February 14, 2011

Sporting a Moustache: A definitive analysis of facial hair and cricket in the '90s

Five days to go before the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 begins--live on ESPN and Star Sports, best viewed on an LG television, while drinking Pepsi and wearing a Reebok chastity belt or, on a Reliance 3G connection in your Hyundai i20 or on your Hero Honda Splendor that runs exclusively on Castrol Power1. In stark contrast to a rather more straightforward ♪Wills World Cup '96. Share the magic(x2)♫ campaign, the last time the World Cup came to the subcontinent. And since I find that almost every blogger worth his salt has already done a detailed analysis of this year's World Cup, I will refrain from doing one myself. However, during the past few weeks, I have been fed an endless amount of highlights, replays, analysis, observations and insight into every World Cup so far, by every Sports Cricket channel offered by my cable operator, that I now have the optimum combination of information and creative license, to make the following observations.

A few days back, in a desperate attempt to refresh my knowledge of past World Cups, I began scanning the pages of cricinfo.com, and soon came to the realisation that just like mainstream religion, there are many questions about World Cup history that are left unasked or unanswered. For instance, which genius administrator is responsible for the mathematical aberration in the frequency of past World Cups (or) Why, pray tell, did they play a World Cup in '92 and '99, defying the tenets of arithmetic progression? Why has the trophy itself changed so many times since its inception? Why did they suddenly stop playing with a red ball? Why did they suddenly start playing in coloured clothes? I guess there are no easy answers.

What I was more interested in, though, was this strange pattern.

Year              Winning Captain              Moustache
1975                Clive Lloyd                             Checked box symbol 
1979                Clive Lloyd                             Checked box symbol
1983                Kapil Dev                                Checked box symbol
1987                Allan Border                           Checked box symbol
1992                Imran Khan                           X in box symbol
1996                Arjuna Ranatunga                 X in box symbol
1999                Steve Waugh                          X in box symbol
2003                Ricky Ponting                        X in box symbol
2007                Ricky Ponting                        X in box symbol

Sort of blows your mind, doesn't it? Since Allan Border in 1987, no captain with any signs of facial hair has gone anywhere near the trophy. That got me thinking. Did the moustache go out of style during and after the '90s, are fewer cricketers capable of growing one these days, or does the moustache in some way hamper their cricketing prowess? Who was the most successful Indian cricketer of the '90s? Did he have a moustache? To analyse these and other questions, I have done an unnecessarily complex graphical analysis of Indian cricketers and their success relative to their facial hair.  

So, if 10th standard Mathematics serves me right, there is an undeniable correlation between a cricketer's moustache and how far he goes in life. Personally, I'm a bit surprised that it took so long for someone to figure this out. Therefore, I pause here briefly for rapturous applause, even as Ranji cricketers scramble for razors. Speaking of razors, a few members of the current Indian squad seem to have received enough money to take a razor to their chest; some were cut in the process, and needless to say, they bled blue. Not quite sure how grown men and Sreesanth were convinced to pose topless for an aerated drink, but let's just say that this presents a disturbing mental image on my way to work every day.   

And so, as the World Cup gets under way--razors, facial hair and ad campaigns aside, I suppose India has a great chance, so long as Dhoni and his boys are equipped at all times with endless reserves of determination, confidence, self-belief and Youngistaan ka Wow. For my part, I promise to occasionally feign sickness to watch a few of the matches live from Madan Pub the sanctity of my home, since buying a ticket for a Bangalore match is slowly becoming more difficult than turning water into wine. 


  1. This is the funniest cricketing blog(stats) I have ever read. LOL!!!
    But I wonder, why I didn't get an update of this? Also, y no one has posted any comments on this? Can this be a Comparable mystery to your moustaches stats? :P

  2. malli, not sure why you didn't get a notification of this post...try the "subscribe via email" on the left...

    btw, I too was expecting a lot more reaction to this post...mysterious...


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