Australia v India :: ODI :: A win for India

After four games, this somewhat tiring three-nations series is nicely set up. India won a game at the MCG, Melbourne last night and two of her previous games have been rained out. Sri Lanka has 2 points from a rained out game, while Australia has a win and 2 points from a wash-out. Sri Lanka meets India on Tuesday in what could be a battle that opens up this series or tightens the score-board. Even though they were outplayed in Sydney by a rampant and professional Australia unit, Sri Lanka looks like a capable side. So after many years of tiring one-sided cricket, it looks like this series — ironically, the last tri-series in Australia — will be a cracker of sorts!

In last nights’ game, India out thought and out-bowled Australia. The Indians seemed to have a plan for each batsman and stuck to it. The days that the team had in MCG to themselves seemed to have worked! Ishant Sharma thundered in and bowl a foot outside off to Matthew Hayden. They wanted Hayden to make the running and offered him nothing on his pads or close to the body. Similarly, they had a plan for Michael Clarke and for Ricky Ponting. The fielding was sharper and the catching was good too. It is easy to see why this young Team India has captured the imagination of a few Australians in the commentary box. With the calm and fearless M. S. Dhoni at the helm of affairs it is easy for the Indian fan to dream again!

Australia was all out in some 43.1 overs for 169. This does not happen often. No doubt, the scoreline was benefited by poor umpiring that cost Adam Gilchrist (LBW off an inside edge) and Stuart Clark (seemed to not nick a ball that carried through to M. S. Dhoni). And when India was batting, Sachin Tendulkar got a healthy nick and was pouched behind the stumps — it wasn’t given. It is hard to predict what might have been, had these decisions gone against India.

However, I thought India bowled well and that is heartening to see. Ricky Ponting admitted after the game that Ishant Sharma made a big difference. The young Indian quick got Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting and Andrew Symonds — three top-drawer batsmen. But more importantly, he has improved steadily with each outing. He was entrusted with the new ball in yesterdays’ game and came out trumps. Sree Santh looked dangerous too and Irfan Pathan backed the with some wily stuff of his own. Team India, which is without Zaheer Khan and R. P. Singh, probably its top-2 ODI pacers, is looking sharp at the moment.

In the batting, Rohit Sharma and M. S. Dhoni batted beautifully to get India home. It was disappointing to see India not get the bonus point, but the victory is perhaps more important in the larger scheme of things.

One worry would be the continuing bad form of Yuvraj Singh. Nothing seems to be going right for this young man on this tour. He needs a big innings. India needs it too. With a fit and in-form Yuvraj Singh, this team can reach the finals and create some damage. If not, it may be a bridge too far.

With that in mind, it may not be a bad idea for Team India to think in terms of sending Yuvraj Singh in as opener in the game against Sri Lanka in Canberra. He can play with more freedom and be more carefree. In the last two games he has come in with wicket-preservation mindset and that may not quite be the best frame of mind to be in when one is trying to breakout of a form slump.

— Mohan

18 responses to “Australia v India :: ODI :: A win for India

  1. Srikanth Mangalam


    I agree that Yuvraj’s form is of some concern. Yuvraj’s confidence, I feel, is directly related to how well he handles himself on the field as a fielder. He has been totally off colour as a fielder and that may indicate that his mind is playing havoc with him. He was not throwing at the stumps as often as he used to in the past. He is not necessarily seen fielding at his customary position around gully/point area. Bad memories from the test matches seem to continue to haunt him. The perfect platform for him would be him arriving at the crease at his regular position with India at something like 200 for 2 in 35 odd overs and he sets himself in to launch in the last 10 overs or so.

    Rohit Sharma and Dhoni did play beautifully and as I have mentioned earlier, Rohit is shaping to be an extremely important player in the overall scheme of things, in tests and one dayers. He is very confident as a fielder, very quick mover, and seems to have a good cricketing brain apart from the fact that he has a solid technical skillset.

    I would actually like to try Suresh Raina out instead of Robin Uthappa. I know that Robin has not had much of an opportunity yet but I just have a hunch that Raina might just add a little more oomph on the field that could raise the confidence levels even more. Suresh Raina does roll his arm over as well.

    On a different subject, Sreesanth should consider filing a libel suit against Ian Healy for calling him “Two Shoes” because of the fact that he wears two different brand of shoes. Initially, I thought Ian Healy was joking but he continued to refer to Sreesanth as “Two Shoes” through his commentary. Did Sreesanth grant him permission to do so?

  2. On a different subject, Sreesanth should consider filing a libel suit against Ian Healy for calling him “Two Shoes” because of the fact that he wears two different brand of shoes. Initially, I thought Ian Healy was joking but he continued to refer to Sreesanth as “Two Shoes” through his commentary. Did Sreesanth grant him permission to do so?


    I am sure Mark Taylor never gave anyone permission to call him ‘Tubby’ If you are going to wear 2 different brands of shoe’ or type or colour for that matter- is it not unreasonable to expect it is commeneted on, seriously, grow up!

