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Sight Screen

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Back in action (- worma)

I mean Sachin...not me (although I'm also back in action :-)..well the Challenger trophy would bring the much needed focus of Indian cricket back to things that are cricket....it can surely do with some of that.

The squads look interesting, and a welcome departure from the past of dividing the seniors team into three equal portions!

And this also means the time for the big question, which we have been discussing so often here, to be answered..."what happens when Sachin is back" ? Well....this tournament should show if Sachin is ready to be back on the international scene, and also the status of some other challenge-able position holders in the team. SG would surely be watched closely (in this connection...the recent announcement that the captain would be announced one day after the squad holds significance)...Laxman and JP Yadav are the others who would be pushing hard for a position (for if all else falls in place, then JP is the one most likely to miss out a birth in starting XI). And the best case scenario can be that all turns out well...and we have a healthy bench strength :-)

But for me, the most interesting aspect is some of the youngsters...Piyush Chawla is one of them (he was our most impressive player with bat and ball in the recent ODI series against Aus)...VRV is another....and same with Shikhar Dhawan (although he did get a chance in the practise games which GC organised at the start of the season). And in this context the format, as I mentioned earlier, is important. For that would mean that the newcomers would be tested against a full fledged international lineup (in our seniors).

The report also says Nehra and Kumble are rested.....although I didn't come across any reason for Kumble...can it be that he is finally out of contention for ODIs?

And lastly, the inclusion of Parthiv in the B squad also allays some fears (sometimes expressed here) that he has fallen off the scheme of things.

In other news...the ICC super series is heating up. And nice to hear Dravid speak out on international cricket...specifically the status of Eng as the challenger to the throne. I somehow feel that our Indian cricketers don't speak out as often on the broader aspects of the world cricket scenario. Here he feels that Eng have some way to go, and the results in coming winter can cover a lot of ground for them. It does seem that from 'interest' point of view the coming Eng-Pak series can even overshadow the upcoming Aus-WI series...another 'unthinkable' some time back!...

And Flintoff will miss the warm-up game tomorrow against Victoria (would be interesting to check that out on a lazy sunday afternoon :-)...for he was hit by a Shoaib delivery in practise (which makes me wonder...has Shoaib already delivered his one impressive performance quota for the series ;-)

By the way, you guys....any idea about the webcast scope of Super Series and Challenger?

update: As some people pointed out, the captain for SL ODI series is indeed going to be chosen *before* the rest of the team. Sorry...my bad...caused some confusion above :-)


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    By Blogger jobs123, at 18:56  

  • Welcome back Worma...Getting a little chilly in Helsinki I presume?

    Could i request some of the more knowledgeable members of this forum to give a description of the various domestic cricket tournaments in India..which are the most famous, when are they played, how often, which are considered the most prestigious etc etc...will be highly appreciated..Thnx guys..

    By Blogger ilovecricket, at 19:34  

  • ilovecricket...yep..chilly...but atleast its still bright in the daytime :-)...as to domestic cricket...well I would let someone more knowledgeable give the details...I just know the usualy names...and not much idea on their 'prestige'

    By Blogger worma, at 19:50  

  • worma, webcast is on willow.tv, just got an email from them today.

    By Blogger mangesh, at 20:26  

  • Below is a combination of posts I made earlier today. I apologize for reposting them, but consider them relevant to the discussion regarding the selection of the Challenger Trophy squads.

    Very interesting Challenger Squads. The members of the first XI have not been split up to even out the three teams. Instead, they are all playing for India Seniors, with second and third string squads representing India A and B respectively. This certainly helps to partially solve the problem of the competition being a glorified workout emphasizing individual performances rather than team performances. Under this new format, there ought to be some pride on the line for the Senior squad as I'm sure they would not want to suffer the ignominy of losing to India A or B.

    There have been some very interesting selections made. Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan is part of the senior squad. Up until a couple of years ago, he was a specialist left arm orthodox spinner who liked to have a slog down the order at no.9. This past Ranji season, he converted himself into an aggressive opener for Tamil Nadu with quite a lot of success. Unfortunately, his bowling has been relied on less and less, partly due to the presence of domestic cricket's premier left arm orthodox spinner for the past two seasons, Ramakrishnan Ramkumar. Although first-class statistics do not always translate at the international level, Vidyut certainly seems like an allrounder when you consider these statistics: First-Class Batting Average- 35.15; List A Batting Average- 38.08 at a fantastic strike rate of 90.12; First-Class Bowling Average- 31.74 (67 wickets); List A Bowling Average- 30.12 with an economy rate of 4.56. It is surprising he has never been heard from as far as team selection is concerned in the past. And now all of a sudden, he is part of the senior squad. Unfortunately for him, Harbhajan Singh and Murali Kartik are also part of squad, likely leaving Vidyut with very little opportunity, if any, to display his abilities.

