The Sports Thread (2)

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521 Responses to “The Sports Thread (2)”

  1. India headed for a huge win today! This suddenly changes the complexion of the entire series.

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  2. Novak is back with a bang after suffering through all sorts of problems. Fav to win US open imo.

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  3. IdeaUnique Says:

    Butler and Stokes are teasing Indian bowlers – frustrating for them – still 300+ to go and around 130 overs to be bowled…..

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  4. IdeaUnique Says:

    Bumrah-show! takes 4 wicket in span of 20 runs!!! now 8 down Eng

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  5. IdeaUnique Says:

    ha ha – now Rashid and Broad put up a 50 partnership….

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  6. Bumrah made such a difference. Hoping for Bhuvi to return quickly. His batting is gritty too.

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  7. Serena Williams tops Forbes list for highest-earning female athletes
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/45266162

    Indian badminton Olympic and world silver medallist Sindhu 7th.

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  8. Still very early but what a start for India!

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    • England’s plight seems worse than India’s.
      Bairstow is playing but injured. Cook is in poor form. India are all over them already!

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    • Yes, excellent batting conditions so good to see them exert pressure early on. Cook is ripe to score on this pitch (hope not though!)

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      • England’s top order is back in the stands. Whoopee! Boycott is cursing!

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        • Thats usual, aint it? ;-P

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          • No usually you could rely on England being 80-4. Those days are long gone!

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          • they’ve been decimated here..

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          • Pandya doesn’t need to be bowling. India have 3 seamers plus Ashwin. Get the front line bowlers in to ensure unnecessary runs are not given away.

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          • I don’t know why Kohli persisted with Pandya yesterday. He got 1 wicket and went for economy of 6+. All other front line bowlers took wickets and went for less than 3 per over. Hopefully India can bat out till lunch with only 2 wickets down.

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          • India throwing it away. Get this Pandya out of the test team. He’s not a test all-rounder.

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          • Those runs from Curran are decisive now. England all of a sudden are favourites again especially with India chasing in 2nd innings.

            England have 3 all-rounder’s that would be better than Pandya!

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          • India blew it here with both ball and bat. And of course Curran reminds everyone once again why dropping him for the last test was such a crazy decision. He has the 78 and the crucial wicket today.

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          • Both these teams are clueless wrt team selection.

            Pujara deserves a ton. Should have played from first test.

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          • Pujara is a proper test player. He should be selected unless you have a player who is scoring better for longer time.

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          • Yeah — I was one of those who had thought he should be left out for a bit (failed all season in counties, but admittedly showed some signs of returning to form in the second innings against Essex), but I was wrong. Eepecially given it isn’t like the replacements would cover themselves with glory. So far it is looking like a repeat of the first test (hoping for a different result!); can’t believe Ashwin played that shot to get out, disgraceful. But all in all, so happy to see Pujara score (what I think is) his first substantial score outside the sub-continent….showed a lot of character

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          • ,….and India has the lead!!!! WE are batting last so every run is precious.

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          • Good time to get bowled out. India have 10 mins to take a wicket…

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          • yeah I thought they’d end up with a deficit of 50 or so. This is still progress!

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          • Guys like Pujara are a dime a dozen. India has no alternative but to play him. Barring Kohli he is the only reliable batsman and he’s still there!

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          • Like Dravid, I like Pujara’s intent to stay on the wicket. Pant and Panda need more focus so that mistakes are minimized.

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          • Yup, so true

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          • Any team needs balance. A team of Pujara’s won’t work as well as a team of Sehwag’s won’t either. In these shorter test matches (where scoring 250 is a struggle) a proper technical batsman is better than these fancy batsman. Heck even a take out Pandya and replace him with a proper bowler or batsman. If your all-rounder is not good enough to be in the side on the merits of one discipline he is not a preferred option over someone who is. Stokes could be a bowler as he is good at first change. Just watching India’s wickets, embarrassing.

            Seems this match is 50/50, one good day for either side tomorrow could seal it.

            That was a proper innings by Pujara.

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          • Commentators should stop calling Indian goos players of spin; They may play better than other countries but when ball is doing stuff, they cannot handle it. Funny thing is whenever Bhajji says that England spinners take wicket.

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          • Yeah, in fact this generation of Indian players certainly seem to play the unheralded spinners like Moeen Ali worse than others!

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          • Shewag was exception; he use to tore apart opposition in tests if he was in zone. I don’t think technique was there in mix; It was pure timing. Not a fan but have to give credit.

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          • The worst was Ashwin’s dismissal — that was likely the difference between a 60-75 run lead and a 27-run one…

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          • I think the match is 60-40 in England’s favour given that we bat last … and have already shown in 2014 and this innings ke hum ko Moeen Ali ko bowler banaana aata hai:-)

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          • I saw the LBW of Rahane in highlights..I must say there was third umpire bias…when he started showing in slow motion, it clearly looked no ball then he quickly asked for one frame early…he went from enlarging that frame…obviously there is no technology to see horizontal ground that feet has landed or started touching..

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          • Yeah that was a tough one, it ruined my morning…

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          • What a superb pace attack India has — if we go through this era without series wins in England, Australia, SA, it will be mostly attributable to poor team selection, preparation, i.e. “back stage” issues rather than any skill-deficit.

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          • England did well to get to 246, but probably a sign that there really isn’t much here once the ball is a bit older; so India have to be careful not to lose 3-4 in the first 30 overs, they can really cash in if they survive. First step — stumps on Day 1 — negotiated successfully!

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          • England scored 50 more than I expected. India need to see out tomorrow and 3rd day morning session to have a chance at winning. Hopefully they can go past 350.

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          • Yup, they bat last and definitely need a big lead here…

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          • I meant Boycott cursing!

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          • Oh indeed but I would say he’s a damn funny commentator.

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          • Agreed, I too find his commentary too entertaining.

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          • wron on pujara’s first century outside sub continent. in 2013, he scored 153 in 2nd innings at Johannesburg
            scorecard:
            http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/11866/scorecard/648665/south-africa-vs-india-1st-test-india-tour-of-south-africa-2013-14

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          • ah, my bad, thanks for pointing that out.

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  9. on the other end,
    India performing exceedingly well in ongoing Asian games..Whats good to see is many meddles are coming in track n field events!!!!
    wish and pray these continues in all upcoming big events..

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    • The heptathlete who won gold (S. Barman), what a remarkable story! Her parents work on a tea estate and drive a rickshaw, and she didn’t even have money for the specialized shoes she needed for her feet (6 toes on each feet).

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  10. rare overseas hundred for pujara, india still trail the english by 10 runs with 1 more wicket in hand

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    • pujara. take a bow… wall 2.0 😊

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    • ajinkya rahane/ashwin/ishant should all retire from white ball cricket and focus solely on the longer format abroad. get a county deal, Aus, NZ, SA first class teams.

      Like Pujara’s done. BCCI should encourage this

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      • more sting in the tail after letting go ashwin. i tell you he is useless overseas. england tricked india by giving wickets in first test. poosibly could be a plan to keep ashwin longer in the series.

        good to see vijay sign up with essex

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  11. Anyone following US Open? The Big 3 seem all set to get into week 2 without major hiccups (although Nadal and Novak dropped a couple of sets).

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  12. India don’t want to be chasing anything above 200 so they need to bowl England out today. Simple as that.

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  13. 244 ought to be doable on this pitch but given how three innings have gone so far who knows! specially batting last.

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  14. disappointed with ashwin. his opposite number gets a fifer in the first innings, and despite england having 6-7 lefties in each tests, ashwin has little to show in the wickets column in last 3 tests. apart from birmingham, he’s been a non performer with ball and bat

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    • any thoughts why ashwin is getting so many chances in overseas conditions when his record is terrible? give jadeja a chance

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  15. Prasad Bhojak Says:

    119 Runs needed now. Kohli gone before tea. This is a great test match for India to win.

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    • Can’t say anything about this performance is surprising except India lasted this long!

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      • I’m more disappointed that a part time spinner has destroyed India!

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        • second time in this test.

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        • That happened in 2014 as well as in the series IN India (not part-timers then but still). Ashwin batting decently now is even more irritating, given his brainless first ball reverse sweep in the first innings (what the hell was he thinking?!); that alone could have added 20-40 runs to the first innings lead — and this match, as with Edgbaston, was lost in the first innings. So so upsetting.

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  16. lost cause. 3-1 england. some serious questioning of bcci needs to be done

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  17. Prasad Bhojak Says:

    Damn i jinxed this, got the sling tv subscription for the indian win and now we are down 7 wickets.

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  18. This series was all about dropped players performing and big names other than Kohli failing. Moeen Ali and Sam Curran, Pujara and Bumrah, the latter was not dropped but coming after injury. India should have played DK and Jadeja instead of Pant and Ashwin/Hardik.
    Ajinkya Rahane does just about enough to distract all the attention from his non performance in the tour

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    • Team selection has been problem..the difference has been Sam Curran and inability to get tailenders quickly. With Shastri at helm there is no strategy to figure solution.

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      • moeen ali has also trumped over overrated ashwin who gets cheap wickets on dustbowls but in found wanting in foreign conditions

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      • What do you mean? Go, smash ’em boys doesn’t count as strategy?!

        A more pithy maxim hasn’t been heard of… since Patanjali wrote those mighty Yoga-sutras!

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  19. Cook to retire at end of 5th test

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  20. Federer knocked out

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  21. Heat, age and a relentless John Millman combined in a perfect storm to drive Roger Federer to the US Open exit on Monday, leaving the winner of a record 20 Grand Slam titles looking every bit the 37 year old he is. More shocking than his departure was the manner of the 3-6 7-5 7-6(7) 7-6(3) loss to the Australian, with Federer simply wilting in the suffocating humidity and exiting a Grand Slam before the quarter-finals for just the fifth time since 2004.

    “I just thought it was very hot tonight,” Federer said after his fourth-round defeat. “It was just one of those nights where I guess I felt I couldn’t get air. “There was no circulation at all. I don’t know, for some reason I just struggled in the conditions tonight.

    “It’s one of the first times it’s happened to me.” The numbers were damning with the Swiss second seed, in many eyes the greatest male player of all time, committing a shocking 77 unforced errors and 10 double faults, including two in the final tie-break.

    Never before had the 55th ranked Millman beaten a top 10 player and never before at the US Open had Federer lost to someone ranked outside the top 50, previously posting a 40-0 record in such matches at Flushing Meadows. Both streaks came to a jaw-dropping end in front of stunned crowd on Arthur Ashe Stadium as the five-time champion made his earliest departure from the year’s final Grand Slam since a fourth-round loss to Tommy Robredo in 2013.

    https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/tennis/us-open-2018-roger-federer-exit-5338906/

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    • yeah saw the last set and a half here. It was a bit painful to see Federer this way. In Wimbledon he was on match point before he lost. here in a somewhat similar situation he was a moment away from winning the second set and then lost it all. An astonishing number of double faults, unforced errors, points lost at the net and so on. I never thought he could take on Djokovic but I didn’t expect this either.

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      • I’ve read this is the worst he’s played for a long time. Only 6/24 first serves in second set game and by his standards this is poor. Not writing him off but the only plausible slam he is a contender for is Australia. Wimbledon he should be but I expect Djokovic to go for the clean sweep next year. He’ll be heavy favourite for 3/4 slams.

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  22. https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/45406837

    It was indeed terrible weather yesterday. Probably explains why he had such a poor game. It’s one thing to lose. He lost at Wimbledon but he wasn’t playing like this. Millman confirms the same here and he was just dripping throughout the match. Or at least when I started watching.

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  23. US Open 2018: John Isner’s 67 Winners, 52 Unforced Errors, 26 Aces And 11 Shirts
    Updated: 05 September 2018 10:43 IST

    NDTV
    John Isner hit big numbers in his US Open quarter-final defeat to Juan Martin del Potro, including having to change his shirt 11 times in New York’s crushing heat and humidity.

    “I had to change my shirt 11 times in the match,” said Isner.

    “I weigh 238 pounds, so I have always said it’s pretty difficult to play in hot conditions, for me especially, because I weigh a lot and I sweat a lot.

    “It takes its toll on bigger guys. Whenever I have seen Juan maybe struggle in the heat or on TV and it looks like he’s gassed out there, I can always relate.”

    Federer complained that he had struggled to breathe in the almost airless conditions inside the arena as he slumped to a shock defeat to John Millman, the world number 55 on Monday.

    “I have never seen Roger sweat ever. If he’s sweating a lot and has to change clothes, then you know it’s pretty humid out there,” said Isner.

    https://c.ndtvimg.com/s11083ss_john-isner-afp_625x300_05_September_18.jpg?output-quality=70&output-format=webp&downsize=555:*

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  24. Poor Dominic Thiem – goes past the 4 hour mark for the first time in his career and has Nadal at the other end… Nadal is a freak show, seriously this guy is gutsy.

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  25. India need to practice coin tossing. I fancy Cook to go big in his last test. If India lose this series 4-1, they should blame it on lack of practice (too much heat lol) and poor team selection. They could have been 3-1 ahead after 4th test.

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    • Shastri (in the latest installment of his auditioning for the roles played by Johnny Lever) said earlier this week this Indian team plays better abroad than any Indian team over the last 10-15 years. Uhhhh….what? Not only do the results show a different reality, the Indian teams that won in England (2007); tied in SA (2011); won in Pakistan (2004) and tied/lost well-contested series in Australia (1-1 in 2003; 1-2 in 2007-2008) and Pakistan (0-1 in 2006) played STRONGER home teams. The more accurate statement would have been that this Indian team is invincible at home in a way its recent predecessors were not (in the decade between the famous Ind/Aus 2001 series and the defeat to England in India, there were a number of misfires).

      Even propagandists need to have more intelligence.

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    • After this inning I think catch practice might not be a bad idea..

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      • Cook will target being the 5th highest test run scorer of all time by end of test match. He needs less than 100 or around this to overhaul Sangakharra.

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      • India has generally been better than England in this series as far as slip-catching is concerned, but in the 1st and 5th tests they have had costy drops — especially given how flat this Oval pitch appears to be. Shami, Ishant and Bumrah deserved a lot better than this 121/1 score.

