Month: November 2019

  • Worth shouting about: George Springer wins World Series MVP

    first_imgButler’s late points lift Timberwolves past Pelicans Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC The Houston leadoff man hammered his way to the award, homering and doubling Wednesday (Thursday Manila time) to boost the Astros to their first championship with a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7.He launched a Series record-tying five homers, including shots in each of the final four games, and celebrated those Springer Dingers by hollering around the bases.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutMany years ago, that type of trip would’ve been hard to believe. Impossible, really.As a kid, Springer stuttered so severely that he frequently fell silent, unless he was around his family or close friends. Over time, he’s improved so much that he graciously grants interviews, even on national television, and never seems to shy away from the spotlight. He even wore a live mic in center field during the All-Star Game in July. His production follows his pedigree.Drafted 11th overall by the Astros out of Connecticut in 2011, George Chelston Springer III comes from a family of athletes. His dad pitched in the Little League World Series, his mom was an accomplished gymnast, and his two sisters played softball in college.In fact, Springer wears No. 4 to represent the four members of his immediate family. Engaged to be married in January, Springer won’t be able to bump up to No. 5 — the Astros retired that jersey for Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell. He often was the Most Vocal Person, too — and that might be the most remarkable part of his story.ADVERTISEMENT Springer tied Reggie Jackson (1977) and Chase Utley (2009) for the most home runs in a Series. The UConn product became the first hitter to homer four games in a row during a single Series, and also set the mark with eight extra-base hits.“This is a dream come true,” he said.He bounced back fast from a tough start, when he struck out all four at-bats in the opener, extending his slump to 3 for 30. He looked lost at the plate facing Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, but manager A.J. Hinch firmly said Springer would stay atop the lineup.Good move. Springer went 11 for 25 the rest of the way.He hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer in the 11th inning of a Game 2 win at Dodger Stadium. He doubled during a victory in Game 3, and homered again in a Game 4 loss.He connected for a huge homer in Game 5, moments after an ill-advised dive for a sinking liner that skipped past him. He later drew a two-out walk in the 10th that set up the winning run at Minute Maid Park.Springer hit a solo home run in Game 6 that put the Astros ahead in a game they eventually lost 3-1.His final Series line: a .379 average, seven RBIs and a 1.000 slugging percentage.Springer rallied from a rugged showing in the AL Championship Series, when he batted just .115 (3 for 26) without an extra-base hit or RBI in seven games against the Yankees.That came after his fourth and most productive season in the majors, when he set career highs by hitting .283 with 34 home runs and 85 RBIs. View comments MOST READ Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC PLAY LIST 01:04Trump attends World Series baseball game in Washington DC00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort Watch closely and you can see Springer, just for a moment, still begins to stumble over words sometimes. So he will calmly slow himself down, or pause for a second, before gathering himself and continuing on eloquently.At 28, the All-Star center fielder has taken every chance he’s gotten this postseason to talk about Camp SAY — that’s the Stuttering Association for the Young.Springer is a spokesman for the two-week summer camp that benefits kids and teens who stutter. He also runs a charity bowling event, raising money to help people attend the program.“I hope there’s somebody somewhere out there that is impacted and can learn to just go be who you are and not let any stage or any place stop you,” he said last week.On baseball’s big stage, the Dodgers couldn’t stop him.ADVERTISEMENT Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Read Next LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Houston Astros’ George Springer reacts after hitting a two-run home run during the second inning of Game 7 of baseball’s World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. APLOS ANGELES — George Springer hit so many clutch home runs, he was a clear pick for World Series MVP.last_img read more

