Cricket World Cup 2015

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Cricket World Cup 2015

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401 Responses to “Cricket World Cup 2015”

  1. I am rooting for WI. After India, I prefer this team.

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  2. NZ playing really well. They may post more than 320 runs.

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  3. And this was too easy a batting track. Nothing to take away from Guptill but the Indies were really demoralized at the end. Their bowling doesn’t really have that sting in terms of variations. They were really at a loss toward the end bowling length deliveries to Guptill enabling brute sixes. Really, everything is now depending on winning the toss, batting first, and demoralizing the opposition into losing..And this makes life expectedly more difficult for the Indians..

    Gayle needs to produce an innings of life for the West Indies to mean something of the word ‘opposition.’

    Check out what Ambrose said BEFORE this match..

    https://satyamshot.wordpress.com/2015/02/15/cricket-world-cup-2015/#comment-298523

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  4. Gayle smashes Vettori’s reputation for 3 consecutive 6s!!!

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    • I’ve turned off, match was over in the first few overs of WI innings!

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      • Since 4s and 6s is what this world cup has been mainly about, let’s just watch Gayle..hopefully he will at least make NZ sweat a little bit..On that note, Gayle is literally just walking like a wounded elephant for a run..it’s just pretty much stand-and-deliver for him…

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  5. Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has endorsed ICC’s Bangladeshi president Mustafa Kamal’s remarks, saying that India won the World Cup quarterfinal against her nation because of umpires, Times Now reported.

    Sheikh Hasina reportedly said that India would not have been able to defeat Bangladesh had there been no umpiring errors.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/icc-world-cup-2015/top-stories/India-won-because-of-umpires-Bangladesh-PM/articleshow/46644872.cms?utm_source=TOInewHP_TILwidget&utm_medium=ABtest&utm_campaign=TOInewHP

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  6. Chappell calls it a 50-50 game (India-Aus):

    http://sports.ndtv.com/icc-cricket-world-cup-2015/news/239450-india-s-recent-dismal-record-vs-australia-won-t-matter-in-the-world-cup-semis-ian-chappell-to-ndtv

    Elsewhere he also said that Aus lack a top class spinner and this might hurt them in Sydney where the pitch is slower. Meanwhile Misbah picked India as the winner here for similar reasons.

    On Chappell’s point about the Tri-series Gavaskar said sometime back that he wouldn’t read too much into India’s performance there because they were constantly experimenting at the time and their focus even then was totally on the WC.

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  7. By the way two examples from today and yesterday give us a good sense of how one has to rely on stats with care. Lara made the point that though the 237 today was fantastic and technically fine and so on the bowling was utterly mediocre most of the time and that he would like to see the same batsman against a S African attack. Jay made the same point here about the bowling.

    Similarly Lara talked about the Wahab Riaz spell once more and how the figures didn’t do justice to his spell and the kind of trouble he had the Australians in. Again Shane Watson scored 60, you look at Riaz’s spell, the numbers don’t look special, some of the runs came later on and of course there were only 2 wickets. If you looked at the numbers you’d think Riaz had an ok day and Shane watson did well. You’d really have to look at all the match commentary and the expert opinions and so on to figure out what had actually happened (again Lara said Fleming was all luck yesterday and that he was hopelessly at sea).

    When we look at old match scores and so on, when we look at stats etc we just don’t know what the conditions were in each case. Unlike many other sports cricket is far less reducible to the stats. The sky gets overcast on a sunny day all of a sudden, the ball suddenly starts doing things, the batsmen who play at that point get affected, for the others it’s been a normal day. It’s very hard to get all the variations that occur in cricket in the stats. The numbers are of course important and I’m hardly saying they should be ignored but the real time sense of a game is very hard to recreate later. When Sachin used to face Donald or Ambrose you can certainly look at their statements where they say they’ve never bowled to anyone better than him but the numbers often don’t tell the whole story. Imagine Donald at his peak, bowling in a test and a batsman making a century. There’s a universe of difference between that sort of thing and the Gupthill inning. Not that people are necessarily comparing these things but in the din of more and more runs and the constant obsession with this stuff the finer distinctions get lost. One measure of Sachin’s greatness is his total run production or centuries or a quarter century in the game and so on. We all talk about it. On the other hand there’s this other metric where he faces some of the best bowlers of his age and gets into long, difficult battles with them, sometimes he gets the better of them, sometimes he doesn’t but everyone (the bowlers, the experts) then testify that it takes a batsman of extraordinary caliber to play that sort of inning. And vice versa (if we’re talking about some of those bowlers). But anyway you slice and dice it you don’t even get close to the whole story in the stats. Again it’s still easier for Sachin because his numbers are so overwhelming no one is likely to look at them and not think he’s one of the absolute greatest. But at the next few levels the same questions become harder. This is why for instance a Kallis is never put in cricket’s highest all-time echelons irrespective of the numbers. Because there is still a body of opinion that believes in those abilities that cannot just be translated into numbers and even with relatively impressive numbers people (experts, cricketing peers) are not likely to forget those skills/abilities. People didn’t wait for Sachin or Lara to have long careers before they started saying those things. They were saying them very early and irrespective of how well anyone else did no one ever though they were in the category of these two.

    And so when Lara says what he does about Gupthill this is because those other facets of the game matter. Scoring 237 does not close off all discussion. Even in this debased age of ODI run production. Just as Wahab Riaz is getting so much attention for this spell when bowlers with far better figures even in this tournament haven’t got the same. Lara once more.. praised Gupthill for not playing ramp shots or reverse sweeps and the like but technically correct stuff throughout. There is a value placed on all of this. This very 237 would be valued much less if the opposite were the case (even leaving aside the dropped catch).

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    • Usain Bolt: It’s Just Not Normal

      Extreme outliers aren’t that unusual in sports. The greatest outlier may well be Australian cricketer Donald Bradman, whose career batting average of 99.94 puts him so far ahead of any other cricketer that it defies comprehension.

      This is not the first source that describes Bradman being an outlier. And this is from Freakonomics.com

      The Australian Test Impact Report

      1) Don Bradman
      Unreachable, untouchable. It is a matter of record that no sportsman in human history has been so far ahead of his peers than the Don. In any sport around the world. He scored more runs, built more partnerships, was the most consistent batsman and won more matches and series than any player in history, in proportion to the matches he played. That famous 99.94 average is not a freak number.

      2) Greg Chappell
      The highest impact Test batsman alive (from any country). The most series-defining performances (SDs) among Australian batsman after Bradman (Steve Waugh has 4 too, but in almost double the Tests). And outstanding on every other parameter too. His batting average of 54, especially given the times he played in, is reasonably representative of what he did, but his impact position perhaps more accurate. He was the highest impact batsman in the world in the 1970s and that played a big role in Australia being the best team in the world between 1972 to 1976, besides his brother Ian’s dynamic captaincy.

      Stats reveal more than what they are given credit for. Greg Chappel performed much better than Sunil Gavaskar against the WI quicks and the latter never truly succeeded against the ‘fearsome foursome’ of Marshall, Garner, Holding and Roberts. Impact index puts the right perspective on Sachin’s position as well. In fact, it’s just wrong to look at just the average or the number of hundreds without looking at the context. Scoring a hundred against Bangladesh (when they were just not ready for test cricket for instance) to add to the numbers is hardly a worthy achievement.

      Guptill’s century is a product of its times. It should also be seen in that context. By no means is this double hundred going to be rated better than a 90+ score in a low scoring game.

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    • This is why for instance a Kallis is never put in cricket’s highest all-time echelons irrespective of the numbers.

      I actually don’t believe all the so-called “experts” and their views. Certainly not as gospel. They have a view but are they looking at the complete picture? It’s not humany possible to look at all aspects of the game. That’s why you need models and I think Impact Index is doing the right thing here by looking at different facets of the game to come to a conclusion.

      This is from their website

      For a batsman, Impact value constitutes a) Runs Tally b) Strike Rate c) Pressure d) Chasing and staying not out in the second innings. e) Partnership-Building.

      How many experts take into account all these facets of a batsman’s innings? Only one inning? That they talk about entire careers without blinking an eye leads me to just roll my eyes!

      There’s actually a good piece on Kallis that I posted earlier. It compares all rounders of all eras and while Kallis comes up short against Sobers quite easily (Sobers is called superhuman just like Bradman) he is called a giant of the game! Any expert who doesn’t say the same about Kallis is not worth listening to.

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    • This is what I had posted about Kallis earlier:

      Saket Says:
      March 14, 2015 at 5:02 PM

      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.

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      • kool it m8–everyone knows and agrees kallis was gr8–dont hyperventilate

        BTW LOVED the wahab riaz—shane watson duel

        missed the match–just watched bits

        Wahab riaz’s spell gave me so much pleasure

        LOVED THE FURY AND THE PACE AND THE INTIMIDATION

        btw shane watson is also under rated –loved how he ‘survived’and did his job
        ive always found shane watson v effective both as a bowler and batsman… (hes not exactly kallis–but i think hes not exactly got his due nd opportunities just because of the quality and ioptions for the team he plays for!)

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        • “kool it m8–everyone knows and agrees kallis was gr8–don’t hyperventilate”

          Saket forgot to put up the ‘this is for mature people only’ caveat before his response… he should have shown some consideration for you..

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      • On the Mysterious Impact Index

        Nothing should be taken as the gospel truth, true, but the same applies to stats. One might agree with all of this but stats still provide a certain illusion of neutrality and absoluteness which is misleading. Not just in cricket. But this is also about one’s worldview. From politics to sports to cinema there are increasingly complex and complicated statistical methods that aim to reduce all of these fields (and actually all of human life) to something measurable and calculable. But in each one of these fields there is a great deal that ‘escapes’ such quantification. There are always assumptions behind how a stat is established. Increasing the level of complexity in such quantification one spreads the illusion that more and more is being accounted for. Upto a point that might even be true. This doesn’t mean that such complex analysis is really the best or most neutral. In cricket I’d say that the very notion of an ‘impact’ index or the very notion of a player being judged based on this sort of impact, irrespective of how well it’s calculated using all sorts of metrics, is nonetheless a completely contemporary ‘American’ phenomenon. The very statistical methods that seem neutral and obvious to us are already the result of a certain kind of thinking. In this case the ‘Americanization’ of sports. This entire ‘impact’ discussion would have made no sense 15 years ago. Now it’s true that methods of evaluation keep changing. A sport keeps evolving (though not always for the better.. it can be the opposite too) but one must then account for the same distinctions when one looks at different ages. Now one might argue that the impact index is doing exactly this for every age. But that’s not my argument. It is that the very notion of an impact index was foreign to previous ages whether the index now does justice to them or not.

        A simple analogy. One could look at Amitabh Bachchan’s peak box office and find it miraculous which it of course was. One could say that even more impressive than his hits is the fact that hardly any of his films lost money for a 15-20 year period. One could call him the highest ‘impact’ star and so on looking at all the available evidence (the competition he came up against, the gap between him and everyone else.. etc etc). All of this would be fine. But then other problems emerge. Firstly all of this would still not be the answer to ‘why is Amitabh Bachchan the greatest star-actor?’. The answer to that wouldn’t lie in these complicated analyses. Or it wouldn’t be whole story. Similarly in cricket what table could account for ‘why’ all the experts felt that Viv Richards was such an extraordinary batsman? It would again go beyond all the statistical analyses that he might figure highly in. Now in fairness some of this can also be done. Not so long ago I reproduced that link from last year where Messi’s numbers were examined in detail, they even looked at how and from where he scored his goals, then they compared him to Maradona in Pele in equal detail. These are probably the most through analyses I’ve at least come across in sports (there might be others.. I don’t know). The interesting thing in the comparison is that it was inconclusive at certain levels. Why? because Pele’s contexts for example couldn’t completely be translated into Messi’s and vice versa. There were issues of data and how the game was played then and the competition and so on.

        Why do I get into all of this? Because for the longest time in cricket history, in fact until recently the greatest talents were judged so based on their abilities. The stats were then supposed to follow. In other words you were supposed to translate those abilities into a consistent record and do a lot. But you didn’t have to set up an Everest for this. You just had to have dominant but not necessarily extraordinary stats. In earlier ages it was often not even this. A fine inning played by an batsman on a few occasions would establish his reputation and keep it preserved the way no statistical table could. Irrespective of whatever Chappell or Gavaskar or whoever else did just about everyone felt that Viv Richards was the greatest of his age and probably one of the greatest ever. One doesn’t have to agree with all this. But that was the ‘meaning’ of a great in that age. Now today if you have an impact index that argues otherwise in some or more of these cases that’s fine but that’s not a series of results or judgments that would have made sense in that age. No one cared how much more Gavaskar scored than Richards or whatever. Once more it’s not about who’s more right or wrong. It’s about the meaning of an age that cannot be carried into another.

        Back to the Bachchan example. You could do this analysis and say that Bachchan was easily the greatest star in Bombay film history. and this is true. Yet for the longest time in the same industry’s history Dilip Kumar was Bachchanesque. For generations of stars and actors (not only in Bombay) and general moviegoers he was the ultimate horizon. Of course he was never Bachchan-like in a box office sense but in his age that was not the yardstick. He was a very successful star of course but he was playing by very different box office standards. Once again there’s a problem of translation. I’d easily say Bachchan is the greatest ever. But I have to be mindful of some of these other factors.

        If you operate in a cricket age where a ‘chanceless’ inning is considered more valuable than anything else, where winning a game at the cost of playing less technically correct shots or whatever is valued less than the former the impact index goes out the window. Lara’s praising someone for not playing reverse sweeps and ramp shots and so on (the 237 today) and for playing technically correct stuff and so on. There is an archive of cricket that values all of this which is why he’s still talking about it. But you could be a high impact player and get the very same runs without doing any of this. But cricket for most of its history decided that runs made a certain way would be valued less than runs made another way even if one led to success and another didn’t. These examples could be multiplied. So the impact index can be argued with on internal grounds but my point is an even larger one. It can be argued with on more ‘metaphysical’ grounds as well. Much as a 100 crore or 200 crore film is standard relevant only to this age. Jubilees were so in any earlier one. You can construct an index where you place different stars, create a similar impact index.. but what of the ‘meaning’ of every age. The meaning of Deewar is more than its gross, that of Mard is less than its gross. And this matters because cinema isn’t just about the gross. Nor is cricket only about the production of runs or the taking or wickets and the manner in which one does each relative to the final outcome. To truly appreciate Messi one has to watch him play. Yes his stats are mind-boggling but his greatness is also premised on his abilities, not just on the stats. Sachin was always considered a genius from a very young age. When he started playing more and more people started agreeing with this. The question then was whether he would live up to his billing. But they weren’t expecting him to play for a quarter of a century to prove that!

        To repeat the point once more I am not against the impact index. I am simply arguing that this or any bit of statistical analysis doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. And even if it does it makes ‘sense’ only within the age in which that way of looking at things comes about. 20 years from now they might look at cricket very differently and come up with a very different set of characteristics. And it’s not just about cricket. Stats in any area of human life carry certain assumptions. These are less about not accounting for everything but about the conceit that human endeavors in various fields can be ‘reduced’ to a number or some such thing. Again it’s a question of worldview.

        Finally on the experts one can’t just be dismissive if everyone has the same opinion. If everyone thinks Riaz Wahab produced a great spell including the team that faced him and if the numbers then seem relatively ordinary by comparison it’s fair to say the truth lies on the side of the experts and not the pure stat.

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        • The Impact Index website was bought by Wisden, of all people. So they are certainly on to something as the premier cricket magazine (with history attached to it) thought it worthy enough to acquire their expertise.

          No method is perfect and I was actually the first one to point out the limits of such a system ( here). But it’s also true that experts as a whole or any human can not account for analysis beyond the very basic. E.g. the average, runs scored/wickets taken etc. That is why a certain ‘model’ becomes essential. Now I’m not saying that one shouldn’t question the model itself or improve it, but just talking in abstract terms or the most basic of stats doesn’t really tell us much. The arguments then tend to have a ‘bias’ or get driven by hidden narratives that may or may not be correct. My point is that theories should always be backed up by some facts.

          This entire ‘impact’ discussion would have made no sense 15 years ago.

          This is not true. There might not have been any index to adjust the Box Office Receipts in terms of inflation earlier. No one would have discussed it because the tools were not available. But since they do exist now, one can see that the biggest BO draw wasn’t Avatar but Gone With The Wind.

          Firstly all of this would still not be the answer to ‘why is Amitabh Bachchan the greatest star-actor?’.

          It would beyond a doubt prove his credentials as the biggest ever star, even if the acting part is not quantifiable. At least not easily. But any analysis along similar lines would certainly prove that the difference between Amitabh Bachchan and the others is as significant as Bradman’s superiority over everyone!

          Irrespective of whatever Chappell or Gavaskar or whoever else did just about everyone felt that Viv Richards was the greatest of his age and probably one of the greatest ever.

          He wasn’t the greatest in Tests. He was without a doubt the best in ODIs and continues to be so. Impact Index have put him on top in the ODIs and he continues to rule the charts.

          Lara’s praising someone for not playing reverse sweeps and ramp shots and so on (the 237 today) and for playing technically correct stuff and so on.

          I wonder how some expert would have judged Ranjit Singh’s ‘leg glance’ after he invented it for the first time? I mean surely the purists would have been deeply offended! And as far as purists are concerned, they shouldn’t even watch ODIs, much less comment on them!

          Finally on the experts one can’t just be dismissive if everyone has the same opinion. If everyone thinks Riaz Wahab produced a great spell including the team that faced him and if the numbers then seem relatively ordinary by comparison it’s fair to say the truth lies on the side of the experts and not the pure stat.

          This is actually a good example and I wanted to comment on this as earlier and now’s as good a chance as any.

          Wahab Riaz bowled quick and at Watson’s body. He created all sorts of problems for him. But what the experts forget that he didn’t create any and I repeat, any problems for Steve Smith who was batting at the other end. Smith was playing Riaz with nonchalant ease and Watson’s technique (or lack of, against short-pitched fast bowling) was the real issue here.

          In fact, I’ll go one step further. In the game between SA & Pak, the same Wahab Riaz, who was again impressive was hit for 2 sixes by ABD with such ease (I need to pull out youtube videos to prove my point) when all other batsmen were struggling against him.

          What does this prove? Riaz’s spell to Watson was certainly a good one, but it’s being hyped like crazy. In the same game, Steve Smith played him with no trouble at all and against a great batsman (ABD) Riaz was actually dismissed with contempt! But that’s certainly not part of any ‘narrative’ because perhaps it doesn’t make good copy.

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          • the fact that it is Wisden doesn’t necessarily prove very much since they also adapt to changing times. But again that link I’ve referred illustrates what the issues are.

            On Smith I’m surprised you missed the commentary on this. When Shane Watson came in and because of the sledging that had occurred Riaz became extra-agressive. lara said it was almost like two different bowlers were bowling to Smith and Watson. He was still good either way but let’s say Smith was not not having trouble with the same deliveries! It’s like Shoaib used to produce his very best efforts when he was facing Sachin. Ever since he got smacked around by Sachin at that WC game he always tried harder. On that note most significant bowlers of the age felt it was extra-special to get Sachin and often approached him in a very different way. Donald for example. But even leaving this aside there are lots of special bowlers who in lots of special spells don’t create the same problems for every single batsman.

            On Richards not being the greatest in tests and only in ODIs that very comment is a product of this age. In those days there was no such distinction. ODIs were not taken as seriously. And Richards despite all his exploits here was nonetheless considered among the very greatest without qualification. Bradman down! In fact if anything no player could be judged great at the time if he were also not judged great in tests. This distinction was meaningless but if anything and irrespective of whatever anyone did ODIs were just not taken seriously. Of course I’d argue that even today for a batsman to be considered truly important he would have to be considered so in the test format as well. perhaps these standards will change eventually. The way cricket is going who knows?!

            Does ‘inflation’ tell the entire story though when it comes to box office receipts? Yes it’s a useful tool and it certainly beats taking absolute grosses. however the assumption here is that the contexts of every age are translatable into one another as long as one accounts for the actual gross this way. This gets me back to my point. There is always an assumption hidden somewhere. This is different from any such system being flawed or incomplete. that’s a different debate. In the link I provided you the writer is arguing with the impact index’s internal problems. I have those issues but I also have those of framing.

            On Amitabh Bachchan doesn’t Bradman provide the perfect analogy? Despite Bradman being considered the greatest very soon he was still frowned upon by purists for certain reasons? This might sound absurd. But it’s not about whether one agrees with that standard or not. It’s about what constituted the highest kind of accomplishment in that game when people like Bradman were being chided for certain things. To answer your question of ‘biggest’ there are two possible responses — a)the meaning of what constitutes the ‘biggest’ changes in every age b) ‘x’ is the biggest but so what? He still isn’t the finest cricketer. The latter kind of response was a common one for the longest time. The point you’re not getting is that you can argue over grosses or runs or whatever as long as everyone agrees on what the criteria are. But what if the very criteria used differ from age to age? Dilip Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan and so on operate in very different worlds. This doesn’t mean as the SRK fans (and sometimes Dilip Kumar fans who are actually SRK fans in disguise!) say that SRK is the best one can do today (actually Aamir and Salman is different ways disprove that but that’s another debate) in box office terms and that Bachchan was in a different age. Clearly some translation is possible but it should come with all sorts of caveats. With Bradman or Bachchan or Sachin (even if you don’t concede the last) the overall achievement is such a mountain that no one else is likely to approach it as a totality. But with most others questions arise. In other words even accounting for different standards it’s unlikely that Bradman could be ‘second’ in any age. This however still does not get to the heart of how and why the criteria of each age change.

            It is no different from anything else in life. In ‘New India’ the entire language of accomplishment and what constitutes success and the attitudes that lead to the same etc are all understood dramatically different than say 40 years ago. When you go from the ethical universe of a Bachchan film to that of a SRK film it’s like doing serious time travel! The same holds for everything. In sports too.

            Now on Riaz’s spell I might also have an opinion of why it has become the most storied one of this WC. I mentioned some of this to Jay yesterday in some context. But the problem again arises: you cannot account for its hype without also examining the similar hype of everything else that has gone before! In other words one has to decide how much of the hype surrounding any other cricketing moment is completely deserved and how much of it exaggerates things (perhaps for understandable reasons but hyperbole all the same). We can’t just single out one person. Incidentally just because it’s the same bowler doesn’t mean that all bowling spells are created equal. This might be because of the ground, the bowler, other conditions or whatever.

            Now of course things get normalized over time. The ODI format is now considered more legitimate than it was say in 1985. 20-20 might one day be considered as legitimate too. But does the popularity of a format really cancel out the original terms of the debate? Does the ODI format involve the same sort of skill set that the test format does? Is it enough to say they’re different? It requires a certain skill set to write like R K narayan and a different skill set to write like Chetan Bhagat. Does this mean the two are comparable because they’re both acts of writing? Sachin might be among the greatest in both formats of the game but does this mean his ‘greatest’ in the two are really comparable? Bachchan is fantastic in Kaala Pathar and in Kaalia. But do we think the two are comparable performances? What meaning would there be to anything in the world if by just relying on ‘different’ if we equated everything?

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  8. Comment(s) of the day goes to —-

    ” Kabhi toh Kohli Keleyga and Kholega !”

    hahaha

    btw true “performance’ comes out when theres a ‘price to pay’ for every misfiring

    there was also a good post above on SPINNERS

    If one were to encapsulate playing spinners —

    it is changing the EFFECTIVE LENGTH of the delivery

    either by changing the stance or position in the crease
    or SHUFFLING

    OR by footwork

    a spin bowler that consistently has guile and variation to nullify or obliterate this counteracting movements by the batsmen is good

    these are all worthy ‘technical’points

    but the KEY is that in the internaitonal cictuit nowadays with the amount of analytical software available

    spinners and batsmen get “SORTED’ quickly in a series or two

    aka they get FIGURED OUT

    for eg AJANTA MENDIS -when he came on the scene he seemed UNPLAYABLE even for the subcontinental teams
    where is he?

    not those who are one or two trick ponies and survive on patrinage (‘moderation’) or bias or favouritism….

    so who survives? those who can work on their deficiencies and EVOLVE and avoid getting ‘FIGURED OUT”

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  9. tonymontana Says:

    Latest WC joke:

    If Martin Guptill was Indian his parents would be like:

    “237 acha hai lekin woh Sharma ji ke bete ne 264 maare hain”

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  10. AB de Villiers, 77 vs Pakistan

    The first 2 sixes are against Wahab Riaz; there are a couple of fours too.

    South Africa lost this game but ABD batted in this game like he belonged to a different planet! The gulf between him and the others was in full view here.

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    • And in this game, when ABD hit Riaz, his figures were 2 wickets for 5 runs! He was bowling even better than the game against Australia.

      In fact, as far as I’m concerned, those 2 sixes are the shots of the tournament. Only someone truly special could play those shots and with such ease!

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    • Sachin mauled Shoaib. Doesn’t mean the latter wasn’t a significant bowler. Yes Shoaib got the better of Sachin too a lot of times. But that can be judged only when there’s a history. Maybe Shane Watson will play Riaz well a lot of times. So what? Since when does the criterion of being a good bowler is that one should never be played with comfort by anyone? And Riaz is hardly Ambrose anyway!

