Sri Lanka’s tour of India

Here is a short summary of Sri Lanka’s cricket performance in India:

Tests: 17. India lead 10-0, 7 draws.

ODIs: 48. India lead 34-11, 3 with no result. Sri Lanka has never won a bilateral series in India-though they did beat India twice during the 1996 World Cup on their way to the trophy.

T20Is: 5. India lead 3-2, and won the only bilateral series between the teams.

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Zeros and signboards

First take a look at this sign in Kerala:

Nilambur

Not too clear why the place name (Nilambur) was not written in English. This relatively small place is served by this station:

Nilambur Road

This station has the code NIL. This is one of the numerous synonyms for zero or nothing. Some of them are:

http://www.thesaurus.com/browse/zero

This list of synonyms became popular at the time of the Delhi elections in 2015, while discussing the results of the Congress party. The BJP fared better with 3 seats, which made it an “Auto rickshaw party” as its MLAs would fit in one. In various parts of the country there are other auto rickshaw parties where the entire membership fits in one.

Some are not originally in English but have come into common use. Like Nada in Spanish.

Appropriately, there is another zero-themed place name in Kerala:

Nadapuram Road

And the railway across the Nullarbor Plain in Australia (the route of the famous Indian Pacific:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nullarbor_Plain#Railway_line

Then there is this place in Arunachal Pradesh:

Which is spelt both as Ziro and Zero. It has an airport which is supposed to have regular flights-at least, it did when Vayudoot was around:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Airport

Then there is Zero Road in Allahabad, which is perfectly logical:

https://www.quora.com/Why-is-Zero-Road-in-Allahabad-India-called-so-Is-it-because-of-the-IST

Zero Bridge in Srinagar also has a perfectly logical explanation:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Bridge

And of course there was actor Zero Mostel:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero_Mostel

Even Salman Rushdie got into the act with the Maharani of Kooch Nahin, which must have been inspired by this place

Cooch Behar

although it is now served by this larger station:

New Cooch Behar

Finally, there is Zero Point station on the Pakistani side of the border which is reached by Munabao:

 

 

Review of India-NZ T20Is-Nov 2017

India won the series 2-1, a fine achievement considering that they had never won a T20I against New Zealand until now. This did not improve India’s standing at 5th position, but did ensure that Pakistan now has the top position ahead of runner-up New Zealand.

The record of all T20Is between these teams:

Results

We see that NZ leads 6-2 among completed matches. India won for the first time in the Delhi match on Nov 1.

India has never lost a Test, ODI or T20I series to NZ at home until now (unless you count 2012 where one T20I was washed out). One Test series was drawn 1-1 in 1969-70 when NZ came close to winning the third Test.

MS Dhoni is the only one to have played in all 8 matches, while Guptill has played in 7.

Going through individual performances:

Batting-most runs (90 and above):

Runs

Kohli has some distance to catch up with McCullum, while several other current players are here.

Highest individual innings (50 and above):

Innings batting

Munro made the only century which came during this series. McCullum has the most 50+ scores with 3.

In this series Munro surpassed McCullum’s 91 as the best individual score for NZ. Similarly RG Sharma and Dhawan both scored 80 which is now the best individual score for India, surpassing Kohli’s 70.

Interestingly both of the earlier record scores were made in the same match, at Chennai in 2012.

Bowling-most wickets (4 and above):
Wkts

Sodhi heads this list, with several current players also on this table.

Best innings bowling (2wi and above):

Innings bowling

Santner’s 4-wicket haul during the previous T20 World Championship remains the record.

Fielding (3 or more dismissals):

Fielding dismissals

As one might expect, MS Dhoni heads this table. Several non-keepers have taken 3 catches.

Best innings fielding (2 or more dismissals):

Innings fielding

Ronchi, Latham and Dhoni have all made 3 dismissals in an innings, while some non-keepers have taken 2 catches.

All-round overall (Minimum 4 innings batted and bowled):

AR overall

Only Yuvraj and Pandya qualify here, although their results are not too good.

