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Sight Screen

Monday, September 19, 2005

But what did HE say?

He(as in He the mighty Flintoff, and not He the Indian Prince :-) said We beat Australia, now we've got to be like Australia.. He is definitely the most dangerous cricketer today, and reading here, he seems to have the perfect attitude going as well. We're not the best country in the world in the rankings. Australia still are, and quite rightly, and They've lost one series, but they have dominated for 10 years. That's got to be our objective now

This one alarms me the most We want to get there and then we want to dominate. I don't think many of us have reached our prime. We are a way from being at the peak. He is right, IMO this Eng team is still playing below their best, and most of their key components are on their way up. Strauss, Pieterson, Flintoff, Harmison can get much better with time(although Harmison has equal chances of going either way). But imagine, Flintoff getting better...becoming a complete test batsman also, capable of the playing a big hand in all possible test situations...this can be even bigger than the current role played by Gilchrist!! He scares me :-(


Meanwhile, Eng is set to declare their winter squad. The usual suspects are doing the round...Tremlett of Anderson as the backup pacer, Batty the spinner. Read or Foster or Prior for G Jones. But its the batting which is more important from Eng point of view, as they need to keep the subcontinent attitude in mind. Robert Key and Owais Shah seem to be in the hunt for that reserve place (Shah has had a wonderful local season, scoring at an avg of 68, if I remember correctly). But no debutants doing the round in Joyce or Cook. And probably rightly so. A subcontinent tour is not the right place to blood a youngster(Clarke, I feel, was a high risk strategy, but then thats how Aus works). And even for young Bell it may be a tough tour, since he hasn't coped well against the relatively easy attack of Aussies also.

But Collingwodd still looks to retain his place. For him, I feel they should define the role as clearly as possible. He should play test matches probably as a genuine batsman(with his bowling called upon as a backup) as the Eng commentators were also noting during the Ashes series.

Update : The squads have been declared. Shaun Udal gets a recall as the backup spinner! Prior for G Jones. Key, Shah missing out. Anderson and Tremlett are in, but I think one of them would miss out on confirmation of Simon Jone. Meanwhile, any more info/thoughts on Udal, Plunkett, Loudon?

106 Comments:

  • An excellent blog. Keep it up. I have a houston obesity surgery blog. It pretty much covers houston obesity surgery related stuff. Come and check it out if you get time :-)

    By Blogger Nero, at 05:17  

  • The English middle order has a long way to go. The key is to stop them taking the initiative in the first innings which the Aussies failed to do except for at Lords. They fold in the 2nd innings too easily. As for Flintoff, he will find Harbhajan and Kumble much more difficult to deal with in India than what it was with Warne. But atleast Flintoff is not making bold pronouncements which is always prudent.

    By Blogger Miyazaki, at 06:02  

  • yes miyazaki, I agree. A long way to go for them, and Aus attack did not make them pay enough for their mistakes. Flintoff would really have to mature as their most reliable batsman, if they have to succeed here. Lets see how he handles spin, I also feel that technically he may struggle. But mentally he seems to be getting stronger and stronger, and sometimes that enough to take one through.

    By Blogger worma, at 06:05  

  • Didn't SG and Freddie have some sort of hostility between them going on once? We've got to have SG to push Freddie's buttons then. ;-)

    By Blogger Miyazaki, at 06:18  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger worma, at 06:30  

  • ooh...I'll let that one pass ;-)
    btw there wasn't any hostility as such, Freddie did his football style shirt take-off act after winning the ODI series here (when they last toured) and SG 'remembered' it as a captain...took his revenge with the Natwest win...and taking off the shirt in return :-) (btw, much later in an interview he jokingly said that many in the team had decided to do that gesture, but most of them chickened out :) )

    By Blogger worma, at 06:31  

  • Worma,

    Do you guys here just discuss players or do you guys discuss the game of cricket as well?

    Wonder how many have been to Greg's site (thechappellway.com) ?

    Would recommend it here and love to discuss just plain cricket with think-alikes.

    Cheers.

    By Blogger Nigel John, at 06:46  

  • john, have been to thechappellway.com. I guess most of us are aware of it here. We do discuss the game as well, but more often in the context of a particular game or a series, or sometimes a team in general.

    If you have time, do check out the archive posts around the Ashes test, we had lengthy discussions on the game, strategies etc.

    Currently the discussion does seem to have drifted towards specific players, but thats mainly due to this specific 'situation' on-going with our Indian cricket setup :-) and due to lack of cricketing action all around.

    By Blogger worma, at 07:00  

  • Worma,

    Never doubted people visiting Greg's site. What fascinated me was his philosophy and way of thinking. His manner of playing cricket "concentrate on what makes it happen" that struck a chord in my heart and I went from being judgemental to being rational. Not only does his concepts affect your game (if you are an active cricketer) but also the way you take life. Simply mind-blowing. Maybe a visit to his "coaching room" is more on the lines that I suggest visiting.
    Cheers

    By Blogger Nigel John, at 07:09  

  • Miyazaki and Worma...Did not SG and Flintoff play for the same county the last time SG was in English county(before Glamorgan).Any "hostility" would have been purely the competetive one.in fact I remember Sunny mentioning that if one cannot respect Wankhede,Lord's would be no exception

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 07:18  

  • yes ravi, I think Ganguly went to Lancashire in the previous stint (although that doesnt exactly mean they were friends, since SG wasn't exactly 'popular' in the dressing room, if some reports are to be believed). But anyways, as I said, this is moot point since there was no 'hostility' to begin with. Just plain competitive, aggressive cricket on the field.

