Statistics are like …

Some days back (Ok months actually) I had come up with some statistics courtesy the friendly stats guru. Now Andy Zaltzman has come with some gems of his own. Read it here.

While the whole article brings up some really interesting points, the conclusions drawn from the statistics are simply fab.

Conclusions:

1: Nothing.
2: If you judge players entirely on double-centuries and 10-wicket hauls, you may not present yourself with an entirely accurate view of their skills.
3: Kallis is an inferior cricketer to both Guy Whittall and Chris Pringle.

• Here’s another quirky one for you: Muralitharan has hit more Test sixes than Graham Gooch, Keith Miller, Martin Crowe or Wally Hammond. (Which possibly explains why Murali was signed by an IPL franchise, but none of the others were. Least of all Hammond, who, admittedly, is past his best, but would have been worth a few dollars in his pomp.)

• And Waqar Younis has a higher winning percentage as a Test captain than any of Clive Lloyd, Mike Brearley or Mark Taylor.

Oh well if now I could just push the stats of this blog as well.

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Slam Bang Oh Please Shut Up

No please don’t get me wrong. I have no sadistic traits, at least  they have not been discovered yet. But today I was actually enjoying the discomfort of Dilshan and company. Too bad that it had to be abandoned mid way.  But I will get to that a bit later.

Frankly I did not enjoy the current India-Sri Lanka series at all. The bat dominated a bit too much and it was not bowler’s fault at all. The pitches were so very placid and the boundaries so very short. I absolutely cringed every time Arun Lal said “That’s a monstrous hit” when it actually landed only 73 meters away. Also I can bet Dilshan would not be playing that scoop on a Perth or Durban track.

Here is what Harsha Bhogle has to say on Rajkot’s match

Rajkot was a cricket occasion, not a cricket match. It was a spectacle, not a contest. It wasn’t good for cricket.

He further says

The ball was rendered incapable of throwing up a challenge. At the heart of cricket’s magic, the reason all of us are so enamoured by it, is the fact that every ball is a contest. The bowler conceives the challenge, sets his line, his length, his movement, the placement of fielders, and presents it to the batsman, who must then unravel it and respond.

And then there is another challenge. It is relentless and it must be that way. The moment the delivery of the ball to a batsman is no longer a challenge, the contest ceases. It is no longer cricket. Or maybe it would be to the same extent that boxing would remain a sport if each boxer is allowed three minutes at a punching bag and the winner determined by who hits the bag better.

Many cheered, as they might have in ancient Rome when Christians were thrown to the lions. The hitting of a boundary was no longer an event, no longer a victory for the bat over the ball. It was routine, almost par for the course. Was the bowler thinking of getting a batsman out or was he fearing where he was going to be hit? Was there a sigh of relief at a dot ball? Did submission accompany a bowler back to his mark in place of aggression.

This brings us back to today’s game.  Of course the pitch had variable bounce. A few went to the keeper on second bounce and a few leapt up from length in the same over. But didn’t batsmen play on uncovered pitches earlier without the protective armour. Also suppose, just suppose,  had the bounce been consistent with pronounced movement of the seam, would Arun Lal, Ravi Shastri and even the venerable Sunil Gavaskar called this a good pitch? I doubt. Because now the definition of a good pitch is when the batsman can just plonk his foot and hit through the line without caring for line and length.

I wonder would we see bowling machines instead of bowlers in the team in the future because pretty soon no body would want to be a bowler.

It could have been a masterpiece

While others might be going gaga over the Aamir Khan/Raju Hirani latest movie “3 Idiots”, I beg to differ a bit. No doubt that the movie was very good and for most of the time, I was holding my stomach and laughing my guts out. And living my college life once again as well. But still after coming out of the cinema hall, the feeling was of coming from a grand feast where the dessert had a bit too much sugar.

After all, Hirani had earlier directed the Munna Bhai series and Aamir has given us “Taare Zameen Par”. (I am not counting the mindless violence and gore of “Ghajini”, so what if it is one of the highest grosser of all time). Films that have set the benchmark in moralistic story telling without being preachy.  Films that had very taut story line with not a scene out of place.

