Tag Archives: Future Tours

What ails the ‘seniors’?

Mahesh Krishnan has recently posted on players who are likely to make the cut in future.

While we need to groom these youngsters, we need tactical short term solutions to take on the coming season. For this, we will still need the seniors to do the job.

I am looking at the current lot of players to see what is holding them back

Sachin Tendulkar:
Some people self-limit themselves. They do not achieve a fraction of what they are capable of because they are afraid to try; and because they are afraid they will fail.

To me, [the new] Sachin falls in this category. I think what he needs to do is decisive action. In crunch situations the fear of failure immobilizes him. In my opinion to overcome this fear, he must act, and act boldly. Sachin is best when playing aggressive cricket and worst when playing passive cricket. Years ago we touted Sehwag as the new Sachin, now Sachin has to turn into the new Sehwag.

Bottom line – He needs help before time runs out, big time.

Virender Sehwag:
To steal a quote, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got.”

I think in Sehwag’s case whatever he has done over the last two seasons has’nt worked at all. To me it is obvious that teams have worked out his weaknesses and strengths. He needs to re-think his role as a opener and try the lower middle order.

Perhaps he should take a break from the game, then play State / county cricket and score tons of runs in the middle order to gain the confidence back. He should look to getting a county contract for a couple of months since the domestic season is over. I would’nt mind him missing the English tour if this helps him in the long run.

Rahul Dravid:
Rahul Dravid makes a better public relations officer than a captain. He has grown up with Sachin, Laxman and Ganguly and has a good mateship going with them for years. But when he dons the captaincy cap he seems to be worried about the possible rifts that can come about by being open with players.

A leader needs to be forthright and assertive. Dravid seems to pussy foot around issues with statements like “Sachin knows whats best for him”. The fact is, he should have spoken to the seniors about their role that he as a captain wants them to play. As much as I admire Rahul Dravid for his batting prowess, in my book as a captain he has been a found wanting. I have a feeling the reason Dravid allied with Greg Chappell was for the qualities he himself lacked – ‘Calling a spade a spade’.

Unless Dravid has learnt from his mistakes and acts fast, we will need a new captain in a year’s time.

-Vish

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India Team moving forward…

The BCCI has requested its selectors to choose a “young” team to visit Bangladesh early next month to play a round of ODIs there. So, who will go?

It seems likely that a few of the “seniors” will be rested. It is likely that Sachin Tendulkar, Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Harbhajan Singh and Ajit Agarkar will be part of the players’ group that is “rested”.

Sourav Ganguly may (just may) hang on to his place. But I somehow doubt that too.

The “rested” senior players could be replaced by players like Manoj Tiwari, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ishant Sharma and Romesh Powar. S. Badrinath may come in for Anil Kumble. I can’t see Irfan Pathan going to Bangladesh. Joginder Sharma may come in for Pathan.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni is another big question mark. He doesn’t quite fit into the “truant seniors” block. However, it is likely that the selectors may look at his endorsement-mania and use this as an opportunity to send him a message too. I won’t be surprised if he is taken along and does not get a game.

The XV for Bangladesh could then be:

Robin Uthappa
Gautam Gambhir
Suresh Raina / S. Badrinath
Manoj Tiwari
Rahul Dravid
Rohit Sharma / Mohammed Kaif
Dinesh Karthik / M.S.Dhoni
Joginder Sharma
Romesh Powar
Munaf Patel
S. Sreesanth / Ishant Sharma

This team is still short of a proven all rounder. It is also probably weak in the bowling department. So, it is likely that Irfan Pathan will get a back-door look-in.

— Mohan

India-Australia ODI Glut…

Tim May has lashed out at the glut of India-Australia games that are being planned over the next year or so. We have pointed out on this blog a few times over the last few weeks that India has an extremely crowded schedule in 2007 through to mid-2008.

What seemed like a brief respite in the schedule in May 2007 has now been filled with a meaningless India-Australia series in Ireland. Ricky Ponting immediately expressed his exasperation at this announcement. The Ireland games are mainly to accommodate India’s TV Rights commitments — India have to play a minimum number of overseas games a year. This was after an attempt to play an India-Australia ODI series in New York — of all places — fell through. According to CricInfo, “Under the conditions of an agreement signed between Zee TV and the Indian Cricket Board, India have to play 25 offshore ODIs over a five-year period.”

Ponting expressed concern over the crazy scheduling of the Ireland series.

Now Tim May has weighed in to the glut-argument. He says, “Australia will play India 21 times in the eight months from June this year. From the perspective of players and spectators, it’s going to dampen your interest. And it detracts from the commercial value of the product. Vision has been lost about what’s important and what is not.”

— Mohan

Are we playing too much cricket?

The world cup is just a few weeks away and apart from one more game between Australia and NZ, there will be nothing between now and the World cup. This break will give teams a chance to rest, rejuvenate and recuperate from the injury woes that they have been facing. Most of the teams have been playing non-stop cricket the last few weeks, and sooner or later, ICC and the cricket boards will have to recognize that this overload is the reason for this spate of injuries and do something about it.

