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WisdenEXTRA No. 10, March 2014
The joy of six The comedy department of the BBC archive seems an unlikely reference point for the cricket establishment, but those in charge of the World Twenty20 may be familiar with both Fawlty Towers and The Office. While there is significant concern about overkill and burnout with domestic Twenty 20, all four international tournaments have been successes – primarily because, like those two BBC shows, they have left the audience wanting more. The concept of the World Cup has suffered a crisis in the 21st century. The last three football tournaments have been poor – The Times’ Simon Barnes began a review of 2010 by saying “The World Cup is a busted flush” – while cricket’s 50-over version in 2007 was a sprawling nadir. Rugby has had more success yet the tournament still goes on for six weeks. It’s a difficult trick to pull off, especially given the unapologetic avarice governing modern sport, yet the World Twenty20 has been a consistent, emphatic triumph. Each tournament is a rapid festival of batsmen flaying bowlers to all parts which ends before anyone has even considered it might be outstaying its welcome. There will be 35 matches in Bangladesh, played over 22 days, and that includes the preliminary group stage. If the favourites Australia win the tournament they will have done so inside a fortnight. Oliver Twist would have liked this competition. Nishant Joshi, the editor of Alternative Cricket, is part of a generation of cricket writers who have grown
up with Twenty20. On page two, he explains why it should be treated with more respect by the purists, and why it can co-exist happily with Test cricket. Elsewhere in the tenth edition of Wisden EXTRA, Michael Hussey, who averaged 55 from four World T20s with a strike rate of 140, explains how he played the greatest innings in this fledgling tournament: a miraculous 60 not out from 24 balls to take Australia to victory against Pakistan in the 2010 semi-final. The 2014 tournament includes the likes of Nepal, Hong Kong and of course Afghanistan. In an extract from the new book Elk Stopped Play, Charlie Connelly looks at how cricket is developing in Rwanda – described as the next Afghanistan – and North Korea. Tim Wigmore talks you through the contenders for this year’s tournament, including a sobering assessment of England’s chances. We’ve also delved into the Wisden archive for reports on two of the first three finals – India beating Pakistan in 2007 and England overcoming Australia in 2010 – while the great Patrick Eagar focusses on the 2009 tournament in Eagar’s Eye. In our other regular feature, My First Test, Rob Bagchi recalls a trip to Headingley in 1979 and a tug-of-war between his Indian roots and his Yorkshire upbringing. As always, please send us your feedback. We hope you enjoy this issue. And, of course, the next three weeks of six-hitting. Rob Smyth, Guest Editor
The peerless Patrick Eagar has taken over 750,000 cricket photographs in his 50-year career. In 2003 he trained his lens on a new format of the game: Twenty20. In the following pages he delves into his unique archive to find some of the most striking images of the first decade of T20. © John Wisden & Company Limited 2014
Wisden is a trademark of John Wisden & Company Limited
WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
The Big Hit If the purists look closer at Twenty20, says Nishant Joshi, they will see a deceptively nuanced form of the game – and one that might just save Test cricket
Celebration time It was easy to sneer at Twenty20 when it first came on the scene. It wasn’t real cricket: there were jacuzzis in the crowd, players were miked up, and commentators were cracking dad jokes like never before. A key issue was that T20 wasn’t cricket as we knew it. Sixes were being hit and being raucously applauded, whereas a year before we’d been accustomed to forwarddefensives patting out a maiden, to polite applause from a granny doing her knitting. In 2003, T20 was new, and it was viewed as an abomination upon cricket by some. Most thought it would be a fad, another gimmicky attempt from the ECB to belatedly force some form – any form – of county cricket into our eyelines.
Pic: Gareth Copley/Getty Images 2
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As it turned out, T20 worked. It was convenient to watch matches at the ground, with tickets cheaper, and match times slotting in perfectly as an afterschool family jaunt, or an after-hours office jolly. Most fans enjoyed it, cricketers enjoyed playing it, and by 2005 the shortest form of the game was played by international sides. Even then T20 was not taken seriously. Rather, it was viewed as cricketing fast food, an impure form of a game steeped in a history. To an extent, perceptions changed with the realisation that T20 could lead to money – for both players and cricket boards alike. The onset of T20 was contagious around the world, with the Waca in Perth boasting its first sell-out in over 20 years thanks to a T20 game, and there were impressive turnouts for leagues around the world. When India claimed victory in the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, administrators seized the initiative and formed the Indian Premier League. “My view is that in 20 years’ time, Test cricket will not exist and all we will be left with is 20 overs,” said Michael Holding in 2010. “Sure, there are some people who only want to eat McDonald’s. But there are many people like me who want to go to a fine dining restaurant every now and again. We don’t want to be living on snacks.” With cricketers being auctioned off as commodities, incessant in-game adverts, and IPL commissioner Lalit Modi schmoozing Bollywood celebrities at every turn, the IPL was understandably a galling, unseemly sight for many of the Test-loving establishment. Eventually, the narrative became one of confusion and derision: how could a team pay a rookie Ravi Jadeja $2m for two months’ work while the reliable and dependable Ian Bell kept going unsold? Yet it’s the cricketers themselves who are most in favour of T20. It has given young cricketers a chance to shine, as well as a new lease of life to those on the verge of retirement. There are plenty of cricketers who have graduated from a T20 background to Test cricket (and vice-versa), proving that the two formats can co-exist symbiotically. David Warner made his T20I debut for Australia before he had even played a first-class game for his state team. Sneered at as an uncouth baseball slogger who would never make it in Tests, Warner is now acknowledged as one of the best Test openers in the world. Instead of having to make a huge adjustment to his technique and strategy in Tests, the swashbuckling Warner is often the one who forces bowlers to adjust to him. There are plenty of cricketing skills and strategies that are unique to the T20 format, and this is what separates it from merely being an adulterated version of the one-day international. The nuances that can arise throughout 20 overs have led to IPL teams in particular aping a Moneyball strategy, with each team implementing software during games in order to determine the most effective bowler for any given batsman, at any given time. There have been plenty of 4
