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Sight Screen

Monday, October 03, 2005

Weekend review

Just about the only major development over the weekend is the announcement of the teams for the Challengers -- and the list left me with a few unanswered questions:

1. Wouldn't a tournament of this kind serve a greater purpose if the frontline Indian bowlers found themselves bowling to the first XI batsmen? Wouldn't it be more of a 'challenge' if teams were picked in such a way that the likes of Pathan, Agarkar, Zaheer, Harbhajan et al had to show their form and their skills against the likes of Saurav, Sachin, Kaif, Yuvraj, Dhoni etc?

2. What is the story with Nehra? He reportedly is miffed with his coach for questioning his fitness -- but then he traipsed off, all on his lonesome, to England for some repair work, and now he is deemed out of contention for six weeks.

3. On a related issue, what is Anil Kumble being 'rehabilitated' from? Last we saw of him, there seemed no sign he was suffering from anything -- especially anything that requires such extensive rehab. These injuries are becoming extremely puzzling, wouldn't you say?

4. Where on earth is Ambati Rayudu? When I saw him play -- and also saw him in the nets, make some of the senior Indian bowlers look distinctly club class -- a couple years ago, I thought he was a major talent who would find his place in the national team within months. He appears to have fallen away since -- and no one, certainly not the board, or the selectors, appear to care enough to find out why, and if necessary, work on bringing the lad back up to speed.

5. And finally -- never been really convinced that performance in the Challengers counts for anything at all, where our selectors are concerned. But assume this is blue moon year, assume this time the selectors are actually going to watch, be interesting to see how a sprinkling of lads who are being touted, back home, as specialists in the short form version of the game go. The names of Robin Utthappa, Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Manoj Tiwari, Sunny Singh and Piyush Chawla are, in this connection, the ones that jump out at you -- and the name of Venugopal Rao equally merits attention, as seemingly now relegated to the ranks of a failed experiment.


  • Cool blog you have here, I will check in often.
    Best Wishes,
    free professional autoresponders

    By Blogger Cheap Gas, at 11:58  

  • Prem,
    i read somewhere that rayudu, besides not having done well last season is moving from hyderabad to andhra team and is in the process of getting his paperwork done....so apparently he is not a registered team member of either of the two teams. Form plus all this means he is not selected.
    Sad plight of a talented youngster !

    By Blogger cartan, at 12:21  

  • Prem,
    Who do you think is India's brightest talent in batting (b/w 19-22 yrs)? I know you havent had a chance to watch some of those guys, with your assignments abroad. But anyone struck you as really outstanding?

    Even if the seniors team is a full strength team, it will be interesting to watch them take on the supposedly A and B grade teams.
    VVS captaining the A team is a good sign, at least to him that the selectors havent overlooked him for the ODIs.
    AK: If he is permanently out of favour for the ODIs, the selectors should just make that public and end the debates and discussions surrounding his place.

    By Blogger Toney, at 12:25  

  • Prem,
    The senior squad has 12 strong pre-selections for the India ODI squad; Sehwag and Dravid makes that 14. Now, Nehra and Kumble are weak fielders and their injuries (real or otherwise) opens up ONE slot, for say a spin all-rounder, who can double up as a substitute fielder. The handful of 'ODI specialists' have a great opportunity to perform against the national team in front of TV audiences. P Chawla, Sunny Singh and Vidyut are interesting selections. I don't expect too much from any of the young players.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 12:34  

  • yeah, the Challngers look interesting, and I think VRV Singh and Balaji are good enough to give India A a chance of beating the Seniors, but I wish Ambati Rayadu & Munaf Patel had been selected as well. And I don't know whether India B is going to surprise everybody or be completely overmatched.

    By Blogger roublen, at 12:39  

  • prem,
    i can understand that rayudu is really talented, but doesn't he have to score runs to get a call? all these big talents like srt, rd, et al came through the domenstic cricket scoring heavily. why shud rayudu be the exception. he definitely has to have a decent coaching staff and shud build it by himself.

    srt and vk were blessed with a coach like achrekar, so maybe AR shud go to him for advice. everyone knows he is good, but still he has to fulfill the expectations!!

    just curious about what u mean by 'where is AR?'.

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:49  

  • prem,

    u have raised a good point by saying that the top bowlers shud bowl to the top batters. SRT, SG, YS, MK shud definitely face HS, AN, ZK and both will get a chance to prove themselves.

    i thought last year's format was good in the sense, all the seniors and youngsters were mixed up and 3 equal strength teams were created. this led to a strong competition where RD really single handedly pulled his team out of the rut to win the championship. this time (like every other time except last year) the seniors r (most likely) going to romp thru. why was the format changed?

    By Blogger Mayur, at 12:59  

  • Posted an hour ago on another post:


    No comments on the line-up for the Challenger series? I know you are not a big fan of the series, regardless it warrants one post, doesn't it?

    I am shocked to see that Ambati Rayudu does not figure in any of the teams. Last I heard, he is an unregistered player while making his move from Hyderabad to Andhra. Case of a bright young talent losing out coz he has no Godfather?

    What about the new faces - Vidyut Sivaramakrishnan, Piyush Chawla, Manjoj Tiwari and Sunny Singh? They are all supposed to be "one-day" specialists. Any inputs?

    By Blogger cricket_fan, at 12:59  

  • Rayudu will be playing for Andhra this year. I read Robin Singh the junior coach saying that he is the best of the youngsters, but needs a strong guiding hand. With Abid Ali returning as coach for Andhra this year after a two year break, and having seen how he has improved Andhra's performance a couple of years back when he was the coach, I hope we will see Rayudu scoring heavily again this season.

