Previous encounters between Afghanistan and India

Afghanistan’s first Test gets under way at Bengaluru on Jun 14. We look at past encounters between the teams in limited overs cricket.

There is not much to write about. The teams have met only in one ODI and two T20Is and India have won all of them.

The ODI was in the course of the 2014 Asia Cup. India won by 8 wickets.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8532/scorecard/710307/afghanistan-vs-india-9th-match-asia-cup-2013-14/

The two T20Is were in the World T20I Championships in 2010 and 2012. India won by 7 wickets and by 23 runs.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8604/scorecard/412679/afghanistan-vs-india-3rd-match,-group-c-world-t20-2010/

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8604/scorecard/533274/afghanistan-vs-india-3rd-match,-group-a-world-t20-2012-13/

A sobering thought for Afghanistan: Among the other 11 Test teams, only Australia have won their first Test and only Zimbabwe drew their first Test. The other 9 all lost their maiden Test efforts.

The previous Test entrant Ireland had one previous Test player in Boyd Rankin. Afghanistan has none. But as in the case of Ireland, most of the team have long experience in ODIs and T20Is.

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Review of England-Pakistan Tests-2018 (2)

After covering general results and batting figures in the first part, we move on to bowling figures:

Most wickets (25 and above):

Most wkts-25

Qadir has by far the most wickets and Anderson is unlikely to overtake him. Broad and M. Amir are next among current players

Best innings bowling (including all 7wi and above):

Best innings bowling

Qadir again at the top. No good performances in the last few years. In fact the 2018 series did not see anyone take a five-for.

Best match bowling (including all 10wm and above):

Match bowling

Underwood and Qadir lead. Nothing from the current series, though Woakes and Yasir Shah are there from 2016.

Bowling averages (Minimum 2000 balls, all instances):

Bowling average

Anderson has by far the best bowling average, followed by his partner Broad. Qadir is somewhat further down. M. Amir is also there from the current series.

The best economy rates are by Iqbal Qasim (1.82) and DA Allen (1.90). The best strike rates are by by Waqar Younis (48.5) and almost the same by Anderson (48.6).

Fielding records:

Most dismissals (15 and above):

Dismissals

Wasim Bari has by far the most dismissals, followed unexpectedly by Kamran Akmal. Bari and Sarfraz Ahmed have the most stumpings. Cook, Miandad and Younis Khan share the record for non-keepers.

Best innings fielding (5 or more dismissals):

Innings fielding

Sarfraz Ahmed has done this in 2015, 2016 and 2018.

Best match fielding (6 or more dismissals):

Match fielding

Wasim Bari and Kamran Akmal (!) have the record of 8 dismissals. Bairstow had 7 in 2016. Greig and Hick have the most catches (6) by non-keepers.

Best dismissal rate (Minimum 20 innings, 0.500 and above):

Dismissal rate

Knott and Taylor lead, while Asad Shafiq and Cook have the most among current players. Trescothick and Atherton have the best rates for non-keepers. Sarfraz Ahmed has not played enough.

Overall all-round performances (see criteria):

AR overall

Botham and Broad lead, followed by Intikhab Alam at a distance. Imran Khan does not seem to have played enough.

All-round match performances (50 and 5wi):

AR match

Imran and Botham appear here twice apiece, along with some unexpected appearances by Abdul Qadir and others. Qadir has one of the rare doubles of a fifty and ten-for in a match, while Botham had a century and 8-34.

 

 

 

 

Review of England-Pakistan Tests-2018 (1)

The two-Test series between England and Pakistan ended with an anti-climax on the third day of the second Test, making the series an 1-1 draw. The previous series in 2016 was a 2-2 draw.

Here is a summary of all Tests between these teams:

Overall reults

The overall tally is 25-21 in favor of England, helped mainly by a 23-12 lead in England.

At Lord’s, Pakistan now leads 5-4 with one draw. At Leeds, England leads 6-1 with 3 draws.

In this series no one scored a century and took a five-for. So the Lord’s honors boards are unchanged.

Batting statistics:

Most runs (750+):

Most runs-750

Cook leads here. Among current players Root and Asad Shafiq are far behind.

