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Sight Screen

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Indian Domestic Circuit(-worma)

Just a thought that re-popped in my mind...following the recent Duleep trophy scores. Have been wondering in recent times...is it just my imagination or have the scores in our domestic matches been going down in recent times?

For example...observe the recently concluded Irani trophy scorecard. Or the Ranji semifinals and finals of last season...were not high-scoring if I remember? Or have a look at the Ranji averages from last season. Or of course the ongoing Duleep trophy matches.

Now there can be the following reasons...but these are more of questions to you guys..since this is just an *idea* in my mind rather than a firm *opinion*:

1) The quality of batting has gone down? Since VVS...who's really made tons of runs with double and triple tons in a domestic season?...

2) The quality of bowling, esp pace/seam/swing has gone up? Ofcourse this can also be supported by the fact that so many pacers are now lining up for the national cap.

3) Pitches have been livelier? And not just in pace but generally more livelier for bowlers(spin included) and not dead surfaces as in the past? For example...the North v East match seems to be helping pacers(atleast this report mentions a lively pitch?) while West v South seems to be lively for spinners on day 1!

4) All of these?

5) This is just a figment of my imagination...nothing of this sort happening...I need rest...and some quality cricket to recover? :-))

What do you guys think? Especially the ones following the domestic scene more closely?


  • i think definitely all of the above are reasonable factors - altho venugopal rao and dheeraj jadhav have been piling up the runs a bit ....

    By Blogger GK, at 12:20  

  • IMO, Its mainly the pitches. Indian batsman have not been great on pitches with a bit of bounce or lateral movement. So, all those batsmen who would otherwise have made tons of runs on the flat pitches struggle on these pitches. This is only a temporary phase, though. Sooner, batsmen who have the ability to tackle these new challenges will make a mark.

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:23  

  • Yeah, I also think its the pitches. Now a days pitches are not exactly batting paradises which they used to be 3-4 years back. I think this as a positive sign though. Batsmen will get used to staying at the wicket to get runs. They will learn how to earn runs.

    By Blogger Yorker, at 12:35  

  • worma: i don't think the scores have been any different than before... india is known to provide pata wickets similar to concrete roads where there is nothing for the bolwers... wither that or the pitches were under prepared... i mean if the bcci is struggling to have good pitches in international tourneys then what do u think wud they do for domestic tourneys... no one even cares... i remember the nehru stadium in pune was an ideal pata wicket and they kept it the same because it was very easy to maintain than maintaining a centain amount of grass on the pitch... the clay was readily available and this ends up being a very good pitch for the batsmen...

    one interesting stats in the link that u provided was the highest scores... u can see a lot of them have piled a big one... sangram singh from HP has even piled a double ton... nothin to take away for these performances, but they have to be on pata wickets... every few games in the ranji tourney actually produce a results... every team besides mumbai and to some extent gujrat and punjab have struggled to produce results consistently and the pitch has a big role to play... lastly on the recent games like the irani trophy and the duleep trophy games, most of the players r under prepared (remember the interview with pawar where he admitted it) and as shah said today that by no means the rajkot pitch is lively, but he think that the pitch has good bounce and one cannot plonk their front foot forward and counter mid-pitch deliveries...

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:39  

  • Another factor...maybe it's not the quality of batsmen but their temperament that has changed. We play more ODIs nowadays, so gone are the days of the grafters in the Rahul Dravid mode. Youngsters see themselves as one-day players, so they go for their shots and pay the price on a lively wicket.

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 12:40  

  • hjrsingh: we actually play very few ODIs in the domestic tourneys... deodhar trophy is not that big yet...

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:41  

  • An interesting similarity between SG and Balaji's stats on the first day.

    Balaji scored 19 and took 2 wickets but not done with the bowling

    SG got 2 wickets amd scored 19 but not done with the batting

    By Blogger bouncer, at 12:42  

  • bouncer: interesting one there...

    i am really excited about balaji there... i hope he gets his thing back...

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:43  

  • one more interesting trivia: east zone has never really won the duleep trohpy... i wonder why... i know that they never had great players i remember the bengal team being very good at one point of time...

