Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Had it been......

At lunch, on the last day of the second test match at Sydney, I heard an animated discussion between Ravi Shastri and Wasim Akram over a ‘life’ that Dravid had enjoyed. Andrew Symonds had just dropped a catch that Dravid had offered. But, to complicate matters, the replay showed that it was off a no-ball. To further complicate matters, the umpire had not declared it a no-ball.

So, Ravi Shastri’s sage comment was that, had Symonds caught the ball, Dravid would have been out, even though it was off a no-ball, because the umpire had not called it so. So, Dravid should consider himself very lucky. I switched off the TV at this point, as my head was spinning like a ball delivered by Shane Warne, had he been playing that day and had he been bowling, which he wasn’t, because he had retired and wasn’t in the team..

When I started to appreciate the game of cricket, many decades back, things were blissfully uncomplicated. There was no need to worry over imaginary situations or agonise over missed chances or earned lives. Batting was simple and binary. Either you were out or not out. And you moved on or moved out.

Not so, today. You have to consider all likely outcomes in all parallel universes, weigh all possibilities and discuss all hypothetical angles. All. Not many.

What if the bowler had bowled a no-ball, the umpire had not called it so, then Dravid had offered a catch, Symonds had caught it off the second bounce, but claimed that he had actually caught it, and the umpire had given Dravid out?

What if the bowler had not bowled a no-ball, but the umpire had called it that, Dravid had spooned the ball to second slip, and the fielder had taken it, but Dravid continued to bat?

What if the umpire had not called it a no-ball, Dravid had offered a catch, the fielder had taken it, Dravid had walked back, but the camera had missed out the angle in the first place and Ravi Shastri did not know that it was a no-ball and nobody was any wiser?

What if, just at the time Harbhajan Singh had called Andrew Symonds an oversized primate, a huge tree had crashed in the forest close by, and the resulting noise had drowned out the racial abuse that Harbhajan had hurled, and nobody had heard it , least of all Ravi Shastri? What would Mike Procter’s verdict have been, if the matter had been referred to him? Harbhajan uttered those damaging words all right, but nobody heard him in the din of the tree crashing. Would he be guilty or not guilty?

Yes, one has to consider all possibilities. And, as Sherlock Holmes liked to pontificate, once you eliminate all that is impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth.

But, here’s a rider to that. Nothing is impossible for Ravi Shastri.

Update : What if you had not read this post or if I had not heard Ravi Shastri talking about the no-ball that the umpire had not noticed and which might have accounted for Dravid’s wicket had Symonds not dropped the ball? Would the world still be the same? Wouldn’t it be an interesting thought experiment like the Schrodinger’s cat?


Anonymous said...

Statisticians know all about these things - they even have jargon for such situations. Dravid being out on a no-ball is a Type 1 error. Dravid getting a "life" is a Type 2 error..

Raj said...

Lekhni : Hmmm. And Ravi Shastri?

revathi : thanks

Vidya said...

I was LOL at this post. At first glance, I thought it was one of "those" posts about cricket. You made it a thoroughly hilarious and enjoyable albeit confusing post! :D


Anonymous said...

I think you are making your blogs more and more hilarious, with a vengance, to ensure that I retract my remarks.

Raj said...

vidya, glad you could LOL.

sankar, I need to keep my few,loyal readers with me.

Usha said...

Raj; What if you did not write such hilarious blogs and if people still read you? What if you wrote them and they didnt read you?
I think we need to stop playing cricket for a year and Ravi shastri needs a break.

Raj said...

usha, ravi shastri needs a break? Off-break or leg-break?