Monday, July 18, 2005

Nehra or Agarkar ?

The Indian team for tri-series in Sri Lanka has been announced.The five wise-men of Indian cricket have preferred Ashish Nehra over Ajit Agarkar for the Tri-Series in Sri Lanka, however a look at the performance of these two players since 2003 World Cup portrays a different picture altogether.

This is how two players have performed since 2003 World Cup:

Bowler Mts Wkts Ave. Best 4W SR RpO W/M
Agarkar 25 40 23.53 6-42 2 28.00 5.04 1.60
Nehra 21 29 34.52 4-72 1 37.31 5.55 1.38

Agarkar is the second most successful Indian bowler in this period after Irfan Pathan, who has taken 47 wickets after playing in four matches more than Agarkar. Agarkar’s average is the best among the regular bowlers (who have taken at least 5 wickets in this period) and so is his strike rate. Agarkar’s economy rate, though not as impressive as one would like, is the best among the Indian pacers (who have played at least 5 matches). Also Agarkar’s 6 for 42 against Australia in VB Series match is the best performance by an Indian bowler in this period. And he is the only Indian pacer to take two four-wicket hauls (Sachin Tendulkar also has two four-fers with his mixed kind of stuff).

Clearly if any pacer deserves to be there in Sri Lanka, it has to be Agarkar. But selection committee had different opinion and that is what matters most!

BCCI puts byte into scoring

The cricket scoring in Indian domestic matches is ready for a radical change from the coming season. Noting the proceedings of the game by putting dots, crosses, circles etc. in the notebooks is soon going to be a thing of past. The notebooks that scorers will now carry will be the computer kind, and the mouse will replace their blue, black, red and green pens and pencils. The Association will be providing the laptops to BCCI panel scorers. This system of computer scoring will be started in all the domestic matches in 2005-06 season. BCCI also intends to link and upload all match information on its website, which is set to be launched soon.

The scoring in cricket matches has gradually progressed to its modern sophisticated pattern wherein all the latest technology is put to immense use. Since the modest beginning by William Davies (Circa 1832) Cricket's first scorer. Cricketing world has produced some outstanding, innovative scorers around the world. In India, under the banner of the Association of Cricket Statisticians and Scorers of India (ACSSI) has produced some outstanding Scorers as well as Statisticians to meet the challenges.

Keeping in sync with modern-day cricket, a two-day workshop on computer scoring was conducted on July 9 and 10 in Bangalore. A total of 42 scorers of the 75 BCCI panel scorers selected by their cricket associations attended the workshop where the finer techniques of the scoring software were taught to the scorers. The software Scorite is prepared by Stump Vision, which is run by Dinesh Kumble – brother of Indian cricketer Anil Kumble. The profession version of Scorite is an improvement on the old version and contains the Wagon-Wheel of the individual batsman as well as the Bowler versus Batsman information.

The two-days workshop was inaugurated by Mr. Greg Chappell, the former Australian Test cricketer and present coach of the Indian team. In his inaugural speech he mentioned that he learnt to maintain his own score at a very early age and continued the same in his Test career. Mr.Brijesh Patel the Test cricketer, host and Hon. Secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association complimented the scorers for the minute details in balls, minutes etc while scoring. The computer will assist further and will be very useful in the development of the game, especially for the Under-14 and Under-16 level, where the details are difficult to obtain. Theo Braganza, Convener and Hon. Secretary of the ACSSI mentioned that this would solve many problems in India like language, colour pens used for a particular ball, symbols, tallying and finally would produce far more details that one can imagine. In the closing ceremony Test cricket Anil Kumble presented the Anandji Dossa Award to the scorers who stood first in the 1997 and 2004 BCCI examinations, P.Jayapal from Bangalore and Nilesh Deshpande from Nagpur respectively. In his speech he mentioned that very few cricketers maintain their scores, he too learnt to keep scores at an early age. He advised the scorers that on a bad performance when the cricketer is returning to the pavilion it is very frustrating to hear his score being announced to the press and requested to wait till the cricketer is in the pavilion or keep the announcements low.

Before the computer workshop, BCCI also held Examination for Scorers at Kolkata from June 27th to July 1st and at Kanpur from July 3rd to 7th.These 5-days courses included the basic duties of the scorers, the Laws of cricket pertaining to scoring, scoring the box and linear method,calculations for scorers and statisticians, the Duckworth-Lewis method for rain interrupted matches, filling the BCCI score sheets, elementary computer scoring and a practice session in scoring from an actual match. This was followed by the practice test from an actual match and a written test. Scorers from the East, Central and North zones attended including those who did not clear the BCCI Examination held at Ahmedabad in 2004 from Saurashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra, Hyderabad, Vidarbha cricket associations. The faculties were: Dinar Gupte (Course Director) from Baroda, Blessington Thomas from Hyderabad, P.Jayapal from Bangalore, Ramesh Parab, Vivek Gupte and Theo Braganza (Convener) from Mumbai. Thirty-five scorers attended at Kolkata and 41 at Kanpur. The passing percentage was 80% and those successful will be added to the 75 BCCI panel scorers after the results are declared by the BCCI.

Rakesh Sanghi - well-known scorer from PCA - who attended the workshop at Banglaore, welcomed Board’s initiative, but was of the view that associations should bear the cost of the software. He wondered how many scorers could afford to spend around Rs. 6,000 for 30 match sheets, when the match fee is not very attractive.

Blessington Thomas, one of the faculties, was of the view that it would have been better had this workshop been conducted during the Refreshers Course at Ahmedabad (earlier this year), so that by this time scorers would have gained some knowledge about the Software and would have benefited immensely.He also showed concern about the lack of quality scorers in North, Central and the Eastern parts of the country wherein we have language, accent problems.

All said and done, no one is denying the fact that this is a step in right direction. These courses and workshop are definitely will be a new boost to scorers and will assist in forming an additional panel of scorers and assist in the network for the BCCI and their site to upload scoresheets immediately after the match, which will be accessible to the media, statisticians throughout the world.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Statisticians stumped by new rules

The International Cricket Council seems to have developed the knack of inviting the wrath of cricket statisticians. In recent times, every single decision it has taken -- having an impact on cricket statistics -- has not gone well with the custodians of cricket statistics and records.

ICC's latest ruling that allows a player to be replaced with a substitute during the course of a match has made statisticians wonder if there is any end to this nuisance.

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