    By Blogger esvee, at 12:59  

  • toney: You answered my own question -- it is now just two months short of four years since I've moved to the US; in this time, my impressions of domestic cricket is largely from the same sources as yours, to wit, the media (I did manage to watch a bit of cricket during my two trips home, but not enough to be able to form any qualitative opinion). And you know how very little there is, in our news sources, by way of qualitative appreciation of young talent -- we are too hung up on doing the same old stories on the same old seniors, over and over again.
    Actually, this is something I hope this blog can do -- guys out there who are in more regular touch with domestic cricket could fill in the blanks, with their views on individual players they have been monitoring.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:07  

  • About Rayudu: Robin had told me pretty much the same thing, that he is a star for the future. He told me one other thing that now makes eminent sense -- he said how effective the lad will be will depend largely on how enlightened the administration is, and how carefully their nurture his talent. Judging by all that is going on, Robin's unstated wish is not being fulfilled to any noticeable degree.

    It's such a pity, really. What struck me, especially the one time I watched him in the nets play the senior bowling, was his composure. That, and a no-fuss technique -- very rare to see a lad that age so very decisive in his footwork, and so very good in getting behind the line, even to the short stuff.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:10  

  • I wonder why Rayudu is making the move from Hyd to AP team. Any reason why Robin Singh especially mentioned the role of the administration? I have heard this from you before. The impression I got is that he needs a little more than just a guiding hand. Rayudu did play a few A level series, right? And I thought he was doing very well in some of them

    By Blogger Toney, at 13:17  

  • prem,

    maybe there shud be a pool of youngsters set aside as the wud-be's of indian cricket. people like shikhar dhawan, robin uthappa, ambati rayudu et al shud be a part of the pool. now this pool will meet every 3-6 months for a camp with the coach or if not some former cricketers (like vensarkar, amarnath, patil) who will sit with these guys and show them the right path. a report will be sent to the board recording their progress. this pool will then tour around besides their ranji games and maybe even play against the ranji teams. the idea is to let these guys know that u r being looked after and ur progress is being monitored. what say?

    By Blogger Mayur, at 13:18  

  • prem,

    toney brought up a good point here!! where is the A team? sri-lanka seems to be using this concept very well to infuse some young talent in the team. has BCCI forgotten about the A teams? the last trip i remember was to zimbabwe? what has happened since?

    By Blogger Mayur, at 13:20  

  • Rayudu is making the move because Shivlal Yadav's son cannot become a prospective member and captain of Hyderabad team if Rayudu remains in team. Also, shivlal Yadav's brother is the coach for hyderabad's team. these yada'vs family forced rayudu to move to Andhra to increase their grip on Hyderabad ranji team and make way for Shivlal Yadav's son. It was published clearly in Deccan Chronicle Hyderabad edition.

    By Blogger kishor_cool, at 13:26  

  • I don't know why whereever yadavs are, petty politics are there

    By Blogger kishor_cool, at 13:27  

  • toney: I think where Robin was coming from was the lack of consistent coaching for the juniors. He had made the point that when he was coach, he never had a clue when his assignment was to start and when it ended. Robin is not the sort to be bitter, but he came damn close to it when he said you guys know how it is, when I was a player I never knew if I would be picked, now I am coach, and the situation is the same.
    His point was, you need to identify the young ones who you think have potential, and nominate a coach full time, whose job is to keep tabs on them and ensure that they receive the required back up all the time, even when the team is not in session and playing. I agree with that, actually -- have in fact long been arguing for something of the kind.

    Mayur: This is the same point we have been trying to drill home for a long time -- that you need a program that accounts for junior talent, develops the likely lads, and seeds them into the senior team. You need this to happen in tandem, so that the junior coach and the senior one are working off the same page; the physio of the national team also needs to be working with the juniors. That way, the national players have a feel for the young ones coming through; where necessary, these kids should be able to work with select seniors. Also, if you start them on the physical fitness aspect now, they won't find themselves so 'hard pushed' when they get into the senior ranks. But then, all this -- which by the way mirrors Robin's take too -- requires an administration that thinks of junior cricket. Pity is, we don't have one.

    Mayur: Damned if I know, mate. The A team concept in India is used whimsically. Occasionally they tour, and that is it. It is not used -- as in fact it should be -- as the nursery of talent. I mean, if you are looking to build your WC'07 team, you should now be in a position, as national selectors, to say: We expect Saurav, Rahul, Sachin, Kumble, Zaheer, Bajji etc to do duty for us in the Windies. But if anything happens to any one of them -- loss of form, lack of fitness, whatever -- then for Saurav, this is the lad we are looking at as replacement, for Rahul X, and so on. Each replacement may not be of the quality of the original, but it does provide you the basic roadmap, and it serves the forward-thinking part of any good administration's brief.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:30  

  • Kishor: if that is true, it is doubly unfortunate. I thought Shivlal had done all the damage he was capable of when he was the national selector; the likes of Shivlal and Sambaran Bannerjee were, during their tenure, corrupt to the core. Didn't realize he is still a malevolent presence, if only at a more regional level

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:31  

  • Prem:

    Don't you want to see Pathan, Agarkar, Zaheer, Harbhajan et al having a go at the upcoming players of A and B team under pressure situation? I view this Challenger as more of an opportunity to find talent than to find form. I would love to see how the young bowlers do against the established batsmen. I think BCCI did the right thing (inadvertently)...

    By Blogger Prakash, at 13:32  

  • An interesting piece in rediff on Nasser Hussain here

    By Blogger Raju, at 13:32  

  • Nasser says " I too have had differences with [current England coach] Duncan Fletcher due to lack of runs. But we used to present a united front to the media," and adds "Captains like Mike Brearley (England), Steve Waugh (Australia) and Ganguly are all-rounders (their contributions not confined only to making runs)," talking about all three in the same breath.