    By Blogger worma, at 07:23  

  • Worma, I was a bit dissapointed not to see Owais Shah in the Team. But I understand that he has a bit of an attitude (with his peers) and Duncan Fletcher does not want anyone who will mess up the atmosphere in the English dressing room.

    Sad, because I think he is one of the most attractive players in England.

    Shaun Udal & Alex Loudon are nothing special, but then Spin has never been england's forte. Haven't seen the others...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 08:54  

  • methinks the english media and the players are getting carried away with thier own hype. While they do have a formidable bowling attack, I have serious doubts on thier ability to bat out in different conditions, esp the subcontinent.
    When the played quality spin ( read Shane Warne), they did not do much to assure me that they
    can play spin esp over prolonged periods. Also, they will miss someone like Graham Thorpe who could hold together an innings in the middle order.

    A lack of bounce on the sub continent will have a detrimental effect on bang-it-in bowlers like Harmison and Flintoff. While Flintoff has reverse swing to fall back on, Harmison will have no such fall back option.

    The other big factor, and this is huge, is the ability of the media to turn on its own. Remember all the headlines post the Lords Test?
    Ditto, Jo'burg.

    What if the Poms lose the first test in Pakistan and India ?

    By Blogger SHRI, at 09:03  

  • Saurabh, Will on his blog was suggesting that Swann might have been good. Udal, it seems, is more like Giles...average spinner, can bat a bit.

    Whats the attitude problem with Shah? During the ODIs that he played recently?

    And why take Plunkett? I thought they had Anderson, Tremlett, Lewis as their main backup bowlers. And reserve batsman seems to be Collingwood again. Thats a bit surprising, I think they should have opted for a more solid middle order replacement.

    By Blogger worma, at 09:17  

  • shri, yes I agree with your analysis. The Eng middle order batting needs some stability...and Vaughan is the alone who can do that, but he's not exactly exuding confidence against non-Aus attack :)...Bell is weak. Thats why, in my post, I said that it would be almost like a 'coming of age' of Flintoff the batsman...this tour. If he can move one step up in his test match batting, and become a more versatile test batsman...that would serve Eng perffectly(now with KP, they already have some explosive power in the middle)...and would also make him much more dangerous.

    About lack of bounce, well I think Harmison and Flintoff will till get enough bounce to trouble our batsmen, but would not be able to keep it up for 2-3 sessions in a row. Thats why they need to have good backup...Jones may work well, but Giles can loose it, and Hoggard or Anderson are almost sure to be expensive.

    By Blogger worma, at 09:27  

  • Vaughan comes across as a batsman who can play great on the bouncier wickets, vide Old trafford. However, if the ball has a tendency to keep low, he does not look as reassuring, vide Lords and Edgbaston.

    While the Ashes win will have boosted confidence big time, there will be the fear that this might inflate egos to a point where the team becomes secondary.

    Remember India after winning in Pak?

    While England have the tools in place for forming a formidable cricket team, I do not think they are there yet.

    And that makes David Lloyd's statement " England are the best team in the world" laughable

    By Blogger SHRI, at 09:33  

  • Sri, if India & Pakistan do not get their act togther in terms of internal politics etc, this English Team will not have to worry about their own performance to win...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 09:42  

  • Yousuf Youhana converts to Islam. Methinks Younis Khan is a better captain than either Inzi or Youhana.Which puts Youhana third in the pecking order.
    Another solid performance by Afridi ( has that guy turned his game around or what? ) will up him in the pecking order.

    More than Shoib and Sami and the rest of the pak order, it will be Afridi who will make or mar the Pak campaign against England.

    By Blogger SHRI, at 09:42  

  • The latest,but positive news,on the SG-GC issue

    http://www.expressindia.com/cricket/fulleistory.php?type=ei&content_id=54980

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 09:43  

  • Saurabh, England come to India in March of next year. If we still have this mess around by that time, we do not deserve to play cricket :)

    I think Gangs will retire ( or be forced to) after the Zim campaign. I think we will get our act together by the time the Poms come over.

    Also, if the Pakis beat the Poms, that will be a huge bonus for us as then the confidence levels that the Posm will play with will not be as high.

    And then there is the Sachin Tendulkar factor.. Sachin in the team, half fit or not, still boosts the Indian team like no other

    By Blogger SHRI, at 09:45  

  • And Rediff headlines state"Saurav,Chappell patch up"

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 09:46  

  • saurabh, Pak already have relative calm in their team room. I dont think politics would play a role in that series(well, at the most we can have an under-performing Akhtar...but he anyway does that:). And regarding Indian unstability, well even this should not affect their performance too much, and especially considering the fact that its 4-5 months away. The key components of the Indian test match team are well in place, minus SRT. If he comes back strongly then I think its again the same old team.

