Tag Archives: Shastri

The i3j3 Cricket Podcast — Episode-3 

The i3j3 Cricket Podcast (Episode 3), where Mahesh Krishnan Paddy Padmanabhan, Vish Krishnan and Mohan Krishnamoorthy ramble on about the India V Bangladesh Test match, Ashwin’s 250 wickets, BCCI v Supreme Court and other cricket stuff.

The third episode of our once a fortnight cricket ramble is here. Have a listen…

I3j3 Cricket Podcast Episode 3

Logo Credit: Sooraj Ramachandran

Ravi Shastri, the Tracer Bullet

We still have 2 days for the next India game to commence against The Netherlands in the Cricket World Cup 2011.

I believe we also have two days to celebrate the downfall of a few useless players that MS Dhoni seems to like a lot — Piyush Chawla, RP Singh and Ravindra Jadeja, to name a few! For, how else can you explain their presence in Team India?

Normal programming should resume for the next game against West Indies, I believe, when R. Ashwin takes up the bowling for India — perhaps even within the first five overs.

But I thought we would lighten up the spirits — partially motivated by this effort — and pull together a compilation of Shastri-isms.

In general, if you want to speak like Shastri, it is best that you do not visit the toilet for about 22 days on the trot. Constipation tablets help too; the sort that creates, not cures, constipation! Having reached that state, all you then need is memorize and randomly use any of the phrases below. The 22-day constipation state will give you your voice. The rest is easy!

  • That shot raced to the fence went like a TRACER bullet
  • That will do his confidence a world of good
  • Dhoni will have to manuFACTture something here now
  • Dhoni will have to get a wicket soMEhow
  • India just HAS to get a wicket from someWHERe (like a sports shop perhaps?)
  • That is just BRILLiant captaincy
  • There is a LOT of cricket left in this game you know
  • Edged……………………… and TAKENNNNN
  • As long as Sachin is there, you can never write off India
  • As long as DHOni is there, you can never write off India
  • As long as SHEWAg is there, you can never write off India
  • As long as BHAJji is there, you can never write off India
  • GamBHIR is a little fighter. As long as GamBHIR is there, you can never write off India
  • India dePEND on Sachin just TOO much
  • Zaheer is a much improved bowler these days
  • This is a BIG game for these two sides
  • You can never write off this side
  • You can just feeeeel the atmosphere in this ground
  • The crowd is just elecTRICKKKK
  • This crowd has just come alIVE
  • This game has been set up so niCELy
  • This is JUST what this game needed
  • This is a craCKERJACK of a game
  • This spell will be CRUCial
  • This partnership will be CRUCial
  • This old ball will be CRUcial
  • This new ball will be CRUcial
  • We are in for a humdinger of a game here
  • That ball was SWEETly timed
  • That ball RACes to the fence (this is when he discards the TRACer bullet reference)
  • What a game this has been
  • Look at his concentration! Sachin TENDulkar looks set for a LONG innings folks
  • And uPP goes that DREADed fingER
  • That was JUST what the doctor ordered
  • This match is going down to the wire
  • So MS what was it like out there (“Well of course”)
  • And Dhoni goes for the maXIMum
  • I have a feeling that one of them is going to cuT LOose now
  • This is India’s LASt recognized pair out there (when Sreesanth and Munaf Patel are batting)
  • I just get that feeling India are going to romp home with a win here (he gets lots of “feelings” you know!)

Please add…

– Mohan (@mohank on Twitter)

Australia v India :: Test 2 :: Tactics and Mind Games

At the end of day-3 of the 2nd Test between Australia and India, the game is delicately (delectably and mouth-wateringly, actually!) poised! India did themselves proud by staging a rousing rear-guard action to come back into the game after being down-and-out at one stage. Once again, this just goes to show what may have been had India planned better and spent more time acclimatising themselves to Australian conditions at the head of the tour! But all of that is history. India is 56 runs ahead. Australia have all their 2nd innings wickets in tact.

