Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Movies Roundup 2013

And we've come to the end of yet another year and time to look back at what the silver screen had to offer. Saw a fair number of movies, and like in 2009, 2010, 2011, & 2012 made a quick note of initial thoughts and a rating on 10, purely on how much I enjoyed it. As always, very keen to hear your thoughts and exchange some notes. Welcome 2014 and let the show go on!

Let's start with the usual stats:

Year     # Seen Hindi:English:Bangla   Top Rating      Avg. Rating
2007     32               22:10:0                           9.0             5.78
2008     30               23:7:0                             8.5             6.35
2009     24               18:6:0                             9.0             6.85
2010     25               16:9:0                             8.5             6.62
2011     22               15:6:1                             8.5             6.77
2012     28               12:11:5                           9.0             7.33
2013     28               14:14:0                           9.0             7.12

Top honours go to (only movies watched in theatres):           

5. Gravity

4. Madras Cafe

3. The Impossible

2. Raanjhanaa

1. Prisoners  

All images courtesy of Wikipedia

Below you will find the detailed tweet reviews with links to original tweets, and also the Google Document with the completed data (the ones with the asterisk* were seen at home)

The Impossible - Makes you wince, grimace & hope as a family encounters one of history's worst tragedies. Outstanding performances. 8.5/10
Vishwaroop - Just another Islamic terrorism movie with a fake OBL. Couldn't get what the fuss was all about. Shabby but thrilling. 6/10.
Matru Ki Bijli Ka Mandola - Yet to make up my mind about this, 5 days after watching it. Pankaj Kapur brilliant, storyline shaky. 7/10.
Zero Dark Thirty - Starts slow and a tad long at 2.5 hrs but a brilliant hour long build up and climax. Perfect blend of facts & drama. 8/10
Silver Linings Playbook - Serious cinema meets romantic comedy propped by powerhouse performances & strong script. With a RNBDJ twist:) 7/10
Beasts of the Southern Wildfantasy, heartbreak & hope packed in 90 minutes of brilliance. Quven is the best 6 year old you'll see. 8.5/10.
The Attacks of 26/11 - A horrifying & spine chilling cinematic depiction. -ves being the "filmy" OTT Kasab & Nana's preachy monologue. 7/10.
Go, Goa, Gone - macabre, absurd, slapstick but hilarious. One of the rare instances of a real 'hatke', with a message not overdone. 7.5/10
The Great Gatsby - The classic comes to life, with full justice to the grandeur and reverie of '20s America. A+ performances all round. 8/10
Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani - classic feel good, urban, Bollywood romantic comedy. Predictable, good looking and definitely watchable. 7/10.
Iron Man 3 - remains the funniest, most human superhero franchise. Never seen before scale. Ben Kingsley brilliant, as is RD Jr. 7.5/10
The Internship - Almost looked like Google's best marketing/recruiting material! Greatest tribute paid to a company. Proud. Nostalgic. 6/10.
Now You See Me - Hollywood's answer to Abbas-Mustan. Grand twists & suspension of disbelief, massive scale. Thoroughly entertaining. 7/10.
Raanjhnaa - Unconventional & heartwarming. Superb performances by Dhanush, SK & others. Strong story, iffy end, brilliant music. Watch. 8.5/10
Man of Steel - A good thing overdone, with the focus on style rather than substance. Not much of a plot but superb action sequences. 6/10.
Lootera - breathtaking, picturesque cinematography. Music that stays with you. Promising storyline that failed to deliver in the end. 6.5/10
Chennai Express - Unpretentious Bollywood (besides an out-of-place sermon), stretched climax, SRK recreating '90s humour & charm. 7.5/10.
Madras Cafe - A rare political thriller. Taut story-line backed by research. Brilliant camerawork. Solid performances by ensemble cast. 8.5/10
Prisoners - frightening & thrilling, you root for the characters & argue right vs wrong. Marvellous story telling, sounds & visuals. 9/10
Gravity - the greatest movie experience I've seen. Average storyline, consistent acting & extraordinary visuals, especially in IMAX 3D. 8.5/10
Captain Phillips- A tense drama, with power performances by Hanks, Barkhad Abdi & team. Bit stretched. Remains true to the incident. 7.5/10
Hunger Games: Catching Fire - Remains true to the series style & theme. Ups the emotional content. Jen shines yet again. Abrupt end. 6.5/10
Dhoom 3 - Aamir Khan's 1st "so-bad-that-it's-good" movie since Mela. Script's as weak as a kitten but some thrilling action scenes. 4.5/10
The Wolf of Wall Street - Stylish, hilarious, & takes its R rating seriously. Reminiscent of Great Gatsby. 1 hour too long. Do watch. 7.5/10

