Author Archives: vish2000

In a perfect World!

In Mohan’s earlier post, ‘Deadlocked Australia v India (2007-2008): Where does it all go now?’ he mentioned that all parties in this drama need to take up the responsibility. While I totally agree, the one single event that has caused this affair to reach boiling point is obviously Mike Proctor’s mind boggling decision on Harbhanjan Singh. What was he thinking? Did he expect to be applauded for handling the situation in a fair and professional manner. What a joke.

The Indians felt that the Harbhajan incident was adding insult to injury and quite rightly so. There wouldn’t have been such a stand-off but for Proctor’s decision. For all we know, the Indians may have actually agreed to play the Perth test ‘under protest’ for allowing Steve Bucknor to officiate and carried on.

The law is simple, innocent until proven guilty. Here, there was no proof. Nothing heard on the microphone or camera, just one’s word against the other. Which begs the question What are the criteria for the ICC to choose match referees? What qualifications are required? Surely, they need not be trained lawyers but should at least know when a situation is out of their league and need to be referred to a bigger panel or commission. I honestly think the ICC should take up a big chunk of the blame for the following:

Allowing a 61 year old to stand up to one of the most demanding jobs in a cricket field –

In an ideal world a much younger and fitter umpire like a Simon Taufel or an Aleem Dar could have ensured that the Indians didn’t get a raw deal and hence no umpiring controversy would have marred this otherwise high quality Test.

Not adequately training match referees to handle sensitive cases –
Again, in a ideal world, Proctor would have had the training and perhaps more commonsense to say that he did not have enough evidence to make a decision, but the allegation was serious enough to be handled by a qualified professional panel.

But then in a ideal world (atleast for Indian fans), India would have won the Sydney Test after taking a first innings lead of 300 runs!

On that note, here is a well written article that appeared on The Hindu

Vish

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Interesting interviews with Jim Maxwell and Harsha Bhogle

I came across a couple of interesting interviews with two respected cricket commentators who are currently part of the ABC Grandstand team – Jim Maxwell and Harsha Bhogle.

– Jim Maxwell : Video link and transcript

– Harsha Bhogle : Audio link

In addition, you can also listen to Cricinfo’s Siddartha Vaidyanathan’s views as well as Peter Lalor’s interview on ABC

Vish

The mental aspects of cricket and more…

I came across this nice web site that among other cricketing goodies talks about the mental aspects of cricket. From a cricketing point of view I think this is a unique site with loads of resources, and very succinct too.

– Vish

Sreesanth takes on Australia!

Sreesanth takes on Australia” screams the news headlines from The Age. The article implied that Sreesanth was bit of a nuisance to start with; he then crossed the line, was clearly stupid in doing so and is now apparently, Australia’s ‘most wanted’.

Australia has a great sporting tradition but unfortunately its sports media can be irritatingly biased and jingoistic. As Mohan indicated in his post on the 2nd ODI at Kochi, there is no mention of the Clarke episode or the annoying Hogg or the bullying Symonds. A clear case of the ‘Pot calling….’.

I agree with Mohan about being aggressive, having a positive body language and letting the opposition know you are no push over. But this ‘trash talk’ is something else. Good bowlers don’t need the trash talk or constant chatting. They think about how the batsman’s feet moved, how he is handling the swing, bounce or movement; and where as a bowler he needs to put the next ball. Its about THINK, PLAN, EXECUTE – ball after ball, over after over. If you think about it, there isn’t much time for between-ball ‘aggro’ if you concentrate on T-P-E. Aggression in bowling is different to aggression between bowling and the former is what Sreesanth needs to concentrate.

Why not Kumble as Test captain

While the names of Dhoni, Tendulkar and Ganguly are thrown up has leading candidates for the captaincy, I am surprised that Kumble’s name hasn’t popped up for the Test captaincy – at least I haven’t come across in the media.

We have seen how the batting of the ‘big-three’ have been affected by captaincy. Why shouldn’t we think out-of-the box and appoint a bowler as the Test captain.

Kumble brings to the table unmatched experience, skill, work ethic and match winning ability. Agreed that his leadership qualities are unproven as also the ability to handle the professional (read ECB, CA) with the juvenile (read BCCI, Indian press) with equal suave. But so is the case with Dhoni who cannot claim to have the same qualities of Kumble just yet.

