Cricket World Cup 2015

Cricket World Cup 2015

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580 Responses to “Cricket World Cup 2015”

  1. Sanjana:

    Under pressure, Indians have fallen like straw dolls.

    Aamirsfan:

    Pakistan’s batting is pathetic. Congrats to the Indians once again, they batted with such poise and brains. Their WC dominance against us continues. Hate it!

    Sanjana:

    I am talking about death overs. Why this happens almost everytime? But for Kohli and the early batsmen, India would have faced problems.

    Sanjana:

    They laughed too much during those death overs. And now the match is almost over.

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  2. Good, solid win for India. I thought just like last time around, Pakistan pulled it back quite a bit in the slog overs (in 2011 it was Wahab, this time it was Sohail), but with the kind of brittle batting line-up Pakistan has, it was always going to be tough chasing 300. And Misbah fighting a lone battle has become such a familiar story (not sure if it’s a wise idea to open with Younis Khan, he needs to come one or two-down). What was really heartening from India’s point of view was that the pace-bowlers bowled well (both Shami and Murali Sharma)

    Incidentally for a while the Zim-S. Africa match was turning out to be a cracker of contest. The way Masakadza (who has really flattered to deceive since his hundred at debut around a decade back. At that point of time, I thought he would be the second coming of Andy Flower) was carting Steyn and Morkel all around the park, I thought Zimbabwe stood a real chance (the last time I had seen them fight with such spirit was in the ’99 WCup).

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  3. tonymontana Says:

    Good, comprehensive win by India. And though the bowlers did well, they atill have a tendency of giving more extras (wides, no balls) where they shouldn’t. This will make them struggle against the stronger teams in coming matches. After yesterday’s match, seems Australia is in very good form.

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  4. Guys in US, try to watch – The Little Master, a program being telecast on regular ESPN from 7 to 10 pm TONITE. Obviously about SRT

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    • didn’t know about this.. thanks!

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        • yes checked it out after Rajen mentioned it. It’s on 8-9 on ESPN and then a repeat on ESPN at 9.

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          • The documentary was actually a disappointment.
            Couldn’t make up its mind if it was a documentary on SRT or on INDIA or India’s 2011 World CUp campaign. The narrator had such a flat voice and the material was blah. While it did have its moment, it didn’t do justice to the man it was about.

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          • the narrator was Deepak Chopra. He has an irritating twang. His son made the movie. But agree completely. Totally disappointing documentary. In any case I think that framing Sachin’s career with the World Cup win is just all wrong. If anything I’d say that Sachin cannot be made part of this ‘New India’ moment. I think he’s always been apart from it in important ways. Or at the most he’s a bridge from the old to the new. The part where they show young kids playing cricket in all kinds of locations, it’s true that Sachin is the ultimate aspirational figure for those people, he was god everywhere but particularly struck a chord in those small town or ‘forgotten’ parts of India. But the film wasn’t about this. It was one big ad campaign for their WC win and almost seemed to be designed for the current campaign. Which is fine but it should have been a different film. Here there was really nothing about his career. And though the WC was a great moment for the nation I would still say that Sachin’s career dwarfs it. What I mean is that though this was the one milestone that had eluded him for so long it isn’t really the crown jewel of his career by any means. Will say though that revisiting the final it is still hard to see him get out early. Wish he’d had more in this inning.

            To get back to the older point I’d say that Bachchan and Sachin (for different but comparable reasons) are the only real ‘bridges’ in this sense, the link between the old and the new. Everyone else is on one side of the divide or the other.

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          • Dont you think old and new are relative terms rather than absolute?

            I agree Sachin’s career is not around WC and it has a long history. WC is like instant coffee. Flavour of the present times.

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          • of course but I mean it in the limited context of contemporary old India/new India debates

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          • “But the film wasn’t about this. It was one big ad campaign for their WC win and almost seemed to be designed for the current campaign.”

            Well I mean ESPN IS charging 99 bucks for its WC games this year instead of showing it for free like previous times. I haven’t watched it just yet, usually 30 for 30 series are damn good.

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  5. BTW, a very satisfying win for INDIA inspite of the lackluster last five overs. Half of the WC
    campaign is done.😄 the other half of actually winning the championship is unlikely to happen unless we go on a dramatic run.
    Australia and SA can maul our bowling attack.

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  6. @ “sanjana”, “Satyam” and some others
    Plz don’t “mourn” if the team u support did not win today
    It’s just a game

    Btw unrelated news

    After Paris, Belgium now another shooting on a ‘freedom of speech’ event in Copenhagen
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/11413226/Copenhagen-shooting-during-debate-on-Islam.html

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  7. Bachchan with Shoaib Akhtar:

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    • “You can’t treat an illness if you refuse to diagnose it, after all. The problems in Pakistan cricket come from a domestic system that fails to provide adequate players for the highest level; they come from a cricket board that earns a fraction of what it should, considering its status in the country, and thus invests far less in the game than it ought to; they come from a group of players and management where when it comes to ODI cricket the conservative option is to be 20 years behind the world and the aggressive option is to be ten years behind.”

      “Across the Radcliffe Line, India too has had its fair share of fixing scandals, banned ex-captains and questionable administrators, but the defending champions could rightly enter this World Cup as one of the favourites. Yes, the societal and economic factors can’t be excluded from any such discussion, but perhaps the lack of obsession with fixing might also help in this regard?”

      http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/826003.html

      that video (especially the first 30 mins) and this article were just on point. Indians are just the better team.

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  8. There are 3 special players to watch out in this world cup. AB De Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Virat Kohli. To be even more specific, Kohli isn’t in the same league as a hitter as ABD and Maxwell but he has an unbelievable ODI record so far. So it would be foolish not to include him.

    Regarding the India-Pak game, the Indians should count themselves lucky that they got away with their performance in the last 5 overs while batting. Against top teams like Australia, South Africa and New Zealand, it can cost them dear. Pakistan has a tendency to self-destruct against India, especially in the World cups, so the result isn’t that big of a surprise. But still, it has to be said: Indians have now left Pakistan way behind in terms of the basics – be it ground fielding or running between wickets. Pakistan still plays cricket from 20 years ago. They still rely on match winners and match winning performances. In short, they still look for the cool and sexy stuff that catches eyeballs. The rest of the cricketing world relies on the boring yet critical updates to their game. With Pakistan cricket and its fans, it’s the mind-set that needs to change.

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    • While all that maybe true, it is actually quite convincing that Pakistan now blames ‘intrinsic-systemic’ problems of PCB and the country for the loss against India. Just a day back, as Srikanth mentions, they were quite happy making fun of Mr. Anushka for asking the practice-bowlers to bowl from elevated stands. So if Pakistan had actually won this match, I really doubt there would be this ‘passionate’ discussion of the likes of Mohsin Khan talking of systemic problems.

      The BCCI is hardly an incorruptible and efficient or well-thought out administration. It might be rich, but can one vouch that all those riches are being expended on bettering cricketing world in India? Sreenivasan and CSK anyone? Are deserving players from the state-level really upgraded sincerely to the national level? Dilip Vengsarkar has on record said that it burns his heart that there were more players from Karnataka [Dravid, Kumble, Srinath, Prasad, Raju] than from Maharashtra at a point in time in the Indian squad. So the ‘pettiness’, the insincerity is present here too. [I definitely agree that it is not on the scale as it is in Pakistan – case in point: no international matches being played on Pakistani soil]

      The Indian Prostitution League is already well on its way with cheer-leaders, alcohol, and dollars..The ONLY collateral benefit of IPL is that those hidden gems that would be covered with Ranji Trophy dust earning peanuts would at least make some money in this ludicrous series called IPL..

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      • With the Indian establishment, much to my chagrin, the focus has completely shifted towards the shorter forms of the game. Cue the IPL and its riches. And it definitely reflects in ICC rankings: Indians are down and out in the Test arena but remain amongst the top teams in the limited overs format(s).

        With the kind of money power that the Indian board has, it should be #1 across all formats. Nothing less should be expected from an economic superpower (in cricket). But as things stand, Test cricket is losing its appeal, at least in the subcontinent.

        Are regional players getting their due in the current system? I think yes. One look at the Indian cricket team will reveal that players are getting chances even if they come from remote playgrounds of the country. Dhoni is a prime example of talent being recognized from the hinterlands.

        But the problem lies elsewhere. Even if the board identifies talent, there’s no real attempt to nurture it. With big bucks comes media glare and an easy slide down oblivion once a player gets distracted. For every Dhoni, there are countless examples of players losing the plot once they have gained cricket stardom. R P Singh, Munaf Patel, Irfan Pathan, Sreesanth, Praveen Kumar etc are among the many names that will be forgotten too soon and not for good reason. Put simply, there hasn’t been any attempt by the board to counsel players who do not know how to handle instant fame and money.

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        • And here, much as I dislike his on field tantrums, Virat Kohli is a shining example of a player who refuses to get sidetracked by all the glitz and glamour of IPL. if anything, he’s got a mediocre IPL record but a phenomenal international one.

          Wish other players would take a leaf out of his book…

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  9. crying foul ?? This might just grow from here if india fails in WC. Surely sense someone from the bcci has spill the beans…

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  10. Has anyone checked out the Star Sports Mauka ads? This one was before the Indo-Pak match:

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  11. And this one is the latest for the India-SA match:

    Hilarious!

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    • When it comes to ludicrous jingoism, both India and Pak out-gun each other. So what happens if India lose to SA? Will there be an ad where the S Africans light up the rockets and shove it up these idiots’ asses? Stupidity at its best…

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  12. Stumped! This is why Dhoni can’t collect stump souvenirs anymore

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket-world-cup-2015/worldcup2015-topstories/stumped-this-is-why-dhoni-can-t-collect-stump-souvenirs-anymore/article1-1317568.aspx

    The World Cup in Australia and New Zealand again has the LED stumps, which are touch-sensitive and blink whenever the bails get whipped off.

    Just after India completed their win against arch-rivals Pakistan yesterday at the Adelaide Oval, Dhoni took one of the bails but then Ian Gould, who was the square leg umpire, had a friendly chat with him after which one saw the bail remaining where it is.

    The specific reason being that these set of ‘LED stumps’ cost USD 40,000 (Rs 24 lakh) and the pair of bails costs as much as an iPhone 5 (Rs 50,000 approx).

    So Dhoni won’t be able to keep any of these bails or stumps unless there is an official permission from the ICC in this regard.

    The ‘LED stumps’ were first used during the 2013 edition of ‘Big Bash’ after which they were used on an experimental basis at the World T20 in Bangladesh, where the response was pretty positive.

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  13. What a display by the West Indies!! Man Andre might just have done the job for the Indies…

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    • LOL, what a crazy match this is! the first 4 Pakistani batsmen gone with one run scored, 3 of them for a duck each! I’ve never seen something like this!

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      • We (as in Pakistan cricket) suck! The fielding display was a foreshadowing of what was to come in the batting department…which is pure sh*t. This is what happens when you don’t pick the best 11…so disheartening. This team is really the worst Pakistani WC team. I hope this is rock bottom and after the WC guys like Younis Khan, Umar Akmal are gone for good.

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  14. Sharma is still thinking he is playing against Pakistan!!! He has forgotten that the fielders are South African!!!

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  15. Dhawan ki jai ho!

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  16. Srilanks is struggling against AFGHANISTAN!!!!! WTF is going on???

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  17. Great fucking shot😛 by Shikhar

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  18. It was not a great ball at all..Kohli played it wrong

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  19. Glad for Rahane: Hope he milks this opportunity: classy player

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  20. Great fucking shot😛 By Rahane

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  21. Fantastic 4 to get 2 a century!!! Go Dhawan!!!

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  22. Rahane is rotating the strike like crazy!!Wonderful

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  23. Ultimate insult to a fast bowler: right over his head. Reminds me of that famous 6 by Dravid against ALLAN DONALD & Donald totally lost it – as though his manhood was challenged!!

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  24. Seriously Dhawan should not lose it – go for 150 man

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  25. Superb show by Rahane .. What an under-rated player!!

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  26. Wah Rahane! Wah Shikhar! Wah Dhawan!

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  27. Goddammit! Only if we had 2 match winning bowlers!!!!!

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  28. Take a bow Ajinkya- gem of an innings!

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  29. Ha ha great one MS!!!!

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  30. This Dabur Amla mess-up might just cost India the match…

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  31. Dabur Amla gone!!!Fantsstic!!!

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  32. tonymontana Says:

    Another win for India. and the first against SA in world cup matches. The indian fielding especially deserves applause!

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  33. A really remarkable win for India and for all the right reasons.

    With Steyn, Morkel and Philander, South Africa boasts of the best bowling attack in the world, bar none. They also included Wayne Parnell, who’d be a first choice fit inside any other bowling side (barring South Africa and Australia), nine times out of ten.

    The game was played on MCG, which is renowned for its pace and bounce. True, they’ve used drop-in pitches in recent times, but this was no belter. It had good pace and bounce even if the grass was missing.

    South Africans are also famous as the best fielding side in the world ever since Jonty Rhodes played the game. Ergo, it’s natural to assume that taking singles and rotating strike would be difficult against them.

    To say that some myths were shattered yesterday would be an understatement.

    It wasn’t the Indians who were intimidated by the short ball, it was the South Africans! Hashim Amla, the batsman with an ODI average of 56 got bullied by the short ball. Du Plessis scored a fifty but out of those 50 odd runs were at least 4 streaky boundaries when he was beaten for pace. In the end he perished trying to hit a ball that again proved to be quick (and bouncy) for him.

    ABD, the greatest cricketer of this generation, and a freaking hare between wickets, was run out in brilliant fashion and so was Miller. These were throws from Indian fast bowlers, not usually renowned for their fielding since cricket logs were first written.

    The intensity from the Indians, in the field, was a treat to behold. This Indian side is up there with the best in terms of ground fielding. Maybe not as good as the SAffers in terms of direct hits to the stumps but as far as building pressure is concerned, they are close, if not the best.

    A word about the Indian batting: they slipped between overs 45-50, again. But apart from that brief period, they bossed the best bowling attack in the world. Shikhar Dhawan was in brilliant touch and Kohli again looked good. But it was Rahane who stole the show. He hit 3 sixes and two of them were absolutely brilliant. One of them was a straight six of Steyn (!) and the other a shimmy down the pitch to cart Imran Tahir over long on. You can play these shots on a loop and not get bored for a long time.

    Aesthetically speaking, Kohli’s batting is slightly better to watch than Rahane’s, and I’m sure some people will dispute that, but in terms of likeability, Rahane is one cricketer I’d pray to see succeed.

    In my eyes, and I’m dead serious when I say this, he’s Rahul Dravid’s second coming. He represents the same quiet demeanor, the same resolve that set Dravid apart. And he’s the best fielder in this Indian side, which is no mean achievement. He doesn’t have the numbers to prove his case in ODIs (yet) but I’d be very happy to see him succeed. I’m sure other Dravid fans will agree!

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    • It was a wonderful performance against a team tagged as one of 3 pre-tournament favourites.
      I would however be fairly watchful. I was gung ho India would win in 2011 because for me that tournament was absolutely more about the best batting line-up. India were fortunate in that there bowlers did well enough but they had so much firepower up top and the middle that I really thought it was all about them coping with pressure.

      This time, as great as India’s batting line up looks (and I agree on form, like this, it is FAB) I think bowling will be much important.

      SA is not the benchmark for me. They are the ultimate bridesmaids and the ultimate underachievers at the World Cup. A stunning victory indeed I don’t think they are the team to beat.

      India though do look dangerous. For me, a semi-final should be the aim – anything more will be a bonus. One swallow doesn’t make a summer! And they have been totally outplayed by Australia in pre-tournament. What will give India some edge and confidence is the way they are playing vs. the other sub-continent sides. Pak/SL/India all reached the semi’s in 2011. Only India look capable this time around. And the other comfort is the spinners will be more dangerous come the end of the tournament then now – that can only be a strength for India.

      That said, India’s batting line-up is strong they can give anyone a game. I just don’t think on a showdown with Australia (and even NL), in Aus/NL, India can win more than 5 times out of 10. I’d be banking on Australia – they look menacing and dominant. They have a number of batsmen who can bat >100 SR which on these big scoring pitches is crucial. And they bat really deep with Johnson coming in 9. Plus have better all-rounders. Cannot see past them, except they are on home turf which can bring more pressure.

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      • not to discount Saket’s enthusiasm for the win but I’d more or less agree with all this. But certainly this is a tremendous psychological boost given the miserable time they’d had going into this tournament. I said this earlier but this win is really their proper entry into the WC.

        Meanwhile I thought I’d seen it all the way Pakistan started off against WI (!) but the SL-Afghanistan game was quite a shock! Pakistan meanwhile could possibly lose more or less every game. Not joking. Don’t think Ireland is a given the way they’re playing! Even leaving aside their win against WI.

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        • Afghanistan and Ireland deserve tremendous respect for the heart they’ve shown. I think Ireland could easily make the quarter finals given that Pakistan has to beat them by around 150 runs (similar to their loss against West Indies), which doesn’t look likely at the moment.

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      • This time, as great as India’s batting line up looks (and I agree on form, like this, it is FAB) I think bowling will be much important.

        Agreed.

        India though do look dangerous. For me, a semi-final should be the aim – anything more will be a bonus

        Again, agree with your assessment, Jay. I don’t think that would be such a bad achievement at all. Although for Dhoni’s sake, I’d like to see the Indian team go all the way!

        That said, India’s batting line-up is strong they can give anyone a game. I just don’t think on a showdown with Australia (and even NL), in Aus/NL, India can win more than 5 times out of 10.

        Yes and out of Australia and NZ, this time I favour the latter. McCullam’s captaincy is the kind of aggressive approach I’d like to see others follow. Against England, he had 4 slips and 2 gullies in place! In an ODI, that’s not how 99.99% of the captains would think. And Southee’s spell against England, so far, is the highlight of the tournament. To bowl one batsman with a ball pitching on the middle stump and taking the top of off is great. He did that 4 times during one game! Not the top of off stump in each case, but the ball still looped around like a banana at greater than 135 Kmph. It was just awesome to watch!

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        • agreed on your last paragraph..

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          • The tournament has just started and India has a long way to go. But, I am happy so far. While going all the way is a find hope, main goal is for the team to put up a respectable show. Win against Pakistan was a must however parochial and nationalistic it may sound. It would be a shame to lose to one of the second rung teams, though.

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          • The interesting thing is that they’ve defended what is often not a winnable total these days twice so far. And against SA it especially means something. And against Pakistan no it’s always a great one to win! What would sports be without such contexts?!

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        • Agree with Saket and Jay.
          The win against SA was very satisfying.
          Australia is another story but if you are un form and fired up, anything is possible.
          Dhavan has been a revelation. Sharma has been unfortunate.
          Rahane and Raina have looked good.

          The team looks focused and committed. Am sure Shastri has something to do with it.

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          • ***Am sure Shastri has something to do with it.***

            Sticking with Dhawan despite poor form proved right: Shastri
            February 22, 2015 19:55 IST

            Praising his players for the emphatic win over South Africa in the World Cup, team director Ravi Shastri said the management’s decision to stick with Shikhar Dhawan, despite his poor form in the run-up to the showpiece event, proved right.

            Dhawan played an important part in India’s consecutive wins over Pakistan and South Africa, hitting 73 and 137, and Shastri took potshots at those who had questioned the opening batsman’s place in the squad.

            “It was a clinical and professional performance, in batting, bowling and fielding, covering all the departments of the game. It was fabulous. When they play like that you think they can achieve anything. Today, I never thought that the players were detached for a single moment or dropped their guard. They were focussed all through,” Shastri said after India’s 130-run thrashing of South Africa at the MCG.

            “I would say those people who were asking why Shikhar was there in (World Cup) squad, they don’t know their cricket. He committed some mistakes during Test series against Australia. He got the starts but got out due to mistakes. But now against Pakistan and today, he was fabulous. He did everything right today, in his approach, shot selection,” said the former India all-rounder.

            Praising the players for their “fabulous” fielding and bowling, Shastri said he thought it was like Australia or South Africa playing, instead of India.

            “Fielding was fabulous, bowling also. You would think it was Australia or South Africa not Indian players fielding. But when Australia or South Africa does that, people sit up and say fabulous fielding, not in case of India. The same in bowling. When our three pacers were bowling 140km/h, people will not say what a fabulous bowling,” he said.

            “It was a fabulous show by our bowlers. What a variety we are having in bowling,” he added.
            Shastri said India will now have to carry on the good work and be consistent if they are to go all way in the World Cup.
            “Carry on the good job with consistency. Take game by game. Don’t think of the opposition and execute your plans,” he said.

            He conceded that there was a lot of cricket for the Indian team ahead of the World Cup and that the break after the tri-series did a world of good for the players.

            “There were lots of cricket before this World Cup. We played great cricket in Test series against Australia which we lost 0-4. The guys were unlucky and the Test series could have been 1-1. Then there was the tri-series which not everyone gave much importance. But the itinerary of the tri-series was chalked out long time ago. So the players will have to play that also.
            “But everybody knew that the World Cup was what matters. Had we lost these first two matches (in the World Cup), no one would have counted us. So we needed the break after the tri-series and the boys have come stronger,” said Shastri.

            Australian spin legend Shane Warne said that India have sent out a message after their emphatic wins over Pakistan and South Africa.

            “Considering their form in the run-up to the World Cup, India have sent out a serious message after these wins over Pakistan and South Africa,” Warne said.

            Former Australian batsman Michael Hussey said that vice-captain Virat Kohli also played a big role in India’s win over South Africa by steadying the innings after opener Rohit Sharma’s early dismissal.

            “Virat read the situation well and identified that Shikhar was in good form. So, he (Kohli) played the second fiddle, tried to give most of the strike to him (Shikhar). They had a big partnership and that gave the foundation,” Hussey said.

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          • Shastri can be brash and in your face. I heard the commentators say that he has the personality and attitude of a fast bowler.
            Sometimes this can be a good thing as long as the group remains cohesive. He has a bit of a chip on his shoulders and I kind of like it. Even against Australia, his attitude was play to win and that may have cost us a test match or two or broken the morale. While we did lose it seems morale is intact. His and team managements decision to give players a break after the tri-series also Seema to have paid off. Reportedly,Dhoni took players camping in the outback.

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    • Loved the attitude of Rahane in SA match. He came in the middle and was looking for runs. Of course he was middling the ball better than Dhawan. The worry I see is lower order. We are scoring 20 run short towards the end of the innings.

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  34. World Cup: Don’t remember Proteas being outplayed like this says, Sourav Ganguly

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/cricketnext/world-cup-dont-remember-any-team-thrashing-south-africa-like-india-did-says-sourav-ganguly/530144-78.html

    If Dhawan’s seventh ODI ton was the highlight of the Indian innings then Virat Kohli (46) and Ajinkya Rahane (79) also contributed with useful knocks but Ganguly still feels that the misfiring middle-order should find form.

    “It is essential for the likes of Suresh Raina, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja to find some form in the tournament,” said Ganguly.

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  35. The Shikhar Dhawan interview: Opener keeps vow made to wife
    Last updated on: February 23, 2015 13:23 IST

    ‘Controlled aggression is my mantra’
    ‘I am telling myself to stay at the wicket’

    For Shikhar Dhawan, Melbourne is his home ground. Well, almost, because his wife Ayesha is a resident of Melbourne.
    Ayesha was at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with their one-year-old son Zoravar. She then waited outside the team hotel, The Langham, for the Indian squad to return. When they finally came back, Dhawan met his family and had a brief private moment with them.

    Before the World Cup started, Dhawan had assured his wife that he will get a hundred in the first three matches. He came good on that promise.

    “Rohit got out unfortunately. That’s when Virat and I decided to stay at the wicket. My main aim was to cut down the strokes and stay at the wicket as much as possible. Even after I got my hundred, my main aim was to stay there as much as possible. Unfortunately I got out in the 44th over,” recalled Dhawan.
    The left-handed opener lauded the role of his colleagues Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane in the two crucial partnerships that he shared with them.

    “I must say, the two partnerships with Virat and Jinks (Rahane), was the key factor in us putting up a big score like 307,” said Dhawan.

    Before the tournament started, Dhawan was almost written off by critics. But in his mind Dhawan felt that he was regaining confidence slowly, but surely. The knock against Pakistan, in Dhawan’s own view turned things around for him.

    “The Pakistan match gave me a lot of confidence. I have cut down on my strokes. I am trying to play more in the ‘V’, through mid-off and mid-on, so that I don’t get out cheaply. I am telling myself, ‘stay at the wicket’.

    “Against South Africa after the 25th over, I told myself, ‘come on, now you have to come out of your shell’. I tried to accelerate my run-rate after that. The initial cautious approach was because we were playing a top side like South Africa,” added Dhawan.
    But despite the mix of caution and aggression against South Africa, Dhawan has a set mantra for the World Cup.
    “At the moment controlled aggression is what I am following. And that is the mantra of the Indian team as well. When we had 307 runs on the board, we decided to attack. I am happy that our bowlers did an excellent job by limiting them to 177,” Dhawan said.

    Confidence in the Indian camp is now sky high. The side wants to focus on nothing else but being on the winners’ podium on March 29 in Melbourne.

    “We have won against Pakistan, now against South Africa. We are really kicked to win the trophy. We are really confident,” the Delhiite signed off.

    http://www.rediff.com/cricket/report/icc-world-cup-pix-the-shikhar-dhawan-interview-opener-keeps-vow-made-to-wife/20150223.htm

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  36. Virat Kohli Can’t be Compared to Sachin Tendulkar Yet, Says Barry Richards

    Barry Richards feels Virat Kohli is a few notches above his contemporaries but feels has a long way to go before he can be compared with Sachin Tendulkar.
    Reported by: Press Trust of India Last updated on Tuesday, 24 February, 2015 18:43 IST

    Perth: Legendary South African batsman Barry Richards feels Virat Kohli is a few notches above his contemporaries in the Indian team but still has some way to go before one can compare him with the iconic Sachin Tendulkar.
    “Virat Kohli undoubtedly is the best batsman in this current Indian team by a distance. He is really talented and is someone, whom you will like to pay to watch his batting. Along with AB de Villiers, he is amongst the top batsmen in world cricket today,” Richards, one of the most respected voices in world cricket, told PTI during an interaction. (Virat Kohli Reiterates Love for No. 3 Batting Position)
    Sir Donald Bradman was believed to have considered Richards as one of the finest right-handers at par with Jack Hobbs and Len Hutton. When asked how did he rate Ajinkya Rahane and Shikhar Dhawan compared to Kohli, Richards answer resembled the same nonchalance.
    “No way (he shrugged). They are not even close to Kohli. He is in a league of his own. You like the way he builds an innings. The hallmark of a good batsman is to control the pace of his innings and Kohli does it with ease. He will definitely get better,” said 69-year-old Richards, who scored more than 500 runs in four Test matches against Australia in the only Test series he played before South Africa went into isolation for 21 years.
    However, the batting artist of yesteryears feels that Kohli still needs a bit more finesse in his execution before he can be compared with Tendulkar. (Sachin Tendulkar Happy but Not Satisfied with India’s Performance)
    “Tendulkar’s range of strokes was extra-ordinary, which Kohli still has some way to go,” Richards commented before doing a bit of shadow to explain the difference.
    “When Tendulkar batted, you could sense that his peripheral vision works. He could play in that entire arc between gully and square-leg, such was his range. If needed, he could meet the ball early with a frontfoot stride even on fastest of pitches. In case of Kohli, I find him as someone, who plays very close to his body. He lets the ball come into him,” observed Richards, who had 80 hundreds in 339 first-class matches.
    As someone, who had played the best fast bowlers in county cricket during his time as well as in the World Series Cricket (WSC) run by Kerry Packer in 1977-78, Richards admits there has been a general decline in quality of fast bowling. (Dhoni Impressed With Ajinkya Rahane’s Flexibility)
    “Among the current crop of fast bowlers, obviously Dale(Steyn) is a cut above the rest. He has all the qualities of a great fast bowler and he has been consistent over a period of time. In general, the quality has taken a hit although there are some good bowlers still.
    “But, yes, you had the great West Indies quicks, there was Dennis Lillee, Imran Khan during that era. And don’t forget, there was our very own South African pacer Garth Le Roux. Boy he was quick during that Packer Series,” Richards was in a mood to recollect as he sipped his coffee.
    But he was sympathetic towards the bowlers considering that the game is being heavily loaded in favour of batsmen.
    “The field restrictions are loaded in favour of batsman with the new rules of five fielder inside the circle. I reckon that this World Cup will have a lot of big scores,” added Richards, who is on a very short radio stint of three matches.
    “Now, I have crossed that age where I can do a whole tournament spanning over seven weeks,” Richards bid adieu with a smile as he retired into broadcasting room.

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    • In the Indian media every other batsman since Sachin has been compared to him! And they generate such interviews too.

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      • Kohli is a great batsman but not yet a “great”. Along with AB De Villiers, I agree, these two are the best in the world.
        The lines between Test, ODI and T20 are ever more blurry now. These two can play in all 3 formats. I like Kohli more as he has more to his game. I think he is better equipped to play an anchoring innings if required as well as an aggressive one. AB plays aggressive mostly. But as the lines are blurry, aggression is quite critical nowadays. What amazes me about AB is, he plays a high risk game, but maintains consistency. Sehwag had a period in his career when he did this. Gayle can but is patchy. Dhoni once was now he picks and chooses his moments. McCullum can do it. But AB just seems to turn it on more times. And he has incredible instincts and audacity.

        I’d bank on Kohli long term to score a heavy amount of runs overall. To reach the heights of Tendulkar aesthetically is a lot easier than culturally and statistically. Statistically, you’ll need a 20 year career or you will need a 15 year career at peak performance throughout. Kohli would need to bat well for another 10 years or more in other words! He only started test cricket in 2011 (4 years). Sachin batted for 24 years! ODI’s he has been batting for 7 years. Sachin batted for 23 years! Kohli is 26 years. He can bat at a peak for 10 years.

        I think the media is always chasing to “pass the torch” or “anoint”…but it is counterproductive to put this kind of pressure on player.

        A hundred “so called” Maradona’s appeared before we got Messi. Messi is Messi. His legacy is not how he is compared with Maradona, his legacy is the people discuss who is the next Messi! He is already a “great” and every young player now who has potential is said to be the “next Messi”. I don’t think a young indian potential is yet said to be the next Kohli. Let him get there – then start all the anointing.

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        • Outstanding comment.. agree with everything.. It would in any case be a bit bizarre if a player were considered among the very greatest of all time, a list of 2-3 in some cases and then every other player were somehow able to reach a comparable standard! A lot of this is driven by the sponsors these days. They get these stories done in the media. They have so much money riding on these players that it’s in their interest to keep building up the narrative. On Sehwag when he was at his peak or close to it Viv Richards once said that he had reflexes as good as he had ever seen in the game.

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          • I think has Sehwag has a valid claim to his legacy as to be after Richards, the most devastating batsman in test cricket (as openers go, he probably has that in the bag). There was a period when he was notching up 100’s at strike rates close to 100 and turning huge deficits into achievable targets (not just a few innings, but a string over a period of several years). Note guys like Hayden existed before Sehwag, but Sehwag’s differentiator was his remarkable strike rate. He was a bully, but not a heavyweight, he was like a Pacquiao – lightning quick.

            The problem for him was eventually the “technique” becomes important when you get older. Being a bludgeoner is sufficient when your eyes, feet and hands co-ordinate but these things slow down with age. It’s precisely why a Tendulkar succeeded for longer. He would have suffered all the age related deficiencies of ANY batsman, but his technical ability was so sound that it gave him longevity. Also he could flex his technical ability to suit his age.

            The batsman of today are far more aggressive and the bludgeoner type, that a long sustained career is far more unlikely without a very sound technique. Kohli has a lovely balance and temperament. I’d bet on him to last longer for sure. The likes of a Kohli, Amla, Sangakarra, Jayawardene are a dime a dozen now.

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          • The likes of a Kohli, Amla, Sangakarra, Jayawardene are a dime a dozen now.

            I wouldn’t disagree on Jayawardene, but I’ve had to revise my opinion on Sangakkara. He now has a Test average of 58+ after 130 test matches. That’s no small feat at all.

            Amla and Kohli still have some miles to go before they are talked about as greats in Test matches. Kohli, certainly has a lot to prove in the test arena.

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        • I think the comparisons to Tendulkar are often enough to elicit “emotional” responses from his fans. Not targeting you, Jay and certainly I’m no fan of Kohli, but he plays for India and then there are the numbers. At the age of 26, he’s got 22 ODI centuries. Tendlukar took 206 innings to score 22 ODI hundreds whereas Kohli has taken 143. At present Kohli is #4 on the all time ODI century list.

          Kohli’s ODI average is 52; it used to be a bit higher a little while earlier and Tendulkar, throughout his career, never got close to that average.

          More food for thought: Kohli has 14 centuries while chasing totals. That’s only 3 less than Tendulkar’s record spread over 463 matches. His record, while chasing, is startling, to put it mildly.

          I wouldn’t still compare him to Tendulkar, even in ODIs. I’d wait till he crosses 30 ODI centuries, but there’s a case to be made about Kohli as an ODI great…at the age of 26!

          Viv Richards, who knows a thing or two about ODI batting, already has put Kohli in his all time ODI XI

          http://www.icc-cricket.com/cricket-world-cup/news/2015/columns/84967/sir-vivian-richards-odi-batsmen-i-would-pay-to-watch

          And on to Barry Richards’ argument about Kohli not having as many shots in this book as Tendulkar, does it even matter in the end? Did Bradman have all the shots in his arsenal? More importantly, there could have been many batsmen who were aesthetically pleasing compared to Bradman, but how many came close to his record?

