The Al-Jazeera Report Analyzed-2

Hope you have watched the hour-long video and read my earlier post: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2018/05/28/the-al-jazeera-report-analyzed-1/

Here we look at the Sri Lankan connection in more detail.

There is a fleeting reference to Jayananda Warnaweera, who played in Tests with some success as an off-spinner. He was the curator at Galle and was facing queries from the ICC as to some oddities in pitch behaviour. As the ICC and Sri Lankan authorities felt he was being non-cooperative, he was suspended for 3 years in early 2016:

https://www.wisdenindia.com/cricket-news/warnaweera-suspended-years/195673

Anyway he was out of the way by the time this report got under way. His successors (who appeared in the Al-Jazeera report along with Robin Morris) did talk about fixing the Galle Test against Australia in August 2016. This was the second Test of the series which Sri Lanka won 3-0.

In this case, the pitch was deliberately prepared to be bowler-friendly. The betting was probably on low scores and an early finish. The fixers had done their job well: the match got over early on the third day, in one of the shortest Tests in recent times. The scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8917/scorecard/995453/sri-lanka-vs-australia-2nd-test-australia-tour-of-sri-lanka-2016/

In contrast, there was another Test at Galle against India in July 2017. This time they made the pitch more batsman-friendly. Indeed, India batted first and made 600. Sri Lanka collapsed abjectly and went on to lose the series 3-0. The betting was probably on a good score being made in the first innings. But no players were involved in fixing in these two Tests.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17891/scorecard/1109602/sri-lanka-vs-india-1st-test-sl-v-ind-2017/

Now let us look at the dramatis personae from Sri Lanka:

AJ cricket screenshot1AJ cricket screenshot2

Hasan Raza is the only name which most of us would recognize. All other former cricketers lesser known but are duly recorded in Cricinfo and other websites:

Robin Morris: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/31008.html

Tharindu Mendis: http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/49681.html

Reasonable domestic player. Though not highlighted here, he is the elder brother of current ODI/T20I player Jeevan Mendis (BMAJ Mendis).

Jeevan Kulathunga: http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/49394.html

Played in two T20Is

Dilhara Lokuhettige, who made a fleeting appearance: http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/48487.html  He appears in the scorecards as LHD Dilhara. Has played in a few ODIs and T20Is, some against India.

Tharanga Indika: http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/502540.html

Limited career as a domestic player.

The Sri Lankan cricket authorities have acted against the four persons named above: http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/23630601/two-former-sri-lankan-players-suspended-spot-fixing-allegations

Dilhara has escaped for the moment.

Though this news report does not explicitly name Indika, he has also been suspended.

The Al-Jazeera Report Analyzed-1

Anyone who follows cricket (even the Test purists) should watch the report. Numerous bits and pieces can be seen on Youtube and directly on various news sites. But to get a full idea of the extent of the match-fixing industry it is well worth watching the hour-long report:

Some of the key takeaways:

How is it that a key man of the D company is freely functioning in Mumbai apparently without interference from the Mumbai police or anyone else? (One is struck with his quiet confidence and thorough knowledge of the “business”).

A relatively minor domestic player like Robin Morris seems to have made a lot more money from fixing than in his regular cricket career. Even if he had somehow got into IPL he would not have earned much. And he seems to have a particularly dumb sidekick who, unlike him, did play in a few Tests and ODIs.

Then there is the Morris – Rajkumar plan to organize T20 tournaments all over the world-whose only purpose is to make money through fixing. Almost like a never-ending Ponzi scheme or perpetual motion machine.

Although Al-Jazeera did not mention this, someone has already made a start in a “fraudulent” tournament in the UAE earlier this year. This was so blatantly a fixed tournament that the UAE authorities had to throw them out. A sample report:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-31/bizarre-scenes-uae-t20-league-icc-match-fixing-investigation/9377680

Other reports from that period can be found through Google. Not sure what ultimately happened there. But it sounds quite similar to what Morris (mainly) and Rajkumar were talking about. Clearly the players in this tournament had not been “trained” properly.

The allegations regarding Test matches pertain to

1) India vs England at Chennai in Dec 2016, the 5th Test which India won by an innings to take the 5-Test series 4-0: three English players (presumably specialist batsmen) are alleged to have manipulated the scoring rate. They have denied the charges. (Any guesses?) Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10732/scorecard/1034817/india-vs-england-5th-test-england-tour-of-india-2016-17/

Those who followed the match closely on TV or the net may be able to figure out who the guilty trio are. I am not hazarding any guess, except that they would probably be 1-7 in the batting order.

