Revelation beyond expectation | Indian cricket team has work to do

Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India in action during...
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In some sense I am happy that I did this and sad that no one in BCCI or Indian camp is talking about it. Unless we know where we are we cant look to get better. We need to know our missing points. I rather be a critic to point out the things that didnt go well for my team than be a fan who sits back and enjoy what could be a short-lived victory. I am forced to make to make a comparison with good intentions towards my team. I know, some people will still think me being naive to think all of this and not just be happy, but I want someone to listen and maybe they do.

It started a few days back when my cousin started to propagate Dhoni’s leadership skills over the team members in CSK in IPL. I had liked Dhoni always, but the fan base that called out Dhoni’s captaincy so good that it started to show off other players in the team worthless – was something that ticked me off. In one of the discussion my cousin actually mentioned that players like Bollinger and Raina and Morkel are performing because Dhoni was motivating them.

I took it personally because it meant that the WC victory was only Dhoni’s doing and so was every feat India has achieved in Cricket in last few years and it was hurting. I know she meant no harm and she loves Indian cricket as much as any other Indian, but it was the ticking point for me.

All of this went into hyper drive when I had another discussion with Vineet Malani on Facebook where he was chanting about Dhoni’s captaincy and ignoring facts of what has happened around India and world of cricket. His point was simple – all that India has achieved is because of Dhoni’s captaincy and I wanted to tell them No – any captain in this scenario would have does what Dhoni has done.

I do agree to the fact that Dhoni is a good captain and maybe the best of what India has had, however he is not Great. However, in my zeal to find facts I ended up dissecting India’s path to being no#1 in test cricket and it was a revelation. In my post Deep dive | India route to Test#1; I ended up finding that we are where we are because of the fact that Australia failed to achieve the top standards they have been in the past. India’s efforts have only been marginally better than those of Australia between a period of 2008-2010. And, it was so hurting for me to realize that we are just as good as their worst. I do hope that going forward we can do so much more better than we have in the past and take it to the top level cricket. Australia between 2005 and 2008 have had 70% winning percentage and only 15% each of lost and draw. We managed to equal their worst performance to be #1.

India team – please do so very well in future; my best wishes are with you. Dhoni you are lucky for India and I wish you can take us to peaks where we are untouchables just like Australia were a few years back. I wish that day comes and I will write about you and how you took us to be on the top of the world so convincingly; where we will set benchmarks.

Deep dive | India’s route to Test#1

Mahendra Singh Dhoni at Adelaide Oval
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I blogged about some stats and when i was cross checking I noticed something was off and I did the correction. Also, while i was doing the corrections, I wondered what attributed to India taking #1 position and how did Dhoni impacted that revolution. What I found was a revelation of facts that a lot of is was favorable and because of Australia and SA not doing their best and India matching up their worst or just being a little better.

To begin with the correction from earlier post is: India streak in tests not loosing a match is 14. Started on 10/9/2008 against Australia (Draw) and ended when they lost to SA on 2/6/2010. during this period India went from 3rd position (100 points) to 1st position (124 points). Also note that during period Australia dropped from 141 points to 116 and SA went from 116 to 120 points and were 2nd in rankings when they beat India.

Lets see how India, Australia and SA fared in this time period:

Played Wins Loss Draw Home Away Wins Home Wins Away Opponents – Home Opponents Away
India 31 15 6 10 19 12 9 6 SA, Aus, Eng, SL, NZ SL, NZ, Bng, SA
Australia 37 17 13 7 21 16 9 8 NZ, SA, WI, Pak, Eng WI, Ind, SA, Eng, NZ, Pak
SA 28 13 8 7 12 16 5 8 Ban, Aus, Eng, Ind Ind, Eng, Aus, WI, Pak
Home % Home Win% Away Win% Win % Loss %
India 61 60 40 48 19
Australia 57 53 47 46 35
SA 43 38 62 46 29

So a pattern clearly emerges – India played less matches in this period and their matches played at home were significantly high. They just played 4 series against Aus and SA and rest were against weaker test teams like WI and Bangladesh (note Australia was not winning enough either and were declining)

Australia were loosing heavily and given their better win rates in 2004-2007, they were loosing points because of the 3-year cumulative match in the ICC Ranking system. That how even in some periods where they were not loosing, they were loosing on points because they played lesser cricket and were playing against teams way below them compared to in 2004 where they were facing top teams.