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        • India are bloody awful with their reviews. It’s for obvious errors not speculative gambling…

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          • Virat’s brilliance as a batsman really masks how thoroughly mediocre he is as a captain, especially where team selection, reviews, are concerned…

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          • Reviews are so important. I don’t think India have a plan around them. If there were limitless reviews, India would be the worst offender for sure, or Pakistan. Logically the importance of a test match in the second session is a lot less than later on. Why use it unless you are 90% sure. Anyway wickets are falling now.

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  26. thecooldude Says:

    Not sure why England are playing at the strike rate of 2 an over. You have already won the series and this pitch looks like a batting paradise….go for it already!

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  27. thecooldude Says:

    The trick for India should they get the remaining wickets cheaply is NOT to bat 4th…pile enough runs in the first inning and make England avoid innings defeat!

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  28. Cook’s retirement isn’t really that big a story. The real story is about this guy retiring!

    As Andrew Benson takes the care to point out, if he had those 10 points at opportune times, he’d be a 5 time World Champion!

    Hamilton rates him the toughest opponent he’s ever faced. Massa actually thinks he’s greater than Schumacher…

    An absolute legend.

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  29. Djokovic in US Open final. Yeah! What a comeback – this is bigger than Federer or Nadal’s return from injury and time-off as Novak was passing problems from all spheres of life.

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    • If Novak goes on to win this, he will be in a great position once again. He is still young and can get to Fed/Nadal’s 20 slams (expected from Nadal) by the time he retires.

      Rooting for him on sunday, although del potro is a fav too. If Novak wins this it will be as great a comeback as Aamir’s return from few years in oblivion with MP/RDB/Fanaa.

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      • I mean a 2 years break for a sportsman is equivalent to a 4 year break for a commercial movie star, due to the extended career that the latter enjoys considering the nature of their respective professions.

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      • I’ll root for JMDP. His first slam final in nearly a decade. He’s had some awful injuries and if he was injury free he’d have won many slams. He’d certainly be ahead of Murray.

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  30. Jay already talked about this ‘formula’ yesterday. Nonetheless and even by those standards it’s appalling that Eng were able to get to 332 from 191/7 or whatever it was when play landed last night.

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    • Not much surprised me here. England have an underperforming top order and somehow their all-rounder’s and tailenders score 50-100 more runs then they should in a number of innings. If England had a functional batting they’d have battered India and if India’s bowling did their job they’d have won more than they lost.

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      • this time they did it even without Curran.

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        • Now 4 down. The days of that incredible batting lineup of Sehwag, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Ganguly etc have long gone. It’s really just 2 here who are nailed on test batsman – Kohli & Pujara.

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          • After kohli’s out this test is over. Unless something very surprising happens . What a drubbing this is. I agree completely with you and qalandar. With some practice things would have been very different .

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          • Hanuma Vihari’s technique didn’t seem that impressive. Failure for a debutant is to be expected but his technique seemed dodgy — a couple of crazy hooks there where he seemed clueless, but towards the end he did have a gorgeous off-drive…

            Today Pujara seemed more impressive than Kohli (who perished chasing a ball he should have left alone), but sadly didn’t convert.

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          • That was uncharacteristic of Pujara and probably that is why he was cursing himself walking back..

            Vijari looked clueless with those two bouncers..let see if he has ability to stay.

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  31. what is wrong with rahane? i think white ball cricket has screwed his test game. he should be made to retire from white ball cricke & ipl

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    • The case of many players. To be frank England’s all-rounder list – most are one ODI than test players. The only one genuinely who deserves test status is Stokes. Bairstow obviously has his moments. Butler, Ali, Rashid are not test players. Curran is raw & new. Basically half the team is non test pretty much but this is probably the state of test cricket period.

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      • England don’t have good openers now (once Cook is gone), they don’t have a #3 – they were in a more precarious position than India in this series throughout on this score, add to this an out of nick captain. But they do have a collection of match winning all-rounders who have come to their rescue at different times – Curran being the main newcomer. They’ve won this key battle and it’s won them the series.

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  32. very pleased Naomi Osaka won today. Serena could have shown a little more grace.. It’s frustrating for her that she’s lost two finals in a row (though she hardly gave herself any time after her pregnancy with Wimbledon), she’s one away from Margaret Court’s number, still it was just some bad behavior today.

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    • Yes it was very shameful, that tirade. Plus she pulled out “the woman card” in an unjustified manner.

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    • Damn seems I missed one here. Just reading up on it. I know Williams is American but should the crowd be supportive of this? Doesn’t read as her being hard done by. Her coach has spilled the beans afterwards anyway.

      Glad Osaka won – Monday should be fun as I work for a Japanese company but she’s practically American no?

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  33. IdeaUnique Says:

    US Open – crowd started booing – what a shame! Naomi played beautiful tennis and during the ceremony – she showed tremendous grace and humility! Serena is a looser! cant take a defeat gracefully….

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  34. Cook seems to have the 100 he needed to go upto #5 on the list.

    India I must say with Vihari/Jadeja put up a better show for the lower half of the order than they have this entire series. Probably too little too late.

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    • Yes it will be a familiar script from the first and fourth tests: get close to first innings total but with no lead and batting last, match is done and dusted in the first innings.

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  35. In current form no one’s beating Djokovic, at least outside of clay. He should get his 15th with the next Australian. Felt bad for del Potro though. Here’s one guy who truly could have had a different career barring his wrist injuries.

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    • I think Djokovic has a better shot of challenging Federer’s 20 Slams than Nadal does at this point.

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      • Nadal is 32 now and needs 3 more slams to get to 20. While Djokovic is 31 and needs 6 at this point. Over the next 4-5 years I expect both of them to get to Fed’s 20.

        Novak’s comeback is quite like Aamir’s considering all the personal problems.

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        • And Fed is pretty much done for. He will not retire though; cause that uniqlo deal will get him millions as long as he hangs around in the circuit.

          He was lucky that his comeback coincided with breaks/injuries from both Nadal and Djokovic. Otherwise he may not have won those last 3 slams at his age. Said the same when he was winning them.

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          • Actually Nadal also would not have won 3 of 6 Slams (Fed won the other 3) had Novak not imploded. But then again, those two have to be given credit for more mental strength than Djokovic has shown in his career — now that he is back to his best it will be difficult for Nadal to add to his tally, much less Federer.

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          • Novak is much more challenging on clay than Fed, but Nadal will have the edge. Waiting to see how it turns out next year.

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        • It’s not about their ages: if both play at their best Nadal will lose to Djokovic on hard courts and grass; even at the French, he is the only person to have beaten him twice over the last decade. So Nadal has basically one great chance a year to add to his tally whereas Novak has more. Of course things don’t always go according to plan (among other things, given that Federer won the Australian as recently as this year, can’t be completely counted out, although additional titles are looking unlikely), plus Nadal’s body is a lot “older” than his age given the toll his style of play takes on him.

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          • I still think Nadal will win Garros for next 2-3 years, while Novak will keep adding a couple of other slams to his tally. Lets see.

            I dont see their bodies giving up before they each turn 35. And doubt if they will hang around after that like Fed – their style of play wont allow that.

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  36. Indian top order has been binaried!

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    • India should have their passports confiscated and join county cricket.

      They have lost a test series 4-1 (will) that they should have won. Poor personnel in charge. Kohli can only do so much as a batsman but a lot more as a captain.

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    • thecooldude Says:

      Feel bad for Kohli….not the way he should be ending the series on a personal level!

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  37. India are making this painful once again…!

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    • Dard ki ek seema hotai hain… uss ke pare phir dard nahi hota na dard ka ahsaas 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • India are 100-1 to win. I could be a millionaire if someone lends me £10,000 – I’ll pay you back once India win 😀

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          • Or we can bet on Manoj Bajpai being the next superstar and I can be a billionaire 😂

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          • LOL, that ties up neatly all the discussions today!

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          • KL Rahul will play his trademark T-20 speed, double century 🙂
            Borrow from friends 😉

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          • India need more than that. They should pay for like 1000’s of planes to fly over the Oval spraying bucket loads of water.

            But James Anderson needs one wicket to be the outright highest seam bowling wicket taker in the history of test cricket…he’s level with McGrath currently.

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          • The tragedy is, no one really cares in England. He’d be a freaking superstar in India with half that tally…

            The one time England produce a truly great pair of fast bowlers, the public at large, can’t even bother to care!

            Having said that, Anderson isn’t in anyway greater than McGrath or Dale Steyn. His record, though absolutely remarkable, owes a lot to bowling in swing friendly conditions and his exceptional longevity. The latter is entirely because of his own efforts, so kudos to him.

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          • McGrath is the best by a distance that I’ve watched. Can’t speak of the West Indies lot, Lillee & Thompson etc. McGrath in his prime bowled 6 deliveries on a coin and he was bloody annoying!

            My personal favourite is Akram – what a bowler. India’s coaching would find ways to reduce Steyn’s speed & Anderson’s swing.

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          • The best, and by that I mean a bowler who could take wickets anywhere (even on a glass top), has to be Richard Hadlee. Just pure swing and a beautiful, rhythmic bowling action. He did not travel to India earlier on in his career but did so when the chance came to break the record for highest wickets — and he was deadly! On Indian tracks. Swung the ball a mile.

            Akram too is a great choice. Malcolm Marshall, with his pace and swing, was lethal. Holding had the smoothest action imaginable, I guess. Andy Roberts, Garner and Ambrose were just intimidating.

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          • As an anecdotal account, I once copied Hadlee’s action (to the extent that I could copy it by watching it on TV) playing Tennis ball cricket and batsmen who faced me had no clue! The ball just swung so much…although it was hard to generate pace with that action. At least as far as I’m concerned.

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          • ha, that’s interesting!

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          • Forgot White Lightening aka Alan Donald.

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          • our comments crossed!

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          • I’d disagree on Ambrose. I forget whether it was Richards or someone else from the older WI team who said that Ambrose was better than everyone on that great side barring one or two. Holding was of course ‘whispering death’. My personal favorite from that WI generation. On the single greatest performance in a series ever I’d probably go along with the opinion here:

            http://www.espncricinfo.com/blogs/content/story/669747.html

            on terrible subcontinental tracks this is quite something. I’ve also seen the highlights on youtube. Some of the deliveries have to be seen to be believed.

            Among relatively contemporary bowlers though Steyn’s numbers are pretty incredible given the age he bowled in, most wickets offering little help to the bowler and so on. Donald was also himself a very dangerous customer.

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          • Incidentally I find Botham overrated anyway though perfect for English conditions.

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          • Of the pace bowlers who were playing into the 90s and since I would take Akram and Ambrose over all others.

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          • didn’t know that!

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    • I think they want the day off for sight seeing tomorrow…

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  38. thecooldude Says:

    India should ditch 3 T20s that start their Australia tour before the test arrives and should play a couple of side matches! Someone at the board needs to make this decision because Kohli and Shastri wouldnt! It has been painfully obvious in SA and UK that not having side matches has really hurt the batting unit!

    Like

    • was just about to post this, it’s the last word on the topic as far as I’m concerned, not because it’s Navratilova but for her piece:

      Martina Navratilova: What Serena Got Wrong

      Liked by 1 person

      • To add I think the coaching rules are daft. I don’t see any harm in players being coached… every sport has it – boxers after each round, golfers with their caddies etc. It’s rather silly – you could easily have the coach sit next to the player at each turn and do whatever coaching is necessary. Serena was deplorable. Osaka in the storm managed her game and emotions quite remarkably.

        https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/45477131

        Felt like an entitlement argument from Serena. She was getting beaten and I doubt if the match situation was favourable for her that most of this would have happened.

        Like

        • unfortunately media (and popular) opinion in the US has on the whole favored Serena. But yes agree completely, hard to believe there would be so much fuss on her part if she were winning. I think she took the Wimbledon as a one-off, she’d hardly had much practice at that point, but this time she expected to win. She was clearly frustrated. I’m sympathetic to your coaching point too. LOL, in football (American!) the coach can keep speaking to the quarterback. Basically one player per team is allowed this privilege. But they can’t talk back.

          Like

          • I’ve noticed this. The media/public vote has been in favour of Serena but professionals/columnists have on the whole found her behaviour very poor. She might have some important points but during a final with the public watching is not the time or place. Thank god she lost because IF her behaviour led to a momentum shift and Osaka losing it would have been tragic. Not saying this is what she was trying to do as it’s clear she was fundamentally angry but it could easily have ruined Osaka in the process.

            Liked by 1 person

          • agree completely.

            Like

  39. there has been great praise for Rahul’s inning today. Wish he’d come into form earlier.

    Like

  40. Things are suddenly getting interesting on this last day when it seemed all but over last night. Is Rahul playing the innings of a lifetime?!

    Like

    • Makes me livid… pressure is off, India decide to play. Damn those 100-1 odds are now 20-1 for a win. The new ball will finish India off IMO.

      Like

      • And this will give India and selectors a false sense of hope.

        Like

        • that’s true, nonetheless at the moment it’s quite dramatic. Pant too seems to be playing the inning of a lifetime. But I do agree, I’ll take the victory of course but this kind of 3-2 result would flatter to deceive.

          Like

          • thecooldude Says:

            This would be a record breaking victory and that too with a golden duck from Kohli! doesn’t matter that India has already lost the series….a test win like this comes once in a lifetime!…even a draw would be huge!!!

            Like

          • thecooldude Says:

            Never mind……4-1 or 3-1!

            Like

          • Ha, true! But I do agree with Jay that this is a lopsided result that doesn’t quite represent the reality — India didn’t get crushed by a much superior side, they were simply underprepared. Which of course makes it worse than actually losing to a truly superior side.

            Like

          • thecooldude Says:

            It’s pretty much about India’s 4th inning meltdown in both SA and England. They would have won both series had they been able to chase modest 4th inning totals. Then again, it seems there are really no teams out there who are chasing these on foreign grounds!

            Now we will have a useless Asia Cup followed by another huge series vs the Aussies! Lets see if they can salvage one of out of these 3 big series.

            Like

          • I think even more than this it’s about not putting up enough runs on the board initially. Most teams would lose chasing in a 4th inning. These days with much shorter innings soon average there’s always enough time and you can’t really play for a draw. The latter was possible today but it isn’t most of the time. Or at least the extra time makes it improbable. You really need to get a stronger first inning total. This also plagued throughout in SA. Think they’ll do better in Aus on that front. The bowling will probably bother them far less in those conditions. Having said that the Australians, who’ve been preparing graveyard pitches in recent times, might get ideas looking at India’s performance against SA and Eng. Then again they too don’t have Smith and Warner. Might not want to take the chance.

