Some unique trivia associated with cricket
The biggest buzz ahead of the 2000th Test match ever tomorrow is naturally, considering the historicity of the moment, the court case that Harbhajan Singh has slapped on the company of Vijay Mallaya over a liquor ad featuring Mahendra Singh Dhoni. That the duo will turn up together tomorrow at the Lord’s adds more lustre to the inviolable traditions of the game.
But how many of you know such unique events associated with this game? To commemorate the heritage-filled occasion, here we present some interesting trivia that you can use to impress your girlfriend or put it for greater purpose, like as Facebook status message.
- · The first ever cricket Test, played in 1877 between England and Australia, was a total success, mainly, as we know it now, because the ICC was not formed then. Charles Bannerman was the first centurion in Test cricket, a record that diehard fans are hoping that the peerless Sachin Tendulkar will break in the series against England.
- · Cricket was part of the 1900 Olympics, and France was the surprise winner of the Gold medal, confirming that match-fixing was prevalent even then. Great Britain came a creditable second and grabbed the silver, in a highly competitive fray involving the two teams. Also, contrary to popular belief, the French did not take one full day for the lunch break.
- · In August 1908, a boy was born in Bowral in New South Wales. He seemed destined for greatness right from the moment he was born as he had that one outstanding talent that discerning newspaper writers look for —- a name that readily lends itself to cheesy headlines. He was Donald Bradman (The Don, in short) (How the lack of an attractive name tailor-made for easy puns can plague a career was underlined by the sobering story of a talented cricketer from the subcontinent. The cricketer, of course, is Ajith Agarkar).
- · Legend has it that one day when Bradman was watching TV, he was so impressed by the performance of a person he saw on TV, that he immediately and excitedly called his wife Jessie that the person reminded him of himself. Bradman was, of course, watching The Godfather and that is how Marlon Brando came to be known as ‘The Don’ Vito Corleone.
- · In the 60s, the emergence of West Indies as a global cricketing power and the sociological impact of the same over the Caribbean archipelago was brilliantly captured in the seminal work of C L R James in the book Beyond a Boundary, in which he postulated the most famous words ever associated with cricket: ‘It went like a tracer bullet’.
- · Unable to afford full-fledged umpires, New Zealand cricket board made do with football dummies to adjudicate decisions involving home team batsmen till around late 80s. After seeing the Kiwi Billy Bowden in action, there has been some clamour for bringing back those dummies, as they seem to have done a better job in comparison.
- · The Packer revolution took by storm the world cricket in the early seventies, as the maverick Australian media moghul, who introduced coloured clothing, night cricket, white balls, made cricket extremely TV-friendly. His vision and philosophy, to this day inspires the BCCI and cricket in India in general, and that is: ‘The guy who buys tickets and turns up the stadiums has to be a moron’.
- · In the seventies and early eighties, the Pakistan bowling duo of Imran Khan and Sarfraz Nawaz won numerous matches for their country, and introduced to international cricket the concept of ‘reverse swing’. Reverse swing, physicists later discovered, is classical aerodynamics that comes into the equation when a bowler bowls with a bottle-cap scientifically tucked inside his pant pockets.
- · Overcoming life-threatening heat and humidity, Australia’s Dean Jones scored a heroic double century in Australia’s first innings in the historic Tied test at Chennai. During his epic knock, he vomited a few times on the field, an incident that was so inspiring that it was emulated by the brave English players in the face of the heat and humidity of their hotel rooms when they were in the same city for a series five years later.
- · The 1987 edition of the World Cup was the first one held outside England and the host broadcaster, Doordarshan, understanding the importance of the event, unveiled for the first ever time, Hawkeye, the technology that tracked the trajectory of the ball, as all through the telecasts, viewers got to sense only the general direction of the ball, and never the ball itself.
- · In the 80s, the United Nations, in a proactive move to help and inspire the tormented Tamils in Sri Lanka, urges the ICC to give Test status to Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. The UN’s visionary plan worked to a nicety, when, in the late 2000s, Muthiah Muralitharan called stumps on his glittering Test career as the highest wicket-taker with 800 scalps.
- · In 1999, Indian leg-spinner Anil Kumble emulated Jim Laker of England by capturing all the 10 wickets in an innings against Pakistan in New Delhi. For his efforts, a traffic circle was named after him (Kumble Circle) in Bangalore, the highlight of which is a famous lamppost, named appropriately after another cricketing legend from Karnataka —- yes, you guessed it right —- A V Jayaprakash.
- · Dubai is not in a Test playing country. Dubai has no historic connections with the game. Dubai has a climate that is least suited to Test cricket. Considering all this, the International Cricket Council (ICC) took the most sensible decision of moving its headquarters to Dubai in the middle of the 2000s.
(Disclaimer: In the future, the ICC may consider shifting its base to Burkina Faso)