R.I.P Craigos, you were a champion bloke. One of the best
R.I.P Fardin 'Bob' Qayyumi
Member of the Church of the Holy Glenn McGrath
"How about you do something contstructive in this forum for once and not fill the forum with ****. You offer nothing." - theegyptian.
"There's more chance of SoC making a good post than Smith averaging 99.95." - Furball
"**** you're such a **** poster." - Furball
A task was given to me many moons ago by an irreverent and frivolous youngster.
“Ajit Agarkar is a way better all rounder than Akram – Prove it!”
Not exactly given, but thrown at me like a challenge, like the proverbial gauntlet. Well you know me. I love my job and my assignments are to me as the manna from heaven was for the Israelites in the biblical times. A challenge is what I thrive on as the Israelites did on the manna in those hot days in the Sinai and the gauntlets, particularly those belonging to brash young interlopers, are amongst my most prized possessions. Yet, I balked. I stopped. I withdrew. I decided this one is not for me.
Why you ask?
Well, let me ask you. If you were a Muslim or a Sikh like myself and were asked to prove that Mohammad (PBUH) or Nanak (PBUH) were better looking or had most lustrous beards or more aquiline noses than, say… well… any mere mortal. What would you do? Wouldn’t you quake at the very prospect? Wouldn’t a sense of foreboding hold your hand? Wouldn’t you just pray that the prospects of impending doom would just disappear?
I can see my Christian, atheist and agnostic friends smiling wryly. They are cynical and mocking in their disbelief at what I say. They have convinced themselves that I am looking for a way to out of my predicament without losing face. Now that’s the problem with these non-believers. They just don’t get it. They do not realize that the task given to me is far from being a daunting one. Far from it. Why, its not even a task. Who needs to prove that the sun emits more heat than the moon? Or an even more basic truism that Obama is a slight improvement on Dubya? My problems are much more basic. Much more internal. Much more spiritual. Why, it’s a matter of faith.
How do you even start to make a portrait, even a pen-portrait, of these men of God. Its not done. Its preposterous. Its blasphemy. No mere mortal can and should try and reduce holy men to sketches in pen, pencil, charcoal, oil or water colours. No. Not even in words. And you want me to do even worse than that. Forget pen. Pencil, assorted colour media or words; you want me to use statistics? Statistics? To describe the indescribable, the divine, the sacred, the celestial? Its impossible. Its much worse than that. It is disrespectful, insulting, irreligious, profane, ungodly, sacrilegious, blasphemous!
No I wasn’t going to do it, I told myself, and that was that.
I put the manna away and let the gauntlet stay on the floor.
But you know how it is with manna and gauntlets in this lousy Bombay weather. The gauntlet got dirtier, grimier and filthier while the manna , as the holy Bible tells us, “bred worms and stank” even in the hot and totally dry (dry as in Sinai not as in Gujarat) ambience of the middle east. The stronger the stench the worse I felt. For besides being a true believer I was also a true professional and I was really torn between my two defining selfs.
Finally, this Friday, while Sunny Gavaskar was touching the feet of Sathya Sai Baba in Puttapurthi, I paid by obeisance to the elephant God, he of the large elephantine ears, and decided that I would do it even though I was sure that when I had been done with it, anything might, and definitely would, happen to me. I might be struck by lightening (the minimum I thought and very convenient for the presiding deities in these heavy thunderous monsoons of Bombay) or disaster of disastersl, I might completely lose my faculty to follow cricketing statistics.
Can you beat that for a disaster to strike an old man seven months before 'Sashti Poorthi'. Can you imagine me actually believing that Hobbs was a better batsman than Nawaz Mohammad inspite of the latter’s far superior Test batting average! Or that, SF Barnes was a better bowler than the multifaceted Alfred Lyttleton inspite of the "part time" wicket keeper's astounding bowling average in Test matches of under 5 per wicket! Oh God please have mercy on my soul.
Please let lightening strike me.
*leaves for Lonavala for one last look at the mountains (YES they ARE mountains and not hills you bloody North Indian) before the inevitable*
(follow this space)
“Ajit Agarkar is a way better all rounder than Akram – Prove it!” continued. . .
Okay so here we go.
1. In the company of cricketing Gods.
If I asked you, "What are the two things common between the following ?"
You could reply, "One they are all great batsmen and two they were all knighted."
- - Sir Donald Bradman
- - Jack Hobbs
- - Leonard Hutton
- - Colin Cowdrey
- - Clive Walcott
- - Vivian Richards
Well your answers are correct but not the ones I am looking for.
