Tag Archives: Manoj Tiwary

ODI Team India Balance…

I must declare that I am not a great fan of the current balance that Team India has got in its ODI Team. Having said that, I do believe that the ODI teams’ balance has improved substantially over the last 8 months or so, thanks to the return of Irfan Pathan.

I do believe that the return to form of Irfan Pathan is a definite positive for Indian cricket. After struggling with his rhythm for nearly a year, the young Irfan Pathan looks good today. He is running hard and bowling consistently in the mid-130kmph range. He also uses the slower ball and cutters quite effectively in ODI games. Throw in his competent batting and what you have is an effective package. Add to the mix the fearlessness of his captain M. S. Dhoni to use him in various different roles and you have the makings of an effective team-balance.

However, I do believe that India needs another Irfan Pathan to achieve that elusive balance.

If nothing more, this other allrounder could play when Irfan Pathan is either rested or injured.

With Andrew Symonds and James Hopes in its ranks, Australia has that balance. In Sundays’ game against India, Hopes had a tight hamstring and sat out the match. The result was there for everyone to see. The Indians knew the 5th bowler weakness in the Australian team and so, waited for Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds to be wheeled in! The presence of James Hopes would perhaps have altered their approach a bit.

Similarly, in a tight game, I do believe India will get “found out” through the absence of that 5th bowler. At the moment, the team is making-do with a combination of Sachin Tendulkar, Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh as that 5th bowler. Over time I do believe that the team needs to invest in another “allrounder” to achieve that elusive team-balance.

In Praveen Kumar, India has one such candidate warming the benches in Australia at the moment! I do believe that he ought to get a game against Sri Lanka today.

Other potential candidates include Yusuf Pathan, Joginder Sharma, Rajat Bhatia, Abhishek Nayar, although Manoj Tiwary, and S. Badrinath have also put their hands up, claiming to be allrounders!

Over time, it will be, I believe, players like these that will make up the core of a ODI team.

— Mohan

Teams for India vs Sri Lanka at The Gabba

There was a comment in another thread by one of our regular readers that M. S. Dhoni’s response was “useless and arrogant” when he replied “I go by instinct” when asked why he chose Manoj Tiwary in the first game of this CB series.

In my view that was a perfectly valid answer. I thought he would have been arrogant if he had said, “Well I knew he would struggle and scratch around. I knew he would duck to a Brett Lee bouncer in an ugly way. I knew he would be bowled off a terrific yorker. And in any case I knew that the game would be rained out and so I decided to chose Tiwary.” An even worse answer to why he chose Tiwary would have been, “The boys are all very well-prepared. The boys have all trained very hard for this excellent series. The boys are raring to go in this wonderful series against the World Champions. There is a real good feeling in the dressing room where we back each other. The boys are enjoying themselves and we are taking each game as it comes.”, a Mohammed Azharuddin type answer that says a lot and yet, says nothing!

I thought that that response from M. S. Dhoni was refreshingly honest; a honesty that will come as an unpalatable shock to much of India — as it did to our regular reader! One has had to couch and sugar-coat decisions for it to be acceptable in India! That was why we had a string of Indian captains — with Mohammed Azharuddin being a past master at this — who said a lot but didn’t say anything at all in the end in their interviews! Do we want that? I certainly do not. I’d prefer a guy like Dhoni who comes out and says, “I need to make a decision. I have been entrusted to make a decision. I did. Some will work. Some will not.”

I certainly do not see that as arrogance. I see that as honesty. What you see from this guy is what you get. He has not stayed long enough in Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore or Delhi to know a coat of sugar from a coat of paint! So this is long overdue honesty in Indian cricket, in my view. May his tribe increase. I certainly do not want sugar-coated platitudes that take no one anywhere.

If one had perfect information, one can make the best choices. Otherwise, decision-making is about gut-instinct.

Today, weather-permitting, a young Team India takes on Sri Lanka in the CB pyjama circus at Brisbane.

While India fared much better than the Sri Lankans in the Test series against the mighty Australians this summer, the ODI game is a different ball-game altogether. In that sense, India will be chasing the eight-ball in this series; India is playing against the World Cup Finalists and the runner-up!

Sanath Jayasuriya has recovered after being hit on the chin in a tour game in Hobart and Muralitharan has recovered after having had egg thrown at him after the game!