    All in all, if Eng win these two series...I think they would have deserved it, and should go a long way in making them the best in the world.

    Afterall, whoever questioned the strenght and stability of Indian (or Pak) teams that Aus defeated to climb to the top! Do you remember the last time Aus defeated Pak in the subcontinent? Sharjah and Columbo were the venues(!) and it was probably the weakest Pak team in my memory. Even the Ind team they faced in 2001 hardly had a bowling 'attack' and the one in 2004 was minus SRT. Yet, now we dont consider these facts in confirming the Aussie superiority.

    By Blogger worma, at 09:50  

  • This guy Ashish Shukla is sickening.He reads between the lines of every action and is intent on creating a buzz..Cheapo!!

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 09:51  

  • shri...you know the dilemma that we Indian supporters face!...If Pak beat Poms..then Pak is on a high (and we visit them in Jan-Feb) and if Pom win that series, then they are on a high before visiting us in March...talk of connundrum for supporters ;-)

    By Blogger worma, at 09:53  

  • ravi...LOL :-)...I was going to say about these stories...that be wary..these are written by Shukla (he is the PTI reporter there)....so when he says Ganguly himself was the source of stories that Chappell had asked him to relinquish the captaincy when he told the media after scoring a century in the first Test in Bulawayo then I ask "what stories??"...and immediately filter out everything not in quotes from that report ;)

    By Blogger worma, at 09:54  

  • lol worma.. nice point mate :)

    By Blogger SHRI, at 09:56  

  • Worma..true..But at least the fact that they posed for photographs after a pool game and exchanged notes would be true.Only that it is accompanied by Mr Shukla's "I know it all" comments

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 09:57  

  • yes ravi, he cannot make up the foto-op part ;-)...but anyways..the quotes are also genuine(whether heartfelt or not). But the point, which only Chappel seems to be (repeatedly)making, is the role of media in all this. We are all being taken for a ride(led by the redoubtable Mr Shukla) and not many are questioning it!

    By Blogger worma, at 10:01  

  • I wont be surprised in the least that after all this charade, the Indian cricket team come out of Sahar airport singing " We are family"
    :))

    By Blogger SHRI, at 10:06  

  • Ravi- I don't see those headlines at rediff

    By Blogger suraj, at 10:09  

  • Some things do not change..."Still, the lack of communication between the coach and captain was evident when Chappell said they had not decided about the side while Ganguly commented it would be an unchanged side for tomorrow's Test"...Artice on CricInfo

    By Blogger ilovecricket, at 10:10  

  • wonder whats Prems take on all this?

    His earlier posts hinted strongly that all was not well and that the media did have a valid point in what they had said/written.

    worma, with due apologies, that makes Ashish Shukla and the cricinfo team a lot more credible than what was thought previously.

    What surprises me is that CricInfo carried the PTI report ad verbatim. Wonder what the CricInfo team is doing in Zim?

    By Blogger SHRI, at 10:12  

  • Worma, unlike Prem, I don't have my 'sources' in the English dressing room but I hear that Shah is not too popular in the Middlesex dressing room.

    I think England's weakness is in their middle order, especially Bell. This means they will have to continue with G.Jones to keep the depth in their batting.

    Sri, Vaughan has no technical flaws in his game (with low ball and all). I think the guy is so caught up in the captaincy, that he tends to lose his concentration (I know people tend to compare his form with Ganguly- fact is, when Vaughan is at the crease, he seems to be in total control until he plays that one bad shot, whereas Ganguly looks out of sorts throughout his innings).

    Also, this English Team has a goal to be Nr 1 team in the world by 2007 (which is part of the mission statement).

    They are aware that they have to win in the sub-continent to get to the top so I don't think they will come under prepared or with over-confidence to the sub-continent.

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 10:12  

  • Not doubting thier preparation Saurabh. Just the attitude. Freddie Flintoff will be worth 50 million pounds if the Pom newspapaers are to be believed.

    Also, how much has the Ashes campaign taken from the Pom players mentally?

    There are two things to consider.

    The inflated self worth that people have when they achieve something when everyone else said was not possible.

    The mental and physical toll that this takes.

    Plus, English cricketers are not accustomed to the kind of money they will make now that the Ashes are won.

    Will be interesting...

    By Blogger SHRI, at 10:19  

  • shri, the info part of Shukla's report is often reliable(though not completely). Its his opinions which are often far-fetched. And since his reports+opinion articles are carried by most papers(he being a PTI source) so most of the 'analysts' use it to form their own opinion...leading to the chinese whisper style distortion of reality. Which is why Chappel had to(once again) question the media accuracy! (Even earlier in the day we read the BCCI quote that the manager's report they have received is much different from the media stories floating around...we know BCCI cannot be fully trusted, but then neither can Shukla).

    Notice when Harsha wrote about this issue in his latest express piece did give the doubt factor to this issue...and Shastri hass recently questioned "the context in which GC has said, whatever he has said to SG"..implying that even he wasn't sure what had exactly transpired an in what tone, mood etc.

    And Shukla and others have been able to re-create the meetings dialogue-by-dialogue????!

    By Blogger worma, at 10:24  

  • Looks like SG-GC row is put on hold. No wonder, Indian cricketers are also good actors.

