Category Archives: Test matches


The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced a 100 ball cricket league to start in 2020. I strongly believe that cricket has to evolve so that it can grow. I was initially apprehensive about T20 but today I honestly do believe that it has changed the approach by which test and 50 over cricket are played. I approached this news as I did any other piece of breaking news. As much as possible go to the source. Separate the music from the noise. Choose sources and people that are trustworthy and have common sense. This does not mean your view has to agree with theirs.

To put things mildly; ECB is essentially looking to increase interest in cricket in terms of people playing the game, attending games at the venue and viewership on television. Pink ball cricket ie. Day and Night test matches will not work in England. This is due to the long hours of sunshine during the day. Unlike other countries; the test matches between major cricketing nations are nearly always full. White ball cricket is nicely balanced too.

ECB is looking for simplicity. Having 15 overs of 6 balls each and one over of 10 balls does not simplify things so that the common person can understand. I fully support the intention to reduce the time taken. 100 balls are good from that point of view. However, it would have been better to have 10 overs of 10 balls each or 20 overs of five balls each. If a different more exciting format was needed then have two innings of 10 overs each. Similar rules to test matches. If one of the teams played really well then you may not need to play the fourth innings of 10 overs. This would save one hour instead of 40 minutes.

There is the need for change. To understand this need you have to look at the situations in U.K. There is very little parking space close to most major cricket grounds. Public transport starts to get poor by the time a day and night match finishes. Cricket is competing with 90-minute matches. In England, there are two things you cannot change. The first is your mother and the second your football club. In the UK it is difficult to get season tickets for matches. In cricket it is easy. You can become a member of the Middlesex County Cricket Club immediately. Becoming a member of Lords takes 27 years!! Televised cricket also competes with reality shows and other TV shows.

The other thing that concerns me is the amount of cricket that will be played. I love the idea of city franchises rather than county teams for white ball cricket. However having the T20 blast, one day game and test matches in addition to the franchise game may be a little too much. People watch club football because the quality of games especially in the premier league can be better than international games. In England, the quality of cricket, especially at the test level, is lower. This is evident by the inability to find quality openers for the English team. The Indian Premier League is successful because those matches are as good if not better than international T20 games.

I am positive of the fresh outlook by the ECB but there is a very short time period of two years to do a lot of work to get it up and running.

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Filed under 100 ball match, Cricbuzz, Cricket, ECB, England, England and Wales Cricket Board, Football, Indian Premier League, IPL, T20, Test matches, Twenty20, Vivo Indian Premier league

Commonwealth Test XI

I am a great believer and supporter of the commonwealth. In tribute to the commonwealth games, this would be my commonwealth XI. The question that came up though is who will this team play. For this reason, I decided that there would be no English players in the team as the game would be between England and the “colonies”. I have taken only test playing nations. Only those players who currently are eligible to play and play test cricket have been included. The impact of this is that David Warner, Steve Smith and other cricketers who focus on white ball cricket are left out. I also would like it to be as diverse as possible. Only those countries where the Queen is the head of state are eligible to have additional players in the team.

1) Jeet Raval (New Zealand)

2) Aiden Markram (South Africa)

3) Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

4) Virat Kohli (Captain) (India)

5) Shakib Al Hassan (Bangladesh)

6) Kyle Jarvis (Zimbabwe)

7) Sarfaraz Ahmad (Pakistan)

8) Rangana Herath (Sri Lanka)

9) Kemar Roach (Barbados)

10) Pat Cummins (Australia)

11) Shannon Gabriel (Trinidad)

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Filed under Australia, Commonwealth, Commonwealth Games, Cricket, David Warner, England, Monarchy, Politics, Queen Elizabeth II, Steve Smith, Test matches, United Kingdom

IPL18 Match 3: Kolkata Knight Riders vs. Royal Challengers Bangalore

As always RCB on paper seems to be full of promise. This year saw them get a better balance in the team. The critical point seemed to be the 14th over where AB and Kohli fell. The result was that RCB probably got 20 runs short. This difference could have stretched the match to the last over. The weakness though in RCB continues to be their bowling. This is clearly reflected in the points that they scored. There were concerns raised the problem that RCB played only five bowlers. The issue is not how many bowlers were bowled. The issue is how effective those bowlers are. KKR went after Washington Sunder and Chahal. RCB did not have any back up bowlers. Wood and Tahir were targeted by Mumbai Indians however CSK could fall back on Watson, Bravo, Chahar and Harbhajan. The question this season will continue to remain whether the RCB bowlers will be able to support the batsmen. I believe that the batsmen of RCB are strong enough to put up a competitive score by playing one batsman less.