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      • Shane Watson is past his prime. And I do agree that Riaz is not Ambrose, but you are missing my point.

        People are overhyping Riaz’s spell to Watson. Against great batsmen (and in NZ, the ball was swinging as well) he’s going to be tested differently. People are going ga ga over a spell while missing certain essentials!

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        • The reason why there was hype is it rarely happens nowadays. Gone are they days where we worshipped these battles…now we rejoice when it’s Riaz vs Watson!

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          • Yes, I agree. And Kevin Pietersen is forgetting his own mauling against Mitchell Johnson, albeit in the Ashes. Now that was sustained hostility and great Test bowling. Not just from Johnson but Ryan Harris and Siddle as well.

            In fact, it was so good to watch, I used to set alarms to watch the latest Ashes down under.

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        • yes but mysteriously you never wonder about how batsmen are being overhyped on pitches that are graveyards for bowlers! Even if the inning in question might be very good on its it often comes against poor opposition and/or poor pitches if not both. One can’t be selective about these things. I too think there’s some hyperbole here with Riaz. But I think there’s a lot of hyperbole in many other aspects of the game too. When Ambrose says there’s not much left for a bowler to do on ODIs today and that they might as well use bowling machines (check out the link An Jo posted earlier) one must wonder how many batting innings are truly valuable in these conditions!

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          • Even if the inning in question might be very good on its it often comes against poor opposition and/or poor pitches if not both.One can’t be selective about these things

            I’m not being selective. I’ve actually provided proof that only 2 scores of 300 have been scored against the top 4 sides in the tournament, out of which one of the teams (India) scored one of those scores against another (South Africa).

            So 2 scores of 300 have been scored against the top 4 teams in 25 innings. And 18 scores of 300+ have been scored against the rest of the teams. Don’t you think there’s a huge disparity there? Doesn’t that prove that there are certain bowling attacks that are really poor compared to the top 4?

            Even if Ambrose is right that bowlers are being marginalized, isn’t it true that some teams have figured out how to combat the current unfairness?

            Personally, I have so far mentioned 3 names (4, if you count Kane Williamson): AB De Villiers, Glenn Maxwell and Virat Kohli. Please do tell me why I am wrong in mentioning these names as ‘special’?

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          • But you’re point hardly contradicts what Ambrose is saying. Even is some teams figure out better how to work the current system whether at the bowling or the batting end, or more to the point if some bowlers nonetheless perform vastly better than others it doesn’t exactly disprove that point. That’s like saying Wahab Riaz troubled the best team in the world so there isn’t any problem! No matter what the format, no matter how lopsided the conditions (Ambrose is one among many many people saying as much), someone will still do better than someone else.

            Also why are you forgetting how many centuries there have already been in this WC compared to the last? How many centuries or doubles or 300 scores or whatever from year to year. You’re just arbitrarily picking one number. But in this very world cup UAE made almost 200 against SA and Bangladesh made 288 against NZ and Zimbabwe made 287 against India. even against minnows you don’t make 400 or whatever without there being some serious changes to the rules, playing conditions and so on. These days even against good teams you can get to 350 or more.

            One can argue about lots of things but how can you not recognize something as obvious as this? They have done everything possible to increase run production in ODIs. Does that mean everyone is as good as Virat Kohli? No! But it also means that Virat Kohli playing very well in these conditions doesn’t necessarily say very much about how he might have fared in the 90s facing Wasim or Ambrose or Donald or McGrath in minimally helpful conditions (for the bowler). He might have fared well, he might not have. But we won’t know if things continue this way. Would those bowlers have fared better in these very same conditions. Sure! If Starc can get it done I’m sure those guys also could. But that still doesn’t contradict the essential point. Even in the most crass Bollywood films certain stars do better than others!

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  11. lara said it was almost like two different bowlers were bowling to Smith and Watson.

    Then I’m afraid to say this but Lara is wrong! Riaz even threw the ball back to Smith in frustration at one point and was warned about it by Dharmasena.

    What meaning would there be to anything in the world if by just relying on ‘different’ if we equated everything?

    But who is equating Guptill to Bradman here? Or even Sachin? Filtered through the standards of this age, this inning would be talked about and perhaps Guptill will be mentioned as a ‘good’ cricketer but who would associate him with greatness? Even in NZ cricket there’s a much higher currency attached to Kane Williamson, who’s talked about differently than everyone else. And for good reason! He’s been brilliant across formats.

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  12. tonymontana Says:

    Agree with most here. Guptill’s innings were actually a vulgar display of how 200 is such a gettable total on these boring, flat pitches with mediocre bowlers. the point isn’t that Sachin in his prime would get to such landmarks easily (A Sehwag in this would cup mightve scored 250+ on such occasions) but it’s really difficult to distinguish tf great batsmen from the average/good. Devillers would come to mind. he’s probaly a cut above the rest, he’s invented the reverse swing on pace bowling and stuff but Im willing to see how well he bats under situations where there’s movement of the ball on bouncy pitches.

    You’ve got to give it to the greats. Sachin, Lara, Viv, DeSilva, Ponting and Andy Flower come to mind. Give them a difficult pitch to score and they will when needed

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    • “but it’s really difficult to distinguish tf great batsmen from the average/good.”

      yes that’s the heart of the matter. Because you don’t have the playing conditions that would make one century so much more valuable than another. Yes some are celebrated more than others but increasingly it’s about these kinds of super-knocks where everything in sight is mowed down! Obviously this requires talent too. for that matter even a 20-20 requires talent. No everyone can start hitting the same way. But the question again is: what are we judging here? Even today the finer inning, the finer spell and so on is accepted as such but increasingly and for lots of commercial reasons as well the way the game is judged, certainly in these limited over formats, is following a certain logic. And then you have the criteria established that then legitimize the same. I’m not at all against the impact index. It’s interesting and it’s certainly legitimate. It ought to be part of the mix. But it can’t become some absolute standard equally applicable for every age. For internal and external reasons. But the other problem I have with over-reliance on the statistical (and this is an objection I’d bring up in any context, sports or otherwise) is that you can pretty much make any case you want to! I’m exaggerating a bit but the point is that you have such a complex system created that you can really find evidence for something and then its exact opposite. SRK’s numbers were never extraordinary in any sense. I’ve always made this box office argument. He never had the Aamir kind of run nor even the current Salman kind of thing where everything achieved a minimal gross. He was always tied to a certain genre which is fine but those films didn’t come often enough. Lots of failures or indifferent results in between. Not an issue as long as one doesn’t insist he’s a superstar. But even on my terms does the box office argument tell the whole story? No! Because he was nonetheless the principal star of ‘New India’ (this wasn’t all of India by any means but ‘Bollywood’ represented a shrinking of the pie in SRK’s peak years and he was dominant) or more precisely his iconic appeal was greater than the sum of his box office numbers. If you did a ‘high impact’ index of Indian movie stars down the ages SRK might not be very high up but this wouldn’t have been the entire story.

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    • You’ve got to give it to the greats. Sachin, Lara, Viv, DeSilva, Ponting and Andy Flower come to mind. Give them a difficult pitch to score and they will when needed

      While I agree with the gist of your comment, I would like to add that before these gents, there were greats like Greg Chappell, Sunny Gavaskar and Richards who played on worse pitches and against possibly the best bowling ever seen in cricket history. The reason I don’t put Richards above Chappell and Gavaskar in Tests is because he never had to face his own team’s bowling, which was by far the best. Greg Chappell didn’t have to face Lillee and Thomson either, but his record against the fearsome WI bowling attack is so much better than the rest, it can be argued he would have countered them as well.

      Then there was Sobers and other greats who used to bat when pitches were truly terrible! It’s just that it’s rather incomprehensible for us to go back in time with relative ease.

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      • yes but again no one placed Chappell over Richards in that age (or since) because he did not face his own side’s bowling! a very fine batsman but no one has ever placed him over Richards.

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        • Well, the guys at Impact Index have. You may discard their views, it’s your prerogative, but if you look at the stats carefully, there’s a clear case to be made.

          And I’ll actually state something even more scandalous: Chappell was much easier on the eyes compared to Richards!

          So on both counts, tough runs and aesthetic appeal, Chappell wins out over Richards. But I’m sure you will not agree and that’s fine as well.

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          • yes but that impact index came around yesterday. Secondly that impact index comes up with all kinds of strange conclusions and that link I’ve posted points out a few examples. The problem is that if everything you’re saying is correct or if that impact index is correct the experts and the cricketers have been wrong for decades! Or if you are right about what’s happening in today’s one day game everyone from Ambrose to Lara and dozens of others must be wrong.

            Didn’t know we were discussing aesthetic appeal! But that’s subjective anyway. Of course even here the leonine presence and effortless play of Richards was raved about once.

            I guess we’re going in circles once again. But for the record I haven’t rejected the impact index. I just can’t understand your fundamentalism about it.

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  13. not talking about wahab riaz only

    but let me talk of Pak cricket a bit–points that people have missed totally !!

    pak is a team thats
    reduced to being a perennial tourists
    can never play at home for fear of being blown away

    BANNED from IPL
    From which everyone else has benefitted
    intersm of moolah
    girls
    and valuable experience

    half the first rung team got BANNED
    DUE TO MATCH FIXING
    BANNED DUE TO SPOT FIXING (inclduing an ex-captain!) –salman butt who recently admitted to match fixinf not due to change of heart but to shorten hi sentence and so he could play county cricket)

    some BANNED due to SUSPECT ACTIONS

    Some withheld due to CHUCKING

    Potent weapons like AJMAL ‘WITH-HELD’

    some like mohd irfan injured

    and INSPITE of that–the PACE ATTACK still has THREE 145 PLUS BOWLERS !!!

    about wahab riaz –shane watson —what was special in it was not the technique or quality

    but the HEART shown from both

    saket–u wont get it///relax
    u can go back to yout ‘impact index’ and CALCULATING the runs per over and wickets per dog ball et all 🙂

    ps: figures and stats follow ‘performancce’
    not the other way round..

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  14. Talking about Wahab riaz’s spell–
    LOVED it

    And LOVED Shane watsons innings even more

    Girlie–This is not about STATS

    Hats off to the PAK Pacer

    Btw what does the goddam indian team have?? Let’s not over rate them –dhoni is MANAGING them somehow and hope their good show continues but I feel their shortcomings may get ‘exposed’ against quality attacks

    Bhuvaneshwar kumar –is that kid a pacer –he needs assisted growth first

    A nation of millions can’t produce ONE FEARSOME PURE FAST BOWLER /PACER ???

    Anyhow hope their motley crew of bits n bobs ‘pacers’ stick to line and length and their ‘discipline’ pays dividends

    Dhoni is giving them audible tips from behind the wicket
    And attacking fields
    So all the best

    —–

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  15. One can argue about lots of things but how can you not recognize something as obvious as this? They have done everything possible to increase run production in ODIs.

    I do agree with this. Yes, rules have been tweaked to favor batsmen. There’s no denying that. But here’s the thing: ODIs and cricket in general have to bow to commercial interests. There is also a difference between Test matches and ODI cricket in a very fundamental sense.

    In Test matches, the rationing device is wickets because that’s how you win games. In ODIs, the rationing device is runs scored, because that’s what decides who wins. So the two formats actually operate under different paradigms.

    Given this fundamental difference, which parameter do you think will be incentivized in ODIs? People often talk about bringing the ‘balance’ back between bat and ball in ODI contests. What is this balance? Was the game more balanced when average scores were 200? I’d argue that when the scores are close to 200 on a pitch, the ODI game resembles more of test cricket, as there’s no real ‘pressure’ of overs getting spent. Things can move at a leisurely pace for a while.

    If we get to average scores of 400, that’s definitely closer to the T-20 model (where again runs become the rationing device), but if that’s what the people want, then this is the direction the game would follow. The game is a commercial vehicle after all.

    Now given that these shifts in average scores (or rules that cause this shift) are beyond the control of players who play the game, the question is how does one define greatness in this era? You say it’s difficult to separate the average players from the truly great ones because it’s easier to score runs, and while it’s true, there will still be parameters that differentiate the two class of players.

    There is a consistency factor (or failure rate), there’s the batsman’s strike rate compared to the average Strike Rate in his era, total runs scored, centuries scored compared to the average, longevity and so on. One would have to look closely at different parameters, not just one!

    So it’s definitely more complex now, but it’s not impossible. Nobody is calling Rohit Sharma a better batsman than Kohli for instance (he’s not consistent enough, among other factors). No one’s going to call Guptill the best batsman in NZ after his 200! There’s a reason behind this.

    Whether we like it or not, the game is going to change but as far as I can tell we both agree that there’s a need to be consistent as far as measuring greatness is concerned. This is where models can really help. And that’s my view on this. But it could be just that numbers have always made sense to me whereas others won’t be as comfortable or might even mistrust a data-driven analysis. I think there’s real insight to be gained through data analytics. For one, it just cuts out the human bias from the equation if one’s models (and intentions) are correct.

    And I’ll end this essay on this note: if there was no data, we could never measure anything! The whole field of Economics would come to a standstill.

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    • the other problem with that index is that every other conclusion it draws is ‘strange’ for one reason or another. If there is so much oddness going around one should start questioning the index. It calls Rahul Dravid India’s greatest cricketer ever, it calls Inzamamam Asia’s greatest impact batsman ever. If all of this is true one must wonder if the experts are absolute nuts not to know any of this and nominate others! There is an encyclopedia of examples that could be offered along these lines. It’s like if someone’s going to say Pele, Maradona, Messi are not the greatest in football because some other players had more impact I’d say gimme a break! Wisden have just invented a nice trivia game where all kinds of ‘scandalous’ conclusions follow. I’m all for revisionism but the exercise gets absurd beyond a point. When you start saying Carl Hooper is the higher impact WI cricketer after Richards it’s hard to take them too seriously. Still I don’t mind using it as part of a mix. Just not as the gospel truth.

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      • If every person calls Sachin the greatest of his age, possibly the greatest after Bradman, what’s more likely? that they’re all wrong (including Bradman) but this impact index is right? That somehow they’ve all not noticed Rahul Dravid? Or Inzamam? There isn’t a person alive (or dead!) who’d call Inzamam the greatest Asian batsman in any sense whatsoever. Imran nominated Inzaman as best player of pace over Sachin and Lara yet mysteriously Ambrose or Donald or Wasim or Waqar never agreed with this! Yet the wisden high impact entry on this says Imran might have had a point. One could multiply these examples. It becomes truly silly beyond a point.

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        • If every person calls Sachin the greatest of his age, possibly the greatest after Bradman, what’s more likely? that they’re all wrong (including Bradman) but this impact index is right?

          Well, even Freakonomics.com, yes the famed book read over the world, does not agree with the experts on placing Sachin behind Bradman. Statistically speaking of course. In terms of a normal distribution, Bradman’s 99.94 average compared to the rest, is way ahead of Sachin’s 100 centuries compared to the next best, Ponting’s 71!

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        • Also, they have not called Rahul Dravid the greatest cricketer from India. They call him the greatest Test cricketer. They have also mentioned in their piece that Sachin is the best batsman of his age (overall). The’ve also pointed out that his longevity trumps all. That he played for close to 25 years and competed at the highest level is an unparalleled feat.

          The Inzimam piece baffled me as well. But to be honest, I’ve never shown any great amount of interest in Inzi’s career. Never followed his stats either. So unless someone ploughs through his numbers and comes up with a counter-argument, I’ll have to gulp it down my throat!

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      • Secondly that impact index comes up with all kinds of strange conclusions and that link I’ve posted points out a few examples.

        If there is so much oddness going around one should start questioning the index. It calls Rahul Dravid India’s greatest cricketer ever, it calls Inzamamam Asia’s greatest impact batsman ever. If all of this is true one must wonder if the experts are absolute nuts not to know any of this and nominate others!

        Is it not possible that they just look at certain basic “facts” (batting average, runs scored irrespective of opposition, centuries etc) and pronounce their judgments? Are they nuts? No, not at all. The question to be asked is, are they being thorough?

        Most of these experts are getting paid to air their opinions on TV. How much time do they get to actually analyse and study data? How much time do they take to look at entire careers, forget decades of cricketing history? Given all these constraints, are you willing to trust their judgments?

        Moreover, as I pointed out in the Wahab Riaz-Watson face-off, even I could see something was odd with the hype surrounding the incident. And here you have Pietersen and the rest going hyperbolic!

        Ian Chappell mentioned a few days ago that Australia don’t have a quality spinner. I, myself, mentioned this at least a week earlire in one of my responses to Saurabh. Do I really need to listen to “experts”? Isn’t it blindingly obvious to one and all? What’s the insight that I gain from their blurbs? That so and so was the greatest. And here’s my anecdote, here’s my sugar-coated narrative that you as the audience should take as the truth!

        To be honest, I can’t be bothered because I have been following the game for such a long time, besides playing it at college level, that I can certainly come to my own conclusions! I’m not a TV expert but I can see through the hype quite easily.

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        • I’ll respond to your most recent 3-4 comments here..

          1)It’s true that there’s a difference between ‘high impact’ and ‘greatest’. The two terms are not interchangeable. However if there is no relation between the two the index would never have been invented. My own hunch is that the old fogies at Wisden were replaced by a dynamic young editor who decided this was a good idea and it would make cricket cool again (on the numbers)! More seriously though if there is great divergence between what experts think or have thought in every age about who is the greatest one must wonder if the two are not measuring very different things. Which is to say that the high impact index measures a level of accomplishment that has not been anyone’s standard prior to this index being invented. Quite apart from the index’s own internal inconsistencies. I’d say this again — the entire statistical approach is was mostly foreign to cricket for most of its history. Things started changing in the 70s but still the kind of obsessive stat-based analysis that we often see these days is alien to the game’s history. And so there’s no possibility of using the latter to measure everything in the game’s history.

          2)I’m not at all saying one should follow opinions all the time but to quote the critic Daniel Mendelsohn there is such a thing as expertise. One can be a very literate and informed follower of cricket but it’s not likely that one’s judgment on what constitutes a good player of pace matches that of Ambrose and Wasim and Donald put together! Or that of other experts and so forth. Specially not when this body of opinion is overwhelming in many cases. I certainly cannot claim to know as much as these folks and so I follow their opinions. But yes one can think critically about such opinions. Assuming everyone is not saying the same thing. So again taking that Wisden example if Imran Khan thinks Inzie played pace better than Lara or Sachin I’m not saying that automatically becomes an absurd opinion. However I do wonder why no one else shared his opinion. And specially not all the pace bowlers who bowled to both and all the great ones either thought Sachin was the best they’d faced or both Lara and Sachin were. This leaves Imran in the minority and it’s possibly about misplaced patriotism more than anything else. Inzamam at his best was a wonderful timer of the ball, played pace well. He also average 32 and 34 against Aus and SA respectively in tests. He of course didn’t play against Pakistan’s pace bowlers. He has a 53 average against WI so he must have faced Ambrose enough. Haven’t looked at the details though. Meanwhile Sachin average 55 against Aus, Lara is a bit lower. Sachin average 54 against WI, Lara somewhat lower against Pak. Sachin though was at 42 and 43 against Pak and SA while Lara had 49 against SA. Either way even the lower numbers of both are way higher than Inzamam’s. And then you add the body of opinion on each player. And it’s Imran in a minority of one. The only reason I am going into this example in detail is that it’s not about blindly accepting every opinion. One still has to sift through stuff but at the same I cannot say that I’m not learning anything from these opinions.

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      • When you start saying Carl Hooper is the higher impact WI cricketer after Richards it’s hard to take them too seriously.

        As a player, not as a batsman. There’s a difference. In the impact index system, all rounders get more points and tend to have a higher impact because they get represented twice.

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  16. Riaz spoiled his bowling triumph with cheap behaviour. He could have shown some restraint with his expressions.

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  17. if there is great divergence between what experts think or have thought in every age about who is the greatest one must wonder if the two are not measuring very different things. Which is to say that the high impact index measures a level of accomplishment that has not been anyone’s standard prior to this index being invented.

    Yes, it is measuring what the Americans call “clutch” performances and through its series-defining (SD) or tournament-defining (TD) indices this is exactly what’s being done. But there are other parameters too (consistency or failure rate, partnership-building, runs tally, pressure impact, strike rate impact just to name a few) although it is explicitly mentioned that more preference (weightage?) is given to SD or TD performances.

    But let’s look at it from another angle. The people at Impact Index have no problems with Bradman’s record or Sobers’ record. They in fact call their records super-human. They also rate Richards as the highest impact ODI batsman ever. So far so good.

    Now when it comes to Test rankings in the modern era, through their methodology, Inzamam comes up trumps in terms of series-defining performances (I also read the article on Inzamam and nowhere do they come to the conclusion that Inzi was a better batsman of pace compared to Lara or Tendulkar!) in proportion to the number of Tests he played.

    They’ve also rated Inzi highest on pressure-handling impact. If you design a methodology, you have to accept whatever results come up using that methodology. In this case, since they impart significance to clutch performances (one may disagree with this but this is another way to look at data), we see results that are otherwise not visible to the eye. It’s as simple as that.

    Things started changing in the 70s but still the kind of obsessive stat-based analysis that we often see these days is alien to the game’s history. And so there’s no possibility of using the latter to measure everything in the game’s history.

    I agree that it’s impossible to measure everything but by using a context-based approach (and I know it’s down to a group of people with a proprietary system, as it stands) it’s possible to at least initiate a comparison. Otherwise we are down to trusting the experts and their views! No analysis, just gut feel and emotion-based judgments.

    One can be a very literate and informed follower of cricket but it’s not likely that one’s judgment on what constitutes a good player of pace matches that of Ambrose and Wasim and Donald put together! Or that of other experts and so forth. Specially not when this body of opinion is overwhelming in many cases.

    I don’t disagree entirely. If everyone’s saying the same thing then there’s reason to believe it’s true. However, I’d like to offer a counter-argument on experts and TV commentators. Isn’t it ironic that the best coaches are often not the best players? The best players of their generation often turn out to be disastrous coaches. Aren’t they experts in their field? Then why do they fail as coaches? Sachin Tendulkar himself proved to be a poor captain. Few would doubt his cricketing acumen but he was at best a mediocre captain.

    So experts or past greats or TV pundits have certain views which certainly merit attention. But to insist that everyone should submit to those views without so much as questioning them would be wrong.

    I also went through your numbers on Inzamam, Sachin and Lara. There’s no question that Inzamam’s average is lower against Australia and SA (on a related note, Greg Chappell averaged 56 against the WI whereas Viv Richards averaged 44 against Australia) and it seems fair to suggest that he wasn’t the best batsman against pace bowling (Imran’s assertion). He certainly doesn’t have a record that betters Sachin’s or Lara’s.

    But I believe the article on Inzi argues about something else. Not only was Inzi a clutch player, his contribution to Pakistan’s wins is immense. In fact the highest in all of Asia. And in that context, he has a higher rating compared to Tendulkar. Whatever one thinks of such a stat-based system, conventional stats will not reveal such an insight.

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    • Yes this is the point I was trying to make another way. The notion of the ‘clutch’ performance is not neutral. It is not even one that was always used in the US. There has been debate about this a great deal in the US context where people feel that unlike basketball this notion and this larger way of looking at things makes little sense.

      But you too are not disagreeing with experts or cricketers. For instance you liked McGrath’s point that bowlers could do well on these pitches. The vast major it including Ambrose feel it’s the other way. But you liked the one guy who made your point! Leaving this aside though I’m not sure what coaching has to do with this. I’d actually say here that there’s a correlation between the great player and being a poor coach (not necessarily captain as much). But this is very different from commenting on general playing conditions, the rules of a game and so on. To be successful as coach or as captain you need to have an instinct about or at least an understanding for the lesser talent, you need to have the same for the dynamic of each particular game, so on and so forth. Ambrose when he bowls doesn’t need to understand all of this, on the other hand if he didn’t understand the conditions he was playing in (pitch, weather, team score etc) how could he even become a successful bowler? So if he comments on general playing conditions that hold irrespective of any team or match this does not at all involve coach-like or captain-like skills.

      On Richards he was simply called the greatest player of pace in his day. No one had any doubts about this. This piece gives one a sense of some of this:

      http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/story/140294.html

      If you asked any player from that generation, certainly the bowlers who bowled against him they’d be quite stunned to see anyone suggest the opposite.

      But getting back to the larger point. If you design a system you have to stick with it (as you’re saying). But why? A problematic system will keep yielding problematic results. Here’s the odd thing about your argument — you’re saying everything can be questioned and no matter how odd the claim made it ought to be accepted but that the system that calculates all of this is always above criticism or questioning of any sort! On Richards for instance the claim you made is completely ‘unhistorical’. What do I mean by this? That in the world in which Richards operated it would have made absolutely no sense. That he wasn’t the best test player or that he wasn’t the best pace player or whatever, that in short he wasn’t the creates batsman of the age. Not if you have a system that questions this it’s not likely that the experts of an entire age (and since for that matter) or all the cricketers who played with him or against him in any capacity were all wrong.