    SG may captain till 2007. With his political skills, no one should be surprise..

    By Blogger Rajg, at 10:24  

  • With all due respect, Indian media as a whole suck. Vide the reports that the KGB planted stories and had bought newspapermen in the 80's.

    If anything, things have gotten worse.

    About the SG-GC episode, I think there are significant rifts between coach and captain and captain and team. It must have been simmering for a while and has now bubbled to the surface.

    I also think that Saurav Gangulay has played his last series as a team India player, irrespective of his performance in the Harare test.

    I agree with you worma that whatever the media puts out there must be taken with a ladleful of salt. However, in this case, as in the match fixing incident, the media has more credibility than the statements put out by GC and SG for public consumption

    By Blogger SHRI, at 10:29  

  • Yeah rajg,

    Now I really believe SG is one of the most well connected player in India- everybody will makeup- SG is the most winning captain, let's keep him n the team forever blah blah blah.

    Damn fitness, damn performance, damn discipline and damn the team- most important thing is to keep the 'darling prince of the crowd' alive and kicking in the team. One 50 here and there and the saga will go on for another 3 years.

    By Blogger suraj, at 10:30  

  • shri,

    I hope that happens but not sure it will

    By Blogger suraj, at 10:31  

  • shri, I agree with you. The media is right, and so are you. There is a rift between them. That is the big picture...but the smaller details...who said what...and the implication...and who leaked to whom...and why did he say it then...plus innuendos like '1000 miles separate Chappel and Ganguly'...plus language like 'Ganguly's outburst in media'...or 'Ganguly was the source of stories'...etc etc...these are what leads to wrong opinions.

    Anyways...much said...lets wait for full reality(which we can get from Prem, not regular media sources;)

    But this is not a problem with Indian media alone(the KGB implant kind)..thats regularly been used by US also...home and abroad. Prem had some interesting comments yesterday on general role of a media person..and how to 'look' at a report to see through.

    By Blogger worma, at 10:35  

  • worma,
    if, as you say, the context in which GC had made those sttaements should have been considered, why did SG make all this public? There is more to it than meets the eye. If it was some trivial suggestion on GC's part, as you seem to believe, then SG should have had no issue with it rather than appear hurt and hard-done by. And also note that GC is the only one who is trying to downplay the incident by blaming the press for blowing it up. There seems to be nothing from the other side. As far as the press is concerned, they did their job. Harsha got SG to comment about this on TV and the rest is history.
    And I think Shukla dear is more than compensated by Sahi dear :)

    From what Prem suggests, there seems to be lots of stuff going on and none of this started with GC's tenure either. Of course, as someone said above, I wont be surprised if SG, GC, RD, AK, VVS land at Mumbai holding hands and whispering sweet-nothings in each other's ears. This Indian team definitely has talent in acting.

    Abt the Poms coming to India: if they have an attitude anything like their recent predecessors, India stands to gain nothing. If the Poms win, they'll say that this is their path to being No1 test team. If they lose, they'll blame the heat, dust, water and the very noisy crowd, giving little credit to the opposition. If they come with the attitude that the Aussies had (and I doubt guys like Harmisson would ever want to set foot in India), then they stand a better chance at being good ambassadors for the game. Its a pity that they are not playing India anytime sooner. The sheen of the Ashes victory could be diminished by then and there might not be as much hype revolving around the India series. Looking forward to Pakistan Vs England.

    By the way, does anyone think that Youhana's chances of becoming captain are increased by his change of religion? I do, I think thats the way that country works. Everything is centred around religion. Looking forward to Kaneria changing faiths too...

    By Blogger Toney, at 10:46  

  • Toney,

    As I mentioned above,Younis Khan stands a better chance of being captain ( based on his nous and his batting) than Youhana ( who does not bring much to the plate as captain).

    By Blogger SHRI, at 10:52  

  • Read this article!

    http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanherald/sep192005/update1356352005919.asp

    By Blogger Ramesh, at 10:53  

  • cannot open the page Ramesh.. Can you post the article here?

    By Blogger SHRI, at 11:01  

  • Here's an interesting article, which compares cricket to current geo-politics. It's linked off Cricinfo's new blog (see their homepage):

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v27/n18/runc01_.html

    The interesting comment at the end is about the "danger" to cricket of India becoming the next cricket superpower (really?), given BCCI's and the public fascination (for different reasons) for one-dayers over tests. I hope that we never lose our perspective on what test matches really are.

    By Blogger Jeetu, at 11:03  

  • Go to this link and it is second article.

    http://www.deccanherald.com

    By Blogger Ramesh, at 11:05  

  • toney..well I agreed there is a rift between the two. That is the big fact. But there are finer details like whether it was about captaincy or about place in the batting lineup (wouldn't SG be hurt by either of these suggestions)...or whether YUvraj being played was a SG favouritism(or Punjab-north zone politics on Dalmiya's instructions) ? Wether GC wanted to play Kaif? Did he prefer him over Ganguly? Did SG not talk to kaif for first two days of the test? Did he have a media outburst? Did he plant stories in media, or someone leaked something?

