Saturday, December 25, 2010

Tendulkar vs. Bradman: Unfair to compare

With the Master Blaster having completed a half century of test centuries, the media has predictably begun doling opinions (less of experts, more of amateurs) comparing Don Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar. Let us try and see how both of them compare:
  1. Pitch Conditions:
    During Bradman's times, playing pitches used to be left open overnight and were hence prone to be affected by the overnight weather conditions.
    Tendulkar: Pitches are well covered with water-proof material and are, hence, less affected due to changes in the weather conditions overnight.
  2. Bowling Conditions:
    In Bradman's era, bowlers could, legally, bowl six bouncers to the batsman. Moreover, with uncovered pitches, the conditions could tilt in favour of the bowler on every morning of the test. There were no restrictions on field placements. Fielders could be placed anywhere the bowler wanted.
    Tendulkar: In test matches, two bouncers per over are allowed. In one-day internationals, one bouncer per over. So, no more rattling the batsmen by hurtling down an over full of bouncers. No more than five fielders can be placed on the leg side of the batsmen, thereby limiting the nature of attack.
  3. Sports Gear:
    No protection over the chest and no helmets. Imagine facing Larwood when your head is exposed and your heart, ribs and lungs have no protection against the thud of the ball which could hit you at around 140 km/h. And then, you would realise Bradman's situation.
    Tendulkar: All sort of safety equipment are now available. Helmets, elbow guard, chest guard, etc. Not that cricket has become easy, but batsmen can think of risking being hit, without having to worry too much about how grievous the injury will be.
  4. Fielding:
    Watch those grainy videos of the test matches involving Bradman, and you will realise that the fielders in that era didn't dive around or run their heart out, to save a few runs or to get the crucial wickets. Hence, runs were a little easy to come by.
    Tendulkar: In the modern era, cricket has become heavily competitive. It not only matters how many runs you score, but it also matters how many can you save. You can see fielders diving around to save singles, latch on to catches that would have the opposition down by one more wicket. Hence, Tendulkar has had more hard work, while compiling those runs.
  5. Oppositions and conditions:
    Bradman has played most of his cricket against England and in two countries: England and Australia. He hasn't played on the turning tracks of the subcontinent or on the ferocious pitches of South Africa.
    Tendulkar: He has played test cricket all over the world, against nine countries. This means his runs have come against different types of opposition and many more different conditions than Bradman. From the placid pitches of India, to the bouncy pitches of SA and Australia, to the seaming pitches of England, he has conquered them all. From Abdul Kadir to Warne, Ambrose to McGrath, he has tamed almost all of them.
  6. Statistics: In cricket, statistics are always biased. They comment on the results, but ignore the efforts that went into them. A century on Motera, Ahemdabad is far less difficult than a one on WACA, Perth. But statistics places equal value on both. Hence, these should be seen only as a formality.
    Bradman: Tests: 52, Runs: 6996, 100s: 29 (includes 12 double hundreds and 2 triple), Average: 99.96.
    This means, almost every time he went out to bat, he scored a hundred runs.
    Tendulkar: Tests: 175, Runs: 14513, 100s: 50 (includes 6 double hundreds, but no triple), Average: 56.91.
    Sachin's stats are as of 26th December 2010, before the start of the 2nd test match between SA and India, at Durban.
Now, these were individual parameters on which the two greats were compared. But, in no match, does it happen that only one of the parameter dominates and the rest don't. Hence, if we were to analyse a combined effect of all these factors (multivariate statistical analysis) coming into play together, it would be much more difficult to come up with a conclusion. So, it is better we stop demeaning either of the two by saying one is a greater batsman than the other. Bradman, is as great as Tendulkar is. Both batsmen have taken cricket to new frontiers in their respective era. Both have set new benchmarks to achieve for their successors. Hence, I would say, it is unfair to try and compare the two greats. Fair, would be to savour all those exciting cricket that Tendulkar continues to generate.
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Saturday, December 18, 2010

New business/employment opportunities spawned by social networking websites

When Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook, or when Twitter was launched, the founders were sure that they are launching a revolution in the way people connect to each other and dispense information. But, what they did not know, is that they this would also lead to opening of new entrepreneurial and employment avenues for those who could cash on this innovation. And it is surprising for us too, to see such avenues opening up. Of course, now there are companies which develop apps that can enhance the visibility of your products and service on social networking websites, but the fact that such an arena has opened up is astonishing. Let's see a few examples
  1. Twitter analysers: Various news dispensing websites now have twitter analysers. Some of it is automated, e.g. tracing the hash-tags  or twitter handles and displaying them on the website. But there are people employed to collate tweets from various sources and then display the most interesting ones. Almost every website or newspaper has a section dedicated to celebrity tweets. These can be movie personalities, sports-persons, politicians, social workers or anybody who is a "celebrity". Because there is a section of people who would devoutly consume the news generated by these tweets.