            Like

          • England were here to be taken from Test 1. At best India could have won 3-2, but they lose by what on paper looks like a drubbing. England weakened for sure by losing Cook. At least Pant came good – first overseas hundred by an Indian wicketkeeper in either England, Australia or South Africa (I think). Remarkable to think Dhoni never scored a ton.

            Like

          • Yes I heard that earlier and it is indeed surprising Dhoni never scored one.

            Like

          • 4-1 it is for England versus India

            Like

  41. US Open 2018 | Umpires strike back: Match officials mull boycotting Serena Williams, forming a union
    Upset with ITF’s delay in defending Carlos Ramos, match officials mull boycotting Serena Williams, forming a union.

    https://indianexpress.com/article/sports/tennis/us-open-2018-serena-williams-umpire-outburst-aftermath-5351791/

    Like

    • 1) If there is sexism in the sport it needs a separate investigation and has little to do with Saturday.
      2) A union seems like dragging this out and punishing Serena. She was wrong, apologize and end off.
      3) Ramos is innocent IMO, however Saturday will make the sport better and consistency will be more public now. The crowd will play a part now too. Serena has done some good here as umpires will have to be consistent (if they aren’t already) as all eyes will be wide open now. Gut feeling says a surge in fines for bad behaviour in the next year before things calm down.

      Like

  42. Kohli said playing weaker opposition in warm-up matches served no purpose and was actually a “waste of time”. He felt it was better to play in simulated conditions, where batsmen could face the bowling they wanted and could alter the conditions of the pitch to suit their needs.

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/24652457/strange-selections-ashwin-question-five-mistakes-cost-india

    Liked by 1 person

    • it’s a pity he thinks this way.

      Like

    • So the next time India tour Bangladesh or Zimbabwe we can assume it’s a waste of time. Kohli is displaying unnecessary arrogance here. Calling the county system as weak or waste of time…in the end India lost 4-1 and were poorly prepared period. The one tour game they had they got it reduced by 1 day because of heat! Go figure!

      Like

    • If he hasn’t learned despite SA and England, then he will never learn.

      It’s also a broader issue: matches add unpredictability, and the team needs to know how to deal with that sort of thing as well (even outside of tests, India’s inability to come to terms with something that just shows up out of left field has tripped it up in major tournaments — the Champions Trophy final, or the T20 World Cup final and Brathwaite’s sixes come to mind). These guys don’t want to get out of their comfort zone (didn’t like coach Kumble, let’s replace him; let’s stick to simulations etc.); ok you tried it but now how about something different? Especially when teams that HAVE practices have done much better than you (eg Pakistan and Sri Lanka in England last few years). The warm-up match approach has worked well for decades, and their alternative is not showing results!

      It’s easy to lull oneself into complacency by saying we competed well in certain test matches on this tour — but to beat a home team you need to be significantly BETTER, to overcome home advantage. If you keep coming close and falling short, and IF a match is one-sided it goes against you, you clearly need to change something.

      Liked by 1 person

  43. Murali Vijay debuts with a century for Essex
    https://www.bbc.com/sport/cricket/45503990

    Like

  44. Hong Kong is giving India a run for money…

    Like

    • Embarrassing India…

      Like

      • There was simply no focus..I saw some part of India’s batting and most of Hongkong batting…Our fielding left lot to be desired in first 15 overs. I am not sure why they selected 3 fast bowlers..Thakur may work in T20 but ODIs expose him. They should have Pant (he is 20) instead of Dinesh Karthik (33). Dhoni is going to stay till World cup..And he has to impart his DRS skills to someone..

        Like

  45. India walloping Pakistan!

    Like

  46. https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/45613238

    Djokovic hits Federer in a doubles match

    Like

  47. Tiger Woods on verge of 1st tour victory in 5 years!

    Like

  48. Tiger Woods comeback: A tale of implausible redemption it is hard to resist

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/golf/45625712

    Like

    • This is the greatest sporting comeback I have witnessed. The guy has done very bad things in his personal life, but Golf wise with all these injuries and ranking nearly as low as 1200, to win and be competitive is quite remarkable. Obviously a true comeback is IF he wins a major.

      The Ryder Cup will be extraordinary now.

      Like

    • Ronaldo is pissed with UEFA at the moment for various reasons. Ballon D’Or looks to be going to Modric and finally the Ronaldo/Messi monopoly that has gone since 2007 should end.

      I think Messi has a shot at 2019 whereas it’s tough for Ronaldo but Ronaldo could still win 2018.

      Like

  49. Asia Cup 2018: MS Dhoni leads India after almost two years.

    Like

  50. Afghanistan is playing well. 4 more wickets needed. India need 42 more runs with Jadeja best batsman remaining

    Like

  51. What a fightback by Europe. Absolutely destroyed US in afternoon foursomes.

    Like

  52. Yay! Hum Jeet Gaye!

    Hard luck to Bangbros!

    Like

  53. Europe absolutely tore US apart in Ryder Cup. Looking forward to watching highlights soon!

    Like

  54. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45712777

    A developing sports story. Cristiano Ronaldo rape allegation: Las Vegas police reopen case.

    Like

  55. another failure for Rahul

    Like

  56. Anyone following the Ind-WI Test? Prithvi Shaw is on his way to a debut 100.

    Like

  57. One of the best Test Matches this year even if it ended as a draw #AusPak #Dubai.Great knock by Khwaja on final day. Pak bowling is fantastic

    Liked by 1 person

  58. Khawaja and Paine showed how a test match could be saved when everyone plays like ODI.

    Liked by 1 person

    • head and finch played well too in 2nd innings

      Like

    • Khawaja seems to have mastered the reverse sweep from the rough like he owns that shot. good contribution from Lyon to hang around with Paine at the end moment against Yasir Shah bowling with his tail up and 4 2nd innings wickets to his name. The new offie Bilal was causing a lot of problems to Aussie batsmen with a 6fer in the 1st winning though his action looks suspect. No suspicions on Abbas though getting 7 wickets in the match

      Like

  59. Like

    • Some F1 writers will put Alonso higher!

      And I wouldn’t mind, to be honest. I like Hamilton a lot, but this guy is the most fierce competitor in the modern F1 era.

      Don’t think he likes Vettel much though…

      Like

      • He came so close to beating Vettel twice in a much inferior car. That ought to have hurt!

        But must admit, his career choices have been most bizarre. He has burnt more bridges than he built — too emotional, too volatile a personality at times.

        Like

    • Tendulkar’s 50 odd will be too easy for Kohli.

      Like

      • At this rate, yes. He averages 140 in ODIs this year. 92+ in the last 3 years…

        Like

      • Yes the ODI number will go easily . The test one is unlikely . Or course let’s not forget Sachin played as an opener in ODIs for so much of his career . Hardly his natural position . Which also meant he was facing some very fine bowlers in that position (of course he faced much better bowling anyway, much as as ODI tracks are even more batting oriented these days). On a related note the one odd stat is that Tendulkar for the first number of years actually didn’t score an ODI century at all. Nonetheless what is true is that kohli will easily cross the ODI number .

        Like

        • Actually even Sachin getting to 51 test centuries once seemed not just improbable but almost impossible. There was a period where he was struggling a bit with injuries and he was slow getting to each new one around the mid-30s mark. But then he suddenly had this late bloom and it was quite incredible. At one point I didn’t think he’d have more than 40 in the very best case scenario.

          And again if they keep up this craziness in ODIs, not just the pitches but shorter boundaries, rule changes that favor hitting even more and so on, the 50 mark might be even more breachable going forward. It will still require a very consistent batsman to do it of course but it will happen as a matter of course.

          Like

          • Actually, Tendulkar also benefited from the trend of lifeless pitches and shorter boundaries. There’s a reason scores ballooned from an average of 250 to 300 during his era. There’s no way Indian batsmen could score 300+ runs in Australia during the early 2000s without the pitches being batting-friendly.

            Like

          • I will be an onlooker on this debate…I’ll enjoy it as much as Sehwag Vs Tendulkar and Cook Vs Tendulkar (my local English friend)…

            Like

          • They ballooned post 1996 World Cup when Sri Lanka showed the world how to play ODI cricket. That’s a pivotal tournament in the history of ODI cricket. Bowling in first 15 overs changed. Also during Tendulkar’s time you had powerplays enter the scene so yes his career stats benefit to some degree but everyone now has it from Day 1!

            Name me ‘one’ great bowler that Kohli has faced that Tendulkar didn’t?

            Like

          • Indeed he did but by the early 2000s his peak was already behind him. I’d disagree on the Aus bit in this sense though. Indian batsmen by that point or certainly that great generation was much less troubled by pure pace. They still did much worse in Eng where there was more natural movement. And cricket in general has gone in that direction. Which is why most teams (not just India) just cannot handle movement (of any kind, forget swing) too well. We see this in series after series. Much as few tests even go the distance anymore. They’re played like ODIs. Even through the mid-90s if not beyond the opposite was true (here too one must factor this into the averages).

            Once more I am not against anyone. If Kohli were greater than Sachin or even Bradman I wouldn’t have an issue. But I see a certain problem of ‘presentism’ when every other cricketer is supposed to be greater than someone else, every other inning the greatest around, etc etc. We see this elsewhere in the culture too. Just hard to debate anything seriously when the media is awash in hyperbole all the time and as a matter of course.

            Like

        • Batting oriented tracks don’t account for a career average of 60!

          Or the fact that Kohli has scored 10000 runs in 205 innings compared to Tendulkar’s 259. Also, Kohli gets less chances to score hundreds compared to an opener, which Tendlukar was.

          Like

          • yes but you then have to survive as opener too. Given the care with which Kohli was playing an aging Anderson in England what would facing Ambrose, Akram, Shoaib, McGrath, Donald, etc look like as an opener?!

            Batting tracks incidentally account for that average as well. Dhoni has a close to 51 average over 279 innings! Bevan averages 54 in close to 200. But leaving these aside the number of players who maintain 45+ averages over the last 15 years or so is literally sky high. Sachin with his 45 still stands out because of course he has 452 innings. The next closest, Ponting and Sangakkara, are still 70-90 innings behind him and they average 41-42. But if one just restricts it to those who’ve had at least a 100 innings there are still a lot of high numbers there. You get some old-timers on these lists (45+ averages, people like Richards or Greenidge) but these are still exceptions.

            Again these aren’t batting tracks in the usual sense. The ODI format always had batting tracks. But the contemporary ones are for the most part graveyards. Forget ODI’s this happens a great deal in tests as well. If you look up videos from the 70s for matches played in Eng (for example) and compare the pitches to the recently concluded series, the latter will look like dust tracks (and neither side could handle better bowling even with some limited movement!). The kinds of pitches that were regularly available in the subcontinent and were considered a joke elsewhere have unfortunately become the norm.

            The game of cricket has changed more dramatically in modern times than any other sport that at least I can think of (and there are some with big changes but not to this degree). Things have reached a point where it’s not even meaningful to compare contemporary numbers with anything that’s relatively older. Much as it’s not reasonable to compare the W G Grace era with say the 40s or the 50s. The game has just been changed incredibly. This is where someone like Steyn gets enormous credit. To do as much as he has in these conditions is pretty incredible.

            Now this doesn’t mean that great talents aren’t around. Just that even they don’t have the instincts of their older colleagues. They’ve never needed them. at one level Kohli did very well in Eng. On the other hand what would he have done with a peak Eng attack that decimates Aus in the Ashes? Let alone some incredibly fast bowlers who were at their peaks or close in the 90s. And then you have Gavaskar in those days facing the Windies or Lillee or Bob Willis or Hadlee in much more difficult conditions. And again as opener. Not with half the protection that people today have. One has to account for all of this. Because otherwise it’s like saying the biggest grossers are all films from the last 10-15 years or that Salman has the most ‘highest’ average week 1 numbers in Bombay history (or Aamir). Kohli is a special talent but whether he even has Dravid’s technical strengths so far, let alone Sachin’s seems to me questionable. Not his fault, I think he’d be great in the 70s too. But he’s not needed to be this. And great as his Eng summer was, one could see he was more or less stretched to his limits against bowling and in conditions that were hardly the most fearsome ones around. I repeat: he has the talent and would have done well even in earlier eras. He just isn’t that player right now. I’d still pick Dravid over him on a test team.

            All of this isn’t really a Sachin v Kohli (or everyone else) deal for me anymore than in film terms it’s not a Bachchan v everyone else thing. it’s merely a question of being careful about the history and not just taking the numbers as givens with no asterisks added.

            As an aside Sachin played on a way weaker Indian team through his peak years. Bradman once said after watching him play in a 90s series in Aus that on this (Australia) team he would have averaged 80. Even if this seems like an exaggeration the point is one has to account for this stuff. There are just many many variables.

            Like

          • I will answer with objective data:

            Avg scoring rate for India in the 90s: 4.73
            Avg scoring rate for India in the 00s: 5.22
            Avg scoring rate for India in the last 10 years: 5.65

            Tendulkar played in the 90s till 2011. He benefited as much from changing conditions as much as anyone else!

            Like

          • Again Sachin’s peak was in the 90s.. no? And where does Kohli’s peak begin? Should we try him out as an opener even today? ‘Nuff said.

            Once more not trying to make this only about Sachin-Kohli. But if you’re just going by objective data my Salman point stands as well. And the biggest Hollywood grossers in history all released in the last 10-15 years. No need to account for anything else, inflation, 3D screens, IMAX screens, etc.

            Like

          • Even accounting for inflation, how do you explain an average of 60? With 10,000 runs?

            That’s 27% more than Tendulkar’s average when the average scoring rate has only increased by 8% in the last 10 years?

            Like

          • Saket – these stats prove the opposite! And juxtapose it with bowlers in the respective decades. The demands are far less now, it’s just easier now plain & simple. Did Kohli face McGrath, Donald, Akram, Younis, Murali, Walsh, Ambrose, Khan, Mushtaq etc? Look at the bowling economy rates today Vs 90’s. 3-4 was possible back then. 5 was bad and today 5 is good!

            Like

          • The demands are less now? Possibly, but how do you explain Kohli’s exploits in South Africa?

            And as I’ve pointed out previously, it’s not just the bowlers — it’s the match and pitch conditions.

