Posted by: nestaquin | October 30, 2008

Border Gavaskar Trophy. Vegetarians to Carnivores

The response to the 99.94 request last week for contributions from the readers has been overwhelming to say the least and it is times like today when we are most grateful for their efforts. I cannot be certain if it was the Australian lack of performance in the final session yesterday, the car not starting this morning or the inconvenience of rifling through the shed to cobble together the components to communicate after the laptop fizzled and fried but I have a sore head and an evaporating spirit and no compulsion to revisit the Kotla at present. Thankfully, our new South East Asian correspondent, Rajesh Kannan, a man with an eye for the elegance of statistical symmetry and a fine writer to boot, has penned the following piece that foretells further doom for the Australians when they eventually come to the crease with armour and willow later this afternoon in Delhi.

“The world’s fastest vegetarian bowler” was the highest compliment an Indian fast – well, medium pace – bowler could aspire to until recently. Most would trundle up to bowl half-volleys at opposition batsmen. Then the spinners would step up, at which point the batsmen would stop laughing helplessly and start taking India seriously. They don’t laugh anymore.

India has the world’s best fast bowling attack. I had to repeat that line to myself to actually believe it, but it’s true. In Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma, India have the most potent pace attack around and there is plenty of backup in the form of Munaf Patel, Sreesanth and R.P.Singh.

A look at Zaheer’s and Ishant’s averages might not reveal this. The former averages 34 and the latter 31, where the best manage to keep it under 25, suggesting both are mediocre bowlers. I theorised that their numbers don’t tell the real story as their victims are mostly genuine top-order batsmen.

So, I decided to put my theory to test.

In 2008, 33 tests have been played overall and the average runs/wicket is 34. In the same period, Zaheer has taken 18 wickets at a 34 average, and Ishant 28 at 31, pretty mediocre until I saw the list of their victims.

This year alone, Ishant’s dismissed the world’s best batsman, Ricky Ponting, a staggering 5 times, and Michael Clarke and Mahela Jayawardene, thrice and twice respectively. An amazing 25 out of the 28 are good batsmen, with only White, Morkel and Harris not making the cut.

As for Zaheer, he’s also claimed two other all-time greats, Kumar Sangakkara and Matt Hayden, thrice each in the 5 tests he’s played. The weighted career batting average of Zaheer’s victims is 43, while Ishant’s prey average 45. Digging deeper has obviously confirmed the hypothesis – no cheap wickets for these two, they feast on the finest.

But their bowling goes beyond just a first derivative analysis of the quality of their victims. There are two other important attributes they possess – they scare the daylights out of batsmen with regular unplayable deliveries; and they get crucial wickets when they’re most needed.

Zaheer’s bowling might have ended the career of Matt Hayden, one of the most intimidating and aggressive players in cricket’s history, who has now been reduced to complaining about his oppopents’ aggression.

Great bowlers can’t be defined by statistics, and those who’ve been privileged enough to watch Zaheer and Ishant this year know just how outstanding these two are beyond mere numbers.

Ravi Shastri was wrong in February when he anointed Ishant the best fast bowler in the world. I’m not so sure Shastri is wrong any more.

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Responses

  1. Nice writeup there RK,

    I’d say that Mike Hussey and Kumar Sangakarra are the No 1 batsmen in the last year rather than Ponting, he’s been through a bit of a lean patch.

    As for the worlds best pace attack, I reckon you’ve got some way to go before claiming that. Australia declaring in Bangaluru did the claim no favours, either did the recent lost series in Sri Lanka.

    I’d say best bowling outfit would be out of South Africa, England (esp when Simon Jones returns), Australia, India or even Pakistan. All have their good and bad days. I do however agree wtih your basic premise that the new ball pair are no longer a laughing stock.

  2. Typical Indian hyperbole :D

    One or two good test series doesnt make the best bowling attack.

    As Moses said, Punter is at the tail end of his career and we all know Hayden is aging….

    I think fast bowling vastly depends on the surface you play on. If you look at the indian tracks, they are really a shame with no bounce and no seam.

    So how can you expect bowlers without much experience to do well? I think that the aussies are rating the indian attack too much and falling prey to their own pressure (barring some super deliveries like Ishants to Ponting :).

