What this victory means…


Australia does have a terrific opening batsman who can’t bat at the moment and they do have an opening bowler who can’t get a bowl at the moment.

Cricket is played on rough maidans and not in plush couches in psychiatric clinics!


One thing about the Australian cricket team is its resilliance and strength. Australia will bounce back from this crushing defeat that India inflicted at Mohali. To come back strongly from this demoralising defeat will be hard for Australia though — the next Test is being played in Delhi, where India has not lost since 1993! Indeed, India has won the last 7 Tests played at Delhi since 1993! Admittedly, 3 of these victories have come against lowly Zimbabwe. But 7 from 7 is an daunting mountain for Australia to climb when staring down the barrel — if I am permitted to mix my metaphors! But that mixing is the least of Australia’s worries at the moment. There is a fair bit of mixing happening in Australia’s collective head spaces.

This was India’s biggest win ever in all Test matches (by number of runs) against all countries. In other words, even Bangladesh had been spared such a thorough spanking and humiliation! This was also Australia’s heaviest Test defeat since April 1991, when they were beaten by 343 runs by the then mighty West Indies.

The two main differences between this defeat and other big defeats that India has inflicted on Australia is that this was more of an ‘Australian pitch’ than an Indian pitch! Secondly, unlike Kolkata in March 1998, the previous ‘best’ defeat that India has inflicted on Australia, this Mohali victory was secured on a good batting track and by pacemen (mainly)! Although Javagal Srinath had a cracker of a game in that Test match (Kolkata 1998) that really was Kumble’s game on a traditional Indian dust-bowl.

Mohali 2008 wasn’t. It was a batting pitch. The victory was achieved by some splendid opening bowling by Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma in the first innings. Two spectacular deliveries from Ishant Sharma in the 2nd Innings (to remove Ponting and Watson) and by Zaheer Khan cleaning up the tail in the 2nd Innings. In saying that, I am not devaluing the contributions made by Amit Mishra and Harbhajan Singh. Not at all. However, from the moment Australia was pegged back in the 1st Innings, given Australias’ “defensive mindset”, there was only one possible result in this game. And this mindset was reinforced by the Indian pace bowlers who got the ball to reverse swing from the 8th over itself!

A few observations about the victory that need emphasising:

  • How come the Indian pacemen are getting much more traditional and reverse swing than the Australians! It almost looked as if the Indians and the Australians were batting on two different pitches! As Peter Hanlon says in The Age today, “How come Zaheer Khan and Ishant Sharma get more movement off the pitch than our spinners – at 140 km/h?”
  • Apart from V. V. S. Laxman, every other Indian player contributed strongly. In batting, the openers, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and M. S. Dhoni played strong hands. In the bowling department, all 4 strike bowlers played a solid hand. Laxman will rue missing out and if there is a change to the team plan of going into the Delhi game with 5 bowlers, Laxman may miss out.
  • India dominated from the get go. And in a very Australian manner, once India had its foot on the pedal, unlike India teams of the past, the foot remained on the pedal.
  • Australia paid dearly for its defensive mindset in Bangalore. At the end of that Test match, I rated India as having come out on top. I was criticised for this rating by some of the people who left comments behind (hope the pie on the face tastes good guys!). I said then and I say again that the main reason for that rating was that Australia let the match drop from their hands after being on top right through the game! You can’t do that with good teams like India! Positive outcomes come from seizing the key moments in a game. Australia failed to do that and displayed a negative mindset — which was somewhat evident from the start of the tour with this “new age cricket” nonsense.
  • Australia played like India do! They were out-thought, out-batted, out-bowled and even out-sledged! We even saw Australian players complaining on being sledged! Aren’t these Australians masters of the art form? Soon we may have Ricky Ponting wearing a halo and suggesting that all sledging ought to be stamped out of the game!
  • Zaheer Khan was fined 80% of his match fee for asking Matthew Hayden about his post-match dinner plans! Matthew Hayden complained to the umpire! Poor thing. His pride was hurt. It is time to change the “what’s said on the field is left on the field” adage to read, “What the Australians say on the field ought to be left on the field. However, Australians will don nappies and reveal what other teams say on the field to anyone that is even remotely interested!”
  • More seriously, Zaheer Khan followed up his pre-match talk (which commenced, rather unnecessarily in my view, from the Bengaluru-presentation-ceremony) with on-field performance. What the Indians are realising is that it is not enough to be aggressive in words (read: Robin Uthappa and Sree Santh). Unless it is followed up by real aggression on the field through on-field performance, the talk is meaningless.
  • Perhaps what Zaheer Khan’s talk did was put Ricky Ponting off his own game! Ricky Ponting focussed on attacking Zaheer Khan and Anil Kumble instead of worrying about the cleanliness of his own stable! He now has 8 days to mull over what he needs to do with his own team’s performance! At the end of the Bengaluru Test, in response to Zaheer Khan’s observations, Ponting said, “[Zaheer Khan] just happened to have a good game as well, which is pretty unusual for him. It’s up to him to back it up again. I think a lot of his comments might have been to try and get us to play a different style and different brand of cricket.” Well, Zaheer Khan did have a good game in Bengalure. No, it is not “unusual for him” and yes, he has backed it up! And yes, he did rile Australia’s “new brand” of cricket. But it didn’t work because, as Dhoni said “Honestly speaking, we have not seen this before. I mean in their first innings, they were 22 for two wickets after 13 overs. I was so surprised that I told Rahul (Dravid) that you don’t see things like that very often.”

