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Sight Screen

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Q & A

Before getting down to today's collection of stories, a couple of points raised by you guys in posts relating to yesterday's entry:
1. From Suraj: How come the blog allows same usernames for 2 different guys. I am also Suraj and there's another suraj (stats guy). I thought it's supposed to give a message that the username has already been taken by someone else.

Donno, Suraj. This interface is not something we -- as in Rediff, or whoever -- has designed, we are using the Blogger interface as is. I thought when you register for a blog it is supposed to tell you the user name is already taken... not sure why it has not, in your case.
2. Alvin Junior says: I'm not sure if you're going to get around to reading this, but there's something I've been noticing in your writing. You're very careful in your analysis of the bigger stars but less so when you're writing about the fringe players. For instance, you make sure that you treat the likes of Ganguly, Dravid, Sehwag with as much neutrality as possible (praising good performances and criticising bad ones) which is admirable, but how about making the same concession to a chap like Agarkar. The deal seems to be that because the aforementioned batsmen have a huge fan following (or atleast polarize opinion strongly), you are careful when criticising them too much (this is counterbalanced by the natural viewpoint of a critic). However, putting down Agarkar is easy, because most of us hate him for one reason or another. It seems as if you do that without any consideration. Case in point - this is a game where he bowled well, recovering from a bad outing on his first comeback game. Instead of saying that he bowled well or even just leaving the matter alone, you find a reason to put him down. I grant that he hasn't been the epitome of consistency since racing to 50 ODI wickets faster than any bowler ever did. But he seems to have turned over a new leaf since winning us the Adelaide test that Dravid and Laxman set up. True, he still has the odd bad day, but most of the time he has been a notch above the others, which goes unnoticed because M/s Zaheer and Pathan are leaking runs worse than a sieve and negating the effectiveness of Agarkar and the spinners (another thing I cannot comprehend is how someone like Anil Kumble, who's the best bowler in the side is not in the team; if it's because of his fielding, what're Ganguly and Nehra doing in the side?) I'm not going to talk about AA's batting because the poor guy has been pleading to whoever will listen that he is not an allrounder. But his fielding is better than anyone in the side, apart from Yuvraj and Kaif and certainly several notches above Zaheer and Nehra.
How about treating him on a game-by-game basis? If he does badly in a game, by all means lambast him. But if he bowls well in a game, please give him the due credit.

Alvin, I get around to reading everything you guys say; this blog would be pointless otherwise -- I mean, if I only wanted to talk to myself I can do that in the shower! :-)
Secondly, I do not write for anyone's fan base -- this is not a commercial site, so I don't even have to think of putting people off, and thus losing eyeballs. I started this as a place where I could say what I thought, without bothering about extraneous considerations, and have readers similarly say what they think, without filters and cooling periods and such.
Specifically about Agarkar -- who, if I remember right, made his debut in 1998. April, was it? There or thereabouts. He is talented, there is no question about it. He is also way more inconsistent than a team like this can afford -- and that, too, to my mind, is a given.
Yes he has won us games -- but if you go through his career match by match (might help to go beyond the final figures, and focus on individual spells in context of match situations) I think you will find that time and again, he has come in to bowl at a time when the need was to just keep things tight, and ended up releasing the pressure through untidy bowling (incidentally, you'll find examples of this in his tours of Australia, among others).
The game against New Zealand is a pretty good for-instance: check out the match situation when he came in to bowl (the Kiwis behind the eight ball, pressure building to enormous proportions, tight line and length required to shut the batting side out) and then check the line and length used in the first three overs, which went for what, 17, 18?
Can't quantify this on a scorecard; we don't have a slot for such ebbs and flows. But surely I could argue that had AA backed up the lead bowlers by bowling one side of the wicket and keeping it tight, he could have helped prise out the remaining wickets, and India wouldn't have been chasing 150 let alone the 216 it eventually failed to get?
Tell you what... keep an eye on his individual spells, here on, for the rest of the series, and then tell me I am wrong. :-)

78 Comments:

  • Strange I never heard agarkar not calling himself allrounder. If there is one person who is given as many chances as one can possibly get, It is AA.but he still does not look like making a big impact.. consistantly..Also it is not wise to benchmark performance against the current Zimbabwe team. Would be interesting how the next match against Newzealand goes.

    By Blogger Surendranath, at 13:39  

  • Agree with you in general. But, in his inconsistency, he tends to have good spells also (spell as in periods...a season or a tour). When he bowls regularly well. Sure, he may not be doing it as a team strategy or something, just that he is in good nick ?

    And I though his first tour of Aus (the bombay duck tour) was good ? In test matches ? Am I remembering wrong ? Ofcourse we didnt end up winning anything, and hardly ran through the Aus lineup then, but still ?

    By Blogger worma, at 13:39  

  • Blogger allows the same 'display name' but it needs unique username, which is what you would use to log in to the system.

    What shows up in the comments is the display name, which everyone is free to use whatever they like.

    Hence the apparent duplication.

    By Blogger RPM, at 13:50  

  • when you talk of AA, look at his competition within the Indian team.. Zaheer, Balaji et al.. Surely, AA does better than them.As for, whether he does justice to his potential.. well, we can argue the same of almost the entire team. It does seem like AA gets the raw deal more often than not, when it comes to praise or scorn. In the list of individuals with greater utility to the Indian cricket team, AA should rank higher than most in the current team.

