Why Indian cricketers aren’t really poor travellers…

plane-841441_960_720England, South Africa and New Zealand have never won any ODI ICC tournament anywhere. Forget a Test series—Sri Lanka has never even won a single Test in India. Pakistan won their first Test series in West Indies quite late in 2017 as against India way back in 1971.

The truth is that when you combine all three formats of the game, then only Australia and India are the best travellers. Only these two teams have won maximum multi-nation tournaments in maximum countries. It’s a myth that Indians are poor travellers in international cricket overall.

We have won in…

united-kingdom-1043062_1280England.
1 ODI World Cup—1983.
1 ICC Champions Trophy—2013.
3 Test series—1971, 1986, 2007.
1 ODI Tri-series—2002.
3 ODI series—1986, 1990, 2014
1 T20 series—2018.
Total = 10.

sydney-3680862_960_720Australia.
1 Mini World Cup—Benson & Hedges World Series 1985.
1 ODI Tri-series—2008.
1 T20 series—2016, Australia’s only Test whitewash in any format on home soil ever since 1877.
Total = 3.

South Africa.
1 T20 World Cup—2007.
1 ODI series—2018.
1 T20 series—2018.
Total = 3.

Lanka-2099225_1280Sri Lanka.
1 ICC Champions Trophy—2002.
1 Asia Cup—2010.
3 Test series—1993, 2015, 2017.
3 ODI Tri-series—1998, 2009, 2018.
4 ODI series—2008, 2009, 2012, 2017.
Total = 12.

West Indies.
4 Test series—1971, 2006, 2011, 2016.
1 ODI Tri-series—2013.
4 ODI series—2002, 2009, 2011, 2017.
Total = 9.

pakistan-641446_960_720Pakistan.
1 Test series—2004.
2 ODI series—2004, 2006.
Total = 3.

New Zealand.
2 Test series—1968, 2009.
1 ODI series—2009.
Total = 3.

dubai-1113262_960_720UAE.
7 multi-nation tournaments—1984, 1985, 1988, 1995, 1998, 1998, 2018.

Bangladesh.
2 Asia Cups—1988, 2016.
4 Test series—2000, 2004, 2007, 2010.
1 ODI Tri-series—1998.
3 ODI series—2004, 2007, 2014.
Total = 10.

Canada.
2 ODI series—1997 (Pak), 1999 (WI).

clover-445255_960_720Ireland.
1 ODI series—2007 (SA).
1 T20 series—2018 (Ire).
Total = 2.

Zimbabwe.
1 Test series—2005
4 ODI series—1998, 2013, 2015, 2016.
2 T20 series—2010, 2016.
Total = 6.

Grand Total = 70, that includes 5 World Cups/mini WCs, second only to Australia’s 6 away such wins.

India has won at least one 5-nation plus tournament in Australia, South Africa, England, Sri Lanka, UAE, Bangladesh and India.

Where Djoko scores over Federer-Nadal (and he could still go further)

Roger Federer is the greatest tennis player of all time (20 Grand Slam titles). He is followed closely by Rafael Nadal (17 titles). In comparison Novak Djokovic has just 14 titles. But he is just 31 years old and could catch up.

However, here is a list of things where Djoko has already outdone Fed-Rafa…

Djokovic1. Djoko has beaten both Federer and Nadal in all 4 Grand Slams.

Federer has never beaten Nadal in any French Open match. The two never met in a US Open. But what of Djokovic? He has beaten Federer in at least one match in the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Djoko beat Nadal in three straight final line-ups: 2011 Wimbledon, 2011 US Open and 2012 Australian Open. Then later he beat Nadal in the quarters of the 2015 French Open. That’s 4/4 Grand Slams for 2/2 players!

2. Dominates the trivalry in terms of one-on-ones.

Federer’s nemesis is Nadal. The two have met 38 times and Nadal leads a whopping 23-15. However it is only Djoko who has the better of all of the rivals he has played with after he came into form (he had a few failed rivalries only at the beginning of his career). Djoko and Nadal have met 52 times, which is an Open era record and Djoko leads 27-25. With the all-time great Federer, Djoko leads 24-22. Interestingly in 2011, he met Federer-Nadal 11 times, winning 10 of those matches! More importantly in all finals, Djokovic leads Federer 13-6 and Nadal 14-10. With Andy Murray its 25-11, Stan Wawrinka 19-5 and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 16-6.