Rain could play spoil-sport in this game, but I am going to assume that all will be well and that we will still get 180 overs in the game — that is provided Australia do not put in yet another unruly bowling performance (in terms of over rates) that is so thoroughly unbecoming of the champion team in the game!

At this stage, at the end of 9 sessions in the game, although my own session-by-session (SBS) score reads India, 5 sessions :: Australia, 4 sessions, I think either team can win it.

Australia will want to win in order to keep their winning-streak in tact. Australia will try and play aggressively. India must hope that Australia plays arrogantly as it did in the Adelaide Test 4 years ago!

In order to win, Australia will try and score at a healthy run rate.

If Australia score at 4.5 runs an over (or more) tomorrow after a cautious first hour or so in which they should try and wipe out the deficit. They have the depth in batting to go for it.

If Australia bat for 80 overs tomorrow and score at 4.75 runs an over, they can make a score of 380 runs. If we remove the 56 runs that they are in arrears by, that would give them a lead of 324 — not enough for a declaration, I’d have thought, with 10 overs to go in the days’ play! This is where, Australia’s tactic of losing about 6-8 overs of bowling in the 3rd days’ play — through a tragically slow over rate — was all the more befuddling! If Australia were hell bent on going for that winning streak, they went about it in a strange way today! It was in their interest to bowl their overs much faster than they did!

A shot at victory would mean that Australia would have to score at about 5.2 runs an over tomorrow — and this will come with all of the concommitant risks of such a strategy! If Australia do score at 5.2 an over, in 80 overs, Australia would reach a score of 416. Removing the 56 runs deficit, that would leave India a target of 360 in about 97 overs of batting. This would be a juicy target for India to go after and that is Australia’s best chance of winning this game on a 5th day pitch that could assist the spinners.

For India, the equation is a bit simpler. They would be just as hungry to win here in Sydney. Their chances of surviving (leave alone winning) in Perth are remote and, all pointers are to a big loss there. They would want to win this Test to give them the confidence before the Perth Test. At the very worst, they would want to draw this Test match. India should, in all probability, attack hard and aim for a victory too.

From a tactical point of view, India is in the drivers’ seat at the moment. If they leak runs in the first session, or if they hardly look like taking a wicket, they can use Harbhajan Singh to spear them in (as he does in Twenty20 games) or Yuvraj Singh to bowl a negative line outside leg stump in a bid to frustrate the Australians. Or better still, they could bowl their overs as slowly as the Australians did/do!

However, everything would depend on whether or not the Indians get a few early wickets in the 4th days’ play. If they do, we could see a very absorbing days’ play. If they do not, we can expect some special Australian fireworks!

Either way, this is going to be, as Brett Lee and Ravi Shastri say, a cracker of a finish to this Test match. All of the above posturing is on the assumption, of course, that rain does not spoil the party!

— Mohan

No deadline for Coach!

After Greg Chappell’s resignation in March, the BCCI initially said that it would have a Team India Coach ready and appointed by the time the team left for England in late-June. That deadline passed. Then it said it would have a coach ready by the time the Twenty20 Championship came around. That deadline slipped. Then it indicated that the coach would be ready for the home series against Australia and Pakistan. That deadline came and went. Then as recently as last week, the BCCI said that the coach would be ready before the away series to Australia in December.

Now, in a thoroughly distasteful development, the BCCI postponed todays’ coach-selection meeting at Bangalore and, furthermore, issued a statement that it was not going to fix any deadline on the appointment of a coach!

Initially, the reason provided for the delay was the non-availability of Messers Gavaskar and Shastri, who were both busy on commentary duty! And yet, it is Ravi Shastri who has been approached to Chair the National Cricket Academy, post Kapil Dev’s sacking! One does wonder if Gavaskar and Shastri were the only two cricketers to ever play for India! No one can and will deny that these two fine gentlemen did play for India — and with distinction too — but surely there are a few hundred other honest ex-cricketers in search of a plum job!

Why was the recent coach-selection meeting postponed? Well, because, “Our president (Sharad Pawar) was not available for the meeting. We have not met yet and gone through any applications for the job that have been received by us,” BCCI Treasurer, N. Srinivasan said.

