Showing posts with label Misc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Misc. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Laxman betrayed us!

Had Very very sappai Laxman been there, Chennai Super Kings would have won. Because of his absence, this happened.

It is to be accepted beyond the slightest of doubts that Hayden and Hussey have left a big hole, not only in the Super Kings' top order, but also in the confidence of the team as a whole. It was not that both these lefty aussies fired together, in fact Hayden was hardly closer to his usual. The batting order minus these two seems extremely brittle, where a bowler can run through the side. The problem is exacerbated with the weird logic of the best batsmen coming lower down the order. In the matches against Deccan Chargers and Rajasthan Royals, Dhoni came at No.6 and in the previous match against Delhi Daredevils, Raina came at No.6. In the shortened format, the best batsmen should be the ones to deal with the bowlers as early as possible. And, we are not playing in Manchester or Lord's where the new ball will talk.

Luckily for the Super Kings, the bottom 4 teams are struggling even more and they are still retaining their position needed to qualify for the semi-finals. But I expect a close fight among Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knightriders and Deccan Chargers for the 4th place for the semis. With the arrival of Akhtar, Kolkata looks a formidable bowling attack with Gul and Ishant to augment. But I am not quite sure about their batting though. Deccan Chargers are filled with players who can turn the match single-handedly: Gibbs, Gilchrist, Afridi and Styris. Rohit Sharma and RP Singh are also decent performers in the line-up.

I should say the IPL has lived up to its expectation and it has not been a damp squib. It might be true that it has reached a plateau now in terms of viewership after the initial days which might pick up again during the knock-out stages, the interest in the match results though has not subsided.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A brief IPL Analysis

Amidst some posts and allegations that Chennai Super Kings team is devoid of local talent (and that other teams are brimming with the same!), I started collecting some statistics about the 16 IPL matches so far. Having started to collect data, I did not restrict myself to the local talent question. The variables I wanted to test (yeah, some jargon!) were: Number of locals (local means local, like Ganguly in Kolkata, unlike Murali Kartik in Kolkata), Nationality of Player of the match, Number of Lefties in the top 7 of batting order, Toss decision, Result for team winning the toss and whether the team that won had chased or defended. This entire analysis is based only on the first 16 matches of IPL and no prior T20 statistics have been incorporated.

First, the local talent part. As per the playing 11 of the teams in the 16 matches so far, 26.9% of the team composition is local. The cumulative number of locals was 95 out of 352(for 16*2*11: 16 for matches, 2 for number of teams per match, and 11 for number of players per team). So as per the average about 3 players (obviously rounded off) in each team should be proper local talent. So, it is to be accepted that teams like Rajasthan Royals and Chennal Super Kings are not meeting the cut in terms of giving opportunities to local talent pool. (For Chennai Super Kings defense: Get back Murali Kartik, Dinesh Kartik!)

Second, the nationality of the player of the matches. It may be called the Indian Premier League, but 13 out of the 16 MoM awards have gone to non-Indian players. The 3 from India are Virender Sehwag (Delhi Daredevils vs Hyderabad Deccan Chargers), Yousuf Pathan (Rajasthan Royals vs Deccan Chargers) and MS Dhoni (Chennai Super Kings vs Bangalore Royal Challengers). With the departure of some of the key foreign players, the count may now tilt towards the Indian players. Hey, apart from Sehwag, the so called icons (iconic players, heh!) like Yuvraj, Laxman, Dravid, Ganguly have done rather poorly so far. Tendulkar has not done anything. Hope he gets well soon.

Third, the lefties at the top of the order. The cumulative lefties count in the top 7 of batting order is 77 out of 224 (16 matches * 2 teams per match * 7 players per team), which comes close to 35% or 2.5 left handed batsmen in the top order. So, Chennai Super Kings with their 5 lefties are far above the cut. Is this the reason for their success so far?

Fourth, about whether the 20-20 format supports the defending team or the chasing team. Out of the 16 matches, an overwhelming 75% of the matches have been won by teams batting second. Of the 4 matches won defending, 3 had targets in excess of 200. In the other one, Bangalore Royal Challengers somehow managed to lose against Chennai Super Kings. As the commentators on Set Max put it, they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Bottom-line, very difficult to defend if the team batting first has not put up in excess of 200 or if the chasing team is not Bangalore!

