World Cup – The way ahead for India


Having watched most of India’s games in the current WC (I can actually watch it from my WC too, but thats a topic for another post 🙂 ), I am not that unhappy with Dhoni’s approach thus far. Here is what I have learnt thus far (I can feel Mohan reaching for his keyboard…)

  1. 5 batsmen pick themselves . VS, SRT, VK, YS and MSD
  2. so too do ZK and MP in the (lack of) pace department
  3. Harbhajan Singh has not quite set the world on fire, but any talk of dropping him might get me being clubbed with Navjot Sidhu, so he stays 🙂
  4. After watching the Ashwin bowl all his overs in Power Plays yesterday, he gets my nod for the 4th bowler’s spot

That leaves 2 spots. The skills required are

  • A pace / Seam up bowler
  • A spinner
  • A power hitter

Given that Yuvraj has been bowling quite effectively, he more or less fills the spinner’s role. Combining him with Yusuf / Raina ticks the last 2 bullet points. On yesterday’s evidence, Yusuf gets my vote, but I agree he has not quite filled the power hitterr’s role convincingly.

That leaves us with one spot to be filled in by a good pace bowler. Here is the rub. Dhoni has generally picked an extra batsman (on current form, GG) leading to a lot of criticism with regards to lack of balance (Mohan has definitely started to type 🙂 ).

Oddly enough, I find myself agreeing with Dhoni. I think this reflects the lack of confidence in the third pace bowling option (Neither Nehra nor Sreesanth fills me with confidence, specially trying to defend a small total  when the batsmen havent quite delivered). This sort of, be default, leads to …..lets bolster the batting idea!

So, in summary, for this world cup, I think the first XI has to be

VS, SRT, GG, VK, YS, MSD, YP, HS, RA, ZK, MP

Paddy

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14 responses to “World Cup – The way ahead for India

  1. That looks the best lineup we can go with as of now. And the best strategy would be to start with spinners. Bring on Ashwin, Harbhajan, Yuvraj, Pathan as soon and as often as possible with Zaheer and Munaf using the old ball. I still would like to see India chase. Yusuf’s huge scores have come while chasing — I think it helps him when he has a target in mind. This might also tighten the fielding ’cause everybody will know that every run they give while fielding, they have to score when it is their turn to bat 😉

  2. I find myself agreeing to the lineup you have proposed. In my opinion, the new ball should be shared by Zaheer and Ashwin, at least against the Aussies. ASSUMING we later meet Pakistan (semis) or Sri Lanka (finals), we should start with Zaheer and Munaf!

    Against Australia, there is one more thing I’d like to see Dhoni do. As soon as we have their first wicket, I’d like to see Dhoni bring in Harbhajan Singh to bowl at Ricky Ponting. Under tremendous pressure already, the last thing that Ponting would want to see is Harbhajan bowling at him before he is set in… irrespective of what Harbhajan’s form has been like, because his form bears no proportion to his performances against Australia, and in particular, Ponting!

  3. I agree with most of the lineup, but strongly disagree with Munaf. I don’t think he deserves to be in the team. Slow on the field, no creative bowling, can’t bat for more than 2 balls. I think we should give Nehra another chance or bring piyush chawla in with one seamer and three spinners. Ahmedabad is good for spin bowling, but Australis’s record on this ground is better than India’s

  4. I did reach for the keyboard, but for different reasons. Why is Ashish Nehra out? Second, why is Yusuf Pathan in? In other words, I’d have the team that you specified but with either Nehra or (shock horror) Piyush Chawla instead of Yusuf Pathan. When I talk “balance” I mean 5 batsmen, 5 bowlers and a keeper-all-rounder. Indian CAN do the 4-bowler plus a few pie-chuckers thing IF the 4 bowlers are terrific and in great form. They are not. So my question is: What is Pathan going to give you what Sachin, Viru, Gambhir, Kohli, Yuvraj and Dhoni cannot? If we are dependent on Pathan to “bail out”, the team is in trouble already! Alternatively, if the 4 bowlers are awesome, then Pathan is fine.