      If Peter May is ranked over Hutton or Hobbs as an impact player the problem once again is that this entire category would have made no sense to the age in which all three played.

      Now again one might say that the system is measuring ‘impact’ not necessarily questioning who is the greatest. I’ve already answered this before. If there isn’t meant to be a correlation between the two why have such an index? I’ll offer a crude example. A batsman scores a century in a one day, the match is still close but in the crucial slog overs he gets out. Another batsman who comes in much later is one 20 by then and he plays a great pressure knock to get to 45 and the team wins. At that point there isn’t another batsman on the team who could have the same impact if that player got out. Now you could say that the guy scoring 45 is the real clutch player and obviously he would have been so in one sense. On the other hand without that century the team would never be in a position for those clutch runs to mean anything! One could multiply these examples.

      This is the larger point I keep repeating. This kind of statistical analysis is already an outgrowth of a contemporary way of thinking in these matters. It is not some ‘neutral’ examination of the data. It does not just present averages. It asks the question: who is the more important player with or without the averages? It then proceeds to define what that ‘importance’ means. To do so it then has to reorder how the game of cricket is understood and in doing so it suspiciously aligns it with a more general ‘Americanized’ thinking on sports. It finds an audience because of course as with everything else this way of doing things appeals to people. So this methodology has a ‘history’. This is what you’re not considering.

      If someone came up with something like this on movie stars and said that Jeetendra had a higher impact index than Dharmendra or that Akshay Kumar had a higher impact index than Shahrukh Khan but that Amitabh Bachchan nonetheless had the highest ever (I could actually imagine criteria which would produce such a result) imagine how daft that would seem? But I could say ‘well Bachchan is still the highest so the system makes sense’!

      There is no system of statistical evaluation that can work in a trans-historical sense. There can be individuals who have such a lofty list of accomplishments that it’s easy to say they’d be special in any age. But those are the exceptions. And specially so in cricket where the variables are greater (at least historically) than perhaps any team sport I can think of. It is accepted by just about everyone in cricket, often many foreign observers for that matter, that Sachin played with more pressure on him throughout his career than any cricketer in history, possibly any sportsman in history. How does a high impact index account for this? How does it account for the fact that with the greatest players the opposition is also always more charged in every sense. Again sticking with the Sachin example check out an Allan Donald piece where he talks about how hard he tried to get Sachin in a series and eventually got his stumps and how that was an extraordinarily exhilarating moment for him but that it wash short-lived because Sachin went on to score a century in the next test. Shoaib got smacked around for 20 runs in an over but after that every time he faced Sachin right down to the very end and when clearly the batsman’s physical instincts were not at their peak you could see Shoaib turning it up for him. These are examples but again how does a high impact index account for this? That pressure that Sachin played with throughout his career is probably more ‘defining’ for his career than any opposition that he faced anywhere!

      I’ll offer one last example going back to Chappell and Richards. For the longest time in cricket and in many ways even to this day players are not judged by just the records they amass. They develop reputations when they first get in. It doesn’t have to be a big wonder like Tendulkar. Any player is seen as promising or great based on what he does in his initial few outings or sometimes a bit later. It is then of course expected that the player will live up to that promise but such must pre-exist the records. In short the great player isn’t the sum of his numbers (unfortunately with Bradman or Sachin this is sometimes forgotten). When people judge who’s a better player of pace for example they examine the batsman’s pure abilities when confronting this form of bowling. The scores eventually follow but once they do no one is necessarily obsessed with averages. In other words if you had Richards face the 10 best pace bowlers of his age and he averaged 50 and then had Chappell do the same and he did 60 or 40. Irrespective of who did better the judgment that Richards was better would not change. Because once you establish you can play pace and cross a certain threshold of performance to confirm this the rest might be about a number of variables. But in any case the point here is that this is the way it was once done, this is the way it is sometimes done even today. Otherwise why is Riaz getting all of this attention? The numbers on paper don’t seem anything out of the ordinary. If you tell someone 20 years later that this was a special spell who’d believe it looking at the numbers? Even if one thinks there has been hyperbolic attention to this spell (though itself indicative of the fact that this doesn’t happen in cricket that much anymore.. certainly to the likes of Aus.. not just a good spell but a bowler really menacing the Australians this way) and I have some sympathy for this view the fact is that there was a moment there that the numbers cannot capture. The same for the batsmen.

      We can argue about the high impact index. I think we’ve said everything we needed to on this and we’re not going to agree. But again my larger point simply is that the high impact is also a human construct. One cannot be a fundamentalist about it. There are points where a system has to be questioned if it starts coming up with too many odd conclusions. Again to repeat my example — if a high impact index of football has someone other than Pele, Maradona, Messi as the highest impact players of all time or has only one of those two or if it says stuff like Ronaldo is a higher impact player than Messi I’d question it seriously! So yes Carl Hooper according to the index is the most valuable WI ODI player after Richards. Even accepting his all-round abilities what captain deciding on a WI XI for this format in that age would have chosen Hooper over at least half a dozen other players? I suspect none! The high impact index creates a version of ‘fantasy cricket’ if you ask me. Because the image of the game it provides is one that is not true to any historical reality.

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      • But you too are not disagreeing with experts or cricketers. For instance you liked McGrath’s point that bowlers could do well on these pitches.

        Yes and I backed it up with some numbers (e.g how the top 4 teams compared against the rest in terms of bowling records).

        On Richards he was simply called the greatest player of pace in his day. No one had any doubts about this. This piece gives one a sense of some of this:

        Richards had a great record against England. Not so much against Australia. Is it not feasible that the English media fawned over him to such an extent? Also look at my other comment on Packer’s WSC.

        But why? A problematic system will keep yielding problematic results. Here’s the odd thing about your argument — you’re saying everything can be questioned and no matter how odd the claim made it ought to be accepted but that the system that calculates all of this is always above criticism or questioning of any sort!

        You are not even acknowledging the concept of clutch performances. You outrightly reject it when in reality the game is about a team winning at one end. Doesn’t it make sense to look at who contributed the most to a team’s win and in what frequency? Who absorbed pressure more than the others? Who formed more partnerships? All these attributes are irrelevant? Is the system problematic if it considers these parameters as relevant?

        I’ll tell you what: I think cricket isn’t a team game for you. It may sound harsh but it probably never has been. All you are interested in is certain individuals: Bradman, Tendulkar (who you try to place right behind Bradman, one wonders perhaps even ahead of him) and Richards. That’s probably all there’s to it. There’s no space for debate, no room to argue on accepted beliefs because there are experts who “think” on your behalf. Again, I’m being harsh but this is the impression I get.

        On the other hand without that century the team would never be in a position for those clutch runs to mean anything! One could multiply these examples.

        How do you come to such a conclusion? Isn’t there a runs tally parameter? Isn’t there a partnership-building parameter? Isn’t there a pressure-absorbing parameter in place? Why do you assume that a person scoring 45 runs would get more points for another scoring a 100 in a chase? Just by using the simple rules that they talk about, in context of that innings and the match, just relating to the base number (derived from the average score per wicket) the impact of a century maker would be more!

        To do so it then has to reorder how the game of cricket is understood and in doing so it suspiciously aligns it with a more general ‘Americanized’ thinking on sports. It finds an audience because of course as with everything else this way of doing things appeals to people. So this methodology has a ‘history’. This is what you’re not considering.

        I don’t know about others but I’m certainly not following any history. This is the first time I’ve seen cricket data being interpreted in a different way. If anything, I am impressed by the different parameters that are used to judge a batsman or a bowler instead of just looking at averages spread over a lifetime.

        Shoaib got smacked around for 20 runs in an over but after that every time he faced Sachin right down to the very end and when clearly the batsman’s physical instincts were not at their peak you could see Shoaib turning it up for him.

        Shoaib is on record saying that Sachin was quaking in his boots while facing him. Afridi supported that claim. So you should be a little careful in choosing your examples, even if they are anecdotal ones.

        But again my larger point simply is that the high impact is also a human construct. One cannot be a fundamentalist about it. There are points where a system has to be questioned if it starts coming up with too many odd conclusions.

        I agree, it’s a human construct. And it should be questioned, not just based on the results it throws up but also its basic assumptions. If possible, one should also offer an alternate way to analyze data (e.g. longevity is not present as a parameter in Impact Index).

        So yes Carl Hooper according to the index is the most valuable WI ODI player after Richards. Even accepting his all-round abilities what captain deciding on a WI XI for this format in that age would have chosen Hooper over at least half a dozen other players? I suspect none!

        Err, he was actually part of the WI side captained by Richards. He was considered a gifted batsman at the time. The Impact Index doesn’t take into account his style of batting for instance. And I’ll add, since you are so fond of expert views, Sunil Gavaskar went on record to pronounce Mark Waugh and Carl Hooper as the most stylish players of that era. All this is not captured in any impact index. That his career as a batsman never reached its potential is another story. And even in the Carl Hooper piece they highlight this. They say that if you consider him as a batsman he underwhelmed but as an all rounder his numbers present a different reality.

        The high impact index creates a version of ‘fantasy cricket’ if you ask me. Because the image of the game it provides is one that is not true to any historical reality.

        Yes, one can look at it this way. In some cases it offers a different version of “accepted” reality. One can reject it completely, call it a farce or whatever and move on. Personally speaking, I find their (or any other statistical system’s) quest for tough runs or tough wickets a noble one. They even rank Richard Hadlee above all other bowling all rounders because of his higher impact as a bowler. All this can be questioned and interpreted, yes, but at least personal opinions or expert views don’t end up being words set in stone, for posterity!

        It’s a bit like the Trade wallahs who used to tell everyone that such and such film is a blockbuster, semi-hit or flop. Don’t look at the data, just take our word for it because we are the experts.

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        • I think we’re really beyond the ‘debate’ stage at this point because we’re simply going in circles. Someone has to stop, I’ll do so! At least for now. I’ll just however say that I reject each one of your characterizations of myself! For instance I neither place Sachin over Bradman nor am I just interested in personalities nor even do I reject the concept of a clutch performance. My entire argument here is about more nuance not less. But again we’re just going in circles. And yeah there are many impressions. I have one about you where Sachin is concerned. For starters! Or Richards. And so on. I can’t resist posting this piece though:

          http://www.dnaindia.com/sport/report-pakistan-legends-waqar-younis-shoaib-akhtar-rate-sachin-tendulkar-as-greatest-in-the-world-1918226

          Shoaib said a lot of outrageous things in his memoirs including that ball tampering should be legalized. He didn’t just say Sachin was afraid of him but that dravid was too and really said all sorts of things. But here as you can see from that link there’s a fairly comprehensive judgment from Shoaib (and Waqar). Again this is why it’s important to be thorough in these matters. One cannot just pick at anecdotes which is why whether it’s about Richards or Sachin I generally don’t go by just one anecdote in these matters.

          Oh and on Hooper I’m very familiar with him. The point was that if given a dream team of some sort for the WI who would include Hooper over many others despite his usefulness as a one day player (again didn’t realize we were discussing ‘style’.. your Gavaskar quote). He played on that team but hey it’s not as if the services of many of their 70s greats who had exited the team by then were available! Ask anyone whether they’d rather have Sachin on their team or Dravid or Inzie and I think you’ll get a 100% response on one name. What’s the point of he impact index if no one is ever going to choose a team based on it or following that sort of logic? Indeed not even judge anyone the greatest based on this? But again this is all going in circles.

          On the box office analogy well if you think that Ambrose and Bradman and Donald and scores of other experts and cricketers who judge their peers/cricketers and/or the game are like Taran Adarsh and Komal Nahta then I really have been wasting my time in this debate!

          and now I really am stopping!

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          • But here as you can see from that link there’s a fairly comprehensive judgment from Shoaib (and Waqar).

            They were speaking at a promotional event in India. What would you expect them to say? Moreover, Pakistani players have a history of saying one thing in India and the complete opposite in Pakistan.

            Ask anyone whether they’d rather have Sachin on their team or Dravid or Inzie and I think you’ll get a 100% response on one name. What’s the point of he impact index if no one is ever going to choose a team based on it or following that sort of logic?

            The precise point is that people should take into account more factors while deciding team composition rather than rely on gut feelings. There is of course the famous Deming phrase: “In God we trust, all others must bring data.”

            On the box office analogy well if you think that Ambrose and Bradman and Donald and scores of other experts and cricketers who judge their peers/cricketers and/or the game are like Taran Adarsh and Komal Nahta then I really have been wasting my time in this debate!

            I did not suggest that cricketing greats are like Komal and Taran Adarsh; quite the contrary, I was implying that you are talking in that language. Listen to this expert, listen to another one and accept this verdict or that. In other words, you are suggesting that people should not use their heads.

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          • As I said earlier I think there’s a point to exit every debate.. I’m afraid I have nothing more to add, specially since, and with all due respect, a certain Alice in Wonderland quality has crept in with some of these claims. Yes maybe talking about Ambrose’s opinion or Bradman’s or whatever cricket luminary’s is like quoting Taran and Komal but if this is the analogy being drawn I should get out of this knucker-hole fast!

            But not without a parting shot! Wisden’s all time cricket test XI (hopefully this is acceptable from the inventors of the impact index!):

            http://sports.ndtv.com/cricket/news/215990-sachin-tendulkar-in-wisdens-all-time-world-test-xi

            Darn they have Richards and Sachin here.. they’re calling Richards the best of his generation.. what’s going on?!

            on a related note when wisden did their 5 cricketers of the century they didn’t have Sachin on the list but they still had Richards. More than a decade later Richards argued for Sachin being on such a list if it were drawn up again and undoubtedly he would have been:

            http://www.wisdenindia.com/cricket-article/viv-richards-crowns-sachin-king/59835

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          • and for the benefit of others here I’ll once again offer this deconstruction of the impact index:

            http://cricketingview.blogspot.com/2014/11/on-mysterious-impact-index.html

            the last two paragraphs here are especially devastating.

            I am still not rejecting it out of hand, I still don’t mind having it as part of the mix but I’m afraid I can’t be fundamentalist about it.

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          • Darn they have Richards and Sachin here.. they’re calling Richards the best of his generation.. what’s going on?!

            Yet another list. Even your parting shots come from someone else’s mouth! Lest you forget, I should remind you that it was Impact Index who have anointed Greg Chappell as the highest impact Test player alive. And it’s not too difficult to see why!

            Even a cursory analysis reveals the truth behind the hype.

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          • Greg Chappell:

            “It is hard to imagine that Bradman was more destructive and more of a match-changer than Viv Richards in his prime.”

            http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/greg-chappel/remember-sachin-with-a-smile/article5358949.ece

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          • http://creative.sulekha.com/best-one-down-batsman-of-all-time_411985_blog

            3. Vivian Richards
            No batsmen has ever massacred such great fast bowling like this maestro.He had the best eyes and hit the best of deliveries wioth imperious power.A champion on the onside Viv is the greatest ever exponent of the hook shot with lightning footwork.He even hooked Lillee and Thomson of the Front foot.Not as effective against spin although he traumatised the Indian spin quartet in 1976 at home and to amarginal extent in India i 1974-75.Towards the end his reflexes slowed and he was not as effective.The most intimidating batsmen of all.Excelled in the drive through extra-cover was simply brilliant against a fullish lenghth delivery which strayed legward of his middle stump for four runs between square leg and mid -on. At his best more punishing than Sir Don Bradman.Michael Holding felt that Viv would have broken every record In the book if he chased records.Allan Border rated him thegreatest batsman of modern times

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          • Regarding the “deconstruction” of Impact Index, the author’s main argument is a lack of transparency…of a proprietary model.

            It’s not as if the author himself has come up with a better solution. But leaving that aside, this is the gist of the complaint.

            He doesn’t argue against the use of a methodology to quantify data or even the idea behind it.

            But here’s the thing — people who have argued against such an approach (any approach that uses data in cricket!) are now quoting an Economist/Data Analyst to deconstruct another data-driven analysis!

            Like

          • that’s not all he says.. he offers some examples and takes apart those as well. and he even praises the index at points.

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          • Data inconsistencies? Where 82 got mixed up with 85?

            The argument that the second inning score doesn’t come without the first? Sure it doesn’t, but does the author provide a way to correlate the two?

            There’s another example about Bishop where It again comes down to the lack of transparency or questions about the methodology used.

            And this is valid criticism. The model is not open for everyone to check and verify.

            But and this is a big but, what the site (impact index) shows is that there’s different sets of criteria to judge a single performance or an entire career! The idea is to filter out the stats for tough runs and tough wickets and not get stuck looking at career averages alone.

            Even before I was introduced to Impact Index, I had the same line of thinking.

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  18. “And in that context, he has a higher rating compared to Tendulkar.”
    Take a chill pill
    Will agree to agree with Satyam here
    Sachin >> fatso inzi !!
    ‘Clutch player’ or ‘impact index’ or whateva …

    Like

  19. Between 1977 & 1979 Kerry Packer organized the World Series in which he effectively stole all the greatest players from all over the world. There were a few exceptions as Kapil Dev and Gavaskar did not attend but if you look at the list, the very best cricketers of the time ditched their cricket boards and joined Packer’s circus, as it was called back then.

    This was truly a league for the very best cricketers as Barry Richards and Mike Proctor from SA also were present. The matches were played out between 3 teams: Australia, West Indies and an assembled World XI. As for the level of competition, here’s an excerpt:

    A dummy’s guide to World Series Cricket

    Was it joke cricket?
    Anything but. It was brutal with fast bowlers dominating and no quarter given. Some players said it was the hardest cricket they ever played. The matches were almost constant and there was no time for cricketers to play themselves back into form against lower-class opposition. “How the **** could you get back into form when you were playing Roberts, Holding, Garner day after day,” Ian Chappell lamented.

    Not many people even know that it existed or that it was a cricket tournament like no other with the best cricketers assembled under one roof to play — get this — fierce Test cricket.

    And it would stand to reason that such a tournament would give an indication of how good a player was. Greg Chappell topped the batting charts in the 3 seasons he played against the WI and the World XI. Richards was second but did not face his own team’s bowling comprising of Holding, Garner, Croft, King and Roberts! Similarly, Chappell did not face Dennis Lillee (& Thomson) who was the leading wicket taker in the tournament’s history.

    Anyway here’s a look at Greg Chappell’s stats

    Notice the names that he got out to: Holding, Garner, Wayne Daniel, Imran Khan, Andy Roberts, Colis King, Colin Croft.

    WSC Batting Stats

    WSC Bowling Stats

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  20. check this out.. Lara, Sunny, Dean Jones discuss the greatest field performances in WC history:

    http://sports.ndtv.com/cricket/videos/the-best-fielding-performances-in-world-cups-360793

    check out especially Ian Chappell on Viv Richards and his fielding. Dean Jones meanwhile is yet one more guy nominating Richards as the greatest he saw.

    Like

    • Richards had the swagger, the reputation of being the best of his era…too bad the numbers don’t back up his reputation. In Test matches that is. This isn’t an attempt to run him down but perhaps to separate fact from legend.

      You can slice and dice his numbers any which way you want, there’s no way he would come out on top of his peers except for one metric: Strike Rate.

      He was from a different planet in ODIs compared to his peers. That is definitely true as well.

      Here are some basic stats that don’t require any specialized formula:

      1) Richards scored fewer hundreds per match compared to Chappell (24 each). He scored his hundreds in 121 matches whereas Chappell scored his in 87. Interestingly, Sunil Gavaskar has a similar average to Chappell, spread over 125 matches.

      2) Let’s look at their respective averages when their teams won (clutch performances). Richards averages 52 when WI won. Chappell averages a staggering 70.5. Gavaskar averages 44.

      3) When their teams lost, Richards averaged 31.5, Chappell averaged 25.8 and Gavaskar 35. There’s a greater correlation between Chappell’s failures and his team losing. That is, his success played a much bigger rule in Australian wins.

      4) In 4th innings, Richards averaged 48, Chappell 49 and Gavaskar, a staggering 58! Everyone would agree it’s the toughest job to bat last on a wicket.

      5) Richards’ average is lower than Chappell’s by almost 4 percentage points (50 vs 54). Gavaskar’s batting average is also higher.

      6) Richards’ average as batsman under his own captaincy is 45. Chappell averaged 55 (close to his career average) and Gavaskar 50.7 (again close to his career average). This implies he wasn’t as good as Chappell and Gavaskar while handling additional responsibility.

      There are more such stats, but I’ll stop here.

      Like

      • Javed Miandad also scores higher than Richards in all but one (lower career centuries; 23 vs 24) of the metrics I’ve posted above (4th Innings average, performance under his own captaincy, average when his team won/lost and career average).

        There’s one caveat with Miandad’s record though: there is a big enough differential between his ‘home’ and ‘away’ batting averages.

        Chappell, Gavaskar and Richards don’t have this disparity between their home and away records.

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  21. The problem with most assessments of viv Richards and his ilk

    Is the CONFUSION between the performance and the CULT /PERSONALITY & DEMEANOUR off-the field

    Whilst the latter surely does become a factor sometimes, it’s not that big a factor during ON-FIELD assessments

    Richards is surely a ‘great’ but there were some issues like consistency…(not ‘flair’!)

    After the above concepts on PLAYING SPIN & the riaz-Watson showdown etc — will introduce another CONCEPT

    OVERHITTING the ball

    The fact is that the moment the ball crosses the boundary u get four or six –Richards also indulged in this

    Hitting it MILES into the stands or at dangerous speeds doesn’t change much
    Though it leaves an ‘impact’ on the fielders (& ‘viewers’ like those above)

    Like

  22. NEW DELHI: Talking to NDTV, former West Indies batsman and star cricketer, Brian Lara said it was “ridiculous of the ICC to fine Wahab Riaz” in the aftermath of the Pakistan versus Australia quarter-final during which Riaz bowled an aggressive spell to Shane Watson.

    Lara went on to say: “I’ll pay his [Wahab’s] fine.”

    Talking about the heated spell from the Pakistani pacer, Brian Lara said, “Watson looked like he was at school. It was amazing cricket.”

    Lara said the contest between Watson and Riaz was the highlight of the ongoing cricket world cup. “I can’t wait to meet this guy,” he said referring to Wahab Riaz.

    During the second quarter-final between Pakistan and Australia, Wahab Riaz took on Australian batsman Shane Watson with a series of fast, short-pitched deliveries. Watson was visibly shaken by the onslaught, as he ducked and moved away from the line of the ball on numerous occasions.

    Trying to put the Australian under pressure, Wahab Riaz made several gestures at Watson and even sent a flying kiss his way after unnerving him with some high-quality bowling.

    Know more: That was some really nasty stuff, Watson says of Wahab’s spell

    Following the exchange between the two players, the International Cricket Council (ICC) charged both Riaz and Watson for code of conduct violations.

    Wahab, who finished with figures of 2-54, was fined 50 percent of his match fee for “using language or a gesture that is obscene, offensive or insulting”.

    Watson, who was docked 15 percent of his fee, was found guilty of the lesser charge of “conduct contrary to the spirit of the game” for ignoring the umpire’s warning and speaking to Wahab.

    Like

    • AamirsFan Says:

      I agree with Satyam that Wahab’s spell was nice but come on…it wasn’t all that great. The quality of the bowlers have gone down drastically…20-25 years ago this would be just an average spell of innings by a bowler. Watson got the last “word” in anyways when he hit a couple of balls to the boundary and sealed the win for them…so in the end…Wahab looked like an idiot blowing kisses to Watson. You only do that stuff when you win or going to win (if you are the type that showboats)! Too much praise for Wahab IMO. I do think he had a good overall WC showing though, just needs to sustain it.

      Like

      • in fairness to him he didn’t contend with a dropped catch! You give that kind of chance and anyone will get through. As did Fleming later on as well! It was certainly a good spell. But does it deserve this kind of hype? Probably not. But I think there are two factors why this has happened. The first is what you’ve just said. The balanced is so much tipped in favor of the bowlers that this kind of thing becomes far less likely. But secondly the fact that he terrorized Aus for a while probably pleased a lot of people. They’re hardly likable in any sense and people were probably glad someone stuck it to them. Finally some of it might even be about the fact that Wahab isn’t a totally established name. This sort of thing coming from Shoaib or someone might have raised less attention. But this of course gets one back to another point, irrespective of the reasons, if these guys had this much trouble facing Wahab on a pitch which was probably offering very slight help imagine what would have happened to them facing some heavyweights over the past twenty years! The average talent pool remains the same from one generation to the other but the instincts of the same can nonetheless be diluted. Today very few batsmen have the technique and/or experience to deal with serious swing bowling or just proper movement of any kind. Those conditions are rarely there. It then requires an exceptionally gifted batsman to do fine in these conditions despite this ‘lack’. In the same sense even when you have good fast bowlers you rarely have the pitches to offer them minimal help. And even the pitches that are described as bouncy or whatever are really nothing to the same once upon a time. Perth was the fastest in the world (today it’s a fraction of that, they’ve even prepared spinning tracks here for Shane Warne!) and you’d be facing the fastest bowlers in the world on it. In England you’d have the kind of swing where even mediocre bowlers would sometimes be deadly. So on and so forth. Today it’s basically various degrees of a batting track 95% of the time if not even more than this. Not surprisingly people develop the utterly absurd view that it’s just about an aggressive batsman imposing his will. The right kind of bowler in even minimally helpful conditions and even the greatest batsmen have to proceed with caution. You can’t simply ‘master’ such bowling though you can have your moments with it. And vice versa. And while things are different in different ages it is not at all the case that all ages are made equal. A certain finer art of pace is simply being lost on these pitches. An exceptional talent might still get it done but it shouldn’t take that much. Getting back to Wahab I’d disagree he looked like an idiot. Everyone was praising him including the Australians.