Team India needs a fit Yuvraj Singh to take the field. In his absence though, India is likely to persist with Manoj Tiwary, a batsman who can bowl a bit — and that’s where Dinesh Karthik or Suresh Raina may miss out. I feel that bowling allrounder like Praveen Kumar might be a better choice though.

The Indian team is likely to be: Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, MS Dhoni, Robin Uthappa, Irfan Pathan, Harbhajan Singh, Sreesanth, Ishant Sharma

— Mohan

The Pyjama Cricket circus commences…

In a few days from now the pyjama stuff starts with the Twenty20 game at the MCG on Friday 1 Feb 2008 between Australia and India.

The Australians have lost a few Twenty20 games on the trot to India and will be gunning for the visitors. There is no love lost between these teams. With the recent downgrading of the racism charge against Harbhajan Singh, there will be much more at stake than just the game. The Australians will want to win badly.

The Indians will not have four of their five senior stalwarts. Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and V. V. S. Laxman will have departed. In their place, we have a few fiery youngsters from the “New India”. They have said, even before the opening salvo has been fired, that they will fight fire with fire!

Robin Uthappa has said that he would “give it back if the Australians sledge”!

Controversial paceman, Sree Santh added to the rumbles when he said, “I’m not scared of anyone. On the contrary, I think Australia should be scared of me because I’m back. And I’m back after a rest too.”

We live in interesting times! We are set for a cracker of a game and a cracker of an ODI series after that!

Even though R. P. Singh has been withdrawn through a hamstring injury and even though Zaheer Khan is absent from the make-up, I believe that this is a well-balanced team. The Indian team has a good look to it in my view:

It is likely that the following will be the Indian Twenty20 team (in batting order)

Gautam Gambhir
Virender Sehwag
Rohit Sharma / Dinesh Karthik
Yuvraj Singh / Suresh Raina / Manoj Tiwary
MS Dhoni
Robin Uthappa
Irfan Pathan
Praveen Kumar
Harbhajan Singh / Piyush Chawla
Ishant Sharma / Munaf Patel
Sree Santh

If Yuvraj Singh is injured, I’d think that India would find it hard to beat Australia at the MCG. I suspect Sachin Tendulkar will sit out the Twenty20 game.

One thing is certain. With the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Robin Uthappa, Suresh Raina, et al, in the mix, the visitors’ fielding and the running between wickets is certainly going to be much better than what we have seen in this summer thus far!

The ODI team is likely to be (again in batting order):

Gautam Gambhir
Sachin Tendulkar
Virender Sehwag / Rohit Sharma / Dinesh Karthik
Yuvraj Singh / Suresh Raina / Manoj Tiwary
MS Dhoni
Robin Uthappa
Irfan Pathan
Praveen Kumar
Harbhajan Singh / Piyush Chawla
Ishant Sharma / Munaf Patel
Sree Santh

Hopefully we will be entertained. Hopefully we will see no new controversies. Hopefully the cricket will be memorable for the right reasons.

— Mohan

Indian future needs an anchor or two

As I watched the Indians bats, and bat beautifully I might add, something started bothering me. The foursome who scored so well in the innings include two genuine stroke makers in VVS and Ganguly, one God, and the other possibly one of the best anchors in test cricket in Dravid. The other two batsmen in the side include Wasim Jaffer, a stroke maker first and an anchor next (all left to chance) and Yuvraj, who believes that he is a genuine stroke maker. The three players who have been floated on this website and elsewhere as possible replacements include Manoj Tiwary, S. Badrinath and Suresh Raina all of whom are stroke makers. S. Badrinath, one may argue, has the potential to play the anchor role but I am not convinced as yet.

By memory I think of Amol Mazumdar, Venugopala Rao, Mithun Manhas, Sitanshu Kotak, Akash Chopra, C A Pujara, and SS Das as ones who are currently playing domestic cricket and have had success in the anchor roles. Unfortunately, some of the mentioned players are considered past their prime (age), do not have the necessary clout, or are best in domestic outings but do not have it in them to take it to the next level. Mohd. Kaif has an outside chance but may still not have the technique to fulfill the role which brings to mind the key factor that, I believed is required to be in consideration. Technique! How many players in the current domestic playing circuit can boast of a technique any close to what Dravid or Tendulkar had when they came into reckoning?

It would be interesting to hear others’ views on this but, for me, in addition to grooming the likes of Yuvraj, Raina, Tiwary alike, we have to more urgently start looking at identifying and nurturing players who can bring stability and solidity to the opening and middle order slots in the Indian batting line up.



