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Archive for June, 2009

Stat Turd chimes in on MSD, the No.3, and theory of Evolution

Posted by farkandfunk on June 11, 2009

We’ve saw it happen again yesterday. A wicket falls, and the now-familiar sight of  MSD walking in at No.3.  The innings is pretty much the same – lasts about 20 or so deliveries, gets an average of 1 boundary (possibly hit hard enough to destroy a fielder or an umpire from the face of the earth), a few quick singles and twos,  an attempt at upping the tempo, and the invariable dismissal.

A quick look around some of my daily reads (  Late, Prem ) gives you the flavour of the day. The aforementioned folks quite beautifully sum up the flaw in Messrs. MSD occupying the No.3 position .  Not wanting to be left out of the bandwagon, F&F echos the same thoughts  in this section (and pretty much the reasoning), but tries to look some numbers at the same time.

For posterity’s sake, let’s have a quick comparison between the numbers from the 50 over format and the T20 international format.  This will give us the basis for comparison. Some quick differences though:

1. T20 is like the highlights package of 50.

2. Strike rate is key

3. 50 Overs probably requires a little more planning and understanding of the game as it happens.  T20 is a little more slam bang

4. There are definitely going to be many less one-sided games in T20 than in the 50 over format. In fact, there definitely are more close games (keep this in mind).

50 Over format

We all know that the captain is an immensely successful 50-over cricketer. Have a look at the numbers , and let’s compare him to 2 other cricketers:

1. Yuvraj Singh – dangerous Bat and a definite feature in any Indian 50 over and 20 over team

2.  M. Hussey  – often acknowledged as one of the best players in 50 over cricket

50 Over Comparison

50 Over Comparison

That is quite stunning no matter how you look at it. Dhoni’s average and even strike rate in fact betters two of the best in business (though the strike rate is a little less signficantly different here).

An important feature here is the % Not outs, which is implies that there’s about a 26% chance that Dhoni remains not out at the end of the innings. Sweet!  Hussey’s % Not out is a jaw-dropping 36% , giving him bradman-esqe averages here, but let’s not forget that he also bats at No.5 or so. FYI, I also checked MSD’s averages and %Not Outs  in innings he played at No.3 or No.4 and they aren’t significantly very different either.

T-20 : 50-Lite

Now in this format of the game, let’s have a look at  MSDs performance, and compare it with his own teammates . This should be fair enough, since the Indian team is supposedly the best on paper.  Going by the same standards, we can imagine the average to go significantly down, the SR to well up, but hey that’s all good since it is a smaller format of the game. Right?

T-20 International Record -Indian Team

T-20 International Record -Indian Team

Umm…. Right?

Results

1.  Purely by looking at the numbers,  Dhoni’s record in the 50 over game is quite phenomenal so far.  He’s a definite asset no matter how you look at it.

2. While Yuvi’s SR significantly increases in the T20 game, Dhoni’s does too, but not by much.

3. Dhoni’s SR in the T20 game is the lowest – and lowest by a decent distance – in his own batting line up!  I’ve included Irfan Pathan and Robin Uthappa too in there, the former from an “bowling” all rounder’s capacity, and the latter- just for laughs  .

Conclusions

1.I’m not saying that MSD is a liability. Far from it. I think he’s a pretty good leader, and he’s also a great player. His keeping skills have improved leaps and bounds from before, and he provides quite an entertainment with some of his unconventional shots. And I must make note of his running between the wickets – definitely the amongst the best in Indian and world cricket.

2. What he is not (right now-take note again) is a T20 India No.3 batsman- yet.   A T20 innings has 120 balls. Let’s assume your top  6 batsmen play well enough to consume all that. Thus, per head, they get 20 balls each. Dhoni will, on the average, fetch you 21 runs in those 20 balls . Raina – 25.  I’m not saying he will do that every time. But those 4 extra runs are far more crucial in a T20 game, than in a 50 over game (due to the differences between the 2 formats noted above).  Yousaf can fetch even more perhaps – but consistency is key too.  The key here is to give the best chance for the strongest batsmen to propel the score over a longer period of time , eh -for more than 20 deliveries.