    Other interesting selections include several of the U-19 squad. Manoj Tiwari (the best fielder in India, according to many) has not even been the star batsman at the U-19 level. However, his fielding abilities combined with an ability to bowl more than handy legspin probably got him a place as a multi-dimensional one-day player. Piyush Chawla (legspin) and Shanbaaz Nadeem (left arm orthodox), the stand out performers form the U-19 squad, have both been selected. Both these spinners are only 16! Furthermore, Chawla is an allrounder, while Nadeem also has some ability with the bat.

    The player I am looking forward to watch the most is VRV Singh. Supposedly the quickest in the land, this young lad is said to have a great fast-bowler’s attitude (simply keeps charging in, no matter what the circumstances). He just returned from the Australian Cricket Academy. VVS Laxman rates the lad very highly and even went as far as saying he was surprised the young man is not already with the Indian squad. I was very disappointed to not see him in the Rest of India XI for the Irani Trophy. Why do we continually promote medium pace line and length bowlers, while holding back the quickies. There is no question that control is essential, but control can be taught, while RAW PACE cannot. The longer version of the game would be ideal for the youngster where a captain could encourage him to run in and bowl FAST.
    I doubt the U-19 cricketers will pose a serious challenge to the more experienced players. You simply cannot expect a 16 or 17 year old to come in and perform immediately. However, that said, what I hope to see is potential. "Potential" is a word thrown around too loosely when discussing young Indian cricketers. Simply because their statistics may look good at the underage level does not mean they have tremendous potential. The reverse is often true as well, you do not have to be the best at the underage level to succeed at the highest level. Take a look at NBA or NFL drafts. The best college players, statistically at the college level, aren't always selected. You need to look at whether a player has the raw skills to succeed at the highest level. What I mean by potential are the unmistakables- raw pace, natural swinger of the cricket ball, big turner of the ball (especially wrist spinners), pure athleticism in the field. These are building blocks that cannot be acquired. You either have them or you don't. Control, work ethic, and discipline are things individuals with these abilities need to be taught. I believe too often we expect youngsters to act as if they are a 10-year veteran. We remember what we were like when we were 17. I dare say most of us were hardly what we call disciplined or mature, because we did not have to be. Additional responsibility, hopefully, brings the maturity required to place a high pricetag on your wicket, bowl a disciplines line and length, and maintain concentration throughout the day. Often coaches will take a genuine quick bowler aside at a young age and tell him not to leak so many runs and such nonsense. The coach will advise the player to concentrate on line and length instead of pace. I would prefer encouraging a young quickie to bowl FAST. Control will come with practice and experience over time.
    Case in point, take a look at a vastly improved England outfit. When Steve Harmison and Simon Jones were selected, their first-class statistics were rather poor. In fact, to this day both bowlers have a better bowling average in international cricket than in first-class cricket. Simon Jones first-class bowling average is around 32, which is well worse than many medium pacers on the county circuit. Despite these statistics, Duncan Fletcher saw the promise, namely raw pace, steepling bounce from Harmison, and ability to reverse swing at pace from Jones. Fletcher persisted with both players despite well-documented teething troubles in international cricket. Harmison even completely lost his run-up during the tour down under. At the time most Australian fans laughed at the prospect of him being a great future prospect. There's also a couple of great examples amongst the batsman. Fletcher selected Vaughn and Trescothick when both were averaging aroung 30 in first-class cricket. In fact, Somerset was trying to concert Trescothick into an all-rounder batting at no.7. Fletcher noticed Vaughn's uncomplicated, yet positive, technique as well as Trescothick's brute power to biff both spinners and pacers to the boundary. Sample these mind-boggling statistics. Trescothick's current first-class batting average: 36.18! International batting average: 45.26
    Vaughn's current first-class batting average: 38.46! International batting average: 43.81. Mind you, the international statistics also count within the first-class average. If it weren't so, the disparity would be much greater.

