18 July 2007

The drunk, the lampost and a guy named Bhutia

"Like a drunk and a lampost, statistics are used is more for support than illumination".

As Sachin returns to England again, the same issue has been picked up from newspaper clippings: how many times has Sachin contributed in a winning cause? Mike Selvey in the Guardian has used the same statistics used by pretty much everyone else to support the simple point: it is true, outside of Bangladesh, only seven of Sachin's Test hundreds have come in winning causes.

Someone known as Bhutia posted the following riposte. I loved it.

114 vs Australia,Perth, 92 - took India from 159/8 to 272 - on the fastest track in the world - played a series of incredible back foot punches - if that was not courage and self-expression,what was it?

169 vs South Africa, Capetown, 96 - it was Sachin's fault that other than Azhar who also scored a memorable century, not a single other batsman reached double figure and the bowlers let SA score 529 in the first innings.

122 vs England, Edgbaston, 96 - out of a total of 219- Again, the second highest score was 18. The absence of a good third seamer allowed england to escape from 229 for 8 to 314. Not suprisingly, we lost.

177 vs Australia, Bangalore, 98 - where he took India to 400 by first drinks on 2nd day -it was yet again his failings that we collapsed from 400 for 4 to 424 and went on to lose the test match by 8 wickets

113 vs NZ, Hamilton, 98 - erased a deficit of 144 in the first innings to take India to position of strenth of lead by 180 with 6 wickets in hand. We collapsed to 356 and then having NZ at 73 for 5, could not defend a 4th innings target of 213.

136 vs Pakistan at Chennai, 99 has already been cited - 17 to win - 4 wickets in hand - we lost by 12 runs

155 vs SA at Bloemfontein, 2001 - takes India to 373 for 7 from 68 for 4 - a base from which we could have pressured SA in the 4th innings when the ball was expected to turn. Instead, we collapse to 376 - The match gets over in 4 days. SA had only 54 for to chase in the 4th innings. Kumble took the only wicket.

148* vs Australia, Sydney, 92 - Draw - Indian bowlers could not bowl out Australia after having them at 129 for 7 with 50 runs deficit in a rain curtailed match - Merv Hughes scored 20 - Guess who finally bagged his wicket?

111 vs SA at Wanderers, 1992 - out of a total of 227 - next highest 25 - Match drawn - of course, we could not win that match because of sachin's weaknesses as a batsman

148 vs SL, Mumbai, 1997 - We could not bowl out Sri Lanka on a turning wicket in 1 entire day - SL escaped with 166 for 8

217 vs NZ, Ahmedabad, 1999 - We reach 583 by tea on 2nd Day. We do not enforce follow-on - Match Drawn