Monthly Archives: June 2008

May Raina’s reign continue!

While India flirted with the likes of Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, and some senior players in the last couple of years, Suresh Raina was busy piling on runs domestically. While some may argue that the time Suresh Raina spent at home was in his best interest, I personally believe that the Indians lost the service of a gifted yet hard working cricketer during this time. Who knows, the world cup may have had a different result and different meaning all together! I am glad that he is back in the side and with a bang. I was thrilled to see him play brilliantly in the IPL and even more excited to take on the challenge in the one day format. He is truly a player that holds the future of Indian cricket in the same vein as Rohit Sharma. I sincerely hope and pray that the management and selectors do not mishandle him this time around. One such player who may consider himself extremely unlucky is Venugopala Rao. Greg Chappell actually saw captaincy material in the Andhra/Maharashtra captain. I hope he continues to score well in the domestics and makes it back into the side.

This Indian side looks absolutely formidable especially in its batting strength. Which team can boast of Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly, and possibly Rahul Dravid as its bench strength? The bowling, while brilliant in patches, seems to gathering momentum towards consistency and international class. It is exciting, especially, to see good leg spin bowling potential in Chawla and Mishra. All in all, an exciting future of Indian cricket lies ahead.

– Srikanth

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Team India for Asia Cup game against Pakistan

After a mid-innings sputter, India cruised home to record a facile victory over Hong Kong in its Asia Cup opener. The business end commences today with a game againts hosts Pakistan.

Gambhir, Sehwag, Raina, Dhoni, Chawla, Praveen Kumar and R. P. Singh had good outings against Hong Kong. Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa did not get an opportunity to do much! Irfan Pathan will probably get back into the side provided his side-strain is no longer restricting his bowling.

Rohit Sharma had an ordinary game against Hong Kong and apparently looked listless in his 29-ball-11-run essay.

The India side is likely to be:

Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Robin Uthappa (or Yusuf Pathan), Irfan Pathan, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, RP Singh, Ishant Sharma

— Mohan

Team for Asia Cup Hong Kong game

With a view to the long season of relentless cricket ahead, it would be nice if the team could rest some key players for the game against Hong Kong today (Wed 25 June) in India’s opener in the Asia Cup 2008. Irfan Pathan will be rested because he appears to be carrying a side-strain into the tournament. However, I do believe that a few other players ought to be rested including captain M. S. Dhoni! Radical, I know, but with Dhoni playing in both Tests as well as ODIs and Twenty20’s, his body has been taking a fair pounding in recent months. So much so that in several of Chennai’s T20 games in the IPL, he played but did not keep wickets!

With the amount of cricket that is being played these days, the main workload impact would be on the pace bowlers. Fortunately, India does have a bench strength in this department and it would be a good idea to test this out in games against the likes of Hong Kong!

Unfortunately, the team only has M. S. Dhoni as wicketkeeper. It would be interesting to throw Robin Unthappa in as ‘keeper and see how he goes — after all, he did start his career as a useful ‘keeper.

In the Kitply Cup finals against Pakistan, I thought Dhoni got his knickers in an awful twist through his obsession with left-right combinations. This made him switch batting positions of players with not much thought other than the left-right design. This policy ought to be junked in preference for a batting order that is dictated by the match-situation. All pre-match indications are that that would indeed be the case.

My team for the Hong Kong match would, therefore, be:

V Sehwag
G Gambhir
SK Raina
RG Sharma
Yuvraj Singh (captain)
RV Uthappa (‘keeper)
YK Pathan
PP Chawla
P Kumar
M Gony
RP Singh
12th man: PP Ojha

This will give Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma and M. S. Dhoni a rest.

However, this may be a bridge too far for the Indians who may, I think, go with M. S. Dhoni as ‘keeper for the game.

— Mohan

Relive World Cup 1983 Victory

You can relive the WorldCup 1983 moments by watching this video highlights package courtesy Rediff.

Mohan

More thoughts on the ‘switch’ hit

Firstly let us look at the LBW law. batsmen are not given out LBW when a ball is pitched outside the leg stump because an umpire may find it difficult to judge if the ball will hit the stumps or not. Now with switch hit being allowed, technically a batsman can be out to a ball pitching outside the leg stump! So if he can be out when he switch hits why can’t he be given out when he straight hits!

