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Sight Screen

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Dark clouds and sunshine

There is really no reason to believe that the Indian team will get it’s act straight and beat NZ tomorrow and in the final of the Videocon Cup, if it sneaks through. Apart from a few rays of the sun peeping from behind the clouds now and then, the overall picture of Indian batting remains as bright as a marsh in a rainstorm.

I personally feel it’s time for the younger players to muster up some audacity and stake a claim on Indian cricket. They are the future, and the future is creeping up faster than the present can fade away into the past. In cricketing terms it means that the glorious Indian batting era is showing signs of mortality, and there seem to be no stars on the horizon that rival the once combined brilliance of Tendulkar, Dravid and Ganguly.

Luckily, we do have youngsters with talent who can shoulder the mantle of Indian cricket with grace. If only they would dream harder. It takes a special kind of dream that makes a Tendulkar or Dravid, but that’s where it all starts. Does Irfan Pathan believe that he can be India’s Wasim Akram? Can Ajit Agarkar find the magic of Adelaide over and over? Will Virender Sehwag stop doubting (or strutting, as the case may be) his abilities? Will Yuvraj Singh morph into a swan…ever? The answer is ‘no’, more often than not, because the dreams are confused with nightmares.

And lastly, should Rahul Dravid stop trying to be a Wall and go back to being Human? I believe so. There is no reason for him to flinch quite so hard when the familiar collapse ensues. It’s only a game, and he played it so much better when he took mediocrity in his stride.

24 Comments:

  • Sujata, welcome to the blog. And I hope all your predictions turn out wrong :-) More seriously, though, well lets wait a while. I feel Sehwag is one step away (albeit a big one), and abour Yuv, Kaif, Pathan....they are still newcomers in tests....in ODIs they are experienced (esp Yuv, Kaif) and their development curve is not as smooth. But think Ganguly, Dravid in those early days. None of them had an easy time.
    Sachin, though, is one and only.

    By Blogger worma, at 18:51  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger ddassoc, at 19:01  

  • Worma (or Vermaji), I thank you for the warm welcome.:)

    I am hoping I will be proved wrong, but I like that line you wrote...'Sehwag is one big step away...'

    Alas, they're always so reluctant to close that last gap...

    By Blogger Sujata, at 19:04  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Robert Parr, at 19:07  

  • ah...will we ever win...

    Will we will we..:-)

    Im' sure better times are around..

    After all, we are always hopeful...arent we :-)

    By Blogger Ginkgo, at 19:08  

  • In test matches he just needs to retain his momentum for one more season, this coming big one. And then I think Sehwag is through.

    By Blogger worma, at 19:10  

  • Prem,
    Could you tap into your contacts at google and nip this in the bud? Looks like these guys sniff out hyperactive blogs and send out spam.
    Dunno if google makes any money on clickthroughs on these but I doubt it.

    By Blogger indiansportsfan, at 19:14  

  • People fail to understand SRT, SCG and Dravid all started playing at very early in their career. In ODI it can make a big difference.
    They were not asked to come @ 6 and 7 for years. BTW i was checking Kaif's Avg. And his avg at #3 and #5 is more than 40. Dont remember how many games he has played at these positions though.

    By Blogger Vick, at 19:31  

  • Welcome Sujata...I am very hopeful about the Tri Series...I feel that the batting will come through..There is just too much talent there...and I also feel that Dravid/Tendulkar have in them to last out a few more years and guide the incoming future to make it the glorious present..(at the forthcoming world cup of course)...

    By Blogger ilovecricket, at 19:34  

  • I think Sehwag will fire in the final but not tomorrow. He raises his game for the big game. Tomorrow, I think he will be caught down the leg side or a short fine leg by a fast rising delivery aimed at his body.

    For the Indian team to win tomorrow, I can identify only two players who can see off Bond. Rahul Dravid and to a lesser extent Mohommad Kaif. If they don't play him out, we will lose the game irrespective of how well our bowlers perform.

