Posted by & filed under cricket.

Dwayne Smith of the Mumbai Indians just scored fourteen runs of the last three balls of the game to help his team pull off an incredible, odds-defying victory. It was the cricketing equivalent of a Hail Mary finish. I watched the entire game live and shell-shocked does not even begin to describe how I felt at the finish.

Here’s why –

When your team scores the highest score at the stadium all tournament long, you don’t doubt victory……….

When the crown jewel of the city did not finish the job and gets out to a catch for the ages, you believe the team you root for will win…….

When the team you root for has won games chasing 42 in 12 balls, you believe they will win……

When the crowd at the stadium and the spoilt celebrities of the glitzy city sport the biggest and most clueless ‘WTF just happened?’ look of all time, you believe that the team you root for will win…………

When the owner of the team you are competing against has this look, you believe your team will win…..

When the team you root for is defending 14 runs in three balls, you just KNOW your team will win…….

When the bowler in question has already bowled a maiden over (rarer at the IPL than an Indian cheerleader), you know your team will win……….

When the batsman in question is playing his first game of the tournament, you don’t doubt victory……..

When you know that the bowler in question has and can bowl a bouncer that will make a defeat mathematically impossible, you don’t doubt your team will win…..

And yet one six and two fours later…..the team you root for, loses!

I’m shocked, surprised and in awe. Sometimes the team you root for, loses.

Posted by & filed under NFL.

Draft grades and reviews right after the draft are meaningless. While judgements made about the value of picking one player over another based on league-wide demand for the same skill and talent is slightly more relevant, there is still far too much uncertainty and ambiguity to the draft and coaching processes that any immediate draft grade should be taken with several grains of salt.

Nick Perry, Jerel Worthy and Casey Hayward were the first three Packer picks in this year’s draft. While I had read about and watched a little bit of all these players in college, I did not know enough to have a strong opinion on their fit with the Packers or their draft value at the spots they were taken. I watched as the Packers loaded up on three more defensive players on day 3 before picking up a tackle and a backup QB in round 7. I knew even less about these guys.

I let the weekend pass and waited for draft reactions and grades to start making their rounds around the internet. My first source for all Packer news are the fine folks at Cheesehead TV. I listened to their draft expert Brian Carriveau’s takes on all eight Packer picks. Brian works really hard and is very good at his job. He was instrumental in compiling a 100 page draft guide. He scouted over 200 players and attended the scouting combine in person. So I take his opinion very seriously. After listening to over two hours of his post-draft podcasts I came away feeling happy and excited. Brian loved every single defensive player picked unconditionally. He liked them all for their talents, fit and value. Bleacher Report’s Andrew Garda was my next stop. He too raved about most Packer picks and gave the Packers a B for the draft. Andrew follows the Packers very closely and this grade was surely accompanied by a lot of background knowledge and research. Lastly, I went to Mel Kiper Jr’s grades and saw that the Packers came away with one of the highest grades on his grade sheet – Also a B.

Image courtesy ESPN.com

So what does all this mean? Three cheers, hosannas and a reloaded defense to push the Packers back to the Super Bowl? I don’t think so.

I, for one am way more skeptical of this draft than all of these experts. Ted Thompson has come a long way in the eyes of the media since the Favre/Rodgers days of 2008. A Superbowl ring, some high-profile successes in the draft and the ability to populate the roster with cheap lower round/undrafted talent (ala Chillar, Zombo, Tramon and Lang) has made the GM bulletproof in the eyes of the media and most fans. While track records and cachet matter and a Ted Thompson or Bill Belichick should be given their due credence and respect, group-think and a lack of skepticism/cynicism can lead to complacency and a lack of oversight from otherwise knowledgeable and passionate fans. Any fan base can figure out something is wrong after it goes wrong. A knowledgeable one tries to be ahead of the curve. Those who give Ted Thompson a blind seal of approval on every decision and recite “In Ted we trust” to any question, solely because of his track record of success are likely to be as wrong as those who blindly vouched for Favre over Rodgers in ’08 or those who questioned the selections of Jordy Nelson and James Jones in the ’08 and ’07 drafts into rosters already full of receivers.