Tennis balljpg3. Held all four Grand Slams at once.

Rod Laver was a legend who did a calendar Grand Slam first as an amateur in 1962, then as a professional in 1969. However after that for decades, nobody managed to win all four at a stretch. Andre Agassi became the first to do a career Grand Slam in 1999. He was emulated by Federer in 2009 and Nadal a year later.

Djoko won the following titles back to back: 2015 Wimbledon, 2015 US Open, 2016 Australian Open and 2016 Wimbledon. In the process he became the first person since 1969 to hold all four Grand Slam titles. That’s after a good 47 years! He is also the only player in men’s tennis history to hold these Grand Slams on three different surfaces at the same time.

4. Highest ATP ranking points ever.

While Nadal owns the French Open and Federer has dominated tennis for the longest time, Djoko has these short bursts where he looks near invincible like the time he won four straight Grand Slams. The same is with the ATP ranking points. He is the only person in history to have crossed ATP ranking points of 16000 in 2015 (if you win each and every tournament you play in a year, then you can go to 21000).

To put things in perspective, when Djoko had 16785, Andy Murray had 8750, Federer had 8430 and Nadal 4330. One can’t think of such a short-term dominance in the history of the trivalry and very few other times in men’s tennis. In 2015 Djoko won 3 Grand Slams, 6 masters and 11 titles.  He ended the year in style winning the World Tour Finals title and became the first to win 4 straight end-of-year finals tournaments. He also created another world record that season, beating 31 Top 10 players. Earlier in 2011, when Federer and Nadal were at their peak, he won 41 straight matches, the best after John McEnroe’s 42 in 1984.

5. The only man to win all 9 ATP World Tour Masters 1000: After the Grand Slams and ATP Finals, these are the most prestigious tournaments and Djokovic is the only man in the world to have won all 9, called a Career Golden Masters. In fact in 2015, he won 6/9 in a single year. In the terms of ATP finals Federer has the most with 6, but Djokovic already has 5 and so well could go past him.

Dollars6. Became the first to get $100 million prize money.

There was a race between the three to get $100 million in professional tennis earnings and you never knew who would get there first. Finally it was a race between Federer and Djoko and the latter prevailed. Currently Djoko is in the range of $119 million, which is the highest ever. In 2015 he became the only man to cross $20 million prize money in a year. Nadal’s yearly highest is $15+ million and Federer’s $13+ million.

Kohli-Kumble-CT musings

cricket-players-2027502_640Gavaskar fought with Kapil.
Kapil fought with Sachin.
Sachin fought with Azhar.
Ganguly fought with Chappell.
Kohli fought with Kumble.
Same old same old.

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
Kohli—What happens in the dressing room, stays in the dressing room.

Kapil Vs Sachin Vs Azhar = Everyone quit as coach/captain.
Chappell Vs Ganguly = First Chappell went, then Ganguly.
Kumble Vs Kohli = Kumble quit.

Indian cricket has currently many masters…
BCCI.
Supreme Court.
CoA.
Sachin-Dada-Laxman panel.
Kohli.
Coach just went, but will be replaced.

Politics cut short…
Kapil’s coaching.
Sachin’s captaincy.
Chappell’s coaching.
Ganguly’s captaincy + career.
Dravid’s captaincy.
Kumble’s coaching.

Most Indian captains have at least one tournament final crash…
Kohli = 158 all down, 2017 CT.
Dhoni = 173 all down, 2008 Asia Cup.
Ganguly = 54 all down, 2000 Sharjah.
Jadeja = 168 all down, 1999 Pepsi Cup.
Azhar = 125 all down, 1999 Sharjah.
Kapil = 187 all down, 1986 Benson & Hedges.

Virat Kohli has 76% ODI wins as captain, unheard of in India.
In Tests he has a 16-3 W-L record.
No replacement in sight.
He’s captain till the 2019 ODI World Cup.

