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   The wife, who has started taking interest in cricket.... (November 4, 1996)

The wife, who has started taking interest in cricket, was asking me: "who is the world champion now?"

"Sri Lanka, of course, what a question to ask!" I said.

"But Pakistan beat Sri Lanka," the wife said.

"That's in Singer," I said. "But Sri Lanka beat Australia and Australia beat India and India beat Pakistan in the Wills."

"Where does that place India?" the wife asked.

"India beat Sri Lanka in Singer and lost to Sri Lanka twice in the Wills, or once, if you count one match as abandoned in favour of Sri Lanka, and Austalia beat West Indies which lost to India," I said.

"If South Africa beats Sri Lanka, does Sri Lanka continue to be world champions?" The wife asked.

"The eventually does not arise because South Africa did not paticipate in Singer's, but is participating in Pepsi where Sri Lanka is not there. However, both South Africa and Sri Lanka played in Wills, though they did not meet each other. But South Africa beat England, and England beat UAE."

"It is confusing," the wife said.

"Not rally, if you have learnt to distinguish between third slip, gulley and cover point, this should not be different to follow," I said.

"Is West Indies finished?" the wife asked.

"Kenya beat West Indies and Australia beat Kenya and Kenya lost to Australia which beat India which beat Kenya. That's in the Wills," I said.

"So?"

"So, out in the Carribeans, where they are playing either Pepsi or Coca-Cola or whatever, New Zealand beat West Indies, which beat New Zealand, which beat West Indies, which beat New Zealand," I said. "In cricket, you can never tell, that's why they have the third umpire."

"That may be so, the wife said, "but I would like you to tell me, is India among the first five in the world or the second five?"

"Right now among the first five, meaning the four semi-finalists plus one in the Wills, but in Singer, India beat Sri Lanka and lost to Pakistan, which beat Sri Lanka and lost to Pakistan, which beat Sri Lanka, thus coming third out of three, mainly because of the run rate, which, as the Indian manafer said, does not matter."

"So what happens now?" the wife asked.

"If India beats Pakistan in the Pepsi in the first game and loses in the second game, and if South Africa beats Pakistan in the second game and loses to India in the first game, and Pakistan wins the first game against South Africa, then the team rankings will change dramatically," I said.

"Does that mean Sri Lanka will not be world champion?" the wife asked.

"That would depend on South Africa becoming the Pepsi champions, and Sri Lanka going to South Africa on a tour and beating South Africa, while India losing to England on its English tour. That would make it a new ball game."

 
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