Showing posts with label cricket. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cricket. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

IPL - a Bad Habit

There have been lots of positive and negative reviews on and about people involved in IPL. Be it the cricketing angle of the cannibalization of the longer forms of the game or the excessive physical demands on the players or the razzmatazz of the owners, promoters, cheerleaders or the rigmarole of the moronic commentators or the power fight between the commissioners and the ministers, IPL has got too much variations of below-par stuff.

Just like a bowler specializing in not-having-a-speciality, IPL which provides good quality of nothing still manages to garner eyeballs and mindspace. Nonetheless, I feel IPL is like smoking; just like the inability of the smokers to get rid of smoking even if they want to, I find it hard to let IPL go from the real estate of my mind. I hate watching/following IPL in any form of media but I am ending up following it in all.

IPL is a very bad habit.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mongoose Bat

Please do not think this post is about some National Geographic topic on Mongooses and bats, it is the latest invention in cricket which is 'supposed' to revolutionize it.

More details about this 'bat' can be read here; but I fail to understand how a shortened bat will become more powerful when it is alwyas believed bigger and wider the better for bats (not only there!!). But the aerodynamic bat mentioned in the link does sound interesting.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Flynn loses Teeth!

Poor Daniel Flynn got two of his teeth removed, thanks to a "well-directed" bouncer from James Andersen. Incidentally, this is Flynn's second test in his very first tour for the black caps. In the earlier match, his first, his contribution with the bat was well appreciated by Vettori.

One tooth came off on impact and the other was removed later! Uff...Not a "gentle"-man's game....

Courtesy: Youtube

Friday, May 23, 2008

Can Sachin help Dhoni?

With all the help from the rain-gods, Chennai are one step closer to the semifinal spot. The rains went in their favour in the match against Kolkata and Kolkata suffered again against Delhi where Delhi also had to share the pain.

With Delhi at 13 and Chennai at 14 points and Delhi having 1 match and Chennai having 2 matches, the probability should favour Chennai. With one game against Rajasthan, I do not fancy Chennai to win. The other match is against Deccan Chargers which no one can predict. If one of Gilly, Afridi fires the match is gone. All these can be put to rest if Mumbai can defeat Delhi. If that happens, Delhi would be stuck at 13 and Chennai can qualify irrespective of what happens in its own matches.

So my dream line-up for the IPL semifinals might not happen. In all likelihood it is going to be Rajasthan, Punjab, Mumbai and Chennai.

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.

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.

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?

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, 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.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


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....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saurav Dada aa jao

My friend Vijaykrishna gives suggestions on how to make the current Indian team more interesting by bringing on Saurav Ganguly back.

He raises points like:
  • If, perchance, India were to win a game (against the likes of Namibia, Surinam, Burkina Faso etc) .....
  • Since the Indian team’s cricket isn’t worth watching, we could at least have some Chappell-Ganguly showdowns .....

Read the full post.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Catching catching catching

Probably one of the best....

Now the opposite....

How much happy was Tony Greig! He sounds happier than when yelling for Sanath Jaaysuriya's boundary or Sacheeen Tendulkaaar...