World Cup Open Thread

by Harry on March 25, 2015

Well, CB does it for rugby. Now I am able to watch everything courtesy of ESPN, I thought why not do it for cricket. Thoughts welcome about the teams, the rules, the (ludicrous, unless someone can defend it) diss-ing of the associate nations, who you think will win, England’s spectacular failure, whether New Zealand can win on Australian soil, the way that T20 has influenced the one-day game… whatever you want.



Chris 03.25.15 at 4:37 am

As a kiwi away from home for a long time, I’ve rarely followed the cricket world cup as a) it was nigh impossible to find on U.S. TV, and b) the black caps would lose in the semis on such a regular basis (and to the Ozzies much of the time, which made it even more depressing).

But after Daniel’s post I’m feeling nostalgic, mildly patriotic, and thanks to a new cable package, able to watch the final on Saturday. So I’ll be eating toast with Manuka and Marmite, drinking Cloudy Bay, and cheering them on. The only wrinkle will be if India makes the final, as that’s where my wife is from. We may have to watch in separate rooms (like most American kids, no amount of money would be enough money to get ours to watch cricket).


Layman 03.25.15 at 5:08 am

I’m happy to be visiting my wife’s family in Port Elizabeth and therefore getting plenty of World Cup coverage. The US is pretty much a cricket wasteland.

The NZ / SA match yesterday was spectacularly exciting if marred by very poor fielding by both sides but especially the Proteas. This is a match South Africa had won, if not for their inexplicable failure to capitalize on wickets all but handed to them.

Local flavor: My mother-in-law is in possession of a handgun registered to her late husband, which must be dealt with in some way as part of the estate. The gun is all but useless for home protection – it is a very small, cheap .22 she says is from the Spanish Civil War, a story which demands further investigation – and is no longer legal. The mechanics of registering a handgun in SA don’t warrant the effort, so it’s really a question of disposal. Yesterday, the local police came by to check with her to see what she had decided to do with it. It was very much a courtesy call rather than a looming arrest. They happened to show up at about the 39th over of NZ’s innings, and they were very nice fellows, so we invited them in to see the rest of the match. Tea and biscuits were consumed by all.


Andrew Smith 03.25.15 at 5:51 am

A lot of people watch cricket here in Seattle, but it’s all expats. I watch at work with mostly South Asian coworkers.

Anyway, a whole day later I still feel bad for SA.


Oz from Australia 03.25.15 at 7:24 am

Well, we could judge by hubris; the Australia cricket team has a clear advantage there – way out in front :-(. Go the black caps. Always happy to see the Australian cricket team taken down a peg.

I went to see Australia vs England with my English brother in law. I don’t know why I bothered; England are pathetic. Since then, ho hum, not more cricket? I guess I’ll watch the final, while working on my laptop


Val 03.25.15 at 11:55 am

“Thoughts welcome … whatever you want”

Have you ever realised this is just one more way for the patriarchy to maintain its hegemony?

Chris @ 1, I hope you’re not eating the Manuka and Marmite on toast AT THE SAME TIME.


derrida derider 03.25.15 at 12:32 pm

Val, dunno about elsewhere but women’s cricket is very popular in Australia. My current boss is both a passionate feminist (woe betide we underlings should something upsetting to the sisterhood ever be heard from our lips) and an even more passionate cricketer, both as player and follower.

On the Saffer/Unzud match – SA were definitely the better team on the night, but they choked at one or two critical moments. They have a long history at so doing.

As an Aussie, assuming we get past India (no gimme on the only slow turning pitch in Australia, the SCG) then I look forward to giving our overly civilised parochial presumptuous younger cousins from the Land of the Short Crushed Vowel a cricketing lesson. I reckon they have a side made for flat drop-in pitches on tiny rugby grounds (some of those McCullum sixes at Eden Park would have been outfield catches elsewhere). Australian bounce, Australian sun and the vast spaces of the MCG will be a different story.


harry b 03.25.15 at 12:49 pm

Well — I know it is 2 years off, but I am looking forward to watching the women’s world cup, and promise an open thread on that (I might need reminding, about the thread). My sister played for Oxfordshire women’s team when she was a teenager. We would occasionally play against teams which she played for (mens’ teams that would have her on basically as a ringer) and my teammates really hated getting out to her (I batted so far down the order that I never faced her in a match).

