Author Archives: smangalam

Powai the Kutha’s prediction for the India Sri Lanka series!!!

An honorable follower of I3J3 recently had an intense conversation with the famous dog, the renowned soothsayer, prognosticator, Oracle and so on… of Mumbai on his observations on the forthcoming exciting series between India and Sri Lanka. For those of you who are unaware, these two countries who are also neighbors are playing once again as if we haven’t had enough already. It seems like deja vu all over again. Anyways, I digress, but the fortune teller had these predictions to make on the basis of an informed assessment using a strong evidence base and statistics communicated to it from telephone pole to telephone pole…..

1. Sri Lanka will score 1500 runs in an innings by playing on all 5 days and declare just before the mandatory 20 overs are required to be bowled.

2. Aravinda De Silva will come out of retirement and score a double hundred.

3. Ajantha Mendis will deliver a table tennis ball that makes a funny noise on its way to the batsmen.

4. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar would have analyzed the frequency of the noise emanating from the ball out by the end of the series to be ready in time for the next series starting next month. They will recommend wearing ear phones as a countermeasure.

5. Abhimanyu Mithun will become the first bowler to give away 500 runs in an innings and will become the first batsman to be surrounded by fielders and he will seek Lord Krishna’s help to get out of this chakravyu!

6. Lasith Malinga will add two more rings to his tongue to add another layer of distraction to his yorkers.

7. Yuvraj Singh will score a hundred in a test match destined to be draw from day one and confirm his place in the side for the next two decades.

8. Virendra Sehwag will get so bored by the series that he will deliberately injure his shoulder and head back home. M. Vijay will come in as his replacement, flex his muscles, shoulder his arms and see his stumps flying..

9. Dinesh Karthik will replace Vijay, flex his muscles, shoulder his arms and leave a few more catches.

10. India will retain its number 1 position. Sangakkara will claim to have morally won the series, complain that the UDRS system would have allowed him to score 2000 runs and seek another series in India.

All will end well and India will return after a wonderful series!!!


Chennai Superkings are IPL-3 Champions!

Finally, after two successful years (almost!), CSK are deserving champions of IPL-3 beating the most consistent team of the tournament. CSK’s win, largely credited to Raina amazing consistency and Dhoni’s brilliant captaincy, gained impetus with the arrival of Bollinger in the side and Vijay sudden turnaround. As Albie Morkel aptly put it, CSK though inconsistent won when it mattered. Their last few games showed amazing team effort and that confidence seemed to carry them through in the finals. Well played talaivaas!!!!

On the other hand, Mumbai Indians may have just have lost steam when it required them to pull through. Their fielding let them down, the drama surrounding Tendulkar’s injury may have been an unwanted distraction, and their strange batting order may just have been the nail in the coffin. Having said that, Mumbai did have an amazing campaign, and Mr. Genius has to take all the credit for making the team believe.

IPL-3, in my view, was the best of the three editions. It was truly enjoyable and two contrasting yet most deserving teams made it into the finals and gave us a wonderful game. Now all attention will be on the world cup and I say bring it on. For now, I am going to cherish the Chennai win while regaling in the memories of SRT’s amazing performances through the tournament.

– Srikanth

Where Srikkanth and Co. made a mistake!

Leaving all the hoopla and drama surrounding the Modi/Tharoor Gate aside, I have actually enjoyed IPL3 way more than the previous editions. For one, the games have had far closer finishes, the teams barring Mumbai Indians have been fairly even and the semi-finals qualifying suspense has lasted longer than the previous versions. Secondly, there has been the unearthing/rediscovering of more Indian talent that seems to have performed more consistently as well. This is what I would like to focus on in this article. Specifically, I attempt to identify players who seem to have emerged as candidates who should have either made it into the India T20 side or are certainly in the reckoning. I do have to preface this discussion by stating that Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina have lived upto and exceeded expectations in my opinion. They are, I believe, torch bearers for India into the future. Here goes…

1. M. Vijay

Vijay has already demonstrated his sheer talent and determination in the longer version of the game. Srikkanth has stated that he clicked much after the team was selected. I somehow don’t buy that argument. Also, why did the selectors have to rush into establishing the team atleast three days before the list was actually due to the ICC. Admittedly, Vijay’s chances may have been impacted by the poor decision of playing Parthiv Patel in the early games even when Dhoni was available. Additionally, batting lower down the order may not have helped him either. In any case, Vijay is most certain to make it to the side sooner or later. For all you know, Yuvraj or Sehwag may have incurred “injuries” that could allow Vijay to be drafted into the side.

2. Pragyan Ojha

It remains a mystery to me as to why this talented spinner continues to find it difficult to get into the side. He is the highest wicket taker in this edition and has performed consistently well in all the three editions. Ojha is the best left arm spinner in the country right now and should be playing for India.

3. Umesh Yadav

This fast bowler playing for Delhi Daredevils could have been worth testing out for the sheer pace that he brings in. He is real quick and can send in some lethal yorkers too. He may been worth examining in place of either Praveen Kumar (who has hardly played a game in the later half of the tournament) or Ashish Nehra (who is recovering from his injury).

4. A. T. Rayadu/Saurab Tiwary

Tendulkar’s presence has certainly helped these two talented cricketers who seem to have the brain, the heart, and the talent to play this version of the game really well. I have to say that, while I have thoroughly devoured “God’s” game, I have enjoyed Mumbai Indians this time around primarly due to youngsters like these two cricketers.

5. Others

I would certainly keep batsman/wicketkeeper Naman Ojha and T. Suman in the fray. I also think that Amit Mishra, R. Ashwin, Irfan Pathan, and Robin Uthappa may consider themselves unlucky. While Manish Pandey may be run into a rut, he stills has the talent to make it through to the top level. Shadab Jakati is another worth taking a lot while Dinda and Unadkat from Kolkata are outsiders.

6. Big Disappointments

The selectors need to be concerned with the poor form of Yuvraj and Y. K Pathan. Yusuf Pathan is a unidimensional cricketer and the opposition have figured him out. Unless he accquires/borrows intelligence from somewhere, he is better off playing his cameos for Baroda. Piyush Chawla should consider himself extremely lucky to be in the side.

– Srikanth

IPL 3 – Day 2 Random thoughts….

It is early days yet but I am happy to see the three metros off to winning starts. Wouldn’t it be nice for a change if the 4 metros end up in the semis? I had some observations to make based on the bits and pieces that I watched of yesterday’s game (repeat) and of the double header today. One thing that struck me right away was the raw confidence and talent that the ICL boys seem to bring to this year’s edition. Whether it was Hyderabadi grace of Ambati Rayadu, or the brief strokeplay of Abhishek Jhoonjhoonwala on the one side, or the allround ability of R. Satish on the other, these guys do promise to bring an extra dimension to the game.

While the KKR v DC game seemed to have gone to the team making the fewer of several mistakes including dropped catches, poor shot selection, or wides today’s game was determined by sheer class and experience. Yusuf Pathan seem to run away with the game by brute till an unlucky yet brilliant run out by Satish and ultimately some classy bowling by Zaheer Khan and Lasith Malinga. Gambhir on the other hand seems to already relish the captaincy role and he played like one as he saw his team through. A couple of new talents to look for as well in Aditya Tare, the Mumbai Indians wicketkeeper batsman and Paras Dogra from Himachal Pradesh and playing for Kings X1 Punjab. Certainly, interesting and exciting 6 weeks ahead. Meanwhile, tomorrow’s game between Chennai Superkings and Deccan Chargers should be an exciting one.


Vijay Bharadwaj?

Cricinfo, at this point, includes “retired” Vijay Bharadwaj in the Board President’s X1 team for their game against SA. They, however, have omitted Sadanand Viswanath, Vinod Kambli, Praveen Amre, Gagan Khoda, Vivek Razdan, Atul Wassan, and Krishnamachari Srikkanth from the side. How did Mr. Bharadwaj get so lucky?


Decision Review System – Modern version of match fixing!

I am sticking my neck out and making a bold statement that the Decision review system is a disaster. It is a serious threat to fair test cricket. It is, and I dare say, cricket fraternity’s blind faith on an untested and unproven vaccine to poor umpiring. At this point in time, I would put greater trust on the worst financial risk model in the market. As an analyst, I am well aware that all predictive models are as good as their identification and  treatment of sources of uncertainty. To somehow imagine that this model takes into account factors including but not limited to bounce, speed, weather conditions, soil conditions, moisture etc. and predict vertical and horizontal outcomes of a ball bowled without some degree of certainty is very difficult for me to say the least. The horrendous decision to overturn and fabulous call by Billy Doctrove against Marcus North at the current Sydney test is a case in point. The fact that the Aussies are playing like school kids despite that is besides the fact.

I welcome discussions on this topic. In particular, comments by anyone who has a detailed understanding of the DRS model would be appreciated. I hold my views until I have been convinced that the model is trustworthy. The analyst and doubter in me casts serious doubts on the credibility and, more importantly, the motive behind the use of this system. I would also be interested in finding out more on the creators, their relationships with certain cricket boards/tv channels etc. and their commercial interests.

– Srikanth

Another Chapter in Indian Cricket

Year 2009 is almost over and the men in blue are the newly crowned test champions. Their victory in New Zealand at the start of the year and the trouncing of Sri Lanka towards the end of the year resulted in the desired outcome to an earnest campaign that Saurav Ganguly and his men began almost ten years back when the Prince took over India’s captaincy in early 2000. The leadership of Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, and Virendar Sehwag helped pave the way to achieving royal ascent to the crown. None of this could have been achieved without the constant guidance and “unparalleled” role that the Master, “Sachin Tendulkar” has played in all these years and all these successes. Alongside, many young and not-so-young cricketers including VVS Laxman, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh et al have played crucial roles on various occasions to boost India’s performances.

At the end, one of the most intelligent and successful captains of the current day, MS Dhoni, held centre stage as he picked up the “Mace” for test cricket and deservedly so. Dhoni, in my opinion, has brought in a new dimension to Indian cricket. While Ganguly took the fear out of the game, Dhoni has coaxed, cajoled, and goaded the team to believe that nothing is really impossible. And, he has done so by leading from the front. He has allowed himself to be flexible and yet at the same disciplined, and, delivered almost at will. Indians, under Dhoni, are and will maintain or at the least pose a constant threat to supremacy in all forms of the game in the foreseeable future.

India’s ascendency combined with renewed interest in the longer version of the game resulting from the recently concluded and ongoing series in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa provide a great platform for the future. One hopes that, with the current performances, India does play more than the handful test matches in 2010 and onward. There are some areas of concern though. The referral system, UDRS as they call it, is a farce. I do not believe nor am I convinced that the technology currently being used is adequate enough to meet the requirements. Traditional umpiring still works and should not be supplemented until and unless technology becomes more reliable. Another area of concern is perceived referring biases. As was evident in the Australia/India, England/India, the recent WI/Australia series, referring has been lopsided to say the least.  Referees like Chris Board are a disgrace to the game. I am in full agreement with Sunny Gavaskar about is comments on the Broad affair.

These issues aside, 2010 looks to be another interesting year for cricket. The expectations for a SA/India test series are in full swing, IPL-3, T20 World championship all making it into the year’s bill.

Looking forward to another year of exciting cricket. Happy new year to all from all of us here at I3J3.