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          • Bradman, in his entire Test career, hit 6 sixes. That’s 36 runs out of a total of roughly 7000 runs. Would Barry Richards or anyone else castigate him for not being exciting enough as a batsman?

            I think there should be a premium on ‘stylish’ players but no more than it’s deserved. Nadal’s raw competitiveness, for instance, does not take away from his stature, despite not being the most stylish player to have played the game. Yes, I will always be a Federer fan, but even I have to acknowledge Nadal’s achievements.

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          • But no one ever accused bradman of not having enough strokes in his arsenal! Richards is focusing on Sachin’s range more than anything else. Otherwise even in the 90s Lara was always considered the more stylish player. In cricket no matter how much style is appreciated no one puts this up against superior records. Don’t think barry Richards is doing that either. But leaving this aside the larger point stands. If a player is considered one of the 2-3 greatest ever, maybe the greatest since Bradman (Bradman at one point in ’93 or ’94 called Tendulkar the player who played most like him of all the players he’d ever seen), one can debate all of this but certainly just about any living expert of cricket, any cricketer, would agree that he belongs to this stratosphere. If one accepts all of this the question becomes: is it likely that even a very good player, even an extraordinary player will belong to that same stratosphere? In other words what are the odds that you’re going to get Tendulkar-like players in successive generations. This has been an old game in India anyway Kambli (remember those consecutive double centuries?!) through Kohli (and still counting). To my mind the best batsman of the post-Gavaskar generations barring of course Sachin is Dravid. I’d say he was in a very different class though he still wasn’t Sachin and no one thinks otherwise. One could say the same for Sehwag or anyone else. The point isn’t whether these players are good or great, whether they are the best or not in particular skills and so on. The question is always one of totality, i.e. looking at all of the available evidence but equally what the experts say (in a game where this still matters a lot more than many others). You’re right that people often get emotional in these debates but I think that if one wishes to argue against Sachin even in a limited sense (which includes setting up players against him as being potentially comparable or whatever) one has the case to make, not others (whether they’re emotional or not). I cannot claim to be an expert in these matters but I also have to assume that 100% of experts Bradman through Steve Waugh cannot be wrong (including the critics). All of this does not mean that he’s beyond debate. Nothing is. All I’m saying is that one cannot make a case on ‘faith’ specially since a number of players have been in Kohli’s position (vis-à-vis Sachin) and the best that one gets is either Dravid at one end or Sehwag at the other. And Kohli is not even the former yet. Which doesn’t mean he couldn’t become even the greatest batsman of his generation. But that’s not the debate. And again it’s no knock on anyone to be Dravid. he’s one of the great Indian players ever. But that’s still different from being Bradman-like or at least being referred to in the same breath which is increasingly the space in which Sachin has discussed. Again one can debate all of this but there should be a symmetrical set of claims. Otherwise potentially Kohli or anyone else could be Bradman too. Why stop at Sachin?!

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          • Tendulkar’s career is a bit freakish to review. How many of those first 206 innings in ODI’s were played in the lower middle order? One has to take into consideration that Tendulkar started out in the team as a 16 year old batting as low as 6 or 7. He was not middle order or top order specialist till probably 1994.

            Think about Messi, as a 16 year old he is not going to “oust” Ronaldhinho or Eto “no matter” how good he is. At that age, there is a different tact to almost massage, slowly integrate a youngster into a team – they are almost “plying” there trade. This is not an excuse, but a reason to say that comparing the first X innings of a 20 something in the team (who is arguably “more” ready for a birth in the middle or top order with a number of A class games behind him) vs. the first X innings of a 16 year old (who is raw, more unproven etc.) are different things.

            And yes it took him 206 innings to score 22 centuries. But guess what….he didn’t score his 1st 100 till his 79th match. So actually the moment he started to get “up” the order he managed his 22 in 127 matches.

            On batting averages, http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/282911.html
            Well there are statistics and damned statistics. There are actually 19 players with a bigger ave. then Tendulkar. But interestingly 14 have debuted in the 2000’s. I won’t list them all because frankly the “average” does not take into account the advent of 20 overs of powerplay vs. whatever half of Tendulkar’s career played at (the upfront 15 overs for a large part), or the basic reduction in size of grounds making the boundaries easier to hit or quite frankly the “bowling” skill deterioration – compare the ambrose, walsh, waqar, akram, mcgrath, warne, murali etc in the 90’s with the skills of 2000’s bowlers (these bowlers themselves were “better” in the 90’s than the 00’s, I’m sure there bowling averages would prove. Compare the “average” score of games since 2000 vs. the 90’s, it will illustrate “higher” scores in general. It’s not just Kohli with a higher ave….its everyone! In the 90’s a “par score” would be 225 or 250. Chasing that would be tough. Today teams are scoring 200 in the last 20 overs! The game is different and Tendulkar reaped “some” benefit from this in his own average in the 2000’s, but in the 90’s before the Lankans in 1996, the ODI game was very different.

            Bowling averages http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283256.html
            Tendulkar batted against the likes of Ambrose, Mcgrath, Donald, Murali, Pollock, Waqar, Akram, Walsh
            Kohli batted against the likes of Steyn, Philander, Harris…

            These listed bowlers have the best averages and it’s no surprise that the quality is vastly different.

            But NOT one player above Tendulkar in averages is a player from his generation…you have a Bevan or Abbas or Richards or Turner. Everyone else is a 2000 player or later. Of this list only Richards sticks out as a colossus and indeed he is. And he too would make anyone’s ODI greatest XI. Tendulkar trumps Kallis, Hayden, Ponting, Chanderpaul, Ganguly, Sangakarra, Lara in averages.

            I could go on. It’s not an exercise in deconstructing Kohli. In his generation, he is superior…but there is a severe difference in scoring rates, pitches, rules and quality of bowlers when looking at averages.

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          • http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/cricket/30983202

            BBC viewer poll, may I add Kohli was not an option, but AB D Villiers was. In fact there is a 30 minute broadcast between Vaughan, Giles and Gillespie and each have Tendulkar in the team. Vaughan the douche put Sobers in, only to learn statistically Sobers only played ONE ODI match. It’s quite funny listening to the broadcast though. They were ANGRY that the public put in Gayle up top ahead of Gilchrist/Jayasuriya. Ponting didn’t get in and that angered some!
            But I agreed with their overall sentiments…there is a usual bias in the public towards players “playing” or “recently” retired compared to older players. These straw polls can be rather miss-leading, especially to “experts”. And they privilege the recent memory far more than the older memory.

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          • I am a Kohli fan. How can you not be?
            He plays with passion and to win. He is extremely talented with a good head on his shoulders. If he has a long career and no reason he shouldnt, he will have huge numbers in the end.As Jay pointed out he is good in all formats of the game. And, his commitment to Indian team’s cause is beyond question.
            Still early to compare him with Sachin. And, it is an unfair comparision. In modern cricket there is no one like Sachin and I doubt there ever will be. In this digital age pepople have short memories and forget what Sachin in his prime was.
            Kohli has enough in him to go down as an a real all time great.
            He is vocal and demonstrative on field and that bothers some. For me, it iis not an issue. It shows his raw desire to win and we have been too meek in the past and it was mistaken as a sign of weakness and inferiority. Aussies, some English and South African players can be pretty mean and ruthless on field and I have no problem with Indians retaliating in kind. Remember one IPL match where Kohli was miffed with MSD and he didnt hide it. The guy is passionate and I would rather have that then someone who is pleasant all the time and does not have that fire in him.

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          • And, he always puts the team’s cause first. The way he selflessly played a second fiddle to Dhawan against SA and Raina against Pakistan was very impressive. He has a good cricketing brain.

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  37. Tendulkar’s career is a bit freakish to review. How many of those first 206 innings in ODI’s were played in the lower middle order? One has to take into consideration that Tendulkar started out in the team as a 16 year old batting as low as 6 or 7. He was not middle order or top order specialist till probably 1994.

    He played exactly 5 innings at #6 &7; 36 innings at 5.

    He played 61 innings at #4 and scored 4 centuries. Kohli has scored 7 centuries at #4 in 35 innings.

    And yes it took him 206 innings to score 22 centuries. But guess what….he didn’t score his 1st 100 till his 79th match. So actually the moment he started to get “up” the order he managed his 22 in 127 matches.

    He didn’t just go up the order, he started opening the innings. Kohli bats at #3, where he has fewer chances to score hundreds compared to an opener. Even if we take into account Tendulkar’s 22 hundreds in 127 matches, as an opener, how does it make Kohli look bad if he scored 22 hundreds in 143 innings batting at #3 & 4?

    On batting averages, yes, I take your point that there has been a general inflation in the amount of runs scored, extra power play overs etc. Even in the general quality of bowling, but given all of that, how many players have scored 22 ODI hundreds by the age of 26? That too in as few innings as Kohli has? Amla might get there in less number of innings but he’s already 32! Surely, if he has scored as many hundreds by this age and no one else has, it has to account for something!

    Also, how is Kohli’s record while chasing not exceptional? Chasing scores, as can be seen in the current World cup, is not easy at all. And he has scored 14 hundreds while chasing! Not as an opener either. Even if one takes into account the sub-par bowling of this era, again no one else, apart from him, seems to know how to do it!

    I’m not even a Kohli fan. I’d rather see the same level of success go to someone like Rahane, but these are the facts. In ODIs, that is…he’s not even in the reckoning as far as Tests are concerned.

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  38. “Tendulkar’s range of strokes was extra-ordinary, which Kohli still has some way to go,” Richards commented before doing a bit of shadow to explain the difference.
    “When Tendulkar batted, you could sense that his peripheral vision works. He could play in that entire arc between gully and square-leg, such was his range. If needed, he could meet the ball early with a frontfoot stride even on fastest of pitches. In case of Kohli, I find him as someone, who plays very close to his body. He lets the ball come into him,” observed Richards, who had 80 hundreds in 339 first-class matches.

    These are Barry Richards’ comments. So according to him, Kohli’s range is limited compared to Tendulkar. But Tendulkar’s range could be limited compared to AB De Villiers. Don’t think I’ve ever seen Tendulkar hit a fast bowler like Steyn for a reverse-swept six, like ABD has, multiple times.

    I don’t really think having a greater range of strokes is enough to quantify greatness. Tendulkar is great, not because of his range of strokes, but because he had the grit and determination to keep on giving his best for a very long time. His hunger, his drive, was unparalleled.

    And to counter Richards’ particular claim, in the 2003-04 series in Australia, Tendulkar completely eschewed strokes on the front foot (and in the cover region) to score a double century, precisely because he thought it was too risky. So, I don’t buy the argument that Barry Richards proposes. Having a great range of strokes is fine, but having the drive and the hunger to succeed at the highest level is much more important. In the end, the record books even out in favour of the greatest.

    In other words what are the odds that you’re going to get Tendulkar-like players in successive generations.

    I don’t think there’s a chance in hell that someone’s going to break Tendulkar’s Test+ODI record in totality. Not very soon anyway. But having said that, there’s a chance that a player might just sneak up on him in one of the disciplines (Tests or ODIs). It’s in this context that the debate should be centred and constructed.

    Kohli, for all his flair and bluster in ODIs, doesn’t have a great Test record at all. So comparisons to Tendulkar should be made in the ODI arena only.

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    • And when I say comparisons to Tendulkar, I should make it absolutely clear that I wouldn’t even start the comparisons till Kohli scores more than 30 centuries. That’s the point at which he would cross Ponting’s record. There’s still some time to go before that happens.

      The media is clearly milking the issue by comparing Kohli to Tendulkar. It’s their job to stoke a controversy but no one’s going to buy it…not at this precise moment in time anyway.

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      • My personal opinion and I have no intention to explain it with a ton of stats.

        I think Tendulkar is closer to Bradman than the rest are closer to Tendulkar. The records are simply too big to ignore. The gulf and distance between his ODI and Test combination is so huge. One can probably give tons of examples why Lara is more stylish, Dravid was a better match winner or Kallis a more complete cricketer or Sehwag more exciting.

        But one will have a hard time explaining how Tendulkar managed to score some 8,000 runs more and some 30 odd centuries more than everyone else, at an average equivalent to most – sure he batted longer, but he batted at THAT level longest too. And the bit that is unaccountable and hard to quantify in any logical or systematic sense is, he did it under the greatest pressure of any batsman ever…period. The deafening sound to which he entered the stadium to the pin drop silence when he was given out – no other batsman comes close, the distance in this regard is the distance between’s Bradman’s average and everyone else’s. That euphoria or disappointment was to a level unseen and unlikely to be seen, because it was for “our boy”. Very few sportsman, a small number, get that seal of approval from the crowd. Messi got it in the Bernabeu, in the villains ground. Tendulkar got it globally.

        Tendulkar, Richards, Warne and Gilchrist are the only names who would walk into the vast majority of Test AND ODI greatest XI teams. I’ve seen loads of these lists, and comparing both disciplines these are the only 4 who seem to guarantee themselves a slot in both. There are preferences for e.g. Sangkarra or Murali, but as wicketkeepers or spinners go Gilchrist changed the course of what it was to be wicketkeeper-batsman and Warne turned matches on their heads. Richards was born in the wrong era…if he was batting today, boy, he’d be a cut above the rest by a distance. He batted how he did in that era, imagine how he would go today (and no Gayle is not the symbol). With Tendulkar, the way he bats, you could place his style and skill in any era and he would prosper. He had an ability to adjust his game. That referenced 2004 Sydney innings, is an example. He played 6-7 innings, full of errors, dumb umpiring decisions etc. The media was all over him (Laxman, Sehwag, Dravid and Ganguly had all hit hundreds and fired in that series).

        He cut out the front foot shot, totally. The drive was not played once. And he made 242 not out! Ridiculous. He followed it with another not out in the 2nd innings. And I am pretty sure his next one was the 196 not out in Pakistan at a mediocre pace when Sehwag smashed the triple hundred. For a guy, who was out of sorts, out of luck etc., media saying it’s all over, he racked up some 500+ runs without losing his wicket. He modified, rectified, adjusted quickly and got his game back albeit it was not fluid or stroke worthy. But he had the ability to do it which is a remarkable skill in itself.

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        • Fair points, Jay. Nothing to disagree at all.

          Regarding the all time ODI + Test XI list, I might add Kallis to the list. His record as an all-rounder, in both formats, is too good to be ignored. Even if he wasn’t the most free-flowing batsman around.

          There’s a case to be made for Ricky Ponting as well…again, very good all round numbers as a #3 batsman, across both formats.

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    • “But Tendulkar’s range could be limited compared to AB De Villiers. ”

      no one would agree with that statement. Literally no one.

      But on this point though remember Sachin is the great original here even in terms of decimating attacks. Remember what he did to Shoaib Akhtar. There was the match against Australia in the late 90s if I’m not mistaken (in Sharjah I believe) where some experts said they had never seen such a single-handed decimation. These kinds of comments come up again and again. My only point here is that plenty had been said about Sachin along these lines too.

      Leaving this aside I’d make the opposite point. I don’t think scoring 30 centuries or whatever opens up a comparison automatically. Because once again the scale isn’t one of some form of greatness but about being one of the maybe 2-3 best players who ever played the game. Jay used the Messi example earlier. His only comparison seems to be with Maradona and Pele and then one can debate things. But other footballers, though there are very many absolute greats, don’t quite deserve to be on that list. Now you could argue that Sachin ought not to be on a rarefied list which only includes Bradman or whatever. You could make that case. And then if you said that other players could be compared to him it would at least follow to some degree. But you can’t keep making the case, even potentially, unless the other player really does so much. If anything the opposite case should be made. That even players like Dravid or Sehwag are not considered to be in Sachin’s league no matter how the Indian media might have presented it for limited periods of time. In other words even great players are not likely to join Sachin’s league for a variety of reasons. But again you might want to argue that Sachin doesn’t belong to that league either (yours would be a minority of one in that case but that’s another matter!) but if he does you can’t have every other promising player be on that path, even with a lot of runs. It’s not just Indians. Throughout the 90s Lara and Sachin were considered to be in a class of their own. Over time even this ‘pair’ had faded inasmuch as Sachin’s longevity has silenced everyone. People talked about Ponting a lot, as being the next one after these two. Again there’s a mountain of stats that’s simply going to be improbable for any player. When you then combine it with that sort of critical acclaim that makes it an even more improbable barrier to equal.

      Wasim Akram once said that though Lara and Sachin were undoubtedly the finest he had faced in that age, that with Lara he nonetheless felt he could sometimes deceive the batsman whereas with Sachin even when he got him he always knew that Sachin hadn’t been deceived. There’s just too encyclopedic a list of such anecdotes when it comes to Sachin, again beginning with Bradman (and he said what he did before Sachin had amassed a mountain of stats.. he said after that tour, which went badly for India, that Sachin on an Australian side around the same time might have averaged 70 or 80). So again when you don’t have most people today who would place Dravid with Sachin or Sunny with Sachin you might disagree with this proposition but if you accept it to any degree no one (Kohli or anyone else anywhere) is going to get there just by being ‘great’.

      By the way I’d risk this statement — this contemporary period is possibly the worst time ever for pace bowlers in terms of the average conditions they get anywhere in the world including on grounds which might have once been much more favorable to them. Cricket at this point is very largely tipped in the batsman’s favor, even overwhelmingly. If anything there are probably some important talents on this score that would probably have been far greater in any earlier age. The opposite is true for batsmen. I think that after the late 90s the average batsman is probably overvalued and the average pace bowler undervalued or devalued. And it just keeps getting worse with each passing year as cricket in all its formats increasingly succumbs to the 20-20 logic. Barring exceptions here and there. Some of these NZ pitches seem to be taking swing in the current tournament.Of course the great talent would adjust to any age.

      On a related note I’d agree with Jay and take it further (I’m not the first to say this, and even people belonging to other sports cultures have said as much) — no single player in the history of mass sports anywhere in the world has operated with the kind of singular pressure Sachin has for almost all of his career. This is a massive factor on its own.

      To repeat the point once more. I think that if you agree with everyone and keep Sachin in that rarefied league the rest of your argument doesn’t follow. If you question the original premise you have a better case but then doing this pits you against every cricket expert there is! So it’s a difficult position either way. But I only make this distinction to reiterate that nothing is beyond debate but that if one wishes to make the case for Kohli vis-a-vis Sachin, potentially or otherwise, one really has to argue in a sense against Bradman.

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      • by the way one can certainly have an individual choice. At his best many preferred Laxman’s elegance over everything else in the Indian team at that point and I have no problems with this. I certainly don’t think the greatest player should be everyone’s favorite just as the greatest actor shouldn’t have to be everyone’s favorite. But there are certain talents so great, certain accomplishments such mountains, and certain icons so transcendent that it’s impossible not to succumb one way or the other.

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        • If I remember correctly, for a long time you also resisted the temptation to compare Federer with Sampras. All sorts of reasons were given as to why Sampras was better, including the quality of opponents that Federer faced (which eventually turned out to be much better than what Sampras ever faced!) to Sampras’ 7 Wimbledon titles and so on.

          There’s always resistance involved in substituting a strongly held belief, whatever may be the subject of study. But it’s important to keep an open mind.

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          • Actually I’d still take Sampras over him. I still think Sampras is the superior grass court player. Federer is assuredly the better clay player. It might be a tie otherwise. On their very best days I’d take Sampras over Federer on any surface other than clay. Because if you give them a tie overall (one could debate some elements one way or the other) I think Sampras’s serve tips the balance. by the way not sure what i’ve said about federer in the past. don’t recall saying anything negative but I could be wrong. At least on this blog I don’t think I have.

            But similarly you were saying things about Sehwag that you’re saying about Kohli today! Actually I think you are always fairly eager to have a Sachin challenger but that’s another matter!

            I’m not resistant by the way. I don’t have any issues accepting Federer. But winning 15 titles or more in tennis is not like doing 30 centuries in one days. And if the former starts becoming a lot more common well that must be questioned too! I have never been a Nadal fan though one has to accept what he’s done. But again I don’t think he’s comparable to Federer at all on any surface other than clay where he’s of course vastly superior. Again the numbers can sometimes deceive.

            But even if there is resistance it still has more probability on its side than assuming every good or great player is going to be Sachin! In other words every time a player wins three Grand Slams are you going to say he might do what Sampras of Federer did? Potentially anyone can do anything but isn’t it always improbable?! And again we might be going in circles but I find this a strange debate to begin with. And by the way what’s even the 30 mark about? How many one day players got from 30 to 50 in ODIs?! Isn’t that the real question? Isn’t there a gap of 20 between Sachin and the next guy? So what would make you believe that fastest or not one could simply coast from 30 to another 20 centuries? Let’s see what happens!

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        • Since everyone is making rather courageous statements here, allow me to make one of my own 🙂 . Laxman or no Laxman, I believe Azhar was the most elegant batsman the game has ever seen. And I will take his style over Gower (the only batsman who comes close to him in this respect is the great Zaheer Abbas). Even someone like John Woodcock had this to say about Azhar- “It’s no use asking an Englishman to bat like Mohammed Azharuddin. For, it would be like expecting a greyhound to win the London Derby!”

          BTW I had missed out on this thread earlier, but really enjoying reading Satyam, Saket, Jay etc on this.

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      • But on this point though remember Sachin is the great original here even in terms of decimating attacks. Remember what he did to Shoaib Akhtar. There was the match against Australia in the late 90s if I’m not mistaken (in Sharjah I believe) where some experts said they had never seen such a single-handed decimation. These kinds of comments come up again and again. My only point here is that plenty had been said about Sachin along these lines too.

        You do realize De Villiers has just created a record for the fastest ODI hundred in 33 balls. Even with degrading standards and all, that’s nothing to sneeze at. I wouldn’t consider it insignificant at all.

        Leaving this aside I’d make the opposite point. I don’t think scoring 30 centuries or whatever opens up a comparison automatically. Because once again the scale isn’t one of some form of greatness but about being one of the maybe 2-3 best players who ever played the game.

        I think it does. Scoring 30+ ODI centuries makes a player the second best ODI player in the game’s history. One can be the best player (overall) to play the game, but that doesn’t mean the clock or the record books stop to register other sporting achievements. When tennis fans were comparing Federer to Sampras after 3 Wimbledon titles, McEnroe asked everyone to wait till he had won five, against Sampras’ seven. It’s a fair call to wait till Kohli’s gone past 30 ODI hundreds and then start the comparison.

        The rest of the stuff you quote are media narratives and personal opinions. Wasim Akram said this; Bradman said that. That’s not gospel. I wouldn’t give too much credence to what former players say because there’s always an element of bias involved. Amitabh Bachchan says again and again that he considers Dilip Kumar his hero. That may be true but it doesn’t change my opinion as to who’s the better actor. And for good reason. Now Viv Richards has put Virat Kohli in his all-time top 10 ODI list of batsmen, but that again is his opinion.

        My point is, let’s separate the facts from fiction. Given a reasonable length of time, it’s easy to go through stats and filter out the great from the good; the good from the average and so on. This is empirical evidence, which I also think should be subjected to close scrutiny…from as many angles as possible. Let’s debate real numbers; let’s dissect them from different angles, but let us not be driven by long-lasting memes.

        If the standard of bowling has fallen, if the average scores have gone up, this should be factored in. I’m all for it. Make the grounds of comparison as even as possible. But don’t fall for dogma…let us not just follow a single line of reasoning.

        And finally, there can be no comparisons to Bradman because he never played ODI cricket. One can’t compare Kohli or De Villiers’ ODI record to Bradman’s because it simply doesn’t exist. (But one can compare Test records)

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        • But surely everyone from Bradman to anyone currently saying the very same thing isn’t just ‘hearsay’ or just a set of opinions. Because those opinions converge remarkably on the same player!

          On the rest do you really think Bradman would have had a problem playing one days? Given how incredibly dominant he was and how he sometimes played test cricket almost like a one day is this really such a great leap of the imagination? Is it really ‘unknowable’ how he might have done in this format given his talent level and his overall production of runs?

          You’re also forgetting that for the purists and for the longest time one day didn’t even qualify the way tests did. With good reason of course but one days eventually became entrenched enough for people to start taking them seriously. But if other formats of the game evolve over time we wouldn’t really say that we don’t know how Sachin would have fared at it!

          On the De Villiers record but that was precisely my point. Sachin was doing it once, then there were others who did more of it, now there’s De Villiers, assuredly there will be someone else soon enough who’s even faster. If anything these records seem to be tumbling rather more easily in contemporary times. Even if De Villiers might not be easily beaten in absolute terms there are other achievements of a similar order where players just whack the ball mercilessly, decimate the bowling and get to whatever scores they do with amazing SRs. Whether it’s a century or a double century or even an 80-90 or whatever. This just happens very often now.

          Richards has Virat on his ODI team. But does he consider him greater than Bradman? In other words the one day record on its own still isn’t enough is it? And this is again where it’s not ‘one thing’. Sachin does it in tests. You are yourself questioning Kohli on this score. Then what’s the comparison about? Even potentially? He might even get more one day centuries than Sachin. So what? He might be judged the best one day player on that criterion but will he be judged Sachin’s equal in any sense based on this? So it’s still a limited achievement isn’t it? And even today one days still don’t have the status of tests (though this might change very soon). Put differently you can still be a player who does hugely well in tests and about average in one days and be considered very great rather than if the reverse is true. But again we don’t have to go very far. What happened to all those other folks, just in India, who were compared to Sachin?

          The tennis comparison is not a fair one. Federer and Sampras being that close together, having played not that far apart is freaky. It doesn’t happen every day. Nadal is remarkable in many ways but other than calling him probably the best clay courter in history no one really puts him up there with Federer as a player. And even though Sampras never won the French no one really thinks it’s a totally done deal that Federer is greater. It’s very much a debate on those two. But in any case it doesn’t happen every day.

          By the way when you’re looking at one days also consider how the game was played throughout the 90s when Tendulkar was at his peak, when scores were much lower, they played the game much closer to the test format (even if things started getting more brisk towards the end of the decade) and now when it’s more or less played like a 20-20 (I only exaggerate a bit). for Sachin to nonetheless have that many centuries is stunning.

          Once again I’d say you’re making the case that Kohli might be a great one day player (though I wonder about what ‘greatness’ means in this format of the game on its own but that’s another matter.. I think that 30 century mark is much more breachable in today’s conditions) but not that he’s like Sachin. Which is the only debate that there is. Now if you said let’s talk when he has 30 in both formats or something I’d understand it more. But you’re sticking to ODIs.

          I’d lastly say this — the greatest players have the greatest stats but they are never just the sum of their stats. Maradona has nothing like Messi’s club career but he’s considered as great or more (depending on where you fall in this debate) nonetheless. Pele played at a very different point and his numbers are harder to compare. There was an extraordinary statistical analysis done of all three last summer but in football whatever stats any player might or might not have forever it was said that Pele was the greatest, then it was said forever that Maradona was his only peer, now it’s Messi. Scores of great footballers otherwise but no one said the same about them. It’s only for statistical reasons, there was again an extraordinary convergence of critical opinion around these figures. As there was for Sachin (or as there was for Lara even before any serious records were made).

          Cricket has undergone a great deal of ‘Americanization’ so that the stats are increasingly crowding out other kinds of argument. But there are those who question the benchmark numbers today even in baseball. Precisely because those highest barriers seem a lot more breachable. But that doesn’t apply to a player of Sachin’s longevity and all the eras he’s lived through.

          In a sense then I’m not even sure what we’re debating about. Can Kohli become one of the greatest one day players going by the numbers? Sure! Maybe even more than this. But that’s not enough to get him even within strike range of Sachin’s overall achievement. But I’d go further. If a 100 cricketers had a 100 centuries in both forms of the game first of all we’d have to start questioning that bar a bit (we would ask why so many were doing it so often) and for that reason the experts still wouldn’t consider all of them equal players for that reason. Again let’s end with Messi. His goal production is incredible but his skills set is as dazzling. You could conceivably have a player who produced a lot of goals with less than Messi’s skills. Ultimately in any sport not every index of greatness can automatically be given a number. Which is why you have to then look for this other stuff, those little moments, so on and so forth, in any case all those things that cannot really be made part of a statistical table (though with Sachin or Messi it’s hard to even do this it’s nonetheless true even for them.. what number could one put on some of the breathtaking goals Messi produces?).

          De Villiers had a century which wasn’t just the fastest but one of absolute and total mastery. You could have a 20-20 like effort which wouldn’t be of the same caliber but which would still be faster than this. So this other stuff matters and for this we have to turn to the experts and the greats. And again when opinion converges so completely on one figure I think it has to be taken seriously.

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          • Who is left to discuss 🙂 Jordan, Kobe and Lebron? or Sergie Bubka who competed with self.

            You need to be Sholay, HAHK or 3 Idiots to distinguish from crowd. I think we should see how Kohli, ABD careers unfold and comment later. For now we should enjoy the cricket. These dabates, who is greatest are mostly media manufactured and we fans latch on it with our biases.
            Some people can be called great early in career but then they need to be ARR.

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          • You’ve made the point more concisely than I ever could! the debates are pointless ultimately. I’m just amazed Saket is more or less saying ‘if you don’t think Kohli might be the next Sachin when he does 30 in one form of the game you’re dogmatic’!

            and once again I don’t have a problem with anyone who prefers Gavaskar to Sachin or whatever. That’s not the debate. I’d still take Sampras over Federer as a personal matter. I might also consider him stronger in some respects. But even if Federer were universally judged much greater I’d accept it and still prefer Sampras. No contradiction here. No one has to like Sachin to be amazed at what he’s done and to consider this an improbable barrier for anyone else. Otherwise sure there might be someone greater than Sachin one day or greater than Bradman or whoever. Everything’s ‘possible’.

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          • I wouldn’t put either of those two in Jordan’s league. The ultimate scoring machine with forever remain Wilt Chamberlain (though it was a very different game then, hardly any defense.. still no one ever did 100 pts in a game!). At the moment I’d also take Kobe over LeBron.

            I will say this that (all of this began in the US) but there’s increasingly the media narrative driven my sponsorships and so on to start asserting every important or very promising player and knocking on the door of greatness. So on and so forth. There is this desperation to create history all the time which is entirely media (and sponsorship) driven. I actually think a lot of very good careers stop short of greatness because the hype stops them from growing beyond a point. But Jordan also reminds me of something important in the context of the Sachin debates. Jordan got all his titles when he was physically somewhat off-peak. Even the first three. When he was at his absolute peak he kept running into the Detroits of the world! The greatest players make up with their intelligence what they lose in terms of pure physical ability. Differently put the greatest players have many different seasons and this explain their longevity. You can never be that great if you always rely on peak form. Because that’s not possible beyond a point. recently when Sachin’s book was released at the event someone said that before scoring that Sydney double century Sachin was frustrated as even though he felt he was in good form he kept getting out. His brother finally advised him to cut down on certain strokes and Sachin decided to cut down on almost all of his trademark strokes. I forget who it was who said at the event that this was amazing. For Sachin to so completely alter his game like that. It was hardly his greatest such effort in terms of fluency and so on but there are many who rank it among his very special moments for those other reasons. Again you don’t get to those highest milestones just by being in top form. You have to deal with the lows and somehow find a way. And it is this mental stamina and will that impresses me more than even raw talent. Because without the former you cannot necessarily be among the very greatest. And that character and will have to discovered in a new way with each new season of a career.

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    • Kallis has just around 5-6 tons less than Sachin in tests and as many wickets in tests as Zaheer. Surely he has to be greater than Sachin in tests just on that basis. And Sanga is operating at an average which is 5 higher than Sachin and has almost bettered his record overseas now. I think in India we are too Sachin focussed and more importantly ton focussed. Just because someone has fewer tons than Sachin doesnt mean he is not as great as him. Kallis is someone who is a vastly superior asset to any team – a Sachin and Zaheer put together.
      Even otherwise, I have always felt Dravid to be a better test batsman than Sachin. If we pick the legendary test wins overseas, Rawalpindi, Jamaica, Adelaide, Headingley, everywhere it was Dravid who was the leading batsman. His twin half centuries on THAT Jamaica wicket is the stuff of legends. His 3 back to back centuries in England in 2002 and that 148 in Headingley when the pitch was at its worst is classic folklore. At the end of the day you talk of great innings specifically when they result in test wins abroad. And Dravid is ahead in that respect. I always say that Sachin is a ‘great’ scorer of runs but Dravid is a scorer of ‘great’ runs. Some runs are just more valuable than others. This is not to say Sachin is not a great batsman but I dont belong to school that he is the start and end of batsmanship.

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      • Kallis has just around 5-6 tons less than Sachin in tests and as many wickets in tests as Zaheer. Surely he has to be greater than Sachin in tests just on that basis.

        I have argued in the past about Kallis’ record. I think it’s absolutely phenomenal. He has a great ODI record too. As far as a player’s worth to the team is concerned, an all-rounder like Kallis should be pencilled in first. The thing is, Kallis has always been seen as a boring player. He was never the flashy, stylish batsman or an out and out pacer. He just did his job with minimum fuss and believe it or not, that’s what brings his stock down whenever any such all-time great lists are discussed.

        And Sanga is operating at an average which is 5 higher than Sachin and has almost bettered his record overseas now.

        I’ve mentioned it today as well. Sangakkara has done remarkably well recently and is on course to score more than 40 Test hundreds. After 130 Tests, his average stands at 58+…that’s quite remarkable indeed.

        I think in India we are too Sachin focussed and more importantly ton focussed.

        This is definitely true. Once upon a time, I remember, people used to say Indian cricket would be dead if Kapil and Gavaskar would retire. I used to believe them. But then we had Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman, Ganguly, Sehwag, Kumble, Zaheer and everything was forgotten. Now that they are gone, I’m hopeful that we will see some good replacements for them as well!

