Thursday, December 27, 2012

DRS: The Ryobi Cup Episode

The latest episode in the history of DRS prompts this year end review of the controversial system that is used in some international cricket. While the discussion of DRS has improved substantially over the last 18 months, Umpiring mistakes in non-DRS series still commonly invite calls for the use of DRS specifically, not for technological assistance in general.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 10 - 2010-2012

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)

Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 9 - 2008-2010

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)

Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 8 - 2004-2008

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)

Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 7 - 2002-2004

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)

Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 6 - 2000-2002

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)


Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 5 - 1999-2000

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)

Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 4 - 1998-1999

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)

Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 3 - 1997-1998

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)


Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 2 - 1994-1996

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.


Part 1: 1990 - 1994 (Manchester to Jaipur)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)


Sachin Tendulkar's 100 Hundreds: Videos Part 1 - 1990-1994

Over the past few months, I have been collecting videos of Sachin Tendulkar's 100 international hundreds. I started doing this the day after he reached his 100th hundred in Dhaka in March this year. Videos of Tendulkar's centuries have plentiful, and I have found about 85 of them. The quality varies, as does the length. In some cases, such as his 35th Test hundred against Sri Lanka at Delhi in 2005, the video begins with him in the 90s. Others are more conventional highlights clips.

Tendulkar's 100 hundreds have come at 51 different grounds. He made 7 centuries at the Sharjah stadium. Among cities, he made 10 centuries in Colombo, 7 in Sharjah, 6 in Nagpur, 5 in Dhaka and 4 in Sydney. He made at least one international hundred in each of his 23 years except 1989 and 1991. His most prolific years have been 1998 (12), 1996, 1999 and 2010 (8) and 2001 (7).

From January 1, 1996 to December 31st 2002, Tendulkar made 52 international hundreds.

From January 1, 2007 to December 31st 2010, Tendulkar made 21 international hundreds, and reached 90 a further 10 times.

In his international career till date, he has been dismissed in the 90s 28 times, twice as often as the next most frequent 90s man - Rahul Dravid (14).

In order to make it easy to view, I have divided these videos into 10 parts. I list the centuries for which videos are not available as well. If you find these videos on a public forum, please do share the link in a comment. I would like to complete the collection if I can.

Part 2: 1994 - 1996 (Nagpur to Mumbai)
Part 3: 1997 - 1998 (Cape Town to Sharjah)
Part 4: 1998 - 1999 (Sharjah to Colombo)
Part 5: 1999 - 2000 (Bristol to Nagpur)
Part 6: 2000 - 2002 (Jodhpur to Port Of Spain)
Part 7: 2002 - 2004 (Chester-le-Street to Multan)
Part 8: 2004 - 2008 (Dhaka to Adelaide)
Part 9: 2008 - 2010 (Sydney to Dhaka)
Part 10: 2010 - 2012 (Nagpur to Dhaka)


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Test Batting In Different Conditions

Kumar Sangakkara reached 10,000 Test runs in his 115th Test and 195th innings today. He joins Tendulkar and Lara as the fastest man to reach this mark. When his compatriot Mahela Jayawardene reached this mark a few months ago, there was much grumbling about how the 10,000 club had been diluted. It is no longer the truly all time great batsmen who reach 10,000 Test runs. Jayawardene, especially, has a modest Test record in England, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. To put the achievement of the two Sri Lankans in some perspective, the MCG Test of 2012 is only Sri Lanka's 12th Test in Australia.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The End Of An Era

Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from ODI cricket today. This concludes one of the most storied periods in the history of ODI cricket.

In the early 1990s, two teams adopted the idea that the best batsman in the team should open the batting in ODI cricket - Brian Lara's West Indies and Inzaman Ul Haq's Pakistan. Lara and Inzamam were both successful openers, but for whatever reason, quickly moved down the order. In 1994, Ajit Wadekar and Mohammad Azharuddin made perhaps the most consequential tactical choice in the history of the ODI game. They asked the 21 year old Sachin Tendulkar to open the batting in a small run chase of 143 at Eden Park in Auckland. Wadekar had told his newly promoted opener to work towards building a team score of 100 by the 25th over. Tendulkar made 82 in 49 balls, 15 of which reached the boundary in addition to 2 which went over it, and India reached 100 in 12 overs and 5 balls.