In my opinion Dhoni needs more tests (at least away tours) backed by performance under his belt while Sehwag needs to re-establish himself to be considered.

Perhaps there is a perception that Kumble his past his use-by day as a captain owing to his age. Kumble possibly has two years left and as a captain he can leave his mark on Indian cricket if he can bring in some of the aggression and the yearning for perfection that marks him out. Dhoni can be his understudy until he can pick up the reins when Kumble leaves.

Ian Chappell has said that leading India for two years is equivalent to leading Australia for four years while Dravid has said that Indian captaincy has a definite shelf-life and in his case, two years; and lets face it, two years is a long time in Indian cricket. So why rush Dhoni or fall back on Tendulkar or Ganguly who have both left their imprints already? Let us look forward for fresher ideas. Vote for Kumble!

My Pick:
Test Captain – Kumble; Test Vice captain – Dhoni
ODI Captain – Dhoni; ODI Vice captain – Karthik
Twenty20 Captain – Dhoni

– Vish

Heck, we can still beat England!

Thank the Rain Gods
The first Test is over, while most of the fans were disappointed to see the sixth wicket fall with over 50 overs remaining and resigned to the fate of another Lord’s defeat, I had started my rain dance and heartfelt prayers to Varuna. The rains came, and yes, India were lucky to get out of jail; and to be fair England deserved to win. But life isn’t always fair and that’s that.

But still, there were positives
While a lot will be written about the positives and negatives of this match (Mohan Krishnamoorthy already has some incisive comments after Day 4), Dravid can take heart for the fact that 3 of his youngsters put their hands up to be counted – RP Singh, Karthik and Dhoni.

What was most impressive was that our inexperienced pace attack helped to dismiss England twice for under 300.

The middle order of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Laxman didn’t have a spectacular outing but there were periods where they looked in control, even if not on top of the bowling.

The English bowling
Apart from Monty, India haven’t faced much of the English pacers in the Test arena. Sidebottom is a much-improved bowler compared to his disastrous debut in 2001. The Indian line up except for Ganguly is all right handed and it is not easy to face a lefty who consistently swings it in. I am certain the Indians would have learnt their lesson and play him just a fraction late and mostly on the front foot (tip by Jeff Boycott on BBC) at Nottingham.

The real surprise package was James Anderson who bowled exceptionally well. The Indians need to come up with something to tackle him at Trent Bridge. For starters – a positive attitude will be of great help.

The Laxman question
India is likely to go in with the same eleven and so will England. Laxman is likely to get the nod again ahead of Yuvraj.

Laxman is a class act but needs time to settle down before he can let loose his array of strokes. This often means he will be a slow starter. Another problem is that if Dhoni gets out early, in my opinion Laxman doesn’t have the ability to shepherd the tail. He can be slow to adapt to the changing situation of the game.

I believe (much to the chagrin of Tendulkar fans and fellow bloggers), Tendulkar and Laxman should swap places. Tendulkar has the ability to shift gears as well as rotate the strike better than Laxman. For once, let us be bold and try something different.

Heck, we can still beat England. Just win the toss, put 400+ on the board and get Pietersen cheaply 😀

– Vish

Pathan’s resurrection

In continuation to Mohan’s post ‘First steps to a long road to recovery’ on the key role that Irfan Pathan can play in the scheme of things, the news is that Irfan Pathan trained at the MRF pace foundation a few weeks back.

TA Sekhar apparently identified flaws in Pathan’s bowling action almost immediately and initiated corrective measures. Dennis Lillee also had a look in and he too identified kinks in his action

Pathan seems to have worked on these pointers and recently mentioned that his bowling rhythm has returned and is raring to play some matches.

Hopefully, the selectors are keeping an eye on this. The important thing is to test his bowling under match conditions and this is where the England series could have been really helpful. The Indians play 4 tour matches in the series which would have been an ideal place to gauge his return to the national side. Besides travelling with the team and bowling to Dravid and company would have given him some sort of confidence boost. Will Vengsekar make the call?

– Vish –