Afterthought: Was even the bowling fixed? Did that allow Karun Nair to make a triple hundred (which is still the ONLY score he has made above 50 in a Test)?

2) India vs Australia at Ranchi in March 2017. This was the third of 4 Tests, the only drawn Test of the series. India won 2-1. Here two Australian players (presumably specialist batsmen) similarly manipulated the scoring rate. Al-Jazeera said that there was no reply from them so far. Here, too we can try to guess who they may be, batting at 1 to 7. Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10839/scorecard/1062575/india-vs-australia-3rd-test-ind-v-aus-2016-17/

3) Sri Lanka vs India at Galle in July 2017. This was the first Test of the series, in which India won all three Tests by heavy margins. This time no players were involved, but merely manipulation of the pitch by the curator (?) and others. (But what was the bet? Merely that the match would be high-scoring). It was, in the sense that India made 600 batting first. But the Sri Lankan batsmen did so badly that they lost by over 300 runs in what was effectively an innings defeat, as India would have won by an innings if they had imposed the follow-on.

Galle has a history of pitch manipulation. The former curator, Test bowler J. Warnaweera, was suspended for 3 years by the ICC in early 2016 for non-cooperation with ICC investigators. This is with reference to earlier matches at Galle.

Here is the scorecard, for what it is worth:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17891/scorecard/1109602/sri-lanka-vs-india-1st-test-sl-v-ind-2017/

The Sri Lankan leg needs a little more study as most of the characters are quite unknown even in neighboring countries.

To be continued.

No 2 always tries harder (IPL)

Comparing the league table position with the final result of IPL from 2015 to 2018:

2015: The winner MI had come second in the league

2016: The winner RCB had come second in the league

2017: The winner MI had come first in the league

2018: The winner CSK had come second in the league

Reminds one of the famous advertising slogan of Avis which ran for a few decades:

https://othmarstrombone.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/we-are-number-two-but-we-try-harder-the-underdog-narrative-of-progressivism/

and

http://www.adwomen.org/2012/05/we-try-harder-technology-vs-ideals/avis2/

 

ABD: career statistics highlights-3

We close by looking at statistics for World Cup matches alone, since a fair number of high scoring rates mentioned earlier were in relatively less important or highly one-sided matches. Perhaps this would give a better idea of performance in more important matches. Perhaps the Champions Trophy matches could also be added.

We start with the highest averages in World Cup matches (minimum 20 innings):

WC-best average

de Villiers heads this list although MJ Clarke and IVA Richards are just behind.

Now we look as

Highest strike rates in World Cup matches (minimum 500 balls faced):

WC scoring rate

Here we have McCullum followed by de Villiers and Kapil.

Then there are links in Cricinfo’s records section for Fastest centuries in ODIs:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/211608.html

That link is constantly updated. This is what it looked like on 26/05/2018:

ODI fastest 100

Note that it took over 17 years to move from Afridi’s 37-ball effort in 1996 to Anderson’s improvement to 36 balls in 2014. But de Villiers lowered the bar to 31 balls a year later.

For World Cup matches alone, the best efforts are  50 balls by KJ O’Brien in 2011, 51 by GJ Maxwell in 2015 and de Villiers  again with 52 balls in 2015.

Similarly there is a link for the fastest 50. Like in the table above, it refers to the first 50 runs in the innings although the number of balls for the second or later 50 runs may be quite different.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284095.html

This is what it looked like on 25/05/2018:

Fastest 50

The record had been stuck at Jayasuriya’s 17 balls since 1996. de Villiers lowered it to 16 balls after almost 19 years. After that Kusal Perera and Guptill also equalled the old 17-ball record.

In World Cup matches, the fastest 50s have been in  18 balls by McCullum (2015), 19 by Mc Cullum again in 2015 and  20 by AD Mathews also in 2015.

 

ABD: career statistics highlights-2

We have already had a look at ABD’s Test figures. He did not do too well in T20Is. But he really came into his own in fast scoring in ODIs. His highest score there was 176. First we look at his career strike rate.

(In all the tables in this post, matches involving multi-national teams such as ICC XI, Africa XI and Asia XI have been disregarded.)