For a long time, I have been complaining about our education system. We do not allow creativity and independent thinking at all. And here the movie gets it spot on. In its unique sartorial style it brings the deficiency of the education system to the fore. I am sure a lot of people (including me) would actually identify with the character of “Chatur” more than anyone else.  Also the chamatkar/balatkar speech is simply fabulous for the point it makes.

However, certain scenes like the baby delivery sequence  are a bit jarring in the movie. They are improbable and unnecessarily extend the length of the movie, and well effectively, repeat the same point over and over again.

A little bit of scissor wielding and this could have been the Movie of the Decade for me. Sadly it just falls at the finish line.

Being a Robin.

Today, India became the no. 1 Test side in the world. While I may miss an occasional hour or two of a match, I still think that Test cricket is the purest form of cricket. There is no better sight in the world  than a fast bowler steaming-in in slightly overcast conditions with four slips, gully, point and cover. And if the batsman on the other end is of the caliber of  Dravid, then the contest is simply riveting.  Just who can forget the match at Headingly where he blunted everything England threw at him.

This being  a lazy Sunday evening, I decided to do some casual number crunching of my own. This was to identify who among the batsmen has the most profound effect in India reaching where it is. And what result this has thrown in.

Any statistical analysis needs to be baselined. Arguably, India reached its cricketing nadir in 1999-2000 series against Australia in Australia. Just mention this series in front of Ajit Agarkar and see him sweat. Nothing went right for India except for Player of the series award to Sachin and that magnificent century by Laxman. Since then India has only gone better.  So lets see how India has fared since that series. In this period, India has played 102 Test matches winning 40 and losing 26 with the highest score being 726 and lowest 76.

I have taken the liberty of adding Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh to the Fab Four. Sehwag is a natural inclusion and with the retirement of Ganguly, Yuvraj is a regular feature in the Indian Side. So here is the overall record

Overall Record

Player Test Runs HS Avg 100.
Rahul Dravid 101 8506 270 55.96 22
Sachin Tendulkar 88 7080 248 53.63 21
VVS Laxman 91 6117 281 49.33 13
Saurav Ganguly 80 4754 239 39.61 9
Virendar Sehwag 72 6248 319 52.50 17
Yuvraj Singh 31 1545 169 36.78 3

Very good record all round. Now lets see how do these batsmen fare in home and away tests.

Home Series

Player Test Runs HS Avg 100.
Rahul Dravid 46 3683 222 53.37 11
Sachin Tendulkar 42 3290 201 52.22 10
VVS Laxman 42 2703 281 51.98 6
Saurav Ganguly 35 2068 239 39.76 5
Virendar Sehwag 34 3202 319 56.17 9
Yuvraj Singh 14 861 169 45.31 1

Away Series

Player Test Runs HS Avg 100.
Rahul Dravid 55 4823 270 58.10 11
Sachin Tendulkar 46 3790 248 54.92 11
VVS Laxman 49 3414 178 47.41 7
Saurav Ganguly 45 2686 144 39.50 4
Virendar Sehwag 38 3046 309 49.12 8
Yuvraj Singh 17 684 122 29.73 2

Lets see how these players fare in won and lost matches.

Matches that India Won

Player Test Runs HS Avg 100.
Rahul Dravid 39 3810 270 74.70 11
Sachin Tendulkar 35 3163 248 67.29 12
VVS Laxman 35 2364 281 50.29 4
Saurav Ganguly 31 1944 136 46.28 4
Virendar Sehwag 27 2382 309 59.55 5
Yuvraj Singh 13 585 85 39.00 0

Matches that India Lost

Player Test Runs HS Avg 100.
Rahul Dravid 27 1410 92 27.11 0
Sachin Tendulkar 22 1457 155 33.88 2
VVS Laxman 22 1131 109 29.00 1
Saurav Ganguly 23 1105 87 24.555 0
Virendar Sehwag 17 1246 201 36.64 3
Yuvraj Singh 6 389 122 32.41 2

In matches that India has won, Dravid averages whopping 7 runs more than the world’s best batsman. Yet, Dravid would always be  the Robin, never the Batman. Its time that we start acknowledging people who just do their job.

Player

Test

Runs

HS

Avg

100.

Rahul Dravid

46

3683

222

53.37

11

Sachin Tendulkar

42

3290

201

52.22

10

VVS Laxman

42

2703

281

51.98

6

Saurav Ganguly

35

2068

239

39.76

5

Virendar Sehwag

34

3202

319

56.17

9

Yuvraj Singh

14

861

169

45.31

1

My new vehicle.

