Former international cricketer Aakash Chopra is comfortable as a commentator and an author and is enjoying the accolades and brickbats that come his way. He says that he likes to give it back to uncouth trolls.
“I like to name and shame. You need to give it to them from time to time. These nameless, faceless characters can hit below the belt or be abusive. Then, I have every reason to make it public and say, ‘please mind your language’.”
Aakash was recently sucked into controversial topics with England cricketer Moeen Ali, and S. Sreesanth. However, he says that social media is not a place for impulsiveness, as it may come around to bite you. Referring to Moeen’s jibe at Aakash’s statistics, when the commentator pointed out flaws in his technique, he says, “A doctor’s biology teacher never became a doctor, but you still learn from him, right?”
Aakash is enjoying the positive reviews coming his way for his latest book, Numbers Do Lie, a collection of cricketing stories. Aakash brought in a human element, writing about how and why particular cricketers were successful. “We’re trying to see how individual numbers fit into the context of a team.”
Does he believe Indians tend to overdo on statistics? “Well, I don’t blame them,” says Aakash. “How else is greatness judged? There has to be a quantifiable marker. If I tell you a cricketer has no centuries but is a great player since he’s constant, it’s not enough. Numbers will tell you what’s happening,” he says.
Impact Index, the co-authors of the book put statistics through a number of filters to find these 60-odd stories that stood out. Aakash’s contribution to the book was bringing out the context and the stories within these instances.
“Who do you think has had a bigger impact as an Indian test batsman — Sachin Tendulkar or Rahul Dravid? Numbers fail you here, and they both have phenomenal ones.” Despite much prodding, Aakash doesn’t reveal the answer. “Read the book!” he says, cheekily.
According to him, one player that statistics have betrayed is V.V.S. Laxman. “He wasn’t appreciated enough. There was always someone else walking away with the glory,” he says.
“It’s impossible to look beyond Virat at the moment,” he says, impressed. “Of the things he’s achieving and the regularity with which he’s been able to do things, he’s defying common knowledge and understanding.”...