Thursday, November 13, 2014

Arbit Stats 37 - Rohit 264

2nd November, 2013 - India vs Australia
Virat Kohli is run out for a duck after a mixup with Rohit Sharma who then proceeds to score 209.

1 year later

13th November, 2014 - India vs Sri Lanka
Virat Kohli is run out for 66 after a mixup with Rohit Sharma who then proceeds to score 264.

End of Arbit Stats 37

For other records which Rohit Sharma broke during his multiple record-breaking innings, click here for cricinfo's detailed compilation.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Jharkhand Domestic Schedule: 2014-15 Season

The new domestic season has commenced with the Duleep Trophy which culminated in an exciting finale with Central Zone winning after a 4th innings late collapse by South Zone. This season the sequence of the tournaments has been changed keeping in mind the forthcoming World Cup early next year. Hence the Vijay Hazare trophy has been brought forward and the Ranji Trophy has been pushed back. 

Being probably the only blog following the fortunes of the Jharkhand cricket team, Slisptream Cricket will try to provide as many regular updates as possible on the team's season ahead. The first major change has been the appointment of V Venkatraman as the new coach in place of Subroto Banerjee.

Following is the team's schedule for the season.

Vijay Hazare Trophy - Schedule for the East Zone qualifying rounds. All matches being played in Kolkata.
  1. 9 Nov, 2014: vs Tripura
  2. 11 Nov, 2014: vs Bengal
  3. 13 Nov, 2014: vs Assam
  4. 15 Nov, 2014: vs Odisha
These will be followed by knock-outs from 19th to 25th November.

Ranji Trophy - After last year's poor performance, Jharkhand were relegated to Group C. Hopefully we will see an improved performance from the side. A top two finish in the group will be required for a berth in the knock-outs. The team will not be in action in the first round of matches. So they have their task cut out playing in all eight rounds back to back.
  1. Dec 14-17, 2014: vs Assam
  2. Dec 21-24, 2014: vs Tripura
  3. Dec 28-31, 2014: vs Kerala
  4. Jan 5-8, 2015: vs Andhra
  5. Jan 13-16, 2015: vs Himachal
  6. Jan 21-24, 2015: vs Hyderabad
  7. Jan 29-Feb 1, 2015: vs Goa
  8. Feb 6-9, 2015: vs Services
All venues yet to be confirmed. Knockouts from Feb 15 to March 12 in parallel to the World Cup.

Syed Mustaq Ali Trophy - The dometic T20 champiosnhip. Ideal feeder for the IPL scouts though held a quite late in the season. Schedule for the East zone qualifying rounds. Venues are yet to be confirmed.
  1. 26 Mar, 2015: vs Tripura
  2. 27 Mar, 2015: vs Bengal
  3. 28 Mar, 2015: vs Odisha
  4. 29 Mar, 2015: vs Assam
These will be followed by knock-outs whose dates are yet to be fixed.

Hoping for a better performance from the team and wishing them the best.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Arbit Stats 36: Misbah Special

In the Abu Dhabi Test, Misbah-ul-Haq created quite a few records.
Fastest Test 50 in 21 balls breaking the record of  Jacques Kallis (!!!)
Fastest Test 100 off 56 balls equalling the record of Sir Viv Richards.

But the award for the  most arbit record goes to - At 40 years and 158 days, Misbah-ul Haq is now the oldest batsman to score two centuries in a Test match breaking the record of Sir Don Bradman by a whole year. 

Mudgal Report - India Player?

The Justice Mudgal Committee has submitted its report into the IPL 6 Spot fixing investigations. The details are yet to be disclosed but rumors from "sources in the know" have started creeping out. And some of them are quite concerning.

As per this news report on Indian Express, the Mudgal Committee has named a key member of the 2011 World Cup winning team for being apparently in touch with bookmakers and match fixers. Very serious allegations here.

So Slipstream cricket started their investigations to uncover this player based on the hints provided in the report which are as follows
  1. Part of 2011 World Cup winning team
  2. Not a Team India regular anymore
  3. Big draw in 2013 IPL
  4. Not a part of Chennai or Jaipur frnachisees
First thought was the player named would have been Sreesanth but point 4 above ruled him out.

Above table lists out the 15 member India squad which played in the 2011 World Cup, the franchisee which they represented during the 2013 IPL and their current Team India status.

From the table above 10 out of 15 names still in the spotlight. As an Indian cricket fan, hoping that none of these players are involved. 