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Episode 3 - Enter The Metropolis [From P For Pheesh]

I have been writing a weekly column for the Bengal based site - http://maamatimanush.tv - started by Derek O'Brien and associates since August 2013. I will be reproducing those articles here in my personal blog too. Here's part 2. [Original link]
Every Kolkata taxi has a personal story to share with you and it does so through the ‘charms’ hanging from the rearview mirror, the miniature statues of idols and other paraphernalia on the dashboard carefully collected over years, and most importantly the cassettes (yes, they continue to live in these vehicles) that introduce you to the driver’s eclectic taste in music. While the scratchy music embraces you for the rest of the journey, the driver engages you with stories from his village or moffusil (a most favourite word in this part of the world) in Bihar, Jharkhand or Orissa. However, there are things that unite all of these black and yellow machines in their shared stories and that’s the unmistakable smell of rexine covered seats as soon as you enter, the rickety sounds the doors make whenever you close them or the taxi goes over a speed bump, the dirtiest piece of torn cloth, which had seen better days as a garment, tucked in the door by the driver’s side, or the ever popular “Jai Maa Kali” written in red letters on the ample behind of the car. 
Our taxi trundles out of the station compound, passing by the stalls with their charcoal stoves and narrow wooden benches getting ready for the lunch crowds to arrive. Every few minutes an overloaded yellow and red minibus with its destination stencilled in flowery fonts overtakes us. These are not manned by drivers, but by “pilots”. Don’t believe me? Check out the “pilot’s door” on any of these and put your doubts to rest. 
Dad would usually be sitting next to the driver in the front seat, with an air of authority over the roads of the city. My mom, sister and I would be sitting behind, suitably impressed with Dad yet again with that mighty skill every Bangali is proud of - knowing Kolkata’s roads and its millions of shortcuts. 
Although we would take the same route every time, the first view of the Ganga and the Howrah Bridge invariably drew a collective gasp inside the taxi. The ferries taking some of the late office goers into the city, across the watery lifeline of the capital. A few large ships floating around. Hundreds of bicycles, scooters, rickshaws, ‘thelas’, cars, buses and what not on the bridge. The sight never got old. 
We crossed the river. We entered the city. The faint winter humidity, sm

Saturday, November 02, 2013


Wish you all a very happy SRK Jayanti. May the festivities continue forever.

Having written these personal posts in 2005 and 2012, this year thought of looking at the star and his legacy. So the quizzer met the fan and here's what we have for you.

Sir & his ladies over the years

Call a star by any name he's still a star!

He's a hero, a super hero a mega hero and more

And this is how the years panned out

Feel free to play with the data here.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Episode 2 - Taxi & Beyond [From P For Pheesh]

I have been writing a weekly column for the Bengal based site - http://maamatimanush.tv - started by Derek O'Brien and associates since August 2013. I will be reproducing those articles here in my personal blog too. Here's part 2. [Original link]
For all the talk about the lazy Bangali enjoying life in slow motion with a cup of milky tea and the morning paper, Howrah Station is an anomaly. It is in a perennial state of motion. There's more energy and speed on the platforms than the trains that chug into the terminal. Standing on the platform feels like being in those fast forward scenes in the movies where things around one character seem to move at a much faster, almost cartoon like pace.
Once off the train, the usual sequence of events would be Dad following the coolie - who seemed to be in a constant rush to catch the next train, all the way out of the station. Mom holding on to me and my sister with both hands, bags strewn over all our shoulders, following in the blazing trail left behind by the coolie and Dad. Remember, this is much before the age of cordless telephones, let alone cellphones. One goods laden cart coming between us would mean losing sight of Dad, and a series of frantic Lost & Found announcements from the Inquiry office.
If this wasn't enough, the road to the taxi stand would be laden with the land-mines of private drivers – ever ready to take you anywhere from Belghoria to Bulgaria (lifted that from an old Kolkata newspaper tag-line) for free, and give you a chilled Frooti for the honour.
Finally, after tackling the crowds, keeping up with the Usain Bolt-Yohan Blake combination of the porter and my father, and tactfully dodging the driver's promises of flying chariots, we'd reach the official taxi queue - row after row of the iconic yellow ambassador taxis waiting for their passengers; the guy at the pre-paid taxi counter, playing his match-making role of assigning passengers to their correct cars with unparalleled efficiency and boredom.
The sun starts to get stronger in its fight against the wintry morning around this time of the day. The smoke from the nearby food stalls make the air thick, and the smells of the last shingara (samosas) and tele bhaja (vegetable fritters) from breakfast start to get replaced with the aroma of starchy steamed rice and the frying of the fish about to go into the curry.
We finally reached the front of the queue, paid the fare to Jadavpur and started to load our bags into the cavernous boot of a yellow pre-paid taxi...

Episode 1 - Let The Journey Begin [From P For Pheesh]

I have been writing a weekly column for the Bengal based site - http://maamatimanush.tv - started by Derek O'Brien and associates since August 2013. I will be reproducing those articles here in my personal blog too. Here's part 1. [Original link]

"Oh, Bangali? Which part of Kolkata are you from?"
If I got a taka (or Rupee as the rest of India likes to refer to the currency) for each time I was asked that question, I'd feature prominently in Bengal's wealthy list by now. Just to put it in perspective, 96% of West Bengal's 91 million residents live outside of its capital. I happen to be one of those 87 million.
Growing up in Asansol - a steel-coal-rail town of West Bengal on the Bengal-Jharkhand border, Kolkata was 'the city' for us. Almost all of us had relatives in Kolkata, and that meant at least one vacation a year to the epicenter of all energy. I particularly remember the winter holidays to my mashi's place in Jadavpur. We'd start preparing for the two hundred-odd kilometer trip with the fervour of a journey to the poles and back. It would be an early lights-out the night before, as we had to catch the Agneeveena Express (then called the Asansol Express) at 5:30 in the morning. The excitement peaked as the auto wallah rang the door-bell, piercing through the calm of the wintry morning. After taking up our reserved seats and more importantly, placing the luggage in a carefully chosen location so that it would be visible from all angles, the chaa-jhal muri breakfast would begin. If it was a weekday then once we crossed Durgapur the "daily-passengers" would start streaming in, taking up half a seat at the ends of the four benches facing each other, and then tie the ends of a handkerchief to whip up a quick fix bridge table. Barddhaman was the psychological mid-way mark, and once we crossed that station, the countdown for Howrah junction began.
As we crossed Liluah - the penultimate station, the beeline for the door would begin. Everyone would start guarding their bags and other accoutrements with an added zeal, remembering to check their pockets every now and then. No sooner than the platform appeared by the windows, the coolies in their red uniforms and metallic arm bands would swoop down into the compartments, swiftly ignoring the single men and going straight for their target audience - families with large suitcases.
Finally the train would come to a standstill, the mad rush to be the first to get down on the platform would begin, and the next part of the journey would start - getting a taxi.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Choke De Africa

Was reading yet another article about South Africa and the choker tag in multi-team tournament knock out games and did some quick and dirty research to confirm whether they really deserve the tag or have we been harsh on them for years. Didn't realize it was actually this bad! [All pictures courtesy ESPNCricinfo]
March 22, 1992. World Cup Semi-Final against England. Where it all started. OK, this was bad luck.