Let us look at the games each team has played since the beginning of this year:

Team ODIs Tests
Australia 12 1
England 10 1
India 8 1
New Zealand     13       
Pakistan 5 3
South Africa 5 4
Sri Lanka 7
West Indies 4

That is an awful number of games, considering the fact that it has just been 50 days since the beginning of this year and the premier event in world cricket is due to start shortly.

If we look at Australia’s schedule, they’ve just finished the Ashes, followed it up with a tri-series involving England and NZ and ended it with a three match ODI series against NZ. Their injury list includes Lee (left ankle), Symonds (biceps), Clarke (hip) and  Ponting (back). They are probably both mentally and physically tired after all this cricket and their results show it – 5 losses in 6 games! Not the ideal scenario before the start of the world cup.

England have had a tough tour in Australia and their team is filled with people recovering from injuries. Their injury woes started with Vaughn not making it for the Ashes and it has followed with Trescothick (stress), James Anderson, Jon Lewis and Peiterson.

In India, Sachin is nursing a stiff back and Pathan is not fully fit. Munaf and Yuvraj are just back from Injury. For New Zealand, Kyle Mills has completely missed the cup owing to Knee Surgery; Jacob Oram is going to miss a few games and no one knows when the fragile Bond is going to break down. Pakistan has had its whole fast bowling contingent under an injury cloud – Shoaib Akthar(knee), Mohammad Asif (elbow), Umar Gul (ankle), Shabbir Ahmed (groin), Mohammed Sami (back). If some of them have been taking performance enhancing drugs, it surely hasn’t helped with the injuries 🙂

Apparently(!), every team’s schedule has been planned well in advance to give the players the best chance of match practice and be their best before the World Cup. But it seems, this has had the exact opposite effect on players. We are looking at the possibility of teams such as Australia struggling to play their best eleven. There really is no thrill in beating a team like Australia if its top players are not playing due to injury.

So, what is the solution to this? Quite simple – play less number of matches.

Or use a radical approach – reduce the number of overs in all ODIs. Even a reduction of 10 overs per team will probably give players a big relief. If we continue to play more matches, we should reduce this even further. We could even substitute ODIs with more Twenty20 matches. It is also time to reduce the number of matches played in a test series (like the Ashes) to just 3.  

Until ICC takes the cue and takes some serious action, we are going to see more and more injuries – and careers of good cricketers cut short.

-Mahesh- 

Now a series in Ireland!

Just when we all thought that India’s Tour programme for 2007 was crowded, although settled, we hear that India is playing yet another ODI series — against Australia! Right! And that too, in Ireland! So, Ireland and Malaysia are the new Sharjah-like locations for Indian cricket? Here’s a report on this on Cricinfo.

India will play these games in June as a lead up to the tour of England. So, scratch the sentence in yesterdays’ posting on this Blog wherein I wrote, “June appears to be an “off” month [for Team India].” It is not!

So, in the next year or so, India will have played Australia in at least 15 ODIs (and upto a maximum of 19 times)!

  • one of these matches will be in the World Cup Super Eight (plus a maximum of one more — either in the semi-final or final),
  • three will be in this hastily organised Ireland series,
  • seven of these will be in October when Australia visits India
  • a minumum of four will be played inthe 2008 Commonwealth Bank series (plus a maximum of three further games if India makes the finals of that series and if the finals series needs all three games to be played)

I don’t know about you, but I suspect that that is at least 15 too many India-Australia ODI games for my liking!

— Mohan

India Australia Series 2007-08

The cricket calendar for 2007 is going to be quite crowded team India.

After the current 4 ODIs against Sri Lanka, India prepare to go to the World Cup.

The World Cup will see out March and April 2007.

In May, India play Bangladesh in 2 Tests and 3 ODIs. Clearly, this is nothing but an opportunity for the India players to shore up their averages before the year becomes gruelling again!

June appears to be an “off” month.

India will tour England from July to September to play 3 Tests and 7 ODIs. Playing 7 ODIs in England in a World Cup year — and that too, after the World Cup — seems a bit bizzarre to me! Nevertheless, that’s the plan.

In October, Australia visits India to play 7 ODIs.

India then hosts Pakistan for 3 Tests and 5 ODIs.

As a result of the Pakistan tour of India in November, the Indian tour to Australia from December through to March 2008 has been postponed by 3 weeks or so. In fact, while most previous tours of Australia have traditionally commenced in late-November, India’s tour of Australia in 2007-08 will probably only commence in the second week of December!

As a result, the 1st Test of the series will be the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne, with the 2nd Test starting immediately after the conclusion of the 1st Test (on 2 Jan 2008). Two other Tests follow in January. The ODI tournament — which also involves Sri Lanka — would commence only in February!

An article on this re-scheduling appears in the Sydney Morning Herald today.

A busy cricket calendar for Team India!

— Mohan