T20, Pink Ball, Nagpur Nonsense

Sorry for no updates. Just not particularly enthused to write much, it has to be said. I go through these phases.

A quick insert. Do read Tregaskis’s latest epic on the media. A thought provoking, in depth look from the outside. Awesome effort. Let’s see what the aftermath is too.

There’s a lot of chatter going on about cricket at the moment. The T20s in the UAE have the feel of “we can’t wait to get home for at least three days” but they are part of the limited preparation for the World T20 next Spring. If you feel as though there are things you want to talk about on these matches, then please comment below.

I’m also really sorry but I can’t see the fuss over the pink ball test. Things have to be tried, and this sounds like an idea worth having a go at. The sheer ludicrous twaddle about the quality of the ball, when you’ve got a debacle of a test series going on in India, is priceless. Until a test is played we aren’t going to know if it works or not. Cricket can be so far up its own deluded arse sometimes. If it lacks credibility, we’ll know.

But now I’m going to contradict myself, because this stuff about the toss is arrant nonsense. There is developmental stuff to see if the game can be expanded – thus the worthy efforts of a day-night test – but then there’s this tinkering to solve a problem no-one has fully defined? What’s it trying to solve? And what is its expected solution. I’m too tired to even contemplate this.

Finally, the Nagpur test is nearly over. You’ve had your say. Games like this damage test cricket. My view. The odd one being like this is fine, it’s something different. But a series of pitches where fast bowling is largely neutered has to be wrong – in just the same way as juicy greentops to negate spinners is. There’s no easy answers. I just refuse to believe fine Indian batsmen are going to be keen to see their averages take a plunge playing constantly on dust bowls. One of you said it is all about the home team winning for commercial reasons. Sadly, there’s not a lot anyone can do about it.

Polite Enquiries is up with you-know-who, there are interesting noises from the ICC, it appears Selvey might have watched Warriors more quickly than Death of a Gentleman

And that’s your lot. I’m about to have a lovely turkey dinner cooked by the beloved, and even though I’m not American, I wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving because, let’s face it, we should be thankful for something.

Cheers…

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59 thoughts on “T20, Pink Ball, Nagpur Nonsense

  1. Mark November 26, 2015 / 2:00 pm

    I wish the day night test well. As you say we won’t know till we try it.

    As for Selvey he has lost the plot. he is mixing up different issues to push his own warped agenda. He seems quite obssesed with SA as number 1 in the world. Not sure why, it’s done on a rankings system.

    Selvey and Pringle have their own system. What is it know? 9 wins out of 2 or something!

    Like

    • d'Arthez November 26, 2015 / 2:09 pm

      Test cricket in Nagpur: the longest lottery broadcast known to man.

      Like

    • d'Arthez November 26, 2015 / 3:11 pm

      If this had been day 4 or day 5, I would not be complaining – the wicket had been played on, and all of the batsmen would have had a decent chance to score runs in the first few days. But to start on this? What would be a chaseable target after 13 sessions of play? 50? Maybe 52?

      You can’t tell me that on a typical Indian wicket these scores are normal. And no, they’re not.

      16 times India has won at home after losing all 20 wickets.

      Match totals are listed here:
      http://goo.gl/iJxW2M

      Even when India lose at home, and lose all 20 wickets, they are averaging 423 runs / match. With the worst being 272 against Australia in 1956. And the best being 684 against England in 1985.

      Assuming India win this, this will be the third and fourth lowest match totals by India in India that have resulted in wins, when losing all 20 wickets. The only other series in which this happened was the tour of the West Indies in 1974/1975 (549 in Kolkata (win by 85 runs), 446 in Chennai (win by 100 runs)); and India scored comfortably more against Roberts, Gibbs, and others. One of those matches lasted about 380 overs, the other about 270 overs.

      The highest aggregate was 736 in November 2008, against Australia. In Nagpur. So, is anyone really going to argue that the Indian batsmen are utterly incompetent? That climate change is such a massive factor on pitch preparation that it explains why such a total would be half of it now?