There’s three things about this draft that don’t jive well with me –

a) Did the defense need this many reinforcements? Football Outsiders has done a lot of work on defensive rankings. Their research into numbers for a decade has shown that defensive rankings have much more variance year-to-year than offensive and special teams rankings. A small improvement in third down defense almost entirely attributable to better health or easier schedule could improve a team’s ranking significantly. Is it possible that 2011 was just an off-year for a defense that was a top 10 defense in ’09 and ’10. Regression to the mean/plexiglass principle may have fixed the defense in 2012. A lot of the key pieces (Raji, Clay, Tramon, Hawk) are still pretty young. Did the defense then need almost sole attention in this draft? I am not a big fan of addressing just whatever is the short-term need via the draft? I would have felt better if the Packer brass had tended to some offensive areas as well especially early in the draft.

b) Why were no wide receivers drafted? A record number of wide receivers were drafted this year. By all accounts this was a uniquely talented and deep class of receivers. This would have been a great opportunity for the Packers to sell James Jones, cut Donald Driver and get younger and cheaper production while building depth for seasons beyond 2012 and 2013. Why did the Packers evaluate differently? Is James Jones worth what he is being paid while being the fourth best receiving option on the team? Couldn’t a rookie or two have produced about the same for a lot cheaper?

c) Why didn’t the Packers move down in Round I? 16 teams traded out of their spots in round I to gain extra picks in a deep draft. The Packers did not. Couldn’t they have gotten Nick Perry 4-6 picks later? Ted Thompson’s mastery of the draft manipulation process led to a great number of lower round picks in ’05 and ’06. Where has that gone and why is no one talking about it?

I am really glad that Ted Thompson makes personnel decisions for the team I root for. However, it is not gospel to believe in him at all times. With this draft, I sense that too many members in the media and too many fans are shifting to blind faith about the Packers rather than be skeptical, cynical and curious. In Ted, you can trust but that doesn’t mean – agree with Ted, you always must!

Go Pack, Go!

Posted by & filed under NFL.

Last week, I wrote about my massive man-crush on Chris Polk. For over a year now I expected him to be drafted in the first two or three rounds of the 2012 NFL draft. I watched the announcement of every pick live on the Thursday and Friday of the draft only to see his name never be called. Not once in my wildest dreams did I think Saturday would pass too without a team drafting him. It was sad, deflating and puzzling. I had the look of a dad whose talented hard working kid didn’t quite make a cut. It made no sense.

Internet scuttlebutt has it that all 32 teams had injury concerns about Polk. They apparently don’t think he can survive for very long in the NFL. His shoulder, hip and legs were all considered to be weak/damaged and there were even rumors of a degenerative condition. General managers and personnel men have to do what they think is right and find the right value for their owners’ dollars. So if they made the call that their precious draft picks and salary cap dollars were not worth the risk that Chris Polk would produce in the NFL, I understand that. It maybe a bad decision but is not something I find innately unfair. What I do find unfair is the NFL rule that states that a player should be at least three years removed from high school to be eligible for the NFL draft.

Whatever condition Chris Polk is suspected of suffering from, likely came from one of the 769 time he carried the ball for the University of Washington. Chris Polk looked ready to carry the ball for an NFL team in 2009. He could have carried the ball 700 odd times for an NFL team and a million fantasy football rosters while making some money for himself and his family. He was restricted from doing so by a rule that while sometimes well-intentioned (protecting teenage bodies from contact and collisions with much heavier adults), acts as an arbitrary obstacle to some people’s pursuit of a job and happiness. Pundits feign outrage on the college athlete who turns pro too soon. The NBA’s one-and-done rule is spoken of like a huge boon to society and welfare and there is often talk that the rule/restriction needs to be extended to two years. I am amused and saddened that there isn’t as much outrage over restricting the rights of NFL-ready top caliber athletes.

NFL players have incredibly short career spans. A mounting volume of concussion research suggests that a large, continuous number of collisions can cause as much or more damage to the brain as blows considered concussions. For running backs, the odds of a career ending injury are really high considering the number of collisions and contact plays they are a part of. If a running back thinks he is ready for contact and collisions with NFL-caliber players and a team deems him worthy as well, why not let him? Why should he continue to risk career and limb in the NFL’s ‘farm system’ for no pay?

Chris Polk was a victim of taking on more responsibility while in college and being a successful running back. Chris Polk is a victim of a stupid rule that would raise the ire of millions if it was employed in domains such as movies, music and technology? A 17-year-old who creates a killer app or an 18-year-old who belts out a smash single will be glorified by the media and cheered on by adoring millions. Any attempts to cap earnings in these situations would be treated with the sort of scorn reserved for birthers and truthers. Somehow though the NFL gets by with this. A complicit media plays along and a talented running back who did all that was asked for him thru three years in school on the field and off it, has his big payday delayed.

