mcgillianaire: (India Flag)
What I wrote on 25 April 2016:

"The Indians are playing a lot of shorter-format matches in the first half of this year, but they've got 14 Tests scheduled from June to December. Kohli is the only player who averages over 50 in ODIs and T20Is. My biggest hope for him is to become the first to average over 50 in all international formats. He currently averages 44 in Tests and if he can keep up this form and translate it into the longer-format, there's a chance of that happening."

After his latest marathon effort at the crease and with a match to spare, the Indian Test captain averages 50.53. In a year where the political and sporting outsider has challenged the orthodoxy, one legend-in-the-making has offered a constant reminder of all that is still well with the established order and the greatest iteration of its greatest sport. Thank you, sir, for the entertainment. Long may it continue!
mcgillianaire: (Sachin Tendulkar)
'Nuff said.
mcgillianaire: (Sachin Tendulkar)
A chronological list of his scores since the year started.

74   - T20   v West Aus
7    - ListA    "
91   - ODI   v Aus
59   - ODI      "
117  - ODI
106  - ODI
8    - ODI
90*  - T20I
59*  - T20I
50   - T20I
7    - T20I  v Bdesh
49   - T20I  v Pak
56*  - T20I  v SL
41*  - T20I  v Bdesh
23   - T20I  v NZ
55*  - T20I  v Pak
24   - T20I  v Bdesh
82*  - T20I  v Aus
89*  - T20I  v WI
75   - T20   v Hyd
79   - T20   v Del
33   - T20   v Mum
80   - T20   v Pun
100* - T20   v Guj

1454 runs @ 90.88 (24 innings, 8 not outs).

The Indians are playing a lot of shorter-format matches in the first half of this year, but they've got 14 Tests scheduled from June to December. Kohli is the only player who averages over 50 in ODIs and T20Is. My biggest hope for him is to become the first to average over 50 in all international formats. He currently averages 44 in Tests and if he can keep up this form and translate it into the longer-format, there's a chance of that happening. It would also help if he didn't burn himself out by the latter stages of the year, especially now that he's the Test captain as well. In 2014-15, Kohli became the first in history to score three hundreds in his first three innings as captain, all of them away in Australia. Later in the year he led India to its first away series win in four years against Sri Lanka, and then thrashed the Saffers 3-nil at home with only inclement weather preventing a probable whitewash. Kohli clearly models his game on the Ponting school of cricket and one trusts that this aggressive approach is exactly the tonic demanded of India in Tests. I'm also trying not to come across as all fangirly about VK but I can't help it. When Tendulkar retired (who btw turned 43 yesterday) there were a few candidates to usurp his mantle as India's best, but only one has slipped effortlessly into his shoes. To be sure, the boy Kohli has a long way to go before he can truly be compared with his idol, but if this year is anything to go by, the future looks promising. Long may the glut continue!
mcgillianaire: (India Flag)
26.95 - 1st match innings (HS: 119)
72.16 - 2nd match innings (169)
25.55 - 3rd match innings (96)
60.81 - 4th match innings (141)

41.23 - 1st match innings (138)
61.22 - 2nd match innings (183)

35.22 - 1st match innings (90*) [EDIT: After today's 89*, he now averages 40.16 in 1st match innings.]
91.80 - 2nd match innings (82*)

Those are his averages in each innings of a match. The figures in ODIs and T20Is did not surprise me as much as the 2nd and 4th match innings in Tests. And what a contrast with the figures in 1st and 3rd innings - how similar the averages are for those 2 innings. I'm yet to find a batsman who matches this trend across all three formats in 2nd innings (I compared with Root, Williamson, Smith, Amla and De Villiers). After Kohli's match-winning knock against Pakistan earlier in the tournament I wondered if we would see teams winning the toss and choosing to field against India. Then he went one step further against Australia. Does it seem as far-fetched? Kohli has over 900 runs in ODIs and T20Is this calendar year already.

Another stat to savour on: at exactly the same age (27y 147d), one Sachin Tendulkar also had 25 ODI centuries. However he needed 249 matches @ 42. Kohli's done it in 171 @ 51. Considering the Little Master is widely regarded as (one of) the greatest ODI batsmen, Kohli is well on his way to emulating the chap who inspired him. Which explains the rather fitting homage he paid to paaji (big brother) in the match against Pakistan.

