Daily Archives: 10 November 2008

India regain the Border Gavaskar Trophy

India regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on day-5 of the Nagpur Test. Just around Tea time on day-5 of the Test a crazy day mirrored the somewhat crazy days that had preceded that moment when a crazy LBW decision went in favour of India. This meant that the Test and the series went to India.

Australia started the series with a conditioning camp at the Rajasthan Cricket Academy. Australia ended the series with a Cricket Australia enquiry into the craziness that enveloped the post-Tea session on day-4 of this Test match. James Sutherland, the CEO of Cricket Australia has indicated that he wishes to conduct an enquiry into Ricky Ponting’s decisions in this 4th Test match.

Australian media, in a bid to search for excuses, will blame the 3 lost tosses, and perhaps even the pitches. The captain has already alluded to the toss-losses as being significant.

But really, Australia got it wrong with their “new age cricket” strategy. This cost the team the Bangalore Test match and then, the series! Moreover, Australia had a wrong team balance. I really do not know what Cameron White was doing in the team! It was only in the last Test that Jason Krejza had a bowl. And more than batting well and taking wickets, Australia was more interested in the verbals. It is batting and bowling that win matches.

One can’t really blame the toss. Every team learns to deal with it. And as for pitches, I certainly hope India continues to have spinning pitches. You do not travel to Sydney to expect to see the Leaning Tower of Pisa! If you do, you really need to visit a psychiatrist really soon!

India started the last day with a somewhat confused strategy. They attacked and then defended and then attacked and then defended and then attacked again. In the middle there was some ordinary fielding, excellent fielding, ordinary catching and excellent catching too.

The bottom line is that India has a long way to go before becoming a champion team. It is not there yet. But all of that is not quite relevant now. India won the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2-0.

Ishant Sharma was Man of the Series and Jason Krejza was Man of the Match. I think this was about the only thing Chris Broad got right in this series! The most exciting fast bowler in world cricket and the most exciting spinner in world cricket (behind Ajanta Mendis) were recognised!

M. S. Dhoni has had a wonderful initiation to Test cricket. He has won the first 3 Test matches that he has captained! And these weren’t easy oppositions! He has beaten South Africa, Australia and Australia! Admittedly, these were all in India. However, this is not to be scoffed at.

M. S. Dhoni is a man who is, in my view, mature beyond his years. When the 9th wicket fell, he dragged Sourav Ganguly to one side and then handed over the captaincy to the retiring Ganguly. What a wonderful gesture that was? And then, when it came to accepting the trophy, he called over Anil Kumble to the dais to accept the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with him! This was a sign of respect. It was a celebration of two glorious careers.

And in all of this, Gary Kirsten was nowhere to be seen.

India had a mature captain and a coach that did not need to be in the drivers’ seat!

Well done Dhoni. Well done Kirsten. The future of Indian cricket is certainly in good hands.

— Mohan

Ranji Trophy Super League Round 2 matches today

Even as the action has heated up in Nagpur and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is coming to an exciting conclusion today, the 2nd round of Ranji matches begin around the country.

TN take on Karnataka in Bangalore in a renewal of a very old and long rivalry. Last year young Abhinav Mukund, playing his first Ranji season scored a memorable hundred, but things promise to be different this year. The HIndu reports that S Badrinath is likely to join the team. I am not too sure because I thought I saw him warming the bench at Nagpur yesterday.

Maharashtra take on Andhra in Nashik. This report says that Maharashtra is weakened by 4 of its players away in Pun playing in the under 22 competition! I don’t understand how an under 22 competition could get bigger than the Ranji Trophy. Maybe the success of the Indian u 19 team and the subsequent attention that the stars of that team got, prompted Maharashtra authorities to concentrate on that as aopposed to playing the rpemier domestic competition in the country.

Delhi v Hyderabad, Gujarat v Mumbai (Rohit Sharma not playing), UP (Suresh Raina not playing) v Baroda (without Yusuf Pathan), Punjab (without Yuvraj) v Rajastan, Saurashtra v Orissa are the other matches beginning today.

