Travels along the railways in Jammu

It is common to find odd things in the inscriptions on signboards at railway stations in India. The traditional rule is to have three languages-the state’s language at the top, Hindi second and English third. Examples from southern and eastern India:

Now, it becomes complicated when a state has more than one official language. UP and Bihar have Hindi and Urdu, Assam has Bengali in some districts, and so on. This is summarised here:

The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has official languages Kashmiri, Dogri, Hindi, Urdu and English. Kashmiri was added only in 2020. Up till then stations in this state/UT had inscriptions in Urdu, Hindi and English. Dogri has started appearing in the Jammu region now. Sometimes there is only Dogri in addition to English and Hindi, or only Urdu, or sometimes both.

Jammu Tawi:

Here we see signs with Urdu or Dogri but not both.

Kathua, close to the Punjab border has signs with only Urdu and with Dogri and Urdu.

Samba, associated with a spy scandal and Gabbar Singh has Dogri and Urdu

Similarly for Vijaypur Jammu:

So there does not seem to be any clear policy as to which languages are to be considered local languages in the Jammu region.

Mallett, Davidson and India

Australia lost two of its Test stalwarts on successive days; Ashley Mallett on Oct 29 and Alan Davidson on the 30th.

While Mallett was somewhat overshadowed by the Australian fast bowlers of his time, he often played an useful role as the sole spinner.

He did well bowling against India, as you can see here:

https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/6472.html?class=1;template=results;type=bowling

His bowling average against India was his best against all Test countries. He only played one series against India, in 1969-70. He took 28 wickets including his only 10-for in the last Test at Madras, which gave Australia a 3-1 win. Indian fans of that period remember it more for Viswanath’s debut and numerous crowd disturbances.

Davidson is better-known for being the first to score over a 100 runs and take a 10-for in the same Test. This was at the Tied Test at Brisbane:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/west-indies-tour-of-australia-1960-61-61907/australia-vs-west-indies-1st-test-62888/full-scorecard

In later years this was overshadowed by the feats of Botham, Imran and Shakib who scored centuries along with 10-fors. No one else has emulated Davidson.

He did not do too well as a batsman against India: https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/4902.html?class=1;template=results;type=batting

But did somewhat better as a bowler:

https://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/4902.html?class=1;template=results;type=bowling

His bowling average against India was his best against all Test countries. His best innings figures (7-93) and match figures (12-124) were also against India.

This was at Kanpur in 1959-60, which marked India’s first win against Australia:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/australia-tour-of-india-1959-60-61422/india-vs-australia-2nd-test-62869/full-scorecard

Australia batted first, took a first-innings lead, and lost. An Australian left-arm pace bowler took 12 wickets.

20 years passed. 7 Tests were played at Kanpur and all were drawn (including the one against Australia in 1969-70).

In 1979-80, a weakened Australian team toured India.

The story was the same as in 1959-60:

Australia batted first, took a first-innings lead, and lost. An Australian left-arm pace bowler took 12 wickets.

The only difference was that the bowler was Dymock instead of Davidson:

https://www.espncricinfo.com/series/australia-tour-of-india-1979-80-61434/india-vs-australia-3rd-test-63243/full-scorecard

Like Davidson, Dymock took 5 wickets in the first innings and 7 in the second.

Unlike in 1959 when Jasu Patel took 14 wickets, here the spoils were shared by Kapil, Ghavri and Shivlal Yadav.

But these two Tests at Kanpur had a remarkable number of similarities, more than those of the two Australia-England Tests of 1877 and 1977.

The mystery of Barog

Many of you would have heard the story of Colonel Barog, his suicide, and Baba Bhalku. How far is it true? For a change, an Indian publication looks behind the legend.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/shimla/himachal-pradesh-how-real-is-the-man-behind-barog-tunnels-famous-ghost/articleshow/87252483.cms

A few points to add:

The place was originally called Barog as well as Barogh before the construction if the line started.

The station was initially called Barogh, as you can see here. By 1930 it was listed as Barog.

Also, Barog does not seem to be a British name. It could be a variation of Barogh (Irish) or possibly from one of the Scandinavian countries (e.g. Agnetha Faltskog of Abba).

RR Bhandari’s book (1983) does not mention the name of Colonel Barog.

As the article in the link states, it makes a nice story but the story cannot be verified.

Mr Kaprekar and his numbers

I first came across the name of Mr Kaprekar in the mid-70s, when the door of a room in a remote corner of our hostel had a chalked handwritten inscription of Mr D R Kaprekar. My classmates briefly mentioned that it was occupied by an elderly gentleman who was a guest of our Mathematics department.

A few decades later, I came across this article:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D._R._Kaprekar

It is interesting that a mathematics teacher in a small town came up with various sets of numbers, long before computers or calculators existed. He lived in obscurity until Martin Gardner discovered his work and wrote about it in the “Scientific American” in the 1975. Today his work is better known.

In particular, he is known for the Kaprekar constant 6174 (see explanation in above link)

Then there are the Kaprekar numbers.

The Devlali numbers or self numbers (as he was living in Devlali, near Nasik).

The Harshad numbers (based on a Sanskrit word, not Mehtaji).

The Demlo numbers.

