In the previous post, Mohan had speculated what the Indian team would like for the South Africa series, as a number of players were out due to injury. The selectors have named the team and this is what they have come up with –
- Virender Sehwag
- Gautam Gambhir
- M Vijay
- S Badrinath
- Sachin Tendulkar
- VVS Laxman
- MS Dhoni/Wriddhiman Saha
- Harbhajan Singh
- Zaheer Khan
- Amit Mishra/Pragyan Ojha
- Ishant Sharma/Sudeep Tyagi/Abhimanyu Mithun
On the surface, this may look OK, but there are a couple of things I just don’t get:
2 Wicketkeepers for a home series
I don’t see the point of having 2 wicket keepers for a home series – unless Dhoni’s back is really dodgy. Is it? In which case, he shouldn’t be picked in the team in the first place – it really is not in the team’s best long term interests to risk Dhoni.
It was really interesting to see DK being dropped from the team. If there were 2 ‘keepers picked in the team, I would have punted that the other would be Dinesh Karthik. But the reserve WK musical chair goes on, with Saha being given a chance. I am not sure he will get a game, though…
It looks like Badrinath may finally make his debut. And although, people may argue that Kaif is the in-form player or that Raina should have been picked, I have no problem with picking Badri in the team. What irks me though is that we have 6 batsmen for the 6 spots in the team and 7 bowlers for the 4 bowling spots. It just doesn’t add up. We should have picked up either Raina, Rohit Sharma or even Kaif as a backup. With 2 regular batsmen out of the team, I don’t see India playing a 5 batsmen-5 bowler combination.
And, I don’t see Mithun getting a game ahead of Ishant Sharma or Sudeep Tyagi either. If he does, then that would be a grave injustice to Tyagi.
What is the point of picking someone in the team if they weren’t in serious contention? Unless of course, the selectors know something we don’t…
Posted in Cricket
Tagged India v RSA
India won the match and managed to even the series. And, Dhoni won his first game as captain.
After the game, I tried to look back at the turning point of the game. Was it Ganguly’s 87 in the first innings, the 46 runs India added for the last wicket or even Sehwag’s double strike of Kallis and Smith? I think what contributed to India’s win was all of them put together – combined with the return of Ishant Sharma and India’s overall bowling effort. Even the part time bowlers chipped in with five wickets.
It hasn’t been a great series, though. I didn’t quite enjoy it the way I enjoyed the series played in England and Australia. I wonder if anyone else feels the same way. In any case the series is finished and IPL is scheduled to begin shortly. Can’t wait for that to happen…hopefully it won’t disappoint.
This was a must win test for India and when South Africa raced to 52 for no loss at the first drink break, it didn’t look good for India. First, they lost the captain to a groin injury, then Dhoni in his first test as captain lost the toss which could yet prove crucial in this game. Then the fast bowlers failed to impress. It definitely wasn’t going India’s way.
Then something happened. Yuvraj Singh, came on to bowl and claimed the wicket of Smith. With in no time two more wickets fell. Chawla had earlier claimed the wicket of McKenzie and suddenly the score read 161 for 4. For the first time in this series, the pressure appeared to be on the South African batsmen. Wickets started falling at regular intervals and they were finally dismissed for 265.
India will definitely take that. The bowlers have done their job, and it is now up to the batsmen to do theirs. India will be at a definite disadvantage batting fourth in this wicket. The batsmen will have to give India a good lead to be able to beat South Africa. The South Africans will again be aiming to beat India with pace but spin may hold the key to this game and that may come in handy for India.
The SBS score card for the day would probably read India 2, RSA 1. The SBS score card for tomorrow is most likely to determine who wins this game, but it all depends on how well India start in the morning.
What are some of the main traits of an opening batsman? They have to be patient, disciplined and maybe even courageous. Most importantly they should absolutely not take any risks. This is exactly what makes them dull and boring as well. There have been exceptions along the way – Krish Srikkanth was one. He was dashing and people loved to watch him, but he was also inconsistent and unreliable. Matty Hayden is another, and there are probably a few more – but none, in my opinion, come close to Virender Sehwag.
Sehwag – What can I say about him? The selectors should have kept faith with him during his slump and persisted with him. Actually, if you look back at his records, his test form has not been that bad – sadly, his ODI form was used as a measure and he was sacked from the Indian team after just one bad series in South Africa. He was kept away from the team that toured Bangladesh and England and when he was not even short listed for the Australian tour, his test career seemed completely stalled. As luck would have it, Gambhir was injured and Sehwag was picked in his place to tour Australia as the third choice opener and he even ended up playing the last two test matches.
You know what they say – “Form is temporary, class is permanent”. Sehwag did showcase his class under pressure in the last test against Australia with a fine 151, but with today’s knock of 309*, you can safely say that Sehwag is well and truly back. No other Indian has scored a triple century – but Sehwag now has two. There are probably another dozen or so records he broke today, but the important thing is that he managed to keep India in the game and put the team in a commanding position. Wasim Jaffer (73) gave him company and was involved in a solid start of 200+ runs. Rahul Dravid (65*) gave him good company too in the partnership of 255 runs, but the day belonged to just one player – Sehwag.
At the end of day 2, the match looked like it was destined for a slow death and if India continue to prepare such pitches, Test cricket itself will die a slow death – actually make that a fast death! Virender Sehwag however managed to infuse life into the dull game and India are now in a position where they can even think about winning the game – it all depends on how much lead India take and if the pitch starts crumbling like a cookie when South Africa bat. All three sessions of the day belonged to India and the SBS scorecard reads 4-4.
The biggest threat to Sehwag today was the zapping heat and humidity and it was a relief to see him make it to the end of the day. The whole of India would be hoping that Sehwag bats at least another session tomorrow. If he does, he may end up breaking Lara’s record for highest individual score and more importantly will put India in a very strong position to take the match.