Looking ahead to the Champions Trophy semi finals

Here we shall see that predicting on the basis of long-term form can be misleading.

This is being written after Pakistan beat England on Jun 14.

Let us look at all ODIs between England and Pakistan in 5 years up to Jun 13, 2017:

England led 7-2 in this period

In England, England led 4-1 (all in the summer of 2016). And the only match Pakistan won was at Cardiff.

No matches in Pakistan. On neutral grounds (UAE), England led 3-1.

So, on paper, it looked like Pakistan had no chance. But the result was something else.

Now let us do the same analysis for India and Bangladesh in the 5 years up to Jun 14, 2017

India led 5-2 with 1 no-result.

In India there were no matches.

In Bangladesh, India led 4-2 with 1 no-result

In neutral grounds (in Australia in the 2015 WC), India won 1-0

But it should be noted that the last series between India and Bangladesh was in Bangladesh in 2015, when Bangladesh won 2-1. Forgotten that already? See the series summary (and scorecards if you want):

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/series/870723.html

The key here was the “shock value” of  Mustafizur Rehman who made his debut here, with 5,6 and 2 wickets in the 3 matches. He was deservedly Man of the Series.

But then, he has not done too well in this tournament. See the details of his recent matches here: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/330902.html

So we see that India does have a strong record over Bangladesh in the last 5 years. Just like England had over Pakistan. India should not be overconfident (remember the World Cup of 2007?)

 

Ken Higgs R.I.P.

Ken Higgs, who played 15 Tests for England in the mid-1960s, died on September 7 aged 79. Highlights of his career can be seen here:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/14189.html

He played a role in what may be called one of the greatest fightbacks in Test cricket.

In 1966 the all-conquering West Indies team captained by Gary Sobers had won 3 of the first 4 Tests (two by an innings, another by over a hundred runs). When Brian Close was pulled out of near-oblivion as captain, the 5th Test started predictably.

In reply to WI’s 268, England got to 166/7. Then followed one of the greatest tail-end recoveries in all Tests:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62995.html

Graveney and JT Murray put on 217 for the 8th wicket, while the no 10 and 11 (K Higgs and JA Snow) scored fifties apiece in a stand for 128 for the 10th wicket, bringing the total up to 527. Stung by this unexpected resistance, West Indies made 225 and lost by an innings and 34 runs.

Higgs also held the record for the best 4-wicket analysis in Tests jointly with Pervez Sajjad from the mid-60s onwards. Their 4-5 was surpassed by Graeme Cremer’s 4-4 a few years ago. Here are the best 4-wicket innings analyses in all Tests:

best-4-wkt-hauls

Anyway, Higgs could enjoy his joint world record for over 47 years.

Brian Close R.I.P.

Much has been written about Brian Close, a name which may not be remembered by the present generation of cricket fans. Admittedly his individual performances were not that impressive-no centuries or fivers in Tests. But he did provide effective leadership as captain in 1966-67 when the morale of England’s Test team was quite low. His captaincy record was 6 wins and a draw out of 7 Tests, probably surpassed only by one-offs like Ravi Shastri who won the only Test he captained. More than his statistical record, it was his typical Yorkshire doggedness which he is remembered for.

He remains the only England player to make his Test debut before his 19th birthday, being 18 year and 149 days old in his debut against New Zealand in 1949. He played his last Test 27 years later, in a career spanning four decades.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/10754.html

A little more about the circumstances in which he became captain. In 1966 the all-conquering West Indies team captained by Gary Sobers had won 3 of the first 4 Tests (two by an innings, another by over a hundred runs). When Close was pulled out of near-oblivion as captain, the 5th Test started predictably.

In reply to WI’s 268, England got to 166/7 with Close run out for single figures. Then followed one of the greatest tail-end recoveries in all Tests:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62995.html

Graveney and JT Murray put on 217 for the 8th wicket, while the no 10 and 11 (K Higgs and JA Snow) scored fifties apiece in a stand for 128 for the 10th wicket, bringing the total up to 527. Stung by this unexpected resistance, West Indies made 225 and lost by an innings and 34 runs.

In 1967, he oversaw a 3-0 sweep of India which had its moments in the first Test, remembered by Boycott being dropped for an over-cautious double century and Pataudi’s fightback of 64 and 148. India collapsed abjectly in the next two Tests. The only blemish of the summer was a draw against Pakistan, which Pakistan saved with some difficulty thanks mainly to Hanif Mohammed’s 187 not out.

It was equally typical of Close that he got into a quarrel with a spectator in a county match later in the season. This led to him losing the England captaincy as well as his exit from the team. It was thought that was the last international cricket had seen of him, until he was recalled to play 3 Tests against Clive Lloyd’s team of 1976. Here is a typical picture of that series (when helmets were not in common use).

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/image/632388.html?object=10754;dir=next

Bob Appleyard R.I.P.

In the midst of the heat and dust of the World Cup, it is easy to miss the passing of a relatively little-known English player of the 1950s. He had a rather traumatic childhood, but went on to be one of Yorkshire’s leading bowlers of his time. He played relatively few Tests, but played a major role in one of the major “negative” world records which his team inflicted on another.

Here is his writeup from Cricinfo:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/8554.html

This gives a good general idea of the difficulties he overcame, though it does not go much into his Test career. You can see that here:

Appleyard

He made his debut in the second test between England and Pakistan in 1954, in which he took his best figures of 5-51 which helped England to win by an innings. He missed the rest of the series but then played in 4 Ashes tests that winter, taking 11 wickets with Tyson wreaking havoc at the other end. His finest moment may have been the debacle of 26 all out in the tour of New Zealand that followed, where he was the main wicket taker with 4 for 7:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62788.html

Take a closer look at the innings:

26 all out

Also note the even more startling bowling figures of his Yorkshire colleague Johnny Wardle. Other odd things you will see are that one batsman did cross double figures, though there was another instance of 30 all out in a Test when no batsman got into double figures.

