The TGIF post

Travelling over the weekend, no time for browsing, posting and suchlike fun.

Have a good weekend, folks — appreciate interesting links as and when you find them.

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More WADA

Two opinions for your consideration [sans comment, because I’m all talked out on the issue, at least for now]: Jayaditya Gupta is categorical that the stance taken by the BCCI and the Indian cricketers on the issue is flat out wrong; Harsha Bhogle argues that there are good points being made by both sides, and a via media can and should be found.

SRT the match winner

Here we go again, one of those debates about whether Sachin Tendulkar is a match winner, that keeps popping up whenever India is not actively engaged in the cricket field and we need to fill space with something.

This question indicates there are others far more consistent in winning matches for their countries. Admittedly, not many can beat Tendulkar where consistency is concerned but his contribution to winning matches takes a beating compared to Inzamam-ul- Haq and Ricky Ponting.

The yardstick obviously is how many of his centuries have been winning centuries. And how many of these centuries have been scored in the second innings of the match. This, the pundits feel relates to handling of pressure when it matters.

Inzamam’s total number of centuries is 25 but 17 of his centuries helped Pakistan win Tests and the percentage amounts to 68. Ricky Ponting’s 24 Test match-winning centuries are from a total of 38 and the winning percentage is 63 whereas though Tendulkar scored 42 Test centuries, only 16 have helped India in winning Tests. The percentage is as low as 38.

The most important comparison is the number of centuries scored in the second innings. Out of six centuries scored by Ponting five resulted in Australia winning Test matches. That’s 83 per cent. Inzamam had four winning matches out of six centuries — the percentage is 66 but while Tendulkar scored ten centuries, only three saw India win matches. The percentage is 30.

If the styles of these three batsmen are compared, aggression is a common factor but why Tendulkar is not able to convert his second innings centuries into winning ones is something very intriguing looking at the class that he possesses. Is it because of the load of expectations of the country that agitates his mental make-up or perhaps he is unable to handle pressure in the middle?

Makarand Waingankar concedes, after the above excerpt, that even if Ponting arguably was part of a strong batting lineup, Inzy wasn’t.

Granting that, the concession still misses the mark — and the leitmotif of this piece, which seeks to equate centuries and Test wins, is even further off the bulls eye: Tests are won by teams that can bowl the other one out twice in a fixed time span. Any analysis on these lines therefore needs to compare the bowling attacks that backed the batsmen in question, not merely the batting lineups. Do that, and see if the thesis still holds.

I’m not making a case for Tendulkar here — merely making the point that wins and losses in Tests cannot be interpreted as a result of the number of centuries scored by the primary batsman.

The exclusive bhurji

This morning on my way to work, I ate a bhurji.

It was no ordinary bhurji, mind — the vendor at the corner of the street near my home made it exclusively for me. He put aside everything else he was doing; from his stock, he selected the exact right green chillies and the perfect onion for my palate. And oh, those eggs — two of the finest ever laid!

The vendor Sivaram, who the cognoscenti tell me is an acknowledged expert in the art of bhurji-making and who created the dish with skill that had been passed on to him through the generations, told me the eggs had been laid exclusively for me, and no one else in this world, ever, would be able to taste those identical eggs, no matter how much money was on offer. By way of guarantee, he even shook out the very last drops of the gooey stuff from the insides of the cracked shells and then crushed the shells to smithereens.

It was, I vow, divine. And as I ate that bhurji, made exclusively for me out of eggs laid exclusively for me, I thought of all you poor folk out there who just don’t get it: None of you get, more’s the pity, that the best things in life are exclusive.

Vir Sanghvi shares my belief, vide this exercise in tactless, tasteless condescension:

PS: It’s Friday, folks. Not likely to be on here much.