    By Blogger Raju, at 13:35  

  • Prakash: That thesis would work if the selectors actually used the inputs they gained from Challengers to mould the team, and pick talent. Haven't seen that happen in all these years, so the value, at least to my mind, of having the senior bowlers bowl to the junior lads is notional at best.

    Look at it this way -- assume a Bajji, say, or a Zaheer, gets carted by the young lot; assume the likes of Uthappa, Vidyut and company score heavily off them. Do you seriously see the selectors reconsider whether those bowlers should be in the national side. Or do you seriously expect them to bring Vidyut, Robin or whoever into the national team? If the answer is no, then that is why I believe that though logically, this series should be about finding form, in practical terms all it can do is serve as practise for the guys the selectors have pre-picked. That being the case, it makes sense to make this practise useful.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:36  

  • But Hussain was quick to add that Ganguly also needs to score runs so that he can talk to his players on an equal basis.

    "Then only he can question any player not scoring runs on his face," Hussain said.

    Obvious thing, but from a reasonably successful captain of the recent times, surely makes us nod our heads in affirmative. Doesnt it?

    By Blogger Raju, at 13:36  

  • prem,

    exactly! i was reading an article on sri lanka cricket (cricinfo) where they were dissapointed with the batsmen (vandort, gunawardhena, jayantha) in the A team. they were happy with the bowling talent where bandera did really great in county cricket along with others like weerakoon who had his debut against (proly) BD.

    these A tours will help these youngsters to understand the different batting surfaces seen around the world. i mean peterson has been one of the brightest products of A teams that toured india.

    By Blogger Mayur, at 13:37  

  • prem,

    i personally liked the idea of having 3 equally strong teams fighting for the championship rather than the seniors brutally dismissing the young talent.

    By Blogger Mayur, at 13:40  

  • mayur: sure. also, in recent times, Aus lads have toured us; England ditto. Those nations and even SL has been making a regular practise of these tours, and the results are showing. Against that, check out say Pakistan -- they take these 18 year olds and dump them into the national side straight off, and the attrition rate is proof enough that the policy is stupid. In our case, we just don't have in place a system that finds, nourishes and builds talent, and at the right time introduces them into the national squad -- unfortunately, even when it happens it is by default. For instance, like Pathan getting his chance in Aus through injury. For at least a year before that point, I remember writing on Rediff wondering why the lad wasn't in the side -- had those injuries not happened, it is moot whether he would have made it still.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:42  

  • mayur: exactly. they needed to put the 'challenge' in challenger -- but never have. the irony is, despite it all, the seniors have at times been hard pressed to cope, which actually is a pretty telling statement.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:43  

  • @prem
    Last year we saw Dravid's team win the trophy - Im not sure if SGs team even made it to the finals - mebbe this time they wanted to avoid that embarassment- if SGs team had not made it again as a result of equitable distribution where wud that have left SG the captain ? perhaps also he wanted to avoid the prospect of facing up to zaheer pathan and agarkar !!

    By Blogger GK, at 13:48  

  • speaking of youngsters and talent, whatever happened to amit pagnis, vinayak mane? i know they are not exactly "youngsters" but where are they? lost into oblivion?

    another name i find missing is munaf patel - a lot was said about him in the past - fastest bowler in india etc etc .... what has come of him?

    By Blogger cricket_fan, at 13:48  

  • gk: I'll stay clear of that bit of speculation, boss. Seems to presuppose that Ganguly picked the Challenger teams. :-) But that is my single biggest grouse with Challengers in any case -- it means nothing to anyone. What happens there is not considered, so why bother with it?

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:51  

  • cricket_fan: Munaf is, as you point out, the other interesting omission -- at one point in time, he and Pathan were spoken off in the same breath. By the time we get around to Munaf, he will have lost that fizz -- and then we will wonder why they made such a fuss about him in the first place.

    Guys, need to get to work. Back here later... take care

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:52  

  • Prem,
    To be honest my anser is a big No. Because I don't rate this Challenger. We will keep hoping that selectors will start taking note of these tournaments in the near future.
    Now I just hope they provide good true wickets so that this practise is not only glorified but also worthy.

    By Blogger Prakash, at 13:53  

  • A lot of people seem to be talking abt Munaf Patel. He may be sharp but that doesnt mean he is a very good bowler, right? Also, is he making headlines at the first class level? Dont think so

    By Blogger Toney, at 13:54  

  • @cricket_fan
    Indeed I was impressed with Mane ... dunno what happened to him
    About Patel ... it seems he is following in the glorious footsteps of being injured all the time but he seems to be doing so even without being picked in the national squad yet - but now this season i hear he is going to play for maharashtra - if so id be able to follow him more closely.

    About Venugopal rao, what do u think abt him ? I dont quite buy that he is a failed experiment - i think he has the talent and the ability to make it big - and i think GC does too judging by the fact that he gave him so many chances in zim above the flashier raina - however i think he is more suited to the longer version of the game and shid be handled with care.

    By Blogger GK, at 13:55  

  • I liked the format. You know why? I want the newcomers to have a will to go after the seniors and defeat them.

    VVS will be charged up any way.. So would be Gambhir.. Then there are few other good batsmen like Raina, Badani and Jadhav.. So I dont expect them to be shivering infront of jump and spray bowlers like Zaheer and Agarkar.. Pathan is the only threat.. Bhajji is useless in one dayers.. Hence I am sure the A team is very much in fight.. On the other hand, SRT will try to play himself in.. All other batsmen in senior team are no better than they are in A team.. So people like VRV singh will be really pumped up to use their pace and bounce out guys like SG(who are crap..)

