Daily Archives: 11 October 2007

India Vs Australia, 5th ODI, Vadodhra, 11 Oct 2007

India lost heftily to a clinical Australian team. After routing India initially when India batted first, Australia came out as though they played on a different track altogether!

In the end, India paid the price for (a) taking decisions by auto-pilot, (b) not taking enough risks with their team selection, (c) bad strokeplay.

This match and the decision-making in it was certainly a blot in Dhoni’s otherwise neat copy book, thus far.

No doubt Australia were the far superior team today. India had no answers in any of the key departments of the game.

However, a few questions need to be asked.

That India won batting first at Chandigarh did not immediately suggest that that was the only way India would win! So, it was a touch of foolhardiness (or needless bravery?) to choose to bat first on a dicey Vadodhra pitch that offered significant movement and variable bounce early on.

Two weeks back, in the context of the raied-out Bangalore ODI, Gilchrist the Australian captain for that game said that the Australians were keen to play on! In response, M. S. Dhoni said “Bahaduri aur bewakoofi mein bahut kum farq rehta hai” (there is a thin line between bravery and foolhardiness).

Well, Dhoni could repeat those same lines to himself in the context of his toss-decision. It appeared as if the decision was the equivalent of “rote learning” (memorisation by repetition).

It was clear to most who have been watching this series thus far that Zaheer Khan and Rahul Dravid have been out of sorts. The Vadodhra pitch was known to offer spin. A courageous decision would have meant that the currently struggling stalwarts had to sit out this do-or-die game. This would have required some courage. But it had to be done! A team that had fresh legs and fresh ideas in the sidelines — in the form of Rohit Sharma and S. Badrinath — had to employ them.

Lack of courage in the team composition and the toss-decision cost them the match even before a ball was bowled!

And then, if that wasn’t enough, the India bats proceeded to put forth their worst display on the field. Of coruse, the Australians bowled superbly. But there is no excuse for a lot of the on-field immaturity in the batting display.

All in all, this was a shoddy and unprofessional display by the Indians.

The team will require a dramatic re-think of its personnel, its balance and composition and its approach if it is going to make any impact in the rest of the series.

— Mohan

Ponting has been shopping for nappies?

Ponting is apparently riled and upset at the baiting and the taunts that his team has been receiving from S. Sreesanth. He is so upset that he wants the Match Referee to do something about it.

He said, “It was disappointing the other day to see that happening. He chirped me on the way out to bat, as well. When I got a chance to ask him about it later on, he ran away and said he wasn’t talking to me at all. He said he was talking to someone else. It happened probably four or five times the other day when we lost wickets; him running past somebody coming off the ground. But what can you do about it if the authorities aren’t going to do anything about it?

Oh poor baby! A tight cuddle from his mama should set him right, I am sure!

Now, let’s re-visit what Ponting said ony a few days back. In the context of labelling India’s aggression as “fake”, Ponting said of of Dhoni, the Indian captain. “As soon as any words were said at all on the field, Dhoni went and complained to the umpires, so they have gone from one extreme to the other in a matter of two days.

So, given his latest charge to the nappy-shop, is Ponting’s aggression also “fake”?

Moral of the story: If you can’t take lip, don’t give it… And once you throw a stone into an open drain, please do not whinge about the splash-back!

Meanwhile, the chin-music nonsense has commenced. Shaun Tait, the guy who wanted Indian’s to show Andrew Symonds some respect the other day, says, “Traditionally they (India’s batsmen) have been exposed to short pitched bowling and haven’t exactly liked it. If I do get a run, it would be nice to run in and stick a few up the noses of the Indian batsmen, for sure.” Sigh!

— Mohan

Team India for 5th ODI @ Vadodhra

India is often loathe to change a winning combination unless real (or make-believe) injury forces their hand. However, I have a feeling that a change or two may be necessary to the India team that beat Australia in Chandigarh.

Option-1: Rest Zaheer Khan for Sreesanth

Despite a tight last over in the Chandigarh match, Zaheer Khan has not been bowling as sharply as he can. Even though we should acknowledge that he is bowling at Hayden and Gilchrist — both champion players — he has looked off-colour. Moreover, with Zaheer Khan, R. P. Singh and Irfan Pathan the bowling has a “sameness” look to it. With that in mind, it may not be a bad idea to bring in Sreesanth for Zaheer Khan.

Option-2: Rest Dravid for Badrinath or Rohit Sharma

The Vadodhra pitch is known to be a turner. An additional off-spinner in the form of Badrinath, would be a useful option to go with. Of Rohit Sharma and Bardrinath, I’d go for the latter because his off-spin is generally quite sound — perhaps more sound than the options Rohit Sharma provides with his bowling. This option may gain more credibility in light of the fact that Dravid hasn’t really looked in great touch in this series thus far.

Option-3: Combine option-1 and option-2

This would be my preferred team for this all-important match. Apart from strenghthening the bowling, this option would also strengthen the fielding! However, I do not believe Team India will go with this. It is most likely that the same winning-team will play this match too. But if I had my druthers I’d go with the following team:

Sourav Ganguly, Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh (vice-captain), Robin Uthappa, S. Badrinath, MS Dhoni (captain), Irfan Pathan, Murali Kartik, Harbhajan Singh, S Sreesanth, RP Singh.

Substitutes: Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid, Zaheer Khan.

— Mohan