Not sure I agree with derrida derider about NZ. Australia must be favourites in their own conditions, but any hint of complacency and they’ll be in trouble. NZ really want to win, and have skill throughout. Should be a very good final.


Glenn 03.25.15 at 12:55 pm

I agree that Australia should probably have the upper hand against New Zealand, but I would be disappointed if they played for the championship. It’s bad enough that the four semi-final spots ended up going to the four favorites to win the tournament. I wanted upsets!

That being said, the last two games look to be very exciting. Here’s hoping the (insufferable) Australians lose in heart-breaking fashion.


one of the jasons 03.25.15 at 1:01 pm

I’m in for NZ; I’d like to see Vettori win it, and I love watching Mitch lose. But I think I’ll be more comfortable seeing them against India. Then again, I thought Ireland were a lock for the knockout stages.


marcel 03.25.15 at 1:14 pm

Layman wrote:

The US is pretty much a cricket wasteland.

Given the nature of cricket, I would have thought that the description is more aptly applied to pretty much anywhere that many people feel passionate about the game (I hesitate to call it a sport).


js. 03.25.15 at 1:38 pm

I’m just going to leave this here.

(I should and naturally do support India, but it’s really hard not to root for NZ this time around.)


Layman 03.25.15 at 1:48 pm

Don’t give up, Marcel. As an USan, I came late to the game. You can do it, too!


harry b 03.25.15 at 2:03 pm

Yes, I naturally support India, and probably will if they beat Australia.

Nobody has talked about the associates and the ICC’s shabby treatment of them.


chris y 03.25.15 at 2:16 pm

If they’re anything like me, that’s because what people have to say about the ICC’s treatment of the associates should not be written on a family blog.


Scott P. 03.25.15 at 2:42 pm

“CB does it for rugby?”


chris y 03.25.15 at 3:01 pm


Val 03.25.15 at 8:41 pm

Derrida and Harry b, it’s not the sport that’s the problem. I played a lot of sport myself (not including cricket in a formal sense, though we all played it at my little rural oz primary school). No, it’s the aggrandisement of men’s sports cf women’s that’s the problem.

Good for you watching women’s sports, do you also watch netball? It’s great to watch (and play, though hell on knees. They’ve changed the rules a bit lately to make it a bit less hard on the knees). As this thread is about cricket, I suppose this is a digression, but I like watching netball vs say women’s cricket partly because it’s not treated as lesser version of a ‘men’s game’, and also it utilises certain skills which women in general have at the same or greater degree than men, such as flexibility and dexterity. I suppose if everyone had an open minded attitude to women’s sport, we would all begin to appreciate and watch for those kind of skills, which I’m sure cricket also deploys, rather than valencing upper body strength.


Igor Belanov 03.25.15 at 8:46 pm

The problem with the Associate teams comes largely with the format of the World Cup. The system for 2011 and 2015 has involved two groups of seven teams, which has meant that the Associate teams get six opportunities to be hammered (bar Ireland, who are competitive). This has led to too many dead matches and the format as a whole has meant that the competition has drifted on too long, only getting interesting in the last week.

A set up involving two more Associate teams would be more sensible, with 16 teams playing in four groups, with three games each in the first round. Not too many one sided matches per team, and the opportunity for a ‘lesser’ country to go through to the next round (as Ireland did in 2007). This would also allow the tournament to become more competitive at an earlier stage.

Ireland should really be given Test status now. They have done better in World Cups than Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe or Bangladesh did before they achieved Test ranking, and it would stop them draining players to England.


Val 03.25.15 at 8:48 pm

The other thing I’m really interested in about sports and gender, or sport as metaphor/ substitute for fighting, is the difference between sports that require you to invade others people’s space (rugby, AFL) and sports that require you not to (netball, soccer – excuse the term, had to use it here :) ). not sure where cricket fits.


Igor Belanov 03.25.15 at 9:00 pm


I’m not sure why you think that association football doesn’t involve invading someone else’s space, given that tackling is an essential part of the game and you are free to knock someone over as long as you’re playing the ball.

