Sunday, 27 April 2014


IPL started this week and I think it was a great idea to have the initial phase in UAE. Sharjah matches in the good old days used to be brilliant and were the absolute peak of India- Pakistan rivalry on a neutral ground.

I actually also think that Lalit Modi was a genius (given he came up with the concept of IPL). It has done wonders for India and Indian sports on many fronts-
-India cricket ODI team and T20 team achieving rank 1 can be attributed to some extent to IPL, including the 2 World cups in last 6 years and 1 final
-So many more players now get visibility and more importantly some money to earn a living
-Other sports have started imbibing this concept, i saw IBL (Badminton league), it was fantastic - seriously! Am hearing now soccer league is getting launched (hockey, bike racing etc already exist i heard)
-Other countries have copy catted the concept (atleast in cricket) - Big Bash, South Africa, Carribean League etc
-So many older players, who now will not make it to national team ever (and rightly so) like Ashish Nehra etc still get a chance to play, fade away the glory, make a living and not just disappear in the ignominy of being forgotten (which is btw a huge keeda with India critics that how come we don't take care of our older athletes who had served our country etc etc)
-So many stadiums, umpires, pitch curators, support staff etc get employment who otherwise based on exclusive India cricket scene was would have never got any chance

I mean there are so many pros that you can't even count let's come to the cons now...why is IPL bad for India? (i actually don't think it is bad at all)
From sporting logic-
-It is destroying the technique among players? - how so? it is one of the 3 formats played and IPL results should be used for selection for T20 and at the very max for ODI teams...simple! don't select players in Test team based on it. It is selectors fault and not IPL's that muppets like Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma keep getting picked up for Test teams and keep failing!

From Arbit logic-
-It promotes match fixing??? how the fkk so? Just because insider trading can happen in stock markets, doesn't mean you do away with stocks / stock trading all together...right? you need to curb that insider trading. Same way, match fixing needs to be stopped, get proper checks in place, it isn't ILP's fault
-It is commercializing the sport? so the problem being? Oh i want sportsmen to be social workers right? you want them to fight for the country and not bother about making a living? That is what Bishan Bedi wants...i kind of agree (NOTTT) he is a moron and so is this logic. There is no problem with commercialization, whoever has the money, is spending it to buy a team...their wish!
By the way, I think if at all, you want to combine these together, there is a simple solution to be achieved- I propose the following:
BCCI should pass a new regulation which makes the IPL franchises to invest 25% of their annual salary they pay to their roster of players into a ranji zone. Divide the country into 4-5 zones (North, South, East, West and Central or watever). Based on how each franchise finishes in rankings the previous year, they get to choose a zone and invest. If suppose Chennai Super Kings have decided to pay in total $20mm annually to players, they will put $5mm for a zone of their choice additionally (and these obviously throws back the responsibility to BCCI to use this money for the proper development of Test Match grass root cricket). This not ensures more money flowing into the so called "actual technical" old school test match cricket development but also ensures that franchises will try to keep the annual salary lowest as possible because they know it will have an additional impact. Now franchises have become a shareholder in country's sport development and hence the commercialization should not be an issue?!


Friday, 18 April 2014

Another post on Arsenal-

So now that the season is about to come to a close and everyone (various websites, fans, news channels, press conferences etc) has started discussing how Arsenal has seemed to miss the plot again and might go trophy less for another season and finish out of the top 4 (so no champion league spot), I think Arsenal actually did well given the circumstances.

They didn't do what Liverpool might do but they are so much better off than say Man United, Spurs, Man City and the likes (Chelsea can get included in that list btw). As i wrote in my last post, the season basically got decided by injuries to Walcott and Ramsey (add Wilshere, Ozil to that list towards the end) and the season is practically over.

For the coming season, I think Arsenal (and hopefully Arsene Wenger) need to do a few things according to me which will improve them dramatically-
1) Go for an out and out striker - Rudd Van Nistelroy types, a poacher, someone who can get those obvious goals which Giroud misses time and again
2) Play a 4-4-2 formation. The defense looks fine now with Mertesacker and Laurent, they don't always need Arteta sitting in front of them, especially given the fact that guys like Wilshere and Rosicky more often than not are not that creative but try to keep the ball longer and play possession game. If at all Arteta and Flamini should be used as substitutes to consolidate during winning positions. Podolski and Walcott have proved that they both are more than worthy to be central strikers and much better than Giroud in terms of conversion rate%
3) Buy a dead ball specialist. Seriously! Enough of those really silly dinky corners and free kicks from Cazorla and Ozil. They are never a threat and should be used much better
4) This one is I think may be not so obvious but some substitutions look stupid to me, they come way too late. The "paper" boys need to be protected more I think - Walcott, Ramsey, Wilshere have a history to get injured so why use them over especially when you are winning by a margin!