Now, for the surprise element: Toss. In spite of knowing the success rate of the chasing team (75%), in 6 out of the 16 matches alone (or 37.5%) , the toss-winning captain has elected to bat first. No wonder, the toss-winning team has won only 5 out of the 16 or 31%. Given this, there is only one team has won the toss, chose to bat and still won. Easy guess, the team is Dhoni's Super Kings and they have done it twice. I know the saying (or the now proverb!), "Statistics are like bikinis, what they reveal is suggestive, what they hide is essential". But I see a pattern in this format in India in IPL which strongly favours the chasing team and not many in the team managements seem to notice it.

The spreadsheet which I used for this analysis (yes, I am idle) is available here.

Update 1: 17th Match: My hypothesis about the fate of defending or chasing. Proved right: the defending team won - my claim was one can defend if the score is more than 200 or if the opponent is Bangalore. Delhi safely defended against "Bangalore" in spite of scoring less than 200.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Some ad!

This is a replication of a post from India-Uncut. This ad is just too good to resist.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Quote!

Success comes not from what you can do; it comes from what you do

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Cricket Controversies

As is effusively discussed and debated in the blogosphere and elsewhere, the Sydney test match will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. The causes for this state are four-fold: one, pathetic umpiring (See the Youtube Video on this); two, alleged racist remarks; three, sledging; four, poor sportsmanship.

No doubt, the standards of umpiring should not have stooped so far. If there are stringent behavioural requirements on the players, why not have a more strict guidelines for the officials as well. True, to err is human, but to err consistently is insane. This poor umpiring might be the reason for the other three to go beyond control.

Racist remarks and sledging are tightly coupled. What is racist to one may not be so for the other. Who is to define in which context (Indian/Australian) the remark is to be interpreted? "Tere Maa ki..." can be a not-so-abnormal remark in Punjabi, Monkey could be a racist remark to Symonds, but whatever it is, it depends on the acceptability of sledging as a concept in the game. I personally feel sledging inevitably happens in one form or the other whenever you play a game. So it may be difficult to drive out sledging from Cricket also. If sledging has to be accepted, it is difficult to regulate what is exchanged.

After all, there is always a human element to everything. If Ponting or Symonds reiterated to Kumble that Monkey is a very offensive remark (!), instead of going to the umpires and the (super-judge) Procter, things could have been dramatically different. The lack of sportsmanship allegation might not have come up at all, all the ill-feelings would have been restricted to India-Umpires in the place of aggravating to an India-Australia conflict.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Radiohead to Onbadhu Roobai Nottu

What's common to Radiohead and the soon to be released tamil movie Onbadhu roobai nottu: they come at a price of zero.

Radiohead got into the headlines due to their weird (innovative?) pricing strategy of pay what you want. In a rational world, no one who buys the album should pay for it. But not all are rational. Radiohead did make some money, whether it is big or small is a totally disparate issue.

Now a tamil movie Onbathu roobai nottu (Nine rupee currency) is coming up with a similar concept. In all of the Pyramid company owned theatres in Tamilnadu, the movie is to be screened free without any ticket. Post the show, the audience is expected to pay or rather give how much ever they feel the movie is worth by depositing cash in a hundi. At first thought, the revenue model looks like a road side koothu happening in the rural streets. This strategy carries with it one basic risk: people not paying up after the movie. All these revenue models based on the concept of tipping the waiter at a restaurant will not hold when there is minimal or no eye contact with the waiter (or producer) and hence no one to self-coerce oneself not to be stingy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Was Cricket really founded by English?

In normal English, in a string of adjectives, the last one is considered the most fundamental characteristic,and the first one the least fundamental.

Thus a fast-medium bowler *ought* to be fundamentally medium,while a medium-fast bowler ought to be fundamentally fast. Thus cricket terminology has chosen to go against the conventions of the English language.

Couldn't figure out the rationale behind this obvious flouting of norms?

Politiquote!