    Personally, I expect a comfortable victory by the Seniors. Call me stupid, but after all the criticism surrounding Team India, I expect a clinical and efficient performance by the Indian as they seriously prepare for the 12 ODIs to come against Sri Lanka and South Africa respectively.
    Having said my peace about "potential," I am rather disappointed with the surprising omissions of Munaf Patel and Ambati Rayudu. According to Robin Singh, the former coach of the Indian U-19 team, Ambati Rayudu is the most talented amongst his peers (played alongside Suresh Raina, Shikhar Dhawan, and Dinesh Karthik). Rayudu has the ability to completely tear an attack apart. He has done so on U-19 tours abroad as well as in his rookie season in domestic cricket. Granted, his performances have fallen by the wayside, but wouldn't it be better to help such a talented youngster figure out the solution to those porblems under the supervision of the senior team and coaches, rather than leaving him to figure everything out himself. The man is going through his struggles, as so many of us did at a young age, and those in the know (selectors) seem oblivious to it. Much the same can be said about Munaf Patel. Steve Waugh was surprised by Patel's pace in the nets of the MRF pace academy. Waugh rated him the fastest Indian bowler he'd faced, while Lillee called him the quickest in the land at the time. He performed admirably against the Kiwis on a flat track during a practice tour match (took the valued wickets of Mark Richardson and Stephen Fleming cheaply, if I remember correctly). After that match the Kiwi batsman rated him as a bowler that bowled a "heavy ball." This is player lingo for someone that hits the splice of the bat harder than expected, pften cause by extra, unexpected bounce ala Harmison. This would not be surprising considering, according to Cricinfo reports, Patel is 6'4. A bowler of that height would ceratinly add an extra dimension to a relatively short Indian attack. Patel was convinced to come play for Mumbai, instead of Gujarat, and now he sits on the bench watching Avishkar Salvi and Ajit Agarkar primarily occupy the pace bowlers' spots. Patel has suffered injuries that hampered his cricket, but now that he is back and trained under Chappell's eyes during the fast bowlers' camp at the start of the season, he should have been selected, not only for this Challenger Trophy, but for the Irani trophy as well.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 20:31  

  • why is vs' name missing???

    By Blogger jmo, at 20:36  

  • jmo,
    Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid are playing in the Super Series.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 20:40  

  • worma - Where did you get the info that the captain will be chosen after the team??
    As per Rediff Cricket news item, the skipper will be chosen on the 13th of October and the rest of the squad will be chosen on the 14th..

    By Blogger Tiger, at 20:51  

  • hi sahir,
    gud analysis.
    I follow domestic cricket diligently
    and I totally agree with ur points of Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Ambati Rayudu and Munaf Patel
    I think it has been a raw deal for Harvinder Singh too. Poor guy bowls his heart out in domestic cricket, picks up a lot of wickets for Railways, but never gets a chance to represent India.
    He has got a pretty good bowling average in ODIs - 25.37

    By Blogger Thirdman, at 21:51  

  • Zee is telecasting Challenger in India. May do it here in US too. Not sure if anyone is gonna do webcast.
    Captain for ODI's will be picked before the team which IMO is right thing to do. Captain should have a say in the team being given to him.
    Squad is filled with mostly earlier and current under 19 players. Not sure what it tells to the guys who never played age group cricket.
    Looks like selectors are looking for spinning allrounder. which is prelly right thing to do as next 12 games are gonna be at home and be may not need to play JP as 4th pacer.
    I dont think VVSL can make it back to ODI team. He doesnt fit the requirement needed for a ODI player. He is like SG in mostly in ODI's except he cant accelerate when needed.
    Yeah i sure would have liked to see Munaf in one of the team but then i dont know what is his injuries status. I am sure if he had impressed GC he would have been in one of the teams.

    By Blogger Vick, at 22:53  

  • The selection certainly hints to the search for a spinning allrounder. Fair enough, but where is Yusuf Pathan? There was a lot of hype surrounding this legspinning allrounder who had some fantastic performances in the past domestic season. If memory serves, he even played in the last Challenger Trophy. It seems to stand to no logic to select someone, consider them on the fringe of the team, not gauge their cricketing abilities, and then completely forget about them. Why do we keep doing this? Take Amit Mishra, for instance. He was selected as 12th man in the squad against the West Indies for a test series. He played a few ODIs during the triangular in Bangladesh directly after the World Cup 2003 (several seniors had pulled out). He performed well enough- 3 matches, 2 wickets, average 33.5, economy rate 4.78. Granted those statistics could be better, but certainly one cannot judge a player in such a short period of time. Mishra performed very well during the past domestic season, and yet, he has not been heard from since. All of a sudden, he cannot make the top 39?! Age certainly cannot be a factor, the man is only 22. He has some batting abilities as a first-class batting average of 15.83 (vastly improved) would indicate. I do not buy the argument that wrist spinners cannot be successful in the shorter version of the game because they are often expensive. It is vital to take wickets in the middle overs to prevent a flurry of runs during the slog overs. Yes wrist spinners tend to be more expensive than finger spinners, but they are a better wicket-taking option, especially abroad.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 23:29  

  • I have a question if any one can reason out why VS and RD are missing in the Challenger Series or am I reading the team compositions wrong........