Finally, here are the win percentages for the Test-playing nations in all T20Is so far:

62.67 - India
60.00 - South Africa
58.01 - Pakistan
56.02 - Sri Lanka
53.29 - New Zealand
51.82 - England
51.72 - Australia
51.36 - West Indies
33.33 - Bangladesh
24.50 - Zimbabwe

Given that Steve Smith averages 21.55 in T20Is, perhaps it is not all that surprising Australia have been a lot less successful in the shortest format. And perhaps the rankings don't lie either. Kohli and India top their respective categories. For now...
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)
          Mat   Inns    NO    Runs    HS     Ave    100   50
Tendulkar 114 	184 	19    9470   241*   57.39   33    37
Cook      125 	224 	12    9883   294    46.61   28    46
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)
I've updated my entry from a couple years ago to reflect this week's episode with Freddie Flintoff. As with almost every episode of this awesome programme, it's worth a listen, not least for that gorgeous Lancastrian accent.
mcgillianaire: (Default)
For about the next four weeks, depending on the episode, five excerpts of this fine book read by the author himself, will be available to listen anywhere in the world. Each episode is a delightfully compact fourteen minutes, so there's no excuse to miss out on any of them. Apparently, it was originally broadcast in 2010, repeated in 2011 and again in 2012, but I seemed to have missed them all. I guess it doesn't help that all these broadcasts, including this one, have been on BBC Radio 4 Extra.

I've blogged one of my favourite quotes from the book. I bought it many years ago but unfortunately I never finished it. Then I lent it to an Irish lass who was just getting into the sport and had quite taken to the longer forms of the game. She kept it.
mcgillianaire: (LFC Liverbird)
As you know, my three favourite sports are cricket, football and tennis. It's been an eventful week for all three and the teams/sportsmen that I support. It started with Liverpool's victory away at Chelsea's Stamford Bridge last Sunday, continued with Roger Federer's demolition of Rafael Nadal during the week and subsequent unbeaten run to his 100th professional tournament final, 70th career title overall and record-breaking 6th ATP World Tour Finals success. In between, there were two close finishes in the Test cricket matches between South Africa/Australia and India/West Indies. Neither of the teams which I wanted to win succeeded, but both matches were a fantastic advert for the game's longer version. Then to cap off the eventful week, Liverpool became only the second club in this season's Premier League to take points off leaders Manchester City, in a game we really should've won. Not a bad way to lead myself into starting a new temp job tomorrow morning!
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)
                  M     I       NO      Runs    HS      Avg     100s    50s
Sir Don Bradman   52	80	10	6996	334	99.94	29	13
Ricky Ponting*    51	90	13	5734	257	74.46	23	19
Rahul Dravid**    49	80	13	4912	270	73.31	14	22
(* Ponting's record between 3 Oct 2002 & 3 Dec 2006 // ** Dravid's record during Sourav Ganguly's captaincy between 2000 & 2005 // Ponting's strike-rate was sixteen runs per 100 balls quicker than Dravid's)

Daylight separates Sir Donald Bradman from every batsman in Test history and just to illustrate this point, I've chosen two modern Number 3 greats who even at the peak of their powers, were on average scoring 25 runs less per innings than The Don.
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)

Barring the "blip" in England over the summer, it's been a great year for Indian cricket, and it's fair to say we've got the Windies on the ropes in the 2nd Test at Kolkata. Laxman's love affair with Eden Gardens continued with his fifth Test century there in 10 matches, adding to Dravid's fifth Test century of the year from yesterday. And if fading light hadn't curtailed play we probably would've grabbed another wicket. I still reckon we can win it by Thursday. To think they said we'd lost our appetite for Tests...
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)
Two videos to remember the former English Test fast bowler.

mcgillianaire: (Default)
I wish there was a job that existed along the lines of "Professional Sport Armchair Spectator" because not only would I be very good at it, but I'd also bring two decades worth of extensive work experience. It occurred to me that in the past ten days, I have been smothered with at least one match/race of all the sports and teams which I follow and/or love. Starting with cricket, India and England have been in action, in football both England and Liverpool have flattered to deceive (as usual), Federer's lost at the US Open, Usain Bolt got disqualified from one race, won another and helped set a world record in a third, while the Rugby World Cup got underway and Sebastian Vettel won yet another Formula One race. Sportsgasmic!
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)
"If he doesn't score in the final Test, I'd say it's high time they dropped him for a youngster who deserves an opportunity and time to settle into Test cricket. Dravid's demise has been apparent for a while but I never realized just how bad it was. Even his strike rate, which was already among the slowest in world cricket, has taken a dip. Is this the end of the road for one of India's greatest batsman?" [LINK]
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)
(This post was inspired by a similar one about the riots from a couple weeks ago. Enjoy!)