    By Blogger Tiger, at 13:50  

  • Prem,

    I agree with Alvin, and especially about AA. You may not remember me, but I had sent you a fairly long email about your tirade against AA long time back. Seems like your viewpoint has not changed much.

    Of course, AA has not helped his own cause much, but like Alvin says, if you really wanted to be at least neutral, you would have (and others like Dileep) mentioned the fact that he got a 4-fer.

    So what if it was Zim? He is on the bubble as it is, and had a bad game the other day. To bounce back and so-to-speak win the match for India is a strong comeback that needs more than a putdown.

    Hope you realize that soon.

    By Blogger RPM, at 13:56  

  • If we ever want an example to define the word "enigma", AA's career has to be one. We never know which AA will take the field on a given day, but then I guess thats true for the entire team.

    By Blogger sachin, at 14:05  

  • and worma you are right abt AA's performance on his first Aus tour. As a matter of fact he was better than Sri in that series.

    By Blogger sachin, at 14:06  

  • In a recent interview Harmison mentioned that he is working on his batting because if he hangs on there for half an hour it allows batsmen on the other end to score 30 odd runs.

    Talk to Agarkar and he says that you shouldn't consider him as a batsmen. From a guy who scored a century in test match at Lords. He has quickest 50 in ODI by an Indian. Fastest Indian to reach 50 wickets in ODI. Then he says don't expect him to repeat that again. Good players always try to improve their performances.

    What I don't understand why he in this state of denial about his abilities.

    By Blogger Vikas, at 14:08  

  • Prem,

    First I found Junior's email silly for on one hand saying all those good things about AA ( but he is AAA in my book)and still apologitic all the way. Why?

    Not only he holds World Record for fastest 50 ( it is ike a 100M dash at Olympics)but he is the ONLY Indian bowler that appears on ALL the four list of fastet to 50, 100, 150 and 200 wickets.

    What is more, on the World list of 150 he was 9th. On the race to 200 wickets he is 7th and tied with McGrath and followed by the likes of Gough, Pollock and Akram. This last fifty has to be the recent.

    and Please check it out Prem, there is only one person in the world who takes wickets faster per match than AAA and that is Bret Lee. Akhtar and Murli are just in line with Agarkar.

    In a country, were takig wicket, any wicket, is such a problem, why go bashing a guy who is the Best,

    Call him inconsistent? How ungrateful.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 14:13  

  • Prem,

    First I found Junior's email silly for on one hand saying all those good things about AA ( but he is AAA in my book)and still apologitic all the way. Why?

    Not only he holds World Record for fastest 50 ( it is ike a 100M dash at Olympics)but he is the ONLY Indian bowler that appears on ALL the four list of fastet to 50, 100, 150 and 200 wickets.

    What is more, on the World list of 150 he was 9th. On the race to 200 wickets he is 7th and tied with McGrath and followed by the likes of Gough, Pollock and Akram. This last fifty has to be the recent.

    and Please check it out Prem, there is only one person in the world who takes wickets faster per match than AAA and that is Bret Lee. Akhtar and Murli are just in line with Agarkar.

    In a country, were takig wicket, any wicket, is such a problem, why go bashing a guy who is the Best,

    Call him inconsistent? How ungrateful.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 14:13  

  • Prem: Off topic; but am wondering if you could post 2 or 3 good websites to purchase cricket match DVD/VHS recordings from? I want to start a collection, but have no idea of a source that sells reilable and high quality recordings.

    BTW, good to see you back on the blog. And, your 2 updates a day (2 & 7 pm) is a very good idea. I was spending way too much time on the blog :) Have curtailed it significantly past 2 weeks.. but a regular posting schedule works really good for me. Keep up the good work!

    By Blogger saum, at 14:15  

  • vikas,
    Maybe he thinks he does such a great job with the bal that any performance whatsoever with the bat will tilt the balance too much in favour of our team, which isnt what the spectators want to see....

    I dont think any Indian team aspirant should aim for the odd good performance but be consistent. How would consistency be defined? I guess that depends on what standards the team sets for itself. If the team thinks that it deserves a place up there at the top, I am not sure AA should figure in their plans.

    By Blogger Toney, at 14:16  

  • Missed one point on batting of AA.
    All rounder or No all rounder, 17 plus batting average at mostly #8 is nothing to sneeze about. Have we produced anyone who has scored more from that position?

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 14:19  

  • Prem:

    The score card says Ajit Agarkar took 2 wickets in the match against New Zealand, but the truth is he took 4 wickets. The catch he took off Scott Styris was outstanding, he was running back and the ball came over his head, and he made it looks so easy. The fourth dismissal was his run out of Vettori. He had a direct hit from the deep mid wicket boundary. It was outstanding. His fielding alone paid for the price of his ticket to Zimbabwe. He almost converted another half chance (I think off McMillan) but that catch was spilled.

    He is the best outfielder in India. His fielding adds so much value to the Indian team. You must not discount that. I would pick him in the XI just for that.

    By Blogger nish_the_dish, at 14:25  

  • AA would be so happy to read the comments on this blog :)

    By Blogger Tiger, at 14:36  

  • He almost converted another half chance (I think off McMillan) but that catch was spilled.

