Category Archives: Cricket

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.

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

Army’s loss is Royal Challengers’ gain.

I am a die hard Dravid and Kumble fan and hence by extension RCB fan as well.  And for me, Dhoni is good but slightly overrated. So I am pretty excited that RCB defeated CSK in the semifinals yesterday. So now its an eclectic mix of youngsters and old war horses who would be plying their trade in the finals today.

After the last year’s debacle, Royal Challengers was probably the most criticized team followed closely by Deccan Chargers. At least Deccan had chosen so called “correct” people for a T20 team. RCB had inducted “Test” players so the naysayers said. But if you look closely, the core of RCB is still the same. May be its Kumble’s  magic or may be as Ray Jennigs said they got tired of losing. Whatever it is, it is an amazing turn around.

And this is good for the game. Now probably everybody would understand that greats would always be great, in all forms of the game. The way Gilly smashed Delhi bowlers was soul stirring. I bet there was no one who did not wish that Gilly should have prolonged his international career.

Oh by he way, the young tyro Manish Pandey was born in Nainital. His father is in the army and he himself had thought about joining the army if his cricketing career does not take off. Well after two back to back MOM awards, Army would have to wait.

Life is strange.

The oldest player in the side is now leading Royal Challengers Bangalore.  Cynics would say that this anyways is a test side. In old news Rahul Dravid became the first Icon player to complete 500 runs in IPL.

In some more older news Akash Chopra, KKR discard is now a member of the expert panel on Sony. So far he has stuck to cricket and not resorted to any salesmanship. He is also dignified enough to talk nicely about his (ex)team.