            Steyn can be a downright average bowler in Bangladesh and an average bowler can be more effective than Steyn depending on weather and pitch conditions.

            For a fair analysis, look at the context. E.g. when Tendulkar scored that famous 93 against Pakistan in Johannesberg (against Akram, Waqar & Akhtar) that was a FLAT pitch, which pretty much negated their powers.

            Like

          • Akram was effective on just about any pitch. also remember reverse swing bowlers are not as dependent on friendly tracks the way most other fast bowlers are (of course these days reverse swing has also become much more common in general than it was in the 50s, still most fast bowlers are more or less neutralized on batting tracks). The Pakistanis in any case have mastered the knack of bowling on dead wickets. over the last 20 years. Note how well Abbas has done just now (this will bring Munna into the discussion!). In any case its again becoming too much about Sachin v kohli. One can argue that that things have been moving in a certain direction and an older Sachin benefited from this as well. This is perfectly fair. But then one has to follow this logic all the way through for Kohli. In other words Sachin cannot be a fallback position only when justifying Kohli and not otherwise an example for anything. In any case for me using Sachin in these discussions is bit like using an ultimate historical standard, to clarify certain things. It’s not otherwise a petty Sachin v Kohli debate for me (these comparisons are tiresome anyway.. at least half a dozen batsmen over the last 20 years beginning with Kambli were supposed to have been as good or better than Sachin at various points). Much as if someone says that Gavaskar faced overall conditions that were more difficult than those Sachin faced I have no issue with this. My favorite tennis player is still Sampras, I can still argue that he was better on grass than Federer, but overall I can’t dispute that the latter is greater (and precisely because he’s so great even when he’s so off-peak, for me it’s often the opposite, from Bachchan to sachin to Federer an essential measure of greatness is how well players or actors do when they’re clearly off-peak in a variety of ways). Personal liking should be kept a bit separate from colder critical judgment. At least this is always my struggle.

            Like

          • Ok, still explain how come the run rate has increased by around 20% since Tendulkar made his debut — and Kohli still averages 33% higher than Tendulkar?

            He has basically outpaced the inflation in scores. Just to keep up with the inflation would mean he has kept pace with Tendulkar, itself not a small achievement by any means. But he has outpaced the rate of inflation.

            Also look up the gap between Kohli and his peers in ODIs. It’s not even close in this regard.

            Like

          • I think we’re going a bit in circles. But to answer you question I’d have to know how much that average rate increased in the 90s, how well Sachin was doing (or not) relative to others, then how much it increased again in the new millennium, where it’s been over the last 8-9 years, then the same of thing for Kohli.

            check out the T20 point being made here:

            https://www.ft.com/content/82972108-e79d-11e5-a09b-1f8b0d268c39

            there has been other kinds of analysis over the years related to other changes like power play and so on.

            finally check out this interesting analysis from 2011:

            http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/537629.html

            and a comparison from 2016:

            https://www.livemint.com/Consumer/B2nG9R12raH4WnGTzFP9kO/Virat-Kohli-vs-Sachin-Tendulkar-Comparing-the-numbers.html

            Again on the ODI numbers Kohli is clearly ahead. And will most likely cross Sachin’s 49 centuries by a distance. But this isn’t really the debate. It’s about what ‘meaning’ one assigns this achievement and here things get complicated, specially when one juxtaposes the achievement against that of Sachin, who on the numbers is easily the most impressive batsman ever (combining all his numbers from all forms of the game), always leaving aside Bradman of course.

            Now it’s interesting that for the first 5 years Sachin never scored an ODI century and only did so once he became opener, a position that was hardly natural to him (in tests for example he didn’t even like going one down). many openers are of course on that list of greatest ODI players but many others also on the list weren’t openers. Kohli included. So there is no obvious connection. In any case I don’t know if one can find another example in history of a batsman prospering so much in both forms of the game by playing at two completely different positions. Leaving this aside Sachin’s first 5 years were in a sense wasted by team decisions. He was batting much lower down where he just didn’t have the time to score centuries, specially the way the game was played then. Azhar himself when he made the change (probably the single most important one of his career.. ha!) said that Sachin was doing just fine scoring 50-60 regularly but it wasn’t a good use of his talents. I think had he been one down or perhaps even two down earlier he would have had at least a few centuries.

            anyway more on this:

            https://www.scoopwhoop.com/sachin-tendulkar-odi-opening-1994/#.r3lap56hi

            I’m not putting up all these things to restate the obvious. But contexts as always are very important. And shouldn’t only pick the stat one likes!

            Like

          • The economy is taken into account in the average run rate no?

            Do you think McGrath, Warne, Akram etc could maintain their economy on today’s featherbeds?

            Like

          • They wouldn’t, that’s the point! But they’ll do better than bowlers today. Also you must factor in how the game has evolved. ODI cricket is more a batsman’s game today than in 90’s. Pitches are smaller, bowlers less effective, more ‘slog’ time, bowlers are disadvantaged more… plenty of other things I’m sure. Purely comparing stats without this is not like for like. It’s like comparing Dangal WW collections with 3 Idiots. A lot has changed. T20 impacts…how would a batsman of Tendulkar’s skill do today?

            Like

          • Jay, compare Joe Root, Kane Williamson & Steve Smith (his test average is 60+) to Kohli and you’ll see the difference. These are the best batsmen of this era.

            Why haven’t these (other) guys done any better? The total number of hundreds these 3 have scored, combined, doesn’t add to up to Kohli’s hundreds. He still outscores them by 5 hundreds during the last 10 years. And these guys (combined) have played 130 more innings than him! Just let that sink in.

            None come close to his average. Joe Root is above 50; the others are not even up there. None come close to his strike rate either. If you just look at their stats as CAPTAINS, it would look even more ridiculous.

            The only guy who stands tall to Kohli is De Villiers but he has scored 2500 runs less (in 50 less innings). De Villiers actually has a slightly higher average than Kohli and also a higher Strike Rate. But he has already retired.

            The point is, if batting were so easy, why aren’t the other geniuses doing any better?

            Like

          • They aren’t as good as Kohli. Simple as that. The big 4 is actually just Kohli, he’s proved that. He is by far this generations most complete batsman. That is more than obvious from stats. But the leap of faith to compare him to Tendulkar takes a bit more than just numbers.

            Like

          • Ok, compare his scores in low-scoring matches to Tendulkar’s.

            How about the fact that he has scored 22 centuries while chasing (Tendulkar scored 17 in his entire career)? 8 of them while chasing scores of 300+ (the next best is 4, not Tendulkar, over an entire career)?

            Like

          • Kohli is a great chaser no doubt, greater than Sachin for sure in this sense. But note what you’re doing once again, you keep picking stats that are most charitable to Kohli and keep ignoring those that work the other way. Of course note how he too has learnt the hard way (since this used to be a rap on Sachin a lot of times) that his centuries can come in losing efforts. Consider what has just happened in eng. If your team isn’t good enough you can’t get them through. In ODIs the team also generally does better. This wasn’t true for India in most of the 90s. It wasn’t even true in the 2000s for quite some time because even among the big names not everyone was a true-blue ODI player. But again I don’t have an issue accepting that Kohli is a much greater chaser (though I note that this ‘category’ is itself a recently invented one).

            Like

          • Here there’s some slippage in your argument. Average numbers have increased across the board. So in a sense everyone is doing better. The pitches, the rule changes etc, whatever the reason scores have gone up. Now Kohli is still the best ODI player of his generation, probably the best overall batsman too now that de Villiers isn’t around. He’s accepted as such quite often. So he’s doing even better. Your point works only on the assumption that all those guys are as good as him in the ODI format. I don’t accept that premise. In fact isn’t the whole point of the Sachin comparison to say that Kohli might even better than him? So what’s the point of now mentioning those others?

            Like

          • I was trying to point out how far he is ahead of his peers. That lends legitimacy to the Tendulkar comparison, as to comparison across eras.

            The comparison is not just with Tendulkar, it’s with Viv Richards too (compare his insane stats from the 80s; to date no one has touched his peak as measured by ICC ratings). At this point in time, Kohli is being compared to the best players of all eras. I’d add De Villiers in the mix too.

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          • Good point on Richards, he’s easily one of the greatest ODI players. One could even make a case for him being the greatest (that ranking makes sense) — of his 12 ODI centuries (to his 24 test ones) 8 are scores of 119 or over. Of these 8, 5 are knocks of 138 or over. 2 150 scores (technically one is 149), 2 180+ scores (one of these comes very late in his career, against SL in the ’87 WC (a bit like Sachin’s late age first double century in ODIs). This is simply startling, specially given how others played ODIs in those days. The only other knock that is comparable in that entire age is Kabil Dev’s stunning 175 against Zimbabwe in the ’83 WC at 17/5 or whatever. So this is again an example where even though Sachin is often called the greatest ODI player (with Kohli now making the same claim) I could still see a scenario where Richards is considered such. Again accounting for all the contexts. One can be ahead of one’s peers on the numbers but it’s not always about only the total number. There are other factors as well. I’m not objecting to a Kohli-Sachin debate either. Just saying that we need to look at all the contexts, especially so when the guy at the other end is often considered (today) the greatest batsman since Bradman (who himself once said Sachin played most like him of all the players he’d ever seen).

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          • On Sachin by the way I personally think we should start really reckoning with his ODI career once he becomes opener and then do comparisons. Because there are clearly extenuating circumstances. Now this doesn’t necessarily give him a free pass. Because he’s also losing out on some of his best years by playing so low. Unlike the test career where it’s ‘fair’ from day 1.

            I’d also make this other point, not everyone is going to have a late age career like Sachin much as not every even supremely gifted player will be like Federer in the same sense. Now of course luck is always part of life. So yes conditions became easier for Sachin later on (pitches, surrounded by better talent… though he still kept opening in ODIs) much as for Federer Djokovic being out helped as well. But the greatest talents also adapt most to different circumstances, or have the greatest will as well. Nonetheless it is mathematically highly probable that Kohli barring a serious injury will clear Sachin’s ODI number with ease, the test number though seems quite unlikely.

            Of course (and here Jay’s point is crucial too) with the greatest talents the numbers are paradoxically not everything. If you look at top 10 lists across different formats Sachin has a mountain of stats working for him but in many individual categories he still seems very human. This doesn’t mean the others there are in his league. Because there is also a great body of critical opinion that was celebrating him ‘before’ he had amassed such numbers. The very same folks who always felt that Sachin and Lara were in a class of their own and no one else was comparable in their age (the Aussies tried to put up Ponting there for a while, unsuccessfully!). It’s a question of pure skill level as well. Again a standard that is fading by the day because many of those skills are not tested in today’s conditions. At least not very often. It’s like the Bachchan argument. Yes his box office numbers are Bradmanesque for the 70s and 80s but he is also this incredible presence on screen, this phenomenal actor, and so on. He’s not just the sum of his numbers. This is why Lara can still be compared with Sachin irrespective of the overall numbers. But it’s also true that in an age increasingly driven by corporate sponsorships, advertising and the like, the Americanization of the sport has long been underway. And much as in the US not only are there ‘moneyball’ stats that are increasingly common, there are equally these questions constantly raised ‘could x be the greatest or is it y?’ It is just part of this advertising logic to keep setting up rivalries. The other player in such an opposition just has to be very good, he or she doesn’t have to be titanic in the same way. Messi-Ronaldo, Federer-Nadal are two other examples of such logic. In the US it happens incessantly. There are all the ‘who plays best when it rains after 11:30?’ or ‘who plays best when there are more people with red shirts in the audience?’ stats as well.

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          • Tendulkar’s records are diminished by 2 periods. Being a child prodigy and having a much more ‘late’ career than most. His first 5 years he’s ‘young’ and playing as an all-rounder. His last years he’s old etc. Proportionally he has more off peak years as a % than any batsman ever! It’s like comparing the average salary of someone who got there first job at 23 and worked till 60 to someone who started earning at 14 and worked till 75! The ‘extreme’ data points for Tendulkar will skew a lot into Kohli’s favour.
            And then Tendulkar worked barefoot comparatively and with bosses who abused him and all the pressure of the world trying to support an entire nation!

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          • completely agree..

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          • Gavasker said the most poetic comment wrt Tendulkar/Dravid on air. He was asked which would you rather watch if you were about to die. Of course he said Tendulkar (he’d rather die smiling, his exact words) and the World Cup’s with final results that’s probably why I’d pick DDLJ over Swades and Lagaan over RDB!

            Technically Dravid over Tendulkar over Kohli
            In a chase Dravid over Kohli over Tendulkar
            Amassing runs Tendulkar over Kohli over Dravid
            Doing what they do under the pressure they are on Tendulkar over any player EVER hands down!

            Accounting for the last is impossible IMO.

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          • Dravid in a recent interview when asked who he’d want to bat if his life depended on it answered with “Sachin”.

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          • If I was Dravid I would have said ‘me’

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          • The pressure argument is a bit void because Kohli averages 88 in ODIs, as captain.

            And 70 in Test Matches.

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          • You think Kohli walks out with the same pressure as Tendulkar? Did you hear Kohli when India won the world cup in 2011?

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          • I forget who it was who said (maybe Steve Waugh but others have agreed with this) that no sportsman in history (not just cricket) has ever faced greater pressure than Tendulkar. On a day to day basis, forget big matches.

            I also think his culture meaning is unique in the history of Indian sports. It’s something like the Bachchan model. There are distinctions of course. Bachchan was never as accessible to a South Indian audience though everyone knew about him. And Bachchan’s own numbers are Bradmanesque for his peak career. But again it’s about ‘meaning’. Sachin just shows up again and again in various cultural contexts. And his ‘small town’ meaning is if anything even greater (of course he’s huge everywhere). A classic symptom of this was all the fans who found him approachable enough and literally stopped him everywhere to offer him tips on what he might have done wrong in the recent inning or whatever. And he used to listen to everything and even admitted once he’d discovered a very valuable tip this way that had great impact on his later career. He as always ‘one of them’ for him in very unique ways.

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          • Come on Jay, these are just stories. Do you think there’s any less pressure on Kohli today? When the Indian fans are so demanding that they’d boo Dhoni in this day and age?