        Just because someone has fewer tons than Sachin doesnt mean he is not as great as him. Kallis is someone who is a vastly superior asset to any team – a Sachin and Zaheer put together.
        Even otherwise, I have always felt Dravid to be a better test batsman than Sachin. If we pick the legendary test wins overseas, Rawalpindi, Jamaica, Adelaide, Headingley, everywhere it was Dravid who was the leading batsman. His twin half centuries on THAT Jamaica wicket is the stuff of legends. His 3 back to back centuries in England in 2002 and that 148 in Headingley when the pitch was at its worst is classic folklore. At the end of the day you talk of great innings specifically when they result in test wins abroad. And Dravid is ahead in that respect. I always say that Sachin is a ‘great’ scorer of runs but Dravid is a scorer of ‘great’ runs. Some runs are just more valuable than others. This is not to say Sachin is not a great batsman but I dont belong to school that he is the start and end of batsmanship.

        Agreed. And the way in which you’ve tried to filter out stats, is the more sound way to drive these debates. There can be a lot of passion and emotion involved in these debates but it should be backed by facts. I’m not saying that stats can’t be used selectively to prove one’s point; rather they shouldn’t. The correct way, in my opinion, is to look at stats and dissect them in a way that yields useful insights. These insights are vital because they could be completely different from a media-driven narrative and to be brutally honest, I don’t have too much faith in the media’s collective morals or ethics.

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        • so why isn’t anyone calling Kallis Sachin’s equal? The problem Saket is that you’re constantly shifting the yardstick. With Kohli it’s just about ODI centuries. With Kallis it’s about test centuries and wickets (how many ODI ones does he have again?). With Sangakkara you’re onto averages even though he’s still 10 short of Sachin. Leaving aside these completely inconsistent criteria my question remains the same: what are these guys not doing that they’re not compared with Sachin? If it’s as easy as simply stacking up test centuries somewhere or ODI ones somewhere else what’s the problem?

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          • The question should be why shouldn’t Kallis be considered Sachin’s equal? He has scored 45 centuries in Test matches, 17 in ODIs. He has 292 wickets in Tests and 273 in ODIs. He has scored less number of runs compared to Sachin, agreed, but he has taken many more wickets than him. He’s effectively 2 players rolled into one. He’s the best all-rounder the cricketing world has ever seen. I think I’ve made the same point a few years back as well.

            The problem Saket is that you’re constantly shifting the yardstick. With Kohli it’s just about ODI centuries. With Kallis it’s about test centuries and wickets (how many ODI ones does he have again?). With Sangakkara you’re onto averages even though he’s still 10 short of Sachin.

            I’m actually not shifting any yardstick. I replied to Jay’s comment today where he mentioned that players like Sangakkara are a dime a dozen these days. You can scroll back and have a look for yourself. If you notice, I haven’t compared Sangakkara to Sachin at all. I will have to do a detailed analysis in order to comment on that.

            And again, with regards to Kohli, all I’ve said is that he shouldn’t be compared to Tendulkar right now. I’ve also mentioned that based on his current stats, there’s a case to be made that he’s already an ODI great.

            As to why nobody’s making the same claims or comparisons, that’s not exactly my problem, is it? Even though I’m not in the loop as to what comparisons are made amongst the cricket fraternity on a regular basis, I only responded here based on a media article that asked Barry Richards’ view on Kohli vis-à-vis Tendulkar!

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  39. He is vocal and demonstrative on field and that bothers some. For me, it iis not an issue. It shows his raw desire to win and we have been too meek in the past and it was mistaken as a sign of weakness and inferiority. Aussies, some English and South African players can be pretty mean and ruthless on field and I have no problem with Indians retaliating in kind. Remember one IPL match where Kohli was miffed with MSD and he didnt hide it. The guy is passionate and I would rather have that then someone who is pleasant all the time and does not have that fire in him.

    I still have my hangover from the era when Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Kumble played and competed at the highest level without getting overly demonstrative. They too had fire in their belly, it would be wrong to assume otherwise given their records, but they were true statesmen as well. This whole Aussie way of playing the game is not my cup of tea. I am a fan of Dhoni’s temperament as well. His preternatural calm will be missed sorely once he’s gone. Call me old fashioned but I prefer quiet fortitude than in-your-face aggression. I think the latter’s quite ugly to be honest.

    I have no doubt that Kohli is passionate about his game and playing for India. I have also no doubt that he’s no great role model unlike his great predecessors.

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    • Hi Saket, at the same era you mentioned there was Ganguly as well. He showed the passion, grit and was very demonstrative of his leadership, which I feel was needed then.

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      • Given how brash some of the young players are these days, I’d say Ganguly was quite mild in comparison. I wasn’t impressed when he took his shirt off, for instance. Not because the gesture was obscene, but because his skinny bones were in full view 🙂

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      • Jokes apart, Ganguly’s contribution to the Indian team’s resurrection should not be discounted at all. He was a proud leader and that’s what he should be remembered for.

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  40. Amazing video by SA Cricket team.
    (Not sure if it was posted here.
    Satyam please delete this, if it is repeated in SS)

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  41. But surely everyone from Bradman to anyone currently saying the very same thing isn’t just ‘hearsay’ or just a set of opinions. Because those opinions converge remarkably on the same player!

    Where have I differed from the commonly held belief that Tendulkar is the greatest batsman since Bradman? I’ve argued (today and in the past) that there are limits to his greatness. Greatness or for that matter anything isn’t absolute. You seem to suggest it is; I don’t.
    On the rest do you really think Bradman would have had a problem playing one days? Given how incredibly dominant he was and how he sometimes played test cricket almost like a one day is this really such a great leap of the imagination? Is it really ‘unknowable’ how he might have done in this format given his talent level and his overall production of runs?
    You’re also forgetting that for the purists and for the longest time one day didn’t even qualify the way tests did. With good reason of course but one days eventually became entrenched enough for people to start taking them seriously. But if other formats of the game evolve over time we wouldn’t really say that we don’t know how Sachin would have fared at it!

    This is pure speculation. At least I can’t comment on something based on assumptions, even if assumptions are easy to make with regards to Bradman’s batting prowess or Sachin’s adaptability.

    He might be judged the best one day player on that criterion but will he be judged Sachin’s equal in any sense based on this? So it’s still a limited achievement isn’t it?

    Sure, it is. I’ve actually made it clear in my previous comment that Kohli’s comparison resides in a restricted space of ODIs.

    Once again I’d say you’re making the case that Kohli might be a great one day player (though I wonder about what ‘greatness’ means in this format of the game on its own but that’s another matter.. I think that 30 century mark is much more breachable in today’s conditions) but not that he’s like Sachin. Which is the only debate that there is. Now if you said let’s talk when he has 30 in both formats or something I’d understand it more. But you’re sticking to ODIs.

    Yes, because — surprise surprise — we have a world cup tournament going on which comprises of ODIs! How can I include Test match stats in an ODI discussion is beyond me? And ‘greatness’ in ODIs would mean being part of an all-time compilation of top XI players or batsmen etc.
    I’d lastly say this — the greatest players have the greatest stats but they are never just the sum of their stats.

    In other words, you do agree that stats are essential to be considered great. I’m not making a different argument either. You might find a great set of value in intangible facets of greatness but I prefer to measure it by the currency of statistics. I’m not saying intangible facets are worthless, but intangibles also differ from person to person. Statistics do not!

    In a sense then I’m not even sure what we’re debating about. Can Kohli become one of the greatest one day players going by the numbers? Sure! Maybe even more than this. But that’s not enough to get him even within strike range of Sachin’s overall achievement.

    This is precisely my question: why? If he or anyone else crosses landmarks set by Sachin, then why a legitimate discussion about that player’s greatness can’t be constructed? Or even, God forbid, a comparison can be initiated?

    But I’d go further. If a 100 cricketers had a 100 centuries in both forms of the game first of all we’d have to start questioning that bar a bit (we would ask why so many were doing it so often) and for that reason the experts still wouldn’t consider all of them equal players for that reason.

    Sure, and I would question that too. The thing is, it isn’t happening yet. Even with inflation in terms of batting records, there isn’t a single player in the world who has scored 20+ ODI hundreds by the age of 26. There isn’t a single player who’s as good at chasing scores as Kohli has demonstrated in the last 6 odd years. Why?
    And again when opinion converges so completely on one figure I think it has to be taken seriously.

    Opinions and views change. It takes time, but they do change.

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    • To be honest Saket I really don’t know what you’re saying anymore. You’re saying Sachin is the greatest since Bradman. I think we could have avoided the entire exchange! Secondly since you accept this my question again comes up. If you are the greatest of all time or the second greatest of all time or whatever that is not a stratosphere 99% of great players will enter (let alone good ones) as a simple matter of probability! No one is beyond comparison but the bar is extremely high at that level. In all these decades of football there have been 2 places placed in the Pele stratosphere of the dozens and dozens of great ones.

      As for saying that there are “limits to greatness” what does this even mean? The only ‘limit’ to greatness is the even greater player in an overall sense. It would be quite absurd to micro-examine a player and wonder if he’s as great in each and every sense. What player could qualify that way? Bradman wasn’t the greatest at every thing he did. He was overall the greatest. maradona isn’t one of the very greatest because he does everything better than everyone else. What kind of a standard is this?

      “Even with inflation in terms of batting records, there isn’t a single player in the world who has scored 20+ ODI hundreds by the age of 26. There isn’t a single player who’s as good at chasing scores as Kohli has demonstrated in the last 6 odd years. Why?”

      there isn’t a single player who’s had 100 centuries in both formats of the game by the age of 40. Wake me up when this happens.. I’ll be happy to accept the greatness of said player..

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      • As for saying that there are “limits to greatness” what does this even mean? The only ‘limit’ to greatness is the even greater player in an overall sense. It would be quite absurd to micro-examine a player and wonder if he’s as great in each and every sense. What player could qualify that way? Bradman wasn’t the greatest at every thing he did. He was overall the greatest. maradona isn’t one of the very greatest because he does everything better than everyone else. What kind of a standard is this?

        This is precisely the argument used to scuttle any debates. Greatness needs to be accepted as an undisputed fact and needs no further explanation. It’s not supposed to be scrutinised or dissected; it just is.

        So there’s actually no point in asking what proportion of Tendulkar’s hundreds came during a run chase? There’s no insight to be gained in Tendulkar’s records against the best bowling opposition, as it compares to other challengers of their era. What’s the point in looking at his stats in finals, for instance or high pressure games? What about records accrued overseas or at home? Of course, all these things don’t matter! What matters is a few fancy media quotes that hail Tendulkar without ever attempting to critically examine his records.

        there isn’t a single player who’s had 100 centuries in both formats of the game by the age of 40. Wake me up when this happens.. I’ll be happy to accept the greatness of said player..

        About 15 years ago, yes in the INDOlink era, you were not willing to count Tendulkar in front of Viv Richards. Let’s wait for another 15 years then!

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        • I must say you’re making some very odd claims.. I’ve never said anything about Tendulkar and Richards.. the only thing I ever remember saying in this context is that Bradman had a greatest XI of all time which was revealed after his death and it included Sachin. There was some reason to believe that he had Richards on the list earlier but he switched him with Sachin after watching the latter in that series I’ve talked about earlier (again before Sachin had made most of his records). Yesterday you brought up the Federer thing which I don’t remember but I’m at least willing to consider because it’s true that I wasn’t much taken in by Federer early on. But this Richards-Sachin thing you’ve brought up is absurd. I’ll tell you what you’re confused about here. I’ve never though Sehwag was comparable to him which is a discussion that has come up before, probably on this blog too. And for the record I doubt there are too many experts in the world, if any, who’d take Sehwag over Viv. But I certainly stand by this. Never said anything about Sachin in this context. Anyway as I said earlier this is becoming pointless and it’s unfortunate that you’re pulling all this other stuff. Will say again that as long as I’ve had cricket discussions with you (don’t remember having any in the Indolink days actually) you have forever been willing to make the case for someone else versus Sachin. On this blog too I’ve said this in the past. There’s definitely a narrative here when it comes to Sachin (on your part). Do I have a narrative too? Sure! But my narrative happens to be the same as everyone else’s! Why don’t you criticize me on Maradona as well while you’re at it?! Maybe tomorrow Kohli will have a career that will eclipse Sachin’s (let’s accept that as a possibility even if no one has ever said about him what they said about Sachin starting out or even before he’d entered international cricket.. Sachin was always a genius), well at that point I’ll have the debate too.

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          • Will say again that as long as I’ve had cricket discussions with you (don’t remember having any in the Indolink days actually) you have forever been willing to make the case for someone else versus Sachin.

            It used to be the opposite case at Indolink. I used to argue in favour of Tendulkar and you used to put forward Richards’ name as the greatest batsman who ever lived. You may not recall it…I actually do.

            There’s definitely a narrative here when it comes to Sachin (on your part). Do I have a narrative too? Sure! But my narrative happens to be the same as everyone else’s!

            Forget my narrative; answer the stats that I always seem to put up to buttress my argument. Do not quote such and such player in response!

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          • I thought I was constantly arguing for Sachin’s stats and the critical opinion surrounding him. Could be wrong!

            On the first I actually don’t even recall discussing much cricket at all at Indolink but even if I did I’m pretty sure I never took the position I did and I am as sure you have never ever argued for Sachin! People don’t change on such ‘essential’ things. As long as I’ve argued with you on Sachin you’ve argued for the other person and even leaving aside comparisons you find it easy to mostly come up with arguments that deconstruct him. I don’t have to make this case. It’s obvious for everyone to see. Just since this debate began you’ve gone from Kohli to Kallis, you’ve changed the terms of the debate with each response, I think it’s fairly clear what’s going on. Anyway the debate on this is now really over from my side.

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    • “Opinions and views change. It takes time, but they do change.”

      yup, I’ve waiting since childhood for views to change on bradman… and hobbs and sobers and Viv Richards and Gavaskar and etc etc etc..

      anyway I think I’ve said everything I needed to on all this.. I think we’ve reached a surreal point in the debate if one is going to say that ‘views will change with time’. I’m not aware of the sport in which players considered genuine greats were suddenly devalued later. A lot of cultural icons that are not in that stratosphere are sometimes forgotten but no expert suddenly changes his (or her) mind on Bradman or Pele or Laver or Bill Russell or whoever. People might think Sachin’s greater than Gavaskar but no one devalues the latter otherwise.

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  42. Actually I’d still take Sampras over him. I still think Sampras is the superior grass court player. Federer is assuredly the better clay player. It might be a tie otherwise. On their very best days I’d take Sampras over Federer on any surface other than clay. Because if you give them a tie overall (one could debate some elements one way or the other) I think Sampras’s serve tips the balance. by the way not sure what i’ve said about federer in the past. don’t recall saying anything negative but I could be wrong. At least on this blog I don’t think I have.

    But this is what you say today. Previously you weren’t even willing to consider Federer in the same league as Sampras.

    But similarly you were saying things about Sehwag that you’re saying about Kohli today! Actually I think you are always fairly eager to have a Sachin challenger but that’s another matter!

    I actually am willing to have a Sehwag challenger as well as a Dravid challenger today. That would only keep my interest alive in the sport. But that’s a different matter too!

    I’m not resistant by the way. I don’t have any issues accepting Federer. But winning 15 titles or more in tennis is not like doing 30 centuries in one days. And if the former starts becoming a lot more common well that must be questioned too! I have never been a Nadal fan though one has to accept what he’s done. But again I don’t think he’s comparable to Federer at all on any surface other than clay where he’s of course vastly superior. Again the numbers can sometimes deceive.

    It’s not just Nadal. Djokovic has also been a great opponent of Federer. There’s Murray in the mix as well. My point is, it was often mentioned that Federer’s records don’t mean much because he had to face weaker competition. He didn’t; in fact, he faced the toughest opposition compared to any other tennis great belonging to a different era. His numbers, biggest though they are, would have been even bigger if he had belonged to a different era.

    But even if there is resistance it still has more probability on its side than assuming every good or great player is going to be Sachin! In other words every time a player wins three Grand Slams are you going to say he might do what Sampras of Federer did? Potentially anyone can do anything but isn’t it always improbable?! And again we might be going in circles but I find this a strange debate to begin with. And by the way what’s even the 30 mark about? How many one day players got from 30 to 50 in ODIs?! Isn’t that the real question? Isn’t there a gap of 20 between Sachin and the next guy? So what would make you believe that fastest or not one could simply coast from 30 to another 20 centuries? Let’s see what happens!

    The 30 ODI hundred barrier, admittedly, is an arbitrary one. But if breached, it places a player (given time on his hands) firmly into the challenger category, where that player’s every century henceforth will begin to be monitored with extra caution. That’s why I’ve suggested that such comparisons should only start once Kohli has gone past Ponting’s record.

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    • where did I say that though? I actually searched the blog’s comments and I’ve never said something remotely approaching that. If I said it many years ago when Federer had two titles (I don’t remember this but let’s accept it) well I don’t think experts were saying that either at the time. That he would win that many titles. The whole point precisely is that unless you’re a bow wonder like Sachin people tend to make those sorts of claims only when there’s a very significant record. And if even after that record people call you great or whatever but don’t place you with Sachin I think it means something. Your argument might well be with the entire cricketing world!

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      • Claims were being made about Federer ever since his first Wimbledon triumph. He was called gifted and what not. It doesn’t require a genius to look at Federer’s game and not be impressed in the very first go! He was called a ‘complete’ player during his initial triumphs. The media, as usual, jumped the gun to anoint him as a great. Only this time, they were right and how!

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        • I think it’s a regular stigma Tendulkar has to deal with (and his fans!) that he was not the match winner that Dravid was or Lara was or X, Y and Z were. Unfortunately, people tend to forget no cricket match in test cricket is ever won without 20 wickets being taken (except for declarations).
          Dravid spent ALL of his career with Tendulkar next to him. Laxman, Ganguly and Sehwag for measure too.
          Tendulkar for some of his career did not have any of these guys, instead much lesser mortals! Not only that, but in his time in the 90’s he’ll be the lone ranger amongst an Indian collapse!

          It is very easy to place this allegation, but one would need to assess the indian team status as a whole to really study this.

          I have no doubt Dravid played pivotal innings, crucial knocks and more characteristically “wall” type knocks than Tendulkar. But the victory is supported by a bowling attack that did its job too!

          Scoring in finals, significant matches. Well it’s all fine and well saying this – but 2 names mentions in this thread – Lara and Kallis, did they ever play the knocks in the world cups? Never played a world cup final to boot, and don’t have the record of Tendulkar either! So the world cup, the pinnacle, where every match leads to final…Tendulkar has an astonishing record except for the 03’ and 11’ final. In fact, his World Cup record here http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/batting/most_runs_career.html?id=12;type=trophy He has 21 scores above 50 out of 44 innings. Ponting is next with 11. It takes #2 and #3 on the list to get to Tendulkar’s #1 on this stat. He’s outscored everyone again on total runs and total centuries and total half centuries. Lara + Kallis gets to Tendulkar here. This is the enormity you are dealing with here in World Cups. His average is only bettered by Richards and Dravid (!)
          But I suspect all this will be brushed off because of 03’ and 11’ final. Nevermind, Kallis and Lara never even got to the final!

          These isolated statistical virtues – one moment it’s the average (Kohli is better), next its style (Lara is better), then its match winning knocks (Dravid), then its better allrounder (Kallis), the most feared (Richards/Sehwag)…….in the end, we end up with a list 10-15 other stats or attributes which place 10-15 names above Tendulkar!!! What kind of joke are we trying to spin here??? That all these guys deserve a mention or are in the reckoning?

          The joke is this … Tendulkar had not only a great average, he was also pleasant on the eye (very appealing and could play ALL the shots), he played match winning knocks and guess what he even took some wickets! He also played under pressure, he also scored against every top bowler in the last 25 years!

          The issue is : he is not the guy with BEST average, or the MOST style, or the MOST match winning knocks or the BEST all-round contributor?

          BUT HE IS STILL THE BEST in most opinions (barring Bradman)

          He ticks the most boxes. He’s the guy the opposition FEARED most. His was the most PRECIOUS wicket. His was the loudest roar.

          In the end, history will have a very different version to what is being propositioned here.

          On Kallis – the reason he is not revered is quite simply he is not a prolific bowler. The “Greatest” all-rounder’s, were good enough to get into the side either on bowling or batting. Sobers batting ave./bowling wickets (58/235), Imran Khan (38/362), Botham (34/383), Dev (31/434), Pollock (32/421). Let me add, these guys were not just second change or the 3rd/4th paceman in the attack. They were either the #1 strike bowlers or #2 in their teams. In some cases, they were at times the amongst the best bowlers of their times too (and some held the record for most wickets EVER too). Now they were never prolific batters like Kallis. But they played knocks at 5, 6, 7 and 8 that turned matches. They were on the strength of their batting averages good enough to bat at 5, 6 or 7.
          This is a subtle but huge difference. On this strength most TEST XI all time teams won’t put Kallis in them. Sobers or Imran Khan usually get the nod because they had the ability to bowl up top and knock the best batsman out.
          Kallis as bowler, even for SA always played second fiddle to Pollock, Donald, Ntini, Morkel and Steyn. He was never a strike bowler, more a bowler who was reliable, steady and sometimes bought in to break a partnership. One can argue the listed all-rounder’s were never great batsman like Kallis – but I guess Sobers answers that call. Hence why Sobers regularly gets the nod in the Test game.
          In ODI’s Kallis would definitely be in by top ODI team ever. He has more of a career in this regard.

          On Federer/Sampras. I definitely place Federer higher. But I would have been more vocal about this 2-3 years ago than now. Federer’s got a losing record against Nadal. Against Djokovic he edges 19-17 but that will turn the other way round for sure too. He’s got a losing record too Murray too.
          Sampras generally dominated all his opposition.
          But I think one should take into account Federer is senior to Nadal/Djokovic. He is 33, Nadal 28 and Djokovic 27. That 5-6 years difference is crucial. The rivalries began with Federer at the top, Nadal/Djokovic young (off-peak but improving) and since then Federer getting older and lesser (peak to trough) whilst the other two getting older and better (trough to peak). The careers really only had 2-3 years where you could say all 3 were at the top of their game.
          Vs. Sampras he has 17 GS’s to Sampras’ 14…but he has also been in the final 25 times vs. Sampras 18 times. He’s gone to the semi-final 36 times vs. Sampras 23 times. So he has basically gone deeper into the tournaments much more too. His consistency in GS’s is far more prolific. The finals he has lost or the semis are usually to his Top 3 rivals too.
          Overall though statistics aside, what will seal the deal for most purist is the way he played. His style is akin to how Barcelona played at their best. Romanticists, lovers of the game show this every time he steps onto the court – Federer rarely is under supported, the only time the crowd supports opposition is if the opposition is home-grown. He got much more of a seal of approval from fans and experts than Sampras.
          There is an argument to say either Federer/Nadal/Djokovic would have won A LOT more had 1 or 2 of them not been in this ERA. Along with Murray, the Big 4 have won 37 of the last 40 GS’s!!!!!! think about that for one second. Drop Murray out and 35 of 38 slams were won by only 3 players. Sampras + Agassi (when you had 2 great players in the era) accounted for 22 slams. So one could easily argue that if either 1 of the 3 did not exist, or if 2 did not exist, the remaining 2 or 1 players would have gone on to win a heck of a lot more. It’s not hard to see how astonishing Federer’s record is in light of this. Without Nadal or Djokovic, he’d have blown 20 GS’s and probably gone to 25+.

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          • These isolated statistical virtues – one moment it’s the average (Kohli is better), next its style (Lara is better), then its match winning knocks (Dravid), then its better allrounder (Kallis), the most feared (Richards/Sehwag)…….in the end, we end up with a list 10-15 other stats or attributes which place 10-15 names above Tendulkar!!! What kind of joke are we trying to spin here??? That all these guys deserve a mention or are in the reckoning?

            Sorry Jay, I do agree with most of what you are saying but you too are falling into the trap of short-changing the argument that I have specifically made. I did not compare Tendulkar with Kohli here. The whole discussion started with Barry Richards’ view on Tendulkar vs Kohli. I think this is the 3rd or 4th time I’m going to point out that I don’t support this comparison at all. But there are some stats from Kohli’s ODI resume, which has spanned roughly 6 years so far, that deserve some respect. I don’t need to go through them again!

            I have made the claim that Kohli, based on his stats in ODIs alone, can be called an ODI great. I stand by that claim.

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          • Got it.

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        • But here’s the problem. You are deconstructing your own case. I was wrong about Federer whatever I might have said then (which I don’t remember precisely but it doesn’t quite sound like the way you’re presenting it). But you are precisely arguing for the Sachin-like or Messi-like figure who was considered a genius starting out and who then went on to fulfill expectations and then be considered one of the greatest ever in the history of the game (a list of 2-3). Except that when it’s Sachin you forget this entire logic and say ‘hey maybe Kohli could be there’. By your own logic it simply doesn’t follow. But I’m really at the end of this ‘debate’. It’s getting quite silly. Next you’ll say I was attacking Amitabh Bachchan once upon a time!

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  43. Hence why Sobers regularly gets the nod in the Test game.

    Sobers wasn’t a strike bowler either. And his bowling average is lower compared to Kallis, despite playing fewer test matches. His batting average is 3 points higher but he scored roughly 5000 runs less compared to Kallis. The fact that Kallis went on and repeated this feat in ODIs (11,500 runs and 273 wickets) just makes him a tad more special. So no, I don’t see how Sobers just gets the nod that easily.

    Regarding bowling all-rounders, I get your point, but Kallis is good enough to be included in any Test XI as a pure batsman! That he could bowl as 2nd or 3rd change (and break crucial partnerships) is an added bonus. Why would any world XI miss having a player like him? In any case, what I’ve been arguing is this: he provides more options and utility compared to Tendulkar! If I were playing chief selector and all players from cricket history were available for me to pick, I’m saying I would pick Kallis first because he gives me the option that no other player does. I could pick 4 bowlers, one wicket-keeper and 5 other batsmen. Bowling all-rounders like Imran Khan or Botham or Kapil Dev would occupy a much lower slot in the batting order, if they were to be selected.

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  44. Except that when it’s Sachin you forget this entire logic and say ‘hey maybe Kohli could be there’. By your own logic it simply doesn’t follow. But I’m really at the end of this ‘debate’.

    I urge you to provide any evidence where I’ve put Kohli on the same pedestal as Tendulkar! Even if I had the big bad agenda of disproving Sachin’s greatness, I wouldn’t want to look like a fool by making such an argument which wouldn’t fly in the face of facts.

    And just to reiterate, I’ve noticed a few highlights in Kohli’s ODI career, not test career mind you, which I think make him stand out from the pack. I’ve highlighted those things. I’ve actually rubbished the media narrative, which is only too eager to compare Tendulkar with Kohli for its own selfish reasons.

    And yet, I leave the door open for debate once Kohli crosses 30 ODI hundreds, which according to me, would be a big landmark in any case. I accept I’ve done all of this on this thread.

    What I’ve not done is all the other stuff that’s being ascribed to me.

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    • “I urge you to provide any evidence where I’ve put Kohli on the same pedestal as Tendulkar!”

      I know. You’ve ‘literally’ not done this. You never do. But you do it in every other sense when it comes to Tendulkar.

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  45. On the first I actually don’t even recall discussing much cricket at all at Indolink but even if I did I’m pretty sure I never took the position I did and I am as sure you have never ever argued for Sachin! People don’t change on such ‘essential’ things. As long as I’ve argued with you on Sachin you’ve argued for the other person and even leaving aside comparisons you find it easy to mostly come up with arguments that deconstruct him.

    Please allow me to respond. It’s true that cricket discussions on Indolink were never as hotly debated as here, but I do have a very strong memory. Whether you take my word or not, I wouldn’t lie just to prove a point. In the limited space reserved for any sane discussions at Indolink, I recall that you put your faith behind Richards. And I put mine behind Tendulkar. Of course I used to operate from a nationalistic point of view then, but still, I was a massive Tendulkar fan. What other choice did one have in those days? I used to be a massive Azhar fan as well, but everyone knows what happened next.

    Up to the early 2000s, maybe 2003 or thereabouts, I was a massive Sachin fan. It’s also true that my allegiance shifted elsewhere later on, i.e I became a Dravid fan and a massive Sehwag supporter (initially, I used to scoff at Sehwag), but now that they are all retired or close to retiring, as is the case with Sehwag, I can certainly be more objective about things. It’s also true that I operate from a paradigm where Tendulkar is not the be-all and end-all of all things related to cricket. Having said that, I certainly don’t look for an opportunity to slight him. What good would that serve? But because I don’t believe that Tendulkar is bigger than the game itself, I can actually question him – perhaps more stringently than he deserves, some would argue (not just argue, it usually triggers a deluge of emotions), but for me he’s not a holy cow.

    Not since a long time now. So yes, I’ve changed my position on Tendulkar – I’ve probably gone from being a rabid fan to a sceptic (!) even, but please do answer the questions I pose. The answers just might clear some misconceptions on either side of the debate. The least I can say about myself (I don’t know why I have to explain my position so explicitly anyway) is that I’m not arguing from a “fixed” position. I am open to arguments from either side. Just not the wishy-washy ones (so and so said this)…more like the ones that Jay provides, with some facts to back his case.

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    • First off Saket I’m not here nor have I in the past accused you of lying. But I do think that when we quote people, let alone from 15-17 years ago or whatever, the contexts and the details are important. I just offered the Bradman story (which many experts think is correct) of his replacing Richards with Sachin on his list. let me expand on this. If it’s a question of comparing them as attacking batsmen and against pace bowlers there might be a debate to be had. Much as even though I think Sachin is greater than Lara if someone wanted to make the case that lara was better on certain grounds and so forth I thin again there’s a debate. As I said yesterday being the ‘greatest’ overall does not mean one is so in every single facet of the game. That’s not possible for any human. One could have debated aspects of Bradman’s game with that of Hammond’s. But the former would still be considered ‘greater’. So unlike what you think I don’t at all try to seal off ‘greatness’ somehow. I don’t have those instincts at all. On Bachchan’s own blog I argue against some of his most iconic films, even his one man industry phase constantly. One could say ‘hey you weren’t like this on Indolink when you always defended him’. No I was always like this but the contexts matter. If I don’t think the other side is coming from a position of good faith I have different things to say. What used to happen on Indolink? The SRK fans would never say Bachchan wasn’t great but they’d precisely say ‘he’s great but look at all the multistarrers’, ‘he’s great but in those days people had no distractions’, ‘he’s great but SRK has these numbers’ etc etc. All of these claims were absurd but the point is they never literally said he wasn’t great. One can in a way keep speaking ‘in denials’ (to use a theological reference).

      Let me get back to Viv Richards. He was considered the greatest batsman of the 70s and 80s. There were other greats then but he was easily considered the best. He was among other things considered a master player of pace. But here’s the interesting thing. he of course never faced the fearsome Windies attack! But he did face Imran Khan (against whom he doesn’t have the strongest numbers). That leaves Hadlee, Kapil Dev, Botham, Lilee (dismissed Richards more than any other fast bowler if I’m not mistaken though peak Richards never really played peak Lilee much when he was himself at his peak.. and they’ve had their bad blood since). What does this mean? Not that everyone is wrong when they consider him that great, including all of those bowlers (well barring Lilee!). But it’s a factor to be considered in a debate. It’s not like Gavaskar who debuted early enough and played long enough where he faced the best West Indian bowlers, the best Australian ones, the best Pakistani ones, the best English ones, someone like Hadlee, referring to pace in each case. The WI example is particularly noteworthy because they had a constant battery. It wasn’t just one or two bowlers that one had to get through. Their intimidation was extraordinary. But does all of this mean Gavaskar is greater than Richards? No one thought so at the time. But certainly this debate is a fair one. In any case cricket is usually partial to attacking batsmen. The point again is that you can slice and dice all of this a number of ways. All kinds of debates can be had. The same holds for Sachin. Many people felt that Laxman against Australia had some of the finest innings by any Indian playing in that period. I don’t have a problem with such an opinion. Many liked Dravid on other occasions. You can have a debate involving Sachin and those two where you might prefer the latter in certain respects. Nothing odd about this. But if it’s about overall greatness those two don’t have a case compared to Sachin.

      I’ll offer one final example here. I’ve often wondered whether Maradona would have lost the WC last year if he had been there instead of Messi. I don’t think this because I value the latter less. It’s because in certain kinds of situations I think Maradona had the sheer scrappiness to somehow will things. Then again he couldn’t do this in 1990 when he certainly came as close as Messi. Maradona didn’t have to deal with an underperforming attack (on his team) the way Messi did for most of the tournament. So if had 4-5 on him he couldn’t pass the ball around with as much efficiency because people weren’t converting. Because we know of course that he’s also one of the greatest playmakers ever. Nonetheless all of this can be debated. This is why contexts and detail are important. If one isn’t paying attention one might think one is making the sort of claim one isn’t. This answers the Richards point but also the one about somehow not wanting to discuss great players or criticize them.

      But there is also an ethics of discussion. One cannot keep changing the terms of the debate. One also cannot discount that which one doesn’t like. For instance it’s quite unfair to keep saying that I’m quoting this or that person when you know as well as I do that every person who’s worth anything places Tendulkar on the same pedestal. And this body of opinion has always meant something in cricket, often more than the stats. And it doesn’t easily change. What great players are now considered less great? I raised this question earlier also. If anything in cricket the experts are far less fickle in these matters. But even leaving aside cricket any sport depends on such opinion. It’s never only about the stats. If you compare Maradona’s numbers with Messi’s at the club level the latter is ahead by a mile. Maradona has of course the WC win. The point though is that if you just looked at numbers you could find many great players who could be compared with Maradona (for club records or WC wins or whatever). But the experts have always felt that he was the only footballer who could be considered Pele’s peer. Now Messi also makes such a list. In no game is it only about the stats but of course if a player is considered such but also has that mountain of stats the case becomes seal-tight. Bradman had that, Sachin has that. So it’s just unfair to suggest that I’m somehow simply quoting anecdotes from here and there!