In capitalism man exploits man.
In communism it's the other way round.

Btw, how to file patent for "Politiquote"? ;)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Paradox of Left

Most rights want things to be left alone.
Left alone thinks otherwise.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Jelly bean vs Indian cricket lovers


It seems of the above two, the one on the right has more impact on the Indian cricketers than the one on the left. Never mind if the bitter pill of Jelly Bean brings an Indian victory.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Profiting from Mortality

There is no limit to the creativity of man, especially those from Wall Street.

At the outset, it may seem like a simple Asset backed investment. The finance engineers have cooked up a product which is backed by the Life Insurance settlements of numerous people - the earlier the underlying policy holders' death - the sooner the profits. No wonder these products are termed as 'Death' Bonds. The best part about this is well summarized in the following,

Firms say death bonds should return around 8% a year, right between the expected returns of stocks and Treasury bonds. Moreover, they're "uncorrelated assets," meaning their performance isn't tied to what's happening in other markets. After all, death rates don't rise or fall based on what's happening to commodities, say. Uncorrelated assets like these are highly prized in an increasingly connected global financial system.


I now clearly understand what an 'uncorrelated' investment is worth - life. What is not clear to me in such products is how the underlying policy holders are ready to accept the securitization concept when people are placing (though not explicitly) their bets on their death. The speculators may take out policies on the individual's behalf, pay them something up front, cover the premiums and then wait for the people to die. Seriously macabre. The most important of all questions in my mind is how these bonds be valued? The underlying policies may be those of healthy 30 year olds or octogenarians or terminally ill patients.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Chennai autos, bikes and policy comedies

Why are the auto fare meters being checked/calibrated by Chennai traffic police/RTOs?
Why do these autos are fitted with 'digital' meters?
Does the chief minister think lives of women and children are less valuable than men's?
Is the life of a motorist less valuable than a pedestrian's?

'Fare' is homonymous with 'Fair' to the perceptive ear. A perennial woe of a Chennai-wasi - including those who visit this city - is the badgering haggling of an autorickshaw driver. I have always wondered why these autos have a meter that get periodically checked by the Chennai traffic police/Regional Transport Offices. In the last 2-3 years, a period during which I have been in Chennai for about 3 months (cumulatively) without my own personal mode of transport, I was forced to use the autos for commutation and I have not had the experience of using the fare-meter even once.

I thought of opening this topic up in the public discussion forum of the Chennai traffic police website. But I had to change plans on looking at the most recent complaint there - which is just about 3 years old. At a time when some discipline is being brought about with the two-wheelers, it would be great if a meter-use-a-must policy is strictly enforced with the three-wheelers as well.

I was thinking the fare demanded impromptu by the driver would be about 20-25% more than the actual meter fare. But I was surprised to learn that they charge about 50% more (impromptu fare demanded from West Mambalam to KK Nagar is Rs.40, while the meter fare would come to Rs.19 for the same journey).

Moving on to the recent two-wheeler helmet use policy of the TN government, I fail to understand the reason behind enforcing the rule. If the rationale behind the rule is to prevent head injuries and hence save the life of the motorists then what is the rationale behind exempting children and women from wearing helmets. Does the chief minister think lives of women and children are less valuable than men's?

If helmets can safeguard the heads, the omnipresent speed-breakers (aka back breakers) can chronically harm bikers' spines. Not just these are harmful to the spines, many are the cause of accidents as an unaware vehicle suddenly applies brakes to be hit by the vehicle at its back, two wheelers sliding if the friction on the road is less. Most speed-breakers are mounds made of tar by the local menial worker at the corporation office and not one supervised by an engineer. This is not a man-eat-man world, to safeguard the pedestrian it is not advisable to kill the motorist. Is any octagenarian listening?

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My Principles in Life

I am not a Buddha or someone who can give Gyan to others, but following are my sets of principles that ensures I am not disturbed and I do not disturb others (even though I may not make others happy)

1. All are equal - no person is superior to another. A master is not superior to his servant, a husband is not superior to his wife, a father not superior to his sons, a son not superior to his father - all are equal, all are individuals, this is my first and foremost principle

2. Respect others' opinion - you are an individual, the other person is an individual - read principle 1

3. Listen when others talk - you have some knowledge, you have lots to learn from others. How much ever you know, the sum total of others' opinions is many times more than your knowledge. Re-read principles 1 and 2.