There’s no ‘invasion’ involved in cricket, but bowling a ball at another person at 90 mph could be construed as quite violent, as could a batsman smashing the ball towards a fielder situated a metre away from him.


harry b 03.25.15 at 10:00 pm

Val – I did used to watch netball when I was a kid, which probably explains my antipathy to basketball, which is so dull in comparison. You have to factor in the problem with watching netball as a man being that few men do it, and it is not crazy to be suspicious that men who do are not watching for the sport. Once I became aware of that (around 14, I was slow) I think I watched it less.

Women’s tennis is far more interesting than men’s. Actually, I have probably watched about 10 mens/boys soccer matches in my life, and countless girls’ matches because my daughter plays (pretty well), and I now find it moderately interesting. But the big thing here is rugby — several of the students I’ve gotten to know well either play competitively or have sisters who do (a couple at international level) and I’m rather in awe of them.

But truth is, for me all sports pale by comparison with cricket. I’m thrilled with the gains the women’s game has made, but the big thing is that I can watch it televised now (here in the midwest), which was impossible when I was growing up, and changes things a lot.


stubydoo 03.25.15 at 10:06 pm

This blog is turning into the place for all-purpose trolling on New Zealand topics? First on the other thread we had someone trying to drag it into a discussion of long ago cultural practices of different ethnic groups for some reason, and now here – horror of horrors!!! – someone is saying that you shouldn’t mix honey and marmite! At least no-one is dissing Weetbix (yet).


SCENE: EDMUND HILLARY and TENZING NORGAY are climbing Mount Everest in a heavy blizzard. Both are played by ~10 year old actors

TENZING (in a despairing tone): “[some incomprehensible gibberish]”
HILLARY: “Where I come from Sherpa Tenzing, there’s no such word as [repeats same incomprehensible gibberish]”


dr ngo 03.25.15 at 10:38 pm

I’ve probably been a sports fan longer than most of you have been alive, starting in the 1950s with baseball, (American) football, basketball, and track, then evolving as I migrated around the world. I saw the world’s first (legal) 7′ high jump; I’ve seen Stan Musial and Denis Law and Rafer Johnson (in both basketball and track) in action; I saw Gary Sobers hit a century at Lord’s and Greg Chappell hit one at the SCG; I’ve been to the Rose Bowl Game and Wrigley Field and the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens, etc. If it moves and they keep score, I’ll watch it.

And as women’s sports developed, I watched them too. I had a charter subscription to Women’s Sports, I saw the oldest world record still extant (a highly dubious 400m by Marita Koch, Canberra 1985), my wife and I are season ticket holders to Duke Women’s Basketball, etc.

All this by way of background to my simple response to calling netball a sport: BAH, HUMBUG! Netball is basketball gutted and distorted by folk who feared (wrongly) that women were too frail to play proper basketball, so they outlawed every natural tendency in the game and left a travesty, which (sadly) substitutes for the real thing in certain quarters of the former Empire.

Anything else that moves and keeps score I will watch, and venture an opinion upon (perhaps later in this thread). Netball forces me to change channels or even turn off the TV: it hurts my eyes and my sensibilities and my logic. Bah, Humbug.


floopmeister 03.25.15 at 11:39 pm

Regarding Edmund Hillary… “it’s no wonder the sherpa was tensing”


dr ngo 03.25.15 at 11:46 pm

As for cricket, my son spent some formative (school) years in Australia, and developed into a decent spin bowler, opening batsman, and eventually captain of his team (roughly middle school – by his last years he had taken up swimming more seriously). My wife and I perforce developed our appreciation, she by learning how to keep score, a skill always in demand at that level.

My view of cricket crystallized around comparing it to outdoor chess, both in terms of pace and subtlety of strategy. Yes, there’s considerable athleticism as well, but it’s in the service of a game in which knowing when NOT to do something – not to run, not even to offer at a delivery – is often as important as doing it. To appreciate the game one has to be aware of the score, of the time of day, of the condition of the pitch, even – at highest levels – of the differences between ends. That’s classic multi-day cricket; all shorter versions sacrifice some of this in the interest of drama (and spectators), which is an understandable tradeoff, but makes it less sui generis, more like other action sports.

I haven’t tried to chase it down on TV since I returned to the USA a decade ago, so my sense of the current World Cup is very remote (in time, as well as space), but it’s a fine sport, in its own way. People who like this sort of thing will find it the sort of thing they like.


js. 03.26.15 at 12:06 am

Yes, I naturally support India, and probably will if they beat Australia.