So rather than embarass themselves once again — surely, they must be used to it by now after a string of repeat performances on-demand and at will — the BCCI refused to put any further deadline on the coach-appointment. Aaah! Smart thinking 99. However, N. Srinivasan did commit to the appointment being, “done in reasonably quick time“.

But the real pearl from the media release was this one, “There has been little time. Players have just come back from England and then from the World Twenty20 Cup. We have back-to-back matches against Australia,” he added.

Hang on a minute! Are the players playing these matches or are Srinivasan, Pandove, Pawar, Shastri, Gavaskar, Venkatraghavan and Shetty playing for India? Haven’t these dills understood that their role is to select the coach and not to either play the game or indeed, watch it! There is a job to be done guys. The players will play. You guys need to administer the game!

— Mohan

The Subcontinentals Vs The Antipodeans

In an unlikely twist India crafted — yes “crafted” — a victory over South Africa that enabled a show down between two Subcontinental teams and two Antipodean teams. It perhaps represented the balance of cricket in these modern days. The subcontinent has the money, the crazed following and the passion while the Antipodes has the current champions.

It is strange, however, that two teams that were knocked out in the first stage of the 2007 ODI World Cup, less than six months back, are in the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup!

India beat South Africa at “their own den” (in the words of Ravi Shastri) and on a pitch that was tailor-made for — and perhaps pre-ordered by — the South Africans. This was a green top that afforded bounce, seam, movement and zip. India perhaps exploited the conditions better.

The next time South Africa visit and whinge about the pitches in the Subcontinent, someone should remind them of Thursday September 20th @ Durban — the day South Africa were beaten and bundled out of the T20 World Cup.

Once again, Durban had caused an upset. Once again South Africa had been eliminated from an important tournament on the world stage at Kingsmead, Durban. Once again South Africa had choked at an important point in a major tournament.

So, the only side to not lose a single lead-up game — South Africa — bowed out of the tournament after their first loss in the T20 World Cup! Australia had lost to Zimbabwe and Pakistan. Pakistan had lost to India. India had lost to New Zealand. New Zealand had lost to South Africa. And yet, the semi-finals line-up reads Pakistan V New Zealand and Australia V India!

It was a spirited performance by young India which was dealt a double-blow in the morning: a juicy pitch and an injury-blow to Yuvraj Singh — hero of the previous game against England and middle-order anchor.

Rohit Sharma played brilliantly after India suffered a few early set-backs. The early set-backs were mainly of their own doing. Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag played cautiously for a few overs. And then, Gambhir had a brain explosion. Sehwag tried a cute tickle to third man when a slip was in place. The ‘keeper pounced on the offering. Dinesh Karthik was out first ball to a flick off his leg. And Uthappa, after appearing to steady the ship was another batsman to suffer a brain explosion! The intial hard work appeared to have slipped. But then Rohit Sharma and M. S. Dhoni took India to a defendable total.

The bowlers had to deliver and they did! I thought the bowlers were the true match winners for India. In particular, R. P. Singh who had 4 for 13 from his 4 overs! R. P. Singh has grown from strength to strength since the start of this season and is a young lad with a bright future ahead of him. He is a clever bowler and has everything in his arsenal except perhaps a good slower ball.

Sreesanth was a bit erratic initially but it was good to see that he was trying hard. Although his first ball slid down leg-side for a wide and 4 byes, his intent was right. He was trying te inswinger to Herschelle Gibbs as opposed to his stock ball, the outswinger. He picked up two wickets too.

Irfan Pathan was sensational too. His in-swinger was back and one can perhaps claim that he is back to full form. The rhythm is there. He is running through the crease efficiently and the swing is there too. His pace has dipped a bit, but that can certainly be worked up over time with more match-fitness. And Harbhajan Singh, after a wayward first over that caused an end-switch, was efficient and effective too. The bowlers won the match for India in the end.

