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

 

 

Rail Quiz no 3

Today we move to the railways of Pakistan.

Mardan-2

This station serves a small city in Khyber-Pakhtunwa (formerly NWFP). Today the city may be famous for a leading cricketer who was born there:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england-v-pakistan-2016/content/current/player/43652.html

Also see this article: http://www.radiotnn.com/mardan-railway-stations-reopening-not-possible-in-near-future/

The station has not seen any train traffic since 2007. But once it held an unusual record for the railways of South Asia. What was this record?

If you can’t think of the answer right away, read the above article again and also check its location on Google Maps etc. (No, this has nothing to do with Abbottabad and its most famous resident).

Souroshankha Maji got it right-Mardan was, for many years, the northern-most junction in South Asia. This will be apparent from the map of the “Pakistan Western Railway” which probably dates from the mid-60s, when the railway network was virtually at full strength. The closure of lines started some years ago, starting with the minor branch lines in Sind and the NG lines close to the Afghan borders.

PWR in 1969

(From “Couplings to the Khyber”, PSA Berridge, 1969)

(Note: the metre gauge lines are not shown distinctly in this map, though the narrow gauge lines are. At that time the MG lines ran from Hyderabad (or maybe Mirpur Khas) to Khokhropar, the Jamrao-Pithoro loop and Mirpur Khas to Nawabshah.)

As you can see, Durgai was then the northernmost station in South Asia. It did exist prior to partition, so it was the northernmost station in British India as well. The Mardan-Charsadda branch was built in the 1950s, making Mardan the northern-most junction in South Asia.

Since around 2000 the Nowshera-Durgai and Mardan-Charsadda branches have been closed-even though Mardan is the second largest town in Khyber-Pakhtunwa, ahead of better-known places such as Abbottabad. A study of the current Pakistan timetable shows that the branch from Attock City Jn to Basal Jn is still open, thus making Attock City Jn (formerly Campbellpur Jn) the northern-most junction in South Asia. Next would be Taxila Cantt Jn (formerly Taxila Jn) which still has a branch to Havelian.

Nowshera (formerly a junction) would appear to be the northern-most station in Pakistan today, considering that the Peshawar-Landi Kotal line has been closed for several years.

In the mean time Sopore (followed by the larger Baramulla) have become the northern-most stations in South Asia. However, the Kashmir valley line is not yet linked to the rest of the Indian Railways network, whose northernmost point remains at Katra, with the slightly larger town of Udhampur a little further south.

Udhampur was the terminus for several years, but the  station has rather primitive facilities compared to Katra’s showpiece station.

And this is the southern end of the Kashmir valley railway, close to the 11 km long Pir Panjal tunnel.

Banihal

 

 

Hyderabad and Gujrat are not only in India

Have a look at these pictures and decide whether they are in India or somewhere else:

Note the Sindhi signboard in the right picture, which should help you to locate it. The first one is in Pakistan’s Punjab.

The “other” Hyderabad can be reached from India by the Thar Express, which you board at Zero Point after leaving India from Munabao.

Up to Partition, one had to refer to Hyderabad (Sind) and Hyderabad (Deccan) as both were important cities in undivided India.

Also this one:

Jhelum

While the river of this name flows through a part of India, this town is in Pakistan’s Punjab. One Indian Prime Minister (not Manmohan Singh) was born nearby.

A blast from the past-Francis Gary Powers

The name of Francis Gary Powers may not mean much to the present generation. But in early 1960 he was one of the most well-known (if not infamous) people in the world.

I remembered him while reading this report of the latest atrocity in Pakistan:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34287385

This mentions an attack on the Bedber air force base on the outskirts of Peshawar. While this is not the main airport in Peshawar, it was a centre of CIA surveillance on the USSR in the 50s and 60s.