Ricky Ponting needs to focus on his own game and his own team without being distracted by the performance of Zaheer Khan and the (non)selection of Anil Kumble! I do believe that this “new age” nonsense should be consigned in the history pages to the “dark age” of Australian cricket! It is time for this approach — and its author — to be kicked out of the Australian dressing room.

Australia needs to change its approach and mindset; not its personnel. And that should start from cleansing its dressing room of needless and unwarranted management-speak. Cricket is played on rough maidans and not in plush couches in psychiatric clinics!

The intervening 8 days should be a time for soul-searching for the Australians. This is a champion Australian team and they will come back hard at the Indians. Australia does have a terrific opening batsman who can’t bat at the moment and they do have an opening bowler who can’t get a bowl at the moment. But Australia will regroup and come back strongly at the Indians. That is what champion teams do!

I can’t wait for the Delhi Test to commence!

— Mohan

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26 responses to “What this victory means…

  1. Now they want Shane Warne back!!!!! I say get the whole bunch back – Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Justin Langer & Glenn McGrath!

  2. Srikanth Mangalam

    Bring em on!!

    Mohan, I loved your opening statement. Absolutely bang on about the opening dilemma for the Aussies. On the other hand, India probably boasts of the best opening pair in the world now (bowling and batting together!). It is simply amazing to watch Sehwag and Gambhir score at such a good rate, very Aussie like.

    Bring em on, I say!

  3. What was most interesting to me was Dhoni’s post match comment. Apart from the ’22 for 2 off 13 overs’ comment, the interesting comment to me was when he said, “Well, they had a few bad games so far. But that does not mean they have lost edge. They are still the number one team in the work, a very talented side.”

    Two things about this statement: (a) He believes that India ‘won’ Bangalore! (b) He respects the Aussies.

    This augurs well…

  4. I don’t understand this thought that India “won” Bangalore. Australia were on top most of the match and India held on for a draw.

  5. Oh – just re-read some earlier posts. India won Sydney as well! I get it.

  6. chris hutchinson

    Yes Mohan. Let’s deal with the facts!

    Let’s deal with facts:

    F1- Mike Proctor is kicked out. Nowhere to be seen. Conclusion: Proctor conducted a kangaroo court; a sham and a disgrace.

    Narrow conclusion. He did stuff up and paid dearly. Should his integrity to deal with the matter as presented, by both sides, have been questioned by India so vehemently? Why would he not believe Symonds “thought” he had been vilified? Why would be believe such an amazing, convoluted answer from Baji?

    F2- Steve Bucknor is gone. Conclusion: He stuffed up Sydney and robbed the Indians in Sydney.

    You were “denied” in Sydney. Roebuck, my favorite cric journo, can feel what he likes. You say robbed. For god’s sake man this sort of problem has been around forever. If it was an Australian umpire I would have expected such folly.
    F3- A proper judge conducted a proper appeal hearing in Adelaide and exonerated Harbhajan Singh. Conclusion: There was no evidence to support a claim from Symonds that he was abused.

    He had no other way to go . Your grasp of the law is simplistic. He also suggested that something had gone on but “your word against mine” or something to that effect.

    Be honet with yourself Mohan. Did Symonds set out to conspire against Baji?

    I dont think so. The mistakes of CA n this matter are the most glaring. Brought on by India’s threats and you can feel what you like about that.
    F4- The catch-treaty was junked. Conclusion: The Indians do not trust the Australians to be honest and above-board when the pressure is on them.

    To suggest that there is a time to trust Australians and a time not to, against ANY other person or side , is a sign of a head well and truly “in the sand”.

    I heard My Roebuck after the game and I read every bit I could of what he and others holding similar views following Sydney.

    He was delirious to say the least and failed to properly acknowledge what had occurred sequentially.

    I have never been so said as to hear what he said about “ausralia’s last legitimate” test win against India.