South Africa were kind of neutral, but definitely played more matches abroad and had series against India and Australia consistently.

Also, note that India remained on top because their Loosing % is significantly higher than other two, while their win percent is almost same. This means they were drawing a lot more than others.

Overall, it clearly presents a case where India has been more conservative on their test playing strategies – playing less, playing at home, don’t loose and play safe to draw.

Now, if all that was played just as I can see all of those, good strategy to be number one. It is like saying “Let the others fight and diminish their resources and we will come on top because of their losses.”

Now – please tell me what did Dhoni do to take India here – it just happened. With a good team and safe strategy forces were in our favor. I am happy we are number one, but Dhoni did nothing in all this to happen. As a captain he could not do what all others in the past have struggled – improve our performance overseas. Change that – and then be called a Great Captain.

India under Dhoni

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Indian cricketer. 4 Test...
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A chat discussion came up with the following questions quoted to me

Unbeaten in test series, t20wc, one day wc, vb series etc can all be somehow attributed to dhoni’s luck ;). btw, which captain has won 3 world cups?

My response is as follows:

India lost a match just last year to SA. The best winning streak India has had in Tests is 2 maybe 3 matches in 2010. Their best not loosing a match (includes win or draw) is: 7 in 2008 and 2009 which is not close to Australia who have had streak of 16 wins  in tests twice – 1999 to 2001 and again in 2005 to 2008.

Also, since 2009 where they have won India has played more matches at home than abroad – something India has not been doing in the past.

Again, I dont want to degrade the test status or anything that India has achieved – simply conditions have been favorable for us in last 4 years and we have had a great team which has not changed in recent era. Something that even Ponting had at his disposal in last decade. This is not an individual effort and definitely our captain has not done  enough “just yet” in adverse of the situations. All the “handle pressure situations” we have found ourselves in has been a result of bad planning. Sure, we came out well – but if we see some of the choices during the match and hear what some of the experts have to say (at this point I am not referring to my analysis), a lot of those dont make sense to anyone. Now we can say – all experts are wrong and Dhoni knows something that no one else does – I wont speak another word on this topic ever again. However, Dhoni sure has best that India has had – no questions asked and no caveats presented.

And maybe it is not Dhoni’s luck – it is simply India’s destiny/luck and Dhoni is in middle of all of this just like every other player is. However, I see other players perform on the field and Dhoni is so patchy with his batting and wicket keeping. Even in the World Cup, everyone around me had lost hope he will do anything and then one day he hits a big one – he has been so inconsistent recently – now that is a result which we cant debate. WC is a classic example where until the elimination round, India was hitting itself in every pressure situation – England, Ireland, Dutch, SA – also 2 cases I can recall clearly were in bowling department where we went down in pressure. In elimination round we did good but it was all in batting department and in those too Dhoni went down to pressure in 2 matches against Australia and Pkistan. It was Yuvi and youngsters that got us thru. Finals – he did very well and he was brave or desperation to do something. Whatever it was is was good as the result was good.

I was referring to Ponting who took Australia to 2007, 2003 and 1999. I checked and found 1999 it was Steve Waugh. So I am back to 2 WC and 25 match winning streak (1 match led by Waugh remainder by Ponting).