Fact of the day.
Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh and Virender Sehwag became the first players to win the ICC troika of ODI + T20 World Cups and Champions Trophy.
MS Dhoni joined them in 2013—the first as captain.
Kohli needs a T20 World Cup to join the club.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

Musings post India’s loss in the Champions Trophy…

stadium-580364_640In the 1983 World Cup final, we made just 183 runs in 60 overs.
We shouldn’t have won that.
The West Indies batting line-up was the most powerful in the world.
In the 2013 ICC Champions Trophy final, we made just 129 runs in 20 overs.
We shouldn’t have won that.
England were former T20 World Champions too and were further playing on home soil.
In the 2000 ICC KnockOut final, we beat the best teams of the tournament—Australia and South Africa—and yet lost to a much weaker New Zealand team and till date that remains their only ICC tournament title.
In the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final, India was a vastly superior team.
Yet Pakistan gave the vastly superior performance both in batting and bowling.
I guess it all evens out in the end.

We lost to England in the 1987 ODI World Cup semi-final.
We lost to New Zealand in the 2000 ICC KnockOut final.
We lost to Australia in the 2003 ODI World Cup final.
We lost to Sri Lanka in the 2014 T20 World Cup final.
We lost to West Indies in the 2016 T20 World Cup semi-final.
We lost to Pakistan in the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy final.
No team is our bogey.
We are our own bogies.
If we don’t show up on that day, we lose miserably.

After playing brilliant cricket throughout the tournament, India choked in the finals of the 2014 T20 World Cup and the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy along with the semis of the 2015 ODI World Cup.
After this dastardly performance, whenever we enter the finals, we can’t be called the favourites but will always be the underdogs.
The glorious golden 2007-13 MS Dhoni era is well and truly over.

After the Sri Lankan team attack in 2009 when Pakistan is facing a virtual home boycott, it won its first T20 World Cup the same year, its first Asia Cup in 12 years in 2012 and its first ICC Champions Trophy in 2017.
Amazing how it keeps coming out with a superlative performance once in a while with all the turmoil and chaos compared to the solidity and stability of say a South Africa!

When India beat Australia @ Dharamsala…

snow-mountains-662943_640ICC Test Rankings.
No. 1 team: India.
No.1 Bowler: Jadeja.
No. 2 Bowler: Ashwin.
No. 2 batsman: Pujara.
No. 4 batsman: Kohli.
No. 2 All-rounder: Ashwin.
No. 3 All-rounder: Jadeja.
India never had it this good in Tests!

Ardh-Shatak ka Betaaj Badshaah.
#KLRahul #IndVsAus

In terms of arrogance, Ricky Ponting was worse than Steve Waugh and Steve Smith is worse than Ponting.

India required 87 runs off 1080 balls at the end of the third day in this match to win.
T20 enthusiasts in the future will simply not understand Test cricket.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

#IndVsAus #RanchiTest musings…

Pujara: Maine double century maara!
Sehwag: Bhai sahab, 521 balls main to main do do triple century maarta!

Rohit Sharma in ODIs: 264(173).
Cheteshwar Pujara in Tests: 202(525).

Cheteshwar Pujara makes India’s slowest double century in the history of international cricket (521 balls).

Maximum balls faced in an innings…
Wall I Gavaskar: 472.
Wall II Manjrekar: 422.
Wall III Dravid: 495.
Wall IV Pujara: 525.

Cheteshwar Pujara becomes India’s first Quintuple Centurion (in terms of balls faced—500) in the history of international cricket.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

#IndVsEng series musings…

Jo shatak banayega wohi Sikander.
#Sachin
Jo Jeeta wohi Sikander.
#Sachin
MC-BC. Sikander gaya tel lene.
Shatak bhi mera, jeet bhi meri!
#Kohli

Test captaincy.
Test anchor.
ODI anchor.
iT20 anchor.
RCB captaincy.
RCB anchor.
3500+ runs in all the above.
Pressure? Woh kya hota hai?
#Kohli

Batsman Kohli—May surpass Sachin.
Captain Kohli—May surpass Dhoni.
Spinner Ashwin—May surpass Kumble.
All-rounder Ashwin—May surpass Kapil.

Batting Averages.
Great player…
Tests—55.
ODIs—50.
iT20s—40.
Kohli…
Tests—50.
ODIs—53.
iT20s—57.

Only two active cricketers have scored more than 650 runs in a Test series versus Australia in Australia.
#Cook #Kohli
Funny Anderson thinks Kohli needs pitches to score.

