Couch Talk 79 with Kartikeya Date, A Cricketing View

kartikeyaIn this episode, Kartikeya Date of “A Cricketing View” blog explains why he doesn’t think T20 is not actually cricket but is a different sport altogether. He answers some of the common queries that gets posed to him as a critic of the T20 game. He talks about the corrosive influence of IPL and the T20 game which has turned cricket in to a moneymaking product rather than a sport, and the lack of clear merits in evaluating the goings on during a T20 match. He also suggests some of the ways T20/IPL could be redeemed through certain innovations that bring the balance between the bat and ball in the game, and could then provide an even contest.

Follow Kartikeya on Twitter: @CricketingView

Some of the more relevant blog posts from Kartikeya on this topic:

His most recent argument against supporting the IPL
On Rahul Dravid’s international debut
On a dismissal by Anil Kumble
On a spell by Morne Morkel
On Ambati Rayudu’s “Miandad moment”

An attempt to describe the logic of a T20 contest

You can download the episode by clicking on the link here.
The podcast was first published on ESPN Cricinfo’s The Cordon.
Subscribe to Couch Talk podcast on iTunes.CouchTalk is also available on TuneIn Radio and select episodes on the YouTube Channel (ccTV).RSS Feed



Intro Music: Sampled, Mixed and Produced by Aravind Murali

Guest: Kartikeya Date

Host: Subash Jayaraman

This entry was posted in Couch Talk, Featured, IPL and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Couch Talk 79 with Kartikeya Date, A Cricketing View

  1. Jazz_CB says:

    I have a problem with saying T20 is “not cricket”. It screams elitism to very high degree. Let me explain why.

    Test cricket is a format which tests many different things. Sure. Primarily, it is a format where bowlers are trying to get batsmen out and batsman are fighting to survive with their technique.

    Limited overs games including T20 is about maximizing scoring in a certain number overs (if you’re a batsman) and outsmarting the batsmen attacking you (if you’re a bowler).

    Beach cricket is a format where often the rules do not permit you to pitch the ball on the surface. Often the wind conditions poses a special challenge to the batsmen and scoring into the wind is very difficult.

    Gully cricket is a format where there are several (sometimes absurd) rules. Like hitting the ball into the neighbour’s out thrice is out. Anything hitting the boundary on the full is out. No runs on the leg side. And so on.

    The point I’m trying to make, as different as each format is, each one is indeed cricket. The resources available to bowlers and batsmen in each of the formats is completely different. But at the end of the day, they’re all cricket. I’m sorry, but you don’t get to tell me the cricket I played growing up was not cricket.

    Every format has it’s own unique contest between bat and ball. Just because they are different doesn’t mean one contest is automatically better than the other. To say that, and disqualify shorter formats as “not cricket” is just elitist.

    End rant.

    • Jazz_CB says:

      At the end of the day, cricket is a game played with a cricket bat, ball and stumps.

      As complex and wonderful as the game is, it does not have a 3000 word blog as a definition.

      • Futsal is a game played with a ball controlled by the feet, and between 2 sets of goal posts. Probably similar to another sport famous throughout the world. Similar, but yet not *it*.

        • thecricketcouch says:


          I’d like to add to what Sawyer has said above. This was in response to Krish Ashok’s comment on the Transcript Page:

          I think it applies very much to your comment as well.

        • Jazz_CB says:

          Disagree. 5 vs. 5 football etc. that we played in school was still football. Calling it futsal is like calling different formats “Test cricket” and “T20 Cricket”.

          I wouldn’t call Futsal inferior by the way. If you’ve played/watched 5 vs. 5 football on small courts, you’ll find that it is extremely fun and can be highly rewarding to technically gifted players. Just saying.

          • thecricketcouch says:


            I do not think I have said T20 is inferior. You have assumed that I did. If I remember correctly, neither has Kartikeya. He has maintained that T20 is a different sport and I tend to agree with him on that. He gets bored watching T20 and for me, I like watching it almost exclusively during IPL, and the reasons were listed in the conversation.

            T20 (or for that matter even ODIs) and Tests have, though played by same players and with same equipment, a fundamental difference in how the balance between batting and bowling resources is maintained.

            It isn’t wrong to criticize the merits of any of them, Tests, T20/ODIs. If I criticize the merits of T20 as a cricketing contest (balance of bat and ball) that does not make me an elitist automatically. Or, vice versa. Use whatever term that is appropriate for someone that criticizes the merits of Tests.

