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Sight Screen

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The Paper Rounds -- India

1. Kumar Sangakarra, in his Indian Express column, focusses on Rahul Dravid and Sanath Jayasuriya; the comment I underlined, though, is this one:
The toss, usually so important on the subcontinent, was a lottery in both games. The Dambulla pitch is temperamental and earlier encounters and experiences don’t count for much.

Keep this in mind for tomorrow -- the India-SL game will be played on the pitch that hosted Sunday's India-Windies game. Judging by the way they played today, Sri Lanka has done a quick attitude-adjustment, and sussed out that trying to hit too hard too early is counter-productive; it's a thought the Indian management will prolly keep in mind when picking its team for what to my mind is a key game August 3.
2. Trevor Chesterfield, also in the Express, looks at the upcoming game from the point of view of two former captains racing each other to the 10,000 mark -- if I were a betting man, I'd put money on Saurav beating Sanath to the landmark.
3. S Ram Mahesh, in the Hindu, looks at Ganguly's utility value to the side.
It's a theme that has been over-written these past few days -- and yet, surprisingly, a key element appears to have been missed out altogether (Unless someone in the ToI pointed it out -- given my feverish, enfeebled state, I decided to give that paper a miss today; not sure I have the strength, really).
What Ganguly brings to the side, besides his batting form and his experience, is this: he helps plug the single biggest weakness in the team composition, with his medium pace inswingers.
India has been struggling in the 5th bowler department, thanks in part to a seeming lack of confidence in the two tyros and the falling away of Viru Sehwag's bowling. Ganguly bowls wicket to wicket, very full, with swing in the air and the occasional seam movement either way to make things more interesting. Consider that we will be playing on the same pitch that hosted last Sunday's India-Windies game, and to my mind Ganguly is a key resource whose effective use could alter the balance between the two sides (I am, in fact, waiting to see how RD -- the subject of a Sanjay Rajan panegyric also in the Hindu) uses him).
4. In the Telegraph, Lokendra Pratap Sahi on Saurav Ganguly checking in at his hotel and getting a cold towel and eating fruits from the welcome basket and... *sigh* (On a completely unrelated note -- *unrelated*, I said -- they used to have court poets in the olden days; do you guys believe in reincarnation?)
5. Colin Croft, in the Hindustan Times, suggests Zaheer needs to extend his run up to generate more pace than he is getting just now. During the coaching camp, the media had across the board reported that ZK was back to full fitness -- damned if I see any sign of it on the ground, though; he looks tired, jaded, and almost lethargic, and that is surprising for a bowler coming off an off season.
6. IANS, also in the Telegraph, reports that just about 400 people turned up for the India-West Indies game; so who is surprised? I am frankly no fan of these endless triangulars, especially when one team is clearly making up the numbers. And I don't see the commercial sense, either -- television advertising revenues, I suspect, would remain pretty much the same even if this series were to be just India versus Sri Lanka. (Or England versus Australia, without Bangladesh thrown in to make up the numbers).
7. Akash Chopra -- I am still on the HT site -- continues his great form with the pen; this lad's writing skills has been a discovery of the last few months.
8. Clayton Murzello weighs in with a mood piece from Dambulla, in Mid-Day.
And that is about it for the day. Since I want to get up at 4 am to watch the game, and since this fever refuses to die down, I think I'll go pretend it's night... and see you guys in here again before start of play in the India-SL game. Adios, for now, be good -- and thanks for all those links, will check them all out, keep them coming meanwhile.

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