    We had nothing to do with the outcome. He should be ashamed and so should anyone else who believes that such “injustices” made Australia’s win “illegitimate.”

    The countless injustices relating to decisions in the past are known. If you do your recent homework, you will recall a “like” incident by an Indian against England.

    I, as an Australian, would not have expected him to do anything else.

    Now! Back to now….
    India is well ahead of Australia in this series now. They are better equipped to deal with their conditions. We have started to rebuild but still should be able to match India.

    Mohan,

    I do not expect Zaheer Khan to come out in five years and say Murray’s Mints were the secret.

    Regards

  7. @chris:

    Ok, I am comfortable with “Proctor stuffed up and paid dearly.”

    Yes, his integrity to deal with the matter as presented by both sides ought to have been questioned vehemently. He is not there for a picnic. He has a job to do. An important job. He stuffed up. He had to go. No doubt about that.

    It is up to him to believe Symonds or anyone else he choses to. He can believe the bartender down the road in his private time. But in a public office, what counts is irrefutable evidence, fact and not opinion. He stuffed up. Period.

    The proper judge considered the evidence. He wasn’t pressured. He could not be. My grasp of the law is not “simplistic”. It is pragmatic and it affords the “charged” the right to be tried properly. Harbhajan was. He was exonerated. The burden of proof is on the accuser. Not the accused. Symonds’ case could not rest on a “my word against his”.

    End of story.

  8. Harbhajan lied.

  9. JB and Mohan,

    I am talking from experience
    –as a captain, player, Managger of a First XI team and lastly as an Umpire for 12 years with at least 4 reports a year and hence, appearances at the tribunals–and in addition another couple of dozen appearances as an Advocate for a fellow umpire

    EVERY player tells lies at tribunals—because they do not have to take an OATH, as in courts of law

    The common cliche is THERE IS NOTHING IN IT

    Players from opposing sides hate each other on the field

    At tribunal hearings, the players HATE the umpires and will try anything to get an offender FREE

    Tribunals–like courts–take past good deeds into account before passing a penalty BUT a player’s past misdeeds are out of bounds for discussion!!!!!

    Singh vs Symonds

    I firmly believe that both –and the witnesses–lied and their respective Boards blindly supported them at the hearings

  10. JB and Mohan,

    Re M Procter and S Bucknor

    Despite their failures–as in the case of Darrel Hair–the entire officialdom have to hang their collective heads–if they had one–in shame
    These men were not provided the support that players get, were unceremoniously dumped because of MONEY and POWER is ruling cricket now

    These men deserve COMPENSATION for UNFAIR dismissal

    You can shout till the cows come home re their mistakes
    YET their contract obligations were not fulfilled re match appointments–merely because MONEY and PREJUDICE can

    How often we see batsman that plays bad shots or bowlers that bowls badly and not take a SINGLE wicket or a keeper that misses a stumping gets another few more games–even though their mistakes were costly in the context of a match

    Pakistan even managed to reverse the decision a year later!!!!

  11. Your right. I deserve a slap!

  12. sampath kumar,

    I am confused. How can both players lie?

  13. How can both players lie?

  14. JB,

    If players and witnesses from opposing team give different versions–in the absence of audio and video evidence–in International matches–the presiding officer will have no option but take the least path of resistance and find a NOT GUILTY verdict.

  15. Ah. Good old justice.

  16. Peter Della Penna

    I am sick and tired of people saying that Matthew Hayden is acting like a crybaby and hypocrite etc. etc. There is a massive difference in cricket when you sledge a player or attack him while he is still batting vs. when he has already been dismissed and is walking back towards the pavilion. When he is batting, he is able to respond with both deeds, hitting the ball to the boundary, and words, sledging back.

    How many times has Hayden been fined for abusing a player after that player has been dismissed? What Khan did was uncalled for. Sharma got a similar fine for a “sendoff” of an Australian player during the VB series in Australia. Simon Jones also got a big fine for famously sending off Michael Clarke during the 2005 Ashes. These are just the first few that come to mind. When a player is out, he is defenseless. Giving him a sendoff and sledging in this situation is uncalled for, especially when the player has no way to defend himself.

  17. @JB

    How can you be sure that Harbhajan Singh lied? Where is your irrefutable proof?

    Mind you, I am quite happy for you to routinely embarrass yourself in public. However, if you do not have proof, you will be seen as nothing more than a bigot, at best!

    @chris

    You asked “Did Symonds set out to conspire against Baji?”

    There is no way that I will accuse Symonds of that. Just as I will not accuse Harbhajan Singh of anything unless there is irrefutable proof. In the absence of that, the case has to be dropped. People have to get on with their lives. Harbhajan has. Symonds is still sulking. And so, it appears, a lot of Australian fans who have their collective heads stuck in the sand!