  3. That’s a long way to go :)

    best pace attack is SA or Eng (if flintoff and harmison are fit n firing)

  4. I would wait for a few more series before saying that India has the best new ball attack in the world. Ishant, Zaheer& Co certainly have the potential to be up there though.

    I also don’t think England has the best new ball attack either. They probably have a few exciting bowlers in home conditions (Harmison, Flintoff, Sidebottom) and one has to wait for Simon Jones to return before we can rate him. But English bowlers have failed to win them series at home against India and South Africa recently.

    In Steyn and Morkel, South Africa certainly seems to have 2 effective bowlers who can perform in all continents.But worryingly, they failed to deliver in Lords earlier this year, and we better wait and see how they perform in Australia.

    West Indies has Powell and Taylor, comparable to the best on their day.They need to play more test cricket, and unfortunately that doesn’t seem to be happening.

    Pakistan – with a fit Shoaib and a ‘clean’ Asif, supported by Sohail Tanvir, this could actually be the best in the world. But again, they are not playing Tests these days and Akhtar/Asif seem to find more ways for self-destruction than in being available for Cricket.

    Australia – Lee, Johnson, Bracken and Clark – will be awesome at home. But can they deliver overseas consistently?

    On balance, South Africa can lay claim to have the fast bowling attack with the most potential with the Indians running them close. England has a chance provided they perform in India later this year.

    So, lets wait a while before we deliver the verdict.

  5. Well said Kumar,

    Of the attacks out there, South Africa have potentially a superb attack but very little variety – if you’re after right arm fast then they’re your one stop shop, but when the conditions don’t suit…

    So, what’s the declaration target? 650 ?

  6. Brainwave.. bat this one out for a draw, win the 4th test and retain the trophy. Easy As.

  7. 800 :)

  8. It is unlike VVS to linger on 99 for long..may be he will get it next over.

    I think India will play steadily till they get to 450 and then accelerate.In any case, they would want to have a go at Aus for an hour before close today. That should see India score around 575 before declaring.

  9. I have never seen an Aussie attack being so ineffective in India.Reminds me of Sydney 2004.

  10. Good move to bring Clark on while Laxman is searcing for a single.

  11. VVS scores his 6th century against Oz..and this one looked as effortless as the one in Sydney in Jan.Cool !

    Time for a break..speed it up guys and pile on the runs..declare at 575.

  12. Newsflash from Cricinfo – “Gambhir now holds the record for the highest score by a left-hand opener against Australia”

    You’ve gotta love cricket for its ability to conjure inane records. I bet this partnership is “the highest 4th wicket partnership for India v Australia in Delhi in a test match which started the day after diwali in an olympic year in the third millennium”

  13. I have never seen an Aussie attack being so ineffective in India.

    I’ve never seen a pitch so flat. Lets hope it stays that way when you get bored and give us a bat..

  14. Nice piece and, just now, correct.

    I suspect that it will seldom be possible to gain consensus on the best pace attack in the world, as pace bowlers are so prone to injury, losing rhythm, even the make of ball they are using. If I could have the pick of the world’s pacemen for England vs Aus in 2009, I’d want.

    Flintoff
    Ishant
    Malinga
    Bond.

    I was a vegetarian fast-medium bowler – well, very medium bowler.

  15. Australia unleashes their most fearsome bowler now..(drum roll)..Rick (y) Ponting.

    Will Ponting run thru the Indian line up now?

  16. Great picks TTT.

    Who would you give the new ball to?

  17. Nice line-up Toots, but with Bond their no-one would want to play you lest they upset the BCCI..

  18. has to be bond and ishant to start, I think, as they are both very accurate from the word go. Malinga should be 1st change as he has the scare factor, but I wouldn’t have him in my side, he has to recuperate and re-prove himself. I’d get Dale Steyn instead, and if you consider Bond ineligible, get Zaheer in to get the left arm veriety. So the pace attack would be

    Ishant
    Bond (Zaheer)
    Steyn
    Flintoff

  19. RK,

    I will accept that in Ishant and Zaheer India has the best new ball attack, if they prove to be more effective than Lee/Johnson in this test.

    I am not asking for much, am I?

  20. Finally a wicket !

    Gambhir gifts his wicket away..to Watson.Surely, that should make Watson take his complaint back?

  21. Not asking for much at all, though it shouldn’t be too hard to outbowl Lee/Johnson in this match. If the wicket starts misbehaving and the Aussies feel the weight of 600 runs on their shoulders, I’d say it’s on the cards.

