Thursday, September 20, 2007

kumar sangakkara, time to let the bat do the talking

before the world cup i said in another blog that all the members of sri lankan cricket team, especially mahela jayawardene who was going through what is called a "bad patch" at that time, must perform if we are to go all the way. and they did. champion teams shouldn't have "passengers". this is especially true when it comes to twenty20 cricket.

unfortunately, in spite of my great respect for kumar sangakkara, i have to say he is looking like a passenger at the moment.

here are his stats for current icc world twenty20 tournament
Kenya v Sri Lanka - 30(18)
New Zealand v Sri Lanka - 14(19)
Pakistan v Sri Lanka - 18(10)
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka - 20(29)

overall strike rate (sr) is 107.89%. all the other sri lankan batsmen have 125+ srs for this tournament. without the kenya match he would have a below 100 sr.

in t20 it is unacceptable for a batsman to have a below 100% strike rate whatever the conditions. in fact preferably they should have a 150+ rate. in the last game against Bangladesh sangakkara ate 9 balls (one and half overs, 7.5% of the innings) for nothing and most of that in the first 6 over power play. this also creates pressure on other batsmen, especially on his on field partner. after 3 dot balls and a single other batsman will feel the need for a boundary in the next ball, to get the team through. at the end of tenth over during which he got out, sri lanka were 61/3 (at 101 sr) but if we deduct his 9 dots the rate is 120. we scored 86 runs (at 140+ sr) for 2 wickets in the next 10 overs

so it is time he lives up to his (well deserved) reputation and perform. otherwise we won' go all the way even if we get through tomorrow.

hope we meet pakistan at the final (and south africans or indians at the semi final) if we go through.

some observations on t20
sour grapes?
australians are are already coming out with lukewarm statements about twenty20 cricket. hope we do not follow them down that sour grape path if we get kicked out. yes test cricket is the best, but t20 is good, as is 50 over cricket. more the better imo.

momentum index?
presentation of stats has to be updated for t20. runs per over (rpo) and required rpo rates are meaningless here. (for example, if a team scores 20 runs in the tenth over, run rate goes up by 2, and required rate goes down by 2; an index with that kind of volatility cannot mean anything). same goes for crude projections they currently use.

what is required, in addition to balls and runs comparison, is a momentum (thus volatility) indicator. while run rate for last 5 (or less) overs may do, for a really valid one, we need calculus (duckworth-lewis already uses calculus). anybody wants to create one? fans do not need to understand how it is calculated as long as it works and informs.

blue vs silver
whose bright idea was it to change sri lankan colors? new uniform sucks imo, though australians fared worse. back to royal blue please. (btw imo new sl grey/silver and indian light blue are quite different though most ppl will not realize that until they see the two teams together).

ads and sirasa/shakthi/mtv
problems with maharaja broadcast of t20 matches to sri lanka continue. as theena reminded me, it is true that others had similar problems (especially with regard to screen crowding advertisements) but this is by far the worst. others usually miss only the first ball of the over and sometimes they did interrupt the ad midway if it was eating into the ball. however at sirasa, in addition to the first ball, they cut to the ad, before the last ball of the over is fielded (so we do not know see the runs, the fielding, and sometimes the wicket). we miss the last ball completely in case of a wide or a no ball, or if the idiot on duty at sirasa do not know how to count beyond 5. so far not one ad was interrupted.

as a result of all that, we are forced to watch cricketers talking about insurance in place of their performance on the field. sri lanka insurance (among other advertisers) should be mindful about how their ads are presented.

if we go to the final and this continues, we should publish a list of brands that deprived sri lankan cricket fans of their full enjoyment during that match. only problem with that plan at the moment is that i would probably use some other method to watch it ad free

talking of ads; most of them are for cement, insurance, and other financial services. did anyone say we are in an economic crisis? may be such ppl should observes the reality.


Anonymous said...

2020 or whatever the fuck it's called is hardly cricket and I wont be surprised if KS doesnt give 2 hoots about it.

ddm said...

i heard on the radio that the uniform issue was due to a mistake. they said that sanga had suggested a colour change (no idea why), but that they had wanted silver but some cockup resulted in the powder blue monstrosity that has emerged. hope they revert to the usual.

maiya should be at 3 bc sanga in general takes a few deliveries to settle down, and invariably eats up valuable power play overs. But he has the shots to do well at this level also.

agree that t20 is good, i think it should replace 50 over cricket bc it removes the not so interesting 20 over period between overs 20 and 40. (if you find those 20 overs exciting then i suggest you watch test cricket).

t20 is less time consuming and less physically demanding so it should leave more room for the real game, test cricket. (i can't imagine a tour including more than 7 t20s, so in theory we can squeeze in more tests..this imo is much better than the scandal of playing upto 7 50 over odis and something like 2 tests in a tour)

Theena said...

On Sanga, I have to reluctantly agree. He has a reassuring presence while batting in test and ODIs, but in T20, the longer he stays the more (tangibly) nervous the team seems to get.

The uniform is atrocious. Did the finalists of the real world cup decide to have a wardrobe cockup in unison? The uniforms of both Australia and Sri Lanka are an eye sore right now.

As for T20, I enjoy the entertainment, yes, but it'll be a long time before I take it seriously - this is perhaps why Sri Lanka crashing out has had no effect on my disposition; that would not be the case if this was the real world cup or an important test series.

Theena said...

Just to elaborate: I enjoy cricket when batsmen have to work their arses off, when bowlers bowl have a slightly upper hand (or vice versa), and the fielding is razor sharp. Cricket is meant to be Darwinian - survival of the fittest - and that characteristic is best brought out by a test match and occasional ODI.

T20 shifts the balance completely in the batsmen's favour, making bowlers all but cannon fodder. The good bowlers will inevitably succeed, but my fear is that T20 will make even the most mediocre of batsman (Jehan Mubarak, are you reading?) look good.