That was at a time when satellite surveillance was in its infancy, so the next best tool available was the U-2 aircraft which was supposed to fly so high that no Soviet weapon could hit it. Francis Gary Powers was among the American pilots who made regular flights from Peshawar into the Soviet Union. He had started off in the USAF and later became a specialist U-2 spy pilot for the CIA.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1960_U-2_incident

Also see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Gary_Powers

As you can see from the map, it was an ambitious mission stretching all the way from the erstwhile Tadjik Soviet Socialist Republic to Murmansk on the Arctic ocean before it was to land at Bodo in Norway.

He took off from Peshawar on May 1, 1960 while his flight was monitored at the CIA facility at Bedber. His luck ran out at a height of 65,000 feet near Sverdlovsk when a salvo of missiles brought down his plane (besides a Soviet fighter whose pilot was killed). He baled out and was promptly captured. Perhaps he forgot to swallow his suicide pill.

As the US took some time to figure out what exactly happened, the wily Soviet Premier Khruschev had a nice time pulling President Eisenhower’s leg. However Powers did not have to spend much time in prison and was released in February 1962 in a spy exchange.

Ultimately he returned to civilian life and died piloting a helicopter in 1977 while working for a TV news channel in the Los Angeles area.

The rail tunnel in Baluchistan which appeared on a currency note

The Khojak tunnel on the way from Quetta to Chaman on the Afghan border was one of the earlier marvels of railway engineering in British India. Opened in 1892, it was 12,870 feet long (2.44 miles/3.92 km) and was the longest rail tunnel in South Asia until the Konkan Railway came along over a century later.

The location of most lines in Baluchistan can be seen here: (Kandahar is a little beyond the border at Chaman).

Bolan

The story of the alternative routes to Quetta is a long and complicated one and will have to wait till another day. Suffice to say that that the Bolan route involved gradients of 1:25 for several miles which was far more severe than any BG or MG main line anywhere else in undivided India. And double tracks were also used because of the slow speeds although there was little passenger traffic north of Quetta.

You may note a station called Hindubagh on the NG line to Fort Sandeman. As you may guess, it became Muslimbagh while the terminus became Zhob before the line closed around 1990.

You can also see the long lonely line to Zahidan in Iran starting off from Spezand. With luck, it has been running passenger trains twice a month for the last few years.

The southern end of the Khojak tunnel started near Shelabagh station. Note the double line though the tunnel.

Khojak

And this scene appeared on earlier Pakistani currency notes:

Pak note Khojak

(This note was in circulation from 1976 to 2005.)

A longer article about this tunnel can be seen here:

http://pakistaniat.com/2006/12/18/railways-khojak-tunnel/

This site (which became inactive in 2011) contains a number of other articles about Pakistan’s railways by Owais Mughal.

More records by Imran Khan (Jr)

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

Imran Khan (junior), a Pathan like his better-known namesake, already has a couple of interesting Test records in his name.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/316363.html

One, he joins the select group of only 5 players with 5 or more Tests whose team won every Test he played in. Here are the other 4.

Allwin-1

Of these, GJ Bailey is a current player but is not very likely to play for Australia again. If one really looks into it, Baptiste and the others were not particularly distinguished players but happened to be in the right place at the right time. Perhaps Imran has contributed more to his side’s wins than the others. For instance, he has 14 wickets including a fiver in his 5 Tests. Baptiste has one fifty and 16 wickets (best a three-for) in 10 Tests. The other three are specialist batsmen with no fifties.

And Imran is now the only one to play 5 or more Tests without scoring a run:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/stats/index.html?class=1;filter=advanced;orderby=runs;orderbyad=reverse;qualmin1=5;qualval1=matches;size=10;template=results;type=batting

During his 5th Test he finally got a chance to face a ball in what was only his 2nd innings. He faced 8 balls in 24 minutes and was dismissed for zero. The only other time he batted was on his debut, when he spent one minute at the crease and did not face a ball.