All-round match performances (minimum 10 runs and 1 wicket):

AR match

Really scraping the bottom of the barrel here, as no one from either side has made 20 runs and 2 wickets in a match. Vettori, Santner and Munro have the best performances here along with Yuvraj for India.

 

The southernmost railways in India

There are some questions which can be answered easily by a layman. But if you ask a more knowledgeable person you may get a more complicated answer.

Q: Which is the southernmost point of railways in India?

A: Kanniyakumari station is the simple answer:

Kanniyakumari

A plaque at this station says that it was inaugurated by the then PM Morarji Desai on 15 April 1979. Its latitude is 8.0864 N from Google Maps.

Its code is CAPE. But the station never had this name. This is because the place was also known as Cape Comorin earlier on. To be more precise, the southernmost point of the Indian mainland is still called Cape Comorin.

Footnote: For a long time before the mid-50s, Kanniyakumari was part of Travancore state before the reorganization of states placed in the then Madras state as a majority of people in the taluk were Tamil-speaking. But as Travancore state was predominantly Malayalam-speaking, some station signboards had Malayalam inscriptions until a few years ago. Maybe they still exist.

Q: Before that, which was the southernmost point?

A: If one looks at earlier timetables, the southernmost stations as of 1975 were Trivandrum Central (TVC) and Tiruchendur (TCN). It was difficult to make out which was southernmost from ordinary atlases. With the aid of Google Maps, we see that TVC is at 8.4870 N and Tiruchendur is at 8.4986 N. So we see that TVC was the southernmost station until the opening of the lines from TVC and Tirunelveli to Kanniyakumari.

However, if you take the distance between the parallels of latitude then TVC was a little over 1.2 km south of TCN. A narrow win indeed!

Trivandrum

Though the city was traditionally known as Thiruvananthapuram, it was not until 2007 that this and many other stations in Kerala were renamed to fit the Malayalam versions.

A recent picture of the former runner-up:

Tiruchendur

You can see an overview here: https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Nagercoil,+Tamil+Nadu/@8.6366475,77.5674675,10z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x3b04f0dfc0ddc7b7:0x809a9e32a95d3ed1!8m2!3d8.1832857!4d77.4118996

By enlarging this map you can see the two BG lines from TVC and Tirunelveli meeting at Nagercoil Jn, from where a short branch goes to Kanniyakumari.

In 1975, TVC and TCN were both MG. By 1976 the BG line from Ernakulam was extended via Quilon to TVC, and continued to Kanniyakumari after that. TCN got broad gauge much later in the 2000s.

Q: Did any other railway exist in the deep south before that?

A: Yes, the privately owned KPN Light railway existed (with its main station at Tiruchendur) until it was closed (due to economic reasons, perhaps connected to World War 2) in about 1940. It was 2’0″ narrow gauge. It was duly mentioned in Bradshaws before then, as you can see here:

Kulasekarapatnam line TT

This was owned by the Madras-based Parry’s group of industries to facilitate their activities in that area-in particular, a sugar factory at Kulashekarapatnam. Passenger services were probably more of an afterthought.

If one looks at the map carefully one can see that the southernmost station was Tissianvillai which was indeed the southernmost station in India, as its latitude was 8.3353 N, somewhat south of TVC. The route of this tiny railway system can be seen here.

https://www.google.co.in/maps/place/Thisayanvilai,+Tamil+Nadu/@8.4062791,77.9075378,12z/data=!4m13!1m7!3m6!1s0x3b04f0dfc0ddc7b7:0x809a9e32a95d3ed1!2sNagercoil,+Tamil+Nadu!3b1!8m2!3d8.1832857!4d77.4118996!3m4!1s0x3b047e50930e95e5:0x1d70ec9eff576a24!8m2!3d8.3349894!4d77.8652573

Whatever little is known about this system is here: https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Kulasekharapatnam_Tissainvillai_Light_Railway

The station was probably at a different location from the “real” station on metre gauge.