Joginder Sharma was good in patches. He bowled at least one hit-me ball every over. I am sure he will improve with every match as long as someone tells him to stop talking to Ajit Agarkar 🙂

I thought the man-of-the-match should have gone to R. P. Singh — in a game that is dominated by batsmen, such an exquisite and clinical performances should not be overlooked in my view. Having said that, Rohit Sharma was a deserving man-of-the-match. He is a young man with a bright career ahead of him in the Indian middle-order.

— Mohan

England Vs India — Test 1: India’s chances and take-homes…

The last day of the 1st Test in the ongoing England V India series promises to be a cliff-hanger. Both teams will think that they can win. David Lloyd is confident that England will win. Ravi Shastri thinks that England have their nose in front but believes India can win if they go into the last day in a positive frame of mind. Shastri believes that Dinesh Karthik is the key!

Like David Lloyd, I think we are in for an excellent last day’s cricket.

The weather could play spoil sport though. The forecast for St Johns’ Wood is for rain with a high of 17 deg C and a low of 14 deg C.

If we get a full days’ play, there should be a result in this game. I don’t think India can win. With Dravid and Tendulkar back in the pavillion and with Jaffer, India’s 1st innings hero, back in the hut, I believe the task will be huge for Karthik, Ganguly, Laxman and Dhoni. India may salvage a draw if the weather helps out too.

I would be most happy to be proven wrong though.

Jaffer’s was a really soft dismissal. He was playing well — albeit with the IBRADM (India Batsmen’s Recently Afflicted Defensive Mindset) — and Karthik was playing with positive intent. A lapse in concentration combined with laziness cost Jaffer his wicket. Dravid was unlucky to be given out as the ball pitched outside off, but these things happen in cricket. But the worst dismissal of the day, from an India point of view, was Tendulkars’. He should have stayed on till the end of days’ play and he should have been looking to score runs. If he had been looking for runs, he would have played that ball with his bat! Instead IBRADM meant that there was a defensive malaise about his game. I believe it cost him his wicket.

It is an uphill task for Karthik, Ganguly, Laxman and Dhoni. India needs a further 243 runs to win. This is not going to be easy on a 5th day wicket. I say this even though Karthik is playing well and Ganguly is playing positively. Panesar is bowling well and the other England pace bowlers are bowling well. I can’t see any of them having a bad day at the office. So, I don’t believe India will make it. Laxman is in a strange no-mans’ land. Dhoni is out of sorts. So, unless either Karthik or Ganguly score a big hundred, I’ll be looking to the weather Gods!

But there have been some good take-homes from this gig for India:

  • Karthik appears to improve with each dig. Yes, he did get out in the first innings and he dropped a sitter to let off Strauss. But the lad appears to want to be there. He seems to look at each opportunity as a gift and wants to make the most of it. His batting in the second innings has been a treat to watch.
  • R. P. Singh has been a terrific positive too. In only his 5th Test match, this young 21-year-old player from Uttar Pradesh has shown tenacity and guile. He has taken his first 5-fer and I suspect that, provided he does not travel down injury-lane, there will be more of these before he hangs up his boots. He has 22 wickets from 5 Tests at an average of 26.90! So these are early days yet, but to get on the honours board at Lords’ at such an early stage of his career will give him much confidence.

All in all, it promises to be a fascinating day-5.

— Mohan

Team India Dressing room rifts and “politicking”

Recently there has been talk of “politicking” in the Team India dressing room. This has also been drawn out in an extensive debate on this blogsite.

Today, Ravi Shastri, in a candid interview, dismisses any such conjectures and postulations.

He said,

“I thought that was nonsense. I know now that it is absolute nonsense. I don’t know what happens two months down the line. Right now it’s absolute nonsense.”

This is quite a big statement from Ravi Shastri who is, essentially, a journalist/media-commentator these days. So, a bold and incontrovertible statement of this sort is not easy. In the past I have observed that he has always been the sort that has left the door ajar to interpretation when it comes to tricky questions. On some questions, of course, he doesn’t leave much doubt. This statement above clearly leaves no doubt in anyones’ mind. Of course, he has brought himself a futures-option by saying he would not know “what happens two months down the line”. Even so, this is a clear statement (data/evidence) from an honourable man.