Polk was eventually picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent. Odds are slim but there is still a decent chance that Polk will make the roster and be a productive back in the NFL. When Fall 2012 rolls around, I will be checking the Eagles’ box score every Sunday. Here’s hoping Chris Polk gets the last laugh!

Go Polk, Go!

Posted by & filed under NFL.

Chris Polk is my favorite prospect in this year’s NFL draft. I hope my beloved Packers will have a chance at drafting him and end up drafting him. I am aware that most draftniks don’t rate him as first rounder or a top 5 RB in the draft. But every year, certain prospects (especially at running back), have a way of outperforming draft statuses and experts’ predictions. My hope is Polk will be one of those in 2012.

My man crush on this Husky RB began on October 3 2009 in an overtime thriller versus Notre Dame. I watched as the redshirt freshman running back lined up in various positions and produced close to a 150 yards from scrimmage. I loved the way he pass-protected in that game and saw a little Bryan Westbrook in him. He also ran tough, broke tackles and provided several explosive runs. The run at the 5:22 mark of this video is my favorite from the game.

I watched Polk a lot since then and have never seen anything in his game that concerns me. No, I am not a professional scout and I also don’t play one on TV. But I am a pretty passionate football fan who watches way too much football. None of the other backs in this year’s draft – Trent Richardson included captivated my attention quite like Chris Polk. In around 800 carries, Polk has run for over 4000 yards in his college career. He has also caught almost 80 passes at nine yards/catch. While having more carries in college is not necessarily a good thing, the sample size for Polk is significantly larger than for other top prospects in this draft such as David Wilson, Doug Martin and of course, Trent Richardson.

NFL teams have more data and film on prospects than I’d ever have. NFL teams have knowledge from personal interviews with Polk, friends and family. I am sure most of them would have done their due diligence on Polk. If Polk came back for his senior year, Washington would have been ranked #2 if not #1 withing the Pac-12.

With the information, I have and based purely on what I watched on the field, I truly believe Polk will end up being the best running back in this class. Best of luck https://twitter.com/#!/1chrispolk ! Prove me right!

Update: Brian James sent over this great Polk profile from CBS Sports

How can you not love this running back? Go Polk!

Posted by & filed under NFL.

Ted Thompson is entering his eighth draft as the Packer Czar. His approval rating among Packer fans is incredibly high and perception of the GM, front office brass and organization could not be more different from this time, eight or even four drafts ago. Busts like this first round whiff, this United Football League star and this second round cornerback have been forgiven if not forgotten about. Outside of Bill Belichick, Thompson may be on the coldest seat (I am hoping it’s a thing like the proverbial hot seat) of all NFL decision makers. He could come out of the 2012 draft with Andrew Luck’s dad and he’d be given the benefit of doubt:).

This post is not about predicting specific players that the Packers will draft. While I play a scout/draftnik/GM in my daydreams all the time, I am not one and do not feel qualified to critique or judge specific Ted Thompson moves. However, I do feel comfortable making some generic predictions on the overall nature of the Packer draft 2012 based on the current roster, current contracts and available draft picks. I am also looking at recent Packer drafts, the vast barrage of opinions on my Twitter feed and mock drafts from internet draftniks such as this to make what I think are educated guesses. Ted Thompson probably gets piss drunk and streaks down Holmgren Way if he hits on just 50% of draft picks in a year. I, on the other hand will gladly take that success rate for the following six predictions on the 2012 Packer draft –

1. James Jones will be traded before or during the draft

James Jones is the fourth best receiver on the Packers right now behind Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley. It was a minor shock that no team paid him more than the three-year 9.4 million dollar contract the Packers offered him last summer. Going in to the 2012 season, I think James Jones is a luxury the Packers can afford to get rid of for the right price. Between 35 and 40 Wide Receivers are expected to be drafted this year in an insanely deep and quality class. Ted Thompson will believe that James Jones’ production can be matched by a combination of a productive player from this class and the continued development of Randall Cobb.

Also, there’s at least a half-dozen teams for whom James Jones can step in as a starter right away. Miami’s new coach, Seattle’s new quarterback and Cleveland’s talent-bereft West Coast Offense could all use James Jones tomorrow morning. I believe one of these teams will offer up a pick that the Packers will value as adequate for Jones. This makes too much sense in my head and here’s hoping I am right.