In his ODI career, Sachin Tendulkar not merely surpassed expectations, he redefined them. As an opening batsman he built a record that is streets ahead of the world class records in ODI cricket. He averaged 45 runs per innings, 48 runs per dismissal, made 15,310 ODI runs. He made a century once every 7 innings, well ahead of the next best record. He made more centuries, more frequently in run chases than any other opening batsman in ODI history. He made more centuries than any other ODI opener in history. He made centuries in every major Test playing nation, and averaged 40 as ODI opener against every major Test playing nation.

Some of his greatest ODI innings came in defeat. Two come to mind immeditately. In 2004, he made 141 against Pakistan at Rawalpindi as India chased nearly 330. In 2009, he made 175 against Australia at Hyderabad as India chased 350. In both instances, India went on to lose games which were eminently winnable when he was dismissed late in the chase.

There has always been running criticism to Tendulkar's ODI play. People said he never scored runs when it mattered. Yet, in 53 knockout matches and tournament finals, Tendulkar averaged 52. Even in Australia, where he was perhaps least successful as ODI opener (as opposed to Test cricket - he made 6 Test centuries in Australia), he reached 50 thrice in 6 tournament finals, and India won 2 of those, in 2008.

Tendulkar made over 2000 runs in World Cups alone. He played 6 tournaments and was India's leading run scorer in 3 of them - 1996, 2003 and 2012. In 1992 and 1999 he made a lot of runs and was the second best run scorer behind Azharuddin and Rahul Dravid respectively.

Sachin Tendulkar made runs against every opposition in all kinds of conditions. There was no opponent, no set of conditions, no tactical maneuver that he did not encounter and encounter well. The great man was always at the cutting edge of a sport which changed beyond all recognition during his career. When Tendulkar made his ODI debut, there were no fielding restrictions in place. As he retires, the format has undergone a sea change - fielding restrictions, bouncer restrictions and power plays to name the obvious changes. Through it all, he remained a master of the form.

The greatest thing about Tendulkar is that he was never, since age 16, anything but a high quality player. This will never be matched. A lot of cricketers will play really well from age 22-23 onwards, have truly prolific periods between age 27-35 (Alistair Cook for example has played 86 Tests in 6 years. Tendulkar had played 12 years for his first 86 Tests), and end up with 10,000 runs, a large number of centuries. Many of them will possibly even match Tendulkar's 18,246 ODI runs. But it will take a special genius - one endowed not only with an astonishingly gifted mind, but also with an astonishingly disciplined mind - to match Tendulkar substantively. From Mike Gatting's ill fated reverse sweep to Kevin Pietersen's switch-hits, batting in limited overs cricket has changed mightily. Tendulkar presided over it all with his majestic blade.

It is hard to fathom Tendulkar's achievement. He built an astonishing statistical record. Yet, that record, even though it is far superior to that of his contemporaries (if the 866 different players who played with or against him over 23 years can be called that) does not begin to explain the influence Tendulkar had on ODI cricket in India. For many of those years, Tendulkar was India. It is said that during the betting crisis, all bets were off while he was still in. Opponents tended to lift their game against him knowing that his dismissal would be their most significant one in India's innings. Later in his career, as a world cup winning squad was being built, this became less important. Tendulkar seemed to play with greater abandon in these last years. He produced some breathtaking results. He made a double hundred facing less than 25 overs in all against Steyn and Morkel. He made 175 in a run chase of 351, falling near the end. He made 163 facing about 22 overs of bowling in New Zealand before retiring with injury. He may well have made his double hundred that day.