A few years ago a determined rail-fan friend of mine tried to find some existing physical remnants of the track but was unsuccessful. As many years had passed most of the local people did not know much about the track, and no former employee could be found in the vicinity. But there were some who vaguely remembered their grandfathers working on the line.

Q: OK, so that is true of the mainland (though this last line was not really a part of the Indian Railways). What about the island territories?

A: A good question, but you won’t catch me here. There is no record of any industrial railway in Lakshwadeep, but in any case the southernmost point of this territory is on Minicoy which is around the same latitude as Trivandrum.

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands look more promising. Indeed, some industrial railways have existed in the vicinity of Port Blair. But this has around the same latitude as Puducheri.

If there were any such lines in the Nicobar islands, they would be the southernmost railways ever to have existed in India. But there is no record of these, as the Nicobar region remains largely undeveloped even today.

Thanks to Bharath Moro for his account of his search for remnants of the KPN line.

Review of West Indies-Zimbabwe Tests

West Indies won this series 1-0 with one draw, when the second Test was drawn. The last draw involving Zimbabwe was in January 2005, when a Test in Bangladesh was drawn. From then till now Zimbabwe played in 26 Tests, including 23 losses and 3 wins (2 against Bangladesh and one against Pakistan). However, Zimbabwe did not play any Tests between Sep 2005 and Aug 2011.

Some Zimbabwe players ended their all-loss Test record. Chakabva now has seen 11 losses and 1 draw, while Sikandar has seen 8 losses and 1 draw. SC Williams has seen losses in all his 7 Tests, though the overall Test record is held by Alok Kapali with 17.

Zimbabwe’s captain AG Cremer also came out of the all-loss group. His 7 Tests as captain now have 6 losses and 1 draw.

Here we have a summary of all 10 Tests between these teams:

Results

WI leads 7-0 with 3 draws. They won all 4 Tests held in the West Indies and 3 out of 6 in Zimbabwe. All 3 draws were in Zimbabwe.

With this limited sample size there is no point in looking at averages, strike rates and the like. So we concentrate on overall tallies and innings and match performances.

Most runs (200 and above):

Runs

Gayle and H Masakadza scored 2 centuries apiece. These two players along with Sarwan are the only ones to make 3 scores of 50-plus. Gayle and Chanderpaul had played in all Tests between these teams except this series.

Highest individual scores (all centuries):

Innings

In this series H Masakadza made the highest score for Zim against WI. The previous record was 127* by Streak.

Also during this series WI’s no 8 and 9 batsmen (Holder and Dowrich) scored centuries. This was only the 2nd time this happened, after this one in the 1907-08 Ashes: http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17646/scorecard/62493/Australia-vs-England-3rd-Test-the-ashes/

In that match a top-order batsman Clem Hill was batting at No 9 for some reason (probably an injury). So this instance is the only one involving “genuine” No 8 and No 9 batsmen.

Bowling: 10 or more wickets:

Wkts

Price has the most wickets. He and S Shillingford are the only ones to have taken tenners. Shillingford is also the only one with 3 fivers. Several current players (led by Bishoo) are in the above table.

Best innings bowling (including all fivers):

Innings bowling

Shillingford and Price lead again.

Best match bowling (including all cases of 8wm and above): The same pair again head the table.

Match bowling

Some current players (notably Bishoo) are in these tables.

Fielding records (5 or more dismissals):

Overall fielding

Gayle has the most catches by a non-keeper.

Most dismissals in an innings (3 or more):

Innings fielding

Ervine and A Flower have the most catches in an innings.

Most dismissals in a match (4 or more):

match fielding

Interestingly a non-keeper Powell has the most dismissals.

All-round performances (overall):

AR overall

Fittingly the only name here is that of Zimbabwe’s leading all-rounder.

All-round match performances (50 and 5wi):

ARmatch

In this series Sikandar Raza became only the second Test player to make two eighty-plus scores along with a fiver (see more about this in the previous post).

 

 

An unusual all-round feat

Test matches between the West Indies and Zimbabwe have generally been one-sided. So it is a welcome change to see a strong performance by a Zimbabwe player.