2. The Packers will not draft a Tight End this year

The Packers have five tight ends on their roster already. Three of them were drafted the last two years. While Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy love themselves some athletic multi-dimensional Tight Ends, the supposed lack of quality in this year’s class plus the abundance on the roster indicate to me that the Packers will not draft one this season. Makes sense, right?

3. The Packers will draft at least one Running Back (RB) in the first four rounds

Three mock drafts I saw gave 4’th round or higher grades to ten different running backs in this year’s draft pool. No one including Ryan Grant himself expects the Packers to re-sign Ryan Grant. I don’t believe the Packers will want to go into the regular season with a combination of Alex Green and James Starks. And while chanting Kuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuhn is one of the most fun things to do as a Packer fan, entrusting him with more workload than he currently shoulders borders on wishful thinking. All signs point to an early addition at the RB position.

4. The Packers will draft a quarterback This one seems like a no-brainer to me

A couple of mock drafts I perused, had up to 15 quarterbacks being drafted this year. While Graham Harrell is signed thru 2014, I think the Packers would like to have someone they can groom, develop and do the dirty job of playing eight quarters in the pre-season:). I hope Seahawks fans pay attention to whoever this ends up being. He will after all be their starter in 2017.

5. The Packers will trade out of their first round pick

This one’s pure gut feel. Ted Thompson loved trading down in his first few drafts and has refrained from doing so of late. Obviously it takes two tango and I think this is the year where there’s teams needy enough for Brandon Weeden or Mark Barron will take the Packers’ first round pick for Ted Thompson’s asking price. Unless one of the three cornerbacks projected to go in Round 1 are still around, I do think this is the likely outcome late Thursday night.


6. The Packers will draft at least one Wide Receiver in the first four rounds

Like I mentioned earlier, most experts think this is an insanely deep Wide Receiver class. Ted Thompson has gauged and drafted this position better than most other teams. He’s found a Jordy Nelson in Round II and even a fairly productive Brett Swain in Round VII. i will be shocked if a quality Wide Receiver is not unearthed here by Mr Thompson.

I will update this post after the draft to grade my predictions. Until then…..


Go Pack, Go

Posted by & filed under Indian abroad, Media.

Two short articles from the CHENNAI section of The Hindu were all over my online universe today. One was about the Right to Education law recently approved by the Supreme Court and the other was about a brouhaha at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT). They stimulated tons of discussion on email forums, workplace water coolers and Twitter feeds. Neither piece broke any new ground. Neither piece was particularly well sourced. In the pre-internet era, the two pieces may have occupied the space below the day’s power shutdown schedules. Why then, were both these pieces discussed so heavily and why should we not take this too seriously? Because, both articles were right out of the internet traffic generator playbook and not meant to be treated as serious news.

For years, the Mount Road Maha Vishnu provided the best (sometimes the only) morning news, original opinion, compelling crossword puzzle and content to millions of Chennaites. I was one of the many starry-eyed fans who woke up with anticipation to the prose in the latest R Mohan/Nirmal Shekar column. But over the last few years, the newspaper has seen its standing dented and gradually eroded by the ‘Times of India’. The perception of the paper as a stoic relic of the past did not help in adding new readers. For a detailed account of the challenges and changes at the newspaper please read this beautifully sourced and reported piece at Forbes India.

The Hindu was also not a prime mover on the web causing it to lose significant eyeballs to a constantly burgeoning online population. Sites like Rediff, First Post and NDTV are stealing prospective Hindu readers every day. To attract eyeballs in the ever-expanding internet, a news site’s 2 best options (outside of pictures of hot chicks of course) are to either offer real-time news or original content. Thehindu.com has not been able to make a compelling case yet on either of these fronts.

Cornered at the intersection of readership loss and systemic changes in the world around them, what does a new editor management team do? It is my reading of the situation that they decided that the best way to stop the bleeding is to cover aggressively and hype those topics that will push the buttons of the median Chennai reader. Also, keep in mind that the easiest way to generate conversation among an online audience is to involve as much polarizing politics and religion as possible. If you’re checking boxes for the aforementioned articles – Check and Check.

Few things get the Chennai household more vociferous than a discussion about the IIT or schools and admission policies. These are topics that have been sewn in to the dinner conversation since the early 70s. By writing around 600 words on these topics and quoting anonymous or unreliable sources, the newspaper gets the eyeballs, the comments section and attention it craves. It makes the newspaper a prominent character in the news cycle and does its best to pull in new readers. For example, the newspaper succeeded in getting me to read them and even write about them. I have not visited the site with any regularity in a while and I clicked on about 20 links on the site today.