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:45  

  • mayur...dont go by pitches for international games...they are made with 'other' factors in mind (in ODIs it has to be flat for lots of runs...supposed to mean more entertainment...and in test matches we make pitches to our strength..often on demand from captain etc...so thats diff story)

    Those domestic highest scores...I thought the number of double tons were low (now I dont remember exactly how many double and triple tons it used to be..hence this open question)...and also some of those must have come against the really weak teams....so that cannot fit into either of the factors

    By Blogger worma, at 12:46  

  • also now in the north - east game with 4 gone, there rn't much left... besides SG and shukla at the crease they only have dasgupta... unless one of these guys produce a big one, i can see the north slipping in with a lead...

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:47  

  • Read this article worma. You might have missed it in February.


    Domestic Bliss on lively pitches.

    By Blogger Chandan, at 12:48  

  • worma: i am not going by the pitches for the international game, but i was talking about the amount of time given to the curators to prepare pitches... the BCCI struggles with naming the venues till the last minute forget getting ample time to prepare the pitch... my calculated guess wud be that the curators r not given enough time to prepare pitches for the games...

    another interesting fact is that the format of compitition has changed considerably... earlier we used to play within zones first and then move to the knockout phase... with the advent of the 2 leagues elite and plate, the level of compitition has gone up a notch... thus mumbai doesn't get to play against suarashtra where their batters mint runs, but rather they play against teams like delhi and punjab where there is even compitition...

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:51  

  • chandan...now that you posted it here and I visited...I do remember reading it....hmm..maybe thats where the idea got into my mind...and the recent scores brought it back. Thx for the link :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 12:53  

  • mayur...I think your point is also valid...must be one of the contributing factors...that the change in format has helped the level of competition.

    Although I wont guess about the time given for preperation of pitches for domestic games etc. Remember that its not in perview of BCCI...its regional boards...and some of them are doing good jobs in various aspects of cricket(getting good coaches is just one example)..they may be more serious with their pitch prep also.

    By Blogger worma, at 12:56  

  • the article that Chandan forwarded says the pitch in Secunderabad is probably the bounciest one in the country. I am really curious to know how our senior players would deal with such pitches. Also, this is definitely the correct step, batsmen will improve their technique and the bridge between first class and intl cricket is bridged. Also, there'll be more youngsters who would look forward to develop as fast bowlers rather than spinners.

    By Blogger Toney, at 13:01  

  • You forgot one important factor. In Ranji the teams are more evenly matched now. Gone are the days of Mumbai taking on tripura or some such teams. The domestic games these days are quite competitive.
    Another factor was Ranji was played during winter so weather too was more helpful to the bowlers.
    I dont know about the picthes in Rajkot and Baroda i think at least Rajkot used to be flat wicket. But its possible that they are using a different stip for current game.

    By Blogger Vick, at 13:09  

  • vick...you mean the format of Ranji trophy?..we just discussed that, and that article also mentions it...so yes...thats one factor. About the season...hasn't it always been played in winter?

    btw...I'm just wondering what would be the impact of all this on our international game. Sure, as toney said, we can expect more batsman ready to pace bouncy pacy conditions. But I hope it wont affect their capability to play spin?

    I wont pass judgment on the new players we have seen recently till I see them in test matches...because ODI is not exactly an indicator of technique.

    Also...what about the new crop of spinners? Dont hear too many good spinners coming up? But then...if Powar and Bahutule are taking loads of wkts...cant complain...its just that i dont see them 'international' quality? (although Bahutule might once have been good enough)

    By Blogger worma, at 13:21  

  • did not prem write a follow up piece on this article in rediff

    By Blogger tombaan, at 13:23  

  • According to all the reports that appeared before the start of the game, the Rajkot pitch has grass. Niranjan Shah is the chief of that board there who belongs to the Pawar camp and he's almost certain to get a post if Pawar comes to power. That's why the grass has been left. What I found funny was that Shah personally taking Ganguly to the pitch and telling him not to believe the media stories and the wicket is good for batting and the last line "I am sure you will enjoy batting on this pitch." Ganguly cut him short saying he need not worry and the wicket is alright.

    By Blogger Jai, at 13:29  

  • guys, completely unrelated question but could use some help.

    On the blog, how does one link websites such that they open up in a new window (a la Prem), rather than opening up the webpage on the same window?

    Any ideas anyone?

    By Blogger Jaunty Quicksand, at 13:30  

  • Worma,
    i'm from rajkot and has never seen these many wickets falling in a day on any ocassion.its just used to be batting paradise having short boundaries. So for this i will definitely say irrespective of battin,bowling standards the wicket has changed completely. Dono will they keep similar for actual ODI coming-up.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 13:32  

  • Worma,

    Piyush Chawla and Nadeem are great spin prospects too. Let us see how they shape up!

