India’s oldest living first-class cricketer

Vasant Raiji, who played in first-class cricket for Bombay and Baroda in 1938-50, celebrates his 100th birthday on Republic Day, 2020:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/33480.html

A news item from 26 Jan 2020:

https://www.hindustantimes.com/cricket/india-s-oldest-living-first-class-cricketer-vasant-raiji-hits-a-century/story-1IsG9ZUFj83Vk2uoXYtj8K.html

Among other things, he wrote some cricket-related books including a biography of one-Test player LP Jai.

At this stage, it is worth looking at the oldest first-class cricketers from all countries. This is one of the subjects where Wikipedia is more useful than Cricinfo:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_oldest_cricketers#Longest-lived_first-class_cricketers

From this, we can see that Mr Raiji is the 24th first-class cricketer to cross 100.

The only other player from India is the better known DB Deodhar, who lived to be 101+.

The only Test player to cross 100 was the South African bowler N Gordon, 103+ :

http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/45239.html

All of his 5 Tests were in the 1938-39 SA v Eng series, including the famous timeless Test:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17542/scorecard/62657/south-africa-vs-england-5th-test-england-tour-of-south-africa-1938-39

Meanwhile, we look at other long-lived Test players.

The longest-lived Test players of all time:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_oldest_cricketers#Longest-lived_Test_cricketers

New Zealand’s Eric Tindill is the only other Test player to cross 99. India’s representative is MJ Gopalan at 94+.

In case you are thinking of the strange case of C Ramaswami, it is now generally accepted that he died in Jan 1990 at 93+ :

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/33059.html

Interestingly, Wisden carried his obituary in the 2015 edition only in the “supplementary obituaries” section. This included the obituaries of some who were killed in the Great War and had somehow not been covered by Wisden until then. Better late (by 100 years) than never.

C Ramaswami obit

The oldest living Test cricketers are here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_oldest_cricketers#Oldest_living_Test_cricketers

This is led by South Africa’s John Watkins (96+) while India’s representative is DK Gaekwad (91+), captain of the 1959 team and father of AD Gaekwad.

Some of these lists are also in Cricinfo but they are not updated frequently. For instance, the list of oldest-lived Test players

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283742.html

includes at least two (CK Singh of WI and Rajinder Pal of India) whose deaths have been reported elsewhere.

Also see:http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283740.html

Another long-lived Indian FC player was BK Garudachar, who celebrated his 99th birthday soon before he died in 2016:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/29090.html

 

 

 

Lies, damn lies and statistics in cricket-Revised in 2020

For some unknown reason, this post in Dec 2015 was the most popular of my cricket-related posts and got over 700 views in that month.

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2015/12/07/lies-damn-lies-and-statistics-in-cricket/

So I thought of revising it in 2020.

The first question we asked was “Who is the best opening bowler of the 2010s?”

Here we set the bowling position as #1 or #2, and a minimum of 50 wickets.

You may have thought of someone like Steyn or Mitchell Johnson or Morkel.

In Dec 2015, R Ashwin had the best average, BW Hilfenhaus the best economy rate, and Ashwin again with the best strike rate.

When we consider the entire 2010s:

Best opening bowlers of 2010s

There is another unexpected result with the burly Rangana Herath having the best bowling average here. He is followed by Bumrah (expected) and Rabada (also expected). Ashwin is 4th.

Other spinners here are MDK (Dilruwan) Perera, and MH Miraz.

This time Mohammad Abbas has the best economy rate and K Rabada the best strike rate.

Next, who is India’s best opening bowler? Surely Kapil or Srinath?

In 2015 we got Ashwin again (followed by Srinath and Kapil). Phadkar had the best economy rate and Ashwin the best strike rate.

Again in 2020, we consider all those who bowled at 1 or 2 for India and took at least 50 wickets up to the end of 2019.

Indias best opening bowlers

This time Bumrah leads, followed by his contemporaries Ashwin and B Kumar. The first 4 places are held by current players.

Phadkar still has the best economy rate and is now followed by Bumrah. Bumrah has the best strike rate while Ashwin is second.

Finally, who was India’s best all-rounder? We consider all those who scored at least 1000 runs and took 100 wickets up to the end of 2019.

In 2015, it was Ashwin followed by Kapil and Pathan.

In 2020, the topper was not Ashwin but one of his contemporaries.

Indias best allrounders

Indeed, this is led by Jadeja who is followed by Ashwin and Kapil. Of course, anyone below Shastri in this table should not really be called an all-rounder.