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        • Now every batsman knows what Wahab can do, So it wont be a surprise next time.

          Like

          • AamirsFan Says:

            Wahab has been in and out of the Pakistani bowling squad for 5-6 years now. He took 5 wickets against the Indians in the 2011 WC Semis. He can bowl well but has not been consistent.

            @ Satyam, agree with all your points. This is why it was such a shame when Mohammad Amir (the 18 yr old phenom) was banned for five years for match-fixing. He was on his way to be one of the best with his talent. At that age he was just bowling with raw talent..imagine if he would’ve continued to bowl and learned to bowl with the mind also; we are probably talking about Wasim Akram like numbers. I am excited to have him back..he has learned his lesson and hopefully he can be at least half of what he was back in 2009…then we will see some good bowling again. I’ve watched Steyn, Starc and Mitchell bowl in this WC…there’s barely anything there except speed (they all remind me like Akhtar). McGrath, Imran and Akram used the swing along with speed and bounce which made them unhittable at times.

            Like

  23. “During the Test series they really struggled for consistency,” the Queenslander said. “They bowled some good balls, then really let the pressure off. It looks like maybe adapting to the conditions and getting their lengths right they’ve really improved their consistency so they’re building pressure now.

    “M.S. [Dhoni] leads them well in one-day cricket and they’ve sort of got on a roll. I still think under pressure they’ll be tested. I’m not sure they’ve been tested a great deal under pressure yet.

    “That’s going to be the real challenge in a semi-final against Australia, where there is that little bit of no doubt psychological damage over the summer where they’ve been hit around a bit.

    Like

  24. In a shocking case of official apathy, differently-abled sportspersons participating in the 15th National Para-Athletics Championships have been put up at unfurnished and unhygienic accommodations, prompting the Sports Ministry to seek a report from the organisers.

    The athletes participating in the National Para-Athletics Championships were in for a shock when they reached here only to be handed dirty and unkempt rooms at a building in Ghaziabad.

    “We did not get proper food; we have been eating puri and one vegetarian dish for the last four days. We walk with sticks and still we have been put up at second floor. They don’t even have ramps for wheelchair-bound athletes. The toilets are dirty, there are no fans and there is no water,” said Yogesh, a participating athlete.

    “I fell three times while taking bath today, we are drinking water from a tanker and it as not been cleaned and the toilets are filthy,” added Vinay, another participant.

    http://www.rediff.com/sports/report/shocking-photos-para-athletes-face-official-apathy/20150322.htm

    Like

  25. Indians set to outnumber Aussies at SCG; Clarke, Warner call for ‘support’

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/icc-world-cup-2015/top-stories/Indians-set-to-outnumber-Aussies-at-SCG-Clarke-Warner-call-for-support/articleshow/46661367.cms

    Australia skipper Michael Clarke and teammate David Warner sent out identical tweets, saying: “I call on all Australian cricket lovers to paint the SCG gold on Thursday. We need your support. #goldout”

    The hashtag, referring to the Australian team colours, has ironically caught the fancy of more Indian Twitter users than Australian.

    Organizers believe that 70 percent of tickets at the sold-out 42,000-capacity Sydney Cricket Ground have been bought by by India fans, threatening to create an environment reminiscent of the frenzied atmosphere of Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

    If the pitch suits spinners, as has been the case at the SCG in the past, co-hosts Australia may well feel as though they have been kicked out of their own party.

    Kartik Ayyalasomayajula, one of the founders of the Swami Army — India’s version of England’s Barmy Army supporters group — forecast the Australian team would be in for a hard time from fans on Thursday.

    “It will be very loud, very intimidating,” Kartik told the Sydney-based Daily Telegraph newspaper. “It will feel like an away game for them.

    “The drummers will be going around the ground and people will be dancing, singing and cheering every run India score, every wicket they take.

    Like

  26. AamirsFan Says:

    speaking of Wahab…he is all over the place now.

    ‘From 110 to 150 kph, the Wahab Riaz story’

    “We have a lot of legends,” Wahab says. “Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, these guys were the greats. Shoaib Akhtar was one of the best bowlers as well in the world.

    “The guy who really inspired me was Wasim Akram. I was a very young boy when I watched the 1992 World Cup, and when I saw him bowling I loved to copy because I was left-handed too. I want to be someone like Wasim Akram in my life and he really inspired me.”

    “Starc said something to me. He was bowling well and it was difficult for me to play him,” Wahab says. “But in the end he exchanged a few words and I got really angry. I tried to answer him back, and then Shane Watson said to me, ‘You don’t have the bat in your hand.’ They were trying to put pressure on me by their words, but once Watson said that, I said, ‘It’s time to pay back now.’ When I am bowling I will try to bowl something which really frustrates them and puts them under pressure.”

    “What he [Watson] said was in my mind and when he came to bat I was just thinking I’m going to give him something really special, and then I went up to him saying that ‘I think you forgot your bat back in the dressing room too.'”

    “He was just looking at me, he didn’t answer me at all,” Wahab says of Watson’s initial reaction. “In the last over, when he hit me for a four and a six, then he said something. I told him, ‘It’s too late, buddy.'”

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/icc-cricket-world-cup-2015/content/story/854113.html

    Like

  27. SA already in trouble so early on.

    Like

  28. It will be boring if it is Australia versus NZ.
    It will be interesting if its is India versus NZ.

    Like

  29. Just how good has been Faf Du Plessis today! A proper Test batsman and the way he handled the initial pressure from Boult and company is a story in its own right.

    Full marks to McCullam as well. At one point he had 5 slips and one gully for Boult. You just can’t judge his captaincy by the scoreline that’s on view right now.

    Brilliant contest so far. De Kock played a really stupid shot; Amla probably fell to his nerves but Roussow was very good along with Du Plessis.

    It’s upto ABD now to show his magic…really hope the rain doesn’t play spoilsport now.

    Like

    • “A proper Test batsman..”

      Great point, and not the least because he has already played two of the greatest ever Test innings by a South African. Incidentally I don’t see Roussow making it big for SA though.

      Like

      • I think he played very well today…absorbed pressure quite nicely and was well guided by Du Plessis.

        Can’t speak about his future at this moment but he’s definitely a good fit for the ODI and T-20 squads with his aggressive instincts. That he curbed his instincts and formed a partnership today was the highlight of his innings. Good big match temperament as well.

        Like

  30. With the 2 new balls in place, the 50 over format looks like this now:

    Overs 1-10: Test Match cricket; survival at stake

    Overs 10-35: ODI cricket; milk bowling, keep scoreboard ticking

    Overs 36-50: T-20 mode; Full blast to the end.

    So one gets 3 games for the price of 1! Can’t really beat that proposition.

    Like

  31. In cricket, like food, there’s a delicacy called the late cut. Batsmen of considerable skill play this shot against spin to oohs and aahs from commentators and viewers alike.

    The script for the late cut goes like this: spinner bowls, batsman shapes up for a defensive prod and at the last minute changes his mind and guides the ball along the slip cordon. Only the very best can play this shot to perfection.

    Today ABD played the late cut to genuine fast bowlers, Boult and Perry, sometimes arched in the shape of an inverted ‘c’. Legend!

    Like

  32. ICC World Cup: ‘Coach’ Dhoni prepares Suresh Raina for short balls

    http://www.mid-day.com/articles/icc-world-cup-coach-dhoni-prepares-suresh-raina-for-short-balls/16087159

    Like

  33. So, as we wait for the rain to ease off, we have a question that will keep you engaged. South Africa were on course for a massive score with a set ABD, so will this break and the reduction in overs help New Zealand or South Africa? Also, if the match goes into the reserve day, it will start from the point where it was stopped. So, do you think it is the right way to go or should they have started from the beginning? And by chance and an unlikely one as well, if the match is not possible on the reserve day, then New Zealand go through to the final as they finished as group winners. Do you agree that it is the right decision? So, shoot away folks, your replies with a valid name will be put up on the site.

    http://www.cricbuzz.com/live-cricket-scores/12901/nz-vs-rsa-1st-semi-final-icc-cricket-world-cup-2015

    Like

  34. Man, we have begin to lose overs now. I just don’t like a truncated match. Even a 45-46 over match is a completely different ball-game from a 50 over one.

    Like

    • Rain has spoilt this match to an extent. ZL are favourites now. Chasing 350 in 50 is very differrent to 300 odd in 43…even if the run rates are not massively different.

      Like

  35. Incidentally I wish South Africa wouldn’t have been so defensive and had gone with 6 batsmen (including the keeper) and 5 bowlers, especially with Philander (an odd decision, don’t know why was Abott dropped today, he bowled beautifully in the QF and had set-up the game for his team) playing today.

    Like

  36. http://ibnlive.in.com/news/cricketnext/world-cup-2015-suresh-raina-faces-tennis-serves-to-counter-bounce/535827-78.html

    While the ‘Two Tool Theory’ getting throwdowns from a height was introduced by team’s support staff Raghavendra before Pakistan match in Adelaide, the current concept has been introduced by coach Duncan Fletcher to mentally prepare Raina for facing the Aussie quicks Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc.

    What caught the attention during Team India’s net session at the adjacent area outside Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) was Raina’s unique practice method which also showed his desperation to end what can at best be termed as ‘bumper problem’.
    ALSO SEE SCG set for Ind-Aus semi-final

    While one batsman practiced in the net allocated for pacers, one for spinners and other for throwdowns, Raina was at the extreme left net with coach Fletcher in tow with a tennis racquet and a ball in hand.

    To everyone’s surprise, Raina batted against Fletcher’s service.

    The concept for using a tennis racquet and tennis serve is simple. Because tennis ball is very light in weight and if one uses the conventional throwdown stick (instrument used for leather balls), then it’s difficult to get it zoom off the deck.

    While a tennis serve on a grass turf will just kick up thereby ensuring that the batsman gets good practice against short stuff.

    Fletcher was seen aiming at Raina?s body as the left-hander was trying to play the hook shot. He connected a few, missed a few and miscued some.

    While Fletcher did this for 15 minutes, probably the Zimbabwean felt the need for a more powerful and younger arm, who could impart more power on those tennis serves.

    In came skipper Dhoni and in ‘Pistol Pete’ style started unleashing some booming serves for Raina, who didn’t look comfortable at all.

    Once between the session, Dhoni stopped serving and summoned Raina for a mid-pitch discussion.

    Dhoni’s serves had more power but he also gave some ?wide bouncers’, something that Starc normally bowls at the death.

    The entire exercise went about for 45 minutes. In the end, Shikhar Dhawan also faced tennis serves but it was at the maximum for 10 minutes.

    The entire method has been devised to help Raina as some of the other batsmen practiced for short-balls against Raghavendra?s throwdowns with proper leather balls.

    While Dhoni has time and again told the media not to make big deal of Raina’s problems against short balls, today’s net session was an indication how much it mentally affects a player when he struggles against a particular delivery.

    Australian all-rounder James Faulkner said that teams do need to train against short balls in ODIs and he didn’t see anything extraordinary in some of the Indian players trying to counter bouncers.

    “I think naturally, in One-day cricket, short pitched bowling is used. I don’t think it is going to be any different, be it India/Pakistan or any other opposition. They can train how they want to train, that is up to them.”

    When Faulkner was asked if short ball will play its part during the semi-final, the all-rounder was non-committal stating that they haven’t had discussions specific to weaknesses of Indian team.

    “Like I said before, a lot depends on the wicket. If there is bounce and carry, it depends on who you are coming up against. If you see a weakness you can try and expose. We haven’t spoken about the Indian team yet, it is only Monday.

    At the moment, we will just concentrate on training and get ready to go. We will have our group discussion later in the week,” Faulkner said.

    Like

  37. One good thing is, even if they lose SA wont be called chokers this time.

    Like

  38. It is raining runs for NZ.

    Like

  39. McCullam and Williamson gone. Not before Mr Steyn felt the pain though.

    Well played Brendan McCullam. You’ve certainly won over many fans, including insignficant me.

    Like

    • NL missed a trick here. Should have gone with Anderson at 3 the moment McCullum was out. They were in the box seat, smashing SA all around. Even if he got out cheap, if knocked a few boundaries or got 30 odd off 20 balls, it would have made life much easier for the conventional batsman.
      Still the match is in the balance. It would be the ultimate blow of blows, if it’s a tie, because NL go through then!

      Like

      • The boundary is small, if NZ hold their wickets they will win. SA needs Corey.

        Like

        • Agree – and they need him before the PP. Otherwise, SA will suffer yet again! And the rain, which destroyed hopes in 92, 03 will come back to haunt them again!

          Like

          • lol AB messed up a probable victory with that runout.

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          • Should be easy from here. The only thing is, this is a World Cup Semi and NL are playing in their own backyard and have never got to the final. Stranger things have happened as SA know all too well.

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          • Has AVB dropped the cup?

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          • What a game and quite frankly because it is a game between bat AND ball!

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          • Unfortunately it’s a familiar script for SA. I’ve started feeling sorry for them..

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          • really down to the wire! Could SA just pull this off?

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          • SA are desperately unlucky today, but it seems a mental thing with them.

            Like

          • Man what a game this was!

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          • Finally we got a great nailbiting game!

            Like

          • They had two catch and one run out opportunity to get Elliot.

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          • They just lack this ability to win crunch matches when they are in decent positions. On this showing, the winner between India and Australia should be a hot favourite for the final.

            Like

          • Ian Chappell made the point the other day that even if NZ won he’d favor the winner of the Aus-India semi (which he calls a 50-50 match) because of the much much larger boundary in the final.

            Like

          • yes… also Steyn is being questioned for bowling full length at the end.. these things happen in such pressure situations..

            Like

          • will say this.. De Villiers should really have elevated himself in the batting order. This was a crucial match and as the best batsman around he should have come in earlier. He could easily have added the extra runs. a partnership between him and du Plessis might have really taken it away from NZ. Almost an inexcusable decision.

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          • “De Villiers should really have elevated himself in the batting order. ”
            A good comment there…

            ABD is a v good amiable guy
            And a v talented batsmen

            But he is NOT captaincy material
            U could see in their ‘huddle’ how other players were sermonising more than abd

            One of the BEST innings of all time I’ve watched was when DHONI went up the order in a tight run chase in a WC FINAL
            & won it…
            It’s a big thing to say but
            That was BIGGER AND BETTER than any innings even 10dulkar has played !!

            SA missed strong leadership (like a dhoni)
            Plus they proved their ‘choker’ tag

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  40. CHOKERS have CHOKED again!!
    Havnet called SA chokers for nothin

    Watched final bits
    When Ross Taylor was out, SA had it in their pocket

    But SA did it again
    POOR captaincy by devilliers
    BAD fielding
    MISSED run outs

    the better team won

    Finally the BLACK CAPS CRICKET team matched their RUGBY m8s

    But the highlight was how McCullum RAPED STEYN

    Really impressed by grant–cool n calm and did the job

    Like

  41. ABD and Morne Morkel wiping their tears…oh what a cruel end!

    But well played, Grant Elliott. Nerves of steel and shepherded a fantastic run chase when chips were down; ironically born and learned cricket in SA.

    Oh well, you’re still the best, ABD!

    Like

  42. Like

  43. The margin doesn’t illustrate the difference between the teams
    NZ was the better team

    SA have always promised but never delivered

    SA got beaten twice
    By india by a huge margin
    And even by pak (of all the teams!)

    Grant Elliott’s innings was SUPERLATIVE
    I rate such stuff higher than the FREAKO/ REVERSE SWEEP /PADDLING/DILSCOOPS played by ABD

    POOR Captaincy in the crunch situations by ABD

    Giving away nearly 300 runs in 43 overs with Steyn, morkel and Tahir in ŷour lineup is SHAMEFUL

    Like

    • much more than the weather the numbers here are utterly lopsided for India.

      Like

    • It’s really crunch time for Kohli. He;s been quiet throughout the tournament pretty much (since that first match) and here it’s hard to imagine a situation where he isn’t needed to get a big one.

      Like

      • Kohli should watch NH10 once again and imbibe Meera’s attitude! I have given up on Kohli. And I am looking forward to Shikhar, Raina and Dhoni.

        Like

        • coolguy3318 Says:

          Raina takes too many chances. Aussies are too good to let him get away easy.
          Shikhar is enigmatic like Rohit, but together are capable to get India off a good start.
          Kohli needs to put up his best now, else his best Indian batsman in current era tag is up for the taking.
          I hope we don’t need to depend too much on Dhoni apart from his captaincy and maybe a few hits low down the order. If Dhoni comes in and we still need lot of runs I don’t think Australia will let than happen at their home.
          Jadeja I still think shouldn’t really be in the team.

          If India needs to win Rohit, Virat and bowlers will need to be at their best.

          Like

      • Duminy and ADV made some costly errors. But SA and rain just don’t mix. Whether its 92, 03 or now…they have been made to pay in the most heart-breaking of ways.
        I have little sympathy though. They seem to be a team that find ways to lose when they are in control. Great teams simply do the opposite, they win from unlikely situations. The Duminy incident, could have happened to anyone but for SA it happens in the crucial moment. Who can forget the most calamitous moment in 99’ between Donald and Klusenar. They just keep on doing it and this time even the calm, extra-ordinary talents of ADV managed a crucial mistake at a crunch moment.
        NZL were lucky too. Possibly ADV could have moved up the order but I doubt he knew rain was coming. SA were on for 350+ and that would have probably been enough. When they came back from the rain, ADV only faced 5 balls! But Miller did a spectacular job anyway. But without the rain, SA were definitely on course to get close to 350+. A 350 run chase with 50 overs is very different to the one NZL just accomplished.

        This DL is a very poor metric now. If they are using “history” they should only use the last few years now. The game is changed. NZL should have been chasing 320 odd IMO. NZL got this benefit…

        But they managed to win. That’s the point in the end and Elliot played a blinder.

        Like

  44. “It’s really crunch time for Kohli.”
    Agree
    Virat Kohli is simply one of the best batsmen in world cricket today –full stop !!

    The semifinal is the actual ‘FINAL’
    Ps: will be trying but difficult to find time to catch this Sf live though..

    In Australia & India
    We are NOT talking about teams like NZ, SA who never reached the finals before

    We are taking about Two teams that have WON the cup multiple times
    50/50 for aus/ind for me (though aus have a slight edge!)
    Any venue /any size of ground
    The team winning the toss should bat first and try to put numbers on the board ….
    Team batting first will straightway go 60/40 up…

    Like

  45. India has a huge Mission Impossible moment. First with Australia and if it crosses that hurdle next with NZ which is in great form.

    Like

  46. With all those high in the air balls, it looked more like volleyball than cricket. It is the groundstrokes done in style that caught my eyes. Is it not time to put a cap on big sixes each batsman can go for?

    Like

  47. [edited]

    Numbers of skiers grassed by SA–felt it was pak that were fielding !

    Over number 5 of NZ
    Dale steyn to Brendon Mccullum
    4s & 6s
    Debauchery of perhaps the best pacer in world cricket!

    “But SA and rain just don’t mix.”

    Perhaps the CHOKERS SA should play only after checking the weather report!!

    And anushka sharma should be BANNED till the wc is over for india

    Like

  48. Bye bye chokers & ab devilliers & their ‘impact index’
    It was shameful the way SA & steyn and ABD got maltreated & effectively got mauled again
    4 the third time in a single tournament …. 🙂

    Like

  49. thecooldude Says:

    If India wins against Aus, we will have a first final in WC history between 2 teams who have won every single game in the tournament (1979 WC final was also between 2 undefeated teams (England vs WI) but WI game against SL was rained out.

    Like

  50. Goddamit with the timings if you stay in US. On top of it it had to rain. It is frustrating if you have a job at 7 am in the morning. Missed out yesterday’s game..Why the heck can’t they push these knock-out games at least to the week-ends?

    Really feel for SA. I am not at ALL in favor of ugly, childish tactics like sledging. [LOL if you call abusing someone’s mom or dad or sister ‘mind-games’!!] So kudos to NZ if they won WITHOUT resorting to such immaturity unlike the racist-bullies Aussies.

    India really HAS to climb the Everest to beat the Aussies. Put 350 on board, and the game is yours. I don’t see any other way of winning here, though I understand spin is supposed to be a deal-breaker here.

    I would HATE for Australia to win the cup. There is no ‘logic’ here. From the gut, I would hate for Australia to win the cup. The God’s seem to be favoring NZ though. I hope they win it, if not India..

    On Dhoni, he has NEVER won prestigious cups twice. You can check..

    Like

    • The stars are aligning for a historic Indian win here. Barring SL they would have faced all the big teams and beaten them if they win. They’d be doing it against there natural instincts. I think they have more than a chance. Bat first and post a big score…then hopefully see the aussies squeel !

      Like

      • Well, at the nets, Raina and Dhawan are still struggling with the short balls!!

        Like

        • Gavaskar recently said that he didn’t know of a batsman in history who was comfortable against short-pitched stuff. Obviously there was a way of handling it and the good batsmen often did so but that no one was ever completely ok with it. At least in his view.

          Like

      • yes and the Aussies have been showing some nervousness. Warne and Clarke appealing on twitter for fans to show up. C’mon! Still batting first might be crucial. And check out the link I posted earlier today. Didn’t realize India have had such a poor record historically at Sydney in ODIs. Have won there once in the last 35 years. Having said that the reason probably is that this has mostly been a batting track. In a test you can bat it out at least for a draw. In a one day India have probably not had the bowling for the most part to take advantage. But in any case the bowling has performed this time and has bowled out the opposition every single match so far. Will be interesting to see if they can maintain this run. But again what I remain most impressed by through the tournament is a certain poise and discipline on the part of the Indians. They’ve been in a few tight situations but they’ve had their poise. On the other hand the Australians have actually not looked too great in this Cup. Lost the early match, then couldn’t bat against NZ, Pak gave them a scare.

        On a related note here’s Kohli’s record against Aus in ODIs:

        http://sports.ndtv.com/icc-cricket-world-cup-2015/news/239569-world-cup-semi-final-virat-kohli-s-odi-record-against-australia

        An impressive 51 average but all of the big scores have come in India. In Aus he hasn’t crossed 21 against them. So really he has to come through here in more ways than one. Still India can probably get by without him (there’s enough batting here) but the bowling will really have to be on song either way.

        Like

        • Not a great record. But there is something about this Indian side which screams resilience so far. Someone is stepping up each time.
          And so far they don’t look jaded or flustered.

          I actually am warming and leaning to them winning this world cup. In 2011, I was gung ho throughout, this time gradually as the tournament has progressed they have played better and better. And they have yet to peak IMO.

          The fear is, all this unwinds in the matter of a few bad overs. And India are more susceptible to that than Australia. Australia have a history or grit, steeliness and confidence. They have overcome obstacles through sheer will. They find ways to come out on top. India less so. The fear is an Indian collapse. Or a few erratic overs and suddenly the flood gates opening.

          Like

          • yes against Aus they can’t have the sort of moment that they had against Ire. The latter scored very briskly for about ten overs and Shami/Yadav were largely ineffective. You just can’t give Aus that sort of window at any point.

            Like

          • The key to beating NL is getting McCullum early. They are not quite a 1 man team, but the momentum he creates even if he bats for only 25 balls is so much. He has a strike rate of 200+ in the first 20 balls or something. That head start demoralises the bowlers, the conventional players get set and they score big.

            The situation with Australia is different. In reality they have like 4 inconsistent McCullums. Warner, Finch, Maxwell, Faulkner can all play that destructive knock. But they are less consistent. You knock one over, there is another waiting. You feel not all of them can’t fail (against NL they did). So I fear there is a point that Australia will be on top and it is about controlling that and not letting it out of hand.

            If India beat Aus and lose to NL it would be more disappointing than if India lost to Aus.

            I remember 2003. Boy did Australia kick our ass. But we one the toss and put them in (terrible decision). We started with Nehra and Khan (and not Srinath) and they were all over the place. By the time India got some control back, Australia were 180 odd off 30 overs and Ponting/Martyn ready to take the game away. It took India way too long to get into that match. Can’t allow it. 2-3 bad overs in a match is fine, but then need to stop the rot and get back in the match. Dhoni in that way is better. He’ll change it up and not let the match drift. He is the best captain in the tournament. Forget being an “attacking captain”…Dhoni is a sensible captain, and usually rises to the occasion. It’s no coincidence Chennai do so well in the IPL. He knows what to do and when.

            Like

          • again agreed..