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cricketing advances thanks to T20: international teams have noted an increase in fitness and agility in their players, every fast bowler now has a repertoire of slower balls, and innovations such as Kevin Pietersen’s switch hit have been adapted to Test cricket. The speed of T20 is in stark contrast to a Test match. Each innings lasts for 90 minutes, and there is an obvious urgency that cricket has often been criticised for lacking. As such, it tests a player’s mental strength in a different way to the longer forms, with players forced into a do-or-die situation several times per game. Whether it’s defending a few runs off the final over, targeting a specific bowler, or effecting a run-out at a key moment, T20 requires players to be mentally alert in a way that other formats don’t. It has become a new acid test for cricketers to perform under pressure. As cricket fans, we are repeatedly lectured about the primacy of Test cricket, and veiled threats about the impact of T20 on the game, yet Tests are not being accordingly prioritised at the top level. For example, 2013 saw a stopgap home retirement for Sachin Tendulkar, ostensibly at the whim of the BCCI, and at the expense of a longer series against South Africa. India are the richest cricketing nation, yet only played two Tests in their most recent tour to New Zealand. South Africa and Australia have just concluded a three-Test series that was shamefully short. The world’s premier batsman, AB de Villiers, has only ever played one fiveTest series in his entire career – his very first, against England in 2004. The rhetoric about Test cricket’s primacy is an encouraging pat-on-the-back for professed purists of the game, but the fact is that as a result of financial drivers, there is less and less incentive to play Test cricket. As a result, many Test series have become token gestures, an obligatory appendix in order to uphold a broken Future Tours Programme. As an outsider, cricket can be an intimidating game to approach, with its myriad laws and quirks, and T20 remains the format most suited to easing in the casual spectator. Test cricket remains an oddly exclusive club, with a mere ten Test-playing nations, most of whom are barely playing at all. If cricket is to be a truly global game, it would be wishful thinking to ease entire countries into the game via a format that lasts eight hours per day, for up to five days. Would you rather show your American/Chinese/German friend a YouTube video of India and Pakistan playing out a bore draw, or India v Pakistan in a T20 game? “We never wanted T20 to be an end in itself, just the means to an end, which was getting people back watching cricket at the grounds,” said Stuart Robertson, the marketing brain credited as the creator of T20 cricket. “As far as our aims went, those new spectators would then, in turn, get attracted and addicted to the longer formats.” Twenty20 can be viewed as a gateway for new fans to become interested in Test cricket. Both formats can
complement each other. A section of traditionalists might always insist that T20 is an aesthetically jarring clash to Test cricket, they might view it as cricket’s illegitimate lovechild, and they might insist that it’s not real cricket. But, if Holding was right about the imminent death of Test cricket, then it certainly wouldn’t be the
fault of T20. It would be because administrators were not smart enough to realise that T20 could be a crutch in Test cricket’s most desperate time of need. Nishant Joshi is a medical student and editor of AlternativeCricket.com. He tweets @AltCricket.
1 This is just unbridled joy. The Netherlands had just beaten England in the opening match of the World Twenty20 in 2009. The minor nations are always threatening to cause a shock in this form of the game. I’m sorry it was England but as an independent observer, great, the minnows beat the lions in their headquarters.
WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
The eight major nations will be joined by two qualifiers in the Super 10s. Tim Wigmore runs through the contenders for the fifth World Twenty20
The form book Super 10, Group 1
Competition history The glorious KP-inspired victory in the Caribbean four years ago – England’s only progress to the semi-finals – looks more incongruous by the day. Chances With a squad light on bowlers with nous and power-hitters suited to Bangladeshi conditions, the captain Stuart Broad’s task is not an enviable one. Point to prove After an anaemic showing in all formats in Australia, if Ashley Giles can propel England’s rag-tag bunch to the semi-finals, he will assuage those who doubt his credentials to be the new team director. Match-winner Far too much depends on Eoin Morgan’s coolness and dexterity. But his international T20 form has been poor for some time. Achilles heel No carrom balls or googlies, please, we’re English. Still, it’s possible that Stephen Parry and Moeen Ali may benefit from the novelty factor.
Competition history Unable to replicate their success in 50-over tournaments, New Zealand have just one win in their last eight Super Eight games. Chances With canny bowling, led by Tim Southee’s skilful yorkers, deep batting and confidence after a fantastic home summer, New Zealand look well equipped. Point to prove Corey Anderson is one of world cricket’s hottest properties after scoring the fastest ever ODI century against West Indies – but he averages 14 in his fleeting professional T20 career. Match-winner Fresh from a Test match triplecentury, Brendon McCullum will relish unveiling his pyrotechnics. Achilles heel Deficiencies against spin bowling were exposed in the 3-0 ODI defeat in Bangladesh late last year.