November 24, 1993 - Hero Cup Semi-Final against India. Magic of Sachin, the bowler.
March 11, 1996. World Cup Semi-Final against West Indies. Brian Lara's sublime century.
June 17, 1999. World Cup Semi-Final against Australia. That tie. That heartbreak.
October 13, 2000. ICC Knockout (Champions Trophy) Semi Final against India. Dada the giant Killer!
September 22, 2002. ICC Champions Trophy Semi-Final against India. When a 116 & 97 weren't enough against 261.
March 3, 2003. World Cup final league match. Versus Sri Lanka, Rains & Duckworth Lewis. Tie not good enough.
November 2, 2006. Champions Trophy Semi-Final against West Indies. Hit by Gayle Storn.

April 25, 2007. World Cup Semi-Final against Australia. No match for Mighty Aussies Class of '07.
March 25, 2011. World Cup Quarter Final against New Zealand. Insurmountable 221.
June 19, 2013. ICC Champions Trophy Semi Final against England. Too cold, perhaps?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Sachin At 40 - A Record of Records

Since he started playing for India, we added ~375 million citizens. If we made a country of just those who were born during this period (will be a larger number, accounting for the deaths) it would be the third largest country in the world. A country where every person grew up with a lot of uncertainties and changes, besides one. Sachin Tendulkar plays cricket. And plays it rather well.

As I join millions of others in wishing the right handed ODI opener a happy birthday, I thought of focusing on something that we love as a nation - records. Here's an extensive, but surely not exhaustive, list of records that the man has accumulated and broken over the years. These are almost entirely of statistical interest, not going to be led into any debated about how if anyone plays for this long he will end up having most of these records anyway. Also, there are plenty of more interesting records he holds which I have missed out on, if you can think of more please send them my way and I will add to the list. 

Test Matches:
Image Courtesy: Yahoo!

Highest No. of

Matches played (198). Followed by Ricky Ponting (168)

Runs scored  (15,837). Followed by Ricky Ponting (13,378)

100s scored  (51). Followed by Jacques Kallis (44)

50s scored  (67). Followed by Ricky Ponting (62)

90s scored (10). Jointly with Rahul Dravid & Steve Waugh

Innings batted (327). Followed by Ricky Ponting (287)

Balls Faced (21,367). Followed by Ricky Ponting (17,046)

100 partnerships (20, with Rahul Dravid). Followed by 16 (Gordon Greenidge & Desmond Haynes and Matthew Hayden & Ricky Ponting)

Partnership runs (6,920 with Rahul Dravid). Followed by 6,482 (Gordon Greenidge & Desmond Haynes)

Runs scored at any age during his career (besides at 27, Alistair Cook had 7,117 runs to Sachin's 6,720 when he turned 27). Sachin overtook Cook by the time he was 28 with 7,869 runs to Cook's 7,307.

1st Innings runs scored (5,608). Followed by Ricky Ponting (5,403)

2nd Innings runs scored (5,608**). Followed by Rahul Dravid (4,984)

100s scored in 2nd Innings  (18). Followed by Rahul Dravid (15)

4th innings runs scored (1,625). Followed by Rahul Dravid (1,575)

Runs scored away (8,705 ). Followed by Rahul Dravid (7,690)

100s scored away (29). Followed by Rahul Dravid (21)

50s scored away (36). Jointly by Rahul Dravid (36)

Image Courtesy: Times of India

Highest No. of

Matches played (463). Followed by Sanath Jayasuriya (445)

Runs scored  (18,426). Followed by Ricky Ponting (13,704)

100s scored  (49). Followed by Ricky Ponting (30)

50s scored  (96). Followed by Ricky Ponting (82)

90s scored (18). Followed by Nathan Astle, Grant Flower & Aravinda De Silve (9 each)

