Most improved cricketing teams in recent times

cricket-150559_1280Most improved white ball team since 2010…

England.

1975-2009: Zero Big Tournament wins (Comprising 5 or more teams).

2010-22: 3 World Cups.

Most improved red ball team since 2015…

India.

9 straight Test series wins from 2015-17.

First 3-0 Test series win (and whitewash) on foreign soil, Sri Lanka, 2017.

Home whitewashes:

3-0, New Zealand, 2016.

3-0, South Africa, 2019.

First ever Test series win in Australia, 2019, repeated in 2021.

Topped the rankings for inaugural Test championship in 2021.

Undefeated at home since 2012.

But most missed opportunities without winning…

2014: T20 World Cup Final.

2016: T20 World Cup semis.

2015: ODI World Cup Semis.

2017: ICC Champions Trophy Final.

2019: ODI World Cup semis.

2021: Test Championships Final.

2022: T20 World Cup Semis.

India has been choking for quite some time now

virat-kohli-5835741_1280In the 2014 T20 World Cup India played spectacularly winning 5 matches in a row including the semis where they comfortably chased a target of 173 against South Africa.

Then in the final they crashed to an abysmal 130 in 20 overs to lose.

In the 2015 ODI World Cup, we bettered this league performance winning a whopping 7 matches in a row including a 300+ score versus Bangladesh in the quarters.

In the semis, we crashed to 233 all down chasing 329.

In the 2016 T20 World Cup in the semis, we couldn’t even defend a score of 192, as West Indies won by a good 7 wickets and 2 balls to spare.

In the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy, we were humiliated by Pakistan, crashing to 158 all down chasing 339.

In the 2019 ODI World Cup semis, we couldn’t even chase a target of 240, getting 221 all down.

In the inaugural Test World Championship, we topped the global rankings but crashed to 170 all down in the second innings when even a 220 might have been enough to draw the match thanks to all the rain delays.

And in the recent T20 World Cup we got thrashed by 10 wickets in the semis.

If we had bad teams and lost to a better team it would have been different. But we have been doing consistently well in the leagues and then crashing at the last moment.

The only silver linings have been the Asia Cups we won in 2016 and 2018.

We really are missing MS Dhoni (he was in severe decline in the above-mentioned period) and his Golden Era when from 2007-13, we won the T20 World Cup (2007), the ODI World Cup (2011) and the ICC Champions Trophy. Apart from the 2016 Asia Cup, Dhoni also won us the 2010 edition and our first ever tri-series win on Australian soil in 2008.

Our previous golden period was 1984-86, when we won the ODI World Cup in 1983, the Asia Cup in 1984 and the Benson & Hedges World Series in 1986 apart from other smaller tournament wins.

Let’s see when the next golden period begins.

What was it about Dhoni then, eh?

cup-1015644_1280As captains…

Sourav Ganguly won exactly Zero finals in tournaments that involved 4 or more teams.

MS Dhoni won 12 finals in tournaments that involved 4 or more teams.

Virat Kohli won exactly Zero finals in tournaments that involved 4 or more teams.

The Dhoni list…

2007 T20 World Cup

2010 Asia Cup

2010 IPL

2010 Champions League Twenty20

2011 ODI World Cup

2011 IPL

2013 Champions Trophy

2014 Champions League Twenty20

2016 Asia Cup

2018 Asia Cup

2018 IPL

2021 IPL

That’s 6 leagues and 6 international tournaments.

Dhoni was also the first captain to take India to the ICC No. 1 rankings in Tests, ODIs and T20s.

Fun fact…
Number of cricketing finals won by Team India in tournaments featuring 4 or more teams from 1996-2021 without Dhoni
= ZERO

You don’t speak a European language? You can’t win the Football World Cup!

the-ball-488700_640Number of FIFA World Cups won by official national language…

Portuguese: 5.
(Brazil: 5)

Spanish: 5.
(Uruguay: 2, Argentina: 2, Spain: 1)

German: 4.
(Germany: 4)

Italian: 4.
(Italy: 4)

French: 2.
(France: 2)

English: 1.
(England: 1)

EuropeMoral of the story: If your national language isn’t European, you can’t win the FIFA World Cup!

Also, co-incidentally, the languages that the countries come from…
Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy and England are all neighbouring countries sitting in the map together!

© Sunil Rajguru

(First written after the 2014 edition, updated after 2018)

South Africa anti-choke musings…

banner-2024936_640Ref: South Africa versus Sri Lanka, March 18, 2015.

After AAP political realignment, a choking realignment is underway in the South Africa-Sri Lanka quarter final match at World Cup 2015.

South Africa needed 134 off 50.
AB de Villiers wanted to open but then someone reminded him it was 50 overs and not 50 balls.

Sri Lankan batting chokes.
Now South African batsmen have a greater chance of chauke pe chauka rather than choke-a pe choke-aa.

Dekh bhai, bahut choke kar liya aapne!
Aaj hamari baari hai!
—Sri Lankan batsmen

These versions by Sunil Rajguru

World Cup musings…

Total prize money up for grabs for 200+ players participating in 2015 ODI World Cup…
$10 million.
Yuvraj Singh’s fee for just appearing in IPL 2015…
$2.5 million.

The World Cup jinx…
Sri Lanka has never beaten Pakistan.
Pakistan has never beaten India.
India has never beaten South Africa.
South Africa has never beaten anyone in a knockout match.

A Tale of Three Summers…
Team India went from an Indian Summer to an Australian Summer and will return to an Indian Summer again.
Instead of a long rest, they’ll rush into a 1.5 month long IPL.

1992—India has beaten you in a World Cup. Will you give it back to them?
Pakistan—‪#‎WeWontGiveItBack‬—1996, 1999, 2003, 2011, 2015.

These versions by Sunil Rajguru