  • PBA: NLEX nips Alaska, breaks 9-game skid

    first_imgLakers win 9th straight, hold off Pelicans A 6-0 run by the Road Warriors, who played the second half of the fourth without import Wayne Chism, gave them the a 92-87 cushion amid the Aces’ repeated to steal the win in the final moments of the game.“We caught a big fish, Alaska is one of the best teams, they’re a hard team especially with their pieces,” said head coach Guiao, whose team had an overall 13-game skid dating back to the Philippine Cup. “This is a good win for us, and we need situations like this where we can build character.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting“We’re already looking forward to the next conference and we just have to keep gelling and build confidence.”Things went into seesaw motion in the fourth quarter with both teams exchanging baskets until the 6:19 mark of the period when Wayne Chism’s jumper gave NLEX an 86-82 lead. That, however, proved to be Chism’s final field goal as he fouled out with 5:20 remaining in the game.Alaska was able to score five unanswered points to take a 87-86 lead with 3:50 remaining on a layup from Simon Enciso before NLEX took over for good.Chism had a team-high 22 points to go along six rebounds for NLEX while JR Quiñahan added 16 points, seven boards, four assists, and two blocks off the bench.Juami Tiongson also had 16 points while Kevin Alas had 11 points to help the Road Warriors.Cory Jefferson had 36 points and 20 boards to lead the Aces.ADVERTISEMENT The scores:NLEX 100 – Chism 22, Tiongson 16, Quinahan 16, Alas 11, Al-Hussaini 9, Mallari 7, Monfort 6, Soyud 5, Rios 4, Lastimosa 2, Baracael 2, Ighalo 0, Taulava 0.ALASKA 92 – Jefferson 36, Manuel 17, Abueva 12, Casio 10, Racal 5, Banchero 3, Thoss 2, Enciso 2, Exciminiano 2, Mendoza 2, Pascual 1, Cruz 0, Galliguez 0, Hontiveros 0.Quarterscores: 18-35, 51-48, 76-75, 100-92. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES More than 5,000 measles deaths in DR Congo this year — WHO ‘Coming Home For Christmas’ is the holiday movie you’ve been waiting for, here’s why Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games LOOK: J.R. Smith, wife bring home premature daughter after 5 months in hospital MOST READ Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netAfter 10 tries, NLEX finally earned its first win in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, pulling off a huge upset victory over Alaska, 100-92, Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The Road Warriors, who are already eliminated from playoff contention, improved to 1-9 and while the Aces saw their losing streak continue to five games and dropped to 4-5.ADVERTISEMENT South Korea to suspend 25% of coal plants to fight pollution SEA Games: PH beats Indonesia, enters gold medal round in polo LOOK: Vhong Navarro’s romantic posts spark speculations he’s marrying longtime GF View commentslast_img read more

  • Round 2: Pacquiao finally engages Horn

    first_imgRound 1: Horn pushes the offense View comments Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Pagasa: Kammuri now a typhoon, may enter PAR by weekend MOST READ Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games China furious as Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong LATEST STORIES Cayetano to unmask people behind ‘smear campaign’ vs him, SEA Games What ‘missteps’? Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines, left, and Jeff Horn of Australia fight during their WBO World welterweight title bout in Brisbane, Australia, Sunday, July 2, 2017. APJeff Horn uses that jab to keep his distance against Manny Pacquiao and the Filipino tries to use his jab to get closer.Horn throws head shots after Pacquiao clinched.ADVERTISEMENT Another vape smoker nabbed in Lucena LOOK: Jane De Leon meets fellow ‘Darna’ Marian Rivera Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Pacquiao ducks that right straight and lands a quick body shot on Horn.Overall, Pacquiao looks sluggish against an aggressive Horn.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool starsAnd Pacquiao clips with the left hand.last_img read more

  • Macandili not settling after winning AVC’s 2nd Best Libero

    first_imgCONTRIBUTED PHOTOBIÑAN, Laguna—Dawn Macandili may be the shortest player in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship, yet on Thursday she stood as tall as anyone else.The Philippines’ unassuming defensive ace, who stands at five-feet tall, was shocked when her name was called as the tournament’s secnd Best Libero after helping the host to an eighth place finish in the Asian event.ADVERTISEMENT Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:19Magalong: Albayalde also got SUV out of ‘agaw bato’ operation in 201302:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games “It doesn’t stop in winning awards alone, I want to play and do my passion and that is volleyball,” said Macandili. “So that award is like a reward to the players who continue to play for the Philippines.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Japan downs Thailand to win AVC gold Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters “Of course, I was surprised because this is my first time as a national player and I think this brings a lot of pressure,” said Macandili in Filipino at Alonte Sports Arena. “Now I have to perform on a higher level compared to what I do now.”“I don’t want to settle with what I’ve achieved today and I feel that I can improve from what I did.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games openingAnd just as fate would have it, Macandili’s Asian triumph happened exactly a year after she won the MVP in the PSL All-Filipino Conference after leading F2 Logistics to the championship.Macandili vowed that her award in the Asian Championship is not the culmination of her career. LATEST STORIES Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul MOST READ Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claimlast_img read more