    By Blogger nish_the_dish, at 19:36  

  • ..and Stephen Fleming is thinking of not playing Bond tomorrow.. interesting possibilities..

    Without him...
    if they lose..then they still have an ace up their sleeves for the finals
    if they win..then India suffers a big psychological blow..would be interesting to see their line up tomorrow..

    By Blogger ilovecricket, at 19:44  

  • Welcome to posting, Sujata :-)

    I'd like to comment on the last part - about Dravid being the Wall and stuff. I totally agree. I think he is finding himself as of today, the position Saching used to be in early on in his career where he *had* to score in order for India to score a decent total - tests and odi's.

    Dravid suddenly has a fickle top order with a miserably failing Viru; he has a captain who is woefully out of form; VVS, the one dependable bat in the middle order is now crumbling; Kaif and Yuvraj the once bright stars of India's future are not twinkling much nowadays. Given his determination to give all for his team, I can see how Dravid feels that he needs to stick around for the entire innings and make sure there is no collapse from both ends.

    You are absolutely right- he needs to get out of that mould and be the Dravid that redeemed himself in the one day format after being dubbed a 'test only' player.

    Where will the spark come from?

    By Blogger RPM, at 20:19  

  • Thanks guys, it feels good to write again about cricket.:)

    Ilovecricket - I'd like to see Bond play tomorrow. India, in any case, is through to the finals (unless Zim spring a surprise), so the players need that Bond-ing with Bond...LOL

    Is this a conspiracy by Fleming?

    rpm, nicely put!:)

    Ler's hope RD finds that spark and passes it on too, for India's sake.

    By Blogger Sujata, at 20:44  

  • I feel that the problem is due to all the batsmen being out of touch at the same time. I know Gangs is not exactly the best against pace and neither is Yuvi ... but they r not "that" bad either.

    Khaleej Times carried a story of Sehwag posing discipline problems in Zimbabwe ... suggesting it wasnt exactly fever that made him miss the last match. Any other stories on that line or is it that reporter's imagination? This is the link to the story -
    http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?section=sports&xfile=data/sports/2005/August/sports_August512.xml

    Cheers

    The Chuckster
    http://beerchipsandcricket.blogspot.com

    By Blogger Chuck Inn, at 21:08  

  • There is only one way to success (there are no shortcuts). India finds itself in a maze and must find the right path. Other teams have trodden the same path. It is not too difficult if you have a good talent base (which India has ofcourse).

    1) Batting: Look at Pak batting. A player like Inziman has a SR of 90, even though he is a poor runner. In fact, most Pak batsmen maintain a good SR. In India, there are too many anchor players like Ganguly, Kaif, Dravid even Sachin. Look at SA. Kallis and Smith are steady (play the anchor roles) but can play in overdrive once set. In contrast, Ganguly and Dravid will be out once they start to hit out. Australian have versatile batsmen.

    2) Bowling: Look at Srilanka. Though their pitches are bowler fieldly, their belief is to maintain good lines and back it by agile fielding, to essentially choke the runs. Vaas and Murali are proponents of this. None of their bowlers are express. Indian bowlers (esp. Balaji and Agarkar) were guilty of bowling at 5.75-6 rpo on the mistaken belief that a few wickets would browbeat the opponent. India maintained tight control during the WC 2003 and it was its bowling that got them to the finals. Also, good bowlers will always take wickets. Ashish Nehra is doing a Srinath (of WC) and Pathan is also doing the same in his opening spell.

    Fielding: Runouts will stop the opponents from taking quick singles and are a good way to claim wickets. Pak has made a big improvement in direct runouts. Every team has emphasised fielding. India however for most of the 2-3 years just didn't get this right.

    Positives: Bowlers have won India many matches, eg. WC 2003. Signs of better discipline (and fitness) are present. Selection of S Raina (even if it is in the squad) is a good one. Badani is a good option. Yuvraj is good in the slog overs. Dhoni and Pathan are two very good emerging allrounders and they can play big shots if required. There is greater depth in batting. Dravid has improved his SR from 65 to 78 and can play lower down.