Thanks to some of the visitor of this blog who wrote to cricinfo about the apalling lack of coverage of the Ranji 1st round matches. This wa the response from cricinfo

We apologise for not carrying these scores but we have been refused permission by the BCCI
from carrying live updates. we will have end-of-day scorecards as soon after the close as possible.

Please keep track of the below given link for the end-of-day scorecard details:

Hopefully we can access the scorecards at the end of the day at the above link. Cricinfo atleast has a nice preview for all the matches this time. Meanwhile there is also a Plate league in the Ranji trophy that is happening. The enws of national interest is that Sreesanth is still injured and has not been included in the Kerala team for the 1st two rounds.


“Adjective Watch”: Alive and Kicking!

While we are on the topic of derision, here’s the latest offering from the “Adjective Watch” department of i3j3Cricket!

In his match report, Malcolm Conn of ‘The Australian’ has referred to Harbhajan Singh as “annoying tailender Harbhajan Singh“!

As we know already, several adjectives have been used by the Australian media (Ok! I use the term lightly here) in the last two series to describe players like Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and Gautam Gambhir.

Fine English phrases/words/terms like ‘Serial Pest’, ‘recalcitrant’ and ‘serial offender’ have been used in the past to describe Indian players. And who can forget that pearl, “obnoxious weed”?

All because these Indian players, who are no more competitive than your average Australian player, just look different and eat different food perhaps?

But “Adjective Watch” confirms that “annoying” is a new one, hitherto unused.

Let us therefore applaud Conn’s efforts here. Given that this has been a long tour for him — on the last tour, he despatched Peter Lalor to do duties in faraway, dusty, dirty India — this hitherto unused adjective was a stunning effort from the great Conn.

And after harvesting a truckload of adjectives thrown at him by the Australian media, Harbhajan Singh must believe that he is like God Vishnu; a God of a 100,000 descriptive names! It just keeps getting better for this proud Indian Sikh!

Meanwhile, Steve Waugh wants 8-1 fields banned in Test cricket! The Foxsports report says:

Waugh wants to ban the brickwall tactic of 8-1 field placings after Test cricket was humiliated on the world stage in India.

“It should be outlawed,” said Waugh. It’s negative. It doesn’t entertain and it won’t bring people back to Test cricket.”

Is this the same Steve Waugh who had a 9-0 field for Sourav Ganguly in Kolkata in 2001 in a bid to either humiliate the then Indian captain or deny Ganguly runs (or both)? That’s right. Not 8-1, but a 9-0 field! At that time, Australian media commentators applauded Steve Waugh as a ruthless man with single-minded determination. I wish I could find a YouTube video of that one to slam in front of Steve Waugh!

This series ought to have been titled “Karma Revisited” or “Karma Redefined”!

— Mohan

Negative Tactics derided

Malcolm Conn has said in ‘The Australian’ that India’s day-3 tactics — in which Indian bowlers bowled outside off stump to an 8-1 off-side field — were negative and it was akin to a “Stake through the heart of Test cricket”!

How different is that though to “New Age Cricket” against FLAWSIs — fat, lazy, aging, weak and slow Indians — that Ricky Ponting propounded prior to the series start? Wasn’t that strategy also based on choking out runs and denying runs? Malcolm Conn hailed that strategy and eulogised the Australian captain in a manner that would suggest that the sun shone out through some part of Ricky Ponting’s anatomy!

As we have written already here, the strategists had failed at their own strategy.

Unlike Malcolm Conn, though, Simon Katich refused to criticise the Indian approachh. He said, as we did here, “It’s a good strategy if you can execute it. If you don’t get it right you can pay the price. They executed it well, that’s the bottom line.” His was a wise statement. Mainly because Hussey and Katich were conned — pun unintentional — by the tactics and were suckered in. Moreover, they could do nothing to counter a legitimate, albeit boring strategy! And more importantly, Australia had tried it on the tour before and a fellow left-hander, Gautam Gambhir, had countered it well!

— Mohan