  • With a heart for old people, Richardson twins hope to run to golden finish

    first_imgSprints twins Kayla and Kyla Richardson. Photo by Marc ReyesKUALA LUMPUR—The Richardson twins, Kayla and Kyla, share the same passions: Running, watching TV series and taking care of their grandparents.In fact, both are gerontology sophomores at University of Southern California.ADVERTISEMENT LATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim View comments They also don’t put pressure on themselves even though they are expected to bring in honors in the track and field competitions.“Dr. (Philip) Juico (track and field president) told us not to be bothered by pressure, because when we are relaxed, success is on our side,” said Kayla.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “We are very close to them (maternal grandparents), we take care of them as much as we can,” added Kayla.Kyla said the gerontology, a course that deals with the scientific study of old age, the process of aging, and the particular problems of old people, is a growing field and a new major at USC.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“Plus people will get old eventually, they would need people to help them,” said Kayla.At the moment, Kyla and Kayla said their lives, all 18 years of them, revolve around running. Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR MOST READ “We just love running,” said Kyla who is a minute older than sprints queen Kayla. Kyla is entered in the relay events.They even run to get away from the stress of competition.No wonder the 18-year-olds are the “marked women” in the Southeast Asian Games sprints and relay events, which start on Tuesday.Kayla, the reigning century dash champion and silver winner in 200 meters, said they also enjoy watching TV series like Grey’s Anatomy and Food Network shows, and going to the beach.The Richardsons said they were not bothered by jet lags as they spent five days in Manila to train.ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Stage parents: Malditas have someone to watch over them during SEA Games campaign NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games PLAY LIST 01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games03:04Filipino athletes share their expectations for 2019 SEA Games00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Gameslast_img read more

  • Another Nigerian fails dope test

    first_imgThe doping scandal that has rocked the Commonwealth Games today grew in proportion as a second Nigerian athlete flunked dope test for the same banned stimulant, barely a day after one of his compatriots was caught for the offence.Commonwealth Games Federation chief Michael Fennell told the customary morning press conference that Nigerian 110m hurdler Samuel Okon tested positive for methylhexaneamine, the same substance found to have been contained in the urine sample of compatriot women’s 100m gold medallist Osayemi Oludamola.Okon finished sixth in the men’s 110m hurdles finals.Osayemi had also tested positive for methylhaxaneamine and her ‘B’ sample test result will be known tomorrow.”We have already done 1200 dope tests upto last night.But I regret to announce that we have had a second anti-doping violation.”Nigerian 110m hurdler Samuel Okon has been tested positive for methylhexaneamine, a prohibited stiumulant under category S6 of WADA list of prohibited substances and methods.He is provisionally suspended and we have notified him. He will attend a hearing later today,” Fennell said.He said the CGF has been informed that the athlete has waived his right to test his ‘B’ sample but will be confirmed only at the hearing.”We have been informed that he is waiving his right for ‘B’ sample testing. We are yet to confirm it by the athlete in person. We will come to know of it in the provisional hearing.The ‘B’ sample result may not be available for another 24 hours,” he said.Fennell, however, ruled out sending a doping team to test all Nigerian athletes, saying that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the CGF.advertisement”We are concerned of the dope cases. We had a discussion with the leadership of the Nigerian team. They took it extremely seriously. But the jurisdiction of CGF (on dope testing) is only during the Games. After that it is the responsibility of the respective federation of the country and international federation. They are doing their very own investigation,” said Fennell.However, on-field heroics were once again pushed to the background with the unearthing of the second dope case.”We have had a second anti doping violation. Nigeria’s Samuel Okon, a 110m hurdler, has tested positive for the same Methylhexaneamine substance,” said CGF president Mike Fennell at his customary morning press conference here.Yesterday the fastest woman of the Games Osayemi was declared to have taken the same banned stimulant and the decision on her B sample, which is being tested, is expected only tomorrow. Pending the result, she remained provisionally suspended by the CGF.”It’s (Methylhexaneamine) a stimulant and in accordance with our anti doping standard, we have notified the athlete.We will have a provisional hearing later today,” said Fennell about the second positive dope test.The CGF chief said Okon, who finished sixth in his event, might have waived his right to have the B sample tested in his case, but it can be confirmed only later at the hearing.In response to a query why the same substance is being found in the athletes’ system following a spate of similar cases involving Indian sportspersons in the run-up to the Games, Fennell said that it might have to do with dieterary supplements taken by the athletes.”You are correct, the same substance is coming up. I can’t speak very definitively. It appears it may be coming from the use of (diet) supplements. The supplement industry is an unregulated industry worldwide, worth USD 86 billion”, he said.”It’s a cause of great concern. WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) commissioned a survey on supplements, but I don’t have the details.”Supplements are widely advertised and a lot of these supplements do not show presence of these banned substances in their content lists. Many are misled into using these supplements. More attention needs to be paid from an educational point of view,” he said.last_img read more

