A thousand runs in a single innings. It’s never happened before, and it may never happen again. It may not have even happened at all, but I’ll get on to that. 15-year-old Pranav Dhanawade this morning resumed his innings on 652 unbeaten runs in a HT Bhandari Cup match in Mumbai, and shortly after lunch reached the formidable four-figure mark, before his team KC Gandhi School declared on 1465-3. It’s particularly impressive, granted, but there are a few alarming factors in this demolition that I’d like to scrutinise before admiring it too much.

The game in question was a two day under-16’s game competed between Dhanawade’s school team and another Mumbai school, Arya Gurukul. However, according to the opposition coach, “The boys playing for my team were actually from U-14 and most of them playing for the first time. My U-16 team players who were supposed to participate could not come as the principal could not release them due to 10th exams. The boys were under prepared. In fact, such was the impact of his shots that they could not put hand to the ball”. This to me, seems like the teams were severely unbalanced from the outset.

Once the game was underway, before Dhanawade even came to the crease, this potential unbalance was confirmed, with KC Gandhi rattling through Arya Gurukul particularly quickly, bowling them out for just 31 runs in 20 overs. Now, I’ll accept that at this stage plenty of factors could have been in play here – a dodgy pitch, particularly good bowling, perhaps even a trigger-happy umpire, but I’d take that to be at the very least a second indication that, believe it or not, the teams might be a little unbalanced.

Assuming that this is all true, I’d like to take a moment to point out the absolutely diabolical sportsmanship shown here. A team, scoring at 15 runs per over for any significant length of time against a group of first-time cricketers two years younger than them, should never, ever, let it get to this stage. There is just no excusing it whatsoever. Not only will these kids be put off of cricket for life, but there’s got to be a serious, unnecessary risk of injury associated with pinging a cricket ball at them so hard and so frequently.

Overnight, he was reported to have scored 652* from 199 balls, including 78 fours and 30 sixes. Incredible. Upon reaching 1009* from 327 balls, the scorecard shows that he hit 129 fours and 59 sixes. Incredible? Certainly so, since he seems to have actually lost some of the runs that he earned the last day. 652, plus an additional 51 fours, plus an additional 29 sixes, equals 1030*. He’s either been shortchanged 21 runs (not including however many he ran between the wickets today) or there’s been some wizardry with the scores along the way.

Even more discrepancies with the score indicate either a lack of attention to detail by the scorers or simply a lack of ability to count as quickly as Pranav could score runs. For example, between 729* and 804* he miraculously managed to score 75 runs (in 13 minutes) whilst only increasing his team’s score by 51. Perhaps they wanted to make it fairer for the poor Arya Gurukul team after all. This indeed doesn’t show that he scored less than 1009 runs, but it certainly suggests that whoever was tallying up the runs in this game might not have done so accurately.

Also noteworthy is that he managed to score at a strike rate of over three hundred but the video coverage of his innings shows very few aggressive strokes and an abundance of blocks, nudges and nurdles. Again, this doesn’t prove much, over a period of 327 balls there’s room for anything, but it still makes it difficult to imagine that he scored a whopping 87% of his runs in boundaries. Maybe they missed most of the sixes in their “live” coverage.

All in all, it’s still a phenomenal achievement (if not completely fabricated, which I’m not even going to touch on), but is it really something to celebrate him as a hero for? Bashing a bunch of u14 debutants that are half his size around a tiny pitch without thought for sportsmanship? Besides, he looks about 30.

England’s ODI Woes – and How to Fix Them

England’s woeful performance in today’s One Day International against India comes as little surprise to many England fans, after a string of bad performances against a distinctly average Indian team. Among some things that they have done right, such as arranging a long sequence of ODIs in the build-up to the 2015 World Cup, selecting Moeen Ali and experimenting with a variety of bowling options, these seem to have been outweighed by the vast number of mistakes they have made along the way.