M. Yousuf has the most centuries (6). The most 50+ scores are by Inzaman (15), Mushtaq Mohammad (14) followed by Cook  and Salim Malik (13).

Highest innings (175+)

Highest innings-2016

Note that no one scored more than 80 in this series. The only big score in 2016 was by Root (254).

Batting averages (minimum 20 innings, all instances):

Highest batting average

Cook and Asad Shafiq are the highest among current players. Imran Khan did not bat in enough innings to reach this table.

To be continued.

The Al-Jazeera Report Analyzed-2

Hope you have watched the hour-long video and read my earlier post: https://abn397.wordpress.com/2018/05/28/the-al-jazeera-report-analyzed-1/

Here we look at the Sri Lankan connection in more detail.

There is a fleeting reference to Jayananda Warnaweera, who played in Tests with some success as an off-spinner. He was the curator at Galle and was facing queries from the ICC as to some oddities in pitch behaviour. As the ICC and Sri Lankan authorities felt he was being non-cooperative, he was suspended for 3 years in early 2016:

https://www.wisdenindia.com/cricket-news/warnaweera-suspended-years/195673

Anyway he was out of the way by the time this report got under way. His successors (who appeared in the Al-Jazeera report along with Robin Morris) did talk about fixing the Galle Test against Australia in August 2016. This was the second Test of the series which Sri Lanka won 3-0.

In this case, the pitch was deliberately prepared to be bowler-friendly. The betting was probably on low scores and an early finish. The fixers had done their job well: the match got over early on the third day, in one of the shortest Tests in recent times. The scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/8917/scorecard/995453/sri-lanka-vs-australia-2nd-test-australia-tour-of-sri-lanka-2016/

In contrast, there was another Test at Galle against India in July 2017. This time they made the pitch more batsman-friendly. Indeed, India batted first and made 600. Sri Lanka collapsed abjectly and went on to lose the series 3-0. The betting was probably on a good score being made in the first innings. But no players were involved in fixing in these two Tests.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17891/scorecard/1109602/sri-lanka-vs-india-1st-test-sl-v-ind-2017/

Now let us look at the dramatis personae from Sri Lanka:

AJ cricket screenshot1AJ cricket screenshot2

Hasan Raza is the only name which most of us would recognize. All other former cricketers lesser known but are duly recorded in Cricinfo and other websites:

Robin Morris: http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/player/31008.html

Tharindu Mendis: http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/49681.html

Reasonable domestic player. Though not highlighted here, he is the elder brother of current ODI/T20I player Jeevan Mendis (BMAJ Mendis).

Jeevan Kulathunga: http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/49394.html

Played in two T20Is

Dilhara Lokuhettige, who made a fleeting appearance: http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/48487.html  He appears in the scorecards as LHD Dilhara. Has played in a few ODIs and T20Is, some against India.

Tharanga Indika: http://www.espncricinfo.com/srilanka/content/player/502540.html

Limited career as a domestic player.

The Sri Lankan cricket authorities have acted against the four persons named above: http://www.espncricinfo.com/story/_/id/23630601/two-former-sri-lankan-players-suspended-spot-fixing-allegations

Dilhara has escaped for the moment.

Though this news report does not explicitly name Indika, he has also been suspended.

The Al-Jazeera Report Analyzed-1

Anyone who follows cricket (even the Test purists) should watch the report. Numerous bits and pieces can be seen on Youtube and directly on various news sites. But to get a full idea of the extent of the match-fixing industry it is well worth watching the hour-long report:

Some of the key takeaways:

How is it that a key man of the D company is freely functioning in Mumbai apparently without interference from the Mumbai police or anyone else? (One is struck with his quiet confidence and thorough knowledge of the “business”).

A relatively minor domestic player like Robin Morris seems to have made a lot more money from fixing than in his regular cricket career. Even if he had somehow got into IPL he would not have earned much. And he seems to have a particularly dumb sidekick who, unlike him, did play in a few Tests and ODIs.

