Tag Archives: Kris Srikkanth

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News in brief: Saturday 7 April 2007

-Mahesh-

All time India One Day XV

The Aussies went through the exercise of picking an all time XI before the World Cup and while discussing in another thread with Mohan Krishnamoorthy, we came up with this idea of an all time India XV.

So, here is my team:

Opening

1. Sachin Tendulkar

2. Sourav Ganguly

Others who were considered for this slot were Virender Sehwag, Kris Srikkanth, Navjot Sidhu, Ravi Shastri and  Sunil Gavaskar.

Kris Srikkanth was one of the first openers in the world who attacked from the get-go. Navjot Sidhu could hit those amazing sixes coming half way down the pitch. But as far as openers go for an all time India XI, you can’t go beyond the peerless Tendulkar and Ganguly combination. Together they have over 25000 ODI runs and over 60 centuries. Moreover, the left-hander-right-hander combination would make this a killer opening pair. Even a Sehwag in his prime would not be able to dislodge this opening combination at its peak.

Middle order

3. Virender Sehwag

4. Rahul Dravid

5. Mohammed Azharuddin

Although I have not penned Sehwag as an opening batsman, with his “near 100” strike rate and attacking game, he would come out at No. 3 in my team. Rahul Dravid, aka ‘The Wall’ will easily slide into No. 4. His 40 plus average and 70-plus strike rate makes him an ideal bat in the middle order. I would slot Mohammed Azharuddin at No. 5. Although he exited International cricket in disgrace, he had accumulated over 9000 runs and was a great batsman and fielder.

The others who were considered but didn’t make the cut included Dilip Vengsarkar, Ajay Jadeja, Mohinder Amarnath, Sandeep Patil, and Yuvraj Singh.

Lower middle order/allrounders

6. Ravi Shastri

7. M. S. Dhoni

8. Kapil Dev

As far as all rounders go, you can’t beat that list. Ravi Shastri swatting the ball for a six after coming in in the 45th over was an awesome sight. Promoting him into the opening slot pretty much killed his slog game in his later years. He was also a useful spinner who could bowl out his 10 overs.

Dhoni’s business card should actually read “Mahendra Singh Dhoni: Wicket keeper, Batsman, Slogger”. Need I say more? He has got a strike rate of 98.49 and an average of 46.61. Dhoni comes in at No. 7 in my team. Kapil Dev, the allrounder, could easily bat up the order, but he would have to settle for No.  8. 

Full time bowlers

9. Zaheer Khan

10. Javagal Srinath

11. Anil Kumble

The No. 9 slot was a tough fight between Zaheer Khan and Manoj Prabhakar. Manoj Prabhakar at his best was a very good bowler at the death and wasn’t bad with the bat either. But for sheer energy and the variety he offers with his left arm pace, Zaheer edges out Manoj Prabhakar for the No. 9 slot.

Srinath would easily grab the No. 10 slot ahead of the likes of Agarkar and Prasad. A lot of people forget that Srinath was the leading wicket taker for India in one dayers until Anil Kumble overtook his record. Bowlers like Chetan Sharma, Roger Binny and Madan Lal shined in the odd game, but they just weren’t good and consistent enough to get into my pick.

Kumble, the highest wicket taker for India would get the lone spinners slot, ahead of the only other person challenging him – Harbhajan Singh.

To make up the XV, I would pick 2 other batsmen and 2 bowlers. The 2 batsmen slots would go to Jadeja and Yuvraj. Both very different players, but excellent fielders. Prabhakar and Agarkar would take up the two bowling slots.

So here is my final XV – Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, Mohammed Azharudin, Ravi Shastri, M. S. Dhoni, Kapil Dev, Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath, Anil Kumble, Yuvraj Singh, Ajay Jadeja, Manoj Prabhakar and Ajit Agarkar.

The XI, I have picked contains 5 bowlers who can bowl all of their 10 overs in addition to the “batting” allrounders such as Tendulkar, Ganguly and Sehwag. In some matches where just 4 bowlers would suffice, we would have the flexibility of bringing in an additional batsman such as Jadeja or Yuvraj in to the XI (who can themselves bowl a few overs).

