The review is a bit late in the coming and it is really not a review. It is more of whinge. The reason for being late has nothing to do with being dumbstruck by India’s performance, but the way India played I could be easily be excused for being just that 🙂
After watching the 3rd ODI, the only thing that struck me was that there was no way India was going to win this 7 match series. I know I may get flamed for saying this, but I repeat – India is not going to win this series.
So, what are my reasons for saying that?
- We still depend on our batting to carry us through – particularly Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid. And if they fail, we need the younger generation to step up. This is just not happening.
- Fielding is still pretty woeful. Dravid has a tough time hiding the Munafs and Sauravs in the field and even the others aren’t exactly setting the field on fire.
- Apart from the slow bowlers – Powar and Chawla, and to a certain extent RP Singh, nobody has been impressive. Zaheer has been OK, but has not looked threatening. Agarkar and Munaf are proving more of a liability than anything else. I wouldn’t be surprised if India go back to their old formula of 2 fast bowlers (Zaheer and RP) and the 2 spinners, with part time bowlers filling in the 5th bowler slot for the 4th ODI.
- As Mohan pointed out, India have had a long tour and have lost the intensity that they had in the test series. It is very hard to infuse a fresh bout of energy now.
India may still win a couple of games, but I don’t see them taking the series. I’ll happily eat my words if they do.
Now for the team. I have a feeling India will give Uthappa a game. Although I believe that Uthappa has to open the batting with Ganguly, the team management will not break the opening pair of Tendulkar and Ganguly. So, if Uthappa does play, he will come in at No. 3. This will be followed by Dravid, Yuvraj, Dhoni and Karthik. If the bowlers are picked on merit, Powar, Chawla, Singh and Khan will make up the bowling attack.
So here is my team:
Tendulkar, Ganguly, Uthappa, Dravid, Yuvraj, Dhoni, Karthik, Chawla, Powar, Singh, Khan
The only change to this would be Agarkar coming in for Uthappa if Dravid prefers a 5 man bowling attack.
Is this team capable of beating England? Probably not. But if we bat first and put up a big score, we stand some chance.
Posted in ODI
Tagged England, India
After the third game loss I was thinking of the above topic when I saw this post on Cricinfo arguing for sending Dhoni at no 3. Definitely a sound move but it should be done also keeping in mind the situation of the game and the nature of the wicket. Both Bristol and the last game were ideal for Dhoni to go in at 3. But my point is slightly different. Send in Powar as a pinch hitter. Of course this should not be done when India bat first on a good batting wcket. BUt in case Dravid decides to send th opposition in, and if they do get a 250+ score and we lose an early wicket, especially Tendulkar, then just send in Powar to hit. Afterall the last game was ac ase where the captain ahd misread the pitch, the team had fielded badly, and we lost an early wicket. Perfect time to gamble on a pinch hitter. The only porblem with sending Dhoni in at 3 is, he is too valuable when playing 5 bolwers. In case we played 4 bowlers and the extra batsman, then Dhoni would be great to send in.
India put on a much better display at Bristol to even the series 1-1. Here is my analysis of the game.
Team selection: India picked 5 full time bowlers and that pretty much sealed the game for India. On a small ground the margin for error is very little and with some of the full time bowlers like Agarkar and Munaf struggling, it is not difficult to imagine how England could have ripped into a part time bowler. Picking two spinners also did the trick for India.
Batting: To put up a good score, you need to have a good start, solid consolidation in the middle overs and a good finish. India have often been guilty of not doing one (or more) of these things right. In this game, there was no such problems. Tendulkar and Ganguly gave another great start to the innings. They paced their innings very well and here is their progression: 39 in the first 10 overs of power play(RR 3.5), 30 in the next 5 (RR 6.0) and 44 runs in the last power play (RR 8.8). By not losing any wickets till the 20th over, they were able to accelerate well. The partnerships between Tendulkar/Yuvraj and then Yuvraj/Dravid ensured that the middle overs were played well.Dravid almost single handedly made sure that they finished well (India scored 93 runs in the last 10 overs in spite of some good bowling from Flintoff at the death) . I wonder why Dravid doesn’t play the kind of innings that he played in this game more often. Tendulkar could consider himself a bit unlucky at not getting to his 42nd hundred. He now has 13 scores in the 90s!
Although India didn’t have any run outs, India still need to improve their running between the wickets. There were at least a couple of occasions when Ganguly tried very hard to run himself out, but failed 🙂
Bowling: India bowled well in the middle overs thanks to Chawla and Powar. Chawla was a revelation and his wickets of Bell, Pietersen and Collingwood were crucial in ensuring an Indian victory. Powar was the most economical of bowlers conceding just 43 runs in his 10 overs and bagging the wicket of Freddie Flintoff. Munaf was expensive, but he took three wickets (two in consecutive balls) and made the breakthrough that India needed. He has to watch out for the no-balls (one of which resulted in a catch) and wides (one that went via second slip for a four). In fact India gave away 28 extras – this is an area that they need to work on for the next game. Agarkar was again expensive – he needs to pick his game up in the other games – he certainly seems like the weak link in this bowling line up.
Ganguly dropped four catches followed by Dhoni and Powar with one each. [Edit] India dropped four catches with Ganguly dropping two while Dhoni and Powar dropped one each – India should just consider themselves lucky for getting away with it. I know that like any other team, India do train hard at catching – they just need to continue to work on it.
As the England team showed, they bat deep and India shouldn’t let their guard down like they did towards the end of the game allowing them to get close to the target.
Posted in ODI
Tagged England, India
After the Sachin dismissal yesterday Ian Chappell kept saying that Sachin would get a call and a few words from the match referee. Apparently he thought that Sachin, brushing off his arm guard first, and then waving his hand and giving a wry smile to the umpire constituted dissent in HIS opinion.
Firsty the incident. Sachin was GIVEN out off a ball that brushed his arm guard. Sachin brushed his arm guard but never showed it to the umpire. So Mr Chappell was wrong there first. Secondly Sachin was clearly disappointed at being given out and just waved his hand. Sourav did the same thing in the Test series as have done numerous other players in numerous other games. I really fail to understand how some things get magnified suddenly in the eyes of the high and mighty commentators like Ian Chappell.
Of course the ICC does not have any regulations for bowlers regarding dissent. A bowler appeals and if it is turned down can groan, whinge, clutch his hair, shout out a few abuses to the batsmen, grab his sweater from the umpire, but those are just expressions of disappointment. After all dissent is a term only meant for batsmen. It is the batsmen who have to set an example for sporting behaviour!
Rewind to the Test series and we remember how Pieterson was given out caught behind by Simon Taufel. As Pieterson walked back and almost reached the boundary line, looking back, his compatriots in the balcony urged him to stay and go back. Television replays had shown that the ball hit the ground before going into Dhoni’s gloves. Pieterson stayed and was recalled by Taufel.
Fast forward to yesterday’s game at Bristol. Pieterson chased down a ball to the boundary and almost saved a certain boundary. But as he picked up the ball, his hand clearly brushed the ropes. Pietorson just got up and threw the ball back to the keeper as if nothing had happened. Of course this time it was not the reserve Indian players in the balcony, but the third umpire who alerted the on field umpire and the boundary was declared. TV commentator Gavaskar thrives on these situations. He immediately was up in arms saying “If a fielder claims a catch that may have hit the ground he is labelled a cheat! What about a fielder who knows it is a four but would rather let technology do its job!”
And finally the Pieterson dismissal yesterday. Chawla got him with a flighed leg break that hardly turned. Pieterson playing for the turn, was beated in the flight and bowled through the gate. Pieterson could not believe it and as he walked back mouthed the words “He bowled me?” to Bell. Pieterson kept looking back at the field as he reached the boundary line but unfortunately there were no English players signalling him from the balcony!
The second ODI between England and India starts on Friday at the County Ground, Bristol on Friday. England will be on a high after their convincing win in the first one dayer and will be hoping to continue their success.
India have played two games in this ground and have won both of them. This ground has been particularly favourable to one Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, who scored centuries on both occasions. I am sure the Indian fans will be looking for a repeat performance from him hoping that this would be century No. 42 for him.
I would like to see a century from him too, but it would be better to see a combined team effort with every player pulling his weight. Saurav Ganguly has scored well since his comeback and a quick knock from him during the early power plays will give India a good start. Gambhir has to give way for Uthappa in this match. Even if Gambhir plays, I hope he does not come in at No. 3. A more conventional Dravid or Yuvraj would be a better choice. If we need to mix it up a little bit, then we could even send Dhoni in at No. 3. Apart from shuffling the batting order, these are the other changes India should consider:
- Uthappa for Gambhir: This has to happen in my opinion. I wouldn’t even mind Uthappa opening the batting with Ganguly, while Tendulkar comes in at No. 3
- Powar for Chawla: There is not much to pick from either Chawla or Powar. Chawla is probably a better batsman and fielder than Powar, but Powar is probably a better one day bowler.
- Munaf for one of the fast bowlers: Considering that there are 7 One Day games to be played, the fast bowlers will have to be rotated at some stage. Why not now? Maybe Agarkar could sit out.
- Munaf or Powar for Gambhir: Playing Munaf or Powar for Gambhir would mean we go with 5 bowlers and although I’ve not been a huge fan of this in the past, it is certainly an option. The Bristol wicket is also supposed to be a bit slow , and if this is indeed the case then Powar gets the nod.
So, here are a couple of team combinations :
Ganguly, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Dravid, Dhoni, Karthik, Chawla, Powar, Zaheer, Agarkar, Munaf
Uthappa, Ganguly, Tendulkar, Yuvraj, Dravid, Dhoni, Karthik, Powar, Zaheer, RP Singh, Munaf
Posted in Cricket, ODI
Tagged England, India