 

The Indian Midland Railway of the 1890s

This is from a map found on the net:

Ypu can download it from https://www.flickriver.com/photos/124446949@N06/49078963546/

Otherwise you can refer to the cropped portions below.

IMR cropped

The blue color indicates the IMR and the orange indicates the GIPR.

More basic history can be seen here:

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Midland_Railway

The IMR was short-lived and existed only from 1885 to 1900 when it was absorbed by the GIPR. This particular map seems to be from the 1890s.

The station presently known as Bina was then known as Etawah or Itawa. Note the other old spellings such as Cawnpoor.

We can also see that the Agra-Mathura-Delhi line was not built yet. But one could go from Agra to Tundla and then to Delhi. Indeed, during the 1890s the GIP trains from Bombay to Delhi did follow this route.

And the BBCIR had not advanced much from Baroda towards Delhi. But it was also a regular practice for travelers from Bombay to Delhi to travel to Ahmedabad and then by MG to Delhi.

This box item from the IMR map has some points of interest:

IMR box item

It lists out the lines which existed then, including “Etawah” to Saugor, i.e. Bina to Saugor, though the extension to Katni was completed later.

The “Comparison of Distances” provides insight into the rivalry of different companies connecting the same pairs of cities. In later years the BBCI and GIP kept trying to show that their services between Bombay and Delhi/Punjab were better. This ended only when the railways were regrouped to form the WR, CR etc in the early 1950s.

Here we see that the IMR route from Bombay to Kanpur was shortest, :

1.  Via Jhansi-Kanpur 830 miles (1336 km) which is the standard route today

2.  Via Itarsi-Jabalpur-Allahabad-Kanpur 964 miles (1552 km)

3.  Via Baroda, Ahmedabad-Delhi by MG, Delhi-Kanpur 1006 miles (1620 km)

And similarly for Bombay to Agra:

1.  Via Jhansi-Agra 830* miles (1336 km) which is the standard route today

* So Jhansi-Agra and Jhansi-Kanpur are the same distance?

2.  Via Itarsi-Jabalpur-Allahabad-Tundla-Agra 1123 miles (1808 km)

3.  Via Baroda, Ahmedabad-Bandikui-Agra by MG 849 miles (1367 km)

Once the BBCIR got going and completed the Baroda-Mathura section by around 1910, they clearly had a shorter route between Bombay and Delhi.

The GIPR and EIR met at Jabalpur (Jubbulpore in those days). By the 1920s the Allahabad-Jabalpur section was transferred to the GIPR.

Some jokes from those days:

GIP stood for “Great Improvement Possible”

BBCI stood for “Beastly, Bad and Cannot Improve”

Then there were “Bribes Never Refused”, “Mails Slowly Moving” and “Sambar Idli Railway” which you should be able to guess.

However, the EIR escaped these nicknames.

Review of India-Australia ODI series-2

Continuing with our study of individual performances. Now for bowling.

Most wickets (20 or more):

Bowling-20 wkts

Jadeja and Shami have the most wickets among current players. Cummins has the most among current Australian players.

Best innings bowling (includes all instances of 5wi):

Bowling 5wi

The first two places are occupied by now-forgotten players. There is nothing from this series, although YS Chahal took 6-42 early in 2019. Cummins also had a fiver in 2019.

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

Bowl avg

Brett Lee has a much better average than the second-placed Johnson. However Jadeja at 17th place has the best average among current players.

Kapil and McDermott have the best economy rates, and Lee and Agarkar (!) the best strike rates.

Now for fielding:

Most dismissals (15 or more):

Dismissals-15

Gilchrist and Dhoni are far ahead of the others, including Tendulkar who has the most catches by a non-keeper. Dhoni has the most stumpings. Kohli and Maxwell are the only current players here.

Most innings dismissals (4 or more):

Innings dis-4

Gilchrist and Dhoni again. Clarke is the only non-keeper with 4 catches.

Best dismissal rate (Min 20 innings, 0.500):

Dis avg

Gilchrist and Dhoni lead, with Maxwell having the best average for a non-keeper.

All-round performance (overall)-see criteria in table):

AR overall

The first two (or three) would not generally be considered leading all-rounders, although they have done well in these contests.

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

AR match

The best performance here would be by Tendulkar, followed by Kapil and Watson (5 Nov 2009).

Highlights of the 3rd SA-Eng Test

The 3rd Test of the South Africa-England series ended in an innings victory for England. They lead 2-1 with one to go. A number of statistical landmarks occurred in this match.