  • Babus battled with OC for CWG passes

    first_imgWhen the country’s athletes were winning medals and glory for the country, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) was engaged in an ugly war of words with venue administrators, who were mostly senior serving and retired bureaucrats, over the issue of complimentary passes and the ticketing mess in general.An empty stand during the Comonwealth Games 2010.And they were not alone in this, as is evident from the dirty linen being pulled out of the OC’s closet almost daily. Many state bhavans and sports federation chiefs were engaged in slanging matches with the OC on the issue of complimentary tickets. Mail Today has copies of the angry emails sent by the venue administrators to the OC, all complaining of complimentary passes not reaching them on time. Adding insult to injury, the OC gave the venue administrators just two guest passes each for the opening and closing ceremonies. Many of them refused to accept the passes after they came to know that they would be sitting in the 30th row.Says a senior bureaucrat who had accompanied a central minister at the closing ceremony: “The tickets for the ceremony had been oversold. Seven out of 10 tickets I came across were complimentary passes and I personally saw two pass holders fighting for the same seat.”Even swimmer Khazan Singh, 1986 Seoul Asian Games silver medallist and venue administrator for the S. P. Mukherjee Aquatics Centre (Talkatora Stadium), had written to OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi on the ticketing mess: “I experience embarrassment daily for being unable to give complimentary tickets to the dozens of VIPs, athletes and their parents.advertisementThis is happening despite repeated assurance that each venue administrator would get at least 20-25 tickets to distribute. I am humiliated more because I cannot give tickets to people at the venue administered by me even though hundreds of seats are going empty.”He ended the letter stating very bluntly, “Maybe we administrators do not matter as we don’t vote like sports federations, who were later obliged facing pressure.”Singh also pointed out that the OC had overhyped the ticket sales by insisting that they had all been “sold out”, when in fact it had not printed enough tickets ostensibly to save money. But when it was faced with a rush for certain popular events, it started selling complimentary passes as priced tickets because not enough time was left for printing.Another bureaucrat posted at a venue wrote: “It surprises me as stadias are empty and people are crying for tickets. Some NRIs have also returned empty-handed from the venues and have only complained to me about the mismanagement. We have not even got our own share of passes as promised which we could have given to some visitors to save national embarrassment.”Table tennis ace Sharad Kamal’s sponsor, Rajeev Sharma of Killerspin, has also lashed out against the mismanagement of tickets. Sharma is reported to have complained that although “almost 80 per cent” of seats of the stadia were empty, tickets were not available to people who were willing to pay any price to watch the events.Others such as Siri Fort sports complex administrator Harish Kumar and D. K. Sharma, who was posted at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium wrestling venue, have complained too. “Khazan Singh’s mail expresses the anguish of most of the venue administrators,” Sharma has written to Kalmadi.Most of the administrators, he complained, had to be content watching the closing ceremony on TV. Even as these allegations were flooding Kalmadi’s mailbox, the OC’s ticketing director, Monica Jolly, rejected the charges saying, “The daily quota of tickets to all venue administrators have been handed over beyond the agreed limits.”One of the administrators, Ajit Singh, responded by saying, “For the record, not even a single ticket was received by me and though I was the venue administrator for ceremonies, I did not get a single pass for any member of my family to watch any of the ceremonies.” The OC will have a lot of answering to do. The mystery of the missing ticket will haunt its members for a long time to come.last_img read more