Okay let me give you a different list and ask the same question.
You could say, One they are great allrounders and they were both knighted by the queen. Again the answers though correct are not the one's I was looking for.
- - Garfield Sobers
- - Ian Botham
I'll give you another chance. Here is another list. Answer the same question for these two.
You might say that these are two great new ball bowlers and received knighthoods. I am afraid you have made the same mistake - provided correct but not the right answers.
- - Richard Hadlee
- - Gubby Allen
Okay let me put it differently. What do all these ten have in common.
Aha you say. They are all great cricketers knighted for their services to the game.
You are right on one count. Yes they are all great cricketers but the other answer is not the right one. Yes these ten were all knighted but that is not why they are on this very special list. There are a few others on that list who were not knighted. But you are right they are all great cricketers.
I suppose it makes common sense that the others on the list would also be great cricketers. and they are. Great batsmen from all over the world like Headley, Kanhai and Greenidgs, Trumper, Hill and Macartney, Mitchell and Dempster, Gavaskar, Vishwanath and Vengsarkar, Hanif, Inzemam and Mohammad Yousuf, Mendis, Wettimuny and Jayawardane, Hammond Compton and May belong in this exclusive club.
So do great all rounders (besides Sobers, Botham and Hadlee already mentioned) like Mankad, Miller, Barlow and Flintoff.
There are also some of the greatest bowlers of all time on the list. Besides those already mentioned we find, England's fast medium bowler Maurice Tate, Pakistani spinner Nasim-ul-Ghani and English off spinner Ray illingworth.
Why, there are also some of the greatest wicket keepers the world has seen on this very special list like Percy Sherwill of South Africa, Les Ames and Godfrey Evans of England, Clyde Walcott of West Indies and Moin Khan of Pakistan.
Clearly this is a veritable who's who of the greatest players the game has ever seen. Its very good to see the number of Indians and Pakistani's on that list.
Oh, by the way, there is another Indian we forgot to mention his name. Want to know his name ?
- Ajit Bhalchandra Agarkar (PBUH),
a player who sits comfortably in that august company as if he belongs there so naturally which. of course, he does by virtue of that brilliant century he scored at the Mecca of cricket seven years ago this month to take his rightful place amongst the all time greats who have that honour.
As for the usurper, Wasim Akram, the less said the better.
2. Early signs of potential - maintained throughout the career
Ajit Agarkar (PBUH) showed his phenomenal potential very early in his brilliant though short career. The Indian selectors by their proverbial short sighted ness played him only 26 Test matches and though they included him in only 191 of the zillions of games India played, at least this was enough for our ehro to show himself to be far ahead of the highly over rated Akram whom the Pakistani's played in 104 Tests and 356 ODI' !! Shocking but a great player does not need more than 191 ODI's to show his unparalleled class.
Lets take batting first.
Batting in ODI's
- Ajit Agarakar (PBUH) scored his 10th run in the highly competitive world of one day internationals, in his very second innings
- Wasim Akram could manage to do so only in his 4th !-Agarkar (PBUH) scored his 1269th (and sadly last) odi run in his 113th innings.
-Akram managed this in 114th innings.
I can already hear murmurs of "small difference" and "chance stat" from interested parties. Well let me lay out the entire career of the Indian great (batting in ODI's) and compare with the Pakistani for the same. You decide.
Does one need to say more? At every stage of his career our champ has been way ahead of the imposter and yet .....Code:In ODI's Innings number AA AK 10th run 2 4 50th run 5 9 100th run 8 20 200th run 18 27 300th run 31 36 400th run 39 50 500th run 46 60 6ooth run 53 65 700th run 63 66 800th run 70 72 900th run 79 89 1000th run 83 94 1100th run 92 102 1200th run 106 108 1269th run 113 114
Bowling in ODI's
Exactly the same holds good for bowling. Have a look.
WOW !! Can you imagine how many wickets our master would have got if he had played 356 matches ? Well far more than 502 is the easiest reply to give I supposeCode:MATCH NUMBER WKT # AA AK 10th 5th 9th 25th 11th 20th 50th 23rd 38th 110th 67th 74th 150th 97th 114th 200th 133rd 143rd 250th 163rd 173rd 288th 191st 199th
Now these wickets and runs is not the only race where our rabbit beats the Pakistani tortoise. Take any significant landmark. Here are some examples...
