April 6, 2009

Unpredictability

 
38


Kevin Pietersen confounds by being simultaneously consistent and unpredictable © Getty Images
 

Many thanks for your ample responses to Part 1 of the Unpredictable XI, especially for those containing the kind of statistical nuggets that make it worth getting up in the morning.

Unpredictability being what it is, Part 2 has been delayed by my unpredictable loss of my computer cable, and the less unpredictable failure of the company from which I ordered a replacement to take the trouble of putting it in the post. The rest of the XI will be unveiled to the world on Tuesday.

In the meantime, here are some further thoughts on unpredictability, and on your very interesting comments and counter-suggestions.

It is clear that there is no objective standard for unpredictability, nor a universal consensus on exactly what it entails. It certainly does not preclude cricketing greatness. Batting, by its nature, generates unpredictable results – Bradman scored ducks in almost 10% of his Test innings, while, at the other end of the scale, Jimmy Anderson has no ducks in 46 innings (making him an infinitely superior batsman to Bradman), and Matthew Bell has scored two Test hundreds.

Pietersen divides opinion in this matter, although it seems that he could prompt a violent disagreement between two stuffed penguins in museums on opposite sides of the world.

Responding to the previous blog, Aneeb argues that Pietersen is “easily the most consistent of England’s batsmen”. I would partially agree with this – he almost unfailingly plays at least one major innings in every series. But I would maintain that he scores high unpredictability points as he does not constructs long sequences of either success or failure. So is it possible to be both consistent and unpredictable? I’m not a scientist, but if some guy in a lab coat can claim to me that mercury is a liquid and a metal at the same time, I’m prepared to tell him that KP is simultaneously consistent and unpredictable. Before politely apologising, offering to replace his thermometer, and promising never again to throw a copy of Wisden through his laboratory window.

Michael Slater has had a few supporters, and the Wagga Wagga Wildcard makes a strong case for being preferred to Sehwag as a like-for-like swashbuckler to get the innings off to either a roaring or a spluttering start.

Slater had both an impressive 65% conversion rate for turning 50s into 90s (23 out of 35) and a stratospherically dismal 40% failure rate for converting those 90s into hundreds. Nine times he blew it just as someone was preparing to paint his name onto a pavilion honours board, and on six of those occasions he was within one shot of punching the air and smooching his helmet again. Capable of blasting aggression and old-fashioned steadiness, of controlled demolition and reckless self-destruction, Slater always gave the bowlers a chance and could concoct his own dismissal seemingly out of thin air, like a magician gobbled up by a man-eating rabbit he had just pulled out of his own hat. Properly unpredictable.


Michael Slater is capable of controlled demolition and reckless self-destruction © Getty Images
 

Sehwag, however, has to my mind confirmed his place in the XI during the series in New Zealand – five blisteringly brilliant starts, five failures. He batted as if launching a heroic one-man protest against the grinding tedium of so much of this year’s cricket to date. If Sehwag had been a Formula One driver, he would have roared off the grid, sped away from the field, and driven straight off the track at the first corner after being distracted by an odd-shaped hat in the crowd. And if Donald Rumsfeld had been a cricket coach instead of a professional harbinger of suffering, he would have marked Sehwag down as a “known unknown”. The man is a global treasure.

Your other nominations – the likes of Gibbs, Ashraful, Jayasuriya, Astle, Martyn, Mark Waugh, and Sidhu – all have their merits, but I am the head selector and I stand by my selections (even if the more I think about cricketing unpredictability, the more unsure I am of what it is, and the leaked rumours about me having a blazing row with myself in the selection meeting are true). If the team performs too predictably in the forthcoming series against the World Reliable XI, then I will dutifully tender my resignation.

Thanks again for your contributions. I particularly liked D Clement’s unearthing of New Zealand’s top four from 1958, who had a career average of 52. Between them. At Lord’s that year, England scored a disappointing 269 after winning the toss – and still won by an innings and 148 runs. Bearing in mind, however, that only four of this New Zealand team had played England in Auckland three years previously, when the Kiwis redefined what is possible in cricket by striding out to bat in their second innings facing a deficit of 46, and managing to lose by an innings and 20 runs, we can safely say that the New Zealand selectors were, in modern parlance, “still trying to find the right combinations”. In the age before it was discovered by sports coaches that you can take positives even from total, abject humiliations, the 1950s must have been tough times for New Zealand cricket fans.

