• kewal sethi

hockey – is it cricket?

kick off for IHL today. is it going to be as popular as IPL. doubtful, Why?

i tried to find the reason in seventies of the last century. here is the result.


hockey – is it cricket?

(written sometime in seventies of the last century)

i have often wondered what makes the people glued to their sets – tv, radio, or borrowed – when cricket commentary is on. further what stops them the gluing (not listening) when commentary is about hockey. finally i tumbled on to the fact which was obvious all along. cricket is lord's game – slow,, dull, uneven (i will not say unbalanced), unpredictable and wonderful. and there are records - two consecutive centuries scored on consecutive Tuesdays; fastest half century in the last three/ five/ ten years/ months/ weeks (as the case may be) that is its glory. that is its attraction. so i have tried to put hockey on the same pedestal. here is a hockey commentary which should have you literally jumping (not on my throat, i hope).

good morning friends, we welcome you to the robinshaw stadium for this sixth test of the current india – australia series. india go to this match one up with other matches being drawn. australia has made two changes by bringing in marshal in place of rolanel – half back – and kenoy instead of rashman – right winger. will it make any difference? india has made three changes – satpal coming in place of jogindar, sukhbir in place of azim khan and subramanian in place of lesley. it is to be seen if these changes can make any difference in the usual run of the play. doubtlessly subhramanaim and satpal, who are attackers, are expected to lend bite to the indian attack but the australians have also strengthened their defense by bringing in marshal. it will be recalled that in the last season – australia versus newzealand – marshal had cleared the ball from within the australian D area 103 times. it is a record for australia – newzealand series. He could not play in the fourth and the fifth test match ‘but in the earlier three matches - he has an impressive record of marking 56 clearances from D area. There is no doubt that if he had played in all the matches, he would have improved upon his record of Australia - New Zealand series.

And now the game is just going to again and before that just a word of expert advice from. jaspal singh – veteran hockey player- Mr. Jaspal. It is going to be a very close affair. we do not know which side@ would win. both the sides are very good and this should he an interesting match. \

»The &Australians have won the toss and have chosen the river side to start their campaign to equalize the series and the indians would be on the court side trying to defend themselves. Do you think, jaspal it is right for them to choose the river side. the sun could be in their eyes.

No, I think they have done very well to choose the river side. You see, It is only 3.30 and that sun is

inclined at an angle of 430? It would not be in their eyes but it could be by 4-05 or 4,10 when the angle might do down to 320. then it would be indian side at the river end. yes,, it is a goof choice. i remember in 1963, when india were playing malayasia and indian captain gentle, won the toss and chose river side. they could not score but then, after half time, malayasia went to that side and the indians had the sun in the eyes of the malayasians players and scored four goals without reply. yes sir – it is a very good choice. you see – in 1967 when ……..

thank you, Jaspal. and now the ball is placed

on the ground and the rival captains Rosalind and deepak have to take the kick off. They raise their sticks. the referee has blown the whistle and there. Rosalind strikes and the ball goes to right in Derek standing 4 metres away. A good deflection almost at an angle of 15 degrees to the middle line; and derek has hit the ball to right out standing about 15 metres away. Kenoy moves three metres ahead and takes the ball. he looks around and sends a long pass - almost 30 metres – to rosalind who has moved about 6 or seven metres ahead. The ball is now good seven metres from the middle line. rosalind dribbles — almost 2 metres at an angle of 45° to the middle line. The hall is now eight metres from the middle line. And he deflects the ball - a good move there - to right ~ but kenoy has moved ahead but the left ~ in of India comes in the way and tries to clear the ball but the ball is deflected – about 15o - goes out on the side line — five metres from the middle line on the Indian half and that is the first 'out' after five minutes of play. In these 0.45 minutes, the ball has travelled 90 metres or 92 metres. If it had not gone out then, it might have been the fastest 100 metres. As you would recall, the fastest 100 metres of this season has been 0.54 minutes. You would also recall that only three times so far, 100 metres have been recorded in under 50 seconds. once at Amsterdam, when pakistan played Holland; at Tokyo, when India played pakistan and in Buenos Aires when pakistan played newzealand. on all three occasions India or Pakistan have figured in the fastest 100 metres and if this ball had not gone out, india would have equalized pakistan in the score for under 50 hundred.

no, mr. bedi, it would have been india's two to pakistan's three'

i am sorry. i have made a miscalculation there. thank you, jaspal. i am really sorry for that. but any way, india would have been nearer to pakistan's score. and so now kenoy comes in and takes the hit in a free hit. the ball travels 15 metres before it is stopped by derek. derek moves up – three metres and deflects the ball to rosalind. rosalind sends it back to derek. fourth time, this ball has been passed between them. excellent passing,. you would recollect that in the last match, derek and rosalind exchanged ball between them 58 times. and now in just 0.59 seconds four exchanges. excellent understanding between them. the ball is now 10 metres from the indian D. there are three indian players within 3 metres of derek. they are trying to take the ball away and it is to be seen if they are successful. no, derek has been able to get away. he sends the ball to kenoy. kenoy to rosalind and rosalind is on the top of the box. and he moves up, the ball is , for the first time, in this match in india's D. nice running there. but referee has given 'carried'. i do not see why. could you see jaspal?

no, from where we are placed, it is very difficult to say, why. but the referee is the last judge, you know. there must have been something there.

aziz comes up. takes a free hit. a very god and a very powerful hit. the ball travels upwards of 40 metres straight to rajpal. standing almost within ten metres of the half line. rajpal waits for a fraction of a second, sees samuel coming up and sends the ball to satpal. incidentally mr. scores tells us that that was the 26th 'carried' against australia in the current year, which would show australians are a little careless there. i would request our scorer to let us know the tally against india. meanwhile satpal keeps the ball with him, dribbles almost two metres- not straight but an angle. doubtlessly he is trying to send the ball to a convenient player. and subhramaniam is the one he chooses. the back is almost within two metres of the line. kenoy comes up, tackles and the ball is given out. this time against australia. so each side has one 'out' against them. one carried against australia. india have the edge, don't you think so, jaspal.

it is too early to say yet. the game is just 1.40 minutes old. it might go either way. or it might not. we will have to wait.

scorer ahs come up with the tally about 'carried' against india. the score is sixteen. sixteen in five tests – not a good record.

subhramaniam takes the hit. derek stops and hits and the ball could not be stopped by kenoy. it is 'out' again. and while they wait for the ball, here are more statistics which our friend has brought.

-          distance travelled by the ball in a single match 20,345 metres

- off sides against a side in a single match – seven

- off side against a side in a test series – twenty two

- off side against a single side in a season – seventy six

- off side against a single player in a test series – three

- off side against a single player in a season

- distance.taking the ball on his own by a single player in a single match – 78 metres

- distance.taking the ball on his own by a single player in a test series – 453

- distance.taking the ball on his own by a single player in a season – 956

- number of times a ball is touched by a player –

§ in a single match – 246

§ in a test series – 1235

§ in a season – 3436

i will give some more statistics in a short while. meanwhile, back to the game.

subhramanaiam takes a hit a good deflection almost ten degrees. the ball travels 25 metres straight to darshan -----

but i think it is time to switch off.

as boring as cricket – NO?


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