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Sight Screen

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Domestic issues

The little lull in India's international calendar has come about -- purely by happenstance, but hey -- at just the right time: the attention, for the next few days, can be focussed on the Duleep Trophy games between North and East, and West v South.
Much, in these two games, of interest -- Saurav Ganguly's attempts at rehabilitation (in more ways than the merely physical, actually); Zaheer Khan's and L Balaji's attempts at erasing recent blots on their personal copybook; and the performance of some youngsters (Robin Uthappa and VRV Singh being merely the obvious names) who have been mounting a pretty serious bid for the national cap.
In the midst of it all, a three-day coaching camp for the national squad in Bangalore makes me wonder: what can be accomplished, really, in three days? In cricketing terms, not much -- which leads to the suspicion that this is more in the nature of a 'clear the air' camp, intended to bring the players and coach together, and permit both sides to clear the air of any residual bitterness that remains.
At least, I hope that *is* the idea.


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    By Blogger emily from blog articles, at 10:53  

  • Prem,
    I would have looked forward to Duleep trophy if a few more seniors joined the teams. This is an opportunity for the fringe players to make a mark and what better way to do it than play against the best. But then, the series against SL being the One-day kind, I guess the players would rather not play a 4 day match before that.
    What happens after the 3 day camp? Do the players spend a day with the family before getting back to play?

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:08  

  • Prem,

    Nice to see you back and posting.

    What do you think abt the team selected against SL? Any ideas abt whether Gambhir's role is a back-up opener to SRT and VS -- or do you think GG will open with either SRT or VS dropping down the order?

    By Blogger rp, at 11:15  

  • Prem..haven't out camps always been short? Not saying that they should be...but they have mostly been. So its just a normal camp for whatever purposes those others in the past served.

    toney I think more seniors(Sachin atleast, I think RD also) would have joined had it not coincided with the camp?

    By Blogger worma, at 11:26  

  • worma, thats what I am saying. THey would have joined had it not been for the camp. Had they joined, the quality (and interest) would have gone up

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:28  

  • rp
    just my hunch- Gambhir will bat at 3 to start the series, with Sehwag and Tendulkar opening. May want a lefty up the order to counter the Chaminda Vaas' left-arm inswing to the rightys. Additionally, traditionally leftys have done a lot better facing Muralitharan, primarily due to his reluctance to come around the wicket to them.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 11:30  

  • toney: Damned if I know. For the past ten days, everything has been on hold; emails, phones, follow ups, the works. Kind of in the dark here, but I would presume that is the plan, that the team disperses after the camp, and reassembles a day or two ahead of the series at the first venue. Is how it is normally done, anyways.

    RP: I suspect you have it right; that GG is cover for SRT. What I would hope to see, though, is SRT batting down the order. I didn't see the Challengers, so I don't have much of a clue how SRT shaped, but judging by written reports and extrapolating from the kind of deliveries he got out to, I'd think even if his elbow is totally fine, he is way below full match readiness.
    Not surprising, actually -- you don't pick up a bat after six months and put it all together: the reading of line and length, the hand eye coordination, the movement forward or back when addressing the ball -- takes a bit of actual match play before these things start working for you; and in the interim, for him to go out and face the hugely impressive Vaas, with the possibility of an early wicket going down, is not the sort of thing the team needs. I suspect the games in India will mostly be about tall scores; in such, a great start becomes crucial especially when you consider the bowling attack is largely manned by tyros.
    Put all that together, and it makes a strong case for GG and VS to open, with Dravid at three and SRT at four followed by Kaif and Yuvraj, then Dhoni (with the last named occasionally playing pinch hitter when conditions warrant).
    That way, SRT can play the guiding game in the middle order, where he doesn't have the additional pressure of playing the big shots against the new ball.
    Be interesting to see which way the team management goes.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 11:32  

  • worma: We've tended to have five, six day camps mostly; I actually don't remember too many three day ones.

