Archive for March, 2010

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Cricket, Commerce and the Future

March 27, 2010

Mike Marqusee

This essay appeared in the Hindu Sunday Magazine in mid-March 2010. Also see http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/mar/12/indian-   premier-league-just-not-cricket and www.mikemarqusee.com

MIKE relaxing in Jodhpur, India

The third annual instalment of the Indian Premier League is being launched with even greater triumphalist trumpeting than the first two. The show is reeling in big sums and attracting worldwide attention. Lalit Modi is easily the best known cricket administrator on the planet. Even in Britain and Australia, where the IPL and Indian cricket power in general have been viewed with intense and often unbalanced suspicion, the tone is changing. Mike Atherton and Peter Roebuck – serious analysts – have both hailed the IPL’s privately owned franchises as models for the future. Once the franchises have taken over, writes Roebuck, the ICC “will be empowered not by self-centred countries but by businessmen with high expectations” who are “free from impossible responsibilities and the petty politicking” that mars international cricket. Read the rest of this entry ?

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Felicitating the Sri Lankan Cricketers in Melbourne: Two Notes Of Recognition

March 24, 2010

Michael Roberts, 23 February 2008

The Sri Lanka Cricket Foundation of Victoria hosted the Sri Lankan cricketers at a grand buffet dinner at THE GRAND in Wantirna, Melbourne on Saturday 23rd February, 2008. Arjuna Ranatunga and other members of Sri Lanka Cricket were also present, while Asanka Gurusinha was one of the comperes and Alston Koch also featured in the entertainment. The cricketers sat at a table outside and patiently signed autographs prior to the function, they were met at the entrance by drum-beating Kandyan drummers and then ushered into the hall in striking fashion by an imposing Aboriginal man playing the didgeridoo.

The dinner was preceded by that auction of cricket memorabilia in support of the Hope Cancer Hospital and the Foundation of Goodness. Among those seen at this occasion were such past cricketers as Buddy Reid, Saliya Ahangama, Sanath Kaluperuma, Lalith Kaluperuma and Athula Samarasekera. It was particularly pleasing to find Kathy Whatmore and Dr and Mrs David Young gracing the occasion (Dav Whatmore being away in charge of the Indian Under 19 team). The cricketers were happy to pose for photographs with eager-beaver admirers of all ages.

Three Stalwarts Of Sri Lankan Cricket

It is probable, if not certain, that Sanath Jayasuriya, Muttiah Muralitharan and Chaminda Vaas will not tour Australia again. So the present ODI tour is their swan song within this continent. These three stalwarts of Sri Lankan cricket during the last 15 years or so have not only played an extraordinary number of games; they have also rendered yeoman service and been match winners on umpteen occasions.

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The Lahore Atrocity: Cricket under Siege

March 24, 2010

Michael Roberts

This essay was reproduced in Himal South Asian and also in the Island under a different sub-title: “The Lahore Atrocity: Our Cricketing Ambassadors.”

Till recently Chaminda Vaas would have had fond recollections of the Gaddafi Stadium at Lahore. He was in the squad that faced up to Aussie power during the World Cup Finals on 17 March 1996 and prevailed so magnificently. But on Tuesday 3rd March he was among the Sri Lankan cricketers who underwent a different type of ordeal and survived with fortitude and a good measure of luck.

Ajantha Mendis at airport bearing minor injuries, presumably shrapnel,  from attack.


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1996 Colombo & 2008 Mumbai: Comparing 31/1 And 26/11

March 24, 2010

Michael Roberts

This essay was drafted on 15 Dec. 2008 as sequel to the article on “The Spectre of Terrorism” and was also reproduced in the Island newspaper.

The LTTE commando raid in the quarter of Colombo on 31 January 1996 bears comparison with the Lashkar raid in Mumbai beginning on 26 November 2008. Both struck at the heart of two bustling Asian cities, though the latter had greater reverberations worldwide because of the hyper-cum-hysterical media coverage.

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The Spectre of Terrorism and Cricketing Fears

March 24, 2010

Michael Roberts

This essay was written in mid-December 2008 and was reproduced in the Island newspaper in Sri Lanka. It did not have the benefit of fuller information that emerged in subsequent weeks about the Mumbai attackers, but its arguments from a priori principles were not far off the mark. Note, however, that this article had a complex set of events bearing on its focus. In late November 2008 I organised a forum in Adelaide on Pride, Prejudice, Power and Race in Cricket.” My presentation was on “Bomb Scares: Paranoia and Parochialism in the cricket World,” where i was quite sharp in my criticisms of the Western and West Indian cricketers for their reluctance to y tour the sub-continent whenever some bomb went off. Lo and behold, Mumbai was attacked on the last day of our gathering [no causal connection though] and the touring English cricketers pulled out [but returned soon enough because of India’s new-found power].

Greg Baum of the Melbourne Age, had received my paper [ as hew as an invitee who could not attend. he promptly — and this was a reasonable reaction — presented an article “India’s pavements of cricketing gold are anything but glittering”in the Age on 28 November. My article is, in part, a response and a re-worked re-iteration of my position.

Guided by existing evidence from the past two decades, in composing an article on 26 November 2008 I contended that “there [was] no evidence of any generalised targeting of Westerners” in the Indian sub-continent. The atrocities perpetrated by a band of Islamist militants in Mumbai, beginning from the night of 26 November, have shattered that conclusion. BUT TO WHAT DEGREE, I ask? My answer is firm: the chances of Westerners and/or cricketers (of any colour) being in the wrong place at the wrong time are minute. This assertion I plant in the face of Greg Baum as one step in an address to a general audience.

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The Referral System: Hasty Disapproval

March 24, 2010

Michael Roberts

This essay was printed in the Island, 28 March 2009, but is informed by the expereince of viewing th whole of the Indian Test series in sri Lanka in July-august 2008 from the advantageous heights of the Press Box.

For years cricket has been beset with poor umpiring decisions. Some of these decisions have impacted on the course of a game and swung the outcome in favour of one side. In the past decade or so the evidence of new technologies has revealed such flaws in all their nakedness. Despite such evidence some cricketers continued to bury their head in the sand and claim that poor decisions in their favour evened out. This was arrant nonsense because the balancing out did not necessarily occur within the same match.

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Extreme Prejudice: Emotions, Fans and Cricket Commentary

March 24, 2010

Michael Roberts

This essay was drafted on 14 Sept. 2008 and appeared within the Dilmah site as well as the Island newspaper.

Sport fans are a diverse lot. But all clubs and all international sides have a body of passionate supporters. These fervent fans have an intense attachment to their side and invest a great deal of emotion in discussing performance and selection issues. Theirs’ is a vicarious investment, producing great adrenaline rushes when matches are won and their team is riding high.

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