Devlali also got itself into the English language because it was a rest camp for British soldiers before they returned home. Thus the phrase “Gone doolally” meant someone who had a mental problem.

As for Demlo, it appears to be a contraction of Dombivili (which meets the stipulation of being 30 miles from Bombay VT).

Finals of the T20 World Cup

2007: India bt Pakistan by 5 runs at Johannesburg, MOM Irfan Pathan (3-16)

2009: Pakistan bt Sri Lanka by 8 wkts at the Oval, MOM Shahid Afridi (54*)

2010: England bt Australia by 7 wkts at Bridgetown, MOM C Kiesewetter (63)

2012: West Indies bt Sri Lanka by 36 runs at Colombo (Premadasa), MOM M Samuels (78)

2014: Sri Lanka bt India by 6 wkts at Dhaka, MOM K Sangakkara (52*)

2016: WI bt Eng by 4 wkts at Kolkata, MOM M Samuels (85*)

2021: Aus bt NZ by 8 wkts at Dubai. MOM M Marsh (77*)

M Samuels is the only one to be Man of the Match in two finals.

Irfan Pathan is the only one here because of his bowling.

A study of converting Test fifties into hundreds-2

We now look at the other side of the coin-those who have failed to make enough hundreds to match their fifties. And of course we have to consider those who made enough fifties and runs but never a century.

First we look at those who scored at least one century and had the lowest conversion rate:

Headed by the all-rounders Goddard, Jadeja and Noble. Most in this list are not in the side primarily for their batting. But we do have specialist batsmen in Bavuma, Nourse, Wadekar, Contractor, Ramiz Raja and others.

Jadeja, Wadekar, Contractor and Prabhakar represent India.

Current players include Jadeja, Bavuma, Broad and Buttler.

Those who failed to make any century after numerous attempts are covered here:

A study of converting Test fifties into hundreds-1

The ability to convert fifties into hundreds is useful in Tests, even more than converting centuries into double centuries. The “conversion rate” has not received much attention in statistical studies in the past.

If your career includes a score between 50 and 99 but no century, your conversion rate is 0%

If you have no score between 50 and 99 but one or more centuries, your conversion rate is 100%

Most Test batsmen will fall between these extremes (unless they never crossed 50).

Take Virat Kohli. He has 27 Test innings between 50 and 99. Oddly enough he also has 27 centuries.

So he has crossed 50 a total of 27+27 = 54 times, and has gone past 100 on 27 occasions. This is a conversion rate of (27/54)*100 = 50%.

One more example: Sachin Tendulkar has 68 innings between 50 and 99, besides 51 centuries.

So he crossed 50 a total of 68 + 51 = 119 times. His conversion rate is (51/119)*100 is 42.86%

Similarly, we can find Don Bradman’s conversion rate to be (29/(29+13)*100 = 69.05%

Let us now look at studies of all Test players up to Sep 30, 2021.

There are 56 players who have a 100% conversion rate, who have no score between 50-99 plus one or more centuries. The first few are:

RS Bopara is the only one with 3 centuries without any score between 50 and 99.

The next 5 have made 2 centuries, including Wasti who made both his centuries in the same Test.

And then there are 50 others who crossed 50 only once but went on to make a century, ranging from A Lyth to Yasir Shah. KK Nair has a triple century, while D Lloyd and B Kuruppu have doubles. There are a surprisingly high number of players who scored a century on debut and failed to cross 50 afterwards.

For a short time, Fawad Alam had made 4 centuries without a fifty. The record is by GA Headley of long ago, who made 6 centuries before making a fifty.

After crossing the 56 who have a 100% conversion rate with the help of one century, we get:

(This has a cutoff of 55%)

Fawad Alam leads with 5/6 or 83.33%, followed by JF Reid (of the 1980s) and Azhar Mahmood with 75%.

Current players here are Fawad Alam, Najmul Hussain Shanto, Abid Ali and SC Williams (Zimbabwe).

From India there is only S Dhawan and VG Kambli.

If you take those who have scored 10 or more centuries, only Bradman (69.05%) and Headley (66.67) have crossed 55%. The next few are Walcott (51.72), Azharuddin (51.16) and MJ Clarke (50.91)

Here is a complete list of those who scored 10 or more centuries at a conversion rate of 45% or more:

The only current players in this elite group are Kohli and SPD Smith (and M Hafeez from the recent past).

India is represented by Azharuddin, Kohli, Shastri (!) and Umrigar.

(Note that Hayden’s century and other scores in the ICC XI v Aus Test in 2005 have not been counted).

Let us look more closely at current players with 10+ centuries and conversion rates 35+

V Kohli 50.00

SPD Smith 46.55

DA Warner 44.44

Mominul Haque 44.00

D Elgar 43.33

KS Williamson 42.11

CA Pujara 36.73

LD Chandimal 35.48

TWM Latham 35.48

Azhar Ali 35.29

R Taylor 35.19

Note the absence of JE Root (31.51), BA Stokes (29.41), AM Rahane (33.33) and F du Plessis (32.26)

Certainly this last list has some surprises which contradict common perceptions about the heavy scorers of today.

In Part 2, we will look at the other end of the scale-those with the lowest conversion rates.