Book Review: God’s Autobiography

On the launch of the book on my birthday 😀

Source

It has been exactly one year when we saw the great man bid adieu to his passion, his life after 24 years. The autobiography which coincidentally released on my birthday is already selling out more than the Steve Jobs one. I pre-ordered the book on the day it was up on Flipkart and received it in a day of its launch. It was very uncharacteristic of me to have done this for any purchase of my life. All said and done here I am to write my first ever book review and what better to start with God’s own book. As an ardent fan of his, it is really difficult for me to put an objective review of the book but I will try my best for the same.

Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography co-written by Boria Mazumdar is titled “Playing it my way”. This book pans out all the important events in Sachin’s life and is mostly presented in the chronological order. I would say most content in the book is known to the world but with additional information about his batting technique and his play. The book has covered all the important series/matches which Sachin was part of. It has stories of what he thought the fiercest bowling attacks and how he countered them. Also, the book speaks a lot about his family and his wife Anjali in particular. The chapter about Anjali gives us a great example for Sachin being a human after all and will give the reader quite a joy.

It is really awesome to know all the strategies which Sachin used to use when batting, fielding, and bowling and of course as a captain. This book also gives a description of string of injuries he faced till the last season and quite a revelation that many matches he played while he was still injured. While watching the game we never realized the pain he was going through. And everyone will agree that the commitment was never missing in his intent in all aspects of cricket. Needless to say, his first test hundred, Sharajah sandstorm innings, India-Australia 2001 series, World cup matches will still give us the goosebumps while reading as we got while watching it live or on YouTube. I feel the end of the book will bring the readers very close to Sachin as the story telling of his last moments in cricket is exceptional. It might be as we have lived those moments only a year ago but definitely this chapter is like a cherry on the cake.

What I feel this book missed on is covering certain important events in his life which he never spoke of in the media. This book would have been a perfect platform to express those views. Although, Greg Chappell saga, Monkeygate scandal and dissent for selectors and BCCI as a captain have been covered well. I think his feeling about the team and the dressing room atmosphere during the notorious match fixing controversy in 2000 is the biggest miss of the book. All the fans are only aware vaguely without any valid references about the match when Ganguly and he won the match on their own chasing 250 odd as they had smelt rat down the batting order.

Kambli, with whom he shared almost all his formative years, hardly finds a mention worth the relationship. The World Cup ’96 incident where Kambli cried and was like a final nail stone to his career could have made it to the book. The last thing which I personally and my fellow schoolmates must have expected him to talk about in the book is his life in school, Sharadashram Vidyamandir. Everyone is aware that Sachin did miserably in his school. I am not suggesting that he should have all the negative aspects of his life covered. But it would have acted as an inspiration to all the aspiring sportsperson.

Finally, this book should have a mandatory presence at a fan’s home like all the other religious texts. It is an excellent account of all the cricketing aspects of his career, his frame of mind while batting, and strategies as a captain. This can be used as a manual by all the budding cricketers. But it lacks a personal touch from Sachin and his fans might still feel that there is still something left which he hasn’t shared with us. This book leaves us wanting and expecting more from him as 130 million people have always been. We have expectations from him because we know very well that only he can bear it without complaining.

P.S. The most used word in the entire book is “embarrassed”. This speaks volumes about Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s humility. Read it to find out more.

The article was also published at Sportskeeda.

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Catches win matches?

Do catches really win matches?
Do catches really win matches?

Just when all thought it is over, it isn’t!

We all heard about how India’s dismal fielding let them down in the recently concluded test series. But when checked ball by ball (literally!), it surprisingly turned out that England has displayed far worse performance in fielding. Let’s dive into the details that I got after churning the commentary of all the test matches in the series.

  1. England dropped 13 catches throughout the tournament while India dropped only 9 catches.
  2. Stuart Broad was the most unlucky bowler with 7 dropped catches on his bowling.
  3. Matt Prior dropped the most number of catches (4) in the first 2 test matches and this resulted in a 112 runs loss (highest loss by any player in the series) for the team had he taken all the chances.

Though all the above insights indicate England fielding to be in the red but the following insights might make it clear why India’s dismal fielding impacted them more.

  1. India suffered 279 runs from the dropped chances while England suffered only 237.
  2. MS Dhoni dropped a couple of catches which resulted in 85 runs (highest for India)
  3. Jadeja who is considered to be one of the best fielders in the team dropped Cook on 15 runs, eventually continued to get his highest score (95) of the series and return in form.
  4. Jos Butler who was dropped twice, made most of his chances by scoring 97 runs more.
  5. Ian Bell dropped 2 catches but was too lucky as only 7 runs were scored by the batsman before getting out.

At the beginning of the series, both the captains were under the scanner. MS Dhoni’s poor overseas record as a captain and Alastair Cook’s disastrous performances as a batsman. Both teams made it a point to give them a chance to recover from their respective batting forms.

Both Cook and Dhoni were dropped 3 times in the entire series. (Most for any batsman in the series)

The following table contains the details of the catches dropped in the series. Do let me know if you know of any dropped catch which is not included in the list.

