India took one small step in the rebuilding, redemption and recovery.
Mahesh commented earlier, “Pick your game up, India and start playing good, tough cricket – you owe it to yourself as much as you owe it to us – your supporters.”
Perhaps. But then, I do not think that that will happen. I don’t expect too many fireworks from this team in this series. It may be billed by the press as a revenge-series. Although Rahul Dravid has dismissed notions of “revenge”, it will be a strange ommission on the part of the team and the management if they did not set the tour-goal-bar of at least “a 3-0 win“, if not a “convincing 3-0 win“.
Let us not forget that the rebuilding is being carried out by Ravi Shastri and Rahul Dravid — cricketers for whom “gutsing it out”, “grinding it out”, “process more than outcome”, “head down bum up”, “safety and security before entertainment”, etc are (and have been) regular mantras. They are not quite from the “let’s blind them with our collective brilliance” school. They are measured and conservative as players and I won’t be surprised if that philisophy translates into the way they lead the team out of the trough it finds itself in.
We may have seen a few flamboyant displays if Tiwary played. Unfortunately, Tiwari is injured and unable to play.
In his post-match, Shastri said words that characterise his demeanour. He said, “the boys showed tremendous character and fighting spirit” and “There was concentration, there was discipline, there was fighting spirit and above all there was tremendous self-belief. They really had to dig into their reserves to win and that will stand them in good stead.“. Need I say more?
So, I think we should settle down and expect nothing more than dour, measured, lets-guts-it-out performances. Hopefully the result sheet will still read 3-0!
It was a jittery win. Bruce Yardley commentating in the match said at the start of the 34th over “India have played badly for 80 overs but they can still win it in the last 14” and that is exactly what happened. What are the positives that we can take from the game yesterday?
1. Dinesh Karthik – Firstly I am happy that Dravid did not thrust him with too much responsibility by promoting him up the order. Karthik played very calmly and upped the tempo just when necessary. There was a tendency to play across the line against the left armers, the pitch was so slow that he manged it very well. He did not panic at any stage and got India home easily in the end.
2. Mahendra Singh Dhoni – He is special and only proved it again yesterday. He may have chosen the wrong time in the Word Cup to fail but yesterday, hampered by cramps, after being promoted to no 3, came with a match winning performance. Again to quote Bruce Yardley when Dravid’s wicket had just fallen, “If India has to win from here Dhoni is the one they have to look to play the match winning knock.”
3. Dinesh Mongia – His bowling is invaluable in sub continental wickets. He showed it again yesterday by picking up wickets and adding that extra. If he can consistently bowl 6/7 overs in a game, something that the more inconsistent likes of Sachin, Sehwag and Yuvraj were doing, it will add tremendous depth to the team. He was the guy who should have gone in place of Pathan but that is another story. I was also happy that Dravid did not promote him to no 3 yesterday.
The India Bangladesh series has generated a lot of interest in India, with it being billed as the revenge series and so on. No matter how improved Bangladesh are or how poorly India have played recently, India were still outright favourites to win the series. However, the way they played wouldn’t have filled the already jittery Indian fans with confidence.
My main interest in the series was to see how the new comers fare and to see how well India rebound from their WC debacle. There were no newcomers in sight and it seems the scars left on the players with the WC loss have still not healed.
Tiwary has already gone back home and Chawla will have to wait another day to make his ODI debut. Although the team did not have 4 people from the WC squad, it had the same familiar faces…and there were the same familiar performances from the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir, Mongia and Zaheer.
Sehwag again flattered to deceive, scoring 4 boundaries of 5 balls and getting out to the next ball – a slower one. Yuvraj went for one. Dravid, Mongia and Gambhir didn’t score too many runs either. Sreesanth had earlier limped off the field after having bowled just 5 overs, while Zaheer Khan conceded 54 runs of 7 overs (inspite of 1 maiden over).
India were eventually saved the blushes by it’s two wicket keeper batsmen – Karthik apparently played a very mature innings (58 of 60) and so did Dhoni (91 of 106), who had cramping in his legs and had to bat with a runner. In the end India did win, but not convincingly.
Pick your game up, India and start playing good, tough cricket – you owe it to yourself as much as you owe it to us – your supporters.