Sikandar Raza became only the 15th player in all Tests to score two fifty-plus scores and take a fiver in the same Test:

AR Raza

In fact, he and Kallis are the only ones to make two scores of 80+ and take a fiver.

This list include some well-known and not so well-known players. Mankad (256) and Umrigar (228) have scored the most runs here-but in both cases India lost. Faulkner is the only other one here to have scored over 200 runs (when his team won).

There are a few other instances where the player’s team lost. Bhuvaneswar Kumar was the last to achieve this all-round feat, which resulted in a draw.

Sikandar Raza is probably the only Zimbabwe player who was born in Pakistan.

Review of ODIs between India and New Zealand-Oct 2017

At the end of the recent ODI series in India, India maintained its record of winning all bilateral series against New Zealand at home. To sum up:

India won 4-0 in 1988-89

3-2 in 1995-96

3-2 in 1999-00

4-0 in 2010-11

3-2 in 2016-17

and 2-1 in 2017-18

While both this year’s and last year’s series were decided in the final match, this series was more closely contested.

This series finished with 101 ODIs being played between these teams.

Summary table

India has a healthy 51-44 lead over New Zealand. Both teams have a major home advantage, but have won exactly the same number of matches (15-15) on neutral grounds.

Coming to individual performances:

Batting: 500 runs or more:

Runs

While Tendulkar is far ahead of everyone else, Kohli is rapidly moving up followed at some distance by Taylor. A few other current players are also seen in the table above.

The most centuries are 6 by Sehwag, with Astle, Kohli and Tendulkar on 5.

The most scores of 50+ are 13 by Tendulkar followed by 11 by Kohli and 10 by Astle.

Highest individual scores (110 or more):

Innings

RG Sharma made the highest score in this series.

Highest batting averages (Minimum 20 innings, all instances):

Bat Avg

While Sehwag leads with Dhoni some distance behind, we may note that several current players including Kohli, RG Sharma and Williamson have not completed 20 innings yet. Kohli will move to the top after he completes one more innings.

Batting strike rate (Minimum 500 balls, all instances):

Strike rate

Kohli does qualify here, and is after Sehwag and Kapil.

We now move to bowling.

20 or more wickets:

Wkts

Srinath is far ahead of the others. Southee is the only current player here.

Srikkanth (!) is the only one with two fivers although he does not appear above. But see the next table:

Best innings bowling (including all instances of 5wi and above):

Innings bowling

No major bowling feat in this series. Srikkanth’s two fivers can be seen here.

Best bowling averages (Minimum 1000 balls, all instances):

Bowl Avg

Srinath has the best average, while Hadlee has the best economy rate and Srinath again the best strike rate. Current players have not bowled enough.

Now for fielding.

12 or more dismissals:

Dismissals

Mongia has the most dismissals and the most stumpings, although McCullum has more catches as a keeper than Mongia. Fleming (18) and Taylor (16) have the most dismissals. Dhoni and Taylor are the current players here.

Best innings fielding (4 or more dismissals):

Innings dismissals

Four keepers (including McCullum twice) have taken 5 dismissals. 4 fielders have taken 4 catches apiece.

Best dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings, 0.400):

Dismissal rate

Mongia again, with Dhoni and Taylor among current players. Taylor also has the highest rate among non-keepers. Dravid has played as a fielder as well as a keeper.

All-round performance (see criteria in table):

AR overall

Only the “bits-and-pieces” player CZ Harris appears here. The well-known all-rounders Kapil and Hadlee did not play enough.

All-round match performance (30 runs and 3 wickets):

AR match

Several more instances here, with the unlikely hero Srikkanth having the only instance of a fifty and fiver in the same match. Other good performances are by Cairns, Astle and YK Pathan, while the more established Hadlee and Cairns (jr) also appear here.

Footnote: After this series India and New Zealand play 3 T20Is in a series starting from Nov 1. This is an entirely different matter as New Zealand have won all 5 of these matches they have played against India-even when India won the inaugural World Championship in 2007.