    So we are up for a fight..

    Interesting it will be if, A team wins the tournament.. And thats my prediction and they are the one who are the really charged up..

    Now, if A team wins, shouldn't we select some of them in the BCCI eleven.. specially the bowlers.. and some batsmen who will take ZAHEER apart..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 14:06  

  • @thankschappel
    yes pathan and kaif are the 2 main players in the senior team. altho i think in tournaments like these usually agarkar comes to the party !!

    By Blogger GK, at 14:07  

  • Prem ,
    I thought that Shivlal Yadav was friend of yours. You quoted him as a source quite a few times in this blog.
    But based on your comments today , you don't like this guy. SO , how did you get
    the juicy info from him on selection matters ?

    By Blogger wonderloud, at 14:09  

  • maybe the govt of india can pass a law against allowing Agarkar play anymore!

    By Blogger saum, at 14:10  

  • Bowlers like Agarakar are good sometimes by chance.. Its not that if they decide to come good, they will.. Its their day or is not.. and they dont know about their day either.. Hence I am optimistic that it may not be their day..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 14:12  

  • If the A-team can beat the seniors why don't we just pick the the eleven from the A-team. I mean if the A-team wins the tournament they are clearly the beter side from the two. The are more likely to beat SL or SA.:)

    Seriously though, I think there is a good chance here for the A-team. Seniors have been off playing pygmies in Africa and A-team will have more to play for.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 14:17  

  • Prem...some thoughts on your points:

    1) I thought it was a good idea to have seniors play together...the new talent would get a much needed tough opponent..no? Depends on what the idea of Challenger is? I thought it was to get the senior team to play a practise game together as a team...and also to test out the newcomers against a good international team (which is seniors)

    3) Kumble...I read somewhere (cant find the link) has some problem in the shoulder...not serious...but has decided, with advice from Gloster, to rest it out. Not sure if he would anyway be in contention for ODIs...but anyway this from his own mouth

    4) GC also mentioned Rayudu when he took charge....wonder why he didn't bring up his name at the time of selection (or no one asked him?)

    5) Why do you say Rao as failed experiment? Because he's in seniors squad? I thought that was because they just retained the entire senior squad from last tour.....I would be really surprised if he doesnt get a good look in. And it does look like the selectors are going to watch closely...esp SG's performance....if he doesnt do very well...I think they would not retain him as captain....maybe still pick him in the squad...but just to ensure that he doesnt become an automatic choice in playing XI....atleast this is what I got from the 'noises' being made (RSM, Shastri etc). And on newcomers...very very interesting to watch Piyush Chawla...did excellently in the recent Aus series

    By Blogger worma, at 14:22  

  • SRT will not and wont blast in this game.. He has to find out first whether his elbow is OK.

    SG will have to face Balaji who knows where to bowl to him.. VRV singh has express pace and will thorw some bouncers.. And SG will be watching his back too as everyone is watching.. so he will have to play himself in.. that gives the chance to bowlers to bowl a line and lenght.. and thats were he will be xposed..

    M. Kaif.. is the only danger..

    Yuvi will have to face spinners.. and VVS knows that very well.. legspinner bowling on middle and leg with two fielder in deep on the on-side.. VVS also has to make him look stupid.. thats his place in ODI team..

    Dhoni is the only wild card here..

    Bowlers will suck for seniors..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 14:23  

  • I would not be surprised if Jaggu Bhai summoned all the fast bowlers playing against SG and ask them to bowl peach deliveries to SG so that SG can go on claiming how he is back to form etc etc.....

    By Blogger Sriram Vanamamalai, at 14:27  

  • One look at the Irani scorecard and you will know why India struggles. The problem is youngsters. We do not have international quality youngsters. We do have seniors pros, but we want to play Kaif, Yuvraj, Sodhi, Kartik, Parthiv, Ratra, Raina, RP Singh etc etc. The list is really disgusting. We do not want even the 25-30 year old pros like Mongia, Badani, Goud, Sharath, Dahiya, JP Yadav, Kale etc. I bet all these would have performed much better than those so called talented youngsters. Talent is a very relative term, you can be talented, but does not mean you are 'ready'. But you know what? We will keep looking for Kaif's and Yuvraj's, we will give them 100 matches to prove. And one day they will repay by winning a game or two. And then we all rejoice in the moment.
    After Irani trophy, I have no doubt that no one from that squad should be anywhere near Indian team. ( Except Gambhir, who has proved himself in domestic cricket, or maybe Rao too)
    I wish I could put a stop to gifting of Indian cap to the 'talented' youngsters. Only exceptional talent ( Tendulkar, Kambli, Kumble deserve these chances) should be picked.
    By the way anyone of you want to bracket anyone from the first list with being a exceptional international talent? If the answer is no, we have messed up.

    I am posting this again for WORMA.
    You said I got mixed up with ODI and tests..it does not matter. An Indian cap is a Indian cap.
    You gave some examples of younsters being good 'finds'...Sehwag? He had performed supremely before he was given a comeback. Yuv? Its only in India that someone like Yuvraj is considered to have been a good find. Any any other country he would have been dropped long back. Look at his stats even today.
    Kaif? Look at his record in fist class cricket and tell me honestly if he should be anywhere 'near' the Indian team. Give 100 matches to any decent first class batsman and he will come good too one day.
    Who else are you suggesting?
    By the way I did not say that the Rest of India team was not chosen correctly...what I had said was these players are way off the Initernational standard yet.

    The fact is that India gives far too much importance to under 19 stars.The importance should be given to Ranji perfomances, because that are closer to International standard compared to under 19.
    I have played Cooch Behar ( West Zone ) and then Div A in Bombay where the bowlers are mostly Ranji level. The difference is huge.