Ralph Zimmerman suggests that Chanderpaul might merit inclusion in the Unpredictable XI for his 69-ball century against Australia in 2003. He scored almost twice as fast in that innings as in the next fastest of his 21 Test centuries, and took 267 balls fewer to bring up three figures than he had a year earlier against India, making this a candidate for Test cricket’s most out-of-character performance. Which would also make an interesting list. One day.

I will also at a future point address Chathu’s idea of an XI made up of players with misleading beginnings to their careers – perhaps a hypothetical match between players who initially looked rubbish but turned out to be good, versus those who appeared to be all-time-greats-in-the-making but fizzled out, captained by Graham Gooch and Jimmy Adams respectively. (I half qualify for both teams.)

Later this week: Numbers 6 to 11 of the Unpredictables, plus a nation-by-nation review of 2008-09.

Andy Zaltzman is a stand-up comedian, a regular on the BBC Radio 4, and a writer

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mr Chris on April 19, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    GK- wow you have made some friends - are we a little upset that our vote went the wrong way or do we just like to go against the grain to get attention.

    Andy, bugle brilliant, cricket blog brilliant, book brilliant, writing brilliant, hair... anyway looking forward to next blog!

  • pedrozinho on April 9, 2009, 19:31 GMT

    agree with comments above, GK, have your own opinion by all means but respect others. And get your facts right, as someone above already stated, Andy's principal claim to fame is a political satirical comedian, not just the brilliant Bugle (everyone must listen) but also the Department etc. He probably therefore is qualified to talk about it! Anyway, a couple of ideas for other XIs, which is my main point for writing: How about a worst player to ever represent their country XI including one player from all the nations, England, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe with one from either Kenya, Ireland or Holland, who normally do best of the ICC nations in getting to world cups. And then a Worst ever XI who inexplicably played more than 25 tests (or 25 ODIs for ICC nations. Make it happen Senor AZ!

  • GK on April 8, 2009, 21:50 GMT

    Suresh,

    You clearly don't know anything about India, let alone the world outside of India.

    "The fact of the matter is that Bush was the worst president in US history. "

    er...No. Only deranged leftists think that. Now that Americans have seen what a disaster Obama is, Bush has been redeemed.

    "Obama has a 90%+ approval rating around the world. "

    What planet do you live on (and please don't answer 'Bharat')? Obama was snubbing in Europe (no French or German troops for Afghanistan) and protested from London to Istanbul. In India, people refer to Obama as the black monkey.

    I knew Indian marxists/leftists were ignorant, but you have taken this to another level. It is so funny when Indians try to comment on global affairs (the same goes for Maraghad Marthan). That is why India, despite being a democracy, still manages to be poorer than many dictatorships and communist states.

  • Antony on April 8, 2009, 0:08 GMT

    I'm psyched about the country-by-country yearly review. Please say something nice about the black-caps - being a black caps fan means a lifetime of disappointment, a vaguely positive blog entry might just make it all bearable.

  • Maragadhavalli Marthandam on April 7, 2009, 23:29 GMT

    The last time I posted, I was laughing so much, that I forgot to post what I wanted to - Mohd Azharuddin should qualify too, he had an uncanny ability to score 20 or less (I think well over 40% of his innings in Tests), while he also had some really amazing knocks. It could be argued that there were "other, more remunerative reasons" for that, but it is high unpredictability from a real classy batsman. Then of course, there's Kris Srikkanth, one doesn't need to dig up statistics for that, it's just a given!

    Not to belabor the droll argument that many of us seem to be engaging in with GK, but I did take offense to his statement about my lack of knowledge of the Harbinger in Chief of Suffering. Er.. he did hold that role, but not before his stint as the harbinger, it was actually between stints, and we all know how that works, although I'll admit, he managed to not screw that up.

  • Dim Rat on April 7, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    i thot u said the rest of ur XI will be released today (tuesday) ??!! I WANT MY XI DAMMIT!!!

  • mahesh on April 7, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    to me ... u r the ultimate selector and u will have my vote at all times irrespective of your personal cricketing record :)

    i for one cannot wait for the nation by nation review of 08-09 ... especially england :)

  • adarsh on April 7, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    not so good article and one expected from andy nothing interesting or funny

  • Kris on April 7, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    Brilliant article, great metaphors (not everyday you write that on cricinfo) cant wait for todays :)

    How about Michael Vaughan? That purple patch he went through in '02 always promised to come back, but alas it never quite arrived

  • Longmemory on April 7, 2009, 7:02 GMT

    Just that one line about Sehwag-the-Formula-1 racecar driver was worth the price of admission. Irresistible idea, this. Befitting my moniker (Longmemory), I nominate a certain Salim Durrani for the all-time unpredictable list. Once winked out Sobers and Lloyd in a matter of a few balls with his left-arm spin to win India a famous test in the West Indies. Known to clobber spinners out of the park because the spectators wanted a sixer - and at other times, threw away his wicket because it all seemed pointless to him. Besides Durrani, another for this list would be Wasim Raja. I remember he once made 13 runs in a test in the Windies - with two sixes. Exciting, fabulous cricketer. Its guys like Durrani, Raja, Sehwag, Keith Miller, Srikkanth, and many on Andy's list who make the game worth watching. I see Andy's point - its hard to stay with "unpredictable" and not veer off into "characters" when making this list. Maybe another one for the all-time "Loony Lot"?

  • Mr Chris on April 19, 2009, 14:00 GMT

    GK- wow you have made some friends - are we a little upset that our vote went the wrong way or do we just like to go against the grain to get attention.

    Andy, bugle brilliant, cricket blog brilliant, book brilliant, writing brilliant, hair... anyway looking forward to next blog!

  • pedrozinho on April 9, 2009, 19:31 GMT

    agree with comments above, GK, have your own opinion by all means but respect others. And get your facts right, as someone above already stated, Andy's principal claim to fame is a political satirical comedian, not just the brilliant Bugle (everyone must listen) but also the Department etc. He probably therefore is qualified to talk about it! Anyway, a couple of ideas for other XIs, which is my main point for writing: How about a worst player to ever represent their country XI including one player from all the nations, England, Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, South Africa, Zimbabwe with one from either Kenya, Ireland or Holland, who normally do best of the ICC nations in getting to world cups. And then a Worst ever XI who inexplicably played more than 25 tests (or 25 ODIs for ICC nations. Make it happen Senor AZ!

  • GK on April 8, 2009, 21:50 GMT

    Suresh,

    You clearly don't know anything about India, let alone the world outside of India.

    "The fact of the matter is that Bush was the worst president in US history. "

    er...No. Only deranged leftists think that. Now that Americans have seen what a disaster Obama is, Bush has been redeemed.

    "Obama has a 90%+ approval rating around the world. "

    What planet do you live on (and please don't answer 'Bharat')? Obama was snubbing in Europe (no French or German troops for Afghanistan) and protested from London to Istanbul. In India, people refer to Obama as the black monkey.

    I knew Indian marxists/leftists were ignorant, but you have taken this to another level. It is so funny when Indians try to comment on global affairs (the same goes for Maraghad Marthan). That is why India, despite being a democracy, still manages to be poorer than many dictatorships and communist states.

  • Antony on April 8, 2009, 0:08 GMT

    I'm psyched about the country-by-country yearly review. Please say something nice about the black-caps - being a black caps fan means a lifetime of disappointment, a vaguely positive blog entry might just make it all bearable.

  • Maragadhavalli Marthandam on April 7, 2009, 23:29 GMT

    The last time I posted, I was laughing so much, that I forgot to post what I wanted to - Mohd Azharuddin should qualify too, he had an uncanny ability to score 20 or less (I think well over 40% of his innings in Tests), while he also had some really amazing knocks. It could be argued that there were "other, more remunerative reasons" for that, but it is high unpredictability from a real classy batsman. Then of course, there's Kris Srikkanth, one doesn't need to dig up statistics for that, it's just a given!

    Not to belabor the droll argument that many of us seem to be engaging in with GK, but I did take offense to his statement about my lack of knowledge of the Harbinger in Chief of Suffering. Er.. he did hold that role, but not before his stint as the harbinger, it was actually between stints, and we all know how that works, although I'll admit, he managed to not screw that up.

  • Dim Rat on April 7, 2009, 19:09 GMT

    i thot u said the rest of ur XI will be released today (tuesday) ??!! I WANT MY XI DAMMIT!!!

