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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.

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