    The problem is the top order of Sehwag, Ganguly, (Sachin) and Kaif; spinner Harbhajan is not taking wickets; and death bowling in general) is not economical.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 21:23  

  • Sujata
    Welcome aboard. Please explain when you say that is good to wrtie on cricket again (and forgive my ignorance too).

    I am not sure I quite agree with you on the RD part. Whats wrong in feeling hurt when your teammates dont measure upto expectations? The day he stops flinching (in your own words), I think he'll go down a notch. Hope the rest find him an inspiration.

    By Blogger Toney, at 22:28  

  • Do any of you guys think that Rahul Dravid was a better player with Sachin in the team ? Probably he felt secure or less pressurised to score.

    About the young bridgade they need to take responsibility and be consistent. All this while they were hitch hiking with the troika. (Sehwag a reasonable exception)

    By Blogger Amit, at 22:51  

  • Worma: What exactly do you mean by this?
    "In test matches he just needs to retain his momentum for one more season, this coming big one. And then I think Sehwag is through."

    Do you mean one more good season and then he can rest on his laurels for the rest of his career? C'mon thats not what the cricket lovers of this country would like to see.

    By Blogger Mr. V, at 22:59  

  • the problem with India in ODIs is that too many players perform just about par and keep getting selected despite such performances. The captain is a shining example and so are the young players who have come through during his reign. Doing just enough to stay in the team seems to be the motto of most of the players rather than aiming for victory. And the jokers on the selector panel keep rewarding this bunch of nonperformers rather than giving them a kick up their backside. When was the last time, India won anything worthwhile in ODIs. One has to go back to Pak series in 04. A slump in form for 2-3 months is acceptable. Downward spiral for a year indicates something terminal and if we continue with this bunch of nonperformers, India is going to stay at No.7. This team has lost so much that it has become immune to defeat. Even the fans are getting used to it.

    By Blogger AA, at 23:50  

  • Hi Toney,
    I used to have a column on Rediff long back.:)

    Ok, your question is -
    'I am not sure I quite agree with you on the RD part. Whats wrong in feeling hurt when your teammates dont measure upto expectations? The day he stops flinching (in your own words), I think he'll go down a notch. Hope the rest find him an inspiration.'

    Well, feeling hurt doesn't help really. S*** happens and you take it with equanimity. Focus on the goal, not the environment. His success in Pakistan and Australia was because he was Mr Cool, not Mr Anxious. At any rate, good luck to him. He's a clever person and if his anxiety is really bogging him down, he'll realise it soon enough.

    By Blogger Sujata, at 23:56  

  • India is going to win 3 games in a row. Today is step one. Sehwag and Dravid will both have decent scores. Followed by masterful innings by Yuvraj and Kaif. Then Pathan destroys NZ... Even Agarkar decides to be a good today.. Cheers

    By Blogger Vijay, at 00:07  

  • One thing Prem says is absolutely correct. The current lot have yet to reach the heights of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dravid in ODIs, although most of them have played 100 plus ODIs. None have the ability to play a long innings consistently. That's why Sehwag, Yuvraj and Kaif average about 30 in ODIs and the big 3 in 40s.

    By Blogger Dennis, at 01:09  

  • Dennis- The "big 3" typically either open or come in at the fall of the first wkt. This gives them more opportunities to build big scores in an ODI match. Yuvraj/Kaif come later, when a quick innings- rather than a huge innings- is needed. I am not saying Yuvraj/Kaif are better. Just that the roles they play are different. Also, its still reasonably early in Yuvraj's and Kaif's career. There is a lot of upside in both.

    By Blogger Vijay, at 01:37  

  • Vijay, I agree with the batting positions, but Yuvraj and Kaif have failed on most occasions when they opened in ODIs or batted at # 3. Yuvraj has not performed as per his talent. Kaif is a grinder...

    By Blogger Dennis, at 02:00  

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