      To put these numbers in context: home sides have won 152 Tests after having lost all their wickets. 16 of these totals were 401 (Mohali) or less. This includes all Tests, 5 of which were held before WW1. Uncovered pitches will have played their part in that. And another 4 in the 1950s (less certain about the reason for that). None of these occurences happened in the same series, or the same calendar year for that matter.

      Like

  2. Benny November 26, 2015 / 3:15 pm

    A while ago, I came across a website with a Top Ten Cricket Blogs list. Checking them out, you were lucky, with most of them, if you got 1 article a month. You are prodigious Dmitri and I reckon you are entitled to the occasional break.

    T20? I’m sitting here looking forward to today’s. I like Morgan’s team.

    Pink ball? Yeah, why not? Can’t see how it can be a major thing.

    The toss – strikes me as daft but Eoin Morgan is claiming it will make groundsmen produce fairer pitches. Haven’t figured out the logic yet.

    The sun put in an appearance today and I’m thankful for that

    Like

    • Ian November 26, 2015 / 3:44 pm

      Excited as a Hampshire man that James Vince is getting a go. Hope he makes the most of his chance as has had to wait a little too long for my liking.

      Like

      • Benny November 26, 2015 / 4:16 pm

        And not just in T20 either

        Like

      • Ian November 26, 2015 / 5:57 pm

        I think him not having a great first class season last year has gone against him and can understand why he hasn’t got a test call yet. Was really angry he didn’t play at least one T20 international this summer though.

        Like

  3. amit November 26, 2015 / 3:26 pm

    Amla scored a double here the last time he played, so the ground hasn’t always been this way. However, I don’t think this has made the cricket any more difficult for SA than it has for Indians. To get bowled out for 79, was not because of wicket. This wasn’t a 12/5 wicket. India proved it in both innings. Domingo got it right when he pointed out that unfamiliarity, inexperience of top order, quality of the bowlers, their own approach and the spinner-friendly pitch were all to blame”.

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    • d'Arthez November 26, 2015 / 3:29 pm

      No, this was not a 79 all out wicket. But tell me,was Nagpur 2010 a 215 all out wicket? a 173 all out wicket? Is Mohali normally a 200 all out wicket?

      Like

    • d'Arthez November 26, 2015 / 3:32 pm

      And Amit, are you going to argue that this South African attack is 5 times as good as the attack that played in 2010?

      Like

      • amit November 27, 2015 / 12:17 am

        Its the batting. Without kallis and smith SA are not the same. Without steyn and philander the bowling isnt the same either. Indian batting has weakened too. With the big 5 no longer being around these guys can’t play spin the same way. So its been a case of slightly better batting by india and a whole lot better (accurate) spin bowling by indian spinners.
        Amla, Faf are having a horrendous series. They bare out up fight. Dean elgar has batted better than both despite being a relative new comer.
        So i wouldn’t still pin it all on the pitch. Frankly i would prefer a result in 3 days than the slogathans that end in a draw. World over, games dont usually last deep into 5 days because batsmen have lost the willingness and skill to bat out. Faf has showed us earlier it could be done but if he is not prepared to bat 100 balls like saha did in first innings it won’t happen.
        Yes the pitch is different but its the same for both. They just need to cope up. Between Amla, Faf and AB it can still be done.

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      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 6:46 am

        So, if South Africa are missing Steyn and Philander, how come India are currently averaging 21.7 in a home series they are about to win? That is easily their worst home average ever in a home series which they have won. The previous record was 26.59.

        Oh, and if you exclude the Bangalore Test (since only play on day 1 was possible, we don’t know what would have or even could have happened if 5 days of play were possible ), it is is 17.7, which is the third worst batting average India have achieved in any series, anywhere, and the second worst in India. With the series in New Zealand in 2002/2003 being the worst. Now, tell me how many people thought that was a fair contest between bat and ball?

        By the way, since Indian fans love to complain about English pitches, the lowest batting average in a series at home, since WW1 (I exclude those because of uncovered pitches) achieved by England is 21.65. When England were utterly decimated by the West Indies (1988). For a won series it is 22.55 against the West Indies in 2000.

        250 is the lowest score in a completed series in India by the home team. That was in a 2-Test series against South Africa in 1999/2000 (One Test was over in three days, the other lasted till day 5; South Africa made 400+ after dismissing India for 158; the 250 was made in the third innings by India). Now, we’re barely past 200 (215) in 4 attempts. Or, if you include the South African innings, in 9 attempts.

