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    November 30, 2005

    The wrong award choices

    Anyone who followed the recent India-South Africa one-day series will tell you that the choices for 'Man of the Match' and 'Man of the Series' were flawed.

    For the record, India won the final game at Bombay, thus drawing the series and moving to fourth place in the ICC rankings.

    While Rahul Dravid was named man of the match, Graeme Smith and Yuvraj Singh were named men of the series. I'll actually argue about both awards.

    The 'Man of the Match' award surely must go to the player who played the most significant role in the result of the match. I will explain why I think Jacques Kallis should have got the award. Kallis walked in to bat in the third over. He first put on 30 in 6 overs along with Smith and then 31 in 12 overs with Ashwell Prince. His next partnership decided the course of the game. Batting with Boucher, the two put on 81 runs in 20 overs, at a time when singles and twos were fairly freely available, even given the exemplary fielding standards displayed by India on the day. In fact, the two added nearly 50 runs in 12 overs when Harbhajan and Kartik were operating in tandem. Long-hops were treated with a lot of respect and patted to the fielders.

    In fact Kallis' innings progression indicates how he lost the plot. He reached 22(39) [56.4 strike rate], 42(78) [53.8 strike rate], 61(108) [56.5 strike rate], 81(136) [59.5 strike rate] and was dismissed for 91(146) [62.3 strike rate]. Effectively there was hardly any acceleration. This at a time when Kemp and Pollock were cooling their heels in the pavillion. South Africa were 155/3 in the 40th over. They scored 221 only because of Pollock's blitz towards the end. As it turned out, that was not enough.

    His 'Player v Player' statistics indicate that he scored at less than 5 an over against every single bowler, including Sehwag and Yuvraj. Actually Boucher was guilty on that count as well. However Kallis was the one who played the longer innings and thus had the better opportunity to speed up things.

    For Kallis' contribution to ensuring that the game turned India's way, I think he should have been named man of the match.

    As for the man of the series award, it really should have gone to Pollock. He took top order wickets in just about every game, took a wicket every five overs, conceded less than 3.5 runs an over and was clearly the one bowler the Indian team feared. Perhaps he and Pathan should have been given the 'Men of the series' award, given the tough time bowlers generally have in one-day cricket. Of course, I am biased. I am a self-proclaimed member of the bowlers fraternity!
    Thus spake Jagadish @ 12:28 PM |
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    8 sledge(s):

    u r a sarcastic bastard

    By Anonymous Anonymous (30-Nov-2005, 8:19:00 PM)  

    I loved the sarcasm about Kallis. Very well put.But award selectors do not think in the same fashion:-))

    I too did not quite agree with Smith and Yuvraj getting the combined award! Sadly ODI never encourages bowlers, least of all pitches in India ( For which I was mighty impresssed with the Wankhede groundsmen, after the minefiled of pitch last year Vs Aus, they did a pretty good job! ) Atleast by giving Pollock and Pathan some credit these blokes would have sent across a positive message!

    By Blogger Minal (01-Dec-2005, 11:48:00 AM)  

    Anonymous: Thanks

    Minal: Thanks. Actually Smith for the series award choice was odd. He scored like 70% of his runs in 1 innings, while chasing a paltry total. Admittedly his blitz at the start in the first game helped South Africa win, but he was anonymous after that. In contrast, Yuvraj was a lot more consistent. If not Pathan and Pollock, the award could have gone to Pollock and Yuvraj.

    By Blogger Jagadish (01-Dec-2005, 12:55:00 PM)  

    I didn't understand why Smith was MOS either. Pollock deserved it.

    By Anonymous Anirudh (02-Dec-2005, 10:58:00 AM)  

    Probably a new award - "Villain of the match" could be instituted for Kallis-type performances.. i.e.: A person who has contributed the most towards opposition's cause should be given this award..

    By Blogger Bart (02-Dec-2005, 12:36:00 PM)  

    Anirudh: Yeah, like I mentioned, Smith was hardly consistent. Pollock was, until the last game. Even there it was like two overs when Sehwag [and Tendulkar] waded into him.

    Bart: Hahaha good one. One of the Hindi news channels has a feature called 'Match ka mujrim' [culprit of the match].

    By Blogger Jagadish (02-Dec-2005, 3:45:00 PM)  

    SA has alsways been a team which has shied away from exploration of strategies. A former Aussie skipper once said that he could predict exactly when SA would make a bowling changes, something like "Pollock will be brought on in the 37th over" or some precise thing like that.

    Guess they have'nt gotten over that.

    By Blogger Srini at the Movies (02-Dec-2005, 8:10:00 PM)  

    Not just that, Srini. South Africa's standard formula while bowling was to have the opening bowlers do 6 overs each, [possibly[] regardless of if their analysis was 6-1-9-2 or 6-0-45-0 :)

    The problem with Kallis is that he is essentially a unidimensional batsman. He never really accelerates through his innings. There've been quite a few things written about him batting selfishly.

    By Blogger Jagadish (03-Dec-2005, 3:20:00 PM)  

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