Team India appears to have turned the corner with Manish Pandey’s scintillating ton ending the losing spree of games in the ODI series. The spin bowlers and newcomers Hardik Pandya and Jasprit Bhumra joined the party in the first T20. The scoreline now reads 4-2 if the matches were an eight game series.
It has been my pet theory that if Indian batsmen do well in South Africa, Australia, England and New Zealand, they can be counted on as long-term prospects and should be persisted with more than any other batters who may pile up runs by the dozen on the subcontinent but who come up a cropper against the antipodeans and the English.
Towards this end, I decided to gather some stats about how Indian batters have fared against the above four teams in their home conditions.
The following is a list of Indian batters who average above 30 against South Africa, New Zealand, England and Australia overseas.
The list is illustrious reading like a who’s who of Indian cricket in Tests with Mahendra Singh Dhoni bringing up the rear with an average of 30.58 with a highest score of 92 in 32 Tests and 55 innings.
Virender Sehwag, surprisingly, ranks just above him with an average of 33.11 from 29 matches and 54 innings. His highest score is 195 with four centuries to his name.
Let’s look at the list of players who have averaged over 30 in ODIs.
Virat Kohli tops this list with an average of 41.35 from 34 innings with four tons and a highest score of 123. Rohit Sharma follows with 40.71 from 32 innings and three hundreds.
Surprising entries in this list include Sunny Gavaskar, Ravindra Jadeja and Suresh Raina.
For an orthodox player, Gavaskar proved to be versatile and averages 38.94 from 21 innings with a highest score of 92 not out. Gavaskar scored just one hundred in the ODI format in 1987 in his penultimate game against New Zealand.
Jadeja makes this list—placed somewhere in the middle—with 35.84 from 21 innings with a highest score of 87. Dhoni’s faith in him might not be misplaced after all.
Dhoni’s other blue-eyed boy Raina averages 31.03 from 30 innings with a highest score of 100. He brings up the rear followed by Virender Sehwag with 30.2 from 35 innings. Evidently Sehwag was not the impact player against these four sides in their backyard. These are stats though and stats never tell the whole story.
The above two tables are for players who have played a minimum of 20 Tests or 20 ODIs.
There are no equivalent statistics for T20s. There are no players who average above 30 and have played 20 T20 games.
The following table lists batters who have averaged over 30 since Jan 1, 2005 against the four sides.
Amit Mishra is the anomaly averaging 84 from one innings.
Except for Dinesh Karthik who did well overseas especially in England and Gambhir who’s still struggling for form, the rest are rightly pencilled in by the selectors when it comes to choosing a Test side.
In ODIs, Pandey’s recent exploits see him top the list. Rayudu, Uthappa and Parthiv Patel offer the selectors an abundance of riches when it comes to choosing a replacement for MS Dhoni. Yusuf Pathan makes the list as well with a stupendous average of 46.75 from six innings.
The list of T20 players throw no surprises either.
These statistics , of course, don’t provide any sign of deserving talent among batters who have not appeared for India against these four sides in India colours.
India ‘A’ sides have toured overseas and Indian batters have prospered in hostile conditions. Those stats could have provided a larger picture of prospective talent.
But for me, it’s a no-brainer that if Indian batters have scored runs heavily overseas in these four nations, they are likely to do even better elsewhere and especially in home conditions.
Let no one tell you otherwise, least of all, MS Dhoni.
(All statistics courtesy Cricinfo’s StatsGuru).
Just three months ago, South Africa headed the ICC Test rankings. Today, they were knocked off their pedestal by a resurgent England. Team India are now No. 1 crowned by default on the back of their resounding defeat of the Proteans at home. Funny how in a matter of six Tests fortunes have changed and how. It also goes to show that if teams don’t put up a fight overseas and everyone concedes that South Africa were dismal tourists barring the final Test, their performance at home can take a nose-dive. England did something similar to India when they toured here following their 4-0 whitewash at home. MS Dhoni would perhaps reminisce about the time he led Team India to the peak four years ago, and perhaps knowingly wink at Virat Kohli saying, “I told you so.”
From hero to villain, from fame to notoriety, Oscar Pistorius has been in the news for the best part of the last decade.
His website, oscarpistorius.com, has the following statement on the home-page:
“14 February 2014
No words can adequately capture my feelings about the devastating accident that has caused such heartache for everyone who truly loved – and continues to love Reeva.