    Do you have answers to all these..are you sure Shukla and others are right on all these counts? And when you say why isn't there any downplay from SG's side...they are same side as far as this is concerned! Did you hear Ganguly keeping on maintaining the 'story' in multiple interviews, comments after that one interview(and one possible press briefing comment?) That would be called unequal downplaying.

    But anyway, I guess the points we are trying to make are well known, and some people here might really be tired of this ;-)...so lets move to other topics....since this, as I said, may 'never' come out :-)

    And no I dont think the Poms would come with the same attitude as their previous times. Remember in those times they used to whinge and roll-over to Aussies also....no more. I think we'll see a much better overall approach from them this time...although it may not be comparable with the Aussie approach of 2004

    By Blogger worma, at 11:06  

  • Just something i read about Youhana..Here is a quote from him after conversion.
    The top cricketer said there would be no non-Muslim in Pakistan provided the Muslims became true believers and start following in the footsteps of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW). "This will also tend to initiate a global wave about embracing Islam by the non-believers," he observed. "God willing, soon a day will come when Islam will be the sole supreme religion of the world," he observed.


    CREEP

    By Blogger Vick, at 11:09  

  • cannot open deccanherald.com

    By Blogger SHRI, at 11:10  

  • guys Sambit Bal's article on cricinfo .......

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/zimvind/content/story/219626.html


    i think it is unbiased appraisal of the situation.

    By Blogger srik, at 11:10  

  • Good job by Sambit Bal here...
    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/zimvind/content/story/219626.html

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:11  

  • shri..never mind...its the same PTI report about GC-SG patchup as carried by express, cricinfo, rediff.

    By Blogger worma, at 11:11  

  • where is Prem this morning? Love his insights on the game

    By Blogger SHRI, at 11:12  

  • Now it is on Rediff also.

    http://us.rediff.com/cricket/2005/sep/19greg.htm?q=tp&file=.htm

    By Blogger Ramesh, at 11:13  

  • vick,
    That is why I said that country will never progress. I wonder why everything that they has to be centred around religion. I thought at least they avoided showing that in cricket. But now, all the messages to the public start with a reference to their religion. And they offer team prayers. When 12 out of a 14 are part of one religion, I am sure Kaneria and Youhana would have felt out of place. I think religion should have a plapce within and there is no need to tell the rest of the world what your faith is. Anyhow, their country, their team, why bother...

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:15  

  • Now Kaneria should apply for British Citizenship and can play for Essex as local palyer and later he can play for England!!!

    By Blogger Ramesh, at 11:21  

  • I just wish that we don't play Zim & Bangladesh for a couple of years- we'll find out who the real players are.

    The whole expansion of teams has brought a great way for everyone to cook up stats

    By Blogger suraj, at 11:27  

  • all the messages to the public start with a reference to their religion.

    Actually i find that very rude. I mean imegine ganguly bring in whole Bhajan mandali and they start doing a Arati after every match.

    Anyhow, their country, their team, why bother...

    >>Thats for sure. And the things like what Youhana said makes me believe that this country is gonna meet the fate of Afghanistan one day.

    By Blogger Vick, at 11:27  

  • Back to England's squad..

    Its nice to see them include a few debutants in the squad, especially coming off such a huge series win. It shows that there is no complacency and they are continually looking to improve and progress despite the fact that they have so many promising young players already.

    Is Shaun Udal really their best back up spin option? I remember that James Ormond played an Ashes series not too long ago.. they really need at least two good spinners or one excellent one to play in the subcontinent but it doesn't look like they are going to find that. Not to take anything away from their pace attack though - I think their quartet, if all fully fit, can hold their own, even in unfriendly conditions.

    By Blogger Sidhant, at 11:31  

  • How many countris are acommodating, nurturing and promoting players of different religion other than the mainstream?

    When you look at that, Pak, aust and NZ would be the worst offenders and India the best example since the inception.

    Something to be proud of.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 11:32  

  • While a lot has been said on this blog abt GC-SG, the Sambit Bal article gives the right perspective IMO. I wonder if our board will rap VVS and SG on the knuckles for the stuff they have said. Clearly, both should not have said what they did. IMO, SG deserves to get a 'more' of a disciplinary action than VVS. But the questions is, will the board be able to that? Can they take tough decisions? And I think we all have a gut feeling abt the answers to that question.

    By Blogger rp, at 11:33  

  • crictip- agree with that- that's one area we can be really proud of not only our cricket team but every area- sports, entertainment, politics.

    rp- my gut feeling is that everything will be covered up and no disciplinary action will be taken. Maybe I am too much of a pessimist but i think SG succeeded in getting protected for a long time again

    By Blogger suraj, at 11:39  

  • When SG was appointed captain for the Zim tour, it wasnt a unanimous decision. Means some selectors dont want him as captain. Now they will hopefully have some more weight and will be able to finally remove Ganguly from captaincy.

    By Blogger Tiger, at 11:41  

  • cricktip,
    very true indeed. Fortunately, the Indian cricket team is not selected on the basis of religion, though the quota system is still on and thats an evil which should be removed too.

    vick, LOL abt the Arati part after every match....

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:42  

  • Worma, once again you seem to buy into the media hype that the English media are generating. This has to be the most jingoistic, sensationalism-driven media around. Why, Giles might be the best spinner in the world to them!