    Get over it guys. Move on. The world has moved on!

    Accused rapists have been acquitted due to lack of evidence. As I said, the burden of proof is squarely on the accuser. If it is totally dependent on, “I am honourable, so please believe me”, we are on a slippery slope to nowhere.

    — Mohan

  18. @ Peter Della Penna

    Who writes these sledge-rules?

    Have you not seen Merv Hughes or McDermott or Mike Whitney or Brad (Brat) Williams give Indian players send offs? They haven’t been fined. The cliche often used by the Match Referee in those instances has been, “You don’t want to curb aggression in the game.” One example is enough to prove this point, “McGrath-Sarawan”.

    Now the shoe is on the other foot. And everyone has woken up around the developed world! Gimme a break!

    You say that there is a “massive difference in cricket when you sledge a player or attack him while he is still batting vs. when he has already been dismissed and is walking back towards the pavilion.”

    What is this difference? Does the batsman lose his tongue while walking? Does he lose the ability to talk when walking? Or is impossible to think, walk and talk at the same time?

    Why is it that we have to sledge by YOUR rules. My sledging rule could be that I will burp loudly and break-wind when the batsman walks back. Try saying that I can’t.

    Bottom line.

    The ICC has no sledge rules.

    Do you really want to stop people talking to others when they walk back like I really do?

    Then tape cricketers’ mouths when they step inside the white line.

    In the absence of ICC-aproved sledge rules, an Oscar winning performance just demonstrates that Hayden needs adult nappies in my book! As a player who has been dishing it out for so long, he ought to be old enough and ugly enough to cop one on the chin!

    — Mohan

  19. Times of India video says that Zaheer Khan circled around the batsman and shouted at him–hence the report

    Gavaskar claims that Match Referees –no names mentioned–biased against Asians

    I agree

    Zaheer was doing what a sincere devotee does–walk around the God three times, chanting the God’s name repeatedly

  20. @Sampath Kumar

    I do not agree with sledging. Period.

    I also do not agree with a Match Referee who pulls up Zaheer Khan for charging at Matthew Hayden and ignores Ricky Ponting charging at Virender Sehwag in the same match!

    Gavaskar said to the TV channel CNN-IBN, “If [Zaheer Khan] swore at him, if he abused him, he obviously deserves to get punished.

    But let’s not mince words here. Every time, it is always an Indian or a sub-continent player who gets hauled up, never the Australians.

    There were a lot of incidents in the match. Do you remember Virender Sehwag batting in the second innings was given not out where everybody appealed and (Australia captain) Ricky Ponting came from extra cover towards the umpire and kept on asking again?

    Now if that had been an Indian, the match referee would have taken him to task, fined him… This is where I think the ICC needs to actually get its act together.”

    I totally totally agree with what Gavaskar says.

    — Mohan

  21. Mohankaus,

    V Sehwag–Ponting–Umpire

    People can talk in a civil way anytime, anywhere in the world
    Ponting can ask VS ” did you nick it–you complained about Symonds in Sydney–where is your moral now etc As I saw the incident on TV live, it was CIVIL

    Ponting V Umpire

    Again there was no animated or heated exchange or war dance or finger pointing and saying ” I will see that you never ever umpire in Indian tests again (remember Bucknor by the Indians and hair by the Srilankans and Pakistan )

    There was no ANIMATED discussion or WAR DANCE as in the case of Zaheer v Hayden

    Re gavaskar–he is still reliving the MCG incident–at that he felt that he was hard done by an Australian umpire

    Sunny claims–just like you–it ia Always the Asians–never the Australians

    Ironically R Madugale who appoints Referees and involved in Umpire selection as well–has been Referee for most of tests involving Aussies –he can self-appoint for Aussie matches!!!!–I think Madugale is an Asian–why don’t you and Gavaskar have a go at Madugale

    I have said this in the past–Madugale qualifies for Honorary Australian citizenship!!!!!!!

    Aussies are well trained in sledging and how to get away with it

    At a tribunal hearings, it has to be proved that both umpires heard or saw the same thing as the charge

    Players are too smart to say things in the close proximity of an opponent but not loud enough for the umpires to hear–hence lots of players get away with sledging
    Because tests are televised, viewers see the incident–but not hear what was said

    Body language often gets these players into trouble–like War Dances

    Finally, you have argued by comparing legal system in recent times–If an Aussie was not charged last time, then an Indian shouldn’t be charged as a balancing act

    It is like saying
    If my sister was raped by John, I should be allowed to rape John’s sister–no questions asked

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