- Agarkar (PBUH) got his first fifty in his 69th match. Akram got his in his 93rd
- Agarkar's (PBUH) highest ODI score is 95. Akram's is 86
3. The Myth of the Bombay Duck and the Lahori 'Tandoori' Murgh*
As is the fate of all great men, jealousy triggers all kinds of rumours and conspiracies. Untruths are spread and repeated so many times that the more gullible start seeing some smoke where there never ever was a fire. Our hero has faced many such insinuations. One of the most devious and also most laughable one's has been the one which ended in some non-believer committing the ultimate blasphemy - calling him the "Bombay Duck". Not in admiration for his being like a delicacy to be savoured for that his art truly is but in cruel reference to his apparent propensity to score ducks almost more times than he went out to bat !
Of course this was a blatant untruth but no one has bothered to nail the lie as we intend to do today. Not just that we shall prove that while between these two sub-continental cricketers we do not find and Bombay Duck, we do see a Pakistani delicacy - a Lahori Murgha - Tandoori if you please
(watch this space)
Last edited by SJS; 12-07-2009 at 10:25 PM.
SJS, please show all that Jimmy Anderson is the greatest batsman ever
Phillip Hughes 1988-2014
RIP Craigos. A true CW legend. You will be missed.
Give me an analysis as to why you think Matthew Hayden isn't an alltime great.
Do a bit of searching, can find that anywhere in CC
Why is a draw taking six wickets better than a win?
A follower of the schools of Machiavelli, Bentham, Locke, Hobbes, Sutcliffe, Bradman, Lindwall, Miller, Hassett and Benaud
Member of ESAS, JMAS, DMAS, FRAS and RTDAS
when you're winning, you have friends
scores and dozens, real friends
when you're winning, never lonely
when you keep winning
Bombay Duck or Lahori Tandoori Murgha ?
. . . continued
Agarkar (PBUH) was only playing the second Test match of his career in December 1999 at the Adelaid against the undisputed champions of the world - Steve Waugh's Australians. In the first innings, his very first on foreign soil, the young hero had come in with his side on the mat at 220 for 6 and not much batting to follow.
Did this daunt our hero. NO.
First with keeper Prasad, then with fast bowler Srinath and finally with leg spinner Kumble, the valiant young man from Bombay fought the rampaging McGrath, Kasprowicz <Fleming and the devious Shane Warne for ages warding off 69 deliveries and taking his side to relative respectability.
The Aussie skipper, the wily old fox, Steve Waugh, immediately realised that here was a very dangerous player. If this young man's wings were not clipped immediately, the hold on the throne of the world champions would be in serious jeopardy. Had he not already shown his prowess when the Aussies had batted? He had got rid of the Aussie skipper himself and the dangerous Gilchrist and now this amazing batting display under duress. No this could not be allowed. This meteor had to be checked.
When Agarkar came to bat in the second innings (again having dismissed the Aussie skipper in the second innings along with his brother Mark and the opener Blewett) Australia decided to surround the young man and attack as if the Australian empire depended on it. Waugh placed himself in a strategic position and it worked. The young man perished off the very first ball he faced. Waugh, the catcher, and the bowler Fleming had done the team a signal service and it showed in the result. India collapsed like a house of cards after the young man's departure and lost the Test match.
Our hero was crest fallen.He took it personally. He had let the country down.
For the next three weeks he was completely lost to the world. Unfortunately these three weeks included the next two Test matches and four Indian innings. Our heart broken hero came to the field like a zombie, dressed one suspects by emotional team mates and guided towards the batting crease but he went back every time as he came - like a zombie. He was out first ball in the first innings, out first ball in the second, out first ball in the third, and after the first ball of the fourth innings had gone past his blank unstaring eyes, he was out off the next.
In five innings he had managed to ward off, surreptitiously, just one delivery. It was the most tragic episode in cricket's 120 odd year history but were the cruel Aussies touched ?Of course not. They were delighted and rubbed it in by using the unkindest name ever used by anyone for a person facing such personal trauma - the Bombay Duck.
The spell wasn't broken till the young man came back to the mother land and then he finally played a game for his country at his home ground against the other strong side in the world - South Africa.
More trauma awaited the young man and his team before he went into bat.
India batted first and were rocked by the fiery pace of Donald and Pollock and the crafty swing of Kallis. The top order collapsed in a manner much worse than anything that had happened in Australia. Skipper Tendulkar was standing alone amongst the ruins of the rest of the Indian batting. Realising the delicate mental state of his young state mate, he signalled for Kumble to come in first but that did not help.
India were a miserable 167 for 7 when our young man walked in to join his skipper and the nation stopped breathing as it watched not the fate of its team in distress but a young man facing the greatest test of mental strength any young man may have faced in the history of organised sport.