  22. I really don’t mind the wickets falling – if they get to 500, then the quicker this innings ends, the more time India has to win this

  23. India mustn’t fizzle away to 500 and find themselves only 50 ahead with five wickets still to get and two days play left.

    Steyn was hopeless in England. If Malinga isn’t back to his best, I’d want Morne Morkel.

  24. Me too..Ganguly just fell to Katich.

    I still stand by what I said yesterday – 450 is a good 1st innings score on this pitch.If India scores around 500-525, there will be 2 possibilities – a draw or an exciting win.

    Lets hope Dhoni stays for a while and we get to see some good hits.

  25. Dravid will bat to save his career in the next match (doesn’t look like he’ll need to in this one). If he fails, it’s time to blood Rohit Sharma against I think. But first in line, and Ganguly’s replacement (not in style, just in the XI), should be Badri, who I think has the potential to be India’s Hussey. He’s also done the hard yards in domestic cricket for years, and looks to have a sound temperament and unfussy, orthodox technique. Heck, if he’s half as good as Hussey, he’ll be a fixture.

  26. time to blood Rohit against England I meant.

  27. India are throwing it away here. They need 600. Punter will get 150+ as he is burning after the defeat. Three soft dismissals in a row and a tail that looks weak without Harbhajan spells trouble.

    Watson has kept going well.

  28. perfect. Dhoni’s played a nice little cameo, and now, these guys should wind up for 520 by tea. 35 overs for Australia to face today, and the match far more alive than it would be if the score had been 630/7d.

  29. Toots,

    Looking at the pitch, India will need all the time they can get to buy 20 wickets. Now that they are 6 down, they will be happy to be all out for 550 and then have around 20 overs at Australia today.

  30. kumble’s a good stonewaller, but pathetic in such a situation

  31. wow, he gets 2 boundaries as soon as i posted that. ok, let’s try it again – ponting, hussey, hayden and clarke are batting gods who’ll all score centuries in this match

  32. Laxman has just enough time to get to 200, if he scores at a 75+ strike-rate from here on..

  33. RK, you missed Haddin, Watson, White and Katich who will get half-centuries in varying style
    That is not to forget Lee, Johnson and Clark who will pitch in with cameos of atleast 30’s each.

  34. no Kumar, let’s get out of this personal-milestone-obsessed mentality we Indians have, and root for a victory, which surely is more probable if we declare at 520 by tea. but nope, there’s no way Kumble would do that, he’ll keep batting till we drop. witness what happened v Pak in the 3rd test last year, where India pathetically killed off the game so that they could win 1-0. Now Australis would never do that, though Ponting would sell his children to be in a position to do so in this series.

  35. That will mean Oz will score 800 runs in 2 days and declare at 800/8.And India could be shutout on the final day for 250, which will give an Innings victory for Oz.

  36. How long before the wise-caps start saying “Dhoni would have declared 1/2 hr back. If Dhoni had been captain, Saurav would have felt cheerful and scored a 50. Dhoni would have promoted Zaheer Khan or Ishant Sharma above Kumble. Dhoni would have removed Ponting’s trousers and embarassed him” etc

  37. “let’s get out of this personal-milestone-obsessed mentality we Indians have, and root for a victory,”

    I don’t see any thing wrong in Laxman scoring at 75 strike rate to get a 200 and get India to 550 in the process.It is not about a milestone for Laxman.It is about demoralising effect of 2 double tons in 1 innings, on the opposition bowlers.

    But more interestingly, I feel India should, if they can, bat for 10-12 overs after tea and then declare.Let the pitch deteriorate a bit more..

  38. I feel that 515 would tantalise Australia and make them play their shots, which increases the chances of a result – but 550 seems like a shutout, so they might decide to defend and wait for Nagpur. And Ponting and Hussey can defend very very well.

  39. Oh, there’s no doubt people are picking faults and saynig “Dhoni would have done that” etc etc, but the fact is, this has been a faultless batting performance so far. The real tset for a captain comes when his side is fielding, and that’s where any comparison should be made, if one has to make them.

  40. I don’t see much of a difference between 515 and 550. It is more about using up another 10-12 overs and leaving Australia vulnerable for 20 overs.The pitch is still good to bat on, but I am counting on Ishant and Zaheer to remove the openers and Ponting.Kumble owes it to himself and the Nation to take care of the others.We may see Sehwag bowl a bit in this test.

