Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Is Dravid really out of form?

After tired of reading all this exaggerated media stories and equally emotional bloggers and readers commenting on various sites with respect to the so called ‘seniors’ and FabFour of the Indian cricket team, I started doubting what is wrong with one of my favorite players, Rahul Dravid and why people are so interested to put a dangling axe on his neck (position in Indian Test team).

Before readers make a quick assumption that this is an attempt by a blind follower to glorify his player’s achievement although the truth is that there are none; I am not a self-proclaimed fan of any cricketer or sports star or a movie star (I was never involved in any heated arguments to justify a third person I never know in person), but I admit that I admire a small group of sports personalities that includes Dravid.

Coming to the point, the media and the people believe that stats give a clear picture of how bad or good a cricketer is. So, the immediate weapon they have is Dravid’s poor running since 2007. I made a quick query on the statsguru provided by Cricinfo website for matches starting after 1 Jan 2007 and until Mohali test and the complaints appeared to be true.
Mat Inns NO Runs Ave BF SR 100 50
21 39 4 1243 35.51 3058 40.64 2 7

It should be accepted that this is an average performance for a cricketer of such high quality.

But, wait a second before jumping into conclusions. As they stats do not always tell the truth and we can tweak them the way we like to win our argument. I have felt that the actual match situation should be considered before rating a player. So, I have gone though innings by innings performance of the above 39 innings.

- 22 innings were scores below 30.
- 4 of these 22 were not outs (1 retired hurt, 1 in successful chase in Kanpur)
- 18 innings of < 30 out of 39 : almost 45% is not acceptable
- In 5 tests out of 21, he did not cross 30. In Melbourne, he went as opener; Kanpur was a dustbowl; in Colombo, he got one of the balls of century in first innings.

He got some rough decisions, frequent stunners (check inning-wise analysis at the end) and sometimes he threw away his wicket in his mid-thirties that was uncharacteristic of him. Being out of ODI team did not help much either going to first match of the series without decent match practice.

Therefore, I believe he is not really out of form and his reflexes are not lost, though he is not batting as fluently as he did in the golden era of first half of this decade. I wish he comes back with a style.

This whole exercise is not to prove something about one of my favorite players, but for the fear of losing the privilege of enjoying the elegant batting for a few more months, if not years.

A small analysis of his failures innings by innings –

RunsMinsBFOpposition Ground Date Comments
29 63 58 v South Africa Cape Town 2-Jan-07 Decent outing
47 204 134 v South Africa Cape Town 2-Jan-07
2 19 11 v Bangladesh Chittagong (CDS) 18-May-07 Out to a stunning catch when India were trying to put quick runs on board - 100/6 out of 24

154 99 v Bangladesh Chittagong (CDS) 18-May-07

215 176 v Bangladesh Dhaka (SBNS) 25-May-07
2 15 12 v England Lord's 19-Jul-07
918 12 v England Lord's 19-Jul-07
37 136 94 v England Nottingham 27-Jul-07

45 28 v England Nottingham 27-Jul-07
12 140 96 v England The Oval 9-Aug-07 This was the worst innings I saw him playing
55 131 101 v England The Oval 9-Aug-07
34 141 96 v Pakistan Delhi 22-Nov-07 Everyone remembers this - Shoaib Akhtar to Dravid, OUT, outstanding ball, he's cleaned up him and Pakistan love it.
38 108 73 v Pakistan Delhi 22-Nov-07 Sohail Tanvir to Dravid, OUT, bowled by a beauty!.
50 170 118 v Pakistan Kolkata 30-Nov-07
8* 20 13 v Pakistan Kolkata 30-Nov-07
19 45 28 v Pakistan Bangalore 8-Dec-07
42 211 121 v Pakistan Bangalore 8-Dec-07
5 103 66 v Australia Melbourne 26-Dec-07 Once again proving his unselfishness, he agreed to open to accommodate Yuvraj. Though, out of form and unable to score, he was there for 21 overs - I would say that very few Indian openers did that post Gavaskar in Australia.
16 154 114 v Australia Melbourne 26-Dec-07100+ balls

152 103 v Australia Sydney 2-Jan-08
53 240 160 v Australia Sydney 2-Jan-08
3 5 5 v Australia Perth 16-Jan-08
93 278 183 v Australia Perth 16-Jan-08
18 73 55 v Australia Adelaide 24-Jan-08
11* 98 64 v Australia Adelaide 24-Jan-08Retired hurt
111 396 291 v South Africa Chennai 26-Mar-08