      Leaving this aside if you are about stats you should of all people be blown away by Sachin’s numbers. If you like Jay’s arguments more in this regard I was under the impression that he was arguing for Sachin’s singularity precisely on the basis of the stats!

      I don’t really have an issue with why you liked Sachin more once and now like him less. That’s perfectly fine (even if I come at it the other way.. I am always impressed by players who do very well when they’re not at their physical peaks.. as I said yesterday I think that players often become even greater when they perform at this stage.. take Sachin.. at one point with the injuries and all it seemed like a struggle for him to add each century (tests) and I certainly couldn’t have imagined he’d get to 50.. but he got out of that phase and did.. I provided the Jordan example yesterday.. he won all 6 of his titles when he was post-peak). But a lot of your claims on Sachin sound like prevarications. It’s odd to be a skeptic about Sachin after the 90s when despite facing some challenges he kept adding to his numbers. for precisely someone interested in the numbers it’s odd that you became a skeptic at this point. Again I’m not debating this precise point. All I’m saying is that much like those SRK fans then one can keep bringing up other players and ‘preferring’ them in one sense or the other, predicting Sachin-like futures for them or at least offering up such possibilities. All of this eventually becomes a narrative. For instance one can say things like…

      1)Sachin is of course greater but I’ve never seen anyone decimate an attack like Sehwag
      2)Kohli cannot be compared to Sachin but give him 30 centuries and we can begin the comparisons
      3)Sachin is of course greatest after Bradman but what about Kallis?

      I could multiply these examples. Notice how in each case there’s that qualification that shows up. You’re never saying in a literal sense that Sachin is not greater but you always take away with the other hand what you give with one when it comes to him. And this where my problem begins. I don’t care whether you like him less after the 90s (note how even to explain this you now say you were ‘nationalistic’.. yet another qualification!) or never liked him. I’ve offered enough examples here (I’ve even said this about actors in the past) to suggest that one can like anyone more or less (within reason.. I think preferring Gavaskar to Sachin is not odd.. preferring Gambhir might be!). But one can create a patchwork of claims to support such likes or dislikes. In other words create the evidence that will suit the narrative. The problem is that the narrative becomes inconsistent when the evidence points in many different directions, held together or unified only as a polemical response to one player or actor.

      So again I don’t have an issue if you like ten contemporary cricketers more than Sachin. But you should have that preference without finding it necessary to ‘deny’ Sachin. And in the same vein you can also have lots of debates about him. Maybe Kohli does something better than Sachin, maybe Kallis does something else better than him. Whatever. All such debates are kosher. But the lines you pursue simply don’t pass the test. At least for me.

      And I’d again end with this question — when you have a Bradman, when you have a Sachin (since you also seem to agree that he’s the greatest after Bradman), when you have a Pele or whoever.. isn’t it always improbable that any new even very promising player, even potentially great player will live up to that standard? Sachin is the first player I am aware of who’s even been spoken of in that same breadth as Bradman. No one else no matter how great they were considered was ever given this honor. Doesn’t this mean something? Yes eventually there was a Maradona in football and there was a Messi. But how many more scores of good or great players who weren’t compared to Pele and who certainly didn’t become Maradona or Messi. As I again said yesterday maybe we’ll have someone greater than Sachin one day, or greater than Bradman. That possibility is always there. It’s just a very low probability. At the very least even to offer those kinds of predictions one would need to start with someone like Messi or Sachin who were considered geniuses right when they began. No one speaks about Kohli in those terms, no one has ever spoken about Kallis in those terms.

      Ultimately this isn’t about having iconoclastic opinions. Because here too some basis is required. And frankly some good faith. Again I’m not at all accusing you of lying. I also think you’re making the claims you are sincerely enough but you’re simply ignoring a blind spot when it comes to Sachin. And you can’t turn this around on me because if I have a blind spot on Sachin it’s let’s say a universal one. You have neither established that opinions in cricket change all the time as you claim, nor that Sachin’s overall stats can be matched by anyone else (overall being the operative word, not one thing or the other.. we can’t exactly combine Kallis’s test centuries with Kohli’s ODI ones, assuming he gets there) nor even that the opinions on Sachin are less than universal or for that matter why one should believe that anyone doing 30 centuries in ODIS with get to 50 (since other than Sachin no one has bridged this gap!). I could go on. All of this still does not mean that one cannot debate things but these cannot be grounds for such debates. To be blunt on your own terms you’re being inconsistent. You say you like stats and that’s fine but it’s also easy to pull out stats from all over the place if one wants to make a point. You did this on Kohli, you did this on Kallis, in both cases you ignored other stats, on Sachin where a mountain of evidence is there you again try to bypass it. Not literally but this is more or less the effect of your claims.

      I’d say again. you have a blind spot on Sachin. For whatever reason. And my only point here is that as a subjective matter you’re free to like him or not, prefer someone else or not but as a more objective matter I think the Sachin record in every sense of the word (and here I’d again introduce the point that he’s easily the mass sportsman who’s played with more pressure than anyone anywhere in history) is obvious to see whether one refers to the entire critical body of opinion in this game or the hard numbers. I honestly don’t see how one can even begin to deny this or glibly offer other candidates as better or greater or as potentially comparable. I just don’t.

      I do appreciate your longer response and have provided one in the same spirit. Once again haven’t accused you of lying but I think one must confront one’s blind spots sometimes. And now I literally have nothing more to say on this debate. ha!

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    • on a related note:

      http://www.cricketcountry.com/articles/barry-richardss-epic-325-not-out-in-a-single-days-play-against-dennis-lillee-and-graham-mckenzie-19874

      there are purists who consider the inning here the greatest in cricket history. Again I don’t have an issue if a Bradman or Sachin inning isn’t considered such. Barry Richards doesn’t have the numbers because of course he couldn’t play much as a South African. But there are very many who consider him one of the greatest batsmen. Specially in cricket it’s never been about just the stats.

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    • this is a balanced piece that makes many interesting points. One can debate with a lot of stuff but this is the sort of thing I was arguing about with Saket. If you come up with this sort of thing one can agree or disagree but there are many facets to such analysis. I will however add these two points which seem to me central because before one gets into the numbers and so on one must be very sure that one has the right ‘frame’ in place:

      1)Many of the things that can be cited against Tendulkar using arbitrary criteria like ‘high impact’ and so on could also be used for many other greats including Bradman (the famous body line series.. he averaged in the 50s which was a huge comedown for him.. however it must be considered that in that series they literally aimed for the batsman’s body and in an age where they didn’t have protection.. it’s hard to put a number on these things). And here’s the irony. Those who argue that Sachin isn’t god actually expect him to be one when they analyze the numbers! So even as they pretend to be coolly analytic about such claims they unconsciously (if that) use the same standard. Put differently if in every one of those categories Sachin were considered the very best he would literally be god! So what has one really proved?!

      So again all greatest players in every game have these chinks (even accepting these completely arbitrary measures of analysis.. again not because they’re poorly done but they seem to be ‘obvious’ once they’re invented.. I don’t want to extend this point but it is also the case that there is a great deal of ‘Americanization’ in all these cricinfo stats and many such numbers elsewhere.. which is to say that criteria are used that were never used for cricket before this age and point to a logic that fits better with American sports than cricket..this by the way is not a Sachin-centric point since he’s actually not hurt by a lot of this stuff.. because he comes out very well in most ways.. put differently if you had a high impact index for soccer someone might say Messi was much greater at club level than Maradona but that the opposite was true for the WC.. notice how this is a slippery logic though.. so Messi perhaps did not do as much as he could have in the crucial WC stages.. on the other hand without his key goals the team wouldn’t even have reached those stages.. this has often been true of Sachin as well.. much as it’s also hard to put a number on the players who are better with such a central one around.. Sehwag for instance has said that he owes his Multan triple to Sachin who steadied him at every turn.. whether it was Dravid or Laxman or whoever they never operated with the kind of pressure Sachin did irrespective of where he batted.. Bradman for instance would have disagreed with some of the points here.. he felt that Sachin would have averaged 70-80 on he Aussie side..). Being the ‘greatest’ does not mean that one cannot have weaknesses or that even if one has none at a pure skill level that one cannot nonetheless have stats that point to certain weaknesses in execution (even leaving aside the question of how many of these analyses are done).

      2)The idea that Sachin was treated as ‘god’ is often brought up. He was of course. But so what? Why is Amitabh Bachchan treated as god? Why is anyone treated as god? To argue that one isn’t god is actually a more absurd claim in these contexts than believing it in the first place. Why? Because its not as if there is some tangible kind of evidence that could then be rationally connected to god. So there is some kind of player for whom it could be proved with all kinds of analysis that he really was god! Does this make any sense?

      But why are people made gods (not just in India)? Because there is a level of the iconic and a level of the transcendent that enables a certain kind of hyperbole and devotion. But it’s not hyperbole in a certain sense. A certain kind of talent or figure for whatever reason (and there are many) is always seen as much more than the sum of his accomplishments. With such figures you cannot just list the records or whatever because even though there are very many there still seems to be something that escapes the numbers. They seem too transcendent. they transcend the numbers. They transcend their own legendary moments in certain ways. This is what is ‘godlike’ about them. Of course this always happens with certain people at certain cultural moments. But this doesn’t put their greatness into question. That has to be a given for the rest to take shape. The angry young man couldn’t have arisen in just any decade. But this doesn’t take away from Bachchan’s titanic gifts or accomplishments. As an aside one could perhaps look at his career and say ‘hey he couldn’t do romance as effectively as Rishi Kapoor could’ or ‘he couldn’t do art house cinema’! You could extend such a list. One could say Shakespeare never wrote novels (by the way one weakness Shakespeare definitely had — of all his 37 plays there are only 3 with original plots! for all the rest he relied on existing source material. A weakness? yes. Does it matter in terms of how we assess Shakespeare? Not at all!). In any case getting back to the point the fact that one becomes a larger-than-life cultural figure and which then leads to all kinds of emotional responses from the fans is part and parcel of the game. This doesn’t lessen the star’s achievement.

      At the end I’d just repeat the same. why is it that Sachin is always at one end of the wicket (!) while his partners keep changing (from Kambli to Kohli). Why aren’t the same comparisons made with respect to someone else? And again many of these analyses are useful. I’m not dismissing what I consider to be the Americanization of sports worldwide (cricket is one of the worst impacted because for the longest time cricket operated with a very different sort of logic..) but it cannot be taken at face value. The problem whether in sports or cinema is that in India we’ve succumbed increasingly to this logic without also developing a properly critical attitude about it. The other thing with stats is that they have to be coupled with a sense of that world in which the star or player operated. When I look at SRK’s numbers in the 90s I see nothing here that suggests many of the tall claims that are often made about him. On the other hand he represented an iconic appeal that isn’t just about the numbers, certain for ‘new India’. When I look at Aamir’s numbers in the 90s I don’t see as much iconic stuff there or as many important grossers and yet he was always an A-list star. Stats are not just about the obvious, it’s also about the meaning attached to them. When these extensive stats are drawn up about cricketers what they neglect is that until very recently cricket never operated with such an understanding. The ‘meaning’ of cricket did not depend on these in any proportionate sense whereas with American sports the opposite has been true for at least 30 years. It’s a tough job because unless we don’t have anything else to do we can’t get well-informed about all those other contexts. But in Sachin’s case we are often not even true to the ages we’ve lived through.

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    • I’d also make this larger more cultural point on Sachin’s reception. The other day I posted that recent ESPN documentary here which I found quite poor on many counts but part of the problem was that the entire framing of Sachin’s career through the prism of the WC win last time is just wrong. Sachin has never been a ‘New India’ representative. If anything he’s the bridge from the old to the new. He doesn’t quite belong to one or the other. He’s really singular even in this sense. In a different way though he’s been the most aspirational figure for small town India or those segments of society who are never quite going to get beyond that hope and dream of rising out of nowhere and playing before an international crowd. Sachin is a kind of ‘dream’ for them. This is where Sachin’s deepest ‘connect’ lies as surely as Amitabh Bachchan’s does (I’ve often made this point and some surveys bear this out that these two are probably the independent nation-state’s most transcendent cultural icons but also those who have the deepest roots).

      But I’d extend this a bit. If you track who the most iconic cricketers were Sachin and beyond you also see a certain evolution of New Indian values. Sachin was for the longest time in the 90s the one bright patch or the one great shining star in otherwise uninspiring or very mixed results from the overall team. Then times changed a bit and for urban upwardly mobile India Dravid started filling that space. He was if you will the hero of the Banglore IT moment. The disciplined guy doing hard work all the time and so on. In this very same paradigm ‘genius’ is even distrusted a bit. Then the tide turned again and you had Dhoni and Kohli (Sehwag before this but Sehwag had less flamboyance as a cultural figure though he was clearly a link in this sequence). Essentially people with attitude. The New India that initially wanted some place in the international narrative eventually developed superpower aspirations and sticking it to the competition. In this universe losing doesn’t matter as much as having a certain aggressive attitude. People love Kohli for this. Throughout most of this Sachin has been steady. But the aspirational symbols for the ‘SRK crowd’ (not a bad shorthand for those same upwardly mobile classes of urban India..) kept changing. In this current environment Dravid could never have become the kind of icon he was at his peak. He would be seen as too dull and too even-tempered. In any case Sachin’s reception too has changed with the same crowd over time. In some deep sense he’s been ‘god’ everywhere but clearly he hasn’t been the ideal fit at many points. Again because genius disturbs this same audience for reasons I won’t get into here but also because Sachin isn’t a poster boy for that sort of aspirational paradigm. This isn’t all of India but the urban multiplex audiences (to use another shorthand) have been very influential in many ways. The Modi win is also about this. The point is that all these other debates from the stats to the methods of analysis often reflect these underpinnings. In the 70s or 80s if you played a great inning and had a ‘chanceless’ century as they called it then the overall result never mattered as much or didn’t take away from the player’s accomplishment. Today it would. No one cares about how many times a player is dropped as long as he whacks the ball around and gets to a high score and even the most perfect inning is not given much credit unless the team wins. All of this then defines how these analyses are done. It’s not necessarily the case that one way of doing things was better or worse but one has to account for these factors. When Bradman played he mostly played against Eng. Not that many teams around otherwise and the ones that were were mostly poor. So these comparisons get hard too. But at the Bradman or Sachin level they’re relatively easy. It’s like the Bachchan argument I used to make. If there is a body of numbers that seems supreme relative to one’s age and any other, if there seems to be a body of critical opinion to go with it I don’t think there’s much left to debate. One can certainly discuss finer details here and there and to that extent this article is certainly fair (even if I’d debate individual things) but that doesn’t change the overall assessment in any sense which is more or less the point this piece makes. But yeah unless you literally expected Sachin to be god (of course even actual gods have rather poor track records at times but that’s another matter!) this is exactly the kind of analysis you’d expect.

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    • for all those who might be bored of all the cricket discussions hey it at least beats the politics!

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    • Very interesting. Most of the points it states are similar to what I’ve been arguing for ages!

      Here’s another one from the same website:

      Why Rahul Dravid is India’s greatest Test cricketer, bar none

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      • http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/cricket/24640224

        this by the way makes one of the points I was trying to earlier. Other than Akram, Warne and Sachin there’s no one here who debuted after 1980. In fact most of these lists are pretty consistent in this sense. The older players are never really downgraded.

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      • These debates beyond a point are pointless . People have long made up their minds based on their perception of reality, biases, mental make up etc.
        Nobody is going to change their position. Statistics can be twisted to suit one’s arguments.
        My position is clear- SRT is the greatest ever ( with POSSIBLE exception of the Don) to have walked on a cricket pitch.
        He is not my favorite cricketer though- that honor goes to SMG.
        David,Sehwag and Ganguly were fantastic and a very important part of
        Indian cricket history. But, I never watched them with the same sense of anticipation as SRT nor did my heart sink when they got out nor did I follow silly rituals when they were batting. And, that goes for a vast majority of Indian public.
        There is AB and there are the Khans and Naseer and Dharmendra and Vinod Khanna. We all know who wears the crown. Same goes for SRT.

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        • http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/story/645433.html

          Of course, Alistair cook too had a record equivalent to Tendulkar in 2013. Someone definitely put the curse on him since though. It’s generally one thing to keep pace for a period, but requires a lot more to do it all the way.
          And if Kohli can do it then that is great for India. But it’s not easy…

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        • Aap to munna ki tarah bol rahe ho 😉

          I personally am towards result oriented approach. Sachin is great for the numbers of years he has played and runs he has amassed (of course technically sound). I prefer Bevans, Dhonis of world who come in pressure situation and score 30-40-50 runs based on situation.

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          • LOL Munna you’ve set your sights rather low I must say. From ‘greatest in history’ debates to this! You’re saying you’re happy with a quick-fire 30-50 that wins the match and that’s about it. you go in with low expectations!

            More seriously though I don’t think you quite mean this. If you play on a weak cricket team you will only rarely have a result where the team wins. So many careers would get discounted this way. A cricketer (or a soccer player) can never be like a tennis star. It always depends on the rest of the cast. You can often put in a heroic effort single-handedly but you can’t do it day in and day out. And again even with the Dhonis of the world in that situation you’re referring to you need an inning that has already been built by someone else to then make that sort of difference.

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          • Ah the finishers who finish what everyone else has set up. They get too much credit. Let them bat at 1-4 where all the work is really done.
            And of course all those not outs are so much easier down there. Elevated averages. So much to groan about with finishers.

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  46. If cricket is a god, all the great cricketers are his messengers.

    Your religion and my religion. My messenger and your messenger.

    If filmy entertainment is a god, all the great stars are his messengers.

    This is my two rupee opinion for today.

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    • If we start grading cricketers and filmstars and politicians, what is wrong if hindus, muslims and christians think that their respective religions are special and the greatest.

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      • LOL, Sanjana I don’t think that quite follows! grading achievement in all sorts of fields is a perfectly natural exercise. Now one could argue it gets reductive and vulgar beyond a point. That’s true. Ultimately when we watch a film or a match we aren’t constantly going through stats in our heads android-like! We are there to have an experience either way, we expect more from certain actors/films/players/matches but we’re not there to just live out lists. So guilty as charged here. But this doesn’t mean that one can compare religions (or ethnicities or whatever) in the same way!

        Politicians are usually not graded the same way. Other than in the US (!) where grading presidents repeatedly every year is a national obsession.

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  47. Cricket is one of the many things I’m trying to stay away from..

    But skimming thru the discussion above — a few words are in order

    MOLESTATION of STATISTICS & DATA mining takes one nowhere

    One can differentiate those who are just AVID WATCHERS & ARDENT FANS without knowing INTRICACIES & TECHNICALITIES

    Before even going into CRICKET–

    The problem kohli faces is that there’s too much ‘distraction’ and ‘noise’ and more than cricketing acumen it needs more discipline to last long

    tendulkar got married whilst still in his NAPPIES to someone who probably served as an all-in-one mom girlfriend wife …
    Perhaps she is the ONLY female he has encountered ever –but this has kept him sane between his ears

    Kohli needs to either go all the way and stay marinated –there’s no point in going in and out intermittently …

    Maybe more on cricket shortly…

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  48. I haven’t seen much of Virat Kohlis batting recently but he is DEFINITELY on course for greatness (albeit with some clauses)

    Comparison with tendulkar can only be retrospective
    Once kohli has finished

    Tendulkar was truly an EVEREST of batting achievements although there are many ISSUES I have with tendulkar (for another day)

    The SHEER CAREER SPAN & longevity of 10dulkar was mind boggling and needs much more than just ‘batting’ prowess

    Amongst the issues I have with tendulkar
    Is his INSISTENCE to HOG the best batting slots in tests/one dayers
    His inability to take him team to completion and so on…

    But there’s NO denying the fact

    That at his ABSOLUTE PEAK–10dulkar was untouchable
    & was simply TOO DOMINANT
    & had an EXQUISITE RANGE
    A ‘complete’ batsman

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  49. I’ve seen bits of kohli in action & hope to catch more in this WC

    kohli sounded more hype to me till I watched ONE Innings of his
    Don’t remember which..

    I think it was ONE off-drive which was OMINOUS of a great batsman & then I could sense that 10dulkars records are in true danger (think I commented here as well)

    But there’s some distance for kohli to cover and things to prove

    Before we start onto that

    Can someone who supports kohlis case tell us the batting stats of his recent trip to England??

    THIS is where the true batting infrastructure of a batsman gets dismantled
    The SEAMING ball in OVERCAST conditions is a real BITCH!

    Bad form is one thing
    How u get out is another

    Anyone who needs to understand what I’m saying
    WATCH RECENT KOHLI DISMISSALS IN ENGLAND

    I like how Kohli sees the ball till late
    How he gets to the pitch of the ball
    But why the regular ‘gap’ playing away from the body

    How often do we see kohli go down the pitch to hoist a quality spinner over his head for six or four

    Where’s the ability to MAUL an attack to pieces where needed ?

    Kohli needs to use his FEET MORE to spinners

    It’s NOT beyond kohli and he’s certainly in the RANGE though
    May watch some more kohli in action soon….

    Btw this anushka is surely 1 helluva distraction & something needs to be done bout it…. This is more difficult than ‘batting’

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    • How often do we see kohli go down the pitch to hoist a quality spinner over his head for six or four

      LOL…you don’t have a clue, do you? That’s one of his high-scoring shots, dude!

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  50. Got this from here

    How does Impact Index account for the longevity of a career? Sachin Tendulkar had sustained excellence for decades, but right now Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have a higher ODI impact than Tendulkar.

    Longevity means a player has got the opportunity to get more series or tournament defining performances too. Logically, there is no need to account for it via numbers. In a team context, we combine experience and individual impact numbers, so together they do favour the player with experience. The jury is out on whether we need to account more specifically for longevity via numbers when it comes to Career Impact. We have tried a couple of approaches in the past and they were both inadequate; maybe developmental work in the future will reveal a solution. But we’re not even sure if it is really required.

    And what is the problem exactly with Kohli and Dhoni being higher impact than Tendulkar? Both have won more big matches in proportionately fewer games for their team thus far, so what is the objection exactly? And how do you know both will not be higher impact than Tendulkar when their respective careers finish too? The signs are there that they will be.

    Also, this:

    Does Impact Index take into account the evolution in the game: if Viv Richards played in an era where 4.5 runs per over was the norm in ODIs, is it possible to compare him with a Virat Kohli, who plays in an era when 6 runs an over is the norm?

    It totally does, as this is built into the system. Fundamentally, Impact Index calculates the impact of a cricketing performance within the context of match relative to the other 21 performances in the same match. So, straightaway the standards of that match and its representative era are built into the calculation.

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    • So, in effect, this method normalizes results to a single game’s benchmarks and then calculates its indices. The only problem is, the method isn’t very transparent. No one can actually do any calculations on his own, as it’s a proprietary model.

      What it does ensure though is that results are free from human bias. It’s data that decides the indices, which is good. Given sufficient data, it should work quite well in the end.

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    • In the interest of fairness, I should point out a flaw (I think) in the Impact Index analysis.

      I just saw their impact numbers for the world cup game between India and Pakistan here

      Mohammed Shami has a higher impact index for the match compared to Virat Kohli, which is fine by itself. Virat Kohli is vying for batting honors and Shami for bowling, so they don’t really compete against each other.

      But the system doesn’t take into account any cause-effect relationship that might exist between the two. That is, Mohammed Shami’s impact numbers might be so high because India scored 300 in the fist innings, out of which Kohli scored 107!

      Would Shami’s numbers be as high if the score was smaller than 300 or Kohli hadn’t scored 107? He might not have taken as many wickets in that case.

      I know it’s too complex an equation for any system to resolve, but still, Shami’s numbers owe something to Kohli’s batting.

      #2) It’s fine to have a data-driven analysis that cuts out human bias. And I’m all for it. But even if Kohli or Dhoni have a higher ODI Impact index compared to Tendulkar, a human touch is essential to appreciate the beauty in Tendulkar’s batting. There’s just a massive difference between Dhoni scoring a 100 and Tendulkar scoring one, even if the score books show the same end result. This is a fundamental issue that simply can’t be resolved by a data driven analysis. Or perhaps it can, if one graphically maps the contours of Tendulkar’s shots to Dhoni’s (for example) and creates a wave template that the computer can identify as aesthetically pleasing or not, but it’s just too complex a concept.

      So where does that leave us with this method? I think it’s a very good tool to check one’s theories — whether they are right or wrong. But it does not (can not, in its present format) reveal the complete picture. It then is a supplementary tool, which is decidedly better than just looking at raw averages over a period of time.

      What’s good is that it’s not going to be biased towards any specific era. The numbers are always relative; but they represent only part of the picture.

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      • they did something of the sort for Messi last year:

        http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/lionel-messi-is-impossible/

        but it’s true that the sheer aesthetics of the game cannot be captured by the numbers. Beyond this it’s impossible to really be true to the dynamics of a game or a series and so on from a distance. There are just so many variables. Even on the same day things often change. In tennis this is much easier to do for obvious reasons. It’s certainly true that averages on their own can never be enough either. While I’d in principle agree that more analysis is always better than less, more complicated analysis in the same sense is also better. But there is once again the danger of ‘Americanization’ where you can really make the stats tell any number of stories, all of which might be valid on their own, but they don’t necessarily enlighten us. There is also the microscope effect where upto a point the analysis is meaningful but it’s hard to tell when such an exercise actually starts distorting the overall ‘reality’ if you will. And this is true for most things in life. You can’t reduce things to numbers without serious distortion. For instance to get a sense of what Rajesh Khanna meant for his 3-4 peak period years one couldn’t just add up the numbers. Yes his box office is that of the ‘first superstar’ and so on in that period but the larger culture he represented, the hysteria he generated etc could not really be gauged that way. Better still his larger meaning would elude us. In this sense I think that even the most impressive stats (bradman’s or sachin’s or whoever’s) merely give us an approximation of a gigantic talent. Currently I feel that most often with Messi. Yes his numbers are incredible but you watch some of the goals he does or the plays he’s created (and for years) and they seem like miracles. Yes the numbers do seem overwhelming for many players but they still leave out a lot of the experience of the sport. And that is to lose a whole lot. In some ways the stats are hardest on those who are great players but not in that rarefied Sachin-like space. Because the numbers never seem completely conclusive and once one is away from that age it’s hard to represent such a player accurately. The argument seems even more subjective. Which is why I fundamentally dislike an over-reliance on stats. One certainly has to look at them and upto a point I’m even very interested in them. But too many times it becomes just about this. In many ways the worst example of all this more than cricket is contemporary Bollywood where if you notice we’ve reached a point in the media coverage and certainly online that the quality of a film or performance simply does not matter. It’s almost exclusively about the numbers. This is supposed to shut off all other kinds of discussion.

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  51. impact factor wise, in the indian team, certainly Kohli and even dhoni are higher than what many people perceive (and 10dulkar may socre lower than perceived)

    but those who are into statisitics should also be TAUGHT the ANOMALIES (& limitations) of stats

    real life doesnt run parallel /like p-values or excel spreadsheets..

    we are not talking scoring big time off spinners–
    every so-called SUBCONTINENTAL socalled batsmen can ‘play spin well”
    im talking about DOMINATING them
    WALKING DOWN the pitch et al
    forget 10dulkar
    im talking Ganguly and even SIdhu !

    for eg what tendulkar did to SHA’M'(N)E WARNE at his peak !!

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  52. to summarise —
    Kohli is SURELY one of the best batsmen currently and def the best in the indian team
    and has it in him to be a ‘legend’ IF he keeps his head in place

    ps–“That’s one of his high-scoring shots, dude!”–

    TO HECK WITH SUCH “high scoring shots”–
    this sort of kiddish analyses gets stuffed into a GUNNY BAG AND KICKED OUT in my world!!

    ps2–by the way, what were Virat Kohlis scorelines in the england test series (& manner of dismissal) ….can somebody remind me
    (just out of interest)…

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  53. I was right–just checked kohli England conditions recent stats

    This is certainly NOT to put viral kohli down but to outline what he currently lacks and needs to work upon…

    Xxxx

    Virat Kohli’s Nightmare in England Totters to its End

    Virat Kohli looked horribly out of sorts each time he stepped out to face England bowlers – be it in the five Tests or ODIs

    Kohli walks back after another failure on the England tour.© AP
    Raved and revered for his sublime batting skills, Virat Kohli has painted a shambolic, contrasting picture with his willow in the ongoing tour of England. With scores of 1, 8, 25, 0, 39, 28, 0,7, 6 and 20 in the five Tests, the batsman averaged 13.50 in his ten innings. If ODIs promised a reprieve for the otherwise flamboyant batsman, scores of 0, 40, 1* and 13 pointed to the blatant opposite. (India Win ODI Series 3-1)
    For a cricketer touted as India’s next captain, Kohli’s batting has been in ruins with hardly any of his knocks – in whites or in the blue jersey – evoking any sense of confidence. Edgy at best and close to quivering at worst, the 26-year-old ensured that his wicket was one that England could take for granted. In fact, the only other ‘consistency’ he showed – besides walking back to the pavilion in earnest rush – was falling to both spin as well as pace without any partiality. So as Ben Stokes and Chris Woakes joined the celebrations in ODIs after James Anderson had claimed Kohli on four occasions in the Tests, fans looked elsewhere for a hero.

    http://m.sports.ndtv.com/england-vs-india-2014/news/229396-virat-kohli-s-nightmare-in-england-totters-to-its-end

    Ps: any monkey with a cricket bat can act as a flat track bully on the subcontinent dead pitches..

    The BRIGHT spot in kohli is his ‘hunger’
    He’s technique and timing is solid (though he’s not a dravid either)

    But doesn’t have all the shots in the book

    But sometimes NOT ‘having all the shots in the book’ helps ‘shot selection’ ..wish him best of luck

    Like

  54. Meanwhile, AB De Villiers has scored 162 off 66 balls against WI. He now has the fastest 50, 100 and 150 in ODI cricket.

    And he’s not even a big guy! Too good to be true, this ABD fella…

    Like

    • This SA innings just goes to show how the ODI game has changed.
      Scoring 400 has been done before, many times.

      But they were 30-1 after 10 overs (3 runs per over)
      And around 150-3 after 30 overs (5 runs per over)
      They basically smashed the best part of 250 runs from the last 20 overs (13 runs per over)

      One can pull statistical models to adjust all kinds of things, but the “mentality” and “culture” of the game is very different to 20 years ago. Whereas before it was extension of the Test game played at brisk pace…it is now no more than an extension of the 20-20 game where if a team has wickets in hand with 20-30 overs left – they “know” they can score 200-300 runs because they do it regularly in 20-20. This is nothing more than evolution.

      One could transport Viv Richards into today’s game and make no mistake – he’d be more than capable of doing an ABDV. Wider bats, shorter boundaries, easier batting rules and worse bowlers – I think Viv is salivating as we speak!

      On ABDV – he is a genius. He could have played any sport btw. Golf, rugby, badminton and tennis – as a kid he was phenomenal in all of them. The way he plays, he’s using that arsenal of racket/club technique even in cricket.

      Like

      • This 20-20 has ruined the bowlers. They command absolutely no respect nowadays. 400 in a world cup almost looks vulgar. Maybe I am a traditionalist but I really don’t enjoy this kind of flagellating of the bowlers. The bowler in today’s one-day version has almost nothing going for him in terms of rules or exceptions. It appears he can only survive if the pitch is tailor-made for him. This kind of hitting sends bowlers into therapy.
        ABD might not have slogged like other batsmen at that stage but really, this is worse than that. The ICC needs to do something about this – emasculating the bowler to such an extent is totally unbalanced.

        This world-cup is getting weirder and unpredictable by the day. One day SA can’t even get to 250 against India and the next day they hit 400 against Indies. WI shatter Pakistan and now they lose miserably against SA. Things are getting very tough for India…

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        • To be blunt…this world cup has been DULL so far. Front loading the India Pakistan match was a bad idea!
          The matches between the minnows are proving to be more close than the regular test playing nations.

          Instead of seeding the knockout matches – I would love to see a “draw” take place, akin to Champions league. It could lead to big matches earlier and a minnow escaping to the semi-final somehow. Otherwise barring one or two upsets along the way, whichever semi-final line-up comes up – it feels like everything till then was just to get to that point. A QF and SF draw please.

          Like

        • This 20-20 has ruined the bowlers. They command absolutely no respect nowadays. 400 in a world cup almost looks vulgar

          Sure, the bats are bigger these days and the boundaries shorter, but still, where’s the skill to bowl yorkers gone? In reality, batsmen have gotten smarter, more innovative and bowlers have become less skillful. Captains don’t help by being overly defensive as well.

          Then there are exceptions to the rule like ABD. Make no mistake, he wasn’t the same player he is now in 2007, when he used to open with Graeme Smith. But he has improved and how!

          At present he’s the best batsmen in all 3 formats. One could still explain a batsman’s dominance in ODIs and T20s but how can the same batsman average over 50 in Tests as well? The answer, after discounting for extraneous reasons, is that he’s just gifted.

          Dhoni has different gifts as an ODI batsman in death overs — I’ve seen him use his helicopter shot against perfect yorkers tailing in to him and hit them for six. You can only tip your hat when someone is able to do that!

          Like

      • On ABDV – he is a genius. He could have played any sport btw. Golf, rugby, badminton and tennis – as a kid he was phenomenal in all of them. The way he plays, he’s using that arsenal of racket/club technique even in cricket. @Jayshah.

        Thats fantastic. One should be versatile. It helps. I read somewhere that both Botham and Richards played football.

