Tag Archives: Pietersen

India wins again in cordial environment

India played an ODI last night. India won, again.

Once again, the nature of the pitch wasn’t an issue for intense pre-match analysis and debate. Once again, the toss wasn’t an issue to moan about — one of the teams won the toss and I can’t even remember which one! Again, the over-rate wasn’t a problem in this match. The Third-World sight screen held up quite well in a completely packed Third World stadium. The word “monkey” and the city “Sydney” weren’t mentioned in the same breath by everyone around with a clear intent of selling books and apologising for comments taken out of context later.

Duh! Australia wasn’t playing a cricket game! Clearly India was playing someone else because the on-field camaraderie between the two teams was excellent.

India defeated England at Indore to lead the 7-match series 2-0. India won on the back of another Man-of-the-Match performance from Yuvraj Singh, who cracked another century and also took 4 wickets.

Unlike the 1st ODI at Rajkot, England was in the contest for spells. But England was unable to maintain its intensity. England let India advance at key moments in the game. With India at 29-3 with Virender Sehwag, Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma back in the pavilion, instead of going for the jugular, England allowed Yuvraj Singh and Gautam Gambhir to rebuild. Gambhir and Yuvraj batted with the calm assurance of a pair of Buddhist monks and built a platform from which Yusuf Pathan was able to launch! And launch he did with a 29-ball half-century. In their response to a score of 292, England started cautiously, but was unable to maintain a tempo through the innings. A smart power-play choice was followed by some lusty blows from Flintoff. But 2 quick wickets from Yuvraj Singh broke the back of England’s determination and the rest of the innings just crumbled.

I am glad India stuck with Yusuf Pathan. He bats well and can bowl a few overs too. I am also glad that Dhoni is using Yuvraj Singh and Virender Sehwag as bowlers.

England are a better ODI team than the 0-2 series result suggests. I just feel that England have got a few things wrong. I really do not know what Ravi Bopara, a specialist batsman, is doing at #8! That is truly bizarre. Owais Shah is not a big hitter but a finisher in the Bevan-mould. At best, he could be a #4 player. So what he is doing at #3 only England will know! Matt Prior is not opener-material either. Moreover, in India, England needs a spinner like Graeme Swann instead of James Anderson. Samit Patel won’t do as the only spinner in the team! Also, Kevin Pietersen needs to bite the bullet and come in at #3. He can organise the play if an early wicket falls. So for the next ODI, I’d like to see the following England line-up:

Ian Bell, Ravi Bopara, Kevin Pietersen, Owais Shah, Freddie Flintoff, Paul Collingwood, Matt Prior, Samit Patel, Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann, Steve Harmison.

By the way, i3j3Cricket’s “Adjective Watch” department has been closed down till the next India-Australia tour!

— Mohan

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“Third World” India crush England in 1st ODI

On his return to Australia, Matthew Hayden explained his team’s pathetic over-rate by saying that these bad over rates happen in Third World countries like India.

He said, “Often we find ourselves with hands on hips waiting for someone to either face up or someone in the sightboard to move away; all the little frustrations that happen in Third World countries and the heat as well.”

Yep. Explains why his team got fined for slow over-rates at Perth then, hey?

Peter Lalor happily ran the story without once reminding either Hayden or his readers about Perth, or indeed alluding to it in his piece. Why would he do that? After all, this was yet another opportunity for this great Indophile to show his Indophiliacity! Moreover, there does appear to be a need amongst some people, to construct a sequence of plausible excuses to make ones lot in life better than ones lot currently is, after all. And in that context, Lalor’s piece does make sense. He even managed to take a sideways sweep at the retired Sourav Ganguly. “Certainly the retirement of Sourav Ganguly will increase over rates in certain contests. The Indian batsman is notorious for time wasting and would drive Shane Warne insane by never being ready or pulling away.” he wrote.

Peter Lalor wants a feel-good angle — an angle that would make him feel good. He got it. A deeper, and more honest look in the mirror, like the one Peter Roebuck provided in The Age, does not come to any Peter! Not every Peter or Malcolm can easily digest, “Australia grizzled about events on the field. Annoyed to be cast as the game’s foremost sledgers, the current mob run to the umpires. They do not understand the bemusement this causes in opposing camps.”

Instead of leaving these stories as nothing more than a morning laugh and a tea-time chuckle — banal noises from a set of people who are desperately seeking to make their lot in life better than it currently is — the BCCI, that other great instiution, has objected to India being labeled a “Third World” nation by Matthew Hayden!

Hayden should be told that time lost in sight-screen movements are taken into account by the match referees.

Third World” is a term that is used to denote nations that are generally considered to be underdeveloped economically. If we extend the definition of the term to stretch beyond economic development, then my conclusion would be that the only thing “Third World” about the recently concluded India-Australia tour — as Australia and India players stayed at luxurious 7-star hotels — was the Third Worldness of Australia’s cricket. Its cricket was underdeveloped and undercooked, but well-understood by its opponent!

In last nights’ game, “Third World” India defeated “First World” Britain, as “Under World” Australia watched, even as “Fourth World” Timbuctoo couldn’t care less!

The first of 7 ODIs in the series resulted in a massive victory for India.

It was a team performance by India. Apart from Yusuf Pathan, all Indian batsmen and bowlers had a good day at the office. It was nice to see Munaf Patel and R. P. Singh bowl with fire. They had been warming the bench for nearly a month now and it was good to see that their game was sharp. Yusuf Pathan had an ordinary day at the office. But I do believe he must be persisted with. He lends balance to a team that is without an “Andrew Symonds” type player.

Yuvraj Singh’s innings was breathtaking. He smashed the ball to all parts of the ground and rained sixers. Although it was hard for England to come back from that assault, I did think that Zaheer Khan bowled exceptionally well to break the back of any possible English resistance.

After a month of nonsense, what was nice to see was the camaraderie between the two teams. Even though there was the inevitable “kissed-goodbye send-off” from Harbhajan Singh to Samit Patel, I suspect that this series will be played in a much more harmonious environment than the recently concluded India-Australia cantankerous drama. Harbhajan Singh caught Kevin Pietersen smartly at mid-wicket, but immediately signaled that it was a bump ball. So also R. P. Singh in the deep. After taking a catch he immediately signaled that it was a bump-ball. There were not treaties or documents in sight. Yet, cricket was played in the right spirit! Virender Sehwag and Kevin Pietersen constantly chatted and laughed with each other. There was respect. There was banter. There was cricket.

Most importantly, there was no “Spit of Cricket” either!

— Mohan