Innings batted (452). Followed by Sanath Jayasuriya (433)

100 partnerships (26, with Sourav Ganguly). Followed by 15 (Gordon Greenidge & Desmond Haynes)

Partnership runs (8,227 with Sourav Ganguly). Followed by 5,462 (Marvan Atapattu & Sanath Jayasuriya)

Single innings partnership (331, with Rahul Dravid). Followed by 318 (Rahul Dravid & Sourav Ganguly)

Runs scored at any age during his career after 23 years. (Shahid Afridi holds the records for the ages of 16-22)

1st Innings runs scored (9,706). Followed by Ricky Ponting (8,630)

100s scored in 1st Innings (32). Followed by Ricky Ponting (22)

2nd Innings runs scored (8,720). Followed by Sanath Jayasuriya (5,742)

100s scored in 2nd Inings scored (17). Followed by Chris Gayle (10)

Runs scored at home (6,976 ). Followed by Ricky Ponting (5,406)

100s scored at home (20). Followed by Ricky Ponting (13)

100s scored away (12). Followed by Sanath Jayasuriya (11)

Runs scored at neutral venues (6,385 ). Followed by Sanath Jayasuriya (5,463)

100s scored at neutral venues (17). Followed by Saeed Anwar (15)

Man of the Match awards (62). Followed by Sanath Jayasuriya (48)

Man of the Series awards (14). Followed by Sanath Jayasuriya (11)

World Cups
Image courtesy: Telegraph UK

Highest No. of

Runs scored  (2,278). Followed by Ricky Ponting (1,743)

100s scored  (6). Followed by Ricky Ponting (5)

50s scored  (15). Followed by Jacques Kallis (9)

90s scored (3). Jointly with Michael Clarke.

Innings batted (44). Followed by Ricky Ponting (42)

1st Innings runs scored (1,622). Followed by Ricky Ponting (1,177)

100s scored in 1st Innings (5). Jointly with Ricky Ponting (5)

Man of the Match awards (9). Followed by Glenn McGrath (6)


All of us must have been told at some time or the other to do anything, but to do it well. Sachin Tendulkar is perhaps one of the very few human beings who can confidently say he did one thing, and did it well. Here's wishing the Master a very happy 40th birthday!

NOTE: The only source for all records and stats was the redoubtable ESPN Cricinfo Statsguru

*All numbers valid as of April-24-2013

** Not a typo! He's actually scored the exact number of runs in the first innings (Tests) as in the second

Monday, April 22, 2013

Restaurant Review - Safari Njema (Kenyan Cuisine)

The fact that this place prompted me to review a restaurant after close to two years is endorsement enough for the experience, isn't it? 

+Veni and I moved to Seattle last August and have explored the Seattle food scene quite extensively. From the more talked about seafood joints in Pike Place Market to some of the best Puerto Rican & Mexican places in Ballard, from Indian buffets to a variety of brunch places all over the city. However, in terms of African food our experience so far was entirely limited to the more popular Ethiopian 'family combos' - their version of the thali, where everyone eats out of a large plate, with a Injera wheat bread serving as the base, along with different kinds of meat and vegetables.

This afternoon we made some amends to that by visiting this cosy, little Kenyan restaurant in Central District - Safari Njema. A quick Yelp search for African places had this in the top results, and the unanimous verdict seemed to be great people, great food, not-so-great speed of service.

Veni in front of Safari Njema
We were welcomed into the restaurant by George, a most friendly person, who we soon realized was wearing the hats of the manager, server and chef! He patiently took us through the menu, with some historical backgrounds of the items and made some recommendations as well.

A lion hearted menu!

The restaurant is painted in a very lively orange colour and the walls are adorned with traditional African paintings. In fact most of them are for sale, so you can have your food and take some art too. There's ample seating area and though it was empty when we arrived, well past lunch time in these parts of the world, while we were there quite a few regulars came in.