RCB will have to pick their game up. They will have to live by their motto to Play Bold. They will have to take some really strong decisions. They are currently bottom of the bowling list even though their bowlers are not the worst bowlers in the tournament. RCB is close to my heart. The Chinnaswamy stadium was where I saw my first test match. My love for cricket and test matches took root from there. It also helps that they have English players who were obtained at the auctions rather than as replacements. So this would probably be my team

1) Brendon McCullum

2) Parthiv Patel (wk)

3) Virat Kohli

4) AB de Villiers

5) Mandeep Singh

6) Moeen Ali/Tim Southee/Corey Anderson

7) Chris Woakes

8) Washington Sundar

9) Kulwant Khejroliya

10) Umesh Yadav

11) Yuzvendra Chahal

I believe the inclusion of either Moeen Ali. Tim Southee or Corey Anderson will be able to strengthen the bowling and batting of RCB. Parthiv Patel is a decent keeper. Moeen Ali has found himself doing well in the lower order. However I believe Moeen Ali and Parthiv Patel can be slotted anywhere in the order. I am curious about the team they will play against Kings XI Punjab. It will be an exciting game.

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Filed under Cricket, Delhi Daredevils, India, Indian Premier League, IPL, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Royal Challengers Bangalore, T20, Test matches, Twenty20, Vivo Indian Premier league

The Serious Implications of Sandpapergate

I was on my way to church and were running through the chords of the songs we were going to sing for the service when I first started to read about the ball tampering incident between Australia and South Africa. I more or less tweeted immediately that Cameron Bancroft should have been red carded for the event. I have since then intentionally kept quite on this topic. The fact is that Cameron Bancroft, David Warner and Steven Smith colluded together to tamper the ball. They were given punishments based on what the ICC and Cricket Australia have in their statutes. The BCCI had no option but to ban Steven Smith and David Warner from the IPL. Cricket Australia banned the trio from international and domestic cricket. I believe that allowing Smith and Warner to play in the IPL would have reduced the value of the IPL. The apologies from Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft combined with them accepting their bans makes them seems genuine. Lehmann seemed remorseful too in his press conference. The silence of David Warner thunders above them. Candice Warner interview has not helped him either.

I have not changed my view since my first tweet. The red card system should have been more exhaustive. Most of the drama could have been avoided if something significant was done there and then. An attempt was made to tamper the ball. The umpires should have awarded South Africa penalty runs, changed the ball and red carded Bancroft. Further punishments could have been given if deemed fit at the end of the day or the innings. Footballers are penalised if they are deemed to have acted as if they dived or if they feign an injury. Similar punishments should be done in cricket. Tampering the ball will be high on the least. I would add time wasting especially to save a test match or get through the end of a session. The addition of the third umpire and review system has been great for cricket. Not only has it increased the number of right decisions but it has raised the standard of umpiring. Decentralisation has been really good in this case. However I believe that more power should be given to the umpires to curb problems that arise on the field.

The heroes of this saga are first Fanie de Villiers who tipped the camera crew that the Aussies may be cheating. The second are the Australian public who took a really good stand. This article clearly states the reason for the outcry. The Australian government should not have got involved. Politics and cricket should be kept separate.

The thing that troubles me the most is none of the Australian bowlers were part of the plan. I find this very hard to believe. James Anderson and Stuart Broad are obsessive about the ball. The English team in general are. Alaistar Cook is allowed to handle the ball because his hands hardly sweat. Fielders are instructed to handle the ball properly once the ball has developed. I find it hard to believe that none of the bowlers was involved in some form or that they did not notice that the ball suddenly had scuffs.

Hopefully ,this is the last of this. There is a month to the start of the English season and the IPL in between should provide a nice break. I am looking forward to the forthcoming season. The teams from the subcontinent will be in full force. Ireland and Afghanistan have one off tests. West Indies will also be playing. I will be taking my cricket index live this season onwards. I believe I have tweaked it properly. I hope that the season will be in the news for all the good reasons. We need something to celebrate cricket after everything that has happened.