    By Blogger Sriram Vanamamalai, at 23:44  

  • Sriram Vanamamalai,
    Virender Sehwag and Rahul Dravid are playing in the Super Series.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 23:47  

  • Rahul is not playing because he is Australia, but I still dont understand why VS' name is missing in the Cricinfo article...!

    By Blogger jmo, at 00:25  

  • SRT is already making excuses - his elbow still pains. I mean why bother the selectors? Sit out and keep pulling the stuff in with both hands and let the fit and deserving get on with the game.

    By Blogger Gardhabh, at 00:29  

  • seriously gardhab ( thats an awkward username to pronunce/type)
    I dont understand why is he playing if elbow pains. For all his talent, I seriously feel that he lacks brains. First he played against Zim ( or was in bangladesh) when his injury was at peak and now this. You cant blame board/medical people to give a green to SRT. He himself has to decide.

    By Blogger J, at 00:57  

  • problem is the only place vvs could play is No3 which should rightly now belong to Kaif for next zillion years

    By Blogger J, at 00:59  

  • I think VRV, Munaf and Sreesanth are potentially the best of the new fast bowlers. Rayudu in batting for both versions(ODI and tests). Venu and Jadhav for tests. Raina and Robin Uthappa for ODI's. The new kid Piyush Chawla not read or heard much of him, but looks promising. I would be following him, Santh and VRV closely in the challengers.

    By Blogger esvee, at 01:04  

  • Amit Mishra should have been in the Rest of India team for Irani Cup. Can't really understand on what basis Powar made it to teh Rest of India team. It is a shame that Irani Cup is not being televised.

    By Blogger Thirdman, at 02:31  

  • Hi Prem...MJ Akbar joins in: http://www.asianage.com/main.asp?layout=2&cat1=1&cat2=139&newsid=184082 (or go asianage.com and Akbar's Byline title 'Royal Blush').

    I quite liked the titles conferred on Shri Gavaskar & Pandit Shastri -The 'Two Popes' of Indian Cricket! And Mr Harsha ESPN Bhogle being the 'Talkometer-General'!!

    Couldnt resist a laugh when Bhogle - ever so sincerely - suggested in his last column that - apart from finding solutions to its obvious problems - Indian cricket should also have a good television partner... I guess we know what that means.

    By Blogger mohd iqbal, at 03:15  

  • Thnaks Mohd,
    I specially likes the following lines
    "A captain is a symbol of the nation. A captain without dignity is an insult to the nation and the game."

    By Blogger jaiho, at 03:43  

  • Dear Jaiho

    People are better indicators of nation. And frankly the present Hinglish speaking, MTv watching, Pizza guzzling, mentally backward, politically corrupt, street dirtying, bottle chuckin generation leaves much to be desired as far as projecting India's image goes.

    Ganguly, in that respect, is the least of our problems.

    By Blogger i, at 04:55  

  • There is a connection between all what you've written and Ganguly, dont you think I? On the other hand, representing one's country in an international sport/forum does give you some responsibilities, leading a team more so. In that respect, Ganguly's (behaviour & desperation to cling on to power) cannot be the least of our problems, certainly not the last.

    By Blogger mohd iqbal, at 05:01  

  • I am not excusing Ganguly, I am just requestin a retention of perspective. Why are you chaps expending so much energy on his behaviour when you have an Italian waitress as your pseud-PM, a dacoit as your Railway Minister, and so on and so forth. As far as most of the World is concerned, they are the true indicators of your/my country's image. And for that matter a sportsperson is judged for his play, not for his character. You still have Warne (the dope abuse, barmaid screwer) playing cricket don't you? Yes, he is not the captain, but he quite an ambassador.

    By Blogger i, at 05:09  

  • There is this tournament going on in Sri Lanka for the A teams from 3 countries . Did the BCCI simply not notice it ? why is there no participation from India


    By Blogger Adi, at 05:20  

  • Dear I, you've to start somewhere to clean up all the ills you've stated, and for an average indian, cricket provides the best possible chance to do that and hence all this energy I suppose....

    By Blogger mohd iqbal, at 05:25  

  • Hi adi,
    BCCI only worries if India has a chance to make it to the finals. If number of teams playing is more than three and if atleast one of them is NOT BD,Zim,Kenya,Namibia, then BCCI is not interested.

    By Blogger Deepak, at 06:14  

  • Worma - Dont where you are but it is Sky Sports here in the UK.

    Lookgin forward to it but getting up a 0130 am in the morning for the test match is a bit tough.

    ODIs start 5 am in the morning UK time which is alright

    By Blogger Akshay, at 06:26  

  • Any idea who's showing the SuperSeries in the UAE?

    By Blogger TheChowmeinWarrior, at 13:28  

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