            What is more important is to understand the effects of T20, good and bad.

            My contention is that since the contest in a T20 is quite different from that of Tests, it needs to be treated as such and develop its own lexicon, and explanations of why certain things happen.

          • thecricketcouch says:

            An important thing to note in 5 v 5 football, as you like to call it, is still that the resources are equal on what is considered a contest. If cricket is a contest between bat and ball, and not just two teams, the resources are severely limited.

    • In my initial comment, I had wanted to make the comparison of how despite those inadequacies, Futsal can be seen as a more legitimate contest than T20 (because it scales the nature of the contest in accordance with the base restrictions it starts off with). T20 doesn’t.

      So on second thoughts, the comparison was possibly being unfair to Futsal. The closest sporting contest I see that can be compared to T20, is a penalty shoot-out. It pits enormously advantageous resources on one hand against hardly any on the other. Sure, the goalkeeper (like the bowler in T20) has a role, but more often than not, that role is just to look wistfully after having guessed the wrong side. How many brilliant goals have we seen in penalty shoot-outs (of course, in T20 every 6 is a ‘great’ shot)? I know Jazz is an avid football follower, so I’d like to know what his views are on goals in penalty shoot-outs not being counted to the team and individual tallies.

      The language of football accounts for this immensely lopsided nature of the contest. Commentators, players, fans understand this and refer to it as such. The language of cricket doesn’t, and has consistently been pushed by folks from the top (Commentators, players – who have all had a piece in the pie) to continue not accounting and ignoring these aspects.

      This, if my understanding is right, is Karthikeya’s central argument. *NOT* a simplistic “this is not cricket” line. I feel Karthikeya does himself a huge disfavor by using red herring lines like the now-famous ICAYU. But if you read through his whole posts you’d have very little ambiguity on where he stands, and how he isn’t dissing a fan of T20, even T20 in and of itself.

  2. Sathish says:

    I can see IPL as cricket and I can understand why you don’t see it that way. OK with me if you don’t call it cricket but still able to watch and enjoy it. But Subash, this discussion is not just about whether IPL is cricket or not. Just to counter your response to Jazz, while you have not said that “IPL is inferior”, what do you think Karthikeya meant when he said “I think cricket should be preserved and rescued from what I feel T20 is doing to it”, “They are too happy putting on their shitty show””IPL is compromising something that is good”. He keeps saying that IPL is boring. He also says that he doesn’t watch more than 2-3 overs in a match. Is that enough to pass a judgement on players or the contest? I think there are boring games and exciting games, both in IPL and Test cricket. Not all of them gives us the same experience. It is like some one watching 3 overs of shit bowling in a Test match and saying Test cricket is boring. Also he always gets upset when words like “gutsy”, “spell” or “contest” is used by a commentator. “The commentator” is not stupid enough to equate a two good Morkel overs in T20 to a brilliant spell by Siddle in Tests. There are many listeners who understand the difference between the two. Also Test cricket doesn’t own these words. And shit commentary is heard in every format, after all the same people talk. Subash, you tried your best to remain neutral and asked him about the good things about IPL. He only spoke about the money and how smartly it was marketed. Thats it? I wish he watches more IPL so that he can talk about the skills that a batsmen, captain or a bowler requires to excel in the format. Maybe he could talk to few of the coaches to understand how they plan before a match and how bowlers plan to get a batsmen like Gayle out. Other wise we will only be seeing posts from him titled “Don’t watch the IPL “. Yeah, he really wrote that in 2011.

    • Kartikeya says:

      I think i’ve done more than just say that the IPL is not cricket. I’ve actually made arguments, which you ignore entirely.

      More broadly, I think objections (i don’t think they come up to the level of being criticisms yet) of the kind you raise seem to make one false assumption – that I don’t like IPL or T20 and therefore have been trying to work out ways to diss it. In fact, I have come to dislike T20 and the IPL for both the technical cricketing reasons and on the economic/political reasons. So if you really want to engage with the argument, I don’t see how you can engage with it without dealing with those reasons.