The pain and sadness – especially for Reeva’s parents, family and friends consumes me with sorrow.
The loss of Reeva and the complete trauma of that day, I will carry with me for the rest of my life.
Following the tragic event and the enormous global interest, the family of Oscar Pistorius has taken the decision to devote his official website to the latest news about developments as well as messages of support.
The website will provide the opportunity for the media to make enquiries or requests but for understandable legal reasons it may not always be possible to respond or comment.
The Pistorius family and Oscar’s management company have been inundated with messages of support and condolences for Oscar and for the family of Reeva Steenkamp from all over the world.
Mr Arnold Pistorius, uncle of Oscar, said on behalf of the family: ‘We believe that this is an appropriate way to deal with the expressions of support we have received as well as keeping the media informed about any key developments in the case.
We have every confidence as a family that when the world has heard the full evidence that this will prove to be a terrible and tragic accident which has changed many lives forever. We are praying for everyone touched by this tragedy.’”
The web-site does not deliver what it promises. At least, not right now.
All the links are broken: a reflection, perhaps, of a broken man.
Oscar Pistorius was born on 22 November, 1986.
His parents were Henke and Sheila Pistorius.
Oscar is a middle child amongst three; he has an elder brother Carl and a younger sister Aimée.
His legs were amputated half-way between his knees and ankles when he was 11 months old after he was diagnosed with fibular hemimelia (congenital absence of the fibula) in both legs.
Pistorius was quite the ‘sport’ while in school participating in rugby, water polo, tennis and wrestling.
When he was 18, he was introduced to running post a serious rugby knee injury.
Pistorius began sprinting in January 2004.
He qualified for the Athens Paralympic Games that year and won bronze in the 100 metres and gold in the 200m.
Pistorius never looked back since.
His sporting motto, “You’re not disabled by the disabilities you have, you are able by the abilities you have,” was a source of inspiration for many.
He reached the pinnacle of his sporting achievements when he was allowed to participate in the 2012 London Olympics representing South Africa in the 400 metres and the 4 X 400 metres relay. He also carried his country’s flag at the closing ceremony.
The sprinter was deemed ineligible to participate in the 2008 Summer Olympics when Cologne Sports University’s Professor of Biomechanics Dr. Peter Brüggemann ruled that Pistorius “has considerable advantages over athletes without prosthetic limbs who were tested by us. It was more than just a few percentage points. I did not expect it to be so clear.”
Pistorius appealed against the adverse decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland. His protest was upheld.
The CAS panel determined Pistorous had no net advantage over able-bodied athletes especially when considering the handicap he suffered in comparison to normal athletes when starting and accelerating.
Pustorius was thus able to participate in the 2012 London Summer Olympics fulfilling his dream of representing his country alongside normal athletes.
Pistorius is the recipient of numerous awards including Order of Ikhamanga in Bronze (OIB) by the President of South Africa for outstanding achievement in sports, BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award in 2007, Laureus World Sports Award for Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability for 2012 and a honorary doctorate from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.
He also made the Time 100 twice—in 2008 and 2012.
This could very well have been a ‘and they all lived happily ever after’ fairy-tale ending.
Alas, it was not to be.
Pistorius hit the headlines again the following year when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp allegedly mistaking her for a possible intruder.
The disabled athlete—after a six-month trial—was convicted on one charge of culpable homicide, two counts of negligent use of a firearm and one count of possession of illegal ammunition.
Judge Thokosile Masipa did not find Pistorius guilty of murder with direct intent or common murder (dolus eventualis).
The amputee claimed that he believed that he was firing on an intruder who had broken into his house.
The claim is plausible enough given that home robbery or home invasions are a growing problem across all provinces in South Africa.
2012 National Victims of Crime Survey (NVCS) states that half of households surveyed feared this type of crime.
“‘Home robbery’, unlike ‘house breaking’ (burglary), is regarded as a violent crime because people are at home when it takes place. This puts people at risk of personal injury and emotional trauma in the place where they should feel safest. “
The 2012 Survey also states that home robbery increased nationally by 64.4% over the past eight years.
While the fear of this kind of crime is high, it is a relatively rare occurence. Only 4.5% of households experienced a home robbery between January 2007 and December 2011.
