Wilde thoughts

Dear Simon Wilde:

In a cheerless world — you would have noticed this morning another example of India’s lack of self-belief; Virender Sehwag was four boundary hits from being the only batsman in the world to have scored three triple hundreds, but couldn’t make it — thank you for providing something to laugh at.

It takes a mind operating at its best to tie in the ICC ranking system, India’s lack of fibre, Lalit Modi and the IPL millions, all into one “article”.

Quick note: The ICC devised the points/ranking system. The ICC decides the FTP. Together, these two things decide who tops the table. If India does not “deserve” the number one spot earned through such ratings, then by definition no team that ever made the number one slot deserves it — they all got there through the same means [SA beating Bangladesh to become world number one, remember?] except Australia.

So — suck it up.

Thank you

Me

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26 thoughts on “Wilde thoughts

  1. Pingback: A tale of two number threes « Smoke Signals

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  3. Couldn’t have put it better myself. He is so Wildely convinced of his own opinion that he’s using it as evidence to rubbish the only semblance of fact (the ratings) there is.

    +1 for the upward suckings.

  4. India’s lead over SL looks to be almost the same as what Sehwag score. Qualitatively, also, Sehwag was what separated the two sides.

    SL may also be lamenting that if anyone from their side had played as fast as Sehwag in the 1st test 1st innings, they would’ve won it.

  5. Prem, just read your comment : “Oh well. Now I can focus on India Abroad. 😦 How I wish RD had, instead of “protecting” VS last evening, allowed him his head”
    Why is RD to blame? Viru is the one who needed to score if he wanted his triple to be completed yesterday and he had ample chances (going by his strike rate) to get it done whenever he was on strike…RD was doing his job just as VS was. I am sure VS wont agree that he missed it because RD didnt give him enough strike.

    • I suggest you revisit your memories of play last evening, mate. Or check out the archived commentary. I’ve written so much about the importance of seizing momentum, or maintaining it when once seized, that I hardly think it necessary to explain just how bad it is if you play four dot balls, take a single off the last ball of the over, then go play a maiden at the other end while your partner is batting in the form of his life. 🙂

      • Prem, I completely agree with you that momentum needs to be seized and RD could/should have played with more aggro. But to blame him for VS not achieving the triple yesterday wouldnt be fair. VS himself could have achieved it had it not been probably his back pain yesterday evening which forced him to slow down compared to rest of the day. It is his individual achievement and should remain so. You had written on similar lines in your earlier post how cricket is an individual game although it is called a team game, I agree with it. The battle there is between the batsman and the bowler with his supporting cast. He has to make the most of his chances to get what he wants. Seeing Viru for so long, I am sure that if VS would have wanted to triple to be scored yesterday, he would have scored it in those chances. But for him, triple will just come if and when it is due, the joy is in hitting the ball…

        • Ranjeet, you miss the point. It is not about whether he got his triple. It is about whether a batsman in flow is allowed to continue in that vein without check. [incidentally, check the run of play — VS slowed down near tea, but after that, he was batting at his normal speed again, so it was not his slowing down that caused the problem]. Similarly, this is not about RD the individual — it is about one type of attitude versus the other. anyway…

      • haha! – “Momentum is something you seize at the time, not pickle and put away for a rainy day, mate” – in context of RD protecting VS last evening. I
        It is funny-On the one hand we go gaga over Veeru’s fearless approach,not caring about the context of the match,not losing sleep over an approaching milestone,not worrying about the bowler etc,and here RD is being hauled for the momentum because Veeru didn’t get to his triple! Veeru faced many balls today,especially the first over -it was his for the taking ,he gave it away,I saw the match live on thursday and friday without many ad breaks,and it looke different On Thursday he could have got a triple on his own steam-nothing to do with Momentum,On Friday-the ball which he got out to turned a bit and a gentle prod (maybe it’s the bat power-which ended in Murali’s hands)
        If you ask Veeru,I am sure he will not say he missed out due to RD,in fact RD provides him creative freedom and balance.

        Batting alongside far more flamboyant individuals, Dravid quickly realised that it was better to have his own niche than be a poor replica. His solidity gave those around him the freedom to express themselves, knowing that all was not lost even if they departed( S Aga in Cric Info)
        On the killer consistency-Yes India needs to do it,that will happen when they achieve consistent all round performances rather than Individual efforts.
        This match may not be over yet-It could spring some pleasant /Unpleasant surprises.