3.  Imagine you’ve got Dhoni and Raina who’ll atleast play 10 deliveries each. Let’s assume they play it out and take their singles and twos, and even a boundary on a loose delivery. Now who will you bet on being there for 20 more deliveries after that, and maximizing the score?  Not saying that MSD can’t do it, but I think the smart money should be on someone like Raina (you know I love him).

4.  Shots : Dhoni’s got some, but I think even he’ll admit that the bowlers have him figured out for now. Which is why he cannot afford to occupy a pivotal position and screw up.   For  now,  we see MSD getting  out in a similar manner. He might have cut down the risk of him getting out to his vulnerable deliveries, but he finds it more difficult to score BIG off them.

There will be a process of evolution.  For a person who’s also the captain and wicketkeeper (and Media Protector) of the Indian Team, the process might be a little slower.  Remember Sachin from before (early 90s ) and the Sachin now (post 2000)?  Bowlers , laptop coaches  et al. continuously figured him out, and yet, he kept evolving.

* I had a section with snapshots on “Sachin” here, but it was a complete dud on my part as I had the wrong player itself!! Thanks to Tifosi for catching that. I’ll try to get better info up next time. Apologies on the brain-fart.”

MSD can emulate a Sachin too- Evolve. If he works as hard in his batting as he did in his wicket-keeping (and that’s asking a LOT out of him right now), he’ll reach greater heights. But that is asking a lot out of him right now in the middle of the tournament.

Footnote

India had a glorious opportunity to get Raina or Yousaf a bat in the previous 2-3 games, and we sort of missed a trick there.

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So long, and thanks for all the fish mate

Posted by farkandfunk on June 9, 2009

So there you have it, the first big victim of the T20.

First this happened.

The Gayle Bitchslap

The Gayle Bitchslap

And then , this:

The Sangakkara Bitchslap

The Sangakkara Bitchslap

And so the Aussies got served with a giant double-decker Calypso-Lankan flavoured turd sandwich.  Not sure what really went wrong. It’s all quite easy in retrospect. If you look at the folks who’ve gotten action in the recent past (I meant the cricket variety, and not what Warnie does for a living these days), we can quite quickly narrow it down to:

Warner ( performed in 1 game)
D.Hussey (chipped in a little in both games)
Bret Lee  (well,  he did play a few games in the IPL and did ok in a couple of them)

We’ve got the rest of the guys, who’ve got caliber but have been inactive for a long while now:
Watson
M.Hussey
Haddin

We’ve got a couple of queer looking dudes:
Bracken
Clarke
Johnson (what do you expect with such a name , just kidding. decent bowler and an Irfanish batsman)

A what-the-fuck or hopeful selections:
Howritz (though he did bowl ok)
Hopes….er..

And to top it all , this guy:

Fail-El-Capito

Fail-El-Capito

Gone is the team you might loathe but respect. A team filled with some delightful talent such as Mark Waugh (the on-side play) ,Warne or Gilchrist, or the dogged determination of Steve, Mcgrath or Hayden , is now not all that jazz, nor is it that awe-inducing. The only guys I ever feel like rooting for is Mr. Cricket himself – one of my all-time favourite players.

First they run into WI, who have this habit of playing 1 match out of their skin (and it’s almost always Gayle to the party), and then totter around later. For Australia, the kings of calypso decided it be the match against them. While Gayle did school the boys from down under on some power hitting, A.Fletcher on the other end provided quite a surprising and stunning start to ease some pressure of the King, and let him know,
“Yo Mon, I’m here too. Dun havfta do it all alone.”
The batting lineup for WI looks fairly good , for now. Gayle on his day cannot be stopped, and you’ve also got Bravo and Smith (who can forget him absolutely brandishing the bowling in a couple of games). But they’ve got this tendency to either have this big game altogether, or fail collectively .While one could argue that that is true teamwork in both aspects, let’s not  reach that far. Hence, we find them either winning big or losing bigger. Plus, outside of the two very impressive opening bowlers, I am not very confident in the rest of them; there’s not much variety. When the going gets tough, I think it will be left to the old boys (chanderpaul, sarwan) to do the work, and I am not sure if they have it in them (unless they play India).