        214 (South Africa’s highest total thus far) is the worst highest score for any team in a series in India. 215 (India’s highest score) is the second worst (again discounting the one off Test between India and Sri Lanka in 1990; Sri Lanka got to 198).

        With the ball, Elgar averages 12.60. Tahir 13.25. Those are the best bowling averages of any bowler who has taken more than 2 wickets in India. Now, I don’t know many who would put Tahir in the same class as say a Richie Benaud (18.38 in India) or a Shane Warne (who had a poor record in India admittedly, averaging 43.11). Or anyone who would argue that Elgar is even remotely close in bowling ability to Underwood (who averaged 26.51 in India).

        No, it is not the batting or bowling. Sure, they could have been better. No matter what the score, they always could have been better. Maybe South Africa would have had more of a chance if Tahir slashed his wayward average to 6.63.

        But I have given here plenty of statistics and circumstantial evidence that these are not typical Indian wickets. That these are not even close to being typical Indian wickets.

        It is the tosses. It is the pitches. Winning the toss on these pitches is probably worth about 80 runs. That is more than 20% of the match total India made.

        If in 44 innings (the four completed innings this series), India have made all of 2 half centuries, against this South African attack (Rabada debuted this series, Harmer is currently playing his 5th Test), you can’t tell me that these are good surfaces. You can’t tell me that Harmer is Underwood reincarnated, and that Rabada is Roberts reincarnated. Not for a single moment.

        Conditions were least terrible immediately after the toss, and did not get any better afterwards. You can’t tell me Mohali was a good surface, if Dean Elgar can take 4 wickets on Day 1, with his part time filth (a FC bowling average of 0.5 wickets / innings bowled in, at nearly 50 says enough).

        Or are you going to argue that batsmen like Pujara, Kohli, Vijay are utterly pathetic, and would get out to about anyone who is an offie or a leggie?

        Well tossed India.

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      • amit November 27, 2015 / 7:41 am

        Well, you’ve clearly gone through stats more that I would think was necessary.

        But, Amla and Faf are proving my point. They’ve batted together for over 40 overs now.
        The entire first innings for SA didn’t quite last this long.

        Application. That one word encapsulates the essence of what’s been missing from the batsmen so far.

        Let me be clear – Indian batsmen were only slightly better than the saffers. Only Vijay and Pujara have shown the application to succeed on these pitches. Kohli, Rahane gave their wickets away to shots that weren’t required. Dhawan, well, he finds new ways to get out. India had no reason to get bowled out yesterday. Only Tahir and Morkel were anywhere close to being dangerous. Everyone else was being played easily.

        I won’t dispute the contention that these are not the usual indian wickets. I have acknowledged that previously. But, this still makes for interesting cricket, if the players are willing to adapt.
        And, let me tell you, the toss wouldn’t have made any difference here. These players were shot mentally and demons were in the mind, not the pitch.

        As you can now see, these guys have now found a way to cope up. I won’t be shocked (disappointed, yes) if they go on to win from here.

        Like

      • SimonH November 27, 2015 / 8:34 am

        “demons were in the mind, not the pitch”.

        Amit, that’s why I posted the dismissal of Vilas. You’re telling me Vilas imagined that ball turning so much? Not every batsman has got out to an unplayable ball but, if batsmen see it behaving like that, some are going to decide they’ll get an unplayable one sooner or later and might as well have a thrash and get what they can beforehand. You can’t then argue when they can’t out to an attacking shot that the pitch had nothing to do with it.

        It seems to me the SA middle order are the batsmen who can least be accused of lacking application in world cricket. Amla, ABDV and FDP have all played lengthy, dogged innings many times over. Why have they suddenly decided to stop applying themselves here? To claim that two of them managing to get into the 30s shows the pitch isn’t really that bad is rather clutching at straws. As I’m writing, Amla gets an impossible ball (turned from leg stump line to off and bounced) and is caught in the gully. Did he suddenly, after 166 balls (#worthahundred) stop applying himself?