A great era has come to an end in India. The man who guided India's cricketing fortunes over two tumultuous decades with a miraculously disciplined hand has decided to call it a day. With other players, our uncharitable eye gave us the sense every once in a while, that they were not fully in the game. Never with Tendulkar. It is probably literally true that every single ball he played in ODI cricket, he played to the best of his considerable ability. I will miss the stillness as Tendulkar faced up to the bowler - the stillness before the crisp, decisive movement with which the cricket ball (a blur of red as seen by a batsman against a fast bowler) was met, the stillness which masked the diabolical brilliance of the Tendulkar mind.

If I had to pick one shot to stand in for the man's ODI life (I would protest mightily at such an impossible task), it would be this four he hit off Shoaib Akhtar in South Africa in 2003 (1:13 in the video below). He had just flayed the previous ball - a filthy fling, fast, short and wide over backward point for Six. Shoaib's next ball was perfectly delivered. It was on a length, pitched outside off stump, heading towards the top of off-and-middle. Under normal circumstances Tendulkar (or any serious batsman) would have had to play it well just to defend it. Except, the great man had read Shoaib's mind perfectly. Having done so, it was still no mean task getting into position and meeting the ball right under his eyes to send it speeding to the boundary behind square on the leg side. If Tendulkar had missed that, he would have been plumb LBW. But there was never any question of him missing it. The balance, the footwork, the eye, the mind. The batsman. It was the stroke of a man who, in his little specialized corner of the world - batting at the highest possible level, had turned fortune telling into a science. Every other stroke was to a ball that was perhaps off line or length, or, if it wasn't, was a stroke that was safe and technically mortal. This was a stroke of God.

 

You may wonder why I am making so much of this one stroke. It is not because it was Shoaib, it is not because it was Pakistan (he played some amazing innings against Waqar and Wasim in the 1990s). It is because in that one stroke we see the distilled essence of great batsmanship. At the highest possible level, to score quickly against bowlers who do not lack control, one has to be able to anticipate what they are going to do, and nudge them in directions that they wouldn't look to themselves. It is about mastering that delicate line between being brilliant and being too-clever-by-half. A lot of players in the last 23 years (and indeed in cricket history) have had Tendulkar's eye, the time he has to play his shots, the talent to have 2 or 3 shots for every ball. But very few of them had the discipline and wisdom to master their own gifts. That is something rare. It is something which puts Tendulkar in a category all of his own.

We will never see his kind again. There will be others who shine brighter, albeit more briefly. There will be others who win more than Tendulkar has. But there will never be another like him. He has called time on an epic portion of his life, and ours.

Monday, December 17, 2012

On Trott's Shot To The One That Slipped Out - II - A Round Up of Objections

My original contention was that the forward short-leg fielder could have run Jonathan Trott out by picking up the ball as Trott left his crease to hit it and throwing down the stumps (with or without Dhoni's help), with Trott out of his crease. Several objections have been raised. Some are better than others. I list these and a couple of others in this post, because it presents an interesting area of the law. The fielder's inclination, when he sees the batsman advancing like Trott is, is to get out of the way. But the law permits, in my view, other actions in cases where the ball slips out of the bowlers hands and bounces more than twice before reaching the batsman. Specifically, I think the following two actions are legal:

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On Trott's Shot To The One That Slipped Out: What India Should Have Done

Updated below to include some very good objections
Second Update - A response to some of the very good objections
There is a peculiarity in the laws of cricket which allows batsmen to run a bye even if they didn't attempt to hit it. See this video.

 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Panesar Puts England Ahead At Nagpur

He didn't take a wicket. But he has been England's champion in India's first innings at Nagpur. It was a demonstration of Test Match bowling which would have done Glenn McGrath at his very best proud. There was very little in the wicket for Panesar, especially once the ball got older and softer. But he managed to keep the batsmen honest all day, bowling 46 overs for 67 runs. He kept England in the game, and allowed Alistair Cook the luxury of using a relatively fresh pair of bowlers after the Tea session when the second new ball was just old enough to help the bowlers, but not old enough to be too soft.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The IPL As Straw Man

To attack a straw man, wikipedia informs us, is "to create the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and to refute it, without ever having actually refuted the original position."

