And now for something completely different: Reddy jokes instead of Yeddy jokes.

Hope that you got the Monty Python reference.

It is now open season for Yeddy jokes. So, for a change, we look at a famous Reddy joke.

As you know, N Sanjiva Reddy occupied Rashtrapati Bhavan in 1977-82. You may also know that two of his predecessors passed away in a certain bathroom in the building (Dr Zakir Hussain in 1969 and Fakhruddin Ahmed in 1977). It was said that whenever Mr Reddy went to use the bathroom the spirits of his predecessors would appear and chant “Reddy, Reddy, are you ready…….”

As things happened, he was not ready and lived out his 5-year term. Since then no Indian President has died in office, although Vice-President Krishan Kant was the only Vice-President to die in office in 2002 shortly before his term was to end.

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More on Ireland’s maiden Test

Ultimately Ireland lost against Pakistan, but they performed better than most other Test teams on their maiden appearance. But then, the team had considerable international experience before they played in the Test.

We all know that B Rankin had played one Test for England. He has also played in ODIs and T20Is for England and Ireland.

Similarly EC Joyce has played in ODIs and T20Is for England and Ireland.

All 11 members of the team had played T20Is earlier. T Kane is the only one who had not played in an ODI.

Another potential player was Eoin Morgan who played 16 Tests for England with two centuries, besides ODIs for England and Ireland and T20Is for England. He could well have played here, but appears to prefer his present position as England’s ODI captain.

Probably Afghanistan’s Test team will have a similar bank of experience, except that they would never have played an international match in their home country.

Performances in maiden Tests of teams

With Ireland becoming the 11th Test team and Afghanistan soon to become the 12th, we look at performances in the maiden Tests for all teams. Australia and England played their maiden Tests on 15 Mar 1877.

Maiden Tests

Of the 11 teams, only Australia won and only Zimbabwe drew. The 9 remaining teams lost, including West Indies and Pakistan by an innings. The maiden Tests of Australia, England and Ireland were relatively closely fought.

The best scores in maiden tests are 165* by C Bannerman, 145 by Aminul Islam, 121 by DL Houghton and now 118 by KJ O’Brien. Only South Africa and New Zealand failed to record a fifty on debut. AB Tancred actually scored 29 in both innings. India, Pakistan and the West Indies just scraped through with fifties.

In all cases the bowler with the best innings bowling and best match bowling are the same. The best innings bowling here is 7-55 by Kendall in the very first Test, like his compatriot Bannerman. The next best is 6-132 by Naimur Rehman. There are a few other 5-fors.

The best match bowling is also from the very first Test, 8-89 by England’s A Shaw. Kendall with 8-109 is second.

Also note the all-round performance of New Zealand’s RC Blunt who has the highest score, best innings bowling and best match bowling  in his team’s maiden Test.

Some of these Tests involved players who had already represented other countries. These are Amir Elahi (India) and AJ Traicos (South Africa) who were therefore not making their Test debuts. In the recent maiden Test of Ireland, B Rankin was the only one from his team who had played in Tests earlier, having played once for England. Everyone mentioned in the above table other than Elahi and Traicos was making their Test debut.

 

Previous encounters between Ireland and Pakistan

As the first Test between Ireland and Pakistan gets under way, we look at how they have fared in the shorter formats.

ODIs between Ireland and Pakistan:

Ire v Pak ODIs

There have been other 50-over matches between these teams before Ireland got ODI status, but those details are not readily available. Those matches were generally part of Pakistan’s Test tours of England.

We see that 7 ODIs between these teams have been completed. Pakistan lead 5-1 with 1 tie. However it is their first encounter which is remembered, when Ireland’s “beginner’s luck” at the 2007 World Cup played a large part in Pakistan’s early departure. (Similarly Bangladesh spoiled India’s party in the same World Cup).

The scorecard of that first match: http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8039/scorecard/247465/ireland-vs-pakistan-9th-match,-group-d-world-cup-2006-07/

A few members of Ireland’s team on that occasion will be playing in the inaugural Test starting on May 11.

Only one T20I has been played between these teams, which was at the 2009 T20 World Championships. Ireland had got into the Super 8s essentially by defeating Bangladesh. Pakistan won by a large margin. Pakistan went on to win the championship, while defending champion India did not reach the semi-finals.

Again, a few members of that Irish team are playing in today’s Test.