    Flintoff's chest-thumping will be for nought. They won at home, against an Australian team severely out of form and very poorly prepared (possibly taken by surprise), without McGrath for the crucial tests (atleast not a fully fit McGrath), an under-pat Gillespie, with rain helping out at crucial times (imagine if it hadn't rained at Chennai we would still be undefeated against Aus in the last 3 series against them). I don't expect England to beat Australia in Australia, even if the series were to start today. I don't expect them to beat India, though with us you never know, we might just end up giving them the series, the way we did with Australia, last time around. Heck, I expect them to struggle to beat Pakistan, unless Pakistan have their usual boneheaded selection policies.

    Best team in the world?! I have a feeling that balloon is going to be deflated soon.

    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 11:42  

  • If there is no Captaincy then there will be no SG in the team. Its time we take a bold step like SA appointing a fresh lad as captain keeping in mind the future. Also BCCI should think of ways to groom leadership skill at the grass root level and nurture them. Well I am expecting too much out of BCCI...

    By Blogger Sriram Vanamamalai, at 11:44  

  • one more thing about religion in Indian cricket and sports: The media often does unnecessary things for some reason or the other.
    I have seen several sections of the media hailing Mohd Kaif as the representative of Muslims in India. I have no problem with anyone practising any religion in India. I am a Christian, I never ever faced any opposition to my faith. But if someone does something that has nothing to do with religion, why bring it up at all?
    I cringe when I read articles such as Kaif is the torch bearer for all Muslims in INdia or Sania Mirza is the new face and idol for all Muslim girls in India. They worked hard, kept their focus and achieved something praiseworthy. Praise them for it, dont give it that extra twist.
    Does this mean that all Muslims in INdia support Kaif more than say SRT because he shares their faith? And all Hindus in India should clap when RD scores a century and look away when Mirza upsets a top-ssed in tennis? On those scales, I should be going out on demnstrations because David Johnson is not in the team ROFL
    Indian media should focus on the right issues.

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:50  

  • suraj:

    I'm sort of expecting everything to be covered up too. No real disciplinary action against VVS or SG either. But it's really a sad state of affairs at the moment.

    Also, abt SG opting out at Nagpur -- at the time, I felt that there was something fishy abt it...but since there was no conclusive evidence abt it...decided to give SG benefit of the doubt. But since reading Prem's explanation of what happened there, I have more or less lost any remaining faith I had that SG can help this team get back to its winning ways.

    By Blogger rp, at 11:55  

  • toney,
    I am not saying minorities have got it all made. But in the context of the world cricket India has been very accommodating.

    there may still be injustice as they do happen to minorities everywhere includinh North America, I would also see the instances where a minority player has been inserted, not for the merit but to have some representation. Current situation is quite different and highly competative.

    Put minority issue aside, I have difficulty taking three Left Arm fast in a team. There has to be a right/Left combo to open the bowling.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 11:55  

  • Criktip
    I dont see anyone complaining when we used to have 3 right arm? Why this fuss now. As longs as they perform it should not be a problem if the bowlser is right or left handed.

    By Blogger Sriram Vanamamalai, at 11:57  

  • Rp Can you give me a link to where Prem says abt the Nagpur test. I seem to have missed it.

    By Blogger Sriram Vanamamalai, at 12:00  

  • cricktip, true once again...

    And whats the problem in having 3 left armers if they are the ones in form? And they are not very similar either, right? Pathan swings the ball, ZK bowls with a bit more pace (used to at least), AN is not eithe rone of them too.

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:00  

  • Toney, just want to respond to your comment late yesterday in response to mine about Mike Brearly.

    True, Ganguly is not as good a tacticiaan as Brearly. But he does not have to be. There are no such people in India in 70 years.
    There are no such people in India in 1000 years. How else can you expalin the GULAMI?What is evident is Ganguly seems to be MILES ahead of the others who were given the similay opprtunity.

    And, Ganguly is MILES ahead of Brearly when it comes to batting or occassional bowling ( Brealy, as you know, never bowled and batted less than 23).

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 12:00  

  • sriram, wanna open can of worms? :)

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:01  

  • Sriram, the troule with 3 right arm is that we never had a left arm to available. At present, we do.

    It was Bradman's contention to Open the batting and bowling with Left / Right.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 12:02  

  • crictip, even now? Nobody disputes the fact that SG was a wondeful motivator of men. I said that yesterday too. But do you honestly think SG will be able to focus and revive his command over the team? I dont think so.
    What I was trying to say yesterday also was just this, right?

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:04  

  • sriram:

    Prem commented in one of the posts...I think it's this one:

    http://prempanix.blogspot.com/2005/09/its-in-air.html

    You'll have to search for it though.

    By Blogger rp, at 12:05  

  • Sidhant, you make a good point abut the English spinners. The fact is they don't have any spinners in England and James Ormand is definately not one of them; he is just a pace bowler gone fat :-)

    The England team is very good at playing to the oppositions weakness as opposed to thier own strenghts (I still think this is an Extraordinary team with Ordinary players)

    So instead of hoping for miracles in the next two months, they will be looking at exploiting the weeknesses in the Indian/Pakistani teams.

