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Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Smells like Team Spirit -- India 1-2

What a reply by India after having been defeated by Australia in an unethical manner at Sydney. A win which can be considered as one of the greatest wins in Indian cricket history, a win which came on a ground which was supposed to be the fastest and bouncier track in the world and more importantly a win which ended the mighty Australian winning streak of 16 consecutive wins. India totally outplayed Australia in every department in perth test, whether it is bowling or batting against fiery fast bowlers like lee, Johnson, tait, and Clarke. Young Indian fast bowlers used the pitch and wind conditions better than the hosts in this track and registered a memorable win for the country and kept the series still alive. This test has also witnessed one of the finest feat which no other Indian bowler has achieved, 600 wickets for kumble. Now he stands at number 3 in the list of highest wicket takers, he may not get to the top at the end of his career but his contribution to Indian test cricket can never be forgotten. The most precious Indian captaincy at 38 years of age, a series win over pakisthan after almost 3 decades in india, 600 wickets on his name, and a special win at perth- things can’t get any better for veteran leg spinner Anil Kumble. He proved once again that in any kind of track he has the ability to take the wickets. Now, the final test in adelide has got everyone’s attention which is basically a good batting track and can support the spinners as well in the 4th and 5th day. I think Kumble will persist with Bajji as there is no regular 2nd spinner in the team and ishanth may sit out for the next test, and karthik has to take over jaffer most probably. One thing which disappointed every Indian after this memorable win was the decision of ruling out one of the best batsman at number 3 in the world, and the man who has contributed in highest opening stand for india. Yes, the Indian squad which was finalized for the triangular series after the last test doesn’t have the names of Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman albeit they have been performing well in the current series. Thank god they haven’t touched the batting maestro on the basis of age, though neither dhoni or vengsarkar have the guts to remove him(who knows, wish they won’t). This time the selectors have chosen “Youth” as the mantra and left out great batsmen who have served for the Indian cricket for many years and they still have lots to offer for this country. I wonder on what basis selectors have removed these 2 (except laxman as he hasn’t been appearing in ODI since long ago), look at their performance in the last few games. Ganguly averaged over 40 in the year 2007, if at all fielding is the only concern of the selectors then they should have looked at sehwag’s average in the same number of games. Yes I agree, young players like raina, utappa can add lot of strength to Indian fielding but if you look at the experience they have in this form of cricket it is still a blunder made by the selectors, it is not only sufficient to stop fours or singles moreover it’s important to make big scores, build good partnerships in the middle. And that too, we are playing against Australia and Sri lanka, two great cricketing nations, so for an important series like this the selectors should have persisted with them. Of all the wins for india in ODI cricket, India managed to win over 60% ( I think this fraction is more) of the games due to big opening stands between sachin and sourav (considered as the best opening stand in the world in ODIs) and sensible play in the final overs by players who come at no.3 or 4. With the kind of bowling attack Australia and Sri Lanka have, the early wicket in first few overs is always likely, so the batsman who comes at no.3 has to adapt to the situation very early and has to build good partnership in the middle overs, which eventually leads to big scores. I don’t think either Gambhir, or utappa or raina fall under the same category as Ponting, Sangakkara, Kallis who bat at number 3 for their respective countries. Atleast The selectors should have waited till the next test and decide the squad, what if dravid, ganguly and laxman slam great centuries with good run rate in the last test? Will they be recalled? We should not ask such kind of questions because even if they perform they don’t get as much credit as they deserve. The gamble has been done already, and only the time will tell whether the decision of dropping one of the best batsmen India have ever produced is correct or not.

Friday, 11 January 2008

India undone by umpires 2-0

The first test in the year 2008 will be remembered by the world for many years, this test had all the types of entertainment that you could expect in a test cricket, there was high drama throughout the game, there was excellent batting by both the teams, century on each day of the test, aussies players behavior on / off the field, excellent comeback by India after having defeated by heavy margin and not to forget lot of controversies. Every Indian would have been disappointed with the way it has ended. It is pretty hard to digest the result. We have seen tests destroyed by bad lights, rains etc., but rarely we have seen a test spoiled by the umpires by which it was turned out to be one of the worst tests in the cricket history. The decisions of Dravid, and ganguly and many decisions in the first innings of Australia which were given against India by umpires. Adding to this, ICC shocked India by banning harbhajan singh for 3 tests. The Australian’s behaviour especially their captain ponting’s “win at any cost” attitude raised many eyebrows not only in india but by the cricket fans all over the world including Australian greats. This test has shown how the so called professional players in the game behave on the field when they were on the edge of losing a game which could break a record winning streak. They are not at all professionals, professionalism means agreeing that the fielder has touched the boundary line while trying to catch, without asking for the third umpire, professionalism means congratulating any opponent batsman when he scores a century or hits you for a six. Whatever aussies have shown is not at all professionalism they have even forgot to shake hands with the losing team.. after the test the statement by kumble - “Only one team was playing in right spirit of the game” shows how Indians would have felt after the test. Initially, India had the chance of squaring up the series in this test, but umpires spoiled all those hopes of winning a test series (or at least a draw) in Australian soil. There were some silly decisions given by umpires in this test, even as a viewer we can tell whether that batsman is out or not. These mistakes over shadowed some of the mistakes done by Indian cricketers. India batted well in their first innings with the help of centuries from laxman and sachin, but their batting was not good in the second innings, once again they nearly failed to reach 200 apart from the wrong umpiring decisions. And also they couldn’t capitalize the pitch conditions in the second innings and allowed aussies to score more than 400 runs. Remember they have restricted them to 134/6 in the first innings of the same test. So we should look at not only whatever has happened with umpires, aussies but also we should look at our failures in this test. There has been a lot of discussion and debates over this test in the news papers and tv channels, but no one talks about the failures in this test like batting failures of jaffer and yuvraj. Yes they haven’t been performing well since the start of the series, and they should be axed now and new players should be given a chance, because after losing the series with 2-0 india should look for winning the last two test matches atleast( I am being optimistic J). I think, kumble should allow yuvraj to go and have trip with deepika, as he is not concentrating in either things, his personal life or his cricket career. And pathan should be given a place of yuvraj, as he can be handy in a pitch that suits fast bowlers. So india should stop thinking about what has happened in the past, as they have no concern with the next test, because Sydney test’s man of the match is not umpiring in this test and bajji is allowed to play this test. So everything happened is over, we don’t get anything by looking at the history and digging the things again. That won’t make the result as 1-1. We should come back strongly in the next match and take the revenge on aussies. All I can say to Indian team is ALL THE VERY BEST in the next test. Hope you will win this test and break aussies winning record.

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