The survey further states:
“75% of home robberies occur at night, with the most vulnerable times being in the late evening between 21:00 and 23:59 and very early morning between 00:00 and 02:59. More than half (55%) of home robberies take place at these times, in all likelihood because people’s guards are down when they are relaxing or asleep. Two-thirds (66%) of home robberies are committed by small groups of two to three robbers. Most robbers were said to be males between 15 and 34 years of age.
Weapons were used in almost all cases (99.9%) by those committing home robberies.”
Pistorius’ case has since gone to appeal to the Supreme Court. The State hopes to overturn the verdict of culpable homicide and either force a retrial or a resentencing. The double amputee could face up to 15 years in prison under the new charges.
The Paralympian was sentenced to five years in prison but is now out on bail after serving ten months in prison.
Reeva Steenkamp’s mother June was forgiving and accepting of the reduced sentence on Pistorius.
“I’ve got no feelings of revenge. I don’t want to hurt him; he is already a disabled person. I didn’t want him to be thrown in jail and be suffering because I don’t wish suffering on anyone, and that’s not going to bring Reeva back. But in my heart, I don’t want revenge towards him. I’m past that. Once you have told God that you forgive, you have to forgive. And I don’t want him to suffer …. I would certainly not want to hurt another human being. One has to forgive to move on, otherwise you become ill. For God expects you to forgive, and until you’ve done that, you can’t move forward in any way.”
June added that she still has “nightmares about what happened to her when she was trapped behind that door and how she died”.
“Sometimes I wake up at 3 in the morning and that’s the first thing that comes in my head and I couldn’t be there to protect her from that.She couldn’t move in that toilet, she couldn’t move a centimetre either way to get out of the way of the firing – she was like a trapped animal in that toilet. We didn’t know he had guns, we didn’t know anything about him actually.”
“Maybe if he wasn’t so famous…I think if he would have just been a normal guy in the street he would have maybe had a stiffer sentence”.
Oscar Pistorius was most recently in the news celebrating his 29th birthday at his uncle’s mansion.
The sprinter is now the same age as his deceased girlfriend.
Oscar Pistorius was today found guilty of murder by the South African Appeals Court. The fresh sentence will be pronounced later.
‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius continues to be in the fight of his life.
The Paralympian and Olympian’s freedom centres around the State’s appeal to the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the previous verdict of culpable homicide.
State advocate Gerrie Nel is arguing that the verdict returned should have been murder instead—in effect, a call for a stiffer sentence for the amputee.
Pistorius was earlier sentenced to a five-year term in prison. He has since been released after serving ten months. He was expected to finish the rest of his sentence at his uncle’s Waterkloof home under strict bail conditions. South African laws permit prisoners to released after serving one-sixth of their sentence if they are deemed not a threat to society.
If Pistorius is convicted of murder, he will face at least 15 years behind bars.
The South African was convicted of killing his then model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day in 2013.
The athlete fired four shots through a toilet door claiming there was an intruder in his luxury Silver Lakes, Pretoria, house.
The bullets killed Steenkamp.
The new judgment hinges on Pistorius’ state of mind when he let loose the volley of shots—whether he believed that they would kill.
The judges have to take into account that the defendant is handicapped and would have been unable to escape easily from his home.
Professor Stephen Tucson, who teaches criminal law and procedure at Wits University, believes that the State has a strong case.
“The consensus of opinion seems to suggest that the SCA has the power to change the verdict. There are two options. If they say there was an error and order a new trial, it will go to any other judge but a re-sentencing… will go back to Judge Masipa.”
(This is part I in a series).
The home sides will face-off in another Transmanic match-up on Sunday the 29th of March 2015 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
The Australians clinically demolished Team India’s cup hopes with an all-round display of aggression and intent with the bat and ball. They backed it up with tight fielding barring a few hiccups,
Who will it be?
New Zealand can take comfort from the fact that this is probably their best side ever and that they have beaten the Aussies in the league phases.
Now the crucial encounter is in their arch-foes’ backyard.
Do they have the gumption to seal off their World Cup campaign with a zealous kiss of victory?
The demeanor of their gum-chewing skipper Brendon Mcullum in the field against South Africa suggests so. He reminded me of tough-as-nails Steve Waugh. Will Australia drop the cup that cheers?
Michael Clark rebuilt the crumbling edifice of Oz following the exit of the best and brightest of their 3-Cup wizards.