    And recent history proves they are very good at it. Remember, no matter what A Miller Jr thinks, this was the first time the world found out that the Aussies had weaknesses...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 12:08  

  • Toney Nothing wrong opening....;) I am known among my close friends to be a master at that art though......

    By Blogger Sriram Vanamamalai, at 12:12  

  • Worma! Going through some of your comments, to me it seems like you are very keen on giving benefit of doubt to Ganguly. True, we can't be certain that Ganguly played the media etc, but did you observe his actions after the famous interview with Harsha. He refused to play down the issue (like what GC did) and kept saying things like 'I don't make all the decisions, only time will tell ' etc. I smell sinister motives on Gangs part. Also, look at the way it turned out, GC was made to read out a statement while Gangs is the one who transgressed by revealing dressing room discussions. Hmmm, no point following Indian cricket until we see some improvement in the set up. In the whole issue, Kaif is the one loosing out big time.

    By Blogger flute, at 12:12  

  • Criktip... i dont see your any weight in your argument. Just because bradman said?? Well are we following everything greatman said? Answer is NO. Then Why not look at the conditions and plan accordingly. Never go into field with a preset mind. Things wont go the you planned always.. (Thats true for me too.) My argument is that when we had Srinath, AA and VP we never bothered to look for an alternative then. Now we have a truckload of talented individuals Why complain now. tell me frankly who are you trying to get into the team at teh cost of which bowler?

    By Blogger Sriram Vanamamalai, at 12:16  

  • Flute good point.

    I have always been vary of comments like 'who said what to who' in the media. For me, they add no cricketing value...

    But this time around, this whole GC/SG episode is too important to ignore. If the coach & captain do not see eye-to-eye, then there is not hope for the Team.

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 12:17  

  • saurabh,
    You mean the Poms were the first to bring out the Aussie problems? not really. I think the first time the world found that the Aussies had weaknesses was when SG managed to get under the skin of Waugh in 2001. And they continue to have that traditional weakness of playing good off spin (and not very good at playing spin in general either).
    Their weaknesses against good swing bowling were brought out in the open when ZK had a good spell at Brisbane (got injured soo after that) and the AA had a good day at Adelaide.
    The Aussies are still very good at playing on good batting tracks with plenty of bounce. I dare say that Eng will be thumped if they play the same Ausssie team in Aus now. Their batsmen have their share of problems against spin and pace.

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:18  

  • Criktip/Toney Abt teh discussion on SG I have to agree that SG has been THE MOST SUCCESSFUL CAPTAIN. But we need to see if that does buy a permanent ticket for him in the team. We accuse Jaggu Bhai of being the defacto chief of BCCI never givingup his hold. then Why not apply the same scale to the team player. Tomorrow godforbif if VS or RD fail consistently then they need to be thrown out too. I pointed in one of my earlier opinions you wont keep a rotten fruit among a good ones then the others will rot soon too.

    What is happenning here is the captain who need to command is unable to becaause of his performances. he does not have the moral right to do so. he knows that too well. Thats the reason for all this factionism in the team....

    By Blogger Sriram Vanamamalai, at 12:20  

  • Here is anothe can of worms :)

    Why are there no Mumbai players in the Indian Cricket team?

    Mumbai has won more Ranji Trophies than any other city/state in India.. Are either winners, finalists or semi finalists in the Ranji Championships 5 years running..

    If a Devang Gandhi or Vikram rathore can make it to the India XI ( Rathore is still spoken of as a wicketkeeping alternative), then why not Amol Muzumdar ( the best middle order bat India never had)

    Speaking of the never had's

    Paddy Shivalkar - Best left arm spinner India never had

    Ravi Shastri - Best captain India never had

    By Blogger SHRI, at 12:21  

  • did you guys check the new cricinfo surfer. Cool stuff...

    http://blogs.cricinfo.com/surfer/archives/2005/09/the_surfer_begi.html

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 12:21  

  • flute:

    Interesting observation -- "Also, look at the way it turned out, GC was made to read out a statement while Gangs is the one who transgressed by revealing dressing room discussions."

    Again I'm suspecting that the BCCI 'forced' GC to come out with something like that. So now GC looks like the guy who said something to SG and then needs to 'clear up' his intentions...all this indicating that GC's view was 'misinterpreted'...meanwhile, SG, who alleged that he was asked to step down, doesn't need to clear up that it was SG himself that asked GC for his frank view abt team composition...quite strange indeed...

    By Blogger rp, at 12:21  

  • Toney, this is the first time I have heard that the aussies have been carrying weaknesses since 2001!!!!

    Fact is, Ganguly did not expose any technical flaws in the Aussie line up. He won because, as you said, of his sheer ability to get under their skin and rally the whole team behind him.

    now, where is THAT Ganguly?

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 12:27  

  • Oh, c'm on Shri. If you consider Debang Gandhi and Vikram Rathore as India players, then we had quite a few from Mumbai who have played for India - Jaffer, Bahutule, Pawar, Kulkarni, Dighe, Salvi not to mention Agarkar and Sachin. No can of worms IMO. Even during Ganguly era, we had as many as six players from Karnataka when the likes of Srinath, Prasad and Joshi were in the side. No can of worms there either. Now Railways is the Ranji champion and they have been consistently performing well. How many players do you see from Railways? When Bengal won the Ranji trophy sometime bacl, how many Bengal players represented team India? Actually, how many players from Bengal and Railways ever represented India?