    Just one question to you...
    who is a better batsman Badani or Yuvraj/Kaif????( just the name, no explanations please...)

    By Blogger mau tor, at 14:31  

  • mau tor..what can I say boss...for you an ODI cap is same as test cap...ok agreed. But my examples were specifically about test matches...and you extrapolate them to ODIs and ask me to justify?!!

    ..I said in recent times the test players who sort of bypassed domestic system (which was your original point, remember? that domestic performances dont count enough?) were very few and mostly successful. And in this context the examples I gave were (a) Sehwag..century on test debut(yes he played well in ODIs...but there also he came bypassing domestic system...he wasnt the best domestic player when he debuted in ODIs..came through U19 if I remember?...so...a DOUBLE success then??)

    (b) Yuvraj....a 50 and a ton in first two matches....and you want to *drop* him?? From tests??...no from ODIs??..I dont care what you do in ODIs...you cannot ignore him in tests...not unless you have given him enough chances to fail in tests....he is a success there so far.

    (c) Pathan....need I say anything?

    (d) Parthiv....this one a mixed bag

    (e) and no..Kaif is the one who can be considered a bit of a failure if you consider his test debut...but didnt get long enough run...and since then has impressed against Aus.....you want to drop him?? from tests??....no team in the world (not even Aus) would drop him

    But in recent times most of the caps have come through domestic performances...we had Khan, Nehra, Chopra, Jaffer, Bangar, Gambhir, Youhannan, Balaji(not sure about him), D Karthik, M Karthik, Bhajji...some of them successful and some failures....just that most players come through domestic performances in tests(which was your original complaint)....and doesnt necessarily mean success.

    And about picking between Yuv and Badani....in test matches??....I would definitely go for Yuv....havent yet seen Badani in tests...and no single reason to drop Yuv in tests...

    By Blogger worma, at 14:49  

  • Looks like RSM (read JD) is making it really safe for SG. First he makes him the captain of India Seniors and plonks in the strongest eleveln as members - he will have to try really hard to lose. Then he starts making noises to the press that we should not make hasty judgements out of one small challenger series (just in case SG and India Seniors fail). Their mirrors must be made of some super strong material, otherwise would have cracked by now trying to reflect their ugliness.

    By Blogger Gardhabh, at 15:07  

  • The following lines struck out on me -

    "The BCCI chief also rebutted suggestions that the Board was turning a blind eye to Ganguly's poor form and his tendency to get embroiled in controversies which was a dangerous sign for the country's cricketing future.

    "See what you are saying could also be the feeling of many other cricket fans in the country. But let us all not forget that recently Ganguly has scored a Test hundred in Zimbabwe," he said.

    So, what that painstaking hundred against a club level spinners and seamers (barring streak) okays teh form or the tantrums? With that yardstick SRT or RD have license to do anything....(oh yes, but they don't have a force like JD with them).

    "Ganguly also might be seriously thinking about his form. So to say that we are not concerned or bothered is not right, we very much are," Mahendra said.

    So what has board president done about his concern? Delayed any thinking with the hope that the worry will go away. Or may be he should try to schedule in Bangladesh test series or fight for test status for Kenya and Canada and UAE!

    What do you guys say?

    By Blogger Anand K, at 15:26  

  • prem,
    I thought the ploy to have the indian senior team and then rope in prospectives in two other teams was a good one indeed. Because it would measure the true ability of the prospects as they are up against a international side and would give them a better feel of international cricket. It would also bring out their performance under pressure. Well I presume the senior team takes the game seriously! what do u think? Venugopal rao to me was an embarrasment in the international arena. Having faced 3 left arm seamers in nets, his struggle against Vaas was denting his scouting report. He failed to put bat to ball and that cannot be accepted, given the oppurtunities hes been provided. I really dont see him as a prospect. what say???

    By Blogger Ragav, at 15:29  

  • For me as I said, although tests are no 1 priority, a Indian team representation should be earned...anyways.
    Ok..coming back to the players. Can you justify the inclusion of Kaif and Yuvraj when they were selected over others like Abhijeet Kale and S Sharath?
    Parthiv had not played a single Ranji game before being selected? What made him better than Dahiya? Isn't it about selecting the best to represent India?How can anyone even be considered for India before playing Ranji? Even Sachin was a runaway success in first class before getting in the Indian team.
    Where are these youngsters today...Sodhi ( rediff readers had marked him as a India captain) Ratra, Patel..
    As far as Sehwag is concerned, infact he proves my point. Yes he was picked up from under 19, only to fail in one match and thrown away. He performed tremendously in Ranji to come back a more mature player.
    Why is Dheeraj Jadhav not getting a opportunity now when he avgs close to 60 in first class, whereas Kaif still barely manages 40? If first class is so easy, Kaif with all his international experience should avg atleast better than Jadhav? ( please don't tell me the opeining vs middle order...everthing goes in Indian cricket)
    The number of centuries Dinesh Mongia or Abhijeet Kale score in two seasons, KAIF has struggled to score in almost 8 seasons? Don't you think there is something wrong with that( divide by the matches, or else you would argue that he is on international duty)
    If you consider Yuvraj to be a better batsman than Badani, I have nothing to add on that. I hope you don't thing Kaif is better than Badani too....
    By the way Badani scored a hundred aganist Aus too...didn't he?
    Pathan was not a big success, but atleast had played around 30 games with lot of promise before being picked. What has Raina done to be in the team? Did you see that other talked about youngster Dhawan facing Malinga of SL...the poor kid had no clue. Must have been releived to be out in that match ( I guess some Abu Dhabi tournament)Shows that we have too much faith in these youngster and make them into stars without earning stardom.
    Th two best teams in the world make you work to get into those teams. By the way, the only youngster pushed by England was Bell ( even he has more than 50 first class games) and everyone saw who the biggest failure of Ashes series was.
    Tell you something about maturity, experience....etc

    By Blogger mau tor, at 15:32  

  • hI:
    Anyone know if the Super Series is being shown by DirectV?