51 26 v South Africa Ahmedabad 3-Apr-08 Steyn to Dravid, OUT, superb delivery and India are staring down the barrel here!
17 55 41 v South Africa Ahmedabad 3-Apr-08
29 151 106 v South Africa Kanpur 11-Apr-08 Morkel to Dravid, OUT, caught! That's a vicious ball and Dravid is hurt as well, a good length ball pitches outside off stump and rears up sharply at Dravid who comes half forward and tries to defend, the ball angles into the right-hander and the bounce is so steep that the ball smashes into Dravid's glove and lobs up to de Villiers at gully, Dravid is in pain as he walks off the ground
18* 36 29 v South Africa Kanpur 11-Apr-08 18 not out while chasing 73 on a dust bowl
10 41 30 v Sri Lanka Colombo (SSC) 23-Jul-08This is one of the balls of century! Nothing much to do. Mendis to Dravid, OUT, What a beauty from Mendis! His first Test wicket. Rahul Dravid is beaten all hands up. The flicker, the carrom ball does the trick. It landed on the middle stump, a unsure Dravid was on the back foot and it cut away quickly towards the off stump, past the poke and crashed into the top of the off stump. Dravid is stunned, looks back to confirm what his ears told him. The death rattle. The middle-finger assassin is on the prowl at SSC. R Dravid b Mendis 14 (55m 35b 2x4
14 55 35 v Sri Lanka Colombo (SSC) 23-Jul-08
2 7 6v Sri Lanka Galle 31-Jul-08 This was not out as per rule - Mendis to Dravid, OUT, Another failure for Dravid. The wall is cracking from side to side. It was the quickish off break, Dravid was on the front foot, looking to defend. The ball turned from outside off stump, collided with the inside edge and went to short leg who juggled with it before holding on. Two quick wickets. Mendis leads Sri Lankan fight back. Wonderful Test match. Hold on, some drama regarding Dravid's dismissal. The ball popped off the short-leg fielder, hit the right shoulder and then rebounded off the helmet grill before he caught it again. LAW 32 (Caught) - Section 3 e fair catch -A catch shall be considered to have been fairly made if a fielder catches the ball after it has touched an umpire, another fielder or the other batsman. However, it is not a fair catch if the ball has touched a protective helmet worn by a fielder, although the ball remains in play. anyway that's that
44 133 92 v Sri Lanka Galle 31-Jul-08
10 52 29 v Sri Lanka Colombo (PSS) 8-Aug-08
68 226 166 v Sri Lanka Colombo (PSS) 8-Aug-08
5 15 13 v Australia Bangalore 9-Oct-08 Lee to Dravid, OUT, what a catch by Ponting!
51 149 104 v Australia Bangalore 9-Oct-08
39 118 70 v Australia Mohali 17-Oct-08

Thursday, October 23, 2008

While more than enough has been written and read about Mohali mauling and the Team India is away on a Diwali holiday, let us see what is happening in other parts of sports world.

Anand, coming into the tournament from a bad form (his Elo rating plunged to 10 years lowest and he moved out of Top-3 in world rankings) is almost certain to retain his World Championship title, enjoying a comfortable lead of 4.5-1.5 over Kramnik, going into seventh game of twelve.

And this news is more interesting - Chance of doping and doping tests in Chess, I never thought about it! Testing 'seconds' is hilarious.

In some other part, in Madrid Masters, Federer lost to Andy Murray; of course, these days Federer loss is not a surprise news; at least not as big as Australia's. Australian cricket team would surely reach similar stage in quick time.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Satkaarya - A 100 can make a difference

I am one of those thousands of IT engineers in India, who have an image in people as those spoiled brats of the society that earn thousands per month easily and live a luxurious life spending a major part of the weekends in malls and multiplexes, pubs and parties. Though I cannot deny the reality that most of the IT junta, do exactly this, there is another side to the coin.

There are people, who have come from a middle class or lower, who know the value of money, who know the realities of life. They want to do something to the society, but rarely make a start due to various reasons. They do not know where to start, they are wary of time and money to be spent. They try to satisfy themselves contributing one day salary to some relief fund or foundation maintained by the company.

While I was in one of such swinging pendulum mood, an event happened in my life opening more questions in my mind. As thoughts were going in all directions, I received this mail from my friend Maheedhar – with the idea of forming a group and collating Rs. 100 each every month and using the fund for a good cause. Like small drops make an ocean, Rs. 100 by each one in a small group can make some decent amount over a few months with some members contributing more than Rs. 100 with open minds. The idea grew stronger and to do things in an organized manner, we formed a registered society, SATKAARYA FOUNDATION.

If you are one of those who want to contribute to the society and are from Hyderabad, here is one of the ways – you can join our group of young IT engineers who think on the same lines. If you are interested, you can either put a comment here or on or can join our Yahoo group -

Remember, there are meaningful ways of spending Rs. 100 than on a flop movie in multiplex, weekend beers or a few packs of cigarette.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Your Attention Please!

Your Attention Please!

No, there is no special announcement from my side. Neither am I trying to get some attention as this is my post after 10 weeks. No, I may be trying to seek some attention. I may be one of those attention seekers.

This point has been in my mind for some months now, but could not blog due to various reasons – to give the most routine answer – lack of time. But, the real reason was that I could not find the right term for this pattern or characteristic of the group called bloggers. Now I found it: Attention Seekers.

I feel that most of the bloggers blog because they seek some attention, especially from similar minded people. They want to showcase their talent in one or more fields – literature, poetry, photography, movie-making, mathematics, something else. Though most of our class, the bloggers, do not accept, I think this is true with a majority - of course, it would be not the only one, but one of the reasons, with a lower priority (like of me). Though we dump whatever we like, we cannot resist refreshing the page to see new comments (yes, we want people to read what we write unless we create the blog with sole purpose of cribbing, grumbling and whining).
We want people to read the blogs. We keep external blog link in the corporate blog, wordpress link on blogger page, photo blog link on tech blog – I even have it appended to my email signature.

I got this "Attention Seekers" term from an article published in Monday, 13th October 2008 Bangalore edition of Metro Plus, THE HINDU.

An excerpt from the article –
Computer Science teacher Sneha Raul begs to differ. "It is understandable to upload if it is a part of your job or if you have nothing else to do. People could claim to be service-minded, but that is only the tip of the iceberg. I personally feel people who do it are addicted to uploading information or aim at getting attention."Now that the blogging mania has taken off big time, regular bloggers, especially those whose blogs are only about their personal lives, from love-sick poems to what they want engraved on their epitaph, are also looked at as attention seekers.

But, I disagree with most of the opinions in that article. People on You Tube and such entertainment forums may be attentions seekers, I believe there are bloggers who use this powerful blogging medium effectively – especially the citizen journalists, the techies, the financial bloggers, people giving solutions to common technical problems in day-to-day life.

Of course, I have my own reasons, bigger than this, but including ‘attention seeking’ for blogging.