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          • No one is saying these guys don’t face pressure. by the way almost all of these comments have come from ‘foreign’ observers. Of course these are not scientific polls or something. Just impressions players had. You can’t ‘prove’ these things in any precise sense. It’s about getting a temperature reading. It’s like Tiger doing just a bit better and creating all this frenetic activity online and the crowds following him crazily on the course and so on.

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          • Yes Tiger Woods is a very good example. The euphoria around him is quite unforgettable. Tendulkar’s a completely different beast in this respect to Kohli. Tendulkar’s as popular in any cricketing country except in India it was madness.

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          • Tendulkar’s an absolute different stratosphere. And I’m being kind.

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          • Matthew Hayden said it was “beyond chaos” when Tendulkar came out to the crease, calling it “a frantic appeal by a nation to one man”. The late Peter Roebuck told a story of being on a train between Shimla and Delhi which stopped at a station simply because Tendulkar was on 98. “Everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This genius can stop time in India!”

            While covering the World Cup in 2011 I watched, rapt, as he scored 120 against England in Bengaluru. It is just another among the many great centuries he made, but for me it stands out as one of the precious occasions when I got to sit in court with a king, a moment akin to watching Roger Federer on Centre Court, Usain Bolt at the Olympic Stadium, or Michael Phelps in the Olympic pool. There was a banner in the ground, a copy of one which had been seen at the SCG years earlier. “Commit your crimes when Sachin is batting,” it said. “They will go unnoticed, because even the Lord is watching.”

            https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2013/oct/10/sachin-tendulkar-india-batsman-retirement

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          • But what makes things different for Kohli? If anything, there are more Indian fans now than ever. And by all indications, they are more impatient as well.

            In fact, his captaincy record is so poor that he ought to have been sacked as captain of RCB. He hasn’t been, because no one can stand up against him. And the RCB fans still love him.

            Recently, even the elite cricketing committee comprising of Tendulkar, Ganguly & Laxman also gave into his demands and appointed Shastri as the Indian coach. At present, he’s bigger than the game…or so it seems.

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          • There may be more fans but I am not sure if they are educated. They are just interested in runs and wickets..not in intricacies. You win, there are paeans ..and one loss they will throw stones at your house.

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          • Amit Pandey Says:

            @saket : 259 minus 1st 79 matches sachin didn’t come as opener. and more than a year he came at 2nd down in coach the gr8 greg idiot era.and many factors are there but don’t have patience to put it here.. btw why to compare kohli n sachin .we enjoyed sachin’s era ..lets have fun in kohli’s time…

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  60. I will add this for good effect: Kohli isn’t my favorite cricketer by any means.

    I’ve criticized him aplenty for his captaincy and man-management skills. He isn’t the gentleman cricketer I’ve admired since childhood.

    But, these stats are beginning to look incredible. And let’s just leave the stats out of this — the guy is a batsman in the classical mold. He’s not a slogger. To still achieve these numbers is clearly a stupendous achievement.

    Another point, I’m talking about ODIs only.

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    • I would personally (still) pick De Villiers over Kohli in ODIs. Most people won’t.

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      • I wouldn’t only because De Villiers’ peak is much shorter. But at his very best he was easily the more gifted batsman. And including the greater ODI player as well.

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        • De Villiers could score 146 runs of 39 balls and still maintain an average of over 50!

          The range of shots he had was simply incredible. He was also entertaining as hell.

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          • yes his SR is about 101 or so compared to Kohli’s 92 (so far). I think Sachin too once picked him as the best in the world. By the way he’s an incredibly gifted sportsman even otherwise. Excellent in golf and tennis. In fact his family thought he was more likely to pick one of those two sports.

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    • yes he might well become the greatest ODI player ever. He might have 60 centuries or more. At some point the numbers start making up for some of these other factors. Nonetheless for me at least no discussion is complete without such ‘details’. For instance Richards for a 5-7 year period is sometimes judged the greatest player of pace ever. I more or less agree with this. Yet… Richards never faced the most fearsome attack around, his own team’s! He faced some very serious bowlers otherwise but his WI battery was relentless. Think he would have done fine even then but he didn’t have to face them. On the other hand Gavaskar did. I’m not saying that Gavaskar is as great as Richards but these ‘details’ once more complicate things.

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    • As some wise man said, “Sachin is emotion, Kohli is phenomenon” 🙂

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  61. Richards is still the ODI GOAT. As good as Kohli is, his exploits so far are limited to bilateral series that mean very little in this day and age. His record in the Knockout games in WCs is pretty abysmal. He needs to dominate a couple of World Cups and deliver in the KO games to be considered the greatest.

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    • His average in Semi Finals is ok; not in Finals though.

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      • He’s done alright in the Champions Trophy Semis. Failed in both WC Semis in 2011 and 2015. His 1(13) against Australia in 2015 might just be his worst knock.

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        • He was a different player in 2011 (had just started out)…but yes, 2015 is a failure.

          Overall, he’s had 2 good semi-finals vs 2 bad. And one of them at a very early stage in his career.

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          • There was one more major failure in the CT17 final. It’s all well and good chasing 300 for fun against popadum attacks in JAMODIs but he needs to do it when it matters most in major tournaments. Not saying he can’t (as he has dominated T20I WCs in 2014 and 2016 and delivered in crunch situations) but needs to do the same in the 50-over format.

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          • Yes, agreed.

            Liked by 1 person

  62. Some statistical analysis done here.

    Basically using standard deviations against the mean for all eras, for both batting average and strike rate. It is 8 months old though and Kohli’s average has shot up quite a bit since then.

    If you ignore the boundary percentage, which is an arbitrary measure, it’s Viv Richards and ABD at the top.

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    • ha, you’ve skipped the money-line here!

      “Sir Viv Richards and Sachin are the clear kings of this format, with all three of their ratings in the 90s.”

      I did follow some of the debate in the comments section on the BP %. I think a lot of these stats are arbitrary anyway. For example no one talked about strike rates much if at all before the ODI format became truly important (leaving aside when thy were discussing Bradman!). And it of course makes sense in that context. But similarly with larger and larger scores becoming normal in ODIs the boundary % too is important to some degree because most of the time you’re not likely to score as much just running between the wickets (this was very possible once upon a time). Especially with rules that enable boundaries more than ever before. Of course this is subjective as is the weightage given to the SR (this too comes up for debate in the comments).

      An interesting read nonetheless. There are lots of such efforts these days. The interesting thing is certain names keep popping up in these analyses. Of course people do this less often for tests. Again purely with reference to the Sachin point his achievement cannot just be confined to ODIs. Nor can the debate on whether Kohli is catching up with him be confined only to this format.

      Will lastly repeat this. We’re heading towards the money-ball approach in cricket with all this stuff. Maybe the game itself won’t quite get there in the sense that baseball has but a lot of this psychology certainly dominates discussion on the sport. The reason this is important is that even today no one in cricket would pick a dream team just looking at such numbers whereas every contemporary baseball team is already a result of this (money-ball) logic.

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      • also note that even with the BP% scrapped and the Ave/SR ratio fixed at either 70:30 or 60:40 you still have Sachin 4th and Kohli 7th (Dhoni seems to be 6th either way). You’re missing out on a lot of the ‘headlines’ today Saket!

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        • Yes, but you missed the part where I mentioned that this database is 8 months old 🙂

          Since then Kohli’s average has gone up! By at least a few percentage points. That might move him up the order.

          I’m not in anyway trying to prove a ‘point’ here. Just offering up a good thorough analysis for debate.

          So, if we remove Boundary Percentage, what it essentially says is that Viv Richards & ABD have the best combination of Batting Average + Strike Rate — arguably the two most important statistical factors in ODIs.

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          • Tendulkar’s SR is better than Kohli’s (compared to the mean) but Kohli’s average is better than Tendulkar’s — in an era-based analysis. That’s the gist of it.

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          • I know it’s old.. but you could have added that later.. you didn’t have to ‘bury the lead’ story as they say in the US! But again did enjoy reading some of this stuff. I think these analyses always say something interesting, just not as definitely as one might think. But yeah some names keep cropping up in all the tables.

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          • I actually posted this because my hunch about De Villiers is supported by this analysis. I’ve argued for him in the past but without this kind of data to support my argument.

            And I still maintain, De Villiers is one of the greatest entertainers the game has ever seen. In addition to his ODI exploits, he had a test average of 50+ as well. He has a fantastic Test record in South African pitches, the most notorious for batting, as well.

            And when it came to saving a Test match, he played 297 balls in India to score some 40 odd runs. Really remarkable stuff!

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          • No debate at all on de villiers.

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          • Good statistical analysis. But it doesn’t consider quality of opposition?
            Tendulkar’s faced
            WI – Ambrose, Walsh
            Australia – McGrath, Warne, Lee, Gillespie, Johnson
            Pakistan – Khan, Younis, Akram, Ahmed, Saqlain, Akhtar
            Sri Lanka – Vaas, Murali, Malinga
            SA – Donald, Steyn, Kallis

            Just top of my head…

            Kohli’s just not had to deal with this level at all.
            Eventually Kohli will break records but this era is not great for bowling. Heck Anderson might as well be compared to the great McGrath as he’s broken his records!

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          • Kohli would make my ODI all-time 11

            Tendulkar – along with Richards the best ODI batsman ever, look at his World Cup record (T)
            Gilchrist (W) – changed wicket-keeping role forever (T)
            Richards – like Tendulkar the best ever (T)
            Kohli – on his way to top
            ABDV – top player, the most destructive ever
            Bevan – best finisher
            Khan (C) – best inspirational captain
            Akram – best left arm bowler ever (T)
            Warne (vC) – best spinner ever (T)
            Steyn – best fast bowler
            McGrath – best seam bowler (T)

            I have no place for Dhoni as I think Bevan does the finisher role well & Gilchrist will play one way…

            (T) represents players very likely to be in all-time test XI

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          • just 3-4 of those players might actually have to play to beat every XI out there!

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          • Just not sure on Steyn, Bevan and Khan. I would not have Ponting or Lara, the latter is overrated in ODI format. Bevan could be replaced by Dhoni, Khan by at least 3-4 players (Dev, Kallis, Hadlee), Steyn by 1-2 (Younis, Donald).

            I rate Akram very highly, what a fantastic bowler. And he can bat a bit too. I’ll always pick Warne as he’s the best bowler ever for me.

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  63. Saket, a disclaimer here, I did not commission the writing of this latest piece!

    http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/25070847/the-kohli-v-tendulkar-comparison

    and to repeat Jay’s point the bowling competition is still not factored in even here.

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    • Stats prove a lot. Purely statistically it’s easier to prove Kohli > Tendulkar than other way round. But it’s under some obvious assumptions that Kohli is in more favourable conditions & faces easier bowlers – how much that quantifies to is a Pandora’s box. Tendulkar’s dessert storm knocks & THAT remarkable knock Vs Pakistan in 2003 WC are outstanding knocks and @ the WC he has a ridiculous record where he has top scored in 2 WC’s (96 & 03) and 2nd in 2011. He dismantled a good SA attack for 200. There are countless examples of beating up good bowlers, Kohli is magnificent but doesn’t face this quality – Frankly no one does these days!

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    • Already went through this. It comes to the same conclusion — Tendulkar’s SR is better; his average is worse off.

      The other thing is, it compares Tendulkar’s peak years to Kohli’s 10, which includes his initial finding-the-rope years as well.

      If we compare Kohli’s last 3 years, Tendulkar’s stats will be left far, far behind.

      Kohli averages 95+ in the last 3 years. This year, he has completed 1000+ runs in 11 innings, a feat never ever seen in the history of ODIs.

      So there’s more meat to the story, then what one particular statistician points out (which by the way is not different from what we had already seen yesterday).

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      • Those 2 stats work FOR Tendulkar rather than against him. His average would be better today/Kohli’s worse in Tendulkar’s era and pretty likely the basic priority of short format of game would improve Tendulkar’s SR further. This is all hypothetically obviously. But the average is higher (for Kohli) for very obvious reasons; worse bowling, smaller pitches, better terms for batting in general etc.

        The second point is also obvious. New cricketing batsman are institutionalised now to be very aggressive and score quickly. Tendulkar’s era just began this phase after the odd Richards. The evolution of the game is extremely important in this claim, not something that can be underestimated.

        Also a Tendulkar today might suffer in Tests because of this. Even Dravid! Or a Sehwag might be an even bigger beast in all forms!

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        • Have a look at the other stat table I’ve posted in reply to your post.

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          • This is interesting but see how many data points Sachin has to everyone else! Next is Haynes and than Richards. It continues to validate the point that bowling attacks have weakened in a period when more ODI’s are played and more opportunities to play such shitty attacks increases! Everything points to contamination of stats here. Of course Kohli’s average is extraordinary and stands out and even accounting for the advantages he may be ahead but these statistics prove the obvious that the current generation have a distinct advantage against previous ones.

            Sachin has played what 1 in 5 (19%) against good bowling attacks.
            Kohli likewise 1 in 8 (12%)…

            This is distorted.

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          • But what about Dhoni 48/300 odd games?

            And Yuvraj 50/300 as well?

            I’m not denying the standards of bowling are going down at all. But that’s why there is the bell curve to measure the standard deviation against the mean.

            The mean for Tendulkar’s era will be smaller; the mean for Kohli’s era will be higher. But the effective SD (standard deviation) will tell us how far each of them is from the mean.

            That’s how Bradman also comes out on top in Tests. He’s more than 4.5 SDs out from the mean. That’s extraordinary considering the best ODI stat has a delta of 2.2 SDs so far.

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          • And what about Morgan at the top. Most of these statistics are showing the obvious. Bowling standards coming down, against the backdrop of rule changes that help batsmen, smaller pitches etc. Then the logical outcome or hypothesis to fight for is Richards is the greatest. Not Tendulkar or Kohli.

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          • But then Richards played in one of the great ODI sides ever and Tendulkar didn’t, an intangible metric to consider…

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          • Morgan is a big, big surprise. Not too many innings, but that’s a key insight about him, for sure.

            I wasn’t comparing Kohli to Tendulkar only. I did mention Viv Richards as well.

            This is not a Tendulkar bashing exercise (not for me, anyway). I also mentioned that I’d still choose ABD over Kohli.

            Here is the updated chart for the data that I posted yesterday. This is for the top 7 batsmen in ODI cricket. It’s an interactive chart and one can easily see the few names that separate themselves from the big clutter formed by the others.