    By Blogger Chandan, at 13:34  

  • jaunty -
    ruchir's earlier post had comments relating to that.. apparently u put target=Top at the end of the quotation marks in the link..

    By Blogger Tiger, at 13:46  

  • jaunty...in the other comments thread ruchir just suggested edit html option to insert "target=top" in the post....actually more of a suggestion for himself and me ;-)..it seems prem is already doing it

    chandan....mate I'm also very excited about Chawla's prospects...lets hope he comes up nicely in domestic games...and gets a look in next year or so

    maher...not sure if we'll see such pitches in international matches...hasn't been the case in recent times(while domestic games were getting these helpful pitches)

    By Blogger worma, at 13:49  

  • This is from today's Woolmer interview on cricinfo. I feel quite illiterate right now but what the hell does this mean? What comparison is he drawing between Lara and Tendulkar?

    How would you evaluate your time so far here? Are you happy with the progress made with the national team?
    It's like being with a child - you don't really know they are growing until you leave them and come back. There are certain things I see that I am very pleased with, in terms of attitude, commitment, training, work ethic in the nets. Some players are 180% fitter than they were from when we started. But essentially, like any coach, I try not to worry about results because for me results come if we get the process right. And the process is to make sure we are doing the right thing and training hard enough.

    Hopefully, the results will come from that but you have to get those processes right. In a way you don't really notice whether you are improving or not. Sometimes, you play against a Tendulkar and it doesn't seem so tough but then you play against Lara in full flow as we did and it makes a difference, making it difficult to measure improvement. Individuals make these differences, they create tougher scenarios.

    By Blogger sid, at 13:49  

  • I agree with the pitch in Secunderabad. When I was in India 6 years back, it was kanwaljit singh and Venkatapathy Raju who were taking all the wickets for Hyderabad. From last two season main wicket takers are N.P Singh and Vishnuwardhan. But you know what ? Indian seniors or India A will never have to play any visiting team on this pitch because if HYD is alloted those matches, they will be played on new HCA stadium. Secunderabad Gymkhana ground is used from Ranji trophy only.

    By Blogger Yorker, at 13:49  

  • sorry, pasting something from another section. It seemed more apt here...

    The best ODI pitch I have seen in recent times (on TV) is the one on which Pak crushed India at Jamshedpur. Awesome bounce and carry for the pacers, nice true pitch for the batsmaen to play their shots. And good spinners had enough bounce to do their part. Hope we see similar pitches this time too. It'll be a treat to watch SRT play a few shots on such pitches.
    I wonder, since the rains are over and summer is behind us, the outfields should be lush too. Definitely good cricket should follow.

    By Blogger Toney, at 14:05  

  • worma,
    I think the reason for low score is the pitches. However, I would not use the word lively. Instead I would say the pitches are substandard and generally underprepared. Unfortunately, the curators in India are, for the most part, about as professional as the BCCI. Domestic cricket consistently produces wickets that turn prodigiously from day 1. Furthermore, rarely are pitches produced that offer any sort of bounce to encourage stroke play and bowlers that really bend theor back. Instead, the slow nature of the wickets promotes wicket-to-wicket medium pacers and tweakers of the ball who just put it on the spot and let the pitch do the rest. The problem is when confronted with hard, true surfaces such as the ones in Australia, these players with flattering domestic statistics come a cropper. Cricket heads generally still fail to understand how important it is to create quality strips in order to develop quality players. After all, "it's the same for all players, no?"

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:35  

  • but sahir thats not the case anymore....now we dont have underprepared pitches that turn from day 1 in domestic games...atleast not all. Rajkot is one example....and its not even wkt to wkt medium pacers only....seamers of all variety are doing well...no?

    By Blogger worma, at 14:57  

  • Sahi, I don't think they are underprepared pitches. If you look at recent ranji matches, its not the spinners who are doing the damage right from day one. Most of the times it is the Medium pacers and do you think they will get all those wickets if they bowl wicket to wicket line. Moreover all the Ranji matches are scheduled quite early. So, the state boards know when they are going to have matches. And it looks like many boards now a days are doing good job of using this time. You can know the schedule of all the Ranji matches scheduled for this season.


