and business-oriented nature. Graham Gooch, when he did his Bob Willis impression, had me in fits. It wasn’t that funny, in actual fact – it just demonstrated cricket’s ability to be bigger than just a game; for there to be interesting and funny parts to the days play. Tailenders were apart of that (“Way hay, it’s Such and Tufnell! Here. We. Go!”). Nowadays, the emphasis is on etching out as many runs as possible, an admirable statement of intent – and one I admire especially when England play – but let’s not forget cricket is a game, and everyone involved should treat it as such.

How can you tell an India or Pakistan Test is about to start?

There are many ways to tell if a Test match is about to start in India or Pakistan. Perhaps the best way is to look at the size of the clusters at Cricinfo (cluster being a group of headlines); one day to go, and it’s already filling up nicely with a bunch of quotes from every man and his dog! It’ll be enourmous this time tomorrow…

Is that a podcast in your pocket, Sunny?

Apologies for the crude title. Apparently, Sunil Gavaskar is podcasting. I daren’t listen. Brave souls who venture further may report back here in the comments…

[via Rick (ta)]

Shahid Afridi’s hundred v India

Just seen this on ceefax. Pakistan have declared on 679 for 7 with Afridi, 103, hitting 27 from one over. Freak!

Pakistan v India, 1st Test, Lahore, day one

Younis Khan is in fine touch on what was a brilliant first day for Pakistan, who ended on 362 for 2. Khan, unbeaten on 147, shared in a 190-run partnership with Mohammad Yousuf (95*) – what a terrific start.

My colleage Sid is at the game and was bulletining it.

I’m reminded of the post I put up on The Surfer yesterday: The hot and dosti tandoori Ashes