    On a serious note, Ishant Sharma is turning into an exceptional bowler, and on the whole India played great cricket and deserved to win…. It would have been interesting if those two decisions were called correctly- there was probably only 30-40 runs in the game at the end, that is the beauty of cricket!

  3. @Srikanth

    I am not sure if Raina would add much more to the batting and fielding than Uthappa. And Raina did field in yesterdays’ game.

    I have no specific problems with the “Two Shoes” comment. That was Healey’s attempt at humour. Did not work for me! He may have had a laugh over it!

    But on a more general note, Ian Healey’s jingoistic commentary must be a sore embarrassment to even a one-eyed, dired-in-the-wool Aussie supporter! I personally think he is best left alone. When he comes on, the “mute button” suddenly starts to look very attractive!

    As I mentioned in an earlier piece, until Channel-9 can invite into its commentary box — and thereby, Aussie living rooms — commentators from the rest of the world, Australia’s own ability to embrace the world stage will continue to be called to question.

    I am, in that sense, pleased that Indian living rooms, via TV sets, constantly hear different opinions and culturally pluralistic views from from the likes of Robin Jackman, Geoff Boycott, Tony Greig, Ian Chappell, Michael Slater, Greg Blewett, Bruce Yardley, et al. The list is actually quite impressive and I have merely highlighted a few personalities that air their cricketing-views in Indian living rooms.

    Likewise, Indian newspapers carry articles from Peter Roebuck, Steve Waugh, et al. Again, an impressive list of people… These are steps in the right direction. For if not, views tend to become strongly uni-dimensional and the opportunity to hear a different view is lost.

    Having said that, Harsha Bhogle is a regular on ABC Radio.

    — Mohan

  4. Few things to ponder

    Should the ACB demand that Rudi Kertzen be not appointed to their games again–and sent home

    Should ACB charter a plane and keep it idle?

    Should the Indian PM and the President ask Tendulkar to WALK next time–just as their Aussie counterparts Rudd and Jeffreys did?

  5. @Govinda

    I am not sure what the issue is with CA or BCCI saying that they have lost confidence in an umpire. At my work place, if I have lost confidence in the ability of a worker to do his job properly, we have a performance-appraisal-process to manage that person’s performance. Given that I work in a matrix organisation, a performance appraisal of a direct-report would take feedback from the people that that person “serves”. Are umpires such a rare species that they need to be protected from such a process?

    On walking, I don’t think a batsman should walk EVER because the opposite (of a batsman being recalled when he is not out but given out wrongly) never happens. Period. A batsman has to take the good with the bad.

    — Mohan

  6. I agree a batsman should never walk. Match umpires are paid to judge! After every match ICC review pannel should analyse the performance of umpires and if criteria of good umpiring are not met relieve him of duties next season if not sooner! Personally, I like the comments made by “two mouth” Healy about two shoes SreeSanth!

  7. Our batting order looks completely out of sorts. The uncertainity of each batsman’s role, seems to baffle the players as much as the fans. I felt Irfan Pathan need not have come in at No.3 position. Uthappa is being wasted at No.7. Tendulkar played Lee beautifully, before he went into his shell that only he knows why. Why should Yuvraj be promoted in the batting order, inspite of repeated failures? If, for arguments’s sake, lets say he comes in at No.3 and gets a century, will he continue playing in that position or will he get relegated to his original slot of No.5, No.6 or No.7 after he gets back to form? Why was Gambhir punished for getting a century by being pushed down the order? Is cricket really this complicated a game that the captain needs to change his batting order based on whats happening at the center every few overs??
    Can’t the Indian team not keep it simple and play a consistent batting order? Have the bookies got something to do with this?? I got so frustrated that I turned the TV off and missed an opportunity to watch Rohit bat. [and probably change my opinion :)]

  8. @Bharath

    We were watching two different games! I did not see the Indian batting as “out of sorts” at all! It was controlled. The batting approach demonstrated Dhoni’s (and the teams’) determination to win. And they did.

    On what did you base your statement that the “uncertainity of each batsman’s role, seems to baffle the players as much as the fans.”

    For a start, I am not baffled. So leave me out of this! Perhaps other fans are baffled 🙂

    I do not have evidence to suggest that the batsmen are “baffled” either! I’d love to know how you reached that conclusion.

    Gambhir, in fact, said that he reveled in being able to play different roles for different situations. Pathan himself has said something similar.

    I am not a big fan of fixed positions for players. I am a great fan of the Greg Chappell approach of throwing people into different roles for different situations.

    The reasoning for sending Pathan in at #3 was apparently to calmly negotiate the tricky spell that Brett Lee (in particular) was bowling at the time. The effect was that even though he got out, he had stayed there long enough. Moreover, the Australians knew that India still had a long batting lineup that was due to come through, made longer by the fact that Pathan hung around! The result was that they kept delaying their part-timers, and that is exactly what Dhoni and Rohit Sharma were waiting for! Brilliant stuff, in my view! More importantly, it worked!

