Category Archives: Scheduling

ICC’s code of conduct

As Mohan pointed out, a racism charge has been laid on Harbhajan Singh. This is the clause on which the charge has been laid –

Using language or gestures that offends, insults, humiliates, intimidates, threatens, disparages or vilifies another person on the basis of that person’s race, religion, gender, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin.

Anyone interested in reading the  complete ICC’s code of conduct for players and team members, can read it here.

-Mahesh-

Advertisements

More accurate Super8 schedule?

This appears to be the most likely schedule for the Super8s we may end up with. The ICC obviously planned this schedule but didn’t publish it because there is always the potential for an upset in the group stage. It appears that the earlier article I wrote was a misinterpretation of how the seeding rules apply.

Aus RSA SL Ind NZ Eng Pak WI
Aus Apr 16 Mar 31 Apr 20 Apr 08 Apr 13 Mar 27
RSA Mar 28 Apr 07 Apr 14 Apr 17 Apr 03 Apr 10
SL Apr 16 Mar 28 Apr 12 Apr 04 Apr 18 Apr 01
Ind Mar 31 Apr 07 Apr 02 Apr 11 Apr 15 Apr 19
NZ Apr 20 Apr 14 Apr 12 Apr 02 Apr 09 Mar 29
Eng Apr 08 Apr 17 Apr 04 Apr 11 Apr 21 Mar 30
Pak Apr 13 Apr 03 Apr 18 Apr 15 Apr 09 Apr 21
WI Mar 27 Apr 10 Apr 01 Apr 19 Mar 29 Mar 30

-Mahesh-

Unravelling the Super8 schedule!

After the Rediff expose of the ICC schedule bungle — perhaps as a result of an overzealous website editor/copywriter — I did some thinking on the nomination of the teams as A1, A2, B1, B2, etc.

For a brief period the ICC schedule website, had the following rule in it (copied from Rediff who were quick enough to clip it from there!):

    Team names for the Super Eight stage are indicative based on the top two teams from the Group Stage qualifying. If these two teams do qualify they will be seeded in position 1 or 2 as specified regardless of whether they finish first or second in their group. For example, if South Africa wins Group A and Australia comes second, for the purposes of the Super Eights, South Africa will still be A2 and Australia will be A1.

Note that the ICC runs two schedule websites, here and here — the latter being the website being run for the ICC by its official Internet partner, http://www.indya.com!

Let us think this through logically. The Super8 stage is a league where every team plays every other team apart from the one from its own Group (which it would have played already and carried over points from). So, it doesn’t really make a difference which team is named A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, D1 and D2 — given that they will all play each other! For example, even if India wins all its 3 group games and tops Group-B, it would not make a difference if India is named B2 and Sri Lanka (say) is named B1 — as long as India carries over 2 points into the Super8 stage.

Now, why would the ICC want to label India as B2?

Easy. If the ICC did that, India would play most of its games on Saturdays or Sundays. Big TV audience. Big moolah! Clever.

The ICC would maximise its TV revenue if it labels the teams in the following way (assuming no upsets in the Group games by the 8 minnows that are just there to make up the numbers and fatten the stats).

    A1: Australia
    A2: South Africa
    B1: Sri Lanka
    B2: India
    C1: New Zealand
    C2: England
    D1: Pakistan
    D2: West Indies

This will mean that marquee games (or showcourt games) that would have larger TV audiences would be on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays! Note the strategically positioned gap in the schedule between the Wednesday 4th April and Saturday 7th April. That’s so that India can play South Africa on Saturday the 7th of April, if we follow the labelling as above. An alternative to the above labelling is that D1 and D2 are swapped — this would make a toss of a difference to the “revenue earning” games that matter — as far as the ICC is concerned! The swapping of A1 and A2 will also produce reasonable dollar results for the ICC — after all, is that not their main concern?

