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Posts Tagged ‘dhoni’

Shady’s Back:

Posted by farkandfunk on July 6, 2009

It’s been quite a long hiatus -thanks to travel, sickness, travel sickness, and a bunch of family occasions thrown in. In the meantime, these are the things that happened:

1. India promptly crashes out of the T20 World cup 2009 (mind you, then next T20 world cup is 10 months away!!).

2. Pakistan  gets the cup (Sri Lanka’s time will come), and in the process , Shahid Afridi attains puberty (uh…well..).

3. India then goes off to tour the WI, which Late accurately describes as an inconsequential match-up.

4. Real Madrid robs their fans accounts (and possibly even yours) to acquire a Euro-Brazilian clone (Kaka) and Bipasha Basu’s one-night stand (Ronaldo). Talks of them acquiring Ribery, and also taking over the inter-stellar galaxy is also on.

5. In the green grass of Wimbeldon , 2 sisters have their routine annual cat fight beating each other up before the younger one goes one better. Simultaneously, Roger Federer creates history in the present, but if you’re like me, your heart might have gone out to the brooding Roddick- now 2-19 vs Fedex , and he must be wondering if he has a better chance making it big as a 20-20 cricketer than emerging victorious against the Swiss freight train of talent.

3 Action packed weeks , and a lot to catch up on!! Now sit back while I do the unthinkable:  take you , the unsuspecting reader , into a time warp, back to the T20 world cup to re-live the nightmare. Albeit delayed, here are my ratings out of 10 for the Indian squad:

Sehwag :0 Being one of the 2/3 Indian batsmen who truly appears as “gabbar singh” in the nightmares of the opposition bowlers, hiding his injury was NOT a smart thing to do. As with all things connected to Indian cricket, we’ll probably never know the whole truth, but this was definitely a distraction and baggage the team could have done without. I felt the need to rate him because with careful planning, it could have been a little better.

Gambhir : 4 One of the most improved players (statistically) in the last couple of years for India, much was expected out of “Gauti”,especially with Sehwag missing from the top of the order. But he failed to deliver , ending with an average of about 30 for the series, and more importantly, didn’t get going in the crucial super-8 games. As an aside, is it just me or is Gambhir almost anonymous in the field?! I’ve even heard Javagal Srinath or Sidhu called on the field more often than him!! He definitely has a knack of NOT finding the ball on the field 🙂

Rohit Sharma : 3 After a wonderful tournament in the IPL, and a good couple of warm-up games, Rohit failed like most of his other teammates when it matters most. The talent is there without a doubt, but the atrociously bad shot selection and seeming lack of willingness to struggle through and stay is what bothers me a lot about him.

Suresh Raina: 1 One of the best young players of the IPL tournament and a then-definite lock for the No.3 spot, his presence in the batting order seemed to come as an after-thought for his captain. The move to number 3 for the last 2 games came too late, and Raina didn’t live up to the billing, miserably being exposed against the shorter rib-cage deliveries. A long way to go. He seems like a confidence and momentum player, if it breaks at some point of time, no matter what he tries, it always seems to be a wrong move. Makes me feel even worse for having a man-crush on him, but I still have hopes.

R. Jadeja : 4 Asking the youngest player to win a do-or-die game on his own was not the smartest of ideas, but he definitely tried. The 4 is more for his bowling and his general efforts.

Yousaf P: 5 Never had too much of a chance to express himself correctly, but kept India in the last game. If the strike had been rotated, one never knew what this dangerous man could have done, but again, if my aunt had balls, she’d be my uncle.

Irfan P: 3 Didn’t give India the right break-through when needed. RP Singh: 4 Didn’t carry his IPL form or the purple cap to the T20 world cup, was dropped for a game or 2 and then brought on again. Wasn’t used correctly, and definitely needs to buck up on his death-over bowling.

Harbhajan: 3 There’s no questioning this man’s heart (like he proclaims). He got India some good runs, upping the rate at crucial times, and did get some wickets. But after so many years in the team, Bhajji still isn’t able to don the mantle of the premiere bowler (like kumble has done quite often), and close out a couple of games. Inexplicably decides to become a spin version of Waqar Younis during the final stages, but pathetically bowls full delivers on the leg side- giving away the most crucial runs.

Ohja: 6 Bowled very well when given a chance, and then dropped without much rhyme or reason.