After driving a compact car for five years (a Maruti WagonR), we are planning to buy a bigger car. After all, if we want to move up in the social hierarchy, we have to have a bigger car. Like all good planners, me and my wife sat down and made a requirement list. Here it goes

  • Should be loooong.
  • Should have plenty of leg space.
  • Should have plenty of seating space for expanding family.
  • Should be strong and sturdy.
  • Easy maneuverability.
  • Rugged so that we can take it to places beyond the usual weekend getaways.

After very careful selection, we have got a winner here. You can read more about this here

Our next "Car"

Our next "Car"

Imagine how much fun it would be to drive this beauty on the Delhi roads. No need to worry about lunatic Blue line drivers who drive on the right most lane and change lanes without caring for traffic just behind them; those idiot motorcyclist who overtake from the left after you have given a left turn signal; those stupid expensive car drivers who think that it was their forefathers who built the road and hence they can get away with anything.

Imagine,  driving just in front of above mentioned category at an irritating pace of 10 kmph. Any signs of dissent can be crushed by just a gentle movement of that M2 Browning machine gun. Road rage, my foot.

The Case of the aborted checkouts

As a user I have used CVS a lot but don’t have much experience with CVS administration. Still I took the onerous task of setting up a CVS server for my team. I can already here some snigger here but then we don’t really need Git and  heck, I am a programmer and I have every rights to be lazy.  I wanted to set up appropriate restrictions and allow read only access to the server as well. After some trial and error, I managed that and created some empty repositories for good measures, tested it on Linux and rolled it out for production use.

Imagine my horror, when the first users (that is apart from me) complained of aborted checkout errors. Even after specifying the correct server and repository path, TortoiseCVS would throw the following error message

cvs checkout: cannot open CVS/Entries for reading: No such file or directory

Soon everybody started to complain about the same problem. All users had TortoiseCVS on Windows and sure enough when I tried the same on Windows, I got the same error.  After playing around with some settings and blaming Windows, TortoiseCVS, CVSNT in that particular order and then blaming myself for making some mistake while setting up the server, I proceeded to “twiddling thumbs and sulking in a corner” role.

After coming back from work, I casually mentioned this to my wife and immediately she said “Elementary my dear Watson. It must be pruning empty directories and since the repository is currently empty …..”. And sure enough, right in the preference box, this option was staring in my face.  Once I unchecked that, voila the error message disappeared.

Things are working fine now and I think I can add CVS administration to my resume now

Moral of the story: Wives == Sherlock Holmes

Loyal than the king

I saw a very lively and informed debate yesterday on CNN -IBN. See a related article by the host of the show, Sagarika Ghosh. On panel were Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Ravi Shankar Prasad, and Rama Chandra Guha. The topic of discussion was Mr. Jaswant Singh’s book on Jinnah and the Gujrat’s government order of banning the same. While it was apparent that neither of the two politician had actually taken out the time to go through the book, they were merely intent to kowtow to their respective party agenda. Guha on the other hand was in a belligerent mood. Like the great batsmen of his books on cricket, he was smashing all arguments put forward by Singhvi and Prasad. It was really hard to believe that Singhvi is a respected lawyer as well such was the force of Guha’s arguments.

On the same note, some days back Shashi Tharoor had also tweeted that all sorts of thoughts are encouraged in Congress. He forgot to mention that in none of these thoughts anybody dares to criticize the Nehru-Gandhi family.  The man who actually resurrected Congress, a certain Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao, is no longer talked about only because

  • He did not belong to the “Family”
  • Sonia Gandhi was not powerful at that time and Narasimha Rao was not averse to becoming the center of power in Congress.

As for BJP, right now, its a sinking ship. Clueless after losing the by-elections, state elections and now finally the general elections, they have no where to hide. Right now they simply have to  follow RSS. It was not about Anti-Patel that has triggered this, rather it is pro-Jinnah stand that they must oppose. For anti-Jinnah, anti-Pakistan, anti-Muslim and Hindutva is somehow related in their twisted and warped thinking.

So as Sagarika Ghosh summed it up, every body is trying to be more loyal than the king.