Next what could prevent a batsman like Ganguly to take a right hander’s stance every time a fast bowler runs in and then quietly change around. Since he becomes a right hander by their ruling he cannot be given out LBW when the pitches outside his ‘current’ off stump  because he took guard as a right hander! Similarly for right handers, they can just take guard right handed and turn around as the bowler begins his run up.

Also batsmen can now take guard anyway they want to confuse the bowler further on which side of the wicket they have to bowl! Great time for batsmen I say! My son will never practice bowling in school!

— Sanjay

Pieterson’s switch hitting repercussions

In the last ODI that England played against NZ Kevin Pieterson hit 2 shots by changing his batting grip and stance as the bowler was running in to bowl. I was reminded of an old photograph of Asif Iqbal doing this nearly 30 years ago. I do not remember if it was the reverse sweep with the typical right hander’s grip or if he had done what Pieterson has just done. It is an innovation and the rulers of world cricket do not know how to handle the situation.

1. Bowlers give guard that they bowl right/left handed, over/round the wicket. Batsmen are not required to give guard. Or should they also.

2. Why should batsmen give guard? For two important reasons. Umpires need to decide on whether the ball is outside the off stump or the leg stump to judge a wide. With a right hander’s grip, the ball would be called a wide. But with a left hander’s grip is it not outside the off stump? Or as Daniel Vettorei just said in an interview reported in Cricinfo – Should they mark wide lines on both sides of the wicket and treat the balls down the leg side similarly? The second reason is for adjudging a batsman LBW, will the ball be treated as pitching outside the off stump if the batsman changes his grip. Afterall a batsman cannot be given out if the ball pitches outside the leg stump. But then the leg stump is for the right handed batsman. And what is the criteria to show if a batsman is left or right hadned? The grip of course! So if the grip changes then the rules for LBW/wides should also change.

3. Now coming to the bowlers. Frankly it does not make sense for a bowler to give guard for bowling left/right. As far as the batsman are concerned atleast issues of lbw and wides come into play. Nohing like that for the bowlers. So can a bowler not bowl with either of his hands?

— Sanjay

What I like about the current ODI team

Opening pair

Granted, Tendulkar and Ganguly were one of the best, if not the best opening ODI pairs for India and even the World. But Sehwag and Gambhir are doing very well at the moment. I love everything about them – the right/left combination, their stroke play, Sehwag’s explosiveness, Gambhir’s maturity…

If they continue their current form, they are all set to become a formidable opening combination in World cricket.

 Batting depth

The batting depth hasn’t been really put to the test yet, but with Irfan Pathan and Praveen Kumar, both all rounders coming in at No. 8 and 9 respectively, it looks very strong. Chawla at No. 10 is no rabbit with the bat either.

The Bench

When you see good players warming the bench, you know there are even better players in the playing XI and that is a great thing.  With guys like Uthappa, RP Singh (although Ishant was rested for the Bangladesh game) and Gony sitting out, you know the team is doing well.

And guys like Ganguly, Tendulkar, Dravid, Sreesanth and Harbhajan Singh aren’t even the team (due to a variety of reasons).

All rounders galore

The team now has Praveen Kumar and Irfan Pathan who are what I would classify as bowling all rounders – people who can bat a bit and bowl their full quota of 10 overs. Then there are the batting all rounders – Sehwag, Yuvraj and Yusuf Pathan. Even Rohit Sharma and Raina can chip in with a few overs. And last but not the least, the captain – MS Dhoni who can bat and keep wickets. This is one of the main reasons, India has a good batting depth at the moment.

Flexible batting order

I think the current batting order is a fairly flexible one. Barring the opening pair, I think the rest can come in any order. There is always the argument that batting orders shouldn’t be messed around with, but it seems to work well in Twenty20 and I don’t see why it shouldn’t work here.

Age

Sehwag at 29 years is the oldest member of the team. Everyone else is 26 or under. In fact, six of them are 21 and under. This again bodes well for Team India. Isn’t it wonderful that although the team is young, it does not seem to lack experience.

-Mahesh-