Wait, why? Wouldn’t you “naturally” support England?

The thing about the Associates is that the answer is completely obvious (basically, what Igor Belanov said @18), but eq


Main Street Muse 03.26.15 at 12:10 am

Wait – March Madness means something other than college basketball? ;-)

A long time ago, I saw Greece v Bulgaria play in Chicago. It was a fun game.


js. 03.26.15 at 12:10 am


The thing about the Associates is that the answer is completely obvious (basically, what Igor Belanov said @18), but equally obviously, it’s not going to be implemented because they can’t risk India* going out in the group stages (as happened in 2007). It’s a complete travesty, but after the recent ICC stitch-up, it’s even more impossible to think of any equitable solution that actually has a chance of being implemented.

*Other big audience countries like England and Australia too, of course, but in terms of TV audiences it’s basically India, with everyone else a distant second.


Val 03.26.15 at 12:42 am

Stubydoo @ 22 (nice rhyme)

SCENE: EDMUND HILLARY and TENZING NORGAY are climbing Mount Everest in a heavy blizzard. Both are played by ~10 year old actors

HILLARY: Bro, we have to take a lift to get to the top of this mountain
TENZING (in a despairing tone): No! You are talking incomprehensible gibberish and it wouldn’t be right even if it made sense!

(As I have two kiwi sons-in-law, I usually try to avoid making fun of the NZ accent, but I can verify that an exchange like this could happen)

(I hope that ‘lift’ isn’t also some technical mountaineering term that spoils this joke by making sense)


ozajh 03.26.15 at 1:40 am

Dr Ngo @23,

I’m apparently a lot younger than you, but since I was then and am now a Canberra resident I also watched Marita Koch run that 400. Even played soccer on the main Bruce pitch a couple of times, back when Canberra were in the National League and had their 2nd/3rd/4th teams (basically mid-teen development squads) in the local ACT Competition.

Anyway, tell me what you really think about netball :) . I know personally that one MAJOR frustration coaching Girl’s Basketball in Australia is having seriously talented kids almost always deciding to play netball when they reach the either/or point. And I know from conversations with AIS Basketball coaches that this frustration was shared at higher levels than I ever reached. The likes of Lauren Jackson and Penny Taylor as exemplars stemmed the tide a bit for a while, but now the Trans-Tasman NetBall League has become established Women’s Basketball in Australia is fading back to semi-minority status.

I will say I do find Women’s soccer very enjoyable to watch. A different level of athleticism and power to the guys, but tactically very similar and someone like me who played at a low level can appreciate what’s going on. (And I do sometimes wonder if that’s why a lot of people prefer Women’s tennis to Men’s; they can relate it to their own playing experience.)


one of the jasons 03.26.15 at 1:44 am

The England issue is about as cut-and-dry as the Associates’, right? I mean all they need to do is dab the ball down to third man some more, that’ll get ’em to 350. Broad looks totally shot, backing away from the line to every fast bowler.


harry b 03.26.15 at 3:23 am

dr ngo is right, exactly, about the comparison between the long and short forms of the game. In fact I think I prefer T20 to the 50 over version now — neither has any of the nuance or suspense of the red ball version, and T20 is more exciting. Nothing can compare with a test match.

But… Now we have T2o, how long can baseball survive? It’s like baseball, but without any of the boring bits, and with loads of extra interesting bits thrown in.


dr ngo 03.26.15 at 3:25 am

js@16: One answer to your question (why support India?) may be implicit in the title and text of a remarkable book by (another) American who likes cricket: Mike Marqusee, Anyone But England, a modern classic of the international game, albeit now a couple of decades out of date.


dr ngo 03.26.15 at 3:39 am

harry b@32: T20 has no chance whatsoever of supplanting baseball (except perhaps in Oz or somewhere else it’s been recently grafted). First, baseball has its own traditions and nuances which have been preserved in the modern game, by and large; it’s still a sport Babe Ruth would recognize and probably excel at. Second, the comparison between baseball and cricket is inherently unsound, as I learned when I (like every other expat Yank) tried to make it. The hurling of ball and striking with bat, the running between wickets or around bases, the fielding and throwing are comparable skills BUT the underlying strategy and approach of each game is so radically different as to render all comparisons meaningless. In baseball, the batter is the spearpoint of the attack and the pitcher leads the defense; a batter can fail two of three times and lead the league! In cricket, the bowler leads the “attack” and a batter must needs defend (albeit less in T20 and other modern versions); to run up a century implies *not* making an out in literally scores of deliveries, dozens of overs, rather than being thankful for getting one hit a game. (Dimaggio’s record – one of the greatest in American sports – of getting a hit [= at least one hit] in 56 consecutive games could be matched by almost the meanest batsman in organized cricket.)