Agarkar's (PBUH) last 6 balls in Test cricket had yielded not a single run but he had yielded his wicket five times in those six balls. He survived the first few balls but then disaster struck.
Tendulkar was caught behind off Kallis for a magnificent 97. India were now 8 down for 173 and Srinath walked out to join his beleaguered fast bowling partner.
This time the wait wasn't long. Srinath was bowled first ball and last man Murali Karthik (a bunny if there ever was one) went in to join a man whose recent record had made him the laughing stock of the world and a nervous wreck who was amazing his countrymen by the simple act of not breaking down.
Now began less than an hour of cricket which was to define Agarkar (PBUH) as mentally the strongest sportsman this country of ours has ever produced. Putting those six balls and all Aussie chants of Bombay Duck behind him, he flayed the Proteas attack to all corners of the field. With Murali Karthik he put on 52 runs before Karthik was finally bowled by Pollock for 14 runs. Our hero had score 41 tremendous runs of just 43 deliveries which included 8 blistering strokes to all corners of the field.
At the end of it he was left unconquered and returned to the pavilion to a stunned and then tumultuous response.
Not only Bombay was stunned. India was stunned. Australia was stunned. The entire cricketing fraternity was stunned. Not just by the breathtaking display of batsmanship but the unbelievable strebgth of character a young man had displayed in the most unimaginable of trying circumstance.
Agarkar (OBUH) had put all demons at rest along and yet the Bombay Duck continues to be used by cruel Australians to besmirch the honourable name of this great sportsman.
After those 5 ducks in the first four Tests, AA got just 4 more in the next 22. He just did not play enough Tests for his career proportion to become significantly lower. But we have another option of verifying that. His ODI record. After all, he did play 191 ODI's even though far less than he deserved to. Okay fair enough. Here is his record for ducks in ODI's.
- ODI's : 191
- Ducks : 10
- Matches/Duck : 19.1
A duck every 19 matches. Hmmm. So that makes him a delicacy of the Bombay Duck variety, does it ?
I have the figures of another player with me which are very interesting. Let me share them with you.
- Matches : 356
- Ducks : 28
- Matches/Duck : 12.7
Aha A duck every 12.7 games. Wonder what kind of delicacy this would be called. I suppose before choosing a name you would like to know the city where the player comes from. Well the city is Lahore.
I suppose "Lahori Tandoori Murgh" should be quite appropriate. My mouth waters.
Unlike the Australians I do not take pleasure in making fun of a sportsman so I refuse to tell you his name. Let me just say that he does not bowl with his right arm like AA, is 6'2" tall, unfortunately diabetic, wears spectacles off the field, called the Sultan for being able to make the ball swerve and has had problems regarding 'mending' of cricket matches. No. I am sorry I refuse to divulge more.
That was too long,quite understandably we are talking about the one and only, the incomparable legend.You need all the words in dictionary to describe his talent and class.Amazing analysis.All i can say is, Wasim who?
Jeez SJS, your finish to this task is taking longer than Kapil's retirement!
One of my friends said "And it’s not like we haven’t defeated India enough. I think we’ve beaten them on a couple of occasions, on a lot of occasions, in fact."
“Ajit Agarkar is a way better all rounder than Akram – Prove it!”
Okay. So what have we found so far?
1. In the company of Cricketing Gods ... is where we find our Ajit Agarkar (PBUH) so comfortable amongst Bradman, Hobbs, Richards, Sobers, Botham and Hadlee (amongst other legends) Of course the pretender is nowhere in the vicinity
2. Early signs of potential... Our hero took a head start over the joker from Pakistan at the outset (in both batting and bowling) and achieved every single milestone in his career far far ahead of the latter.
3. The Myth of the Bombay Duck We have completely demolished this mischievous canard spread about our hero and much more. We have shown how the world of cricket has missed a "tandoori" Murgha from Lahore's streets - so glaringly high is the proportion of "zilch" scores by the left handed bundle of mediocrity from that city.
That should really be it but since the question that has been raised has not just hurt our sporting pride but caused deep trauma to our spiritual psyche we are determined to treat the spreaders of myths with the contempt they deserve.
4. A Dedicated Team Man versus A Selfish Bowler
Wasim Akram is one of the most selfish bowlers seen in the sub continent (maybe the entire world). He just does not believe in sharing his glory with his team mates. Its so obvious from a simple analysis of his mode of dismissals of opposing batsmen.
