Archive for May 23rd, 2007

How to Catch up with Australia in Cricket

May 23, 2007

This is my second post on cricket. The first one discussed how one sided one day internationals had become. The previous post covered an analysis which gave a general picture and not a country-wise analysis. However, I believe Aussies would have featured in most of the one-sided wins (obviously on the winning side).

Here, is a  very interesting discussion on ‘How to catch up with Aussies‘ between Sanjay Manjrekar, Tony Greig and Ian Chappell.

Ian Chappell asserts that it is not as if Aussies have raised their game to a new level, rather it is the other countries that have lowered their standards.

You can’t tell me that Glenn McGrath is a better bowler now than he was in 1999 and in ’99 Australia still had Shane Warne. I have trouble believing that Australia have gone to another level, I think it’s the other teams that have gone to another level and sadly it’s down; and that I think is a major problem with world cricket.”

Tony Greig agrees to the statement but adds that Aussies are fitter now and are more athletic in the field. He says a few players have been replaced and the current ones are fitter. Ian Chappell raises some really strong points over the Aussie brand of cricket.

One of the reasons why Australia is better than the rest of the world is because of the system that produces their cricketers….. When people start telling me that it’s the academies and the coaches that make Australia better these days, I tell them that that’s a load of rubbish.The reason why Australia is a good side now, is the same reason why it was good side in 1948 – it’s because of the system that is producing the cricketers.  The system starts with the younger cricketers, then goes through the clubs and then to the first-class level. It’s a good system but not as good as it was when I started for the simple reason that when I came into club cricket, I ended up quite often, playing against Test match cricketers quite occasionally. And when we played first-class cricket – and we played eight Shield matches those days – we would come up against the Test match players definitely five times and probably six times out of the eight games

Further he gives a very good instance of how Aussies keep coming back: The reason why it’s a good system is because you get tested – whether as a batsman or as a bowler – many times on the way through…….. when West Indies were piling it on in the first few overs of the finals and Australia still managed to come back, how Australia keep managing to come back whereas the other teams fail to do so and that is because of the system. Bracken was the guy who got Chris Gayle on that occasion. Now Bracken has probably been mauled a few times on the way through, as a young cricketer, as a club cricketer and as a first-class cricketer and he’s found a way to come back from that and that stood him in good stead when he got to international cricket. So, atleast he knows that he’s got a way to come back. It may not always work but he knows that atleast he’s got something to fall back on.

He adds a point about other Cricket Systems:

The English system used to be perhaps as good as Australia’s. The Indian system – with the amount of players that they have got – should be able to match Australia in the same way but they don’t seem able to do it. The other countries – well, I’m not so sure about them.

Another aspect they agree to is that most of the countries have more or less acknowledged the fact that Aussies are going to be extremely hard to beat (which is true and quite sad).

Another interesting thing discussed was as West Indies went down-hill after being champs could the same happen for Australia? Tony Greig says no, it will not happen.

One important point to note (and not discussed) is that WI lost a lot of talent to other sports (majorly basketball) which were more rewarding. Whereas Cricket is not really as popular in Australia (Rugby, Aussie Rules are more popular) hence the threat of loosing out talent to other sports is not really there.

So improve the domestic cricket system goes the advice, which is a cliche by now.  As Ian Chappell suggests, I am sure it is not that tough to improve the system, then why doesn’t it improve? All you need is to bring competition in all forms of domestic cricket – make sure international players play domestic cricket, make school cricket competitive etc etc….

I was wondering if I could apply the various growth and development theories to this whole episode. More on this later as I need some thinking to do. It could make for a very interesting paper.

The Indian Government Performance Report

May 23, 2007

After a report on Mumbai as an International (whatever) Centre, here is another one from the Indian government. This time it is a performance report of the current government (called United Progressive Alliance).

It is called ‘The Report to the People’ and is available here. It has a foreword from the Prime Minister saying:

“The Report to the People, published every year by our Government, has set a new benchmark for accountability in governance. This comprehensive report listing all the policies adopted, projects launched and programmes implemented is a unique demonstration of our commitment to being accountable. In a democracy, people have a right to know what their Government is doing in fulfillment of its mandate. It is my sincere hope that the contents of this report are widely disseminated and are discussed by our people.

This year’s Report to the People, putting together initiatives taken since May 2004 when our Government took charge, shows that the policy agenda set out by the constituents, allies and supporting parties of the United Progressive Alliance in the National Common Minimum Programme has been substantially implemented. It is my sincere hope and firm belief that by the end of our tenure in Government we would have delivered more than we had promised.”

I have gone briefly through the report and found it really boring as it is all in words. The report could have been more readable by adding tables, graphs etc conveying what was actually promised and what has been achieved so far sector-wise and year-wise. It helps a lot in in analysis.

For me to make a comparison as to how the government has fared in 2006-07, I would have to read the previous report and this makes the whole task pretty arduous one.

Nevertheless, it gives some idea about various government projects and poverty schemes (do they help at all??) and the status.

Some newspapers have given a nice summary of the various achievements and disappointments- Business Standard, Financial Express (by Rajiv Kumar)

My take on the performance is what most people would agree on- India is going through a golden run and the time is ripe to usher in some big and tough reforms and this government has a formidable team which has been disappointing in almost all the aspects.

Assorted Links

May 23, 2007
  1. The Indian Markets are in correction mode, says Akash Prakash in Business Standard.
  2. Record breaking Initial Public Offers this June 
  3. There is an interesting edit in Business Standard which advocates Equity financing for infrastructure. The summary is:

Like private equity helped in developing telecom sector (Warburg Pincus picked Bharti Telecom, The Commonwealth Development Corporation, then a fund backed by the UK government, invested in BPL), the same could be repeated for other infrastructure sectors as well.I don’t really quite agree with the approach though. For private equity to come successfully in other infrastructure sectors, what is needed is that investor should be able to get some return on capital which they did in the case of telecom, as the article rightly points out.What it misses is the classic distinction between various kinds of goods. The goods are classified on 2 basic principles:

  • Excludable vs Non-Excludable: A good/service is excludable if you can price it and as a result only who can pay will get the good.  Unlike a non-excludable good where pricing is difficult for instance how do u make someone pay for street lighting.
  • Rivalry vs Non-Rivalry: A good service has rivalry characteristic if consuming a unit of the good means nobody else can consume it.

And on this basis we have 4 kinds of goods.

The challenge is to move goods to the excludable category i.e. they can be priced. Once that can happen it interests people to produce/finance the good.

As pricing was possible with telecom, it got private equity. How does one price roads, ports etc. The answer is using tolls for roads, some pricing arrangement for port-users but then this takes time. Unlike telecom, the other infrastructure projects take a lot of time to become fully operational. Hence you need some kind of incentive for the investor to invest in these projects and that is where long-term debt come in. It gives him some revenue inflow at-least.

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