By contrast, I could not avoid making comparisons between (American) football and Rugby, both codes; despite their differences, they illuminate each other. Aussie rules is a bit too Aussie – or too Irish, some say – to be a useful comparison with anything else, though a wonderful sport in its own right.


js. 03.26.15 at 5:23 am

I have a very bad feeling about this ongoing Aus-India game right now…

And what I wanted to say: With the caveat that I love cricket (being originally Indian and all, it’s not that hard), and find baseball unbelievably boring, dr. ngo is talking amazing amounts of sense. For one thing, his description of (red-ball) cricket @25 is superb.

And so relatedly (I think), one reason that T20 cricket is not going to displace baseball (even tho I think it’s better) is that it loses most of the best parts of cricket—mostly, the way in which most of the game is (a) in your head, and (b) in the environment, so that it’s not very much in the conscribed “field”—without really replacing it with anything that would be attractive to a baseball fan—I think. (Also too, they need to change the kits post-haste.)


js. 03.26.15 at 5:35 am

Mike Marqusee, Anyone But England

I’ll check it out, but he seems to have gotten the wrong country there. The “anyone but” team is definitely one of the teams playing right now. And for what it’s worth, England were my second team for several years, not least because I got back into cricket in my 20s through the Guardian sport pages (well, “pages”). I still always root for them in the Ashes.


Layman 03.26.15 at 6:41 am

At the moment (42.1 overs) I like India’s chances in the chase. The flurry of wickets in the last 5 overs has completely changed the situation.

On baseball, it takes hard work to like it. Like futbol, the game is often decided on the basis of very little scoring; but of course it is far more inert than all but the worst futbol efforts. It plays out as a struggle to manufacture runs, where hitting safely is only a small part of the effort. Get a runner on base somehow. Advance the runner with a sacrifice. Steal a base if you can. Get him into scoring position, and find a way to send him home. Score just that one run, and you’re well on the way to a victory.


Layman 03.26.15 at 10:13 am

Or not. Australia batted well at the end of their innings, and the Indian batting doesn’t seem to be up to the challenge of chasing 329…


harry b 03.26.15 at 11:49 am

Anyone But England is essential reading for anyone who loves cricket. Second to Beyond a Boundary (also written by a sort-of-American-sort-of-Trotskyist).

I was being flippant about baseball, but nevertheless, like js, am grateful for dr ngo’s insights. Except about netball….


dr ngo 03.26.15 at 12:47 pm

Following up on Val@19: an interesting distinction, but I propose a somewhat more articulated alternative:

1) “Separate space” sports, in which there is literally no physical contact between competitors: gymnastics, swimming, most athletics, tennis, golf, bowls/bowling, skiing, figure skating, archery, shooting, etc.

2) “Contact” sports, in which athletes sometimes occupy the same space but are (variously) restricted in how much physical contact is permitted – basketball and netball, baseball, cricket, distance running (on a track, but not in lanes – elbows flying!), soccer, field hockey, speed skating.

3) “Collision” sports (hat tip to Woody Hayes for the term), in which a major component is physically moving someone else or stopping their movement: AFL, rugby, American football, ice hockey.

4) “Damage” sports, in which the original/ostensible purpose is to physically harm the opponent and (in many cases) cause him/her to be unable to continue: boxing, wrestling, martial arts, etc. [My wife is indirectly responsible for this category, since she’ll watch American football, involving large men crashing into each other at speed, but not boxing, since injury is {as she sees it} incidental to the former, but integral to the latter.]

I omit from this (rough-draft) list sports that involve major non-human elements, such as motor sports and animal sports (e.g., horse racing). Most of these appear to fall under category 2, where the animals/vehicles occupy the same space but are supposed to limit contact. Fencing is also an anomaly (in terms of this list), in that it’s virtually non-contact in terms of separate spaces, but rooted in the “harm your opponent” tradition of #4.