Can Clark win his first World Cup as skipper?
Fortune favors the brave and the brave are not easily felled at home.
My pick: Australia. Can McCullum and his chums spell otherwise?
The quarters are over and the winners gave no quarter. Well, almost.
The results followed the dictates of the form book.
South Africa defied the odds and tore up the ‘chokers‘ tag. Perhaps, this is the Cup that will cheer the Proteas .
India made the semis but not before having to overcome some tight bowling in the first 35 overs. They were also the beneficiaries of three decidedly dubious decisions from the umpires. The result could have been much closer than the scoreline suggests.
Pakistan’s batting failed again but Wahab Riaz took the fight to the Australians in an inspired spell of fast bowling that had Shane Watson hopping, skipping and jumping like a cat on a hot tin roof.
New Zealand had it pretty much wrapped up when they scored close to 400 runs with Martin Guptill registering the second double-century of the tournament. The primary prima donna record holder Chris Gayle flattered to deceive in a brief stay at the wicket. The West Indies captain Jason Holder impressed one and all with his composure under pressure.
What he said:
“I’m seeing a lot of ads about Protea Fire. I guess Cape Town will be blazing, but with a maroon flame.”
The West Indians may have conceded the Test series to South Africa 2-0 but are in no mood to relinquish their exalted T20 specialists status. Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard, Darren Sammy and André Russell are back in the squad after plying their trade all over the world in Twenty-Twenty circuses.
The ‘Protea Fire’ referred to is a moving TV commercial #ProteaFire that promotes the unity despite diversity theme of the South African cricket side.
“In effect #ProteaFire is the cricket team’s mission statement – their identity and culture, their ethos, mantra and belief in each other and the nation.”
SA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat, said:
“This is a truly unique and authentic campaign because it is exactly what the Proteas believe in. It comes directly from the team and it is no creative or marketing campaign.
No country has been through what SA has and our country needs all the inspiration it can get.
Clearly the Proteas are our inspiration. As a team they have invested time to understand what it means for them to represent South Africa and now the team wishes all South Africans to know more about who they are, whom they play for and what it means to be a Protea.
We respected their wishes and that’s why we got right behind them to ensure this campaign came to life.”
JP Duminy said:
“#ProteaFire is about humility, resilience, courage, adaptability, unity and respect; these are key attributes of our rich and diverse country. #ProteaFire isn’t just about what happens on the field, it’s also about how we carry ourselves during our daily tasks. We hope that we can inspire and help shape our country by our actions on and off the field.”
Hashim Amla added:
“Despite the reality of our diverse backgrounds, religious beliefs and social upbringings, our common understanding has created a common purpose in the team that is built on our passion to represent South Africa. The real task is to get people to behave in a new way of thinking, rather than to think themselves into a new way of behaving.”
Faf du Plessis, the Blue Label T20 captain, said:
“The Proteas have developed an amazing team culture and the joy of representing South Africa is the driving force in making us want to play for all South Africans.”
What Sammy really meant:
“It’s time for the real thing—T20 fireworks and no one does it better than the boys in maroon. What say, IPL, BPL, SLPL, BBL fans? You agree, right?”
What he definitely didn’t:
“That #ProteaFire promo is no ‘Fire in Babylon’, is it?”
What he said:
“You can’t survive for 66 Tests just on the basis of a quota.”
Ashwell Prince protests that coloreds in the South African side do not get full credit for their on-field achievements. His Cricinfo profile describes him as a beneficiary of the post-apartheid preferential treatment for blacks in South African sport.
“It saddens me that I have to point that out today, but you have to defend yourself.”
“As soon as apartheid fell away and we could compete with white kids, we proved that colour had nothing to do with it. Right from the start, we could go from Galvendale, which is where I grew up in Port Elizabeth, go to their ground and beat them. It was all about opportunity and being able to show what you could do.”
On the quota system:
“We were aware that there were quota systems in provincial cricket. But as far as the national team was concerned, there was never ever a quota system. Unfortunately, outside of South African cricket, people didn’t see it like that, so whenever someone of colour was selected for the national team there were these questions. It came as no surprise to me that opposition players would target me in that way.”
What he really meant:
“On the field, race hardly matters. It’s runs, wickets and catches that count. In my case, certainly, statistics don’t lie.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Have I used up my quota of words or what?”
