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Economist on Bangladesh : Is it purely bad journalism?

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I have been reading The Economist, a London based news magazine focused primarily on different aspects of Economics, for quite a while now. I really like the set of data they produce and visuals they create. Of late, I stumbled upon a news, which was more of a “misfit” with what the magazine dishes out in general. Citing a drop in labor recruitment from Bangladesh in Saudi, the reporter speculated whether that’s related to Bangladesh insistence on trial of War Criminals. The data they presented indeed show a sharp drop in Bangladesh nationals heading to Saudi kingdom. To rub salt in the wound, they also showed that the recruitment of Pakistani Nationals are still on and flourishing.

“Where before the ebb and flow of Pakistani and Bangladeshi workers were synchronised, their figures have since come unstuck. Bangladesh’s loss looks very much like Pakistan’s gain.”

The reason, it came up with, was purely political.

“Saudi Arabia silently disapproves of the imminent hangings of the leadership of the Jamaat-e-Islami, the religious party that serves as a standard-bearer for its strand of Islam in Bangladesh. …  It will not have escaped the Saudis’ notice that Bangladesh’s foreign minister likened the Jamaat, a close ally of theirs …”

However, it hardly showed any statements or formal communication to prove their point. There are multiple data points those directly indicate that the assertions Economist had made, are false.

https://i0.wp.com/farm3.staticflickr.com/2844/9573423818_751f75f126_o.jpg

Labor Migration to Saudi Arab – Regulations and Economics had Bangladesh down.

Let me accept the fact that indeed recruitment from Bangladesh has gone down to an unprecedented level. The similar data for Pakistan, India, The Philippines and Sri Lanka seems not to be touched by much. (To mention, Economist skipped the data for Pakistan in 2011 that showed a drop, why?) But whether it’s due to a political reason, is not at all indicated.

History of Bangladesh Labor Migration to Saudi Arabia

History of Bangladesh Labor Migration to Saudi Arabia

First, if you look at the history of Bangladesh labor recruitment in Saudi, it’s not a one-way drive up always. Several times recruitment from Bangladesh stagnated and it had little to do with the political story that the Economist is trying to sell. Last time when it fell between 2003-2005, Jamaat was an important ally in the ruling coalition in Bangladesh. So, the story of Jamaat leverage with Saudi affairs looks purely like a myth.

Next, if we look at what caused the nosedive of flow of Bangladesh workers in Saudi, we can find a few key points. First, Saudi Govt. introduced a legislation to limit nationals of a country, so that it does not become more than 20% in any sector and promoted more diversified labor recruitment strategies. Bangladesh, which supplied tons of workers in Agriculture and Construction sectors, ran out of quota. At the same time, Saudi Govt. changed the rules around minimum wages to allow immigrants to work in Saudi only if they earn $147 per month. A lot of poor Bangladesh labors, who fill in the cheap labor categories mostly (62% of worldwide Bangladesh immigrants are “less-skilled” as in 2012 and the number should be higher for those in Saudi), were cut off from entering the Kingdom due to the minimum wage requirements. And wait, all these legislation were passed in March, 2008 and effective from mid of the same year. Indeed, if you look at the graph closely, the numbers peaked in 2007 and started to drop in 2008. However, the current AL Govt came to power only in 2009 and announced its plan to set up a War Crimes Tribunal only in late 2008. So, how could a change in Saudi Law (which otherwise seems country-neutral) be caused by election manifesto in Bangladesh?

To elaborate, there are more regulations to come in Saudi. Recently, a legislation calls for $53 per foreign worker per month to be paid by his/her employer to Saudi Govt. It will definitely worsen the conditions of low-paid Bangladeshi workers in Saudi. Again, this has little relationship with War Crimes Tribunal in Dhaka but closely related to regulatory changes in Saudi.

