Life @ISB Personal

The year that was…

So I thought that I would do a customary year end review of the year that passed by in, what seemed, like a flash!

Professionally it was a mixed one. I was selected for a conference and I could not attend it due to visa issues. I took a sabbatical to complete the MBA. A lot of people from the team I was a part of have since quit, and it would be almost like joining a new place. The job search here at ISB has not started in earnest, but the things are looking positive so far and I think it will be a good 2010 for all of us on that front.

The biggest news was the ISB admit. After a lot of consideration, I decided that I wanted to join, and boy am I glad. The time here so far has been brilliant. Met a lot of new folks, made some life long friends, and learnt a lot of new stuff. In between the hectic schedule, also found a lot of time to party!! I know I will carry some fond memories from here even though I have spent very little time here. Special mention here for my study groupies – Kirti, Malavika, Megha, and Sunil – you guys were awesome. Almost forgot my quaddies here – Sam, Avin, and Raj – keep rocking!!

Another big change was that a lot of close friends decided to join the dark side to get married. Misra and Parul, Sudeep and Divs, Yatharth and Akanksha, and Kaustubh and Shubbu jumped on the marriage bandwagon. Congratulations and best of luck all of ya!! A few others are joining it in 2010 and the trend seems to be on the upswing ­čÖé

One major upside of all the marriages was meeting all the friends after a long time and loads of fun was had. Misra’s wedding trip was one I will never forget all my life!! The look on Sudeep’s face when Thax flew down for his wedding was another priceless moment.

As Misra RTed one of his friends –

Beginning of the decade – Started college, making new friends and aspiring for a great job! End of the decade, still doing the same! Life comes a full circle.

Happy New Year people!! May it bring joy, happiness, and health to you and your loved ones!!

Crib Cricket

Does India deserve to be number one!

There has been a lot of nonsense written about why India does not deserve to be the best test team in the ICC Rankings. Example here. There have been a lot of rebuttals as well. Example here. This post is yet another rebuttal of the same.

Let’s look at batting for a while. In the past three years, starting 01 Jan 2007, five of the top ten run scorers in the Test format, excluding runs scored against Bangladesh, Zimbabwe, and WI, have been from India. SL, SA, Australia, England, and WI have one each in the top 10. Not too bad I would say. Even the great Ricky Ponting is on the 15th step, which really makes you wonder why no one calls him over the hill anymore, but I digress. A team that has the best batsmen of the last three years must have something in it.

Rank Player Country Mat Inns Runs HS Ave SR 100 50
1 V Sehwag India 21 38 2137 319 57.75 91.52 5 7
2 SR Tendulkar India 26 47 2126 160 50.61 54.96 6 12
3 DPMD Jayawardene SL 18 31 2081 275 74.32 52.06 7 6
4 VVS Laxman India 29 50 2053 200* 52.64 49.86 4 15
5 JH Kallis SA 22 39 2009 186 55.80 49.50 8 9
6 MJ Clarke Aus 24 40 1983 145* 55.08 51.33 7 10
7 R Dravid India 29 54 1966 177 40.12 41.07 4 11
8 S Chanderpaul WI 22 37 1933 147* 71.59 42.06 7 13
9 G Gambhir India 14 27 1869 206 71.88 50.91 7 7
10 KP Pietersen Eng 22 40 1830 152 46.92 55.92 7 3
11 KC Sangakkara SL 17 29 1793 192 64.03 56.03 7 7
12 SC Ganguly India 21 41 1761 239 47.59 59.01 3 9
13 AJ Strauss Eng 22 40 1757 177 45.05 45.45 5 8
14 HM Amla SA 22 40 1730 176* 48.05 47.51 5 11
15 RT Ponting Aus 24 41 1699 150 42.47 60.78 4 11

Now for the bowling. The list is much more evenly distributed this this. Three of the top ten bowlers, with same filters as above, are from India, with SA claiming another three, Australia two, and England and SL one each. Though bowling still remains a concern for the Indians, it is no better for the other teams. SA is arguably the strongest in this department, but then with Steyn injured and Ntini fading quickly, they might not enjoy the same status for long.

