June 26, 2000


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A series of Gods

Ananth Narayanan

send this story to a friend You will see that the title has changed. It was impossible to comment on the letters, announce the prize winners, briefly describe the simulation process and show 5 score cards within a single article. So I have split these into two further parts.

First and foremost, let me thank the people who responded. Team selections, especially fantasy selections, lead to many healthy arguments and exchanges. I have decided to stick to my selections, despite the number of suggestions made. I will, however, first give below the list of Prize winners. They have been contacted individually. If they do not receive the mail, they are requested to mail me their Indian address, to enable us to courier them the "World Cup Challenge" CD.

Mr. Ravi Gurnani
Mr. Sriniketh Raghavan
Mr. Rajeev Soneja
Mr. Vivek Mukherjee
Mr. Vasudevan Anand.

My brief response to the comments of the correspondents.

1. Larwood in Vintage XI. Larwood was an ordinary bowler, made to look awesome by bodyline tactics. His performances, before (45 wickets in 16 tests) and during the bodyline series (33 wickets in 5 tests) are very revealing. He never played a test after the bodyline series.

2. Sub-continent player in Vintage XI. If you see the list of people left out of the Vintage XI (McCabe, Trumper, O'Reilly, Grimmett, Laker, Hall, Weekes, Worrell, Harvey, Compton, Hutton et al), you will realize that there is no chance of fitting in a player from the sub-continent.

3. Switching of Sobers into Vintage XI and/or Greame Pollock into Modern XI. I am sorry even though they certainly belong to the same era. But I have laid my criteria and do not want to make an exception, even though I realize that moving Sobers to Vintage XI will enable me to bring in Imran Khan or Kapil Dev.

4. Greenidge against Haynes. If one looks at the figures and the actual performances, Greenidge is superior in average (45 vs 41) and in strike rate (69 vs 66) and was an equal, if not better player.

5. Hadlee vs Imran/Kapil. Again, look at the figures and the real life performances. Hadlee's bowling was outstanding. His accuracy, slight variations of line and length, use of seam were second to none. Also, do we really need his batting.

6. Regarding breaking of partnerships, it has to be done in all-time selections. Otherwise we will not have great teams of players, rather great teams of partnerships.

7. Bevan vs Steve Waugh/Miandad. Two years back, I also thought that the Bevan bubble would burst. But he has maintained a high average and strike rate. I feel he is the most under-rated player in the game. There has even been a comparison between him and Jadeja. Sorry, they are miles apart. When one talks of his high average, there is a tendency to say that he has 44 not outs out of 125 innings. Accepted. To close this argument once and for all time, I have given below the never-used statistic, Runs per played innings. Now the Not out factor disappears without a trace. The figures are revealing and conclusive.

Richards 40.2 (The highest)
Lara 38.8
Tendulkar 38.3
Bevan 37.0
Haynes 36.5
Saeed Anwar 36.1
Miandad 33.9
Azharuddin 30.7
Jadeja 29.9
Steve Waugh 25.4     .Q.E.D.


Some of you have asked for the basis of simulation. I have given below a brief idea of the simulation, enough to convince all the readers that it is a very accurate and scientific exercise.

1. Each player is given a Run Index. This is normally the Batting Average for current players, down/up scaled for some. (e-g) Bevan's index is brought down from his average of 56.7 to 45. The highest is Richards at 47.0. For the older players, this is loosely based on their Test average. The average is normally brought down by about 20-25%. In rare cases, the Test average is even increased. (e-g) Jessop/Mushtaq Ali (Similar to the case of Bevan/Afridi/Jadeja now). Some typical numbers for older players are Bradman (70), Pollock (45), Hobbs (45), Sobers (47), notwithstanding his single ODI.

2. Each player is given a Strike Rate Index. This is approximately the runs the batsman is expected to score in an over of 6 balls, bowled by a bowler with an RPO Index of 4.0. The maximum is 6 (Only Jessop). Some typical numbers are Bradman (5.5), Richards (5.5), Jayasuriya (5.3), Tendulkar (5.1), Lara (4.9) to a minimum of 3.0. Either actual Strike Rates are estimated Strike Rates are used.

3. Each player is given a Wicket Index. This is the expected number of wickets to be taken in a typical 10 over spell. This is based on the actual bowling statistics for the current players or extrapolated ones for the older players. The maximum is 1.75 (Lohmann). Some typical numbers are Saqlain (1.70), Waqar Younis (1.65), Wasim Akram (1.50), Hadlee (1.45), Sobers (1.20) etc. The minimum is 0.1.

4. Each player is given a RPO Index. This is their actual RPOs or extrapolated upwards from their Test figures. The range is 3.0 for Davidson / Nadkarni (Test-1.7) / Goddard (Test-1.6) to 6.0 for non-bowlers. Some typical numbers are Garner(3.2), Warne(4.15), Kumble(4.1), Waqar Younis(4.7), Wasim Akram(4.0) etc.

5. Each player is given a Fielding Index. This will have an impact on the runs saved in the field as well as run out chances. The best is 5 (Only 4 players, Constantine/Bland/Randall/Rhodes). 4 to Ponting/Azharuddin/Lewis etc. Minimum is 2.

6. The type of each player is also available.

Each ball is considered to be a single match. The entire match consists of 300 such matches. During each ball, no less than 27 randomizing decisions are taken to determine the outcome. In addition to the Player Indices, the following have an impact on the simulation.

- Position of innings (First 15 overs/MiddlePhase(s)/End Overs)
- No of wickets which have fallen
- Quality of yet-to-play batsmen
- Scoring rate
- Position of match (Setting target/Chasing)
- Pitch Bowling Help Indices
- Ground Run Index
- Bowler Indices
- Batsmen Indices
- Team Fielding Indices
- Batting strategies
- Bowling/Fielding strategies
- Special strategies in force.

Match No.1
Match No.2

A series for Gods - part 1

Anant Narayanan

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