    Yesterday’s situation with a low score on a challenging pitch demanded that the “set routine” be changed. This change would have provided an indigestion to many Indians who like things “set and fixed”! But creative, out-of-the-hat thinking is about just that! 🙂

    I do not see a #7 as a “relegation”. The Aussies do not view a #3 as a “better position” than a #7. Each position has a role that depends on the match situation. It is that flexibility that the Indian team should aspire to achieve.

    And with Dhoni in charge, it should get there.

    The Indian media and most of her fans rebelled against the “experimentation” that Chappell had embarked on. I believe that most Indians like fixed routines and approaches… “we are like this only”! It is a bold, brave and courageous man that embarks on a deviation from that fixed routine and process-manual-dictated approach. But then it requires a brave man to challenge the accepted norm. And that shaking is needed to get a step-change in direction. More power to Dhoni.

    A different way to see “Uthappa is being wasted at No.7” is “The team is batting so well that even a terrific bat like Uthappa is not really required”!

    Half glass empty == Half glass full…

  9. theblackirishman

    I believe that the Indian ODI batsmen (just like their Test brethren) will take a few games to get the hang of batting on oz pitches. In fact, they seem to be acclamatising quicker, perhaps because they are younger 🙂
    For me, the notable point of the series has been the bowling. I struggle to recall the last time a pair of Indian openers consistenly staying above 140KPH! and then to go on to get the incredible oz batting out for 159, albeit with some assistance from the umps.
    As Mohan says, the series could be coming alive, but its ability to stay alive depends on the Ind bowlers ability to deliver that king of performance over and over again.
    I continue to subscribe to the fan clubs for MSD & Rohit Sharma 🙂

  10. theblackirishman

    On another front, I do hope the young Indians were learning from the Oz bowling & fielding performance. Any other team defending 160 would have given up after 15 overs. Oz showed exactly what makes them the champions.
    I am not a big fan of the One day circus, but I am glad I did not miss yesterday’s game. Brett Lee’s bowling, specially his second spell was something to behold. Good on you, chap!

  11. We are best on only Indian pitches………..

    But if we win on foreign pitches its big victory……

    Wanna play new games?

    Here is the something for you…………………….
    Just came across something called
    Games 2 win .
    Play various games like cricket, Ninja, Car race, Naughty Gym & many more……….

    Then why are you waiting for………………………………..

  12. Mohan,
    I will not use the fact that Chappell’s strategy got us booted out in the first round in a prestigious tournament not too long ago, to drive home my point. Because I dont believe in that line of argument, and I would hold on to my point of view of having a more stable batting order, even if India had won the world cup.
    My point is about specialists and the fact that Gambir is a specialist and should be trusted more than Pathan to get the job done, especially since the total was not too threatening to chase. If we were to chase some crazy total of 330 plus, sending unconventional bastmen might bear fruit. It was unnecessary in yesterday’s game. Also, put yourself in Gambir’s place. How would you feel if your boss were to have treated you the same way, after having completed a wonderful assignment successfully, to be sidelined for the very next task. I would not feel good about it. These guys are young and craving for centerstage to prove their merit to the aussie audience. I felt Dhoni, in some sense, robbed Gambir off his deserved moment. Also, I hope they use Robin Uthappa before his expiry date. Saving for the rainy day did not work with Tendulkar. He has delivered his best as an opener.

  13. A great game of cricket with the better team winning on the night. At only 19 years of age Ishant Sharma has a great career ahead of him, I think he has the qualities to rival Glen McGrath’s record, time will tell.

    As for using Peter Roebuck and ‘impressive’ in the same sentence, i can only assume that Mohan is referring to the indentation left on a number of young Zimbabwean cricketers backsides that Mr Roebuck felt the need to spank, while under his tutolage in England six years ago. After ordering the pair to strip down to show him the resulting marks on their rears, Mr Roebuck could see for himself the ‘impression’ he made on them. Mr Roebuck was found guilty of this offence (and convicted) and given a suspended sentence. It baffles me how anyone could consider this man anything other than a sicko.

  14. Ricky Ponting says Ishant Sharma a Dangerous Bowler
    Ricky Ponting Australian Captain was suitably impressed by Ishant Sharma.

  15. @Paul

    We are almost entering dangerous territory here, so other than saying that if a man has “done time” and is not a repeat offender, we should just take him for what he is today. He is, after all, a commentator on the ABC and a writer in the SMH/Age. Would we, for example, forever hold the “here is the terrorist” comment against Dean Jones? Just asking…

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  17. Ishant Sharma is the find of the season. At 19 years he has shown that he has nothing to lose. The only problem with Indian cricketers is that they are put on pedestal and then poor guys are one day toasted and the next day roasted.

    Irfan Pathan was the find of the season some years ago and then went through a rough patch and is now back after spending time in domestic cricket.

    Hope Ishant learns to deal with the pressures of playing for India.

  18. @ Mohankaus
    Dean Jones has always let his mouth get him into trouble and should feel very lucky that he is still employed in the media. He wasn’t actually charged and convicted of a criminal offence though. Sorry to bring up this unsavioury incident, however Mr Roebuck should be known for what he is.

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