Monday, August 22, 2005

Cricket quotes, 2005

Quotes, 2005
(quotes courtesy:

Mr. Humility:

"It took us so long to win a Test ourselves, and I don't feel qualified to make a statement on their cricket"
Stephen Fleming remembers New Zealand cricket's dark ages when asked to comment on the current Zimbabwe side

After apparitions, Aussies court superstitions..

"Guys were being made to stay in the same seat so they didn't cause the fall of another wicket. You could dash to the toilet between overs but you had to be back in place before the next ball."
Michael Slater reveals what went on - or, rather, what didn't - in the Australian dressing room during the last stages of the Old Trafford Test

....and irritation...

"I really get annoyed with this reverse swing term. It's either an outswinger or an inswinger, isn't it?"
Former Australian captain Ian Chappell refuses to get to grips with reverse swing

Not all viewers are overjoyed by the zip-zap-zoom of this Ashes 2005:

"We were brought up watching opening batsmen score nine before lunch. If Geoffrey Boycott flashed at a ball outside off stump in the first over of a Test match, questions were asked in Parliament. If he flashed at two, the ravens abandoned the Tower of London."
Brian Viner writes about the frenetic pace of the current Ashes series and wonders what happened to Test cricket as he knew it

Shane knows that LIFE 'finds a way', while wondering whether the same is applicable to other things rhyming:
"Find a way to get back in to the game, find a way to build a partnership, find a way to bowling partnerships, find a way to catch a ball, find a way to stop it. "
Shane Warne feels that "finding a way" should be the Aussies' slogan as they prepare for the Trent Bridge Test

Down Under they are finding more reasons for the unforeseen embarassment in the Ashes than they have scored runs. Blame it on *.*:
"Our blokes could go back and play the rest of the Test countries over the next two or three years and still average 55, and they'd do that standing on their head, because there is no other decent attack"
Kim Hughes blames the poor bowling attacks around the world for Australia's ineptness against the pace of England

But some Aussies remain as impolite as ever - hard to believe that the speaker nearly cost Australia the epic 1999 WC semi-final by dropping Klusener in the penultimate over:
"England are playing pretty well, but I'm just not sure they know how to win yet"
Former Australian medium-pacer Paul Reiffel zeroes in on the problem

A handful of Brits are no less mouth-shooters when the subject of discussion is one of the eternal enemy:
"Jason Gillespie is a 30-year-old in a 36-year-old body"
Former England captain Bob Willis fires away

You can hardly blame these fans though...
"Most teams, you know, only the next player to bat puts pads on. With Zimbabwe, everyone puts pads on."
A Zimbabwe supporter half-jokingly comments on his national team

And then there are the customer-oriented broadcast companies who think nothing of eating hats:
"We felt it would better suit smoother scheduling for our customers if we switched matches." Carol Wong, a spokeswoman for telecom company PCCW in Hong Kong, explains the rationale behind the decision to cut short the final moments of the Edgbaston Test to switch to the epic between Zimbabwe and New Zealand at Harare

Customer service is not exclusive territory of broadcasters - some can be pretty 'unitary' in their approach and make things real customised for 'appealing' men...
"Freddie is a big unit and likes to get very animated when he is appealing, which puts extra duress on the crotch area of his trousers."
Andrew Flintoff's trouser manufacturer explains why the big man needs a reinforced crotch
Pigeon finally lets out his mysterious method of success in the excitement of getting 500 (wickets, I meant):
"I just try to bore the batsmen out. It's pretty simple stuff but the complicated thing is to keep it simple"
Glenn McGrath reveals his formula, after marching into the exclusive 500 club
Did that sound easy? Listen to this and you'll know that 600 is a 'pizza'walk compared to 500:
"My diet is still pizzas, chips, toasted cheese sandwiches and milkshakes. I have the occasional six-week burst where I stick to fruit and cereal: it bloody kills me."
Shane Warne on the not-so-secret ingredients to his success
Failures can be easy to take when you have a caring family:
"He said he feels rather honoured to have jokes made about him. It's quite funny really. For us it's hard to hear - he's not the worst-ever English wicketkeeper, he's my brother."
Geraint Jones's sister Mari Vines wonders what all the fuss is about
Not all cricketers though are (f)ready to let family into the game...or the name:
"I did call him Freddie once, but he said: 'No, you can't call me Freddie. I'm Andrew to you'." Rachel Flintoff on life in the Flintoff household

..but only a few must think of more innovative ways to welcome new entrants to the family than Strauss:
"[Kevin Pietersen's] only real weakness he has shown so far in his England career is an ability to come up with some ridiculously stupid comments, which has added great value to the dressing room."
Andrew Strauss speaks for the nation

It's pretty hard to walk the talk - or even talk the walk:
"I wouldn't nick it."
Adam Gilchrist's response to whether he would walk if Australia were two short of victory in the final Test with one wicket at hand