        To be clear, I think India would have won this series anyway. One pitch out of four like this in a series would be okay – but not a second after Mohali. I was really looking forward to watching these matches but have hardly watched a ball since the First Test. The BCCI said they wanted to create a series to rival the Ashes in its appeal to cricket fans around the world. Who, except home fans, wants to watch this?

        Like

      • SimonH November 27, 2015 / 8:36 am

        Apologies for the typo in the first paragraph (“can’t” should read “get” of course).

        You get can’t the proof-readers these days…..

        Like

      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 8:56 am

        So, are you now implying that Rahul Dravid failed in England in 2011, because he did not quite get to average 25.20, like he did in 2007? That is an interesting argument to make.

        Likewise, you can argue that Laxman failed in 224 innings, and did okay once (281 in Kolkata). If you expect players to achieve superhuman standards all the time, they will fall short all the time. Somehow I don’t think that is fair on Laxman, or anyone else for that matter.

        Judging by the Indian batting performances, when they had the best of the batting conditions, getting 40 runs in the match is a good performance (Pujara has the highest match aggregate with 52 runs; only Duminy can realistically threaten that).

        Judging by the Indian batting performances, lasting more than 70 balls across two innings is a good performance (Saha is the only one who lasted more than 100 balls across innings).

        Oh, and lest we forget. India comfortably managed more 50s on the green tops in England in 2014, than they have in this home series thus far. 4 at Lord’s. 3 in Southampton. 1 in Manchester, and 1 at the Oval. Now, remind me how happy Indian fans were with those surfaces? How often they complained about pitch doctoring?

        A shot you get out to is NEVER required. Per definition. However, if you have no idea what the pitch will do, it becomes next to impossible to anticipate what the ball will actually do. You’re left guessing. If you know beforehand what the ball will do, then it is easier to play a better shot. That lbw that Pujara suffered against Duminy? If he had known what the ball would do before the ball was delivered, he would have survived. But he could not have known, since the pitch has no consistency whatsoever. Not in terms of bounce. Not in terms of turn, nor pace. None of the batsmen is as incompetent as the pitch makes them look.

        You know that one ball will come on such pitches that has your name on it, and you can do nothing about it. Can’t blame players for not being happy about that. And what good is aiming for a patient 100-ball 20? Especially if you know you’re lucky if you’re going to last more than 50 balls on this village road (India achieved 50+ balls all of 5 times this match, and only once in the third innings – and no one is going to argue that South Africa bowled brilliantly in either innings). Last time I checked, cricket is not supposed to be “Wheel of Fortune”, or a game of Russian roulette.

        Amla gone for 39. He should have been given lbw earlier in the innings, but I suppose that receiving umpiring howlers are a sign of being a great player too, right? Now remind me beloved Billy Doctrove is by Indians, because he consistently showed up who the really great players are, right?

        Faf gone as well for 39 as well. Brilliant bowling by Mishra, by bowling it in such a way that the batsman should have reasonably expected it to keep low.

        Between the two of them, they have added 78 runs from 319 balls. That is less than 1.5 runs / over. And India did not even bowl that well, and the pitch actually seems to have eased out a bit.

        46/2 and people are calling it a good batting session. By two of the best batsmen in the world.

        My bet on Vijay being top scorer this match with 40 is still on.

        This is not cricket. This is an 18-hour tossing competition, interspersed with commercials, and a few talking heads. Well tossed India.

        Like

      • amit November 27, 2015 / 9:25 am

        Like i said previously, i still think its interesting to view these games despite the pitch. It took india more than 40 overs to get rid of Faf and Amla. Yes they struggled to score but it hasnt been boring. I am actually watching the game having come home early and while the result wasn’t really in doubt after 79 all out, the butterflies weren’t that far away. These 2 are that good.

        The ball that got AB was a good one. Wasnt the pitch. The ball that got Amla was a good one and wasnt the pitch alone. Faf missed a short ball that kept low but he wouldve coped up if he had been on front foot. Players make mistakes. Even These 3 giants in SA have made them in this series. Takes nothing away from their records.

        Winning the toss and batting first matters in india. But SA tossed that away even in bangalore. No reason to believe it would have been any different here.

