Cricket is known as the game English gents played for leisure in the 16th century countryside. By the 18th century it had become a national sport of England. As the empire grew the quaint English game was exported across the globe and in the mid 19th century the first ever international match was held. From those humble days the pastime has evolved into a major international sport with a fan base in Australasia, England, the Indian subcontinent, the West Indies and Southern Africa. Two formats of the game fans love is the long five day Test Match and the newest format, Twenty20.
Lords Cricket Ground: Picture by Bipin Patel
National cricket teams play Test Matches with “Test Status,” determined by the International Cricket Council (ICC). The two teams play a four-innings match, which often lasts up to five days. The format is considered a complete examination of the team’s playing ability and endurance. The origin of the name Test stems from the long, grueling match being a “test” of the relative strength of the two sides.
The first officially recognised Test Match took place on March 15, 1877, between England and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Abbreviated to T20, Twenty20 cricket is a form of cricket originally introduced in England and Wales for professional inter-county competition by the England and West Cricket Board (ECB), in 2003. A Twenty20 game involves two teams; each has single innings, batting for a maximum of 20 overs with proceedings closing in three hours. When T20 was started in 2003 circuiting boards wanted to boost the game’s popularity among the younger generation. It was intended to deliver fast paced exciting cricket, accessible to thousands of fans who could not invest time in watching the longer versions of the game.
We asked two avid cricket fans from the pharmacy world – Peter Cattee of PCT Healthcare and Bipin Patel of Saxon Warrior Pharmacy about the game, their personal experiences and what the future holds, in an exclusive interview with Pharmacist Work & Lifestyle magazine.
Cricket Series and Tournament Fixtures (next 12 months)
England v India Jul – Sep 2014
Zimbabwe v South Africa Aug – Sep 2014
West Indies v Bangladesh Aug – Sep 2014
Pakistan v Australia Oct – Nov 2014
Bangladesh v Zimbabwe Oct – Nov 2014
India v West Indies Oct – Nov 2014
Australia v South Africa Nov 2014
Pakistan v New Zealand Nov – Dec 2014
Sri Lanka v England Dec 2014
Australia v India Dec’14 – Jan 2015
South Africa v West Indies Dec’14 – Jan 2015
Australia Tri Series (India, England & Australia) Jan – Feb 2015
ICC Cricket World Cup Feb – Mar 2015
West Indies v England Apr- May 2015
England v New Zealand May – Jun 2015
The Ashes (England v Australia) Jun – Sep 2015
Q: WHAT IS IT ABOUT CRICKET THAT EXCITES YOU?
BIPIN: Growing up in India makes one love cricket by default! The love for the game started in 1971 during the Indian tour of the West Indies, winning the series 1-0. Gavaskar scored 774 runs in 4 tests at a Bradmanesque average of 150! Sports coverage was in its infancy at the time and one always turned to the BBC for the very best reporting and live commentary. The late John Arlott painted pictures of cricket in England that ignited my love for the game. It didn’t take me long to establish that I was at best mediocre at cricket and that turned into a desire to get involved with the sport in a different way. Thirty-five years later I feel that I have realised my dream of becoming a cricket photographer and sharing my passion for the game with my two daughters who play club cricket. The elder one went on to play for the junior Kent team as an opener and is now an MCC player!
PETER: As a spectator sport, I like the unique pace of cricket. It’s easy to switch off for half an hour and then it suddenly becomes electrifyingly exciting, and I don’t think any other game approaches it. It’s a wonderful game to play with the three aspects of the game, batting, bowling and fielding, which are tactically complex. Plus nothing prepares you better for a cup of tea than two hours on a boundary during a baking hot sunny afternoon.
Young Peter Cattee practising at the nets
Q: AS WE FINISHED OFF ANOTHER SEASON OF IPL, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT THE IPL AND THE T20 FORMAT?
BIPIN: I had my reservations in the early days but I am now beginning to believe that IPL has the potential to unearth special talents like Sanju Samson who would have found it difficult to catch selectors’ attention playing domestic first class cricket. It also has the capacity to attract and engage bigger audiences; this can only be good for the future of the game.
PETER: The nearest I’ve been to the IPL is outside the grounds in Delhi on match day, quite an experience in itself. I’m afraid I am still waiting for the Sky Sports monopoly to collapse and the game return to BBC’s Test Match special. I have experienced T20 elsewhere and I liked it very much – although I don’t think it shares that much with real cricket except perhaps the equipment.
Q: WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE ENCOUNTER WITH A CRICKETER?
BIPIN: I am reluctant to pick a specific moment but would say that the cricketers are all generally good individuals and are accommodating if you are looking for a specific shot off the pitch. I was asked by India Today to get a posed picture of the Indian Fab 4 during what turned out to be their last tour of England in 2007. It required a lot of planning and speaking with them individually before but at the end of it I had my exclusive five minutes with Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Sourav Ganguly lined up in the pavilion at Hove at the close of play.
PETER: Not quite remarkable perhaps, but I imagine that Charlie French the brother of Notts and England keeper Bruce probably still likes to recount the catch whereby I dismissed him off a meaty drive when fielding at the shortest, silly-mid off that you could imagine – this before such things as cricket helmets as I was 15 at the time. This was when our respective schools met, so he rather early in his career, me in my prime. I still have a capped tooth and a scar under one eye as a result of similar but less successful encounters. The catch was described as “miraculous” by the entire team as about ten feet from the bat completely by reflex I took a full drive in my right, that is wrong, hand when trying to “crowd” him as their best batsman.