If I haven’t convinced you yet, here’s some more obvious flaws in the stories that tell me that this is no serious journalism but the early stages of an attempt to get readers at any cost –

a) We do not know if the kids quoted in the piece on education are real or if they are fictional. We also don’t know how old the kids are, especially the one from PS Senior Secondary school. Would you give the story any credence if these kids were not even teenagers yet? Little kids and really young teenagers echoing their parents’ belief systems blindly is news and controversy now?

b) The entire IIT piece is based on one anonymous source. This is from the article and according to the reporters – Prasanth Radhakrishnan and Vasudha Venugopal. Corroborating information provided by one source with at least one other independent source is a fundamental tenet of reporting. Would Prasanth ad Vasudha publish any thing about any private or public institution based on what one person (who may have inherent biases and vindictiveness) says? Also, nothing asserts a piece’s importance like including the word ‘may’ in the headline. The headline ‘IIT-M may enforce more norms’ could literally be used on every day that the IIT-M has been in existence!

Ways to subsidize education for the vast illiterate masses of India and the restriction of freedom to some of India’s best and brightest at IIT-M are serious topics worthy of introspection. These topics do not have easy answers and contextual in-depth reporting on these would serve society and hold people in power accountable. These are things that very few organizations can pursue and execute. ‘The Hindu’ has the budget and human resources to do this. Instead, they have chosen to join the plethora of sites on the internet that exist solely to poke and prod the frustrated masses on the most controversial topics in the anonymous conflagration that is the internet. Welcome to the Page 3-ization of ‘The Hindu’.

Some ideas for topics to be reported on next week on thehindu.com – “Some Rajini fans don’t get along with Kamal fans” or “Iyengar grandmother disapproves of Iyers”.

P.S – Image of HINDU logo/masthead courtesy thehindu.com and globaltamilnews.net.

Posted by & filed under cricket.

Over the last 12 months, Ravichandran Ashwin has bowled 589 overs for his national team and 79 overs for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK). He has played in 38 matches for India and 22 matches for CSK. In all, he has been on the field for 80 days. Add to this, the travel involved – In just this period, Ashwin has travelled to five of the nine other test playing nations and 17 different cities in India. I hope he’s signed up for every frequent flyer program out there.

Even in this day of cricket all the time, cricket everywhere, this is a phenomenal workload. Among international cricketers only Virat Kohli comes close to having endured the same level of travel and stress. But Kohli’s primary job is to bat (as evident from this over on 4/12/12 against Chennai). The stress on the body, while significant is not as harsh as that on a bowler. I just don’t think such a workload is healthy for any bowler, even a finger spinner. The unprecedented volume of cricket in three different formats and the travel schedules put enormous stress on the bowler’s body and mind.

I worry a lot about how India’s premier spinner is handling all this. Are training methods used by Ashwin with two/three different staffs consistent and relevant to the nature and frequency of cricket he is involved in? Is he capable of refining and reinventing his repertoire to keep batsmen guessing? Every Indian bowler who achieved significant international success in the last twenty years has faced up to shoulder injuries of some sort. Is it just a matter of time before Ashwin falls in to the same trap?

At certain stages in their careers Harbhajan Singh, Saqlain Mushtaq and Muttiah Muralitharan have faced similar workloads in terms of overs but never in terms of the number of games and associated travel. Two of those three succeeded in having long and successful careers constantly reinventing their bowling and staying on top of the opposition.

Ashwin is an immensely talented spinner. When he first arrived on the scene in IPL 2010 he displayed skill, courage and versatility in a very difficult format. I worry a lot about his short and long-term future. For his sake and for Indian cricket, I hope he gets an extended three-four month break from the game he loves. It would provide him with much-needed rest, quality time with his family and a chance to evaluate and refine his bowling.

Here’s hoping the protagonist and the people in charge pay heed to the burnout potential here and treat Ashwin with the proper care and assistance needed to ensure his continued success. With significant home challenges next winter against England and Australia, a well-rested and motivated Ashwin could be the difference between an India that wins at home and one that doesn’t.

Posted by & filed under cricket.

Nothing says cricket like an Australian retread joking with a California girl on a Chennai summer day!

IPL 2012 is officially underway. I hope to provide an interesting statistical analytics perspective thru the tournament.

