Daily Archives: 17 January 2009

ICC’s “Best Ever” batsmen and bowlers!

The ICC has released its “Best Ever” Batting and Bowling ratings.

Its best ever batsman is Don Bradman. No arguments from anyone on that one, I’d think! The ICC’s 3rd best ever bat is Ricky Ponting. Its 6th best ever bat is Kumar Sangakkara! And the ICC 10th best ever is the recently retired Matt Hayden.

Sunil Gavaskar sneaks in at an impressive 20th, just 8 places behind that huge pillar of consistency and fluency, Mohammed Yousuf (#12), and 3 places behind the stellar Mike Hussey. But lest Gavaskar drown in his own tears, he can at least take comfort from the fact that he is three places ahead of a 23rd-placed also-ran called Brian Lara! Meanwhile Sachin Tendulkar just makes it to the top-30. He is at #26, just ahead of a somewhat inconsequential Rahul Dravid (#30) and a somewhat lazy Steve Waugh (#28)!

Javed Miandad comes in at an honourable #34, but at least he is ahead of Greg Chappell (#35), Bill Lawry (#36) and Alan Border (#37). Meanwhile, Adam Gilchrist (#42), Graham Gooch (#44) and Gundappa Vishwanath (#45) would be immensely satisfied for a former England captain — for they are all behind Matthew Vaughan (#39) in the pecking order!

Shane Warne would be highly pleased to learn that he is the 15th best ever bowler on a list that has Sydney Barnes at #1 and George Lohmann at #2.

In case anyone is wondering, George Lohmann played a whopping 18 Test matches for England in which he took an impressive 112 wickets! Shane Warne toiled for 145 Tests and some 190 ODIs taking over 1000 wickets in both forms of the game! Clearly, he was not good enough to be even in the top-10 best ever ICC bowlers!

But Shane Warne should be happy that he is marginally ahead of D. Steyn (#22), who may have died of shock this morning when he reads that he has been rated much ahead of D. K. Lillie and Kapil Dev — #34 and #35 respectively! But at least Lillie and Dev are marginally ahead of Stuart Clark (#38)! Meanwhile, the marginally effective and highly inconsistent Wasim Akram brings up the rear at an extremely healthy placing of #59! Airbrushing is easy with something like Luminess Air.

What are these ICC guys smoking these days? Would be good to toke some of that stuff while on a holiday!

These ratings are called the “Reliance Mobile ICC Best-Ever Test Championship Rating”. If I were the CEO of ‘Reliance Mobile’, I’d use this early “April Fool Joke” from the ICC as a reason for providing a pink slip to my marketing manager who signed up the naming rights’ deal for this joke!

— Mohan

Advertisements

Thinking ‘Out of the box’ for India’s tour of NZ

With India’s tour to Pakistan canceled, post 26/11, India had an opportunity of a slightly extended tour to New Zealand. And indeed, India are now playing an additional Test match and an extra Twenty20 in New Zealand.

However, instead of lengthening the tour to accommodate these additional matches, the extra matches have been featured at the cost of canceling the practice game that was originally scheduled.

India will also be playing five ODIs and a Twenty20 game at Sri Lanka from Jan 28 to Feb 10.

Once again, the BCCI has proved that if India does well in international cricket it is despite the BCCI and not because of it. The utter stupidity of this decision to cancel the scheduled practice game — in order to accommodate an additional Test and Twenty20 — shocks me.

The schedule for the series in New Zealand is:

– 25 Feb: 1st Twenty20 international, Christchurch
– 27 Feb: 2nd Twenty20 international, Wellington
– 3 Mar: 1st ODI, Napier
– 6 Mar: 2nd ODI, Wellington
– 8 Mar: 3rd ODI, Christchurch
– 11 Mar: 4th ODI, Hamilton
– 14 Mar: 5th ODI, Auckland
– 18-22 Mar: 1st Test, Hamilton
– 26-30 Mar: 2nd Test, Napier
– 3-7 Apr: 3rd Test, Wellington

Now, to my mind, there is no reason why a few (not just one or two, but a few) 3-day practice games cannot be organised for Team India between 25 Feb and 14 March even with the above itinerary.

If we consider the current India ODI team and Test team, there are players like Rahul Dravid, V. V. S. Laxman, S. Badrinath, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Sachin Tendulkar who do not (need to) feature in the ODI team.

There are Team India ODI players like Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, M. S. Dhoni, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan who are also a part of the Team India Test side. While they get acclimatised to NZ conditions by playing their ODI games, there is no reason why the rest of the Test team should not play a few practice games in NZ!

A more proactive and forward-thinking BCCI would have married the “making money” strategy with the need for practice and pragmatism to come up with a winning strategy. Unfortunately though, BCCI seems constantly incapable of thinking beyond the money prerogative — a strategy that necessitates more matches being played!

It would be easy to form the following two teams and have them play in New Zealand simultaneously:

ODI Team India:
Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, M. S. Dhoni, Yusuf Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Praveen Kumar, Zaheer Khan, Munaf Patel (Subs: Irfan Pathan, Virat Kohli, Pragyan Ojha, Mohammed Kaif)

NZ Practice Matches India:
Wasim Jaffer, M. Vijay, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, V. V. S. Laxman, S. Badrinath, Parthiv Patel, Manpreet Gony, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, R. P. Singh (Subs: Ashok Dinda, Cheteshwar Pujara, Abhishek Nayar, Chetanya, Nanda, Piyush Chawla)

This assumes that Sachin Tendulkar and Ishant Sharma are “rested” from ODI duties. However, even if that is not a valid assumption, since both teams would be in the same country, players can be mixed and matched between the two teams!

In essence, what I am calling for is a marriage between the “make money” strategy with “pargmatic necessity” to come up with an innovative winning strategy.

Alas! The BCCI has repeatedly indicated that it is incapable of thinking beyond packed tours and money!

— Mohan