  • mahesh on April 7, 2009, 14:58 GMT

    to me ... u r the ultimate selector and u will have my vote at all times irrespective of your personal cricketing record :)

    i for one cannot wait for the nation by nation review of 08-09 ... especially england :)

  • adarsh on April 7, 2009, 11:09 GMT

    not so good article and one expected from andy nothing interesting or funny

  • Kris on April 7, 2009, 8:30 GMT

    Brilliant article, great metaphors (not everyday you write that on cricinfo) cant wait for todays :)

    How about Michael Vaughan? That purple patch he went through in '02 always promised to come back, but alas it never quite arrived

  • Longmemory on April 7, 2009, 7:02 GMT

    Just that one line about Sehwag-the-Formula-1 racecar driver was worth the price of admission. Irresistible idea, this. Befitting my moniker (Longmemory), I nominate a certain Salim Durrani for the all-time unpredictable list. Once winked out Sobers and Lloyd in a matter of a few balls with his left-arm spin to win India a famous test in the West Indies. Known to clobber spinners out of the park because the spectators wanted a sixer - and at other times, threw away his wicket because it all seemed pointless to him. Besides Durrani, another for this list would be Wasim Raja. I remember he once made 13 runs in a test in the Windies - with two sixes. Exciting, fabulous cricketer. Its guys like Durrani, Raja, Sehwag, Keith Miller, Srikkanth, and many on Andy's list who make the game worth watching. I see Andy's point - its hard to stay with "unpredictable" and not veer off into "characters" when making this list. Maybe another one for the all-time "Loony Lot"?

  • Mat on April 7, 2009, 2:58 GMT

    By the way GK, the fact that George W had a higher approval rating in a foreign country should tell you something. The more people knew about him, the less they approved of him.

    Now that I think about it, you weren't a speech-writer for Bush or Rummy were you?

    Sorry to all the sane people on this blog, I really wanted to focus on the cricket, but I just couldn't resist that one.

  • Mat on April 7, 2009, 2:54 GMT

    Get your hand off it GK. George W was also head of a fairly large corporation before he was President. Please don't tell me that makes him a genius? Anyhow, why are you so fixated on this one line (although, it was a corker!)? You're not related to Rummy are you? Are you sure you're even reading the right blog? Did you just type "Rumsfeld" search engine in the hope of finding the "Disgruntled Far-Right Monthly"? Anyhow, back to reality.... Andy, you've certainly put yourself into bat on a juicy greentop in humid conditions (ala Nasser in Brisbane) with this choice of topic. It's almost impossible to pick, although the link between unpredictable and entertaining is unmistakable. Is Harmy going to be in your bowling line-up? Or does his home vs away issue make him entirely predictable?

  • Mick on April 7, 2009, 2:11 GMT

    Loving these teams Andy! I would like to nominate Stuart Macgill for the spinners spot. Here was a bowler who could bowl 3 long hops, 2 full tosses, and a magnificent wicket taking ball every over!

  • Suresh on April 7, 2009, 2:10 GMT

    GK,

    It is irrelevant what Bush's approval rating in India is. He had a 22% approval rating in his own country. If you knew anything about India, it is that we have always been pro US president especially (after the end of the cold war). And Indians have always preferred Republican presidents because they tend not to meddle in issues like Kashmir. The fact of the matter is that Bush was the worst president in US history. And for what its worth, Obama has a 90%+ approval rating around the world.

    I gotta admit that Andy Zaltman is growing on me. Easily one of the best decisions of the year by Cricinfo in letting him write a blog. Starting to go through some of your other work Andy. That space video is hilarious!

  • Cricket Maniac on April 7, 2009, 1:42 GMT

    Very hilarious. Thank you Andy for a powerful dose of clean humor. Wonderful writing, especially about Sehwag.

    GK - you should stop reading these articles, because you clearly do not get it. Take your comments somewhere else on a political blog.

  • Rashid on April 6, 2009, 23:45 GMT

    Good work andy. Waiting for more. it better be tomorrow ;)

  • GK on April 6, 2009, 22:19 GMT

    "Rummy, is clearly incapable of coherent thought,"

    er..he was the CEO of a major corporation (USX) before being Secretary of Defense. Shows how much you know.

    You might be interested to know that George W. Bush has an approval rating in India of 60%, much higher than even the US.

  • SP on April 6, 2009, 18:47 GMT

    GK is a moron. Good article Andy!!!

  • faisal afsar khan on April 6, 2009, 16:44 GMT

    I am waiting for Afridi and may be shoaib akhtar is there. you never know about his fitness and other sort of things. I think Pakistan XI can solely replace this unpredictable(or inconsistent) XI. It is famous for Pakistan team that "they are consistantly inconsistant". :)

  • Maragadhavalli Marthandam on April 6, 2009, 16:40 GMT

    Your comment - "And if Donald Rumsfeld had been a cricket coach instead of a professional harbinger of suffering, he would have marked Sehwag down as a “known unknown”." is absolutely hilarious, but isn't exactly logical. Rummy, is clearly incapable of coherent thought, so he could not have classified Sehwag as a 'known unknown'.

