Daily Archives: 7 February 2007

Team India for the 1st match against Sri Lanka in Kolkata :: Injury scares

Ahead of tonights’ match against Sri Lanka in the first of four matches, India has a few injury scares. Irfan Pathan (sore shoulder), Ajit Agarkar (flu) and Yuvraj Singh (sore back) are doubtful starters.

This can actually be a blessing in disguise in my view.

Despite the fact that Pathan has only played in one match since his return to the Indian ODI fold, I believe he should be a certain starter in the World Cup. Ajit Agarkar, who has been bowling rather sensibly and consistently lately, must have his plane tickets to the Windies already! Yuvraj Singh must also be a definite in the team. If nothing else, the stunningly acrobatic catch he took in the 4th ODI against the Windies recently to dismiss Devon Smith (off Pathan) is a timely reminder that, with the sidelining of Mohammed Kaif and Suresh Raina, there aren’t any terrific fielders in the Indian Team! He is probably the only stunning fielder in the team. Most of the others are, at best, safe. And then there are the likes of Ganguly and Munaf Patel whose dives would make the architects of the Sydney Harbour bridge wonder if they could learn something from the perfectly arched dives to make the bridges’ arch any better!

So the niggles to Agarkar, Pathan and Yuvraj Singh are probably timely! It gies the team an other opportunity to “test out” Virender Sehwag, Dinesh Karthik, S. Sreesanth and Munaf Patel. It will be interesting to see if they step up to the plate.

Likely India team :

1. Robin Uthappa, 2. Sourav Ganguly, 3. Rahul Dravid, 4. Sachin Tendulkar, 5. Virender Sehwag, 6. Dinesh Karthik, 7. Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), 8. Harbhajan Singh, 9. S Sreesanth, 10. Zaheer Khan, 11. Munaf Patel

Given the niggles, India have announced that the 12th man will be local-boy Manoj Tiwary, who has had a stunning domestic season. He is known as “Chota Dada” and is seen by many as India’s answer to Kevin Pietersen.

Anil Kumble and the 3 injured players sit this out in my team. It doesn’t make much sense to take Kumble in the team especially if India have to bowl second under conditions that include heavy dew in Kolkata.

Yes, the team has only 4 main bowlers, but unlike the earlier games against the Windies, India now has Sehwag, Tendulkar and Ganguly who can bowl-out 10 overs.

— Mohan

Now a series in Ireland!

Just when we all thought that India’s Tour programme for 2007 was crowded, although settled, we hear that India is playing yet another ODI series — against Australia! Right! And that too, in Ireland! So, Ireland and Malaysia are the new Sharjah-like locations for Indian cricket? Here’s a report on this on Cricinfo.

India will play these games in June as a lead up to the tour of England. So, scratch the sentence in yesterdays’ posting on this Blog wherein I wrote, “June appears to be an “off” month [for Team India].” It is not!

So, in the next year or so, India will have played Australia in at least 15 ODIs (and upto a maximum of 19 times)!

  • one of these matches will be in the World Cup Super Eight (plus a maximum of one more — either in the semi-final or final),
  • three will be in this hastily organised Ireland series,
  • seven of these will be in October when Australia visits India
  • a minumum of four will be played inthe 2008 Commonwealth Bank series (plus a maximum of three further games if India makes the finals of that series and if the finals series needs all three games to be played)

I don’t know about you, but I suspect that that is at least 15 too many India-Australia ODI games for my liking!

— Mohan

India Australia Series 2007-08

The cricket calendar for 2007 is going to be quite crowded team India.

After the current 4 ODIs against Sri Lanka, India prepare to go to the World Cup.

The World Cup will see out March and April 2007.

In May, India play Bangladesh in 2 Tests and 3 ODIs. Clearly, this is nothing but an opportunity for the India players to shore up their averages before the year becomes gruelling again!

June appears to be an “off” month.

India will tour England from July to September to play 3 Tests and 7 ODIs. Playing 7 ODIs in England in a World Cup year — and that too, after the World Cup — seems a bit bizzarre to me! Nevertheless, that’s the plan.

In October, Australia visits India to play 7 ODIs.

India then hosts Pakistan for 3 Tests and 5 ODIs.

As a result of the Pakistan tour of India in November, the Indian tour to Australia from December through to March 2008 has been postponed by 3 weeks or so. In fact, while most previous tours of Australia have traditionally commenced in late-November, India’s tour of Australia in 2007-08 will probably only commence in the second week of December!

As a result, the 1st Test of the series will be the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, with the 2nd Test starting immediately after the conclusion of the 1st Test (on 2 Jan 2008). Two other Tests follow in January. The ODI tournament — which also involves Sri Lanka — would commence only in February!

An article on this re-scheduling appears in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

A busy cricket calendar for Team India!

— Mohan