    By Blogger Yorker, at 15:25  

  • Last years Duleep trophy (excluding Bangla)

    1. Central v East . . East 194 (52 overs) --> Central 189 (70) --> East 131 (38) --> Central 139-4 (47)
    Top scores: 62 (65), 40( 102), 53 (65), 47 (51) - Wickets: medium pace ++
    (Notes: wickets picked up by pace, best scores from the middle order, when attacked the bowling. Conditions constant.)

    2. North v West . . West 201 (65) --> North 196 (62) --> West 201 (63) --> North 208- 1 (44)
    Top scores: 55 (90), 45 (75), 47 (93), 100 (114) - Wickets: 1st innings- 10 pace v 10 spin, 2nd - spin ++
    (Notes: Except for the first innings, spin stymed the middle and lower order. Did the pitch ease off or did Gambhir and Yuvraj play blinders?)

    3. South v West . . South 187 (66) --> West 207 (68) --> South 241 (84) --> West 223 - 1 (49)
    Top scores: 37 (96), 43 (88), 79 (180), 106 (152) - Wickets: 50/50 pace, spin.
    (Notes: runs scored in the middle order, best scores at even pace, pitch easing off)

    4. North v South . . South 338 (93) --> North 500 (87) --> South 305 (81) --> North 146 - 3 (23)
    Top scores: 80 (95), 110 (128), 80 (103), 50 (38) - Wickets: 50/ 50, with spin ++ later.
    (Notes: runs scored mainly by top order or in form bat, best scores at fast pace, North clearly more dominated)

    5. Central v North (final) . . North 104 (51) --> Central 133 (50) --> North 169 (62) --> Central 142- 1 (33)
    Top scores: 27 (74), 55 (70), 37 (66), 62 (108) - Wickets: medium pace ++
    (Notes: best runs scored at the top, North sporadic and generally weak scoring, pitch easing off)

    Conclusions: All games won by team batting second. The pitches seemed to ease off in the fourth innings. Some games were won purely on pace and others requred good spin support. Quality of batting made a difference, eg. North dominated with its international stars in the team but were pathetic without them. While little could be said about pace bowling (accurate or in form medium pacers shone), spinners like Mishra and Powar showed their class at this level.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 15:43  

  • yorker and worma,
    Obviously we can't watch the domestic matches since they are not televised. We are forced to do a little deductive reasoning about the nature of the strips by looking at the statistics and match reports, along with all other tidbits of information we can get our hands on. Here's some food for thought: JP Yadav was one of the top bowlers in Ranji Trophy last year. He took 36 wickets at an average of 20.02, with an economy rate of 1.98! And if I'm not mistaken, he did even better in the Dullep Trophy. A bowler of his pace bowled with the new ball and did this sort of damage. I'm not trying to knock Yadav in any way, for I feel he is quite a handy bowler in the shorter version of the game. But, any one that has seen him bowl at the international level can see severe limitations in his bowling that will probably mean less success in the longer version of the game. Yet, he thrives in the 4-day format at the domestic level. To me, that indicates many pitches that are completely devoid of pace, and a wicket-to-wicket medium pacers dream. The insane economy rate of 1.98 tends to support teh theory of how difficult it can be to get a bowler of Yadav's ilk away on such slow, low wickets.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 16:35  

  • Some vague memories. I think it was a Ranji Trophy semi final in late 80s. In those days the game would go on beyond 3 days till both teams complete atleast one inning. I vaguely remember it something like Delhi vs Karnataka (I am not sure). The first team scored 705 runs in 3 days and almost assured them a place in the final .. that was insane. What was more insane was that the other team (I think Delhi) actually scored 706 runs by batting for 3 more days and won by the virtue of gaining a lead in the first inning. I dont think that's ever going to happen again ..

    By Blogger nilcritz, at 18:07  

  • Found this:


    By Blogger nilcritz, at 18:25  

  • Sahir .... I think you are knocking off JPY... inadverently though. You dont need a bowler with pace or swing or movement to be economical. Remember a guy call Stephen Waugh. He was military medium and yet has one of the best economy rate in LOI cricket. Give credit where it is due. Of what litle has been seen of Yadav, he has been equally difficult to get away at the international level too. useful bat and a handy bowler is just what the doctor ordered ...