        Like

      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 9:39 am

        Amit, so now you are arguing that Faf should have been on the front foot, as he should have known what the ball would be doing? Yeah. That is reasonable.

        That Amla should have played a different shot, because it was the reasonable thing to expect that the ball would be doing that much?

        Demand that the batsmen are clairvoyant. What do you expect them to do post their playing careers? Corner the stock market because they can foresee what happens, no matter the uncertainties, doubts and vagaries involved.

        That is one great way of playing cricket. Post hoc cricket. A distant cousin from pub chat football. In that sport, Liverpool has won about 23 Premier League titles. In that sport, India has won every Test series it ever played too, every ODI it played too, and every T20 played too. The same applies to all other countries.

        Like

      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 9:41 am

        For me the result was not in doubt thirty minutes before start of play on Day 1. I already congratulated India on a series win then.

        Well tossed.

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      • amit November 27, 2015 / 5:20 pm

        You are funny indeed. The fact that the number 1 team in the world looks so poor on a pitch that doesn’t suit their bowlers is not new however. India had it in UK, Australia have had it in India, England have had it in UAE and SA have again had it in India. I have no problems accepting that whatever the result of the toss, the results in any of these series wouldn’t have been any different. You seem to believe otherwise. So keep the coin 😉

        Like

    • amit November 27, 2015 / 1:19 pm

      If you could see the results 3 days ahead of time, may be you should be trying a career in stock market 🙂

      I will also point out that India lost all 4 tosses and batted second when they blanked out Australia at home. That was in 2013. While the scores were higher, the toss made very little impact it would suggest.

      On a more serious note, I guess it is pointless once someone has already made up their mind. Not going to pretend I agree with your views and am sure we can agree to disagree.

      Like

      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 1:45 pm

        You’re now referring to a series in which the Chennai curator BOASTED of the fact that he doctored the pitch. Yeah, if you doctor the pitches like that guy did, the toss does not matter much against a side that does not have many good spin options.

        But well tossed nonetheless!

        Like

      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 2:28 pm

        Now you’re arguing that all tosses are equal. That is not exactly what Shastri was saying after the Mumbai ODI, was it?

        Not all tosses are equal. On pitches like Nagpur, or the Oval (2014), or Trent Bridge (the Ashes), the toss has a huge impact on deciding the outcome of the match. I am even willing to throw Centurion 2010 in there. Why? Because conditions favour batting or bowling first strongly. In most cases that is due to weather being helpful (certainly the case in Centurion, Trent Bridge and the Oval). .

        That was far less the case in the UAE. Sure Pakistan won all three tosses there, but none of the wickets were raging turners on Day 1. England took a lead on first innings in the first and third Test, and despite conceding a hefty advantage in the second Test, they took it to the last hour of Day 5. Note that on Day 5 the wickets still played better than Nagpur in the first session.

        As a board, you cannot control the weather. I can’t hold the ECB responsible for weather patterns, just as I can’t hold the BCCI responsible for the weather in Bangalore. You can however, control what you do on the field and with the pitch.

        We could see from the first 20 overs in the Nagpur Test that it was already highly unlikely that there would be a Day 4 here. And that was not because India had been bowled out. Or because they had races to 230/0 by then. No, because a village road in a remote part of Assam is of a higher quality than that wicket.

        Well tossed, Amit.

        Like

  4. Benny November 26, 2015 / 6:06 pm

    I’m getting this warm feeling that England are assembling a talented white ball squad, which is imaginative. Good to watch Billings and Vince today. Good to see Plunkett’s first over at over 90 mph.

    Like

    • Ian November 26, 2015 / 6:40 pm

      Yeh looks good and means there will be some selection headaches to come.

      Like

  5. Ian November 26, 2015 / 6:37 pm

    Absolutely raging at this toss business. What is really amusing is how they have just casually announced it in the middle of a t20 international. It’s as if they don’t want to draw much attention to what a crap idea it is. The press release listing other innovations that you can’t compare to this change at all.

    Like

    • LordCanisLupus November 26, 2015 / 6:38 pm

      “Andy Flower (ECB’s Technical Director of Elite Coaching) also attended at the committee’s invitation.”