        Like

      • One can pull statistical models to adjust all kinds of things, but the “mentality” and “culture” of the game is very different to 20 years ago.

        Yes and that’s why the models predict — or rather filter — the greats relative to each era.

        If 400 is the norm right now, there would still be players who’d tower over the rest. ABD, currently, is that player! No one comes close to him when it comes to hitting in the death overs. The gulf between him and the rest would not be very different in form to the gulf between Richards and the second best, in his era.

        By the way, the impact index models still put Viv Richards on top of everyone else in ODIs. Would be interesting to see how De Villiers’ career stands next to Richards’ once he’s done.

        Like

        • One of the problems with even adjusting for different eras though is that it assumes that once you make all these adjustments that different periods are otherwise comparable. This is often an assumption in sports when we do these lists but what if that isn’t true. In other words you say that Len Hutton was great in his era and Richards was great in his (just using two arbitrary examples). And though the two did not face the same kind of bowling, the same kinds of teams, though the rules might also have been different in some cases, though the pitches might have been so (for instance once upon a time underprepared pitches were not uncommon at all.. if you flip through the wisden pages you often see teams being dismissed for ridiculously low scores in the much older decades.. this was part of the story), so on and so forth.. in essence you look at every factor and you say for instance that Hutton and Richards were comparable. But that assumes that once you account for all the factors the game completely evens out. What if for instance the overall caliber of a game even accounting for all the factors was deemed to be lower or higher in one era compared to another? You could have people dominant in both ages and each could be considered comparably great relative to the competition he faced but he might not necessarily be comparable with his counterpart from a different era. Take soccer again. In the 50s there were generally much higher scores because it wasn’t much of a defensive game. The same was true in basketball till the late 60s or early 70s. Today even against the weakest teams the strongest teams will very rarely score 8 goals in a WC match (though I shouldn’t be saying this after what happened last in one match!) because even the weakest team is much better prepared defensively. Again people try and adjust for this but beyond a point it’s just very hard. Because too much about the game has changed. One could make the case in cricket that from the post-war period through the late-90s there was still more continuity in the test game than since and that this was the style of play that set the template for ODIs as well. But at some point the opposite happened. So you had increasingly tests that were being played like extended one days and if went a bit further one could say that now the 20-20 logic has taken over ODIs and perhaps one day tests will follow in the same sense. We even reach points where the game just becomes dramatically different. Not for the first time. W G Grace is a true blue legend but looking at his pure numbers it’s hard to make sense of them in the same way. One has to account for an era which is simply foreign to us. It’s simply not reasonable to say that any listing, any computer model, any kind of statistical exercise can somehow do justice to every player from the 20s through the present in the very same way simply by adjusting as much as possible for ‘local’ factors of the age. Once again for the true blue geniuses who amass a mountain of stats that seem impressive judged by the standards of any age there is no issue. But what of people at the next level where the case isn’t as obvious or where there’s a lot more grey area for all the reasons I’ve just outlined? But even leaving aside such huge changes it’s unclear whether (and not just in cricket) accounting for the differences levels out things to the point where different eras become neatly comparable.

          But even leaving aside this deeper (to my mind) question there is simply no statistical account that no matter how useful can completely capture all the intangibles of an age or of a world let alone that of all given matches. When Gavaskar debuted in WI and had those great knocks and then had the legendary career he did it’s impossible to account for the psychological factor that was prevalent in those days that related to a player coming from India (or Pakistan or whatever) and taking on the elite ‘colonizer’ teams and in turn the West Indies. A whole massive psychological economy whereby the de-colonized and yet colonized enough always had a psychological hurdle to clear, where the entire system of cricket did not value certain kinds of cricketers as prestige ones, where the ‘native’ from these countries forever had to prove something beyond the obvious fact of his game, so on and so forth. The stats often don’t capture this larger meaning. So yes India had great spinners but in a system where the meaning of the spinner was greatly downgraded. It was the age of the romance of the pace bowler. However when Shane Warne came around the tables had turned once again. Today so much of the cricket narrative actually favors India because India is simply the most powerful ICC country at this point. And so you have experts considering even slow Indian pitches as ‘challenges’ for a visit team in the most positive ways where once these very same pitches were scoffed at. Many elite English/Australian teams did not even like playing the subcontinent, when they did you routinely heard condescending statements from some of the players. I could go on multiplying these examples but my point is: what is then the meaning of someone becoming Gavaskar in these circumstances? How do the stats account for this massively overdetermined psychological space? The comparable British or Australian player never dealt with the same. In a different sense how does one account for the unique pressure Sachin forever played with right down to that last WC match? Rajen yesterday described how he’d always be dismayed when Sachin got out, I and countless others can share that sentiment. Not because one didn’t want India to win otherwise but to see him get out early was to have half of one’s interest lost if not more than this. Lara wasn’t playing with one hundredth that pressure. How does one factor this stuff in? And so today when Kohli or Sehwag or the team in general is praised for being aggressive and so on it’s certainly great to see that they’ve left that old ‘meekness’ behind but the point is that even Kohli with his temperament wouldn’t have been Kohli in 1975. Because no one was really that way. Maybe a couple of bad boys here and there but no one really had that attitude. It wasn’t simply about personal choice. Certain histories were simply too powerful. It is not just that players have suddenly become more aggressive, the nation too is in a different place, the rest of the world is different too, there are all sorts of other factors in play. All of this has to be accounted for. And I’m just looking at one example. Check out a documentary on the West Indian team of the mid-70s to mid-80s (most often called the greatest in history along with Bradman’s post-war Australian side) called Fire in Babylon. Here you see how it wasn’t just about cricket or attitude in any easy sense but about almost finding a second independence and liberation through the game. It was for them about overcoming an entire colonial history. So when Richards played the way he did or many of his teammates did as well, when he especially enjoyed brutalizing Eng there was this huge psychological backdrop. You can’t account for such profound archives of meaning in stats. Once again the genius always has the kinds of numbers where he can seem impressive for any age. But with the rest these factors become much more crucial. Today for instance these same considerations don’t hold for any team. No one is really scared of anyone else. Losing doesn’t mean anything. No one is that depressed with losses. Players just move on. That’s not the way it was for most of the game’s history, certainly not so in countries like India and Pakistan and West Indies. And again these are still limited examples looking at one aspect of things (incidentally one could tell a very similar story with latin American soccer). There are other things that could be discussed. The ‘Americanization’ paradigm (which by the way is criticized by many purists even in the US, most often baseball folks.. because they feel that a certain classic era of the game simply cannot be done justice to by such number-crunching) cannot account for all this. Yes these tools are useful, they sometimes illustrate interesting truth but the microanalysis quite often misses the forest for the trees. Yet again the true blue genius is usually immune one way or the other but not the rest.

          Like

          • And so today when Kohli or Sehwag or the team in general is praised for being aggressive and so on it’s certainly great to see that they’ve left that old ‘meekness’ behind but the point is that even Kohli with his temperament wouldn’t have been Kohli in 1975.

            Excellent point! I don’t disagree with this at all. There are contexts and cultural/socio-political factors that computer models can’t account for…

            Like

          • Similarly notice how the aggressive player is always valued more than the defensive one all else being equal. Richards made the same point about Gavaskar in that link I posted earlier. Now there are good reasons for why one might prefer one kind over another, it certainly makes for more attractive cricket. But at the same time it’s not as if every attacking batsman can easily do a Gavaskar and hold the fort if you will. Those are very different skills.

            Once upon a time if you hit a sixer many purists used to frown on you. Bradman himself was questioned in this sense. Because they felt that the ‘classy’ game entailed ground strokes, the ‘chance-less’ inning and so on. Today so many cricketers are praised for their reflexes but even till the late 70s such reflexes divorced from a very genuine style (Viv had both) were never noticed very much. Because the idealized aesthetics of the test game dominated most discussions. Again this is a change so great that it’s hard for any statistical table to account for this. Bradman wasn’t spared this criticism forget anyone else!

            Like

          • I’ll add another quick example.. in England once upon a time you had even relatively mediocre bowlers decimating subcontinental teams with swing and so on. They didn’t have to be brilliant, the conditions guaranteed such results. And it wasn’t that Indian batsmen were poor but that they just didn’t have enough exposure to those conditions (except for those who played first class in Eng). Typically you’d have a team from India or Pak showing up, getting humiliated this way with some good knocks from people like Gavaskar or Vengsarkar but which wouldn’t change the overall result. But this wasn’t the end of it. It wouldn’t be considered a normal loss but a humiliating one. Why? It would become yet another example of how ‘desi’ (my word) teams couldn’t face the truly challenging bowling conditions in the most prestigious cricket nations. Winning in Lords for the first time was a huge psychological high for most teams even if this was hardly the most difficult pitch even then (not even close). Today when people fare far worse it just doesn’t mean the same. Because Eng doesn’t have the same prestige in this sense. Winning in Eng is not considered a Mt Everest proposition by anyone and losing similarly is no big deal. It certainly has no greater overtones of the colonized not being able to handle it in the big leagues! Now when Indian players through no real fault of their own underperformed in those days it was seen as a sign of the overall inferiority of Indian cricket. Today Australian commentators regularly say that winning in India is one of the great challenges of international cricket. How times have changed! Similarly if you have flatter tracks in general around the world as is undoubtedly the case today (just check out youtube videos on series in Aus and Eng in the 70s for example and see how much more green there is on the average pitch and then check out the same today, it’s not even comparable.. today many Australian pitches look like the very subcontinental pitches that were once ridiculed by them.. Perth for instance is only a fraction as fast as when Lilee and Thomson bowled on it, the latter saying stuff like ‘I love to see the batsman’s blood on the pitch’! this is what Sunny was dealing with..) two things happen. First off many more matches means that no one is that unused to any given pitch but also there is not that kind of dramatic variation for the most part. In that earlier age when people couldn’t perform they weren’t just considered poor but examples of a certain kind of inferiority. Today you can have Kohli or whoever but hey it takes more than attitude to take on a Windies attack on the right pitch (in WI they often deliberately made underprepared pitches which often became dangerous with that kind of pace..) and so on. Those tracks often required a certain level of technique that is simply not the case today. The players are not less talented but they’re usually not tested as much. But note the psychological dimension once more. In one age you can’t play as well for certain understandable reasons and yet you absorb your failure as a larger national one, in another age you have the right attitude but you also often have easier conditions which you then consider to be so because you are more aggressive. There are all these complications if you will. One has to account for them. Once upon a time Eng and Australia largely played each other and only rarely other countries. You have some very great names that essentially prospered in this system including Bradman. All this doesn’t make one era automatically better or worse than another. But this just means more grey area. And more debates! Am I contradicting myself? No. Because all I’m saying is that statistical models no matter how comprehensive or sincere tend to establish the illusion of finality when such is far from the truth. Doesn’t mean these shouldn’t be used.

            This isn’t like tennis therefore where the variables are still far more limited (even accounting for racket technology these days and far more fit players), even soccer offers less variables than cricket in this sense.

            Like

    • The fact that Jayasuriya had the fastest fifty record for almost 20 years says something (especially in en are where, with the kind of slam-bang cricket going on, you believe these these sort of “fastest so-and-so” record would tumble any minute). I will say this as well, Jayasuriya was one of the impactful ODI players to have ever played the game (and he certainly revolutionised the format like no one else). I mean during that small period from 1995-97, bowlers used to feel terrorised by him. And let’s not forget his contributions with the ball.

      Like

  55. Like

  56. tonymontana Says:

    An entertaining display by ABDV but scoring 300+ runs in at least one innings per game has become a regular thing. It just doesn’t excite anymore, when at a time this used to be a match-winning total. Yes, there’s nothing going for the bowlers these days. Things are swinging so much on the batting side that it’s very unfair. The unpredictability is being squeezed out of the one day format.

    Like

    • The best solution is to increase the size of the field. It might open up more ground strokes, but opens up better chances of catching off an attempted six. Hitting sixes at 65m is ridiculous. Should be north of 85m minimum.
      This idea that crowds want to see 6’s is hogwash. Crowds want to see close matches, that are dramatic.
      The most dramatic ODI match in history for my money is the SA-Aus SF in 99’. And that was a paltry chase of 225 odd. Still it created one of the most dramatic moments ever. You don’t need big scores to engage crowds and tv audience. You need exciting, fair cricket and good mix of challenges for both batters and bowlers.

      Like

      • I agree that bowlers have it a lot harder these days, but there are still strong teams getting all out under 200 (more so during chasing but it’s something still worth noting). What this world cup has shown is most teams are still terrible at chasing big scores (forget 400, Pakistan or South Africa couldn’t even approach 300). There is no good reason why teams playing at the international level shouldn’t be able to handle the pressure of chasing.That is the main reason the matches haven’t been close.

        Anyway, imo the biggest problem nowadays is the lack of quality bowling, not flatter pitches, lighter bats etc. In today’s bowlers, it’s impossible to find a Warne, Murali, Akram, Ambrose, Walsh, McGrath etc, who could destroy batsmen on even flat pitches. How many bowlers these days are even capable of bowling yorkers in the death overs? Let’s not even talk about reverse swing.

        Like

        • I think ICC have on purpose made sure there are good batting wickets. So , there will be big totals.
          SA’s performance against WI Underlines how important INdia’s win against SA was.
          ABD can be destructive but have seen him struggle quite a bit in IPL. He seems to have hit a purple patch lately.

          Like

  57. Saket Says:
    February 16, 2015 at 6:07 AM

    There are 3 special players to watch out in this world cup. AB De Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Virat Kohli.

    This is what I had written just after the India-Pak game.

    ABD is great but Maxwell is another batsman with no apparent fear. He isn’t as consistent as ABD but man, despite being a small guy, he can hit the ball long. He’s got a very sweet bat swing and I’m reminded of this quote with reference to the Babe:

    “He had such a beautiful swing, he even looked good striking out.”

    Like

  58. May: Highest impact in tough decade

    This is an unexpected insight, courtesy impact index. Some excerpts:

    So, why are we saying that Peter May, who barely averaged 47 with just 13 centuries in 66 Tests is higher impact than all other English batsmen?

    Let’s make it even more scandalous – we are saying that in the history of Test cricket, with the obvious exception of Don Bradman, Peter May is the highest impact batsman of all time.

    Insane, right? Now, please go through the case we make below and see if you continue to believe that aggregate runs, batting averages and century-tallies are the way to judge batsmen. Or if the quality of runs, the match circumstances they are made in, the context of the series, the strength of opposition, pitch and weather conditions and how the player’s big performances changed the team’s history could possibly be factored in as well.

    Like

    • yes Peter May’s name has come up before in other places as well. He always makes for an interesting story!

      Like

      • To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t even aware of Peter May’s accomplishments.

        I’ve gone through some other articles on the same website and some of their profiles on forgotten Indian legends (MAK Pataudi, Ajit Wadekar and Gundappa Vishwanath) are simply eye-opening.

        I’m quite happy to be ‘humbled’ by the deep and thorough analysis that these guys have done! If people are interested, I’d go ahead and post links to some of these articles here.

        Like

        • you should.. it’s always enlightening to read some of this stuff. But Peter May is one of those ‘oddball’ guys (I mean this with some humor) who shows up a bit more than others who might be in roughly his league.

          Like

  59. Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek’s Mr Spock, dies at 83

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-31662024

    best known in orignal star trek…he also was in columbo

    R.I.P

    Like

  60. Kohli – The man who could be king

    Again, some excerpts:

    Our friends over at Impact Index crunched some numbers last November, which made for fascinating reading. At that point of time, Kohli was the sixth-most impactful batsman that the 50-over format had seen. But in the chasing impact table, he was miles ahead of everyone else. Even Viv Richards didn’t come close.

    When I watch him bat these days, it’s not Tendulkar or any Indian great that comes to mind. It’s the King himself. Even in the final years when the runs dried up and only the swagger remained, Richards had that presence, that aura that said: “This is my field. You’re lucky just to be in my presence.”

    Great batsmanship isn’t just about numbers. It’s about the impact it has on those watching, whether from the pavilion or in the stands. Of the current lot, across three formats, there’s only one batsman that I’d put on the team sheet before Kohli. AB de Villiers is five years older and destined for the pantheon – he has 16 ODI tons to go with his 19 in Tests – and I’ll print out this page and eat it if Kohli doesn’t follow him there.

    Like

    • And this is a one year old article!

      Like

      • Some facts about ABD ( you might have seen before)
        AB De Villiers.
        Do u know him.??
        I think u know him as a cricketer from South Africa and playing for Royal Challenger Bangalore in IPL.
        Now know some thing strange about him:-

        1. He was shortlisted for Jr national hockey squad.

        2. He was shortlisted for Jr national football squad.

        3. Captain of South Africa Jr rugby.

        4. Holds six south africa school swimming records.

        5. The fastest 100mtr time in South Africa junior athletics.

        6 . A member of South Africa Jr Davis Cup tennis team.

        7. National Badminton U-19 champion.

        8. Has a golf handicap of scratch.

        And u will be thinking ke fir to padhai me zero hoga and here it comes:

        He received a national medal from Mandela for a science project…!!

        Amazing achievements for any human being, one more about ABD … he has recorded a bilingual pop music record too…

        Like

  61. Will watch more of viral kohli batting soon to comment…

    I think with these 400 odd scores —

    It’s become clear what I’ve ALWAYS felt

    There’s a BIG difference between scoring 300 + batting first
    And CHASING 300+ batting second

    MIND games kick in…

    Ps: skimming thru the comments above

    Y don’t u guys comment what YOU feel rather than QUOTING other ‘greats’

    C’mon be confident …

    Like

  62. EVEN-TEMPERED GENIUS (Gundappa Vishwanath)

    And yet, more than a generation later, with a dozen batsmen ahead of him on the Indian Test batting average charts (minimum 50 Tests) it is worth looking at the set of circumstances that make him the fourth-highest impact Test batsman in Indian cricket history.

    No one will dispute who is in the top three places, though the order could be argued. Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar are India’s highest impact batsmen, in this order (minimum 50 Tests). Dravid is higher impact than Tendulkar because of greater consistency and a higher proportion of series-defining performances (SDs). Tendulkar is higher impact than Gavaskar because of a higher number of series-defining performances (during a period in history when his team won much more than in Gavaskar’s time). Gavaskar is higher impact than anyone else because he was the most consistent batsman in Indian cricket history.

    But after that the picture is muddy. Most go on averages and pronounce Virender Sehwag and VVS Laxman as the rightful men to follow the big three in the all-time pantheon. As it happens, on the Impact charts, the fourth-highest impact Test batsman is GR Viswanath, despite having a considerably lower batting average than both.

    Like

  63. Jesus Mohammed Brahma Christ – NZ has Aussies on the mat!! Love it!!!

    Like

  64. tonymontana Says:

    whatever the case is, it was a great match. Easily the best I’ve seen in this series. New Zealand won by a whisker. Almost gave it away to Australia towards the end. This went right down to the wire

    Like

  65. tonymontana Says:

    This day belonged to the bowlers. Always love a good wicket than a boundary

    Like

  66. tonymontana Says:

    I’ve lately been watching replays of old cricket matches when Tendulkar used to be in the peak of his form. The difference between him and the greatest of current batsmen is BEHAVIOUR. This man always had great sportsman spirit. He would start walking towards the pavilion even if the umpire declared him Not Out. He never lost his cool on the field. Never had any ugly incidents on the field with the players of the opposite team. Never involved in any form of sledging (which is considered so cool these days) and would not react even if the bowler tried to instigate him. He would always let his bat do the talking.

    that’s what separates the men from the boys, and the legends from the mortals.

    Like

    • tonymontana Says:

      “He would start walking towards the pavilion even if the umpire declared him Not Out”

      — i.e. when he believed he was out

      Like

  67. omrocky786 Says:

    Via Great Bong- Hilarious, Must watch !!

    Like

  68. A few comments regarding humongous scores, bowlers being bullied and batsmen being unfairly advantaged etc.

    The game between England & Sri Lanka was played at the exact same ground where New Zealand humbled England and bowled them out for 123. What was the difference this time around? Apart from Southee’s skill in swinging the ball, McCullam’s captaincy was about old-fashioned aggression. At one point, he had 4 slips and 2 gullies in place for Southee. He didn’t need them because Southee kept hitting the stumps is a different matter but the intentions were crystal clear. He was putting fear in the minds of batsmen.

    Against Australia, McCullam again attacked with full vigor. His opening bowlers were going for over 10 runs an over and Australia was firmly placed to score a big one. He still did not back down from his attacking instincts and brought in Vettori in the 8th or 9th over, which produced a wicket and then he attacked even more. It helped that Trent Boult bowled a wonderful spell, in essence taking over from Southee in spirit from Wellington, and Australia were bowled out for 150 odd.

    In the game between Australia and New Zealand, one set of boundaries were52 and 55 meters long. That’s almost as short as a courtyard and yet we did not see batsmen dominate at all. That’s because they were put under tremendous pressure by high class bowling and aggressive captaincy. McCullam, in this regard, is the best captain of the World cup by some distance even if his side struggles while chasing. He’s turning this whole notion of modern day ODI cricket on its head. And instilled with renewed confidence his bowlers are responding in spectacular fashion.

    In the Australia-New Zealand game, as good as Boult was, Mitchell Starc was even better. He was making the ball swing into the right-handers at around 150 Kmph and also bowled top-class Yorkers, which almost snatched victory from defeat for his team. This is the second part of the equation: for balance to exist between bat and ball, never-mind the favorable conditions for batsmen these days, bowlers have to develop their skills. You can bet that Wasim Akram would have been as successful in this era as he was in his own. Top class bowling is the most sought after skill in cricket, for good reason, and it’s fair to say that the standard of bowling, overall, has declined in the face of rule changes. Not just bowling though, most captains don’t even think of attacking these days. Most of them are content to score big and then let the ensuing pressure of chasing a big total do half the job for the bowlers in their team.

    Brandon McCullam and his team of fast bowlers have shown just how flawed that approach is…in any form of cricket!

    Like

    • jayshah Says:

      Saket – there are always “examples” to the contrary. Cherry picking them is all fine.
      My comments or others on this are not to say this is always the case.
      Somedays bowlers do perform. Or wickets do aid bowlers.

      But isn’t blatantly obvious, this equation has changed much more in favour for batsman since the 90’s.

      Another one – 2 white balls. I am sure the two W’s would have HATED this.

      Like

      • I’m not cherry picking results at all. I’m presenting a counter-argument to all the defeatists who seem to see only the worst as far as the state of bowling is concerned. In this world cup, no team so far has scored more than 233 against New Zealand. And the teams in question are Sri Lanka, Australia and England. Why?

        There’s a great chance that other teams facing New Zealand will not score too many runs either because they are not used to such a relentless attacking captain.

        And regarding the two white balls argument, it’s actually a step in the right direction. It tries to tilt the balance in favor of the bowlers by allowing them a longer time period to swing the ball. Of course there are no quality swing bowlers operating in the world right now apart from a select few. And that tells its own story.

        My point being, it’s not impossible for teams to counter the imbalance in the modern game to suit batsmen. It requires skill and planning. And aggressive captaincy. It doesn’t help to have a defeatist mindset in this regard.

        Like

        • “In this world cup, no team so far has scored more than 233 against New Zealand. ”

          while agreeing with your point on the strength of the NZ team (they could win it all) there’s a very important point here you’re missing. They’ve only played in NZ so far. I think their grounds, even when called ‘batting’, have been far more receptive to swing (or at least more movement) at points. But note the other day how NZ themselves self-destructed much like Aus. It’s hard to believe that there was nothing in the pitch but somehow both teams couldn’t make more than 150 a piece. India on that note will probably not play a strong team in NZ till a semifinal if I’m not mistaken (3 of the quarters are in Aus anyway). Which I think is fortunate for them (actually if they play in Sydney I’d put my money on them irrespective of the opposition). They might still win but I think that the Indian team over the last 15 years and through all its other strengths has had a certain susceptibility to swing. Not talking about the absolute best players of course (though even here Sachin was usually in a class apart however he scored.. even when he was not in the best form with injuries and so on there were points where he played Aus at home in very difficult conditions with very uneven ball movement and so on where he’d be comfortable.. the same goes for swing conditions.. put differently it was pretty much impossible to find conditions that would befuddle him as was often the case even with top players.. the commentators would regularly point this out even when he got out on a low score or something.. that while the others might have left because they had genuine problems he just got out to a good delivery or through a mistake rather than because he was at sea in those conditions). On the other hand they’ve generally not had a problem with Australian conditions. It’s not just them, players on average today are far less likely to encounter these conditions the way pitches are prepared just about everywhere. In many ways India even with strength lineups and relative to the quality of the opposition have sometimes had an easier time in Aus than in Eng.

          but it’s true that 310 or so has more often than not been a winning total in this WC so far. SL the other day was an exception.

          Like

          • while agreeing with your point on the strength of the NZ team (they could win it all) there’s a very important point here you’re missing. They’ve only played in NZ so far. I think their grounds, even when called ‘batting’, have been far more receptive to swing (or at least more movement) at points. But note the other day how NZ themselves self-destructed much like Aus. It’s hard to believe that there was nothing in the pitch but somehow both teams couldn’t make more than 150 a piece.

            Yes, but England and Sri Lanka played on the exact same ground where NZ demolished England. It wasn’t just the swing that did it; there’s the McCullam factor as well.

            And NZ, brilliant as they are while bowling first, are quite susceptible while chasing. They lost 6 wickets while chasing a modest score against Scotland and barely went past Australia. This is their shortcoming. Teams playing against NZ should revise their targets and strategy. Bat first and score 250 (aim for 300 and any team would end up folding around 150 due to the reasons mentioned above) and wait for them to implode. It may or may not happen, but judging by recent history (well before the world cup even) NZ haven’t established themselves as a chasing side.

            The other thing about that game vs Australia was the Starc factor. Mitchell Starc has a fantastic record in ODIs. He has 5 five-fors so far in 35 ODI games. That’s an unbelievable start to his career. For comparison sake, Akram had 6 five-fors in his entire career!

            Like

          • fair points all..

            Like

          • jayshah Says:

            Another SA demolition job – the stats just keep racking up.

            SA first team ever to score 400 back to back – that’s 3 in the last 8 alone
            This year alone SA have broken their record partnerships in ODIs for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 5th wickets
            Amla has scored ODI centuries against 11 different sides, equalling Sachins/Ponting record – this is done in only his 108th match!
            Amla is quickest to 20 centuries – 108 matches…

            Like

          • He had some interesting comments to make about the future of the game as well. Tendulkar seemed confident that Test matches and the 20/20 format will survive, but observed that the ICC needs to relook at how the 50-over game is played.
            “It does tend to get boring and predictable sometimes. One option is to allow for two innings of 25 overs each per team but only ten wickets in all for both innings. This will allow the coaches also to confer with the players and each team can then judge how hard they want to go”, he said.
            Tendulkar conceded he has suggested this to the ICC but that they have yet to get back to him.

            http://sports.ndtv.com/icc-cricket-world-cup-2015/news/238444-sachin-tendukar-storms-sydney-fund-raising-sea-food-and-a-bit-of-cricket-too

            Like

        • To be fair, South Africans have capitalized on the 2 worst bowling attacks in the group. Ireland has a poor record bowling in the death overs and the same goes for WI. WI let Ireland win chasing 300+ and Ireland have been similarly generous in their game against WI and even UAE.

          Amla has had a fantastic start as an ODI opener. He’s 32 and has only played 100 odd ODI games. Something was seriously wrong with the selectors who kept him out of the SA side all this time, even if they were spoilt for choice. He plays the ball quite late and has proven technique in the Test arena. What’s impressive is his strike rate in ODIs. It’s not going to threaten ABD’s batting SR anytime soon, but it’s up there in high 80s.

          This is a dream phase (batting-wise) for South Africa. JP Duminy gets hurt, Riley Roussow comes in and hits the ball running. No one’s missing him at the moment. And I think the whole team was hurting after the loss against India. They are coming out to prove a point. Pakistan needs to watch out because they are next in the firing line.

          Like

          • I think what is really ailing South Africa is that, for the first time ever in a World Cup, they are lacking a proper all-rounder. And it’s not just Kallis I am talking about here, but the likes of Klusener (as good a game-changer and finisher as any), Brian McMillan (actually even Symcox to an extent) and of course legends like Mike Proctor, Clive Rice and Peter Pollock from the early days. This time around they have tried filling that space with Parnell, but he is by no means an all-rounder, he is a bowler (whose bowling has deteriorated since I first saw him when he was really good) who can bat. And now they will try Ryan Mclaren, but he too is pretty much like Parnell

            Like

  69. sanjana Says:

    For me batmen are heroes while bowlers are spoilsports!

    Like

  70. omrocky786 Says:

    When asked why elected batting after winning the toss,the captain of UAE replied jab hamne banane hi sau run hai toh 400 run ki fielding kyo karen😉😂

    Like

    • the Aussies will keep some extra-special sledging for him if they meet in the WC! You show you can lose your cool this way and you give them a chance! I forget the Australian player was who said once that sledging never worked against Dravid or Laxman because they just focused on their games and never responded, specially the former. WIth Sachin they said it was almost as if he hadn’t even heard you. It simply wouldn’t register in any sense.

      Like

  71. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/icc-world-cup-2015/top-stories/World-Cup-2015-Shoaib-Akhtar-criticised-for-mocking-Pakistan-cricket-on-Indian-show/articleshow/46445675.cms

    “I don’t know why he was so critical about Pakistan cricket on an Indian channel because I know that he is a patriotic Pakistani when he played for the national team,” former Test pacer Sarfraz Nawaz said.

    The Comedy Nights with Kapil is equally popular among Pakistanis and while it commands high ratings across the border as well, the Akhtar-Harbhajan Singh show in particular got top viewership.

    “It is unfortunate that our former players behave like this while in a foreign country. What has Akhtar achieved by demeaning our cricket system and officials like this? Was it his way of trying to become popular in India,” an official of the Pakistan Cricket Board said.

    “The way he made fun of former Chairman and Test player, Ijaz Butt is disappointing. He is a senior player and he has served Pakistan cricket for long. We don’t expect such behavior from him,” he said.

    Pakistan’s top cricketers are presently in demand by Indian television channels for the World Cup and are appearing either as commentators, pundits or on special cricket shows.

    Former captain Shoaib Malik is working for a leading channel while others like Wasim Akram, Rameez Raja and Akhtar are with the official broadcasters of the World Cup.

    When contacted Ijaz Butt said neither had he watched the show nor did it make any difference to him what anyone said about him or his leadership qualities.

    “I don’t bother about such things. Like everyone else I also wanted to see Pakistan cricket move ahead,” he said.

    Akhtar a controversial and colorful character in Pakistan cricket has also come under fire for some of his stinging remarks about current captain Misbah-ul-Haq, whom he called a “coward” and “selfish” after the team’s opening loss to India in the 50-over showpiece event.

    After his appearance on the comedy show the social media was also abuzz with clips of the show showing Akhtar ridiculing Pakistan cricket and Butt have gone online with mainly critical and negative comments about the fast bowler.

    Like

  72. Maxwell scored 88 off 39 against Afghanistan. He’s the kind of guy who won’t score many centuries – he’ll go for his shots even if he’s on 99, probably channelling Sehwag’s spirit in that sense, but he’s a special player. I’ve mentioned this previously, he’s a small-ish guy but he can play the long ball. And look good while doing it.

    Here’s Aakash Chopra’s analysis of Maxwell’s game:

    What makes Maxwell different

    Like

  73. sanjana Says:

    West Indies cricket team’s young captain Jason Holder on Thursday said that he has picked up subtle nuances of leadership from Mahendra Singh Dhoni while playing for his IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings.

    “I’ve picked up a lot from Dhoni. He’s a good leader. He’s a guy who is respected in the dressing room,” the 23-year-old fast bowler said on the eve of West Indies’ ICC World Cup match against India, in Perth on Friday.

    For Holder, it’s not only Dhoni but also the likes of A B de Villiers, who inspired him.

    http://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/icc-cricket-world-cup-2015-indiawest-indies-prematch-conference/article6962501.ece?homepage=true

    Like

  74. sanjana Says:

    Indians are intimidating! They are demolishing every team in sight!

    Like

  75. sanjana Says:

    What a catch

    Like

  76. Some nervous moments there but India have come through (more or less as I write this). They’ve really bloomed in this tournament. they’re just winning in a variety of situations and today’s was a significant one given the circumstances. Important knock from Dhoni after some time.

    Like

    • sanjana Says:

      Dhoni all the way.

      Like

    • I’m going to be less charitable with the Indian team’s performance in this game. In fact, if I was in Dhoni’s shoes, I’d be hopping mad with the way the top order succumbed to the bouncing ball. This victory has disguised their collective stupidity.

      It’s the much maligned Indian bowling that has accounted for easy victories in this world cup so far. Dhoni’s composure, again, was exceptional.

      Dhoni now has the most ‘away’ wins (59) in India’s ODI history — and with the best success percentage to boot.

      Like

      • those are fair points and there are some worries lower down the order. But my point is that in this sort of situation to win even after playing poorly in some respects gives the team confidence. Now had this been part of a different run it would be another situation. But they’ve been able to win one way or the other. And yes the bowling has really come through. was watching Lara earlier and he felt that deeper into the competition even getting 300 would be hard because the top teams all had good bowling.

        Like

      • Saket: I too couldn’t help but remember how Ravi Rampaul and CO. troubled and ultimately out-bounced our btasmen in that match in the 2nd T-20 World Cup (where even England and Harmison had done the same to us using the short-ball).

        Like

  77. World Cup 2015: Dhoni credits bowlers in low-scoring win over West Indies

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/icc-world-cup-2015/top-stories/World-Cup-2015-Dhoni-credits-bowlers-in-low-scoring-win-over-West-Indies/articleshow/46478164.cms

    I think even the rival team bowlers and fielders did a good job making the match worthwhile to watch.