P.S. the Indian Team has seen a major change in personnel since winning the last World Cup.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Arbit Stats 35

Australia vs Pakistan Test Series, 2014

9 - Number of centuries scored by the Pakistani batsmen in a 2 Test series.
21 - Number of years that the previous 9 Pakistani Test centuries against Australia took.

Shows the level of complete dominance and break from history that this series has been for Pakistan. They are now on verge of a 3rd successive Test win against Australia after having lost the preceding 13 in a row against them.

Unrelated but comparable factoid.
6 - India's medal haul in 2012 London Games
7 - The number of previous Olympics (from 1984 - 2008) in which India got 6 medals combined.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Forgotten XI... Or Maybe Not

The following is an eleven comprising of Indian cricketers whose names are likely to be remembered only by either their own families or the most diehard of cricket followers. Like any "fantasy XI" I have picked the ones which I recall from my cricket watching career. There can be quite a few alternative XIs.
  1. Iqbal Siddique - In his debut Test for India, opened the bowling and batting. Also hit the the winning runs. And never played for India again. 
  2. Sujith Somasundar - Opened for India in 2 ODIs with a lineup comprising of Tendulkar, Dravid, Azhar, Ganguly and Ajay Jadeja following up. His failures lead to India experimenting with Ganguly as Tendulkar's opening partner and the rest as they is history.
  3. Gagan Khoda - Scored 89 in his 2nd ODI earning him the Man of the Match award. And never played for India again. Just plain bad luck. 
  4. Amay Khurasiya - In contrast to Khoda, An attacking 50 on his ODI debut earned Khurasiya place in the 1999 World Cup squad. The innings warded off competition from the likes of VVS Laxman and Virender Sehwag. A few games later he was dropped for good.
  5. Atul Bedade - Was the Yusuf Pathan equivalent of the pre-T20 era. A high strike rate but not too many runs ensured that Bedade represented India only in 13 ODIs. Would certainly have been in big demand in the IPL.
  6. Pankaj Dharmani - Only one game for the Ranji run machine. A wicket keeper with a first class average of over 50 but played only one ODI for India due to a career coinciding with Nayan Mongia's. 
  7. Laxmi Ratan Shukla - He is still toiling away in the Ranji and IPL circuits. Hasn't represented India in this millenium, hence the IPL considers him to be an uncapped player inspite of playing 3 ODIs for India.
  8. David Johnson - 2 Tests as Srinath's injury replacement. But never stuck around the team
  9. Noel David - Noel Who is said to have been the reaction of the then Indian captain Tendulkar, when he heard that this spinner has replaced the injured  Srinath. A brilliant ODI debut and superb fielding were good signs, But his career fizzled out within a few days.
  10. Nilesh Kulkarni - A wicket of his first ball in Test cricket followed by one more in his entire 3 Test career. A case of domestic potential not being translated into international performances.
  11. Robin Singh Jr. - Not to be confused with the more famous Robin Singh. Both played 1 Test each for India although Robin Singh Sr. played in more  than 100 ODIs also.
12th Man - Connor Williams - Slight cheating done here. He never played an international for India. or rather never played in an "official" international game for India. His only India cap came in a "Test" against South Africa which was not given Test status post the Mike Denness fiasco of 2001. 

So 4 batsman, 1 wicket-keeper who can bat, 2 seam-bowling all-rounders, 2 fast bowlers and 2 spinners - in all a very well balanced side.  

Some unable to use their chances and some plain unlucky. But all (with one exception) being part of the very few to have worn the India cap.

Friday, October 24, 2014

The West Indies - The End is Nigh

Its been just over a week since last week's dramatic and abrupt end of the West Indies tour to India. In the mean time thousands of articles have probably appeared on the web talking about the decline in everything related to West Indies cricket. Here is one more on the same.

In my opinion, the time has come for the West Indies as a cricketing team to close down.

This abandonment could be the straw that broke the camel's back. The player-board standoff has been running for years which not surprisingly has coincided with the general decline in West Indies cricket. From being the top ranked country and a widely admired opponent, they have now been sitting close to the bottom in terms of rankings. Threats of strikes, withdrawals, dubious droppings, stand-offs between individual players and the board do not augur well for the making of a team. But walking out in the middle of a tour against the most powerful cricket board is taking matters too far. The abandonment will have far-reaching repercussions. BCCI has already suspended future bilateral tours and other national boards and sponsors are extremely wary. There are even doubts on their participation in the coming World Cup.

West Indies are not the only ones with problems. Zimbabwe have worse but theirs are not just board specific but rooted in the political turmoil in the country. And Afghanistan have shown how cricket as a sport can still grow in war ravaged nation. So payment disputes are comparatively an insignificant issue.

