Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Hard Measures

Finally the most awaited meeting of BCCI in the history of Indian cricket got over. The ever yawning “Sabse Tej Channels” in Indian media got something to talk about with the stalwarts of Indian cricket like Surinder Khanna and Amay Khurasia.

No player can endorse more than 3 brands/ products and no sponsors can take more than 2 players in their contract. The players can improve their mathematics to solve this permutation computation problem which might be helpful in their life after retirement as a scorer. This will not only provide them a post retirement job but also solve the problem of scorers being an extinct species. The significance of numbers has been kept secret. A quiz show will be organized and will be telecast by Zee Sports to solve this problem. The winner will get a chance to play 3 ODIs and a test match.

Venketesh Prasad has been appointed as a bowling coach. He was one of the fastest and greatest fast bowlers India has ever produced. His guile was so very commendable that once even Anil Kumble was advised to take a leaf out of Prasad’s book and bowl slower.

The old power house exported from Caribbean, Robin Singh has been appointed as a fielding coach. He holds the world record of vomiting most number of times on a cricket ground. Prasad and Robin Singh worked really well in a team in their playing days. Robin Singh used to vomit on the danger zone on a pitch so that Prasad could utilize the wet pitch for his express fast bowling.

Ravi Shastri has been appointed as the coach or the manager of the team. He is a great strategist. He was often criticized for his soporific batting in all forms of the game. Hence, he invented the term “seat anchor”. He is such a solid batsman that even if he goes half way down the track, he is still able to drop dead the ball then and there. Bowlers’ fraternity has always loved him. Only once in his life he batted ruthlessly (hitting 6 sixes in over) and spent rest of his life apologetically making it up for that ruthlessness.

His real role will be one of these two or may be three (Coach/ Manager / Both) and decided based on an opinion poll to be hosted by Zee TV. Wasim Akram seems to be the biggest beneficiary of this move because now he is the only batsman left to play the role of night watchman on Shaz & Waz show.

With increasing numbers of cricket commitments, board wants to prepare a pool of 25 - 30 players and give a chance to everyone. We hardly manage to hang on to 15 decent players to play international cricket. Where will we get the rest of the players? BCCI might organize a talent hunt, again hosted by Zee TV. Ravi Shastri will be given the responsibility to get Mandira Bedi (as the Show Host) from SET MAX to Zee TV. After all, we have to bring the cup home because it has always been with us.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Chappel's Team India

No word would have been discussed in Indian cricket in recent past then “Chappel”. Especially, after shocking crash of his much talked about “Vision 2007”. “How Chappel screwed up team India so badly that we even lost to Bangladesh” has been the gist of the talk. As if Chappel sent the players to the ground with a bat thinner than the wickets and balls of their own. Let’s look at how some of the main players faired under him.

Sachin Tendulkar: He averages 47.53 outside India (16 matches) and 34.52 in India (20 matches). Clearly his performance outside the country of bowlers’ graveyard has been above his normal average which is anyhow commendable. This includes just a couple of scores above 50. Even if we discount them, average will still be above 40. May be Ian Chappel was trying to divert the media pressure from his younger brother (may be elder) while suggesting him to retire.

Yuvraj Singh: He has been the best batsman in the given time frame with the averages of 52 plus out of India (in 26 matches) and 50 in India (in 23 matches).

Virender Sehwag: Sehwag averages 29.69 out of India (in 34 matches) and 28.66 out of India (in 23 matches). It’s more or less evident that it doesn’t matter to India’s explosive opener if he is playing at home or not. He has failed to explode in any case. Though, he has been a useful offie with 21 wickets. He is more of a threat to bhajji than anyone else.

Rahul Dravid: As expected, the wall averages 56.66 in 26 matches in India. But surprise lies abroad. He averages 30.34 in 35 games outside India. The wall seems to be falling a bit when it travels abroad.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni: This hard hitting batsman seems to be hitting harder at home than abroad. He averages 62.5 in 26 matches in India and 36.17 in 34 matches abroad. His score include lot of not outs but for a wicket keeper, it’s acceptable by any means.

Suresh Raina: He averages 34.9 in 16 matches at home but a pathetic 20.23 in 20 matches away.

Though, he generally comes late down the order when he has to throw his bat around. He was said to be the future of Indian middle order. But is the future is averaging in 20s when it comes to playing away, it doesn’t seem to be very bright.

Md. Kaif: He is termed as a disappointment. And if we look at his record at home, 18.66 in 12 matches in India, it seems to be correct. But his record has surprisingly been much better than most of the batsmen. He averages 40.27 in 26 matches while playing away. Still a disappointment?

Irfan Pathan: He was said to be future Kapil Dev of India. But the way his career has gone in the recent past, he might well share the same present with Kapil Dev i.e. an expert guest on one of the Aaj Tak’s and IBN7s. He averages 23.93 in 25 matches and has taken 36 wickets at 27.33 away from home. At home, his average is 32.07 in 20 matches and has taken 32 wickets at 23.62 on placid tracks. What has he done wrong to be a surety to be in 15 and a surety of being not to be in 11 so consistently?

Saurav Ganguly: The most talked about name after Chappel. He averages 31.8 in 11 matches while playing away. He was one of the top scorers in the WC 2007. But if we remove his scores of 66 and 89 against minnows, his average falls down to very early 20s. He has recently made a comeback and played mostly in India. He averages 69+ in 7 matches. But all of them have been on placid tracks against Windies and a Vass & Murali less Srilanka. That is impressive but has he still got enough to fire against big names of fast bowling on not so placid tracks.

Ajit Agarkar: The best “potential all-rounder” in the world possesses batting records which even Murali would not find difficult to break. He averages 5.93 in 28 matches while playing away but has taken 42 wickets at 25.21 a piece. At home, he 11.42 in 20 matches and has taken 28 wickets at 29.85.

Harbhajan Singh: Bhajji has taken 9 wickets in 14 matches at 59.33 while playing away and 32 wickets in 25 matches at 27.50. Even Sehwag has a better bowling average while playing away. If this is how our ace spinner is going to bowl on non-indian pitches, we better play Sehwag as a bowling all-rounder.