Boycs on the origin of Twenty20:
"We can get a man on the moon, yet we can't find a white cricket ball that lasts 80 overs."
Geoff Boycott shoots from the hip during the annual Cowdrey Lecture
Pre-Ashes talk:

An Aussie or two somehow saw it coming....
"This England attack is a really nasty mob - and they mean business."
Rodney Hogg, another Australian hardman, on the current England side

...amidst a pigeon - er, legion of old-world kangaroos:
"We find it both amusing and amazing how they always talk it up with about 12 months to go, telling everyone that they've finally got the team to beat us."
Glenn McGrath remarks on the unsurprisingly enormous hype before the Ashes
"England talk themselves up every time and obviously they've got a bit better this year but our side's still proven."
Tennis star Lleyton Hewitt backs his Aussie mates to bounce back

We also have an Englishman who still doesn't know if he was right or wrong to predict....
"I think England will win a Test. My concern is Australia will probably win two."
Geoffrey Boycott reveals his deepest fears

A typical Aussie response to the Pommie bouncers flying fast and furious since their B'desh loss:
"One day we'll lose the Ashes and it will be as horrific as waking up after a night on the drink in a room full of images of Camilla Parker Bowles."
Sydney's Daily Telegraph hits out at the 'gloating pommies' who have been rubbing it in since the Bangladesh defeat
And the English skipper issues a certificate on his 'big'gest weapon:
"Yes, Freddie's got a big wrist. He's got a big everything ..."Michael Vaughan laughs off speculation about Andrew Flintoff's bowling action
..while skipper-before-last conjures up the advice for seven ages:
"I played seven Ashes series against Australia and lost all seven but before every one of them I always went in with the attitude, `We can win this.' "
Alec Stewart's opinion on the right attitude to take on Australia
That's the spirit, Alec - times do change for the better. And we'll have an Aussie vouch for that -
"When I first started they put the beers on ice. Now they put the players on ice."
Former Australia international Darren Lehmann remarks on how Australia's pre-match preparations have improved over the years
And to finish with in the sub-continent,

Some Sri Lankans really meant it when they said they missed Lara - Murali excluded:
"My disappointment at not seeing Lara this time is bigger than an elephant."
Percy Abeysekera, the most well-known Sri Lankan fan, is not overjoyed with the West Indies team currently touring his country
and Shahid's 'Cain'y understatement...
"At times, even two brothers can have a little fight."
Shahid Afridi's take on his dressing-room clash with Younis Khan at Barbados

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The best of those four supermen

The 70's and 80's saw a wonderful quartet of all-rounders emerging from four countries: Ian Botham of England, Imran Khan of Pakistan, Richard Hadlee of New Zealand and Kapil Dev of India. Endless comparisons have been made to rate these four and and it won't surprise anyone if all 24 permutations possible are found to have been circulated in the intervening two decades. However many contemporary players of the time have shown a tendency to cast their votes in favour of 'Beefy' Botham as the best of the four. The biggest supporter of Botham's cause is his friend and rival Viv Richards.

The stats, however show a different picture. Recently Mr. John Stern of cricinfo has published a relevant set of stats in his regular olumn for cricinfo. An inspection of the stats reveals that not only was Imran Khan significantly better than Botham in terms of Test career bowling and batting averages, the Pakistani was also was an outstanding performer (more with the ball and slightly less with the bat) against the best Test team of their times - the West Indies. This is something that may set Botham behind Imran Khan in the greatness stakes, as Botham was a lesser player both with bat and ball against the Windies.

And we are not yet talking of the poles-apart contributions of the two all-rounders to their respective teams as captains - or a World cup win. The one thing that sets Botham apart from Imran and all other all-rounders of his time is his tally of centuries. He scored 14 in all. Here Imran pales in comparison; his meagre 6 centuries in 88 Tests betray his inability to convert big fifties into tons. Some stats are given below:

Batting comparison of the 4 all-rounders

Batsman Overall, v WI
Ian Botham 5200 runs @ 33.54, 792 runs @ 21.40
Kapil Dev 5248 runs @ 31.05, 1079 runs @ 30.82
Richard Hadlee 3124 runs @ 27.16, 389 runs @ 32.41
Imran Khan 3807 runs @ 37.69, 775 runs @ 27.67

Bowling comparison of the 4 all-rounders

Bowler Overall, v WI

Ian Botham 383 wkts @ 28.40, 61 wkts @ 35.18
Kapil Dev 434 wkts @ 29.64, 89 wkts @ 24.89
Richard Hadlee 431 wkts @ 22.29, 51 wkts @ 22.03
Imran Khan 362 wkts @ 22.81, 80 wkts @ 21.18

Test Career stats of Botham & Imran

Mat Runs HS BatAv 100 50 W BB BowlAv 5w Ct
Botham 102 5200 208 33.54 14 22 383 8/34 28.40 27 120
Imran 88 3807 136 37.69 6 18 362 /58 22.81 23 28