            Incidentally on Kohli he has done very well against Aus in tests (i.e. in Aus) so the ODI thing could be a bit of a fluke. He was of course huge at Sydney the last time (jan) they played (147 and 46).

            Like

    • I think they’ll win if they put up 300. 320 would be very safe but I think 300 will probably be ok.

      Like

  51. coolguy3318 Says:

    The problem is in general people are happy with India reaching Semis and doing so well in WC 2015 since expectations were very low in the start. So even if they loose no one is going to cry unlike SA. So it comes down to how much you want to win and it seems like Aussies and NZ want it more than India. So I am mentally prepared for Aus-NZ final.

    Plus if India would have done badly in WC then the revenues would have badly hit, so you can understand what I am hinting at. Well its just a theory. Who knows??

    Like

    • coolguy3318 Says:

      So India may still win on Thursday and loose the Final. But India winning it all looks not possible though I would love that to happen.

      Like

      • I don’t think they’ll lose the final if they win this one. Also remember NZ will be playing at MCG which is a far cry from all their grounds. In a way it would be a fitting finale between the two unbeaten teams of the tournament.

        Like

        • NZ grounds are joke. You mistime a hit and it is still a six. Intact I attribute Pakistan winning 1992 cup to that (NZ deliberately losing one of the league match so that they don’t play Semis in Australia). It was as if Inzy was playing with tennis ball on those small grounds.

          Like

          • true and it’s especially problematic when the WC is split between these two countries. There’s too much of a gap in this sense. and yeah though Inzamam showed up pretty much out of nowhere in that WC he certainly got the right ground for it! though he batted well enough in the final too he did vastly better at Auckland.But Pakistan were lucky in that WC anyway. At one point they were facing elimination and they were depending on WI and some other team to get a certain kind of result to then get in. And it worked out for them. They played well in the semi and the final but otherwise their overall tournament was poor or mixed at best. On the other hand in ’87 they co-hosted it, were more stable and still lost. That year India disappointed too. Against Eng in the semi I remember Kapil Dev being egged on by the crowd and needlessly going for some big hits and of course getting out that way. Not the only reason of course but it was one and he was more or less the last hope at that point.Then in the final Gatting behaved even more stupidly. Tried to reverse sweep Border when he was doing just fine otherwise and he was gone. They still came very close. They could have won it.

            Like

          • In 1987 Gooch “swept” us out! I still remember having bought the TV recently, I was getting restless with sweeps shots and Kapil not putting a fielder for longest time to cover the area or ask bowler to bowl differently.

            Like

          • yes that’s right..

            Like

    • Well I’ll certainly be upset if they lose after getting this far and with such consistency. It will of course depend on the match. If they pull a SL (against SA) then one can’t say much. But if it’s a normal match it will be quite disappointing. True they’ve already reached the semis and after winning last time they’re no shame in losing at this stage. However the expectations have built up by now and justifiably. They’ve been too sturdy throughout the tournament and now whatever their form might have been going into it simply doesn’t matter. On a related note Sachin predicted exactly these four semifinalists some months ago at his book launch. He said India would surprise everyone. More recently Gavaskar said that people had read too much into the Tri-series because the Indians had been constantly experimenting there with their eye on the WC.

      Will say that whatever bad blood there might or might not have been between Dhoni and Kohli and whatever the issues with Dhoni’s own abilities (he’s been waning as an athlete in more ways than one) here he’s really made it his WC once again. He’s come through in crunch-time situations with the bat, he’s been creative as captain (bowling changes and so on). He’s certainly overshadowed Kohli so far. It will be a great triumph for him if they win it all, probably a greater one than the last time around. Nonetheless and even if they can win without such a contribution I do hope we see something special from Kohli in the remainder of this tournament.

      Like

      • coolguy3318 Says:

        Well, I don’t think it’s going to happen. Maybe I am the only one critical of Dhoni to not put enough pressure on Jadeja to get his act together. Binny was selected over Yuvraj (if anyone remembers) and he doesn’t get a match post Tri series. If the experimentation on Binny was over in Tri series there was still room to bring in Yuvraj. Our batting line up dies at no.6 (though Jadeja and Ashwin can contribute) but you expect that from 8 and 9’s in this format. Our main batsmen are all strokemakers and no one really gives that much confidence that they will stick it out when going gets tough. Only Rohit showed temprament against Bangladesh when things were not going right for first 25 overs and they played slowly but survived. I wouldn’t want to talk about Dhoni’s and Raina’s innings against Zimbabwe since the match was a dead rubber for us and should have been used to see what Jadeja and Axar Patel are made off.

        Honestly India at present doesn’t look like a champion team so I find it difficult that they can do it.

        No captain is above the team including Dhoni/Ponting/Waugh/Ganguly etc. , so giving away all the credit to Dhoni is a bit unfair on team though he has done no. of things quite well and I agree to that.

        And above all it’s our bowling who has done things right which has been the game changer. Yes Dhoni backed his bowlers but need to give it to them for coming back after been joked around (India’s bowling was considered as a joke prior to cup).

        Like

        • I’m not giving him all the credit.. just saying that with a lot of the criticism he was facing going into the tournament he seems to have redeemed himself. But of course it’s true that no captain is better than his team. On the other a team can under-perform with poor captaincy.

          Like

  52. just saw the DeVilliers press conference. Poor guy couldn’t control his tears even here and the media tends to be so idiotic. A 100 ‘how do you feel?’ kind of questions! Or ‘do you think you lost the match with the run out?’! Lara and VVZ were sympathetic, said SA would have easily done 350 without the rain. Sunny was harsher, felt they’d choked once more.

    Like

  53. On unconventional champions and their technique:

    ——————————————————————————

    In cricket, there are always some players who are singled out and derided for their technique. Everyone knows the drill: with deliberate intent to soil reputations, these players are given epithets like ‘caveman’, ‘axe-man’, ‘axe-wielder’ etc. Some purists take special delight in pointing out their technical flaws, never-mind the fact that purists shouldn’t be watching ODI cricket in the first place, much less commenting on it.

    Brendan McCullam is one such cricketer. His technique can be described as follows: see the ball, give the bowler a charge and get as much bat speed as possible in the (presumed) direction of the ball. It doesn’t matter if the bowler is super-quick or slow, he will try his best to club the ball. It’s as if he just hates the increasingly marginalized species called bowlers.

    He has an unusually wide stance, one that looks ugly but comes in handy when he decides to cut or pull, presumably once he gets bored charging down the pitch. He is a purist’s nightmare.

    The other hero for NZ, Grant Elliott, with ice-cool veins, isn’t too appealing either. In the old days, forget the purists, even cricketers obsessed with technique would have given him a mouthful, over his workman-like skills.

    And there are still times, even today, when Dhoni’s off-side game is viewed as a blind man’s attempt to seek firm footing; a feat achieved by poking one’s stick around. Snobbery, after all, comes fast, loose and free.

    And yet, cricket is a richer game because of such players. These gents are not obedient students of the coaching manual but free-spirited warriors who love a scrap, or two. They may not have the technique to make the purists swoon but they are at their best when the chips are down; when the odds are stacked against them, it’s as if a secret switch gets turned on and deep inside, they just let loose a chuckle. They know, it’s time for them to take center stage.

    Once they get down to work, they usually finish the job and then, predictably, retreat back to their rather unremarkable status; ready to face a similar challenge, when called for duty again. They are the ones who slay the Goliaths who cross their path, destroy well-earned reputations and absorb pressure as if it’s the easiest thing to do. They are men full of robust self-belief and iron will; qualities strong enough to flout conventional routes to success.

    Hollywood would call them ‘The Expendables’. The Real Expendables.

    Any sport, not just cricket, would just be poorer with the absence of such characters. It’s time we cut out the BS and give credit where it has been overdue.

    Like

    • if you follow this logic though you can’t be a fan of ABD. You can’t have it both ways. But otherwise there’s nothing new about this. Cricket has had the unorthodox for a long time now. But again in an age where the bowler often has less to do the batsman can seem like a superhero massacring the bowling. Not saying such cricketers shouldn’t be part of the mix. Of course everyone cannot be a textbook cricketer. But at the game’s highest stratospheres technique and everything connected with it is valued for a reason as it is in any other sport. The greatest have both qualities. They can do a lot but they can also do it very well. But again everyone can be David on these pitches and with those bats let alone with NZ boundaries!

      Like

  54. Tomorrow, the predictable winners are Australians.
    The unpredictable winners are Indians.

    Indian cricketers’ unpredictability opens all possibilities.

    It is almost like World cup final.There is that rain which brings out more unpredictability.

    Like

  55. Anushka Sharma’s impromptu oriental vacation had suggested that the actress will not be joining beau Virat Kohli for the final leg of the cricket World Cup to avoid the blame-game of the past. But she was spotted dining with him at an Indian restaurant a couple of nights back. It was rather hush-hush and the two kept a low-profile to avoid the paparazzi.

    Reportedly, Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli are all set to tie the knot. Read on to know more…

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/Anushka-Sharma-Virat-Kohli-relationship/criphotostory/46664741.cms

    Like

  56. 12 hours from now…India is going to kick your ass aussies!!!!!!!!!!!! Come on India!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

    • This is the biggest rivalry cricket can offer as of now and arguably since the famous 2001 series victory by India.
      It’s fair to say India have never been in this period the best side in any format for any sustained period. In fact they have been a floating side, often very good, often good and usually dangerous without being dominant. Australia obviously dominated till around 2008-09.
      But of the other clashes (Aus-Eng, Aus-SA, Ind-Pak), this is the one for me of consistent quality cricket. India did something special in 2001 and nearly repeated in 04 in Australia. They have at times got the better, but mostly got the worst, but consistently they have unsettled Australia. And the “money” Indian cricket brings, furthers the rivalry more.

      Like

      • Cautiously optimistic here but by no means confident of an Indian win.

        Like

        • Gavaskar said his heart is with India but his mind says Aus. This would be a great game to attend though. They’re saying 70% of the crowd might be Indian! LOL, imagine a home game away from home! Think the key is India batting first. I think if they win the toss I’d say they have an 80% chance of winning. If they lose it and Aus decide to bat first and again assuming nothing crazy happens I’d say it’s 70-30 in their favor. And it’s of course about the score either way. I have this odd sense that India can chase 300 better than Aus. If India put up 300 I don’t believe Aus will do it this time. Now if Aus put up 350 it’s pretty much over.

          VVS made a point that I agree with. He said that though the Indian bowlers have done very well throughout they still haven’t been tested so it’s not clear how they would perform under real pressure (i.e. if things didn’t go their way for a while). Lara meanwhile picks India for the win and also says he wants them to win.

          Like

  57. Australia may lose because of numerology. 9 and 26.

    Like

  58. Tomorrow’s match reminds me of an underrated transcendental (no Riaz’s spell, good as it was, doesn’t deserve to be called “transcendental” I am afraid) piece of pace bowling and one of the very best spells in World Cup history. Can’t find the Youtube link for it, but here is from Dailymotion-

    Watch from 5:17 mark-

    Like

  59. GIDEON HAIGH
    Lessons of Bishan Bedi forgotten by new crop

    THE AUSTRALIAN
    JANUARY 19, 2012 12:00AM
    EVERY now and again, I swap emails with Bishan Bedi, whom I met some years ago in England, and who of all cricketers whose paths I have crossed is perhaps the most spontaneously effusive and joyful.

    Bishan is enjoying this series. He applauds good cricket whomever is playing it, and he loves Test cricket, which he regards as everyone’s mission to preserve. “I hope U r doing yur bit to keep the game alive – Tests I mean!” read a recent email sign-off: which was actually quite understated from Bishan, who seldom uses one exclamation mark where two are permissible.

    “The most Indian of Indian cricketers and the most international” says Suresh Menon in a splendid new biography published by Penguin entitled Bishan: Portrait of a Cricketer – and it was ever thus.

    When England’s Dennis Amiss was struggling against spin in India back in the 1970s, Bishan famously consented to bowl to him in the nets, and coached him back into form. When the Australians played their 2008 Tests in India, Bedi was invited to talk slow bowling with Jason Krejza, who went out and took 12 wickets on debut.

    But how it grieved Indian Bishan, rather than international Bishan, when his countrymen went into their recent Test in Perth without a spinner. Virender Sehwag bowled the only spin, seven overs of off-roll, and India’s slow-motion over rate, 76 overs in 362 minutes, has cost it its captain for the final Test.

    When Bishan captained India in Perth 34 years ago, it picked three spinners, and Bishan himself took 12 wickets at a time when the pitch was at the zenith of its reputation as the fastest and bounciest in the world. No other left-arm spinner has improved on his 31 wickets in an Australian series.

    Watching Bishan that summer was a part of my cricket education for which I will be ever grateful. Children of the 1970s were born into a world of pace; from the reverent distance maintained by ABC television cameras, slow bowlers looked rather soft and floaty by comparison. That is, until I saw Bishan during the Melbourne Test.

    My friends and I were sat square of the wicket, so that it was possible to discern the arcs of the Indian spinners. It was Bhagwat Chandrasekhar who took the figures, the terrific whiz of his arms seeming to whirl him off his feet.

    But ah, Bishan: every ball the same, every ball different; some that hovered, some that dropped, some delivered with a tiny pant of extra effort, some held back so long that it was hard to believe they would make it to the other end. So that was what slow bowling was all about.

    It was especially cunning for being so beautiful. Menon writes feelingly of a personal affinity for his subject’s bowling, describing how he was once bedridden in intensive care following surgery and incapable of reading or watching television. He could think of nothing lovelier than Bishan’s trajectory – soothing, exciting, weightless, various. “The rainbow makes a beautiful arc, but it is predictable,” Menon says.

    All of it, too, came wrapped in this marvellously exotic package: the colourful patkas, the love handles, the action so easy yet so inimitable. Bishan was naturally robust. Playing marbles as a boy had strengthened his fingers; wringing his clothes dry after washing them from a young age had hardened up his wrists and forearms. But he never seemed to expend an ounce of effort. There is an exquisite photo of him taken at Lord’s by Patrick Eagar in 1974: about to enter his delivery stride and connected to the ground by just the outside of the toe of his left boot, he appears to be not so much bowling as levitating.

    About the scandalous falling off in Indian cricket evident this summer, Bishan is disappointed rather than surprised.

    For years, he has been something of a lone voice in deploring the carpetbaggers and parish pump politicians who run Indian cricket, excluding himself from the rich pickings available to ex-players prepared to cosy up to the regime.

    “All his deception he kept for his bowling; outside the cricket field, he is neither deceptive nor tricky,” writes Menon in Bishan. “He never bowled defensively, so he didn’t see why he should talk defensively either.”

    Nor is this a new grudge. Menon proves Bishan and the Board of Control for Cricket in India to be old antagonists.

    Australian cricketers of the 1970s who complained of administrative high-handedness and parsimony had nothing on their Indian counterparts, and Bishan as captain was every bit as much the shop steward as Ian Chappell.

    Rather than lodge Bishan’s team in a proper hotel for a Nagpur Test, for example, the BCCI once put them in an MLA Hostel in which only captain and manager had running water.

    So fiercely did Bishan excoriate the local association representative that he was charged with insubordination, and summonsed to appear before a five-member disciplinary committee – sitting, by the way, in a five-star hotel in Bombay.

    After his reprimand, Bishan learned that the BCCI had failed to book him return tickets to Chandigarh where he was due to play a Duleep Trophy match. There being no seats left on the train, the captain of India bunked in a luggage rack for the 1400km journey to Delhi, then took a bus for the last 250km.

    Bishan, nonetheless, was too much the traditionalist to be tempted by Kerry Packer’s inducements, and it was thanks to his influence that India alone did not provide a player for World Series Cricket.

    A Packer emissary who visited Bishan in Pakistan pushed a chequebook aggressively across a table: he could name his price.

    Bishan pushed it back: he would have nobody put a price tag on him. Next week, many of the world’s top cricketers will queue for just this privilege in the Indian Premier League auction. A curious business, Bishan thinks.

    Today, Bishan runs a charitable foundation and a cricket school on Delhi’s outskirts that has produced a dozen Test cricketers and 50 first-class players.

    It features 25 turf wickets and a kennel for his dogs. His enthusiasm remains boundless.

    “First enjoy!” he says. “Technique can follow!” You will win and lose, he believes, but you must always love the game. “Have a good New Year Gideon & Godbless now & ever!!” he signed off in his last mail. God bless you too, Bishan.

    Like

  60. AamirsFan Says:

    good luck to all the indian supporters here…may the best team win. should be a huge and terrific match. curious to see the crowd.

    Like

  61. I’m ‘unbiased’ as usual–
    Let ‘truth’ prevail and the better team (on the day) win !!

    As I mentioned–the toss is important and note how Aussies elected to bat (ignoring the talk of early movement!)

    Aus clearly have the edge unless india play out of their skin !
    Not beyond india but needs an outstanding effort from them under pressure

    Indias spin duo will be crucial—
    How ashwin & jadeja are played will determine this innings!

    Steve smith in ominous form and needs to be removed soon or else will take the match away from india

    Like

  62. It’s a batting pitch but this is looking as a 300 plus chase in a crucial semifinal knockout–unless india take quick wickets!
    Finch -Smith partnership needs to be broken ASAP
    Smith in sublime form
    Aus ensuring that the spin threat is soaked up by smith who along with Michael Clarke play spin well…
    Ashwin & jadejas spell crucial for both teams …

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  63. It’s a lost cause dude; with curses from Bangladesh & Pakistan, it is written in stone almost…God, cricket has pushed me back to superstitions $ medieval ages…losing the toss was the first bad omen…

    Like

  64. Ok folks enjoy…The writing is clear on the wall..starting with the toss..let’s meet in 2019..if everything is still..alive?

    Like

    • Massive wicket but might not be enough. Maxwell could have sealed India’s fate, now they can be looking at a smaller total, but still well into 300s

      Like

  65. Moment of the game—

    Steve smith has replaced Ponting as the no 3 bat !!
    Ashwin has been raped by maxwell repeatedly in all forms of the game.
    To stop a rampaging maxwell, dhoni takes the ultimate gamble
    Brings back ashwin who has only two overs left–
    & gives him a great field–and maxwells gone!

    ustralia looking at nearly 350 which is too much-unless india can get quick wickets this is going aus way…

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  66. Bang bang —finch gone…
    But ind needs aus below 335 or so–even that’s stretching it…

    Perhaps Steve smith has done too much (unless somebody can match it!)

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  67. Bang bang —
    Clarke gone!!

    Now ind can aim for aus under 300!!

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  68. If u bowl 145 plus at the right spots –u get awarded like yadav
    Let’s see how ind cope with the Mitchells
    If aus lose, Clarke will get axed as captain

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  69. Same ground where Australia scored 376 against SL. The difference then was Maxwell, who scored a 100 of 50 balls.

    And SL scored 312 in reply. So let’s see how it goes.

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  70. Last 2 overs were splendid. Hope India will also dazzle the world.

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  71. Australia has got an above par score –
    Anything above 300 batting second in a semifinal is a big ask

    India will have to produce a superlative batting perfomance to stop the Aussies here
    Do they have it in them ?

    Ps: key will be not to aim for 330, keep wickets with u till 30-35 overs with just 5 /over –accelerate later
    Ps2: the big risk is u don’t want to aim high and then CoLlapse

    Time for kohli to shine … Let’s see what stuff anushka is made of

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  72. Invincible Indians!

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  73. THIS is what kohli was upto before this crunch game!!

    As I’ve said before, anushka has to ‘pay’ for this !!!

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  74. 2 failures out of 2 for Kohli in clutch situations in this WC. Didn’t do too well in 2011 either!

    It does make one think that there’s more than just talent that’s required to play when the heat is on. Only a select few possess this inner steel.

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    • And now Rohit Sharma gone as well. The floodgates are open!

      Good captaincy by Clark to attack after Dhawan’s dismissal.

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      • Only Dhoni can save this situation. But there is too much to do here. India are haunted by the recent drubbings dished out by Australia.

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      • Think it’s impossible for India from here, when you are 3 down at this stage your batting needs to run really deep and I don’t think that is the case with the India (Australia has Johnson coming at 9 and we saw how it mattered. It’s not just having any batsman batting at 8-9, but folks who can use the long handle well). If India reaches 270 from here on, I will say they have done well. 329 is a MAMMOTH total to chase in a World Cup semi-final, plain and simple.

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        • Yes, chasing 329 in an ODI is different from chasing the same score in a WC semifinal! Wish they could have put up a decent fight. Oh well…

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          • I don’t think there was much wrong with what Dhawan was doing. He was doing what McCullum did. India needed a good start and he gave it.
            Really think Kohli has gone to sleep in the last few matches. And Sharma was nervous from the start.

            All down to Dhoni now. 20 over game, they need 192. If in 10 overs they need 105-110 with 5 down, they still have a shot. Easier said than done.

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          • Yes, but McCullam played in the exact same way in all the matches. He didn’t change his gameplan one bit.

            Dhawan, on the other hand, had always started slow before picking up pace.

            One can’t just turn up in a WC semifinal and decide on the spot to play like McCullam. In fact, changing any plans late at this stage is a recipe for disaster.

            India’s highest score of 307 came against SA. The target was 22 runs more! They should have just played normal cricket and built pressure on the Aussies.

            When a team is chasing 300+, at least one batsman has to get a 100. More importantly, at least one batsman has to look to get a 100. That’s the disappointing part of India’s innings so far.

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          • agreed all round… Kohli is still the biggest disappointment though.. specially after having such an indifferent WC one would have expected him to show up here. I’d even blame the bowlers less. Great as they did throughout I always had some questions about them in Sydney against this sort of opposition. And in any case they’ve performed throughout. Kohli has really been a letdown. Let’s hope he gets one more crack at it!

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          • India need to make merry with the 5th bowler. And they have not lost a wicket in Batting PP. If they keep that record up, they are absolutely still in the game.

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          • we pretty much need a century from each of them at this point. Another 120 or so runs between them will do that and the score would be close to 300 at that point. Of course one could go before doing that century and the other could stick around till the end. Either way it will have to be that sort of thing. In some ways it’s like the final last time around. It was 31/2 (Sehwag 0, Sachin 18) but then they took it to 118 for 3 before Kohli went. and of course Gambhir played the inning of his life, then Dhoni got close to a century too.

            Damn! That’s the end of Rahane.

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          • this too was an avoidable out. Damn.

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          • Come on $2mm IPL player. Jadeja, this is your moment to hit a 20 ball 50.

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          • throughout the tournament dhoni has said Jadeja needs to show something with the bat. Guess this is his moment..

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          • It’s just too difficult. India could have been chasing 300 or 330 or 360. At 77-0, they were getting into a position where they were in the game and worrying Australia. Since then, Australia have mauled them.
            Ironically, the way Australia have done it, is the only way I felt India could win (if they won the toss).

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          • true.. which is why it would be one of the great comebacks if it did happen.. and it cannot be done without serious hitting by Jadeja at this point. they need almost 14.5 runs per over.

            and now a run out.

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          • I just don’t get. Not watching live. But for a team chasing 10+ runs an over, they have hit only 2 boundaries in the last 5 overs.
            Are the aussies really bowling this well?
            what are they waiting…they should have gone for it in the PP.

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          • even the commentators are a bit mystified!

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          • 2 sixes in two balls by Dhoni.. let’s see what his luck is like today.

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          • You know Dhoni is good, but I hate it when these guys play a “Misbah” like innings. It hardly comes off. They should have been doing this much earlier, sure they would have lost…but I don’t see any consolation in batting out the 50 overs and losing by 50 runs.

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          • agree completely..

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          • I respect Dhoni. Today he has batted the best. And he does not deserve flak. But if you want to chase these monster totals, you need to hit the shots earlier. Rahane and Sharma were guilty of that for sure. Cynically, they were “in” whereas Kohli was finding his feet. If you are in, you’ve got to score big.
            No sympathy here, India failed big time today. Had a huge chance at 250-5, only 8 overs left. Australia went at 10 an over out of nowhere. Then at 77-1…they could still just play normally for 10-15 overs but lost big wickets. Now its like they are trying to get some kind net run rate going! Oh the honour of batting out 50 overs and losing by 50 runs.

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          • Australia have basically repeated the 2003 final mauling. Except that year, it was very comprehensive and India were never in the game.
            Here at certain points you could say they were in the game, but they were never ahead of the game.

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          • there’s only one thing to do now.. Dhoni should just let loose.. nothing more to be done.

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          • “Kohli has really been a letdown. Let’s hope he gets one more crack at it!”
            Wtf how many more “cracks” will he get??
            Or rather “shots” ??
            Enouf of this debauchery in between matches
            I’m taking anushka now 🙂

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  75. Kohli is an embarrassment. Him and Anushka are getting killed on twitter right now. Him rightly so, Anushka undeservingly. But makes me think twice about getting angry at the BCCI for coming up with that no gfs/wives allowed during the games. Actually I think the ban should only be for kohli.

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  76. Amidst the ruins, one simply can’t forget the resolve of a skipper who did not take time off to see his newborn daughter!