    Like

  78. sanjana Says:

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/cricketnext/world-cup-2015-i-also-feel-pressure-but-can-get-out-of-it-says-dhoni/532486-78.html

    Some Excerpts

    A regular saviour under tough circumstances for the Indian team, skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni says he also feels the pressure like others but manages the rescue acts as he knows how to get out of potentially dangerous situations.

    Dhoni’s unbeaten 45 was the cornerstone of India’s patchy four-wicket win against the West Indies in a World Cup Pool B match at the WACA on Friday.

    “The number at which I bat, obviously, there is pressure.

    “Either that of last 5-7 overs while batting first or like today, a pressure of chasing. It was a realistic scenario, I had to have partnerships with the lower-order,” Dhoni said.

    “I had a partnership with Ashwin today. The result was good. The good thing is at Nos 6 and 7? They are basically two specific roles. Either just get-out and start swinging your bat as the top-order has given you a good platform or else the top-order is out, so play a holding game.”

    “In both instances, there is pressure because making runs is difficult. We have to accept that the side boundaries are big and not easy to hit sixes as there is pace off the pitch.

    “So what we have to do is to manoeuvre the ball, use the pace, pick up the gaps and take the twos or play innovative shots,” Dhoni explained.

    The good thing according to Dhoni is that now all the top-seven batsmen have got a decent hit in the middle.

    “Hopefully, in future, if we keep getting opportunities in the remaining matches, then by the time quarter-final starts, your top seven will have got some time throughout the tournament. It is very tough to hit out from ball one and it is very difficult even for me, I don’t really like it. But somebody has to do it so that others can bat in their perfect slots,” he said.

    Dhoni also gave a peek into how his mind works when he bats with tail-enders.

    “If I am batting, then I try and give them as much information as possible. Let them know what I think what the opposition bowler is doing. Whether the ball is reversing and things like that. You give them confidence and tell them stuff like it doesn’t look as fast as one finds it from outside.

    ‘Because once you go inside, you know the realistic pace, the bounce.

    “If you pass on informations like these to people for whom batting is not a strength, they feel comfortable and after sometime, they start rotating the strike. Our 9, 10 and 11 can bat a bit and it is very important that when they get batting. They might need to score eight runs off the last over in a knock-out game, so better to be prepared,” the skipper concluded.

    Like

  79. sanjana Says:

    The chokers choked badly.

    Like

    • yeah they really are. Shocking they couldn’t make this total.

      Like

      • RajRoshan Says:

        I don’t think they are chokers this time…I think they are very much overrated team because of Amla and De villers…except these two the entire team is very much inconsistent…and players like Miller, Russouw etc making big scores against weak teams…yes SA team is indeed stronger than Pak but they have 9-14 win loss record while chasing since 2013 while 24-8 batting first…surprising?..yes…shocking?…not so much

        Like

        • yes but it’s not just about this team, they’ve historically underperformed in WC tournaments.

          I will say though that any team would have to be careful in NZ. There is clearly more movement in these pitches and it’s not going to be easy wracking up big totals there. And Lara’s point yesterday about the top teams having good bowling and therefore even 300 being tough to score seems increasingly likely.

          Like

          • Yes, but New Zealand has a very poor batting line-up which will get exposed later in the tournament (in ’92 their batting was far stronger). I know he has had his issues, but Kiwis should have had Jesse Ryder in the team. Incidentally Williamson is the key for them IMO

            Like

          • Kane Williamson, according to Impact Index, is the best ODI batsman in the world since 2013.

            Incidentally, he played with Kohli during the U-19 world cup in 2008.

            In fact, this world cup can be termed the world cup of the 2008 U-19 batch.

            Kohli, Jadeja, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kane Williamson, Ahmed Shehzad, Corey Anderson, Riley Roussow, Wayne Parnell, Steve Smith, Thirimane, James Taylor, James Faulkner, Josh Hazlewood, Steven Finn, Chris Woakes, Umar Akmal, Dinesh Chandimal, Thissara Perera, Paul Stirling all played together in the 2008 U-19 World cup.

            Kohli captained the Indian team and the Indian team went on to win the world cup.

            For those who doubt his talent, he actually scored a 75 ball 100 against the West Indies in the tournament. At the U-19 level, that’s some achievement.

            Like

    • there was some rain towards the end of the Pakistan inning which made things a bit difficult for SA. Still the total was low enough, no excuse for this.

      Like

      • Pakistan team still breathing.
        This sure is an upset. Will be interesting to see who makes it to QF from Pool B.

        Like

        • Pakistan breathing is scary and eerie. Eerie because it seems like a dejavu of the 1992 world cup. Lose 3 matches badly, come up with the help of D/L system – that too against SA!. In 1992, SA was at the wrong side of D/L and in 2015 too D/L has come into play against SA for Pak!! They went into the finals in 1992 against ENGLAND ONLY because SA was screwed due to the D/L equation of SA needing 22 runs off 1 ball against England in the semi-finals! Otherwise they were out….

          But once they start winning, they bring religion into the dressing room and start binding with the help of that..this was what playboy-turned-mullah Imran did even in 1992..On field he might have deceived people into believing he had great leadership qualities et al – which is not completely false – but the basic fact is he was a shrewd manipulator who didn’t hesitate to use ANY tool to get the result..Imran used religion covertly, Inzi used it overtly. But Inzi has always been the simpleton who carried his heart on his shoulders…

          It is hilarious to see the fans and newspapers and TV anchors in Pakistan now sing paeans to the team when just 2 weeks ago they were smashing TVs and arranging mock-funerals of the bat and ball!!

          Like

          • jayshah Says:

            Rather incomparable though. That team in 92, on paper was ridiculously underachieving. A team of Miandad, Akram, Khan etc. This team is simply not in the same stratosphere.

            Sounds like India have a better path to the semi’s. Against Bangladesh, they should quite easily take care of business, assuming NZ beat them and SL beat Scotland. India England would have been tougher, even though England were in poor form.

            Looks like semi’s
            (NL vs. Pak/Ireland) vs. (SL.vs SA) in NL
            (Aus vs. Pak/Ireland) vs. (India vs. Bangladesh) in Aus

            So India vs. Aus showdown in Sydney is the likely semi-final. I think India would prefer not playing in NL and playing in Aus. I’d fancy them more to beat Australia in Aus than face NL in NL. And this way they might never play in NL at all!

            And a final against NL in Aus represents a decent chance of victory. IMO, India need the performance of a lifetime if they get Aus in semi. But the draw has presented itself as best as possible to increase their chances here.

            Still fancy the aussies though!

            Like

  80. Can’t do anything when somebody like MAXWELL is in form / power play or no power play

    Like

  81. http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/845223.html

    If that glorious finale were to eventuate, Dhoni will join Clive Lloyd and Ricky Ponting as the only World Cup captains to achieve that extremely difficult feat. Dhoni’s would be the greater achievement because his success has come with less talented bowling attacks than the previous two captains.

    A big part of India’s turnaround from a bunch of straggling individuals to an aggressive and consistent combination has to do with Dhoni’s leadership. In the Test series against Australia, he performed like a bear hibernating in winter. However, the advent of the World Cup has turned him into a giant grizzly ready to pounce on opponents as though they are salmon heading upstream.

    Like

  82. Mitchell Johnson made to eat cowdung by Dilshan!!!! 6 4s in 6 balls Absolutely love it when the racist Aussies are humiliated..Carry on!!!

    Like

    • Ha! I couldn’t help, but recall Sandep Patil doing the same to Bob Willis (even if it was Test). That guy was one dashing batsman, though not half as dashing as Farookh Engineer

      Like

  83. sanjana Says:

    Hope I wont be called racist if I support Australia over Sri Lnaka.

    I want to see Australia India in finals.

    Like

  84. I would go out on a limb and recommend Osman Samiuddin’s very fine book on cricket in Pakistan- “The Unquiet Ones”. It is quite simply the best book I have read on the sport on Chinaman, the latter is quite simply one of the very best books to have ever been written on the game IMO.

    Like

  85. AB de Villiers and the ‘tough love’ turnaround

    I had mentioned it in passing that ABD wasn’t the same batsman he is today in 2007. This just confirms it. I wish someone would show this brand of ‘tough love’ to the likes of Rohit Sharma and Rahane.

    On a sidenote, Prem Panicker whose blog I’m referencing for this article is back, writing match reports on the world cup. Needless to say, they are quite brilliant. I used to read his articles on rediff during the 2003 world cup.

    Like

    • I not only like Panicker’s articles on cricket, but also loved his translation of M. T Vasudevan Nair’s magnum opus “Randamoozham” called “Bhimsen”

      Like

  86. My knowledge of cricket is limited and I just enjoy the game with some basic knowledge.
    I enjoyed watching those tall Australians and those gritty Srilankans playing against one another. Starc and Malinga. Here there is this short and crisp annaysis which appeared in The Gaurdian.

    http://www.theguardian.com/sport/live/2015/mar/08/australia-v-sri-lanka-cricket-world-cup-live

    Well, that was a hell of a lot of fun. The Sri Lankans were always up against it chasing a mammoth 377, but through Tillakarante Dilshan and Kumar Sangakkara, they at least got off to a rip-roaring start in a partnership that got the SCG patrons up on their feet.

    Dilshan made 62 at slightly better than a run a ball and Sangakkara’s 104 came from just 107 balls. It was an innings of typical class from the master craftsman. Once he departed at 201-4, Sri Lanka’s hopes appeared to be dashed but Dinesh Chandimal played his own minor gem – an undefeated 52 off 24 – before he had to retire hurt with cramp. With him went most of Sri Lanka’s remaining chance of winning, though Angelo Mathews (35) also battled hard.

    It wasn’t all smooth sailing for Australia, either. Shane Watson went at over 10 per over and Xavier Doherty was on the receiving end of similar treatment. Johnson took two wickets but also went at 6.88 per over in his 9, but all of that seemed less important when Starc and Faulkner were bowling.

    Starc finished with 2-29 off 8.2, figures that don’t actually reflect how well he bowled, while Faulker’s 3-48 from 9 showed what a linchpin he is for this side. The Aussies have some thinking to do though, especially deciding upon which is their ideal bowling formation. Tonight’s model didn’t quite nail it.

    That’s all from me but thanks for joining us for all of the action from the SCG and make sure you stop by throughout the course of the next few weeks as this World Cup moves towards the business end.

    Like

    • analysis.

      Like

    • jayshah Says:

      Sri Lanka were well in this game. The injury definitely nullified the momentum, but there was no guarantee they would have won even from that position. Matthews was right, they gave the aussies 30-40 runs too many. Last few days have been more exciting, with closer matches.
      Bangladesh vs. England might be another one. Bangladesh are in this, but they need a wicket or two too really make this one tense.

      Like

      • if you let Aus make 350 plus against you you’re probably going to lose 9 times out of 10.

        Like

        • Look how the game has changed. I mean i still recall the Dhaka ODI against Pakistan where we first chased a 300-plus score with Hrishikesh Kanitkar hitting Saqlain for a four in thhe last four. And now even 350 is unsafe

          Like

      • meanwhile Eng struggling against Bangladesh.

        Like

        • Still think Buttler should be able to take them home. It would have been far easier had Root stayed for a few more overs, he is the only guy in that team who knows how to keep his head cool in a pressure-cooker situation. The guy’s batting isn’t very pleasing to the eye, but he is in the mould of Boycott- obdurate, old-fashioned, stick-in-the-mud kinda batsman (Thorpe and Hussain were the last English batsmen of this variety) though he can also shift gears when we wants to. He is also poised to be their next captain. Meanwhile Morgan is going through a really terrible run of form (he just tries to play too many cross-batted and cute-looking strokes, not the sort of things which work on these wickets) and it is really hurting England

          Like

          • jayshah Says:

            Bye bye England. That’s what happens when you are playing cricket in a time warp.
            Totally deserved loss. Shambolic England, just pathetic!

            Like

          • Jay: true. I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Atherton still thinks this is ’92 and that time has stood still with Rubel being the new Eddo-“poultry farmer”-Brandes.

            Like

          • jayshah Says:

            The thing is, I don’t even think the England team, ECB are aware they are stuck in the past. Who in their right mind would have Bell, Root and Balance all in the Top5 of an ODI side? All test batsman, all with meagre strike rates and striking ability.
            I’m not a big fan of the “batter” friendly of cricket, but with that knowledge you’ve got to choose a team for today’s cricket. England fell into the trap of trying to be clever, like they knew something someone else didn’t.

            Like

  87. AamirsFan Says:

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/843863.html

    Pick the greatest from the Cricket Monthly’s top five ODI players of all time

    Results
    Wasim Akram 38.23% 173238
    MS Dhoni 12.22% 55398
    Adam Gilchrist 4.04% 18322
    Viv Richards 6.52% 29552
    Sachin Tendulkar 38.98% 176666
    Total votes: 453176

    Pakistan and Indian voters have come out in full force. lol. To me it’s Sachin only because I’ve watched him the most. Wasim would’ve been my top choice if he had delivered the ’99 Cup for Pakistan.

    Like

  88. sanjana Says:

    Yesterday I watched cricket cup episodes on comedy Nights with Kapil with Wasim Akram, Shoaib Akhtar, Yuvi and Bhajji.They were at their charismatic best.

    Like

  89. This ad has far more attitude than all the Mauka Ads put together-

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  90. tonymontana Says:

    The World Cup is throwing up some surprises in the final few matches.

    So Pakistan beats South Africa and Bangladesh scores a win over England.

    Curious to see who ends up taking the No. 4 spot in both groups.

    Btw, that Virat incident again proves my point that I made earlier. No matter how successful a cricketer he ends up being, he won’t command the same respect for me which Tendulkar or Dravid do.

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  91. Real stuff is neither in ‘books’ nor in ‘statistics’..

    Watched bits of AB DeVilliers
    Certainly v talented
    Great hand eye coordination
    And has great versatility

    But the concern is that for every ball he faced I could see that he had two or three shots -some in front and some behind!

    This ‘daredevillery’ is good and fun to watch
    But not the best for shot selection

    The BIGGEST VIRTUE that ‘talent’ BEGS for is

    RESTRAINT

    Like

  92. INDIA lose the chance to bat first and Ireland milking the opportunity. Not good news for India…

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  93. Spinners have gotten it under control – let’s see

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  94. One more win for India. Well done.

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    • Yup very easy today, the chase was skittled pretty easily.

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      • So far, so good.
        Encouraging performance today. Particularly after their great start.
        And, a composed, efficient chase.

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        • they should be marching to the semis and at this point it must be said they’ve been the most consistent team so far. Not just because of the wins but barring the WI match they’ve played a very controlled game in every instance.

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          • Agree they have played measured. You get the feeling NL and Australia have one game plan….blitz even if one or six down. India seem well oiled machine…whether that is enough, we shall see.

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          • Gavaskar said today that if they had an all-rounder who was 10% of what Kapil Dev was at his best or even if they had someone like Mohinder Amarnath or Madan Lal that the team would be pretty unbeatable on most days in the limited overs format. Because the weakness still remains in the lower middle order (Ravindra Jadeja most importantly). Maybe they’ll never need it, maybe the top order will keep coming through but in a big situation game you have to assume that you’ll need someone to come through in those lower positions. But if as Lara thinks that even these 300 scores will be harder deeper into the tournament as most of the top teams have good bowling this situation might well suit India the most. Because with Aus for example you always have to worry about those truly big, breakout scores. Or at least they can do it more often than any other team. and as we saw with SL the other day 312 was otherwise a pretty good effort but just not enough against Aus. Or put the other way if Aus score 350 or more they’ll win 9 out of 10 times.

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          • Yep…Australia have that potential to destroy…and that’s the worry for India. You’ve got to bat first if winning the toss. 300 in a semi final is not easy to chase…get the aussies in that situation and if they win then fine. India made that mistake in 2003. they got hammered in the group game batting first and got afraid in the final. Scoreboard pressure is one equaliser.

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          • More than Aussies, I fear Sri Lankans.

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          • Although anything can happen on any given day I don’t think this Indian team will lose to just anyone. They will really have to be beaten. Other than Aus I’d bet on them in any given situation (i.e. against any other team) based on the way they’re playing right now. Even with Aus I like their chances because I think they have some intangibles going for them. Still one has to be realistic. it’s Aus after all. Certainly SL are among the teams that could beat them but I’d be surprised if that happened.

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  95. That means checking out the Curse of the Bambino. This is a baseball story: it tells of the problems that affected the Boston Red Sox after they traded Babe Ruth to the New York Yankees. They failed to win the World Series again until 2004: a barren patch of 86 years.

    England are suffering from the Curse of KP: and nearly a year after his sacking the team in all its forms is worse off than ever. Against Bangladesh the two witless run-outs, the wading-through-treacle batting, and the tendency for wickets to fall in clusters showed a deeper malaise than their inability to get their heads around a different format of cricket.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/846833.html

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  96. ‘It’s not long before Shami is regarded as a world-class bowler’
    March 11, 2015 17:53 IST

    Mohammed Shami of India is congratulated by teammates after getting a wicket.
    Mohammad Shami and Umesh Yadav’s “mature performance” in the ongoing cricket World Cup, former Pakistan pacer Shoaib Akhtar feels the duo
    are on the path to become “world-class” bowlers and have been the key to India’s success in the tournament.
    The pace duo shared four wickets between themselves as India humbled Ireland by eight wickets in their previous league encounter to register nine consecutive World Cup wins and also confirm their top spot going into the quarter-finals.
    India have also had the distinction of bowling their opponents out in all the five outings and Akhtar is all praise for the pace duo’s contribution.
    “50 wickets in 5 matches is an incredible task. I am glad to see such matured performances from Shami and Umesh in all the matches and I believe its not long before they are regarded as world-class bowlers,” Akhtar, who is part of the Star Sports Hindi commentary panel, told PTI.

    Shami, who picked three wickets in Hamilton to restrict the Irish side to 259 all out, has bagged 12 wickets from four matches in the tournament so far. Umesh, on the other hand, has bagged seven scalps from five games and has exuded confidence and pace in his bowling so far. And Akhtar said it’s a treat to watch the duo bowl.
    “It is truly a joy to watch them bowl so beautifully and enjoy their cricket,” the Rawalpindi Express said. Akhtar added that even though the Seddon Park wicket complimented the bowlers, the Indians did well to cut the Irish surge.
    “The pitch complemented the playing conditions very well today. The ball was coming on to the bat nicely and it was a true test for the Indian bowlers against a very decent Irish side,” said Akhtar, who bagged 247 wickets for Pakistan in 163 ODIs.

    Recently Shami had also credited Akhtar for bringing back rhythm into his bowling after the former Pakistan speedster advised him to shorten his run-up, which has helped him increase his pace.
    “The recent change in run-up has surely increased my pace. So I am continuing with it and hoping that it pays rich dividends. I did have a chat with Shoaib (Akhtar) bhai and he suggested that I should reduce my big strides.
    “So shortened my stride and it has worked. It (the new run-up) is smooth and comfortable and it has also increased my pace,” Shami had said.

    The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led side leads the Pool B standings with 10 points, followed by South Africa, Pakistan and Ireland. The Men in Blue will face Zimbabwe on March 14.

    REDIFF.COM

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  97. Shoaib Akhtar helping an Indian bowler….couple that with his recent jokes on the Pakistani cricket team at Kapil’s show, Pakistan is probably ready to brand him a pukka desh drohi.

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  98. It was neck to neck fight between NZ and BD.

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    • yeah BD gave them a good fight, specially after losing two wickets quickly to start off the match. And Mahmudullah is playing quite remarkably. Has another century. Impressive showing by them. With NZ though it’s mostly been about the bowling and that’s of course been enough for them. But they haven’t looked that great in these chases.

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    • “McGrath said that the yorker remained the key to limiting scoring at the death. He said that if one can deliver six perfect Yorkers”

      LOL. Yes easier said than done. I think McGrath is fair to say some bowlers are basically rubbish today. But – the difference is this. In YOUR day McGrath, you were bowling NO Yorkers, just line and length and you reaped the rewards. The game has changed. In your day, a Yorker crazy bowler like Waqar could succeed…a speedster like Akhtar could or a conventional line and length bowler like Mcgrath could. Today, only a Yorker bowler and that too one who deliver 6 on 6 is the only (?) way? Doesn’t that tell you everything you want to know about how bowlers simply have “less” options today.

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      • how bowlers simply have “less” options today.

        How about taking some more wickets upfront, now that there are 2 new balls available? The more initial wickets a bowling unit draws, the less are the chances of the opposing team scoring more towards the end. This is because teams have to re-build and often they collapse if they don’t re-adjust their targets, as Australia found out against NZ.

        The new rules will make (have made) average bowlers cannon fodder. They could hide in earlier eras…now they are being taken to the cleaners. Don’t see how that’s an outrageous thing.

        Moreover, even with Yorkers, players like ABD or Maxwell will still find shots to score. That’s down to a batsman’s ability, which has evolved with the times. Nobody used to reverse sweep fast bowlers earlier. Now they do, in the process risking severe physical injury, but hey it works. So why shouldn’t they reap rewards?

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        • Personally I think that the only way the game could be any more tilted in the batsman’s favor is if the bowler stopped bowling altogether!

          “The new rules will make (have made) average bowlers cannon fodder. They could hide in earlier eras…now they are being taken to the cleaners. Don’t see how that’s an outrageous thing.”

          but what about average batsmen who now look like Bradman?

          The one day game has been amended in all sorts of ways to just produce huge scores as much as possible. In this WC we at least see the NZ pitches being helpful to the bowlers in many cases. But overall I think it’s crazy to think (with all due respect) that scores between 300 and 400 come about as regularly as they do now simply because batsmen have become more aggressive or the game has changed in this respect. And ABD or whoever, even the best batsmen are quite often tested by the right bowlers but the bowlers have to be given some sort of chance. There have always been batting tracks, there have always been graveyard pitches but the one day game has more or less become a joke in recent years. And speaking for myself I don’t have such poor memory of the game nor such poor appreciation for its greatest virtues to appreciate most of the slugfests that are undertaken today. Of course there are fine and important talents today as well. So let’s test them with some worthwhile pitches that give the bowler some sort of opportunity! I am actually hoping that Lara is right and that there are lower scores deeper into the WC. Yes the game evolves like any other, that’s fine. But a lot of the scoring today candidly makes me queasy!

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          • but what about average batsmen who now look like Bradman?

            Who are these average batsmen who now resemble Bradman? Can you give some examples?

            Yes, the modern game favours batsmen more. The bats are better, the grounds are smaller and batsmen have become more fearless in their approach. But the point that McGrath is making is that bowlers can’t just stop dead in their tracks. They need to innovate too. Even in this WC, Mitchell Starc is a prime example of a fast bowler who’s very difficult to get away during the final overs. Malinga’s economy rate during the final overs is low as well, even though he’s well past his prime.

            Moreover, there are 2 new balls available to each bowling side. How about taking some wickets with those? How about the captains being more assertive and attacking like McCullam? It’s easy to blame everything when standards in bowling have fallen across the board.

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          • “Moreover, there are 2 new balls available to each bowling side. How about taking some wickets with those? “

            This only helps on a swinging pitch or bowler friendly.
            2 white balls that race to the boundary on a batting wicket…frankly that helps the batsman. Sometimes bowlers prefer the softer ball, it’s harder to get away. Or a deteriorating coloured ball because it’s harder to spot. OR the main thing, the older ball that reverses.

            This rule change (2 white balls) benefits batters or bowlers but depends on conditions. In NL it is better for bowlers. In Aus it is better for batters.

            The other rules changes…smaller grounds, bigger bats, fielding restrictions, more PP overs…no matter what condition only favours ONE side. There is nothing there for a bowler or fielding side to use as an edge. Except aggressive captaining…but you can only be aggressive like McCullum or the Aussies if you have a team capable of backing up.

            think about what you are saying in football terms. It is easy for Barcelona to play agressive against a 2nd rank side. a 2nd rank side playing aggressive against Barcelona??? Well they are only opening up for a big beating if you ask me.
            Or a boxer…a 2nd rank, if he did not “defend” appropriately against a Mayweather, well he will be toppled quite easily against a puncher.

            That’s the difference Saket.

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          • there are dozens of batsmen today who on many of these tracks can make even half-decent bowling look utterly useless. I’d go further, some of the good undoubtedly talented batsmen can look ‘great’ in the same conditions. The other thing you’re forgetting is that a team will always have average players, bowlers or batsmen. You can’t have a team just made up of the best talents! And again my argument is not about the level of talent in any given age. That’s about probability and from age to age, barring geniuses, it stays more or less the same. Even the geniuses show up with some regularity. But that’s different from creating conditions of a certain kind. Let’s do this thought experiment.. what if every pitch were like the fearsomely fast Perth of yesteryear or what if all pitches prepared a certain way and with English weather conditions to boot (where even mediocre bowlers could look great generating a great deal of movement) or a crazily prepared spinning track? this would be a game totally favoring the bowlers. One could still say ‘hey if you’re a good enough batsman deal with it’! And many would but it would still highlight the imbalance. You want a game where you have a mix of tracks but even if you don’t (admittedly ODIs were mostly played on batting tracks) you don’t want the rules to be changed and made so lopsided that unless an excellent bowlers shows up with great deliveries it’s advantage batting!

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          • It used to be very difficult hitting 6 in MCG or Perth. I think the boundaries are smaller especially on square and fine leg.

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          • http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/cricket-world-cup-2015-australia-set-to-push-back-boundary-10031227.html

            the ICC has been saying for a year or more now that the game has become too favorable to the batsmen between boundary changes and wider bats and all the rest. They’ve wanted to expand boundaries. In this WC I don’t know how much the ICC has done of what it promised. The other day someone called the Eden Park boundary absurd (it was small to begin with, they made it somewhat smaller!)! MCG is still the biggest of course and it won’t be as easy here.

            But again the whole mentality has been that it’s ‘more fun’ and the batsmen play all kinds of shots and so on. Obviously this is a commercial argument more than anything else.

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          • Hey if the boundaries come right in…who needs a bat. You could probably kick the ball over for 6.

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          • Even hands can do that job without the help of the bat.
            Some idea is creeping in my mind. why not use robots and see the fun for a change? No need even for umpires.

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      • And McGrath was fully capable of bowling 6 Yorkers in an over and used to bowl Yorkers in ODIs. That he could take wickets upfront as well, made him a true ODI great.

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        • All the stats in this world cup back up incredibly high scores. I think the 350+ and 400+ scores as of Mar year to date are higher than any other FULL year. So in under 3 MONTHS, batting records have simply tumbled vs. the history of the game.

          Akram, McGrath sure could do it. but the point is not that they found success from Yorkers. It is, that they found success from conventionally good tight bowling, line and length too and in ODI’s and all the time, not just on a bowling wicket or when the batsman had an off day.

          Today, a line and length bowler, is a recipe for disaster!!!! And the only option, as McGrath has laid out is bowling 6 yorkers…wow.

          And imagine a young kid bowling today. The ONLY technique for “success” is deemed the YORKER. Imagine a batsman figures that one out. What then?

          It’s a bad state that the game is heading towards and the requirements on the CV for a bowler today are : WANTED A BOWLER WHO ONLY BOWLS YORKERS!

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      • I still remember Akram bowling six yorkers to Rajesh Chauhan.
        But if you miss on yorker to a good batsman, then it is an over pitched cake.

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        • I also remember Rajesh Chauhan slamming Saqlain Mushtaq for a six in the last over to win us a match in ’97. He mentioned that because Saqlain was an offie like him, he could anticipate the kind of delivery he was going to bowl

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      • “Today, only a Yorker bowler and that too one who deliver 6 on 6 is the only (?) way? Doesn’t that tell you everything you want to know about how bowlers simply have “less” options today.”

        agree completely..

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  99. It’s a bad state that the game is heading towards and the requirements on the CV for a bowler today are : WANTED A BOWLER WHO ONLY BOWLS YORKERS!

    That’s just flat-out wrong. A bowler needs to bowl Yorkers only during the final overs or the batting powerplay, at most! Bowlers need to use conventional swing and seam during the first 20 overs to get wickets. Now that there are 2 new balls, it’s even more imperative to use them well.
    These are 2 different skills which have been employed since the 90s. Akram could do both…so could McGrath. There’s no reason why a bowler in the present era has to be any different, in terms of skills or temperament.

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    • “Bowlers need to use conventional swing and seam during the first 20 overs to get wickets.”

      but the point precisely is that you can’t do those things on these pitches! By the way I’d like to see Akram or Mcgrath today on some of these pitches. But even if they succeeded it shouldn’t have to be that level of talent to make a case. Akram was generating reverse swing in Eng where no one thought it was possible, he was deadly even on subcontinental tracks that gave nothing to the bowler. We know the kind of line and length McGrath could bowl almost robotically. Sure if you can do that maybe you’ll be ok today too (though more would probably break their backs!). But that’s not the point. We don’t say a very difficult pitch in Eng is ok everywhere because Dravid could bat on it!

      and again a new ball can only go so far in these conditions.

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    • I’m exaggerating Saket.

      Maybe the authorities should make the distance between the wickets shorter…so that ball stays faster. Or make the wickets bigger. Maybe the wickets should be 7 feet high. See how the batsman play those tennis shots every now and then.

      But soon, rather than this…they will probably make it 2 stumps instead of 3.

      Because there is pressure to make the game exciting for 50 full overs. The 80’s and 90’s overs 15 to 35 were dull. So I get some changes needed to be made to address the games boredom value. But actually what they have and are doing is reducing the options for a bowler, whilst increasing the options for a batter. Its a double wammy.

      And I do predict, after a while of many scores of 400+, the authorities and bowlers will get fed up and crowds too and changes in favour for the bowler will happen.

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      • yes that will probably happen. Sachin himself said the other day he’d offered format suggestions to the ICC but they hadn’t gotten back to him. But it’s absolutely true that this lust for bigger and bigger scores has to be satiated at some point!

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        • The 50 over game is now increasingly becoming tactically and strategically like a 20-20 game. Sometimes, if you switch on the tv…don’t look at the score and just watch the play you will not know the difference.

          And soon forget 400…500 will be scored. And Michael Clarke said a 300 will be scored too one day soon.

          There is no point having a 50 over and 20-20 if tactically and strategically they become too similar. I think that’s a problem in the long run. There has to be a differentiator – not just the # of overs, but tactically and strategically. If the batsman considers the “risk” the same, it’s silly and pointless to have two separate games.

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  100. Cricket World Cup 2015: 10 talking points from the second week

    Getting off to a flyer is old hat … it’s all about the late surge. There have been 11 instances of sides topping 300 batting first (with all but one of these totals successfully defended), boosted by the following contributions from the last 10 overs: 102, 105, 142, 83, 124, 115, 80, 78, 152, 115 and 150 – an average of 113 runs. And the lowest of those finishes is still higher than the best start, with the first 10 overs of those innings seeing the following scored: 77, 66, 28, 42, 40, 46, 36, 58, 43, 51, 30 – an average of 47 runs.

    So the average 1st 10 over score is actually going down (not surprising, since there are 2 new balls). It’s all about the late surge. From overs 35-50. And what delivery would be most useful in stopping that late surge? The Yorker, of course!

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  101. “The 50 over game is now increasingly becoming tactically and strategically like a 20-20 game.”
    Don’t agree!
    Obviously they both are briefer than test cricket but there are crucial differences

    The obscene scores u r talking about like 400 or 500 won’t happen commonly between elite playing nations–one of the teams will be a minnow team or having a real bad day

    Certain BASIC still hold true for matches between proper cricketing teams

    In 50/50 unlike what many feel, it is ESSENTIAL to have wickets in hand to MAXIMISE the benefit

    The key strategy should be
    BAT first and compile a big score
    Let the score line add to the pressure along with the lights

    By ‘big score’ it’s ether not to aim v big to start with
    An average of 5 or round about with wickets in hands at the 30 th over shied be aimed for
    U can go for bigger targets but if u lose wickets in a bunch there’s nobody to use the 50 overs and the power play esp around quality bowling attacks

    That’s why ‘accumulators’ and technically sound batsmen still have a place in 50/50

    Obvisly all this has disclaimers and outliers

    As for 20/20 –yes those playing it certainly get better in 50/50 by enhancing certain skillsets

    But beyond a point—
    20/20 is more of a GANG BANG THANK YOU MA’m deal ….

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    • Apex, can’t you say anything on any subject under the sun without an obscene reference? It’s boring but it’s also annoying. others shouldn’t have to pay the price for your refusal to grow up. It’s hard letting any of your comments through, even when you say something half reasonable it’s this stuff at the end. C’mon!

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      • “Apex, can’t you say anything on any subject under the sun without an obscene reference?”–
        there wasnt aything ‘remotely obscene’ here (that i could sense)
        🙂

        these are just ‘innocent’ comments on sports…

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  102. Forget an individual 300 there’s a real possibility that someday the highest individual ODI score will be bigger than the highest Test score, that is, greater than 400. It would take an outstanding performance from the bat or absolutely woeful performance from the ball, most probably a combination of both, but it might just happen! If a batsman plays 200 balls and ends up with a strike rate of 200, there’s your field day for stat lovers.

    A few other points to note: not all rule changes benefit batsmen. These days batsmen are not allowed to have runners. Saeed Anwar’s ODI record of 194 would not have been possible with this rule in place.

    But by and large, the rule changes have been made in favour of batsmen. The 2 new balls, in principal, is a change that I think encourages bowlers to take wickets. There’s excitement in a game when there are runs scored or wickets fall. With the extra new ball, the ICC is asking the bowlers to take more wickets upfront. It’s true that with 2 new balls it’s not that easy to reverse them towards the end of the innings. But even here, Aaqib Javed differs (see here).

