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Sight Screen

Thursday, July 28, 2005

The Paper Rounds -- India

1. A story in the Telegraph details the security surrounding the Indian team in Sri Lanka.
2. The Deccan Chronicle, here, is not the only one to play up the upcoming triseries as at least in part a contest between three Aussie coaches -- Chappell, Bennett King and Tom Moody (another story, this time from HT, on the same lines).
Not sure it's fair to look on this tour as a test of anything, actually -- neither Moody, nor Chappell, nor even King have had enough time to actually make an impact, to change things around. I'd think the upcoming series is actually an opportunity for the coaches -- especially Moody and Chappell -- to get their first real feel of their teams in actual match situations; input that will *then* determine much of their future strategy.
3. The Hindu showcases a PTI story that continues the Rahul Dravid-Saurav Ganguly debate (the fun bit about this is that no one till date has come right out and voiced a preference one way or the other -- an indication not of how close the choice is, but how reluctant newspapers and their reporters are to go out on a limb, and risk offending one or the other of the senior players, which could lead to loss of access, quotes, 'exclusives' and all else).
4. By way of aside, this story on a former Andhra player turned actor -- in a cast headlined by Priyanka Chopra no less.
5. Sanjay Rajan, in the Hindu, spotlights VVS Laxman's chances in the absence of Sachin and Saurav. The take-notice line is this one:
Laxman's record as an opener is unimpressive — 54 runs from five matches. However, he is open to the idea. "A batsman needs to be flexible in one-day cricket. I don't mind batting in any position. If given an option though, I'll bat at No. 3," he said.

If Laxman (not, do note, that he is the only one who frames his words diplomatically) were speaking what he really felt, this is what he would have said: 'I am not cut out to open; I hate doing that job; what I hate more though is not getting a chance to be in the team -- so if it comes to that, I will even bat at number 11. But I honestly believe the best place for me, where I can be really useful, is number 3.'
I don't know how you guys look at it, but for me, pitchforking someone into a particular slot he is clearly uncomfortable with never works -- it can, in fact, be counter productive and you know the examples as well as I do.
Which is why I am hoping the team management has a long hard think about who walks out with Sehwag. Dhoni -- by virtue of form, ability, and aptitude to strike through the line of the hard new ball with the field in -- is the logical choice.
Assume for some reason Dhoni has to be batted lower down the order (off hand, given the current team, I can't think what that reason could be, but still..), Laxman may not necessarily be the answer. Yuvraj, I understand, is another idea they are toying with -- but again, I doubt that is going to work; he plays a touch too much away from his body, and that against a seaming, swinging new ball is not a particularly hot idea.
Does that mean Dhoni, by default? Perhaps -- but how about an off beat idea (again, this is *only* on the assumption that Dhoni cannot be batted at number two) -- to wit, Rahul Dravid at number two? (Also keep in mind, this would be for this series, and only if Dhoni goes down the order).
He has evolved into a quality one day batsman; he has the nous to face the new ball (at number three, he is quite apt to come in and face it anyway, when an early wicket falls); his new found skills of strike rotation perfectly complement Sehwag's ability to blaze away...
Well, why not?

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