    Dhoni even otherwise is a superhero, but with this act, he has shown what it means to be a leader. An old fashioned cricketing sacrifice, perhaps would be lost on all but few…but what a man! What a leader…

    Unlike, you know who!

    Like

  77. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong today. The toss was always going to be crucial here. Letting Aus get to 328 was another blow. And the final one was Kohli’s dismissal. I still haven’t lost hope (hey while the game’s on it’s on!) but it will take one of the great ODI innings from Dhoni to rescue this and for Rahane to stick around. Not only to they have to add 180 odd runs at this point, they have to keep increasing the RR because there’s pretty much no one after this pair. Dhoni is loosening up at the moment but as always in these situations you need a lot of luck as well. But as long as he’s there there is still some hope. He could play one for the ages here.

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  78. I’m just checking the scores now –can’t watch since ‘busy’

    But note how dhoni is still giving it his best and guiding the boy rahane
    Atleast take this to the 40 th over and beyond

    It’s this ‘grit’ & ‘character’ that I’ve mentioned about dhoni before

    Though in this case it seems too much has been left for them to do.

    If they come anywhere near the Aussie target this shall be the best recovery in recent time (& is v unlikely!)

    Though not surprised how the Aussies have tightened the screws

    The MAIN difference was Steve smith today,,

    And the lack of perfomance by sex obsessed kohli !!

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  79. To heck with kohli

    I’ve got anushka now

    Folks Let’s play with the world ‘cup’ now 🙂

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  80. dhoni playing his last WC match and evenif India loose – that man can still walk with his head straight…what a player! what a fighter!

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  81. also those last 2 overs – where aussi tail-ender alrounders smacked 40 odd runs – will weigh heavily

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  82. Its over for India. Too sad.

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  83. The Aussies played like fighters. Whether it is batting or bowling. India played a defensive game.

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  84. coolguy3318 Says:

    Get Back to work guys!! Whatever I had to say I have told in my earlier posts yesterday/day before and got nothing to add after seeing the matchtoday.

    Like

  85. I will not blame Virat. It is just a bad day for him. No one plays to lose.

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    • he flopped in both the QF & SF. Couldn’t handle pressure, as simple as that!

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      • VK was the top scorer in the T20 WC SF, Final, CT2013 final. He was top scorer in the Pak match. As a 21 year old he came in at 2 down in WC final and did pretty well for himself. If anyone can handle pressure its him. Lets not become Another Arnab and start pulling down the team. We did pretty well reaching SF, the toss was very crucial we lost it. Chasing 328 was always a difficult task more so in the SF.

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  86. I will say this again and again: it’s not Dhoni’s fault that he found himself coming in at 108/4; chasing 329, with all but one top order batsmen gone. He had to rebuild. After him, there was Jadeja, who’s neither here nor there as a batsman, especially on faster pitches.

    I’ve been crying hoarse about the lack of yorkers in the death overs and yet again, when India bowled, they bowled short and Mitchell Johnson took advantage. But even chasing 300 with this pathetic display by the top order would have been impossible.

    Having said that, can’t really complain about India’s performance in this WC. They won 7 out of 8; beat Pak and SA comprehensively.

    They choked in the SF, and given their form in the previous mathces, it makes it harder to take, but that’s the way things roll sometimes.

    As Dileep Premchandran has correctly pointed out, Mitchell Johnson came to bowl as first change for Australia. India had Mohit Sharma as first change. We need to keep perspective!

    Indian bowlers bowled quite well throughout and Dhoni captained the side brilliantly!

    If India would have won today, they would have punched far above their weight. It certainly wasn’t impossible, but it needed some good cricketing sense, when it came down to chasing.

    It requires playing the percentages well. Breaking the target down to smaller chunks and staying calm. All of this has been done before but in a high pressure game, only the very best will ever be able to do it on their own.

    That’s why Grant Elliott’s innings was so special. He too had a mountain to climb and surely, he couldn’t have done it alone. But he exuded a preternatural calm, making it obvious to the opposition that he was in the game to win. Fear and courage are highly contagious feelings anyway!

    I wouldn’t call this Australian side great, but there’s still enough talent to get the job done. In the finals, I will root for NZ; McCullam’s been the best captain in this WC and under his leadership, NZ deserve to win it all. Hopefully, they will win.

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    • And save a prayer or blessing for Dhoni, the captain.

      Michael Clarke had 3 all rounders at his disposal: Watson, Faulkner and Maxwell. Dhoni has Jadeja!

      Clarke had Starc, Johnson and Hazelwood as new ball bowlers. Dhoni had Shami, Yadav and Mohit Sharma.

      With the resources that he had at his disposal, whatever he has achieved is nothing short of remarkable. Yes, one can question his leadership in Tests, but in ODIs, he’s probably up there with the best captains the game has ever seen.

      We Indians are lucky to have him as our leader. He has a remarkable work ethic, a street-smart cricketing brain and the capability to absorb pressure unlike anyone else. And he’s a perfect statesman.

      If he had even more qualities, he’d be a fictional superhero.

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    • fair summary.. always thought the toss would be crucial here. Still very disappointing..

      Dhoni just said that Dhawan’s was an avoidable out (called it a ‘soft shot’) and that he had settled in so it mattered more. But he also conceded that pressure makes people do these things. But again you let Aus score 330 and you’ll lose 9 out of 10 times, whoever you are.

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      • I’d not be singling out Dhawan. Sure the shot was rash.
        But the reality is, if you are chasing 330 you need to be going at 7 per over. And Dhawan was doing that. Sharma wasn’t.
        Possibly he didn’t need to hole out that early, but in big chases you need some players to take risks and score quick and others not to. Finch played a steady knock…most the Indian team played at strike rates worse than him!

        Look at Australia – Warner (SR 171), Maxwell (SR 164), Watson (SR 93), Clarke (SR 83), Faulkener (SR 175), Haddin (SR 100) and Johnson (SR 300)
        These guys only scored 128 runs between them but they did it in only 91 balls. Not one of them scored past 28 runs!!! They did not even “try” to get in and use up balls. They just went from it pretty early on.

        Then you have India – Sharma (71), Kohli (7!), Rahane (65), Raina (63)…these guys scored 86 runs (two of them were “more” in then the Australian guys) and used up 140 balls!!!

        If these guys actually scored at the SR’s of Australia, they’d have won.

        Obviously batting second, chasing, pressure will do this to you. But only Dhawan and Dhoni played an innings that was keeping up with the Aussies.

        Dhawan played the Sehwag or Warner or Jayasuriya role. Ideally you want the guy to score 80 odd to make it worthwhile, but if I was pointing fingers, I’d be saying Dhawan you gave your wicket away…but where the hell were Sharma/Kohli/Rahane/Raina today??? Guys who are fluent players with strike rates at test match level!!! This was a big chase, quite frankly you had to get in quick and score quick – or get out! It wasn’t a 200 chase on a rough, difficult wicket where you stick around and score 1 and 2’s.

        Totally bad by Dhoni to call out Dhawan. There were 9 more wickets after him, to score 250 runs off 37.5 overs – a run rate of 6.7. Those 9 wickets yielded only 156 runs!!!

        And Dhawan was batting against the top bowlers. The rest were dealing with Australia’s part timers in the main!

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  87. Our team was like Lagaan team. Recruited randomely, trained randomely, winning sometimes randomely. The other team looked like disciplined army.

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  88. one of the worse semis ever,when india started batting,aussie looked scared but 3 wickets in a short space of time,”disaster” from then india were doomed..

    I tip newzealand to win the world cup
    yes ” undergog “

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  89. underdog i meant

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  90. Prem Panicker: At the end, you felt for Dhoni

    ‘The man who never knows when he is beaten deserved, on the day he played what will be his last World Cup game, mates who were not beaten in the mind before they were beaten on the field.’

    Prem Panicker salutes ‘India’s best one day captain by a long margin who led superbly throughout the tournament.’

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    • One thing I will say about India, they have a great captain. But as Saket keeps saying, ABDV/McCullum/Clarke are way more attacking.
      England are playing ODI cricket from the 80’s. India to my mind are playing the same as they did in 2011. It is still good cricket and still enough to generate big scores. But generally it relies on the player coming, settling in and after 20 or so balls launching.
      What SA/NL/Aus have is almost the ability to launch from ball 1. The grace period is reserved for your Amla’s/Clarke’s/Guptill’s, but a number of batsman just seem like they are “in” the moment they come to the crease and they can tee off straight away. This is a more “modern” way then 2011 cricket. Something India will have to do (Yuvraj use to be able to do this or Sehwag) if they are to prosper again. As much as I don’t like ODI rules today – to win, you’ve really got to be setting your sights on 350 nowadays on good wickets. On the good wickets to consistently score heavy runs…you really need to be knocking 150 in 30 overs either 2 or 3 down and then have the firepower to launch 200 off the final 20 overs.
      I think Dhoni should have come in after 2 wickets down. The Australians changed their order to accommodate Maxwell and Watson before Clarke. Dhoni could have set the tone and then Rahane and Raina could have followed.

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      • There are only a couple of guys (ABD and Maxwell, and in this WC, McCullam) who can be counted to always score at a strike rate of 200. But the truth is, 3 teams out of the 4 semifinalists have them.

        Also, Indian batsmen are too orthodox to play the kind of shots that ABD and Maxwell play. Someone made a great point that Maxwell doesn’t play the bowler, rather he plays the field. Because he can hit in a 360 degree arc, he can do it with ease.

        Not everyone else can do that. Even in the IPL, apart from these 2 guys, there’s no one who can play like that.

        A batsman needs conventional shots plus reverse sweeps, scoops and deft late cuts to be part of his repertoire in order to play all over the ground.

        This is a relatively new development as well. It will take time for the younger players to pick it up. They don’t practice these shots in the nets as frequently as they should.

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  91. thecooldude Says:

    This just shows the huge difference between subcontinent pitches and Austrlian pitches. India would have chased this score with their eyes closed if this was Calcutta or Bangalore. On Australian pitches, against the likes of Johnson and Starc, chasing anthing over 280 is tough for any team. Also, the effect of watching your best batsman getting out at 1 is really huge…specially when you are chasing a big score. Kohli is arguably one of the best chasers in ODI history and his wicket was a big blow. Even though India recovered somewhat with Rahane and Dhoni, it would have taken a comeback of a lifetime to get to 328! Even if India had batted first, I don’t see them going over 300 against the best attack in the world.

    Anyway, cudos to Dhoni. A class player and a classier man.

    Like

    • Kohli scored hugely in tests against Aus but unfortunately maintained his extremely poor ODI record against them in Aus. He averages 51 or so against them but he hasn’t crossed 21 against them outside India. And most of those scores are just about in double digits.

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      • thecooldude Says:

        Also, Indian fast bowlers had to come down to earth in one of these games. They were over achieving by a lot and everyone knew that Australia will finally take them down.

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        • Indian fast bowlers have been getting away with loose bowling throughout the tournament. Not saying they didn’t show talent, but the bowling was simply not as threatening as it was made out to be. Today was a real test, and they failed more or less.

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  92. thecooldude Says:

    Aussies are favorite in the finals. I don’t remember the last time a team beat them TWICE in a tournament. This will be like SL playing India in the WC final in Mumbai!

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    • I really hope NZ win. Just to see a different nation lift the trophy.
      I fear if Australia win…they are set to dominate again and with the next WC in England, they’ll be favs.

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      • thecooldude Says:

        I am sure everyone outside Australia is rooting for NZ. The pressure will be on them since they have never won it.

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      • even if Aussies win, it dont think it protends anything..they are not of the same caliber as the team of the 90’s and 00’s ..lot of the teams are pretty even, Aus, NZ, SF and even India..IMO it would be good for NZ to lift the trophy, it will give belief to other smaller nations that they too could one day lift the trophy

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  93. We always have these debates here but today’s Dhoni inning also proves a certain point about clutch players. Dhoni was great today, he did it in some earlier games too but he wasn’t facing anything like the situation he did today. He could have added 20-30 more runs and it still wouldn’t have mattered. Because no matter how great the clutch effort you still need a foundation. Even if you come in very early in the batting order you still need some support. Let’s the say the openers had gone cheaply and Kohli had made a century under great pressure. He would still have needed very significant help from others later on to get to this total. In a game like cricket with lots of factors and variables this is especially true. Of course there are clutch players, of course there are those who handle pressure well but that alone doesn’t get it done.

    In that extraordinary, one of the greatest ever knocks, Kapil Dev got 175 out of India’s 266 in a match against Zimbabwe. No one got to double digits in that game before he came in. Even after him no one crossed 20 or something like that. Of course he wasn’t chasing and it was Zimbabwe but when you’re 17/5 at one point even such a team becomes mighty! So yes this is the ‘absolute’ clutch performance. But you get a couple of those every decade and most of those are still not at Kapil Dev’s level (in that inning), usually the team scores something. So that can hardly be the standard. Again the final last time is a good example. Fantastic inning from Gambhir but almost the same was still needed from Dhoni and then Kohli chipped in, later Yuvraj was around. Now a team like Aus has multiple players who are capable of doing this but then it’s not the same sort of pressure on any one guy. Ironically Pak could have taken down Aus in the quarters and I believe India would have beaten Pak again. In other words Pak might have done India a favor by winning that one!

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    • Yeah they were 26/6 not long after Kapil came to the crease. Duncan Fletcher, incidentally, was the Zimbabwe captain in that game. It’s a pity that game was not recorded on video or telecast live. Only people who were part of the crowd were witness to that heroic innings.

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  94. Australia and NZ flags look almost similar.

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  95. India would lose 9 times out of 10 to this simply overall stronger Australian side in an all aspects of the game except perhaps for fielding, which is equal. Even if India had won today, it would have been a one-off, nothing more than that.

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  96. http://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/bollywood/virat-kohlis-poor-show-is-anushka-sharmas-fault-abhishek-bachchan-and-others-disagree/

    On the abuse Anushka got today.

    I should say that there’s something deeply sexist, even misogynistic about blaming girlfriends for how cricketers perform. This too is an old tradition. The absurdity here is that one expects the cricketer to handle the most high pressure situations imaginable in sports but doesn’t quite trust the same to be able to handle a relationship! And since the stress is always on ‘girlfriend’ more than ‘wife’ it’s clear where this criticism emanates from. The latter is a ‘serious’ relationship and less problematic while the former is somehow always about sex and therefore always a distraction (of course even this doesn’t follow.. otherwise there wouldn’t be fantastic athletes anywhere in American sports or elsewhere.. those who let’s say enjoy quite the Hollywood scene in these matters.. it’s as excessive as that). A bit of humor here and there is one thing but to really go crazy over it quite another. But as always deeper social prejudices are revealed in these matters.

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  97. if a mitchel johnson can come in the 49th over and hit 21 out of 9 balls – kohlis and rainas and rohits and dhawans were just not there today – aussies are the champions – only class player was dhoni as he plays under any situation

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  98. Virat Kohli needs to take a one year sabbatical……….

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    • He doesnt need a break. He needs a breakup.

      ..
      ….

      j/k. No offense Anu.

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      • coolguy3318 Says:

        He needs neither. I mean I know you joked but neither people need to venture into their personal lives nor should he let his personal life come into public and effect his focus on the job in hand. In short lack of professionalism on Virat’s part.

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        • For saleability purposes, a celebrity definitely needs Twitter to let the laundry hang out. But a cricketer does not. He ventured into the celebrity domain, and is perhaps paying a price. Hopefully he will make amendments.
          Also, one cannot compare western sports-stars with ours. They don’t have an effigy burning narrow minded junta or over-excited TRP seeking news anchors who assume a right over another’s privacy. This is why sports-figures in India generally tend to lie low.

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  99. Bollywood Celebrities Bash Ranters To Blame Anushka Sharma For India’s Loss

    http://www.koimoi.com/bollywood-news/bollywood-celebrities-bash-ranters-to-blame-anushka-sharma-for-indias-loss/

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  100. I’ve heard a lot of bizarre stuff but this is up there…

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket-world-cup-2015/worldcup2015-dontmiss/for-india-s-sake-tn-youth-sacrifices-tongue-in-local-temple/article1-1331031.aspx

    Guess no one’s more disappointed with the loss than he is..

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    • A 19 years old guy from Delhi belonging to a middle class family was playing a Ranji Trophy match for his hometown. On the 2nd Day when he was batting in his 40s,suddenly he got a call from his uncle informing about his father’s demise.He didn’t leave for the funeral,stood by his team’s side till the last day and scored a match winning ton and removed his helmet hugged his close friend present at the non strikers end and cried looking up towards sky.Today that man is a living legend in terms of Cricket.And He goes by the name Virat Kohli. So think twice before you criticize.
      “If u can’t stand with them in defeat… U should not celebrate their wins also. A team that many outruled of reaching the semifinals also performed well in world cup. Winning and loosing are part of the game. All d best for the future games. Play n have fun.
      – Sachin Tenndulkar”

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      • Well said the little master.
        People lack the maturity to take defeats in the same way as victories. They find the easiest target, easiest scapegoat. While introspection is necessary, blamegame has to be stopped.

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  101. Dhoni said that he prefers to wriggle out of situations and that seems to be his specialisation. This may work with lesser teams but it will not work when faced by mammoth teams like Australia or even NZ in its present form. Dhoni stuck to his batting position which looks like adamancy than smartness. All his tricks came to zero when it mattered most. Now he should start giving tips as to how to lose a game!

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    • Hindsight is obviously great, but I think the moment Dhawan was out I’d have flirted with the idea of putting Jadeja in. A ‘pinch’ hitting type innings, something anywhere north of 30 runs in 20 balls alongside Sharma playing normally could have taken India to 130-2 off 20 overs.
      Then you’ve kept the pressure on the bowlers and quite frankly if Sharma, kohli, rahane, raina and dhoni could not knock off 200 in the remaining 30 overs then India were not good enough. I think India needed to gamble a bit in those first 20 overs and keep ahead of the run rate…they were never going to win even with wickets in hand and having to score at 10 an over late on for more than 10 overs.
      Dhoni’ s losing speech was disappointing.

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    • when faced with mammoth teams

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  102. ‘true love’
    http://www.pinkvilla.com/entertainmenttags/anushka-sharma/hand-hand-anushka-and-virat-return-india-brave-storm
    Poor anu looks traumatised. Knowing the social/media tendencies, this ’emotional spectacle’ was probably tactically avoidable…
    Ps: someone get em a room ASAP !

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    • Never would have thought that Arbaaz Khan would be the most sensible and smartest man in a debate! Kudos to him. Arnab has completely lost his mind. For the first 5 min I thought this debate was some sort of spoof.

      Like

  103. Terminally ill Martin Crowe says World Cup final could be ‘last game I see’

    Really really sad news. Martin Crowe was one of my favorite batsmen while growing up…a great stylist and a brilliant strategic captain, especially evident in the ’92 WC.

    He was the captain who first opened the bowling with an off spinner (Deepak Patel) and elevated Greatbatch to the opener’s slot. Scored plenty of runs in the WC, which happened towards the fag end of his career. He had to retire with a dodgy knee, which was a shame.

    At the time of his retirement, he was NZ’s greatest cricketer along with Richard Hadlee. Really fine talent and a great columnist as well!

    Like

  104. Pakistan Fans Seize Their ‘Mauka’, Call India’s World Cup Exit Their ‘Revenge’

    While a few in Pakistan recognize India’s good performances in the World Cup, most others joined the media in celebrating the exit of defending champions from World Cup 2015. Their main reasons? Revenge and an end to ‘Mauka Mauka’ ads!

    http://sports.ndtv.com/icc-cricket-world-cup-2015/news/239752-pakistan-fans-seize-their-mauka-call-india-s-world-cup-exit-their-revenge?utm_source=ndtv&utm_medium=top-stories-widget&utm_campaign=story-19-http%3a%2f%2fsports.ndtv.com%2ficc-cricket-world-cup-2015%2fnews%2f239752-pakistan-fans-seize-their-mauka-call-india-s-world-cup-exit-their-revenge

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  105. The ‘GREAT’ player, McCullum played like an idiot – a guy who has been handed the bat the first time in his life..THIS IS WHAT THE BATTING POWERED/FAVORED 1 DAYS have become. You see HOW CHEAPLY he is exposed! He was just WAVING the bat..The ‘attacking’ batsman..my foot! He didn’t even have the brains to CHANGE his tactics based on HOW Starc is bowling..

    REALLY painful to see India lose against Australia. Because one thing is for sure, India would have given NZ a hard, hard, time..INDIA messed up big, big time and deserve the flak they are getting..

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    • Aussies are ruthless professionals and it shows – love them or hate them – they are deserving winners.

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      • Fine!!

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        • I take it back…Aussies may be ruthless..but they are not INVINCIBLE..I am more and more convinced that INDIA could have screwed them..if only they had applied themselves..it is INDIA’ loss that they lost///NOT Aus’ GREATER capability that they won…It is clearly visible in this final..

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          • they’re not invincible for sure but unfortunately they find more ways to win in a variety of situations than every other team. India had they won the toss would probably have won. 328 was a tall order, 300 would have been doable. Even with the former India totally kept pace with Australia’s inning in the first 10 overs. The scores after 5 overs and then after 10 were almost identical. In fact Aus had lost a wicket by then, India hadn’t. But then it just came apart all of a sudden. A certain poise and discipline that India had kept throughout wasn’t on display very much in that match. But again 9 out of 10 times no one’s going to chase 328 against Aus, specially in a knockout WC match. And I don’t believe Aus would have chased even 300 in all probability. I agree India came up short in many areas that day and you can’t beat Aus in those circumstances, specially chasing, without bringing your A game. Getting to my original point consider two older Aus examples. They had a tough time against Pakistan but they won, they lost to NZ earlier but they almost pulled it off despite producing such a low score. The thing is irrespective of the situation you have to really beat them. They were vulnerable for sure in certain ways but that didn’t mean they were going to fold.

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          • and whatever India did or did not do consider the garbage game NZ played! yes Clarke was constantly doing things, bowling changes et al, sometimes an over just for a batsman but still NZ batted awfully. Beginning with McCullum who after having four dot balls decided to throw away his wicket. The other day Dhawan was criticized for playing an irresponsible shot after settling in. This was much worse. And then after being 150/4 (from 39/3) they were suddenly one gone within another 30 or so runs! Ridiculous.

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          • finally when you face a quality bowling attack you can’t just get by on ‘aggression’. You need technique, you need patience to ride out the difficult spells. Unfortunately we live in an age where because of the imbalance (in all the ways we’ve discussed) this fact is often lost on people. The image usually conjured up is of the aggressive batsman imposing his will on every kind of bowler. Nothing could be further from the truth but one could be forgiven for believing it given how the game is played in the ODI format.

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          • Ultimately though one has to give credit to Aus. They beat both unbeaten teams decisively.

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          • Completely agree.
            This was a pretty average World Cup, I don’t think history will be too kind to it. Runs were scored for sure and batsman definitely had a better situation.
            I am sure people will allude to the fact that Starc was player of the tournament and a few other bowlers did well. But if you follow the results out 49 matches, only 13 went close to the distance in the WI/IRE, ZIM/UAE, IRE/UAE, AGN/SCO, AUS/NZ, BAN/SCO, SA/PAK, ZIM/IRE, AUS/SL, ENG/BAN, BAN/ZN, IND/ZIM and NZ/SA matches went deep. Of these, test playing nations produced 6 matches (and only 1 match in the knockouts)

            2011 – NET/ENG, SA/WI, SL/PAK, IND/ENG, ENG/IRE, ENG/SA, BAN/ENG, IND/SA, ENG/WI, IRE/NET, AUS/PAK, IND/AUS, NZ/SA, SL/NZ, PAK/IND, SL/IND – 16 matches went the distance 13 coming from the test nations. 5 of the knockouts were good matches.

            I think what’s happened is the batsman “friendly” conditions, coupled with a bit more aggressive captaincy creates polarised matches. Either the “aggression” works and typically you see a monster score or a team skittle out for low scores. What you rarely see are the 250-325 games where both teams score in these matches and matches go close. 2011 had a few of these, the final itself being a pretty good one compared to others in recent memory.

            On McCullum, that was extremely poor. People went after Dhawan unfairly…he was chasing 330, he “had” to score quick and take risks.
            With McCullum, I don’t know what he thought he could achieve by being so “loose” in a 600 ball match just after the 5th ball! That is the astonishing thing about it. He had 600 balls to “affect” this match both with bat and captaincy. He chose the first 6 balls to just go for it! And that to against the tournaments best bowler! Somewhere between his head he has to value his wicket more than the opposition do. All this does not take away the fact that at 150-3 odd with 15 overs left, NZ still should have scored about 250 or more if things went well. Might not have been enough, but certainly would have put a bit of pressure on Australia. Terrible final really, felt like NZ were just happy to get there, then really believing they could win it.

            Like

          • This Australian team will only get better.
            Faulkner (24), Cummins (21), Hazelwood (24), Smith (25), Maxwell (26), Marsh (23), Starc (24), Warner and Finch (28).
            That nucleus is around for 1 more world cup and some for the next 2. Smith/Starc have emerged as world class players. Maxwell gifted. Faulkner turned the match in the final.