    The thing is, having attended several of these camps start to finish, I suspect a three day camp can accomplish little in terms of actual cricket -- on day one, the players are just easing themselves back; most tend to get knackered by the time the fitness regimen is over. So effectively, that leaves only days two and three -- and invariably, they try to go back home late evening of the concluding day, so that day's session won't in any case go on till late.
    So in terms of real cricket, that is actually one full day -- as some of you guys pointed out, it would have been way more useful for these players to have turned out for their zones instead.
    Is why I suspect this camp is not so much about cricket, as about getting together and talking things out. GC and his henchmen are by now prolly aware that there is some disagreement with the methods of the coaching team -- seems to me, this is a way of getting together and sorting those issues out ahead of an extended sequence of ODIs.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 11:35  

  • hmm....that makes sense Prem...although I feel SRT would still open...atleast first couple of games. Hard to convince him to move down, unless he himself feels that way.

    By Blogger worma, at 11:38  

  • I wonder though if GC would let them take day 1 and day 3 evening off so easily :-)

    Ofcourse GC got time to do some of it during the 2-3 days of Challenger he spent with the team?

    But anyways...I agree, a 3 day camp is not about correcting a batting technique or getting SRT back into prime hit form etc

    By Blogger worma, at 11:40  

  • Prem,

    I am also hoping to see GG and VS open and SRT down the order...but I suspect that VS and SRT may open the innings after all. With Kaif out of the 1st couple of games, I hope that Venugopal Rao is given a chance in his place.

    By Blogger rp, at 11:44  

  • Prem:

    This was my XI, I posted in comments on Oct-14:


    JPY can come before IP. Between Bhajji and Karthik, it would be captain's choice.

    By Blogger Ruchir Joshi, at 11:49  

  • worma: I think that is where the coach comes in. In fact, I seriously believe (unless a miracle happens, and SRT reverses time by say four, five years) that it is time his role is redefined; my idea would be to talk to him about taking up the anchor role in the middle, which is where we are most vulnerable. Even when playing below par, he has a cool head, and is very good at milking bowling with nudges and dabs, which I need in the mid-innings phase. And by the time the slog comes, he is nicely warmed up, so is in perfect position to go for broke.
    I think VS should be told his job is to go flat out, and he should have a partner, like say GG, who can play shots, but also knows how to work the ball around and run like hell.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 11:49  

  • Ruchir: Seems fair enough, the team. Actually, shows how much out of touch I am, I forgot for the moment that Kaif's not in the squad. :-)

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 11:51  

  • Prem...isn't that the role which team management (SG, Wright etc) decided earlier for SRT...I guess with his (reluctant) approval? He did pretty well down there...in WI we won an ODI final because of his efforts at 4(5?)....even in that Natwest series (of yuv , kaif fame) he played lower down....scored even a century (or 2?)....anyways....he was good there. But still *wanted* to go back to opening.

    By Blogger worma, at 11:55  

  • Actually, that is a bit of an urban legend. :-)
    There was a lot of fiddling around with the opening slot; first SRT was pushed down, then VS was slipped down at the start of the WC campaign; that was a period when SG figured he was best off opening the innings.
    When the team began to unravel, at the start of the WC campaign, the management finally teamed SRT and VS back together. I don't know about subsequently, but before the team left for the WC I remember asking SRT about his middle order outings, and he said the team had discussed it, and he had no issues with playing in that position, now that someone like VS had come along to provide the impetus at the start, which till then had been his job.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:04  

  • On another note, earlier this week, renewed my gym membership, and I am due to get back to my fitness regimen starting today -- in fact, in half an hour.
    Oh -- and read this and weep -- my trainer, this greek girl, Alexis, is a former collegiate gymnast, collegiate diving champ, and trained ballerina; in other words, embarassingly fit. :-)
    Time to go, see you guys on here later in my afternoon.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:08  

  • Prem, prem don't go away;
    Go to the gym another day

    By Blogger indian_idle, at 12:10  

  • (To be sung to the tune of 'Rain, rain go away')

    By Blogger indian_idle, at 12:11  

  • Prem, hmmm....doing work out becomes fun when you have a very good athletic trainer.

    Indian Board should hire a female trainer...bet, Nehra and ZK will stick to schedule :-)

    By Blogger Rajg, at 12:12  

  • rajg - actually thats a very good idea.. I am sure they will all line up 10 minutes before the scheduled time for gym sessions!