First, you can see the scorecard:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/19430/scorecard/1185306/south-africa-vs-england-3rd-test-icc-world-test-championship-2019-2021

Newcomer Oliver Pope was Player of the Match. He became one of the few to score a century and take 6 or more catches as a non-keeper:

Ollie Pope all-round

You can see that the performances of Woolley, Hayden and  Kallis were the best here.

Also see what Ben Stokes did in the previous Test (100 runs/3 wickets/6 catches):

Stokes all-round match

Joe Root had never taken more than 2 wickets in an innings until this Test. He did improve upon this, but suffered the indignity of conceding the most runs in an over. He got a share in this  negative record:

Most runs off an over

His best innings bowling analysis “improved” from 2-9 to 4-87.

Dane Paterson scored 39* at No 11 on debut, which is the fourth highest such score:

Dane Paterson debut

The previous highest by a South African No 11 on debut was 22* by PW Sherwell back in January 1906. Unlike in this Test, this score helped SA to win by one wicket. Sherwell was captaining AND keeping on his debut.

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17651/scorecard/62483/south-africa-vs-england-1st-test-england-tour-of-south-africa-1905-06

This last-wicket partnership of 99 is the second highest for SA vs Eng:

SA v Eng last wicket

Review of India-Australia ODI series-1

As you know, India won the series of January 2020 by a 2-1 margin.

Here are the results of ODIs between these teams since January 2019:

Results since Jan 2019

India won 2-1 in Australia in Jan 2019

Aus won 3-2 in Ind in Mar 2019

Ind won 1-0 in the World Cup in Jun 2019

Ind won 2-1 in Ind in Jan 2020

On the whole India has done better in the past year.

We also look at the results of all ODIs between these teams:

Aus v Ind ODI 2020

Australia still leads 78-51 overall but only 30-29 in India.

We now look at the individual performances in batting:

Most runs (750 and above):

Batting-750

RG Sharma and Kohli continue to move up though they have some distance to go to reach Tendulkar’s record. Finch and Dhawan are among the other current players here.

Tendulkar has the most centuries (9) followed by Kohli and Sharma with 8.

Tendulkar also has the most scores of 50-plus (24) and is predictably followed by Kohli and Sharma with 16.

Highest innings (125 or more):

HS-125

Note that RG Sharma has the highest overall score in this series (209) as well as India’s highest in Australia (171*).

However, Smith (131) and Warner (128*) made the highest scores in this series.

Highest batting average (Min 20 innings, 35.00):

Bat Avg 35

Sharma and Kohli are the top two. Dhawan and Finch are among the other current players here. Smith and Warner have not played enough to qualify.

Highest strike rate (Minimum 500 balls faced, 80.00):

Batting SR 80

Now you can see why Australian fans want Maxwell back in the team.

Dhawan and SPD Smith have the best strike rates among those who played in 2020.

To be continued:

 

 

Indian Railways map of 1909

Fortunately we now have a good quality map which is easily downloadable:

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

The downloaded image can be expanded using Irfanview or similar software.

A few things of historical interest:

The stub going southwest from the Delhi-Muttra section is the Kosi-Sankoch branch which closed long ago, maybe in the 1920s.

While the branch from Satna to Rewah is shown here, it was not built until around 1990.

The branches fron Harpalpur to Rath and Nowgong have not been built even now.

Sipri is the present Shivpuri, then an NG terminus.

The Mohpani branch served collieries in the past, but was closed by the 1930s.

A number of other closed branch lines can be seen.

Test matches of 2019: All-round performance

Finally we look at all-round performances. For overall performances we have this (see the criteria):

AR overall

Even by these modest standards we only get two who meet the criteria of all-rounders. Jadeja has clearly done better than Stokes, although the latter is more likely to make an impact.

Then we have

Match performances: Fifty and fiver in the same match:

AR match

Here we have two contrasting performances. While Chase was largely responsible for an unexpected WI win, Rashid Khan’s criteria was the best all-round performance from Afghanistan in a Test. He was also the captain.

R.I.P. Bapu Nadkarni

Rameshchandra Gangaram “Bapu” Nadkarni was one of the legendary figures of the bad old days of pre-1971 Indian Test cricket, as he played from 1955 to 1968. His last Test was the 4th  of the long-forgotten Indian tour of New Zealand which the visitors won 3-1. That was the first time India ever won a Test outside India, and naturally the first series win as well.

Typically, he signed off with 2-1-1-1, an economy of 0.50 while Prasanna and Bedi (with a little help from Surti) dismissed the home team for 101 facing 374.