ODI career strike rate (minimum 20 innings):

Career ODI strike rates

Here ABD is relatively lower down, as many batsmen with less matches have scored faster. But his batting average of 54.17 is much higher than that of the likes of Maxwell and Russell.

A better comparison will be with those with longer careers:

ODI career strike rate (minimum 200 innings):

Career ODI strike rates-200 innings

Here he is third, after Afridi and Sehwag. Here, too, his career batting average of 54.17 is considerably higher than that of those with higher strike rates. Kohli with a batting average of 58.10 has a somewhat lower strike rate.

We now go on to innings strike rates in ODIs. While ABD’s top score was 176, we start with the 200+ scores as a comparison.

Strike rates for scores above 200 in ODIs:

Strike rates for 200+ in ODI

There have been only 7 instances of ODI double centuries so far, with 5 by Indian batsmen including 3 by RG Sharma. Gayle and Guptill made their scores in the 2015 World Cup. Sharma and Sehwag have the highest strike rates here.

Next we look at

Strike rates for scores above 150 in ODIs:

150+

Here ABD has by far the highest strike rate in his 162*, which against the West Indies in the 2015 World Cup.

Next we have

Strike rates for scores above 100 in ODIs:

100+

Here, ABD is the clear leader with his 149 against the West Indies, in the runup to the 2015 World Cup. His 162* mentioned above is also here, as are a few other centuries.

Next there is

Strike rates for scores above 50 in ODIs:

50+

ABD still leads with the 149 mentioned above. For scores between 50 and 99, the best strike rates are by the NZ pair of Guptill and McCullum.

But it is an unique distinction that ABD has the best strike rates for 50+, 100+ and 150+ in ODIs.

Finally, we look at

Strike rates for scores above 25 in ODIs:

25+

Here, the top two positions are held by two New Zealand players (including BB McCullum’s lesser known brother) with scores in the 30s. But ABD is still there at the third spot.

A little more wrapping up of high strike rates in ODIs will be done in another post.

 

 

 

 

 

Everything you wanted to know about Morarji Desai – but were afraid to ask

The younger generation would not know much about Morarji Desai, except that he was briefly Prime Minister of India (true), that he was the longest lived person to hold that post (not quite true), that he advocated urine therapy (true) and quoted the Bible to prove that it recommended this (it doesn’t).

Most of the information  you need to know about him (including his drinking habits) will be here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morarji_Desai

but it does not highlight certain points, which is where this blogpost comes in.

To begin with, let us see how long he lived. He was born on 29 Feb 1896 and died on 10 April 1995, soon after celebrating his 99th birthday. If you use something like http://www.timeanddate.com/date/duration.html you can see this is 36,200 days (inclusive of both).

But then there is the little known Gulzarilal Nanda who is listed in the official records as Acting Prime Minister for 13 days in 1964 and 13 days again in 1966. No one else has been Acting Prime Minister-though it is not very clear who ran the country for half a day between the assassination of one PM and swearing in of the new one on 31 Oct 1984.

There have been Deputy Prime Ministers on some occasions but it is not a statutory position.

Anyway, Mr Nanda lived from 4 Jul 1898 to 15 Jan 1999 (about 100 years and 6 months) or more precisely 36,720 days and thus has a rightful claim to be the longest lived Indian Prime Minister.

Coming back to Morarjibhai, you could immediately realize that his true birthday came round every 4 years. But he was doubly unfortunate that 1900 was NOT a leap year and that his first real birthday came only when he was 8, on 29 Feb 1904. Why? Read up on leap years, and you will know that 1896 was a leap year , 1900 was not, although 2000 was. This extract from Wikipedia should do:

“February 29, also known as the leap day of the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and 2020. Years that are divisible by 100, but not by 400, do not contain a leap day; thus 1700, 1800, and 1900 did not contain a leap day while 1600 and 2000 did.”

Thus we see that he saw only 23 birthdays in his long life.

Also see:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/02/27/people-born-on-leap-day/

His earlier career details are seen here: “After graduating from Wilson College, Mumbai, he joined the civil service in Gujarat. Desai resigned as deputy collector of Godhra in May 1930 after being found guilty of going soft on Hindus during the riots of 1927-28 there.”

Had he stuck on, he would have probably been promoted to the IAS soon after independence.