Competition history Have only reached one semi-final. South Africa will be glad to avoid Pakistan, who they have lost to in critical games in the last three tournaments. Chances This isn’t South Africa’s best format, but AB de Villiers, Quinton de Kock and Hashim Amla give the batting a formidable feel. Point to prove Recalled after his international obituary had been written, Albie Morkel will hope to demonstrate the finishing ability the side has lacked. Match-winner De Villiers oozes technical prowess, power-hitting and flair. Achilles heel Besides the small matter of choking, the worry is the attack’s lack of nous: Imran Tahir’s leg-spin is a gamble, and even Dale Steyn is a far better bowler with the red ball.
Competition history Twice runners-up, Sri Lanka conspired to lose the 2012 final despite having West Indies 32 for two after ten overs. Chances Sri Lanka have a settled side and, with Ajantha Mendis leading a crafty raft of spinners, the balance to thrive in Bangladesh. Point to prove After his ugly mauling by Marlon Samuels two years ago, Lasith Malinga may feel the world needs a refresher course in his toe-crushing yorkers. Match-winner The inevitable Kumar Sangakkara has proved that his silky batsmanship translates well to the shortest format. Achilles heel An over-reliance on ageing players means Sri Lanka’s fielding lacks vivacity.
WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
Super 10, Group 2 Australia
Competition history Steady. Twice losing semifinalists and runners-up to England four years ago. Chances Favourites to many: the opening partnership of David Warner and Aaron Finch is as explosive as any and Mitchell Johnson has an outstanding white-ball record in Asia. Point to prove Twenty20’s top run-scorer Brad Hodge (5,900 at 37 apiece) will play his first World T20 at the age of 39. Match-winner Shane Watson won four consecutive match awards in Sri Lanka two years ago. Achilles heel Uncertainty surrounds the slow bowlers, who are more father and son than spin twins: James Muirhead, a 20-year-old leg-spinner with just over 20 wickets in professional cricket, and Brad Hogg, a 43-year-old chinaman bowler.
Competition history They triumphed as reluctant competitors in 2007 but haven’t reached the semi-finals since. Has the IPL helped their T20 team at all? Chances Despite a formidable batting line-up, India are undermined by a lack of reliable quicks: too much depends on Mohammed Shami, who is yet to play an international T20. Point to prove Often written off, Yuvraj Singh’s devastating 35-ball 77 against Australia in India’s last T20 was a reminder of his scything abilities. Match-winner The prince of Indian cricket is Virat Kohli, whose sparkling 78 not out ensured defeat of Pakistan in the 2012 tournament. Achilles heel Oddly, it could be a lack of experience: India’s last T20 game was five months ago and the side has a slightly disjointed feel. Seven of the squad have six caps between them.
Pakistan Competition history Cliches about Pakistan’s volatility are redundant in this format: they are the only country to have qualified for every semi-final, including their victory in 2009. ChancesThe batting doesn’t inspire confidence, but Pakistan boast the best bowling side in the competition, with the yorkers of Umar Gul and Junaid Khan complementing Saeed Ajmal and Shahid Afridi. Point to prove The left-arm spinner Zulfiqar Babar is an international novice at the age of 35, but he has an admirable domestic T20 record, averaging 14 and with an economy rate of 5.7. Match-winner Even at 36, Ajmal’s parsimony and spellbinding mystery is the side’s focal point. Achilles heel The recalls of Shoaib Malik and Kamran Akmal highlight Pakistan’s batting difficulties.
West Indies Competition history Triumphant in 2012 thanks to a jaw-dropping Marlon Samuels blitz in Colombo – 39 off 11 Lasith Malinga deliveries. Chances A recent run of five consecutive T20 defeats exposed West Indies’ deficiencies; they appear in poor shape ahead of the defence of their title. Point to prove Samuels’ four fifties drove West Indies to glory in 2012, but his form in the last year has been modest. Match-winner In the mystery spin of Sunil Narine and the uncomplicated brutality of Chris Gayle, West Indies possess arguably the best batsman and bowler in T20. Achilles heel The batting is over-reliant on Gayle, who has fitness concerns, especially with Kieron Pollard injured.
First group stage S t Patrick’s Day glory beckons when Ireland play Zimbabwe, but Paul Stirling and Kevin O’Brien need to catch fire.
return to form for A all-round star Shakib AlHasan gives Bangladesh the chance of stirring the home fans.
fghanistan have a A core of players, led by the captain Mohammad Nabi, who have played in Bangladesh and have the capacity to upset the hosts.
imbabwe will be Z banking on their mini AB de Villiers, Brendan Taylor, to ensure progress to round two.
etherlands have a N capable batting line-up – had Ryan ten Doeschate, Tom Cooper and Dirk Nannes been available, full member scalps would have been possible. epal are one of N cricket’s great recent success stories but lack bowlers above medium pace.
uch of Hong Kong’s M hopes depend on captain and wicketkeeperbatsman Jamie Atkinson, who played for Warwickshire last season. AE skipper Khuram U Khan topped fifty in five consecutive innings to lead the side to the 50over World Cup. At 42, full members may present a different challenge. WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
We saw plenty of women’s cricket during the 2009 World Twenty 20 because they teamed up with the men’s matches. This was a great match, and it’s a fun photo of Claire Taylor and Beth Morgan. I like the angle of the bats and the absolute enthusiasm. They’re very happy. Beating Australia in a semi-final is a good thing to do!
WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
From the Archive
A young Indian side went to the inaugural World Twenty20 with low expectations and lukewarm interest back home. Their unexpected success changed cricket forever
India’s awakening Scorecard: click here
World Twenty20 final, India v Pakistan, at Johannesburg, September 24, 2007. India won by five runs. Toss: India.