  41. RK, let’s see. If Zaheer and Ishant can perform only when Dhoni is captain, I say, chuck them from the team. I work for my organization not for my manager. If I underperformed because of my manager, my firm will kick me out.

  42. Well, actually the phrasing went wrong. It might well happen that Zaheer and Ishant bowl badly today. The wise-caps would then start rambling about how they perform well under Dhoni. In truth, it would be just another day when the Aussies didnt self-destruct. But trust everyone, including the highly rated Ian Chappell to start spewing venom on Anil Kumble.

  43. The test for Kumble will be the way he rotates the bowlers and the fielding mindset he adopts. I don’t think Zaheer or Ishant have underperformed under Kumble, they were equally good. But a crucial moment at Bangalore was when Aus were 198/5 (128+70 lead) with no one to come, and Kumble didn’t set menacing fields. He essentially said fuck it, let’s go for the draw. It was a good draw for India, but it’s those bold captaincy touches here and there which differentiate a Taylor from a Ponting.

  44. What would Taylor do with this attack? Ponting did try a few things – including bowling himself – and succeed eventually with Katich. How many experts were thinking about Katich – everyone was saying White and Clarke, White and Clarke. Very few, and that includes me, were rooting for Katich – I am not claiming any extra-intelligence here but if I had been an expert and blurted out my thoughts, I could have beamed proudly at the success of my prediction, though knowing inside it was a co-incidence. Thats what these experts are doing.
    It is always a fraught game second-guessing what X,Y, Z would have done.

    That fluke of a wicket of Clarke – even Dhoni admits it was a fluke – but now everyone goes around praising his intelligence, and adding humility to his virtues since he admitted that it was fluke. How stupid can the experts get?

  45. I still dont think Dhoni has established himself as a batsman or as a keeper-batsman. One umpire-helped innings in England is all he has to show for grit and deliver-when-required.

    Much as I loved Gambhir’s knock, not the least because he has stuffed the Oz, we have to consider the benign pitch, and the struggling attack. These days, there are so many minnow-options for batsmen to succeed – minnow is not necessarily Bangladesh, on a given day, India or Oz might also be performing like Bangladesh on a normal day – and a cricketer who succeeds against them on that day gets double indemnity – 1)He succeeded 2) He succeeded against strong nation.
    True class is only seen over a period of time – even there you could play 45 test matches – 35 of those you could have had some or the other benign condition(bowler, pitch or state of opposition’s mind) and only 10 might be real tough. If you fail in 9/10, but suceeed in 20/35, you might have a decent average all round the world.
    Sometimes, facts and figures are misleading, even over a period of time

  46. Raj,

    What are you insinuating here?

    You mean the career stats of people like Haydos and Ponting could be misleading? lol !

  47. Adelaide 2006-7. Flintoff declared on 551-6 and England lost the Test with Aus bowlers required to take only 14 wickets. I was for batting on to 700 and taking the Aus win out of the equation, making them bat and bat for a draw. That’s what I would do here. When the foot is on the Aussie throat, the only option is to press down!

  48. Hayden has done it all around the world – and in tough conditions – namely, against spinners in India when everyone else was falling around. No more proof is required.
    Ponting – well the jury is still out – he has 4 innings to prove himself. I think he will score atleast 2 centuries in the remaining 2 tests and perhaps an additional fifty, too.
    One thing is sure, his average for this test and the next one in nagpur will definitely be not below 20.
    (thats just me trying to jinx him, I know my attempts to jinx will not suceeed and he will actually perform excellently in the remaining part of the current tour)

  49. Raj, the beauty is that you never know what would happen if x did y etc etc. something has to keep the people arguing and parallel universes and hypotheses do just that. i can claim today that taylor would have led this aussie side to 4 innings victories in this series, and no one could prove otherwise.

    So all we have are control experiments based on what x did in a similar situation, and that’s why I brought up Kumble’s declaration v Pakistan, which I believe indicated a safety first mindset. Note that I’m merely commenting on Kumble’s captaincy and not at all about Dhoni, so let’s not bring Dhoni up, shall we?