    After Imran, Aaqib’s second favourite subject is reverse swing. “Even now, someone who knows how to do it can still do it,” he insists, pooh-poohing the theory that two balls drastically cut down the potential for reverse. “The outfields are lush and soft here, so it’s a little hard here. But, in the subcontinent, it’s still possible in ODIs. You need to work on the ball, take care of it, ensure you land it on one side. People who don’t have that skill think it’s done with bottle tops, but it’s a very technical and difficult art.

    Then there’s the question of just pure evolution. Before Ranjit Singh played the leg-glance, batsmen did not know how to score on the leg side. The reverse sweep was used to good effect as early as 1987! Today batsmen reverse sweep genuinely quick fast bowlers. Some like Pietersen or Warner switch-hit, just like Baseball. Dhoni plays his ‘helicopter’ shot. That has nothing to do with rule changes. The average ODI scores have been on the rise since the first world cup in 1975. It’s just how batsmen have evolved over the years. Bowlers have evolved too. Reverse swing (which originated with Sarfaraz Nawaz, not Akram!), the off-spinners’ ‘doosra’ are just as innovative improvements.

    Finally, there are commercial considerations. The success of 20-20 has put immense pressure on the ODI format, which is why the ICC has put a curb on how many international 20-20s any country can play within a given year. Spectators who watch 20-20 will be bored with the 50 over format even though the skills required in 50 overs are still different. In the 50 over format, there’s a need to build an innings, whereas t-20s are just slam-bang from the word go. So there’s still a difference between the formats although the big change has come in the mentality of batsmen. The last 10-15 overs are now treated like a t-20 game. And I think because of t-20s bowlers (and captains) have become overtly defensive. They now ‘expect’ a team to score in excess of 80 runs in the last 10 overs. In fact, scoring 80 off the last 10 is considered a good performance. The second batting powerplay has helped too. This has effectively extended the death-over period from 40-50 to 35-50 overs. The rest of the game (between 0-35 overs) is still conventional ODI cricket.

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    • Gavaskar was just talking about the India-Zimbabwe match and mentioned how the pitch here has been made North-South from East-West to make the straight six boundary that much closer. Apparently they’ve done this in Old Trafford too and a few other places. So they’re really trying every trick in the book.

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  103. The batmen may score big but not in every game. It all depends how the other team figures out and has a plan.

    The NZ and BD game was too close and luck played some part.

    And Dhoni played some part in that India WI match.

    And these things make wins and losses less predictable.

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    • Hey Hitler was a horrible man…but I am sure even he had a day when he bought someone flowers. Doesn’t make him a saint.
      This is a General view, the statistical norm. In all sports there will always be counters.

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      • According to statistical norms, which team has the best chance to win the cup?

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        • If they play to potential, Australia. But they don’t have a quality spinner in their ranks. In fact, take out Starc and Maxwell from their line up and they are not going to be in the reckoning

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          • But they didn’t have a quality spinner in the last 3 World Cups as well (atleast in 2007 though there was Brad Hogg, not a world-class spinner by any means, but somewhat half-decent)

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          • Well, in 2003, after Shane Warne’s dramatic suspension from the WC, Brad Hogg took 13 wickets at an economy of 4.25. Darren Lehmann took another 6 wickets with an ER of 3.83. Combined, the two made up for one good spinner in their lineup.

            In 2007, Hogg was the 4th highest wicket taker with 21 wickets with an ER of 4. He was phenomenal there.

            In 2011, they did not have a regular spinner, surprising as the event was held in the subcontinent, and not surprisingly crashed out in the QF. It’s been evident that they don’t have the same spin options as earlier, but they could have chosen Nathan Lyon instead of Doherty who absolutely useless against SL.

            Put differently, in the business end of the tournament, when the pitches start to take spin, they will miss a quality spinner the most. The spinner’s job is to control the middle overs and on big grounds, like the ones in Australia, it’s not easy to hit them for sixes either.

            SA have Tahir, who’s been very good in this WC so far and NZ have Vettori but Australia is completely empty in the spin department at the moment. This is their big weakness as their pace options, once the ball stops swinging, are not that dissimilar. Leaving Starc aside and to an extent Faulkner, who’s good with his variations (but hardly bowls yorkers) there’s literally no one that Clarke can turn to, in order to break partnerships. This became quite evident in the game against SL the other day.

            Australia, in this WC, have completely bet on their batting and if Maxwell misfires or gets out early, they will not be able to score 350 either…more like 300 and that would be eminently chaseable given the state of their bowling right now. That is, assuming other sides play sensibly against Starc and see him out.

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  104. Let’s also look at this world cup. No team has scored 300 against NZ once. Ditto, India. Only once have both South Africa and Australia conceded 300+ in this world cup. So out of 20 games involving these teams, only 2 scores of 300 have been made. Not surprisingly, these teams top their respective groups.

    If Ireland, Scotland, Zimbabwe, West Indies, Afghanistan and England attacks get easily taken for 300+ (Pakistan too has conceded 300+ in 2 out of 5 games), then is there a common theme that relates to their bowling? Some teams are just associates, they haven’t played enough cricket to compete against the big nations (Ireland is the exception as it has won 2 games after conceding > 300 runs), some teams are in perennial decline (England, West Indies) and some like Pakistan just had a bad day (against WI). When we talk of batting records, let’s also be clear that they have come against minnows, not the top teams. Top teams have figured out a way to take wickets, even with the current rules, to curb excessive scoring!

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    • You still won’t be able to change the fact that all this logic and reasoning was present in previous world cups yet in this one scores are much higher!

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      • Yes they are higher; against minnows and teams in decline. The last 10-15 overs have been the difference. But it’s not as if bowling has suddenly been reduced to nothing. Top bowlers will still get the job done. This is what, in essence, McGrath is saying. How many top quality bowlers are there in Ireland, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, England etc? These days, there’s very little margin for error, as far as the bowlers are concerned. And average bowling sides are going to be exposed. It comes as no surprise to me that England conceded 300+ scores against Australia or Sri Lanka. Or that Sri Lanka gave away 300+ against Australia, NZ & England. They are both average bowling sides.

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    • “No team has scored 300 against NZ once.”

      Bangladesh were 12 runs short. Is it really plausible stronger teams couldn’t have done more?

      Aus has 376 against SL. the latter had 312 with one guy retiring hurt.

      and it’s not just about this WC. It’s about the overall aggregate of 300 and 400 scores in ODIs. Sometimes it’s not even just about this. Consider how Ireland batted the first 10 overs against India. Yes there are minnows but even they have some strong hitting patches and beyond this their average scores have increased too. So for instance in the SA/UAE match it was surprising that UAE even got close to 200! Getting back to the Ireland game they said this was the most batting-friendly track in NZ (Hamilton). Obviously I’m not saying weaker teams cannot play well or have good players. Just that at many moments the distinctions seem less obvious. Alright Shami and Yadav weren’t effective at all when they opened at Hamilton but that’s the point isn’t it? If you’re not very sharp even Ireland will smack you around.

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      • Bangladesh were 12 runs short. Is it really plausible stronger teams couldn’t have done more?

        But stronger teams did not score more. Australia scored 150, Sri Lanka 233 and England scored 123!

        Bangladesh did a fab job against NZ. They are the odd ones out in that sense. They survived the first 10 overs (they were 4/1 after 5.4 overs; 27/2 after 10) and then prospered. Notice how their innings also followed the same trajectory of low scores in the 1st 10 overs and high scores during the end.

        I have mentioned in response to Jay that Australia’s 376 against SL doesn’t surprise me at all. Sri Lankan bowlers are pretty average when it comes to death bowling. And that’s putting it mildly. And although SL scored 312 against Australia, the result was never in doubt.

        In fact, in that particular game, Watson’s bowling was aweful. Doherty, Australia’s lone spinner in their squad, was rubbish. And Mitchell Johnson’s pace and length were ripe for hitting (full credit to Dilshan, who is in the form of his life at the moment). Only Starc, and to an extent, Fualkner were in form that day. Starc, in that particular game, had figures of 8.2-0-29-2!
        Even in that slugfest, he was absolutely brilliant. And guess what, he specializes in bowling yorkers!

        The game between Ireland and India is a tale of two halves. The Irish prospered against pace but limped against quality spin. From a strong start they were all out in the 49th over. The Indian bowlers still had the last laugh.

        In general, it’s true that batsmen have it easy, all things remaining equal. But it’s also true that there’s been a general decline in the quality of bowling. Especially in the quality of ‘death’ bowling. Put in a different way, it would be near impossible for teams to score 150 runs in the last 10 overs, if they are subjected to quality death bowling. The 400+ scores we are seeing are all thanks to bowlers losing the plot, more often than not.

        I’ll also add that we now have batsmen (ABD, Maxwell) who can score a century in 50 odd balls AND can play strokes in a 360 degree arc. Even the best bowlers will struggle against them, when they are on top of the game. But I can still guarantee that with good quality ‘death’ bowling even they would struggle to score 150 runs in the last 10 overs.

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  105. The funny thing is the sub-continental pitches are supposed to be a batsman’s paradise but the 2011 WC hardly got 300+ scores. AUSTRALIA/NZ have been traditionally considered bowler’s pitches when compared with the sub-continent. But you can see now that more runs are being accumulated here than in the sub-continent!!

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    • the subcontinent has got a bad rap traditionally in certain ways. Yes it’s true there are a lot of batting tracks here but one must distinguish between slow batting tracks and brisk ones (the kind you often find in Aus). And this is important because stroke players often like the latter not the former. And then there are extremely slow grounds, absolute graveyards for bowlers. Finally underprepared ones or those favoring spin (there’s less of this now then there used to be). All of these were once bundled together and called ‘bad’ Indian tracks or what have you. the point is that not all these grounds are paradises for batsmen (Sachin was born in a country where most grounds were not ideal for his style and skill set) but yes these are the kinds of places where a lot of less talented players can score quite a bit, specially with weaker bowlers on the other side. Of course in tests even some of the prepared subcontinental pitches used to start crumbling by day 4 and would be unplayable on day 5. There were a few such innings in the last decade with India trying to bat the entire fifth day and the entire team struggling and so on. This crumbling pitch is usually not what you get outside the subcontinent.

      Now having said that the kind of scoring that once seemed possible only in certain parts of the world is happening in most places. On a related note Aaron Finch said somewhere recently (this after saying he didn’t feel sorry for the bowlers as they got the new ball) that he was shocked by some of the broad bats allowed by the ICC. Even referred to one of his teammates saying that with his bat you could hit all kinds of sixes.

      On a final note and speaking of underprepared pitches this was something that the WI often did at home. Even when they had one of the greatest teams in history. Because fearsome as that battery was imagine facing it on pitches with erratic ball movement. The players weren’t half as well protected at the time. Then you had the violent crowd there throwing stuff on the field, the notoriously unfair umpires. still great or strong teams but they did this stuff too.

      Like

      • “On a final note and speaking of underprepared pitches this was something that the WI often did at home. Even when they had one of the greatest teams in history. Because fearsome as that battery was imagine facing it on pitches with erratic ball movement. The players weren’t half as well protected at the time. Then you had the violent crowd there throwing stuff on the field, the notoriously unfair umpires. still great or strong teams but they did this stuff too.”-

        Satyam, agreed mostly though I will disagree a touch on the umpiring in Windies, i don’t think there was much of a problem there. I think the majority of the unfair umpiring happened in England (that drawn Oval test in ’79 where Gavaskar made that famous 229 is of course the biggest example) and Australia. On the change in pitches, West indies is against the best example because they are now preparing a lot of pitches which are spinner friendly. Think of this, before 2000, both of India’s Test victories against West Indies had come at Queen’s Park Oval, Port of Spain because it was the only pitch which used to give sort of assistance for the spinners. But after 2000 (we did win a another in Port of Spain), our two series victories have come at Sabina Park (Kingston, Jamaica) (both the times spinners won it for us, Kumble on the first occasion, and I am not sure, but I think it was Ashwin on the second), which alongwith Barbados was one of the fastest in the world for a long period of time.

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        • “speaking of underprepared pitches this was something that the WI often did at home-

          And this actually happened till the very late 90’s. I mean I recall a Test Match against England in 1998 at Sabina Park (Jamaica again) where the Test was called off within an hour when Atherton and Alec Stewart (England had lost 3 wickets by then) pointed out that the pitch was far too dangerous for batting due to really invariable bounce

          Like

  106. When there is rain, bad weather, even a 50 over game is reduced to less than 50. So it is not wise to wait to score big runs. Make hay while the sun shines should be the motto.

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  107. I agree with Saket.

    Anybody who knows a thing or two about batting knows it’s not easy to score runs the way Maxwell, McCullum and De Villiers are scoring. These guys are innovation personified.

    Still all it takes is one mistimed shot, a lapse in judgment, to get out. Yes, it’s difficult for bowlers, but I don’t agree that it’s just a batsman’s game. Consistent good line and length bowling will still upset 9 out of 10 batsman.

    McGrath was a bowling institution, and if he is saying that bowlers need to bowl better, then it’s a point worth noting. His opinion definitely carries more weight than ours. But to just complain and complain is not going to make things any easier for bowlers.

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  108. One more thing to add – examples can be thrown to support either position. Shami and Yadav have done very well in this world cup, and India has bowled out each team they have played! And we are not talking 90s West Indies or Pakistan style of bowling here, just some consistent line and length.

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    • I was deliberately (desperately!) avoiding India’s example just in case I jinxed them LOL!

      But now that you mention it, yes, India’s bowling in this world cup is the biggest surprise. And their best swing bowler, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, isn’t even in the playing eleven! Dhoni’s captaincy has also been quite good in that regard.

      Like

      • Great point on Bhuvaneshwar. I still think though that a fully fit Praveen Kumar is a far better swing bowler than Bhuvi, of course Praveen seems to managing his career (and fitness quite horribly). Otherwise those spells he bowled in both the finals against Australia in the 2008 VB series were IMO one of the best ever by an Indian bowler in ODIs.

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        • Yeah, it’s not just Pravin Kumar though. R P Singh was wonderful to watch in England when India won the Test series. He too is now a has-been. There are quite a few names in this category: Irfan Pathan, Munaf Patel etc who all started out well and have now vanished from the scene. The BCCI should have done something about this although that has as much a chance of happening as BCCI has a chance of being a transparent organization.

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  109. NZ Vs SL 102
    Aus Vs Eng 105
    SA Vs Zim 146
    Ind Vs Pak 83
    Ire Vs WI 124
    Pak Vs WI 115
    Ind Vs SA 80
    Eng Vs Sco 78
    WI Vs Zim 152
    Ban Vs SL 115
    SA Vs WI 150
    Eng Vs SL 106
    Ire Vs SA 131
    Pak Vs UAE 124
    Aus Vs Afg 118
    Ire Vs Zim 108
    Aus Vs SL 123
    SL Vs Sco 81
    SA Vs UAE 101
    —————————–
    Avg: 107

    This is the complete list of runs scored in the last 10 overs in this WC (so far) whenever a team has scored 300+

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    • Earlier, it used to be the case that 60-80 runs was the norm in the last 10 overs. Now the average is much higher.

      We now say that 300 is the new 250 in ODI cricket. The most significant change has come from runs scored in the last 10 overs. It’s no surprise that the average score has moved up.

      Earlier, a rule of thumb was to double the team’s score after the 1st 30 overs to get an expected final score. Today, one can safely double a team’s score after 35 overs because the last 15 overs have become so productive.

      Also notice that the really big scores (120+) have come against minnows, WI included. SA scored 150 against the WI and the WI scored 115 against Pak in one game. The rest of the bowling attacks belong to associate countries.

      It’s interesting to note that India has scored only 83 & 80 in their 300 outings, albeit against Pak and SA. That’s a below par performance.

      Like

  110. The top bowler of the pre-qualifying stage is Daniel Vettori. He has the lowest economy (3.21) and the 3rd highest wicket tally. Ashwin’s pretty close and has a chance to beat him.

    The second best bowler is Mitchell Starc who has the 2nd best economy (4th highest wicket tally) and still 1 more game to go.

    Trent Boult, Morne Morkel and Mohammad Shami (1 more game to go) round up the top 6.

    It’s incredible that Dan Vettori, who has bowled in NZ with boundaries as small as 52 meters, has an economy rate of 3.21!

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    • Don’t think there is another spinner in the world currently who has much as “guile” as Vettori. And Saket, Vettori is a master of the limited overs format. For example, do you recall his spell against India in the first T-20 World Cup (incidentally this was the only match they lost in that tournament) where his spell changed the course of the match; before he came on to bowl Sehwag was batting as if he would finish the match in no time.

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      • Agreed on Vettori. NZ have Southee, Bolt and Vettori in their bowling line up who are all right up in terms of wickets in this world cup. Their bowling line up ticks all the boxes. Pace (Bolt), Swing (Southee) and spin (Vettori).

        Their batting is a bit suspect but have done the job so far. Kane Williamson is the key here, as good as McCullam has been up the order. He has just failed once (against Bangladesh) in the last 25 games…and this is his record since 2013.

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  111. ROFL…the distance between 1st slip & boundary is 20 mts!!!

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  112. Taylor exposing the weak honks in indian armor…uphill task for India…it will be a miracle of sorts if INDIA goes on to win the cup

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  113. What a way to sign off a career! Against a top-tier team..Salute to Brendon..

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  114. Fantastic arm movement by Mohit..fine slow delivery..bowlers really have to keep picking their brains to get the job done..

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  115. India on course to lose their first match…what was the rationale behind letting ZIMBABWE bat first?

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    • Probably thought the game would end quicker if Zimbabwe batted first and they chased a low run total as opposed to them batting, scoring 325-350 and then having Zimbabwe bat

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  116. Thank Baba Ramdev…at least ZIMBABWEdid not reach 300

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  117. A sum total of 3 yorkers in the final 14 overs by India. The result?

    127 runs.

    If this is the length that they will bowl to Maxwell & co, the statisticians will be kept busy…very busy!

    The only thing worse about this match is the manner in which Zimbabwe treated our spinners. Players/coaches in the opposing camps will be watching!

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    • This will be a wakeup call. Let us see how India will chase.

      Like

    • “A sum total of 3 yorkers in the final 14 overs by India. The result?

      127 runs.”-

      And what makes it even more telling is that out of those 3 yorkers, one of them fetched India a wicket. Yet they chose not to bowl them.

      “A sum total of 3 yorkers in the final 14 overs by India. The result?

      127 runs.”-

      Agreed again. Both Taylor and Williams were superb against the spinners, infact the former’s batting against the spinners (and of course the reverse sweeps) was so reminiscent of ANdy Flower who was not just a master of the reverse, but also quite simply one of the best players of spin bowling from the modern era.

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      • Yes, both Taylor and Williams played our spinners better than anybody else. Taylor, of lumbering frame, reminded me of Inzi today. His was a terrific knock, by any standards.

        He forced Ashwin to change his line and length by playing the reverse sweep to perfection. And as much as I hated watching it, his demolition of Jadeja in the last 10 overs was just brilliant. All this, while playing cricketing shots, not just mindless slogs as well.

        True, the boundaries were short but he would have scored a hundred on any other ground today. It was a very classy innings. The first time I had seen him bat and it was very impressive.

        In fact, I was thinking if I were a talent scout for any IPL franchise, I’d have Taylor and Sean Williams on my radar right away.

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  118. Scotland’s condition is pathetic!

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  119. Surya sat…Rohit ast!!!!

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  120. Guess it is pretty clear now that INDIA will lose… How bad is the only question…

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  121. Still some hope. The pair is doing good so far.

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  122. 100

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  123. It is rainaing.

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  124. I never thought Zimbabwe will give this kind of scare.

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    • Bangladesh had exactly this score against NZ. Even assuming less than effective bowling at points in the match this is too high a score against top teams. India will meet Aus in the semis in all probability (unless something surprising happens somewhere). Aus weren’t the top team in their group as might have been expected earlier otherwise the whole thing was set up for an India/Aus final. Not sure if this semi is in Aus or NZ but I almost have half a sense now that the latter might be better if they’re facing Aus and then the final in Aus would be fine assuming it’s NZ at the other end. Really thinking ahead of course but my point is that if Aus are given half a chance they’ll put on 350 or more. And that’s a difficult chase 9 out of 10 times against Aus (not that it cannot be done). If you play in Aus there’s a much greater chance of this happening. In Auckland though there might be a better chance of containing them. Now does the reverse also hold? Yes but I’d still bet on Indian batting when the chips are down more than the bowling. But even assuming it’s a lower score match because of the conditions that day you still need proper batting to get you through. So again facing Aus in NZ in a semi and NZ in Aus in a final is not a bad combo at all! India of course have had great discipline throughout the tournament. But giving away these big numbers at points (the Ireland start was another example) worries me. On the plus side though it was great to see another good knock from Dhoni and especially Raina. The team really needed run production here going into the knockout stage. Dhoni proving once again that he’s a big moment guy.

      by the way they remain the only team to have bowled out all their opponents.

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      • I think aus and nzl will play QF as well as SF in their home only by virtue of being the host, the courtesy was extended to India and Sri Lanka also in the last World Cup. Also once the knock out stage starts, you will find that the scores will not reach 320 and 350. It will be lesser as the pressure of the knock out will force the batsman to start cautiously and even the likes of Warner etc will not throw caution to the winds.

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  125. Won!

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  126. Dependable Dhoni, supported by wonderful Raina. We extracted success from the jaws of defeat.

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  127. As long as there is Dhoni, I always hope. for the best. Once he leaves, nothing can save us.

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  128. RajRoshan Says:

    Even after 4 wickets down I was thinking India might still win given how poor Zimbabwe bowling and fielding is. Spare a thought for Taylor..what a player for Zimbabwe..so consistent for them and such a loss for them. Taylor and Williams combination had been working so well in the middle order. Just when Zimbabwe seemed to be improving…here goes Taylor.

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  129. What a finisher Dhoni is!! He absorbs pressure as though it is a skin moisturizer!!! India better start looking out for the next captain right now since it will be a long, long search to find someone of the caliber of Dhoni to replace him once he retires..

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    • First off it hardly takes a genius to make this observation. Any team that could beat Aus would automatically be in the running at the knockout stage! But Imran Khan has forever made these biased statements. No matter how weak a Pakistan team there is he always thinks there’s a shot. I’m not saying he shouldn’t be supporting Pakistan but there should also be realistic commentary. He himself with a very good side that was favored to win lost at home against Aus! And that was hardly the Aus of the 90s! So even with a good team there are always things that can happen. But Imran Khan always has this ‘hey there’s no issue if you make these changes’ line. Again anything can happen at the knockout stage. We just saw Bangladesh give NZ a tough time. But ultimately you have two kinds of teams that win the WC. Either those that are very consistent throughout (they don’t have to be the best teams of the tournament, just one of the stronger ones) or those that are quite strong if not better but underperform at different points and then win when it really matters. I don’t see Pakistan falling in either one of those groups. Their ’92 team that won was that way. It was almost eliminated at one point but then bloomed late (incidentally NZ was a very dangerous team that year too.. Deepak Patel as a spinner used to open the attack! It worked very well for them and even in the semi they put up 260 or something against Pakistan which was a tall order at the time..). But this current team is simply too weak on the batting. They have a couple of good bowlers but there isn’t a fearsome bowler here who’s going to destroy oppositions (by and large). Still I thought at one point they might lose every match but they’ve recovered and the SA win was big for them. But you can’t get carried away. I’d still be surprised if one of India, Aus, NZ don’t win it. Wouldn’t have bet on India going into the tournament but I think they’ve showed the most poise of all the teams so far. On NZ and despite their form I still remain a bit unconvinced which is not to say I’d be surprised if they won it all. More likely India or Aus I think. And if I absolutely had to bet I’d do so on India at this point. Though there are areas here that concern me their intangibles if you will have been the most significant of the tournament all things considered. In my view at least. But if it weren’t one of those three I’d be amazed. SL could knock off someone important though. Don’t think they’re good enough to win it all. Getting back to Imran Khan no matter what the pitch to beat Aus at home at such an important stage of the tournament would take quite a bit. And even if you surprise them with bowling you still have to face their bowling. We saw them in the NZ match. They had a humiliatingly low score but they reduced NZ to the very same position.

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    • AamirsFan Says:

      Imran has been on point for the most part on Pakistan Cricket recently but even he admitted he does not follow cricket as passionately as he used to. He has other things to focus on at the moment which I admire him for. On this article…this was the same belief that led to the ’92 Cup. He has always had a belief for his players, for his country. It inspired the other players to rise up and play out of their minds. You can call him biased or clueless or whatever…he loves his country.

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      • Let me put it this way — Gavaskar sounds a lot more realistic and balanced on India even today after all the wins than Imran does on Pakistan. Gavaskar for example says Bangladesh cannot be taken lightly. Obviously even if you’re the weakest team in the world facing the strongest you go into a match hoping to win or trying to win. But that’s not what I’m taking him to task for. I think you can be as patriotic as you want but also sound more balanced at the same time. Imran Khan is one of history’s great cricketers. There’s no doubt here. But he’s also the guy who when he won the WC more or less just made it about himself and did not thank the team. I just don’t think he comes across as a balanced commentator most of the time. Now on his political career I find it appalling but that’s another debate! I’m sure he loves his country. But this has never quite been an ultimate test of anyone’s worth for me. But again as a cricketer one would be crazy to question him in any sense.

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        • AamirsFan Says:

          I think you have a very general view of Imran Khan to be honest. I do think Imran’s view of cricket can be out dated sometimes but again that is because he doesn’t follow cricket as closely. As for his politics…he is the most sensible dude there is and there is a reason he has a huge youth following. I’m biased towards him, I fully admit…I think what Imran says about Pakistan makes the best sense for Pakistan.

          But anyway I don’t think he *needs* to be balanced if he is rooting for his cricket team, I don’t blame him for that at all. Also he has been critical of the PCB in the past and even earlier in this WC he was critical of some of the players. He has praised the Australians when they were at their peek and the Indians. But this kind of language right now is just pure patriotism from his heart, and if you don’t agree with it…then leave it at that..don’t have to try to deconstruct him as a human to make his opinion seem insignificant.

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          • Don’t you think it’s the opposite though? We sometimes insist on our sports heroes (or movie stars) being great humans too. I don’t think Imran ever had the reputation of being ‘nice guy’. Doubt even his teammates would have agreed! On the WC you can check out his speech if you don’t believe me. He didn’t have anything to say about his teammates. And the reason I don’t like his politics is a) because I find it extremely hard to believe that cricket’s biggest playboy had a total change of heart and became Taliban-lie b) even if he had a change of heart it’s appalling that these are the kinds of people he often seems to be supporting.

            Lara was on NDTV the other day saying he thought WI could beat NZ. The host asked him if he actually believed that or if that was his patriotic sentiment! Lara has been pretty balanced otherwise though and even with respect to his team in the WI. He smiled and said he was rooting for the time but believed this as well. My point simply is that if you say that sort of thing anyone’s going to think that. Not that it isn’t possible. WI could beat NZ. It’s certainly within the realm of possibility. Similarly Pakistan could beat Aus. Just that most days one will start with the presumption that this isn’t possible. These things are calls upsets for a reason. If Bangladesh beat India that would be an upset but it is possible. I actually think Bangladesh have been impressive, specially these last couple of games. Don’t think Gavaskar is wrong in saying what he did.

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          • and again it’s not that I’m dissing Imran Khan or anything. I honestly believe all this about him.

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          • AamirsFan Says:

            “Don’t you think it’s the opposite though? We sometimes insist on our sports heroes (or movie stars) being great humans too. I don’t think Imran ever had the reputation of being ‘nice guy’. Doubt even his teammates would have agreed! On the WC you can check out his speech if you don’t believe me. He didn’t have anything to say about his teammates.”

            I haven’t said Imran is a saint though? All that you have said is nothing new to me…I know all of this and he knows all this about what is said about him. Even in some of the interviews he has said sometimes you have to be a total douche to get your point across. He is a no non sense guy to be honest. His politics kind of reminds me of Ron Paul who I am also a fan of. Also on the Taliban bit…another generalization is made about him. So when the US talks to the taliban, that’s called negotiations…but when someone like Imran Khan (who has blood lines from that region) wants to talk them he is now a ‘mullah’ or an extremist. Get outta here.

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          • It’s one thing to negotiate even with the devil and quite another to start speaking the devil’s language! But leaving this aside I’m hardly one to excuse Western colonial practices.

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          • AamirsFan Says:

            I know what your main point is…but in this setting I don’t believe he has to be balanced is all I’m saying. He is being interviewed by his home country…what else is he supposed to say? As a national hero no less. There have been PLENTY of criticisms by him in the past years on the PCB and some of the players…but soon as he says something favorable about his former cricket team he is labeled a homer. OK in this case he is a homer. It’s the WC and he isn’t on a neutral show or anything; he isn’t asked to be an analyst like Wasim Akram or Rameez Raja. I hope with all this blabbing I am making sense.

            Like

          • It’s one thing to negotiate even with the devil and quite another to start speaking the devil’s language! Satyam.

            An interesting observation.

            If Imran Khan really becomes prime minister of Pakistan, then we will see where he will take the country. Power brings out the worst or best.

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        • AamirsFan Says:

          And I realize my tone may be a bit harsh but I mean no disrespect to you at all. You are a very sensible and down to earth man that I’ve come to know through this blog but sometimes you have some views that I don’t agree with that’s all.

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          • Your tone was perfectly fine Aamirsfan! And I certainly don’t expect ‘respect’ of any sort but I appreciate your comment nonetheless..

            Like

    • I have never been a fan of Imran Khan. He is a turn-coat of the highest order – with one leg in the west and one in Pakistan and or/Taliban and the middle leg you know where..

      I can only chuckle at the idiotic ‘summits’ of the so-called Hindustan Times that derives its value from breaking champagne bottles and calling the likes of Imran to talk ‘intelligently’ at their ‘summits.’

      Imran is too much of a chameleon. That’s why he is rightly in politics. He might not be corrupt. So what? So are Kejriwal, Advani, and Hitler’s brother Modi. Doesn’t mean anybody is spotless.

      Seriously, give me an Akram or a Zaheer Abbas anyday. These guys are the ones that placed more importance to the sport than the so-called necessities of ‘politics’ necessary for successful leadership.

      The man is a narcissist of the highest order. There are umpteen interviews of him that keep referring to the supposed ‘inferiority-complex’ of Indian players because they were not as good-looking as Imran or his shepherds!!! Go figure. In another interview of his, he mentioned how his wife Jemima always thought that at 60, Imran’s hair HAD to be white while it was always black — according to Imran — naturally!!!

      He has an extremely condescending attitude towards Indian players and Indians in general and I fail to understand why on Earth these Indian ‘conglomerates’ keep calling him for those ‘intellectual’ debates..

      And my reason for pointing out his utterances pointing toward the superficial looks is not for fun – but just to point out the man’s tendencies..of how he has wrapped himself in an egoistic version of the so-called He-Man..

      http://www.pakpassion.net/ppforum/showthread.php?117261-Imran-Khan-WC-92-speech

      Like

  130. contd from above

    talking about those ‘obscene scores’ of 400 or 350, these will become less frequent once the BUSINESS end of WC starts…

    On their good day–
    Aus Ind SL SA NZ pak
    any team can trounce anybody

    but the difference is the POWER players
    the players of the BIG STAGE

    btw LOVED the knock of Dhoni
    thats y i rate him so high not interms of ability or talent but IMPACT

    its the ability to read the situation well, recognise his strenghts and limtiations and then

    strike when it matters

    the CHANGE in GEARS….

    Like

  131. Contd from
    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/cricket-world-cup-2015/#comment-298135

    In the business end of WC–all these analyses and statistics don’t hold much water

    The KEY ASPECT is that every batsman starts from ZERO and all it takes is one nick, one slip, one run out, one mishit

    See the way kohli got bowled round the legs against zim

    All statistics, all past scorelines and all reputation
    Gets stripped to nought

    Any of the major teams can beat any other on their day
    Infact won’t even rule out pak (if pak scratches past Ireland!)

    NZ & SA are good but they’ve never own the WC (which is a negative)

    SL will always be a dangerous team –SL has a certain ‘ethic’ & ‘discipline’

    Out of the teams around–Ind & aus have the most ‘experience’ of WINNING (& That matters!)

    Aus is the better team but they miss their pointing- like figure ..
    The influence of dhoni on this team is all pervasive …(& beyond the numbers he contributes)

    Like

  132. Yorker on demand!

    It’s easy to blog about it but not an easy art
    With batsmen moving back n forth on the crease, it can be easily converted into a half volley or low full toss

    The PERFECT TOECRUSHER
    Is not always available
    On demand

    Ps: it’s like saying I will only serve aces on tennis

    It’s like saying I will only copulate with deepika or katrina (no less!)

    Like

  133. Saurabh (and Jay): I was wrong about Kallis vis-a-vis Sobers.

    Kallis- the 8th highest impact Test all-rounder ever

    Some excerpts:

    Bowlers are the highest impact players in Test cricket the old adage that bowlers win matches is overwhelmingly apparent in a system like this. Given that, it should not be surprising that most of the players with a higher impact than Kallis are bowling all-rounders (that is, their bowling impact is higher than their batting impact).

    Except Garry Sobers, who is the only batting all-rounder above Kallis. But Sir Garry was from another planet (much like Bradman was) both his batting and bowling impact are higher than Kallis.

    Interestingly, Shaun Pollock, though higher impact than Kallis, does not qualify as an all-rounder on our scales as his batting impact does not cross 0.9 (the idea is that an all-rounder has an impact of at least 1 in two disciplines but we keep it at 0.9 to allow for slight skews, just like umpire’s call in DRS) – not evident from his batting average of 32, camouflaged by more than a fair share of not-outs.