Prophecy: A Karnataka batsman will cross 200 at the Chennai Test.
Rahul out on 199: Damn! The prophecy was wrong!
Karun Nair: No it wasn’t!

#Dravid #Kumble #Laxman #Dhoni #Kohli
Greater match-winners than Sachin.
Sachin is not even the greatest in his own team.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

General cricketing musings…

Champs for 10 years and counting…
2007-09—T20 World Champs.
2009-11—Test World Champs.
2011-15—ODI World Champs.
2013-17—Defenders of Champions Trophy.
Pakistan.
Shortest T20 Champions 2009-10: 329 days.
Shortest Test champions in 2016: 42 days.

Have you seen the Rocky series?
Sir Ravindra Jadeja: No I am busy creating the Ronchi series.
There’s already Ronchi 1, 2, 3 and 4.
I am looking forward to Ronchi 5 in the next match.

When he comes in to bat.
JadejAA.
When he takes a wicket.
JadeJAA.
#IndVsNZ

ICC Test No. 1 rankings began in 2003.
Ganguly-Dravid-Kumble couldn’t take us past No. 3.
Now both Dhoni and Kohli have taken us to No. 1.

Our bowlers carry our #SurgicalStrikes against Kiwi batting and Pakistan loses the ICC Test rankings No. 1 battle to India.
#IndVsNZ
Headline…
MS Dhoni Biopic makes Rs 66 crore in first weekend.
All I see is Dhoni and 6 6. Makes perfect sense!

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

#IndVsNZ #EdenGardens: Greatest batting line-up ever…

Here’s looking at the highest scores of all 11 batsmen in the second Test between India and New Zealand at Eden Gardens…

1. Shikhar Dhawn 187.
2. Murali Vijay 167.
3. Cheteshwar Pujara 206*.
4. Virat Kohli 200.
5. Ajinkya Rahane 147.
6. Rohit Sharma 177.
7. Ravichandran Ashwin 124.
8. Wriddhiman Saha 104.
9. Ravindra Jadeja 68.
10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 63*.
11. Mohammed Shami 51*.

That means a whopping 8 have scored a century and the remaining 3 have scored a century.

The number 9 batsman is also the only Indian to have three first class triple centuries including 2 in a month.
Gautam Gambhir with 4000 Test runs is on the bench and injured KL Rahul got 3 centuries in his first 6 Tests including a 158.
Pujara with four 150+ scores finds himself in and out of the team.

By Sunil Rajguru

#IndVsNZ #500th Test

Ravi Shastri says “The boys must be pumped up” on TV for the 500th time on the occasion of India’s #500thTest.

India’s new millennium Test spin troika…
600 wallah Kumble.
400 wallah Bhajji.
200 wallah Ashwin.

The international fast bower celebrates after the umpire raises his finger.
The Indian spinner celebrates before the umpire raises his finger.

The job of Indian fast bowler is to take shine off ball.
#500thTest second innings…
Kohli: Rahene de tu, utna bhi zaroorat nahin.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

Djokovic and the world’s greatest trivalry

There is no doubt that Roger Federer is currently the greatest male tennis player of all time. You simply can’t argue with 17 Grand Slam titles.

But then Rafael Nadal has 14 titles and had it not been for his injuries, he could well have gone past Federer. More importantly, when it comes to the Nadal-Federer rivalry, Nadal leatennis-2086224_640ds a whopping 23–11. That’s embarrassing for Federer.

Then there’s World Number 1 Novak Djokovic. He currently holds all four singles Grand Slams simultaneously. The last time such a thing happened was way back in 1969, a feat achieved by Rod Laver. Imagine doing that after a whopping 47 years!

More importantly, head to head Djoko leads Fed 23–22. Djoko totally dominates Fed winning 6/8 of their last encounters including the Wimbledon and US Open 2015 finals. The ageless Fed can answer every question except the Djoko one.

Then with Rafa, Djoko leads 26–23 and he currently ruthlessly dominates winning 11/12 of their last encounters. So he is the present leader of the greatest trivalry of all time!

Djoko also became the first person in the history of tennis to bag $100 million in prize money with his French Open 2016 victory.