Q: CAN WE MAKE COMPARISONS BETWEEN THE CRICKET AND PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRIES? IF SO, THEN WHAT ARE THE SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES?
BIPIN: This is a difficult one to answer. All I know is that I am usually knackered after dispensing a few hundred prescriptions over 8 hours at my pharmacy but not so after covering cricket that could involve getting to the ground around 8:30am carrying a heavy kit, shooting several hundred pictures, editing and filing some and returning home or to a hotel late at night! Is it something to do with E factor?
PETER: Team would be the word I think – it’s not a very sophisticated or insightful comparison, but I think it’s so true. Cricket is as good as any game for building a team because, with the exception of the odd and unusual recent experience at England, it’s very unusual for an individual to rise above the team consistently and it’s probably better they don’t because you just can’t succeed as a one-man cricket team. In the age of celebrity that we currently live in perhaps cricket is a little out of tune here, but the individual can only get so far in any sport or walk of life – we can always travel further together.
Alastair Cook and M.S. Dhoni: Picture taken by Bipin Patel
When we asked Bipin about the balance between work and his photography passion, he said he has to plan things a lot; however, he receives a lot of support from his pharmacist wife which enables him in his pursuit of cricket photography. His passion for photography started with wildlife some 30 years ago when he tried to take pictures of pheasant-tailed jacanas (a species of bird) in a pond near his home town in Gujarat. He recalls it was a challenging proposition with an old camera and had to invest in an SLR with a long telephoto lens. It was hard to get good equipment in India at the time. He went on to cover a couple of international matches in Vadodara, one of them had Yograj Singh (Yuvraj Singh’s father) playing in it alongside a very young Kapil Dev.
His big break came when he was a pre-reg student in June 1986 at a pharmacy at Notting Hill Gate. An inspired Indian side led by Kapil Dev had bowled England out in the second innings for some 180 odd runs and needed around 130 to win on the final day. He asked his tutor for a day off and then had this urge to go to the match with the right equipment and get some good pictures of his hero Sunil Gavaskar in what could turn out to be Gavaskar’s last innings at Lord’s. He recalls that he called Fox Talbot on Tottenham Court Road and reserved a 400mm lens.
“The cost of hire for a day came to a week’s salary and required a lot of begging and reassurance that I would return the lens as I did not have a sufficient deposit for security! It was a great experience as I sat next to Patrick Eager and managed to capture some fine shots before Gavaskar got out but Kapil Dev finished the job in fine style with 18 off a Phil Edmonds over who incidentally lived a few doors away from my place of work at the time.”
To date Bipin’s cricket photography has appeared in India Today, ESPN CricInfo, Sportstar, MidDay, Dainik Bhasker and The Tribune to name a few. We also asked if he could offer any advice to anyone thinking of pursuing photography as a career and he said, “To be honest, there is very little scope for a freelance photographer in this age with agencies offering global coverage. However, there may be some opportunities to begin by working around club or county cricket if one is sufficiently passionate about it. Look out for the county matches or Twenty20 and build a portfolio of images that stand out.”
Although Bipin has not played cricket at a professional level, he enjoys all formats of the game – Test and T20 alike.
Virat Kohli Celebrating Champions Trophy 2013 Win: Picture taken by Bipin Patel
We spoke to Peter about his views on the test match and other formats of the game. Peter had been brought up in a cricketing family and his father played in Bradford and then Norfolk leagues for many years when he was young. “I came to accept that cricket was often a slow game. Then when I played at school and in leagues the only reason we ever had to limit the match was to compress the game into a day, I don’t think a 20 over slog-a-thon had ever even been dreamt of. But having experienced the two I think that the Test is still a thing of complex and subtle rhythm which has more to offer than the quickness of T20 with its easier access and rather forced excitement.”
Test matches are becoming a thing of the past we argued. To which he disagreed, “No, I don’t think there’s much chance of that as long as players aren’t forced down that route by the economics behind the game. Cricket’s heritage is too strong to let that happen anyway I believe, although it would give me slightly more confidence we’re yet to see a resurgence in West Indies cricket as we need a strong pool of competitive international sides to maintain a global and hopefully growing interest.”
With cricketing pedigree around him, Peter played for his school’s first team for many years and then for his university. He said, “Once we left the easy access of institutional cricket I joined a team playing in the South Wales League, which was very competitive and then also in Lincolnshire, but a combination of having children and running the business, as I had just become a contractor, meant that I just couldn’t find the time for anything more than Dads v/s Lads and suchlike at the boy’s school. But I shall always miss cricket and wish I’d taken it more seriously when I was young as I was a good left-arm bowler and grafting opener in the, unfortunately, Boycott mold.
England team celebrating Investec Test Series Win 2014: Picture taken by Bipin Patel
Whether you play the game or capture its memorable moments, Cricket’s fans are passionate about its heritage and legacy. T20 may be the latest adrenalin pumping format of the game, but the Test matches are the real test of the players’ skills.
By: Aaditya Kaza
Pharmacist Work & Lifestyle
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