Ishant Sharma :  2 In the IPL, despite SRK’s antics, KKR’s team woes, and the curse of the Fake IPL Player, it was quite obvious that Zayed Khan Ishant Sharma needed some rest.  However, he was chosen for the World cup, and appeared in the warm up games and did well to warrant a start in the XI. Unfortunately, he had again spent it all by then, and looked a sorrowful version of himself . The effort was there, but the body just wasn’t.

Yuvraj Singh: 7 The one man who could actually stand tall amid all the embarassment. Talent is what talent does, and no matter what his character , he proved yet again that he has what it takes to win a game. Has improved leaps and bounds when starting his innings against spinners (used to be a weakness before), has all the shots and more.

MSD: 1 I am not quite sure why I gave him a 1. He got the team composition all wrong at many stages. Dropping of Ohja, not giving Raina , Y.Pathan etc games to get their eye in, promoting either himself up the order or Jadeja in the crucial game, not promoting himself up the order when the situation demanded, persistence with a jaded Ishant Sharma, “team walk-in ” to the media room, the list goes on and on. His inability to even attempt to clear the boundary in the last game was what really ticked me off the most.

What’s your take?

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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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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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Aggronomics

Posted by farkandfunk on October 6, 2007

Let me go ahead and say it: I’m not a big fan of this “new-look” Desi team that we have here. Harbhajan and Sreesanth chanting war cries , taunting the opposition , and masquerading about in the field as little hulk-o-maniacs is quite laughable right now. Let’s talk about a aggression on the field :

1. Dravid, in a candid interview, spoke about his opinion about emotions and aggression and how he channelizes it. You can read about it here.

2. Ganguly , with his shirt-swirling at lords, his turning up late for the toss, and fearlessness on the field earned him the public tag of being one of the more emotional and aggressive captains on the field for India.

Now that is aggression. Aggression is getting under the skin and affecting the psyche of the opposition in a not-too-direct and demeaning way. 15 year old kids nowadays can churn out the cream of the crop expletives these days, perform a dumb silk smitha -like body and booty shaking dance, engage in a verbal combat, just to end up looking like sissies when given back the same.

That seems to be the case here. The Indian team chose to stink up the joint with their performances and behavior on the field with the Aussies, and you have to taste your own bitter medicine. Whining about it like a school-girl does NOT help – and that’s what clowns like Harbhajan seem to be doing. It pisses me off when you don’t back up your words with some performances. Talk is cheap.

Word to the team: the T-20 is over. Get over it. Nobody gave it a rats ass till you reached the semis and beat pakistan. The performance was commendable , but let’s see it translate to all forms of the game at a consistent level. There are only 9 (NINE) friggin’ teams that play cricket seriously in this world. India’s cricket-playing population ALONE is probably bigger than that of the current world-champs and a few other teams put together.

Word to selectors/administrators: Stop rewarding individuals for heaven’s sake . Don’t turn them into attention whores.

Word to Sreesanth, Bhajji : Shut the fuck up , and start performing on a consistent basis first.

Crying girl

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If cricketers were bollywood stars

Posted by farkandfunk on September 26, 2007

Who would they be? I thought of some of the more popular ones.

Sachin- Shah rukh
Entered the scene with a bang, always had the talent, promised everything and more , are commercial hits and bring in the masses even now. But both somehow leave the viewers yearning for the glory days gone by, when one could actually score in style and one could act. Both look like alien mutants of their younger selves now, constantly re-inventing themselves but unable to capture the glory of the good ol’ days.

Sehwag – Shahid kapoor
Eerily similar to their Sachin/SRK counterparts in looks and style, but there’s an obvious difference in class. Both seem capable of the long run but agonisingly screw it up so often that you just wish they turn around and go away.

vvs Laxman – Nana Pataker
Middle-aged journeymen who’ve been riding on the wave of a couple of glorious performances eons ago. Seemingly never out of contention, but a performance from either is as rare as a caveman with broadband connection.

Ganguly- Saif ali khan
The indian bad-ass. Both have donned the role of a one-of-a-kind indian captains and villian with elan, attitude and style. After uninspiring debuts (Ganguly in Australia, Saif in gems like tere mere sapne) , they roared back in awesome style.

Yuvraj singh – Sunny Paaji
Fearless friggin’ warriors and sons of the country soil. One can almost imagine them scaring a cow to product 10 gallons of milk for them to gargle with. They expect themselves to go and kick the bad guy’s (and all his cling-ons) collective asses their own place, plant the Indian flag , break into a bhangra and come back. Their hands collectively weigh an incredible 67 kilos, so powerful that they often risk of crushing their balls when they harmlessly scratch it, as all us men do . Both look as if they’ve shit out their most of their brains , and only have their brawns left.