So who would be the captain? The team is filled with players who have captained India, but my choice would be Ravi Shastri. He has a shrewd cricketing brain, but was never given enough chance to lead India.

-Mahesh-

Rahul Dravid :: The best World Cup batsman India has ever had?

This article was prompted by a statement that Chinaman made in response to an earlier article that I had written on this blog.
In full flow
In that comment, Chinaman said, “I fail to understand why Rahul Dravid is in an ODI team. In the past he has kept, so did perform dual tasks, but now he is occupying a position as a single attribute cricketer. When all players are being encouraged to improve their weaker attribute, why do I not see Dravid bowl? That because he is ‘the wall’ we cannot do without him in ODIs is a myth. He has fallen for low scores time and time again. And when he does so, he has nothing else special to contribute for the rest of the match.

He did raise a few good issues and questions. But if he had a few facts at hand, his fears may have been dispelled!

I could have responded to Chinaman in the comments section. However, I was in the midst of constructing this article anyway! So, here goes…

If we look at the performance of a few top Indian batsmen in World Cups (min qualification of at least 10 matches), we have the following — arranged in the descending order of their batting averages:

Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |
Dravid1977914564.9125
Tendulkar33173215259.7241262/2878.16
Ganguly1884418356.264193/2231.44
Sidhu124549345.4006
Kapil26669175*37.1611285/4331.85
Vengsarkar112526336.0001
Gavaskar19561103*35.0614
Jadeja21522100*34.801232/3247.66
Azharuddin308269339.330853/1921.80
Sehwag112998227.180221/344.00
Srikkanth235217523.68020
Amarnath142548021.1601163/1226.93
Shastri141855718.5001123/2632.41

And yes, I do know that there are other factors to consider in ODIs, such as Strike Rates, fielding, etc. But please humour me as I only consider the batting average metric for this exercise.

It is clear from the above table, that Dravid’s performances in World Cups have been excellent. Given that he also ‘kept wickets in some of the games (in 2003) this makes for a fascinating contribution from a great Indian cricketer. But even if we ignore his ‘keeping, he would be in my ODI team any day just on the strength of his batting.

There are others like Sanjay Manjrekar, who have 11 games, but with an average of 26.81 (as a pure batsman in World Cups), do not really count. I think I have captured all the relevant personnel in the above table.

Let’s now look at performances of the top batsmen in the current Indian scene over their last 20 ODI appearances for India — the number 20 has been picked somewhat arbitrarily; we could carry this analysis over (say) the last 2 years. However, I decided to look at the last 20 games.


Name |M |Runs |HS |Avg |100s |50s |W |Best |BowlAv |
Yuvraj2063010342.001462/3434.50
Tendulkar20637141*39.812462/2550.83
Dhoni2050567*38.8404
Dravid205497834.3106
Ganguly205569832.700511/29105.00
Sehwag204629725.660341/2263.25
Kaif2030966*19.3103
Raina203225318.9401
Dhoni2050567*38.8404

Dinesh Karthik has an average of 21.28 from 10 games and Uthappa has an average of 39.25 from 5 games (clearly, early days yet).

Great Shot from DravidThe fact is that Indian batsmen haven’t been faring that well lately. However, even here, it is clear that Dravid’s place in the team is dictated purely on the basis of his batting strength. He earns his ticket purely as a batsman in form. The other batsmen who bowl a bit haven’t really set the world on fire with their bowling in recent games. Dhoni is the only one in the above list who can claim an effective dual-role. It is also perhaps clear from this why Kaif and Raina were dropped — perhaps they have only themselves to blame!

Given Table-1 which shows Dravid towering above the rest when it comes to performances in World Cup games, it would be safe to assume that he would have been the second (if not the first) name-pencil in the team sheet — just on the strength of his batting prowess!

— Mohan

What are India’s realistic chances?

Let’s face it. Team India lags at 5th place on the ICC ODI table.

As I indicated in a previous article on gurus and pundits, a lot of former Indian cricketers have been incredibly busy lately achieving more exposure than Mallika Sherawat!

Lots of pundits have talked up India’s chances. Sunil Gavaskar says that India will bring home the World Cup “because of the sheer passion generated by the game in the country.” Since when did the passion of a billion cricket fans sitting about 5000 miles away win World Cups! Perhaps he is thinking of a spiritual uplifting in a semi-tantric sense? Who knows what Gavaskar thinks anyway!

