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Sight Screen

Monday, June 20, 2005

Round up

Oh wow, much debate on the captaincy issue I raised in the previous post -- will let it go on for a while, I think, before responding to some of the questions raised. Back here briefly, meanwhile, with a collection of links to stories of some interest:
1. An aspect of Australia's recent defeats is the speed with which the Aussie media has blown the whistle on its own team -- as for instance this editorial in The Age. Makes you wonder -- I'd thought it was an exclusively Indian tendency, to build the team up after every win, and tear it to bits after each defeat, but apparently no one is exempt.
2. Aussie coach John Buchanan, in conversation with Angus Fraser for the Independent, seems exempt from the general panic. A couple of comments worth noting:
"I have not experienced anything like this with this particular team," Buchanan admitted. "We are in a situation we have never been in before. In the past when we have had a loss, the team has rebounded pretty quickly. But we are now in new territory and, I say this tongue in cheek, England are in new territory, too. It will be interesting to see how they deal with that.

But more to the point is his take on the way forward:
"The first thing I have to do with everyone is keep what is taking place in perspective," he said. "There is always a danger that you can over-analyse when things are not going well, and this can potentially lead to players not wanting to back their skill or their decision-making.
"You don't want the players thinking, 'I'd better not do this in case it leads to an error'. I would rather they had a go, because at least then they have made a decision. If it then goes wrong it comes down to execution or poor decision-making. But at least then you have something to work with, which is not the case when you make no decision at all."

3. Briefly going off the Ashes topic, did you guys spot this story on Rod Marsh, who is all set to quit as the director of England's coaching academy?
Rod Marsh has removed himself from England's selection panel as part of his countdown to the end of his reign as the National Academy Director at the end of this summer.
The former Australian wicketkeeper announced his decision to end his post at the Academy and return home earlier this year, but has remained on the selection panel alongside chairman David Graveney, Geoff Miller and coach Duncan Fletcher.
But Marsh has announced he would no longer be an active member of the selection panel as he prepares to return home to Australia and will instead oversee the handover of the Academy to successor Peter Moores.

Raises a thought -- isn't it an idea, if and when the BCCI gets down to revamping the selection committee, to find on it a place for the head of the national academy? After all, theoretically it is the NCA head who should have the most in-depth information about emerging talent, yes?
4. Back to the Ashes, and Kevin Pietersen is the subject of a Matthew Pryor profile in the Times. To me, the standout excerpt is KP's take on being sledged by Graeme Smith of South Africa:
“He has no wit. He just made a load of ridiculous comments. I don’t think he’s too intelligent, actually. People like Pollock and Kallis were fine, it was just Smith. And I’d never even spoken to him before in my life. But I know a lot of people who have no time for him, including his players.”

5. Christopher Martin-Jenkins alone doesn't seem to have bought into KP-mania -- his take on whether England's newest star is ready for a Test berth draws parallels with the last South African import to make the British team -- a certain Graeme Hick. Even in his match report, Martin-Jenkins avoids the unadulterated euphoria of his peers
6. Derek Pringle in the Telegraph has been consistently making the case that this is England's year; here is his take on the PK blitz at Bristol.
Interestingly, one newspaper described him as surfing a monster wave of adrenalin as he seemingly cleared the boundary at will, though this surely applied more to those watching than to Pietersen. Certainly, those sportsmen best at coping with pressure tend to be those who keep their adrenalin rushes under control. Sunday's carnage was not the result of raging hormones but a cool and calculating mind that Australia will do anything to get inside.

7. Elsewhere, the Adam Hollioake hat trick appears to have taken the sheen off Rahul Dravid's 62 off 47 in the tsunami-benefit game; this report has a bit more detail.
Anyone saw the game? Any eyewitness accounts to share? Care to write it up for Rediff?
8. In the Statesman, RC Rajamani has a first person account of his meeting with Mushtaq Ali; Harish Pandya, who has done a lot of work for Rediff in the past, writes his obituary for the Guardian.
9. Sharad Dravid, in the Deccan Herald, on the joys of being the father of a cricketing superstar.
10. Sachin Tendulkar opens the India Room at the Oval -- any of you guys in England planning to visit? How about treating the rest of us to an eyewitness take -- and, what the hell, might as well ask for the moon, some pix -- on the place, the room, and such?
11. And finally, the judge gives the Nawab of Pataudi bail in the poaching case, despite allegedly receiving telephone threats promising mayhem if he let the Nawab out.
Postscript, before I log off for the day: The debate on the merits and demerits of Saurav Ganguly as national one day captain (one day, please note -- one of the posters has an elaborate argument on why he shouldn't lead in Tests, but it doesn't seem to fit) could tend to get sidetracked by the fact that Saurav Ganguly is as on date serving a six-game ban.
I need to mention that in writing what I did, I discounted that -- because last heard from, the BCCI was putting together a legal brief that seeks to overturn the ban, which will be presented before the ICC during the upcoming general body meeting in London. My take hasn't taken that ban into account because I figured the ICC will likely set the ban aside -- if it does not, then all bets are obviously off. The post needs, guys, to be read with an 'all else being equal' mindset, do note.
Good night all, see you back tomorrow.

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