Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

Tag: Australia

Chomsky for Cricket Australia

Jarrod Kimber, with top notch satire in the form of Noam Chomsky expresses an interest in playing Test Cricket for Australia:

“In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, Test Cricket is more than just an ideal to be valued – it may be essential to survival” said Chomksy.

Luckily, Chomsky’s normally in form. (sorry, that’s a context-free joke).


The Haydos Bot

The Old Batsman has spotted patient zero in the crictainment epidemic in Australia:

A virus has been imported, the Haydos hard drive has been wiped and replaced by a Trojan Horse. The mouth that once opened only to emit variations of the phrase ‘fuck off’ from first slip has been reprogrammed by a mid-90s management guru. He is now the proprietor of something called The Hayden Way.

‘As I encompass my core philosophies, it is with the creation of The Hayden Way…’ the Bot said. ‘we have been developing projects to engage people on a multitude of levels. Through branded media, bespoke events, community projects, education and activities that encourage everyone to enjoy the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.’

Korbo Lorbo Jeetbo

Today is a day for the Bengali.

My favorite non-Indian opener in the world was just named one of the four Wisden Cricketers of the Year. Tamim Iqbal, here’s hoping you play multiple 40 over ODI innings some day and the rest of your team doesn’t get bowled out before then.

The Bangladesh-Australia series begins tomorrow, and they couldn’t find the time for one Test match. Fifteen Australians fly all the way to Bangladesh for only three days of international cricket? A shame.

For those of you in the US, ESPN3 will stream that series live.

Finally, the IPL. The game is about to begin, and Kolkatta is my favorite team.

The IPL is a “cult of personality” event, and so I’ll stick with the players that excite me the most for now. KKR has:

  • Eoin Morgan
  • Shakib al Hasan
  • Ryan ten Doeschate
  • Yusuf Pathan

That’s all I need.

Ryan ten Doeschate

Ryan ten Doeschate's century against England almost got the Netherlands the first upset of the tournament

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.


  • 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.

Breaking News: India’s Secret Weapon to Beat Australia

Three words: play excellent cricket.

There– now you don’t have to read or listen to all the experts.

Three Sentences That Capture the Debate Over Walking

Tendulkar Walks

Tendulkar Walks

Last week, Tendulkar walked after edging the ball to the ‘keeper, but Ponting didn’t. Andy Bull sums it up:

By walking [Tendulkar] gave a wonderful example to hundreds of millions of fans and spectators, which is more than you can say of what Ponting did. At the same time, what would those same fans think if he did it in the first over of the World Cup final? Ponder that, and you get close to understanding the merits of both sides of the argument.


India and Australia remain the only two unbeaten teams in the World Cup so far. And it looks like it will stay that way until Saturday at least.

The difference is that Australia hasn’t been tested yet.

That’s Nice Dear

Andy Zaltzman, on the greatest discovery of his life:

I opened the front cover. Inside was a small piece of white card, stuck down by the previous owner with some blu-tac. On it was an autograph. Clearly written, and unmistakeable. Don Bradman. I exploded with excitement. “That’s nice, dear,” said my mother, trying half-heartedly to look like she knew or cared who Don Bradman was, and wondering what she had done wrong in my formative early years.

India’s Path to the World Cup Finals

Never Again

Never Again.

The Cricket World Cup is still three weeks away, but it’s never too early to lay out a hypothetical situation.

The Group of Death
The fourteen teams competing in the World Cup are divided into two groups. The top four in each will make it to the quarter-finals.

First, take a look at the two groups:

Group B Group A
  • Bangladesh
  • England
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Netherlands
  • South Africa
  • West Indies
  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Kenya
  • New Zealand
  • Pakistan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Zimbabwe

One of these things is not like the other. Clearly, based on recent form, Group B is the group of death.

100 Hundred Overs = 98 Ad Breaks
Thankfully for the members of Group B, cricket is ruled by a powerful few, and their television revenues. The ICC cannot afford (another) World Cup where the most popular teams fail to make it to the later rounds. For this reason, four teams from each group will qualify for the next round– which should make sure most, if not all, of the high advertising-revenue countries will play the quarter-finals.

Note: Of course, major upsets are always possible, as we saw in 2003. And 2007. Just ask Bob Woolmer. In all seriousness, statistically, a single upset among eight teams is likely. If I had to guess, Bangladesh could beat West Indies to a quarter-final slot. Pakistan, New Zealand and India also have the tendency to vastly under or over-perform, but never meet expectations.

So, in all likelihood, the usual suspects will make it to the quarter-finals. For sake of argument, my nominal prediction:

  • A1: Australia
  • A2: Sri Lanka
  • A3: New Zealand
  • A4: Pakistan
  • B1: South Africa
  • B2: India
  • B3: England
  • B4: West Indies

For the most part, the ranking within the group does not matter. You could come fourth in your group, and still make the quarter-finals. Except, if you’re in Group B, this will likely mean you have an early date with Australia.

[Note: And no one wants an early date with Australia. Not even New Zealand. They live next door, they would know.]

On the other hand, a top-three place within Group B would (likely) ensure avoiding Australia until at least the semi-final. The other three potential opponents are deadly on their day– and Sri Lanka in the sub-continent can be lethal– but if I had to choose when to meet Australia, I would choose the finals.

[Note: In reality, I would choose never, or when the moon turned blue, or when Ponting returns to form.]

[Note: Note to self: never bet against Ponting.]

Location, Location, Location
There is another wrinkle in the story.

If India finish second or fourth in their group, they play their quarter-finals in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

If India finish third in their group, they play in Colombo, Sri Lanka. If, simultaneously, Sri Lanka finish second in their group India play Sri Lanka in Colombo. Short of playing Australia, this is probably the second worst-case quarter-final scenario.

Here’s the best case: If India finish at the top of their group, they play at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, India. India does not have a terrific One Day record in Ahmedabad (winning only five of twelve), but they would prefer a home ground to Dhaka or Colombo any day.

[Note: India has a better record at Dhaka, but that’s only because they played Bangladesh. The three times they have lost were to Sri Lanka and Pakistan. India’s recent record at the Premadasa in Colombo, isn’t too bad either. They have defeated Sri Lanka five of the last seven times in the past two years.]

As an added benefit, the winner here would play their semi-final in Mohali instead of Colombo. And everybody loves Mohali, right? Right?

[Note: India have lost their last three ODIs in Mohali.]

#1, #1. #1
In short, while the early stages of the World Cup are largely meaningless (as they have been for some time), there are a few minor goals to shoot for.

If they finish in the top three in their group, India may be able to avoid Australia. For now.

If the they finish on top, they have the home advantage and most likely avoid Australia until the finals. And avoid a repeat of 2003. And hope someone else beats Australia before them.

The Next Ashes: Ten Consecutive Test Matches

This will either be an epic battle or an epic bore. Andre Wu for the Sydney Morning Herald:

In what is shaping as a bumper few years for Australian cricket fans and Cricket Australia’s bean-counters, the fierce rivals will play 10 consecutive Tests in two separate series in the second half of 2013 and early 2014..

Let’s hope England remains a top-notch team, and Australia continues to play every test match to win.