  • Abhishek on April 6, 2009, 15:48 GMT

    Sridhar, nice observation... But Gautam Gambhir's was more of innings dictated by team needs and he showed that he could bat both ways.. In the second test, he played out time and here he was looking for quick runs to extend the lead. I guess that does not come under the purview of unpredictability. My opinion..

    Cheers, Abhi.

  • David on April 6, 2009, 14:16 GMT

    Good to see you get the joke, GK. "Cricket, satire, whimsy".

    Michael Vaughan's performance in the '02-'03 Ashes was brilliantly unpredictable. Two ducks, no fifties, three centuries.

  • Michael on April 6, 2009, 14:11 GMT

    Hi GK. If you inform yourself with The Bugle from Timesonline, you too will be made aware that Mr Zaltzman is qualified to be both politically correct and politically incorrect at the same time. Um, are you saying all British people, every single one, the Brits in general, or this particular Englishman is making you sad? Its not often I wished I was a Pom.

  • JV on April 6, 2009, 13:20 GMT

    GK, If you can not appreciate satire, stick to what you like, do not ridicule a genuinely funny, readable piece. I am not british and I do not particularly care about their history but I do appreciate and enjoy's Andy's hilarious blog.

  • Rahul on April 6, 2009, 13:16 GMT

    One name not being mentioned at all in any of the comments is Sunil Gavaskar. Here was a man who can score 36 not out in a 60 overs game chasing 320 odd runs and at the same time completely destroy the Kiwi bowling with one of the fastest centuries of those times, both incidentally in World Cups. To me those 2 innings should be considered the most contrasting of all from a man considered as one of the greatest batsmen of his era.

  • Will Justicebedone on April 6, 2009, 12:53 GMT

    Perhaps fewer foreigners would obsess over American politics if American politicians spent less time obsessing over foreign countries. Given that they tend to express their obsession using tanks, bombs and chemical weapons, a little mild sarcasm hardly seems disproportionate.

    Incidentally, Britain used to be great because of the military exploitation of much of the world. Until the Iraq debacle we were finally learning to stand on our own two feet. That is something to take pride in.

  • James Aldous on April 6, 2009, 12:31 GMT

    GK: This is a satirical blog. The Rumsfeld comment was *clearly* said in jest and made a valid point about Sehwag's batting.

    As for the article itself, I still stand by your initial selections for 1-5. Pietersen can be England's best and most destructive batsman, but then he can look especially village at times. No shot epitomizes that more than his switch hit.

    Looking forward to the rest of your squad, Andy. Will make for an interesting and delightfully funny read, as always!

  • EG on April 6, 2009, 12:22 GMT

    GK, you appear to be suffering a lazy typing finger - it must have dragged you to this blog by accident. Please revert to the intended site where you can take yourself seriously before the rest of us fools suffer your rash of sensitivity too! I fear it may be contagious? Enjoy your day.

  • Graeme E on April 6, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    GK - i think you came to the wrong meeting - the racial generalisations and humourless meeting is in room 12. Andy, great column - Steve Waugh would surely oust Graham Gooch as captain of the bad to good test cricketers side though.

  • Ankur Aggarwal on April 6, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    massive article...looking fwd to world reliable XI and most out-of-character performance.

  • Andrew on April 6, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    Cheer up GK, I can only assume you got out of the wrong side of your bed this morning. Keep up the excellent blog work Andy.

  • Sridhar on April 6, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    One for your unpredictable performance list: Gautam Gambhir 2nd test vs NZ at Napier 137 runs in 642 mins and 436 ball SR:31.12 3nd test vs NZ at Wellington 167 runs in 357 mins and 242 ball SR:65

  • D.V.C. on April 6, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    Andy, with regards Mercury that's not all! As a scientist (albeit one not currently attired in a gleaming white lab coat) I feel obliged to tell you that if we turn up the temperature a bit, other metals can become liquids too. Just as well really, otherwise we wouldn't have cast Iron.

    How this relates to cricket I'm not sure. Perhaps, I should finish by suggesting some scientific measure of inconsistency. Standard deviation comes to mind, but given the nature of batting maybe it's not the most useful. So, this is surely a matter that deserves further research. If you would be kind enough to fund said research, I would be more than happy to perform it for you. Though, in the interests of unpredictability, I might just as well spend the money on building a house out of copies of Wisden - that's the risk you take.

