There is so much hype created by media and some it reaches such amazimngly mythical proportions that the mind boggles.
Mostly one is content to leave it with a 'they are just doing their job which is to sell the media' kind of comment but the slightly more irritating outcome is the way some of these myths are lapped up by the fans.
One can cite many such myths but here are two from India which arecontemporary and need to be demythified by the decision makers.
Indian Myth # 1
This one is a combination and a sequel to earlier myths about Indian batting but I will stick to the more recent version.
Yuvraj and Kaif along with the established Sehwag are the cricketers India should bank upon in ODI's and the old foggies should be eased out since they are a) not performing, b) are too slow for ODI's, c) are blocking the entry of fresh blood, d) blocking the promotion of people like Yuvraj and Kaif in the batting order where they will do real justice to their skills.
All these things are not said in the same breath nor at the same time but this is the gist of what is implied. The biggest myth in this long statement is about Yuvaraj and how good he is.
Here are the facts.
I have taken pure stats from the last one year (1st September 204 till date) of ODI's to see how the Indian batsmen have performed.
In the last one year India has played 21 matches of which six are against what I term as weaker sides (Bangladesh, Kenya and a depleted Windies). Of the 15 games against the relatively stronger sides, India won three and lost 12 !! This in a year when they did not play Australia and South Arica.
What did the much celeberated do ?
Mohammad Kaif :
He is the only one to play all 21 matches. Surely a measure of the selectors confidence in him and a sign that he has no sword hanging over his head to cause him tension on this score.
Add 5 fifties and he seems to have repaid the selectors for their confidence. But wait. But for a closer look I eliminated the 6 matches against BD, Kenya and Windies againsy whom he scored nearly half the runs at 104.3, and I was left with a more modest
He played all but 1 of the 21 matches and had figures of
Not that hot but wait till we remove the minnows.
AND WHAT OF THE SENIORS ??
Here is a batsman who doesnt believe in slaughtering the minnows and scores even less against them (19.0) then against better opposition (27.7)
Against better oposition
Runs ........ 282
So now we know why the Indian team has been so gracious in handing over games to the oposition.
But who has been scoring for India then. Well at the top is the once discarded and now grudgingly accepted (as an important ODI player) .....
Against better opopsition
No surprise here. But still a thought.
here is another who performed better with the bat than we may realise.
Against better opposition.
Not bad for someone at number 8 particularly with whats gone above.
A tit bit,. Kumble, Harbhajan and Agarkar also managed to average in the 20's !!
For the millions of fans of Yuvraj and his glamourous image :-
Yuvaraj is said to have suffered because he is made to bat lower down the order. If he batted higher, he woul;d end up with more time to score big runs, have a better average than he has today when he has to throw his bat around and gets out with few overs left.
Fact 1 - Yuvraj bats slower up the order and recently has definitely been slowing down the innings at the top. He is no Dravid who can play easy at the beginning with the confidence that he will, in all probability bat long enough to make up later.
Fact 2 - The man who many call the greatest limited overs batsman , Bevan, played 105 innings at number 6 and seven for as strong a side as Australia (imagine how many overs left to play) and scored at an average of 55.8 at this position.
Fact 3 - Yuvraj's stats are amongst the clearest one has seen as far as batting orders go. Here are his ODI averages :-
Overall career Avg : 29.8
.................at # 6 : 36.2
.................at # 5 : 28.9
.................at # 4 : 21.5
.................ar # 3 : 10.0
...........as opener : 9.0
A strong case for sending him higher in the order ??
Kaif has better credentials for batting higher up (understandable with his temerament)
Position Inns NO 50s 100s HS Runs Avg
Opening 1 0 0 0 24 24 24.00
No. 3 2 0 1 0 64 66 33.00
No. 4 14 2 3 0 *95 393 32.75
No. 5 15 3 3 0 80 516 43.00
No. 6 21 2 3 0 *83 411 21.63
No. 7 26 8 2 1 *111 596 33.11
No. 8 2 2 0 0 *31 43
More myths to follow