walk a-musing

Monday, April 10, 2006

Current Run Rate

Most of my old friends won't believe what they are reading. "Anu...? run rate..? Is she talking about cricket? what does Anu know about cricket? She doesnt even like cricket!" They are actually right. I don't know much about cricket and what I do know, does not particularly excite me. You see, I grew up in a family where my father believed that cricket was not a sport at all. He pointed at some of the famous cricketers of the 70's and their big paunches, and said that if the so called best cricketers developed paunches while being on the team, it can't be much of a sport. I think he is right. I don't think much of a game which, if I played, I would be standing waiting for something to happen 80% of the time. I prefer games like tennis, basket ball, badminton, where there is continuous action for everyone....

But sometimes one has to develop an interest in some things for various reasons. In my case, the reason was, I married and, ....no no, my hubby is not a great fan of cricket either. He is mildly interested, but is ready to sit through the night to watch only soccer..... I got married and moved to an apartment, where my neighbours had two young school going sons. They became my great friends, particularly the younger one who was about 8 years old. When I got back from work in the evening, little Chinu always welcomed me outside my door, giving me the day's news. It could be something interesting that happened in school or home, or a fight he had with his friend. One evening he was hopping in and out of his apartment when I entered the building and as soon as he saw me, called out, "Auntie.... Azhar duckoo....!".

(This is one of the beauties of kannada. Whenever we like a word that belongs to English, all we have to do is add an "oo" or a "u" to it and it becomes our own. For example, when we speak about computers in kannada, we dont have to look for a kannada word for computer, we can just say "computeru" and we have a new word!)

Anyway, here was little Chinu telling me that Azhar was a duck. I was zapped! Even with my limited knowledge of cricket I knew that there was this guy called Azhar who was the captain of India's cricket team. What can it mean when you say he is a duck? How on earth did he transform into one? Chinu's countenance did not indicate whether I was expected to be happy about it or sad. Before I could react, he dragged me into their house. I walked in and looked at the screen totally unsure what to expect. There I saw this normal looking man without feathers or beak, but with a bat under his arm, head bowed, walking slowly amidst a huge uproar. He didnt seem particularly happy. And as I watched, a cartoon duck made an appearance, also with a bat under its arm, shoulders drooping, and started walking behind the man. I was about to laugh at this, because it was really very comical, but a glance at Chinu's father alerted me to the fact that this was not something one could laugh about. After nodding my head to everything the boys and their father excitedly told me and a few "waa"s and "chhe"s, I walked home with a determination to find out about this duck business from my husband. He would surely know.

This was my entry into the world of cricket. I wanted to impress Chinu, so I thought I better learn something about ducks. And I did. Soon I could calculate 'run rates' and 'required run rates' and since I normally start watching the match only when there are a few overs left and ofcourse, India is playing, I even make "intelligent" guesses about the chances of India winning a particular match. (I hear someone saying, "Aww.. no one can guess thaaaat". But I never said I guessed right!)

My son has inherited his father's love for soccer. But he has to play soccer, rugby and cricket in school according to the season. The coming season being 'summer', it is time for cricket. Meanwhile, having attended a rugby match in school, I have decided that cricket is much better than rugby, atleast for young boys to play. I don't have to be worried about my child breaking his bones in a 'ruck' or a 'scrum'. Ofcourse people have pointed out to me that in cricket, if the child dozes off while fielding, a ball may hit him and hurt him. But I think this can be prevented, by getting a few extras to stand around the field and talk to the boys to keep them awake. Anyway, my son will attend a cricket coaching camp soon. Since there are school holidays now and the India vs England series is on, I have been watching it with him once in a while, and imparting to him what little knowledge I have.