    By Blogger Tiger, at 12:14  

  • Prem...I remember reading this Sachin interview where he said that he 'preferred' opening the batting....cos thats where he feels he is more comfortable with his game etc....

    ..this was after his move down(and I think after his move back up)...although I am ready to believe his unofficial words spoken to you more than the public interviews :-)

    ..see you after the gym break (btw you have mentioned this trainer earlier....that you showed her speedminton...she couldn't cope up...not that fit then..ehh? )

    By Blogger worma, at 12:15  

  • SRT coming in the middle order will be better for Team. In current form and team, SRT will be more useful at #4.


    By Blogger Rajg, at 12:22  

  • guys,
    I realize the Duleep Trophy won't be televised (pitiful), but will there be any audio commentary? I mean, how do people follow domestic cricket in India? Are the only options to go to the game or rely on match reports? If there is some radio commentary, does anybody know where to find a link? Like many of you, I'm very interested in the performance of certain players, Ganguly, VRV, and Uthappa in particular. Then again, even if there is radio commentary, judging by the quality of some of our television color commentators, I may not understand much listening to the game.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:23  

  • rajg...I agree with all saying he shud come down....I was really excited when he moved down earlier (and won us matches from there)...just stating what I seem to recall about his feeling.

    And also stating what I feel(not wish) would happen...that atleast in the first game we may see SRT out there with VS upfront....SRT would move down only when *he* feels its right. Well if privately he has agreed to it, as Prem said above, then I also think that team management may ask him to move down. In the name of inexperience in middle order, if nothing else

    By Blogger worma, at 12:25  

  • rajg,
    Your proposed lineup has JP Yadav coming in front of Mahendra Singh Dhoni? I hope that's a typo. What about the supersub?

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:26  

  • sahir...sometimes cricinfo covers domestic games (it will cover Duleep...has it highlighted on main page). otherwise...no other means :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 12:26  

  • Prior to the World Cup 2003, as some may recollect Tendulkar was batting at number 4, with some success. The lineup was really clicking when Sehwag and Ganguly, a righty-lefty combination, were both in good form at the top. However, things really fell apart during the tour to New Zealand. Entering the World Cup, both Ganguly and Sehwag were in dreadful form, especially the former. It was evident something had to be done. Tendulkar wanted to lead from the front and requested a move up the order. Initially the Tendulkar-Ganguly partnership resumed, but after that did not click, Sehwag partnered Tendulkar. Tendulkar certainly stepped up big time and delivered. It was an emergency situation, but people cannot forget that prior to this emergency situation the aggressive lefty-righty opening pair, with Tendulkar at 4, was very successful (entire Natwest series and Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka).

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:33  

  • worma,
    Yeah I knew about cricinfo, I was just hoping for something better. I really hope cricinfo has ball-by-ball commentary as opposed to the periodical updates they sometimes have.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:35  

  • sahir....yep that is the phase I referred to above(SRT at 4)

    btw..I would be *very* suprised if we get ball-by-ball on cricinfo for Duleep trophy games. Doesnt do it for any domestic games of any country

    By Blogger worma, at 12:43  

  • Going back to an earlier topic in the thread:
    The Aussies have a full-time female masseuse travel with them. Could you imagine how much time some of our players would spend on the massage bed if we had such a position? :-)

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:43  

  • worma,
    There was ball-by-ball commentary on Cricinfo for the Challenger Trophy. But, I guess that might be considered semi-domestic, semi-international?

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:45  

  • NEWSFLASH: I heard that in the East versus North Duleep trophy match starting tomorrow, the Northzone bowlers will bowl with the usual red cricket balls with a slight difference.. they now have Greg Chappell's face emblazoned on them. This was a 'motivational ploy' to propel Sourav Ganguly back in to form so he can smash those cover drives again and hit the ball long and deep. Rumor has it that JD and CAB paid for these specially made cricket balls.

    By Blogger Prasad, at 12:47  

  • hmm...true...now that you mention it...ok lets keep our fingers crossed :-)

    By Blogger worma, at 12:47  

  • prasad,

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:49  

  • prasad,
    the embalzoned ball is great, but what happens if the shine is gone by the time Ganguly comes in? Maybe he'll take Chappell's advice and decide to open in the longer version of the game now ;-)

    By Blogger Sahir, at 12:51  

  • Good one, Sahir... I am sure JD had factored that into the equation.

