Another (Not-so-dull) Draw…


Geoff Boycott’s mother-in-law could have played in this Test match with a draft-stopper as a bat and still would not have got out on that track unless of course her name was Yuvraj Singh or McIntosh or unless she had a rush-of-blood a la Virender Sehwag! That was how poor that Test match track was at Napier. To say that it was a terribly rotten track would do grave injustice to “terribly rotten tracks”. It was worse than just that! At the prize distribution ceremony, Vettori said, “You can play another Test match on this if you want to!”

What’s wrong with Kiwi pitch curators? One of them messed up the Bangalore Test against Australia. And now this graveyard got dished out.

Apart from perhaps Yuvraj Singh in India’s 1st Innings, every other batsman got himself out. The pitch had nothing to do with them getting out (for most part). After the recent spate of huge scores on boringly dead tracks, this is hardly an advertisement for Test cricket.

Yes, this Test match was quite gripping stuff. But this was more due to bad batting in the 1st Innings by India than anything to do with the pitch. Once a team puts on 619 runs in its first innings, the other team is always going to play catch up! And that’s precisely what India did. To compound matters, in the first innings reply, Sehwag, Gambhir, Dravid, Tendulkar, Laxman, Karthik, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan got out to poor shots, while Yuvraj Singh played like only he can!

The response from India, after following on, was solid. It was expected. It wasn’t pretty. But it was necessary.

Now India have the opportunity to go back home (or to South Africa, to play in the IPL) with the silverware. I do not expect to see any changes in Team India other than Dhoni coming in for an out-of-colour Dinesh Karthik.

I would also hope/expect that Dhoni will hang up his soccer boots!

Meanwhile, we have the start of what appears to be a bit of a controversy with Rahul Dravid appearing to question either Virender Sehwag’s shot selection or V. V. S. Laxman’s justification/defence of Sehwag’s shot selection!

Either way, Team India should work to put this Test match and the soccer ball behind it and move on to Wellington where the 3rd Test commences on Friday.

— Mohan

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13 responses to “Another (Not-so-dull) Draw…

  1. Good point by Rahul Dravid. Great batting is all about adopting to conditions, score, team position. There is no one magic formula for all situations – Flaying at every ball.

    While Sehwag’s rapidfire innings set up the victory against England @ Chennai, there was no hope of victory in this match.

    VVS also tends to play his natural game – strokes and often takes single of the first ball with a tail-ender at the other end.

  2. Mohan
    You are probably right aboutchanges to the team. However I would like to see Yuvi replaced by Vijay who is part of the touring squad. After such a miserable display in both batting and fielding (despite his 50+ in the second innings), Vijay will be better. He is an excellent fielder and did well in the only test he has plyed in so far.
    On the Rahul Dravid comment, I’m not sure if we are looking for hidden agenda when there could be none – it is very unlike Dravid to drop subtle hints – he is not one to do that while he is still playing international matches. I’m waiting for the day when he retires and opens the lid on his reason for giving up the captaincy (Vengsarkar – are you listening in?).

  3. @gnbmdr

    It will come as no surprise to you when I say I disagree with you! A team player does not “rat” on a team-mate. But I am willing to give Dravid the benefit of doubt because this story wasn’t picked up anywhere else. If Dravid did indeed say what he did it would be most out of character. Moreover, unlike Dravid himself, Sehwag is not a scholarly student of the game. He is from the “see ball, hit ball” school. Although India had no chance of winning, if you are from the Sehwag school (Ian Chappell belongs to that school too) you’d think that the sooner you can reduce the deficit, the more “freely” the other batsmen can play. I’d give Sehwag more rope. He has a method to his madness although it may not be my cup of tea. I often think that, too often, Dravid keeps the opposition in the game. A Sehwag would find that most uncomfortable! Different strokes for different folks… That’s what makes a team! A team full of Dravid would be boring just as a team full of Sehwags would be just too risky!

    @outsider

    No to Vijay in my books. Thanks. Yuvraj has to have another go. No revolving door selection policies please! Give the man another go…

  4. I’d give Sehwag more rope

  5. gnbmdr,
    Your comment about VVS is perhaps correct. He was left stranded so many times. Not many Indian batsmen care to form the bowling. Stan McCabe was considered the best in this art and so was Asif Iqbal and Steve Waugh. There arent many of that category now.

  6. I think the Dravid controvery is really a storm in a tea cup – When the media have nothing much to write, they exaggerate the most trivial of things.

    I also don’t understand why everyone is after Yuvraj’s head. Since coming back into the team after Ganguly’s retirement, he hasn’t performed badly. So, I suggest everyone leave him alone for a while.

    His fielding is still better than Ganguly and he still averages over 57 in the second innings.

    He needs to improve, though and work on his over all average of 37 and his first innings scores. For that to happen, he needs to be given a long-ish run.

    As for Sehwag – well, he is Sehwag. If he had stayed longer and scored a quick 100-150, then India could have actually ended up being in the drivers seat – everyone would have then applauded him. That wasn’t the case this time, though…

  7. Srikanth Mangalam

    I haven’t seen Ganguly drop catches often though.

  8. How many has Yuvraj dropped, though? Two in this game – Enough to warrant dropping him from the team? Don’t think so. I would just move him from slips…

    Dravid (who holds the record for catches and the best slip fielder in India) has been having butter fingers lately too. I am not making excuses for Yuvraj’s dropped catches – I just think the catching has been pretty ordinary through out and it just needs to improve.

    Maybe it’s the cold NZ weather (I know, now I am making excuses :)… )

  9. The issue is fundamental – Yuvraj’s weak technique against quality fast bowling. Yuvraj’s was a superb fielder and not any more. Comparison to Ganguly and Yuvraj is itself an issue.

    Without good technique, Yuvraj is more susceptible is the theory. With a very good eye, it is possible to overcome a faulty technique. But on dead batting tracks, designed for Boycott’s mother-in-law, it is impossible to expose the weakness.

    Please do not include the 50+ in the second innings of the second test at NZ against a tired, dead attack. Gambhir’s innings was great, Dravid was equally good when Sehwag sacrificed/compromised his wicket 🙂

  10. Srikanth Mangalam

    Yuvraj is a pale shadow of what he was a few years back as far his fielding is concerned. While I have not kept track of his catching record, he has dropped catches in previous test matches as well. Additionally, he is no more a threat at the crucial gully position that he used. I think there are better players than he who, if given an equal chance as to what you expect to be given to Yuvraj, would perform way better in test matches. I simply do no think he has put a significant value on his place in the side and has been extremely lucky to continue to retain the confidence of the management.

  11. Stunning lack of application by the Indian batsmen in the 3rd test. Sachin played an amazing innings while it lasted but he too was guilty of throwing his wicket away like the others. This seems like a pitch where India could have made a 500+ score and then tried to dictate terms.

    I’m writing this just as Yuvraj is out…will see if Dhoni and Dravid can rescue India.

  12. Ganesh Devarajan

    After Turner’s observations and comments about Indian team, I thought our guys would get little bit sensitive and prove Turner wrong. Well, it’s going to take a huge effort from Dhoni and Bajji now to take India to anywhere close to a respectable first innings score.

  13. @Shankar – agreed

    Sachin/Sehwag threw away their wicket inspite of wonderful starts.

    Yuvi didn’t belong there, he was struggling since the first ball he faced.

    Dhoni, Bhajji, Zaheer were fun to watch.

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