SL too have started out strong. Jayasurya is an older, less consistent Gayle, but then again, 1 crucial innings is as good as gold in such a tournament. Jayawardane and Sangakkara will do what they do, consistently build the innings , and go for the big shots on-demand.
Dilshan is the one that scares the crap out of me. He seems to be a cold-blooded killing machine of late, and really seems to give them a strong dose of agreession and edge at No.3/4. Pretty scary. Their mid-lower order unknowns sort of impressed with their hitting yesterday. The bowling begins and ends with 3M- with the heat-seaking missle that is Malinga,  Mendis, and the Murali (I thought of giving the remaining 2 lame suffixes like mystical and magical respectively). These guys are capable of playing the restrictive or attacking role , and the batsmen seem to play them with a lot of caution.   The islanders seem to have the weapons to succeed in such a format.

As for the Aussies, they’d probably win the Ashes, but bright flame that once was is slowly dimming. I think the cricket-world’s a little more balanced now. For now, we all can heave a collective sigh of relief that we don’t have to see the following specimen for a while:

"Backstreet's back alright!"

"Am I sexuuual? Yeaaaa--eaahh!"

Ricky-who-stole-my-candy-Ponting

"Who-stole-my-candy"

"We suck"

"We suck"

And joy for these gents:

"weee!let's make out and slap each other!"

"weee!let's make out and slap each other!"

"How do you like me now bitches!!"

"How do you like me now bitches!!"

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June 1: a historic day for all of humankind

Posted by farkandfunk on June 4, 2009

If anyone’s been watching any form of Indian cricket (specifically T20 and domestic), it wouldn’t take a rocket scientist to know that L. Balaji (he of the “Ba-la-ji” fame) is no more the potent, deadly, man-eating force he once was.

It’s not his fault really. He was on quite a high, working his way up the regional and national rung with a string of steady, if not spectacular, performances, culminating in to orgasmic levels in the tour of Pakistan in 2004.   An untimely injury in 2005 meant that he was out of contention for a while , and briefly disappeared into oblivion.

Just when we thought we saw the last of him, Balaji was back, though not with a bang. Gone was the free-spirited hippie-tam  ever-smiling soul from the 60s, gone was the run up , and speed.   Balaji would now start off by running at a spot for a few seconds , not quite dissimilar to a steam engine trying to stimulate itself.  The speed and penetration was quite domestic (no pun intended here), and with bowling coach Venky P in the CSK squad (2nd-best -leg- spinner in India in his days), the  deadly “very slower short delivery” came as a welcome variation to his regular  slow short delivery in his vast repertoire .

Keeping all this, and his performances in the 2 IPL seasons gone by , where more often than not, the batsmen would gleefully lap up his offerings like blood sucking mosquitoes,  one would think that it might be tough for Balaji to bowl even relatively quick and full.  If one were to quantify it , it would look like this:

You've gotta be kidding me

You've gotta be kidding me

Seems about right, right in between aliens landing here and Johnny Lever copulating.

And then, on June 1st , this happens:

Shit just happened.

Shit just happened.

and his thoughts:

John A - Touched by an angel

John A - Touched by an angel

Impressed by the shots that he’s playing…  ’nuff said.

I don’t know what to think anymore.

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Jacob Oram reveals his true colours

Posted by farkandfunk on June 2, 2009

When Jacob Oram was drafted in the Chennai Super Kings squad, there was a lot of hope and anticipation from its legion of fans. One hoped that they’d see some destructive hitting when he would bat, and some tight stump to stump bowling at the death for CSK, choking and clogging the opposition worse than the public loos in a local train station .  Dhoni, who seems to have a weakness for all-rounders of the Ajit Agarkar caliber (how else can one explain the inclusion Joke-inder Sharma in so many matches that even he,  if given the option, would  bench his own arse), promptly persisted with Oram in almost all the matches this season. Oram would then proceed to promptly appear in the chennai yellows as consistently as a paan stain on the walls of a government building, a fungus on moist brittania bred, a rash due to a tight tantex underwear… well, you get hte picture.