Liverpool - They might win the league this year which is great achievement but the credit goes to Suarez who singlehandedly won them the league. And guess which player did Arsene Wenger put fight in the beginning of the season?! Even if they don't, they will qualify for UCL spot which is good, hopefully keeps ManU out

Chelsea - They haven't won anything yet, they might win both UCL and the league but frankly even if they don't, they have Jose Mourinho. That guy has a hand of gold, he is like Dhoni, whatever he touches turns into gold. He is also tactically a genius, they were my pick at the start of the season to win the league

ManCity - They won the league cup (who cares!) and will NOT win the league. Again a mix of injury (Aguero) factor and just plain stupidity, but makes Arsenal look not so bad!

ManU - hahaha...kat gaya unka to is saal. RV Persie went missing, Rooney extracted the maximum he could in terms of his pay cheque, they are in DEEP SHIT!

Arsenal - can turn into a disaster of a season (according to pundits) if they finish outside top 4 and not win FA cup, but if they achieve both THEN it is just superb!

Spurs, Everton - not worth discussing unless Everton finish 4th

Now which brings me to a rather important point - when people go gaga about not winning a trophy, I think it is SILLY! League cup and FA cup are a joke. Who cares about them? What do they do? Do they bring $$$ - no, do they bring a bump up in league position - no, do they qualify you for a better league - no! then why is it important to win those random trophies? and here is what i suggest-
-Play the winner of the league cup against FA cup and who ever wins, bump up their league i.e. If a Championship side wins, bump them up to premier league and the bottom 4 are relegated
-If a league 1 side wins, bump them up to Championship and same as above
-If a premier league side wins then, in case they are not in top 4 (UCL spots), they play a playoff against the 4th rank for the last spot and the 4th place side bumps down to Europa league

I think what this will achieve is a massive change in the sides some of the top clubs field in some of these competitions. Also for a winner like Wigan (who won FA cup last year beating ManCity last year in final and semi final this year), they could have a chance of staying up in the premier league which has huge financial implications. They are right now 5th in Championship and might miss the cut again this year btw to reach premier league which is just silly tbh!



Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Why should Yuvraj play 2015 World Cup...

If he is not in form???
I don't understand the logic behind people saying that given he has won us so many matches (i differ on that too btw) and given he was Man of the Series of 2011 World Cup, he is an automatic selection. (Man of the series is not necessarily the guy who has won you the most number of matches NOR the guy who was the most outstanding in any one department. It is simply a score calculated based on aggregate runs, wickets taken and catches taken/runouts - it is a good parameter to gauge the importance of a player but certainly by no means makes that person indispensable)

By this logic, following are automatic selections-
Kapil Dev - he won us our first World Cup
Gavaskar - he is the best opener after Sachin
Sehwag - he is opener with highest strike rate
Sachin - no words needed, he is the highest everything in World Cups from being the highest run getter in World cups, most centuries in World Cups etc etc
And the list can go on and on. My point being - past performance can't be the only criteria for team selection. Current form by far should be the biggest factor. I didn't understand the logic behind him being recalled for T20 World cup when he was dropped for NZ series and Asia cup (after miserable series at home and at South Africa)

I also want to state 2 things in very black and white here:
1) He most definitely is responsible for India losing the final of T20 worldcup last week and should be blamed for it
2) However his selection for ODI World cup 2015 should be made on basis of what his form is in next one year and not on his past success (i think even by that factor, it is very average success)

As far as throwing stones at his house goes, that is just plain stupid. He isn't even there FYI, so what is the point?! You want to hurt his mother, father? If at all you want to throw stones at his house, it should be for the his father's performance in the movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. Here is a list of all his movies, it is enough comic relief for you to take a chill pill-
  • Batwara (1983) ... Jarnail
  • Yaar Gareeban Daa (1986)
  • Jatt Tey Zameen (1987) ... Sucha
  • Qurbani Jatt Di (1990) ... Jora
  • Dushmani Di Agg (1990) ... She
  • Anakh Jattan Di (1991) ... Sheroo
  • Jorr Jatt Da (1991) ... Zaildar Zora
  • Badla Jatti Da (1991) ... Jaildar Jang Singh
  • Jagga Daku (1991) ... Jagga Daku
  • Insaaf (1992)
  • Insaaf Ki Devi (1992)
  • Jatt Punjab Daa (1992) ... Balwant
  • Jidd Jattan Di (1992) ... Jawra
  • Lalkara Jatti Da (1993) ... Dulla
  • Sali Adhi Gharwali (1993)
  • Mehndi Sagna Di (1993)
  • Kudi Canada Di (1993)
  • Jatt Sucha Singh Surma (1993)
  • Insaf Punjab Da (1993) ... Dulla/Jangirdar (Double role)
  • Jora Jatt (1994)
  • Kachehri (1994)
  • Vairi (1994)
  • Jigra Jatt Da (1994)
  • Vichhora (1994) ... Deep
  • Lalkare Sheran De (1994) ... Shera
  • Subedar (1995)
  • Kabza (1995) ... Surjit
  • Zakhmi Jagirdar (1995) ... Uday Singh/Shera (Double Role)
  • Nain Preeto De (1995) ... Pratap Singh
  • Vichhoda (1996)
  • Tera Mera Pyar (1996)
  • Mahaul Theek Hai (1998)
  • Sikandera (2001) ... Sheru
  • Shreeman Chanakya (2004)
  • West Is West (2010)
  • Teen Thay Bhai (2011) ... Khetarpal Singh
  • Oye Hoye Pyar Ho Gaya (2013)
  • Bhaag Milkha Bhaag (2013) 2nd Coach of Milkha Singh
  • Heer and Hero (2013)
  • Romeo Ranjha (2014)