    Hmm.. Watchin it live, I think he dropped it. Misjudged the catch in the deep and in the end was not in position to take it.

    By Blogger Vikas, at 14:37  

  • Nish, you are right on.

    People talk all about Super Bond but he needed 27 games to take 50 wicket while Agarkar did it in 23.

    Moreover, Agarkar did this about 7 or 8 years ago and No One has come around yet to break that mark!

    We need more of us to counter balance this bias built against AA.

    Prem is the mind set I would like to change.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 14:41  

  • nish...I may share some of the reservations of Prem about AA, but still agree with the fielding bit. His fielding adds an additional dimension, sorely needed in ODIs, and esp in Indian lineup. We have shown preference for good fielders in our WC buildup (Mongia had this as one of the advantages over Lax) so that adds to AA's resume. In fact in the Nz match I pointed out in the comments here immediately that do count that runout as 'his' wicket(although he may not be able to repeat it every match) because I dont know any other Indian pacer who could replace him in outfielding.

    But, in my opinion, similar to what Prem is saying, his ability to stick to the team plan, to the match situation is his weakness. I have never bowled in any serious level matches, so I wont probably be able to realise, but what I often wonder is why are such experinenced bowlers not able to understand and implement simple plans ? Like bowling to the field, or like avoiding going down leg (kumble comes to mind immediately!).

    I do agree with many of you here in the general opinion that his potential and good performances, which do become visible quite frequently (however inconsistent he may be), deserves proper coaching and mentoring, as he has all qualities of becoming a good asset for India. And however rich we may be currently in our bowling crop, he's not worth wasting.

    Maybe we should have a specialist bowling coach. Would surely help the strange phenomenon of our entire crop of bowlers (no exceptions) being more in-consistent than their counterparts in other countries.

    By Blogger worma, at 14:45  

  • hi guys,
    wow lots happening on blog again...

    saw surprisingly ruchir not puting any stats for AA so thought let put this one,,
    i dono what it suggest but AA when India lost or won is CONSISTANTLY different.

    M W BB BowlAv 5w Ct
    won 69 135 4/18 20.36 0 25
    Lost 61 72 6/42 39.73 1 16

    By Blogger MAHER, at 14:49  

  • 135 whts from 69 matches we won speaks his contribution,72 from 61 lost means what???? did we lost some(-:) from those 69 purely b'ze b'ze of him or he was major contributor on those defeats??

    Is bowler coming to bowl and releasing pressure is similar to batsman coming to bat and goes back without puting partenership??If yes then who is competing to AA?

    By Blogger MAHER, at 14:56  

  • worma,
    dont you think that coaching at the basic level is a bit too late to provide for AA? Although AA is inconsistent when bowling, I agree wholeheartedly, he's a definitely a more than decent fielder by Indian stds.

    By Blogger Toney, at 14:56  

  • Maher,
    that shows that when India won, Agarkar took 2 wickets on average. That is excellent.

    When lost , he took 1.2 wicket on average. Which is not bad. look at Pollock 321W / 236matches, Kumble 329W/ 264 matches or Vaas 325W / 251 matches.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 15:01  

  • toney why do we have bowling coaches in international teams ? Eng has one, and so charmed are Aus by that, that they are planning on one. I dont think that coach is just for Shaun Tait ?
    They all need coaches, we are going to soon see more and more specialised batting and bowling coaches in all teams.

    By Blogger worma, at 15:02  

  • Let me add to my comments;

    If only Agarkar can stop bowling one four ball every over he would be permanent member in the Indian squad. Unfortunately, it seems to be his Achilles heel.

    John Wright worked out that the first ball Agarkar bowled in any spell will be a four ball, so he asked him to bowl a bouncer first up. The tactic had limited success. But this is not a true fix, it is only a temporary solution, and Agarkar really needs to focus on his line for 6 consecutive deliveries.

    Maybe as worma suggested a bowling coach is the solution. Agarkar's best spell of bowling was when Bruce Reid was India's bowling coach. I was astonished when Agarkar took 6 wickets and helped us win a Test match in Australia. Even in the pre-season camp in Bangalore, Agarkar did say that a bowling coach would be useful.

    Maybe Greg can teach him the under-arm.

    By Blogger nish_the_dish, at 15:08  

  • worma,
    yes one by one they all have mentioned at places how read was helpful in Australia but dono nothing happened.
    prasad was loud for bowling coach but i guess he was more thinking of himself then need.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 15:09  

  • If you look at matches where India lost - and where AA was playing.. look at those score cards. You will see that invariable AA was no worse than Srinath or the other pacers that were partnering AA.. point is AA is being villified as a bowler, perhaps because of the lack of runs from his bat.
    Look at the stats for Srinath -
    when India won his avg was 21, when India lost, his avg was 37.. Its inevitable that the avg and SR and ER will be lower when your team loses. Its not like AA single handedly lost the match for India.

    By Blogger Tiger, at 15:17  

  • There are leading bowlers of the world who concede about 4.5 runs per over. Agarkar is at 5.10(Khan at 4.83 and Bret Lee at 4.67). This translate in to about 5 to 6 extra runs on a 10 over full quota but well compensated by the higher wicket taking ratio than any other Indian Bowler. Have to look at how the other 40 overs are bowled!