  50. Another thing – India will not win this series
    (last time I predicted in 2003 that Aus will win. My prediction did jinx them because my public pronouncements usually go wrong but in a way I didnt want – they ended up drawing. This time I am framing it carefully – let’s see :-) )

  51. RK, fair enough but keep in mind we all grand-stand to an audience in our mind so it is not necessarily you I am responding to :-)

  52. TTT, that’s the thing with risk, you can go belly up sometimes. My take is that at least Flintoff didn’t die wondering.

  53. Toots,

    Though I agree with you about pressing the foot down on opponents throats (not just Aussies) when they are down, I still don’t think Adelaide 2004-05 (When India won inspite of Austraolia scoring over 550 in the 1st innings) or Adelaide 2006-07 (when Australia did the same to England) will happen at Kotla.

    Firstly, Australia needs to match India’s score and score at a rate higher than India’s.

    Secondly, they need one of their bowlers to take 4-5 quick wickets and shut India down to below 200.

    The second may happen, but the first seems unlikely given the way Australia have batted in this series so far.Hayden’s failures are costing them the series.

    Seems to me the Indian captain agrees totally with you though.They don’t seem to be in a mind to declare yet.

  54. I’d rather risk not driving home the advantage 551-6 gives than letting the Aussies back in. (I would only take this view if ahead in the series, or, as in England’s case in Adelaide, needing to go to Perth only 1-0 down with three to play).

  55. I think even Kumar will agree with me that this innings has gone long enough now. Declare already man!

  56. Yes, RK.Kumble should declare now.

    But I just want 1 or 2 overs of mad slogging ! Its a momentum thingy.

  57. hopefully laxman hits 3-4 more boundaries, gets his 200, and ends this by the next over

  58. Benign pitch or not, India is seeking to score quickly and Kumble is one of the batsmen. And yet, Aussie bowlers have allowed a 90+ run partnership in around 20 overs..

    Moses, this truly is the weakest Aussie attack I have seen.

  59. Oh..I said it and Kumble got out.

    Much as RK (and I) would like India to declare, I think they will give Laxman an over or two to score the 6 runs he needs..

  60. ooh, kumble must have thought about doing a dravid and declaring with laxman on 194. he won’t though

  61. No, he wont but Laxman might end the torture by getting out before 200

  62. Zaheer keeps the strike..what are you doing mate? Give it back to VVS and let him get those blessed 6 runs..

    Or may be Zaheer is not exactly itching to bowl on this surface?

  63. Ah!Yes, Dravid. He did declare on 194 right? Yet, people talk as if only Dhoni has the courage to ignore milestones etc. Our media!

  64. Raj,

    When has Dhoni declared in sight of a colleague’s personal milestone?

  65. That’s our media’s extrapolation. If I could do a bit of metaphor, I think he did courageously declare close the ODI career of Saurav and Dravid :-)

  66. this is excruciating. Laxman must be one of the worst at batting with tailenders, I remember a couple of innings in England when he crawled and took singles off first balls

  67. And why is Zaheer hitting the FOURs and not Laxman?

  68. I expect Kumble to cop some criticism for waiting (hoping) for Laxman’s 200, which may not even come.
    That would be fair but what would be funny is the ultra confident assertion that “Dhoni would have declared. So, Kumble, Go!”

  69. Heck, ff Kumble didnt declare at the end of this over, I might say it myself!

  70. Will Laxman join Azza as a dismissedd-at-199?

  71. ah blessed relief. please declare NOW

  72. Laxman on 199.Expect the declaration any moment after the single..

  73. Ok..deed done. Now declare..please.

  74. Ok, so, maybe he will crock his leg or something and get stranded at 99 tests now that he cannot be dropped? I somehow get a feeling it would be poetic if he didnt get to 100 tests – that would stand proof of the fickle Indian selectorial policies that dropped him for the likes of Yuvraj

  75. he..some confusion..sorry it was Khan who hit the 4..we are still on 196

  76. Ok let me say “Dhoni would have declared. Kumble, GO!”

  77. ok, what’s the next milestone – Zaheer’s 750th run? India’s highest score in Delhi v Australia? Cmon man

  78. Zaheer is now 752.India has crossed 600..I think we are just waiting for those 3 runs which may never come..

  79. Those 3 runs will never come. If India draw this match, Anil Kumble has written his own cricketing epitaph.

  80. I agree, Kumble will cop some serious flak for this if Australia survive. Imagine if that happens and we lose in Nagpur. Horrifying prospect.