      • Sathish says:

        Sorry if I was not clear in my earlier comment. I didn’t assume anything and very clearly raised objections with a few points. Also I don’t have a problem if you don’t like IPL.
        I am explaining my earlier comment once again:
        1. It is unfair to criticize a format / tournament without watching it completely (or atleast a few matches). I got that impression from the podcast when you said that you don’t watch more than 2-3 overs in an IPL. Don’t you get upset when fans outrage on Twitter without having the patience to watch one complete session in a Test match?
        2. You are free to have your expectations from commentators but I don’t think Test cricket owns words like “gutsy”, “great spell of bowling”, “good contest” etc. If poor usage of words or poor commentary is one of the reasons you think IPL is bad then Test Cricket is in an equally bad state as we have similar shit commentary in Tests also.
        3. Also when Subash tried to list out the positives and negatives about IPL you only spoke about the money and marketing part from BCCI.

        Coming to the technical cricketing reasons, you were talking about wickets and bowlers used in 20 overs. This is a format where runs have more weightage than wickets. Losing 6 wickets in 20 overs Tests or even ODI is bad performance whereas losing 6 wickets in 20 Overs in T20 is acceptable as long as 150+ runs are scored. So the objective for the bowlers changes in T20. To bowl as many dot balls as possible. There are a lot of fans who understand this difference. They can clearly watch both the formats without any conflict in their mind. That is the reason I want you to understand what sort of planning goes on in T20. It is more than a slogfest as perceived by many. It requires lot of innovation.

        Players, ex-players and coaches know a lot about T20 than they knew 5 years back. These days you will find a lot of articles on bowling, batting and captaincy in T20.
        As Subash said it will evolve. You may not like it but the next generation will call it CRICKET.

        • Kartikeya says:

          On your points:

          (1) If you had bothered to look, I’ve written about the IPL for about 4 years now. I’ve watched a lot of T20 cricket including the IPL. Since you listened to the podcast I am surprised that you missed Subash’s question about me getting the converse objection as well – why do I watch it if I don’t like it? Please see my response to that. Here is a selection of my posts.

          (2) The point is not about the words, it is about the ideas that those words convey, and the ways in which those words describe the contest. Of course the words themselves are not particularly important. But they become important if you consider the allied fact – yes fact – that when the IPL began, every effort was made to make it appear like it was normal cricket. Even today, there is no effort to actually work out what’s going on in the IPL. Again, this is not me saying it, this is commentators about the IPL telling us how they are told to announce the game by the directors of the broadcast. In the podcast I point to evidence that shows this.

          (3) I was not trying to give listeners an overview of the IPL, I was trying to make an argument. I don’t think there is any “positive” (i.e. something that benefits someone who deserves to benefit in my view) in the IPL other than the fact that a lot of players are making a lot of money. Even this has its bad side – because it is providing large sums of money for mediocre cricket.

          As to the technical reasons – Can there be a “good ball” when it is clear that the batsman’s response is going to be to take a chance? A dot ball is an outcome – even a full toss can be a dot ball if it is hit to a fielder.

          Finally, I think you are right that the next generation will call it Cricket. And that would be a tragedy. It would also be despite the facts and logic, because of the power of private capital.

          • Sathish says:

            Nothing much to argue about the first point. If you have watched a lot of T20 cricket and IPL (as you claim) and keep writing posts like “I will not watch IPL” for 4 years, one gets the impression that the only reason you watch IPL is to write such posts (or criticize it) or educate people not to watch it. The reason why they get that idea is that it is really surprising that even after watching IPL for 4 years you were not able to identify one good bowling effort, batting effort or anything good about it (other than the money part).

            My second point was about the words only. Now you say that the words are not really that important but then you wrote a post for HB calling Morkel’s bowling in a T20 “a great spell”. You are more clear in this comments section than in your posts. You even went to the extent of saying “Using the same words for all formats equalizes the formats”. Is it so? Assumptions like these makes you fear that calling IPL “Cricket” will make it equivalent to Test Cricket. Don’t worry, no such thing will happen.

            Coming to the positives as defined by you, I think players not just get money. They get noticed if they play in IPL. Players get more fans. Gayle was already a popular cricketer. Today he is adored by more fans across the world because of T20. A fan gets an opportunity to see his favorite player in IPL though he is retired from Test cricket. Benefits are again seen differently by different people. Cricket fans are ready to spend 1000 Rs for an IPL match ticket because they see some value in it.

            Why would some one calling IPL “cricket” become a tragedy? You make a assumptions, conveniently ignore facts not favouring your assumptions and justify what you want to say. For eg:- “when it is clear that the batsman’s response is going to be to take a chance” – How do you know?

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