And I think I have found a flaw in the terminology of cricket. Why is 'current run rate' called that? For me 'current' means 'belonging to the present time'. In terms of run rate, current run rate is the run rate during the last 3 or 4 overs. What is now called 'current run rate' is actually the average run rate for all the overs before the current one. The average run rate is important, but the run rate for the last few overs is equally important. Consider this. India is batting second and in the 46th over. We have made 225 runs till now. We need 50 more runs to win. That is when I switch on the TV. The announcement says, "current run rate is 5 runs per over, required run rate is 10 runs per over." Depressing indeed. I would switch off immediately. But the fact is that we have a number of wickets still on hand and the players have been hitting left, right and center in the last 5 overs, making about 10 runs per over. What term do you have for this recent run rate? None. The announcement should be, "The average run rate is 5 runs per over, the current run rate is 10 runs per over, and the required run rate is 10 runs per over." If I hear this, I can decide to keep the TV on for a few more minutes and hope to see India win. What say you? (Ofcourse there are some who say that India winning is really not so good, we should consistently lose, so that other games in India have a chance of revival. Well....)

I wonder if my father will disown me if he gets to read this?? Naa.... parents are very forgiving. But I can hear him saying to my mother.."She should never have given up her job. Look what a 'nirudyogi' she has become. She spends time thinking about and writing articles on cricket!!"
(the nearest English equivalent of 'nirudyogi' is 'jobless')



  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger Shruthi said…

    Heh heh Anu and Cricket indeed :D
    Azhar duckoo :) - I remember we had taught V to say "Azhar BaatukoLi" (Duck in Kannada) :D

  • At 10:57 PM, Blogger Nirwa said…

    The intricacies of cricket are so confusing.. I have pestered my father with the term "LBW" so many times.. he has explained it to me everytime..

    LBW is Leg Before Wicket - so how can a batsman be declared "out" if there is a leg before wicket?? I mean.. don't they have both their legs before the stumps??? Then why are they not declared out all the time?? sigh.. Then a wise friend explained it to me.. Bowler aims to hit the wicket.. and if the batsman would not have been standing there, the ball would have hit the stump.. so that way he's declared out..

    But there again.. its the bowler's problem.. why should hte batsman be declared out?? I will never understand this..

    I am happy with my title of "World Champion in Hide And Seek" :P :P :P


  • At 2:46 AM, Blogger Anu said…

    Shruthi, oh I had forgotten about the baatukoli!

    Nirwa, hehhe.. I have given up on LBWs myself. I have said that LBWs are purely subjective and irritated a lot of cricket lovers:)) Only the basic arithmetic in the cricket for me!

  • At 8:14 PM, Anonymous Emma said…

    I can relate to this - I never was a cricket fan. In school, I played hockey and eventually developed a deep interest in Tennis. But then I met the man I eventually married - he was a obsessed with cricket, and had also played at the district level. That did it. Today, I can wax eloquent on cricket - sometimes even surprising my husband :).

  • At 9:12 PM, Blogger Mridula said…

    Neither me, I have my own reasons not to consider cricket a true sport. Azhar duckoo was priceless!

  • At 3:30 PM, Anonymous Pratyush said…


    A very nice post. Flowed super smoothly and kept the interest going all along.

    The run rate: Statistics are mentioned in the match: like run rate of last 4-5 overs was this much. Current does mean from the beginning till now: So 'currently the run rate is' would be a better term. But you do present an interesting point. :D

    ESPN started putting red and green arrows beside the score to show if a team was ahead/behind while chasing a few years ago during the Sahara Cup. It didn't work out as the run rate teams play at fluctuates vastly during phases of innings.

  • At 1:34 AM, Anonymous Rajani said…

    Hi Anu,
    Enjoyed ur latest. Keep them coming!

  • At 4:58 AM, Blogger Anu said…

    Emma, You can't escape cricket in India, can you?

    Mridula, Thankyou! Perhaps "Azhar Duckoo" should have been the title of the post!

    Pratyush, Thankyou! I too have seen something like a bar graph showing runs in each over. Don't remember in which match it was.

    Rajani, Nice to know you checked again! Thankyou!

  • At 9:34 AM, Blogger Bhargav said…

    Anu...nice post. Am just rolling out of laughter. "Azhar duckoo...Azhar Baatukoli".
    Abt run-rate; you do have a point there. Trying to make cricket more interesting to ppl who dont think its a sport!! As ppl have mentioned, the scoring rate for every 10 overs are also compared for the two teams. This further spikes up the interest in the game. Well written...keep going.

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