    This ER business is overblown particularly in case of AA and must look at it in the context of wickets. I would have the guy in my world team who on average concede 7 runs an over and take 3 wickets for 70.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 15:22  

  • tiger, forget the stats. Have you watched around 30-40 games of Ajit Agarkar in a season or two ? Has he been the better bowler of our lineup ? Better than the rest, or better than one of them (say Srinath, or Khan or Nehra). And I'm talking of subjective judgment here, not possible to get everything from numbers. Where he's given the impression of following the obvious team plan better than most ?

    And btw, forget his first spell...that race to 50. Ofcourse he was damn good then, why else would we be talking about him now ?

    By Blogger worma, at 15:22  

  • The one stat missing from that analysis is RPO. isn't that equally (if not more) important from LOI's point of view? AA averages a pathetic 5.63 RPO in matches lost as against a very good 4.59 in matches won by India. even though taking 72 wickets in 61 matches is not bad per se, it IS bad if those wickets have come at the cost of leaking almost a run a ball. Obviously, this stat doesn't mean much unless we know what are the corresponding stats of the other indian bowlers in the same match and what was the final overall run rate of the opposing team. Can anyone get hold of those stats for comparison purposes?

    I agree with the point that Prem DOES seem to be a bit more even-handed when discussing big players (and I don't think he is anti-ganguly as some people seem to think) but his personal biases do show when talking about lesser players. Not that he isn't entitled to do it. This is his blog, after all. If he thinks AA is crap, he can obviously write it. In fact the blog would be more like a newspaper if he does not do so. This personal touch (whether you agree with his opinions or not) is what makes blogs so much better and different than most other media.

    By Blogger Rahul, at 15:23  

  • Is AA comes more on spotlight only b'ze his unability to bowl tight at some particular stage of game??

    Interestingly as comparisons are going on, have a look at Harbhajan Singh's career.
    M W Best Av 5w c
    104 126 5/43 30.54 1 29 0

    So we think he bowls tight spells,but for your strike bowler just 126 wkts from 104 matches is just too few.hate that tight bowling.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 15:24  

  • ammm... crictip, you sure you will take someone who takes 3 wickets for 70 in every match he plays in your team? we're talking about LOIs here, not tests. I'd take 10-0-30-0 over 10-0-70-3 any day of the year.

    By Blogger Rahul, at 15:26  

  • Rahul, when one of your main bowlers has not taken a wicket and supposedly saves 15 runs, what would the effect of those Wickets in Hand on the other bowler?

    Worma, say 50 wicket was then and what now? I just said that Agarkar is the only Indian Bowler who makes the Crickinfo's fasted to 50, 100., 150 and 200 list. Not only that he climed up from 9th to 7 place as reached fastest to 200 on the world list.

    Srinath and Kumble needed 147 games to take 200 in ODI. Kapil is not even listed there. Check it out on Crick Info/ ODI fasrest to multiple of 50 wickets.

    On the list of the Leading wicket takers of the world, just look at the current players and you will see that Agarkar is only second to Bret Lee. What more can you expect ? Do we have likes of Bond, Lee and Akhtar left out on a bench because of AA?

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 15:38  

  • Rahul,
    There's some good in 10-0-70-3 if the wickets come early. I dont think it is possible to judge any bowler by the actual number of wickets or economy rate alone.

    The 3 for 70 would turn out to be decent if AA took 3 top order guys by the 25th over. But what if a couple of those wickets came in the last 3-4 overs? Do these wickets usually have a lot of prominence at that stage?

    I am not saying that AA took all his wickets at the death. But it is important to see the situations when he takes these wickets

    Another thing to note is, AA made his debut in 98, right? So thats 7 years of intl cricket for an avg of 5.1. This should be seen differently from a bowler who started say in 2003 and has an avg of 5.1. Reason being, teams were more conservative (not a lot but generally... SL was more of an exception, right?) and they did concentrate on building an innings too, unlike today when they go bezerk from ball 1. In spite of his earlier start, compared with the rest of the bowlers in the team now, AA goes over th 5.1 mark.

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:38  

  • crictip is giving a bad tip.
    If a bowler gives 70 runs, and get 3 wickets, it means that the batsman got out not due to the bowler, but coz they wanted to hit him more. And even if the bowler gets 3 wickets, the course of the innings is surely set.
    1.25 to 1.5 wickets per match is very acceptible provided that RPO does'nt crosses 5.0. Give me 5 bowlers like this, and I'll win 90% of the matches.

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 15:40  

  • cricktip,
    One again, KapilDev taking more matches to get to 200 wickets is partly because he played in a different era. There was more focus on building an innings,so batsmen played more cautiously. Today, in that respect, there are more chances for a bowler to get wickets first up.

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:40  

  • Ummmmmm i'm liking bhajji today, look @ this
    all finals

    AA 8 15 4/53 24.13 0 3 0
    HS 4 3 2/37 59.66 0 1 0

    By Blogger MAHER, at 15:46  

  • as ususal toney, u r right when u talk about the "era" in 1-Day cricket.