Rank Player Country Mat Inns Overs Mdns Runs Wkts Ave Econ SR 5 10
1 Harbhajan Singh India 23 41 1209.5 182 3465 105 33 2.86 69.1 4 1
2 MG Johnson Aus 23 44 942.4 168 2937 104 28.24 3.11 54.3 3 1
3 DW Steyn SA 17 32 598.2 107 2119 96 22.07 3.54 37.3 7 3
4 Z Khan India 22 40 821.4 168 2640 83 31.8 3.21 59.3 4 0
5 JM Anderson Eng 22 41 839.4 174 2867 82 34.96 3.41 61.4 4 0
6 M Ntini SA 22 42 724.5 142 2527 76 33.25 3.48 57.2 3 0
7 A Kumble India 18 33 902.3 147 2767 72 38.43 3.06 75.2 2 0
8 PL Harris SA 22 37 828 172 2290 71 32.25 2.76 69.9 3 0
9 B Lee Aus 15 30 612 117 1941 67 28.97 3.17 54.8 2 0
10 M Muralitharan SL 15 25 808.4 123 2381 67 35.53 2.94 72.4 4 1
11 Danish Kaneria Pak 13 25 759.4 124 2278 62 36.74 2.99 73.5 2 0
12 RJ Sidebottom Eng 14 25 582 140 1573 60 26.21 2.7 58.2 4 1
13 FH Edwards WI 18 32 507.3 61 2020 59 34.23 3.98 51.6 4 0
14 MS Panesar Eng 20 33 782 141 2305 58 39.74 2.94 80.8 2 0
15 CS Martin NZ 18 32 652.2 142 2061 57 36.15 3.15 68.6 0 0

The thing to note is that this data is for a three year period, and not for a one off year. So its not really a flash in the pan, but rather some sustained good performances by the Indian team. During this period, India has played an almost equal number of tests home (15) and away (14), so there is no real home advantage for the team.

I know that statistics don’t really tell everything, but they do tell you a few things, and what it does tell here is that India really has been a world’s best team for the past couple of years, even though SA are right on their tails.

All data from Cricinfo’s Statsguru. Batting and Bowling.

Life @ISB

Staying Alive…

Has been a long time since I wrote anything. Have been just too tied up with loads of stuff to think about writing. The sleep cycle has gone for a toss, and I don’t at times know what day of the week it is. The rescheduling of classes has just made the task that much more difficult.

However, it is in times like this that some totally unexpected thing happens and pleasantly surprises you. One such thing was the surprise thrown for Nikhil (batchmate) and his wife for their wedding. Complete baarat with ghodi and band baaja. Totally loved it. Sohel and Sarosh – kick ass work folks!!

More details on ISBWeblog.


Microsoft has thrown the gauntlet!

If you thought that the search engine wars were settled, with Yahoo! laying down arms, you couldn’t be farther from the truth. Rupert Murdoch reignited the battle saying that he could de-index the WSJ and other content providers from Google. Now Microsoft (MS) has gone a step ahead and offered New Corp money to provide exclusive content for Bing.

Will this lead to more such players providing exclusive content on certain search engines? Personally, I don’t think so. Google won’t take this lying down, and given that it retains a large share of web searches, more content providers would want to be listed on Google (for lower money) than Bing. Ultimately we might have two major search engines with one having more content than the other – which one would it be is anyone’s guess. MS has a lot of money to throw at the search business but Google is no slouch itself. If they end up paying a lot, they are only going to hurt themselves. Also, I am not sure if MS would fight as much for search, which is still a small part there entire biz, unlike Google.

While it is not inconceivable that the search engines might have to pay the content providers some money, I do not foresee it being a huge amount. Search still remains, along with social networking, the killer application of the internet.

Whatever may be the outcome, MS has thrown the gauntlet and I bet Google is just about to respond!!


Sometimes, slow is good!

What is common to Dravid, Riquelme, and Sergio Leone? A sense of perfect timing.

If you watch Dravid bat you would realize that he plays the ball like he has all the time in the world. Let alone his defensive ones, even his scoring shots are played with elegance that are on a different plane than those around him. His hooks and pulls are not hurried, unlike other Indian batsmen. There is clam and equanimity in his style of playing.

Riquelme played with a charm not seen for almost a decade. In a fast paced modern game, he was a throw back to the times where skill mattered more than speed. He controlled the ball and created opportunities others could not sense. From a post on the Guardian,

In many ways, he is the closest thing football has to a quarterback, the most influential and glamorous position in American sport. The quarterback is the creator, the player who invents the game as he goes along. If it means passing back or sideways, in order to progress, so be it. Because what Riquelme has, above all else, is patience, the very quality Leo Beenhakker, the veteran Dutch coach of Trinidad & Tobago, says England, so hurried and committed to the long ball, palpably lack.

If you watch a Sergio Leone movie, you will understand that long movies are not boring. A 10 minute shoot out scene with only one bullet being fired is as fast and tense as the Matrix II bike chase scene! A long drawn shot of Eastwood staring at Van Cleef can be very interesting. It seems like the entire world has slowed down, and you can now focus on the action in the middle.

Slow is not always boring. Slow can be elegance. Slow can be precision. Slow can be like symphony!