He is probably the only cricket commentator on air today for whom the mute button is not required. But he is an equally articulate and sharp writer. Harsha Bhogle writes about three big events of the cricketing week

Pakistan:

Big landlord arrives, cleans up the shed; next landlord puts the old chickens back in. The cricket lover, like RK Laxman’s common man, looks on, perplexed and neglected. To be honest, the Pakistan cricketers don’t have much sympathy around the cricket world, but what of the fans? What about the little eight-year-old who wants to wear a replica Pakistan cap and cheer for Afridi and Yousuf and Younis? What happens to him? His heroes, and those who manage his heroes, frequently seem to have less passion for the team and the country than he does. His lot is to be let down. I wonder if people blinded by egos even realise that.

Match Fixing in general (one of the allegations laid by the PCB on its players):

On that count, India have been blessed. The results will be good one day and bad the next, and fans will be delighted and frustrated in equal measure. But when the disease of match-fixing threatened to infect India, the eight-year-old (and the 30-year-old who behaved like the eight-year-old) had proud people to look up to. Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Laxman, Ganguly, Srinath – these were men of character. Fine cricketers they might have been but fine people they were too. Their solidity, as much as their results, took cricket through its testing years.

IPL begins:

Meanwhile the IPL, as a cricket tournament, has crept in.

IPL News Block out:

I don’t know the details of the dispute but I do know that if I took great pains to produce a product, if I licensed it to somebody and a third party used it for profit, I would be very upset.

There are some other strange events happening. West Indies are hosting Zimbabwe and in the five matches so far, a tour game, a T20 International and three ODIs, Zim have won three – the tour game, the T20 and the first ODI.  Barring the last game which WI won by 141 runs, none of the matches have seen the WI really dominate. They apparently haven’t realised that they are not playing Australia but Zimbabwe which does not even feature in the ICC rankings. Sample this, in the second ODI, WI have a small matter of 209 runs to score in 50 overs. From 44/1 they become 85/4. Sometimes you wonder where does all that talent go? It’s a rum one.

And this one from the tour match between Bangladesh A and England. BD A second innings in the 64th over 160/5 with Mohd Ashraful (imagine a former captain and a prodigy now resigned to being in the A side) gets out. Ten overs later,  the total is 362/6. Saghir Hossain retires hurt conveniently. Dolar Mahmood (66 of 19) and Shuvagato Hom (91 of 42) with 17 fours and 14 sixes make mayhem of long hops and full tosses. They were hitting 24 runs of an over. It was that crappy.

Anyway Deccan play Kolkata in a few hours time. See you then.

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