India won the inaugural Twenty20 World Cup when Misbah-ul-Haq’s attempted scoop landed in the hands of Sreesanth at short fine leg. Pakistan started the final over needing a manageable 13, though with their last pair at the crease. That became 12 from six after Joginder Sharma bowled the widest of wides, then 12 from five after Misbah played and missed. He played and hit next time, launching Sharma’s nervy full toss down the ground. Six from four; one stroke would do it. But the Indian juggernaut – they had defended totals in their last three games – had just enough momentum: Misbah’s shot proved too ambitious against a bowler of Sharma’s modest pace. The tension released, the Wanderers erupted in deafening ecstasy. Hundreds of Indian tricolours waved in late-afternoon sun as the victory lap began. Dhoni opting to bat after winning his fifth successive toss was expected; Gambhir’s opening partner was not. Yusuf Pathan, half-brother of Irfan, replaced the injured Sehwag to make his international debut. But it was Gambhir, unfurling classical coverdrives and regularly splitting the off-side field, who kept the Indian innings afloat as wickets fell. After astounding performances against England and Australia, Yuvraj Singh was seen as the threat, but he radiated tiredness, not terror, and his bat had the power of a sherbet fountain, but with rather less fizz. The disciplined Pakistani bowlers made life awkward too, and the acceleration barely materialised. Umar Gul, searing in yorkers, led the way with three wickets. On a reliable, if slowish, pitch India’s total felt distinctly below par – and Pakistan felt in control. Even
though R. P. Singh whipped out Mohammad Hafeez in the first over and cleaned up Kamran Akmal, heaving across the line, in the third, it was surely Pakistan’s game. After all, Imran Nazir had plundered 21 from Sreesanth’s skew-whiff first over and was going like a train. Sreesanth’s second was a maiden, and the pivotal moment came in his third, thanks to an inspired piece of fielding from Uthappa. His stop, gather and throw formed one sinuous movement and the rampant Nazir was a fraction short. Pakistan needed to rebuild, but the middle order perished in a rash of mistimed shots. Bowling with intelligent variation of pace, Irfan Pathan grabbed two in an over as Pakistan slumped to 77 for six. Now India seemed in control. However, the level-headed Misbah set about rescuing Pakistan, just as he had in the group game against India (when he had overseen 41 from the last 18 to level the scores) and against Australia. Until the seventh wicket fell with 54 required from four overs, he was in no hurry. He promptly hit three sixes off Harbhajan Singh to restore parity, and in no time 35 from 18 balls became a realistic 20 from 12. Pakistan now looked better placed, though by the end of R. P. Singh’s tight over, the 19th, no one could tell who was in the ascendancy: 13 needed with nine down was too close to call. Dhoni plumped for the seam of Joginder Sharma rather than the chastened Harbhajan for the last over, and the engrossing conclusion to an enthralling competition had one final twist. Man of the Match: I. K. Pathan. Attendance: 24,345 Man of the Tournament: Shahid Afridi WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
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You are always on the look out for crowd shots. This one was taken during the World T20 in 2009. There’s a lot going on: there’s a guy with a horn near the centre, and the girl with the Facebook banner. There are some very, very happy faces – deliriously happy in one or two cases. Pakistan fans are obsessed with their team. I remember talking to a family after one of the Pakistan games in the 1999 World Cup. The father said, “We’re going to the final. We’ll get tickets.” I said, “It’s sold out.” He said, “No we’ll get tickets!” He was prepared to pay £800-900 for a ticket.
WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
Michael Hussey’s 24-ball 60 won an amazing semi-final against Pakistan in 2010. He explains how to play the perfect Twenty20 innings
“We had no chance”
Pic: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP 12
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I’d basically given up hope. We needed 48 off three overs, and Saeed Ajmal was bowling two of them. I thought,‘Oh well, our chances are gone.’ It’s amazing what happens when you let go and you almost don’t care any more because you think you’ve lost the game. You lose all fear and suddenly a couple of sixes go your way. Then it all changes. I’d scored three off seven balls at one stage. I don’t think there are too many players out there who can hit the first couple of balls they face out of the park.It takes a pretty amazing player to do that. Cameron White was going well at the other end, so I was just trying to give him the strike early in the innings. If you take a few balls to play yourself in, it’s definitely on your mind that you can’t afford to get out or you’ll be criticised for wasting deliveries. Experience plays a part. You try to stay calm because you know if you stay at the crease you will catch up. It’s pretty difficult to be batting at six or seven in Twenty20. You don’t get many opportunities. You might not even bat for two or three games, and if you do you might only get a handful of balls. It’s a pretty unforgiving place to bat down there. People have said I looked cool during that innings. Looks can be very deceiving! I thought, ‘Oh well, we won’t win, but let’s have a go and see what happens. If we can get close that’ll be a good effort.’ I suppose by doing that I took all the pressure off myself. It wasn’t until after the third ball of the last over that I thought we could actually win. It really was that late. We needed 18 off that final over, and Ajmal is obviously a pretty tough bowler to get away. I wasn’t that confident, but then I got a couple of sixes away early in the over and that’s when I thought we might do it. Those sixes early in the over gave me the confidence to finish the job. I’ve watched the highlights a couple of times, and what stands out is the reaction of my team-mates and the support staff. As we were getting closer they were getting more and more excited and I remember how much that spurred me on. I was only at the crease 24 balls yet I was knackered both physically and mentally. A Twenty20 innings is such a heightened experience. You know you’ve got to be dynamic, you’ve got to be innovative, you’ve got to be ahead of the game. Yeah, it’s definitely full-on. You have to do a lot of running, and hard running too. I know I ran every single run as hard as I could – I think there were four consecutive twos in the penultimate over – and even swinging hard takes it out