    By Blogger Prasad, at 12:56  

  • Hi folks, first post here..

    excellent blog this, and very insightful comments too!

    By Blogger Rightarmover, at 13:09  

  • JPY ahead of MSD...thought JP will anchor to stablize things. Based on match move'em around.

    Super-sub can be AA. If India bats first, rest GG and bring in AA.

    If India bats second, super-sub not useful.

    Sup sub: AA

    By Blogger Rajg, at 13:23  

  • rajg,
    Let's hope we don't need our number 6 batsman to come in and anchor the innings. Even so, Yadav is more of a handy bat, and in almost no situation would I choose him to bat in front of MSD.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 13:33  

  • Sahir..over last 18 mos, Indian team were 100/5 in most matches.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 13:35  

  • rajg,
    JP Yadav will almost never be the solution if we are 100/5! Is that what we are really shooting for?

    By Blogger Sahir, at 13:43  

  • rajg
    Are we preparing for whne we are 100/5 as opposed to how to rectify the situation at the top of the order. BTW, the batting has not been as bad as the bowling over the past 18 months. The 100/5 has been a rare situation. Take a look at the stats of the games.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 13:46  

  • After last tour in Pak, India played quite a few ODIs...Indian batting were 60/5 in more situations against good bowling. This is when captain used to say...we prepared well...lot of talent...we will come good in next match etc.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 13:55  

  • rajg,
    You are wrong about the number of times India were 60/5. Go back on Crcinfo Statsguru and take a look. You're simply factually wrong. Not to metion, the pitches in Dambulla were heavily in favor of the bowlers (all batsmen form all sides struggled) and so was the pitch in the first ODI against NZ during the triangular in Zim. This is evident by the struggles of the NZ batsman.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:09  

  • Sahir, If i remember correctly they played quite a few tourneys...in SL, Amsterdam, Eng, India, SL, ZIM.
    I will check stats later, at work can't do it now...
    Bottomline, India batting is fragile..stars don't deliver.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 14:17  

  • rajg: Female trainers won't cut it, not for Zaheer. *L* Exert, the gym we used to go to in Mumbai, was full of them -- some real lookers, too. Trouble was, Zaheer would hop onto the treadmill, set it at a walking pace, and amble along, checking the girls out. The trainers there in fact used to make up jokes about his fitness routines -- and this, mind, was about four years ago, when he was supposedly young and raring to go. Frankly, I never saw such a lazy cricketer ever.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:54  

  • worma: The fittest sometimes struggle with speedminton, pal. *L* Doesnt help that she has never played badminton, so everything from how you hold the racquet is new to her.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:56  

  • worma: I never know how much is from the heart, when cricketers talk. I mean, SRT included. The only yardstick I have to go by is, when it is a casual conversation, and the guy, whoever it is, knows I am not 'interviewing' him or looking to do a story, he is speaking more what he really thinks, than what he wants to see in print. By that yardstick, I thought SRT was believable when he said he had reached that point where, while his own personal pick would be to open, he didn't have any qualms about batting down the order either. What he said then was, that he was in any case at that stage where he was experimenting with his game, looking more to accumulate, in both forms, so the middle slot worked just as well, and he was fine with going by what the team wanted.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 14:58  

  • Was reading some of the comments about team composition and batting lineup -- here's a little thing to think over. Irfan Pathan -- if one of your long range missions is to have him develop into the all rounder we need, the think tank has got to find a way of moving him a touch higher up the order. Question being how. Would you, for instance, bat him ahead of JP Yadav? To my way of thinking, I would, but be interested to know what you think.
    On another note, have to take the wife for a routine checkup, the regular follow through. Nothing I need to worry about, but have to run home, pick her up, drive her to the hospital and back, so I'll see you guys much later in my evening

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:09  

  • Prem..yes thats why I am ready to believe more this way than an interview (which is also anyway an interviewer's interpretation...not an audio tape of SRT speaking).

