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Sight Screen

Monday, October 24, 2005

Indo-SL Preview

Much space today is taken up with preview-type pieces of the Indo-SL series. Cricinfo has the most substantive one; what intrigued me was mention of the fact that per Rahul Dravid, Gautam Gambhir was not likely to play the first game (neither, he says, is Rudra Pratap).
And here I was, thinking the team would likely pair Gambhir with Sehwag and get Sachin batting in the middle -- an idea I thought was all the more worth considering because the Indian middle order is shorn of the experience of Mohammad Kaif, and Saurav Ganguly is missing as well. You'd imagine, given this, that Tendulkar's experience could come in handy, with the batsman playing the role of rudder in the middle order, steering the team towards a competitive score or towards the target, as applicable.
In any case, this announcement seems to negate a news story some were referencing over the weekend, where a television channel claimed to have the team list, per which Gambhir and Sehwag were slated to open the Indian innings.
The Cricinfo package also has a story on the Lankan flight to Nagpur being delayed; and a take by Charlie Austin on Tom Moody's tenure thus far as Lanka's coach:
Moody's tenure has already brought visible improvements with some of the younger brigade - Dilhara Fernando, Farveez Maharoof and Upul Tharanga, in particular - progressing quickly. John Dyson, the previous coach, was strong on match preparation and opposition analysis but lacked the hands-on approach in the nets that Sri Lanka's players are used to. Moody, in contrast, who has the advantage a close connection and deep understanding of the modern game, has an imposing aura at the training ground, controlling proceedings tightly and ramping up the intensity with his own participation.
Unlike Chappell, Moody's approach is not cluttered with complex theories and philosophies. His ability to simplify the game, clearly pinpointing areas where technical changes will bring the greatest results, has greatly impressed the players. His communication skills, with the players and the media, are excellent. He appears laidback and relaxed, but he's also firm, prepared to speak his mind, and is very professional.

Also on the site, Anand Vasu on Rahul Dravid:
Sachin Tendulkar averages 44.43 in all ODIs, and 37.75 as captain; Ganguly's respective numbers are 40.65 and 37.66. Dravid has not led India enough yet for us to judge, but in his stand-in appearances - and too much should not be read into this - he averages 36.86 as against 39.20 overall.
Dravid has to ensure that the burden of captaincy sits as lightly on his shoulders as possible, for he is too valuable a batsman for India to sacrifice at the altar of captaincy. He has to ensure that he makes the most of the chance offered by Indian cricket - captain and coach working together with a long-term vision for the future. In Greg Chappell, the coach, Dravid has someone who could be a powerful ally, an influential thinker and an instrument of powerful change. But he must be wary of the pitfalls ahead, and stay true to his own vision as a cricketer. He cannot be the shouting-from-rooftops, chest-baring leader Ganguly was. Yet he has to find a way of bringing a diverse group of cricketers - and it's the talented ones that tend to be difficult - together and forging the team into a unit.

And finally, a stats piece that underlines Lanka's superiority in the short form version of the game.

10 Comments:

  • Prema:

    Did you notice the last line of Anand Vasu's piece of Dravid? Looks like he has made up his mind that SG being in the team would hurt the morale. Think RD would have the guts to stand up to SG, having been his deputy so far?

    The anticipationfulness is terrific!

    By Blogger hjrsingh, at 11:58  

  • In the write-up from Charlie Austin, what was important to note was that Moody has got the SL board to agree to an assistant coach, fitness trainer, physiotherapist and a part time "mental-skills expert". Yet, Moody is said to be less-theory keep-it-simple coach. I wonder why Indians (including a section of the players, it seems) are overly critical of GC without even waiting to see if his methods will bring fruit.

    By Blogger Toney, at 11:59  

  • singh-saab: I noticed. :-) I've been avoiding all reference to the captaincy issue, because there really is nothing worth saying at this point. It will be decided based on two factors (1) How SG performs on his return to the side and (2) How RD performs in this stint as captain. Anything you say, till these two items of empirical data are in, is merely a reflection of your own individual preferences and biases, so why bother? :-)

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:01  

  • toney: *L* You noticed that? As Quick Gun Murugan would say, we are like that only -- first resist like hell anything new, then gradually accept -- by which time, of course, it is way too late; as John Wright.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 12:02  

  • but Prem I'm not sure if we really resisted Wright's method for too long initially? Or are you saying that the whole WC performance (in all aspects of the game, including fielding) was without Wright effect?....I thought more of the resistance started coming later in the tenure..no?

    About SRT not shifting down to middle order....well that *may* happen later in the series(or even VS can) based on their performance....otherwise why even bother getting GG in the 15? And as far as experience goes....isn't RD at 4 and yuv at 5 good enough experience in the middle? (about time we started calling Yuv and experienced player in ODIs..no?)

    By Blogger worma, at 14:17  

  • hjrsingh: I dont think that last line was reference to SG only...it was generic about management of the more talented (and therefore less inclined to hard-work) players...I think he had the likes of Sehwag, Bhajji, Yuv (and even SRT, although not necessarily shying from hard-work..but diff to manage in a unique way) in mind.

    By Blogger worma, at 14:21  

  • So what's the strategy? Win the toss and bat? This is a day match I believe. Does mint work on white balls?

    By Blogger Gardhabh, at 14:31  

  • gardabh...we need to import some of those mints to India first ;-)

    By Blogger worma, at 14:42  

  • Gardhabh , generally the white ball swings less compared to the red cherry . the seam basically is more subdued .

    By Blogger Adi, at 16:51  

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    By Blogger Doniette, at 08:19  

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