    By Blogger Dadagiri, at 12:30  

  • And toney, lets not talk about this 'weak' English Team being thumped by the Aussies down under. Not long ago, they were being thumped 5-0 in thier own back yard.

    Fact is, as long as this English team can stay fit and maintain their 'Team Spirit', I will back them to beat any team anywhere, no matter what their flaws...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 12:31  

  • fair point dadagiri..

    By Blogger SHRI, at 12:32  

  • I guess this is the end of the GC-SG story till the Harare test then?

    If SG underperforms at Harare or we do not win the test, the knives will be out again..

    By Blogger SHRI, at 12:35  

  • shri, we'll win the test if weather doesnt intervene. I believe thats one surety

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:38  

  • Toney, only death is a surety :-)

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 12:42  

  • morning guys,
    well enough has been said about the SG-GC spat and i personally dont have anything to add besides the fact that i am curious about what prem thinks about this whole issue.

    secondly, i am getting excited about the poms-pak clash. pak has always been struggling with the injuries, but after a long break they shud be ready for some action. they have an okay bowling attack and a feeble batting attack. imo, they still depend a lot on inzi and youhana as bob wolmer has not been able to create a decent backup in case inzi or youhana fails. younis khan was a big find in the india tour, but he has been struggling in the county season this year. though the condition in pak are going to be a lot different, but still he has to show the consistency. he is definitely an interesting prospect. opening slots r still in doldrums. wolmer is try to gt shoaib malik to open as u can see him doing the same against aus A team. shahid afridi forms a good bowling backup for kaneria and mushy, but it wud be tricky to find the correct spot in the batting lineup.

    poms on the other hand imo have taken a backward step be selecting udal. in any case, they r going to play with 4 frontline seamers along with mr -ve giles. this was an ideal opportunity for eng to blood a young spinner to work with giles on a subcontinent tour. they missedthat by send udal along with them. secondly, it is going to be an acid test for the english seamers since they will be bowling a lot on this tour. they will have to make sure that they stay fit till the end and perform in conditions alien to them.

    all in all, definitely sounds like a good series on hands.

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:43  

  • true, Saurabh. Even in death, we dont know when :)

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:44  

  • saurabh, do you know if Eng have any good spin bowling prospects? Reverse swing or not, I do think they have a deficiency there. Giles will take the odd good wicket but a good spinner will make their bowling attack really world class in all conditions

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:46  

  • Did you guys read this?

    http://www.expressindia.com/cricket/fulleistory.php?content_id=54982

    By Blogger SHRI, at 12:52  

  • Toney, they have no spinner anywhere in the horizon. Not that I am aware of.

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 13:11  

  • Do Oz?

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:13  

  • Shri, they have a guy called Dan Cullen. He's in his early 20's and an offbreak bowler.

    again, unless you see these guys on the international stage, it's hard to tell...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 13:19  

  • nathan houritz was the great aussie spin hope wasnt he?

    And whatever happened to Brad Williams and Nathan Bracken?

    Oz will be pretty hard up once the old firm of McGrath and Warne retire

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:21  

  • Nathan bracken is a fast bowler...

    I pointed out Dan Cullen cause he is the only young spinner they have.

    The others who have been waiting in the wings, have waited too long. Brad Hogg, who I think is a good spinner, is already 34. So is McGill...

    The aussies are in for a tough time after Warne/McGrath no doubt...

    By Blogger Saurabh Wahi, at 13:26  

  • Pak-Eng series will be good from the view of what Pak does with its tactics, i.e. the pitches they prepare and whether they choose a predominately pace attack (with or without Razzaq). England will have to sort out Pak in the first innings and if that happens Pak will lose. Here their pacemen can really do the business. However Pak is dangerous if they are ahead in the first innings as they have shown many times before.

    It would be instructive to look at SL-ENG series, where I believe their 4th innings batting saved them in two test. That will be important for Indian series. Generally England will try to restrict run scoring if they are behind and it is something they are good at.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 13:30  

  • The England team selection for the tour to pakistan has been intersting.As far as Udal selection was concerned ,I think it was a good move.Coz he has been bowling for Hampshire where the pitches are more seam friendly than any other county grounds in England.Secondly he has bowled match winning spells when Warney was on Ashes duty.Also me thinks that if Jones is not fit for test matches they are going to go in with either Colly or Udal in his place.Loudon if my hunch is right will be groomed for the kind of role that Symonds plays for Australia.Being with the test team will allow Fletcher to work with him more.Shahs non selection was a bit of surprise.He however has a knee problem,which is due to be operated upon.As far as being unpoplular in the dressing room is concerned he was upset at captaincy of middlesex being taken away from him.Similarly Ed Joyce is supposed to suspect at playing short pitched bowling.Hence by naming them into the Academy their performance can be monitored and then they will be brought into England team.As far as playing Bhajji and Kumble in India is concerned,it will be a different task as they always looked edgy against spin.

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