Gavaskar’s contemporary, of nose-blowing-fame, I-can-speak-faster-than-you-can-blink-Kris-Srikkanth, opines that India will win. He reckons that, “We have a very well balanced side with experience and all-rounders that has lent stability. The pitches in the West Indies is expected to be similar to those in the sub-continent.

Be that as it may, what are India’s chances? Realistically?

I honestly believe that the team with the best/most allrounders will win the World Cup. Again, I am hapy to be proven wrong and will happily eat humble pie if this is proven wrong. But I feel India missed a few beats in the lead up to the World Cup. I felt that the coach and captain embarked on the right path by egging Pathan on as an allrounder. This, and the making-of-Dhoni (as an allrounder) were both master-strokes when India played that exciting spell of ODI cricket in September-October 2005 agaisnt South Africa and Sri Lanka.

However, it seemed as though coach-and-captain had pinned all their hopes on this one horse. When Pathan’s bowling fell away, they appeared to have no Plan-B. They should have, at that point in time, groomed a Joginder Sharma or someone else. They could have opted to over-bowl Virender Sehwag in an attempt to get that bowling contribution from him going in a much more compelling manner. It is likely that Pathan will come good in the World Cup. But, prima facie evidence suggests that India faces a marginally under-cooked situation in the allrounder stakes. I feel this could hurt India’s chances.

Allrounders give teams amazing flexibility. And that’s most required in the ODI game today. India do not have it — not enough of it anyway, in my view! One could argue that Yuvraj Singh, Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Sourav Ganguly can bowl too. Yes they do. But they are not allrounders in the mould of Andrew Symonds, Shane Watson, Andrew Flinitoff, Jacques Kallis, Jacob Oram, Scott Styris, Sanath Jayasuriya, Abdul Razzaq (Azhar Mahmood), Shoaib Mallik, Shaun Pollock and Chris Gayle…

It would be most surprising if the players named above do not bowl-out their 10-overs in most games. In other words, they make telling contributions with the ball and bat quite well too. A misfit in this list, in that sense, is probably Shoaib Mallik.

Be that as it may, the absense of an allrounder may hurt India. India does have the bits-and-pieces bowlers who bat very well in Tendulkar, Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and Ganguly. We also have a bits-and-pieces bat who bowls marginally average: Pathan! These do not make allrounders though.

Note that I have not considered M.S.Dhoni in this comparative discussion on allrounders. In my view, Dhoni is India’s best allrounder. However, I have not thrown him into the allrounder discussion above because, in my view, most teams these days have terrific ‘keeper-bats! Australia has Adam Gilchrist. Sri Lanka has Kumar Sangakkara. South Africa has Mark Boucher. Pakistan have Kamran Akmal (although he is in the midst of a form-slump). New Zealand have Brendon McCullum. I feel that in this regard, West Indies will be hurt by Dinesh Ramdin. England will be hurt by Paul Nixon — if he ‘keeps as well as he talks, his game would perhaps be on another plane altogether!

And for this reason, I think it will be quite a good result for India if we make it past the Super8 stage and into the semi-finals. I would be happy to break an egg on my face myself if India advance to the semi-finals. I’ll break two if India reach the finals.

Don’t get me wrong. I want India to win. And I am not dismissing Team India before even a game has been played! Just like any other Team-India fan, I do want this team to do well. As a Team India fan, I am merely setting my realistic expectations from this team. As the tournament unfolds, I expect these expectations to be re-visited.

There is a reason why India lags 5th in the ICC table. A 5th position is perhaps the best that India can hope for, perhaps? My view is that we must depend on other teams to advance into the Top-4.

From there on in, anything can happen…

— Mohan

Indian Team Writers’ XV

It is clear that cricket dominates everything in India at the moment. Indian TV news is dominated by cricket. Panel discussions and audience-based programmes have commenced… Well, they have never stopped really have they? Every second ad on TV apparently has a cricket flavour. There are cricket songs being penned furiously. Even Bollywood has gone cricket — well, they always were, but more so now!