  • Virtual Eye not accurate: Hawk-Eye founder

    first_imgVirtual Eye, the ball-tracking technology that is being used in the Ashes, is not reliable and can have an impending impact on the outcome of tournament, feels Paul Hawkins, the founder of Hawk-Eye.”A wrong decision could completely change the course of the Ashes,” warned Hawkins.Hawkins said he believes there is a high percentage of inaccuracy in the Virtual Eye.”Hawk-Eye is accurate to an average of five millimetres (0.2 inches) for an lbw appeal. This figure could go up to 15mm depending on other factors, such as how far the batsman has advanced from the crease,” maintained Hawkins.”Evidence suggests that in case of Virtual Eye the figure goes to 45mm (1.8 inches),” he added, pointing out to an unsuccessful lbw appeal by Graeme Swann against Marcus North in the second Test.last_img read more

  • Big Game Hunters

    first_img(From Left) Suresh Raina, Virat Kohli, Ravindra Jadeja, Harbhajan Singh and Mahendra Singh DhoniCricket loves its heroes. Tendulkar, Dhoni, Sehwag. Warne, Kallis, Steyn. For the next few months, the game’s hero should be the Indian fan. Here come the world’s two biggest cricket attractions, right on top of each other. On February 19, commences the 10th cricket World Cup, somehow strung out to 49 games. Then on April 8, less than a week after the World Cup final, begins the first of the 74 games of the fourth Indian Premier League (IPL).In any other country, this would be too much of a good thing. In India, too much is barely enough. The games fixtured in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh notwithstanding, it will be Indian TV audiences that somehow make Canada vs Kenya and Ireland vs the Netherlands work as the tournament spends five weeks deciding whether West Indies or Bangladesh go through to the quarter-finals. Then they will swap their horizontal tricolours for the IPL replica gear of their favourite franchise and follow that all the way too.It’s a source of wonder. Forty years ago, India had issued fewer than a quarter of a million TV licences. Now there are sets in more than half the nation’s households, and they never shine more incessantly than for cricket. India is not just obsessed with cricket; it is, as Santosh Desai puts it in Mother Pious Lady, “obsessed with being obsessed”.For cricket elsewhere, that poses a growing dilemma. The World Cup is a misnomer. Cricket is not a global game (that is, followed in a majority of countries in ways not based chiefly on national identity), but a multinational one (dependent, like rugby, on an essentially fixed minority of countries) depending, as perhaps no other sport, on the latter-day financial heft of a single country.advertisementThe size and vitality of India’s economy has divided an ancient and widely-loved sport into two streams-the fixtures involving India, as competitor and consumer, and those not. The former are so staggeringly more lucrative that the latter have a diminishing relative existence.Every new cricket initiative worldwide involves trying to monetise Indian passion, whether it’s Australia’s mooted Big Bash League or New Zealand’s Cricket Holdings America LLC. Young cricketers hanker after the easy money of IPL: Australian domestic cricket stopped almost to a walk during the IPL auction as players hung on to every tweet and text message. Where once the objective might have been to become the next Ricky Ponting, now it is to be the next Dan Christian, made a millionaire overnight by the lightning strike of an offer from the Deccan Chargers.The Indian domination of the cricket world probably started more than 15 years ago, in the 1996 World Cup and when the Supreme Court liberalised India’s airwaves. The intrinsic qualities of cricket are coming to have less to do with this than Indian gross domestic product and gross political ambition. Ashis Nandy’s contention that cricket is an “Indian game accidentally discovered by the English” is vindicated not by culture but by capitalism, and the ballot box.It’s as simple as this. First, imagine you are a broadcaster or a manufacturer of consumer goods surveying the extraordinary cultural, ethnic, religious and linguistic diversity that is India. If you are a Samsung surveying the scene from Seoul or an LG Group from Yeouido-dong, how baffling it must seem? So many Gods. So many markets. How to span them all? Bollywood? Soap opera? Cricket outdoes them all, partly because it effortlessly enfolds elements of the other two-narrative, character and tamasha. No wonder, cricket attracts 85 per cent of the advertising monies lavished on sport in India.Imagine you are a politician. It’s easy, just abandon all your moral scruples. Think about the appeal to your constituents of a cricket-friendly face and a cricket-minded administration. What would an IPL franchise, a new cricket stadium or just hosting a ODI might be worth? What a way to evince your common touch, your affinity for vernacular culture.India outstrips cricket in rival nations because it has a