Labor Migration to Oman - sharp rise for Bangladesh post-recession

Labor Migration to Oman – sharp rise for Bangladesh post-recession

Meanwhile, it is foolish to presume that Awami League leaders in Dhaka are sitting idle. They are working hard to fix the leaking boat to get the labor export back to where it was. They have a great success with Oman now recruiting tons of Bangladeshi workers and overall labor immigration to Gulf countries from Bangladesh looks to bounce back to the original pre-2008 levels. If we are convinced that Saudi downturn was pure Economics and nothing better could have been done by the Bangladesh Govt. to stop that, then the whole thing translates into a gain of Oman market only. In UAE, recruitment is back to the original level. So, how can we convince ourselves that Jamaat-E-Islami, that holds such power to take Saudi Kingdom beyond their pure rules of Economics and “teach a lesson” to the current Awami League Govt, holds absolutely no power in neighboring Islamic countries such as Oman and UAE?

Labor Migration to UAE - heading back to normal after recession

Labor Migration to UAE – heading back to normal after recession

One little piece of news published in Indian media speaks in the same line that I have been talking about. It highlights that workers below matriculation (i.e less skilled) are no longer going to the Gulf in high numbers. From 2008, when 88,389 workers qualified below matriculation left for the Gulf, the figure fell sharply to 21,129 in 2012. In 2011, number of less-skilled workers heading for Saudi, was just 4011. The news also attributed this to availability of more jobs at home and somewhat praised local Govt. The news for Bangladesh was similar, however, it became a tool for Govt criticism.

Coming to the headline, is it just pure “bad”-journalism case for the Economist to blame? In Freakonimcs, we saw a lot of often unrelated events and actions are tied up with numbers. But, numbers are often dangerous when any sudden change is explained with whatever the author believes or want to make the readers believe in. In this case, whether the author really believed that Govt actions (i.e. War Crimes Tribunal) promoted the fall in Saudi recruitment or wanted us to digest those and hinder the trial process of one of the most heinous Genocides of all times, is left to the readers to decide.

Data Sources :

1. ADBI Presentation

2. BMET

3. ADBI Report

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Written by Diganta

August 22, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Posted in Bangladesh, India

Tagged with , , , , ,

Women in Bangladesh and India – what Amartya Sen wanted to say

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Amartya Sen has recently (actually he’s talking about it for a while) commented that Bangladesh has taken over India in human development – at least in a couple of key health indicators and gender equality. I will try to add graphs and pictures to describe that, and also add another country (Nepal) stat to show that it’s not an accident.

The first and foremost, let’s look at the workplace. It’s a no-brainier that women in Nepal and Bangladesh participate in work more often than that in India. Too see it in charts –

Bangladesh-India-Nepal Female work participation

This has lead to more empowerment of women in Nepal and Bangladesh and that is the root cause of health related developments. This pattern stays forever, i.e. Nepal > Bangladesh > India was always there. This is mostly because lack of respect and openness in Indian society to allow women to work. I can put statistics about Pakistan and show they are doing worse in all those.

The next one is the most-discussed – the under 5 mortality rates.

India-Bangladesh-Nepal Under Five Mortality

The link between these two parts of the stats is obvious. The first part implies that more women in workforce leads to more empowerment of women and that again leads to better maternal health and that again implies more childcare. Bangladesh and Nepal did it better than what India did. Nepal, as predicted from the earlier statistics, did even better than what Bangladesh did.

This also effected in more generic statistics, such as Life expectancy.

India-Bangladesh-Nepal Life expectancy

Bangladesh was already ahead of India but was able to hold on to that gap. Meanwhile, Nepal did a catch-up, in fact a rapid one, to start below India and get to where Bangladesh is. Nepal deserves every bit of praise for achieving all that. But remember, it all stems from the first one – women are more likely to participate in work.

So, does it conclude that future of Indian social and health indicators are doomed. The answer is no – there are still grounds for development. But for the foreseeable future, India is likely to lag Bangladesh and Bangladesh will lag Nepal in all basic health indicators. This is despite India has more income per-person and more physicians per 1000 person than either of the countries. The fundamental reason is the empowerment of women.

There’s a tendency among news media and leftists to criticize India’s growth and point out that all money is going to a few hands. I see no such proof in numbers. Poverty rates are falling and people under poverty are getting better social security than there used to be a couple of decades ago. All that is made possible because Govt now has more money from tax revenues to invest in social development. I can see it in charts –

India-Bangladesh-Nepal income share of poorest 10% of population.