The brightly coloured interiors and the paintings
Then started the 45 minutes wait. We totally understand that running a restaurant all by oneself is no mean feat, but given it was close to 2:30 PM and we hadn't had any breakfast the hunger pangs were forcing mean thoughts into our heads! Sometime later the Chef - Jane Kagira and a young man - Eli - who started serving the tables and managing the cash counter, came in and provided George some much needed help. 

The first dish to arrive was the health drink, who's three letter name I can't remember for the life of me. It was like a very sour gruel, reminded me somewhat of the texture of barley, and Chef Jane informed us that it's made of millet, naturally fermented. Apparently it keeps the skin young and fresh.

The health drink whose name I forget. Shameful!
The entrees were completely worth the wait. The Samaki (deep fried Tialpia fish in a spicy, coconut gravy) was actually this massive, whole fish that came on the plate, far more macho than the usual fillets we are used to by now. Even by my exalted standards it managed to provide a worthy challenge. The homemade coconut gravy that came along with had this fantastic tangy and spicy feel to it, which further accentuated the tangy spices that was used to garnish the fish. The entree came along with Ugali (a form of African corn bread, was more like grits though) and Sukuma mix (collard greens and spinach). 

The fried Tialpia with collard greens and cornbread
The Mbusi (fried goat meat) was well cooked, and the meat was falling off the bones. I don't think we could recognize all the spices used in preparing the goat but all of them came together rather nicely and hit the spot. This was accompanied by some stir fried vegetables and African style French fries, which are not as crispy as the normal American ones.

The melt-in-your-mouth Goat meat and vegetables
The food was too delicious to remember that we were full by the halfway mark. It was a great introduction to a very exciting cuisine, incidentally with strong hints of Indian influence, by some of the most lovely people. And not to forget all of this at very affordable prices. A meal for two will come to ~$30-$40, all inclusive. We will definitely be back there in the near future.


Name: Safari Njema Restaurant
Location: Central District, Seattle [map]
Phone: +1-206-723-3058
Email: safarinjema.us@yahoo.com
Contact: Jane Kagira (Chef)

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Reality Check

In multiple 'About Me' columns in online portals, or talking about things I like to frequently mention writing as a hobby. But that's being modest because in my head I am more than that. I am a writer. A writer, who due to time constraints, hasn't had a chance to write in a while, but can come up with the next best-seller in a heartbeat. And I blog. Again, not as frequently as I'd like to, but 10-15 posts a year is decent by today's standards where Twitter has killed the Blogging star. Besides +Greatbong Bongosontan, and +Tanmay Mukherjee .

For some reason I happened to check my past blog posts this evening and that's when reality struck. I have not written anything for three years. Nothing. Nada. I have blogged indeed, but continuously taken the easy way out through reviews, statistics, bullet point based posts, photos and other crutches which has just given me the illusion of being in touch with writing. And that's perfectly fine. Not everyone is a writer, and even if I nurtured lofty images of myself being one, my lack of writing isn't taking anything away from anyone's lives, even mine. Besides the vast fame and fortune that rightfully belonged to me. 

However the biggest impact of this has been the impact this has had on my thinking process. Lack of writing has led to a dilution of clarity of thought, especially on subjects I personally care about and have strands of thoughts that don't seem to come together like they do inside my mind. This post itself is an apt example of what this post is about. 

Hopefully more of such rubbish on a regular basis will have some positive impact in the long run. They say the 10,000 hour rule hardly fails. That's a lot of writing ahead, and I am not complaining.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Know Your Beef Cuts

I love trivia. And beef. Also, am hungry.

Cuts of Beef
Cuts of Beef infographic by visually.