Poor preparation; England's bowling superiority; England's batting superiority; England's fielding superiority; England's coaching superiority; World Cup hangover; IPL hangover; Foreign tour syndrome; Bouncy pitches; Lateral movement; reverse swing; normal swing; chin music; fast bowling; slow bowling

The Lord's slope; English weather; Boredom; New ball; Old ball; Green pitches; Weight of expectations; Unrealistic expectations; Sunil Gavaskar's commentary; Michael Vaughan's tweets; Joey Barton's tweets; TMS; HotSpot; DRS; Back-to-back Tests; Back-to-back Tours

Anna Hazare; Full-capacity Test crowds; Arul Suppiah; Raina's misleading century against Somerset; Zak's injury; Harbhajan Singh; Charl Willoughby; Stuart Broad's hat-trick; Pietersen's double-century; Cook's double-century; Prior's stump commentary; Lack of fitness; SRT's 100th international century; Ishant's line and length; Sreesanth; Sehwag's hearing; Sehwag's shoulder; Sehwag's approach to batting;

Hostile Trent Bridge crowd; Bell-gate; On-field umpires; Off-field umpires; The Laws of the Game; Corruption in India; RP Singh; Mishra's no-balls; Impatience; Lack of application; Balls bouncing above knee height; bouncers; yorkers; length deliveries; off-breaks; the one that straightens; innocuous deliveries; Ian Bell; the BCCI; Overcommercialisation; Ian Botham; the Top ranking; the 2000th Test; the 100th Test

The England riots; Duncan Fletcher's humour; the media; the experts; player sponsorships; too much wealth; lack of patriotism; physical exhaustion; mental exhaustion; Ishant's haircut; Strauss's captaincy; Dhoni's captaincy; dropped catches; hands in pockets; bad luck; shit happens; somewhere in the world, a butterfly flapped its wings

Does that cover everything?
mcgillianaire: (BCCI Emblem)
"It's an individual thing, I guess. I don't know why they decided to give up on their pace. I love bowling fast, and it is my strength. I will never compromise on my pace. And it's a lot of fun to hit people on the head."

Varun Aaron says he won't compromise on pace.

This is the uncapped 21 year-old tearaway from the Indian state of Jharkhand (home to Dhoni as well) who will replace the injured Ishant Sharma for the ODIs. What's so special about him? Oh nothing much, aside from the fact he's the fastest recorded Indian bowler. Ever. During the 2009/10 Vijay Hazare Trophy he reportedly bowled a 153-kph delivery and regularly bowls above 140-kph. A succession of good performances capped by his ten wickets in three games during the recently-concluded Emerging Players Tournament in Australia has impressed the selectors enough to draft him into the one-day squad in England. Apparently Andy Roberts was his childhood hero and judging by his quote above, he seems to share an enthusiasm for chin music. Meanwhile, the replacement for the injured Virender Sehwag will be another uncapped player who did well in the Emerging Players Tournament. Mumbai's Ajinkya Rahane, who averages over 67 in first-class cricket, has just scored two centuries Down Under. The 23 year-old averages nearly 39 in List-A matches and seems a promising recruit.
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)

Click on picture for link to book on Amazon UK.

There are several reasons why I fell in love with the game of cricket and this book is one of them. It was probably the first dedicated book about cricket that I ever bought and I remember the occasion clearly. My dad's favourite bookshop in the UK was Dillon's on Gower Street in Central London, now a branch of Waterstones. It felt massive then and even today it's the largest academic bookstore in Europe! I used to enjoy going to Dillon's on our biennial visits to the UK while growing up in Oman. On my first-ever visit there in the summer of 1992 (when I was eight) I bought this book. I wasn't a huge fan of cricket yet but I was slowly getting into it. For better or for worse, this book hooked me for life. I spent hours poring through every one of its 256 pages, the prose about the game's history and the tables of statistics detailing every record worth knowing.

Pakistan were touring England that summer and people who followed that series will remember it well. I know we were in town when Aamir Sohail scored a double century, at Edgbaston if memory serves. And I think he scored 205, possibly not-out. But the series made headlines for all the wrong reasons, what with ball-tampering allegations against the Pakistanis and what not. That was probably the first Test series that I had ever followed. Two years earlier I had been aware of India's tour of England and even bought my first-ever plastic cricket set during a trip to Snowdonia in Wales with some family friends, who also bought a set for themselves. But I know I didn't follow that series. I have a vague memory of watching part of a Test on the same family friend's TV, then going out into the driveway with their two boys and trying to emulate the players with our new cricket sets. Don't think we broke any car windows but our dads did break the bank to catch some action at Lord's. They also went to Wimbledon and caught some Centre Court action. So much for taking their boys along!

The emphasis in this book was obviously on Test cricket and though I probably wasn't aware of who he was at the time, it should come as no surprise that it was compiled by Bill Frindall. When I tried searching for the book (just out of plain curiosity) before I started on this entry, his name just popped out of nowhere. I couldn't remember the name of the book nor who had written it, but merely by recalling the image of the book in my mind, the first name that my memory bank associated with it was the Bearded Wonder. Lo and behold, it was by Frindall. I'm sure it's still stored somewhere in our house in Oman but I wish I had it in front of me right now!

(1992 was probably the year I fell in love with the game. You can read about another memorable formative cricketing experience from the same year that I posted about in March 2005).
mcgillianaire: (Cricket Stumps)

Missing some gems but Jen Bromley from Cambridge is onto a winner. I wonder if David Lloyd would be up for another benefit dinner...


mcgillianaire: (Default)

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