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Filed under Ball Tampering, Blog, Cricket, Cricket Australia, England, IPL, Test matches

An APPLE a day

I love alternate indices. RAFI which can be invested through PowerShares is probably my favourite investable index. The other index I really like is the Christmas Price Index. I had written a post on the following topics

  1. Religion-based Indices
  2. Condoms and Chocolates
  3. Analysis Test Series England vs. South Africa

I am still in the process of tweaking my cricket index. The common assumption in all this is my strong belief that the methodology used to measure certain indices is not completely accurate and some like the  ICC cricket ranking is completely wrong. One decision I really liked was a recommendation to buy the shares of Apple when the news that Steve Jobs had cancer broke out. Yes, I did feel sad that Steve Jobs had cancer but I absolutely was furious at the people who thought that Apple would collapse because Steve Jobs would no longer be involved and would die. Today I feel the same way about the negative ratings given by analysts about Apple. The good thing though is that the fall in the share price of Apple is a good opportunity to buy it. Apple is an innovative company and will continue to do so. Everyone initially predicted that the cost of the iPhone X would under perform the iPhone 8 and would eat into the profits of Apple. Analysts more often than not get their calls wrong. Does it really matter if a company distributes less dividend than analysts expected? The important thing is that Apple is a good company. I read an interesting astrological article on the numerology analysis of certain tech companies. I am not a great believer in astrology or horoscopes. I do consider that there is a certain amount of science in numbers. It does not matter whether it appears as numerology or the significance of numbers in various religious texts. This post on the thirteen tribes of Israel is extremely good. There is a logic in Shmita. Apple will always be an attractive company to buy into. Buying it when the share price is down is a bigger bonus.

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Filed under Apple, Business, Christianity, Cricket, ETF, Healthcare, Indices, Investments, Islam, Leaders, Market Outlook, Market Timing, religion, Test matches

Analysis Test Series England vs. South Africa

Analysing this series from a pure numbers point of view and as a portfolio has been very interesting. To see my theory finally come alive has been rewarding. Although I have to admit the data entry has been a slight pain. If there are any good data base programs that can work well with excel then I will be grateful if you let me know.

This was a great series. It was extremely well fought. Sadly the final margin of victory does not reflect how close the series was. South Africa was 7.6% ahead after they levelled the series. This increased to 18.1% for the third test where both England and South Africa made changes. After the third test England was ahead by 9.3% and they ended with a lead of 31.4%. In comparison the West Indies and Pakistan series ended up with Pakistan leading the series by 9.5%. This should generally indicate that the test matches were closely fought. There may be some truth to this. The margins of victory were smaller. All of the matches were won on the fifth day. Apart from this the extra test and the margin of victory would have greatly contributed to the differential. I am not entirely convinced that the difference should be so great. The best way to check this is to create a benchmark or to average the scores.

The player of the series for England was Moeen Ali and for South Africa was Morne Morkel. This is where things get interesting. Root has the most points in the series. He leads Moeen by 1%. The question is whether the all round performance by Moeen Ali is better than the fairly consistent performance by Root with the bat and his captaincy. In my view the role of the captain is vital in cricket. Further this is Root’s first test as a captain. When tests go badly the captain is usually the first head to roll and get criticised . Before Cook and Strauss; you had Freddie Flintoff and Kevin Pietersen who lost their captaincy because of the bad performance of the team. Overall I would be tempted to give the Man of the series to Root. The performance of both Moeen and Root are too close to call.

The numbers do not support giving Morne Morkel the player of the series for South Africa. Yes he bowled beautifully and was unlucky not to have picked more wickets but a millimetre is the difference between not getting any wickets and getting five wickets just like a snick off the bat that could get a batsman out for a duck or the one that leads to a double hundred. For me it is clear that Hashim Amla is the man of the series for South Africa. After Amla the next best performer was Quinton De Kock. However a good portion of his score came from his wicket keeping role.

The top five performers are below

1) Joe Root

2) Moeen Ali

3)Johny Baristow

4) Ben Stokes

5) Hashim Amla

The best batsmen are below

1) Joe Root

2) Hashim Amla

3)Johny Baristow

4)Ben Stokes

5) Dean Elgar

The best bowlers are

1) Moeen Ali

2) James Anderson

3)Morne Morkel

4)Keshav Maharaj

5) Kagiso Rabada

De Kock has got more points for wicket keeping than Baristow. Both of them are pretty close for their wicket keeping. The role of the wicket keeper has changed. Your wicket keeper must be able to bat really well. It is in this department where Baristow excelled.

My playing eleven for this series would be as follows.

1) Alastair Cook

2) Dean Elgar

3) Hashim Amla

4) Joe Root (Captain)

5) Faf Du Plesis

6) Ben Stokes

7) Johny Baristow (Wicket Keeper)

8) Moeen Ali

9) Toby Roland-Jones

10) Morne Morkel

11) James Anderson

The only spot that could be up for debate is whether the number Rabada should be played instead of Rabada. You have experience with Rabada. Roland-Jones just started his international career. Rabada did get more points than Roland-Jones but Toby got more average points than Rabada. It would have been nice to have Bavuma in the mix but you can’t pick him over Du Plesis and Ben Stokes has to be in the side.

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Filed under Cricket, England, Indices, Test matches