Category Archives: England

T100

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

Indian Premier League Playing XI Week 1

This post has been a long time coming after my first IPL Playing XI. However going forward this should become more frequent. As a reminder below are the criteria that I use in building my team.

  1. The team will have four International players.
  2. There will be a minimum of one spinner.
  3. The wicketkeeper will be a regular keeper for their team.
  4. The captain of the team will be one of the captains of the team.
  5. As much as possible the team will be playing at their regular positions.

Based on the above conditions my Index churned out the following team.

This is slightly different to the IPL XI put up by Simon Doull. His team is below.

The top four is a no-brainer. They clearly are the best people for those slots. Kishan was a contender for number 3 and the wicketkeeper bu Rahul and Samson can keep and their batting after week one is better than Nair. I expected Shane Watson to open but the sheer destructiveness of Rahul and Dhawan has pushed him off the opening slot. He is the third best foreign bowler. Despite this, he does not seem to slot anywhere else. Sunil Naraine was another contender for the opening slot. However, his hit out or get out attitude was too risky to warrant a place. I do not think there can be any arguments about three and four.

The Pandya brothers, Sam Billings and Karun Nair were fighting it out for five and six. I decided to go with Hardik and not Krunal because I needed a fast bowler. There were also better spinners that could be played. I decided to play Billings at six because he has the ability to change a game.

I had to pick Andre Russell. He is a good finisher. I see Bravo and Russell as having similar roles. I picked Russell because so far he has been better especially at bowling.

My first spinner and Captain of the team is Ashwin. I think this is the main difference between my list and that of Doull. The obvious captain from his list would be Devilliers. It is important to me that the captain is chosen from one of the eight or any other captain that may get chosen in the future. Ashwin has bowled well and he is able to make the batting go deeper. I strongly believe that Ashwin and Williamson have used their resources the best.

Umesh Yadav is the best fast bowler so far. Markande is the best spinner. The slot for the final fast bowler and a foreign player was between Chris Woakes and Mustafizur Rahman. I decided to go in for Woakes because he would strengthen the batting line up. He may be more expensive than Rahman but I do believe he is a better bowler and wicket taker than Rahman.

If you have a different view then I would really like to know.

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Filed under Chennai Super Kings, Cricbuzz, Cricket, Delhi Daredevils, England, India, Indian Premier League, Indices, IPL, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Simon Doull, Sunrisers Hyderabad, T20, 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 5: Chennai Super Kings vs. Kolkata Knight Riders

Oh what a circus, oh what a show. That seems to be the only appropriate words to use. CSK has truly brought the league to life. The changes that were made was extremely interesting. Jadhav had to be left out because of his injury. A simple swap could have been made. The changes that were made were inspirational. Two changes were unexpected. Getting Sam Billings for Jadhav and replacing Mark Wood with Shardul Thakur was great. The move paid off. Billings played amazing innings.Thakur bowled below the average run rate and he took a wicket too. These changes meant that CSK started higher in my ranking. The Change made by KKR to bring in Tom Curran for the injured Starc was brilliant. Replacing Johnson with him made me feel even more proud. The pain of the loss of the Ashes disappeared momentarily. I loved the way Curran reacted after getting Watson out. There are reports that Curran called him a pie thrower. I do not care. The IPL is a huge gladiatorial festival. It is good to see controlled aggression and people wearing their hearts on their sleeve. I am a big fan of the Curran brothers and I am sure that Tom’s stint in India will help him. This match showcased England and Windies cricket.

This match may have gone down to the wire but my numbers show that CSK outperformed KKR by 18%. CSK’s last match was saved by Bravo. This time it was the combined performance of the team that gave them the victory. That being said you really have to feel for Andre Russell and Sunil Naraine. Naraine has been given a license to kill. If he is successful like he was with RCB then he can be destructive. If he gets out cheaply then it will not matter because he would not have wasted any balls. The people in Chennai could not have asked for a better opening game.

I do not question the value of Dhoni in the team. I do have to question his value in my Playing XI. He is currently the worst batsman in the team. Wood, Chahar and Thakur are the only players worse than him. With the performance of Billings, I seriously doubt whether Wood will be able to get back into the side barring any injury of course. CSK gave a nice welcome to their fans with this match. Sadly it may be their last because they will not be playing in Chennai this season and there is talk that they will not play in Chennai next season because of elections. Politics and cricket do not mix well.

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Filed under Blog, Chennai Super Kings, Cricket, England, India, Indian Premier League, IPL, Kolkata Knight Riders, Politics, 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

Marks and Spencer

I have always been opposed to investing directly in Marks & Spencer. My view was simple. M&S sat in no man’s land. You had John Lewis that provided high-end goods. On the other end, there was Primark. If M&S made a few wrong calls on fashion then they would have a major slump. This did happen quite a few times. Yesterday’s news that M&S is to close down more stores came as no surprise. I strongly believe that M&S food is the ventilator that has kept the company alive. It will continue to do so. As always all you have to do is have a walk through the stores of M&S. In general, M&S Food will have the largest percentage of people. This trend will change unless M&S can appeal to the people who are inclined towards healthy but quick food but their older base that would like their traditional British meals. Will M&S be able to balance their traditional Cottage Pie with their Thai green curry? In light of Brexit, I hope they do as they are one of the iconic British brands. If one has to gain exposure to the UK today then possibly the best way to do it is through  VGK.  The Vanguard European Fund has about a 29% exposure to the UK. The exposure to the European markets would act as a hedge. I believe we are going through an extremely interesting time right now. I do not like making predictions but there will be a winner and a loser in the whole Brexit process. Either way, the financial markets will get affected. Overall the European markets will go up.