of you, especially as it was quite a humid day. Before the last over I called for a drink. It was purely to waste time, to get my breath back and to calm down before trying to attack the last over. As a junior I was never a big hitter. I didn’t have many shots at all. These days we practice hitting sixes a lot more than we used to, and also the situation of the games demands that you play big shots. If you need more than ten an over you have to be able to find a boundary somehow. Against Pakistan there was a shorter boundary on one side, and a strong breeze going that way as well, so I was certainly targeting the leg side from that end. I hit six sixes, all into the leg side from that particular end. I was just trying to get it up into the breeze. In Twenty20 you have to assess the conditions and see what’s favourable for you. And you probably do target certain bowlers. You work out who you’re most comfortable against. You do get a sense when someone is struggling a little bit, or low on confidence, but you have to be careful. If you start to premeditate too much you can make a mistake and get out. I never liked to try and identify someone who was struggling and go after them because of that. I would go after someone according to the situation of the game and according to the conditions, as with Ajmal and Shahid Afridi that day. It’s obviously important to be aware of the scoreboard, especially when you’re chasing. I must be honest, I’m pretty hopeless at maths! I rely heavily on the scoreboard to tell me what’s going on. I generally worked on run-rate rather than needing a certain number of runs off a certain number of balls.I didn’t like the run-rate getting up over ten, especially late in the innings. If it’s earlier you can catch it up with some really good partnerships, but particularly late in the innings I always tried to keep it below 11 or 12. Against Pakistan it got up to around 17 or 18. We had no chance. Hitting the winning runs was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had on a cricket field. After the game we got straight on a plane to Barbados because we had the big one against England a couple of days later. We had a couple of quiet beers in the hotel and then went straight to bed. Coming down after an innings like that takes a lot longer than the innings itself. I didn’t sleep all that well that night. I was still buzzing for hours after the match, replaying the innings and everything else. It was a pretty amazing experience – one I’ll never, ever forget.
Hussey’s mini-masterpiece .
2 1lb 4
2 2lb 2
WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
This shows the dugout culture of Twenty20. The players don’t have long to get to the crease, so they whiz in from the dugout. The other thing I like about this particular shot is how pensive the England players look. You can understand why they look that way; it was taken during the game they lost to The Netherlands in 2009.
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“A fascinating and tremendously well-researched history” – THE TIMES “A witty, erudite and comprehensive history” – THE CRICKETER “Irresistible...Winder’s graceful and measured prose is entirely suited to his topic” – THE GUARDIAN Available now in paperback: £9.99 Click here to buy at discount
5 This was taken on the first finals day at Trent Bridge in 2003. Atomic Kitten were obviously very successful at the time but I was slightly baffled as to who they were. I was also slightly taken aback when after two songs all the photographers were told to clear off by their publicity people!
WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
My First Test In 1979, Rob Bagchi hoped a trip to Headingley would speak to his Indian side. Instead it stirred the Yorkshire boy in him
Luscious pies but no Beefy Scorecard: click here
It had been 30 years since my father had gone to a Test match. His last was in 1948-49, when he watched Everton Weekes score a century in each innings for West Indies against India at Eden Gardens. He had flown from Kolkata to Britain in 1956 to earn his surgical fellowship and, by the point me and my brother finally wore down his dogged opposition to sitting outdoors in the north of England for seven hours during the summer of 1979, had never been back home or to a Test. Although he had lived more than half his life away from India, married a Yorkshirewoman and had three what were then most politely known, at least to our parents’ faces, as Anglo-Indian children, he remained culturally Bengali. He adored his job but his vitality as well as his roots were in the food he cooked most nights, the films he loved, the poets he venerated and the songs he would sing when requested to by his friends at parties after mounting a seemingly modest but token resistance. He had been a cricket fanatic in his youth and had seen Douglas Jardine’s MCC tourists in 1934 when his hero, Vijay Merchant, had batted bravely against a fiery attack, but my father was bashful about his real age and was reluctant to give clues as to how old he was until his last years when vivid childhood memories reconquered territory which had been ceded to more mundane preoccupations. Despite the incontrovertible evidence of the hue of my skin, it had never dawned on me till I went to senior school that I was different. Although casual racism was rife, some of it was not really seen as abusive either by the perpetrators or by this particular victim. How could you take offence when the self-appointed advocates of an Aryan playground, the Zeppelin-bellied lieutenant who would consume six packets of Seabrook crisps each break time and his leader, a boss-eyed but violent simpleton, waddled over to sing “Cadbury’s took him and they covered him in chocolate”? Resilience to such crassness was expected then as now by the type of people who think the word “banter” pardons all sins and for whom taking offence was evidence 16
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only of a “sense of humour failure”. Nevertheless the issue of identity was one of the reasons I so desperately wanted to go to the Third Test at Headingley between England and India in August 1979, even if “seeing India” instantly brought to mind Major Gowen’s infamous anecdote in Fawlty Towers. I wanted to find Asian players whose feats might impress my 12-year-old peers. India had been truly dreadful at the World Cup that preceded the tournament, losing all three group games, the last a humiliating defeat by Sri Lanka who were still a couple of years shy of being granted Test status. They had not been quite as defeatist and perverse as four years earlier, when Sunil Gavaskar notoriously took 174 balls to make 36 in the opening match, but had exhibited none of the guile and nerve that was to shock the tournament in 1983. My father did his research and decided the best way of guaranteeing Test tickets was to become members of Yorkshire and we were delighted to be allocated three seats for the Saturday. We