Lack of experimentation with the batting line-up – England have, in three ODIs, only used seven batsmen in the top six positions, out of a possible 18. Yes, it’s unrealistic to suggest revamping the entire list each game, but I would have liked to see some other players get a go – Jason Roy, Sam Billings, James Taylor and Ravi Bopara all have strong claims, having performed to a great standard in List A cricket so far, Sam Billings with especially good stats this season.

Captaincy issues – Alastair Cook may have proven his doubters (temporarily) wrong with a long overdue strong series against India as Test Match captain of England. His performances both as a batsman and captain in One Day Internationals, however, is far below the standard that England fans quite rightly expect, with all of his last four ODI series lost and only one win in seven. This tweet by Michael Vaughan summarises the England supporters view on his captaincy.

Outdated style executed badly – England’s mentality with the bat, it seems, is to play themselves in at a strike rate of 50, and then accelerate after scoring 30 or so runs, to score at a run-a-ball pace from then on. This sounds good(ish) but the problem is the second half of that strategy. So many of the England batsmen (Cook, Bell, Root, Ballance, Morgan, etc.) have done the first part right, and then got out. There’s no use in playing slowly if you can’t then capitalise on having played yourself in.


If the England Selectors are reading this (which I highly doubt, but it’s worth a try), I’ll recommend a team for your last ODI against India. Here goes:

Jason Roy

Alex Hales

Joe Root

Eoin Morgan

Sam Billings

Moeen Ali

Jos Buttler

Chris Woakes

Steven Finn

Jimmy Anderson

Harry Gurney

This need not be the team for the World Cup, or even the upcoming series in Sri Lanka, but you can never know until you’ve tried it.


South Africa’s brazen arrogance an embarrassment to cricket

Bulletproof Truth



You would think it would be bad enough that one of your bowlers had been done for ball-tampering. You would also think the embarrassment that would have caused would curb any arrogance you might succumb to in making demands you had no right to make of people who are under no compunction to do your bidding.

If you were part of South Africa’s touring party in Sri Lanka, you would be wrong on both counts.

The South Africans have not shown the faintest glimmer of contrition for Vernon Philander being found guilty of illegally “changing the condition of the ball” on the third day of the first Test in Galle on Friday. Instead, they have brazenly said that Philander believes he is guilty of nothing more than cleaning the ball, and that they did not contest the charge because that could have led to…

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Ten Irrelevant but Interesting Cricket Stats

Cricinfo’s Statsguru web application is the best friend of any cricket statistician, largely, perhaps, due to the fact that you can simply look up any stat, record, list, or other piece of information about any cricket match, player, team or combination of these that you would ever want. Seriously, this tool offers such a diverse range of statistical manipulation that it’s possible to spend several days on end discovering things you never needed or wanted to know, only to forget most of it in a few days time just because you looked up SO MUCH STUFF. Here’s a list of my top ten bits of cricketing trivia that nobody would even want to know until they know it.


10 – Jonathon Trott (Most test runs without any sixes)

One of Englands finest players in recent years, Trott has scored 3763 test runs at an average of 46.5, which is no mean feat, but when it comes with the remarkable addition that he’s never hit a test match maximum, it becomes even more impressive. In fact, he’s 500 runs ahead of the next six-less cricketer, and over 2000 runs ahead of the next 21st century player. Source


9 – Danny Morrison (Most toss-won ducks vs Pakistan)

Ex New Zealand bowler, now known for his enthusiastic commentary in the IPL, doesn’t have many records. He was a good enough player to warrant 48 test caps, but was never the best in the world at anything – until now. Danny can now say that he’s the proud (joint-)holder of the record for the most ducks in any form of the game, specifically against Pakistan in games where Pakistan lost the toss. Source.