 

Disclaimer: I do not hold any shares of Marks & Spencer or VGK right now.

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Filed under Brexit, England, Europe, Food, FTSE, Indices, Investments, Market Outlook, Market Timing, United Kingdom, Vanguard

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

Analysis England vs. South Africa third Test Match

South Africa did a straight swap where they replaced Duanne Olivier for Kagiso Rabada. Olivier’s performance was well below standard. His economy rate was very high. His strike rate was good but you would expect it to be significantly lower. He just gave too many runs. Of course it can be argued that it really did not matter at the end of the day because South Africa had a big lead. While this could be justified for the second innings where he gave 7.5 runs per over; you really can’t justify his first innings economy rate where he gave 5.57 runs per over. These are closer to what would be acceptable in One Day Internationals and T20’s and not in tests. The result was that South Africa started 4.1% higher than where they finished.
England made a few changes. Gary Ballance was dropped and Tom Westley was brought in at number three. Michael Wood got injured so Toby Roland-Jones was brought in to replace him. Liam Dawson was dropped and interestingly Dawid Malan was brought in to replace him. These changes made the English team look better. It also removed the illusion that Moeen Ali was their second spinner. I was sceptical about Moeen Ali wearing the hat of a spinner early on in his career. However he has improved heavily over the years and definitely deserves the title of the main spinner. These changes meant that England started 22% lower than South Africa.
The headlines may have been about Moeen Ali’s hat trick but this was definitely Ben Stokes games. A fast century and a quick fire 30 along with wickets in both the innings made sure that the deal was sealed. England excelled in their batting and bowling. Westley did reasonably well. I did wish that Malan would have done better. His performance with the white ball recently has been magnificent to say the least. I do hope he is given more chances. For the bug scores England are largely dependent on Cook, Root, Stokes, Baristow and Ali. There are still problems with the opening pair. There is no serious middle order that can be spoken of. Due to the weakness in the batting, the partnership that are essential are Root and Stokes, Stokes and Baristow and finally Moeen Ali with the tail and either Stokes or Baristow.
With this victory we have another all rounder playing an instrumental role and England regain their lead and are 9.3% ahead.

Cricket at the end of the day is a game analysed by numbers and stats but lives because of passion. Moeen Ali’s hat trick was the first in the Oval. It was the third hat trick to finish a test match in the history of test cricket. The last being in 1902. It was the first where all the batsmen who got out were left handlers. History was made. This hat trick will probably be excellent of spin bowling in England because it was done by a person who has come from the Indian subcontinent. The fact that the hat trick was achieved by a spinner in England makes it more valuable than if a seamer would have achieved it.

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Filed under Cricket, England, Indices

Analysis England vs. South Africa 2nd Test.

As expected England played with an unchanged side and South Africa made quite a few changes. Du Plesis was back and captaining the side. Rabada was left out because he was banned for one test. South Africa also made one strategic choice by replacing de Bruyn who is more of a pseudo all rounder with Chris Morris who fits the term all rounder more suitably.
The result was that South Africa started 62% weaker than the English team. This compares to them underperforming England by 32.2% in the first test match. By the end of the test match South Africa was was in front by 7.6%.
Hashim Amla performed extremelly well with the bat. However once again it was an all round performance by Vernon Philander that sealed the match. Hashim Amla scored more runs than Philander. Chris Morris got more wickets than him. Philander's batting strike rate was much better than Amla's which meant that it was worth more. Morris had a better bowling strike rate but his economy rate was bad. Philander had a better bowling average. Faster runs combined with a better economy rate and a bowling average was too much for England. He seemed to be batting and bowling on a different wicket altogether.
My numbers indicate that England bowled better than South Africa. This is definetly because there were better individual performances from England but you had all of the South African Bowlers contributing. I am not too concerned about this because this actually shows the system is working. The match was won and lost in the batting department. The batting of South Africa was 3% better than the last test match. However England was 50% worse.
I am looking forward to the next match. South Africa will definetly bring back Rabada. England will most likely make changes.

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Filed under Cricket, England, Indices

Authors or Analysts?

(Originally posted on July 21st 2009)

One of the best feelings I get is when the “experts” from the major financial institutions comes up with the same conclusion that I have after I have realised it.Yes it is narcissistic of me but that it is the flower of my birthday and therefore it is to be expected. The latest episode was last night when one of the sports commentators on Sky said “One small step for Flintoff, one big step for England.” Earlier in the day I wrote on my Facebook “One small step towards the Urn and one big step for England.” The ASX increased by .01% today. That .01% increase can be attributed to the applause the populace at Lords gave Ricky Ponting an applause when he admitted that they were outplayed. The FTSE on the other hand has increase by over 1%. The share price of all the sponsors of the English Cricket Team have increased since yesterday. The only sponsor of the Australians who have had their share price increased is 3G. However 3G is 50% owned by Vodafone. Now what would a normal Aussie bloke do if he knew that? Does the average Aussie cricket fan know that Fosters have sold the rights to brew Fosters in Europe to Scottish and Newcastle which is owned by Heineken? In Europe the beer associated with Australia is not Australian!! Everything is not what it appears to be. Pure transparency among equity funds and hedge fund does not, will not and should not exist. If transparency did exist then everyone from a 90 years old grandmother in Timbuktu to Wall Street would be buying the same things. If that would happen then there will be no money to be made. Efficient markets cannot exist. It is the risk and uncertainty that gives rise to opportunity. All creation stories and theories begins with Chaos. Since that is the case then who are we to go against the Gods?

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Filed under Ashes, ASX, Cricket, England, Flintoff, FTSE