Test match no.

Team fielding

Catch dropped by

Batsman

Score when dropped

Final score

Difference

Bowler

1

England

Anderson

Dhoni

52

82

30

Broad

1

England

Prior

Dhoni

52

82

30

Broad

1

India

Vijay

Anderson

41

81

40

Shami

1

India

Kohli

Robson

43

59

16

Jadeja

1

England

Cook

Dhoni

5

11

6

Broad

1

England

Prior

Vijay

0

52

52

Anderson

2

England

Prior

Kohli

19

25

6

Moeen Ali

2

England

Prior

Vijay

0

24

24

Broad

2

India

Rahane

Robson

8

17

9

Shami

2

England

Root

Bhuvaneshwar

2

52

50

Broad

2

England

Bell

Jadeja

66

68

2

Stokes

2

India

Dhoni

Moeen Ali

15

39

24

Jadeja

3

India

Dhoni

Butler

24

85

61

Shami

3

India

Jadeja

Cook

15

95

80

Pankaj Singh

3

England

Jordan

Bhuvaneshwar

19

19

0

Broad

3

England

Root

Jadeja

14

31

17

Broad

3

England

Anderson

Rohit

5

6

1

Anderson

4

England

Butler

Ashwin

26

40

14

Anderson

4

India

Kohli

Butler

34

70

36

Bhuvaneshwar

5

England

Bell

I Sharma

2

7

5

Jordan

5

India

Rahane

Cook

71

79

8

Ashwin

5

India

Vijay

Cook

66

79

13

Aaron

Do let us know which insights you liked in the comments box below.

Data Courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo

Curtains on #IndvsEng series – Fame and Shame

With England thrashing India 3-1, it could not have been more clinical than this. As the test series is over now, it is worthwhile to ponder upon the results we had over the series. This is the 4th post in the #IndvdEng test series. The first one covered an analysis on how Trent Bridge is a batting paradise for the tailendars amongst all the grounds in England. Then the second post gave some jaws-dropping stuff on the historic Lord’s win which saw an uncanny resemblance to the last Indian win at Lord’s. And then, the next post spoke about the unattractive opening partnership and dethroning of India as creators of spin wizards. Lets check out the finale post for the India vs England series.

Innings defeat - Shameful to be on the top
Innings defeat – Shameful to be on the top
England - The turn around specialists
England – The turn around specialists

Data: from the 1st test in 1887 till date

I hope you liked our posts on the India vs England series. We will keep churning out such article and posts for you. Do drop in feedback in the comments down or post is on the Facebook page.

Data Courtesy: ESPNCricinfo

India outside Sub-Continent: A recipe for disaster

Missing the Good old days
Missing the Good old days

India vs England test series is turning out to be crazy when you think about numbers associated with it. After the first test, Trent Bridge turned out to be a batting paradise for the tailendars amongst all the grounds in England. Then the historic Lord’s win saw an uncanny resemblance to the last Indian win at Lord’s.

As the 4th test has begun in Manchester, where the last India vs England match featured a maiden century for the great master, Sachin Tendulkar, more such revelations are in order for India. Let’s start with the Indian batting which is notoriously called flat-track bullies (mostly on the pitches inside the sub-continent) these days. Yesterday, Indian scorecard read 8-4 which is not Football score but what happened when Indian batsman could not play swing bowling from Anderson and Broad. 8-4, unfortunately was trending yesterday on Twitter.

Opening partnerships
Opening partnership: A cause of worry

This graphic states that opening partnership (average for each year) is of great concern for India. When compared from 2001 till date, the period of 2011-14 has been the worst patch for the openers outside the sub-continent. The high for the opening partnerships was clearly the time when Sehwag used to scare the bejesus out of the bowlers with absolutely no respect whatsoever. And the decline in Sehwag’s form has not shown any recovery in the opening partnerships by any other player. It is peculiar that if you look into the 2nd, 3rd and 4th wicket partnerships, we do not see a particular trend.

Now, let us start with the bowling which is considered as second fiddle to any batting line-up in India. India is known to produce quality spinners (especially off spinners) from the ancient times. But after reading the following, one might think otherwise in the recent times.

Right off spinners
Importance of Off spinners in India’s victory

Last decade or so, India has always played one-off spinner in the team irrespective wherever they are playing. Apart from a period of 4 months where Harbhajan was injured between Dec 2003 and April 2004, India has always played a frontline off spinner. As Ashwin played after sitting out for 6 tests on a trot, this period becomes the longest span (Dec 2013 – August 2014) of period without an off spinner playing in the team. To look up at the past records how India fares without any frontline off spinner, you will find that there will be a higher chance of the match being lost by India.