We all know how Oram did this season of the IPL.

Webster Definition

Webster Definition

In IPL 2.0 (since its SOOO cool), here are his figures:

M    I    NO    Runs    Avg    SR
11    8    2    88    14.66    94.62

Bowling
M    I    Runs    W    Avg    Eco    SR
11    8    133    5    26.60    8.58    18.60

All rounder. Right.

For someone with a strike rate of below 100 in this format, an economy rate in bowling that looks like batting average (never a good thing for an all rounder no matter how you look at it), an experienced bowler who had  “Smack-me-coz-I’m-AKON’s-Biatch” tattooed on his forehead every time he came on to bowl at the death, he didn’t exactly have an argument in justifying his selection in the team.

Yesterday, India plays NZ in a warm-up game, and surprise surprise, Jo is included in his team. As team India cruises along, JO is brought in to the proceedings. A casual observer and follower of the game in the last few months would think that, oh alright, I guess the teams want this to get over fast, so that they can all go back to their rooms, get some food,  make long-distance calls to their families (or1-800-LoNELY in the case Warnie) /or simply do whatever it is  they do when they are alone in the rooms…

What we witness next is a 3-0-18-1 performance by Oram, taking the wicket of his clubmate Raina , and punking his other clubmate and captain Dhoni in the process. More disturbing would have been the fact that he bowled 2 relatively tight overs at the death, making Dhoni and the CSK think-tank scratch their respective heads and groins in no particular order in shock of what could have been when they sorely needed such control during their IPL adventure.

For Team India, it’s probably a little too early to panic. It was a warm-up game, and a loss here is better than a loss in the real thing. It also must have provided a few insights, such as:
1. the team composition didn’t exactly light the world on fire
2. Ishant sharma can do some damage in those conditions
3. Jadeja is pretty good -but he isnt there yet  – seems to lose his mojo when the going gets tough
4. Take nothing for granted (read: oram)
5. Rohit and Raina are the best bet for consistency – hope they continue on that vein
6. You can suck/not participate in IPL and still do well in the world cup
7. It’s good not to have hear/see/smell Modi

All said and done, the team will probably look like this:
Viru, Gautham, Raina, Yuvraj, Rohit, Dhoni, Y.Pathan, I.Pathan, Bhajji,RP, Ishant  (if Zaheer is fit , he probably replaces Ishant).

But the final word goes to Oram and his likes- thank you for raising the warning bell!

Black Caps ku whistle podu!

Black Caps ku whistle podu!

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Exerpts from The Real Karadi Tales

Posted by farkandfunk on June 1, 2009

*Notes from our beloved TR’s personal diary – soon to be released into an autobiography titled ” Aatobiaagrapi  : Indha Karadiya  Paarudi (paathya yen Parody?Saaapudaii)

Naal :01/05/____

Saaru khan ku oru peshal tea

Dei Sattaiya podu da , akka tangachinga paarkaranga

Dai diary,

Machi saa ruku , inaa da kaatarai looku,
6 packu valathai naa innaa da periya kumbu,
Naa valathaen  paaru-  oru singa kutti  simbu.

Dilu vale dulugiyaan le jaayaenge oda Raj,

OSO le iqbal kooptaane vonne  Ommi ,
dei naa adipaen da onnaku gummi,
yenna naa dhaan da veeraachaamy

Inge poraadhu ne girikettu vaerai, anga enne da kizhuche,
ellam tothutu nikkariye , naa podaraen da pichai,
on munji naa yen peecha kaiyea vachen!

Gumtalakada gumma.

Cheena Tea , Japaaan Tea

Cheena Tea , Japaaan Tea

Singam is King

Singam is King

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