Category Archives: Sports

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.







Rahul Dravid






Sachin Tendulkar






VVS Laxman






Saurav Ganguly






Virendar Sehwag






Yuvraj Singh







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.

Why I follow IPL on cricinfo

After promising all and sundry that I would not watch IPL, I reneged. After all, Rahul Dravid and others of my generation are performing so well. For some, the sun has already set on their international cricket, for some its the last rays of their golden dusk. But they have proved that when it comes to excellence, only skills count and not the age.

However, the telecast on Sony sucks big time.Enduring Mandira, Arun Lal and Samir Kochar requires a lot of patience. And perhaps Chang should stick to hosting Indian Idol. Imagine he asked Ross Taylor, “Are you happy that you are not playing in this game”. Grimace.

And then it is such a shame to see legendary cricketers and television presenters turning into desperate salesmen. I am sure that day is not far when a wicketkeeper would be pepping up the bowler by saying , “Aayega aayega ek city moment of success aayega”, instead of the usual “ek wicket aayega is over mein” or the spectators would not be asking for 6 but rather a DLF maximum. Such crass commercialization.

That is why I have the television on mute and for experts comments, I am tuning into Cricinfo.

PS : I do hope that Sehwag would give Glen Mcgrath a chance soon.

Update: I read this on cricinfo regarding the commentary.

Amazing wit

Unlike his batting, Sunil Gavaskar’s commentary is hard hitting and contains great one-liners. During yesterday’s T20 India-Sri Lanka match he came up with one such gem.

Describing Pathan brothers partenership he said, “They must do to Sri Lanka what Lehman Brothers did to the world”. Ouch

An enthralling book.

It is going to be a prolific day for me. After all two blog post on a single day from me tantamount to 150 that Gautam Gambhir scored today :P.

Ok Ok. I think I should get back to the point. Some days back, I had blogged about an article by Ramachandra Guha on Anil Kumble. Mighty impressed by that, I bought this enthralling read “A Corner of a Foreign Field” by the same author.  The book analyses the Indian psyche with regards to cricket. After all, just recently ICC created a mini storm in India by not including Tendulkar in its list of greatest batsmen. The book explores how cricket was first played by British soldiers in India and then how slowly, natives started liking the game. It also gives an interesting insight into the politics and the social system of the times.

Parsis, who followed everything British, were the first ones to adopt the game. Interestingly nationalist like Dadabhai Naroji also had a keen following in the game. Slowly others started to follow the game, reasons and means being different for everyone.

Now we have reached a stage where perfect strangers can discuss the game passionately for hours. Remember the Reliance ad “Square cut maarna tha na yaar”.

We should have been taught history in this manner only.What games did Ibrahim Lodhi followed? Did Auranzeb play “Gilli-Danda”?  Then I am sure I would have maxed history paper. 🙂