took the bus from Wakefield with carrier bags full of food that were ransacked within minutes of setting off but the mood was pessimistic given that play had been ended by rain on the Thursday with England on 80 for four and Friday had been washed out. It was drizzly, gloomy and chilly as we walked down Kirkstall Lane. The forecast, though, gave us hope and the players were practising on the field, the youthful and energetic Dilip Vengsarkar and Kapil Dev standing out from their irredeemably square team-mates with oiled hair and three sweaters. After a great deal of mooching about, frittering away coins on scorecards and luscious, sizzling pork pies – back then eating piping hot liquid animal fat never seemed harmful – while sheltering from the West Riding mizzle, the sun came out shortly after noon. Inspections were made, leading to further sorties to the middle each half hour, kindling the crowd’s optimism until 2.30pm when Dickie Bird and Barrie Meyer relayed their verdict to the announcer who informed us that play had been abandoned for the day. It has always irked me that later
Bird became treasured by the wider public when to me, as a spiteful youth, he was an obstacle to fun, a man whose judgment that day when not one more drop of rain fell ruined the occasion. Had I been at the Lord’s Centenary Test the following year I would have formed an unlikely alliance with the members and righteously jostled the soppy old killjoy. I am almost certain that we did not get a refund but were allowed back in for free on the Tuesday. I had watched Monday’s play on the television when Ian Botham, prefacing his immortal 1981 innings at the ground, resumed on nine and added 99 before lunch, pinging Bishen Bedi into the car park and carting Kapil’s bouncers into the deserted Western Terrace. The last day’s play was far more drab, all pre-pilgrimage excitement dulled by Saturday’s premature adjudication. No one was there and we made full use of our Yorkshire members’ privileges, scaling the back of the football stand from the rugby league side to spy on Jim Laker and Richie Benaud in the BBC commentary box, perching on top of the winter sheds and sitting in the strange sight-screen seats at the Kirkstall Lane End to
scrutinise Bob Willis’s flapping approach to the stumps. India had been 10 for two at the start but Gavaskar, a player I found easier to admire than like, dug in for 78 and Vengsarkar made a fluent 65. Towards the end Graham Gooch came on to bowl and went through the card of his impressions – Jeff Thomson, Geoffrey Boycott, Mike Procter, Willis and Richard Hadlee, which brought some levity to three sessions of tedious middle-practice. I had hoped that the experience would somehow speak to the Indian side of me yet looking back it encapsulated the Yorkshire half – cynicism and distrust, an instinct to expect the worst, the stoicism to scrape by whatever the disappointment. It set the tone, too, for the subsequent 35 years when I have rarely looked back at a Test and concluded that I have been at the right day’s play. Still, it taught me a beneficial lesson: if you go looking for something important and can’t find it, a good pie offers some consolation. Rob Bagchi worked at Sportspages for a decade, wrote for the Guardian for 11 years and joined the Daily Telegraph in 2013
The first ever Twenty20 match: Hampshire v Sussex at the Rose Bowl on Friday 13 June 2003. I seem to remember being surprised how big the crowd was. I had no idea what Twenty20 was going to become. The weather was fantastic that summer; that as much as anything got T20 going in this country. If it had rained every day I don’t think people would have bothered coming. I just love the shadows on this picture. It shows Twenty20 in terms of big crowds rather than exciting cricket, and of course that lovely weather.
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From the Archive
After more than three decades of failure, England finally ruled the world on a perfect day in Barbados
Eighteenth time lucky Scorecard: click here
World Twenty20 final, England v Australia, at Bridgetown, Barbados, May 16 2010. England won by seven wickets. Toss: England.
England ended their 35-year wait for a global trophy in such commanding style that their supporters were entitled to ask “What took you so long?” Here they seized control right from the start and never relented. Their new-ball bowlers kept Australia down to 24 for three in the powerplay – easily their lowest of the tournament – and made judicious use of the quicker and slower bouncer. Then Swann, using the prevailing breeze, bowled a brilliant four-over spell which cost just 17 and ensured a chaseable target which England knocked off with panache. Collingwood chose to bowl first, and had to wait only three balls for a wicket. Kieswetter had been caught off a no-ball and dropped several times in the tournament, and saw his good fortune continue with the gloves after Sidebottom lured Watson into playing outside off stump: Kieswetter failed to hold the fast-travelling nick, but the ball fell perfectly to Swann at first slip. Clarke was unable to gain momentum – his 27, his highest of the tournament, took as many balls – and he called Warner for a homicidal single: the vast improvement in England’s fielding under Richard Halsall’s coaching was embodied in Lumb’s direct hit from cover to dismiss Warner. Haddin was given out caught down the leg side off Sidebottom and, although it was a dubious decision, Haddin did himself no favours with visible dissent (he was later fined). After 13 balls, Australia were eight for 18
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three. David Hussey and White mauled Yardy, taking 21 off his third over but Wright dismissed White in his only over of the tournament, allowing Collingwood to bask in an inspired bowling change. The early loss of Lumb twanged English nerves, but Kieswetter and Pietersen put on 111, one short of England’s all-wicket Twenty20 record. After some playing and missing at short balls, not even a problem with the sightscreen behind Nannes, which halted play, could disturb Kieswetter. The ball before the hold-up he flicked for four, and he cover-drove the next for four more. His fifty completed, there were shades of Ricky Ponting in the 2003 World Cup final in the way he struck a one-handed six over square leg off Nannes. Pietersen, meanwhile, was imperious, driving Tait over long-off for six. Eventually both departed in quick succession, but that paved the way for Collingwood to collect the winning runs off Watson, who was battered so much in his three overs that he might have been an English pie-chucker. Thousands of surprised and delighted England fans acclaimed Collingwood as he became their first male captain to raise a world cup, at the 18th attempt. Man of the Match: C. Kieswetter. Man of the Tournament: K. P. Pietersen.