It is not always remembered that he survived a crash of the official PM’s aircraft which claimed the lives of 5 Air Force men and injured several others:

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Flashback-When-Morarji-walked-out-of-a-plane-wreck/articleshow/4966076.cms

A more detailed article is:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/02/20/when-the-prime-ministers-plane-crashed/

But most people know about his drinking habits, and the large number of PJs it spawned. It is not clear whether the soft drink Pee Cola had anything to do with him. It used to be available in India until the 1990s and is apparently still available in Ghana. Apparently the drink was promoted by one Mr Haren Patel who wanted to use his initial in the product. A Google search for Pee Cola seems to show it is still available in some parts of the world.

http://dizzyfrinks.com/drink/pee-cola/

One justification which he is supposed to have used is that “Even the Bible says that you should drink from your own cistern”. There is indeed such a quote in Proverbs 5: 15 but from the context you will realize it means quite something else:

13 Neither have I obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined mine ear to them that instructed me!

14 I was well nigh in all evil in the midst of the congregation and assembly.

15 Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

16 Should thy springs be dispersed abroad, and rivers of water in the streets?

17 Let them be for thyself alone, and not for strangers with thee.

18 Let thy fountain be blessed; and rejoice in the wife of thy youth.

The Bible, like any other major religious work, has extensive commentary for every phrase and sentence. Here is one of the simpler ones:

“(15-20) Drink waters out of thine own cistern . . .—In these verses Solomon urges his disciples to follow after purity in the married life; he pictures in vivid terms the delights which it affords as compared with the pleasures of sin.”

You get the general idea. The same idea is expressed in much greater length in other commentaries. Whoever originally wrote this had much to say about fidelity to one’s spouse but nothing at all to say about beverages.

You do not hear much about urine therapy nowadays. Books on this subject are still available, including one (ostensibly by him):

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Miracles-Urine-Therapy-Morarji-Desai/dp/8187155396

However, at least one reviewer feels that it is a fake title written by someone else using Morarjibhai’s name. Such fake works of literature are often available from dubious sources in India and elsewhere such as novels ostensibly written by best-selling authors such as Arthur Hailey and Frederick Forsyth.

And he is still listed in the Guinness Book of Records:

http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/oldest-appointed-prime-minister

The record is:

“The oldest age at first appointment has been 81, in the case of Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (1896-1995) of India, March 1977.

Leading an opposition coalition, he prevailed in the 1977 elections, ending Gandhi’s emergency rule. He served as prime minister until 1979, when the coalition broke apart.

Philippe Petain (1856-1951), although not `Prime Minister’, became `Chief of State’ of the French State on July 10, 1940, at the age of 84.”

Strictly speaking, Marshall Petain was not elected to this post but was appointed, at the time France was about to surrender to the invading Germans.

There are others such as Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad (92) and British PM William Gladstone (82) who have become Prime Ministers (but not for the first time) at more advanced ages. LK Advani (born November 1927, 90+ at the time of writing) may still harbour  hopes of becoming Prime Minister for the first time in his 90s.

While Morarji Desai was not the best of India’s Prime Ministers, he was not the worst either. And he is associated with more peculiar trivia than other long-serving Indian leaders.

 

ABD: career statistics highlights-1

By now the media is in overdrive recounting the highlights of his career. I am not trying to repeat that, but concentrating on a few of his more outstanding (or more peculiar) performances.

For an overview the most logical place to go is:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/44936.html

He has a very respectable Test batting average above 50 along with 22 centuries.

The highlight of his Test career was probably not his 278* but what is arguably the best all-round performance by a Test wicket-keeper:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284278.html

It can be seen that he is the only wicket-keeper to score a century and to make 10 dismissals in an innings. This is made more clear here:

Century + 10 dis

In fact, he shares the record for most dismissals in a Test with Jack Russell:

Most dismissals

Note WP Saha in this table. Also that 3 of the 5 instances were in South Africa and that the two best performances were at Johannesburg.

His best in an innings is 6, while the record is 7 shared by Wasim Bari, Bob Taylor, IDS Smith and RD Jacobs.

However, he also had some low lights in Tests-being one of the few to get a “queen pair” – out second ball in each inning. And he is also one of the few to get a pair as a captain. He and tailender BS Bedi are the only captains to get a queen pair.

However, it is in the realm of strike rates in ODI matches that he is in a class by himself. That will be the next post.