Saturday, 5 April 2014

New measure for soccer goal scorers-

I think many people judge the effectiveness of the strikers / goals scored by the absolute number which I think is probably very ineffective. I am an Arsenal fan and I will admit now that I mainly follow EPL (+ other English domestic trophies like FA cup, League cup) and Champions League which basically means my view here is a very limited one. Also it is being driven mostly out of frustration than analysis (i tried putting in some effort behind the numbers though).

Arsenal top goal scorer this year has been Giroud. I however think he was not even half as effective as Ramsey, Walcott, Podolski, Flamini, Carzola and Rosicky goals (I am not counting Arteta as he scores only through penalties). The reason being, his goals are not "first" goals. For a team like Arsenal, it is very important who scores first when score is 0-0. If Arsenal score first, then they obviously start playing expansive, free flowing confident football BUT if they go down 0-1, then it all starts breaking down. If they go down 0-2, then it is basically all over, they haven't come back from 2 goal deficit this year. If they go up 2-0, then again it is all over, they haven't lost a match yet this season being up 2-0.
Point being - it is supremely crucial who scores at the stage when score is 0-0 or when they are down 0-1. And answer is - NOT Giroud (atleast not 95% of the time). The same is very different for Aguero, Suarez, Rooney, Hazard etc - they all score a lot of their team's "first" goals.

Now this can be generalized a lot for all the teams in EPL atleast, especially with a lot of teams these days playing with a very clear cut strategy of holding to a draw in away matches vs playing offensive football at home. It makes the importance of the "first" goal scorers even more felt and mathematically makes them not just match winners but outright title winners. This brings me to the second thing which I have thought a lot about given the poor Arsenal show since December. The maximum number of points that can be scored in a season are 114. Historically if you look at since 2000, the champion has scored anywhere between 80 to 95 points (95 was Chelsea and an anomaly. Median would be 89ish and average certainly even below 89).

e.g. A team like Arsenal if basically achieves these results every year, they would be champions 12 out of 13 years. Let's assume the BIG 4 clubs apart from Arsenal are ManU, Chelsea, Liverpool and ManCity.
4 away games at these clubs - if they draw any 2 and lose 2, gives them 2 points
4 home games at these clubs - if they win any 1 and draw 1, gives them 4 points
Cushion - suppose they lose another 2 away games somewhere like Stoke, Everton, Totenham types
Rest 28 games, out of which 15 are home games, if they win, gives them a grand total of 90 points.
Enough to win the title consistently. Not just that, this score is above the median and the average for last 13 years so equal probability of scoring lower and still having a shot at the title.

The reason why Arsenal fails to win the title every year is not because of their under performance against the BIG 4, but because of the DRAWS and hence losing the 2 points against the lesser teams. It is in those matches that they need to be gambling and absolutely ensuring that they play as many "first" goal scoring players and not Girouds - despite many of them not being outright strikers. It is here that Arsenal (and hence ARS ene Wenger) fail.
Year on year, there is so much hype, press and build up for the BIG 4 matches and i think Arsenal should do a Jose Mourinho there. Away matches, they should field 2 holding midfielders, 3 midfielders who are not super flank aggressive and 1 random striker as a wild card to play outright for a draw. Instead what they do is the exact opposite and get thrashed massively. And mind you, a draw takes away 2 points from opposition as well, putting pressure on them to win those 28 matches against lesser teams.

Have more thoughts on how substitution should work for these 28 vs 4 vs 4 matches. More on that some other time (in a nut shell - no point in substituting guys like Giroud upfront when the going is easy, you should at every point try to protect the "first" goal scoring people when you are up 2-0 types and give the sidey guys a run. And by that I don't mean those token substitutions at 77' minute mark. No, if you are up 2-0 at 50 minutes, you should be done by 60' minute on all 3 substitutions. Ramsey, Walcott 2 of the most influential people in Arsenal scoring were stupidly sacrificed when the matches were under control. It was rather comical to see the title slip when you are at top and when no one was paying attention. It quietly but most definitely slipped away at those 2 moments.