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?)

 

The jinx in India-Pakistan matches

Note: This was written before the start of the 2017 Champions Trophy.

It is often said that India dominates Pakistan in ICC tournaments. Hence the “Mauka Mauka” ads which aired at the beginning of the 2015 World Cup.

Let us see take a closer look at the history of these encounters. First, the World Cup:

I v P World Cup

India and Pakistan never met in the World Cups of 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1987. They were somehow always drawn in different groups so they could have met only in the semi-finals or finals. It was not until 1992 that they met in the World Cup. In that tournament all teams played each other in the knockout stage.

They met in the quarter-finals in 1996, Super Six in 1999, and a pool match in 2003. India won all these matches so the feeling of a jinx over Pakistan kept growing.

In 2007, both India and Pakistan were jinxed and failed to proceed beyond the pool stage, being displaced by Bangladesh and Ireland respectively.

In 2011, India won in the semi-final and repeated this in a pool match in 2015. So India have won all 6 encounters.

If you want to see the scorecards, open this link and click on the blue square on the extreme right.

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;opposition=7;orderby=start;team=6;template=results;trophy=12;type=team;view=results

Now we go to the T20 World Championship. We will come back to the Champions Trophy at the end.

I v P T20

The teams met twice in the inaugural championship in 2007. Though the match in the pool stage was a tie, India got the winner’s points as they won in the bowl-out which was then the method used to determine the winner of a tied match.

Then India won against Pakistan in the final. The teams did not meet in 2009 and 2010. India won the next three encounters in 2012, 2014 and 2016. All of these were in the group stages and not the semi-final or final. Thus India leads 5-0 (including the tie) in the World T20 Championship.

You can see the scorecards from this link:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=3;filter=advanced;opposition=7;orderby=start;team=6;template=results;trophy=89;type=team;view=results

For details of the bowl-out in the first match in 2007, see the commentary section rather than the scorecard.

But the story in the Champions Trophy is somewhat different:

I v P Chamions

India and Pakistan did not meet in 1998, 2000 or 2002 (when India shared the trophy with Sri Lanka). Pakistan won the first encounter in 2004 in the group stage. They did not meet in 2006. Pakistan won in 2009, also in the group stage. India finally won in 2013, in a group match on their way to the trophy.

So the jinx on Pakistan in ICC tournaments does not apply to Pakistan in the Champions Trophy, where they lead India 2-1. Let us see what happens when they meet on June 4. India currently has a higher ranking than Pakistan, but that has no bearing in high-tension encounters like these.

See the scorecards here:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=2;filter=advanced;opposition=7;orderby=start;team=6;template=results;trophy=44;type=team;view=results

 

 

Review of India-Zimbabwe T20I matches

Yes, even an embryonic series like this deserves a review 🙂

A total of 7 T20Is have now been played between these sides, all of them in Zimbabwe. India lead 5-2. CJ Chibabha and H Masakadza have played in all 7, while no Indian has played in more than 5.

There is not much point in calculating averages. strike rates and the like on such a small data set so we will confine ourselves to the best overall and match performances.

Batting-most runs (50 and above):

Batting overall

Chibhabha is far ahead of the rest while Raina has the most runs for India.

Batting-highest scores (40 and above):

Batting-innings

Raina and Chibhabha have the highest individual scores, although KM Jadhav made the highest score in the current series.

Bowling-most wickets (3 and above):

Bowling overall

Mpofu, AR Patel and newcomer Sran have taken the most wickets.

Bowling-best innings figures (2 and above):

Bowling-innings

The two best performances are by Sran (on debut) and Bumrah in the current series. The previous best was by AR Patel in the previous series.

Fielding-most dismissals (2 and above):

Fielding overall

AR Patel has the most dismissals. The best wicketkeeping figures are by Taibu.

Innings fielding-most dismissals (2 and above):

Fielding-innings

No one has taken more than 2 dismissals in an innings. Taibu is the only keeper here.

All-round overall (minimum 5 innings batted and bowled):

AR-overall

Chibhabha is the only one who has some pretensions of being an all-rounder.

All-round match performance (minimum 20 runs and 2 wickets):

AR-match

Chibhabha again.

Now we await more meaty stuff in the WI v Ind and Eng v Pak series coming up.

Tail piece: Although Zimbabwe’s captain AG Cremer could not do much in this series, he does hold a world Test record for the best 4-wicket innings bowling: 4-4 against Bangladesh.

 

Oddities in station signs in India-2

Continuing from this earlier post:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/04/27/oddities-in-station-signs-in-india-1/

Today we look at two station signs which are in 5 languages. 4-language signs are relatively common, particularly in states such as Telangana.

The better-known one is a district town in Karnataka:

Raichur station-5 languages

Being close to Telangana, it has Telugu as well as Kannada and Urdu.

If you travel from Raichur towards Mumbai, you will soon come to Krishna station, which is in Telangana just north of the Krishna river which appears to be the state border here:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo credits: Sudarshan (sorry I didn’t get your full name).

More details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krishna_railway_station

There may be a few more 5-language signs in India, though these are the only ones generally known.

