Wouldn’t it be most fair for umpires to tend towards giving greater benefit of the doubt to a struggling team? I think it would, though I suspect in reality the opposite tends to happen. I mean, the Aussies never frickin’ seem to have their appeals turned down.
It is frankly inconceivable that Tendulkar’s catch off McIntosh was given without consultation with the third umpire after the precedent with Ryder’s catch off Dhoni (for which the on-field umpires conferred and consulted with the third umpire before giving it not-out). Both catches were equally dubious and the umpires should have treated them the same.
But what can you do but grumble. If the referral system was in place, nothing would have changed. Even though Tendulkar’s catch was equivalent to Ryder’s, if it had been referred by McIntosh, the third umpire wouldn’t have changed the on-field umpire’s call. It would be easier in a way however to be able to complain about been done in by “the system” than to feel hard done by inconsistent umpiring.
It is important in sport to be realistic about what is likely to not go your way; so e.g. when one of the top 6 scores heavily against you, you don’t despondent, you just factor it in. Just because Tendulkar scores 160, you shouldn’t then let your shoulders droop and allow the tail to score 80-odd.
This applies not just within a match, but also to bigger pictures. Currently, the Black Caps are 166 runs behind with 7 wickets in hand. Pretty discouraging for the first match in the series. However, if you recall that we generally lose a match by an innings in every series, things don’t look any worse than usual. We’re not really doing that bad.
The first three completed matches were determined by India’s strength, a powerhouse batting line up that can put any game beyond reach. Whereas tonight’s match showcased New Zealand’s strengths, difficult bowlers who can keep the score down and competent batsmen who can chase down almost any total.
It was a frustrating series, with all the rain, but an exhilerating series, with over 2000 runs scored at about 6.5 an over. There were some amazing performances. Sehwag was a sensation of course, in his most devastating series performance to date. 299 runs, 74.75 average, 150.25 strike rate. Tendulkar was masterful too, with the highest score of the series of 163. Ryder also with his 224 runs at 56.25 by 106.63 deserves to be lauded.
Yesterday I saw the work of a master, which first appeared in the 80s, but has been updated to the new millennium. While a handful of gifted costumed champions were featured, one stood apart from the others – a blue god, indomitable, possessing abilities beyond those of common men, an unnatural vision of what’s coming and an inhuman calm. It was several hours of sustained, often brutal, action and spectacle…though the ending was a bit disappointing.
Not entirely flattering to the New Zealanders in terms of ranking, with an average of about 50 compared to an average of about 12 for the Indians. However, the stats don’t look vastly different (except maybe the rather unfair comparison between McCullum and Tendulkar). Based on these averages, we’d expect the Indians to score about 150 from about 29 overs. Whereas the New Zealanders will score 160 off about 31 (admittedly rather skewed by Guptill’s stats). Pretty much dead even.
Indian have an extremely good middle order in Dhoni alone, but NZ have Vettori and Mills in their bowling line up. You’ve got to expect this to be a close run series. I’m picking 3-2 to New Zealand.
The papers are reporting that the ICC has named Matthew Hayden as one of the top 10 test batsmen of all time. Here’s the list and there’s Hayden, sitting at 10th equal.
The Indian’s aren’t happy. Not necessarily with Hayden’s position in the list, but with the fact that Sachin Tendulkar sits all the way down at 26. Tendulkar surely belongs higher on the list, definitely above Hayden. Tendulkar has more runs, more centuries and a higher average than Hayden.
I’m not going to enter that particular debate. I do think that Hayden is overrated. While he as an excellent batsman, he was basically an expert flat-track bully in an era of flat tracks. (Perhaps I only feel this way because we hardly got to see Hayden at his best. His record against New Zealand was not that impressive.) However, I also think that, inspite of his acknowledged genius, India are equally able to overrate Tendulkar.
The Indian bleating about the list is actually pretty funny. The BCCI secretary even seems to believe it is all a conspiracy to raise the profile of the ICC ranking system above Indian systems.
It only takes a quick look at the list to see that it only ranks the players based on their highest ever achieved rating. That is a long way from measuring how good a player is overall. So Hayden peaked higher than Tendulkar. However, check out the comparison of the two players. Tendulkar maintained a high rating for much longer than Hayden (noting that the time base for the graphs are different). If you change it to a view of ranking charts, you see that Tendulkar maintained an unbroken top 10 ranking for over 10 years, whereas Hayden only managed this for about 5 years. The ICC ranking blogger has noted that Tendulkar played 125 matches in the top 3, his measure of sustained excellence. You can draw your own conclusions from all of this, but it does show that there are innumerable ways of measuring greatness.
In the wake of the sickening terrorist attack on Mumbai, two cricketing stories stand in sharp contrast.
In the first, Sachin Tendulkar, India’s biggest hero, dedicated his match-winning efforts in Chennai to the victims of the attack. It was a heartening, if entirely symbolic, story.
The second story, written by Peter Roebuck, highlights that Javed Miandad’s son is married to the daughter of Dawood Ibrahim, India’s biggest villain, with possible connections to the attack. Roebuck’s story is largely sensationalist; the wedding between the Miandads and Ibrahims happened three years ago and Ibrahim’s connections to the Mumbai attacks are still being established. The main thrust of Roebuck’s article is the possible connections of Ibrahim to match fixing, which is orders of magnitude less serious than terrorism. Even so, it is alarming to be reminded that Pakistan Cricket’s director general and hence a major public figure in Pakistan is linked by marriage to one of the worlds most wanted criminal dons.