4. Be clear on what you want out of life - this is something that has to be constant throughout one's life, not a fickle wish that keeps on changing as time passes by

5. Live for you first - First make yourself happy, if you cant make yourself happy, you cant make others happy. Life is not cinema. I feel both happiness and bitterness are contagious. If you are happy, you spread the happiness. If you are grudging and resenting, you spread the same feeling.

6. Express your feelings - express both happiness and ill-feelings. But the degree of expression for happiness should be lot more than that of ill-feelings and resentment

7. Be in other person's shoes - Whenever in dispute, think from the point of view of the other person. It may be impractical but it will solve a lot of problems

8. You are a human being - You are just a human, you do not have supernatural powers. Read principle 1. Others know to take care of themselves. If there is a problem between a second person and a third person, it is their problem and not - should not be - yours. Others know to take care of themselves or make a fool of themselves

9. Be confident - Be consistent (across people and time) and you can look at any person's eyes and say anything you want, else you cannot even stand in front of a person who can do so.

10. Be the change you want to see in life - don’t expect others to change for you. Don’t expect anything from others

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Review of Sivaji Trailer

Considering the hype and fanfare surrounding the movie, I personally was expecting a lot more in the trailer than what is being shown now. This is probably the deadliest combination of hero-director-producer in recent times. The total expense of the movie is rumoured to be more than Rs.50 crores. A Shankar movie. An A R Rahman movie. An AVM production. A Rajni movie. Enough reasons for people to get excited about it. The trailer that was released last week was not at all in tune with what the movie should be according to popular expectations. Baba trailers were better than this. I could only hope that the movie turns out lot better than what is shown in the trailer. Lot of tamil movies have excellent trailers but disappoint in the full length version - an example that comes right to my mind is 'Tata Birla', the Goundamani-Parthiban starrer in which the sole good comedy scene was shown in the trailer and everyone expected the movie to be full of such comedy scenes, much to their own disappointment.

Whether it is a conscious decision by Shankar & Co to have a low profile trailer and then surprise with the movie or the trailer is just a predecessor to what is coming next can be answered only after June 15. Let's keep our fingers crossed and keep clicking Satyam cinemas website to catch the action as soon as it starts.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Cheeni Kum - Maestro's music

I was pleasantly surprised to know the music track of Big B - Tabu starrer Cheeni Kum is composed by Ilayaraja. The tracks are mostly refurbishment of his popular earlier tamil tunes - which is both a positive and a negative. Positive as we get to relive the moments of bliss again in an Inox or a PVR, the negative, of course, is we are not getting any new compositions from the maestro. It is definitely a welcome break for the bollywood fans as they get something different from the largely homogenous work of the other music directors.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

We need inspiration

Some things do not change. For winning a world cup, be it any sport, a team needs an inspiration. It can be the captain, coach/manager, a key player. This phenomenon can be tracked to major victories. If we take cricket, it was Kapil Dev in 1983, Allan Border in 1987, Imran Khan in 1992, Ranatunga and De Silva in 1996, Steve Waugh in 2000 (Klusener was also close), Warne in 2004.

Unfortunately, Indian cricket team lacks one such inspiration. Every player just wants to cling on to the team, now the entire team dreams of clinging on the world cup by praying for Bermuda to bring out a surprise against Bangladesh.

Whether or not Bangladesh or Ireland deserve a place in the Super 8 stage, India and Pakistan do not deserve to be there. I personally do not attach much significance to the loss against Bangladesh - it can occur to any team, an one-off occurrence - but yesterday's dismal performance made Indian cricket team reach heights of incompetence.

Firstly, the bowling did not capitalize on the friendly conditions that were available early on. Then again the bowling did not capitalize on the mistakes done by the Lankans in batting, fielding was pathetic as always. Batting, come on, we should better stop calling ourselves even good on paper. Some of the run outs, shot selections, the entire approach towards batting and achieving the target were pathetic.