I like the way he says in the interview, “That’s dressing room stuff. We have discussed a lot, we have gone one-on-one with each individual.”

Sadly (in my view), Greg Chappell did not quite believe in “dressing room stuff” and let many a cat out of the bag to (perhaps) suit his own needs. There are times when one can be loose-mouthed (or trigger-fingered in these days of instant-messages and emails) and there are times when it is right to play your cards close to your chest.

It is a pity that Ravi Shastri is not available for a longer gig.

— Mohan

Team for second India v Bangladesh ODI: 12 May 2007

Team India fans would like the team to adopt a different approach to the one that was adopted in the First ODI against Bangladesh. I feel that this won’t happen with Shastri and Dravid at the helm. The order is going to be more dour and dull than flash and flamboyance. However, I do believe that a statement ought to be made. One has to leave behind an impression. I agree with Mahesh on that count.

With that in mind, I’d like to see a change or two for the second ODI. I think Uthappa has to play (instead of Gambhir). I’d like to see Dravid come in at #3. He is the best #3 in the team and has to play there. Depends on the nature and extent of his injury, R.P.Singh could get a game instead of Sreesanth.

However, in the main, the intent should be to play attractive cricket and win.

— Mohan

The road to rebuilding

India took one small step in the rebuilding, redemption and recovery.

Mahesh commented earlier, “Pick your game up, India and start playing good, tough cricket – you owe it to yourself as much as you owe it to us – your supporters.

Perhaps. But then, I do not think that that will happen. I don’t expect too many fireworks from this team in this series. It may be billed by the press as a revenge-series. Although Rahul Dravid has dismissed notions of “revenge”, it will be a strange ommission on the part of the team and the management if they did not set the tour-goal-bar of at least “a 3-0 win“, if not a “convincing 3-0 win“.

Let us not forget that the rebuilding is being carried out by Ravi Shastri and Rahul Dravid — cricketers for whom “gutsing it out”, “grinding it out”, “process more than outcome”, “head down bum up”, “safety and security before entertainment”, etc are (and have been) regular mantras. They are not quite from the “let’s blind them with our collective brilliance” school. They are measured and conservative as players and I won’t be surprised if that philisophy translates into the way they lead the team out of the trough it finds itself in.

We may have seen a few flamboyant displays if Tiwary played. Unfortunately, Tiwari is injured and unable to play.

In his post-match, Shastri said words that characterise his demeanour. He said, “the boys showed tremendous character and fighting spirit” and “There was concentration, there was discipline, there was fighting spirit and above all there was tremendous self-belief. They really had to dig into their reserves to win and that will stand them in good stead.“. Need I say more?

So, I think we should settle down and expect nothing more than dour, measured, lets-guts-it-out performances. Hopefully the result sheet will still read 3-0!

— Mohan

News in brief: 7 May 2007

According to some reports Virender Sehwag is likely to lead India in the first ODI against Bangladesh on May 10 in case regular captain Rahul Dravid sits out of the match with a nose injury. However, Dravid was quick to dismiss such speculation and added that he was looking forward to a thumping win agaist Bangladesh.

Ravi Shastri has urged fans to be patient with Tendulkar, Ganguly and Sehwag while addressing the press in Kolkata. Earlier, the Indians were practising on a grassy pitch ahead of the first One-dayer.

While Tendulkar and Dravid were injured, Sehwag and Ganguly appeared to be all at sea against the pacers on the lively strip. Batting on such a wicket does’nt make much sense since the Indians are most likely to play on a slow, low turner against a team packed with left arm spinners, a view shared by Cricinfo’s Sidharth Monga who also reckons that it will be the most evenly contested series between Bangladesh and a Test-playing nation other than Zimbabwe.

Kapil Dev had a veiled dig at some of the players by asking the Indian team to be collective in standing up to Bangladesh’s challenge rather than relying on the heroics of any one player in the upcoming away series

India’s schedule over the next 17 months is jam packed and are likely to play 20 Tests and around 62 ODIs over the next 17 months.