Daily Archives: 24 March 2007

News in brief: Saturday 24 March 2007

-Mahesh-

Beaten

That is what India were. Truly and comprehensively beaten. After all the planning, preparation and practice that was put in prior to the World cup, India pretty much crashed out. Barring a miracle  in which Bangladesh loose to Bermuda – India are effectively out of the tournament. And rightly so. One can argue about the structure of the tournament and say that teams do not have sufficient chance to recover from early failure, but the fact remains that we played very poorly and there is very little indication to say that India would have done any better in the next stage.

We have argued in this site in the past that India may not get past the Super8 stage –  but very few of us doubted India getting into the Super 8s. It was almost a given. The team has not only let the millions of fans down, they have left themselves down. The sponsors will be furious, the organizers will be disappointed and team itself will be dejected.

The performance (or lack of it) in the World cup will be talked about by everyone from the local chai-wala to members of parliament. Greg’s head will be in the chopping block – although it is not really his fault. You can only lead a horse to the water…

Dravid’s captaincy will be questioned and so will every player’s commitment. Accusations will be hurled and resignations will be demanded. Effigies will be burnt and public protests made. I am sure more than anyone, the players in the team realize the enormity of the loss and what it means to the fans. They have carried the hopes and dreams of a billion people…and failed – I can imagine how much that would hurt.

I hope Team India re-organizes itself and raises again – soon. The talent is there. The mental strength and self-belief is lacking. They need to re-organize and get back to the basics. They need to play as a team. They need to stop being a team of stars and become a star team.

Indian fans have a poor memory – particularly of the losses. All India needs to do is start winning again and this WC campaign will be forgiven and forgotten. Until such time, this would rank as India’s worst performance in a World cup, in par with its 1979 campaign. On paper, this team could have taken the cup. In reality, they were totally and comprehensively beaten. 

-Mahesh-

A Reality Check after all!

Well, cricket is a great leveller, ain’t it? Sambit Bal’s beautiful article for Cricinfo has come true after all. I am sure the pundits and the not-so pundits will dissect every aspect of the game/tournament and analyze every move made by India. The simple fact of the matter is that India were beaten by teams playing like it was a sport and winning like we do in sport. As attached (emotionally and otherwise) cricket fans all of us needed a reality check, didn’t we? At this moment, I sympathize with the Indian cricket team (at least some of them!) for they are humans after all and have tried to play this as a sport. Boy, have they received a reality check? The load of a billion unrealistic people to carry is not something I dream of, I do not envy them at all at this point. Several possible solutions come to mind but I will hold them back till another day. The only thing I would like to see is cricket return to India as a sport and nothing else. Something that we could enjoying playing, watching, cherishing wins and moving on after losses……I only hope that the players’s and the coach’s safety are taken as paramount and these humans let to return to back to normal life….

 – Srikanth

India vs SL : Evenly poised at half way mark

At the half way mark, the match is evenly poised…At the beginning of the day, Rahul Dravid, who won the toss  probably thought 250 would be a good score to restrict Sri Lanka to. After 50 overs, SL ended up making 254. At the 30 over mark, Sri Lanka were 123/4 and it looked like India were on top. But a brilliant partnership between Dilshan and Silva, followed by some good hitting by Arnold and Vaas saw the Sri Lankans get back into the game.

Early on, the Indian seamers bowled well, while the batsmen played and missed regularly without finding the edge even once. There were quite a few close LBW decisions, that were just not given.

As far as the batting went, Jayasurya was uncomfortable from the very beginning. He survived two very close LBW shouts (which hawk eye showed as hitting the stumps), before being caught by Agarkar at 3rd man of the bowling of Zaheer Khan.

The second wicket to fall was that of Jaywardane, who flicked a bad ball from Agarkar, only to be caught by a Dhoni diving to his left. Sangakara was threatening to play another long innings when Munaf took a wonderful catch of Ganguly. Tendulkar then set up Tharanga beautifully to get him out LBW.

Silva scored the third consecutive fifty of the tournament. Picking up the wicket of either Silva or Dilshan early would have made all the difference to the final total. India couldn’t and the pair controlled the overs beautifully, picking up  singles regularly, rotating the strike and hitting the odd boundary to propel the score towards the 250 mark. When Dilshan departed caught behind by Dhoni of Munaf, for 38 – the pair had added 83 runs of 13 overs. Silva followed Dilshan back to the pavilion without adding anything more to the total.

Vaas and Arnold then added 38 runs in 23 balls to take the score to 254.

Positives and negatives for India

  • Power plays: India bowled the power plays really well – with the 2nd and 3rd each conceding just 17 runs. A big positive.
  • Too many extras:  They bowled 14 wides and 2 no balls. Not only did this add 16 runs to the total, they had to bowl 16 extra deliveries as well.
  • Bowling of Munaf: He bowled a tight length through out. He was primarily responsible for slowing the run rate during the 2nd and 3rd power plays. The negative in his bowling was the last over which conceded 16 runs.
  • Bowling of Tendulkar: It was a big positive. He not only tied the batsmen down by bowling slow seamers, he also took the wicket of Tharanga. The small negative was his last over, which went for 11 runs. Maybe he was bowled one over too many.
  • Bowling of Agarkar: After all the debate over whether Pathan should replace him in the XI, he bowled reasonably well to finish with figures of 8-1-33-1. A positive in my opinion.
  • Bowling of Harbhajan:  Being the primary full time spinner in the team, you would expect better figures than 10-0-53-0. Not only did he concede too many runs, he just didn’t trouble the batsmen. I am just curious why Sehwag wasn’t given a bowl.

Although, I said the game is evenly poised, I think India will win – if it plays to its potential.

-Mahesh-