    By Blogger boondock_cricketer, at 15:45  

  • Nice to see good sensible topics being discussed here. I hope the SG-GC thing is on a well-deserved break.

    Thank you gentlemen.

    I agree with mau tor about the ranji thing. He seems to know what he is talking about. India and Pak have this habit of pushing youngsters through too fast only to see them fall flat.

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 15:48  

  • boondock, see www.willow.tv if you have broadband access. I think one of DirectTV/Dishnetwork should be airing these matches.

    Does anyone know if the Challenger series will be available in the US? I guess not...

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:49  

  • wonderloud: Boss, I am a journalist. It is my function to talk to people -- I don't necessarily have to get into bed with them.

    I have for instance spoken with Dalmiya, whose feelings for me and Rediff are pretty well known

    I've spoken to Lele, who had threatened to sue us.

    You guys see things in terms of likes and dislikes; I tend to see things in terms of a journalist's professional obligations, is all.

    I don't, by the way, 'dislike' Shivlal Yadav -- or Saurav Ganguly, or Sachin Tendulkar, or anyone else. I save such emotions for people in my circle; friends I like, acquaintances I dislike, etc.

    I do know Shivlal for who, and what, he is, and in any interaction with him, I go with an open mind, and that particular knowledge at the back of my mind, is all.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:50  

  • mau to, since you have played with Ranji level cricketers, anything more to add on the professionalism in their midst? Also, did you play recently or sometime back?
    More insights into your club level experience will be welcome.

    By Blogger Toney, at 15:51  

  • Does anyone know, anyhting about the players Manoj Tiwari or Sunny Singh ?

    By Blogger sv, at 15:52  

  • Worma (and others who brought up this point:

    1. I did mention this, I thought. What is the point in the juniors facing tough oppositon, given we are not going to consider them anyways? Your senior side, as picked, is an indication of where the selectors are going. Further, it is not as if these guys are strangers to one another, so there is nothing much to be gained in 'playing together'. There could, though, have been much to be gained for a Zaheer, a Bajji, testing themselves against the best of the Indian batting, because their form hasn't been exactly much to write home about. Similarly, for some of the batsmen, SG, YS, MK, even Dhoni, it could have helped to get some good practise in against quality bowling. AFter all, these are the guys who are likely to do duty for us versus Sri Lanka, the least we could do I thought was use this tournament to fine tune them.

    Of course, if the selectors are prepared to consider performances in these challengers, give the young ones a go if they really prove wrothy of it, then fine, no quarrels. I dont see it happening, though, do you?

    KIND ATTENTION all: have an urgent meeting in DC, driving down now, and will be back tomorrow morning, off the blog till then. Adios all, stay safe.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 15:56  

  • Prem, I don't know if you remember, but I had made a suggestion about getting an American as a strength and conditioning coach (and possibly as a fielding coach). The Australians have gone ahead and done it -


    I've played alongside a few Americans who grew up playing baseball and were sorta interested in cricket. THe thing that amazed me was their ability in the field. They were catching anything in their vicinity, especially the outfield catches (never mind that they were doing it with one hand). And their throws were spectacular (always had the keeper wincing after collecting). This was due to better coaching and better mechancis on the throw. Most of us cricketers found our fielding improve just by watching these guys.

    Do you see anything of this sort ever happening in India?

    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 16:10  

  • Why would anyone, living in NY City, drive to DC? It makes more sense to take Amtrack, and then, *if needed*, rent a car at DC.
    Anyway.. thats just me..

    By Blogger santa_from_NJ, at 16:12  

  • mau tor...dude my point was that India test cap is not easily given to everyone (which you also think is correct....because that is top priority in your opinion)

    I gave so many examples...that most of the test selections in recent times have been through domestic performances...as you also said is the right way.

    I also said that there have only been a handful of caps given to 'bypass' candidates...then tried to show that most of those turned out to be right......I mean what could Kale or Badani or Jadhav have done as compared to Yuv...he scored a century in second match in Pak!!!....

    And Kaif was one of the mixed cases...as I said....but he impressed later on against Aus....so what more do you want??..domestic averages are fine....but if someone is doing well...you dont throw him out to take a domestic scorer do you???

    And your point was that people are getting test births without domestic performances....so how big is the percentage of debutants coming without domestic step???....how many of those are wrong?? Kaif and Parthiv were the mixed bag...out of a handful of such cases...

    So whats your point about badani?? should Yuv be dropped to pick him up in tests??

    or should Kaif be dropped for badani in tests?

    And btw...Pathan got a call for his impressive showing in U19 Asia cup in pak....again a typical case of bypassing domestic

    By Blogger worma, at 16:12  

  • Esvee:
    Glad to hear that Abid Ali is planning on coaching Andhra. I was lucky enough to have to played with Abid with the United Cricket Club near San Fransisco a few years ago. He was the coach + player with our team and one of teh founding memebers as well. He is an exceptional cricketer and a nice man to boot. He doesn't bowl anymore on account of a heart condition, but, in this one game we played, the A team in teh Price Cup, and he scored 80 odd efortless runs and kept wicket for 45 overs. You could see by the way he played that there's such a wide gap between internationals and grade cricketers. He is also a terrific coach..his son, Faaquir was a baseball player, but in the space of a few years, he was opening the batting and bowling for our club. Abid also gave me a few pointers with my batting..my grip etc. in 15 min. of watching my style of play after which I started to score a few runs. Glad to hear that he's back where he belongs..Indian Cricket.