He could be described as one of the most economical bowlers in Test history, as you can see here. He is 4th on the all-time list, after Attewell, Gladwin and TL Goddard.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283265.html

And the famous 32-27-5-0 at Chennai with an economy rate of 0.156 is here too:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/283292.html

While that is first on the all-term economy list, he also has the 3rd position of 14-11-3-0 (0.214) which was also in that yawn-inducing series of 1963-64.

He was also good enough batsman to score a century and 7 other fifty-plus scores in Tests.

Anyway, this should give you a fair idea of his career.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/india/content/player/31760.html

As an afterthought, let us look how he compares with other left-arm spinners:

Left-arm spinners (minimum 2000 balls):

Ranked by economy rate (less than 2.25):

Nadkarni career bowling

No prize for guessing who tops this list. Also note that Mankad, Bedi, Doshi and Raju are in the bottom half of the table.

And Nadkarni has one more record-the first Test player to die in the 2020s.

 

 

 

 

Test matches of 2019-Fielding

Individual performances in fielding:

Most dismissals (12 or more):

Fielding dismissals

Australian captain Paine leads by a large margin over the next, de Kock.

The best by a non-keeper was 25 by Root, England’s captain.

M Rizwan took over as Pakistan’s keeper from former captain Sarfaraz Ahmed.

Buttler and Hope played some (but not all) of their matches as keepers.

The most stumpings were 4 by JL Bairstow.

Most innings dismissals (4 and above):

Innings dismissals-4

de Kock is the only one with more than 5 dismissals.

Klaasen took 4 dismissals on debut. Other new faces here are RR Pant and Mohammad Rizwan.

Root, Warner and SPD Smith took 4 catches apiece as non-keepers.

Most match dismissals (6 or more):

Match dismissals-6

Sarfaraz Ahmed took 10 dismissals before he lost his captaincy as well as his place in the team. Paine and de Kock were next with 8. New faces here include GC Wilson, RR Pant and Mohammad Rizwan.

Warner and SPD Smith took 6 catches as non-keepers.

Best dismissal rate (Min 15 innings, 0.500):

Dismissal rate 0.5

Paine has by far the best dismissal rate (2.521), followed by Watling.

The best by a non-keeper is 1.312 by SPD Smith.

Test matches of 2019-Bowling

Now for individual bowling performances in Tests in the calendar year 2019.

Most wickets (12 or more):

Most wkts-12

The two top positions are for Australian players Cummins and Lyon. Cummings has a large lead. The best of the newcomers appear to be Archer, Rashid Khan, Embuldeniya and SS Afridi, while Cornwall had a 10-wicket haul in his 2nd Test

Wagner and Starc had the most 5-wicket hauls (4). No one took more than one 10-for.

Best innings performances (including all 6wi and above):

Innings bowling

Chase’s 8-wicket haul was largely responsible for England’s defeat. Next is another WI spinner who was playing in his 2nd Test. Other good performances were by newcomers JC Archer, TJ Murtagh and Rashid Khan.

Murtagh was the first Irish player to get his name on the Lord’s honours boards.

Here we add the only hat-trick this year:

Bumrah hat trick

JJ Bumrah took a hat-trick with the wickets of 2-13 (Bravo, 8.2 ov), 3-13 (Brooks, 8.3 ov), and 4-13 (Chase, 8.4 ov). He finished with innings figures of 6-27 and match figures of 7-58.

Best match bowling (including all cases of 8wm and above):

Match bowling

Rashid Khan scored a fifty along with his 11 wickets. Other newcomers here are Cornwall and Archer.

Best bowling averages (Minimum 1500 balls, all instances):

Bowl avg

Wagner and Cummins lead here, with Archer the best of the newcomers.

The best economy rates are by Cummins and Hazlewood. The best strike rates are by Starc and Wagner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Martin lines of old Calcutta-3 (Pictures of stations and trains)

We start with some pictures showing traces of the closed lines and some of the stations presently in use.

(Copyright of the pictures is that of the photographers, mainly Ashis Mitra).

Amta old
Amta

Old and new Amta.

Remnants of stations closed in 1971: Patihal, Panpur, Chanditala and Kalipur. The last one seems to be well-maintained.

Kalipur near Howrah

Pantihal

Pantihal appears to be the replacement of Patihal.

New Domjur and remnants of the old:

Domjur new
Domjur old

Old and new signs at Munshirhat. This is the new station on BG.

And finally-a little-known gallery of pictures of trains taken in the 1960s:

http://www.internationalsteam.co.uk/raj/india02/indiaenger1001.htm

(Click on the right arrow, not on “start”)