      Like

  6. greyblazer November 26, 2015 / 7:14 pm

    This toss issue (I’m not fully up to speed) is this what Pointing raised a few months back. Alternate 1st choice I think…
    Just how would it work.

    Like

  7. greyblazer November 26, 2015 / 8:22 pm

    , I’m up to speed now.
    What’s the objectives? Improve pitches, take home advantage away, take some of the luck (cloudy conditions) I guess. Who’s driven this?

    Like

      • greyblazer November 26, 2015 / 9:58 pm

        Thanks.
        Yeah been reading a lot tonight including that. It feels a bit knee jerk but a lot of people do agree some pitches are sub standard and it needs action.
        My simple question, why can’t pitches just be improved?

        Like

      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 7:12 am

        I am not so sure that this is the worst idea. It won’t really work for spinners. Because all teams have their medium pacers.

        Basic method of winning promotion seems to be win 4 or 5 tosses out of five at the start of the season, due to weather conditions in April and early May. Afterwards, tosses tend to become less important, though with the weather in the UK, a bowling friendly wicket can be just a few showers away.

        Provided the fixture allocation makes sense, then it effectively ensures that all teams win 2 or 3 tosses out of 5 in April and May.

        Alternatively, the ECB try to not to stuff the entire FC season in April, May and September. But that will never happen.

        Like

  8. d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 7:00 am

    New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat. They suffered a mini-collapse. 94/2 became 98/5. Watling and Santner have to desperately try to get New Zealand to a somewhat competitive score.

    Meanwhile Shaun Marsh gets another game.

    Like

    • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 9:17 am

      New Zealand all out for 202 in 65.2 overs. Will be an interesting session under the lights for Australia. New Zealand really need to take 2 or 3 wickets, to get themselves back into this match.

      Like

      • dlpthomas November 27, 2015 / 9:41 am

        The pink ball (surely it’s orange?) is very easy to see on the telly so who cares about the batsmen. Should be a fun last session

        Like

  9. Mark November 27, 2015 / 9:19 am

    Why can’t the cricket administrators just do their jobs, and disipline those sides (domestic or international) who doctor their pitches?

    What the ECB have just admitted by this action is they are incapable of holding counties to account. So rather than do that they have abolished a tradition of the game.

    And there is no guarantee it will have any effect because if a county thinks they have an advantage in bowling strength they will just make the pitches the same all 4 days. If a county has a great seam bowling attack they will just say, “ok you can have first choice , but it won’t matter because the conditions will be the same every day, and we back are team to bowl you out for less on this type of pitch.” Equally if a side has a pair of good spinners they will just make it turn sqaure from day 1. “We back are spinners to out bowl your spinners on a turning pitch.”

    After all, under the current system of the toss the home side can’t guarantee winning the toss, but they still produce sub standard conditions. Why will they change?

    Like

    • SimonH November 27, 2015 / 9:55 am

      Do ECB pitch inspectors still exist? It used to be mandatory for a pitch inspection if more than a certain number of wickets fell in one day – but I haven’t heard for several seasons of points being deducted. Has this quietly been dropped? If so, where was the media coverage?

      Pitch inspections only work if the inspectors are competent. As a Hampshire fan, I’m still spitting at this in 2011:

      http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/match/492130.html

      Deducted points for a drawn match with scores that, compared to Nagpur, look like a timeless Test? The crime was that it turned on the first day. Where Indian fans have a valid point is that in England (and probably other countries) there are some double standards about pitches helping seam and spin.

      The answer though is for better pitch inspectors – not to do away with them entirely (if that’s what’s happened).

      Like

      • Mark November 27, 2015 / 10:43 am

        That reult you quote Simon just shows how ridiculous the system is for judging pitch quality.

        Ian Chappell said many years ago that what you wanted from a pitch if you wanted to get rid of mediocre cricketers is bounce. Not inconsistent bounce obviously, but consistent bouce. If you are a fast bowler with some skill on a pitch with bounce, average batsman will disappear very quickly. Equally, if you are a good batsman dibley dobley bowlers like Simon Huges, and Selvey will also disappear very quickly. Because batsman will use the bounce to be able to score without much risk. Just pitching it on a length at 83 mph won’t cut it.