            LINK

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          • The 1st ODI double 💯 was in 2010. Since then 7 more have occurred. It says volumes on how the game has evolved. Practically 1 a year and before 0. There are so many things to challenge cricket stats here but the biggest one is a systemic one. Almost like a recession or boom. So it’s very tricky IMO. Systemic in that the entire direction is different. So individual stats can easily be trumped by an ‘overall’ point.

            I’d love the job permanently as it’s very open minded stuff but also full of contradictions.

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          • The period 2012-15 was the most conducive to scoring big runs, with all the rule changes helping batsmen to score runs.

            I’d love to delve further in this area too. In fact, apply something similar to Box Office results across decades. That, I am sure, will open up a lot of eyes.

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          • But look at certain clear pointers to a massive shift in ODI cricket strategy. SA chased 400 odd Vs Australia. Australia also scored a humongous 360 odd in 2003 final. This is a kind of boom. The last WC a number of teams saved wickets (sacrificing a lower RR) to cash in on last 15-20 overs. This is kind of the opposite of SL in 96. Cricket strategy and ways of playing have changed and how!

            A lot of T20 has entered ODI and a lot of ODI has entered Test cricket.

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          • To offer an economist type answer, unemployment metrics are meaningful but less so in an environment of recession or boom because everyone’s doing poorly or well. Because systemically other factors like GDP growth, inflation or interest rates compound the unemployment component even more. It doesn’t mean there is no meaningful analysis that cannot be done but you have to account and accept that the overall landscape has changed.

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          • yes, agreed.

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          • The box office is a similar parallel. It’s not possible to compare a super grosser today to even 10 years ago without accounting for some basic things. One could compare a 1990 to 2000 more easily. The window of comparison is possibly only 2-3 years, beyond that one needs to make adjustments. The sensible graphic would be screen counts by gross but accounting for inflation in some way. This graphic will prove only Aamir in Bollywood has maximised the market potential but even he too has not kept pace. And others are even further a drift.

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          • I was thinking of taking the normal distributions of big, medium and small budget movies on a per year basis, and then deriving conclusions from it. It will be quite illuminating.

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          • It would be interesting but many variables to consider; budget, screens, genre, ticket prices, stars… the last one really makes a difference!

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          • I had a re-think about it. If we know the number of prints for movies, we could get the average per print for each movie then do a normal distribution for all releases in the year. That ought to be doable, provided there is enough data for the number of prints.

            We could take the mean for stars for each year and get a cumulative z-rating. That will tell us how far off they are from the mean.

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          • You’ll have to succumb to BOI membership 😀

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          • And to be really honest, the average + SR formulation is only valid for the top 4 batsmen in ODIs. The lower order bats can’t have both at the same time (Dhoni & Bevan are exceptions to the rule).

            A team would want its top-order batsmen to have a high average (consistency, although this is not the only metric for that; one also needs to look at median scores) + a high SR. In the graph above, that would be the X,Y coordinate (2,2)

            Clearly, no one has ever achieved that. It’s a good thing Bradman didn’t play ODIs — it at least looks like a competition among humans, for a change.

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          • The batsman I’d bet big on to prosper the most today would be Sehwag. For some reason he never really got ODI cricket right but these generous donations from bowling today he’d lap up no doubts. Technique matters less now unless in very troublesome test environments but even here he had a great record. A guy like Dravid would suffer now but his currency in test cricket would still be high as he’d be the odd one out which is good today.

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          • IMO it was more fun to watch Tendulkar bat than Kohli but I was more anxious when Tendulkar use to bat because I was never sure he will keep on batting or get out..with Kohli..I know when he is set..it is difficult to get him out..

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          • I agree. Tendulkar was any day more aesthetically pleasing than Kohli.

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        • But the average is higher (for Kohli) for very obvious reasons; worse bowling, smaller pitches, better terms for batting in general etc.

          That doesn’t explain an average of 95+ at all. Take all the inflation into account and you can’t get close to that figure.

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        • the basic priority of short format of game would improve Tendulkar’s SR further.

          This too is questionable. What the stats show is that Tendulkar had a much better SR compared to his peers. Remember ODIs only seriously began in the 80s. In Tendulkar’s era there were not enough players and teams hadn’t sorted out their strategies completely.

          Today, there are more players and there are better strategies, fitness, shots etc that result in much higher SRs all around. Even though Kohli’s SR is higher than Tendulkar’s, it’s not high enough compared to his peers! (He’s still better than Joe Root, Williamson & Smith — his direct competition). Basically, Kohli’s SR is worse off because we have guys like Maxwell with a SR of above 120!

          Compare him to #1, 2 & 3 and you’ll see he’s actually better off.

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  64. 100 no. 38 now. Meanwhile endgame has begun for Dhoni after being dropped from the T20I squad.

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    • This one is really special!

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      • scores a hundred and his average drops because he got out for less than 150!

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        • Kohli gone. Match too. wtf they are doing with selecting Khaleel?

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        • with more ODIs against the WI he could have crossed Sachin’s number by next week! Bowlers like Stark were struggling in Sharjah against Pakistan (hardly the best batting line-up around) and here you have the WI on T20-like pitches. Nothing against Kohli but hey this is child’s play! Now of course even in these situations some centuries will be better than others but for a batsman of his caliber this kind of series is really a joke. In every age there are such teams and such opposition but never has it been as ridiculous as this. Again not ‘batting’ pitches but graveyard tracks. There’s a difference.

          Personally I don’t know how anyone who really understands the game, or who’s really see something of its finer history, can appreciate what the game has become on most days (these days). I wasn’t celebrating Sachin when he had centuries against Zimbabwe. Of course the interesting thing about Sachin is he actually never prospered all that much more against weaker sides. his consistency was pretty remarkable irrespective of the opponent. He averages 40 against Zimbabwe in tests, 81 in ODIs. But even in the latter just 2 centuries in 11 innings.

          I’d even go so far as to say that cricket, despite its good or great talents since, is in the last decade or more mostly a write-off. I could expand on this comment. There are exceptions (games, pitches, innings etc) but largely a write-off. Now games evolve all the time of course but with cricket it’s just been something else altogether. It’s just a kind of entertainment at this point. And sure I enjoy the entertainment at times too. But I just can’t take the game seriously anymore, most days. Put differently cricket has now become a system where mediocrity prospers, and where the great talents are better and there isn’t much more to be said. Mitchell Stark gets to bowl in Sharjah and struggles against batting like Pakistan’s (currently). Yeah whatever..

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          • In tennis terms it’s like Wimbledon becoming a half-way house between hard courts and clay and people being celebrated for winning. Yes it would still take talent to win 15-20 titles in those circumstances and it would still take a great player but it wouldn’t be like Federer winning on the same surface (itself slower now since the 90s).

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          • in movie terms this is like celebrating Bachchan’s performance in ToH or something.

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          • to add to this I would hav loved to see Kohli in the 90s or a bit beyond much as I loved watching Dravid or Laxman or other good batsmen in the same period. Precisely because it was often tough for them, things were much better matched (even if the ODI logic had started taking over even in the 90s to a certain extent). The whole point about cricket was that you sometimes got your great moments in very trying circumstances (good opposition or decent opposition plus pitches). That’s what was really fun. Not just the biggest scores but ‘how’ you got them. Most tests today are played like ODIs (not surprisingly they often don’t last the distance), you just don’t see proper test technique from too many players. Now it must be said that the bowlers deserve a lot of credit for doing whatever they are in these circumstances. Steyn having prospered so much in these conditions is quite incredible. Similarly lesser bowlers who do well. But you still don’t get to see what most of these bowlers would have been capable on more friendly pitches. Cricket was always a mix of things in this sense. You had good quality batting pitches that favored the batsmen but where bowlers could still do things, then you had those that favored pace, proper tracks for spin, you also had Eng conditions being a factor unto themselves. Swing etc. And finally you had the usual subcontinental graveyard tracks that were the joke of the cricketing world. Now these latter have become the standard, everything else has by and large disappeared. It’s just a more inferior game in every sense imaginable. There will still be great talents of course but even they wouldn’t last in many of those earlier conditions without the right exposure (only exceptional ones or preternaturally gifted ones can be ok in this sense.. I’d say over the last two decades or more probably only Sachin or Lara or deVilliers were at that level.. at least at their best). Again these other talents could have prospered in other eras too, they just couldn’t if they were suddenly transpired today to those conditions. Kohli’s recent performance in Eng, precisely his great performance is evidence of this. Or if you find Mohammad Aamir so much trouble on another nothing Champion’s Trophy track, with all due respect ‘you ain’t seen nothin’ yet’! This is not a knock on Kohli, it’s one on the game itself.

            Just as nothing forces me to love 90s Bollywood just because Johar or Yashraj are the norm similarly nothing forces me to ‘appreciate ‘ this version of cricket. Kohli is just my ‘example’ here since there’s so much discussion about him. He’s a fine talent, there’s no doubt about it. I don’t have an issue with him crossing Sachin’s numbers either. It’s about how these things are discussed, what meaning is attached to these things. Unfortunately the game has become so compromised even in terms of most of its commentators that you get the same sorts of opinions every single day from people who undoubtedly know better (though in their situation I might be willing to sell my soul too!). I’ll end my diatribe here!

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          • A lot of what you say can be challenged by stats. And to disparage today’s knock when no other batsman from India scored 40, is itself a pretty remarkable thing. The Windies aren’t a poor side by any means. They have some very good players in their side — they leave and become freelancers in T20 leagues worldwide, which is likely to happen to this bunch as well, but that’s a different matter.

            To put it simply, if it were so easy to score 100s, there would be more players with 30 odd centuries in the game. The fact that there are none apart from Kohli tells us something.

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          • The WI are among the very weakest teams in both formats, probably just better than Zimbabwe! Now I do admit they’ve been slightly better off late, they were even worse for a number of years before this. I actually think they didn’t even deserve international status. A team that falls as low as they did shouldn’t automatically be around when there are other teams trying hard to gain international recognition that probably wouldn’t do much worse. And we’ve seen this in some of the recent WCs as well.

            On the rest even if you’re playing street cricket someone will be very good or exceptional. That doesn’t mean somehow the standard is otherwise great! Whatever the conditions there will be someone more talented in those conditions than someone else. From the proposition that standards have declined in a variety of ways it doesn’t follow that everyone should get 30 centuries (or whatever number one chooses). No one is saying Kohli isn’t a great talent. No one is saying this about a number of other players either. There are clearly still a number of very talented players around. It’s like no matter how impoverished the T20 format might be with respect to test cricket there is still someone who’s exceptional at it! ODIs were always poor man’s cricket invented for an age when interest in tests seemed to be waning. The became a rather dominant format over time but that’s a different sort of debate. Just as T20 is so important now. It’s fair to consider all the numbers for any player since they’re playing all these formats these days but I for instance don’t put ODI performances no matter how great in the same category as tests because they’re just an inferior format. Now it’s a different thing that even tests these days are inferior compared to their own history at least through the 90s or so or maybe a bit more than this. But yeah even in that inferior ODI format Richards was god and Tendulkar was god. But if you want to see the real Richards, the even greater Richards you want to see him in a 70s test when he’s facing Lilee/Thompson or Hadlee or Imran or Kapil or whoever. Or when he’s facing great Indian spinners on a spinning track. The same for Sachin, batting against Aus, preferably in Australia. Or Laxman getting his career best moments against the very best team of the age and being rather streaky otherwise. We’re always accounting for these factors.

            One can’t blindly follow the stats. They’re a tool. Specially in an age where you can manufacture all kinds of stats to get all kinds of results. yes certain names still keep appearing irrespective of the model. It’s safe to say these are greater than others. But we still have to account for eras. Not just in cricket but every sport and every film industry and so on. Any kind of even greatest achievement in sports is never just reducible to the numbers. Unfortunately we live in a stats obsessed age and we don’t see this. I’ve pointed out this example before. Once upon a time in cricket the ‘chanceless’ century was valued over all else (for a batsman). Getting dropped 2-3 times and then getting to that century didn’t mean as much. the very obsession with stats is itself a symptom of our age. No one was that crazy about this stuff in any sport once upon a time. And here I think that it’s not the greatest player who suffers but the one just below.

            For me the Steyn kind of performance is much more ‘obvious’. Because if a bowler is doing this in these conditions what would he do in vastly more favorable ones?! Meanwhile the opposite holds for even the greatest batsmen today. They would do fine in earlier eras. They clearly have the talent but they’re skills would not be as instantly transferable. Kohli would have to serious re-tool himself (consider his own self-confessed weakness to out swingers, this time he did a lot better but he wasn’t quite facing the same bowling, an older Anderson for instance, but also he was playing with extreme caution a lot of times and where he seemed to be at his limits, I could not imagine him facing the Eng attack that decimated Aus in the Ashes a number of years ago), he would have the talent, specially if he were coming of age in that era. But he is not there ‘now’ by any stretch of the imagination. Steyn is, he’s also ready performing on these terrible pitches! Given this obvious difference one has to account for things. One cannot just turn to stats or glib commentary that is always celebrating the present. It is always about placing an achievement in its world first, accounting for it and then trying to compare where it is possible. One cannot just run a statistical table on the last 100 years of cricket no matter how it’s constructed.

            Akram once said about Tendulkar that he was the only batsman he ever faced about whom he felt that he never misread him. He said that he would get him out at times but not because Sachin ever misread the delivery. This is something that cannot be included in a statistical table. A great player is also ‘these abilities’, not just the 100 centuries or whatever. And even the greatest players are ‘tested’ when they are in certain situations and playing against other ‘greatest’ players. The competition therefore counts, the conditions count. This is why all said and done Kohli’s test knocks were great in Eng this time. Because he was literally the only guy performing in most of the innings. It’s not easy to do this, or keep carrying this pressure. This doesn’t contradict what I otherwise said about him just now. These are all complicate debates. The stats are a tool, not everything.

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          • Tendulkar’s ODI avg against some of the top bowlers from his time – Ambrose, Donald, McGrath, Pollock, Saqlain Mushtaq, Walsh, Waqar, Warne, Akram, Brett Lee, Shoaib Akhtar (away) is 28

            LINK1

            Overall it’s about 38, including Home games.

            Kohli’s ODI record in matches involving bowlers who have been in the top 10 ranking at various times during his career:

            away + neutral, 77 inns, avg 53.80

            away only, 50 inns, avg 52.40

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          • Both Dravid and Ganguly have a better record against these bowlers away, compared to Sachin.

