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Derailed?

March 20, 2011

India playing its last league match against Windies today and many of the Indian cricket fans and Indian media who added the tag of FAVORITES before the start of world cup, already decided that our team’s performance is below par and they are not  good enough to win the world cup this time. Well, I think its too critical and too early. Maybe the patterns of the recently held world cups from 1996 to 2007, with the exception of 1999 might have created some illusion in them with Sri lanka dominated right from the word go in 1996 and Australia dominated the cups 2003 and 2007. But the world cups were won by the teams less fancied and had few good days like India in 1983, Australia in 1987 and 1999 and Pakistan in 1992.

Was our team done too bad as portrayed in media? No,is the answer. We won the first game against Bangladesh comfortably as expected. Second match was a tie against England . We won the 3rd and 4th matches against the associate nations Ireland and Netherlands. In all the above matches the batting was good even though it went downhill from the first match. Bowling and fielding were consistently mediocre combined with apparent lack of energy.

But in the 5th match against South Africa both batting and bowling is exceptional till 40th over of each innings. Even though we could have got 330+ easily, 297 itself proved to be too much to handle on that night. Bowling and fielding were for once charged up with no easy runs were conceded. Its a great improvement to see the energy flowing through the team which was sorely missed in the matches played before.

Dhoni as captain played smart by running the middle overs with the part timers preserving Harbhajan for the death overs. It worked with Harbhajan got crucial wickets whenever the game seemed to run out of India’s control. Maybe if the team won on that day this trick would have been appreciated. But its not that kind of day for Dhoni whose one misjudgement of bowling Nehra in the last over was magnified. Dhoni had his reasons for picking Nehra as he had the experience of bowling the last overs in some of the past games where India emerged successful. The only negative being he is not in his best of form or fitness. Yet its worth a try and see whether he is up to it and the end result is, he surely not. The experiment backfired and I hope it won’t be repeated.

From the past 5 matches the only thing I can infer is, our bowling and fielding were getting better and there should be no worry on our batting as it can take care of itself. Its just an off day against South Africa with none of our big hitters clicked. For sure, there will be no another day the same thing will happen.

Lets see the conclusions made out of previous matches:

Kohli and Pathan were wasting their chances and Raina has to come in:

Raina has to come in and there is no doubt in that considering his hitting prowess in perfect batting conditions and his ability to think and bowl. But to be fair, Kohli and Pathan were played out of their batting positions in the last 4 matches and its too harsh on them to call that as failures. We know Pathan can bowl few overs but he is not a thinking bowler.  One among these two should make way for Raina but its a tough call.

Not winning consistently and convincingly:

The only time Indian team was in such mood was during their 8 games winning streak in 2003 world cup. I have never seen Indian team steamrolling their oppositions (To win convincingly a team should have better bowlers and we don’t have). Even to the lesser known cricket nations the respect shown by men in blue was admirable.

On an optimistic tone, sometimes too much of domination is not good as it will bring complacency with it. Now with the kind of form our team is in, complacency won’t creep in and the team will know they have be at their best to beat any team. That’s a blessing in disguise.

R Ashwin should play:

For once everybody got right in this one except Dhoni. His blah-blah-blah’s like ‘No 2 off-spinners in XI’ or ‘We must see how much a player needs the game’ theories for not picking up Ashwin are garbage. With the Indian bowling at shambles it will be better to use your better bowler than pick somebody who is not consistent.

With the last game happens today, it provides an opportunity to get a settled XI before moving into the knockout stages. I could see India is as much as favorites as the other 7 teams who qualified for Quarters.

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16 Comments leave one →
  1. March 20, 2011 4:59 am

    Nice compilation Kanagu!! Yes I too felt that Ashwin could have been a strong add in the team – in bowling department, as that is where we lacked!
    And I felt our team was rather lethargic in fielding, especially in the crucial matches. Now the real battle begins, although India has an option to choose their opponent to either Aussie or Srilanka…both of which is going to be tough!
    I know India Vs WI is going to be a nail biting match as today’s Aussie Vs. Pak. Miss watching them in chennai stadium…
    Good luck and lots of prayers for Indian team!!

  2. March 20, 2011 7:59 am

    I guess Dhoni will bring in Ashwin during the knock-out stage, perhaps Raina too by then. I think he is waiting to surprise teams as they cannot analyze and prepare against them, now. Ashwin is a kind of a bowler who is confident and can contain the runs even in 20-20 match – which makes him very useful for a one day limited over series.

    Destination Infinity

  3. March 20, 2011 9:38 am

    Postinga fter so long and why o why is it a cricket post?!

  4. March 20, 2011 12:30 pm

    Hey Kanagu…the match is in chennai, can i see u in the audience???

    OK, i too support the Indian team…but sometimes they just lose it da:(

    watch this: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lighthouse-Insights/191154884228315?sk=app_4949752878

  5. March 20, 2011 2:46 pm

    Oru cricket post kooda varaleya-nnu parthen…. 😉

    Kanagu, why not many posts ??? Busy huh ???? Or is cricket keeping u tied up ???

    S has gone for the match today… 🙂

    • March 21, 2011 12:51 pm

      Woww! He went to see the match! I soo luv seeing matches in the stadium 😀

    • April 17, 2011 5:08 pm

      Did S enjoyed the match Uma???? Thats one boring match.. 😦 😦

  6. March 20, 2011 2:58 pm

    Pollard will play for India today 😛
    he loves SRT and he knows that only he can help SRT to win WC

  7. March 21, 2011 9:13 am

    India is still the favorite.

  8. March 21, 2011 11:47 am

    I don’t go into analysis & the only thing that I know is that we might look rough at the edges but we will surely beat Aus in QF’s & Pak in semi’s though I do not know about the Finals! 😀

  9. March 21, 2011 11:57 am

    Very fair review… 🙂
    In fact I too think the media is overdoing the analysing bit…. the men in blue have not done too badly after all…. if u consider the larger picture!

  10. March 21, 2011 12:57 pm

    Oh well, Media is famous for dng that!
    I know we will do well 🙂 Go India go 🙂

  11. March 22, 2011 11:29 am

    If we win Autralia then media would say this Indian team is the real powerhouse who can win the WC for us this time.. 🙂

    But my doubt is will we? Munaf Patel bowling to Shane Watson.. Scary isn’t it? 🙂

  12. April 13, 2011 9:15 pm

    Hey Kanagu.. I was expecting a post about our WC win..

  13. April 16, 2011 7:18 pm

    No post-victory mention? Let me do the honors! We WON, and CONGRATS 😀

  14. April 17, 2011 5:09 pm

    Thanks for all your comments and I am very happy that India won the world cup 😀 😀

    @ TG and Kiran – Welcome here.

    @Anbu – Me too wanted to write. Will post in couple of days 🙂 🙂

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