Statisticians unhappy over Super Series status

Published: Friday, May 27, 2005, 23:53 [IST]
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Mumbai:The forthcoming ICC Super Series featuring a six-day Test and three One-Day Internationals between a World XI and Australia might be eagerly looked forward to by the cricket fans around the world but at least one tribe connected with the game is not at all happy with the official status being accorded to it.

According to two senior statisticians Sudhir Vaidya, the Indian Cricket Board's official statistician, and another Mumbai-based senior colleague, Mohandas Menon, the ICC's decision would open a wide range of problems in the foreseeable future for people of their ilk and fans too.

"It's not a wise decision that the ICC has taken to afford official status to the tsunami benefit tie held in Australia and the forthcoming Super Series matches which are also to be given the same status," said Vaidya.

"For one thing, we have to distinguish between matches played by a player, say Ricky Ponting who was the captain in the tsunami match. He will be captaining the Australian team against the Rest of the World in October and then perhaps play for Rest of the World against some other country in which case his performance will have to be split up. These are bound to create confusion," reasoned Vaidya.

Vaidya also recalled how in the early 1970s the Rest of the World ties against England and Australia were first given official recognition by the world governing body and then withdrawn affecting the figures of a cricket legend like Sir Garfield Sobers of the West Indies.

"Sobers scored three centuries in those matches and caught up officially with Don Bradman and the official status remained even in Wisden for two yeas before the decision was rescinded," Vaidya remembered.

That reversal of an earlier decision left Sobers with only 26 Test centuries to his credit at the end of his international career, Vaidya pointed out.

Vaidya also said he was approached recently by Australia television's Channel Seven to elicit his views on the subject with the forthcoming Super Series in October through a video link-up also featuring well-known English statistician Bill Frindall.

"I was opposed to the ICC's decison as also Frindall," said Vaidya.

Mohandas Menon also echoed similar views and feared the mushrooming of many more such combination matches to create more confusion with the decision of the recently formed body Afro-Asian Cricket Co-operation to hold a few One-dayers annually between Asia and Africa.

Former Indian board chief Jagmohan Dalmiya has taken over as the president of the AACC and has already announced that the new umbrella body for the two continental associations would ask the ICC to grant official status for the proposed annual three-match series between Asian Select and the African Select.

"At this rate there would be no end to the sort of combinations which can be thought upon. There could be a combined Indo-Pak squad against the Rest of the World XI too! "

"It's all a ploy to attract the sponsors to these matches which, otherwise, may not merit as much attention," Menon said.

He also recalled another recent decision of the world governing body to take congnisance of matches in which the toss has taken place but not a single ball being bowled as another instance of the ICC's short-sighted policies.

"Imagine a player who has made the final eleven in one such match and then never playing another in his life and yet be called a Test player or a ODI player without having stepped on the field," he said.

Menon said that the ICC had asked cricket statisticians around the world to complete a questionaire on why they were opposed to giving official recognition to matches not held between two countries.

"It has come to my knowledge that at least 200 people have sent in their opposition with reasons to the ICC which is expected to take a decision on the matter at its meeting in July," Menon said.

"Till then we have to keep our fingers crossed," he said.

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