RoI win Irani Trophy

Rest of India won the Irani Trophy season opener convincingly. In Mumbai’s first innings, Kukreja (110 off 210 balls) and Abhishek Nayar (118 off 108 balls) scored tons to get Mumbai to a decent total of 453 all out.

Abhishek Nayar is shaping up as a really useful allrounder to watch out for in the future. He bats left handed and is a right-arm fast medium bowler. In this match, Nayar bowled more overs than any other Mumbai bowler. Not that this fact alone counted for much in the end, but it talks of the confidence that the team has in this 24-year-old!

After a shaky start in response to this large total, RoI responded soundly, with Parthiv Patel (179 off 235) and Manoj Tiwary (130 off 184) scoring brisk centuries. Parthiv Patel opened the innings with Akash Chopra and has been in stunning form with the bat! In the end, RoI had a slender 1st innings lead. Badrinath had made 29.

It was around this time that news may have leaked of Badrinath’s impending selection in the India team. He may have hoped for the Irani Trophy match to get over soon so that he could pack up is kit and join Team India! But even Badrinath, — who commented, “I can’t leave till this match gets over. I hope we win it tomorrow.” — would not have expected the swiftness of the RoI victory!

In the second innings, Mumbai folded for 106 off 33.3 overs in a mere 166 minutes! RoI had to make 90 to win, which they did for the loss of only 1 wicket! Parthiv Patel smashed a 48-ball 59 to continue his dream run with the bat.

There were several positives and some questions asked from this match:

  • Parthiv Patel will continue to put pressure on Dinesh Karthik for a place in the team, especially since Patel is opening too!
  • For Manoj Tiwary, this century represents a timely reminder to the selectors that he can’t be forgotten.
  • Mohammed Kaif continues to be the most successful representative captain who probably didn’t play much for his country!
  • Ramesh Powar didn’t make any impression on anyone!
  • Ajit Agarkar continued to bowl like a millionaire that he is not.
  • Young Iqbal Abdullah continues to impress and so does Pragyan Ojha.
  • But most interestingly, after an insipid first innings, Munaf Patel bowled with fire in the 2nd innings for RoI. His 5-for-25 off 7.3 overs wrecked Mumbai and caused them to crumble to 106 all out (and his fighting partnership with Ranadeb Bose in the RoI 1st innings to take RoI to a lead will perhaps help his cause too)!

Ps: Who is Omkar Gurav? What happend to Vinayak Mane?

EDIT: Vinayak Mane is injured.

— Mohan

India ‘A’ continues to impress…

For a few months now, I have been following the exploits of the India ‘A’ team captained by Mohammed Kaif. After impressive showings against Zimbabwe Select, Kenya and Sri Lanka A, the team continues its good showing against a South Africa ‘A’ side that includes many players that have turned out for the Springboks national team in the past.

While India ‘A’ includes Mohammed Kaif (13 Tests, 125 ODIs), Parthiv Patel (19 Tests, 14 ODIs), Ishant Sharma (1 Test, 1 ODI) and Suresh Raina (36 ODIs) as players who have donned India colours, South Africa ‘A’ includes Morne van Wijk (5 ODIs), A. Petersen (2 ODIs), Gulam Bodi (2 ODIs), Boeta Dippenar (38 Tests, 107 ODIs), Albie Morkel (12 ODIs), Justin Ontong (2 Tests, 21 ODIs), Thami Tsolekile (3 Tests), Vernon Philander (5 ODIs), Johan Botha (1 Test, 13 ODIs), Charl Langeveldt (6 Tests, 48 ODIs).

India won the 2-match Test Series 1-0 (one match was rained out). The first 2 ODIs were completely rained-out. In the latest ODI, India beat South Africa by 1 run off the last ball in a thriller at Rajkot.

S. Badrinath continues to impress with both bat and ball and in my view, it is only a matter of time before this exciting 27-year-old dons India colours. He is a valuable bat, an electric fielder and a competent off-spinner too.

For sometime now, I have been saying that India really needs a few good allrounders in its ODI make up. While welcoming the return-to-form of Irfan Pathan, I have been dismayed with the selectors’ reluctance to invest in Joginder Sharma for the ODIs against Australia. This after captain M. S. Dhoni had invested his reputation as well as India’s fortunes in the T20 Championship in two of the biggest last overs an Indian has bowled in international cricket!