Since the advent of the IPL, it has been defended gallantly by many writers against attacks with some superb arguments.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Two Defeats And A Selection

The last time India lost 2 home Tests in a series was when Ricky Ponting's Australians visited India late in 2004. Before that, it was Hansie Cronje's South Africans in 2000. Sachin Tendulkar resigned as captain after the Bangalore Test in 2000 (a 5th consecutive defeat). Sourav Ganguly led India in their next two series against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. In 2004-05, Ganguly continued to captain India for the rest of the 2004-05 season. He even led the team to Zimbabwe in 2005. He was sacked as captain at the end of that series. Since then, India's captaincy has changed hands under happier circumstances. Rahul Dravid quit after beating England in England in 2007, while Anil Kumble retired in the midst of a dominant Indian performance against the visiting Australians in 2008. Mahendra Singh Dhoni took over and has led India to unprecedented success. Perhaps it is worth revisiting a little bit of history here, because I sense that we have lost perspective substantially (as we normally do) with India losing Tests against a good English side (but not one in the class of Ponting's 2004 Australians).

Friday, December 07, 2012

What were the Umpires asking Dhoni about Cook's dismissal?

Update: I have linked to another highlights video
This is the video of Cook's dismissal. It was as crazy as Sehwag's but along a different axis. The most bizarre thing in this video is the conversation Umpires Rod Tucker and Dharmesena have with Dhoni.




Thursday, December 06, 2012

The Cricket Team Of My Dreams

In Cricket, we have a longstanding obsession with All Time XIs. Dream line ups. I have been wondering about why fandom invites these fantasies. Is it a desire to see perfection? Or invincibility? Sport is peculiar in that the former does not necessarily imply the latter. It goes without saying that it does not always imply the latter, but I am saying here that it doesn't imply the latter. Period. If perfection means doing the correct thing all the time, then this is not obviously not enough. There is always the catch at mid-wicket off short leg's back  (as happened to Sachin Tendulkar in the 2nd innings at Mumbai in 2001, when he was at his best, and more than equal to the greatest team in the world), or the perfect leg cutter, or the perfect off cutter, or the ball that hit a pebble. There is always gust of wind that turns a six into a catch on the boundary. So in this post, I will tell you about my dream Test XI. Not a list of eleven players, but a description of types of players.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

On Tendulkar's Slumps

Andy Bull has called Tendulkar's first innings 76 at Eden Gardens his last stand. As he observes, the first thing that goes with age, is perhaps not physical - it is the faith of one's fans. Before the Eden Gardens Test, Tendulkar had gone 10 consecutive innings without reaching 50. This allied with the manner in which he was getting dismissed, seemed to suggest that he was in terminal decline as a batsman. On this blog, I have suggested that Tendulkar move down to Number 6, and that he should retire sooner rather than later. But I have also felt that rather than any terminal decline, Tendulkar's run scoring troubles were down to the choices he was making when batting. I observed that in comparison to his style over many years, he was playing far too many shots, far too early in the innings.

England's Day Despite Tendulkar's Graft At Eden

It was a modest day for India at Eden Gardens. 3 of their 7 wickets were what, should baseball parlance be applied to cricket, would be called "unearned" by England. The other 4 wickets were reward for England's skillful bowling. Much in this Test will depend on how India bowl in England's first innings, as the wicket is unlikely to permit a significant second innings recovery from the batsmen. Prabir Mukherjee's wicket looked scarred at the start of play and played that way.

Monday, December 03, 2012

A Look At Cricinfo's Player v Player Data

The holy grail of Test Match cricket statistics, in my view, is data at the level of every single delivery. If a Test Match could be reconstructed, ball by ball, noting basic information such as who bowled the delivery to whom, and what happened on it, involving qualitative and quantitative observations, then we would know a lot more about how different players perform.