    Anyways...here's to hoping that he does walk out in the middle from game 1 :-)

    Although...I must say that I do want to keep the option open for his opening the innings once in a while...at a crucial juncture...like the WC decision...what a move that was. And I think, if not permanently, at least for such occasions SRT still has it in him to explode at the top...esp in more challenging conditions

    By Blogger worma, at 15:16  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger worma, at 15:24  

  • Prem....as I had expressed earlier..I would like Pathan to bat at normal 8 position....for some more time....and let him get those few more good performances from that position (we do get chance for that once in a while, like in Zim that partnership with JP)

    But if we do want him to bat higher up....then consider this....play five regular bowlers and JP as supersub. In such case if we have to bat first....Pathan bats at 7...and we try to pull it off...and if dire situation..JP comes in place of extra bowler at 8.

    Point being...if Pathan has to bat higher up...then we might as well use that chance to play five bowlers...something which we constantly complained about in SL (yeah I know..SRT's back....but who knows)

    By Blogger worma, at 15:25  

  • btw..that supersub need not be JP...it can be a regular batsman as well....since his batting may be needed in real dire cases..so we may want to play someone who is more reliable as a batsman.

    Currently that can only be Raina...but when Kaif's back it can be Rao/Raina

    By Blogger worma, at 15:27  

  • If Sachin comes on middle, who opens with Veeru? If SG is fit, he is not a bad option to me.

    By Blogger J, at 15:38  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger indCric, at 18:10  

  • Prem .... The suggested ODI team from Ruchir is frightening to say the least. Surprisingly, tt also has your buy in. JPY is the first change seamer. Thats scary. We are effectively going in with 3 bowlers, one of which is a rookie. I will go in with a bowler who can bat .... Agarkar for VR seems to be the best option under the circumstances.

    By Blogger indCric, at 19:42  

  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Thursday awarded Prasar Bharti the telecast rights for upcoming one-day international series against Sri Lanka and South Africa.

    The state broadcaster clinched the deal after offering the BCCI a deal of Rs. 7.5 crore per match.

    Television house TWI was given the production rights for the two series.

    India will play seven one-day internationals against Sri Lanka, followed by five against South Africa.

    The Sri Lanka series starts in Nagpur on October 25

    By Blogger V Menon, at 05:35  

  • JPY, a seamer? First of all, I am surprised at someone with an average talent given a chance so late.

    Prem, you seem to be hobnobbing with players always; SRT talks to you "informally"; Rahul and Anil ask you to get a draft copy of the Australian contract; Zaheer shares the same gym with you; WOW!

    And I heard somewhere that you had been forbidden to go anywhere near the dressing room; the guy who told me so must be a liar.

    By Blogger Santanu De, at 06:09  

  • Prasar Bharati? :(
    We all know the sort of quality we can expect now.
    Supposedly this buys time to resolve the situation. But, din't we just have an offseason? This problem has been lingering on forever. Buying time is of no use if you just ending up procrastinating till the 11th hour. This same exact situation will arise for the tests against Sri Lanka.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 07:49  

  • Balaji- 2 wickets for 2 runs on day 1 of the Duleep Trophy
    19 runs off 26 balls batting as well
    Coming back to form?

    By Blogger Sahir, at 07:53  

  • SG is out to bat for East with the team at 59/4 currently.

    Some test of character for the former captain, with Gagandeep and Bhandari firing well.

    By Blogger Mount_Cleverest, at 07:56  

  • Anybody else notice that Gagandeep Singh and Amit Bhandari are bowling 12 over opening spells each. Is this an error on Cricinfo? Rather uncommon for seamers to be given such a long spell with no break. Not to metion, VRV Singh is available to come on first change. I'd like to see him brought on to test out Gagnuly's reflexes.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 07:58  

  • That is an error. Both were shown to be bowling in tandem suddenly u notice that VRV has bowled 6. Big time goof up

    By Blogger Ravi1010, at 08:41  

  • Hi Prem Panicker. I've joined this site ('badminton raquet') to get some advice on buying a badminton raquet. Do you know of any other badminton raquet related sites where I could get advice? Many thanks.

    By Blogger Libra, at 12:25  

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