Vantage point

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cricket and Liquor

Ram Guha writes

In my opinion, Test cricket may be compared to the finest Scotch, 50-overs a side to Indian Made Foreign Liquor, and 20-20 to the local hooch. The addict who cannot have the first or the second will make do with the last. The pleasures of the shortest game are intense but also wholly ephemeral. There is no time to savour delights offered in such a rushed and heady fashion. The medium form allows one to take in the booze more leisurely. Here, a batsman can bat long enough to develop an innings, to play strokes other than the hoick over midwicket or mid on. Although a bowler is restricted to 10 overs, 60 deliveries constitute a spell in a way in which four overs cannot — long enough at least to plan, and execute, a dismissal. As compared to 20-20, 50-50 allows a greater exposure to the varieties and subtleties of the game. After spending a whole day at the cricket one can, as it were, remember individual sips of the drink that one has consumed. On the other hand, after a Twenty20 game, all one remembers is that one got drunk, and one’s side won, or lost.

Nice analogy, but not one I agree with. Here is my version.

I would agree that test cricket is scotch... not just scotch, but 12 year old super expensive scotch. Each one different, magical, refined, flavorful, varied in terms of the year, and to be nursed at leisure. Not suited to everyone's palate. And the high/pleasure you get from it can not be compared to what you get from any other kind of liquor. Taste and intoxication both. Divine!

ODI is beer... some are good, the good ones are REALLY good, most are mediocre and others are worse than piss, but in general only about 10% of them are worthy of even tasting. Plus they take too long to drink, which means if it is a good one, you can savour it at leisure, but if it is a bad one (like any Indian or American beer), you have to pour it down the drain or suffer through it. And even then, it only gets you mildly buzzed. To get good and intoxicated, you need to have a binge (read World Cup). So dicey about taste, and dicey about intoxication.

Twenty20's is a shot of generic hard liquor, like tequila or whiskey or vodka. No pretense of taste, or savouring. Yet gets you intoxicated quickly enough. Does not make you suffer for the intoxication like most beers do. Quick and easy, and they give you a fast high without taking up too much time or troubling your bladder.

A scotch lover who isn't rich may not always be able to spare the time or money for a good scotch. But with shots of liquor around, he at least doesn't have to endure watery, dubiously concocted brews with low odds of being good, if he wants some intoxication.