Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Have a great new year people!. Work well, party hard, and don't drink and drive:-)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Of arranged marriages and research projects...

The 4 of us, that's me, Abhishek, Arpan and Sandipan were just sitting around making small talk the night before yesterday when the topic veered towards marriages. I'll leave some of the unprintable parts of it out, but eventually as it came down to a question of arranged marriage, majority of the group thought the whole idea of arranged marriage seemed unfathomable to me, especially if there has not been a sufficient amount of a courtship period. Arpan then interjected with a gem. It went like this: An arranged marriage is like a research project a PhD student gets placed on; he has to learn to love it along the way.....

Friday, December 16, 2005

For the statistically minded


Just for fun, and spurred on by the post comparing Sachin's and Ganguly's performance in recent test matches, I decided to conduct a bit of research and here are the numbers. First though, the assumptions and methodology. For the 5 players discussed in this post, the statistics of their last 15 test matches were viewed. Performances against Zim and BD were dropped and the runs scored, 100s and averages evaluated. To be fair, the actual number of test matches played by each of these players against all opposition but Zim and BD were also recalculated.
What is the point of this, you wonder? Just this:
a) Throws the whole dumb Sachin-Ganguly email out of the window.
b) Shows that through this supposedly bad period, Sachin's fortunes have still been important to India.
c) Lara has been single handedly carrying the WI( but of course, you knew that)
d) What is happening to Lara now has dogged Sachin in his prime, a colossus in a team of under achievers
e) Dravid has been going through a relatively lean patch by his own standards
f) Ganguly and Laxman have both faltered.
g) I am a big VVS fan, but given these comparisons, I would have to say Ganguly is very unlucky. The only thing in VVS' favor is probably the brilliant 69 at Mumbai.

And finally, the point is this, don't bandy emails showing statistics and the likes to me. Statistics can be manipulated if youn only know how. For instance if I recognize the fact that Sachin missed a few tests in the dark period of the last one year, or consider only those most recent 15 tests which all the 4 Indian batsmen have played together, Sachin's figures would probably look less impressive while Dravid's, Laxman's and Ganguly's more than they do now.

Next post, I'll be back with Matt, Punter, Kallis and the likes..

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Not the way

Over the past few years, I have been a strong critic of Ganguly's test match batting. I was definitely of the opinion that he should not have been selected for the Delhi test. But even I am appalled by the manner in which he was sacked from the third test. I thought he did quite well at Delhi. He seemed also, after a long time, to be enjoying being out there. I still dn't think he would cut much ice against quicks with any dgree of quality. But the fact remains that against SL and against Murali, he is way better than Yuvi. I don't know also, how much of a say Dravid and Chappell have in selection, but if they do, and if they were silent spectators or vocal contributors to what transpired at the selectors' meeting, the implications make me worry for some dark times ahead.
Update:Gaurav Sabnis has an excellent article on this here

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Apologize , Waz!

It would be an understatement to say that it shocked me. Wasim Akram, one of my idols, going on record to say that the ICC was run by "goras" or whites, who did not have the talent or the passion to do so. I have myself, in the past, been critical of several decisions taken by the ICC which have smacked of a racial bias. There is however, a thin line between accusing someone of racism(which is bad in the first place) and using racist slurs to undermine someone. Racism, along with untouchability, is a crime against humanity, and it just does not matter if it is a white person or a brown person doing it. It is simply unpardonable. I have seen this in the US where the minorities seem to be a lot less responsible about being politically correct. Indians, African Americans, Hispanics, it just doesn't seem to matter. A major persecution complex has fuelled a "reverse" racism among these communities. Wasim seems to have fallen prey to that too, in the large, cosmopolitan world that is the ICC. I still respect him as a cricketer, but no person who indulges in racism of any sort will ever be an idol of mine.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Geeky Joke

One of my labmates wanted to send out a PCB for fabbing. The only problem was he needed to convert it to Gerber form so that it could be portable to a number of manufacturers. Seeing him wait in mock anticipation to hear from the company which does the conversion to Gerber format prompted me to ask him, "Which format would Jughead like to convert the file to?". And since he couldn't get the answer(dumbass) as I am sure, none of you can, it is Burger format.


Friday, December 02, 2005

On all-rounders

Here's something I posted as a comment on that fantastic Cricinfo blog, Different Strokes, and thought it might be worthwhile posting about it here, so that maybe some of you could give me your opinions on the issue.

It's no surprise, with the slew of ODI cricket played on the subcontinent, that the average cricket fan began looking at the bits-and-pieces cricketer as an all-rounder. You say, the key point is "Can you walk into the side on the basis of a a single skill alone?" Although that seems to be the fashionable definition at the moment, it leads one to ponder a number of things. Would you let a batsman averaging 30 be a test match regular? Would you let a bowler averaging 35 with the ball be a test match regular? Both of the above figures are definitely not the worse in the world, mind you, but in a side where the rest of the batsmen score 40-50 runs per knock and in a side where the rest of the bowlers give about 20-25 runs apiece before claiming a wicket, would these players walk into the side purely as a batsman or a bowler respectively? I would think not. So, either Kapil Dev and Sir Gary were not all-rounders, or, there is a need to revisit our definition. A convenient way to gloss over this by further qualifying the all rounder as a batting or bowling all-rounder, but to my mind, that just takes you one step closer to the much maligned bit-and-pieces all rounder or more appropriately, a part time allrounder, a la Steve Waugh or Sachin Tendulkar.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Out Of my comfort zone-revisited

I finally got the book delivered to me today; took long enough to get here, but I wasn't about to let that, or the fact that I am now buried under a huge pile of work, dampen my enthusiasm. After all, late nights to make up for the work are also exciting:-)

Anyway, simply put, this is the best cricket book I've ever read, and considering I've read more than a fair share( Zed, Sandy Storm, Marshall Arts, all of Gavaskar's, Boycott's, Bradman's best,two on Warney, two on Junior, a couple of Tugga's diaries), that's saying a bit. Steve Waugh is brutally honest to himself and his readers and helps one break away from their impression of him as a serious and sometimes self absorbed cricketer. The book is laced with the wit and humor that made him a past master of the sledging game and contains unbelievably funny anecdotes from his personal and professional life. And maybe, given where I stand in life today, it's just the inspiration I need.

P.S.: Lynette's take on her husband in the concluding part of the book is particularly poignant, as well as funny, and some of the parts had me quietly smiling to myself.

PK: Don't miss this book. Buy it.

Minu: You do the same

Mangesh: You're an idiot