[Via Sumant]

P.S: I first tasted beef in April 2002. In a Kolkata restaurant. Was introduced to it by my friend Salim. Spent a majority of my dinners at Al Habib (near Park Street) during my college days in Kolkata having Beef Biriyani (Rs. 15) and Beef Kathi Roll (Rs. 6). I am hungrier now.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Cricket Tormentors

Every once in a while I do a deep dive into some aspect of cricketing stats and this afternoon, indulged in one such session. Was watching highlights from India's first Test against Australia (which we are on the verge of winning by an innings) when I heard the soft, mellow voice of this new commentator - V. V. S. Laxman. It's difficult not to connect Laxman and Australia and go back to Sydney, Kolkata or Delhi and his complete dominance over what was arguably the greatest Test side in history. This made me do some research on such "Tormentors", both with the bat and ball, individuals who have reserved their special performances against particular nations.

You can find all the details in the spreadsheet here.

The 4 tabs are for Batting & Bowling, Tests & ODIs. In each of the tab you will find the player who has scored the highest number of runs or taken the highest number of wickets against each Test playing nation. Also, there are 2 tables in each sheet, the batting one is filtered by "players who have scored at least 1000 runs against the opponent, and sorted by batting average" while the bowling one is "players who have taken at least 50 wickets against the opponent and sorted by bowling average".

Here's what it looks like.
Batting (Tests)

The ones standing out are obviously Sir. Donald Bradman with 5000+ runs against England, at an average of ~90 and 19 centuries. Another remarkable nemesis is Sangakkara for Pakistan, against whom he seems to score runs at a Bradman-esque average of 89 with 9 centuries and 2320 runs from only 16 Tests.

Batting (ODIs)

Sachin Tendulkar's sheer dominance is clear in the ODIs sheet as he has scored the highest number of runs against 5 of the 10 countries - Australia, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka & Zimbabwe! While there's no doubt about his greatness as a Test batsman, he pretty much owned and changed the 50 over format. With Sachin gone the game has lost its favourite son.

Now coming to the bowling side of things, here's what the Test stats look like.

(Bowling Tests)

In Test bowling it's a close call between Shane Warne & Muttiah Muralitharan in terms of persistent bullies against England, New Zealand and South Africa and India, Bangladesh & Zimbabwe respectively. What stood out was the filtered results for Test bowling had almost entirely fast bowlers and looks quite different from this chart.

Finally, coming to bowling in ODIs, here's the chart:

In ODIs Wasim Akram gives Muttiah some tough competition, while Waqar Younis has magical figures against New Zealand with 79 wickets at an average of a measly 15.84 runs!

Go ahead, play around with the charts and share your thoughts in the comments.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Extreme Cricket Trivia - Jai Statsguru!

Every now and then I go through this phase of spending hours on the greatest cricket website's free to consumers statistics program, aptly named Statsguru in the hunt for the ultimate cricket trivia. However I usually don't end up noting down the gems and most probably go looking for them again a few months down the line. Last night was a particularly successful one and this time I have them all right here. Check your cricket trivia quotient answers are at the bottom in a jumbled fashion.

Note: All "current" records are valid as of Jan-11-2013.


1. What is the lowest total defended by a team in an ODI after being all out?

2. This happened for the 1st time in 1992, 2nd in 1998 and has happened 43 times since then. What?

3. Which current batsman has the highest Test average (min. 50 Tests)?

4. How many players have scored 10,000+ runs in both Tests & ODIs? 

5. Who was the last cricketer to play Test cricket post the age of 40? [Hint in September 2003]

6. Who is the only player to have captained a test team before turning 21?

7. Who are the only 3 players to have an ODI average of over 50, having played at least 50 matches?

8. The person who holds the record for highest ODI runs scored, before turning 18, also holds the record for highest wickets before 18. Who?

AM Nayar
9. Ashfaq Ahmed (Pak), AJ Mackey (Zim), AM Nayar (Ind) & Shadab Kabir (Pak) have the worst record possible in ODI cricket. What? 

10. Which cricketer played the highest number of tests (119) without ever bowling a ball?

11. What unique distinction did Tino Best miss by 5 runs in the Edgebaston test against England in June 2012?

12. Which cricketer played the highest number of tests (133) without ever taking a wicket in his career?

13. What did Tendulkar do for the last time on 31-Jan-2007 in an ODI V West Indies?

14. In cricket, what happened for the first time in 1938 and there was a 20 year gap till 1958 and 16 year gap till 1990?