(Not long ago Australia were 21/9 against Philander and Steyn and the long-standing record of 26 all out looked to be in danger. They finally staggered to 47).

After this Test his career petered out, but he remained a well known figure in Yorkshire cricket until his recent death at 90. R.I.P.

National anthems of WC 2015

So the festivities have begun. Since the practice of singing the national anthems seems to have picked up in recent tournaments, here is a quick run through the anthems which you are likely to hear over the next month:

AFGHANISTAN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gs9y-P0FdOo

AUSTRALIA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8tswkr25A0

BANGLADESH: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVjbVPFeo2o

ENGLAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MKRHWT6xdEU

INDIA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8yMvU73Wr7Q

IRELAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GVoWUnKA18k

NEW ZEALAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BT9k_7_jP8A

PAKISTAN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d41Ld1-8Mbo

SCOTLAND: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0MklIdTiaU

SOUTH AFRICA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gr0414FrN7g

SRI LANKA: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H1f4VYi9uE8

U. A. E.: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8ArIT7u4Fg

WEST INDIES: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbcbsmeRYC8 

(also see http://www.angelfire.com/ks/davincy/windies.html)

ZIMBABWE : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKJOZ44Ec9k

This has a lot of disclaimers and peculiarities, as we will see. There is no country called the West Indies, so this “anthem” is purely used for cricket. I have been able to get the English lyrics or English translations for all the anthems.

As usual in such matters, the United Kingdom is on its own trip.

“God Save The Queen” : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ppIomb3r_3Q is the national anthem of the United Kingdom. Scotland has a separate song which is not an official anthem, but is played at sporting events. That is given above. England sticks with the U.K. anthem for soccer but uses another song called “Jerusalem” for cricket, which is what you hear above. Ireland here includes Northern Ireland (which comes under the U.K.) and the Irish Republic (which is another country whose anthem is given here).

Several countries have versions of their anthems in different languages: New Zealand’s includes Maori followed by English in the same anthem. South Africa’s has five languages, one after another: Xhosa, Zulu, Sesotho, Afrikaans and English. Sri Lanka’s has Sinhala and Tamil versions, but the former is more commonly used. Zimbabwe’s has versions in three languages: Shona, Ndebele and English. Similarly Ireland has it in Gaelic and English. Scotland’s unofficial anthem also has  Scots and  Scots-Gaelic versions, though it is unclear if these are unofficial or even un-unofficial.

The UAE anthem might remind Brits of the term “Blighty”, said to be derived from Urdu: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word derives from “bilayati”, a regional variant of the Urdu word “vilayati”, meaning “foreign”, “British”, “English” or “European.”

Parting shot: Supporters of one of India’s main political parties might find the Sri Lankan anthem particularly inspiring 🙂

Down memory lane: the cricket calypsos of 1950 and 1971

Veteran cricket watchers would have heard these at some time or the other. Now they are easily available on the net.

The most famous cricket calypso would be “Cricket, lovely cricket” composed by Lord Kitchener and sung here by Lord Beginner.

A little background here. The West Indies was then a group of colonies firmly under the Union Jack, with the general conditions as well as racial discrimination being what you would expect from the British at that time. The West Indies had been playing Tests since 1928 and had shown a lot of improvement after a whitewash in their first series. By 1950 they had won a few Tests and even a series against England in 1948. But they had never won a Test in England.

The trend looked set to continue when the first Test was won by England by a big margin: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62709.html

Ramadhin and Valentine made their debuts, the latter taking 8 wickets in the first innings and 3 in the second (besides a pair). Ramadhin had a less impressive 2 wickets in each innings.

Then came the second Test-at Lord’s, no less. Now hear it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=06P0RdZyjT4

and see the scorecard: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/62710.html

Or better, still, see the scorecards of the whole series here: http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1950S/1950/WI_IN_ENG/

This famous picture was taken just after the end: http://caribbean-beat.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/style-1_0.jpg

Lord Kitchener is the one with the guitar. It is said that he composed the song within 30 minutes and led the troupe of West Indian fans dancing through London celebrating the victory. A more detailed account can be seen here: http://caribbean-beat.com/issue-100/triumph-calypso-cricket#axzz3Q7iVHLC9

Years passed and the West Indies team rose to greater heights. Most of the colonies became independent countries. But the team had its ups and downs – as in 1971. But there still was a calypso there. In case you need to refresh your memory, see the series scorecards here: http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1970S/1970-71/IND_IN_WI/

It was, in a sense, Indian cricket’s coming of age as it was the first time they had won a Test series against one of the big powers away from home. There was, of course, the 3-1 victory in New Zealand in 1968 which was not given much importance.

In fact, India had never won a Test (let alone a series) against the West Indies until then. And they did not win a Test against them in India until 1974-75 and a series against them in India until 1978-79.

Here is the calypso, composed by Lord Relator:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0V2UUuKcIeA

and the lyrics:   http://andynarell.net/calypso/lyrics/1gav.html

(Note the PJ about Uton Dowe)

Do not pay too much attention to the visuals as they seem to have been hastily put together much later-you can see Roberts, Holding and Chandrashekhar and others (Alan Knott!) who were not part of the series.

There may have been other cricket-based songs later on, but these are probably the best known. There are a few famous poems as well.