HISTORY was created, albeit of a dubious type, when Pakistan
forfeited the final cricket test match thus conceding victory to
England. This is the first occasion in the 129 year history of the game
when a match was won by default.
It was the first time also that the shape and physical dimension of a
cricket ball decided the fate of a game. High drama was enacted at the
Surrey Oval when Pakistani players refused to take the field after the
tea interval during the fourth days' play.
The Pakistani Captain was piqued by charges made by umpire Darryl
Hair that the ball had been tampered by the fielding side during the
course of the England innings.
There was frenetic activity after the umpires called off play- and as
it later turned out the match itself - to get the game under way. But
Hair stood his ground and the match ended in bizarre fashion.
It is not so much the outcome but the circumstances that led to its
truncated end that places this match out of the ordinary. It is also
pertinent that the episode took place in the Home of Cricket.
The English may have suspected a grand design by the occident to
undermine the game they invented. This feeling was reinforced by the
eagerness of Englishmen to get on with the game even though they were
staring defeat in the face and would have welcomed the eventual outcome
the way it occurred.
Yet the English players wanted the game to commence. This may have
been an expression of determination on the part of the British to hold
aloft the game invented by their forefathers to be nurtured and fostered
down the line.
The spirit of the British Bulldog one might say.
It was doubly important not to permit a precedent that would bring
their game to ridicule. The practice might catch on. Similar walkovers
would be enacted to undermine the game.
True, Pakistan invented the 'reverse swing' But England will continue
to play a straight bat. This was not just another ball game but the
pride of the British Empire. 'Ball tampering' is certainly not in its
Whatever the condition of the ball England are equal to the task. So
why make a big hue and cry. Hair should have allowed the game to
continue even if there were chips off the ball.
Now he has reduced their precious game to a laughing stock before all
other ball games.
This scenario would have hardly been envisaged by the Gentleman and
the Players in those halcyon days when the shape of the ball mattered
the least. The ball was meant to be hit and that was all about it.
To hell with its shape and physical appearance. What's a few scruff
marks on a cricket ball the likes of W.G. Grace would have ventured. The
episode would also now open interesting avenues.
The Match Fixing art would take on a new dimension. One has only to
leave a few scruff marks on a cricket ball for an outcome to be decided.
Of course it takes two to tango but for big bucks anything is possible.
A particular team will only have to leave a few scratch marks on a
cricket ball, incur the wrath of the umpire make a big song and dance
and refuse to take the field after a break and award the match to the
other side. Pity guys like Hanzie Cronje did not think of this angle.
The episode is bound to change the face of the game of cricket.
"Playing a straight bat' would certainly lose its currency.
Popular cliques associated with the game are bound to lose their
gloss which would have been similar to a brand new red cherry in the
hands of a Denis Liliee.
Bowling sides taking a heavy pummelling could now rest their corns in
the shade of the pavilion and hand over the game on a platter to their
opponents for a mess of pottage.
The episode could also put a spanner in the plans of batsmen pursuing
world records. It is just as well that Brian Lara attained his highest
test score before this.
Had he not the opposing team would certainly have acted on the new
brainwave provided by Pakistan. What is more, there is now guaranteed
that Lara's record will stand the test of time. Certainly if the West
Indies were the fielding side.
It's not easy to die
DEATH: The 'prophet' with his abode in the Kandyan Kingdom has quoted
that "it is not easy to die."
Whilst there is the kernel of truth in 'the word', paradoxically, it
is not easy to live, either. In support of the decree of the 'prophet'
are several of my personal experiences.
As a teenager, over a huff with my mother suicide was attempted when
I stealthily hid the clothes I was wearing under a rock on the
Kollupitiya beach and waded into the Indian Ocean to meet my Maker.
Some strokes in free-style found me on the coral reef with every lota
of temper cooled by the placid waters.
Then there were the dare-devil riding on my one-eyed Mac - Volocette,
custom built to take on any bike lesser than a Tiger100.
Some years ago I was striken by a heart problem and viewed through a
glass pane the other side to which I had to cross over and, believe me,
it was a bonsai garden with multi-hued butterflies fluttering hither and
thither but the good doctors at Durdans ensured I didn't go for ever.
My better-half has had grand designs to execute 'the perfect murder'
like stacking my capsule container with incorrect pills but these plans
have been scuttled by my companion of the weekend or else he would have
been the prime suspect for the autopsy to be performed.
I have always opted for cremation but I now have reverse thoughts
because it would not allow for an autopsy. Now in the evening of my
years I am resigned to tarry a while with reflections also my daily
companion like when I ponder "If youth knew, if age could."
All in all, it has not been a bad knock and if I am to bat in the
second innings, I'll play the same strokes but with more care.
With the cost of living in the higher register and my medicines
costing a pretty packet, I will now contest the 'prophet' that it is
also not easy to live.
But mine is a credo wrought in the anvil of experience and I have
agreed with Goethe that "a useless life is an early death."
All in all, it has not been a bad knock and if I am to bat in the
second innings, I'll play the same strokes but with a little more care.
Your double plays cricket in another universe
COSMOLOGY: Suppose, even as you read this, your doppelganger in
another universe - an exact replica of this world - is playing cricket?
Recent advances in cosmology have renewed interest in the existence of
An idea proposed by quantum theorists, this has fascinated
generations of physicists and philosophers, permeating not only science
but also popular culture and literature - from Plato's suggestion that
we see "mere shadows of reality" to Lewis Carroll's concept of a rabbit
hole for Alice to slip out of the real world.
Like the universe we inhabit, parallel universes are regions of space
and time containing matter, galaxies, stars, planets and living beings.
Our `doubles' there are supposedly connected to us through mechanisms
that only quantum physics can explain.
Some scientists believe that wormholes - "tunnels" in space-time
connecting blackholes - make it possible for these universes to exist
mere millimeters away.
They suggest that neuroscience, through the study of altered states
of awareness, indicates the proximity of parallel worlds to this
universe, and that gravity is just a weak signal leaking out of them
Most of us are comfortable with the familiar three-dimensional
universe, with its up-down, front-back, and left-right options.
A sound wave, for instance, "exists" in these three dimensions and
propagates in all directions simultaneously like an expanding balloon.
In two dimensions, the wave would look like ripples in a pond,
spreading only along the surface - not perpendicular to it, which is the
In the early Nineties, physicists Theodor Kaluza and Oskar Klein
published theories linking electromagnetism with gravity via extra
This led to the "multiverse" theory in the Fifties. The idea was to
explain the bizarre findings of quantum physics and general relativity
and find the holy grail of physics: a "theory of everything" that would
unite all the forces of nature - electromagnetism, gravity, and the
strong and weak nuclear forces - into a single cohesive expression.
The superstring theory is the most promising roadmap for this. In it,
vibrating strings - not point-like particles - make up the universe's
fundamental constituents, with different resonances of the strings
creating the different particles that we see.
Each string is unimaginably small, about 100 billion billion times
smaller than a proton, and vibrates only in a space-time consisting of
This made physicists realise that the three spatial dimensions once
thought to describe the universe weren't enough.
There could be actually 11 dimensions, with our universe just one
among an infinite number of membranous "bubbles" that ripple as they
wobble through the 11th dimension.
This new physics is taking scientists closer than ever to
understanding nature's unity and higher dimensions.