The world is saturated with celebration pictures, which are not necessarily that exciting, but this one was such a big moment for Shahid Afridi and Pakistan, when they beat Sri Lanka in the 2009 final. It must be pretty good, hitting the winning runs in a World Cup at Lord’s. Yes, doesn’t come much better than that. He’s quite a showman. As a photographer you need to do bowlers, you need to do fielders, you need to do the crowd. But you pick your moment, and it’s probably not when someone like Afridi is batting.
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By 2004 Twenty20 had really caught on, and this was the first game played at Lord’s. Middlesex were playing Surrey, and the thing that stands out is that it’s absolutely packed. The crowd was the highest for a county match since the 1950s. It was intelligently marketed, with low prices so it really got people coming in.
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I really like this picture. It’s the ultimate West Indian shot – full of enthusiasm, everything off the ground. It’s certainly lively. Dwayne Bravo is such a talented player, probably a little underappreciated. You often know straight away if it’s a nice photo. It’s the same with many things in life – when you time something nicely you think ‘Ooh that’s about right’, or conversely ‘Damn I was late on it.’ Which is quite common!
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In the last 20 years, Cricket Round the World has been one of the most popular sections of the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. In an extract from Elk Stopped Play, Charlie Connelly looks at cricket in Rwanda and North Korea
The next Afghanistan Cricket Round the World has brought us many stories of the game taking hold in unlikely places, but few tales are as poignant as that of the game in Rwanda. This is no story of jolly expats encouraging locals to join in their curious game; rather this is an organic, indigenous growth of a sport; a growth born out of tragedy and exile. There was no cricket culture to speak of in Rwanda before the 1994 genocide when the Hutus set out to obliterate the Tutsis. Those who escaped the slaughter by fleeing into Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda experienced cricket for the first time and, when it was safe for them to return, the game came home with them. Traumatised by one of the most vicious and bloody eruptions of ethnic hatred in history, not to mention being one of the world’s poorest nations, Rwanda, blighted, blood-soaked Rwanda, was about as far removed from the gentle well-to-do culture of cricket as it was possible to be. Yet the game has not only taken hold in the country since the genocide: it has flourished. The Rwanda Cricket Association was formed in 1999, ICC Affiliate status was granted the following year, and in 2002 the game forged in foreign refugee camps found a semi-permanent home at one of the most notorious locations in the country. In 1994 the École Technique Officielle in the Kigali suburb of Kicugiro was Rwanda’s only technical college. It also became a safe haven for some of those threatened by the mass killings, defended by UN
peacekeeping troops from Belgium. However, when ten UN peacekeepers were killed elsewhere in the capital the Belgians moved out, leaving the 5,000 or so Tutsis gathered at the college entirely at the mercy of the Hutus. Mercy was, however, in short supply. Estimates of the numbers killed in the ensuing slaughter vary; 2,500 appears to be the most conservative figure accepted as roughly accurate as the college became one of the most notorious killing grounds of the entire genocide. Eight years later the college became the home of Rwandan cricket. The serene, gentle rhythms of the game were a long way from the horrors of 1994, yet for a sport that began as part of a healing process among the displaced and dispossessed to be played on such a notorious piece of ground became almost a symbol the nation’s nascent emergence from its collective trauma. Today cricket development continues apace. Under the auspices of the Rwandan Cricket Stadium Foundation work is underway on a permanent, purposebuilt home for Rwandan cricket in the capital Kigali. Thanks to the tireless fund-raising and coaching work of Englishman Oli Broom, who headed the foundation (and whose ability and willingness to go the extra mile knows no bounds: in 2013 he ran up a mountain to raise money for corrective dental work for a Rwandan cricketer who’d had his teeth knocked out by a ball that lifted off a length) the new ground is planned to be ready continued overleaf WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
salivary glands, although this incarnation of Pyongyang CC seems to have died out by 2008 – which is when North Korea staged its first-ever cricket tournament. This was a triangular affair comprising two teams emanating from the pioneering Shanghai Cricket Club and a Pyongyang Cricket Club side “specially formed for the occasion”. The Shanghai teams – called, with an admirable nod towards diplomacy, Reunification and Juche (the name of Kim-Il Sung’s political thesis) – were made up of British, Australian and South African expats. The Pyongyang side included the tourists’ two government minders, the coach driver (a Mr Li who, it turned out, had played professional baseball in Japan in his younger days), two lads from the tour company that organised the When Matthew Engel launched Cricket Round the World in 1993 he can’t possibly have envisaged some of trip, and the man from DHL, whose company had the weird and wonderful places from where copy would provided the matting wicket for the tournament. Visas were secured, permission to stage the arrive. Remote islands, former Soviet states and African tournament was granted from the North Korean sports nations emerging from war and genocide, for example. ministry, and the matting wicket was unfurled with One thing’s fairly sure, he would never have predicted great ceremony at Taesongsan Park, customarily the North Korea ever appearing in the pages of Wisden. setting for Pyongyang’s May Day festivities and the only Arguably the world’s last true pariah state, North piece of land in the city