Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

Tag: Sri Lanka

Phi·lan·der (verb)

Phi·lan·der (verb)

  1. to have casual or illicit sex with a woman or with many women; especially : to be sexually unfaithful to one’s wife.
  2. to have casual or illicit relationships with the corridor of uncertainty; especially: to be unfaithful to one’s off stump.

Usage: Boucher caught Dilshan philandering without footwork.

Philandered

Philandered: Vernon Philander Destroys Sri Lanka Inside 3 Days

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The Banned Sri Lankan World Cup Song

I had saved this story away during the World Cup, but never got around to posting it. It’s still funny. A Sri Lankan World Cup song, billed as the “Official National Cheer” for the team, was pulled by broadcasters after their president said it was offensive:

“Come on, come on,” runs the song, urging supporters to raze West Indies coconut trees, break the jaws of sharks in New Zealand, melt the snow on Indian mountains, and feed bird food to kangaroos in Australia.

It promises that the Sri Lankan side will shake the roof of the “English palace” – presumably Queen Elizabeth’s residence – and “will shatter the roof of heaven” with their sixes.

I have a feeling that if all the snow on Indian mountains melted, Sri Lanka would be submerged. Just saying.

Dysfunction Junction: The Sri Lankan Edition

These days, it’s hard to figure out which cricket establishment is the most dysfunctional.

Behind door #1, we have Pakistan, stuck in a perpetual retire-ban-fix-rinse-repeat cycle. Behind door #2, we have West Indies, who keep their best batsman out of the team out of pure spite. Behind a newly emerging door #3, we have Cricket Australia, who were taken by surprise when a feisty Simon Katich pulled an Afridi by taking them on publicly.

Hashan Tilakaratne

Hashan Tilakaratne of the United National Party, not to be confused with the United People's Free Alliance

But today, I want to talk about door #4: Sri Lanka. Let me connect the dots in this strange political brew.

  1. Hashan Tilakaratne has accused Sanath Jayasuriya and Aravinda de Silva of match-fixing.
  2. Sanath Jayasuriya has been recalled to the ODI squad at the age of 41.9, only to announce that he will retire after the first game.
  3. Upul Tharanga has been kept out of the team, after testing positive for banned substances.
  4. Arjuna Ranatunga claims that the doctor who prescribed the banned substance to Tharanga is also the Sri Lankan president’s personal physician, Eliyantha White.
  5. Eliyantha White’s medical credentials are “not known“.
  6. Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, belongs to the United People’s Freedom Alliance.
  7. Sanath Jayasuriya is a Member of Parliament from the same party.
  8. Arjuna Ranatunga is a Member of Parliament from Democratic National Alliance.
  9. Hashan Tilakaratne is a Member of Parliament from United National Party.
  10. All three of them are in separate parliamentary alliances, as far as I can tell.
It’s all very Monty Python.

How the IPL Helps the International Game

IMG_3428

Image by Dhammika Heenpella / Images of Sri Lanka via Flickr

Malinga on his return to the international game in 2009:

“Because of the IPL I got a chance to come back to the national team,” he said at a media conference in Colombo. “After the injury nobody looked after me and I was not offered a contract. But thanks to the IPL I didn’t lose anything but I improved my cricket a lot. I’m saddened the way I was treated but not disappointed.”

The IPL takes a lot of heat for ruining the international game. Malinga’s retirement has been held up as an example of everything that’s wrong with the IPL, but without the IPL he may not have had a career to retire from.

The History of One Day Cricket: Part I

The One Day International has changed dramatically in its 40 years of existence. Here is part one of my analysis of the game:

Highest Score per team, per year

We’ve come a long way since the ’70s. It used to be a 60-over innings and teams barely got a couple of hundred runs. In 1977, no team made more than 250 in their allotted 60 overs. Every year since 2004, the top eight teams have had a 300+ score every year. We’ve come a long way, baby.

Take a look at how Jayasuriya and company changed the game in 1996. It’s an outlier, so different from the years around it and wouldn’t be surpassed until the batting powerplay was instituted in 2006.