Cameron Cuffy
15. In an otherwise inconspicuous West Indies - Zimbabwe match in 2001 in Harare Cameron Cuffy was awarded the Man of the Match making it very unique in some way. What was special about Cuffy's performance in winning the award?


1. India (125) beat Pakistan (93) in Sharjah in 1985 [scorecard]

4. 7 (Tendulkar, Ponting, Dravid, Kallis, Lara, Jayawardena & Sangakarra) [Full list - Tests, ODIs]

2. Teams won ODIs chasing 300+. Sri Lanka first to do so against Zimbabwe in 1992 [scorecard]

5. Alec Stewart (England) vs South Africa at the age of 40 years and 5 months [scorecard]

3. Jacques Kallis - 56.73 [full list]

7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (India), Hashim Amla (South Africa) & Michael Bevan (Australia)

6. Tatenda Taibu (Zimbabwe) Vs Sri Lanka in May 2004 at 20 years and 11 months [scorecard]

9. They have had the longest ODI career (3 each) without scoring a run or taking a wicket [List]

8. Shahid Afridi (1239 runs and 37 wickets in 56 matches before he turned 18)

11. He could've been the first No. 11 batsman to score a century (got out at 95) [Scorecard]

10. Ian Healy (Australia) [Full list]

12. Alec Stewart (England) [Full list]

14. Triple centuries - Len Hutton scored 364 in 1938, followed by Gary Sobers' 365* in 1958. Graham Gooch' 333 in 1990 came 16 years after Lawrence Rowe's 302 in 1974

13. Score an ODI century while not opening the innings [scorecard]

15. He received the man of the match award without scoring a run, taking a wicket or a catch [Scorecard]


1. Lowest score in a test innings (26) < Lowest score in an ODI innings (35) < Lowest score in a T20 innings (67)

2. Graeme Smith will become the first player to captain his team in 100 Test matches during his next test (99 as of now)

3 (a). India has won more matches chasing 300+ (13) than any other country. Sri Lanka distant 2nd with 7 300+ chase wins.

3 (b). India has lost more ODIs after scoring 300 in the 1st innings (7) than others. Close 2nd - England & West Indies (6 each).

4. Abey Kuruvilla, known for his sub-par fielding skills, holds the record for highest no. of tests (10) without taking a catch!

5. The 113* by MSD against Pak in Chennai in Dec 2012 is the highest score by a #7 or below in ODI history.

6. Imagine what could've happened had Tendulkar come good in this match? Maybe we would have missed out on an entire career - http://goo.gl/QmGW4 (He batted at number 7)

7. Highest number of centuries scored as captain - Graeme Smith (24) in Tests and Ricky Ponting (22) in ODIs

8. The highest scores in tests (400*) and ODIs (219) have both been scored by captains - Brian Lara & Virender Sehwag.

9. Stephen Fleming scored the highest number of ducks in tests (13) as captain. In ODIs 'honour' shared between Fleming & Ranatunga (13)

10. Dwayne Bravo has the highest career Test runs (1637) without ever scoring a duck. Kepler Wessels led in ODIs with 3367.

11. Vijay Manjrekar has the highest career Test runs (3208) without ever scoring a six, Manoj Prabhakar leads in ODIs with 1858.

12. India has a win/loss ratio of 0.77 in Tests (all time) only better than Bangladesh (0.04), Zimbabwe (0.17) and New Zealand (0.46)

13. The most consistent ODI side in history is South Africa with a 1.83 Wins:Losses ratio, in Tests it is Australia with 1.81.

14. Among Test playing nations, in ODIs, England has the highest "lowest total" of 86 & Bangladesh has lowest "highest total" of 320

15. In Tests, the lowest "highest total" is 556 by Bangladesh and the highest "lowest total" is 71 by Sri Lanka.