This may also be of interest:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/04/26/station-signs-indian-languages-outside-south-asia/

India vs Zimbabwe ODI records

With the conclusion of India’s 3-0 sweep, India and Zimbabwe have played a total of 63 ODIs. India lead 51-10 with 2 ties. Results at different venues are summed up below:

Results summary

Zimbabwe has had its moments, particularly when they beat India during the 1999 World Cup. On that occasion India and Zimbabwe both qualified for the Super Six but did not proceed further.

Looking at batting records:

Most runs (500 and above):

Runs-above 500

Tendulkar and Ganguly have almost the same total runs scored. No one from recent years has crossed 500 runs.

The most centuries are 5 by Tendulkar and 3 by Ganguly. For fifty-plus scores, Andy Flower has 12 and Campbell has 11. Ganguly and Tendulkar have 10 each.

Highest individual scores (100 and above):

Scores above 100

No one needs to be reminded about the top score, which was also India’s first ODI hundred. The second place goes to the lesser-known of the Mongias. Andy Flower has the highest for Zimbabwe. There are several centuries among current players, including KL Rahul on his ODI debut.

Highest average (minimum 20 innings batted):

Batting average

Tendulkar, Ganguly and Andy Flower have the top spots. No current players.

Highest strike rate (minimum 500 balls faced):

Strike rate

Here we have Yuvraj Singh at the top. From current players there is only Rayudu.

Now for bowling.

Most wickets (10 and above):

Wickets above 10

The popular whipping-boy Agarkar is on top here, followed by Streak.

Best innings bowling (4wi and above):

Bowling-4wi and above

A Mishra and HH Streak have the best figures for their teams. JJ Bumrah has two 4-wicket hauls in the recent series.

Best bowling averages (minimum 1000 balls bowled):

Bowling average

Only three bowlers make the cut here. Agarkar has the best average, Kumble the best economy and Agarkar the best strike rate.

Now for fielding:

Most dismissals (10 and above):

Dismissals-10 and above

Andy Flower and Rahul Dravid have the most dismissals for their teams, with Dravid serving as a keeper in some matches.

The most stumpings are 5 by Andy Flower and Nayan Mongia, most catches by a keeper 21 by Andy Flower, and most catches by a fielder 20 by Campbell.

The most dismissals in an innings are 5 by Kirmani and Nayan Mongia, while for fielders it is 4 by VVS Laxman.

Highest dismissal rate (minimum 20 innings fielded):

Dismissal rate

Andy Flower tops again, while Azharuddin has the highest rate for fielders.

Now for all-round performances:

Overall (minimum 20 innings batted and 1000 balls bowled):

AR overall

Heath Streak is the only one who has put in enough batting and bowling to qualify. Some prominent all-rounders like Kapil did not play enough in this series.

Looking at all-round performances in a match (30 runs and 3 wickets):

AR-match

Ganguly and Crocker seem to have the best performances.

Oddities in station signs in India-1

First, we look at examples of station signs in some languages which you may not see often.

The only major station with Maithili:

Darbhanga station Maithili

And the only station in Manipur, which naturally has Manipuri:

Jiribam-manipuri

Note the brand new broad gauge line above.

As you would know, the language policy for railway stations (and most Central government buildings, such as post offices) would be to have English, Hindi and the regional language. If Hindi is the local language then there would be two languages on the board, and more if some other language is common in that area.

Examples of English + Hindi are common in Rajasthan , Haryana and Madhya Pradesh although a few stations do have Urdu as well.

From Rajasthan:

Note that the picture from Jaipur shows a metre gauge line which will not be around for long.

From Haryana:

 

Now we move to some states where English is the main official language (although other spoken languages are commonly used). You would probably not heard of most of these places:

Dimapur, Nagaland:

Dimapur

Bairabi, Mizoram: (This is from metre gauge days but broad gauge has now come here)

Bairabi

Mendipathar, Meghalaya:

Mendipathar

Naharlagun, Arunachal Pradesh:

Naharlagun

Note that in Hindi-speaking states the Hindi inscription is at the top. In most states the regional language (say Bengali or Tamil) is at the top. In the signs above from Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya English is at the top but in Arunachal Pradesh the Hindi inscription is at the top.

At the moment Sikkim is the only state with no railway line at all, though the mileage is negligible in several of the North-eastern states (Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland). In some states there is precisely one station about a kilometre inside the border. Assam and now Tripura are somewhat better served.

A typical trilingual sign would be this one in Gujarat, much beloved of cricket fans:

Sachin

Meanwhile, there are signs in four or even five languages elsewhere on the Indian railway network. More on these later.

Summary of the extreme points of India

Hope that some have found these posts informative. I am listing them below:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/the-extreme-points-of-india/

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/the-northernmost-points-in-india/

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/the-easternmost-points-of-india/

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/04/02/the-westernmost-points-of-india/

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/04/08/the-southernmost-points-of-india/

The extreme points of India

We hear the phrase “From Kashmir to Kanyakumari” or the next-door version “from Khyber to Karachi”. In Britain there is “From Land’s End to John O’Groats” which are supposed to be the extreme southwest and extreme northeast points of the British mainland. In contrast, the US gets by with “From sea to shining sea” in one of their patriotic songs.

