Sehwag sees India through!

August 17, 2010

What an innings, Viru! A very un-Sehwag-ian innings, reminded me of the Test innings he played at Galle in 2008. A very sedate start and some patchy strokes gave way later to a match (and bonus point) winning innings. Strangely enough, Sehwag managed to average the innings out almost a run-a-ball.

Cheap Lankan tricks notwithstanding, that should have been a hundred!


Finally, some truth: Dravid scores over Tendulkar

August 17, 2010

A new study by economists at University of Ulster and University of Queensland that has the India media whining, rates Dravid and Sehwag over Tendulkar. While many fans may express surpize over the results, close watchers of cricket would agree that mere averages do not truly reflect a value of a player and the study brings to light what many of us have been screaming about for years!

This study rates a rough 60 in a total of 200-odd over 200 in total of 600.

There are several tables with rankings for different parameters . The “Top Fifty Batsmen in Test Cricket” rates Dravid, Ponting at 4, Kallis at 5, Tendulkar at 7 and Sehwag and Kambli at 8. This uses the Gini co-efficient to measure the “evenness of results”. We see similar ratings for “Home and Away Certainty Scores”, “The Relation between Individual and the Rest of Team”. In another table “Contributions to Their Team Score by the Top 50 Batsmen in Test Cricket”, Dravid ranks 5, while Sehwag and Tendulkar rank 6. It is noteworthy here to mention that Sehwag is at 6th position, having played in only72 innings; Dravid’s rank was from167 innings and Tendulkar’s was from 209. What is more reflective of this is the “Ranking by Average, Value-Adjusted Average, and Value-Added Adjustment” where Sehwag leads Indian batsmen with a value adjusted average of 79, Dravid with 71 and Tendulkar at 70.

While it can be argued that such studies have their biases (Laxman does not feature here) and uses the right set of parameters to crank out the right set of results, one cannot help but notice that if there is real value, it will shine beyond mere hyperbole.

This paper is a must read for the nerdy amonst cricket fans. It can be downloaded from the Berkeley Electronic Press.


Dravid! Oh dear Dravid!

August 10, 2010

It pains a fan to see the idol nearly fall. The fall here is only in the mind, but the damage nearly the same.

Any follower of Dravid would be disheartened to the see his decline over the years. Even to acknowledge the pattern as decline is harsh for us. Back in 2007-08, the averages were falling, the man was dropped from ODIs, was struggling to put bat to ball, was getting bowled uncharecteristically early in his innings, and we said then he was only out of form and that class had to be permanent. But many did not agree. Even the self professed Dravid fan, Balajhi, urged Dravid to go. Yet the very stubborn amongst us held on to the hope. And we were rewarded. The class returned in 2009. Dravid scored prolificly in the tour to New Zealand and ended the 2009-10 season with a dizzying average of 95.3 and we cheered the return of the Wall !

The new season has not begun too well for dear Dravs. The current SL series has left him with an average of 19 and a top score of 44. And the skeptics and pained fans alike have returned. SB suggests Dravid do some thinnking for it is not befitting of a great man to “plunge into the realm of statistically good”. While I agree with the essense of SB’s argument, numbers do not tell the entire tale. Dravid is now merely short of runs. The class the there, the feet are moving, the strokes are there, the runs need to add up. I do however have my doubts. Dravid has statistically been a better player overseas. The next two series against the Aussies and NZ are in India. It will almost be end of year when India begin their tour of South Africa. Dravid needs to score some big ones at home for the comfort feel to return. The Champions League in South Africa will give us some cues.

Despite the odds, the fan always hopes, hopes for not only the best, but for the near impossible too. There was life in Dravid’s exult when Laxman lead India to victory in the third test a few days. That to me in the spirit of a man determined to succeed. Prove me right, Dravs!


India’s tour of SL: Laxman leads India to victory; series level

August 9, 2010

In a scintilating day of Test cricket, fans of this form of the game revelled in its beauty and unpredictability. Test cricket is alive and kicking, folks. All one needs is a good pitch (and not to mention decent bowlers). After several months, I watched nearly the whole day of the proceedings, like one would watch a limited over game.

When Tendulkar and Laxman came out to bat needing over 200 runs to score, it was easy to write India off, specially with the abysmal fourth innings record we have had. Apart from Adelaide 2003, and in the 2008 (Chennai?) Test, we haven’t chased and won a Test in the last decade. Year 2008 involved a blinding Sehwagian innings to setup the victory; Year 2003 was a long time ago; Dravid and Laxman were in their prime. Laxman proved that today, he still is! Battling pain and nerves, he batted like a champion that he is, scored a sedate century and saw India through. I must admit that while Laxman was batting, I was never worried that he might get out. So calm and assured was the stroke play that if one hadn’t known about the back spasm and didn’t see the runner, one wouldn’t know that there was something wrong. He played his classing “knock-the-outside-off-legside” stroke, only to score regularly and almost single handedly win it for India.

Special mention must also go to Suresh Raina. I must admit, I’m really turning into a fan. I’ve been very skeptical of his technique. It was a dream Test debut for him indeed. The true test will come in foreign conditions. If he can repeat this in either South Africa/England, he will cement his place and have usurped Yuvraj “very fat” Singh for good.

Congratulations, Laxman and India!


India’s tour of SL – Test 3 – Day 3

August 5, 2010

Now this is what you call a Test. This is more exciting than adrenaline overdosed T20. The match is evenly poised now, esp, with Sehwag snatching both openers. Earlier in the day, the Indian middle order collapsed again. Raina played very well to get to his 62. I’m turning into a fan. If only he could do this well overseas. Laxman got his trademark half century, but one expected more of him. I don’t have high expectations for Dhoni the batsmen, so wasn’t exactly surprized by the proceedings. I just had a smug smile when he was dismissed for 15.

Mishra and Mithun batted brilliantly and showed more poise that the top order (minus Sehwag). I hope that SB is wrong when he says this might be the last of Mishra we see for sometime.

The first session will be crucial tomorrow. India need to pile on the pressure and get 2-3 wickets and wrap the SL innings quickly to get a result. I think this series deserves another result.