    By Blogger boondock_cricketer, at 16:25  

  • alvin,
    I have had a similar experience recently. Some of us guys play at a Little League ground near our homes in NY. And some curious Americans joined us. Even the kids are extremely good in the basics of fielding and catching. To add to this, they were extremely enthusiastic about the fielding part, unlike some of our older friends. Some of these guys still turn up, which is great. We hope this will be the start of cricket revolution in the USA :)

    By Blogger Toney, at 16:40  

  • Asian Age reports that Ganguly might have Tennis Elbow.

    By Blogger jat_in_ny, at 16:56  

  • worma i am in full agreement with mau tor. this guys were given speed track without performing in the national tournaments...then why the fuck have national tournaments?
    All the guys including yadav suffered because of kaif and yuvraj and patels ....
    it is time national tournament and performance are given weight. to me mongai deserves a spot over yuvraj and kaif...so did kale and jadhav. dont judge them as domestic champs those days are gone with better grounds and pace bowlers dime a dozen...if the national tournament and performance dont count let us just have under 19 and straight into national teams
    Patel was the biggest example..that guy walked in over mongai because of more and over people like ratra and was hopeless to say the least

    By Blogger tombaan, at 16:59  

  • Prem:
    Is the blogger miyazaki, Zaki from Rediff ?

    By Blogger niti, at 16:59  

  • boondock so are you ready to play for indian now :>

    By Blogger tombaan, at 17:00  

  • RMS, when probed by a reporter through telepathy, on giving Ganguly time...

    "He has only been out of form for 18 months or so. Ganguly is only 33 and he is in less than average shape. He can easily last another 5 years. Give him another 18 months...if he is still out form then maybe he can take break then. He will only be 35 then."

    RMS continued to impress with his understanding of the world and cricket...

    "Gagnuly's hundred in Zimbabwe and his 50 against SL should carry a lot of weight. They are significant because without those knocks, we would have lost against Zimbabwe and lost heavily against SL. They are also significant because he grinded quality bowling till they had no answers to his batting. They were also made in Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka, both exotic places with bizarre customs and wildlife that would have made it more difficult for Ganguly to concentrate and exaggerated the blindspot created by the crouched stance that he adopts."

    The last bit as interesting as it was confusing. However none of us dare question the great RMS.

    "...it's just a question of time. After the next WC SG can walk away in peace knowing that he has done everything to win the WC as a captain, if he so wishes"

    Meanwhile, fans are discussing the places of Yuvraj and Kaif in the time and wondering if one of them could kindly make room for Badani.

    By Blogger Jiet, at 17:00  

  • Tombaan:
    wish I could man..but I got this tennis elbow problem...

    By Blogger boondock_cricketer, at 17:01  

  • Toney, I don't know about a "cricket revolution". The game is just too long and not intuitive enough for newbies to pick up (soccer is, since everyone kicks stuff; no one really performs any of the cricket movements in everyday life or other sports). But, then again, you never know.

    I grant that these guys are frequently better athletes than us, but there is also the element of coaching and ball-skills. The throwing is simply spectacular and after talking to one of them (who had the keeper wincing after a throw from the boundary!), my throwing (which never caught any coach's attention in India; they thought I had a good throw) improved significantly to the extent that I was able to get the ball in on the full from the boundary (something I had never been able to do before), though not with the flat trajectory and speed of my American friend. What this told me was that this could be taought. Another aspect is their catching. They seem to prefer catching away from the body (the guys I played with dropped everything hit right at them and caught everything that had them running a few yards with an outstretched hand) and almost never dropped anything that they got one hand on, except of course if it was hit right at them.

    But then again, I'm not sure India is ready for the idea of a fielding coach. I think the NCA would benefit immensely though. I'm sure your average high-school baseball coach would have enough new suggestions to help the youngsters.

    Another aspect we can learn from American sports is their fitness. I know football teams have specific strength and conditioning coaches. If we could get one of those guys into the NCA for even a few months to set up programs, we would produce some highly fit cricketers. Check out some of the drills done for (I think) a college football team (ages 18-22)


    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 17:04  

  • Guys,Are we again hyping up VRV as another Munaf?? Has anyone really seen him in action? Munaf Patel was once touted as being genuinely quick and dissapeared quicky into the oblivion. I really do hope that VRV isnt treated that way. Has anyone seen him in action? Just how good is he??

    By Blogger Harsha, at 17:04  

  • alvin,
    never ever meant that cricket in the US will be a revolution, in the serious sense. I had a hard enough time cnvincing the guys that 50 overs and a day is not too long for cricket. And I havent even mentioned what a test is!!
    I totally agree with you on the role of coaches at the very junior level. But the problem is, I dont see any schools hiring a coach, paying him extra specifically for cricket or for any sport. That is what is different in India.

    Speaking of the popularity of soccer in the US, girls and boys seem to love the game when they are young. But it seems, almost every guy switches over to baseball, basketball or football (the American kind) when they grow up. Cant understand that part...

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:11  

  • Alvin:
    I concur..I usually talk fielding with my neighbor who played collegiate baseball. I concentrate on throwing, and his mechanics are so damn perfect that he makes it look easy. I injured my shoulder while trying to playing baseball eons ago, and I had to adapt to the infield to compensate my weak shoulder. But, after talking with him, I gradually got my mechanics right and back patrolling the boundary..my neighbor, on the other hand could not fathom catching a ball w/o gloves. You are correct in yoru analysis about balls being hit right at them as opposed to away from them. I tried to teach him the basics about cupping the palms to take catches etc. which he found interesting. Baseball and cricket can learn a lot from each other.