            That production line has started again it seems…if they find one quality spinner which they would need to dominate or stand a chance in the subcontinent, I think they could dominate again, maybe not to the level of Waugh or Ponting’s team, but close. They are supremely stacked with fast bowlers now and a beefy batting line up. Steve Smith might be there answer to #3 if his current form is anything to go by (and I doubt it is form, he’s been playing world class for 6months and pretty good over 18months). Don’t think they have the best openers (ala Langer/Hayden) or the best #4, #5’s and they’ll need to replace Haddin…but they are more settled than any team now and any team with a selection of 3-5 very good bowlers will always have a good chance of winning test matches.

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          • agree.. ultimately they just have the best farm system in cricket, perhaps even the only one in some sense. You don’t necessarily produce more ‘greatness’ this way but you keep producing winning sides that one way or the other dominate more often than not and where the average talent on the team is reasonably high and more than this performs at a high level for the most part. The WI team from the mid-70s to roughly mid-80s that was considered one of the two greatest sides to ever play the game (Bradman’s team being the other) had a stupendous collection of talent and even within that decade once people started leaving the team started feeling less invincible and once that whole generation passed away it was suddenly over for the team (though with Ambrose and Lara they extended things for a while or at least kept them respectable). Aus on the other hand has dominated the game since the 90s and even their very best teams hardly had that sort of embarrassment of riches. But even if one wants to debate this none of their teams since the Ponting/McGrath/Warne generation, just to keep it to three principals) have been close to that talent level and yet they more or less keep on winning. So with that farm system they don’t need the extraordinary in that all-time sense, they just need very good and the system does the rest (of course Starc or others might prove to be extraordinary over time, not prejudging this..). But here I’d say that the South Africans are worst offenders. They’ve generally had (since their re-entry into cricket in the early 90s) a very good combination batting and bowling and of course great fielding. But somehow they always miss the mark. How is it possible to underperform with ABD and Steyn on the same team not to mention at least 4-5 very significant other players? The S Africans should have made the finals as many times as Aus just going by the strength of their teams.

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          • I agree on SA. I think if Gibbs catches Waugh in ’99 a lot of cricket history may have changed at least in ODIs. Because SA have been blessed since the late 90s to now with a very good seam attack. Quite clearly the mental aspect is where they have lost it completely. Man for man, they’ve had equals to Australia over this time. Not the great spinner, but the bowling attack, the all-rounders and batsman for sure. But when it comes to the crunch moment…Australia take that wicket, or that catch or score those runs…the SA simply don’t. Everything to get to that moment is almost neck and neck. But you look at the players of SA over the last 20 years, they roll of the tongue and are brilliant…Cronje, Boucher, Donald, Klusenar, Gibbs, Rhodes, Ntini, Kallis, Pollock, Steyn, Morkel, Smith, ABDV, Amla – how they didn’t even reach a final in this period is baffling with this standard. You can name at least another 10 who are pretty decent too.

            They find ways to lose and Australia find ways to win. Australia are annoyingly good. They rarely get thrashed, if they do, the next time they will be dangerous…England beat them 3-1 in the Ashes and then England go to Australia and get thumped 5-0 in the space of 6months.

            India have thrown money at it and eventually it will pay. But until they produce bowlers that Pakistan do produce, they’ll never see an era of domination.

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          • “I think what’s happened is the batsman “friendly” conditions, coupled with a bit more aggressive captaincy creates polarised matches. Either the “aggression” works and typically you see a monster score or a team skittle out for low scores. What you rarely see are the 250-325 games where both teams score in these matches and matches go close. 2011 had a few of these, the final itself being a pretty good one compared to others in recent memory.”

            this is a great point..

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          • AJ – when i say ruthless – just check that match with Ind. A Mitchel Johnson comes at tail-end and hammers 21 of 9 ball – and we have here Virat Kohli – supposed to be the no. 1 batsman in the world – struggles for 18 balls to make a run! that is why I call aussies ruthless professionals – they deliver under pressure

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  106. NZ getting ripped and exposed..I guess playing on kid’s playgrounds does have limitations doesn’t exactly prepare you for MCG

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  107. So australia is romping back with the coveted trophy.

    What an anti climax!

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  108. What a pathetic sight to see someone like Tendlya sitting with Nita Ambani..

    Just goes to show what how cricket is whored to business on India …& how short-lived public memory is…this World Cup heart-break will be forgotten n moments…just wait 4?the INDIAN PROSTITUTION LEAGUE to start….

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  109. What a one-sided final it is till now. It will be extremely painful to see the racist bullies Australians win the cup. On the other hand, it is VERY GOOD to see the likes of McCullum, who was ‘EULOGIZED’ on this very blog for being an ‘attacking’, ‘inventive’ player bowled out so CHEAPLY for what – hey you know what? for something the PURISTS consider ‘TECHNIQUE’!!!? What a great joy it was to see someone like McCullum ‘SHAM’ lifting the bat in the air for WHATEVER, WHICHEVER length, line Starc bowled..

    And what a sad day it is for India..really, they could have smashed NZ for a ‘bubble’ of a performance in this world cup.. India could really have taken them to the cleaners..if only they could have held the nerve when they faced AUS…just that one day..

    My heart still wishes for NZ to win..at least for Martin Crowe..but really, you give 183 for AUS to win? You better come up with the bowling of your 10 MULTIPLE REBIrths…

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    • it is VERY GOOD to see the likes of McCullum, who was ‘EULOGIZED’ on this very blog for being an ‘attacking’, ‘inventive’ player bowled out so CHEAPLY for what – hey you know what? for something the PURISTS consider ‘TECHNIQUE’!!!?

      And you are basing your criticism on the sound evidence of one game, albeit the final.

      Why do you forget what happened in the Semi-final where Dale Steyn got hammered to all parts of the ground by McCullum? He took 26 off his one over and some of the sixes he hit were monstrous!

      If technique was the only criteria for success, Sanjay Manjrekar would have been really successful. Instead of someone like Sehwag!

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  110. Hopefully anushka wont be blamed for NZ plight. This is where we try to find scapegoats to put the blame on.

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  111. Where are those harping about ‘IMPACT INDEX’ & so on—
    COME OUT !!!
    DONT HIDE YOUR FACE NOW 🙂

    Couldn’t watch The match but CONGRATS to Australia
    Well deserved
    As I said earlier , the ind aus match was THE final
    Had no doubts that aus will trounce NZ–the scores are immaterial.

    The PEDIGREED team won
    BITS N BOBS & ‘COWBOY’ teams and players got walloped in the KEY KNOCKOUT stages

    looking at the score —
    MCCULLUM of the IMPACT INDEX fame got RAPED in three balls!
    Again grant Elliott steadied the ship

    Also good performance from the PEDIGREED ‘PROPER’ players
    Like Steve Smith (I was really impressed with him in the india match–he is simply playing at another planet

    But good to see Michael Clarke Finally striking when it mattered
    The guy has been having HAMSTRING & Psychological problems
    And he hasn’t fulfilled his promise but gr8 he’s going wit he ultimate prize –the World Cup

    I maintain what I said about viral kohlis ‘mistake’
    Also Had india batted first–they may have reached 275 or even 300 with less pressure
    The result may have been different

    But it’s NO COINCIDENCE that in THREE MONTHS IN AUSTRALIA –india could NEVER BEAT THEM!

    EMOTIONS & ‘IMPACT INDEX’ & other such bull crap
    get PUT IN A GUNNY BAG
    AND KICKED OUT at this stage

    The MENTAL AND PHYSICAL SKILLSET TAKE CENTRESTAGE

    As I always say–
    ‘Truth’ prevailed…

    Like

  112. Contd from above–

    May catch the match/recording to comment–but the key thing i noted was that the SCORECARD has NO surprises

    Imo emotions and ‘aggression’ don’t win u wc
    There should be skill set for it
    (Michael Clarke also said somethign like that I’ve heard )

    Starc and Johnsons left armers add another dimension but the bottomline is we are talking QUALITY players

    Not bits n bobs of ‘mix n match players’

    After tendulkar in the modern era, another batsman I liked was Ricky pontings ‘controlled aggression’

    There has been a void after ponting in Aussie batting–the finches and warners and haddins are effective but not the same class

    I hadn’t seen the ind-aus test series–but the
    The other day in the match against india

    I finally saw the batting of
    Steve Smith!

    Now this may NOT be the most ATTRACTIVE batting but it’s correct, proprtional and tactically sound with MINIMUM risk!

    The only one who could have countered Steve Smith in this WC was Virat Kohli–
    But alas kohl is hormones for the better of him

    And what was the fcuker mcullum doing on the eve of WC Finals?
    Writing OPEN LETTERS to the kiwi crowd telling them how big the day was and so on

    IMPACT PLAYYER MY FOOT!
    3 balls is all he lasted
    And didn’t add a run !!! 🙂

    WHERE ARE ALL THOSE LENGTHY WRKTEUPS LN KM
    ACT KNDEX AND OBSCENE 400 + scores ???

    This is what happens when the DUST SETTLES
    & the truth rises to the APEX 🙂

    Like

  113. Impact theory still works because the most impactful team won. This team was hated so much that it proved counterproductive.

    But it will not take away individual impact players like Dhoni, Malinga, Riaz, Macullam, Raina their glory.

    It is also players who make a team, not the other way around.

    I admire Saket for bringing this impact theory which was quite impactful.

    Like

  114. DUBAI: Not a single Indian cricketer found a place in the ICC’s World Cup XI which was dominated by runners-up New Zealand rather than champions Australia with Black Caps skipper Brendon McCullum as its captain.
    The ICC team features five New Zealanders, including McCullum, despite their seven-wicket loss to Australia in the summit clash on Sunday. India, the defending champions, had bowed out after a semifinal loss to Australia.

    “McCullum was chosen as the captain following his aggressive, innovative and inspirational leadership during the 44-day tournament that was the cornerstone of his team’s progression to the final where it lost to Australia by seven wickets,” the ICC said in a statement.

    McCullum also scored 328 runs in nine matches with four half-centuries at a strike-rate of 188.50.

    The team was chosen by a select group of experts who were given the task of picking a balanced side on the basis of performances in the tournament. Statistics were used but were not the sole basis for selections.

    In addition to McCullum, the side includes four New Zealanders — Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Martin Guptill, Daniel Vettori — three Australians in Glenn Maxwell, Steven Smith and Mitchell Starc, two South Africans (AB de Villiers and Morne Morkel), with Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara as wicketkeeper-batsman.
    Zimbabwe’s Brendan Taylor, who finished with 433 runs in six matches, was named as the 12th man.

    ICC general manager (Cricket), Geoff Allardice, who chaired the panel, said Indian pacers Umesh Yadav and Mohammad Shami along with off-spinner R Ashwin were in the running.
    “The panel had an extremely difficult choice of selecting a 12-member squad at the back of an outstanding tournament, highlighted by some eye-catching individual performances including two double-centuries, 38 centuries, two hat-tricks and 28 four-wicket hauls,” he said.

    “There were a number of other players that were discussed as possible selections in the team. These included batsmen Mahmudullah (Bangladesh) and Shaiman Anwar (UAE), fast bowlers Umesh Yadav, Mohammad Shami (both India), Wahab Riaz (Pakistan) and spinners Imran Tahir (South Africa) and R Ashwin (India),” added Allardice.

    “But there were so many brilliant individual performances during the tournament that it was not possible to fit them into the team. The panel eventually came up with this side, which, in their view, was the most balanced outfit that is capable of beating any side on any given day.”

    Team of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in batting order: Martin Guptill (New Zealand), Brendon McCullum (New Zealand, captain), Kumar Sangakkara (Sri Lanka, wicketkeeper), Steven Smith (Australia), AB de Villiers (South Africa), Glenn Maxwell (Australia), Corey Anderson (New Zealand), Daniel Vettori (New Zealand), Mitchell Starc (Australia), Trent Boult (New Zealand), Morne Morkel (South Africa), Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe, 12th man).

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/icc-world-cup-2015/top-stories/No-Indian-in-ICCs-World-Cup-XI-led-by-McCullum/articleshow/46741641.cms

    Like

  115. Kohli has been sensational in Australia says Dravid

    Sarcastic?

    Like

  116. Never say die attitude of Srinivasan. Handlng over the cup to the winners. Mustafa Kamal is raging. Losing the baby with the bathtub!

    Like

  117. Kohli the leader must play more responsibly: Prasanna
    PTI | Mar 30, 2015, 06.59 PM IST
    NEW DELHI: Virat Kohli is expected to captain India in all formats at some point but before that happens the star batsmen must start taking more responsibility towards his team, says spin great Erapalli Prasanna.

    “In all probability, Kohli will captain the Indian team in the next World Cup. For that, he needs to start taking more responsibility towards his team and ensure he holds the unit together,” Prasanna said.

    Prasanna’s comments come in the wake of Kohli’s performance in a big-ticket tournament like the World Cup.

    “It is okay to play with an aggressive approach but you always can’t fight fire with fire. Kohli is a good player but at times he needs to respect the opposition. You can’t always take on the bowlers,” said the former off-spinner, referring to his mistimed pull shot off Mitchell Johnson in the World Cup semifinal.

    Kohli had a quite World Cup by his high standards though he ended up scoring 305 runs from eight games at an average of 50.83. What disappointed many of his fans was that he could not fire in big games after hitting a hundred against Pakistan in the tournament opener.

    “It is good to play with confidence but the fact of the matter is you have to respect other players. He needed to play the sheet anchor role in the tournament and especially in the semifinal, he should have taken more time before attempting a pull shot against high quality pace,” said Prasanna, talking about the stroke that led to Kohli’s downfall in the semifinal that India lost by 95 runs.

    “He did so well in Test matches in Australia and should have shown similar temperament in World Cup,” he added.

    Kohli smashed four hundreds in the four-match Test series that preceded the tri-series and World Cup.

    Like

    • Kohli is the heir apparent but is there anyone else who could do the job? Ashwin? I guess the problem with the Indian Test side is does anyone except Kohli walk into that side? Probably not.

      Like

      • Yes, apart from Kohli, Rahane and Murali Vijay are good Test players.

        Rahane has an average of 45 with 3 centuries, all scored outside India. He’s got one each against Australia, England and NZ; also a 96 against SA.

        His average is pretty good considering the fact that he has played all but one of his 14 tests outside India. In fact, apart from a solitary test in India, he has only played test matches in England, South Africa, Australia and NZ.

        Like

  118. Relax ye all heart-broken, depressed Indians..It’s just the World Cup. It’s not as though we have lost the IPL cup…one needs to have one’s priorities straight…

    http://www.deccanchronicle.com/150328/entertainment-bollywood/article/anushka-sharma-perform-2015-ipl-opening-ceremony

    Like

  119. 12 THINGS YOU MAY NOT KNOW
    ABOUT WORLD CUP 2015

    Some excerpts, as usual:

    Guptill made the most runs in the tournament (547) followed by Sangakkara who had the highest average (108.20). And yet, the highest impact batsman of the tournament was Steve Smith, who was sixth on the runs tally list (402).

    The reason is simple. In each of the three knockout games (the most significant matches in any tournament), Smith contributed prominently – 65 (off 69) against Pakistan out of 216 for 4, 105 (off 93) against India out of 328 and 56 not out (off 71) after being 2 for 1 against New Zealand.

    THE HIGHEST IMPACT BOWLER WAS NOT MITCHELL STARC

    Starc got the Man of the Tournament award for his undeniably lethal bowling. Interestingly though, he was not even the highest impact bowler of the tournament. It may seem a bit outlandish to a casual viewer but this is why.

    i) In none of the three knockout games was Starc the highest impact bowler for his team. Against Pakistan, it was Hazelwood (4-35 in ten overs), against India it was Mitchell Johnson (2-50 in ten) and against New Zealand it was Faulkner (3-36 in nine). Twice, Starc was the second-highest impact bowler for Australia and once the third-highest.

    iii) Starc was the joint-highest wicket-taker of the tournament (with Trent Boult) but 8 of his 22 wickets were lower-order batsmen (nos. 9-11). Boult meanwhile, took only 2 of those in his 22. Since Impact gives a lower value to these wickets for obvious reasons, Starc goes down in Impact compared to Boult despite a superior Economy Impact.

    NEW ZEALAND ENDED UP AS THE FOURTH HIGHEST IMPACT SIDE IN THIS TOURNAMENT

    Before the semis began, Australia were behind India on Team Impact but they surged ahead substantially because of how they played their last two matches.

    New Zealand were curiously level with South Africa before the semis, ostensibly odd because New Zealand had won every game while South Africa had dropped two. But that was primarily because the Kiwis had ridden more on individual brilliance and South Africa had played more as a team.

    The final Team Impact numbers for the teams in the tournament ended like this.

    Australia- 3.71
    India- 2.45
    South Africa- 2.35
    New Zealand- 2.27

    INDIA’S HIGHEST IMPACT BATSMAN WAS RAINA, NOT DHAWAN

    Shikhar Dhawan scored the most runs for India in the tournament (412) with the fifth highest runs tally in the tournament. Raina was twenty-fourth on that same runs tally list (284) but was higher impact than Dhawan.

    The rate at which Raina made his runs gave him a considerably higher Strike Rate Impact than Dhawan and moreover, the circumstances of Raina’s runs gave him a higher Pressure Impact (an unbeaten 110 after being 71 for 3 chasing 288 against Zimbabwe, for example), some of which also got him a high Chasing Impact. This, and greater consistency overall, gave him a higher impact than Dhawan.

    THE HIGHEST IMPACT BATTING PERFORMANCE OF THE TOURNAMENT WAS NOT A DOUBLE CENTURY

    Neither Gayle’s 215 nor Guptill’s 237 ended up as the highest impact performance of the tournament. It was AB de Villiers’ scintillating 162 off 66 balls, as South Africa made 408 and dismissed West Indies for 151.

    Curiously, the highest impact batting performance in the 2011 World Cup also came from de Villiers and even more curiously against West Indies, when he made an unbeaten 107 in Delhi.

    SOUTH AFRICA DID NOT PLAY THEIR HIGHEST IMPACT BOWLER IN THE SEMI FINAL

    For some inexplicable reason, South Africa did not pick Kyle Abbott against New Zealand in the semi-final. Despite taking 9 wickets in 4 matches (all top/middle-order) wickets, and despite being their highest impact bowler in the tournament till then, he was dropped in favour of Vernon Philander.

    Like

    • Remember discussing Kyle Abbott’s case with Saurabh during the day of the match…

      Like

    • All this is not to suggest that this is gospel, but as I’ve repeatedly said, it’s just a better way of looking at data.

      One way of looking at Mitchell Starc’s figures is as follows: he’s the best bowler in the Australian side (best economy figures) and perhaps because of his reputation, batsmen try to go after other bowlers (Faulkner, for instance) and end up losing their wickets to them. If this were true, this will not be reflected in any data.

      But the point is: it’s the overall trend, the due diligence given to analysis, that matters (and should matter) in the end.

      Like

      • Having said that, Faulkner’s been exceptional in the batting powerplay. He has repeatedly picked up wickets in those crucial 5 overs.

        Like

      • “One way of looking at Mitchell Starc’s figures is as follows: he’s the best bowler in the Australian side (best economy figures) and perhaps because of his reputation, batsmen try to go after other bowlers (Faulkner, for instance) and end up losing their wickets to them. If this were true, this will not be reflected in any data.”

        this was undoubtedly true..

        Like

  120. It was a very disappointing final, not the least because the Aussies again acted like bullies on the field.

    In the final analysis, home conditions played a huge part in deciding the finalists and also the winner. This has been the trend since the last WC where 3 out of 4 finalists were Asian teams.

    Put differently, the result in the game against India could have been different if it were played on a different pitch (in the subcontinent, for instance).

    The next WC is in England. Will this bring glory to the English? People might laugh at this, but it’s actually possible, looking at the trend.

    England made it to the finals of the Champions Trophy on their home ground. This despite being a pretty ordinary ODI side outside.

    In fact, the biggest stat for ICC tournaments since 2011 is this:

    India has the best winning percentage and the most wins of all teams in the World, regardless of conditions. They won the Champtions Trophy in England and reached the semi-final in Australia (the only Asian team to do so).

    This is not surprising as the IPL is a good breeding ground for the limited overs format. Indian players play with the absolute best in the world in high-pressure contests and undoubtedly pick up valuable experience.

    Test Matches are a different story though. And there seems to be no magic wand in sight, much to my chagrin.

    Like

    • I think India would have beaten Australia in 2011 whether chased or batted first. In 2015, I think India could have beaten Australia if they batted first.

      But I will say this. If England come close in 2019, I will eat my hat!

      Like

      • England clearly need a change in mindset with regards to the limited overs format. They sacked Cook as captain a few weeks before the WC, which might not have been the worst decision, but the timing was absolutely wrong. Morgan didn’t have any time to grow into the new role. Worse still, captaincy seemed to have affected his batting badly.

        Dropping Pietersen also did not help. He was the only player, besides Morgan, who could compete at the world stage in the limited overs format.

        They have a coach who has no international experience, only county experience, which may have also played a part. Certainly, the players didn’t play without any fear in this WC. Losing to Bangladesh in Bangladesh is a different thing (England has now lost 3 out of 4 previous matches against them) but to lose in Australia is just unforgivable.

        Despite all of this, they actually made it to the Finals of the Champions Trophy, in 2013 with Cook as captain. So conditions do play a role and England has always been good on home soil, 1999 WC notwithstanding.

        They also reached another Champions Trophy final, again held in England, with Vaughn as captain, who never scored a century in ODIs. So there’s room for hope!

        But the mindset needs changing. Joe Root is probably not the answer, but he’s a solid player and perhaps a good choice as ODI captain. They need more players like Jos Buttler & James Taylor. I’m not convinced Moeen Ali is the answer at the top of the order.

        The ECB has always focused more on Test Cricket and if they want to win the 2019 WC, that focus has to change. All of this doesn’t mean they will win it, but there’s more than a fair chance.

        Like

    • So despite all the promise and the WC win, there’s no guarantee that this Aussie side will become world beaters in all conditions. They have very talented players, but to perform under different conditions, other than the familiar, requires a different skill.

      I’m not sure these bunch of cricketers are mentally tough to conquer and vanquish teams all over the world. I may be proven wrong, but this is the feeling I get at this point of time.

      Steve Smith has been a wonderful surprise, despite his very unorthodox technique. Maxwell and Starc stand out from the rest. But I’m not sure about the rest.

      Like

      • Aussies have won 4 of the last 5 WC’s. Why are we doubting them? 3 years back they were in the dumps, but they have a wonderful system in place which allows them to produce quality cricketers.

        Like

        • AamirsFan Says:

          I agree..Aussies are a true dynasty. This has been an incredible run for the past 16 years.

          As much as I hate to bring up my two most hated teams in this convo…but…I would compare it to the Spurs and Patriots run during the same time period. These teams have been consistently good with only one or two down years. They have been the model for other teams to emulate. However, saying all that…I also agree that they are very beatable and not invincible like they used to be a decade ago.

          Like

        • I agree that Australia has one of the better systems in place, as far as cricket (and sport, in general) is concerned. The system or the training and the scientific approach utilized produces quality cricketers.

          But there’s a difference between the sides that won in 99, 03 and 07. Most of those players were all time great cricketers. That’s not the case this time around.

          There’s potential, for sure, but can these players elevate their game to be all time great cricketers for Australia?

          Looking at the ODI game only, this is the bowling line-up for the future: (assuming Johnson isn’t around for too long)

          Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and James Faulkner.

          It’s hard to venture a guess about the future, but at this stage, in the bowling department, Starc is way ahead of the rest of his peer group. Does it look likely that Hazelwood, Cummins and Faulkner would be as successful in the subcontinent as they are within the confines of home pitches? I have my doubts.

          Then there’s the spin department, which is not just bare, but pretty much empty at the moment. Maxwell offers a part-time option but he’s not going to work in the subcontinent.

          Their batting, too, is going to rely on players like Warner, Smith, Finch, Maxwell, Faulkner and maybe Mitchell Marsh (who’s more bowling all rounder).Again assuming Watson isn’t around for too long.

          Out of these players, Smith has displayed great form of late and Maxwell’s got tremendous hitting ability but what about the rest? Warner has been far too inconsistent and Finch is a sitting duck for the in-swinging delivery at the moment. Relying on Faulkner or Mitch Marsh to score bulk of the runs is not going to work out and with Brad Haddin also retired, there’s going to be someone new behind the stumps.

          There’s always the chance that this batting line-up could prove to be too strong and too good under all conditions, but at the moment, one would be inclined to offer some doubts.

          The only department where they do seem to be ahead of the rest is the quantity (and quality) of all rounders. At the moment they have Faulkner, Marsh and Maxwell as all rounders. This is a luxury that no other team has. If the platform is set, these guys have a great opportunity to tee off towards the end.

          The inverse is also true. Put the current batting line-up under pressure and you are left with all rounders, who are not ideal players for rebuilding an innings.

          This is why I’m not convinced that the current team would develop into world-beaters overnight, under all conditions.