    It is necessary to acknowledge Kallis longevity here for him to maintain such standards through 160-plus Tests is truly remarkable, for an all-rounder particularly. The kind of fitness and appetite for the game this suggests is beyond human.

    Interestingly, Kallis is an even greater player in One-Dayers

    Kallis has been outstanding at chasing at well; in fact, after Virat Kohli and Viv Richards, he is the third-highest impact chaser in the history of ODI cricket, and easily the highest impact South African in this regard.

    Moreover, amongst South Africans who have played more than 100 ODIs, Kallis is the 6th highest impact bowler as well, after Donald, Pollock, Ntini, Klusener and Hall.

    If there was a fourth format, Jacques Kallis would have probably aced that too.

    Like

  134. This time the entire subcontinent has made it to the quarters! Unless there’s an upset somewhere the only worthwhile matchup at this stage seems to be SL/SA.

    Like

    • Yeah, I just hope that unlike Pollock and co., AB knows Duckworth-Lewis and its nitty-grittiy, well enough.

      Like

    • I have a feeling PAKISTAN can beat AUSTRALIA. And this, I am going PURELY be instinct..no statistics or any comparisons involved..as I said before, once PAK gets into the groove, they use ANY and all tools at their disposal to beat the opposition…

      Like

      • Anything can happen on a given day but it would be quite an upset.

        Like

        • I think their bowling on song could surprise Aus. But then they would also have to take on Australia’s bowling and their batting just seems very brittle. On a related note earlier both Lara and Laxman seemed quite gung-ho on S Africa. They weren’t predicting a WC win for them but they suddenly picked SA over SL and Lara felt they could go to the finals also. Of course Lara rather optimistically picked WI over NZ! Again WI could do it on a good day with their bowling but once again their batting seems rather poor. It would take a huge effort from Gayle. Sarfraz seems to be performing for Pakistan now that they’re using him but he’s the only one pretty much and he is’t an explosive player.

          Like

      • AamirsFan Says:

        it would be shocking if Pakistan beat austrailia. I do, however, feel much more confident with Sarfaraz being in the lineup and as a keeper for us than the under performing U. Akmal. Misbah has pretty much no fear and has been the only constant in this up and down WC for Pakistan. If there were 11 men that had the heart and mind of Misbah then we would take the Cup let alone beat Australia.

        Also I am rooting for Pakistan because I do want another shot at India in the semis. Beating them at their peek would be epic…hell beating them period would be epic.

        Like

        • India, SA, AUS and NZL will be the 4 teams in the SF. The only possible upset could SL beating SA because it is in Sydney which plays low and slow.

          Like

          • AamirsFan Says:

            Can’t argue with those picks…All four of those teams have displayed the best cricket throughout the WC so far. NZ is my favorite though as much as I hate to admit it, India has played the most complete cricket in these matches.

            I just love how NZ plays with their attacking captain leading the charge (Yes, sometimes it can backfire big time like against the Aussies).

            Like

          • I also think India will not go past the SF. Aus will beat them. I fancy SA to beat NZL and beat AUS in the final if they get past SL which is the most evenly matched QF. In the event India gets past AUS (I dont know how they will though), I think they will win the final

            Like

  135. While all Indians are happy with India’s performance, let me point out some problems here. I do agree, however, that Indians have played cricket most sensibly than anybody else – in the traditional sense. And there-in lies problem number

    1) In this world-cup, you have seen that HOWEVER ‘fine-tuned’ you are with the intricacies of solid/traditional cricket in terms of batsman-ship, the ‘differentiation’ in most cases has been the ‘monkey-hitting’. If you see the statistics, India is the LEAST effective out of established cricket-nations when it comes to smashing vulgarly in the last 10 overs. I am not sure they are up to the task when it comes to such monkey-hitting when they face NZ or Australia. Because here’s the hard-truth; someone HAS to do that. And I don’t see anybody from the Indian team capable of doing that..

    2) Dhoni is being unjustly compared to Lloyd and Ponting. The difference is – there is a WORLD OF DIFFERENCE between Dhoni’s team of 2011 and 2015. That 2011 team was a DREAM-TEAM in-terms of the melting-pot of experience and youth. How many players of 2011 – Tendlya? Sehwag? Yuvraj? – who played major roles are carried-over in this world-cup? Compare that with Ponting’s team from 1999, 2003 and 2007 and Lloyd’s from 1979 and you will see what an uphill task it is for Dhoni and company..

    It will be good if India wins the cup – — but at this point, I must say, it will be nothing short of a miracle if India were to do so….

    Like

    • I think the likes of Virat, Raina and Dhoni can do the monkey hitting , if they are playing around the 40th overs. I also think teams will not throw caution to the winds like they were doing in the league stages due to the pressure of the knock out. I wont be surprised if the likes of Maxwell etc take their time and then open up. Indias real problem is the opening. Even when there is an opening partnership they rarely go beyond 4.5 RPO. I think even without doing any crazy slogging, it is reasonable to expect the openers to maintain the 5.5 RPO specially if there has not been the early wicket. Our openers have not lasted or when they have, have taken their time to get going.

      Like

  136. Like

  137. Like

  138. Like

  139. ICC will have to reconsider new fielding restrictions: Rahul Dravid

    –By PTI |Posted 16-Mar-2015

    Melbourne: Concerned with the total domination of bat over the ball in ODI cricket, former India captain Rahul Dravid has urged the ICC to reconsider the rule allowing a maximum of four fielders outside the 30-yard circle once the World Cup is over. With the implementation of this rule that mandate five fielders inside the 30-yard circle at all times in an innings, the league stage of the World Cup has seen 100 or more runs being scored 17 times in the last 10 overs, compared to the six times in 2011.

    As many as 388 sixes have already been hit, while only 258 were struck during the entire 2011 edition. Dravid was quoted as saying by ESPNcricinfo: “The fact that five fielders have had to be in the ring is something that needs to be looked at. I think it will have to be reconsidered.” The batting great added, “There is no doubt that it is putting too much pressure and bowlers have not been able to cope with it. It’s leading to these huge scores and I think that’s not necessarily good for the game.”

    Only two fielders are allowed outside the circle for the first 10 overs. Just three fielders are mandated to be outside the circle during the five Powerplay overs to be taken by the batting team before the 40th over.

    Dravid is disappointed by the high-scoring nature of many of the games in the league stage of the quadrennial extravaganza. “We haven’t seen enough close games, what really builds excitement is not really seeing people hit sixes and fours all the time, but what you want to see is a good contest between bat and ball, which would result in a close game. The games have been just too one-sided for me. There have just been too many high scoring games for my liking, it’s one thing I have been disappointed by. It comes down to the fact that maybe the wickets in Australia have been very good, they’ve been flat and a lot slower than people have expected.”

    Dravid also favoured the presence of Associates in World Cup. “I favour encouraging Associates to play in this tournament and giving them every single opportunity. “I just know how important this is for the growth of their game to be seen at a World Cup, the games being telecast live back home in terms of sponsorship, government funding; its so important for them to be a part of this premier event.” –

    MID-DAY

    Like

  140. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/cricketnext/world-cup-seven-things-you-must-know-about-the-seven-knockout-games/534356-78.html

    4, In case the final ends in a tie, the winner be decided by a Super Over. But in case of washout on the scheduled as well as reserve day, the two finalists will be announced as joint winners.

    5. Australia’s quarter-final against Pakistan will be their first visit to Adelaide in this World Cup.

    6. When Bangladesh play India, they will make their maiden appearance in World Cup knockouts.

    7. New Zealand and India are the only two teams progressing to the quarter-finals unbeaten in their respective pools, with both winning all six of their matches

    Like

  141. Will it be the underrated Bangladesh who have displayed the heart of a tiger, clawing up their way from an impossible position to the final 8? Can they dethrone reigning champions, India?

    Or Dhoni’s boys who just a couple of months ago, looked down in the mouth but who, in the last couple of weeks, have done a complete turnaround?

    Could it be the all-weather favourites Australia marching relentlessly towards their 3rd World Cup triumph?

    Or Pakistan, that mercurial team who, on its day, can beat the world?

    Will New Zealand, its team full of fighters, finally be lucky?

    Or can it be the Calypso kings, the West Indies, seeking a renaissance of their game?

    Will Sangakkara the legend get the most memorable farewell a cricketer can hope for?

    Can South Africa finally, finally shed their chokers tag and kiss the Cup?

    Prem Panicker, a keen follower of the game and one of cricket’s finest writers, interacted with readers on the Rediff World Cup Chat and answered most of these questions. Check them out in the transcript below:

    http://www.rediff.com/cricket/report/prem-panicker-if-i-was-india-captain-dhoni-i-would-bowl-first-vs-bangladesh-icc-world-cup-rediff-chat/20150317.htm

    Like

  142. Typically NOT one of these is actually a ‘prediction’
    Anynody knowing the spelling of cricket would have ‘predicted” this not only before the start of the wc but an year before that !!

    So what’s this chap ‘predicting’ that too after the END of the group stage lol
    And AFTER the qf lineup is known!

    That india will beat Bangladesh?
    Wow
    That Australia which is the unarguably the best team on display wil win!? Australia who badly thumped India repeatedly in the home series
    Wow

    Btw I don’t think SA is favourite over SL
    It’s evenly matched 50:50 and will depend on who performs on the day

    Ps: I mean this chap is hilarious esp how he is so ‘earnest’ in these ‘predictions’
    It’s like predicting that dhoom 3 will be a hit (or abhishrek solo flicks will flop!)

    Like

    • In other cases when he makes different predictions and sometimes gets them wrong you attack him for not being more accurate! The guy can’t win either way!

      I suppose there’s the Krrish 3 way out of this. predict a Pakistan win against Aus. Even if they lose we can give them an extra 50 or 60 runs or whatever and make them win.

      Like

      • Lol!
        At least ,Jay put his neck out and made predictions . On form, he would be right. But in ODIs, it is the team that hits the stride that can win.
        All I know is Aus is going to be very hard to beat- well rounded, consistent team. For them to lose they will have to have an off day like they did against NZ and the opposition will have to hold its nerves.
        Always hoping that INDIA will carry the day, though.

        Like

        • I’ll stick my neck out and bet on India on this one. Their poise has impressed me through the tournament. Of course you still need to really beat Aus. They’re unlikely to have an off day in a semi but India could get luckier. On SA I wouldn’t be the most surprised if they lost to SL. SA keep saying they won’t choke this time but let’s see. I do agree that SL might be a bit old this time around. Still I’ll be rooting for them against SA. Again not really persuaded about NZ. The winner of Aus/India probably carries the day. Specially since the final is in Aus.

          Like

          • I will stick my neck out too. We will get one more brainless, brain dead comment from Apex on this blog. The odds are certainly against me, but I am feeling lucky on this one!

            Like

          • Really?
            Apex and brain dead comments?
            You really are sticking your neck out with this one!

            Like

      • If SA lose from this position they really will deliver there greatest going home moment.

        Like

    • Cricket is played by 8 countries only so more often than not, you will get the same teams appearing in the SF.
      Since 1983 you have had either AUS winning WC or a sub continental nation…So even in the next WC, I will have the same 4 as my SF predictions
      Interestingly if SL beats SA, and Pak beats AUS, we will have the same SF matchup as last tournament.

      Like

      • “Cricket is played by 8 countries only so more often than not, you will get the same teams appearing in the SF.”

        true and unless you play miserably like England all 8 make it to the quarters.

        Like

  143. That’s what happens when u play with me–

    Heads I win
    Tails u lose
    And if it’s a ‘tie’ –that’s ‘grey’…

    Like

  144. Too unpredictable as of now. Hoping for India win. Everyone must be praying for their country’s win.

    Like

  145. 2 wickets gone. Batting first. Is it a wise decision?

    Like

  146. If SA bowls and fields this good, they can be a real threat.

    Like

  147. RajRoshan Says:

    So this time it was SL who choked…who would have thought of 7 wickets by spinners against subcontinent team

    Like

  148. The CHOKERS have survived (had to chase a sub150 target!)
    But good to see the CHUCKERS kicked out !!

    When one sees murali bowl and now malinga one wonders
    Of this is not ‘textbook’ chucking –what is !???

    Ps: had a look at Imran Tahir –the ‘South indian blonde’ spinner
    Something irritated me
    I wiki-ed him and I was NOT surprised–

    “While Tahir has represented Pakistan Under-19 cricket team’s and Pakistan A, he failed to win full international honours for Pakistan. Tahir is married to Sumayya Dildar,[2] a South African of Indian descent, and has represented South Africa after becoming eligible to play for them when he met his four-year residence requirement in April 2009.”

    Like

  149. This is what I meant and feared about Indian batting when I said India just doesn’t have the monkey- hitters reqd in this World Cup. Somebody like McCullum would have single-handedly ripped Bangladesh apart within the first 10 overs…

    Like

  150. Kohli gone..the last thing he did was watch NH10…INDIA officially screwed..

    Like

  151. I am not watching it so that India should not be jinxed. Sort of superstition! My friend used to sit in a certain position and not move while India was playing. Now I lost touch with her. But I know she will be doing the same sitting now!

    Like

  152. One knew India would never win the cup but one didn’t expect it to lose to a team like BANGLADESH so ignominiously..RIP . So finally Pakistanis can light the fire-crackers…

    Like

    • Why so negative against India all the time? Have some faith, they just scored 300…

      Like

      • Sorry Raj. It’s just that I am a pessimistic guy..But you do realize that struggling against a team like Bangladesh is not a good sign..this was not a very confident 300..imagine facing bowlers like Starc when Taskin can trouble you..

        Like

        • I think your a catalyst for the India fight back. Keep your negativity up…someone is listening and taking it as motivation !

          Like

          • 1 down 9 to go

            Like

          • Ha Ha will do so Jayshah. If my negativity helps India I will continue to be double negative!!

            But really, uptil 35 overs, Bangladesh had India by the throat. Now I get that the pitch was a bit tricky with the big-yards’ boundaries and sixes. Still, it was troubling to see India suffer that way. Strange the way Rahane suffered and looked out-of-sorts. Kohli’s was a horrendous decision to stretch and bat.

            47 runs were gifted to India by Aleem Dar and Gould when they ruled a genuine ball a NO-BALL!! Maybe that wouldn’t have changed the outcome but still Rohit punished Bangladesh for getting a life. And there I was, getting a little worried when I saw Aleem, a Pakistani umpire officiating an India-starring quarter-final!! LOL!

            The life, however, doesn’t take away anything from Sharma’s exploits with the bat. Man, what cricketing shots!! Not a single, single slog-shot! Superb shots. Very mature, terrific, performance that’s an eye-candy of the highest aesthetic.

            Like

          • Dhawan bungled and Kohli took a stupid risk (distracted by Anu smooches). Obviously losing 2 quick wickets puts the brakes on. Subsequently the Bangla bowlers were given undue extra respect for 15 overs. But this in no way gives Bangla any bragging rights, especially with their unfound pathetic displays of over jubilation on taking Indian wickets. They were lucky that Dhawan and Kohli had brain freezes, otherwise after 72/0 in 15 overs, we wouldve been looking at a 350-360 total at the least. The quality of Bangla bowling was revealed when India decided to loosen up after the 32-33 over, and whacked 170+ runs, ie 10 per over. In posting their best slog overs performance in this WC, they clearly showed who the Daddy was on the field.
            And what to say about Indian bowling, the 7th consecutive 10-wicket haul here. Proof IS in the pudding.
            Off course, Australia in the semis will be a mountain to climb, and will require the bestest performance from India for any chance to win. Here, Kohli really needs to understand that he is the anchor of this batting and anytime he goes without hanging around for 8-10 overs, the pressure increases and batting puckers up.

            Like

          • Kohli is certainly due for a big one and they’ll need it in the next game and perhaps beyond if they advance. Agree with most of your points though I’d say one of the good things about this Indian side is overall poise and discipline. So yes it’s true that the run rate dropped quite a bit, on the other hand one more wicket here and there and they would have been in serious trouble. Plus they of course knew that 300 was enough against Bangla. But yeah against Aus a lot more will be needed.

            In terms of the batting the lower middle order was initially a concern, now you see a lot of production there between Dhoni and Raina. On the other hand things suddenly look a lot more brittle at the top. A great inning at the top yesterday but you need at least 40-50 from the rest to make it really count.

            Finally I’ll go a bit against the grain and say that despite their singular record of bowling everyone out I’m not completely persuaded by the bowling. Or to be more precise on a batting track in Aus I don’t think this is the kind of stuff that will necessarily trouble the Australians. Assuming of course they don’t make mistakes of their own. Again not to underrate the bowling, they’ve done rather well in most of these situations. Dhoni’s bowling changes have been good too. But irrespective of how many wickets they’ve taken they don’t have someone absolutely deadly the way some of the other teams do. And I worry a bit about this because between the semi and the final you’re probably going to get two very good batting tracks.

            Having said that India have nonetheless shown a great deal of poise and that has to be taken seriously. even when they’ve been in tricky situations they’ve had the discipline, the intangibles to get it done.

            Will say this though, SA have a lot of convincing to do given their WC history but if everyone were playing to their full potential SA would probably win.

            Like

          • Bangladesh simply haven’t learnt the art of winning. They get into good positions in matches but lack the quality, belief, control to finish the job off.

            India did pretty well. Sure Dhawan/Rahane ate up too many deliveries, but they managed to turn it around with Raina and Sharma. What I like is it’s not the same batsman, they are all playing and someone is stepping up when needed.

            Do they need to play better to beat Australia? Totally, but on present form, they will give the Australians a good game.

            The key is to do what they did today. Win the toss, bat first and set 300+. Runs on the board, semi-final, pressure on Aus – they will stand a chance. But I fear if Aus score 300, I can’t see India chasing it down.

            Like

          • That is assuming the AUSSIES win!

            Like

          • would be funny if they actually lost to Pakistan!

            A bit curious about the NZ-WI matchup. While I don’t think the latter have much of a chance they do have the bowling to do some real damage on the right pitch (which this might well be) to a batting lineup that has seemed weak at times. Of course the WI hardly have any batting but if Gale can do something special here there might just be an upset. Don’t think it will happen but against NZ in NZ I’d say they still have half a chance where against Aus in Aus there might have been none. This is principally why I think the task is so difficult for Pakistan. Their bowling has done rather well at times, Wahab Riaz has taken a lot of wickets but they just don’t have the batting. Even Sarfraz, this late edition who’s done well, is not an explosive player like Gale (which is what you need if you don’t have much depth in your batting).

            Like

          • “What I like is it’s not the same batsman, they are all playing and someone is stepping up when needed.”

            agree completely..

            Like

          • Am sure Saket was disappointed when Kohli didn’t give in to the temptation of giving Rubel the kind of send off that
            Rubel gave him. Just a wry, sneaky smile from Kohli when Rubel got out.

            Like

        • One intriguing statistic ( not that important in final analysis) but something I always wonder about is – Rohit Sharma when he has batted for a significant time in game, his share of strike is always less than 50%. I would think it is because he rotates the strike so well and even when not hitting boundaries is almost always able to take a single.
          Not really important but I always scratch my head when I see it.

          Like

  153. “India struggling and not timing the ball at all.”

    India should win against bang –no problems!
    But wtf was kohli doing—boning anu ?
    People like rahane and jadeja r ok, but have to improve for this stage –a fitter yuvraj is a match winner…

    Like

  154. India crossed 300 thanks to Jadeja and rohit and others.

    Those who were criticising Jadeja and rohit sharma got their answers today.

    Like

  155. Feeling bad for bangladesh.

    Like

  156. Anushka frequently smooching Ranbir in BV trailer was on Kohli’s mind when he played that shot today. Hope he recovers from this “mental block” in the semis.

    Like

  157. 2 reasons why Kohli got out –

    1) He liked NH10 so much coz of Anushka and of course, the liberal
    ma!@#$%od be!@#$%od gaalis were icing on the cake for him

    2) He DIDN’T like BV coz of Ranbir molesting Anushka in all possible angles and places..the end result being the
    ma!@#$%od be!@#$%od gaalis that Kohli hurled at Ranbir after watching the trailer..

    So the common factor is GAALI-GALOCH which as we all know, is Kohli’s second skin..Jaahan Gaali, wahan Kohli..

    Like

    • India has a 40% chance of beating AUS IMO provided we bat first on that Sydney pitch. Kohli and Dhoni will be the key. Rohit and Dhawan are good for the minnows, for the real important matches you need Kohli and Dhoni

      Like

    • Actually its something I always wonder. Thats an easy sledge if I have to distract Kohli. Wonder why no one has tried it. It wont work on a foreign player where all this is no big deal. On the other hand, Anushka should be more careful about her choice of roles now. She is girl friend of future Indian captain. Thats a big responsibility.

      Like

  158. tonymontana Says:

    something spells funny for me this WC. Something just isnt right.. Match fixing maybe!

    Star Sports’ mauka ads are so confident about India winning that it’s scary to think wat will happen if it at all loses. But maybe not. Imagine how many TRPs star sports will lose if the final doesnt involve India.
    So match fixing!

    Dont be surprised if India reaches the final and we get to see either India winning or a nail-biting finish where it loses.

    The naked truth is ugly and not digestible for most, so people love being in a bubble that everything that happens around them is dreamland-worthy. India is performing well for some strange reason after losing back-to-back matches before the world cup!

    It is a fishy deal. Go figure.

    Like

    • In one sense Aus by not topping the group have already spoilt everyone’s hopes for an Aus-India final.

      Like

    • I abhor conspiracy theories as it is impossible to disprove those.
      Some believe all professional sports are ‘ fixed’. Am sure a small fraction are but this painting with a wide brush is unfair.

      Like

  159. Rajen: this one’s for you!

    Like

  160. Like

  161. I’m a bit surprised to see the reaction to Bangladesh’s stronghold against India in the first 35 overs. They were in the game till that point. Basically they were punching well above their weight and all credit to them and their captain, Mortaza.

    Before this game they had run New Zealand close and scored 288 against their bowling attack, which is one of the best attacks in the tournament, if not the best. They also knocked out England and prior to this match had one bad game against SL.

    The thing is, one can’t compare Bangladesh with India in cricketing terms. They have never played in Australia and hardly get to play against top cricketing sides. That they still knocked out England who have all the data in the world to analyze opponents, a strong tradition of county cricket and a rich, powerful cricket Board is more than enough to silence their critics.

    They were exceptional against the Indians today in the middle overs and India did exceedingly well to score 300 on a wicket where 250 would have been enough. Yes their inexperience cost them but they played with passion and it was great to watch their bowlers bowling good pace. Gone are the days when they used to be the whipping boys of cricket. If they keep their head down and plan for the future, they can follow Sri Lanka’s trajectory and it will be good for cricket in general.

    Robel Hossain, Taskin Ahmed and Soumya Sarkar along with Mahammadullah should be celebrated for their performances in this WC and there should be no shame attached in going neck-to-neck with the minnows of cricket…especially the ones who have (and display) the heart for a fight!

    Like

    • I’d agree with large bits here. I’d just say though that the stronger team also has to ‘fail’ in some way. In other words the lesser team can over-perform and really beat the greater team but it can also do so by surprising the latter and in a situation where the latter under-performs at some level. In other words Bangladesh could have beaten India but that wouldn’t have happened 8 or 9 times out of 10. But I do agree with the overall thrust of your argument with respect to Bangladesh. And as I said earlier though the Indians were cautious for a while this has also been part of their overall discipline at different points. Understandable in that sense. But certainly I’ve enjoyed Bangladesh’s performance over the last few matches and had they been facing anyone but India I would have rooted for them. Yesterday there were surely a couple of early wickets that India gave away a bit too easily.

      Like

      • I was actually impressed by Bangladesh. They are not quite there but looked far better than Zimbabwe.
        played with passion and have genuine talent.

        Like

      • https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/cricket-world-cup-2015/#comment-298441

        THIS is called ‘prediction’ –yeah

        missed the match but checked the score and bits when raina/dhoni got out & i saw jayshahs comments signalling indias ‘defeat’

        cmon guys–thats the difference between living life from books or stats

        didnt u guys see the size of this ground and the fact that the ball does stay low sometimes and its not v even paced

        even 250 plus was a good score on this one

        plus batting second in a KNOCKOUT MATCH is always difficult

        ps1: i missed the match but in the snippets i saw, didnt miss the snick dhoni caught but didnt even appeal for off an opener..
        not done dhoni—u need to live to ur high standards

        ps2:just saw rubels antics on kohli getting out —

        ban these aggressive chaps like rubel from entering the cash cow IPL
        Its good to have aggression in your game but think this ‘bengal ‘tigers’ were carried away a bit…

        ‘bengal tigers’ kicked out !!

        Like

      • Yesterday there were surely a couple of early wickets that India gave away a bit too easily.

        Dhawan gave his wicket away but he was getting frustrated. Kohli was kept quiet and perished for the same reason and also Rahane who played an uncharacteristically scratchy innings.

        Bangladeshi bowlers forced these errors by employing a nagging line and length and by backing it up with solid ground fielding.

        This can also be witnessed from the fact that in this game Indians scored the lowest amount of runs in the middle overs. They did much better against Pakistan and South Africa, for example. And it’s not all down to rebuilding after quick wickets. They were rebuilding after not so perfect starts in those games too!

        tl;dr version: Bangladeshis were working their plan against Indian batsmen to perfection till the 35th over.

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  162. Rajen: this is why Rubel sledged Kohli

    This is from 2012. Fast bowlers have long memories!

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    • Was always wondering why Rubel was so abusive toward Virat after getting him out. I understand it’s a big wicket and a big match but Rubel’s howlarious ‘passion’ was weird. And Kohli didn’t even reply back while I was expecting him to bash Rubel’s head with the bat!!!

      Kohli needs to get out of this BS ‘rebel-with-the-hot-blood-without-BP or diabetes’ frame and behave normally and walk the talk more rather than talk the walk..Some girls might love all this BS but he is already banging Anushka and should kill this young-bum-full of cum persona & get on with creating more records..

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      • This is not a mitigating excuse but there’s a difference between the Delhi “culture” that Kohli’s steeped in and the culture elsewhere (e.g. the South). I should know as I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Delhi!

        Gambhir was the principal of the school in which Kohli’s just a student. Manoj Prabhakar was the royal Dean, for instance!

        Surprisingly, Sehwag was quite polite and a true gentleman even though he played for the same Delhi team.

        It appears that Kohli has toned down his aggression quite a fair bit. I hope the trend continues without him having to lose his edge.

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        • I get Delhi culture since I too have spent many years in Faridabad. I have heard enough of maa-behen gaalis in the most trivial of circumstances like the cycle-rickshawwallah abusing the traffic lights! That’s not the point. You recently saw what Kohli did to the Hindustan Times journalist. You cannot keep carrying your foolish braggadocio on your shoulders to the point where you appear an idiot.

          SRK has been proving his ‘manhood’ for 2 decades with the shitty one-liner, ‘Main Delhi-waala hoon aur do-chaar haath-pair chalana bahut acchi tarah jaanta hoon.’ And also getting kicked out of Wankhede.

          It is just that when one is capable of so much more, there is no need to be bogged down with this unproductive BS and reduce oneself. Rubel too was trying to prove his manhood and was stripped down of his maleness when the Indians took him to the cleaners.

          Learn to walk the talk. Or better, don’t talk, just walk. That’s what Tendlya did. That’s what Dravid did. And you see where they are placed in the cricketing horizon now. Just one 6 by Dravid over Donald’s head and Allan completely went bonkers frothing at the mouth with ALL the bad words that his parents had so earnestly taught him. Shake the opponents that way and you will earn more respect and fear..

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  163. “sanjana Says:
    March 19, 2015 at 7:16 AM
    Feeling bad for bangladesh.”

    dont worry “sanjana”
    u have another team to support in the qf (against australia)…

    “Bangladeshi bowlers forced these errors by employing a nagging line and length and by backing it up with solid ground fielding.”
    what was the outcome of this?
    get the context of all these figures n stats ?
    a loss by a century of runs ??

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    • I let a couple of your comments through and always live to regret it. Had to remove a couple of others. How much junk can one allow at any given point?

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      • I’m completely with you on this!

        The person who wants a bowler banned for sledging then talks about a girl having to ‘pay’ whenever Kohli misfires.

        Irony committed suicide after watching Bang Bang, resurrected itself, and now wishes it hadn’t!

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  164. I agree with rajen. Conspiracy theories are too cynical and I think there is conspiracy behind them too. To discredit winners.

    I always considered Bangladesh as India’s child as India was instrumental in creating Bangladesh. When it comes to Pakistan, my feelings will always be different.

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  165. Riaz ducking all around but for sure frustrating Starc!!! Man this will be interesting if Pak puts on its best bowling performance…

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    • India would I hope sure more restraint in these situations. Pakistan players, so many had starts. If they got to 250 at least they gave themselves a chance.

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  166. Maqsood gone with a reckless shot. Pak’s tendency to not to the whole 9 yards starts creeping in..Not a single batsman so far has shown the intent to stand-in there and anchor..

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  167. DHAKA: The International Cricket Council’s Bangladeshi president has threatened to quit over the umpiring in his country’s World Cup quarter-final defeat to India, suggesting the match appeared to have been fixed.

    Mustafa Kamal told Bangladeshi reporters in Melbourne after Thursday’s match at the MCG that he would raise the issue at the ICC’s next meeting, saying the umpires’ decisions seemed to have been “pre-arranged”.

    http://www.dawn.com/news/1170812/quarter-final-was-pre-arranged-in-indias-favour-icc-president

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  168. I am rooting for Australia. against Pakistan.
    Atleast in Semi finals, we can see India Australia.

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  169. Windies great Ambrose criticices batsmen-favouring ODI rules
    AFP — PUBLISHED a day ago

    WELLINGTON: Legendary West Indies paceman Curtly Ambrose said that one-day cricket’s rules favoured batsmen so much that teams might as well use bowling machines to send down deliveries.

    With the quarter-finals barely begun, there have been 32 centuries at this year’s World Cup, compared to 24 for the entire tournament in 2011.

    Ambrose, who took 225 ODI and 405 Test wickets for the West Indies, said the rules were undermining the contest between bat and ball that was fundamental to cricket’s DNA.

    “It’s too one-sided an the powers-that-be need to look at this seriously and make it a little more even, because at the moment it’s all about batting,” he told reporters in Wellington ahead of Saturday’s New Zealand-West Indies quarter-final.

    “The bowlers, they can’t play cricket. Soon they might have to get in bowling machines.”

    He said, a free hit when there was a no-ball and the batting powerplay meant bowlers could not build pressure to strangle an innings.

    “Everything favours the batsman,” he said.

    “A bowler trains hard to do the best for his team, oversteps the front mark and there’s a free hit, the powerplays and all that stuff — I’m totally not for it.”

    “I believe as a bowler, if you bowl well enough, you can keep it real tight and they can’t score. (But now) all of sudden they’re taking the powerplay and the field moves around so they can score runs.”

    Ambrose, who was part of the most intimidating pace attack in cricket history, also took aim at sledgers, saying verbally taunting opponents had no place in the game.

    The Antiguan, who stands at two metres (six foot seven) and could silence most foes with a menacing glare, said he never found it necessary to sledge.

    “I don’t believe in it, I don’t think that sledging is a part of the cricket,” he said.

    “If you’re a good enough player, you should let the bat or the ball do the talking for you.”

    Ambrose, who is serving as the West Indies bowling coach at this year’s tournament, conceded his side were underdogs against New Zealand but backed their chances of an upset.

    “We’ve got some dangerous players as well, it just depends what happens on the day,” the 51-year-old Windies bowling coach said.

    “If we make a good start, blunt their attack early and play to our potential, I believe we have every chance of beating them.”

    Ambrose said co-hosts New Zealand had to meet home fans’ expectations that they will take their excellent group stage form into the knockout rounds.

    “That extra pressure could take a toll if they are not strong enough mentally,” he said.

    “We’re not under pressure. According to cricket pundits we don’t stand a chance, so we’re going to go out there and enjoy our cricket and play to win.”

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  170. AamirsFan Says:

    blah…our batters never seize to amaze me when it comes to poor shot selections. this is too much pressure for the bowlers to overcome. Aussie/India semi-final will be a great match…India look better…but Aussie will be playing at home which will be an advantage. the 4 best teams should be in the semi-finals without a doubt. I think NZ/Ind or even NZ/Aussie would be a great match up. NZ is my fave to win it.

    As for Pakistan…too many injuries to overcome…too much internal conflicts to overcome and to be honest not talented enough. The bright side is we will be getting Amir and Junaid Khan back. Those two fast bowlers should only strengthen the attack that we already have. Batting is the side that will need an over haul…especially now with Misbah and Afridi retiring. Seems all the batter have “potential” but never live up to it. That is most frustrating. Who will captain us? Hafeez?? Need to fix internal issues and quit being selfish. Lets see.

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    • AamirsFan Says:

      Also, Afrdi, Misbah and Younis Khan were good players…but never able to take themselves to that elite level of stardom. Never able to deliver in the big match. They served their country valiantly but not close to the greats like Imran, Wasim, Javed and Inzi. Afridi is the most frustrating…he became too involved into himself and focused on his “brand”…but I guess we have a lot of that stuff going on today all over the place.

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    • Pakistan can still hope if they bowl well.

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      • AamirsFan Says:

        it will take the greatest Australian choke job for us to win.

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        • If Pakistan batted just normally they would get to 250. That with Australia at 50-2…You have a match. Right now, it will really need some magic…couple more quick wickets.

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          • Right this is getting interesting!

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          • AamirsFan Says:

            well at least they are making it competitive. no need to try to fire the aussies up…very dumb trying to taunt the batters right now. lol…idiots.

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          • jayshah Says: