Monthly Archives: August 2007

3rd ODI review and my team for 4th ODI

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.


Try a pinch hitter!

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.

— Sanjay

2nd England India ODI Highlights


2nd ODI – Analysis

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.

Fielding: 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.



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!

— Sanjay

Three interesting Pieterson incidents

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!

— Sanjay

Team for 2nd ODI

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


England vs India — 1st ODI: Six areas for improvement…

It has been a long summer for the Indian team. They have been on the road for a while, playing ODIs against Ireland and South Africa, an ODI against Pakistan (rained out), a few tour games, three Tests against England and an ODI against Scotland. The work load would have to catch up on the players at some point in time. And on todays’ evidence at the Rose Bowl in Southapton in the first day-night ODI against England, it has!

But the good news is that India has an opportunity to work on a few areas. There are specifically six areas that India must work on to be competitive in the remaining 6 games of the series. These are, in no particular order:

  • batting
  • bowling
  • running between wickets
  • ground fielding,
  • catching, and
  • team balance

I am saying this only partly tongue-in-cheek! The real India wasn’t on the park today. Some may say that the real India hasn’t been on the park for quite a while now in ODIs! And that would perhaps be a fair cop for a team that has spluttered through the last few months. But there certainly were signs of recovery when India played South Africa in Ireland. So, I’d be willing to write this loss off as “early days yet” in the recovery process. And I said exactly this to a friend of mine who SMSd me during the latter part of the game saying, “Looks like normal programming has resumed”!

There are no silver bullets here really. The team just has to buckle down and start to play good cricket. They are capable of it.

In some respects, just as the Lords’ ‘excape’ was a fright for the team, I think this loss will be a good spur for the team. It is a seven-match series after all.

There will be some criticism of Rahul Dravid’s decision to bowl first on winning the toss. I am not sure what impact that decision would have had. Had the bowlers bowled well and to a plan, I am certain his decision would have been lauded as a brilliant one!

More importantly, however, I just do not believe that India has the right balance in its team though and that has to be the starting point. A Freddie Flintoff is a tremendous positive in terms of team-balance. Yes, India does not have an in-form allrounder to thrust into the team at the moment. So it must hope and pray that Gautam Gambhir is just keeping the seat warm for an in-form Irfan Pathan! In the absence of an Irfan Pathan or a Joginder Sharma or a Dinesh Mongia or a Praveen Kumar in the team, India may have to bite the bullet and go with 5 bowlers! It has to be an option that the team considers. Even if the team does not do that, I don’t believe this Gautam Gambhir experiment should continue.

— Mohan

Let the (ODI) games begin…

The India England test series finished on the 13th of August and although there was some disappointment that India didn’t win 2-0, we still won. Now the focus shifts to the ODI tournament and both teams bring in some fresh blood. It is a new game and a new contest.

But of late the England One Day team has not performed well. If the ICC rankings are anything to go by, England are ranked 8th. They even lost the recent ODI series to West Indies 1-2. This does not mean the English are a push over. In spite of India holding the edge over the English in terms of ranking (India is ranked 5) and recent results (India have only lost once to England in the last 8 games), the series may still be closely fought. India are still trying to get its One Day groove back after the World cup debacle and although England are rebuilding, they have a distinct advantage playing at home and will also be trying to make up for the test series loss. Freddie Flintoff’s return should also boost their confidence.

For the Indians, Ganguly, Dravid and Tendulkar would certainly like to score a century or two in the ODI series – something they missed out on in the test series. It is highly likely that Sachin will open the batting with Saurav. One drop could be a toss up between Gambhir and Uthappa (my preference). Yuvraj, Dravid, Dhoni and Karthik will occupy the next batting slots (not necessarily in that order). Piyush Chawla and Zaheer Khan are sure to make the cut. Munaf was a bit off against the England Lions the other day and may make way for Agarkar and RP Singh. RR Powar may not get a chance as it is highly unlikely that India will play just 2 fast bowlers.

CricInfo had this as the likely XI for the 1st ODI:

India (likely) 1 Sachin Tendulkar, 2 Sourav Ganguly, 3 Gautam Gambhir, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Rahul Dravid (capt), 6 Dinesh Karthik, 7 Mahendra Singh Dhoni (wk), 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Ajit Agarkar, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 RP Singh

It certainly looks like the team that will take the field today.


ICL: Who’s in, Who’s out

The ICL has been busy signing up players. Apart from Brian Lara, Imran Farhat and Maravan Attapatu are also said to have signed up. It has been reported in the NZ Herald Sun and CricInfo that Nathan Astle, Chris Cairns and Stephen Fleming from NZ are being targeted. The Dawn newspaper and Daily Times have reported about ICL having made offers/signed up the likes of Razzaq, Inzi, Azhar Mahmood, Mohd. Yousuf and Mohd. Asif.

Apart from this, several former players, like McGrath and Warne have expressed interest although they are yet to sign up. In fact, after showing initial interest, Warne is now unlikely to join in. We know for a fact that some players have turned down the ICL offer: Justin Langer, Damien Martin, Shoaib Akthar and Afridi are some of the names.

The international players will only constitute a small portion of ICL. The majority will come from domestic cricket and a whole bunch of players from Hyderabad and UP have already reportedly joined in. The first former Indian player to have joined the league is Sridharan Sriram.

Kapil Dev has promised to reveal all the names in a week’s time, but here are the confirmed names so far –

  • Ambati Rayudu, Hyderabad
  • Vinay Kumar, Hyderabad
  • Anirudh Singh, Hyderabad
  • Ibrahim Khalil, Hyderabad
  • Shashank Nag, Hyderabad
  • K Reddy, Hyderabad
  • IS Reddy, Hyderabad
  • Alfred Abbalam, Hyderabad
  • Absolem, UP
  • Ali Murtaza, UP
  • Shalabh Srivastava, UP
  • V. Devendran, TN
  • Sridhar Sriraman, Maharashtra/TN/India
  • Brian Lara, WI
  • Imran Farhat, Pakistan

People who have refused to take the offer (for now):

  • Shoaib Akthar
  • Afridi
  • Damien Martyn
  • Justin Langer
  • Badani

People who have been rumoured to have been approached/signing up:

  • JP Yadav, Railways/India
  • Amol Mazumdar and Nilesh Kulkarni from Mumbai
  • Attapatu, Russel Arnold, Upul Chandana, Zoysa, Jayasurya and Vaas from Sri Lanka
  • Fleming, Bond, Cairns, Astlen from NZ
  • Inzi, Razzaq, Mohd. Yousuf, Asif, Azhar Mahmood