Deep Backward Point

Blog against the machine.

Tag: West Indies

The Gayle Story, as Written for Daytime Television

Recently, a popular cable channel commissioned a team of top-notch soap opera writers to pen “The Chris Gayle Story”. After significant market research, they tailored the story to their target audience. The following is a leaked version of their notes (Note: Wickbee is an anthropomorphic female West Indies Cricket Board):

The Chris Gayle Story: Made for Television

The Chris Gayle Story: Made for Television (Click for Larger Version)

Rumor has it, the team has not yet decided on the ending. Happy endings sell, but tragedies are more memorable.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Case For and Against the Abandoned Test

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, accused of the first-degree murder of Test Cricket

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, accused of the first-degree murder of Test Cricket

India took a draw in the third test against West Indies, with less than a run a ball required and seven wickets in hand with 15 overs remaining. All hell broke lose.

For the defense: Kartikeya Date:

The World’s Number 1 Cricket fan did the math.

A 50 over old wicket V A 315 over old wicket,
A heavy outfield V The usual lightning quick ODI outfields,
The lack of any powerplays V The lack of a thirty yard circle,
Very strict interpretation of the wide V A standard Test match interpretation
Free hits for front foot no-balls V No Free hits for front foot no-balls

For the prosecution: Alternative Cricket:

It was cowardly from Dhoni, and showed that his tactical awareness still leaves a lot to be desired. As an aside, it is hard to reconcile this ‘First, Do Not Lose’ attitude from Dhoni with his perceived aura of ‘fearlessness’.

Defense: Subash Jayaraman:

I am not insinuating that the fans shouldn’t question the tactics of their teams but to fundamentally doubt the players’ characters that have brought us wins, trophies and covered us in vicarious glory, is a little extreme.

Prosecution: Samir Chopra:

To be a true champion it is not enough that one sit on top of a numerical ladder of rankings and points; it is necessary the putative champion show the desire and the ability to respond to challenges, to find a way to transcend limitations and rise to the top of the game. [..] As for Test cricket, in such dire times, you need better guardians.

Voice of reason, Homer:

What does dominance achieve anyways? Bragging rights for a few years, an inflated sense of worth, followed by years of scorn and talk of comeuppance. On the other hand, longevity creates a system of sustained excellence. Coupled with the knowledge that the team is fallible, it keeps the team honest. It also allows for constant regeneration – the ambition being simple – win more than you lose.

India’s aim has to be for creating a dynasty, not dominance.

Prosecution: Zaltzmann:

At a time when the five-day format is widely acknowledged to be fighting for its future under sustained assault from various angles, Test cricket has punched itself in the face. Again.

Kartikeya Date, on the attack:

An impulse to make character judgments on the spur of the moment says nothing about any passionate interest in cricket or even in a particular cricket team. It has nothing to do with being a fan. It is simply a lazy, mediocre unwillingness to be a sporting observer. And it will happen again, the next time India suffer a batting collapse or fail to win. We’ll continue to hear the same nonsense about “mindsets” and “attitude” and “courage” (or preening tails that are not between legs!) and “tenacity” and “respect for the fans”. We’ll continue to have armchair coaches and armchair psychotherapists and armchair motivational speakers who will repeatedly turn cricket into some silly testosterone fueled race. Committed peddlers of grievance are a contagious tribe. They peddle only because they care so much. Social networking has merely turbo charged all the concern.

And the last word goes to Jarrod Kimber:

As the Woody Allen of sports [cricket] is far too introspective, manic and more likely to sleep with an adopted daughter than most sports.

Most sports are less likely to declare a major format of theirs dead on a daily basis.

That’s part of cricket’s charm, the worrying mumbling sport in the corner of the room whilst the other sport try and pick up.

It’s not smooth or charming, it’s kind of accidentally vulgar and offensive, but in an intellectual way.

Cricket’s always been like this, the problem is everyone looking back looking for the golden era.

Kimber wins.

The B Team Goes to the West Indies

Kartikeya is disappointed in the Indian seniors for choosing not to play the ODI series in West Indies:

I hope the West Indies teach India a lesson in the upcoming ODI games. I understand the need for rest, but to choose the IPL over International Cricket is unconscionable, especially when playing for India is high paying employment.

I empathize. But I also find it interesting that while the rest of the world frets over the health of Test cricket, the top Indian players choose to ignore meaningless ODI series.

Finally, a Test Match

Good morning. At long last, we have a test match.

Personally, I’m interested to see how Bishoo, Rampaul and Simmons fair in the longer game. That will tell us a lot about the future of West Indies cricket.

All the High-Paying Jobs Have Moved to Bangalore

Fake Royal Challengers Bangalore Advertisement

West Indies have learned what other industries have known for some time-- all the high-paying jobs have moved to Bangalore!

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.

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.

The Two Most Likely Upsets Play Today

Whoever planned the World Cup schedule had a demented sense of humor. Bangladesh play West Indies and Zimbabwe play New Zealand today in the most likely upsets of the tournament.

Except for anything that Ireland may be involved in.

On a side note, Bangladesh actually outranks West Indies in the ICC ODI rankings.