        My advice to the WI if they want to get back to being a force in cricket is start creating quick,true bouncy pitches. It will bring back good bowlers and batsman and see off the chaff.

        Like

      • SimonH November 27, 2015 / 10:52 am

        And I wouldn’t mind if the Rose Bowl (or whatever it’s name is now) lost points for lack of bounce – most of the CC pitches there have been turgid in the extreme (they drove Chris Tremlett away).

        Lawd, I miss USG in Portsmouth which used to be one of the hardest and truest pitches on the circuit. How did the RFM gang in the press box use to go there –

        http://static.espncricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/1970S/1979/ENG_LOCAL/CC/HANTS_MIDDX_CC_15-17AUG1979.html

        Liked by 1 person

      • Mark November 27, 2015 / 11:16 am

        Simon have you seen the bonus points for that match, it must be a printing error?

        “Result: Match drawn
        Points: Hampshire 2 (Bat: 0 Bowl: 2), Middlesex 8 (Bat: 4 Bowl: 4)”

        Middl first innings 140. Hampshire 400 odd. Someone is doctoring the stats.

        Like

      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 11:42 am

        Points have been deducted for substandard pitches in the last few years. Mostly in List-A cricket (Gloucestershire seems to ring a bell).But I must say I don’t follow the ins and outs of CC that closely.

        Like

      • SimonH November 27, 2015 / 12:05 pm

        Mark, I think they must have got the teams round the wrong way for the bonus points.

        D’Arthez, I agree that List-A matches are the only examples I can think of in the last couple of years. Perhaps that’s what Strauss meant about prioritizing one-day cricket…..

        Like

      • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 12:14 pm

        The last Asian pitch to be censored for being substandard was Galle in 2011 – in a game that Australia won (after having won the toss).

        http://www.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/current/match/516212.html

        That scorecard suggests Galle was a national highway in comparison with Nagpur. Nagpur of course won’t be censured.

        Like

  10. SimonH November 27, 2015 / 10:05 am

    England’s away series results in the same period:

    LLWLLDWWLDWDLDL

    So England lost seven away series while SA were undefeated. Selvey will no doubt be pointing these sorts of things out soon…..

    #eraofunrivalledsuccess

    Like

    • Mark November 27, 2015 / 10:29 am

      See Selveys idiotic tweet yesterday…

      “SA are number 1 or so they keep telling me.”

      Can’t he read those extraordinary away results? The man is a philistine.

      Like

      • SimonH November 27, 2015 / 10:57 am

        Australia’s away series results in the same period:

        WLWLWDLWDWLLWLWL

        Seven losses in the same number of series.

        India’s record:

        WWLLWWDDWLLLLLLDW

        Eight losses from one more series played.

        SA’s record really isn’t bad for a “one man band” with unskillful bowlers.

        Like

    • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 12:34 pm

      The only away series in which England did better than South Africa was India. You can give Bangladesh, but even North Korea would have drawn the second Test, since there was just one day of play in that one. And the first Test saw no play after Day 3. Much harder to force a result if you can’t play after Day 3 than if you start at Day 3.

      West Indies 1-1 vs 0-2
      England (or SA) 1-1 vs 0-2
      Sri Lanka 1-1 vs 0-1
      India 1-2 vs 2-0 and counting
      Pakistan 2-0 vs 1-1
      Bangladesh I won’t count the series in 2015 for rain ruined reasons. Otherwise 0-2 vs 0-2
      Australia 5-0 vs 0-1
      New Zealand 0-0 vs 0-1.

      Zimbabwe. Can’t remember the last time England played there (it was in 2003). 0-2 vs 0-1 (admittedly SA only played one Test in their last series). Either way, you have to go back more than a decade for an actual series (of more than 1 Test). England won their two most recent Tests there, South Africa their three most recent Tests.

      Clearly England have done much better on the road than South Africa. Especially in all places that are not outside of India.

      Like

    • Mark November 27, 2015 / 11:01 am

      His average in this series against SA is 10.75. His average against Sri Lanka, also in India this year year is 19.00

      His one test match in Australia this year is 49.40

      Im sure he is a good cricketer but an average of 17 for the year? He has played 6 out of 8 matches in India this year.

