Cricket and quartics

In the midst of the World Cup, the world of cricket lost a great of the game in Bishan Singh Bedi, the left-arm spinner in the famed Indian spin quartet of the 1960s and 1970s. Bedi was one of the few bowlers who became captain of the team, and when Pakistan and India resumed cricketing ties back in 1978-9, he was the Indian captain. He never got on the same page with anyone, and nor did Kapil Dev, who made his debut that series, and captained India to its first World Cup victory in 1983. Kapil was an all-rounder, like Imran. Perhaps because he didn’t build a dispensary, let alone a cancer hospital, he wasn’t taken up. But perhaps the worst thing about him is that he married only once, during his playing days, and his wife Romi is still married to him. He has a daughter, like Imran is alleged to, but she was born firmly in wedlock, and is proudly acknowledged.

The late Bishen Bedi was once married to an Australian whom he divorced, but he had his children with the Indian wife he married, Anju. So perhaps he wasn’t really good material to be on the same page. He did have a terrific sense of humour though. I met him only once, but he told two quick ones which I have not forgotten decades later. One was about a bicycle collision, which had one party ask the other, “Lalaji, Khudkushian?” (Lalaji, suicide?) and the other was a question by a potential customer to a fruit vendor in Amritsar: “Eh haaza ki p’a?” (What price this cholera?)

But where Imran would be saddened by the death of a contemporary (Imran might not like it, but Bedi was 77, forcing Imran to admit being a septuagenarian), he can’t be entirely unhappy by the way the World Cup is going. I mean, Pakistan lost to Afghanistan, but Shaheen Afridi only took one wicket, while going for 56 runs, a performance that should keep him off the same page. An added bonus was that Pakistan looks increasingly unlikely to make it to the semis, and thus there is no chance that Babar Azam will ever make it to the same page.


Of course, the people who were the most disappointed were the Afghanistan fans. Like everyone else, expected the Pakistan team to win,  and were fully prepared to engage in the kind of boorish behaviour enshrined by them at last year’s World Cup. They had planned to boil Shaheen Shah alive, or to behead Babar and parade his head on a stake, or hang Pakistan’s topscorer from the nearest lamp-post. Instead, they were deprived of these delights by the Pakistani defeat, and found themselves ill-equipped to engage in the celebration they wanted, which would have involved firing in the air from semi-automatic weapons, as well as shooting down an overhead airliner with a Stinger missile. The nuclear device stolen from Pakistan would have been kept back for actually winning the final.

Instead, Pakistan is reduced to making calculations about other teams’ results, involving the higher mathematics, in which you use integrals, natural logarithms, and quadratic equations, and come up with the answer that If the Bangladesh captain’s paternal grandfather married twice, then Pakistan would get through on run rate. Now if you have seen Babar Azam struggle with differentiation, or Rizwan dealing with cubic and quartic equations, you would realize that cricket and the higher maths don’t mix.

Autumn doesn’t seem to have set in yet, leading one to suspect that it will be a mild winter. That seems to be the only hope we have of escaping the IMF’s plans for us to have a smelly winter. The IMF wants gas tariffs raised, which would mean people economizing on bathing, with the result that one will need a face mask to walk the streets, and not from fear of Covid-19 either.

I see that there has been a shooting in Maine, with 18 people killed, the shooter a petroleum specialist with the rank of sergeant in the US Army Reserve. Over here, he would be a Supply Corpa havildar. A petroleum specialist, and thus of no interest to Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who received a condolence delegation from the PTI, to condole the death of his mother-in-law, and which presumably did not call him ‘Maulana Diesel.’



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