Answered by Anuj Sharma
Every week we will select and answer popular questions asked by you, across the length and breadth of issues related to cricket. Our expert panel will answer the questions and the fans can then comment on the answers, agreeing or disagreeing or presenting their own point of view’
Here we go with a set of questions answered for this week. The fans/readers are free to comment on them:
Q: Should a fielder be allowed to raise his hand with the ball to get an applause from crowd when he completes three catches in an innings?
A: We have always heard the dictum: ‘catches win matches’. Catches have become more relevant with the advent of T20 cricket, where a catch provides not only a wicket but also a dot ball. On an average 6 to 7 catches are taken in an innings, so, if a fielder takes three of them it would be equivalent to 5-for by a bowler. In that case he should be allowed to raise his hand with the ball, to earn an applause from the crowds.
Q: Should movies like Azhar be made to give a fair chance to players accused of match-fixing to clear their name?
A: Nobody can stop directors from making a movie on virtually any subject and actors from acting in it. Players accused of match fixing also have a right to project their STORY. And that’s how the audiences should see it — just like another story. without passing any judgment or being swayed by it.
Q: Could Virat Kohli become the most marketable sportsperson in the world? What is special about the players who are ahead of him this year?
A: Kohli may be the most popular among the largest audience for a sport in a country, but Stephen Curry, currently the most marketable athlete, will stay ahead due to the vast merchandising possibilities America and basketball has to offer. He is the number 1 player in terms of clothing merchandize sold on his name, plus he features on several video games covers and several gaming devices. Being the number 1 basketball player of this generation, the endorsements and prize money that come with it are far higher than what Kohli can earn.
Only when cricket’s marketability extends to larger numbers and much wider range of marketable products and merchandise, only then will Kohli have a chance of reaching number 1 marketable sportsperson rank in the world. Of course, he has to continue playing at the insanely high standards he has set for himself.
Q: If the stands are empty or sparsely occupied during a Test match, does that make a difference to performance of players playing in that Test ?
A: Players concentrate a lot during Test matches — batsmen while facing the next ball, bowlers in their spell and fielders every ball. They are generally not swayed by the lack of crowds. In fact a lot of batsmen say that they do not notice the crowds even if there is a packed house. It’s akin to Arjuna concentrating on the eye of the bird while shooting an arrow.
Of course, there may be some players like maverick players like Chris Gayle and Shoaib Akhtar who are entertainers and get extra motivation from the presence of the crowds.
Q: How many times in the IPL has a player score a century and yet his team has not won that match?
A: Of the 42 IPL 100s till 2016, 7 have come in losing causes. Andrew Symonds (117*), Yusuf Pathan (100), Sachin Tendulkar (100*), Wriddhiman Saha (115*), Shane Watson (101), Virat Kohli (100*) and Steve Smith (101) scored centuries, but their team still lost the match.
Of these seven centuries, the fastest was by Yusuf Pathan in 37 balls and the slowest by Sachin Tendulkar in 66 balls. Barring Kohli (4 tons) and Watson (2 ton), the hundreds scored by the other five batsmen in losing cause, are their only centuries in the IPL.
Q: What has evolved more after the advent of T20 cricket?
Options: A) Fielding. B) Batting. C) Bowling
A: Bowling. Why ?
Because this was one discipline which largely had to reinvent itself to survive. People initially called T20 a batsman’s game where bowlers could just be replaced by bowling machines. But the bowlers struck back, added more variety, more guile to their repertoire and additionally became more responsive to every batting innovation.
And Sunrisers’ title win in IPL 2016 proves how important bowling has become for winning T20 titles.
Q: Is overdose of T20 cricket good for the game?
A: Overdose of any format can make it dull, but if there is a huge appetite for it and fans want it more, T20 cricket will organically grow and expand. And any organic growth cannot be bad for the game.