What he said:
A fake Quinton De Kock Twitter account was in the news with leading dailies attributing the above tweet to the chubby-faced South African opening bat.
Saeed Ajmal has been banned with immediate effect from all international cricket after his bowling action was deemed illegitimate by the ICC.
Bio-mechanic analysis revealed the the Pakistani off-spinner flexed his elbow as much as 35 degrees against the permitted 15 degrees.
The bowler can apply for a reassessment anytime once his action has been rectified. However, he is permitted to take part in domestic cricket under the supervision of his country’s cricketing board, the PCB.
Maninder Singh, a former India left-arm spinner, squarely blamed the ICC for the current mess.
“”The problem started with Muralitharan. The menace should have been stopped then. If that had happened, all boards would have taken steps to prevent this.Now it (chucking) has become a norm, it is like ‘if he (Murali) can do it, anyone can’.”
On young bowlers choosing the wrong role models:
“This has ruined careers. Whether you call it 12 or 15 degrees, it is to be blamed.”
On why English and Australian bowlers are not called that often:
“People there are basically honest, and they will own up. We don’t, and in fact start backing them.”
Former India all-rounder Madan Lal said:
“”Even in my academy, so many boys bend their elbows. They see lot of cricket on TV and try to imitate them. It gets difficult to correct them once they are set in their ways.”
Saeed Ajmal’s reactions:
“It is disappointing to learn the result of the biomechanic test in Brisbane but I have not given up. I don’t see the ban as a major problem as I know I can work out on the flaws and make a comeback.
Obviously, I have to follow their advice but from what I know is that once we get the full medical report, we have a right of appeal and to challenge these findings.
I want to play in the World Cup and see my country doing well and I will do whatever it takes to be ready for the tournament. I am a fighter and I know what I have to do to get back into international cricket before the World Cup.”
Bishan Singh Bedi tweeted:
At long last ICC nets a big shark but not b4 it devoured more than 350 Intnl scalps!Tragedy remains as many 'chucking' sharks still at large—
Bishan Bedi (@BishanBedi) September 09, 2014
Speaking to the Times of India, Bedi said:
“”It was inevitable. But it’s a decision taken too late, when all the damage has been done and Ajmal has taken so many wickets in international cricket.
What was the ICC doing till now? All those batsmen who lost their wickets to him, all those teams which lost a game because of an Ajmal spell, should they now come forward and say we have been wronged? If they can’t, then what is the point of rehabilitating these bowlers.”
“Most people who claim to be mystery spinners enjoy an unfair advantage because they are being allowed to bowl illegal deliveries.What is the point of correcting their action in a laboratory and then letting them loose? Is the ICC a reformatory school? A chucker cannot reform. He is merely rendered ineffective.”
What the Fake Quinton De Kock really meant:
“Saeed Ajmal can’t bowl! Saeed Ajmal can’t bowl! With or without his 35 degrees of hyper extension…Ajmal can’t bowl…”
What he definitely didn’t (or did he?) :
“I’m famous, not Quinton De Kock.”
What he said:
“We’re definitely not predictable. You bowled two overs the other day.”
Dale Steyn contradicts himself without seemingly realizing it. The lanky pace bowler commented on his teammate A B De Villiers bowling for only the second time ever in ODIs. South Africa were playing Zimbabwe in Harare.
AB De Villiers recently came out strongly against Australian sledging terming it “personal.”
De Villiers said:
“There was lots of personal stuff and certain guys take it in a different way. I see that it’s part of the game… but they can’t expect us to be mates with them off the field then, if they get very personal.”
The South African skipper was referring to comments made during the third Test in Cape Town.
David Warner, meanwhile, apologized for accusing De Villiers of ball-tampering during the series.
“Obviously with myself coming out and saying the comment about AB de Villiers probably wasn’t the smartest thing, and I regret saying that.We set a standard where we want to go out there and play aggressive and hard cricket and not cross the line.
There are some times you do nudge that line a fair bit and the odd occasion you might step over that, but you do have to realize that we’re out there to win.
We do like to be aggressive and sledging is a form of the game when we’re out there.”
What Steyn really meant:
“Wasn’t that a pleasant surprise? …AB bowling two overs. I certainly didn’t expect that.”
What he definitely didn’t:
“Outliers… by Malcolm Gladwell—yeah, that’s my favorite read.”