8 – Sachin Tendulkar (ODI Five-Wicket Hauls)

The Little Master, as he is affectionately known, was not given such a name for his bowling prowess. In fact, in researching these stats, his batting is so clearly leaps and bounds ahead of his bowling that I’d completely forgotten that he ever bowled in international cricket. He ended his international career with a remarkable two five-fors, more than bowling greats Shane Warne, Zaheer Khan, Kapil Dev and Courtney Walsh. Even more unbelievable is that he has taken more five-fors than Steve Waugh, Imran Khan, Shane Watson, Malcom Marshall and Ian Botham all combined, a bowling attack which has taken over 800 ODI wickets between them. Source (Tendulkar) – Source (Others)


7 – AB de Villiers (Best T20i Fielder)

Although a prolific ‘keeper himself, de Villiers has always been a fantastic addition to the outfield. In T20 cricket, where every run counts, a good piece of fielding could be the difference between a win or a loss, which is why AB’s 0.914 dismissals/innings as an outfielder, nearly 50% higher than the next best, is so crucial to South Africa’s success. Source.


6 – Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann (Fastest-Scoring Test Partnership)

The actual data for this one is a little inconclusive, since balls-faced information is scarce pre-1990, but of the partnerships which have complete data, the English duo of Broad and Swann are the only 15-innings plus partnership ever to have a run-rate of >5, narrowly edging out rivals Warne and Gilchrist to the number one spot. Source.


5 – Shivnarine Chanderpaul (Longest time spent losing)

As much as Shiv can be proud of his various batting achievements and records, there’s one that I’ve come across that he certainly won’t want to dwell on. At over 25,000 he has spent by far the most minutes batting during games that his team has gone on to lose. Perhaps due to the West Indies recent incompetence, perhaps not, but that’s over 400 hours of wasted time at the crease. Source.


4 – Steve Davis (Most Used TV Umpire)

Not quite the big-time, but the biggest, hardest decisions are always made by a game’s TV umpire, and with exactly 100 appearances, Australia’s Davis has 33% more than the next most popular, Billy Bowden. Source.


3 – Alfred Lyttleton (Best Bowling figures as Keeper)

Taking 4 wickets for 19 runs is no mean feat as a designated bowler, and would probably get any player a recall to play again, but surely for a wicketkeeper to take off his gloves, step up to bowl and take such good figures, you’d be even more impressed. Apparently not, though, since poor old Alfred never played again after this, his fourth test match for England in 1884. Source.


2 – Kiran More (Most Stumpings in one Innings)

The fourth innings of a test match is not normally associated with risky batting, especially when the batting team are fighting for a draw, so the last thing a batsman should expect is to get out stumped. However, on one day in 1988, not one, not two, but five of the West Indies’ batting lineup succumbed to the quick hands of India’s More. Yes, five. Four of these men fell to the bowling of Narendra Hirwani, who took the incredible figures of 8-75 in what mush have been one of the most bizarre innings that test match cricket has ever seen. Hirwani finished with match figures of 16-136 and More took 6 stumpings across the two innings.  Source.


1 – Donald Bradman – (Most Runs in a Series)

This countdown wouldn’t be anywhere without the Don himself, Sir Donald Bradman, and what better way than to show off one of his most impressive records (other than the one that the whole world knows). Bradman scored a massive 974 runs in a 5-match series back in 1930, scoring hundreds in four of his seven innings and averaging 139, with a high score of 334. That’s just unbelievable. Source. 


Thanks for reading my countdown! Add any stats you might have and I’ll be sure to have a look.

IPL 7 – ThatCricketGuy’s XI

I know I’m a little late on this – This year’s IPL finished a week ago today, but I thought I’d have a crack at naming my ideal t20 side from the tournament. This isn’t going to be the best side possible from everyone who played, but the 11 players who impressed me the most this year. I will be following the IPL selection rules, which require one uncapped Indian player and no more than four overseas player.