suitable for a cricket match. Korea does not on the face of it look like a place The pitch was in the shadow of the Tsaesongsan where you’d ever find a game of cricket. In fact it does Fortress, a large and impressive pagoda-style structure not on the face of it look like a place where anyone dating back to the third century and lovingly has even heard of cricket. Mass gymnastic displays reconstructed after being badly damaged by American are more North Korea’s thing: why bother with the bombs during the Korean War. As pavilions go, it was unpredictability and uncertain outcomes of a duel between bat and ball when you can get 10,000 gymnasts a beauty. More than 800 runs were scored in the three Twenty20 matches that saw Juche emerge victorious to into a stadium performing intricately synchronised choreography and iconography for the viewing pleasure lift the first Pyongyang Friendship Cup. The Koreans involved took to the game reassuringly well and played of a chubby man with a hairstyle that appears to have a big part in the success of the event. Some cricket been administered with a food mixer, who happens to traditions were observed – cucumber sandwiches were run the country? served at tea – while some innovative new ones were Football is popular in North Korea, although it’s introduced, such as the tea interval being accompanied now a long time since Pak Doo Ik and his team-mates by a Korean accordion band. emerged from the unknown into the glamorous It seems the Pyongyang Friendship Cup is still surroundings of Ayresome Park, Middlesbrough, to beat in Shanghai, as there doesn’t appear to have been a Italy and give Portugal the fright of their lives before repeat of the tournament. While cricket news out of disappearing from both the 1966 World Cup and the global sporting map again. But cricket in North Korea? Pyongyang is hard to come by, who knows, maybe the local involvement in the Cup meant that Pyongyang Even Coca-Cola hasn’t infiltrated north of the 38th Parallel since the Korean War, so what hope has a game CC is still going strong in some form. Maybe one day the North Korean leader himself may take up the game. that is – rightly or wrongly – still seen by many as a symbol of old-fashioned, bayonet-charging, moustache- Let’s not forget that Kim Jong-Un’s father Kim Jong-Il apparently scored 11 holes in one the first time he ever waxing imperialism? picked up a golf club, going round 34 under par in his Inevitably the momentum behind North Korean first-ever 18 holes in 1994. If Kim Jong-Un happened cricket came from expats, of whom Pyongyang seems to wander down to Tsaesongsan Park – I don’t know, to boast a surprisingly high number. There are reports maybe to have a look at the gate or something – and of a Pyongyang Cricket Club existing back in 2002, organised by the head of the European Union aid office found a game in progress, he would doubtless caress his in the city. He left for India soon afterwards, but games way to a flawless quadruple-century in 40 minutes then did apparently continue, with the expats congregating at bowl out the opposition with a triple hat-trick and a the Oun Revolutionary Site – where a young Kim Jong- direct-hit run-out thrown from behind the Tsaesongsan Fortress while facing backwards and conducting the Il underwent his military service – for rudimentary games with rudimentary equipment watched by curious accordion band with his other hand. and occasionally suspicious locals. Elk Stopped Play is published by Bloomsbury, priced The reported existence of Pyongyang CC shirts is £9.99, and can be ordered here. enough to have collectors of cricketana firing up their in time for the 20th anniversary of the 1994 massacre. With a new ground, an estimated 60 per cent of the population aged under 20 and climatic conditions making cricket possible almost all year round, the game in Rwanda has a brighter future than almost anywhere in the world. Few countries would take being described as “the next Afghanistan” as any kind of compliment, but in terms of cricket developing at an extraordinary rate of progress having emerged from incomprehensible horrors it’s a compliment that suits Rwanda perfectly.
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ELK STOPPED PLAY AND OTHER TALES FROM WISDEN’S ‘CRICKET ROUND THE WORLD’ It can’t be often that Fidel Castro, the gangs of Los Angeles, Biggles and an agitated Finnish Elk appear together in a book, especially one about cricket. All feature in Elk Stopped Play, a collection of tales garnered from two decades of the Cricket Round the World section of Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack. CLICK HERE TO BUY AT DISCOUNT
Which England bowler did Yuvraj Singh hit for six sixes in an over during the inaugural tournament in 2007?
3 4 5
Why was England captain Paul Collingwood was fined £1,000 during the first World T20?
Which player has hit 43 sixes in World Twenty20 matches, 16 more than anyone else?
Australia surprisingly lost their first match at a World T20. Who beat them? Who lost twice in a Super Over during the 2012 tournament?
Answers on page 27
True or false: between them, the eventual winners have lost more games than they have won in the first group stage?
Who is the only man to play for two countries in World T20s?
Two players have played for England in all four tournaments. Stuart Broad is one. Who is the other?
Which team has reached the semi-final of all four tournaments? Which batsman averaged over 75 in the last two World T20s but will not appear in this year’s competition? WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20
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This was also on the first weekend of T20 cricket in 2003, on a Saturday evening in Bristol. The guy at the ECB who thought up the whole thing, Stuart Robertson, came up with all these weird and wacky ideas, which really worked. And that first year was fun fun fun.
QUIZ ANSWERS See page 25 1 Stuart Broad 2 Chris Gayle 3 He went to a lap-dancing club on the eve of a match against South Africa 4 Zimbabwe 5 New Zealand
6 T rue (two wins – one after a bowlout – and three defeats) 7 Luke Wright 8 Dirk Nannes 9 Pakistan 10 Michael Hussey WisdenEXTRA • World Twenty20