Ire v Pak T20Is

Scorecard of that match:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8604/scorecard/356012/ireland-vs-pakistan-21st-match,-group-f-world-t20-2009/

IPL 2018 at the three-quarter stage

The SRH-DD match on May 10 was the 42nd of 56 matches in the league, thus completing 75% of the matches. At this stage the table is:

IPL 2018 three-quarter

There are various complicated scenarios which can be looked at. But to keep it simple, we look back at the IPL seasons in 2015, 2016 and 2017 where a team with 16 or more points qualified for the playoffs. There is no case of any team qualifying with less than 16 points.

The 16 points would generally mean 8 wins, though it could also mean 7 wins and 2 no-results.

From the above table we see:

SRH have qualified.

CSK needs 1 win from 4 matches-practically qualified.

KXIP needs 2 wins from 4 matches-practically qualfied.

MI needs 3 wins from 3 matches (difficult).

KKR as for MI (difficult).

RR needs 4 wins from 4 matches (more difficult).

RCB needs 5 wins but have only 4 matches left (impossible).

DD needs 5 wins but have only 3 matches left (impossible).

Unless something very peculiar happens now, SRH, CSK and KXIP will qualify and the fourth place is between MI and KKR while RR has very little chance. MI is probably better off due to their higher NRR.

Of course, the points table after all 56 league matches does not offer much guidance as to who will win the championship. The playoffs are even more unpredictable than in “regular” tournaments like the World Cup.

 

(What lies beyond) the Kangra Valley Railway

The Kangra Valley Railway is the least known of the 5 “recognized” mountain railways of the Indian Railways. Numerous videos can be seen on Youtube. If you are not familiar with the basics, you can see:

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

It may or may not be converted to BG. It is unlike the other lines to Shimla, Darjeeling, Udhagamandalam and Matheran in that it was not built primarily to serve a hill station, but to facilitate movement of equipment to be used in the construction of a hydro-electric power station. This was known as the Shanan Power House. Some distance beyond the terminus of Joginder Nagar, there is a funicular railway (known by various other names such as a winch railway) which provided a means for shifting heavy machinery up a steep slope. The entire route of the funicular railway is not in working condition, but the first two legs from Joginder Nagar are still working as shown in the video.

The terminus at Joginder Nagar:

Joginder Nagar

This is the end of the line for the two pairs of passenger trains from Pathankot (most of the passenger trains terminate earlier at Baijnath Paprola). The line reaches a point where goods (including heavy equipment for the project) can be transferred to the funicular railway (which is part of the electricity board or whoever runs the hydel project) but is assuredly NOT part of the Indian Railways.

You will see this sign at the bottom:

Kangra Valley trolley

All technical details can be seen here. However, as of today, the line if functional only up to Winch Camp, the end of section B. It appears that no special permission is needed for outsiders to travel on this section, which is 1.45 +2.0 = 3.45 km long and climbs from 4133 ft to 7990 ft.

This would presumably make it longer than the better-known funicular at the Palani temple in Tamil Nadu. This trip is summarized in this video (in Hindi with English subtitles):

So now you know what the Kangra Valley line was built for. Admittedly, it also serves minor hill stations like Dalhousie and Dharmasala besides religious centres such as Jawalamukhi.

The ownership of the Shanan Power House is a bit complex. It is situated in Himachal Pradesh but is the property of the Punjab State Electricity Board, who are due to transfer it to their counterparts in HP by 2024.But it is gradually getting run down and may not operate for long:

http://www.tribuneindia.com/news/himachal/central-team-inspects-shanan-power-house/172136.html

International cricket at the lower levels-WCL Division 4 in 2018

As in most major sports, it is a long grind from the lower levels to the top levels. Afghanistan has made the transition from Division 5 to Test status in about a decade, so there is hope for others. Here is a summary of the Division 4 championships in 2018. Note that only matches in WCL 2 and above are given List A status.

In some cases, Wikipedia’s summaries are better than those of Cricinfo:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2018_ICC_World_Cricket_League_Division_Four

Although playoffs for 1st/2nd, 3rd/4th and 5th/6th were scheduled, they were cancelled due to rain and the rankings were determined by the league stages. These were the results:

Team[29]

Pld W L T NR Pts NRR Status
 Uganda 5 4 1 0 0 8 +1.175 Promoted to Division Three for 2018
 Denmark 5 3 2 0 0 6 +0.349
 Malaysia 5 3 2 0 0 6 +0.322 Remain in Division Four
 Jersey 5 2 3 0 0 4 +0.044
 Vanuatu 5 2 3 0 0 4 –0.677 Relegated to Division Five
 Bermuda 5 1 4 0 0 2 –1.065