Daily Archives: 20 February 2007

What Dads’ Army?

Of late, I have read a few comments (even from experienced and respected commentators) suggesting that the Indian Team for the World Cup is too old! The term “Dads’ Army” has been used to describe the team!

The current players (with their ages in brackets in years and days at the time of writing this piece) are:

Anil Kumble (36y, 126d)
Sourav Ganguly (34y, 227d)
Rahul Dravid (34y, 40d)
Sachin Tendulkar (33y, 302d)
Ajit Agarkar (29y, 78d)
Zaheer Khan (28y, 136d)
Virender Sehwag (28y 123d)
Harbhajan Singh (26y, 232d)
Mahendra Singh Dhoni (25y, 228d)
Yuvraj Singh (25y, 70d)
Sree Sreesanth (24y 14d)
Munaf Patel (23y, 223d)
Irfan Pathan (22y, 116d)
Dinesh Karthik (21y, 264d)
Robin Uthappa (21y, 101d)

Firstly, the average age of this team is 27.68 years. I know that “average age” is but one metric that one may use to term a team “old” or “young”. Yet, I don’t quite know where the Indian cricket media have come up with the “Dads’ Army” moniker for this team!

Even the respected Siddhartha Vaidyanathan from CricInfo appeared to fall for this unsubstantiated hype when he asked Greg Chappell in a recent CricInfo interview:

The average age of the squad is close to 30, there have been comments about this being a Dad’s army.

To which, Chappell replied:

It is what it is. I can’t change it. It’s what we’ve got. You can look at the positive side of it and say we’ve got more experience than anyone else. The downside is that we’ll give away a bit in the field but hopefully we can more than make up for that with the experience with the bat and ball.

Firstly, Vaidyanathan is wrong. The average age is not close to 30! It is what it is. It is 27.68!

Second, let us consider the average ages of some of the other teams in the World Cup!

  • Australia: 30.75 (now that is close to 30!)
  • South Africa: 30.02 (now that is close to 30!)
  • Sri Lanka: 29.25 (now that is close to 30!)
  • New Zealand: 28.71
  • Pakistan: 27.73
  • England: 27.69
  • India: 27.68
  • West Indies: 26.67

I may have got some of the calculations wrong. If there are errors, kindly point them out to me.

In other words, just considering the average age as a sole measure for the legitamacy of the term “Dads’ Army”, the Indian team has a low average age! Yes, I know that the average age, in itself, doesn’t count for much. But this is one measure to explode a myth that has been propogated by the “braying mediocrity of Indian cricket” — its media!

— Mohan