In taking as many as 54 % of the wickets he has claimed in ODI's he has not bothered to involve his other ten team mates; bowled and LBW is his preferred mode. He will even go to such devious and doubtful methods as 'hit wicket' (3 dismissals) but refuses to involve his hard working mates.
Our man on the other hand has merely 37.8 % of the dismissals on his own. For the rest (almost two thirds) he gladly takes the help of his mates spread across the field and behind the stumps. This is a true team man.
5. Agressive attitude and a great defense.
Before we embark on this I want to ask you a simple question.
"What do you need from a world class batsman in the shorter version of the game", I ask?Very true. Now how do we decide on these two apparently mutually exclusive criteria. It really isn't that difficult - not when you have "The SJS Stats Factory" doing the analysis for you. Here is what we have for you.
"A good solid game and an aggressive mindset", you reply.
Before that, once again, I am going to ask you two simple questions.
"What kind of a batsman keeps getting bowled between bat and pad (or between an assortment of limbs and bats)?", I ask.Well done. That's one out of one for you.
"One with a poor defense." you reply.
"What is likely to be the final fate of a batsman with an aggressive attitude who goes after the bowling?" I ask.Bingo! You really are smart.
"He is likely to finally get caught somewhere in the outfield" you say.
Now look at the figures in the table below and tell me who has both the far superior defense and the far greater propensity to attack the bowling?
Ok. Point made. We move on.Code:Player Bowled caught (other than keeper) AA (PBUH) 14.90% 50.60% Akram 26.70% 37.30%
6. Great Players aren't Bunnies
Absolutely. Even the great Bradman was somewhat of a bunny against Alec Bedser and some say even Hedley Verity. But players of the very highest category are not going to be anyone's bunny are they? We looked at both AA (PBUH) and Akram to see whose bunny they were?
Akram seems to have been the bunny of a whole lot of bowlers; eight in fact. Even though I knew he was a good for nothing batsman compared to my cricketing God, I never realised he was such a pussy...oops bunny. One can understand being a bunny of greats like Murali, Walsh, Ambrose, and Macgrath but Jayasuriya and Danny Morrison?
This is laughable. Have a look.
Code:Bowlers Dismissals Murali 8 Walsh 6 Ambrose 5 Jayasuriya 5 Morrison 4 Srinath 4 Bishop 4 McGrath 4
I hear some protestations in the background about four dismissals being too few to call a batsman someone's bunny. Oh really. Well my friend we are not discussing any batsman. We are discussing one of the greatest cricketers of all time and someone who is claimed to be even superior. Secondly we are not going to use different standards for both so whats your problem, eh?
So how many bowlers claimed AA(PBUH)'s wicket 4 times or more you think?, I ask again.
Did I hear ten, eight, minimum six? Forget it. This time you have it wrong. The correct answer is Zero, Cipher, Zilch, Zip, Zot !!
No bowler, none whatsoever, has been god enough to take the wicket of the maestro four times. Only two (Kallis and Bravo) got it thrice other wise his clear motto was, "You fooled me once, you fooled me twice, now forget it. I am not giving you my wicket a third and certainly not a fourth time time" and he did it throughout his illustrious career.
Now that is class
7. A Champion Bowler away from home : even in Test matches
For the purpose of most of this study we have used odi stats since the Indian corrupt authorities kept our hero away from the longer version of the game in order to prevent him from making records in the highest fornat; records that would have staggered mankind.
Nevertheless, even in the small Test career that he was allowed, AA(PBUH), showed himself to be a champion of champions.
Now one of the major allegations against cricketers from the sub-continent (from which both these players come) has been that they are lions at home and pussies abroad; that they are provided with wickets to suit them at home and even worse, the umpires too tend to favour them in front of screaming home fans. Well, one has to admit there is some element of truth in that but it shouldn't affect the real champions now should it?
We decided to investigate.
We checked the bowling records of both Agarkar (PBUH) and Akram, in Test matches, at home and away to see how their bowling averages (and strike rates) came down when playing away from home.
We were scandalised by the results.
- away Test bowling average is 10% higher than at home
- away Test bowling strike rate is 11% higher than at home
Fair enough it appears. Most bowlers would expect some home advantage and this does not look to bad. So we look at AA (PBUH)
- away Test bowling average is 30.1% LOWER than at home
- away Test bowling strike rate is 42.4% LOWER than at home
I am sorry I am too shell shocked to be able to say anything further.... not that anything needs to be added to this.
Last edited by SJS; 22-07-2009 at 08:06 AM.
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