Sachin Tendulkar kept up his reputation of buckling under pressure. Dravid kept up his record of an abysmal runner between wickets. Uthappa, he only knows what he tries to do in life.

There were lots of deficiencies. All teams have this. But there was absolutely no intent to win. No sense of attacking whatsoever. If one does not want to win, he won't. Indians were a bunch of tired players who deserve to retire after ten to twenty years of service and please they should come out the perception of being matured players and better start restaurants.

Greg Chappell, what has he done to the team? Nothing. He was given the full freedom, two years ahead of this event to do whatever he wants so as to have a commendable performance in this very event. He mixed and matched and tried and we ended up having to experiment even during the world cup. What happened to Pathan - he was promising as an allrounder, all of a sudden, I guess, he ran out of talent, Sehwag was opening the batting all his life (except his first few matches), Sreesanth was preferred over Agarkar in many of the matches in the last season - what happened to him; where is Dinesh Kartik - he was selected in team ahead of Kaif et al as a batsman, he was also good at his job, what happened to him during the world cup. It's not that the Indian players are world beaters and the coach ruined them. Chappell was given the freedom - to sack even the existing captain, Ganguly - so much his capacity was trusted and nothing is achieved now. So it is only logical to remove him from the post. If he cannot do something in two years time, he would not be able to anything even if he is given twenty years.

Btw, I hope Indian players would be the first ones to be 'welcomed' at home, thanks to the Murder investigation which might be carried out with the Pakistan team.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Out of Cash

This is the first time after a really long time I am out of cash. I have exactly 40+ rupees in my wallet and nothing more and no possibility of getting more for at least two weeks. Thanks to my selective amnesia of forgetting the last digit of my 4-digit PIN and a cash deposit at the bank last week I have totally run out of cash.

The last time I had to look at the content of my wallet (or my trouser pocket) before I proceeded to spend was during my standard XII (Year 2ooo!), now after 7 years, doing my MBA, I am in a similar state. In fact, I like this condition when I look at the same old 10-rupee note with a lot more reverence. Suddenly, the rupee has appreciated in its value with respect to me. This really has taken me back to my good old school days where a "note" of rupee made me feel like a millionaire - I would have got 2 Rasnas, 2 Sodas, 4 Caramilk toffees and 2 fruit ice cakes - with the Rs.10!!

The present situation has become quite complicated because of a grid-based debit card which my bank ICICI has sent to my home and which has been promptly cut into 4 pieces by my father assuming it was the usual additional redundant card sent by a bank. So the exact month of expiry of validity is not known to any of us and this happens to be mandatory to get a new PIN from the ICICI bank call center. I have to wait till the courier containing the PIN reaches my home. No doubt, I will be back to my normal ways of a heavy wallet once I get my PIN back.

Considering my situation, the concept of "time value of money" can be temporarily rewritten as a rupee today is worth lot more than it was yesterday, at the same time the rupee today is worth more than it would be tomorrow. So, the present is not the same future to the past as the future is to the present!

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Black-washed

Not many times in the recent past had the Australian cricket team been feeling helpless as they would be today. 5 losses on the trot - a right test of mental toughness for the Aussies. I do not think their mental toughness has been tested of late.

One must give credit first to England and New Zealand. England were in total shambles before and during their Aussie tour which included a 5-0 Ashes whitewash, but for the last three playing days. Thanks to a team effort and the Herculean effort of the present-day-jonty, Collingwood. There were stunning innings, stunning catches, sensible batting and a warne-less Australia could not create the same magic they used to previously.

To rub salt on the wound of the champions (am i right?), they visited their bogey team, New Zealand in their own turf. But what happened in the Kiwi land was one even Stephen Fleming would not have dreamt. A 3-0 whitewash with 3 comprehensive victories, whenever there was a battle the teams shared the honours with Kiwis winning the moral battles. But this time, both the moral battle and the war was won by the Kiwis hands down.

Can Australia come back? They definitely have the potential to do so, but will they? That is not been tested so far with the current bunch of players. Let's see. Looking forward to an evenly contested world cup after 11 years....