However, I am pretty confident that India will be labelled B2 and Australia will be A1, regardless of the Group results.

In the event that the labelling is as I indicated above, India’s Super8 games will be:

  • Saturday 31 March: Australia V India
  • Monday 02 April: New Zealand V India
  • Saturday 07 April: South Africa V India
  • Wednesday 11 Apr: England V India
  • Sunday 15 April: India V Pakistan
  • Thursday 19 April: West Indies V India

How convenient? This is smart, but devious of the ICC, in my view. Devious because I haven’t seen this transparently explained anywhere. In the absence of such transparency, most people would like to believe that the labelling follows the normal rule which would suggest that the leader assumes first spot in the Group table…

— Mohan

World Cup Outlook Calendar

CricInfo have the WorldCup fixtures — at this stage, the warm-up games and group games only — as an Outlook .ics file.

Follow this link and upload the schedule into your Outlook.

— Mohan

India-Australia ODI Glut…

Tim May has lashed out at the glut of India-Australia games that are being planned over the next year or so. We have pointed out on this blog a few times over the last few weeks that India has an extremely crowded schedule in 2007 through to mid-2008.

What seemed like a brief respite in the schedule in May 2007 has now been filled with a meaningless India-Australia series in Ireland. Ricky Ponting immediately expressed his exasperation at this announcement. The Ireland games are mainly to accommodate India’s TV Rights commitments — India have to play a minimum number of overseas games a year. This was after an attempt to play an India-Australia ODI series in New York — of all places — fell through. According to CricInfo, “Under the conditions of an agreement signed between Zee TV and the Indian Cricket Board, India have to play 25 offshore ODIs over a five-year period.”

Ponting expressed concern over the crazy scheduling of the Ireland series.

Now Tim May has weighed in to the glut-argument. He says, “Australia will play India 21 times in the eight months from June this year. From the perspective of players and spectators, it’s going to dampen your interest. And it detracts from the commercial value of the product. Vision has been lost about what’s important and what is not.”

— Mohan

Are we playing too much cricket?

The world cup is just a few weeks away and apart from one more game between Australia and NZ, there will be nothing between now and the World cup. This break will give teams a chance to rest, rejuvenate and recuperate from the injury woes that they have been facing. Most of the teams have been playing non-stop cricket the last few weeks, and sooner or later, ICC and the cricket boards will have to recognize that this overload is the reason for this spate of injuries and do something about it.

Let us look at the games each team has played since the beginning of this year:

Team ODIs Tests
Australia 12 1
England 10 1
India 8 1
New Zealand     13       
Pakistan 5 3
South Africa 5 4
Sri Lanka 7
West Indies 4

That is an awful number of games, considering the fact that it has just been 50 days since the beginning of this year and the premier event in world cricket is due to start shortly.

If we look at Australia’s schedule, they’ve just finished the Ashes, followed it up with a tri-series involving England and NZ and ended it with a three match ODI series against NZ. Their injury list includes Lee (left ankle), Symonds (biceps), Clarke (hip) and  Ponting (back). They are probably both mentally and physically tired after all this cricket and their results show it – 5 losses in 6 games! Not the ideal scenario before the start of the world cup.

England have had a tough tour in Australia and their team is filled with people recovering from injuries. Their injury woes started with Vaughn not making it for the Ashes and it has followed with Trescothick (stress), James Anderson, Jon Lewis and Peiterson.

In India, Sachin is nursing a stiff back and Pathan is not fully fit. Munaf and Yuvraj are just back from Injury. For New Zealand, Kyle Mills has completely missed the cup owing to Knee Surgery; Jacob Oram is going to miss a few games and no one knows when the fragile Bond is going to break down. Pakistan has had its whole fast bowling contingent under an injury cloud – Shoaib Akthar(knee), Mohammad Asif (elbow), Umar Gul (ankle), Shabbir Ahmed (groin), Mohammed Sami (back). If some of them have been taking performance enhancing drugs, it surely hasn’t helped with the injuries 🙂

Apparently(!), every team’s schedule has been planned well in advance to give the players the best chance of match practice and be their best before the World Cup. But it seems, this has had the exact opposite effect on players. We are looking at the possibility of teams such as Australia struggling to play their best eleven. There really is no thrill in beating a team like Australia if its top players are not playing due to injury.