India’s Test Results from last 2 years

Year Opponent Result Where
2010 Bangaladesh Won Away
2010 Bangaladesh Won Away
2010 SA Lost Home
2010 SA Won Home
2010 SL Lost Away
2010 SL Draw Away
2010 SL Won Away
2010 Aus Won Home
2010 Aus Won Home
2010 NZ Draw Home
2010 NZ Draw Home
2010 NZ Won Home
2010 SA Lost Home
2010 SA Won Home
2009 NZ Won Away
2009 NZ Draw Away
2009 NZ Draw Away
2009 SL Draw Home
2009 SL Won Home
2009 SL Won Home
2008 Aus Lost Away
2008 Aus Won Away
2008 Aus Draw Away

The feeling of being stuck

I want to move on, but looks like I have placed myself in a position where I cant. I find myself stuck at a place where some of my personal priorities are taking a hit on what I have want. I find myself at a point in time when a passion suddenly does not excites me. I just dont want to go back to that place. And No it didnt happen overnight, the process took almost 3 years and now I have reached a place where it is no longer with me.

Now a very important part of my life kicks in and I need to answer a very important question: Was that a passion or just an addiction? the answer can change my life in ways that I cant think of today. I need to answer myself on what I need to do – balance out my personal priorities and let go of my ambitions passions or go back and find what I lost over a period of 3 years.

Both options have their fall outs and I need to see what is more important for me – ?? vs ??. Sadly, I dont know how to put these in words that describe what I am thinking and I do not wish to say those words and end up hurting loved ones.

I dont know who to turn up to for answers that are neutral; I dont know even if anyone can come up with a neutral answer. Every person has their experience and unique situation in their life and their answers are influenced by those situations. What I am feeling is unique in its own sense and I need to find answers in those situations only. I hope I can reach out to God and seek guidance.

Habits

We are creatures of habit, reacting automatically to events as they happen. It thus matters greatly what our habits are. They are mostly a matter of practice. The oftener we do something, and the more circumstances in which we do it, the more it becomes a habit. Therefore, to make something a habit, do it. To make something not a habit, don’t do it.

Being Proud

I had an interesting conversation over a Facebook status; and I do not want to loose it in FaceBook status’; so here is an extract of it:

 

Relax, sit back, listen to your favorite music, feel proud of all the good you have done for this society, have respect for everyone around you, gift a chocolate to a homeless kid outside a temple, give a loaf of bread to a stray dog, lie down on grass and look at the sky and listen to chirping birds.. Believe me you will be happy from your soul, Life is simply too awesome.. Live it UP!!! 😉

 

Ashish Mukherjee I follow many things among these, i almost feed a stray dog everyday, i look up to the sky to relax, i listen to music, etc., but still struggling to find find out something to be proud of which I’ve done good for this society….. it’s a tough job I guess for me….. 😦

 

Kapil Viren Ahuja ‎@Ashish – I dont know you so wont judge; but I can say that all that you do is to be proud off. Because we run for big things; we miss out on smaller ones. Think – if we all would feed 1 time meal to someone say a couple of times a week; how many wont go without food.

 

Ashish Mukherjee

‎@KVA: Hi, mostly i read your posts on Shanu’s posts quiet on a lighter side, but it was great reading an appreciation for what i do, but those aren’t anything which anyone does to feel proud of or keeping in mind that we are doing anything… good, people just do these things when they are missing something probably (not sure), same the case with me, apart from it, when talking about the society, i am feeding the stray dogs, which aren’t giving any such great impact on the society, then….. so in my case, again, still need to struggle lil more to find out that factor, but in any case, thanks a lot, it was good that even these things can be appreciated…. 🙂
Kapil Viren Ahuja IMHO – the reason i feel we should be proud of it is because – there are 99.99% people out there who dont do anything. I am not going to debate the reasons or why.
Ashish Mukherjee ‎@KVA: Kya Kapil Mama, you just ended the topic, it was just great having few words with you… Thanks. 🙂

What I understand is that yeah feeding Stray-dogs is not enough; but what I do like is the fact that Ashish does something; this behavior one day will lead him to do bigger things; it reminds me of Small Steps.