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Sight Screen

Friday, September 02, 2005

Its coming back

Not yet there, but the vital ingredients of a good ODI setup seem to be coming back for this Indian team. They'd been down and out so much, and for so long(in ODIs) that it was difficult to imagine them doing the reversal in a single solid act. It needed lots of hardwork and patience in turning the wheel bit by bit. And some of it was bound to look less appealing (as their approach to the Zim game last week). Chappel said before this match something to the effect that if hardwork has any value, then we should soon see good results.

There were, in-fact, results of some of these changes starting to appear from the last match. If that was about spending time in the middle, no matter how, then this one was spending 'good' time in the middle. Most of the time the batsmen looked comfortable. Sure the attack wasn't as great, but then how many Shane Bond's are there in the world ? And Nz have been a good ODI team with and without Shane Bond. Yes on another day some of these bowlers would do better, but then same can be said of our bowlers.

And the Ind players 'looked' positive and charged in the field too, and not only because of the run-outs. They were putting pressure on the batsmen, often charging to the ball to stop those extra runs they were getting used to gifting, as was evident in the past few performances (And never mind the commentators cliche 'they won't mind the singles'...these bunch of Indians are a different breed from the Shastri, AL era. Wright and Chappel would have ensured that they bloody well mind those singles).

Not that this means they don't have issues to sort out. Quite some way to go. As Prem pointed out during the game, too many dot balls, hitting to the fielders (albeit from the middle of the bat). And the propensity of our in-form bowlers to suddenly be off the boil for a match or a period. Class bowlers don't do that. They make their form count. In their miserly-ness atleast, if not the wickets. And Saurav's captaincy had good signs, as well as the well discussed bad one of using Bhajji in a defensive mode.

Meanwhile this is a nice story. Good to hear that not only is the Indian team doing something good (outside the field) but also getting to relax and enjoy the tour. One of the ignored but important aspect of having a good tour.


  • I hope your words are true but there has been countless times when we have gone gaga (ok.. i am exaggerating a bit) over one or two credible performances. The keyword is consistency. The team, GC and his support staff should be judged based on the team's performance (read consistency) over a period of say 4-6 months as opposed to this match (The bowling was not upto the mark today).

    By Blogger whoami, at 16:45  

  • I just hope they do not experiment in the next game as well.

    The combination is just right now. There is no need to change it now. Except for Bhajji & SG, everyone has put out some kind of performance. Perhaps, they should give Kartik a game, but no more.

    I would still like to see RD at the number 3 spot and Kaif at 4 but I guess that will not happen now.

    By Blogger Akshay, at 16:50  

  • sure whoami, I am also being cautious, choosing to be happy only in a measured way :-) thats why I tried to point out here the 'signs' of improvement...more than the result. Because results are more misleading than those signs....that things are atleast looking to change (as compared to the victory over WI in India Oil cup where things never changed, we just happened to win one game). Lets hope the consistency you mention is seen in the future games....but I would again not like to judge even that by results...if the signs we saw today (and in the last game) are not reversed, but built more upon, then I would say the team is being consistent.

    And why 4-6 months, I would say even longer. Give it a full season...lets judge him at the end of the season. I think GC would also like to take that much time before being judged

    By Blogger worma, at 16:53  

  • akshay I am sure this team mangement is beyond 'results'. I dont expect to see Kaif at 3 everytime just because of this century. I think he is there because (a) this relatively easy tour was a good oppurtunity to give him exposure to tough 'anchoring' situations and (b) Since Sachin is not there, so Dravid-Ganguly-Sehwag batting in top 3 means in case of a good spell by a Bond kind of bowler...a big chunk of experience goes away cheaply.

    So Kaif would come down, I have no doubt this is temporary. Yeah Karthik should come in. One more thing can happen is that JP gets another chance to bat, maybe higher up ? Esp if its an easy game, and Zim is not running us close.

    By Blogger worma, at 16:58  

  • worma...rightly said....I think it is now critical for India to keep on applying the maximum pressure in the next game against Zimbabwe and more importantly winning the finals..as you and Prem have mentioned before it is a habit which needs to be inculcated..the habit of always playing at your best..
    Anyway I really enjoyed today's game..