Gavaskar – Amitabh bachhan
Big shots in their own field, prestigious, well-read, and sort-of respected look about them. Still dabbling with their professions instead of spending their retirements taking their families out to Maldives or something. Both have Over-rated kids involved in the same profession, constantly under pressure often threatening to fade into anonymity. Shady politicians at heart.

Shastri – Emran Hashmi

“Shaz” and Kissomaniac for some reason always seem to be eying the women around. And we guys just can’t figure out why they actually drive some women nuts in their heydays. You know exactly what’s coming from their mouths (oft-repeated lines in one case and tongue in the other), just like the sun always rises in the east, just like you know the way to your bathroom, just like cow dung always stinks. O.k you get the picture. Both apparently spend all their mojos on screen and lead a less flamboyant life off it. On a side note, see if you can catch Shastri’s “bodybuilding” tips on ESPN/Star, it’s quite unbelievable that he actually gets paid for that crap.

Dhoni- Akshay Kumar
Playboy image , the ladies around them, and ambassadors of the metrosexual-meets-machismo hybrid. Something seems to be similar about the two- and it’s not just the modest beginnings. Both in recent times have been quite bankable and do a lot of khiladi level ass-kicking.

Dravid and Kumble – Nasserudhin Shah and Om Puri

Flash has never been their thing. It’s always been substance and hard work, and hardcore skills. Consistency more often than not has been their thing. While they will never be sachin/ AB/SRK, they don’t aspire to be either. Have a few stunningly terrible flops and some truly head-scratching decisions along the way in their career.

Vinod kambli – Manisha Koirala
Potential promise at the beginning but sorta kinda screwed up. Fat spoilt kids who don’t fit in anymore in the current trend. Think of it, the chances of kambli diving during fielding are as good as Manisha trying to fit into a thong – which will be like over sized pajamas to the deepika padukones of today.

Bhajji- Suniel Shetty

Overly-emotive and aggro little bullies, giving rise to suspicion that both are definitely OD-ing on testosterone supplements. Started out as Numero Unos but now have to contend with the agony of playing second fiddle to others. They have their moments in the middle of the game – a good crucial over here , a gut-wrenching “I’ll kill you, you baaass-turrrdd” and shoot with a bazooka there. But when it’s crunch time, they crawl into their respective holes and let the big boys take over. Both have a trademark constipated look often.

Agarkar- Nirupa Roy

Like the everlasting itch on the end of the nose, these have been there forever, and just wouldn’t go away. Their job is to simply bring doom and gloom from the moment they appear on screen, and both do it with incredible effect. One is just left to wonder if some things are meant to be. Just like one of them has ALWAYS been amitabh’s on screen mom, the other has ALWAYS been the hole in the teams umm..buttocks.

 

 

 

Sreesanth – Master Bittu

Excrutiatingly annoying- the type where you scratch your long fingernails over the blackboard. For those who don’t know master bittu, he’s an impish little blondish headed desi flower child in the centre of most plots during the 70s and 80s. The one blot in everything cute with kids. He’s the sort of brat who’d always get himself and everyone into trouble. The kid for whom the labourer father works for 27 hours a day in the sun , pulling rickshaws and that sort of ancient thing and buy him a loaf of bread. And he drops the bread on the floor ,claiming he wants peanut butter to go with it. The kind who you wanna bury in sand and kick the head into orbit.Always comes out unscathed in the end .

Srinath – Alok Nath

Both have this pained look about them , as if the whole world has conspired against them. If not , their awesome talent would have led to earth-shattering records and box-office hits. . Both are the epitome of terrible quiz masters, Srinath always asking batsmen questions outside the line of off-stump, and Nath asking his daughters, in-laws, god, and anyone else who could bear listening to him stuff about if he has left any “gaps” (kami) in the arragement of the marriage, if he has raised his daughter well inspite of being a single parent (pitaji and maataji), if the only crime he committed is that he is poor, which is

why his evil in-law counterpart refuses to accept his daughter etc. TORMENTED. Both never got their due answers.

Here are some of them:

The same grip

Nirupa roy

Learning the “outswinger” grip from the mother of all moms

Duh...nobody loves me

40 years of experience in conducting

Sacrificial lambs – proverbial bakras
twist and shoutWhere's the peanut butter biaatch?

“I want my peanut butter!”

bhajji raghavan

ugh…. no words.

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