Here is a quote on Joginder Sharma from Dileep Premachandran’s article on Dhoni.

His treatment of Sharma in the two biggest matches of the tournament summed up his qualities as captain. You or I could toss the ball to a Wasim Akram or a Curtly Ambrose and calmly watch a match clinched in the final over. It requires no great leadership quality or tactical nous.

The real test of captaincy lies in bringing the fringe player into the centre circle and making him feel that he’s not a misfit there. It’s almost certain that no other Indian captain of the last decade and more would have dared go with Sharma for those final overs. By doing so Dhoni was emphasising sport’s greatest but often forgotten truth – it’s not about the stars, it’s about the XI. And sometimes the unlikeliest ones shine brightest.

And after that bold and forthright statement, and especially when an opportunity persented itself with Piyush Chawla’s freak injury, Joginder Sharma has been cast to the sidelines.

I have been following the careers of allrounders like him and Praveen Kumar, the 20-year old allrounder from UP. He plays alongside R. P. Singh, Piyush Chawla, and Suresh Raina in the UP side. He is a carefree bat and an opening bowler. He opened the batting and bowling in yesterdays’ game. Although he didn’t make much with the bat, he bowled well — including the last over of the match.

I do believe that Joginder Sharma and/or Praveen Kumar should play for India in ODIs soon. Just the presence of Irfan Pathan does so much for team balance. This balance will be augmented by the presence of another allrounder and I will continue to pay close attention to the progress of both these contenders.

All through these matches, Parthiv Patel has been thoroughly impressive. He has notched up several 100s and 50s and his ‘keeping has also been quite ‘tight’. Mohammed Kaif, who scored a smart 98 in yesterdays’ match continues to impress with his captaincy and may end up being the best U-19 and India-A captain that didn’t get an extended stint with the national team! Suresh Raina made his first appearance yesterday and scored a compact 45.

Amit Mishra, the young leg-spinner, has had a few good games too. After bowling with aplomb in the Test match, he also scored a breezy 22 off 11 balls in yesterdays’ ODI.

The one disappointment through this tour is that bowlers seem to have worked out Manoj Tiwary’s weakness against the short-rising-ball. He is getting peppered with the short stuff and the young dasher seems to be hell-bent on rewarding the bowlers’ efforts too!

— Mohan

Possible India-A Team (Edit)

Given the recent comments on this blogsite on my original post on this topic, below is a fuller list of potential India-A players.

Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Robin Uthappa, Shikar Dhawan

Middle-order bats:
Dinesh Mongia, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Kaif, S. Badrinath, Venugopala Rao, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli

Wicket Keepers:
Parthiv Patel, Puneet Bisht

Munaf Patel, Ajit Agarkar, V Yo Mahesh, Rakesh Patel, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Joginder Sharma, V. R. V. Singh

Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Pawar, Piyush Chawla, Murali Kartik, K. P. Appanna, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Sayyed Iqbal Abdulla, Shahbaz Nadeem

Given this scenario, it is possible for us to construct an India-A and an India-B as follows (each with 16 players in them):

Virender Sehwag
Shikar Dhawan
Dinesh Mongia
Mohammed Kaif
S. Badrinath
Suresh Raina
Parthiv Patel
Piyush Chawla
Ajit Agarkar / V Yo Mahesh
V. R. V. Singh / Ashish Nehra
Murali Kartik / K. P. Appanna / Sayyed Iqbal Abdulla / Shahbaz Nadeem

Aakash Chopra
Robin Uthappa
Cheteshwa Pujara
Venugopala Rao / Rohit Sharma
Manoj Tiwary / Virat Kohli
Puneet Bisht
Irfan Pathan
Harbhajan Singh
Rakesh Patel / Joginder Sharma
Rajesh Pawar / Pragyan Ojha / Amit Mishra
Munaf Patel

The one other player that perhaps could be added is Gagan Khoda. But that would be at the exepense of one of the lefties — perhaps Abdulla…

— Mohan

Composition of India-A Teams

I was recently reading this interview in The Hindustan Times by Dilip Vengsarkar, the Indian Chairman of Selectors. There was a comment by Vengsarkar on the composition of India-A sides that got me thinking.

Vengsarkar said that in his view, “the BCCI must organise [India-A tours] on a war footing“. I don’t think any Team India fan would disagree with him on that view. I am not sure if the BCCI is listening though! There is no reason why India-A should not be continually on tour to some part of the globe. An alternative would be for India-A and India-B to constantly play against each other! Why not? How else would you know if, for example, Munaf Patel has tested himself in a match situation?