            I could have posted these stats earlier, but didn’t because I find no pleasure in putting him down. But the manner in which he is worshipped here is a bit much.

            Now the question is, if Sachin didn’t exactly prosper against the giants of the ODI game, then how did he get that 45 average and centuries?

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          • JM Anderson (ENG) TA Boult (NZ) SCJ Broad (ENG) Hasan Ali (PAK) JR Hazlewood (AUS) MG Johnson (AUS) KMDN Kulasekara (SL) SL Malinga (SL) M Morkel (Afr/SA) M Muralitharan (Asia/ICC/SL) SP Narine (WI) K Rabada (SA) Shahid Afridi (Asia/ICC/PAK) MA Starc (AUS) DW Steyn (Afr/SA) DL Vettori (ICC/NZ)

            Bowlers against Kohli

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          • Think the list speaks for itself against the other one you put up. And these guys operating on worse pitches on average.

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          • I won’t keep responding to each individual stat you put up. This is just too selective a game. I’ve just deconstructed a few here. I’ll just repeat the obvious. Even in a stat you yourself selected and put up the other day you eliminated one of the categories so as to not have Sachin on top with Richards. A statistical analysis you yourself selected! There is a history here. It’s totally fine to be a great fan of Kohli than Sachin. That’s not my issue. But you have my friend a 100% track record (and average better than Bradman’s) when it comes to using stats against Sachin! I’ll let it rest here. To be honest I’ve already said more than I needed to. As always.

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          • To paraphrase Thanos, everything should be perfectly balanced. My stats against Tendulkar are a counterpoint to the worship that otherwise he receives here. I repeat, it’s a RESPONSE. It’s not my default position. Nor will it ever be.

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          • that’s too easy Saket.. you’re simply correcting Sachin-worship? I never really buy these explanations to be brutally honest. Why don’t you correct Kohli-worship as well? And it’s not just about these guys. It’s about the larger debate as well changing standards, changing conditions, etc. What’s your position? That the game keeps changing but that things even out by the end so that you can still keep comparing without accounting for those factors? If so the same must apply to movies as well. Maybe Salman is like Bachchan. Hey not everyone is getting those number in film after film today. Aamir doesn’t do as much. Etc etc. One could go one. If that is one’s position one must maintain it everywhere. I think Federer faced more important competition over his career, certainly in the second half, than Sampras did. I like the latter more but I still believe this. It’s not really that hard to admit certain things.

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          • I have argued against Kohli (perhaps I need to pull that post up as well) when livewire was ranting about him (and pulling down Sachin!)

            So perhaps you should really notice things more clearly!

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          • I have already put up numbers showing the inflation in scoring between the 90s and the 00s. It’s not as if Tendulkar didn’t benefit from this phenomenon.

            That’s the whole point of this myth-busting exercise. Tendulkar is put on a very high pedestal — and I’m not debating at all that he shouldn’t be there. But when someone else puts up numbers that are mind-boggling, and clearly, at this point, Kohli’s numbers are just that, the response is all about how things have gone to the abyss as far as ODIs are concerned. That’s what is problematic. But you are free to believe what you want.

            I’ve provided a counter-point. And I’ll leave it at that.

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          • You still haven’t answered my very straight-forward question..

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          • Tendulkar’s Overall Record (Home + Away) LINK

            Overall average: 35 with 8 centuries. Where did the remaining 41 centuries come from?

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          • Out of Tendulkar’s 49 hundreds, 30 have come against Kenya (4), Namibia (1), Bangladesh, New Zealand, England, Sri Lanka, West Indies & Zimbabwe.

            I wouldn’t really talk about Kohli scoring against West Indies, if these are Tendulkar’s stats against minnows.

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          • More slippage. WI in the 90s are like the WI of today? A team with Ambrose and Lara not to mention some others? England then or even in the 2000s is like the WI of today? Wasn’t SL winning a World Cup at that time? C’mon Saket, you can do better!

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          • SL’s bowling attack was anything to write home about? Who were the bowlers in SL, apart from Murali and to some extent Vaas?

            And Windies have been a poor side since the 90s. Again who were the bowlers in WI? Apart from Ambrose? What about after his retirement? England was the worst ODI side for more than 2 decades. Do you want me to produce stats for these as well?

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          • You just wrote the SL bowlers on that other list? Now you’re saying they’re not great. And yes WI were getting poor even in the 90s but they’ve been a garbage side since. And again didn’t you put up Ambrose to prove the opposite? That Sachin was average that much against him? You can’t have it both ways Saket!

            On Eng yes they were a poor one day side but much better as a test team. India never beat them in Eng with 4-5 top tier batsmen. This isn’t the same as a nothing team. All rankings are not made equal, I’ve already said this. Of course because it’s currently suiting you you are ONLY judging Sachin as an ODI player. Because you know Kohli will cross his centuries. it’s almost as if the test player doesn’t even exist. Every such point you’re ignoring. Stats have to be treated with caution anyway but you’re just being hopelessly selective here. I think it would be just easier to accept an anti-Sachin bias and move on! every single stat works against him but mysteriously he has that reputation. Alright let’s forget all these debates. Just tell me where you rank Tendulkar in cricket history in both formats, overall, the same for Kohli. Let’s see where we are then. A very straightforward question.

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          • Which bowlers did I put in that list apart from Vaas & Murali? If I remove the spinners (Warne & Murali) from the list, Tendulkar’s average drops to 22! His stats with spinners in that list look a lot more respectable.

            I’m not putting up these numbers now. I was laughed at 3 years ago for supporting Kohli! I can pull up those posts if you so wish.

            But I will say it again. This isn’t in anyway a response to what happened 3 years ago. This is a response to your long post belittling Kohli’s achievements. When Tendulkar has 4 centuries against Kenya and 1 against Namibia, out of his 49, I wouldn’t worry about Kohli scoring 3 on the trot against the Windies!

            And the comparison in Tests can also happen. Perhaps at a later stage. Kohli’s numbers aren’t that shabby there as well.

            Where do I rate Sachin in ODIs? I’ve already mentioned that — at the very top with Viv Richards, De Villiers and now, Kohli.

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          • I still sense an avoidance. Your response on tests makes it clear! On ODIs too some shiftiness. Why are there four players there? I know the arguments for each one. But sometimes you refer to total number of centuries, sometimes to average, sometimes average + SR, etc. There is in any case never a claim where Tendulkar seems ‘singular’. Language is also the art of ‘denial’ and denial takes many forms. Some interesting ones, complicated ones, but denials all the same. If you asked me that Sachin/Kohli question I could give you a very straight answer that you could agree or disagree with. The same for Richards and so on. But you’re very much unable to or unwilling to do the same. I just always find it implausible when one claims to be countering ‘worship’ of anyone as a kind of higher moral purpose. Bachchan is worshipped too, do you counter this? One claim here and there is not enough. It’s about a larger consistency.

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          • The response in Tests can be done as well. But Tendulkar’s centuries in ODIs was his bigger achievement. The next best in ODIs is 30, where as Kallis had 45 centuries in Tests in 34 fewer Tests. So Tendulkar’s greater achievement, statistically speaking, was his remarkable number of centuries in ODIs.

            I don’t know why you are suspecting me for putting up 4 names in the list. All the 4 names I have given have set a very high bar for Average + SR + Centuries as well.

            When Viv Richards scored those 11 hundreds, there were not that many players who outscored him. Haynes had 17 but at a much worse SR. Scoring 10 ODI hundreds was a great feat in that era. I mean, look at Gavaskar’s stats in ODIs, for comparison.

            Tendulkar’s overall consistency spanning 23 years is phenomenal. His overall number of runs in ODIs won’t be overtaken. He scored the most number of 100s and set a new benchmark that sets him apart.

            De Villiers, in the later part of his career, set milestones that are unbelievable as well. If you look up the data for the last 10 years, only Kohli and De Villiers stand out, far and above anyone else. Between the two, I would still choose De Villiers because he could play 360 degree shots and change the situation at any point in time. Kohli is the more consistent, the more gritty player who plays risk-free cricket, still going at a very good strike rate. Kohli’s run in ODIs is quite phenomenal actually, even if we consider how much the game has become batsmen-friendly.

            And I’m not a blind fan of Bachchan as well. In his case, there is a gulf that is too wide to counter. It’s not always about emotions for me. I’m not that enthused about ToH for instance.

            But you are free to believe what you wish. I try to be objective as much as I possibly can. I’m not making any arguments for a batsman like Rohit Sharma who has 3 double hundreds in ODIs, including a score of 264! He too has 20 ODI hundreds now but is always found wanting when the ball swings, even the tiniest bit. Which is exactly what happened in the game today.

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          • Richards’ average of 47 in ODIs was by far the highest in his age. His SR too was pretty much the highest, for all proper batsmen. There is a reason why he has the highest ever peak rating in ODIs till date.

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          • Also on Richards — he was a phenomenal ODI player but he wasn’t that great a Test player. Gavaskar, Greg Chappell,, among his peers, were better than him, unequivocally so.

            Greg Chappell actually has a pretty good ODI record too (as an all rounder), but that’s a separate debate. He wasn’t close to Richards in ODIs and Gavaskar never quite came to terms with the format itself.

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          • There’s not a single person, living or otherwise, who believes those two, great as they are , were greater than Richards in tests. It’s astonishing to come across such a claim . Richards routinely makes all time test XI teams where neither of the other two does. Including Bradman’s own. The strong rumor here is that he finally dropped him for Tendulkar . I actually think Greg Chappell should be more talked about than he is today. But among all the great batsmen of that age Richards was considered peerless. His legend endures even today for a reason. He is considered by many to be the greatest player of pace in history, certainly fir his peak period.

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          • Not statistically, he isn’t. And I think I’ve proved that in the past as well. You can find that astonishing, but it’s not.

            THE HIGHEST IMPACT
            BATSMEN IN TEST HISTORY

            Even otherwise, the stats show that both Gavaskar and Chappell were better than Richards (in Tests). He was by far the most exciting batsman to watch, but he wasn’t the most consistent — or the most brilliant under pressure (check his record in the 4th innings, compared to both Chappell and Gavaskar).

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          • From the above link:

            Vivian Richards was the most feared batsmen of his era. Most of his famous dominating innings came when Clive Lloyd was captain and Richards batted at No. 3 with a trademark swagger. After Lloyd retired (end-1984), Richards became the new captain and went down the order, as Richie Richardson took over the No. 3 slot with great success. Despite fewer opportunities to dominate, it is an indication of Richards’ greatness that he had a similar impact overall down the order, with considerably better consistency . He is, by a distance, the highest impact ODI batsman ever but interestingly, his Test impact was shared with that awe-inspiring opening partnership of Greenidge-Haynes that went in before him, Clive Lloyd and later, Richie Richardson.

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          • mean to respond to some of these comments earlier but forgot later. Now there’s a new sports thread but I’ll nonetheless respond briefly here.. I’d say again that any statistical analysis should be a tool in one’s thinking about these things and not ‘everything’. I too enjoy each new analysis along these lines, it always tells me something but then I was have to also somehow put it in context. For instance the fact that Richards appears on infinitely more all time test XI’s that both of those other two combined. The people making those lists… what are they not understanding about the ‘high impact’ index? As I’ve also said before these kinds of stats also veer into a kind of money-ball approach to cricket but even today the all time XIs are not drawn up keeping these kinds of numbers in mind. Finally I’d disagree on being consistent, Richards had a period of decline later in the 80s. As I’ve said elsewhere he wasn’t willing to adapt. And as one of the pieces shows he averaged 36 or so in his last 19 tests, which brought down his average (despite this he averages slightly over 50 overall). But one doesn’t need to go further. Just this very basic wikipedia link gives a sense of his astonishing feats:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viv_Richards

            Again looking at all this one wouldn’t get the sense of a guy who’s ‘real’ career was ODIs! Statistical tables of the sort you routinely cite (and I too find interesting otherwise) are simply reductive if used as a complete estimation of a cricketer. As I said elsewhere Barry Richards played 5 tests (leaving aside his other first class cricket) and he still made it to Bradman’s all time XI.

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          • The idea that Sachin is greater in ODIs than tests is also a fairly astonishing one.

            On DeVilliers I’d say this — at his best the only batsman I’ve seen comparable to Sachin in the modern age (other than of course Lara ). At their respective bests I’d say there’s still enough distance between him and kohli .

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          • Again you misunderstood me. I mentioned that, statistically speaking, Tendulkar’s ODI hundreds become a bigger achievement than his Test Hundreds. The next best in ODIs was Ponting with 30, before Kohli arrived on the scene.

            I wouldn’t say there’s enough distance between De Villiers and Kohli, because of the latter’s consistency. But I would still pick De Villiers over Kohli. He once came to bat in the 39th over and by the 46th over, he had completed his century. This too was against the Windies, but still! This is absolutely crazy batting.

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          • I will also add this — as you probably know too well, Rahul Dravid is my all time favourite cricketer. That’s not going to change, I think.

            Now Kohli, at times, exhibits the kind of behaviour that is completely opposite to what the greats from the older generation did. He has improved a lot, at least by the standards he displayed during his early years, but this is never going to endear him in my books. So, personally speaking, Kohli isn’t going to be my favourite player, possibly ever. I like Dhoni much more!

            I will any day think of Tendulkar in higher terms compared to Kohli. Certainly, aesthetically speaking, I’d pick him over Kohli any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I think even Kohli would do that, to be honest.

            But for me, this isn’t a debate about personal favourites. It’s about astonishing feats in sports. I’m a Federer fan but I haven’t ever denied Nadal’s greatness or Djokovic’s, for that matter. I prefer Messi over Ronaldo, but that doesn’t make his goal-scoring any less extraordinary for me. Now people who were fans of Pele would be offended if I included Mess in the discussion, but this is not about personal emotions for me.

            Even McGrath was a pretty boorish fellow. But he was undeniably great. Most of the Aussies from that great Steve Waugh era were pretty rude cricketers but there is little doubt that the team was one of the best in the history of Test cricket.

            I could go on and multiply these examples. I have stood up for Manoj Bajpai, even for Bhansali (against KJo), Naseer or Om Puri. These are not all personal favourites of mine. Sometimes, the terms of the debate dictate my response.