  • Loaf on April 6, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    GK - are you for real - is that all you got out of that article - what are you even doing on a cricket website....

  • sumit on April 6, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    Typical. Your blog on unpredictability is so predictably funny!! I was ronfl, lmao then lmfao ..and if the article had run another 100 words I'd probably have lmfdo too and you would have had to answer to my unborn children!

    In keeping with the spirit of unpredictability you should try being unfunny next time. Perhaps write Part 2 in the form of a haiku composed during an AIG board meeting!

    ..and GK you are a jack-ass. Rummie and his ilk are a boil on the global butt - which is why the entire globe wants to drive thin, sharp needles into their beings. We'd love it if they only gave americans pain, no really we would!

  • Hamish on April 6, 2009, 8:37 GMT

    GK is a troll, Andy. Don't listen to him, and keep up the good work.

  • akk on April 6, 2009, 8:23 GMT

    i love the chanderpaul comment. i think dwelling in to his career will produce astonishing, mindboggling statistics

  • GK on April 6, 2009, 7:21 GMT

    Donald Rumsfeld is a harbinger of suffering? Stick to cricket, it is what you know.

    It is sad that British people obsess over political figures in another country who are not even heads of state and have been out of office for over two years. It is hard to believe that Britain was once great and proud in its own right.

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  • GK on April 6, 2009, 7:21 GMT

    Donald Rumsfeld is a harbinger of suffering? Stick to cricket, it is what you know.

    It is sad that British people obsess over political figures in another country who are not even heads of state and have been out of office for over two years. It is hard to believe that Britain was once great and proud in its own right.

  • akk on April 6, 2009, 8:23 GMT

    i love the chanderpaul comment. i think dwelling in to his career will produce astonishing, mindboggling statistics

  • Hamish on April 6, 2009, 8:37 GMT

    GK is a troll, Andy. Don't listen to him, and keep up the good work.

  • sumit on April 6, 2009, 9:12 GMT

    Typical. Your blog on unpredictability is so predictably funny!! I was ronfl, lmao then lmfao ..and if the article had run another 100 words I'd probably have lmfdo too and you would have had to answer to my unborn children!

    In keeping with the spirit of unpredictability you should try being unfunny next time. Perhaps write Part 2 in the form of a haiku composed during an AIG board meeting!

    ..and GK you are a jack-ass. Rummie and his ilk are a boil on the global butt - which is why the entire globe wants to drive thin, sharp needles into their beings. We'd love it if they only gave americans pain, no really we would!

  • Loaf on April 6, 2009, 9:13 GMT

    GK - are you for real - is that all you got out of that article - what are you even doing on a cricket website....

  • D.V.C. on April 6, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    Andy, with regards Mercury that's not all! As a scientist (albeit one not currently attired in a gleaming white lab coat) I feel obliged to tell you that if we turn up the temperature a bit, other metals can become liquids too. Just as well really, otherwise we wouldn't have cast Iron.

    How this relates to cricket I'm not sure. Perhaps, I should finish by suggesting some scientific measure of inconsistency. Standard deviation comes to mind, but given the nature of batting maybe it's not the most useful. So, this is surely a matter that deserves further research. If you would be kind enough to fund said research, I would be more than happy to perform it for you. Though, in the interests of unpredictability, I might just as well spend the money on building a house out of copies of Wisden - that's the risk you take.

  • Sridhar on April 6, 2009, 9:31 GMT

    One for your unpredictable performance list: Gautam Gambhir 2nd test vs NZ at Napier 137 runs in 642 mins and 436 ball SR:31.12 3nd test vs NZ at Wellington 167 runs in 357 mins and 242 ball SR:65

  • Andrew on April 6, 2009, 10:22 GMT

    Cheer up GK, I can only assume you got out of the wrong side of your bed this morning. Keep up the excellent blog work Andy.

  • Ankur Aggarwal on April 6, 2009, 10:50 GMT

    massive article...looking fwd to world reliable XI and most out-of-character performance.

  • Graeme E on April 6, 2009, 11:33 GMT

    GK - i think you came to the wrong meeting - the racial generalisations and humourless meeting is in room 12. Andy, great column - Steve Waugh would surely oust Graham Gooch as captain of the bad to good test cricketers side though.