The WICB have been consistently showing their incompetency for the past few years. The 2007 World Cup was arguably the worst organised one in history. And they had almost sold off the entire cricketing administration to Allan Stanford, an American billionaire now in jail for fraud. 

Even the cry of "Rally around the West Indies" somehow doesn't fit the players who seem more interested in becoming T20 mercenaries playing across the proliferating T20 leagues across the world than playing for their "nation".

The West Indies as a team concept are an unique example in not just cricket but across the sporting world. They transcend the national boundaries. Its not just one nation but different countries across the Caribbean region who come together to play as one on the cricketing field. In every other sports these countries have their own separate identities but cricket unites them. However the multiple national interests may also be the cause of the breakdown. 

So I feel that the time has come for the various nations in the West Indies to go their own separate ways. Most likely they are just waiting for the first one to take the plunge and go its own separate way. And maybe having separate national teams might rejuvenate the flogging interest in the game within the region. It will be sad day for cricket when this happens. But the way the events are unfolding it seems to be a question of when and not if. 

The demise of the West Indies cricket will be mourned by all cricket lovers but their current avatar will not be missed.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Missing In Action : Indian cricket @ Asian Games

Cricket has rarely appeared at Multi-sports events. Its limited playing base combined with the long playing duration (5-day Tests) has ensured that the chances of appearing at a multi-sport event was rare.

Cricket's only Olympics appearance was in the 1900 Paris Games with Great Britain beating France in  the final which incidentally was also the only game of the competition. It was almost a century later in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games 1998 that cricket reappeared. This time the format was the 50 over ODIs. The Commonwealth Games would have been the most appropriate setting for cricket with all the big teams from the Commonwealth. However there were issues of country boundaries with Wales as a separate entity, the individuals islands of the West Indies having to appear as separate teams. However the biggest dampener was the lack of enthusiasm of the various cricket boards. And hence cricket never reappeared at the Commonwealth Games.

However the advent of T20 format and the unexpected enthusiasm of the Olympic Committee of Asia has made way for cricket's entry in  the Asian Games. And this has resulted in cricket being played in China and South Korea. An excellent platform for spreading the game across the region. However the big boys of the cricketing world do not seem to be enthused with the idea. BCCI have stayed off completely. Pakistan and Sri Lanka seem to be reluctant participants. However the likes of Bangladesh and the Associates and Affiliates certainly like the idea. After all its probably the biggest stage for them.

Test cricket is an exclusive club and the current members seem unwilling to take on new ones. ICC talks about making cricket a global game but seems to have two different parameters for the Big 10 and the others. There is a strange reluctance to let the numbers spread at the very top level. Probably its the fear of losing control of the cash cow that is the Indian cricket audience thats prompting this idea.

There was an ongoing Champions League (probably the most useless "international" tournament). The BCCI could have easily sent a youth (U-23) or an A team, but it chose not to. And more difficult to fathom are the reasons for the non-appearance of the Women's team, which did not have any other international commitments.

Whatever the reason, Indian fans have lost a chance to cheer for their team in the Asian Games. And BCCI has done a great disservice to the Indian sports fans. Its almost as if the cricket team is BCCI's and not India's (which is the legal reality). So they might as well stop associating the Indian flag for the Men in Blue.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

RIP Norman Gordon

Norman Gordon (South Africa) (1911-2014)

Cricket's first and till date only ever centurion against time bids farewell.

Well played Sir.

The longest lived Test cricketer - a record which will stand for some time.

Arbit Stats #34

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

India in England, 2014 - Numbers Don't Lie

Chart above shows the Test-by-Test batting average comparison for Pataudi Trophy. And while it is often said that numbers hide more than they reveal, the above chart tells the entire series story.

1st Test - India & England both had their moments, both tails showed fight. And India ground out a draw with a fighting 3rd innings display taking out the time. England marginally ahead in the averages on account of their small first innings lead.

2nd Test - It was a low scoring match and India were ahead. With time in hand India won.

3rd Test - The one that changed it all. Big score by England, India could not avoid follow-on. England did not enforce the follow-on and then ran through the Indian 2nd innings. Hence the big gulf in the averages.

4th & 5th Tests - India bat first, score smaller and smaller. England score bigger and bigger. 2nd time around India go worse. And England are not required to bat again.

While England picked up their batting after Lords (and their bowling as well), India went lower and lower.
Overall series averages: England - 43.69; India - 25.74. A difference of nearly 18 runs/wicket certainly indicates a wide gulf in class of the two batting units.

Overall, a terrible performance by Indian batsmen.