Shah Rukh Khan MC’d a farewell event organised by Pepsi, which featured the new Pepsi Gold bottle — sigh! Apparently the event had, amongst others, Priyanka Chopra and Mandira Bedi — her of noodle-straps-fame. The event also featured songs by Sukhwinder Singh, Adnan Sami and Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy who belted out numbers from Salaam-E-Ishq, etc.

Everything is cricket in this cricket-crazed country!

Everyone is talking about cricket. Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, Kapil Dev, Harsha Bhogle and Ravi Shastri have never been busier. They are wheeled from one studio to another to talk about one thing or another. The topics may be incredibly diverse and varied as long as they focus on team composition! Well at one programme Gavaskar talks about team composition. At the same time Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath are at another studio, talking about team composition. You may have missed a simultaneous programme on a totally different topic on a rival channel. So you might record it. A later replay would show that at another programme, Shastri, Bhogle and Gavaskar collide to talk about team composition. Fresh eyes. Fresh views. Meanwhile, another programme has developed a scoop on team composition and that gets a lot of airplay and repeats too! Looking for a fresh angle, yet another programme wheels in Gavaskar and Bhogle to talk about team composition. By then, a tired looking Gavaskar, with match-sticks to prop up his eyelids, charges like a wounded bull into yet another studio where he and Srikkanth are going to talk about team composition. Srikkanth is looking fresh although he has hardly had time to blow his nose!

Occasionally, Kapil Dev will say something nasty about Greg Chappell. This merely serves as a temporary distraction before the amazing diversity of topics resumes around… team composition! Diversity is apparently good!

Then at about 1am, when the whole nation has slept, these pundits have to rush home to write articles for the next mornings’ newspapers… articles about team composition!

Then another day begins and so does yet another round of expert-comments, interviews and studio-audience-shows.. on team composition!

Prompted by a lovely article by Shailaja Bajpai in The Indian Express — in which she talks about much of the things that I have talked about in this article — I set about looking at the number of celebrity-cricket-writers that are writing about cricket; the assorted army of now-old cricketers who are providing a healthy dose of sound-bytes about cricket to the various channels — of course, all of them on team composition!

I have seen the following ex-cricketers write about and talk about cricket in the last little while. I may have missed a few, but I think I have captured a fair few of them.

And they have been organised in batting order!

Sunil Gavaskar, Kris Srikkanth, Arun Lal, Mohinder Amarnath, Sanjay Manjrekar, Mohammed Azharuddin, Sandeep Patil, Ashok Malhotra, Yashpal Sharma, Ajay Jadeja, Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri, Kirti Azad, Syed Kirmani, Kiran More, Madan Lal, Javagal Srinath, Atul Wasson.

That’s about 18 ex-players — not a bad team to field huh?

Virender Sehwag’s form, Sourav Ganguly’s return and Irfan Pathan’s fitness have dominated their bleat-time. But each one is unique. Each one has a voice. Each one has an opinion. Each one is heard… As long as they talk about team composition, everything else is forgiven!

— Mohan

My Great Indian Moments at the World Cups

I am sure every one of us have had our moments-to-cherish in each of the different World Cups. My own World Cup connection began in right earnest during the 1983 World Cup campaign. Just in time for the commencement of the World Cup, a television appeared in our living room! This was a first for our household! It was a big moment for all of us at home — certainly for me, since I could stop being a pest with the neighbors; I no longer needed to ask them for permission to watch games and programs on their television and in their living room!

The World Cup final was when I had my first of many encounters with built up nervous energy. I remember pacing up and down and sweating it out like a nervous teenager on his first date, egging India to win. I doubt I will ever forget that moment when Kapil Dev took that brilliant catch — that was almost the defining moment for Indian cricket itself!

This then brings me to the topic! Here are my Indian moments at all the World Cups since 1983 (inclusive).

1983 Prudential World Cup

The final was certainly it. The six by Kris Srikkanth of Joel Garner was a big moment. At home, it felt as though we yelled so hard and loud, we felt we had broken the sound barrier! Until then, it seemed as though Garner was this unpenetrable bowler. Kapil Dev’s catch to dismiss Viv Richards and the final wicket of Michael Holding made up some of the brightest moments for me as far as I can remember. The semi-finals did have its moments too — with Sandeep Patil taking on Bob Willis and Yashpal Sharma making a fine half century. In the lead up game, India beat Zimbabwe after being 17 for 5 at one stage. This was thanks to a terrific 175 from Kapil Dev! Unfortunately, there is no video footage of this match!