lot more people who want to buy mobile phones and TVs. Also, its political and media elites are full of exuberant self-admiration.When the World Cup was last in India, the dominant administrative figures, such as Jagmohan Dalmiya and I.S. Bindra, had deep roots in the game. The administration of cricket in India in the last 15 years has been transformed by the presence of such political heavyweights as Arun Jaitley of Delhi, Rajeev Shukla of Uttar Pradesh, Narendra Modi of Gujarat, Anurag Thakur of Himachal Pradesh, Ranjib Biswal of Orissa, Dayanand Narvekar of Goa, Jyotiraditya Scindia of Madhya Pradesh, Ranbir Singh Mahendra of Haryana, Lalu Prasad Yadav of Bihar and just lately, Shashi Tharoor and K.V. Thomas in Kerala, although, perhaps above all, by Sharad Pawar, the “King of Maharastra”, patron of Lalit Modi, now poo-bah of the ICC.Cricket in India is not big only because of its fans’ unique passion, its players’ great skills, the game’s incomparable appeal, and it is certainly not because of the talent of its administration. It outstrips the game in rival nations because India has a lot more people who want to buy mobile phones and TVs while aspiring to white goods, and also because of the exuberant selfadmiration of India’s political and media elites.advertisementWhat does this mean for cricket? In the nearterm, this has meant great rewards for players, who have no objection to being told where to go and what to do, providing a king’s ransom is involved, and also improved access and better deals for fans, because they are now also consumers whose disposable rupee is suddenly worth hustling for.A pre-industrial game, however, does not make a natural fit with a late capitalist economy. At risk is its hold on any independent existence, as a game, as a cultural form, as an institution. Cricket has never been truly outside economics and politics in India, as has been argued by Ramachandra Guha in A Corner of a Foreign Field. It has been an heir to the fissures and tensions of race, cast, religion and nation.But within it has been preserved something spontaneous, romantic, transcendent and inspirational. Something beyond the market forces. In this latest incarnation, cricket is mainly an effective means of conveying goods to the market; in and of itself it is arguably of dwindling significance.This happens everywhere. This summer in Australia, watching the Ashes felt like visiting a shopping mall. There was something deliciously subversive about watching the team that had come to play win, and the team wheeled out to interrupt the ads get rock’n’rolled.But India’s playing is like the effect of any other two nations squared. Which is actually a diminution of cricket worldwide. One of the qualities of Indian fans has always been their global awareness. They were international followers of the game long before it was straightforward to be so. They would follow events in, say, Australia or the West Indies almost as closely as they followed their own favourites.The Game ChangersClick here to EnlargeAn irony of Indian cricket’s resistless rise is that the game is becoming less global, relatively speaking. While football and the Olympics have maintained their relentless onward march, Test cricket remains a small club; ODI cricket is a little larger. As Amit Gupta notes in Cricket and Globalisation: “There are no cricketers who have become global icons and advertising brand names in non-cricket-playing countries as David Beckham, Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan have done for their sports in countries like China.”China developing a taste for cricket might change the landscape. Cricket’s string-pullers would like that, because there are a lot more consumer markets to conquer there. But, really, who cares? They’re creaming it at the moment without having to look anywhere else. In the short-to-medium-term, the name of the game is exploiting a core market that is still growing.advertisementElsewhere, cricket is becoming subtly less local. When India visits Australia later this year, it will be transported in an Indian commercial bubble, with its home TV viewers in mind: even the hoardings at the grounds will be allocated to Indian brands. Series that don’t involve India, meanwhile, drift into the twilight of obscure pay-TV channels.The quasi-domestic Champions League is perhaps the most bizarre artefact of Indian hegemony, a tournament that even when it is not in India is all about that country. Last year’s installment in South Africa remains in the memory only because of its eeriness: bad cricket being played by ordinary cricketers in front of handfuls of spectators, gyrating cheerleaders and overexcited commentators simply because ESPN, frustrated at having failed to bid for the IPL, had forked out $1 billion.Here too can be seen most clearly the distinction between what the fans want and what the cricket-industrial complex wants them to want. That’s no way to treat heroes.Gideon Haigh is a Melbourne-based cricket historian and writer.last_img read more