Highest Score of World Cup 2011: 375 by India against Bangladesh

High Scores in One Day History

High Scores in One Day History (click for larger version)

Runs per over per team, per year

We’ve gone from a par average of 4 to a par average of 5.5. In 1994, every team had a yearly run rate of 5 and under. By 2010, every team was over 5. In fact, South Africa finished 2010 at 6 runs per over for the year.

Top 8 Teams Run Rate at World Cup 2011: 5.38

Run Rate by Year in One Day History

Run Rate by Year in One Day History (click for larger version)

Runs per wicket per team, per year

Now here’s something that hasn’t changed much as the game has changed. Even though teams are scoring at a (much) faster pace, the runs per wicket has been largely steady. Barring some outliers (West Indies in the early days, Australia in the last 10 years), the average has barely increased from the upper 20’s to the low 30’s.

In both this chart and the runs per over, Sri Lanka’s progress between say 1983 and 1996 has been the most dramatic. On this chart, Sri Lanka goes from about 18 in 1984 to 38 in 1997. Of note: Australia crossed 50 runs per wicket in 2001.

Also, look how the mighty have fallen. West Indies dominates every chart here for the first decade and then drops off the map. Finally, the era of Aussie dominance ended in 2008- the orange dot on all three charts falls from the top that year.

World Cup 2011: Matches Among Top 8 Teams:
Side Batting First: 29.58 Runs per Wicket
Side Batting Second: 31.61 Runs per Wicket
Overall: 30.49

Average per wicket per year in One Day History

Average per wicket per year in One Day History (click for larger version)

In the next installment, I will present three charts on how the balance of power in one day internationals has changed over 40 years.

Notes:

  • Only the top eight teams (no Zimbabwe, no Bangladesh) have been considered.
  • The runs per over are for the entire year, with each dot representing a different team.
  • The runs per wicket are for the entire year, with each dot representing a different team.
  • The highest score is the highest score for a particular team in that year.
  • The color code for each country is consistent across all charts.
  • Statistics until the end of 2010 are reflected in the charts.

Why is This So Hard To Understand?

Shanaka Amarasinghe, on why Sri Lanka lost:

If there is one word that can sum up the difference between the two finalists of 2011, it would have to be “belief”.

No. If there was one word that could sum up the difference between the two finalists of 2011, it would have to be “skill”.

The First Among Equals

On paper, India is the best of the remaining teams in the World Cup. But on paper strength has never meant much. On paper, India should score 350+ every match. On paper, South Africa should have made the finals of every World Cup since ’92.

Not much separates the top eight teams in the world, mainly because the good teams are inconsistent and the average teams are tenacious. It’s a time of great turmoil, as many teams rush to replace Australia at the top of the world.

In such a tournament, there is no favorite. As the semi-finals are about to begin, there is no obvious choice. This is new territory– Australia have been favorites to win for over a decade now.

In such a tournament, the winner deserves to be the winner by virtue of having won. That is to say, if a team manages to win three knockout games in a row against top-8 opposition, they deserve to be crowned world champions.
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The act of winning the World Cup will be the only thing that differentiates one of the remaining teams. And that is the characteristic of a great tournament.

My Predictions for the World Cup

Ok– so this is part whimsy, part wishful thinking and part serendipity.

Group A Ranking:

  1. Australia
  2. Sri Lanka
  3. Pakistan
  4. New Zealand

Group B Ranking:

  1. South Africa
  2. India
  3. England
  4. West Indies (though I’d just as easily say Bangladesh, but I think Ireland may beat Bangladesh which will negate another Bangladesh upset.)

QUARTER FINALS

  • Australia v West Indies
  • Sri Lanka v England
  • Pakistan v India
  • New Zealand v South Africa

SEMI FINALS

  • Australia v India
  • Sri Lanka v South Africa

FINALS
India
v
Sri Lanka

WINNER
India

At least, that’s what I came up with while playing Cricinfo’s Predict the Winner. And even I don’t agree with it.

And it’s in complete contradiction with what I thought was the best path for India to get to the final.

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