1987 World Cup

This world cup should have been India’s but for some bad mistakes by India in the semi-final game. The best moment for me in the tournament was the amazing century partnership between Sunil Gavaskar and Kris Srikkanth in the game against New Zealand at Nagpur. The sweep shot off Martin Snedden by Kris Srikkanth was etched into memory. Gavaskar rained sixes on the ground and scored his one and only hundred in ODIs — as though to prove a point! This match had John Wright opening for New Zealand. It also had a moment for trivia-buffs — Chetan Sharma took the first every hat-trick in a World Cup!

The first game against Australia in Chennai was quite the finish — there certainly were some deja vu moments for me that night with Maninder Singh being the last man out again against Australia in Chennai (remember the tied test!) with one run to tie… In the semi-final against England, the man with brooms — Graham Gooch — and poor shot selection by Kapil Dev were moments worth erasing from memory.

1992 World Cup

While it is generally believed that this was one campaign worth forgetting for India, I cannot speak much about it since I was in Godforsaken land then and did not have a chance to watch a single game. This World Cup was marred by poor team-selection (for India) and also poor rain-rules (this was pre-Duckworth-Lewis days). However, I do remember that India should have won the games against England and Australia early in the tournament and this may have made a big difference. It is also worth noting that when Tendulkar scored, India won those games.

1996 World Cup

While this saw the emergence of Sachin Tendulkar as the most dominant force in World Cups, the magical moments for me were all in the quarter-final game against Pakistan in Bangalore. This match saw a terrific platform-setup by Navjot Sidhu followed by fantastic knock by Ajay Jadeja that included an amazing six of Waqar Younis. The other big moment was when Venkatesh Prasad took Amir Sohail’s wicket — the Jadeja-six and the Prasad-wicket events are two moments are worth entry into any all-time-World-Cup-memory DVD collection. The tension and excitement in the game against Australia at the Wankhade Stadium could be felt even when we watched it on television..

So, you want to watch the Prasad-Sohail incident? Well, here we go…

1999 World Cup

The Ganguly-Dravid partnership at Taunton in the game against Sri Lanka was a particular highlight of this edition of the World Cup. In particular, it was a joy to see the way Ganguly handled Muthiah Muralitharan. Ganguly made 183 in that game. We also witnessed a superb century by Tendulkar on his return to the World Cup after travelling to India to attend the funeral of his father who passed away during that World Cup These were some of the brighter moments in an otherwise dark World Cup for India.

2003 World Cup

This will be remembered as the World Cup that we should have won, but did not! I still wonder what went wrong! This was the perfect campaign for India till the very end, when we came up against a rampaging Australia in the finals. India’s campaign in this World Cup was very similar to the 1985 Benson-and-Hedges World Championships. India played like a champion team throughout the 2003 World Cup tournament. There were so many special Indian moments, it is hard to pick one.

The demolition of Caddick and his ego by Tendulkar at Kingsmead was a special. So also the Sehwag-Tendulkar show against Shoaib Akthar in India’s game against Pakistan. Mohammed Kaif’s almost forgotten gutsy performance in the same game against Pakistan in the presence of a resurgent Waqar Younis (the cover drive that he played of Waqar Younis to kick off his innings was breathtaking!) was one for the special-DVD too. We also saw some superb piece of swing bowling by the pace trio of Zaheer Khan, Javagal Srinath and Ashish Nehra against Sri Lanka and New Zealand were also terrific. Nehra’s magic against England was a joy. Ganguly’s liking for the Kenyan attack was as good as it gets. My particularly special moment was Alec Stewart getting caught plumb in front by a peach of a delivery from Nehra. This itself was worth every penny of the 180-dollars I paid for the tournament telecast.

2007 World Cup

I am sure the 180-or-so-dollars that I will be paying this time around will be worth every penny too. In this context, I think I spoke too soon about ATN and its magnanimity. They are charging a fair bit for the telecast… But I will subscribe. Because of those special moments.

Go India!

-Srikanth