  5. Cricket needs to preserve its arrogance

  6. Awesome posting, I am thinking that after this world cup seniors players who are in the respective team will retire.

  7. The only change I would have is Piyush Chawla instead of Ashwin. Rest is fine. I also agree with Cricketzap that senior players should retire when they are at their performance is at prime. And they should focus more on winning and not individual landmarks like this song says —

  8. the best combination i fell for india after leauge matches are: v.sehwag
    s.tendulkar
    g.gambhr
    v.kohli
    y.singh
    ms.dhoni
    y.pathan
    h.singh
    r.ashwin
    z.khan
    m.patel
    batting line-up z perfect,no doubt about it,but as far as concern to bowling thier is lot of things to discuss.
    mostly indian attack depend on zak.which looks in motion these days and doing good job for ind,on contrary to ths m.patel has no varity,no pace he just bowl wkt to wkt and made sure his presence in playng 11.you need a pacer which can bowl over 140kmph which is very important while plyng in sub-cont which ind missing in ths tournment.In spin deparmtent ind have a top clas spiner h.singh but unfortunatly he lost his form on wrong time.we can expect he will peak on right time in next thre important games.P.chawla is a gud bowler but he has no idea how to bowl in tough situation.actualy he need time to improve itself whch z not possible at ths stage.ashwin bowld really well against wi.he has the ability to bowl in death overs also in p.play

  9. @Mo…
    I am with you in terms of Yusuf being in the team under ideal conditions. But given the playing surfaces in India and the currently available unreliable options of a Nehra / Piyush, I can see why Dhoni prefers a Yusuf – He offers a few overs of off-spin when one of the other bowlers (frequently) have an off day, potentially an extra 40 – 50 runs in quick time and above average fielding

  10. and I did some analysis… YP has actually delivered about half the runs in the last 5 to 7 wickets… 🙂 Against Eng where Ind lost 5 for 32, YP made 14, against WI in 6 for 50, YP contribution was 11, the only game he failed along with 8 others was against SA where India lost 9 for 29.
    In the bowling department,
    Nehra only played two games Against Netherlands at 1/22 in 5 overs and against SA 0/65 in 8.4 overs. However
    YP has managed to bowl wicket to wicket and at least restrict the runs and he is a much better fielder than Nehra.
    So given the lack of bowlers ( ie we do not have a good pace bowler) I think Dhoni is right in relying on Pathan .

  11. Paddy: Surely, if one of the bowlers frequently has an off day (by your admission) logic suggests that you have a proper bowler as insurance and not another fella (Pathan) who is almost sure to have an off day with the ball! I just don’t get it.

    If we need Yusuf Pathan in the team that desperately, I can make a case for Rajat Bhatia (for Zaheer Khan), Abhishek Nayyar (for Munaf Patel) and Ravindra Jadeja (for Harbhajan Singh). Erase all bowlers from the team and have it filled with people who offer a few overs of “crap”, potentially an extra 40-50 runs in quick time and above average fielding!

    In any case, I have lost this “balance” battle and there’s really no point in me banging on about it anymore.

  12. @padma:

    Thanks for the analysis. My view is that he delivered half the runs out of very few! That’s like when the dotcom crash happened, a friend of mine told his CEO, “you might have 30,000 shares in this company to my 5, but our net worth the same! Zero”!

    I won’t talk up Pathan’s batting numbers… Yet! Further, it doesn’t require much analysis to observe that he has been a bit of a disaster with the bat. My question to him would, therefore, be, “You only made half of a total of some 50 runs? Why not 90% of 200”?

    Finally, my problem is not with the choice of Pathan or Raina for that 5th bowler’s slot. It is very likely that Pathan will score a brilliant century off 20 balls in the next game! He is a good player. But that’s not my point.

    It is the team’s mentality to balance. We seem to think that we will “make do” with the fielding and we will “make do” with the bowling.

    So therefore, to cover these inadequacies, the batsmen aim for 320 instead of 290 and collapse for 270.

    Oh well… Nuff said…

  13. An India-Pak Semifinal is a bookie’s dream come true. And the way WI is playing today the thought “fixing” races to the mind.

  14. Though I am a great fan of cricket I doesn’t thing that Indian team should have won. The reason is that no player except for sachin and veeru no body have showed any consistence. In all angles i.e. fielding,bowling, batting etc a world champion ism was not visible. Especially sachin should be given credit but not MS Dhoni. But fortunately Dhoni got the name and his name is in the History books. I think luck had shown its ugly face. Any how India won and we are feel proud of it at the end of the day.

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