So, what is the solution to this? Quite simple – play less number of matches.

Or use a radical approach – reduce the number of overs in all ODIs. Even a reduction of 10 overs per team will probably give players a big relief. If we continue to play more matches, we should reduce this even further. We could even substitute ODIs with more Twenty20 matches. It is also time to reduce the number of matches played in a test series (like the Ashes) to just 3.  

Until ICC takes the cue and takes some serious action, we are going to see more and more injuries – and careers of good cricketers cut short.

-Mahesh- 

Another domestic competition strategy…

 

After reading Mohan’s article on how to improve the Indian domestic cricket competition, I thought I’d put my own ideas together. This is what I think needs to be done –

  • Create a new domestic cricket competition
  • Create six new teams to play in this competition
  • Operate this in a sports franchise model – similar to NFL or NBA
  • Get companies such as MRF, Sahara etc, bidding for these teams and owning them
  • Each team recruits its own players. BCCI will eventually have to work out salary caps etc.
  • Each team has 15 players, of which 4 can be overseas players.
  • Make sure that not more than one team make the same city its home.
  • Each team plays 2 Twenty20 games in a week – One on Saturday and one on Sunday
  • Each team plays the other team twice – basically one home and one away game
  • In week 6, the top 2 teams play a best of 3 finals – split over 2 days.

Ok, What are the advantages of doing this?

Well for starters, these franchises will recruit the best players nationally and internationally. Each team will also prepare the pitch to suit their home team’s strengths. For example, if MRF chooses to own a team, they may include players from its Pace foundation and prepare fast and bouncy tracks for its home games. This will get players playing on good tracks.

Playing against and with quality players will also improve the overall standard of the players playing in the tournament.

If this model works for Twenty20 games, we can even try this for the regular one-day format in a few years.

What happens to the current domestic competition?

 Several changes have been recommended on how to make the current model better. But the model I’ve suggested can co-exist with the current Ranji/Duleep trophy models. This tournament can probably (but doesn’t have to) replace the current Challenger trophy one day tournament which consists of 3 teams – India Seniors, India A and India B.

Why Twenty20? And what about revenue ?

Twenty20 cricket games have been good crowd pullers wherever they’ve been played – It is not going to be any different in cricket-mad India. Players like Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Sehwag, Dhoni are big crowd magnets and if we add other international stars to these games, spectators are bound to turn up in large numbers. So will the television stations, wanting to broadcast these games. One of the main reasons these games are so popular is because they just last around 3 hours – and people do not have to sit  around a complete day (or five) to watch a game to its finish. Because these games are so short, they are very lively and full of action.

Ticket sales, television and franchise merchandise should be able to cover the revenue part.

When do we find time to host this tournament in a busy international calendar? And what if some of the players are called up to play for the national team?

BCCI will have to work out when this tournament should be played. Domestic matches are always going to clash with international fixtures and players selected for national duty will not be available to play in these tournaments. Unfortunately, that is the way it works – but it does give opportunities for other players to step up and make an impact on these matches.

Is this going to improve the standard of cricket in India?

People will argue that Twenty20 is not “real” cricket and a twenty over game is not really going to improve anyone’s cricket. Sure, Twenty20 is a different breed of cricket, and some of the players’ weaknesses may not be as apparent as in the longer version, but as I said earlier – playing with and against quality players will help in improving the standard of all players playing.

 

There may be few flaws in the model and it may not be suitable in the exact form that I have proposed, but it is a sound model which I am sure can be made to work…

-Mahesh-