    Customer-care departments of various organisations have started keeping a look-out on twitter feeds to identify adverse comments and see if they can be addressed. So, you can either have a person who does this work, or write a piece of app or software that can do this job for you. Infact, the app can perhaps sort out complaints based on the product and forward it to the customer-care of that handling the particular product.

    Insurance companies too have begun using twitter and facebook analysers. These analysers try to see what were upto, during the time the incident, for which you have filed an insurance claim, occurred. A case in Bengaluru was reported, when the insurance company denied accident claim to a driver because he was DUI. And they traced it to his tweets, when he had posted about being at a friends place and enjoying the alcohol. The timeline of the tweets matched with the time of the accident. And insurance generally doesn't cover for claims if the driver was DUI at the time of the accident.
  2. Facebook: XYZ likes "This person should be killed for what he did to the girl". I bet you do not want to "like" such frivolous pages. So, what do you do? Try and search whether that link is available elsewhere. And invariably you would find it on This website has spun a business around Facebook users' dislike to "like" frivolous pages and yet see their content.

    Now, companies that design and maintain websites also have a Facebook arm, which designs the clients' content on a Facebook page. So, there is a need for personnel who can design content on the Facebook pages for the clients.
  3. Thieves and burglars: Thieves and burglars have now begun to hunt through facebook status messages and tweets when they plan for their next heist. So, be careful, when scream on your page "Offfffff for a week to Maldives". Information is being mined for such potentially dangerous use too.
Have you come across any such interesting leverage of twitter, facebook or any other social networking sites to build a business around it?
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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cafe Koolar and Co.

Those who value their money, eat at Cafe Koolar and Company. This is the tag line of the Irani restaurant situated on the busy King's Circle (now Maheshwari Udyan) on the busy Dr. Ambedkar road. A look on the board outside, says it was established in 1932. But, there is a sharp difference between the pace of life inside and outside the restaurant. From the fast-paced life of Mumbai on the streets and foot-paths just outside the restaurant, you step into an idyllic world inside.

Manned by the owner and two waiters, the restaurant serves its customers at its own pace. Its interiors are typical to those of an Iranian restaurant.Old wooden chairs and tables, perhaps not changed since they were installed, a glass pane on the table top, with the menu sandwiched between the table top and the glass pane. And no waiters standing on your head for you to blurt out your order. Take seat, sit down and relax. Adjust yourself to the cool environs of the restaurant, courtesy the high ceilings. They have framed the New York Times front page which carried the news of the Titanic sinking. Once you have settled, the waiter will ask you for your order. The best stuff to get in an Irani restaurant are brun maska (special Irani bread and butter) and tea. If you are in for a nice hearty  breakfast, go for the double omelette-pav. Few can prepare an omelette like the Iranis. Not spicy, with just a little bit more of oil, to get the smoothness.

That the Mesopotamians and Persians were trading spices with India, is evident from the composition of spices in the Irani food. The kheema-pav had whole black pepper to spice up the taste. The only word to describe these preparations is awesome. The omelette and kheema, just melt into your mouth. The food is just rightly spiced. After having a heavy meal too, it doesn't leave you with the "overburdened" uneasy feeling that you get in those Shetty-run hotels.

The orders do take their own time to come. But then, Irani restaurants are known for their idyllic pace. Take a seat near the window. Though most seats in this restaurants are by the window side. Enjoy the view outside. Keep wondering about the fast-paced life outside the restaurant. Enjoy Mumbai from the cooler atmosphere in Koolar.

P.S. I have taken pics, which I'll upload on the blog, once I'm able to take them back onto my PC.
Cafe Koolar and Co.SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend