Reviews, Opinions, Analyses, Stats and Numbers

Most World Cups

Shahid Khan Afridi is set to become only the 5th Pakistani to have appeared in 5 World Cups or more. He is going to join the elite list of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Inzamam ul Haq with 5 appearances each. Javed Miandad appeared in 6 editions and shares the record for appearing in the most World Cups by any player with Sachin Tendulkar.

Ponting, Lara, Jayasuria, Kallis, Aravinda DeSilva, Ranatunga, Chanderpaul and Muralitharan also appeared in 5 World Cups. From the minor/non-Test Playing nations, Thomas Odoyo and Steve Tikolo represented Kenya in 5 editions as well.

From Pakistan, Saleem Malik and Ijaz Ahmed are the only other players to have represented Pakistan in 4 World Cups while Saeed Anwar, Shoaib Akhtar, Abdul Razzaq, Ramiz Raja, Saqlain Mushtaq, Waqar Younus, Mohammad Yousuf, Azhar Mahmood, Zaheer Abbas, Sarfaraz Nawaz, Wasim Bari and Mudassar Nazar appeared in 3 World Cups each.

From the current players, only Younus Khan has appeared in 3 World Cups while Kamran AKmal, Umar Gul and Mohammad Hafeez have   appeared in the World Cup twice before.
Here's a list of International players with most number of World Cup appearances.
PlayerSpanWorld CupsMat
SR Tendulkar (India)1992-2011645
Javed Miandad (Pak)1975-1996633
Wasim Akram (Pak)1987-2003538
TM Odoyo (Kenya)1996-2011525
ST Jayasuriya (SL)1992-2007538
SO Tikolo (Kenya)1996-2011528
S Chanderpaul (WI)1996-2011531
RT Ponting (Aus)1996-2011546
PA de Silva (SL)1987-2003535
M Muralitharan (SL)1996-2011540
JH Kallis (SA)1996-2011536
Inzamam-ul-Haq (Pak)1992-2007535
Imran Khan (Pak)1975-1992528
BC Lara (WI)1992-2007534
A Ranatunga (SL)1983-1999530
WPUJC Vaas (SL)1996-2007431
SR Waugh (Aus)1987-1999433
SP Fleming (NZ)1996-2007433
SM Pollock (SA)1996-2007431
Saleem Malik (Pak)1987-1999427
RS Mahanama (SL)1987-1999425
N Kapil Dev (India)1979-1992426
M Azharuddin (India)1987-1999430
JN Rhodes (SA)1992-2003424
J Srinath (India)1992-2003434
Ijaz Ahmed (Pak)1987-1999429
HP Tillakaratne (SL)1992-2003424
GD McGrath (Aus)1996-2007439
DPMD Jayawardene (SL)1999-2011433
DL Haynes (WI)1979-1992425
CZ Harris (NZ)1992-2003428
CL Cairns (NZ)1992-2003428
AR Border (Aus)1979-1992425
AJ Stewart (Eng)1992-2003425
AA Donald (SA)1992-2003425
A Flower (Zim)1992-2003430
Shahid Afridi (Pak)1999-2011420
IVA Richards (WI)1975-1987423
IT Botham (Eng)1979-1992422
GA Gooch (Eng)1979-1992421
ADR Campbell (Zim)1992-2003419
SM Gavaskar (India)1975-1987419
CA Walsh (WI)1987-1999417

Perfect series before the World Cup

Well done PCB, selection committee and team management in utilizing the last series before the World Cup in best possible way and taking all the daring steps for the future. All experiments done, all monkeys (off the shoulder) tested and all such arguments and theories put to rest that could have effected the team moral and unity in the future.
Now just have to apply the conclusions and learning of this series into the World Cup and not to repeat these experiments there. A few long term take aways of the series:
1. Younus and Asad Shafiq can watch the World Cup anywhere except Pakistan dressing room.
2. M Hafeez can still be kept in the team only as a batsman as well.
3. The inclusion of Fawad and Suhaib in the WC is now a no-brainer.
4. Haris Sohail is here to stay and can be very handy with the ball; can provide an able support to our spin trio of Afridi, Ajmal and M Hafeez even if the two get cleared to bowl. With Fawad and Ahmad Shahazad also being able to bowl, that makes more than enough howling options for the tournament.
5. Misbah can continue as the captain. Afridi’s appointment as a captain is not going to turn it around for Pakistan just for the sake of it.
6. Afridi CAN play sensibly if enough incentive is on offer and when is motivated and handled properly. Keep the ear plugs on.
7. Irfan is fit enough to go the distance. Wahab and Tanvir can fight for a slot and then Anwar, Bhatti and Junaid can fight for the rest of the slots for the pacer(s).
8. We still need to find a batsman who can bowl medium pace instead of spin for the pitches where 4 pacers are required. Bhatti and Anwar simply aren’t that reliable in batting to fill that slot. Not even Tanvir.
9. Sarfaraz is settled in the team and no need for Umar Akmal to keep wickets. He can be used both as an opener as well as “batting power play specialist” when required.
10. The same support staff and management can continue till the World Cup. No need for any changes there.

Cricket and Technology

December 11, 2014

DRS, no DRS. Hawk Eye, no Hawk Eye, Snicko, no Snicko. Heat map, no Heat map. Review, not to Review.
In recent times, all these questions have made Cricket, already perceived a complex and confusing game, even more confusing and complicated for not only super loyal fans but players as well. Now, as soon as a decision making event happens in Cricket, the first question that comes to mind is not of out or not out but which of the technology tools are available. Add the usual adventure of some players with known lack of knowledge of the rules of the game and you often end up having either a funny or a frustrating few minutes in the middle of the game.

Whether Technology should be used to assist decision making in Cricket or not? and to what extent? It has become such an infinite and never ending debate that has welcomed everyone to have an opinion about it.

I am all for Technology. Technology has changed the way we look at, feel, hear and say in our everyday life. It has changed the way we operate our lives so why shouldn't it change the way we operate Cricket. In this day and age where technology has drastically improved the ability of common people to see, hear and interpret the events around them, how could one expect anyone to be watching the game in the same old pre-1990 era -- where the Technology was insufficient to enhance the experience of TV audience so too of the umpires -- and so whatever the umpire said was final. I remember the time when even broadcasters used to have cameras only one side of the pitch not 11 cameras at a time today to even monitor the events happening at the boundary lines.

Another reason why Technology should be involved in decision making is that Cricket is not left to men in the ground any more. Gone are the days, when only captain, coach, selection committee and boards used to have a say in the career of a Cricketer. In this Information Age, every spectator has a say. Any one of them can hop on social media to examine any event in the game, talk about it and if required, speculate and crib about it. The prime tool under his use is nothing but Technology. Such chain of events often end up in the poor umpires getting all kinds of criticism and bashing. It looks absolutely unfair for an umpire to have one shot, that too on normal speed with one angle, to make a decision that could then be assessed and examined by billions of eyes having the luxury of all kinds of technologies to make their decision, say perception. It should be a level playing field for all - even for both the umpires and audience so that the criticism can be diverted more towards the ability of decision making rather than lack of technology.


The next question is how the technology should be used? What should be the modus operandi to involve Technology in decision making? The current method of players asking the umpire to review his own decision sounds extremely illogical. That happens when either team gestures to the umpire that they do not agree with the umpires judgment and want to take help of the technology that the poor umpire himself did not have in the first place. They could have at least called it "Third Umpire Review" or "Technology Review" or anything. They tried to brush it up a bit by taking out U (Umpire) from the DRS (Decision Review System), as if someone else also makes decisions in Cricket but it still sound rebellious and disrespectful to umpires, to an extent.

I see a logical flaw in the concept of players challenging a decision. Players never stay stationary or focused on decision making. Their focus is always to act, not to watch the activity. Its the umpire who is meant to be there with all his focus on decision making rather than bowling, fielding, catching, throwing playing or chasing the ball. If that dedicated person can't get a decision right then how come one or many other players who are there primarily to play, not make decisions, can make the right calls? If an umpire having the best position in and outside the field to judge an LBW can make an error then how come a keeper standing behind and moving around, or any slipper or any other fielder can even speculate about the decision.

The primary objective of DRS was to eliminate howlers but howlers don't come in predefined numbers like once in an ODI innings, twice in 80 overs in a Test innings. This approach doesn't make it a mechanism to eliminate howlers but more an attempt to stop the players from cribbing about the wrong decisions. Its more like, you could have got the right decision but you know what, it's your mistake that you didn't keep a review for this time. On one side, howlers are untapped once they happen after all reviews are consumed and on the other side, it has also added the unnecessary delay and drama on the field.

Avoidance of time wastage and delays is what has been told as the primary reason behind limiting the number of reviews. But what about all those cases where players confer and then decide not to review. Doesn't it waste equal amount of time?
I simply fail to understand why the same mechanism be applied to LBW, caught and other decisions that has been there for run out, stumpings, doubtful catches and boundary decisions? Yes, players do seem to request for it sometimes but it's purely an umpire's call when to use technology and refer to the third umpire for any decision. The mechanism has been there for decades now and that is the mechanism that has taken out the howlers from the game for those particular kinds of decisions. Do we still witness bizarre run out or stumping decisions? Who ensures that? If the umpires can handle that then why can't they handle all of that.


Then comes the interesting point about the accuracy of technology and which one to use and when. Like all other aspects of life, Technology can augment human intelligence but can never supersede it. There's simply no Technology that is 100% accurate and reliable. Machines simply lack human intelligence and artificial intelligence can work most but not all of the times. That does not mean Technology is useless. Its use is most beneficial when used to aid human intelligence not to compete with it. Technology can show you hot spots on the bat but you will always need a human to identify if it's because of ball hitting the bat or it is because of bat hitting something else. Same goes for Snicko and other technologies as well.

In principle, Technology should be used and all available technologies but it's use should be to assist the umpires in making the right decision instead of being used to challenge or undermine the umpires. The decision of when to use which Technology should be left to the umpires instead of players making those calls.

Let's equip the umpires better and let them do their job and let players focus on their job too - that is to play not to make or review decisions. Lets simplify it and move on and let us all concentrate on the beauty of the game that we all love instead of getting lost into the technicalities of the technology.

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Discussion about ICC Rankings Update