  6. Prem, the ICC ranking sysytem is without a doubt not the best of the systems that there can be and is probably as faulty as others. However, India reaching the top is an evidence to this fact is what Simon Wilde intends to say. This evidence is necessary since the teams at top (Aus and SA) deserved to be at the top and hence there was no evidence that the system is faulty. He says correctly that very few outside India actually believe that it is no 1 Test side. While biases and patriotism will be around everywhere, it makes sense to see things in objective with some facts.

    • Not sure I agree with you Ranjeet.

      With 2 good/ great openers, solid middle order, a decent captain and a bunch of decent pacers/ spinners India certainly challenges SA & Aus. There is no reason to believe that they are ‘underserving’, which is an opinion anyway.

      In fact, given BCCI’s greed, India has only played marquee teams over the last 5 years and hence probably have faced the best opposition. There is a case for saying they are the only team that deserves the place they are at.

      • Hi Sridhar, IMHO, in the international cricket today, all the top 6 teams are equally good or bad depending on the pitces, injuries, compositions and opposition. It is a matter of which team plays better on which day.

        Having said that, Aus and SA have generally done better more consistently among the top 6. India has been brilliant at times and abject at other times, although of late there is an improvement in consistency (but we havent played on NZ pitches for some years now).

        My point was that based on earlier teams ranked # 1, it was difficult to prove that the ICC ranking system was faulty. With India becoming # 1, there is an evidence.

    • Ranjeet,

      The ranking system may not be perfect but India is probably a good no. 2, if not the no., 1 side (the Aussies no longer can claim to be there and about given their recent poor test form). What is irksome about the article is the lazy inferences about Lalit Modi / Indian mental fragility (as opposed to the South African kind, I guess, not to mention the tough, mentally strong English team) which is weaved in. It’s not the Indian team’s fault that they have won the tests they have been scheduled to play – beating Aussies in India, beating NZ away, now beating SL here, etc. (‘course we lost to SL away).

      And by my reading, quite a few commentators and ex-players have reckoned India is one of the top 2 sides in test cricket, which is the only sample I have of what people outside India think.

    • What does Wilde intend to say? That India does not deserve to be at the top? Okay, so what does the BCCI, IPL, Lalit Modi, India’s propensity to collapse and everything else have to do with it?

      We didn’t make the ranking system. We didn’t decide who our opponents should be. So what is Wilde’s point again? When you have a system — which you have not questioned for all these years — then you need to accept the rankings the system throws up, no? Where was this angst, for instance, when Australia was beating the pants off everyone, and by some statistical quirk SA beat Bangladesh [the series where Kallis and others couldn’t stop scoring] and found themselves number one in the world?

      It has nothing to do with “patriotism” — had Sri Lanka gone to the top and Wilde had made these same arguments, I would have reacted in similar fashion. My question was, and remains: where is India’s fault in all this?

  7. Your twitter comment: “Sudden visions of Melbourne. Remember VS setting it up with his 195, and then the rest giving it away?”

    hmm…two overnight batsmen (which includes VS) get out early and you start having visions of a collapse? It is not the Indian batsmen who are lacking in belief.

    On your memo to the commentators (again in Twitter), you are right, there has been turn right from the first day but there are rough patches now on the pitch and whenever the spinners hit one of the patches the ball either stops a bit or skids through. In other words, the wicket has started to deteriorate. I don’t see this match going to the 5th day.

  8. Prem

    Cheers for this ! I guess from your blog enough people would head to the verbose diarrhea in the Times, bombarded the mailbox enough to prevent a repeat 🙂 At least that’s what I’m hoping for.

    Two things though : don’t people actually read and see if what they write makes sense ? Apparently in his case NOT.

    What is the role of the editors ? Apparently even they think it’s all right.

    I used to head to Times daily, but if this trend continues, it’s one site I will avoid ( much like cricketnext.com- don’t even know or care if it still exists 🙂

    • The thing about editors is once you are enshrined as a columnist, you get to say what you please. You don’t have an editor sitting on your head questioning your assumptions — you have your space, you fill it.

      The Times bag of columnists is pretty mixed. I largely tend to skim the opening lines, see what the topic is and if the premise makes sense, and then read on. Or not. Largely not. 🙂

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