  81. In the interests of the game, can Australia please gift 3 runs to Laxman and we can all get on with it?

  82. DID HE JUST TAKE ANOTHER F**KING SINGLE?!!!

  83. I think Zaheer should stop taking singles off last balls!

  84. WHOA!!

  85. Ok..finally..he’s on 200..and Kumble has declared.

  86. about a 100 runs too many in my opinion, but we’ll see what my boys, Zak and Ishant, are made of now. Though it’d be a tremendous effort to get something out of this pitch

  87. We should try and bowl atleast 15 overs if possible today.

  88. Only 19 overs left. If Australia are none down at stumps and that’s a big IF, Kumble should be criticised.

    He is a most conservative captain and he has actually given Australia some hope of a draw if they bat very well.

    I’m not sure they will but my fingers and toes are crossed.

  89. I think Kumble does not want his side to bat again in this test.To ensure that, he needs to skittle Australia out for below 300.

    Lets see if Aussie batsmen decide to help Kumble out.My money is still on an Indian win, but the odds for a draw have brightened up a bit.

  90. My emotions are mixed now – I feel happy for Laxman, but sad for Kumble. This is how gentlemen go – standing up for their mates but inadvertently letting down their teams :-)
    (Note how teams is just mates re-arranged – there is a nice tabloid headline waiting to be written here, if only I had an appropriately twisted mind!)

    If Australia lose less than 3 wickets by stumps today, and that is almost a certainty that they won’t – heck, they certainly won’t lose 3 wickets today – then I am afraid Kumble’s goose is cooked.
    I see a high-scoring draw with Ponting playing an excellent innings or two. Hussey, we all know, wil not score less than 50. Clarke will come good finally and score a spectacular century. Hayden will blaze his way to atleast 70, possiblty 150. Katich will grind out 60-200.
    Watson will score atleast 60. White will come good and score atleast 40. Aussies to score big and kill the match.
    Even if they fail in the first innings, they will score big in the second Innings
    India WILL NOT WIN this match

  91. I forlornly hope the Mohali version of Hayden emerges

  92. Can’t disagree with that, Raj. A few details will be different, but I fear the storyline will pan out like the way you described.

    Help us, oh great Ferozeshah!

  93. Guys, I think Kumble and Radheshyam know more about this pitch than we all do.

    There’s a mountain-high pile of runs..and there’s around 280-290 overs to be played. Even if Australia bats for 100 overs each time, there is still enough time to force a result.

    And if Kumble & Co can’t take 20 Aussie wickets in 200-220 overs, they don’t deserve to win this test.

    Lets hope for an interesting match..

  94. fair enough, let’s wait and watch. day 4 will probably be the decider either way, if the pitch breaks by then or if it doesnt.

  95. If Kumble holds his nerve India have the advantage of setting attacking fields for a long time without concern for runs. If they do they should win.

  96. Returning to the subject of the blog entry, adjusting Sharma’s bowling average by the averages of the batsmen he’s dismissed gives him an average of 27 (to set the scale: overall average of 31.5; SF Barnes 20.7, Imran 24.0, Waqar 26.9, Statham 27.1, Caddick 28.2). That’s quite a bit lower than his career average of 31, which is what Rajesh is saying – he dismisses good batsmen.

    Zaheer Khan’s career adjusted average is 31.

    Over the last 12 months, those adjusted averages are 22 and 25 respectively.

  97. I guess you get 22 by this equation:

    31 (Ishant’s career average) * 31.5 (overall average) / 45 (average of Ishant’s victims)

    But how did you get the career adjusted averages for Waqar, Barnes et al – did you actually get the weighted average for all the batsmen they dismissed? That must have taken some serious effort man

  98. Correct, Rajesh. I have a complete database of Test scorecards that I use for this sort of thing. Check out my blog. :)

  99. Everyone should check out Dave’s blog. You won’t be disappointed. Pappus’ Plane listed in the Blogroll in the sidebar.

    How does McGrath & Warne stack using those equations? And Bill O’Reilly too please Dave.

  100. Yea I just did, it’s fabulous. Everything a cricket stats wonk could dream of. From time to time, I have theories which need testing out – if you’re interested, you could test them.

