July 18, 2011


No Sehwag, no cricket?

Andy Zaltzman


The average duration, in number of balls faced, of Indian opening partnerships in which Virender Sehwag has been involved.

Also: The average duration, in number of balls faced, of Indian opening partnerships since 2000 in which Virender Sehwag has not been involved. Thus, whether or not the Delhi d'Artagnan is playing, the first Indian wicket falls on average in the middle of the 13th over of an innings. When he is playing, the average score at the fall of that wicket is 54-1. Without him, it is 34-1 - and the opening partnership run rate drops from 4.3 per over to 2.75 per over. (And bear in mind that Sehwag had to open with Sanjay Bangar ten times, so those figures could be even more divergent.)

Also: The percentage of the 12 fastest recorded Test innings of over 100 by Indian openers which has been scored by Sehwag - nine of the 12, including the fastest five. He has also blasted three of the four Test innings of over 200 to have been scored at more than a run a ball (the other being Nathan Astle's Krakatoan 222 against England in 2001-02).

Also: The number of times per day Andrew Strauss whispers "yippee" under his breath when thinking about Sehwag missing at least the first two Tests due to injury. From a cricket-lover's perspective, could the entire series not be postponed until he is better? Sehwag hasn't played a Test here for nine years. Come on, cricket. In that time, Simon Katich has played 12 Tests in England, Imran Farhat nine and Devon Smith eight. Is that justice, cricket? Must England-based cricket supporters be deprived of at least two Tests of Sehwag just because of some pre-arranged schedule or other, so-called "TV contracts" having been signed, and tickets having been foolishly sold without checking whether one of cricket's greatest ever entertainers and risk-takers was going to be fit?

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

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Andy Zaltzman
Andy Zaltzman was born in obscurity in 1974. He has been a sporadically-acclaimed stand-up comedian since 1999, and has appeared regularly on BBC Radio 4. He is currently one half of TimesOnline's hit satirical podcast The Bugle, alongside John Oliver. Zaltzman's love of cricket outshone his aptitude for the game by a humiliating margin. He once scored 6 in 75 minutes in an Under-15 match, and failed to hit a six between the ages of 9 and 23. He would have been ideally suited to Tests, had not a congenital defect left him unable to play the game to anything above genuine village standard. He writes the Confectionery Stall blog on Cricinfo.

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