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    March 07, 2008

    Target practice

    Aussies typically announce well in advance that they're going to target the captain. In addition, when a captain performs poorly against Australia, invariably it was all a grand plan to target the captain. The assumption is that a weak and under-performing captain's performance would reflect in his decision making as well his team's performance.

    Try this. The captain scored 268 runs from 7 innings, 140 of them coming on the flattest test pitch in the series. He also made 145 runs against a specific opponent from 6 ODI innings, 124 of which came on, you guessed it right, the flattest one-day pitch in the series.

    Was this a case of India's bowlers and fielders targetting Ricky Ponting without actually announcing it well in advance, unlike McGrath's pre-series predictions which always had great media coverage?

    Maybe, just maybe, Ricky Ponting isn't the great batsman everyone makes him out to be. Why? Try this.

    One of the measures of great batsmen is their ability to be consistent in all conditions. After all, you're not considered a great batsman unless you've batted well on bouncy Australian/South African pitches or seaming/swinging English/New Zealand pitches or on spinning sub-continental tracks or cashed in against poor West Indian/Zimbabwe bowling.

    Ponting's overall career summary is awesome (9776 runs with 34 centuries at an average of over 58). He averages very close to 50 against every single opponent (lowest of ~ 48 against England). So that tells us nothing.

    Let's do some scratching - home average 62, away average 51 and neutral average 85. Are we getting somewhere? Hmm ... let's see. Let's throw out the numbers that don't have enough data (2 neutral venue tests, 2 tests in Bangladesh, 1 test in Pakistan & 1 in Zimbabwe).

    He averages 42 in England, 12 in India, 97 in New Zealand, 65 in South Africa, 54 in Sri Lanka and 98 in the Caribbean.

    Twelve! That's how pathetic he has been in India. Hey, so let's give him some benefit of doubt. Maybe he had one bad tour which screwed up his numbers.

    Nope. On 3 successive tours (and I'm ignoring the last one where he failed twice in his lone test in 2004, at the Wankhede), he averaged 13.5, 21 and 3!

    But let's give him some credit. On the 2000-01 tour, he actually hit a six in a test match in India, lofting Harbhajan (yes!) in the direction of the Buckingham canal perhaps.
    67.6 Harbhajan Singh to Ponting, SIX, steps out and does the charge, hits it very well and clears the long on fence, Ponting atlast sorts Harbhajan out a bit
    Ricky Ponting gets runs against India only at home. He averages 79 at home and 12 in India.

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    Thus spake Jagadish @ 8:13 PM |
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    7 sledge(s):

    when i typed cricket blogs in google..urs was the first blog to show clicked in and read a few articles...really good!:)....will add u up in my link list..hope u dont mind!

    By Blogger brocasarea (08-Mar-2008, 7:32:00 PM)  

    Hmmm? Ponting clearly no good against India - same with Warne, yet still we manage to get by doing "ok" for ourselves in World Cricket

    I guess we're lucky India didn't go to the World Cup last year coz surely, they would've kicked the Aussies backsides outta there ;-)

    By Blogger Stu (10-Mar-2008, 5:10:00 AM)  

    Was looking for some blogs on cricket .

    Went through your blog its too good. I found your articles good. I came across another website which has a very nice article on 60 yrs. of cricketing ties b/w India & Aussies.

    I enjoyed reading it

    By Blogger jerome (10-Mar-2008, 3:15:00 PM)  

    Stu: I'm not sure what your point is. Australia win tournaments because a LOT of players do well, not because ONE or TWO do well. Which is why they've been #1 for over a decade now.

    Ponting makes runs against India on wickets that he's extremely comfortable batting on. When it comes to other wickets, he goes missing. With Warne, the numbers are more or less the same (whether in Australia or in India).

    I don't think you'll see this sort of disparity with just about any other modern batsman termed 'great'!

    By Blogger Jagadish (10-Mar-2008, 4:20:00 PM)  

    Stu:I guess it's hard to digest facts... Ponting this summer has been distracted by lot of other things(Wife's pregnancy, IPL, off pitch controversies, finding suitable spinners & support bowlers to Lee...)

    Surprisingly Lara too has the same kinda numbers against India.May be it's something to do with the swing factor.

    By Blogger m (12-Mar-2008, 8:25:00 AM)  

    Ponting underwent this in Oct 2007 :)...Is this the cause for his form slump?

    And then observe ponting in this image closely..hmm. Imagine the furore if Bhajji was captured in that pose.

    By Blogger prof (12-Mar-2008, 8:59:00 AM)  

    Prof: Heh, nice video. I'm fairly sure that impacted him, big time!

    By Blogger Jagadish (20-Mar-2008, 1:17:00 PM)  

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