    By Blogger indCric, at 22:08  

  • indcric,
    I assure you I am not knocking Yadav. I think he is a very good find for India in one-day cricket. But remember, I am not talking about limited-overs cricket in the post above. The statistics are of those in the longer version of the game. For a bowler that bowls below 120 km/h, without swinging it, to have an average of 20 tells some story. To have an average like that in first-class cricket, not to mention the economy rate, is phenomenal. It is rarefied air reserved for the truly great bowlers. Your rebuttal to my post focuses on the shorter version of the game. True, Steve Waugh was somewhat economical in that version, but do you think he ever had bowling figures like Yadav had last year in first-class cricket? Hell no! Not even close.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 22:24  

  • indcric,
    Allow me to further clarify:
    The reason for my using Yadav as an example is not to assess his utility as a bowler, but assess the type of substandard pitches our domestic cricket is played on- extremely slow and low. Additionally, I completely agree with your statement regarding Yadav, "useful bat and a handy bowler is just what the doctor ordered." Spot on, and for mine, at the moment, he is an automatic choice in the playing XII, especially in the subcontinent and the green wickets of England and New Zealand. The only places I would have some hesitancy about would be Australia and South Africa where the ball bounces, usually without much lateral movement, and comes onto the bat very well. This somewhat takes away his most potent weapon- his economy rate. However, even in those conditions, currently he is still a better option than any other allrounder in the country (excluding Pathan).

    By Blogger Sahir, at 22:52  

  • Sahir .... Have you got his speed correct. I have not seen him though. But I did ask this question in the blog before. They tell me he is close to 130. He is an untested commodity. He may come out tops in tougher conditions. I think he should bat higher up the order. Just to try him out. The problem is we did not do any sort of experimentation in the challengers. Unfortunately this theory will have to be tested out in a LOI.

    By Blogger indCric, at 23:04  

  • Discussing all rounders ... Romesh Powar may be something that could be experimented with. He was tried earlier without overwhelming success. Not enough chances were given though. He has been picking lot of wickets of late. His batting lower down the order is also feared by most teams .... May be worth a try. Those "Katyawadi" slogs of his could work in international cricket for some time before the rest of the world sort him out. Another incentive to try him out is Harbhajan's potency with the ball is as good as a oldie minus the viagara.

    By Blogger indCric, at 23:09  

  • Another aspect I would like to discuss is ganguly's tryst with destiny at Rajkot. The problem here is that he will get the runs in the Ranji's and Duleeps. He is still good enough to masacare a stragiht ball bowled at medium pace. But the question that GC and rest might raise is the fact that is he good enough for international cricket. My personally feeling though is that its time for Ganguly to hang his boots. Although a lot is being made about his duleep trophy outing, I feel it wont really be curtains for Ganguly, no matter how poorly he does. The November elections will seal his fate, one way or the other. Read in some other article, that Jaggu dada is negotiating a clandestine deal with some cricket associations in south india. The deal here is that Dravid remains captain in lieu of Ganguly's place in the team.

    By Blogger indCric, at 23:20  

  • Ganguly scores a century (103*, 127 balls, 17x4, 1x6) - some of you might be unhappy. He may not any good for international cricket but there's no replacement yet. M S Dhoni has to still learn how to middle a ball. Sheer power makes no Jayasuriya or Gilchrist; you can have the likes of Afridi only. Actually I think the standard of Indian cricket is going down to dumps; I saw Srisanth bowling at the nets yesterday and thought AA is better; but I'll be happy if I am wrong.

    By Blogger Santanu De, at 02:31  

  • santanu...can you tell us more about him(Santh)? Why did you think he was not impressive?..was it start of nets of was he in full steam?..generally..your impression of what you saw?...and not just about Santh.

    By Blogger worma, at 03:53  

  • Well Indcric....Ganguly smacked only 117, including about 90 scored in one session. Easy pickings I am sure; the problem however is that now it will be difficult to drop him. Let us see how he fares without the pressures of being captain. The timing is there, the technique is still the same, and, as you may have noticed from the media attention over the match, the heart is also the same (this hundred too was scored under immense pressure...just check out cricinfo and you'll see dilip and co. waiting like vultures to write an obituary). It was the mind that was not working too well. Let us see what happens after this. After all, captaincy of the Indian team, in today's media dominated world, can do funny things to a player. The weight of a billion pair of critical and knowledgeable eyes (like yours) is no trifle matter. Let us also see how Rahul Dravid performs as captain, after having averaged 17 in the 5 (not a small number for a batsman of his class) tests he has helmed the Indian team.

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 04:11  

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