    By Blogger ilovecricket, at 17:01  

  • ilovecricket sure winning the finals would be great...and while I hope for it, I still want to remember that a team does not become so good so soon. Nz are still a better ODI team, we may yet beat them again, but they are still better

    By Blogger worma, at 17:06  

  • Akshay,
    I think they should still continue to experiment.. Its only through experimentation so far that they've found out Yuvraj is not the right fit at No 3 slot.. And they've rightly moved him down..

    Worma, like you mentioned, may be they can make Yadav bat a bit higher in next match against Zim..But no matter how we performs, it's a loose-loose situation for him.. If he bats well, critics will say he did it against a weak Zim team.. And if doesn't, they'll say he can't even do it against Zim..

    Harsha makes some valid points in his article - http://indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=77380

    I think Harsha's points are still valid, inspite of Kaif proving him wrong today..

    By Blogger vish, at 17:20  

  • vish, I think JP's inning the other day, and his bowling in both the games, went a long way in showing the promise. So hopefully the loose-loose situation that you mentioned would not influence the team management.
    And I dont agree with Harsha on Kaif's inning in last game. As I said, it looked to be according to the team plan (plan given to a team of individuals not at their best...so plan made accordingly)...and I think today's inning was possible due to the confidence he gained in last innings....

    By Blogger worma, at 17:28  

  • when he says this t gave the impression, like some others in this short season, that it was an innings that sought minor gains-like a batting average to be used in case a debate surfaced. I specially dont agree with him at all. Many players in this team have lacked application, and they have gone down into mediocrity...and have been challenged (often intentionally so) by wright, ganguly, and now chappel to rise above it....like yuv did in SL (and hence that gesture to pavilion.....which TOI made into a whole rumour mill)...and like kaif did here first against zim and then now. They may be playing bad cricket at times...but IMO they are not playing for averages as harsha implies

    By Blogger worma, at 17:31  

  • I dont think Kaif batting at 3 is just for this series. I think that He is perfect for this position and Dravid shouldnt bat there. We have seen what he can do there. Dravid will always have tough time finding the gap and #3 most of the times comes in early in the inning when the field isnt spread out so no easy singles available.
    Only way Kaif may move down the order is when SRT makes a come back. I hope they never play Dravid at 3. BTW even today Dravid's(He came when field was still up) strike rate at the time he got out was much less than Kaif's.

    By Blogger Vick, at 17:31  

  • Why should JPY bat a position where he isnt gonna do so in normal situations? His position mostly gonna be #7 to #8. He is gonna come to bat either in a situation where we are 6 down early or in end overs. He has already proven that he can bat sensibly in crunch time. Now lets see if he can hit big shots which is what he will be required to do in most games.

    By Blogger Vick, at 17:37  

  • vick...dravid has improved his ODI game quite a lot..and he finds the gap quite well now...its just that on some days the old dravid walks out to bat, and we see ugly cricket :-)
    But anyways I feel its not a fixed batting order, but a fixed well defined role which is more important, and the role tha both kaif and dravid would be given is the similar anchoring..from what position...that can be flexible...even to the extent of match situation in each individual match...so for example....if you have sehwag going early then get in kaif...if ganguly goes then get in dravid....just an example.

    And yeah with SRT back things would be different. And u take a good day of kaif and compare it with an average to bad day of dravid...thats not fair, is it ? Anyway its not fair to compare strike rate, runs made etc on any given single day

    By Blogger worma, at 17:40  

  • vick...sure JP is not going to bat in that position...but look at it this way...if he always has to bat at 7, 8 when does he get the real practise in match situation. It would be either when the top order has collapsed (which usually means tough conditions, great bowling etc) or else when he has to come in last few overs and get slogging. So when does he get to good exposure ? Thats why, its a good idea to get him exposed to batting in the middle more and more, in these safer matches. Because that kind of experience cannot be had in nets.

    By Blogger worma, at 17:43  

  • Worma..I see your point..May be its a bit too harsh to judge Kaif's intentions..But given the way India is playing for a while and with the rumours floating around about team unity, it's easy for someone to buy Harsha's comments..

    Things will be quiet with Kaif at 3 and Dravid at 4, in the first 15 overs (or 20, if teams opt for continous power play).. So hopefully this is not the long term solution..