Bhajji vs Ashwin
Bhajji’s balanced performance in every condition is missing in the current team

It is well-known than R. Ashwin is not effective outside the sub-continent. But all these years before he displaced Harbahjan from the team, Bhajji maintained almost a similar average (Runs given / wickets taken) all across the wickets. This made him irreplaceable for a long time. Though it is worth a mention that both bowlers have completely different bowling styles. Bhajji is more of a loop bowler while Ashwin relies on his bag of tricks and is a bit faster in air. But if Ashwin truly wants to be India’s frontline spinner, he really needs to show by his performance in this test at Manchester and the next one given a chance.

Having said enough about off spinners, I miss those times when Bhajji and Jumbo used to rip apart the batting attack in any given condition. Should Dhoni stand up and play a leg spinner up-front like the Aussies used to do (Shane Warne)? I think it might be interesting to look into all the options India has in terms of spinners. Once upon a time, Indian spinners regarded as the text-book for spin bowling have started to lose their sheen. With Karn Sharma being drafted into the squad for the limited overs version, will India’s spin Dark Knight finally rise?

Header Image Courtesy: IBN Live and ESPN Cricinfo

Spot the difference – 28 years apart!

Spot the Difference
Spot the Difference

Did you know: The Last Hurdle at Trent Bridge, Nottingham

Last week the wait was over when India and England played their first test match for the first time 5-test series between them. It was played at Trent Bridge, Nottingham. The match saw the tailenders batting and scoring more on both sides. Here are few insights when analyzed data for the past 10 years at Trent Bridge and in England in general.

Tailenders score like the Middle order
Tailenders score like the Middle order

The data presented just magnifies the 1st Test between India and England. Tail enders (beginning from position 8) have contributed almost the same as the middle order, which the mainstay for any batting line-up in the world. Point to note here, the only middle order batsman to perform in the both the teams was Joe Root scoring 154*.

 

Runs and Run rate higher for 10th wicket partnership
Runs and Run rate higher for 10th wicket partnership

Trent Bridge has turned out to be a batting paradise for the tailenders. In the last 10 years (i.e. 10 test matches) partnerships for 9th and 10th wickets has grossed almost 1500 runs at an average run-rate of 3.40. This is some real batting!

 

England 10th wicket partnership scores more than any team
England 10th wicket partnership scores more than any team

Asian countries are not renowned for their last wicket stands outside the subcontinent. It is only in last 5 years, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have managed to raise the bars for the 10th wicket stand. Meanwhile, English tail-enders have enjoyed hitting the opposition all over the park.

 

Comparison of No. 8 to No. 11 on all grounds in England
Comparison of No. 8 to No. 11 on all grounds in England

A general overview of the batsman (No. 8 to No. 11) on all the grounds in England suggest a higher trend of runs scored and time spent at the crease, for Trent Bridge. A very interesting fact, when most of the top order batsman have failed to score and maintain to stay at the wicket.

Data Courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo

A Gaylestorm not enough for RCB to win the IPL

Storyline from IPL auction which reject Gayle till today where RCB is trophy-less
RCB storyline

Royal Challengers Bangalore, in spite of Chris Gayle in their team since 2011 have not won any trophy. Let us analyse what went wrong in each season since Gayle joined RCB.

IPL 2011: Perfection until the end

Below is the summary of matches lost by RCB with Gayle in the team.

Image

This shows RCB lost all the matches when Gayle scored in single digits. Though, they had ranked 1 in the league stage, they went on to lose the 1st qualifier and the finals, coincidentally both against CSK.

IPL 2012: AB low scores hurt RCB

The otherwise consistent AB DeVilliers, proved to be huge factor this season for RCB.

Gayle and AB  comparison of averages in the won and lost games for RCB
Gayle and AB averages

Gayle was consistent in bagging the Orange cap for the 2nd year in the running (2011 and 2012). Although AB’s average dropped significantly for all the lost games giving an indication of AB’s contribution to RCB’s success in the 2012 season.

There was a match in the 2012 season where RCB played CSK and could not defend 205. The 28 run penultimate over in that match made sure Kohli never bowled for RCB thereafter. Unfortunately, RCB in spite of being tied with CSK on points could not go through the qualifiers due to net run rate.

IPL 2013: Losing most of the away games proved costly

2013 season, RCB lost more away games deviating from their 50% away games ratio
Away games in 2013 season proved costly for RCB

Rajasthan Royals have a phenomenal win record at Jaipur, which is now their fortress. The teams which manage to have a fortress and manage to win a few away games, always have an upper hand to reach qualifiers. But in 2013 season, RCB lost 6 out of their 8 away matches. In the span of 2008-2012, cumulatively, 50% matches were won away where interestingly, Gayle and AB both have healthy averages.

IPL 2014: Doubts and more doubts

Average scores of both 1st innings and 2nd Innings  diping this season
Trend of Average 1st innings and 2nd innings score

The three consecutive losses is certainly is not helping this year’s campaign. 70 all out against RR would have raised eye brows as it is the only instance when a team has scored less than 100, since IPL 2011. A steep decline in the average 1st innings score is quite a downfall for batsman dependent RCB. With Gayle just back in the last match, RCB would be hopeful of a better performance form the team in the upcoming matches in India.

Data Courtesy: ESPN Cricinfo