Vengsarkar then says that, in his opinion, “the right age group would be the under-25s“.

I am not sure I agree with that view. I think India-A should include players who are on the fringes of national-team selection and if they happen to be under 25 years of age, then so be it.

If we take the current Team India that is in the UK as the representative team of the moment, then we can think of the following players who are on the fringes of national selection (for Tests matches).

Virender Sehwag, Aakash Chopra, Gautam Gambhir

Middle-order bats:
Dinesh Mongia, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Kaif, S. Badrinath, Venugopala Rao, Rohit Sharma, Manoj Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Robin Uthappa

Wicket Keepers:
Parthiv Patel, Puneet Bisht

Munaf Patel, Ajit Agarkar, V Yo Mahesh, Rakesh Patel, Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan, Joginder Sharma, V. R. V. Singh

Harbhajan Singh, Rajesh Pawar, Piyush Chawla, Murali Kartik, K. P. Appanna

I may have missed some names. If I have, please add them to the Comments section and I will update this list a few days later…

Note that only some of these 27 players are under-25. But most of them are often mentioned in the context of being on the verge of consideration of national duties. I think that a subset of this set of players should constantly play either in some part of the world or in India against each other. That is the only way to (a) keep the seniors honest, (b) ensure that people like Irfan Pathan and Munaf Patel are match-fit, (c) ascertain true bench strength, (d) sharpen match skills of players in a slightly higher-intensity setting than the Ranji Trophy setting.


— Mohan

Rebuilding India – Drawbacks on the bowling front!

Yes, we have won the series and, yes the batting which has been the talking point for a while, has clicked, even though sloppily and sluggishly at times. As many have pointed on other blogs, this series was meant to favor India despite the WC loss. Despite the yo-yo(ness) in our batting, I do not believe that has been of concern. Strategically, it really does not matter if Gambhir, Uthappa, Tiwary, Mongia, Karthik, Rohit Sharma, Venugopala Rao etc. play. For the time being (at least till the next world cup) it does not seem necessary to seriously disturb the seniority in the side. You should have a combination of Dravid, Sehwag, Yuvraj, Tendulkar, Ganguly, or even Kaif play in the side. What really concerns me is the bowling department. This not just in the one dayers but more importantly in the tests. (Te batting seems even more solid and set in the tests, no concerns whatsoever!).

We do not have a match winner in the side!!One who can bowl a side out twice (or once in a one day). We can afford to give away 240-250 runs to a side like Bangladesh on a consistent basis. With Kumble on his way out and Harbajan findings ways to find his way out, the situation is pretty grim. I like what I see in Piyush Chawla (so does Bruce Yardley for what it is worth) but he isn’t there yet. Zaheer may have improved leaps and bounds but he still is a mystery to me. Sreesanth is a song and dance kid. Munaf Patel is good but does not inspire. Romesh Powar is rated well, but I fail to see anything more than the real good ones in Chennai leagues. I really do hope that this factor is addressed and dealt with soon.

Any thoughts!

– Srikanth

Good luck, Tiwary

Manoj Tiwary is all set to make his debut for India against Bangladesh on Thursday. Aakash Chopra, the Indian opener (who writes quite well, I might add) once wrote this about debuting for one’s country –

All of us, irrespective of what others think, strive for excellence and endeavor to become the most important member of any group or team we represent.

If you’re an international cricketer, chances are that you’re the most important member of the state or county side you play for. There’s a conscious pride and responsibility in that and it’s a feeling that often inspires you to do well and provides the ideal scenario to do so.

It’s different when you’re the newest (and most expendable) member of the squad. You need a boost. Walking into (what is suddenly, even at home) an unknown arena for the first time, hoping and believing you’ll succeed is nerve-wracking.

There might be no demons in the wicket and the transformation might actually be very smooth but till you haven’t done it yourself, it’s one of the world’s great mysteries.

I hope all newcomers to the Indian team get the much needed “boost” from the seniors. The media needs to stay off their back and allow them to settle down. Immediate comparisons to a Sachin, Kumble, Kapil or Gavaskar will only add more pressure. The fans shouldn’t read too much into their immediate success or failure. Just give them the time they need…and let’s hope for the best.

Good luck, Tiwary. No matter what, enjoy your cricket and play your natural game. Once you do that, success will automatically follow…