These categories do not map directly on to the danger (likelihood/severity of injury) of these sports. Motor sports are perhaps the most dangerous, but, as noted above, a cricket ball or baseball hurtling at one’s head at 90mph or above (say 150kph) can do considerable damage, up to death, despite the absence of “collision” conditions. And skiing (individual separate space) is surely more dangerous than basketball or speed skating . . .

Historically, the argument has always been that women, as the supposedly frailer sex, should not engage in any more contact than is necessary, and should certainly avoid collisions. This argument has been eroded over the years, and is not directly germane to this categorization, except insofar as it helps to explain which kinds of sports women are most likely to be exposed to and receive training for.


engels 03.26.15 at 1:56 pm


dr ngo 03.26.15 at 5:23 pm

Roller Derby – nice point, engels – was always the outlier (outlaw?) among women’s sports, in that it definitely fell/falls into my category #3, a “collision” sport. As such it used to have a kind of freakish appeal, both to women who liked to imagine deliberately banging into people (how unladylike! how refreshing!) and from men who liked watching them do it (catfight!), but was something that fell well outside the run of “normal” sporting activity. Men also competed, but as a male collision sport it had many competitors for attention, which has also happened to a considerable extent with women’s sports, including involvement in many martial-arts forms.

The recent movie Whip It is a pleasant romp through contemporary Roller Derby, but doesn’t quite capture its more lurid past, IMHO.


Andrew Smith 03.26.15 at 8:29 pm

I don’t know why Australia and New Zealand bothered inviting anybody if they were just going to play eachother.


dr ngo 03.26.15 at 9:34 pm

Presumably because the Antipodes are quite pleasant this time of year – certainly more so than Northern Europe – and they wanted to show southern hospitality to those less fortunate. Throw another shrimp on the barbie!


floopmeister 03.26.15 at 11:56 pm

Well it’s an ANZAC final then. My money an the Kiwis.


derrida derider 03.27.15 at 6:50 am

Then I reckon you’ll lose your money, floopmeister. NZ were damned lucky to beat SA in conditions that strongly favoured them. Australia crushed India on the most subcontinental ground in the country. My pick is that at the MCG Australia will not merly win – they’ll win handsomely.


Layman 03.27.15 at 8:23 am

Australia may well win – they were certainly impressive vs India, and it is a home field advantage – but I would not bet against NZ. They’ve had some phenomenal performances of late. Should be a great match!


Greg 03.27.15 at 10:21 am

The fake Kane Williamson tweets about launching an expedition to the pitch on the MCG speak to NZs greatest fear – that they have won easily on small grounds. The ‘G is a touch bigger.
NZ seem to get a good team together once a generation, and this is that team. The fairytale here would be dirty Dan somehow involved in a big finish. (I’m not supposed to think that – please delete the metadata on this comment.)
Carl Hiaasen’s most recent novel features parallel Floridian and Bahamian scumbag property developer plots and at one point the Bahamian goons break in and threaten some of the good guys with a “cricket mallet”. Two cultures separated by a common language.


reason 03.27.15 at 2:12 pm

re Cricket Mallet.
When I played cricket in Australia we had a wooden mallet for putting in the pegs that held matting wicket in place. Is that what he means?


reason 03.27.15 at 2:16 pm

Seems I’m not banned it just doesn’t like the links. I just wanted to put out that in official ODIs Australia have won their last 10 matches at the MCG. (The Guardian seems to think it is 7 from 8 but not based on the Statistics from ESPN Cricinfo).

Curiously their last loss was against NZ in 2009, and this was the last time that they played NZ there. Overall NZ win less than 1 in 2 away from home (but 3 from 5 at home).


reason 03.27.15 at 2:18 pm

Oops that should be historically NZ win less than 1 in 3 away from home, but more than 3 from 5 at home.


reason 03.27.15 at 2:21 pm

So the stats aren’t really in NZs favour. They have a chance, but not a big one.


reason 03.27.15 at 2:24 pm

Sorry, I just checked and in fact Sri Lanka did win narrowly a rain affected match in 2010, so it is 10 from their last 11 (last 6 won) since NZ beat them.


reason 03.27.15 at 2:54 pm

Another error to correct – the match wasn’t rain effected (wrong score sheet), but it was a dead match from Australia’s point of view (some players rested) and a live match from Sri Lanka’s point of view.


