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Law of Averages

cricket Updated: May 30, 2007 04:25 IST
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There are stats and then there are stats. A batsman may average 75 after two Tests against Bangladesh, or a high 57 after 10 Tests, of which he’s been lucky enough to have four against teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, three against the current West Indies side and three more in which he’s done much below par, but held on to his high average because they’ve been at home.

Statistics, seen as bare figures — x averages 57 or y, who has played tougher teams in far tougher conditions (abroad on bouncy wickets), averages 27 — may conceal as much as they reveal, but when they are examined in full, keeping in mind the place where the players are playing, the opposition and other factors, they give us a little more to go by.

India have one of their busiest year ahead. With various Indian Board officials, most of who have never spent an hour on a field of play, blithely stating that fatigue doesn’t matter and India will play all the planned games, the cricket will be tough and bruising.

What we will attempt to do, over the next few days, is give you an idea of how some of the batsmen and bowlers, who are likely to turn out for India over these games, have done over the past three years in both forms of the game.

Despite the details, it makes no claims to be absolutely correct. It is pretty difficult to precisely assess more subjective things like weather, pitch conditions etc.

We have followed general parameters. Zimbabwe (away or home) are easier to beat than Australia (away or home or off planet!). West Indies, in decline, are obviously not as tough as South Africa, or even England (as a Test team). Sri Lanka are tricky on their ground, easier to handle in India. Pakistan are erratic. Subcontinental tracks are obviously far easier to negotiate than fast or bouncy pitches anywhere. If you’re reading this, you know what we mean. So, read on…