Djokovic owned 2015 by winning 3/4 Grand Slams (a repeat of 2011). He ended the year on a real high winning an unprecedented fourth straight ATP World Tour Final by thrashing all-time Federer 6–3, 6–4. French Open 2016 was Djokovic’s 12th Grand Slam. Djoko can finally go past Rafa’s tally and touch Fed.

In the world of men’s singles Grand Slam tennis played in the Open Era (from 1968 onwards), Federer has the most Wimbledon (7) and US Open (5) titles ever. Nadal has the most French Opens (9). Djokovic has the most Australian Opens (6).

(While Nadal and Djokovic are outright leaders, Federer shares his records with Americans Pete Sampras and Jimmy Connors.)

Once Agassi said that if the “freak” Nadal hadn’t been there, then Federer would have won many more titles; but that applies to all three and not just Federer. Anyone without the other two would have steamrolled his opponents in the current era.

Federer burst into the scene by winning his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2004. From that tournament onwards, the three greats have won a whopping 43 of the 52 odd men’s Grand Slams played or about 80%. What’s more, from the French Open 2005 to Wimbledon 2014, at least one of them has featured in a Grand Slam final.

When it comes to the World Number 1 rankings, while Federer dominated in the initial stages of his career, in the last 3 odd years it has been by and large Djokovic.

Apart from the French Open, another thing Djokovic is behind is winning an Olympic Gold medal (both Federer and Nadal have it). He has a bronze and Rio 2016 may be his last chance.

All three are from Europe and ended the dominance of USA (think Sampras and Agassi) and together they have won in the region of 2300 matches for about 200 tournament titles.

From 2013–14 Djokovic had lost in three Grand Slam finals and had started doubting himself. But after getting the German great Boris Becker (who has 6 Grand Slam titles along with an Olympic Gold medal), his fortunes seem to have turned.

When Croatian Marin Čilić beat Japanese Kei Nishikori in the final of the US Open of 2014, a lot of commentators predicted a new era without the Big 3.

Čilić and Nishikori failed to do anything great after that. Even Andy Murray has been lacklustre. Nadal has simply nosedived and Fed has been stellar, but he has fumbled against Djoko.

Djoko is currently the last man standing.

2016 will be an interesting year for Djoko.

What if Djoko wins the Wimbledon and US Open this year? He would get a calendar Grand Slam too!

What if he wins his first Olympic Gold?

There is an outside chance that by the end of 2016, Djoko could be the greatest male tennis player of all time!

Who could have predicted that at the end of 2014!

Yet more RCB IPL musings…

Ashes to ashes and dust to dust.
If Gayle don’t get you, Kohli must.
If Kohli should fall, ABD will make you go bust.
#Qualifier1

Gayle gaya. Kohli gaya. Watson gaya. Rahul gaya. Binny gaya. Baby gaya.
ABD: Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost!
#Qualifier1

Sau sonaar ki, ek lohaar ki.
‪#‎IPL‬ ‪#‎RCB‬…
Teen sau sonaar ki, teen lohaar ki.
‪#‎Gayle‬ ‪#‎Kohli‬ ‪#‎ABD‬

Bengaluru boy/girl: Say the 3 magic words!
‪#‎RCB‬ fan: Say the 3 magic letters…
A B D !

Other players…
Gotta try to keep asking rate below 10 runs an over.
ABD…
I am in control till asking rate is upto 16 runs an over.

ABD and RCB bowlers finally telling Kohli…
Tu kucch jyaada hi batting kar liya boss!
Ab thoda araam karle!
#Qualifier1

How do we stop Gayle?
Gayle out of form. So now how do we stop ABD?
Before you sort out ABD, Kohli goes berserk.
And then Gayle comes back in form!

There should be a Yellow Cap or something for the fielder with the most wickets.

Changing times…
VVS Laxman in his 220 international matches career hit 10 6s.
Brendon McCullum in the very first ‪#‎IPL‬ innings hit 13 6s.

Kohli.
Century: Yawn!
Fifty: Underperformed.
Zero: Aaj sooraj kahan se nikla!

Hurricane Kohli.
Gayle Storm.
ABD Cyclone.

Sir, right now Kohli can emerge victorious from any hopeless situation!
Mallya: Then should we make him in-charge of UB?

These versions by Sunil Rajguru