Greg 03.27.15 at 9:04 pm

If a USA’ian goon were to attack someone the equivalent would be coming at them with a baseball bat. I’m assuming Carl was trying to transpose across cultures and missed by a bit – confusing his cricket and his croquet. In croquet one does use a mallet that if being waved around could be seen as a weapon.
In the case of what you refer to as a mallet for knocking in matting pegs, I see that as a glorified wooden short handled hammer. I certainly wouldn’t want to be hit by one but overall the image is a lot less menacing than a guy with a baseball bat sized weapon aka a cricket bat.
If my theory is correct Carl has less idea of croquet than he has of cricket, and he does not know much about cricket.


Atticus Dogsbody 03.28.15 at 12:31 am

Netball is basketball gutted and distorted by folk who feared (wrongly) that women were too frail to play proper basketball, so they outlawed every natural tendency in the game and left a travesty, which (sadly) substitutes for the real thing in certain quarters of the former Empire.

Opinion noted.

I grew up watching AFL, Union and Netty on the weekends. In my late teens early twenties I played mixed netball, there is nothing frail about it at all. My opinion is that you don’t know what the f*** you’re talking about.


Igor Belanov 03.28.15 at 10:18 am

I watched a bit of netball in the Commonwealth Games last year. Irrespective of the game’s origins, it was a lot better to watch than basketball.


Bill Murray 03.28.15 at 4:31 pm

I saw the oldest world record still extant (a highly dubious 400m by Marita Koch, Canberra 1985)

Isn’t Jarmila Kratochvílová’s 800 m in Munich in 1983 the oldest world record? Last time I checked only one person since has run within a second of the record. I believe she only ran the 800 that day because of leg cramps that kept her from running the 400. Kratochvílová also held the 400 record before Koch. They are the only two women to run under 48 seconds in the event


dr ngo 03.29.15 at 5:24 am

Bill: I stand corrected. It was still pretty nifty there in Canberra, with the East German women also breaking the WR for the 4×100 relay, a record that stood for some decades. And at the time unspoiled by the knowledge (now all but official) that they were drugging up a storm to do it.


tony lynch 03.30.15 at 4:26 am

Well, that was a disappointing final. Derrida Decider nailed it.

One might not like them much – in part because they always want to win and so often do – but Australia’s cricket is awesome, often beautiful (as with the Glenn Maxwell run out. That made the game for me.)


Emma in Sydney 03.30.15 at 4:33 am

How strange! I was also at the 1985 world cup athletics in Canberra in 1985. I don’t remember seeing Marita Koch, but do remember seeing Sergey Bubka sail over the bar in the pole vault.


dr ngo 03.30.15 at 5:36 am

And (as I remember 1985 through the mists of time) some enormous javelin throws in the last days of the old implement, before they changed it so it wouldn’t go so far – for the protection of other athletes and spectators!


Tabasco 03.30.15 at 5:53 am

before they changed it so it wouldn’t go so far – for the protection of other athletes and spectators!

The javelin was changed because the old records were held by drug-addled East Germans. These records were never going to be broken by clean athletes, so the solution was to change the size of the javelin, and start anew with the records.


Val 03.30.15 at 6:36 am

Atticus Dogsbody @ 56

I wish we could get a mixed CT netball team together and get Dr ngo to play. My netball days are really over, but I think I could manage a game just to see the look on Dr ngo’s face when he realises what a fast game netball really is.


dr ngo 03.30.15 at 7:12 am

There are two problems with your proposal. First, I’m 71 years old and not up to much in the way of sports, even the ones I once played. Second, I never said netball wasn’t fast. I merely said (well, implied) that it was pointless.


Val 03.30.15 at 7:25 am

@ 65
Well I’m not much younger (coy for professional reasons rather than vanity) and I’ve got bung knees (partly from playing netball) so age isn’t much of a reason here.

As regards being pointless, the point of netball is exactly the same as most other team sports – to get more points (goals) than the opposing team.


Sancho 03.30.15 at 10:02 am


Val 03.30.15 at 10:49 am

You win all the points

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