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 15:46  

  • I think one interesting stat to look at wud be how collectively the Indian bowlers bowl - look at the collective ER, SR, W/M etc.. and then split up the individual stats.. That would give u an idea of which bowlers are worse off than others..
    And worma, I havent seen AA - just going by the scorecards and such.. only saw the 2003-4 tour to Aus and a few matches against Pak.. been out of India since '97...
    Thing that comes to mind is that AA invariably gets us wickets. And that is a good thing, even in ODIs.. if only the other bowlers could do the same.. What good is a Bhajji going for 45 runs without picking up a wicket in the middle overs.. the same batsmen who scored at 4.5 against Bhajji are now set to slaughter AA during the final 10.. would you say then that AA lost us the match because he went for 55 off 10?? Agreed that AA bowls a 4 ball more often than you'd like him to. But he is one of the better bowlers among the current crop. Right now Nehra and Pathan are also good.. but Pathan was a flop show in 2004 at home. Balaji I think shud have made this ODI series. But AA is def better than ZK and Bhajji and Kumble.

    By Blogger Tiger, at 15:48  

  • toney - u cant have it both ways..
    U belittle AA's wickets/match saying that batsmen today are more aggresive and so its easier to get more wickets.. Then also look at the fact that today 250 is no longer a winning score. 270-280 are par scores.. And thus AA's profligacy in terms of runs conceeded shud also be looked at with that in mind..

    By Blogger Tiger, at 15:54  

  • AA is listed # 19 on the all time wicket takers with 212 wickets.

    some great bowlers are ahead of him but only three can take wickets faster than Agarkar .
    That is Waquor at 30.5 balls, Saqlin at 30.4 balls and Donald at 31.4 balls. Agarkar at 32. Other 15 bowlers needed more balls to take wickets.

    I just mentioned Kapil because I would have expected to see him there.

    The point of all this is for the Indians he is as good as we have and it is not some thing to ashamed of but should be proud of.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 15:56  

  • If anybody has AA's no call him to read this blog, led will be happy.

    Weel this has nothing to do with selections but i have always like his behaviour.Even in Australia media gave him terrible time for those zero's, but did not spoke much when got those 6 wkts, infact whenever someone tells him about his ER he always says he is trying hard.
    guy has fastest 50,50 wkts, 100@lords so can LOL at many if he wants.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 15:58  

  • I have found the solution, dont give him ball when need of time is to keep tight.
    let him go when everything is going perfect for batsman.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 16:06  

  • When AA came in 1998, he was really good. I remember, that despite playing his 3rd match, he was given the ball *whenever* match was in a tight situation.

    Now-a-days, whenevr he is given the ball, he improves the confidence of batsman in first 2 overs of any spell. *This*, I think, is the real problem.. and no matter what kind of stats anyone pulls out.. this kind of bowling will surely loose more matches.

    Take for e.g. Ravi Shastri.
    Everybody used to say that he is too slow and boring while batting. Take a look at his SR and Average, and compare it with others of his time... he was better than most of them. But.. he was a very slow starter.. he would take 50-60 balls to score 20 odd runs.. in the events he making 80+plus run, his SR improved drastically b'coz he'd fire later in the innings...but if he got out in his 20-30s, then we always had a problem.

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 16:07  

  • Maher, how about his 17+ runs batting average with strike rate of Tendulkar(86+).

    Mostly a #8 batsman.. do we have any whos is better in that position?

    If others are worth 12 runs only, does this compensate for the ER?

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 16:07  

  • Maher,
    Astute. Let him bowl when the batsman is set.

    Ya, he removed McMillan when he was dangerous? 54 of 54.
    And Mccallum 49 runs in 32 balls in 43rd over.

    If Mccallum hangs around, NZ would have scored 260.

    There is other side to ER and that is to remove the damn opposition batsman.

    Cheers..

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 16:16  

  • Ajit Agarkar will not only be happy to read the comments on this blog- I think he is actually on this blog & his blog name is cricktip.

    Seriously cricktip you have presented a better case for Agarkar than even he himself (that is unless you are not the man himself). Some really strong points and stats there- could almost convince someone that Agarkar was the best cricket player India ever produced -a better bowler than Kapil, Kumble, Sri and better batsman than SRT, Dravid or anyone.

    But unfortunately again it’s rooting for a player’s past achievements not his current utility to the team. This is where I feel Prem has an objective view which is misinterpreted as a bias- I always find his comments are that a certain player has lost utility for the team, not that the player was never good.

    Cricktip- if everyone acknowledges that Agarkar did bring something special to the team (because the other extreme that he was never good is wrong too), do you agree that he is not useful anymore- I mean forget the stats, look at the loose balls, the loss of control and inability to win any matches for the team recently.

    I will sound like a broken record but SG and AA should no longer be part of the team unless they make a comeback by proving themselves in other circuits- it’s just occupying 2 vital spots in the team.

    Prem- I am going to be bombarded for the comments- come to the defemse!

    By Blogger suraj, at 16:18  

  • cricktip..

    he is purely picked for bowling not batting, whatever is there dont mean much.

    All this suggest me only one thing that he is way above others in wkts, So only if if if he can improve that one fact prem is discussing , i can not imagine how good he can be.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 16:20  

  • Guys,

    I have been following the discussion on Agarkar on this post for some time and I have noticed that most of us are disagreeing with others because of the way others are looking, deciphering and analyzing Agarkars bowling figures and bowling style.