Opening Batsman – Dwayne Smith (CSK)

Smith’s IPL season has been by far his most impressive, scoring 566 runs at a strike rate of 136. He was Chennai’s ‘Mr Reliable’ having made only five scores below 20 in his 16 innings opening the batting, and proved useful with the ball as well, picking up 4 wickets at an average of just 23. A former Mumbai Indians player, something we’ll see a surprising amount of in this team, but a valuable asset for Chennai to hold on to next time around.


Opening Batsman – David Warner (SRH)

Hyderabad fans know that their team has more than enough world-class bowling to be in with a chance of defending any total, but their batting lineup left a lot to be desired. David Warner, scoring 58 runs at 140 strike rate, was the answer to their prayers. Helping the Sunrisers to a defendable score on a number of occasions, and being crucial in several successful chases gives Joe Root’s worst enemy a spot in this XI.


Batsman – Glenn Maxwell (KXIP)

Glenn stormed onto the IPL scene this year, contributing three of the top ten individual innings scores, with each of the three being the highest strike rates in the top ten. His 552 runs came at the second highest strike rate of all players in the tournament, a whopping 187, and the King’s XI owe a large amount of their success this year to him. Mumbai Indians fans must be scratching thier heads in confusion as to how their team didn’t use him last year.


Batsman – Robin Uthappa (KKR)

The first of our tournament winners, Robin Uthappa, was this year’s orange cap winner, scoring an impressive 660 runs (nearly 100 more than second place) at 138. Providing many crucial innings for Kolkata, especially toward the end of the tournament when it mattered the most, earned him the honour of the top fantasy league points scorer, to add to his winner’s medal. Robin proved this year that you don’t have to hit the ball a long way to score runs, hitting ‘only’ 18 sixes, half that of previous orange cap favourite Glenn Maxwell.


Batsman – Suresh Raina (CSK)

Suresh Raina has consistently delivered, season after season scoring bundles of runs, and this year was no different. The highlight of his year, and for me the highlight of the tournament, was Raina’s astonishing 87 off 25, cut short by a sharp run-out but otherwise well on track to break Gayle’s fastest hundred. Scoring 523 runs at a very nice strike rate of 146, Suresh rounds off the batsmen in this team.


Wicketkeeper/Captain – MS Dhoni (CSK)

India’s captain had another terrific season, both with the bat and the gloves. Averaging 74 and with 10 not-outs, he has shown again why he is renowned for being the best finisher to play the game. His ability to keep his cool and score at 148 strike rate, chasing down almost every score needed of him, despite the degree of difficulty, is why no IPL dream XI can do without him. Although not his most successful season as captain, he can be proud that he still lead his team to 3rd place despite the huge amount of competition seen this year.


All-rounder – Ravindra Jadeja (CSK)

A star with both the bat and the ball, Ravi Jadeja has proven this year that he’s the complete all-rounder that Chennai desperately need. Able to provide four overs and quick runs, he’s been a crucial part of the team. His bowling spell against eventual champions KKR ended with figures of 4-12, the best by any bowler this year’s tournament, whilst his average of 29 with the bat showed how useful he could be at number 7.


Bowler – Sunil Narine (KKR)

Without a doubt, Sunil Narine has yet again been the hardest bowler to play against in this year’s tournament. His deceit, guile, and astonishing consistency have seen him take 21 wickets with a remarkable economy of just 6.35. Despite this being his (statistically) worst season in recent history, he’s still the only bowler to have bowled every single one of his allotted 384 balls, testament to how good he has been throughout his career. Had luck gone his way a little more in the last couple of matches, he’d have easily won the purple cap.


Bowler – Sandeep Sharma (KXIP)

By no means a ‘token’ uncapped player, Sandeep has excelled this season, and it was the shock of the season when he was dropped for the final. An impressive 18 wickets at an average of under 20 runs becomes even more so when you consider that he only played 11 matches, resulting in Sandeep having the best strike rate of any bowler who played more than half of his team’s matches. An ideal middle-overs bowler.