As we see in charts, there’s no significant difference in the poorest 10% income share of Nepal and Bangladesh compared to those in India. The share is falling slowly but offset by a healthier growth rate on the top. Also, to maintain context, this numbers in South Asia is one of the best in the world – Finland, Norway or other egalitarian countries are all close or sometimes even worse.

Hence I conclude that its women’s empowerment and not the growth or inequality is the key to getting better at basic healthcare. The problem is, this is a part of culture and it takes a while to change. To accept women at every workplace, people and popular mindset needs a sea-change from where it is right now. It takes time to improve conditions of women in a country with a culture of infanticide, discrimination and sexual abuses. For all practical purposes, Bangladesh and Nepal are going to finish the literacy and healthcare race ahead of India as well.

Written by Diganta

July 30, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Posted in Bangladesh, Culture, India

The Economy of British India – with Angus Maddison

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Angus Maddison is a world-renowned economic historian who is famous for his work on estimating the past GDPs of modern economies by different measures. I won’t go much details into his original work, but the pieces he wrote about Indian subcontinent are worth-reading. In this post, I will try to delve into his assessment of British rule in India (read the Mughal one also). Just to remind you, I am an Indian and Angus Maddison is a British national – so a difference in narratives (bias?) could be present in my write-up.

The Elitist British

The biggest change the British made in the social structure was to replace the warlord aristocracy by an efficient bureaucracy and army. In the first generation, British tried to Westernize India – introduced English education, tried out a few Social efforts and tried to modernize infrastructure. But soon they changed their course. Having failed to Westernize India, the British established themselves as a separate ruling  caste. They did not inter-marry, their kids grew up in separate schools and they socialized with separate clubs where “native” population was absent. Maddison compares –

“The British ruled India in much the same way as the Roman consuls had ruled in Africa 2,000 years earlier, and were very conscious of the Roman paradigm.

One of the positive sides of the whole thing was that the British never tried to settle down in India and remained low in number. This resulted in low taxation but Maddison described that it benefited the middle class and land-lords but not the bottom-of-the-pyramid peasants.

“There were only 31,000 British in India in 1805 … In 1911, there were 164,000 British … In 1931, there were 168,000. … The British had inherited the Moghul tax system which provided a land revenue equal to 15 per cent of national income, but by the end of the colonial period land tax was only 1 per cent of national income and the total tax burden was only 6 per cent. … Most of the benefits of the lower fiscal burden were felt by landlords, and were not passed on to the mass of the population. In urban areas new classes emerged  under British rule, i.e. industrial capitalists and a new bourgeoisie of bureaucrats, lawyers, doctors, teachers and journalists whose social position was due to education and training rather than heredity. In the princely states, the remnants of the Moghul aristocracy continued their extravagances – large palaces, harems, hordes of retainers, miniature armies, ceremonial elephants, tiger hunts, and stables full of Rolls Royces.”

The System of Exploitation

The main aim of British exploitation was to remit money to Britain. Again, as per Maddison, there were two phases of it. The British East India company had nothing but a short-term-profit-maker attitude while the British Kingdom had a long-term-rent-seeking approach. For example, Robert Clive, the East India Company General took quarter of a million pounds for himself as well as a jagir worth £27,000 a year. (worth mention comment from Maddison – British did not pillage on the scale of Nadir Shah, who probably took as much from India in one year as the East India Company did in the twenty years following the battle of Plassey.)

Comparatively, later on, the remittances became more smooth and systematic –

“the Viceroy received £25,000 a year, and governors £10,000. The starting salary in the engineering service was £420 a year or about sixty times the average income of the Indian labour force … Under the rule of the East India Company, official transfers to the UK rose gradually until they reached about £3.5 million in 18566, the year before the mutiny. In addition, there were private remittances … By the 1930s these home charges (i.e. remittances) were in the range of £40 to £50 million a year …  (also) About a third of the private profit remittances should therefore be treated as the profits of colonialism. “

Moreover, the Govt of India, which always ran fiscal surplus over the British Kingdom, ran into debts due to spurious reasons. Further, during the World Wars, Govt of India “gifted” (joke!!?) millions of pounds from its reserves to the British Govt. Maddison describes –

“In spite of its constant favourable balance of trade, India acquired substantial debts. By 1939 foreign assets in India amounted to $2.8 billion, of which about $1.5 billion was government bonded debt … (during World Wars) there were two ‘voluntary’ war gifts to the UK amounting to £150 million ($730 million). India also contributed one-and-a-quarter million troops, which were financed from the Indian budget.”