    Example: Some point out AA's stats and others say leave the stats and look at match conditions. Some say AA is in better than Kapil in ODI bowling, others say they are of different era. Some also talk about other bowlers giving runs in middle overs and AA facing the burnt of set batsmen. etc. etc....

    I feel that we will continue to disagree with each other and will not reach any concensus until we agree on a set of parameters or criterias on which to judge Agarkar by and compare him with others (again, same parameters for all).

    We can not judge a bowler and compare him to others if we continue to argue over eras and other bowlers affecting Agarkar. This does not mean that these are not valid points; but what I am getting to is that we need some common ground for all of us, that is acceptable to all, for basing our arguments for/against Agarkar on.

    Everyone will have to give and take a little and agree on a set of parameters that we can use to judge a bowler (of any era).

    Any of you have any suggestions on what this common set of parameters can be???


    About comparing Kapil and Agarkar: I agree that batsmen in Kapil's time were conservative. But that does not mean that KD would have flopped if he played today. If KD was really a good accurate bowler, he would have found out ways to contain batsmen of today. Every player evolves with time. Bowlers found of Ganguly' weakness, didn't they? So if KD, today, applied the same logic against weaknesses of other batsmen he would be as successful today as he was before. All he would have to do is use his brain, just like any other bowler of any era. We can not say for sure that player of 15 years back would have had different results if they played today.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 16:21  

  • suraj,
    prem didnt said AA is not useful anymore.he wrote about his deficiency, its there from 5-6 years and he is not improving on that particular aspect of his own game.there is nothing like not useful anymore.

    ok, guys totally enjoyed the discussion, c u all 2morrow, now its turn for 'toney' to turn up.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 16:27  

  • Well,

    I don't agree with that- he has not only been useful but infact special in the early phase of his career and sporadically after that.And surely he deserves credit for that.

    I don't see his usefulness now though in the team.

    By Blogger suraj, at 16:30  

  • Ruchir, you took prep. classes for group discussions while preparing for CAT?
    If yes, then you took them too seriously man. Chill out a little.. and try not to be a group leader everytime.
    Have some Lassi man.

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 16:31  

  • How about this ratio -
    ((Avg + SR) * ER) / (W/M)

    Where,
    Avg = Average
    SR = Strike Rate
    ER = Economy Rate
    W/M = wickets per match

    By Blogger Tiger, at 16:36  

  • lower the ratio, the greater the value of the bowler to the team..

    By Blogger Tiger, at 16:38  

  • Such a sharp group and how can you miss when I say he is climbing the ladder from 9th to 7th place in the world. From 150 to 200 which is the most recent acheivement. When you are at that level on the World Scenario, it is not easy to climb-tough comp. out there.
    I am rooting for him to be ahead of Warne and Mcgrath in a race to fastest 250.

    Ruchir, one of the unsual criteria of judging a bowler is how many wickets? If some one has produced 80 wickets and then gone based on the form v/s some one with 200 or 300 wickets and survived the comp. The other criterion as I have been talking ( too much, I admit) is ability to take wickets and how fast. Do not know if it is possible to seperate top 7 batsman v/s last four. As great as Waquor, had reputation to get a lot of tail.

    Obviously runs per wicket combine ER and SR to some extent.Here my observation is that the Best Indian bowlers are off the mark compare to the all time greats.

    In Test only Harbhajan, Kumble and Chandrasekhar are class and no fast bowlers have ever measured up to the best in the world. This is also the reason I feel stongly for Agarkar that at least in ODI we have someone fast ( or medium) who stand tall on the world list.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 16:43  

  • That ratio I mentioned above - lets look at those numbers for some bowlers -
    Agarkar 195
    KapilDev 236
    Kumble 253
    Zaheer 215
    Nehra 249
    Pathan 165
    Bhajji 255
    Srinath 212
    McGrath 144!!
    Warnie 175
    BrettLee 132!!!!
    Gillespie 177

    Its evident that barring Pathan, no one in the current or past Indian bowling lineup comes above Agarkar.. and look where the Aussies are! Brett Lee's figure is amazing.

    By Blogger Tiger, at 16:55  

  • tiger,
    not that I am disputing your ratios.. could you explain the reasoning behind the *formula*. I mean how did you derived it?

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 17:10  

  • Guys,
    This blog section reminds me of a certain terminology called analysis-paralysis that Doug Rosenberg (software guys will know) used... Aren't we all dissecting poor AA's stats a bit too much.
    Is there a conclusion to this?
    Dont give him more importance than is due.

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:29  

  • There are many who can replace AA right now. Vikram Rathore and AA are the luckiest of people as they have got so many chances to play inspite of their inconsistency. When AA wasnt selected for the Srilankan tour there was a discussion in the Legislative Assembly!!! Such is the passion for AA, and hats off to AA for being a charmer. And very often such charisma affects performances of opposition players - when a warne or akhtar bowls, regardless of their expensive ER, the batsman, if inexperienced, still gets jittery, and that is of some value sometimes. and that sort of thing is slowly happening to pathan and harbhajan, AA has been around for ages and he hardly is respected and invariably the batsman relaxes when the ball is in his hands. as of today, ask any NZ batsman who among the 4 bowlers - pathan,nehra,harbhajan and AA - would he prefer to face? the answer is fairly obvious!

    i used to be an AA fan, when he created waves in pakistan during india a's tour and when srikanth hailed him as a genuine allrounder, i was really hoping AA would be the next KD, but he has turned out to be yet another wasted potential, has not had the discipline of a dravid or kumble, who when faced with failures have only evolved to be better performers.