          The last part is the key. Not all ODI games that they play will be organized on home pitches. And that’s where this team’s real mettle will be tested.

          Like

  121. The village nerd with his stats n figures round up is bak…after working on them all nite lol

    “there’s no guarantee that this Aussie side will become world beaters”
    After FLOGGING a top side like india REPEATEDLY in one dayers, t20 & tests
    After being undefeated by india for FOUR months
    after beating a resurgent pak, champions india and a Viagra-laden NZ,
    The Aussies are not world-beaters??
    Who do they have to beat next ??
    The Palestine team??

    The reckless innings by the inform McCollum and the painstaking implosive innings by Michael clarke who stuck around long enuf to ensure he takes the assies to another we EXEMPLIFIES the difference

    “Maxwell and Starc stand out from the rest.”
    Heck, this is what the Aussies think of maxwell themselves
    Maxwell DROPPED from the Aussie team for the Ashes ! 🙂
    (He may be ok for IPL though lol)

    Steve Smith is not an attractive batsmen to watch
    But he’s got what most gr8 players have —
    There was a bit of 10dulkar in him
    A BORING & RELENTLESS INDEFEATIBILITY
    The DISCIPLINE of a NERD !!
    Won’t be suprised if Steve smith is made the one-day captain of Australia.

    Like

  122. Can somebody tell me whether Rohit was really out and saved by umpires?

    Whats the real story?

    Like

    • The decision was marginal. It could have gone either way after looking at replays.

      Without the help of technology, however, it looked like a clear-cut no ball, partly because of how it surprised Rohit Sharma.

      In any case, it was a ball traveling at speed (Rubel was bowling at speeds in excess of 140 Kmph) and it was probably an intended yorker gone wrong. At those speeds, you have to favor the batsman, more than the bowler.

      Like

  123. Cricket legends call for restoring bat-ball balance in ODIs

    PTI | Mar 31, 2015, 08.39 PM IST

    SYDNEY: Cricket legends have called for restoring the balance between bat and ball, including easing fielding restrictions and regulating bat thickness, in the ODI format.

    Michael Holding, Ian Chappell, Rahul Dravid and Martin Crowe, participating as experts in ‘ESPNcricinfo’ discussion on the future of ODI game, in Sydney after the second World Cup semifinal, felt these changes would encourage imaginative captaincy and more aggressive cricket.

    “Once you get a piece of bat on the ball, it disappears. There are a lot of slow-motion replays where you see a batsman hitting the ball, you can see the bat actually twisting in their hands. Obviously not hitting the ball well, and the ball disappears nonetheless. That is one aspect that has to be looked into. If the ICC do nothing else, they have to look at that,” West Indies pace legend Holding said.

    Australian great Chappell said thick bats have tilted the balance heavily in favour of the batsmen.

    “Sooner or later, a bowler or an umpire is going to getting seriously hurt. Because the ball is getting back so quickly they have got no time to react.”

    The field restrictions that allow only four fielders outside the circle in non-Powerplay overs and the two new balls have been the talking points of this World Cup.

    Chappell wanted most of the restrictions removed and Dravid and Holding agreed with him.

    “As far as restrictions are concerned, I like as few as possible,” Chappell said.

    Crowe brought up the issue of the safety of the crowds while Dravid seemed worried about the net bowlers.

    “One of the people who I really worry for is net bowlers,” Dravid said.

    “I have worked in the IPL. We have young kids who bowl in the nets. All university kids, college kids. All 17-, 18-, 19-year-olds bowling in the nets, and you have the likes of Shane Watson and Chris Gayle batting in the nets and practising T20 batting. I am amazed no one has seriously got hurt.”

    Coming back to the size of bats, Holding said, “I don’t know if the ICC is afraid of the people who manufacture the bat to say exactly what has to go into a bat.

    “They have limited the width of the bat, but they have never limited the depth. There used to be a sweet spot on the bat years ago. Actually one company – I don’t want to name it – used to have a spot on the back of the bat, which was pretty much parallel to the one on the front of the bat. Now that would have to cover the entire bat because there is no sweet spot, there is a sweet bat.”

    Dravid and Crowe also reiterated their opposition to ICC trimming the 2019 World Cup from 14 to 10 teams.

    “If you take away these world events from a lot of these nations, I’m afraid you actually kill the game,” Dravid said.

    Like

    • No smoke without fire…been saying it for ages. Game needs to fair and even contest.

      Like

    • yes this chorus is steadily increasing.. I think allowing those sorts of bats might really be the worst offense. Finch in a recent interview and despite saying he didn’t have much sympathy for the bowlers (!) admitted that the bats many players used were shocking even to him and he said one of the worst examples in this sense was Warner’s bat. He said with these bats anything could be hit for a boundary!

      Like

  124. Maxwell suddenly leaves his interview and rushes out to hug Sachin when the latter walks by:

    http://www.ndtv.com/offbeat/epic-moment-when-ozs-maxwell-stopped-interview-to-hug-sachin-751379

    this is just a small spontaneous moment but it’s an index of a much greater transcendence, a level of the iconic that is about the legend but also goes beyond the records and so forth. It’s always a mistake to think that a certain special status is reached in this sense (the meaning of Amitabh Bachchan, the meaning of Sachin tendulkar.. the reason I often pair them is that their penetration into the most obscure parts of India is more comprehensive than that of other public figures.. this has been borne out by some surveys over the years) by the accumulation of records. That is of course part of the reason why the legend is formed but it’s also about a level of meaning that gets attached to the same that is greater than the sum of the numbers. Or put differently the numbers cannot be separated from what that figure has meant in other ways. And we see the same beyond India as well. In any case the numbers then cannot be meaningfully separated from the numbers just as (and to repeat the point) the latter cannot be seen as a simple consequence of the former.

    Like

    • sanjana Says:

      Sachin has become an universal figure. Cricket is greater than bollywood or even politics. Though I doubt whether he will get the same reverence in non cricket playing nations if we exclude NRIs. Bachchan’s popularity is confined to the north of India. While south has their own idols.

      Like

      • I wouldn’t agree on Bachchan. True Sachin has been more universal in this sense. Language isn’t a barrier in this case. However no Southern industry can be understood over the last 30-40 years in terms of its great icons and so on without also understanding the Bachchan intervention. Secondly in the major Southern cities he’s certainly well known but yes as you go into small town Southern India there are language limitations. On the other over the last twenty years or so with the advent of cable/satellite TV he probably becomes more available in these places as well as dubbing and so on becomes a much greater phenomenon (it’s the other way too.. the same makes Southern stars/cinema much more available in the North.. again all kinds of dubbed efforts on TV among other things). I’ve actually made this claim before but I think Bachchan is probably one of the 4-5 most influential public figures of the post-Independence nation-state. Also remember that Hindi-speaking India isn’t just the North. Hindi cinema’s penetration is vastly greater than that. I forget that Tamil film where there show in the late 70s a poster of Trishul outside a theater. So leaving aside the obvious Bengal and even a bit beyond in the Northeast his films were certainly shown in major Southern metropolitan centers. But yes because of the linguistic issue the penetration couldn’t be too deep beyond this.

        I also don’t know whether I would agree that cricket is greater than Bollywood. Certainly at the peak of the Hindi film industry (as a matter of audience participation) from say the late 60s to the very early 80s I doubt cricket equaled it at the time. But in more contemporary times, say over the last 20 years or so that is probably the case. But then Bollywood has not been truly universal for a long time though the newer Telugu masala trends have made some difference in this sense.

        Like

        • sanjana Says:

          It is not only linguistic issue. South has a different culture, sub culture which will not allow a north Indian film or their stars to make inroads in their hearts. The dubbed south films are a laughing stock and how many really sit and watch them in north india?

          Like

        • sanjana Says:

          Hindi films definitely had an audience even at the height of anti hindi agitation. But when it comes to preferences they choose their own idols.

          Like

          • That goes without saying! No one’s arguing that MGR or Rajni were being challenged (incidentally Rajni has done a dozen or so Bachchan remakes). Just that there was that awareness all over and beyond this the influence on all these industries in terms of how they evolved over the last 40 years can be indexed to the Bachchan phenomenon among other things. The entire masala archive, the mythos of the angry young man, the Anthony character and so on.. there is nothing in Southern masala archives that cannot be traced to various Bachchan registers. In this sense the influence is even more structural and profound. Today when Salman does remakes of Telugu masala he’s following a tradition that through lots of twists and turns originates with Bachchan. I’ve made all of these points before and won’t repeat everything but there is no ‘mode’ of being a masala hero that I have seen anywhere in India that does not owe something to Bachchan. From the very silent brooding types to the gregarious trickster figures and so forth. This does not mean there were stars doing other stuff that was wholly original or there weren’t other genres. But the masala genre was really the dominant one for very long and still is in many ways in those industries. In the masala mode I’d say Mohanlal is possibly the only exception to this rule. In other words the only one who does some sort of overman in ways that don’t seem very directly informed by Bachchan and are much more an extension of his naturalist instincts elsewhere.

            Like

  125. Fair argument, Satyam. As always. But south masala was never as classy as Bachchan’s masala films anytime.

    Like

    • true but the South was quite lowbrow in most ways till the advent of Ratnam. Having said that even Bachchan had his ‘B’ moments. The films might have done very well but he has some crude stuff too. Of course his most iconic stuff is generally not like that. But you’re right in that before contemporary times there isn’t any refined kind of Southern masala at all. But since then it’s been the opposite. The current masala manifestations in Bombay are never as refined as the best Tamil variants. Even if one expands the definition of masala a bit to include a certain sort of thriller format there has been nothing in Bombay cinema as refined as Khakee in this entire period. By and large you don’t even get to Ghajini level in the other stuff! Dabang (only the first one) was an exception though the film wasn’t consistently as good as the theatrical trailer.

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      • “Having said that even Bachchan had his ‘B’ moments. The films might have done very well but he has some crude stuff too”-

        I keep thinking of Khoon Pasina (from his 70’s period). But that atleast was crude in a somewhat good way unlike say something like Mard or GJS. And of course you can’t complain too much when you the have the two leads in the film being named “Tiger” and “Shera” (with “Tiger” fighting a tiger). And it keeps reminding me how good Bachchan was at comedy even in those middling films, I mean I can still watch Khoo Pasina quite easily..LOL

        “Even if one expands the definition of masala a bit to include a certain sort of thriller format there has been nothing in Bombay cinema as refined as Khakee in this entire period. By and large you don’t even get to Ghajini level in the other stuff!”-

        Completely agreed. Though the new Agneepath certainly had some strong moments visually. But importantly Aurangzeb which I find quite underrated. And of course it isn’t true-blue Masala, but Dum Maaro Dum was quite refined. Do believe Rohan Sippy should attempt a proper Masala film.. But perhaps being too much of a skilled technician isn’t always a good thing for creating an authentic, true-blue Masala film. I mean you make it too cutting-edge technically/visually it sort of loses it soul a little (of course people like Ramesh Sippy could tread on that fine line very well)

        The one-major difference between the older Hindi masala films (and even the newer ones) and the new-age Tamil (not Telugu) masala/masala-ish thrillers is that some of the villain characters are really decrepit and really nasty (Anjathey quickly springs to mind, but there are others as well. Of course the sort of rape- of Jayaprada- shown in Bachchan’s own Aakhri Raasta, a Tamil remake, was markedly different from how rape was shown in other Hindi masala films. I remember being scared when I first saw the film as a child). I mean their manner of indulging in “violence” is just very different. But I like the fact that atleast two true-blue auteurs in Tamil industry- Bala and Mysskin- keep using masala tropes in their films even if the latter films are not proper Masala- which tells us that while in today’s time you can’t simply make a Masala identical to the ones in 70’s/80s- it simply wouldn’t work because not all Masala tropes have aged well- there are still a lot of elements in those which are very relevant and could be used very well in the hands of a skilled filmmaker.

        Incidentally I also don’t think that atleast in the north, the action-scenes (and especially the fight-choreography) was taken seriously before Bachchan came into the picture.

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        • agree on Khoon Pasina versus Mard. I do like the former a fair bit myself.

          Rohan Sippy is one of the very best craftsmen in the industry. One of the absolute best I’d say. He should be working a lot more frequently and unfortunately he doesn’t. The single most stylist shot over the last very many years remains to my mind the one in BM when Abhishek wakes up from a dream and then a double-decker moves across the screen doubling as a wipe and really opens onto a street sign. Wonderfully handled and rather slyly too in some ways. But his finesse is visible everywhere in DMD too (though it’s been underrated even on this score). However I wouldn’t really call this masala in that obvious sense though it is some sort of take on that tradition.

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  126. The Indian cricket board’s code of conduct is modelled on that of its Australian counterpart. But while Cricket Australia and the England board, among other national bodies, rein in players whenever they step out of line, the BCCI seems happy to let its document gather dust.

    India players are just back after a long tour of Australia and the World Cup. Apart from the highs and lows of their performances on the field, what caused alarm was poor behaviour, particularly from Virat Kohli, the Test captain and ODI vice-captain, with the influential BCCI looking the other way.

    For starters, almost every act of taking on an opposition player during a game is construed as an act of courage bordering on patriotism. Boorish behaviour by players marred the Test series, while the Indian cricket establishment didn’t even caution the players.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricketnews/just-not-cricket-cull-abusive-behaviour-enforce-code/article1-1333093.aspx

    I was quite taken aback by the venom in India vice-captain Virat Kohli’s tirade of abuses against a senior cricket journalist during the World Cup. I was even more amazed when I later learnt that he has abused the journalist in similar fashion before. Cricket correspondents hastened to explain to me that there was nothing novel about it. Dealing with abusive cricketers, especially from the North, is almost an inevitable repercussion of being on the cricket beat they said.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/cricketnews/role-models-must-first-live-up-to-their-role/article1-1333123.aspx

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  127. ROFLOL…Pak and India have to be the most shameless nations ever..more so India they way they suddenly get their MOJO back when the Indian Prostitution League begins with circus-show all around..No wonder we will NEVER get the ruthless professionalism of the Aussies…priorities are something that most of our players never seem to be interested in..

    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/cricketnext/pcbs-world-cup-review-meeting-lasts-20-minutes/538323-78.html

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  128. Kohli-Dhoni combo great for India: Shastri
    Mon, Apr 06 2015
    Last updated on Monday, 06 April, 2015, 08:09 AM

    Most thought India could go all the way. It was a 300-plus team with the bat. Bowlers left nothing standing on the table. Fielders looked good enough to get 10 run-outs. Let’s pause. Isn’t this the same team which had lost the Tests and tri-series? Which had been on the Australia tour for almost half the year. Which was without MS Dhoni in the first and fourth Test matches. Which hardly had anyone with 50 Tests. Which wasn’t long in years. Which had scars of England. Which had blank pages for history. Which… never mind.

    These were not two teams. One which lost everything. From one which won everything. Their yardstick was different. They wanted to see the Australians in the eye; not for once take a backward step.
    Improve in skills. Get better in mind. Bond stronger every next day. They ended up ticking all these boxes. And that’s why the team which took the field in Sydney had your support. You trusted them to defend the title. They trusted themselves. In my view, this tour to Australia was an unqualified success. I’m not biased; I would’ve said the same behind a microphone.

    If India were bad, they wouldn’t have 400-plus in each of the four Tests. They would have looked to shut up shop in Adelaide rather than go for that 360-plus target. They would have buckled after hours in the sun against a relentless team. In four back-to-back Tests inside a month. There are more instances of finding an all-white penguin in Antarctica than winning visitors in Australia. There is hardly a precedent; very few are around to tell the tale. It’s cricket’s Star-Trek: To go where no-one has gone before. The holy grail.

    While you remember a Kohli for his four hundreds; Rahane for his silken touch; Vijay for his patience or KL Rahul for his steel, stats would never reflect the roots these young saplings of today have taken to become the banyan trees of tomorrow. They had seen seniors leave. They were asked to walk through the fire of four foreign tours in 2014. They are still on their feet. They are good enough to be around over the next decade.

    You don’t pick favourites in your family. Nor would I among these fresh yet tough kids. They were all under a banner. So was I. We wanted to turn the corner after England tour. We wanted to be sure the wheels hadn’t come off. To have millions rooting for you after those long months in Sydney was a vindication. Personally, I was in the dressing room after two decades.

    Yes, the game has changed. But it still is a sport which men of flesh and blood play. Players still worry on their show. They still get the jet lag; they still are exhausted; everyday nets still don’t look an invitation to party. You fret how the world has viewed you today; how the media has opined; what kind of fans would turn up at the hotel lobby after a first-ball duck; what’s the official engagement in every other city. Between airport to airport, hotel to hotel, ground to ground, nets to nets is the sameness which could engulf most but the toughest. One still needs to be smart to fill up his free time.
    I see some serious ambition in these young men. Money they have had aplenty. It’s the respect which moves them. They have a few areas to improve. All of us do. Some would’ve issues with off-stump; some with playing across the line; some with pull or some who plays too much in the air. Bowlers always want quality, discipline, fitness, new tricks by their side. These boys believe they could improve. And they would. These are strong shoulders India could rely on.

    Further, there is clarity in leadership. This is vital.

    Kohli starts his reign in Tests. Dhoni the Fox heads the ODI pack. One is not that new. The other is not that old. Ideas can be bounced around. Workload shared. Checklists compared.
    Both share respect. None of them would look over their shoulders. None eyes other’s fruits. No contrary commands. No overlapping. The top six is the same in both formats. This is fluidity, stability. A Swiss watch with hundreds of inter-connected cogs and flywheels, working to perfection.

    Father Time is never out of step. A good few years of harmony ahead.

    These are sensible heads. They don’t grumble when moved up and down the order. No theatrics. Each standing for the other. Loudest at a mate’s success. I was witness to it for a good length of time. It fills me up with hope. It’s a nice stew in the pot to take care of your appetite. ( By Team India director Ravi Shastri)

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  129. Warne also warned the administrators against the overkill of T20 cricket despite its popularity and playing bilateral T20 matches between two nations.

    “There’s no doubt about their popularity, but they should only be played domestically, except for a T20 World Cup every two years.

    “This then would not affect the IPL, Big Bash or any other 20/20 comp and is sort of like an Olympics.

    http://www.rediff.com/cricket/report/shane-warne-moots-4-day-tests-warns-against-t20-overkill-do-you-agree/20150409.htm

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  130. ** Dravid, always the shadowed one in the light of Tendulkar **

    There was more magic today, as at one point Brad Haddin went up for a “catch” where ball and bat were merely nodding acquaintances, and the discussion veered to whether keepers always went up even when they knew it was not out. What did you do when you had the gloves, Dravid was asked. “Oh, I went up too,” said the reluctant wicket-keeper. “Otherwise you copped it from your bowlers, who felt you hadn’t backed them.”

    Left there, it would have been a passing moment — but then talk veered to Adam Gilchrist, “The only man who never went up unless he was sure the batsman was out.” His fellow commentator, whose identity I now forget, must have spotted something in Dravid’s expression. You don’t seem to think so, he prodded Rahul. Pat came the response:

    Sydney Test, Rahul Dravid caught Adam Gilchrist, bowled Andrew Symonds, is all I am going to say.
    Missed the ball, did you, he was asked. “By miles,” was Dravid’s instant response.

    http://prempanicker.org/2015/03/rahul-dravid-v-fence/

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  131. KARACHI: Pakistan’s cricket chiefs face a battle to address the reasons behind their disastrous tour to Bangladesh as they gear up for their first home series against Test opposition in six years.

    Pakistan slumped to ninth in the ICC one-day international table — their lowest since rankings were introduced in 2002 — after losing the ODI series to minnows Bangladesh 3-0, threatening their participation in the 2017 Champions Trophy in England where only top eight teams will feature.

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/sports/icc-world-cup-2015/top-stories/Pakistan-blame-game-in-full-flow-after-Bangladesh-debacle/articleshow/47266423.cms

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  132. “Day in and day out you have to say they (Tendulkar and Lara) were two of the best players that I have bowled against. They are two of the greatest players of all time, it’s hard to separate them. The fact that Sachin played for 24 years is just incredible, he was so mentally strong and technically correct.

    “Another guy that deserves a lot more credit than probably what he does get is Rahul Dravid. He’s a quality player.

    “If you had to have someone batting for your life in those three you want him to go in there. He’s definitely up there,” McGrath gushed.

    http://www.rediff.com/cricket/report/sehwags-not-in-the-same-category-as-lara-and-tendulkar-glenn-mcgrath/20150601.htm

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  133. OPINION
    Cricket’s Three Wise Men
    What are we to make of the Indian cricket board’s job offers to three recently retired batting greats?
    AAKAR PATEL

    Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman have been asked to become ‘advisors’ to the world’s richest and most powerful cricket body​.​ The initial statement put out by the BCCI said that the three players’ “areas of immediate focus will be to provide guidance to our national team as we set out to enhance our performance in overseas engagements, provide direction to improve our talent pathway and take steps to strengthen domestic cricket to better prepare our players to handle the rigours of international cricket”.

    That is about as vague as it can get.

    Strangely Ganguly said after the announcement was made that he had no idea what his role was going to be. Meaning that the players had not even been consulted and no thinking had gone into the exercise except the desire that these three men should be attached to the BCCI.

    So what’s going on?

    And what are we to make of Rahul Dravid’s reported refusal to join this same ‘advisory committee’? One story with unnamed sources speculated that Dravid didn’t want to be a part of anything that had Sourav Ganguly because they had an ancient rivalry. I did not believe that.

    Another story speculated that Dravid would be handed responsibility of the under-16, under-19 and India ‘A’ teams, as a ‘mentor’. But if it was this concrete why was the announcement about him also not made? That was left unsaid.

    The outspoken Bis​​han Singh Bedi said he had not understood the nature of the new committee being formed. If people like him do not know then who does?

    The fact is that the BCCI likes keeping former players on its side. Sunil Gavaskar and Ravi Shastri secretly accepted multi crore annual contracts with the BCCI for vague work, while also being commentators. When this was discovered by newspapers they offered mumbled explanations that did not convince many.​ ​Shastri is today an unofficial but paid BCCI spokesman, an allegedly neutral commentator and now also the team director (a fancy new title that did not exist till now).

    The BCCI is totally incestuous in such things. A small group of people control everything, some of whom are businessmen and politicians and some of whom are former cricketers. But why is the group so small and secretive? The reason is that it is full of scandal. The IPL founder is absconding, the ICC chairman’s son in law was in jail for betting, many of them the IPL teams face grave charges on ownership and other matters and cricketers have been caught and banned for fixing matches.

    Who is going to clean this up? Nobody. I am deeply sceptical of anything the BCCI, which claims to regulate itself, does when it says it is doing something to improve the game. It is a money making machine and all politicians, including Narendra Modi who was Gujarat cricket’s head, want a part of the action.

    The BCCI’s record at regulation and transparency is particularly poor especially when it comes to the IPL which is the cash cow.​ ​One newspaper report said “it was unlikely this new panel will be asked for views on the IPL”. So what is it for and why have Sachin, Sourav and Laxman been invited and why did Dravid choose to stay away?

    My speculation is that the BCCI believes that it is dangerous for credible insiders to stay outside its area of influence. It wants people like these three cricketers inside the tent rather than outside it.

    The BCCI is not motivated in this instance by any thoughts of improving the team, whether senior or junior. What it is reaching for is self-preservation.

    If it were keen on giving more work to former players, who know the game, why would Syed Kirmani complain that he was being ignored?​ ​Probably because few remember him today. It is the view of former players like Tendulkar that the BCCI fears. If he speaks out against the corruption and nepotism inside the Indian board they could be in serious trouble with the spectators. That is why they want him in.

    Dravid I think has refused because he understands the true nature of the assignment which is to ultimately defend the BCCI, no matter what mischief it is up to. This ‘advisory board’ of the BCCI must be viewed in that fashion because given their history the onus of demonstrating good faith lies entirely on them.
    ——————-
    On the evening of June 6, 2015, after this article was written, BCCI announced the appointment of Rahul Dravid as the coach of India A and under-19 cricket teams.

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  134. MSDhoni Says:

    If they are seriously interested to even out the game in the field and have some kind of skills make a come back instead of wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of crappy cricket, they need to get away with power plays in the initial overs too as this where a real bat and ball contest can take place and both batsmen and bowlers have to negotiate with their respective skills.

    What you have now in the initial few overs is players swaying their bats with the swing of the ball and landing outside the circle even with a mild snick since the pace takes it past the infielders. This is where the Sehwags and the Gilchrists and to an extent Tendulkar made hay. I mean for the insiders the fight between a Greg Chappell and Tendulkar was mainly the batting order and he wanted a more established batsman to come in the middle overs and steady the innings.

    I have scant regards for skills of players like ABD and Chris Gayle etc who have more or less ruined the game with ‘all or nothing’ kind of matches being played these days. Even a chase of 225 odd runs can become engrossing if real skills of the players are at display.

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  135. MSDhoni Says:

    Would add my comment above is with respect to one- dayers and 20/20 cricket and not 5-day test matches which I think will join the extinct species list in a couple of years.

    Except Indians, there is hardly anyone who will follow this kind of game anymore.

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