Ever wondered about the extreme points of India? One may think that the question is answered in the Wikipedia article linked below. Actually it is not as simple as that as there are several different ways of deciding where India ends in the north. (Do you mean what the official atlas says, or the point actually under Indian military control? And since many countries think that Kashmir is a disputed territory, then what should be the “undisputed”northernmost point?)

Even the eastern border is disputed by China although it is firmly in Indian control. The western extreme is a point in the sea off the Gujarat-Sind border. And the southernmost point is not Kanyakumari on the mainland but a remote settlement on an island in the Nicobars, with a population of 27.

We shall be visiting these places over the next few blogposts. We also look at the nearest inhabited places (which are hard to find unless you are at Kanyakumari).

Read this first: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_extreme_points_of_India

The Satpura Railway still exists!

Note: This was written in December 2015 and has not been updated.

In the last few months, there have been a number of articles in the popular media and rail fan groups regarding the demise of the network of narrow-gauge lines in Central India known as the Satpura Railway, now coming under the South East Central Railway.

If you were to take these articles seriously, you would imagine that these lines were being permanently closed down leaving this area without rail communication. They are, of course, being converted to broad gauge and this network has been gradually converted over the last decade. You can expect the conversion to be over within a couple of years.

Here we have an 1964 map of the then SER which shows all the NG lines long before Project Unigauge was even thought of.

SER 1964 001

Note the numerous NG branches all over the zone. However, the Raipur branches and everything east were not part of the Satpura system.

For the moment, however, there still exists one functioning narrow gauge line between Nagpur and Nagbhir which has three pairs of trains a day. This will also face the conversion axe sooner or later, but you can certainly travel there now. Thanks to local expert Alok Patel for this tipoff.

Here you can see the overall list of trains (from an official website, but errors are not impossible):

Nagpur-Nagbhir:

Nagpur Nagbhir

Nagbhir-Nagpur:

Nagbhir Nagpur

Here are the timetables for the first trains in either direction:

Nagpur-Nagbhir:

Nagpur Nagbhir TT

Nagbhir-Nagpur:

Nagbhir Nagpur TT

Note that the station of Moti Bagh was known for its narrow-gauge loco shed and other workshops (besides a small railway museum) but was not used for regular passenger services. I do not think it appeared in passenger timetables until now.

For instance, it is not there in the printed timetable of 2014. That shows the first train leaving from Nagpur at 05.55. The second train given above is shown at Itwari at 10.10/10.15 and then at Nagpur at 10.45.

So the laments for the demise of the narrow gauge Satpura Railway were a little premature. Ride this 110-km route south of Nagpur while you can. There are also a few BG trains running through Nagbhir. These include an express between Chennai and Bilaspur (once weekly in each direction) and between Yesvantpur and Korba (twice weekly).

This map showing part of Nagpur may be helpful:

https://www.google.co.in/maps/@21.1552413,79.1014885,15z

Incorporating a few comments received from my old friend Alok Patel:

“Conversion has been sanctioned for the NGP-NABN line but no serious allocations done yet. I suspect they will want to complete the main Satpura lines first since the Nagpur-Chhindwara-Jabalpur-Gondia network had surprisingly high traffic. Also note that the station code for Nagbhir Narrow Gauge has been changed to NABN to signify NG. The BG station must now be using the code NAB”

“I haven’t been to MIB for a long time now but the trains don’t start from MIB per se. They start from the MIB yard, go to NGP, reverse at NGP, go down the same route till the triangle at MIB where they stop to pick up passengers, bypass the MIB yard at the triangle and continue towards Itwari. I suspect the one kilometre or so long NGP-MIB stretch won’t stay operational for much more time, now that the key Chhindwara side traffic has ceased to exist.”

 

 

Lies, damn lies and statistics in cricket

It has been said that there are lies, damn lies and statistics. And Test cricket is a good place to check this out.

After the conclusion of the India-South Africa series we ask Statsguru a few questions. The answers will not be what you expect.

Q1: Who is the best opening bowler in Tests in the 2010s?

A1: Consider all those who bowled at No 1 or 2 since 01 Jan 2010 and took at least 50 wickets while doing so, and rank them by their bowling averages.

Opening bowlers since 2010

Didn’t realize it was a spinner, did you?

Q2: OK, something more conventional. Who is India’s best opening bowler of all time?

A2: Consider all Indian bowlers who bowled at No 1 and No 2, and took at least 50 wickets while doing so. Rank them by their bowling averages.

India-opening bowler

Probably you should have seen that coming.

Q3: OK, but wasn’t Kapil Dev India’s greatest all-rounder?

A3: Let us consider all Indians who scored the double of 1000 runs/100 wickets, and rank by them by the difference between their batting average and bowling average. This measure is as good as any other means for ranking all-rounders.

India-allrounder

Well, you should have seen that one coming too.

It is up to you to decide how seriously you take these figures.