MH 370-miscellaneous notes

What India and Pakistan had to say about the “Northern Route” last March:

http://www.ibtimes.com/malaysian-airlines-flight-370-india-pakistan-say-they-know-nothing-saw-nothing-1562057

What the Maldivians said they saw on March 8:

http://www.maldives.com/destination-guides/debris-missing-flight-mh370-washed-beach-maldives/762

http://www.maldivesfinest.com/maldives-eye-witness-furious-mh370

And if they did see something, could it be from this airline which has cargo flights between Sri Lanka and the Maldives:

FitsAir Wiki

The colour scheme of the DC-8 is not too different from that of MAS. Here is a closer look:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FitsAir#mediaviewer/File:Expo_Air_Douglas_DC-8-63CF_Rioux.jpg

Their current website is below. Perhaps someone in Colombo could take a closer look at them:

http://fitsair.com/out-of-sri-lanka.html

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 🙂

More on station names

Today we  return to this topic with this list of trivia compiled by Jim Fergusson, who has studied timetables of many countries. His site is

http://www.railwaystationlists.co.uk/

It will be of particular interest to those who study  the railways of South Asia (other than India). He has painstakingly put together lists of every station which has ever existed in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka and several other countries (but not India, probably because it is too complex). This is particularly useful for those interested in the railways of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka because they have not published timetables for public use for a few decades. Railfans in these countries do not seem to know why this is so. However, his station lists are a little out of date as they do not include lines built in recent years, such as the East-West link over the Bangabandhu bridge which has made through running possible between the two systems in Bangladesh for the first time. This was completed around 2002. He does include the northern lines in Sri Lanka as they appeared in the timetables prior to the civil war. A sizable part of the main lines to Jaffna and Talaimannar were disused from 1983 and they have been restored only in recent months, though they might be fully restored only by the end of 2015.

Pakistan has been a little more regular in publishing timetables although the system itself seems to be shrinking rapidly due to various reasons, mainly the shortage of locomotives. Of course, the timetables show the long-closed lines through the Khyber Pass to Landi Kotal and even the short-lived extension to Landi Khana which saw service only from 1926 to 1932, besides various narrow gauge lines which all closed in the early 1990s.

Many more peculiar names from around the world can be seen here:

Trivia

There is a Silly station in Belgium. The nearest we have in India is Silli, near Ranchi.

Silli

If someone tells you to go to Hell, there is this station in Norway you can go to. It is served by several trains a day from the larger city of Trondheim, 31 km away.

Hell1

Another view of the station is:

Hell2

As you would know, God is not likely to be here. This is Norwegian for “cargo handling”.

If you come by car, you would see this sign:

Hell road

Naturally, tourists are keen to have their pictures taken here. The only hellish things here are the prices, as Norway is one of the most expensive countries in Europe.

If you are familiar with the Devil, you would expect to find number 666 here. However, for that you have to move to the US and travel by  Amtrak service 666 which runs from Harrisburg to New York on Saturdays and Sundays:

Devil-USA

The Indian train  numbering system has been rationalized over the past few years. Since late 2010 every timetabled train, ranging from the humblest 2-coach DMU to the prestigious Rajdhani Expresses has 5 digit numbers. Most of the express trains have had 4 digits from the early 1990s, though slow passenger trains had various numbers including alphanumeric (e.g. 1 DUK) or 3-digit. Much to the delight of devil worshippers, there was indeed a 666 passenger between Udagamandalam (Ooty) and Coonoor which has been duly captured on film:

Train666

This train now has a 5-digit number. But Satanists need not lose heart, since there is still a diesel loco with the number 6666. It is probably still running in the Ahmedabad area (see below for it running with its Sabarmati markings) though it was based at Mhow in central India some years ago.

Devil

Finally, if you were wondering about the rude name alluded to by Mr Fergusson, you can check the maps for the roads between Linz (Austria) and Passau (Germany) where you will come across the village of Pucking.

We return to short names in the next instalment.

The copyright of all pictures and portions of other websites given here rest with the original owners.