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          • this is certainly a fair comment. I just don’t think one could get this ‘sense’ of where you stand from all your debates on Tendulkar or Kohli and so on. I don’t see why it’s not possible to do both. In other words argue ‘for’ Kohli’s achievements without arguing ‘against’ Tendulkar’s. or why it isn’t possible to argue ‘for’ any sort of achievement but also contextualize it more.

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          • But here’s the mysterious thing Saket.. why is it that the ‘stats’ always lead you ‘away from’ Sachin and always ‘towards’ Kohli. It’s a bit odd isn’t it? The mountain of stats that Sachin has accumulated, unsurpassable still as we speak (combining both forms of the game), somehow this doesn’t make you as much of a fan of his. You only quote stats for him when you’re arguing against him. I’ll go further, I have never ever heard argue in favor of Sachin in any context. Isn’t this strange? Specially for someone so interested in stats?

            By the way on the bowlers here I note your slippage. ‘Top 10’ today is hardly the same as facing Ambrose, Donald, McGrath, Akram etc. I have to doubt the sincerity of your position in even saying this. It is also not very ‘honest’ (I’m sorry to have to say this) to give that example when you know he was facing the very same bowlers in tests as well and presumably doing better. Also are you really comparing Sachin’s entire career with Kohli’s peak one? Do you really think Kohli will retain these averages at the age of 34 or whatever? Again this is a classic example of very selective use of the stats.

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      • Funnily enough, this Indian cricket team has zero strategy. One can see the Windies came today with a plan. The Indians turned up with a full squad just hoping the Windies would self-destruct. In a way, it’s great because it shows up the “think-tank” for what it is — a bunch of clueless, overpaid megalomaniacs (Shastri) who couldn’t face reality if it slapped them in the face.

        If the Windies, coached by Stuart Law, can outwit this team, then what hope lies ahead where bigger challenges await? And this is Kohli’s fault too — he’s the one who pushed for this bunch over Kumble. So serves him right that he has to eat humble pie, even if he is batting in God mode.

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        • On strategy – I woke up in morning and India was 5 down. Then saw Bhuvi slogging..there was no need when Kohli was there. He got out, it put pressure on Kohli to do something out of box.

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  65. missed kedar jadhav. he could make,some runs, fill up for a bowler who didn’t bowl well. instead we go with only one bowler of the 5 having any batting credentials and rest 4 are proper number XI. that’s why jadeja and pandya are so important

    look at how Samuels delivered for Windies getting 3/12 with his offies including Kohli

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    • rohit needs to be taken to task for giving up bowling due to finger injury. he should be made to bowl with other arm

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      • Amit Pandey Says:

        is it that all in SS group are residing outside India except me 🤔 anyone from Hyderabad? it would be fun meeting n if possible going to TOH movie 😊

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  66. Tendulkar’s numbers in matches involving all time great ODI bowlers:

    Kohli’s numbers in matches involving all time great ODI bowlers:

    This might be somewhat unfair on Kohli but frankly I don’t regard Boult, Anderson, Broad, Steyn, Johnson, Malinga, Hassan Ali etc as bowlers who’d finish as all time greats in ODIs. Starc is the one exception though. As is Bumrah who I hope will end up as India’s first ever bowling great in ODIs. But what these images show is that there is simply no comparison in the number of times that Tendulkar was up against truly great ODI bowlers compared to Kohli (while being a part of a relatively weaker side in a less batting friendly era).

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    • Think I might just have added the wrong image for Sachin. This is the correct URL:

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      • It just shows how regularly Tendulkar faced up to these bowlers. And rest assured being an opener he would face up with the opposition’s best fast bowlers always!

        Saket’s list of bowlers Kohli has faced is a list that majorly Tendulkar has faced too!

        What unique bowler – that is considered an ODI great (or even just ‘good’ for now!) has Kohli faced but not Tendulkar, a question I asked earlier? The opposite list i.e one’s Tendulkar faced but Kohli didn’t is quite remarkable anyway. Basically the Venn diagram I am asking for. There really won’t be many for Kohli. And most notably are not mutually exclusive either.

        Looking at pure batting stats will tell you a fair bit as in any sports you can only beat what is put in front of you. So to this point Kohli is remarkable. But he’s not in an era where there are great ODI sides or bowlers he’s facing. Tendulkar regularly tussled with Australia – one of the all-time greatest sides and whenever he faced Pakistan he’d have Akram, Waqar and Akhtar to deal with ball 1. Sri Lanka had Vaas and Murali, later Malinga. So naturally you would expect a lower average here when you filter only on the better bowlers. Frankly I don’t know that split for Kohli because I really don’t know a great bowler today beyond a Starc or Steyn (both I believe would have faced Tendulkar).

        The further back you go I am sure the way the stats are developing here you really have a hypothesis of Richards over Tendulkar.

        Also I’d say a lot of these relationships here are not 1 to 1. Weaker bowlers today probably extrapolate to much weaker statistics (that’s purely my own hypothesis, not proven) because compounded with all the other changes bowlers face – rules, powerplays, size of ground etc you just get many disadvantages today of bowling that only Tendulkar faced for part of his career whereas Kohli gets that day 1.

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          • This split says a lot 90-13, 6 bowlers Tendulkar would have faced along with many others. A similar list for the current generation would be pretty lukewarm comparatively.

            Once you attempt to account for each factor it will be far too complicated IMO. Because some variables depend on each other too. A weaker bowler on a generally more batsman friendly pitch today will extrapolate a batsman average.

            It would be interesting to see the % of runs scored on average today via boundaries and things like this to put into context the ‘life’ of a batsman today Vs Tendulkar’s era.

            My wager is simple – it’s not Tendulkar is better than Kohli. It’s simply at this stage Tendulkar played in a system that was far more competitive (for him as a batsman) and less batsman friendly and that needs to be accounted for adequately. It’s possible even here Kohli comes out above but either way you put Kohli in Tendulkar’s era or Tendulkar in Kohli’s the statistics will get closer.

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          • Just playing the devil’s advocate here, but Bradman only saw Tendulkar in his prime. Wonder what he would’ve thought of him in the 2nd half of his career when he became more of an accumulator. Going by the article, he did leave out Gavaskar and Hutton because of their lack of aggression.

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          • that’s hard to say. He already picks Lara as taking more chances before settling down on sachin. Also remember no one could play exactly the same way off-peak without this affecting one’s averages. Richards never made this adjustment, hence it showed later on in his career.

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          • The thing also is (as I like to keep saying again and again, or at least have said for just about as long as I’ve bene blogging) that there is the personal preference on one side, even the personal ‘devotion’ but then there is also the world of ‘facts’. Of course the latter are also debatable. It’s not physics! But one can just be as sincere as possible. A good ‘test’ in this sense is to ask oneself how often one supports things in life as an ‘objective’ matter that then don’t tally with one’s deep personal preferences. And here it’s not just about figures in popular culture or sports or politics or whatever, it’s also about being aware of the ‘blind spots’ of one’s thinking. This last is always the hardest defense to crack. How often does one argue against one’s choices but also revisit one’s ways of thinking? Unfortunately online one is often pushed into arguing for certain positions because of the way debates are structured. There’s very little room for subtlety if at all and certainly few rewards for it. But your question about Bradman is certainly a fair one. I liked what Richards said on Tendulkar when he picked him as the best among all batsmen he had ever seen and of course added he’d never seen Bradman. Now Richards is not crazy. He knows the numbers on all the old greats, he knows about their reputations, he knows about Bradman of course. But there is something there in his answer. Individual achievement in a sport is now just about the stats. Yes, some players have exceptional ones. But could one really understand Messi’s extraordinary skill level just by looking at his numbers. They’re stunning, one could easily accept he’s one of the greats. But the aesthetic side of his game, the jaw-dropping nature of so many of his goals, could not be understood without actually watching him in action. And this is important because this too defines these players as great or greatest. The critics don’t just wait till a player plays that many years and builds up those stats. There are certain things they can say on day 1 or at least very early on. The things Gavaskar was saying about Sachin when he was 12, or what Akram or some of the other Pakistanis said when he debuted in Pakistan at that tender age. The question always is whether such a player will live up to his promise. But people already saw something very special there. So again there is something to be said about actually watching things. Some of those Pele highlights are incredible. You have to see them to believe them. At the same time this doesn’t mean the book is closed forever on such figures and there can be no further discussion. Everything can always be debated. But it’s a question of how ‘sane’ the debate is. And so once again your question on Bradman and Sachin is a perfectly fair one as I see it. Related to this I’d say that I often appreciate ‘great’ talents even more in their sunset years or at least when they’re off-peak. Because if you’re great enough you will put up the numbers when you’re at your peak. If you didn’t even do this you wouldn’t even have that reputation! But the greatest players surprise you precisely when they’re off-peak. As I’ve said before at one point I felt Sachin would have at the most 40 centuries in the best case scenario. He was having trouble with injuries, when he was playing each century was coming a bit harder around mid-30s mark and so on. Then suddenly he enjoyed a late age renaissance. Much as Federer suddenly won titles when no one expected him to win again (Slams). Now of course luck is part of the deal, Sachin had easier pitches and lesser bowlers to contend with at this late stage of his career, he also had way better teams supporting, similarly Djokovic’s problems meant Federer had an opening again. These things happen but it’s only the greatest player who can take advantage of them. With or without enough competition no one plays a quarter of a century like Sachin (yes he started in his teens but then few people are as mature in their teens) and keeps adding numbers that late. The same for tennis players. Luck is always part of it but then let’s be honest, it’s not reasonable to expect that a man who’s 35 would be playing the way he did at 25 or even 30, whether in cricket or in tennis. That’s simply not possible. So yes Richards stayed aggressive till the very end but then he also damaged his average a great deal. Defensive players at that level don’t often deal with this problem. Yet even Gavaskar was far more defensive even by his standards in the second half of his career than the first one (if you split his career in half he has almost the very same average either but this doesn’t mean he’s the very same player). Age requires adjustments. It’s a fantasy that there’s a greatest player who does the same irrespective of age or opposition. Bradman is about the closest one can get to such a ‘freak’! Even so:

            “Almost 20% of the Tests Bradman played were against India and South Africa, the two weak teams of his era. Bradman cashed in, averaging 190.12 in those 10 Tests, and scoring eight hundreds. However, in 42 other Tests he still averaged more than 88, and scored a hundred every two Tests.”

            http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/474951.html

            Once more a lot of interesting discussions that can be had, even on the greatest players, but one must be capable of ‘admitting’ certain things and more important questioning certain assumptions more natural to one’s ways of thinking.

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          • Well tbf Tendulkar’s average dipped quite a bit too. He went from averaging 56+ against top 8 sides (not counting Zim/BAN) in the 20th Century to averaging 47+ in the 21st. Lara, OTOH, went from averaging 48+ to 57+. This is where his extraordinary longevity sort of works against Tendulkar as it seems he played far more Test cricket in his off peak phase than he did in his prime!

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          • when a man plays for a quarter of a century I suppose a lot of this is to be expected ..

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          • Here Sobers is quite stunning:

            http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/491636.html

            and this just as a batsman! And of course he played 20 years.

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          • Sobers incidentally felt Gavaskar was the greatest batsman he’d ever seen..

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          • In some ways the cricketer who’s has the most remarkable reputation in all of the game’s history is Barry Richards. Just played a handful of tests, did very well in them. Then the bans against S Africa meant he couldn’t play more. But he was considered a stunning talent. Bradman in his XI selected him!

            https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/tendulkar-in-bradmans-dream-world-xi/213024

            here’s another piece on him:

            http://www.espncricinfo.com/magazine/content/story/485906.html

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          • Yeah Sobers in all likelihood is the greatest batsman since Bradman. And Barry Richards along with Graeme Pollock would have almost certainly ended up in the Viv Richards class had their Test career not been cut short. Barry in fact overshadowed Viv and Chappell big-time in Packer’s WSC in his only season.

            http://www.howstat.com/cricket/Statistics/WSC/BattingAverages.asp

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          • very true.. that endure SA team was astonishing. Had this team continued it would have been one of the great teams of that era and perhaps any era. Pollock is judged by some to be the greatest left-handed batsman ever.

            http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/21479420/robert-houwing-graeme-pollock

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  67. Bob Cristo Says:

    It is not Kohli’s fault if there is no great bowler. The point is what other players of current generation are doing. The bowlers are same for everyone but look at Kohli. He is head and shoulder above to everyone. May be in test Only Steve smith is just a little ahead but in ODI and T20 Kohli is competing with himself. in 90s there is debate who is better Sachin or Lara ? No answer. In 2000 there is debate who is better Sachin..Ponting..Dravid..Kallis or Sangkara ? Look at Sachin’s record in Test. Dont go by just data (Century aor Overall run). Because there are lies..Damn Lies and Data. Look how impactfull Sachin is in test. Dravid, Sehwag and Laxman played some of the finest Test inning. Sachin doesnt have a single inning n Top 100 Test Inning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • great non Indian bowlers of this era
      James Anderson/ Stuart Broad/Ali/Rashid
      Mitchell Starc/Pat Cummins/Josh Hazlewood/Lyon
      Rabada/Philander/Steyn (almost finished)
      Mohammad Abbas/Yasir Shah
      Herath
      Boult/Wagner/Southee
      Holder

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    • Steve Smith is just a little ahead? He averages nearly 10 runs more in Tests! Even in ODIs, ABDV had comparable overall numbers up until his retirement. In fact, just in this decade, his record is surreal without batting in the top 3. He averages 63 @ a SR of 107 against non-minnows making Kohli look like a plodder with a SR of 93.

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  68. Bob Cristo Says:

    Heck if i am not wrong then Sachin havent had a Test series. The highest is 493. He played some 5 match test series and look at Kohli. Already crossed 500 and 600 many time.

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  69. Bob Cristo Says:

    I will not take Sachin in my Test 11 even if i choose from players after 90s

    Hayden
    Sehwag
    Dravid
    Ponting (C)
    Lara
    Kallis
    Gilchrist (WK)
    Akram
    Macgrath
    Warne
    Ambrose

    But then Who am I ? Don, Barry Richerds and everyone choose Sachin.

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  70. Time for #3!

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  71. Bolsonaro of course won big since the writing of this piece, nonetheless using soccer as a metaphor for Brazilian politics makes for an interesting read:

    https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2018/10/26/andrew-downie/socrates-and-brazilian-democracy/

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