    One of them is that Pakistani debutants seem to do significantly better than other debutants, but tend to fizzle out. I guess you could run a batting/bowling average for Pakistani debutants v other debutants, and then compare their performances v the rest over the next 10/15/20 games in their career.

    Again, fabulous blog.

  101. Thanks Rajesh, feel free to make requests. Usually if someone’s interested enough to ask, I’m interested enough to work it out. I’ll have a look at Pakistani debutants sometime in the next few days.

    Other adjusted averages:

    McGrath 22.3
    O’Reilly 22.6
    Murali 24.3
    Grimmett 26.4
    Warne 27.7

  102. Thanks Dave.

    Super stuff. Looking forward to the debutant request. Perhaps you could write a post a Pappus’ Plane for our enjoyment and curiosity.

    ———————-
    Over at Delhi, I was riding every ball in the last ten overs and it would be sweet to fight out a draw here, win the toss at Nagpur and keep the trophy.

    Australia would see a tied series as a great achievement from this position.

    I know! Tell me I’m dreaming folks!

  103. it would be sweet to fight out a draw here, win the toss at Nagpur and keep the trophy.

    Australia would see a tied series as a great achievement from this position.

    You’ve got your head screwed on perfectly well Nesta. Those things would indeed be very good.

  104. Yes, Dave’s got a fabulous blog. Though I have bookmarked him, I am guilty of not reading through a lot of his posts. May be when we have a break in the season, I will go through the entire contents of his blog.And post some requests.

    ________

    A tied series would be a great achievement surely, and it is not beyond Ponting’s men actually. However, they need to cross the Kotla bridge first.

    The openers have made a good beginning, but there have been some ‘encouraging’ puffs of dust towards the end for Kumble.

    I don’t think (and I hope I am proved wrong) that Ishant or Zaheer can win this test. Kumble has to deliver. Else, India will have to hold on for dear life to the 1-0 lead at Nagpur.

    Nesta, If Aus can draw this test match, India will do the same at Nagpur.The BG trophy is coming to India, mate !

  105. Kumar, the toss is so important and you should be aware that hubris in cricket, as it is in life, is often punished.

    Australia are not dead yet and where there is life there is hope. If this match is drawn (and there is a long way to go yet) Australia have only one option in Nagpur. To win. Lack of options brings keen focus on a situation.

    Perhaps India will crumble under the enormous expectation in Nagpur. It’s happened before and it just may happen again. Perhaps not. Time will tell.

  106. Nesta,

    Irrespective of Kotla result (a draw or an Indian win), the only expectation on India at Nagpur will be to play out a draw.

    And all I am saying is that this Indian team is capable of a draw (denying 20 wickets to Aussie bowlers).This is not to say that Ishant and Zaheer won’t relish the Nagpur pitch as much as Lee and Johnson.

  107. Kumar, ah! you are inviting disaster. Let me try to compensate.
    Oz will score big and draw the Kotla test
    Nagpur then becomes a pressure cooker for India.
    India then crumbles under pressure – every batsman has proved himself except Dravid so all of them will flop in Nagpur. Dravid will flop anyway so India will collapse twice in nagpur, thus giving Australia a crushing win, post which a lot of people down under will come out of hiding and resume normal service in blogs such as these, the guardian etc.

    I also think Gautam will be banned for Nagpur and just to create a facade of impartiality Shane Watson will be fined or let off with a warning. If possible, Zaheer will be provoked into something indiscrete. Maybe some reference to his mom and dad, which will then be defended as a great sledge by Aussie bloggers. Then Zaheer will also be banned. Way clear for Oz in Nagpur then
    Whatever,
    India WILL NOT WIN this series

  108. I think Kumble got the declaration right (I might have gone on to 650 personally).

    He can’t lose from here and will go to Nagpur 1-0 or 2-0 up which is sitting pretty.

  109. Raj,

    What do you mean blogs such as these? Is there another like 99.94?

    Toots,

    Batting first with lots of runs India can’t lose so they should try to win and take the next Test out of the reckoning. They are likely to win this one anyway however we won’t know that for sure until tomorrow at stumps.

  110. nestaquin, actually, yeah. But that comment was more of a hedge against Kumar’s hubris :-)

  111. Nesta – I shall never counsel declarations below 552 vs Aus, even with two days washed out. The pain of Adelaide is still there for us you know!

  112. hai i think so this will be more like eng vs aus series
    very soon and this time the cup goes to us only


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