In Part I of my IPL Analytics series, I looked at the possible impact in the IPL on teams when they play two games in three days. It was one attempt at identifying secondary surrounding factors that affect a team’s success and failure.

Today’s analysis will focus on team scores and end results of games in IPL 2010 and IPL 2011. What if anything does this data tell us about what it’d take to win in 2012?

2010

    In 2010, teams batting first went 31-28 (Wins-Losses). The median score of winning teams in games where the team batting first won, was 177. Also, a sub-160 score was defended successfully only on four occasions.
    In sharp and somewhat obvious contrast, the median total by winning teams in games where the chasers won, was 152. A score of 180 stood as a bit of a holy grail as only four attempts out of 18 chases of scores above 180 ended successfully.

2011

    In 2011, the games were held a touch earlier and run scoring was down a little bit. Also, chasers held a 38-33 (Win-Loss) advantage unlike the previous season.
    The median score of winning teams in games won by the team batting first, was down to 168 while the median score by successful chasers was 141. Interestingly the holy grail was a lot closer to 160 this time around.
    Teams that scored 160 won almost 70% of the time.

Keep these numbers in mind while watching games this season! Commentators will be prone to hyping every four, every six virtually every over. There is a decent sample size now of IPL games in India and if the team you root for has scored more than 180 or is chasing under 160, stay CALM!!! Also, while predicting teams that will make the playoffs, make your best educated guess on the run totals the top and middle orders are capable of. It will help separate teams more than you may think!

Thoughts and feedback appreciated as usual. Please do take some time to vote in the poll question here as well.

Posted by & filed under cricket.

Any time he is praised, the most successful active NFL head coach reverts to milquetoast quotes that downplay his role in his team’s success. One of his staples is “players win games”. To me, this is very profound. American media especially ESPN constantly idolize coaches comparing them to leaders and fathers rather than paid professionals. The ardent fan or casual viewer can be led to believing in the omniscience of the person in charge of the actual athletes.

But the words of the best coach there is in sport today remind us that – Even in a sport that expects 46 different individuals with highly specialized skills and goals to work in unison towards a common goal for three hours every Sunday, the role of the coach is secondary to those on the field.

What does all this have to do with the Indian Premier League (IPL)? If you are trying to make predictions on who will advance from the league stages of IPL V, go ahead and pick the four teams that you think have the best players. Use Benny’s list here as a starting point for the same if you’re not familiar with some of the newer faces yet. If you’re a fan of the sport and have above average awareness on the skills of players on the teams, you are as likely to be correct in your predictions as any one else! This post and the next few are about some peripheral factors that will play a role in determining winners and losers albeit a secondary role to the abilities of the players involved. These factors however are real and will have marginal impact on the league stages of the tournament. Use these factors as tie-breakers or as secondary factors in your decision tree towards picking, previewing or predicting winners and losers.

Factor # 1 – Back-to-backs

There is extensive literature available on the internet on the impact of back-to-back games on teams in the NBA and NHL. There is even advice to bettors on the role back-to-back games and four games in five nights have on spreads.

I am not yet aware of such research for cricket. But logic tells me that schedule and back-to-back games will play a significant role in a high intensity tournament played in the heat of the Indian summer. Since the IPL does not require any team to play games on successive days, I equated playing two games in three days (1 day gap) to a back-to-back. I analyzed the schedules of the IPL seasons of the last two years in addition to IPL V.

In both 2010 and 2011, the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) were among the teams with the fewest back-to-backs. In 2011, the other team to have as few back-to-backs (only 3 all season) as CSK? Drum roll please…..the other finalist – Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). In 2010, one of the other teams to have as few back-to-backs as the eventual champion? Drum roll please….the other finalist – Mumbai Indians (MI).

Coincidence does not mean correlation or causation but can anyone question the fact that having fewer back-to-backs is not helpful to a team winning ?

For IPL V, the teams with the fewest back-to-backs are RCB (with four back-to-backs in all) and Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians (with six)!

If you think the salary cap produces rosters of fairly equal strength and are having trouble predicting which teams will advance to the IPL V playoffs, the above information can be an useful point of reference. The table below expands on back-to-backs and gaps between games for the teams participating in IPL V.

Book1

In part II, I will evaluate the impact of run totals from the past two seasons and in part III I will try and identify the teams that may be best rested thru the tournament.

Please let me know what you think either in the comments below or via email at shyam dot uw at geemail or Twitter at shyamuw !