Bowler – Mohit Sharma (CSK)

Our final Chennai player, Mohit Sharma has consistently performed well, raking in 23 IPL wickets and this year’s purple cap. Taking a wicket once every 14 balls, batsmen never felt comfortable against him, which was vital to CSK making the final four after some less than impressive bowling from some of their other players. Even the best batting lineups have a limit to how many runs they can chase, and Chennai’s men must have been very thankful at some stages that they weren’t chasing upwards of 250 because of Mohit’s timely wickets.


Bowler – Bhuvneshwar Kumar (SRH)

The most impressive seam bowler the IPL has seen in the last couple of years, Bhuvi has narrowly missed out on the purple cap once again, and would have been in with every chance had the Sunrisers qualified for the final four. With a bowling average of 17 runs, and an economy of just 6.65, Kumar has been, in my opinion, the best seam bowler in this iteration of the IPL. Able to swing it effectively and make the best batsmen in the world look completely out of their depth, he has been the pick of the Sunrisers bowling lineup all season.


Thanks for reading, be sure to add your own comments about who you would have in your team!

Mankad – #TeamSenanayake


The ‘controversial’ run out of Jos Buttler yesterday has blown up in the cricket world, creating strong opinions on both sides and a swarm of misinformation. Many current and ex-cricketers have made their opinions clear, whether it be pro-mankad or otherwise, with the main reasons cited against it being outlined (and scrutinised) in this blog post. For those of you who aren’t familiar with ‘mankad’, it’s the practise of running out the non-striker before the ball is bowled – if he is out of his crease, of course.

‘He didn’t mean to gain an unfair advantage’ – This is simply ridiculous. So what if he didn’t mean to gain an advantage, he’s still out. The lines are there for a reason, and they are pretty useful, too. If intent is brought into any sporting rulebook it’s bound to come with problems, so thankfully it hasn’t in this instance. Law 42.15 is very clear, that the bowler IS permitted to run out the non-striker. Not dependant on intent. Not dependant on having previously given a warning (we’ll come back to this later). Just because he’s not ‘trying’ to gain an advantage doesn’t mean he hasn’t gained one.

‘He was only out of his crease by a couple of inches’ – Again, ridiculous. Can you imagine the pandemonium caused if people tried to argue this about all runouts? How about stumpings? The lines, drawn on the pitch to designate ‘in’ and ‘out’ aren’t there for how close you are to being within them, they’re there for the binary option that is ‘out’ – either a yes or a no. If you were to take it a bit further, this ‘close to being in’ logic could be used to give sixes that bounced just inside the rope, disallow catches off of edges that ‘only just hit the bat’ and even, bizarrely, claim victories in matches where ‘we nearly got as many runs as them’.

‘It’s against the spirit of cricket’ – Aha, we’ve finally reached it. The ‘spirit’ of the game. So, I’ve read the Spirit of Cricket, the 402 word Preamble to the Laws, and I can’t find anything in it that forbids mankad. I doubt that many of Buttler’s supporters have even glanced at it, let alone found any evidence that it ‘deeply prohibits this kind of behaviour’ as I’ve so been told.

‘It’s not specifically stated in the preamble, but the gist of it would say otherwise’ – So the Spirit of Cricket is indirectly telling players to ignore the Laws of Cricket? Yeah, right. The gist of the Spirit of Cricket can essentially be summarised in two words. ‘Play nice’. As far as I’m concerned, throwing bats, grabbing shirts, screaming in faces and hurling abuse is all against the spirit of cricket. Note, this does not include sledging, unless of course it becomes abusive or threatening, Mankading, however, does not even come close to this. Sure, the Spirit of Cricket can tell you to mankad nicely, ie. give a warning to the batsman, maybe even two…

If you’d like to find out more about why the Spirit of Cricket is inherently flawed (with a small segment on mankad near the end), Peter Miller and Dave Tickner give it a comprehensive run down on their podcast, which can be found here.

Thanks for reading, and make sure you come back soon as I’ll be updating this as often as I have something to talk about.