Saturday, December 17, 2005


The effect of stats and computers on cricket is obvious. Bowlers are well-prepared and so are the batsmen. This is day 1 of the India-Sri Lanka test, and every ball to Gambhir so far has been short of length (he's uncomfortable against that kind of bowling). Every ball to Sehwag has been on or outside the off-stump, leaving him, a known area of weakness.

That's why surprises - like Pathan's promotion in the batting line-up in Delhi - make a big difference. And that's why pitches tailor-made for your team's strengths are important, and that's why sides don't lose too often at home.

Cricketers are trained to bat straight, and bowl line and length. Individuals - especially Pakistanis - come up with ideas from time to time: the reverse swing, the reverse sweep, the slower ball...

But teams don't seem to be coming up with too many creative 'plays'. Can't cricket have plays and counter-plays like real team sports (basketball, soccer or American football)?

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