    By Blogger Kricthik, at 17:35  

  • Amen to that tony. If AA were to stumble across this blog, he would be stunned at the kind of analysis done by guys here. IF only he had applied half of this analysis while playing his game:) we wouldnt have had this discussion:)

    By Blogger sachin, at 17:42  

  • Cricktip,
    I think you would have been encouraged by my year-on-year stats for Agarkar.

    But, I don't accept that SR is good indicator to use. Average (which includes SR) and Economy Rate are BOTH RELEVANT AND IMPORTANT. The simple reason is that Strike Rate is independent of runs conceded. Average gives runs conceded for 10 wickets and ER gives runs conceded for 50 overs. BTW, run-outs are a useful way to both limit runs and take wickets en-route to 10 wickets.

    There are currently only three bowlers with > 25 wickets and SR <30 (excl Bangla, Zim and minnows): Brett Lee, Shane Bond and Naved ul Hasan(!). Significantly, there are only EIGHT bowlers in the entire history of ODIs!!! Given this, the captain just can’t ignore the runs conceded in 50 overs. He may find himself in that position by luck or bad batting. Equally, he will react quickly to withdraw the bowler who is wayward. Flexibility from the bowler is thus an important criterion. Control (pitch in right areas, bowl to a field- offensively or defensively) and Menace (action on the ball, bowling variations) are the others. BTW Agarkar is best as a first change bowler (since Jan 2002, against all teams).

    Agarkar is no different to all other bowlers. I think even he realises that he cannot have an ER of >6.0 and expect to remain in the team. But an ER of 5.0 would be very acceptable (he has been able to achieve this in many years). Agarkar probably won his place in the team because of his fielding ability (batting is dodgy though useful at times). By batting him at seven, they would be hoping (against hope?) that he can develop into a reliable batsman.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 17:44  

  • kricthik....

    looks like u r throwing ur own fancology.
    (1) vikram rathore, how did he came to ur mind with AA?? Anyway i dont think there any resemblence.

    (2)During which Pak tour srikanth said that??eagerly waiting for ur reply.
    just to let u know sri.. went pak in 89, though wont tell u when AA started.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 17:46  

  • santa - simple reasoning behind the "formula" Taken in isolation, Avg, ER, SR, etc dont give the full picture.. Hence tried to get a number which combines it all. thats all.. There might be better ways to get the full picture - I just quickly came up with this number.. I am sure someone can do some more detailed analysis and come up with a new dimensionless number like Reynolds number, or Nusselts Number , Prandtl Number or some such thing! But I guess toney is right.. not much to be gained by such analysis.. BUT I think its a useful tool for coaches to monitor progress on a numerical basis.. At the end of a series the coach can tell the bowler you need to get this number down by 10%.. And if a bowler is dropped you can justify - see this other bowler has a better ratio than you.. Could be useful to unearth bowlers from domestic cricket.
    kricthik - and who do you think can replce AA - are there other proven horses in the stable? Or even promising ones? Salvi, Ganesh, Mohanty, Yohanan all of them also got their chances.. they didnt make the most of them..

    By Blogger Tiger, at 17:54  

  • Since 1998, Srinath was the best pacer for India. He is followed by Zaheer = Pathan, Prasad, Agarkar and Nehra.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 18:04  

  • Off topic here:

    Speaking of lackluster performances and yet getting included in the team - how could one ignore the pathetic Harbajan???

    What has he done of late? How many match-winning innings has he had recently?

    Prem, and all: Let's direct our attention to the true non-performers who seem to have enough media pull and Ganguly's favor to be automatic choices not only in the 14 but also in the final XI.

    At this point Viru and Bajji come to mind.

    What say?

    By Blogger RPM, at 18:09  

  • Uff Prem,

    Pease don't put another AA post or if you do come back after 30 mins to change the topic.

    62 freaking comments on one guy tying to proove Agarkar is god and others trying to quantify with noone really ready to accept each other's decision- Come on!- the guy will probably bowl another 6 expensive overs and never will be heard again or take a 8-wicket haul and be trenched for another 3 yrs in the team.

    Let's just wait for the next 2 matches- please !!!!!!

    In one bold but stupid attempt (since Prem is not around to change the topic) I'll ask people to comment on something that's been bugging me. It comes from a mix of Ashes and recent Indian performances. Warne- one of the 2 top bowlers is increasingly becoming more of a batsman too, similarly England has guys who are increasingly trying to cotribute both with bowling and batting. Even Pak has players who try to help out with bowling even if they are accomplished batsman and hit a few blows if they are primarily bowlers.

