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

22 responses to “England vs India — 1st ODI: Six areas for improvement…

  1. India would it consider it is a 7 match series, we have time.

    Munaf Patel not fully back to form – in contrast to Flintoff after 3rd ankle surgery, bending his back and bowling at 90 mph. Now, the word is Munaf is a bit a slacker. Why was Munaf even selected in the team even before he was fit ? and that means Ajit will certainly play in most matches.

    Gambhir coming at No.3 was another one. No.3 batsman has to be the best bat in the team – Ponting. It is not Gambhir. He is going spend overs to settle down and or lose the wicket.

    3 run-outs, due to mis understanding in running between wickets.

    5-th bowler committee – Ganguly, Yuvraj, Sachin went for 80 runs. Perhaps, Powar should play in the next match instead of Chawla.

  2. I have a feeling that Ranadeb Bose who bowls military medium pace, but a steady line and length may be better suited for one-days than tests – similar to the Dmitri M.. guy for England.

  3. i dont agree that the work load was a factor and neither did the unbalance factor..
    lets accept inida played a poor cricket.
    and ofcource poor captaincy when he elcted to feild…
    and coming to irfan pathan..i wont be surprised if irfan too goes the ICL way.. 😛

  4. Mohan,
    I never thought that you would consider any team–let alone a cricket team–over worked.
    In a test match, very few of them are actually bowling or fielding or batting more than 30 to 40 per cent of the total time.

    In a one day game, for half the game, most of them are sitting in the pavilion sipping chai!! and looking at the newspapers or TV screen , to see if their name and / or photos appear!!Their work load is no tougher than the rest of the work force–and get paid a lot more.

  5. If the toss and the decision emanating from it seals the fate of the game, may as well play book-cricket.

    India need an all-rounder in the team. They will hurt and bleed until such time. They can’t go in with 4 bowlers and gnbmdr’s “5th bowler committee”. The good teams will tear this attack apart game-after-game especially when Ajit Agarkar is such a lottery! Today Shock-arkar stepped onto the park and leaked 65 runs!

    Gambhir must be merely seat-warming.

  6. Why is payment of such a concern to most people? Sour grapes?

  7. BTW Sam, when Kevin Pietersen was talking about fatigue, I did not see you pick up pen and paper and say it was all only because he continually has to count the money rolling in and because of his beautiful girlfriend? 🙂

    I do believe the intensity of the Test match series was sapping on players. To pick oneself up from that is tough. Moreovre, it is not JUST about sitting in the pavillion, listening to iPods and watching the world go by. And players do have to keep up the intensity day-in-day-out. After his workload and intensity during the Test series, Zaheer Khan was understandably (at least to me) flat.

    I have some sympathy for players and workloads which I why I talked about rotations in my earlier post on “Tipping Point”.

    It is easy for umpires to just rock up on the park, count to six every over and proceed to make a series of mistakes 🙂

  8. Mohan,
    Money is a concern –and if you want to call it sour grapes, yep I am full of it. And proud of it! Over paid prima donnas , these cricketers. Just today, BCCI have increased the match day fee for Ranji players from 16,000 Rupees to 35,000 rupees. How many of our employers will be willing to do this to us? ICL has really rattled BCCI.

    Every time I buy a Toyota car, some of it goes to tennis players and AFL players. If I buy a Nike shirt or an MRF tyre, money goes to Lara, S waugh and Sachin T.
    As such, the punters havfe a right to criticise players for the poor return we are getting for our investment.
    Just for the record, in a test match there is a minimum of 2700 balls plus no balls and wides and in ODI there is a minimum or 600 balls. The two umpires have to concentrate for everyone of the balls–Yuvaraj faced one ball and 300 balls of concentration while fielding. Apart from the umpires Wkt keepers and slip fielders come next in terms of need for concentration

    re mistakes–the umpires’ mistakes in a game is far less compared to the dropped catches, missed run outs and stumpings, rash shots, no balls, wides–all mistakes by players but never talked about in the same way as umpires are criticised—the reason given–UMPIRES ARE GETTING PAID TO DO A JOB!!!!.

  9. Sam,

    Since when have YOU invested in Sachin Tendulkar and Steve Waugh? You are taking your contribution as a customer of a Nike T-Shirts and Toyota cars a bit too far Sam. Settle down a bit.

    Nike have invested in the Indian team. Not you. You are just a mere buyer of Nike T-Shirts because you think (perhaps) that the shirts are good. You don’t buy a Nike T-Shirt becasue Tendulkar is associated with it, do you? If that is the case, poor you! Sigh! Don’t leave your brains behind when you go out shopping next time! 🙂

    Moreover, just because you buy them shirts doesn’t mean you’ve “invested in” Tendulkar. Gimme a break!

    Next you’ll want dividends from MTR because you ate one of their rava idlis! 🙂

    Tendulkar earns well because there is a perception (or maybe even a reality) amongst brand owners that he is good for their brand. He gets paid well because Nike and MRF thinks he is good. BCCI makes money on Tendulkar because if you and I played and that match was telecast, no one would watch. And BCCI are doing nothing more than sharing some of their revenues with the players that helped generate it. The market dictates who gets paid what. And if that is the case, who are you and I to begrudge Tendulkar’s payments?