 Where Maddison differs

Maddison differs quite a bit on the topic of Industry. He countered arguments of R.C. Dutt, R Palme Dutt and Nehru on de-industrialization (i.e. the decline of the old handicraft industry without the compensating advance of modern industry) of India with his set of facts. He accepted the facts that the Mughals did have a large industrial base and with British rule and policies it died. But added an important quote –

“Oversimplified explanations, which exaggerate the role of British commercial policy and ignore the role of changes in demand and technology, have been very common and have had some adverse impact on post-independence economic policy”

Maddison argued that the Mogul Indian industry were to produce luxury goods for aristocrats. But after British rule begun, the higher echelons of Indian society were flipped upside down. The British officers and native “copycat” Zaminders had little attraction on the traditional Indian handicrafts. Instead they developed taste of British merchandise. Furthermore, with social changes in Europe, there were a decline in demand of handicrafts overall (not only Indian but also other European ones as well).  Along with that, cheap and better quality textile from Britain occupied Indian market. Maddison agreed that the above incidents probably threw a lot of Indians out of job but he adds that the per-capita textile consumption doubled due to cheap British imports. He explains –

“the displacement effect on hand-loom weavers would have been smaller than at first appears. The hand-loom weavers who produced a third of output in 1940 would have been producing two-thirds if there had been no increase in per capita consumption.”

But he, in the end, agreed that India was the net loser on textile industry due to long term colonial effects –

“In time, India built up her own textile manufacturing industry which displaced British imports. India could probably have copied Lancashire’s technology more quickly if she had been allowed to impose a protective tariff in the way that was done in the USA and France in the first few decades of the nineteenth century, but the British imposed a policy of free trade. British imports entered India duty free, and when a small tariff was required for revenue purposes Lancashire pressure led to the imposition of a corresponding excise duty on Indian products to prevent them gaining a competitive advantage.  … If India had been politically independent, her tax structure would probably have been different. In the 1880s, Indian customs revenues were only 2.2 per cent of the trade turnover, i.e. the lowest ratio in any country. In Brazil, by contrast, import duties at that period were 21 per cent of trade turnover.”

So the fundamental issue was on the “free-trade” without preparedness but not the British policies.

In fact Maddison threw light into a few different aspects of Indian industries. Britain used India as their Asian export Hub and that resulted in Indian industrial gain.

“By the time of independence, large-scale factory industry in India employed less than 3 million people as compared with 12 1/4 million in small-scale industry and handicrafts, and a labour force of 160 million.56 This may appear meagre, but India’s per capita industrial output at independence was higher than elsewhere in Asia outside Japan, and more than half of India’s exports were manufactures.”

So, even though Indian industry was small, it was better off most of its Asian counterparts. However, the industry relied on mostly British skilled workers to fill in the upper ranks and that (along with protective policies) led to a demise of Indian industries post-Independence.

Conclusion

Overall, as per Maddison, British urban economy was better off the Moghul one. It was more productive, modern and focused on  entrepreneurship. On the other hand, the condition of villages worsened because of “extractive” Zaminders, population increase and reduced per-capita land availability. The book overall is a fascinating read and I will probably write up another post to follow up on my evaluations and criticisms of Angus Maddison.

The primary resource – Class Structure and Economic Growth: India & Pakistan since the Moghuls (1971) by Angus Maddison.

Written by Diganta

February 7, 2013 at 12:40 am

The Economy of Mughal India – with Angus Maddison

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I read a couple of chapters of Angus Maddison who described Indian economy and its pitfalls quite vividly. Angus Maddison is a world-renowned economic historian who is famous for his work on estimating the past GDPs of modern economies by different measures. I won’t go much details into his original work, but the pieces he wrote about Indian subcontinent are worth-reading.

In short, both Mughal and British empire were significantly “elitist” and “extractive“, i.e. from power to money – everything was in the hands of a few. Contrary to the widespread belief in India, the common mass lived a little above the sustainability level and were hit by periodic natural calamity and crop-failures. The system or the economy in general was built to grind the common people into de-facto slavery. In this blog-post, I will focus on the Mughal rule (read the British one also).

The Elitist Mughals

To start with the Mughal system, Maddison notes –

“India had a ruling class whose extravagant life-style surpassed that of the European aristocracy.It had an industrial sector producing luxury goods which Europe could not match, but this was achieved by subjecting the population to a high degree of exploitation. Living standards of ordinary people were lower than those of European peasants and their life expectation was shorter.”

To expose the elitism in Indian society, he notes that the major export items those India had at that time were “salt-peter (for gunpowder), indigo, sugar, opium and ginger” but the import items were nothing but silver, gold and other precious stones. This highlights that on the national level, India exported items produced by ordinary populace where they imported items for elites only. Maddison went on the compare the European standard of living with the Indian ones –

“In spite of India’s reputation as a cloth producer, Abul Fazl, the sixteenth-century chronicler of Akbar, makes reference to the lack of clothing in Bengal, ‘men and women for the  most part go naked wearing only a cloth about the loins’. Their loincloths were often of jute rather than cotton. In Orissa ‘the women cover only the lower part of the body and may make themselves coverings of the leaves of trees’. They also lacked the domestic linen and blankets, which European peasants of that period would have owned.”

So the common people perished where the wealthy had it all. While average Indians didn’t have cloth to wear on, the Indian muslin were famous in Europe and was noted for aristocracy.

The health condition of common people was equally bad. Indian population almost stagnated for about 2000 years –

“Kingsley Davis has suggested that mortality rates in India were high enough to offset the very high fertility rates, so that there was little increase in population in the 2,000 years preceding European rule.”

The System of Exploitation

There lies the hierarchy and Maddison got it correct. The Indian system worked through the caste hierarchy and the agro-income from the lowest strata of the society used to bubble up as taxes to the upper elites.

“The revenue of the Moghul state was derived largely from land tax which was about a third or more of gross crop production, i.e. a quarter or more of total agricultural output including fruits, vegetables and livestock products which were not so heavily taxed … Total revenue of the Moghul state and autonomous prince-lings and chiefs was probably about 15-18 per cent of national income. By European standards of the same period this was a very large tax burden”

Not only the taxes were high, the tax money were used mostly in “consumption expenditure of the ruling class”.  Maddison further notes that the Jagir system in India was not hereditary and the Jagirs were posted from place to place. So, he “had an incentive to squeeze village society close to subsistence”. The village society was very docile and governed by the rules of caste. That was the primary reason why India was smoothly ruled by outsiders for years as Indians were more concerned about their “karma” as per their “caste” and not to sidestep it for a larger or revolutionary role in the society. One notable absence, as per him, was that Indians rarely tried to take up sea-trade as part of their profession since “religious beliefs inhibited foreign travel and commercial development by Hindus”. Furthermore, caste stagnated the society to new ideas and technology unless they are imposed from the rulers –

“In spite of extensive contact with foreigners, India did not copy foreign technology either in shipping or navigation, or in artillery and military organization, and this is one of the reasons it was conquered by Europeans. “

On the other hand the revenues from this exploitation channels were put in to the “hoarding precious metals and jewels and “construction of palaces and tombs”. The total land-irrigation work undertaken was as little as 5% of the total fertile-land.

On the brighter side though, Maddison mentioned that religious institutes in India did not consume as much money as it did in Europe.

Conclusion

In summary, in spite of a few glitches (I would discuss those later), Maddison probably got to the closest to the reality. There are very few Indian scholarly articles that could now-a-days confirm that Indians on an average were richer than the Europeans or the Arabs at the same time. The perils of elitist economy would be felt sooner than anyone expected – during Industrial revolution. The major Indian produce – things such as muslin – were dependent on aristocrats to buy. In a world where mass-production was much more important than elite products – Indians were bound to lose the trade war. Moreover, the producer lived in perils and he had little incentive to innovate or take his production scheme to the next level. All things necessary to produce a failed state were gathering mass under the lavish Mughal aristocracy. The myth of rich Mughal India is thus just another myth.

The primary resource – Class Structure and Economic Growth: India & Pakistan since the Moghuls (1971) by Angus Maddison.

Written by Diganta

February 4, 2013 at 11:57 pm

2014 World T-20 – New Format

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I am glad to see a new format being implemented in ICC World T-20 coming edition. There are plus-es and minus-es of every format but I guess the new format raises the probability of the right teams to play in the semis as well as gets rid of redundant matches.

In 2012 edition of World T-20, Ireland complained that they got only a couple of matches and one of it was actually abandoned. The complain from India and New Zealand was that they were too close but eventually missed out on the semifinal berth. I am not sure whether or how much the new format tackles the latter, but I am sure it addresses the former one.

In the new format, six teams from the qualifier will join Bangladesh and Zimbabwe (last two places in World T-20 2012) to play in first round. Popular media is terming this as a qualifier but this will be a part of the main tournament with the fact that top 8 teams from the previous T-20 World Cup will escape it.  In the second part, which will be played in round robin league format, two of the teams from round one will join eight others and form two groups of five each. After this, probably usual semifinal and final will be played among top two of these five member groups.

This will provide an opportunity for the Associate and Affiliate nations to rub their shoulders with lower ranked teams from previous version of World T-20. The first round will probably played in two groups and each of the last two finishers in last edition will be placed in each of one groups. Let’s go over the situation in a bit details –

Qualifier – As usual. Let’s assume the six qualified teams are – Ireland, Afghanistan, Namibia, Netherlands, Scotland and Canada. (Going by 2012 edition of Qualifiers)

Full Teams – West Indies, Sri lanka, Australia, Pakistan, India, England, New Zealand, South Africa, Bangladesh, Zimbabwe (ranked based on position and net run rate in 2012 World T-20)

Preliminary Round –

Group A – Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Namibia, Canada (Team9 with Qual2,3,6)

Group B – Zimbabwe, Ireland, Netherlands, Scotland (Team10 with Qual1,4,5)

Let’s assume Bangladesh and Zimbabwe move to second round.

Second Round

Group A – West Indies, Pakistan, India, South Africa, Bangladesh (Team 1,4,5,8,9)

Group B – Sri lanka, Australia, England, New Zealand, Zimbabwe (Team 2,3,6,7,10)

Semifinal and Final.

So, straightway, Ireland is getting 3 matches with an opportunity to get to the second stage winning probably just one crucial match (against Zimbabwe).

Total matches – 12 in Prelims, 20 in second round and 3 in deciders. (Previously, 12 in prelims, 12 in super eight and 3 in deciders), i.e. 35 matches. I have seen news reports talking about a 35 match format.

I came across Bangladesh cricket fans not satisfied with this new arrangement mostly because Bangladesh will have to walk on tight rope against Afghanistan (possible next challenge in Prelims) and might be actually out of the tournament in case they lose it. However, I am convinced after seeing both teams (and Ireland too) that Bangladesh should have an easy win (so is Zimbabwe) at home soil. The Associate and Affiliate teams are still not up to the mark in the T-20 matches. However, after 2016, when the tournament will take place somewhere outside of subcontinent, things might change. But by 2018 the formats could change too.

The India-like situation (India lost one match and were out of semis) will less likely to happen in this new format given there are five teams instead of four in the revised format group stages. The same way, two tied-matches will less likely to impact semifinal chances (NZ like situation).

Written by Diganta

January 23, 2013 at 9:08 pm

Posted in Bangladesh, India

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Bangladesh Cricket Team Should Tour India

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I see there are efforts going on to arrange an India-Bangladesh bilateral series in India. While this should have been arranged years ago, I would say better late than never. We should all welcome the Bangladesh team to India and expect a good competitive series to be played here.

While a lot of people might not consider Bangladesh as a competitor, I would disagree. In the ODI format, recent record of the team is good. This includes back to back wins against India and Sri lanka backed up by another series win against T20 World Champion West Indies. On the other hand, current World Champion India is not doing badly at home too. India is scheduled to visit Bangladesh for a three match ODI series and a reciprocal series in 2013 would be the best fit. The target months could be July/August. India has a Zimbabwe tour (3 ODIs) in July and nothing in August (schedule).

India should ideally arrange a three-match ODI series with Bangladesh. If possible, there should be a couple of practice matches too. Though I would like to see these matches hosted in Eastern India, given the rain factor – Nagpur, Bangalore, Mohali, Hyderabad could be a better venues than Guwahati or Kolkata. However, Kolkata can definitely host a practice match between Bangladesh XI and Bengal XI and you may get a heavy crowd. Similarly, a match between Eastern Zone (current Duleep Trophy Champion) and Bangladesh XI in Guwahati might see a healthy turnaround. The last time these two played, East Zone won it by an innings and 149 runs but the Bangladesh team has improved a lot since then.

The pitch in India generally favors spin and Bangladesh should make good use of their top class left hand spinners. On the contrary, the new ODI rules (two bouncers and 5 fielders inside circle instead of 4) favors fast bowlers. Overall, I am waiting to watch a thrilling series.

Written by Diganta

January 22, 2013 at 10:43 am

Posted in Bangladesh, India, Sports

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IPL and Future of Cricket

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IPL is big.

IPL is big in terms of revenue, glamour, supporter-craze and of course in terms of cricketing excellence. The cricket crazy nation of India has probably never seen such a good domestic tournament so far – in any sports.

How popular is IPL? What percentage of popularity of cricket is actually driven by IPL? I started thinking about these questions after talking to grandfather of my kid’s mate. He’s Polish and lives in a village. But, IPL is one of his favorite sporting pass-time, apart from watching soccer. He’s still not so crazy about cricket but was able to tell me about KKR, Shahrukh Khan, Sunil Narine and what not. He enjoys the thrilling finish of T-20 games. But, to the contrary, he doesn’t watch normal ODI cricket.

IPL makes BCCI rich. Prior to IPL, majority(85% as of my latest knowledge) of revenues of all ICC tournaments were equally divided among the member nations. So, all countries were in a sense equal. IPL disrupted the same. They turned that equation upside down. Since IPL stands as Indian domestic league – BCCI pockets the profit from this tournament. That made BCCI one of the richest cricket boards.

That takes me to my first infographic that shows how IPL is climbing the ladder of popularity. Below is the search trend of two keywords – IPL and Cricket. The red one is cricket and the blue one is IPL.

IPL(blue) vs Cricket(red) interests

IPL(blue) vs Cricket(red) interests

Worldwide the interest around cricket is growing – but not at the same pace of that of IPL. IPL is a seasonal phenomenon and at its peak, it has overtaken interest on cricket in 2012.

If we concentrate only within India, we’ll see similar phenomenon replicated albeit IPL gaining more prominence compared to Cricket.

Interest on IPL(blue) vs Cricket (red)

Interest on IPL(blue) vs Cricket (red)

IPL is dominating cricket in India.

But don’t miss the point. The pinnacle of all these is the world cup winning moment of India. The IPL peak is hardly 60% of it. So, even though IPL slowly taking over cricketing phenomenon of India, the World Cup stays in its place.

IPL is most popular in West Bengal – probably justifying the recent success of KKR as a team.

Statewise search popularity of IPL

Statewise search popularity of IPL

I think its safe to comment that except a very few selected tournaments (such as World Cups), IPL is going to be the most popular cricket tournament in the coming decades. Whether it would enrich Indian cricket or not is a different question and I am not too hopeful on that right now. But the status of stature of IPL as a cricket tournament can only rise in coming future. Any opposition?

N.B. – Click on the images to visit the google trends for those keywords.

Written by Diganta

January 12, 2013 at 6:48 am

Posted in India, Stats, Thoughts, West Bengal

Tagged with , ,

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