      Like

    • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 11:44 am

      The series against Sri Lanka was in Sri Lanka.

      Notice how a Test bowler with an average of 40+ averages less than 14 in India (Tahir). Notice how a FC bowler with an average of 50+ averages less than 14 in India (Elgar).

      Like

      • amit November 27, 2015 / 6:00 pm

        Indian pitches this year have been poor. More so in domestic games. Over the last few years we’ve oscillated between green tops (yes they exist in India) and rank turners for domestic first class games. Dravid has come out quite strongly against it saying these pitches don’t help prepare young cricketers for international cricket.
        He should know.

        International games have been far less influenced by the BCCI in that respect.

        Spinning tracks were made to order in 90s when India played Raju, Chauhan and Kumble. While a similar combo (leggie, offie and a left armer) exists now, I would be genuinely surprised if this was a tactic we could pull off consistently. Mendis, Swann, Panesar are some spinners that have caused us enough trouble.
        If you look back, panesar caused more issues with his pace. He was faster (like jadeja in some ways) and would still find turn. Not easy to play with uneven bounce. Swann obviously was better offie than anyone we had in world cricket then.

        The wicket in Bombay where Michael Clark got 6/9 a few years ago was a raging turner and the current crop isn’t even close to matching dravid/laxman/Sachin etc. in playing spin. The current series has had helpful wickets for spinners but SA haven’t had enough quality members in spin attack or the games might have been closer.

        Like

  11. greyblazer November 27, 2015 / 1:12 pm

    Sunil Gavaskar blasting those who are ‘sitting 1,000s of miles away’ for their comments on the pitch,
    But he made a valid point that this track has not misbehaved as much as even he thought it would. Mainly keeping low.This was a normal wicket that you would get in the 1990s when Kumble was around. How SA would have played him on this track??

    Like

    • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 1:40 pm

      Eh, I just checked the stats. Since WW1, this is the third worst batting average by a home side winning a series. First up is Pakistan against West Indies in 1959. That had something to do with the matting wickets.

      Second up is New Zealand vs. India in 2002. For some reason I seem to recall lots of Indian supporters not being happy with those wickets.

      If Kumble had played on wickets like Nagpur, his average would have rivalled that of Lohmann. I think it would be closer to six in India. An Indian friend of mine thinks it would be closer to 8. He probably figured in the fielding of some of the Indian batsmen Kumble played with.

      Kumble’s bowling average in 1999/2000 (in India) was 21.75 (12/261). That was the best he achieved against South Africa. I honestly rate Kumble a lot higher than Mishra and Jadeja. And I don’t know what to make of Ashwin, since even mediocre bowlers like Elgar can average less than 15 in India on these pitches. That a better bowler like Ashwin then averages 10 does not tell me that he is good. It tells me that he is less mediocre.

      Like

  12. Mark November 27, 2015 / 1:35 pm

    I like Sunil Gavasker but the idea people around the world can’t have an opinion is nonsense.

    You will always get the odd rouge pitch, but this series has been ruined by the pitches. As Simon said I was looking forward to this series, but I gave up after the first test match when I saw what the Indian board had served up.

    Ashwin is averaging 10.75 in this series. That’s The Series, not just this match. Perhaps India as the most powerful financial team in the world is getting embarrassed at how far they are off from SA in the rankings.

    India in 4 th and England at 6 th. How the mighty big 3 have fallen.

    Like

    • d'Arthez November 27, 2015 / 1:43 pm

      India is already up to #3 in the rankings. If they win another toss, and serve another pitch up that would make Alastair Campbell look like the most honest bloke ever in politics, they will be up to #2.

      The gap is now almost non-existent, and I expect India to take over as #1 in the world soon enough. Not because they can actually win series abroad (1 series win in 4 years), but because they can’t be bothered to stop doctoring pitches. They also did it against Australia in 2013 – and the Chennai curator was boasting of the fact after the match.

      Like

  13. Mark November 27, 2015 / 1:43 pm

    20/20 test matches is the aim I reckon. Each side gets two 20 over innings. 80 overs in total.

    All over in one day. Done and dusted. You could even have a couple of reserve days for bad weather. £200 per ticket. Best of 9 match series. Ka Ching!

    Like

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