Then there is the Morris – Rajkumar plan to organize T20 tournaments all over the world-whose only purpose is to make money through fixing. Almost like a never-ending Ponzi scheme or perpetual motion machine.

Although Al-Jazeera did not mention this, someone has already made a start in a “fraudulent” tournament in the UAE earlier this year. This was so blatantly a fixed tournament that the UAE authorities had to throw them out. A sample report:

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-01-31/bizarre-scenes-uae-t20-league-icc-match-fixing-investigation/9377680

Other reports from that period can be found through Google. Not sure what ultimately happened there. But it sounds quite similar to what Morris (mainly) and Rajkumar were talking about. Clearly the players in this tournament had not been “trained” properly.

The allegations regarding Test matches pertain to

1) India vs England at Chennai in Dec 2016, the 5th Test which India won by an innings to take the 5-Test series 4-0: three English players (presumably specialist batsmen) are alleged to have manipulated the scoring rate. They have denied the charges. (Any guesses?) Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10732/scorecard/1034817/india-vs-england-5th-test-england-tour-of-india-2016-17/

Those who followed the match closely on TV or the net may be able to figure out who the guilty trio are. I am not hazarding any guess, except that they would probably be 1-7 in the batting order.

Afterthought: Was even the bowling fixed? Did that allow Karun Nair to make a triple hundred (which is still the ONLY score he has made above 50 in a Test)?

2) India vs Australia at Ranchi in March 2017. This was the third of 4 Tests, the only drawn Test of the series. India won 2-1. Here two Australian players (presumably specialist batsmen) similarly manipulated the scoring rate. Al-Jazeera said that there was no reply from them so far. Here, too we can try to guess who they may be, batting at 1 to 7. Here is the scorecard:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/10839/scorecard/1062575/india-vs-australia-3rd-test-ind-v-aus-2016-17/

3) Sri Lanka vs India at Galle in July 2017. This was the first Test of the series, in which India won all three Tests by heavy margins. This time no players were involved, but merely manipulation of the pitch by the curator (?) and others. (But what was the bet? Merely that the match would be high-scoring). It was, in the sense that India made 600 batting first. But the Sri Lankan batsmen did so badly that they lost by over 300 runs in what was effectively an innings defeat, as India would have won by an innings if they had imposed the follow-on.

Galle has a history of pitch manipulation. The former curator, Test bowler J. Warnaweera, was suspended for 3 years by the ICC in early 2016 for non-cooperation with ICC investigators. This is with reference to earlier matches at Galle.

Here is the scorecard, for what it is worth:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/series/17891/scorecard/1109602/sri-lanka-vs-india-1st-test-sl-v-ind-2017/

The Sri Lankan leg needs a little more study as most of the characters are quite unknown even in neighboring countries.

To be continued.

ABD: career statistics highlights-1

By now the media is in overdrive recounting the highlights of his career. I am not trying to repeat that, but concentrating on a few of his more outstanding (or more peculiar) performances.

For an overview the most logical place to go is:

http://www.espncricinfo.com/southafrica/content/player/44936.html

He has a very respectable Test batting average above 50 along with 22 centuries.

The highlight of his Test career was probably not his 278* but what is arguably the best all-round performance by a Test wicket-keeper:

http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/content/records/284278.html

It can be seen that he is the only wicket-keeper to score a century and to make 10 dismissals in an innings. This is made more clear here:

Century + 10 dis

In fact, he shares the record for most dismissals in a Test with Jack Russell:

Most dismissals

Note WP Saha in this table. Also that 3 of the 5 instances were in South Africa and that the two best performances were at Johannesburg.

His best in an innings is 6, while the record is 7 shared by Wasim Bari, Bob Taylor, IDS Smith and RD Jacobs.

However, he also had some low lights in Tests-being one of the few to get a “queen pair” – out second ball in each inning. And he is also one of the few to get a pair as a captain. He and tailender BS Bedi are the only captains to get a queen pair. This can be seen in more detail here:

https://abn397.wordpress.com/2016/01/25/abd-and-the-record-books-again/

However, it is in the realm of strike rates in ODI matches that he is in a class by himself. That will be the next post.

 

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.