    The trend seems opposite for India. SG used to be a god utility bowler- never bowls anymore. Yuvi seems focussed only on batting. AA has been trying to declare himself as only a bowler. Dravid wants nothing to do with wicketkeeping (this one is more understandable). Even Sehwag hardly bowls useful spells anymore.
    I won't get into the tailenders controversy but doesn't seem like the no. 11s of our team want to do anything with batting.

    Why this trend?? Is it better for the team? Is there any explanation? If anyone else is worn off the AA debate please respond-will appreciate.

    By Blogger suraj, at 18:21  

  • maher,
    even i cant fathom how vikram rathore got into the argument there, but yeah srikanth was the coach of india a team when agarkar did really well and came into the spotlight. That was just before he was picked into the main team

    By Blogger cartan, at 18:31  

  • Suraj,
    Re: your thought on other nation's players striving to become allrounders (e.g. Warne) and India doing the opposite- I agree with. Here is my thought on this. It has to do with confidence.

    Irfan Pathan, for example, is trying to become more of a substantive contributor with the bat. And I think he is able to do that because he is confident while performing his primary job i.e. bowling. Guys like Sehwag, Yuvraj have been struggling with the bat. So, their focus is primarily in getting their batting problems fixed, and until they are confident with that- they don't feel confident in other areas. Watch, when Sehwag gets back into his stride with the bat (and he will)- he will be much more energetic, creative on his stints with the ball. Ditto, I suspect will be the case for Yuvraj. SG used to be a very useful bowler. My guess is that he was at his best, when he was going great guns with the bat. Since he is going through a monstrous lean patch, bowling is the last thing in his mind.

    By Blogger Vijay, at 19:42  

  • Suraj, your wish got granted and I am willing to spre you till next battle!( no Agarkar).

    Yes, all should try. But it must be in culture that once you have half guarantee, you are home free.

    look at Sehwag - does not appear overweight? It does not help batting or bowling. VVS is happily married and settling down. Yuv. should bowl some . Not sure if does not want to or he does not get to.

    What about Kaif ? # 6 or 7 batsman who never bowls.. How many ODI players bat 30 and live without bowling? Do you see significance of Agarkar's 17 with much better strike rate than Kaif? Smile please.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 21:14  

  • Tiger,
    saw some creative #s of your and that is not far from my comutation or impression. I had indicated that Lee was the leader.

    Your formula may not distinguish a guy with similar #s with 100 wickets and another with 200, but it should.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 21:22  

  • Prem
    i completely agree with your view on AA. the man has been given oppurtunities galore and he comes up with one performance and then rides on that for the nexty 20 odd games. i agree that he is on multiple lists of fastest to this and fastest to that but the bottom line is he is expensive as a bowler. getting 5 wickets in a match is useless if you bleed like a slaughtered goat in the runs department. as far as AA goes i thinhk its a step backwards to incluse him in todays indian team. if we can suggest agarkar is usefull couldnt the same argument be made about sanjay bangar albeit he cant bowl as quick(if u dare call ajit that) atleast he can bat. another tthing i cannot fathom is someone with a century and the fastest 50 saying he shoulodnt be considered to have any batting prowess. in that case was the century a big fluke?? i have seen him play since i was a kid and incidentally when he started playing he was apure batsman. Achrekar sir had even said that he could eb the next tendulkar if he applied himself. fate, and a missing opening bowler changed that and made him abowler. i think the onloy reason he doesnt want to be considered a batsman is that if he screws up he can always use that as an excure and if he does well then he can say he has been working on it. as you pointed out 7 years is sufficient time for one to work on their gamer atleast to bring it to a point where he can get 20 odd runs when needed ad can be counted on for that.

    By Blogger K-Slice, at 02:45  

  • Guys,
    why can't we have ajit as our 4th fast bowler and a batsman at no 3 in ODi's. I know he sucks big time batting. But he has a test century to his credit and anyway most of the pitches are belters only.If he could score a consistent 20 at a strike rate of 85 it is more than sufficient.
    He takes wickets and will give runs . so say he will have figures of 2/45 in 8 overs or 2/60 in 10. It is ok. He is not our strike bowler now ,but a 4th fast bowler in odi's.
    he has scored a nice 93 against wi and then don't knwo why that experiment was not used further
    Irfan also being ok in batting, we could include another 2 fast bowlers - AN,zk and one spinner. Will include Jp yadav also for his 4 overs.
    Ajit for all his wicket taking powers, he will definitely not cut much ice as just a bowler, so he should be told that he is in the team for his all round abilities (bowling - 5/10,fielding - 2/10 and batting 3/10)
    My team will be
    1.vs
    2.sg/st
    3.aa
    4.rd
    5.ys
    6.md
    7.jp
    8.ip
    9.hs
    10.zk
    11.an

    By Blogger rajesh, at 06:23  

  • Maher,

    AA toured Pak when India A went to Pak, and Srikanth was the team's coach.Thats when Srikanth said AA was a genuine allrounder. Those days AA indeed was a true allorunder, and as someone pointed out, he actually started out as a batsman.If only AA was a batsman allrounder can his expensive figures be justified, Kallis is similarly expensive for south africa, but he is in the team primarily as a batsman.and on his day he has bowled better than their best bowlers.But sadly AA is not confident abt his batting either, he starts very badly, if he makes double digits he invariably makes a decent score, but he is a very very bad starter and so cant be used at no.3.

    Kricthik

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