    By Blogger vish, at 17:47  

  • agree abt your last point vish...kaif and dravid shud not bat together..atleast the intention should be to keep them separate..if both have roles of anchoring

    By Blogger worma, at 17:49  

  • dravid has improved his ODI game quite a lot

    >>Its not that technically he was any less in those days when he used to come @3. Problem was and still is he needs easy single at the start of his inning as he concentrates more on saving his wicket. Now when the inside circle field is spread out (25 over mark) he finds it easy to pick the single by just dropping the ball around. He cant do the same if he comes @15 overs mark.
    I too feel we should send the batsman according to game situation not by a fixed batting order so we can expolite their strength.
    I would like to see Dravid to come around 25 over mark and Yuvi around 35. Now i would like to see Dhoni(or even Pathan) coming before Yuvi if the spinners are bowling. He can play them better than Yuvi. If the opposition saves the spinners overs for yuvi he will forced to use him in the end which is risky.

    By Blogger Vick, at 17:52  

  • agree mostly vick. but about saving Yuv from spinners...thats not going to work...he has to sort out his game againt spinners...his problem is how to score against spinners..not just playing them (remember he scored a 50 and a 100 against Pak in tour tests!)...and ODI game demands he has to learn to score off them....atleast if the spinner is of Jeetan Patel variety !

    By Blogger worma, at 17:55  

  • if he always has to bat at 7, 8 when does he get the real practise in match situation

    >>But if you send him in game or two early wouldnt that be fabricated situation which he isnt gonna get in most of the games. So why not make him more familier of his normal situation? I would prefer to send him in the last 10 over whether its his chance or not and see how well he can score.

    By Blogger Vick, at 17:55  

  • BTW saw this on IndianExpress site:
    ‘‘I like your attitude and the way you have gone about with your batting. I guess it won’t be long before you get a chance,’’ Chappell had told Jadhav.
    So Anand Basu's shouldnt blame selectors for picking him.


    By Blogger Vick, at 18:05  

  • yes vick I totally agree that he should get to practise in match situation in his regular position...but before that...since he is so new to the game...what about getting him to score runs with more exposure and getting the confidence going ? And no harm doing it in lesser matches. Then also groom him in the right position as well. Notice that Dhoni is not being given extra exposure at the top because he has crossed this stage where JP is in now. He now needs to be groomed in his normal position.

    and yeah :-)..about Vasu's complaint. Jadhav was an excuse, his article was more generic. I think we earlier discussed that Jadhav was impressive, and might have been noticed by GC in the practise games before going to SL

    By Blogger worma, at 18:22  

  • I don't know one win against NZ is any indication of anything. Bond & co., did not play.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 23:39  

  • rajg, its a start. India has capitulated from similar or better positions many times recently. Even though this was a weaker bowling attack (and Fleming made some stupid decisions), India still chased a pretty decent total quite comfortably. This is encouraging. Also the fact that if there are a couple of big innings, there's no reason why Inidann batting cannot regain its pre-slump form.
    Hopefully this is taken by India as a start and no more. The bowling still has lot to be desired. The fielding shows that effort pays off, 2 very good run outs. Now, it is upto them to maintian that standard in fielding. Unlike batting or bowling, this should be maintained in all matches.

    By Blogger Toney, at 07:56  

  • toney why only fielding, it has to be maintained in bowling and batting as well. But in those areas, result (even in a single match) dont always speak the complete truth. For example the same bowler, with same amoung of effort, may get mauled one day, and be great another day (against the same team, even on the same pitch....because batsmen take chances in ODI matches, sometimes these chances click, sometimes they dont)So what needs to be maintained is the level of effort.

    Btw, welcome to the blog.

    By Blogger worma, at 10:02  

  • BTW, I had an idea abt the captaincy that might not be too far off in the future. Ganguly as the ODI captain & Dravid as the test captain with the Vice Captain common in both teams. This would be, I think, the best solution to the captaincy issue, but then the question arises. Which one of the current crop of Indian bowlers & batsman can claim a permanent place in both the ODI & Test teams ?? Laxman ?Kaif ? Yuvraj ? or maybe even Pathan ??

    I think its time we start thinking about the future of Indian cricket. What do you all think ?

    By Blogger Saqib, at 04:43  

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