    Ok, so you are full of sour grapes and proud of it. Hopefully it is keeping constipation at bay because other than that, it will do you no good 🙂

  10. Mohan,

    You conveniently avoided/left out the point re umpires’ concentration of ALL the balls in a match vs 1 or 2 by some batsmen. As well the comparision of mistakes of umpires with that of the players in any match.
    So, I take it that you agree with me on that!!

    Or your worship of Sachin and s waugh has blinded the flow of your thoughts!!

    MTR is no longer a Swadeshi product–I might stop buying it–A company from Norway–I think has bought out the Maiya family!! ( two of them went to Bangalore Medical college with me!!)

  11. My initial comment on upmires was just a red rag to a bull, and hence the smiley. It was a dig — ‘coz you are an umpire — that did not deserve a response. It was just to get you fired up. It did 🙂

    I do have a lot of admiration for most umpires.

    I worship no one. I do certainly admire Waugh and Tendulkar for what they have done (and continue to do). To me, the impact that they (and others like Brad Pitt or Shah Rukh Khan or Aishwariya Rai or Jimmy Connors or Tiger Woods) have had on people is enough for market forces to dictate what they get paid. If they continue to perform well, the market will decide how much they get paid. Period.

    I take it that you accept my market-forces-theory? And that apart from constipation-control, your sour grapes will have bugger-all benefit? 🙂

    Beware the blood pressure effect though 🙂

  12. Hi Mo

    re ur ‘understanding’ of zaheer being a bit flat- anderson to played in all the tests, yet he was all fired up today! I would have thought for most sports persons (professional or not), success is the biggest energiser.

  13. Accept your point Paddy — and well made too.

    The only defence I have for Zaheer (not that I have to defend him) is to borrow from the Steve Waugh book (again!) and say that fatigue “on the road” is a lot different to fatigue “at home”. Steve Waugh talks of the hotel-room-and-suitcase-syndrome. This “on the road” mental/physical fatigue is perhaps all the more relevant for Team India who are purportedly/supposedly poor travellers.

    But in general, your point is totally valid. Success should be enough of a motivator. I’d be disappointed if we do not see better performances in the remaining 6 matches.

  14. Although India gave away close to 300 runs, the target was still gettable. Sure, an allrounder would have helped with some of the bowling load, but the fifth bowler option didn’t too badly either (in the scheme of things): 79 runs in 13 overs (~ 6 an over) is lower than the rate at which Agarakar leaked runs.

    I guess the point I am trying to make is that we need a batting allrounder (a la Sehwag) more than an bowling allrounder (Pathan). Although it was a collective failure in every department, it was batting that let India down more…

    I also just can’t seem to understand why Gambhir keeps getting the nod ahead of Uthappa.

    Anyhoo, I think the other matches are not going to be as one sided as this one and I am hoping for better performances from the Indians: specifically better batting, bowling, catching, fielding, running between wickets and team balance 😉

  15. Just Adam Gilchrist and kumara sangakara are wicket keeping all rounders, why cant M S Dhoni or Karthik be considered as the much needed all rounders?

  16. They are…aren’t they? At least Dhoni is. Karthik is just playing as a specialist batsman..

  17. Guys,
    To be brutally honest, I haven’t felt this flat about an Indian series in a very long time. It really does pale into insignificance when you compare the emotion, drama and results of the Test series.

    Either way, it was only the first match of 7. They probably underestimated (foolishly, I might add) just how fired the Poms would have been after the series loss. Maybe they also thought Flintoff might not have been as fit as he really was.

    A lot of areas for improvement, no doubt, but nothing that can’t be turned around by the time the next ball is bowled.

  18. Indian cricketers bowled poorly.They forgot how to bowl with wind. We need a genuine all rounder who can really bat and bowl(not batsman who can spin the bowl). Once again running between wickets is poor. Lackness of athletism led to poor fielding. Too many short balls and loose deliveries led english men to score freely. They had to come up with plan to wrap up series.

  19. The problem with Indian Cricket is professionalism. Let’s face it man…being a desi means that this so important trait is not in our blood.

    This sad state of affairs starts with lack of professionalism in Management- read BCCI. To me the BBCI is a bunch of old fashioned idoits who think their two cents worth is the law in Indian cricket. North, South East West, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh…scrap all that…aolish the stupid quotta system and have the best 11 men on the field. Until this gets done, there will be disappointent all around…

    One more thing…what’s Gautham Gamhir’s role in the team?

  20. We need allrounders…. but the reality is we don’t have them. Tendulkar used to be a good 5th bowling option when he was in his early twenties, not anymore. All of our bowlers are moody guys… the same Agarkar may bowl a mesmerizing spell in the next match, and go for 70 runs in the match after that. Samething goes for Zaheer too. Karthik is coming too low in the order for any use, If he plays he should come in at 3 or 4, otherwise we are better off with an extra bowler in his place.

  21. There was nothing India could have done against such mighty opponents. Especially as they didn’t try to win.

    Looks likt a 7-0 whitewash.

  22. hope you guys understood why Gautham Gambhir is in the team now… 😉

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