    By Blogger boondock_cricketer, at 17:12  

  • alvin - I couldn't help LOL at the fitness comments you were making. While I agree with you sentiments, if you were running the fitness porgram for the Indian team I can just hear it now "He wants us to be fit", "He makes us works too hard" (you will be called the next GC!!! :-)). Starting them young is the solution.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 17:12  

  • Railways’ coach Vinod Sharma could not stop smiling on Monday evening. And he had good reason to. For, his wards again showed the resilience that they are known for. But, more than anything else, it was actually another coach whose compliment made him somehow forget the pain inflicted by the national selectors’ cold treatment to his consistent performers.

    Greg Chappell is a big name. And when the legendary Aussie, now the Team India coach, arrived at the Karnail Singh Stadium to watch the boys in the Irani Cup match between Railways and Rest of India, it must have been some sort of history.

    "I have never heard of an Indian coach coming over here to watch a domestic match," Sharma said later.

    "Chappell was very pleased by what he saw. He told me that mine is a very good team. ‘Your boys have fighting spirit,’ he said. According to Greg, a good team needs a very good wicketkeeper. He doesn’t know Sudhir Wankhede’s name. But he said your keeper is very good. Since it wasn’t an easy wicket to keep on with two very good spinners bowling in tandem.

    "Then he asked me about Yere Goud. He was surprised that he bats at number six. He told me he is too good to bat so low. I told him that Yere had a slump last year. Now, we will make him bat at No. four again. "Chappell was impressed with my team’s fighting spirit

    By Blogger tombaan, at 17:14  

  • SG's innings against SL was ot overly impressive, but a pretty good knock. We could have won that game hadn't SL climbed back up from some 95 for 6.

    By Blogger bouncer, at 17:18  

  • I sometime dont understand this fascination with people like Munaf, VRV, Ambati etc at all. Probably its because we are extremely frustrated with the senior folks.

    The fact is Munaf was laid down by injury for almost an year and Ambati Raydu has not done anything significant since last 1.5 years. You just cant blame the coaching system alltogether. These guys need to be fit and consistently score runs. If Raydu is not getting runs, blame to coaching system. If SG is not getting runs blame him for he is not training hard enough. The same yardstick should apply to youngsters also. The onus is on them to score consistently. All this coaching and all is bull talk.It is just making a simple thing complex. You have to keep fit ( running, push-ups, good food, stretching). Where do you need all the money and coaches here? You have to bat, bowl and field consistently which is expected at first class level. Has anyone even bothered to check Raydu's scores since last 1.5 years? He may nto have it in him to consistently do well.

    By Blogger J, at 17:19  

  • And look at Chappel. When SG and company are busy with modelling and enjoying with models, here is a guy who devotes his time, mind and energy for first class matches to look for talent. ats off to GC. We need to pursue with him at all cost and let him kick team India's ass if they do not work as per his plan.

    By Blogger J, at 17:23  

  • we need to pick people like yadav, harvinder singh powar who will give an honest effort instead of yuvraj, harbhajan and zaheer

    By Blogger tombaan, at 17:33  

  • First-class 36 58 7 2064 210 40.47 6 9 25 0
    List A 30 27 1 811 117 31.19 1 6 11 0
    this is rayadus record not bad i would think he has age on his side one more year of the grind will do him good

    By Blogger tombaan, at 17:37  

  • j,
    Whats wrong with taking the help of experts in improving fitness? I rememebr somebody pointing out how football players in the US have different fitness and workout program, based on the positions in which they play. It may have been Alvin who pointed this out.
    Remember how Prem pointed out Pathan's problems after working out without anybody to guide him? And Pathan himself accepted this. Cricket is no longer a simple game, especially at the intl level, simply becuase all the other teams try to get the extra edge with these new techniques. It is upto us to either keep up with the rest or fall back.

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:39  

  • Toney: I think it has to do with the fact that soccer probably doesn't guarantee as much by way of college-scholarships, popularity, etc. as some of the American sports (esp. basketball, football) do.

    boondock_c: Spot on with your last line.

    gopalsblog: In that case, it's probably a good thing that I'm not running the team's fitness program :) But to be fair, it is kinda hard for Indians to follow such programs, since there is a beginner's reluctance. Here, it is such an integral part of the sports culture. I'm sure if we hadn't seen the kind of shape some of these athletes were in, we would have (I know I would) have similarly been reluctant to follow such programs.

    I'm hoping if Prem sees this and agrees, he can get the idea across to people who might be able to do something about it, or atleast make some noise about it.

    j: I have a feeling you and Kapil Dev could have a long and fruitful discussion about coaching cricket. And yes, we should have the same standards to judge a teenager, who may not be old enough to drive, as we do to judge a 33-year old guy, who has been playing international cricket for close to 10 years, is among the richest atheletes in the country and has access to the best facilities an Indian cricketer could aspire to. However, I wouldn't be surprised if your fitness program were to match what Rayudu is being asked to do - running, push-ups, good food, stretching. And if that were the case, I'm sure as hell not surprised that he has fallen away in the past eyar or so.

    By Blogger Sudo Nima, at 17:42  

  • Full name Sreekumar Rajagopalan Nair
    Born November 2, 1978, Trichur (now Thrissur), Kerala
    Current age 26 years 335 days
    Major teams Kerala
    Batting style Left-hand bat
    Bowling style Slow left-arm orthodox

    Batting and fielding averages
    class mat inns no runs hs ave 100 50 ct st
    First-class 41 61 2 2139 147 36.25 3 16 25 0
    List A 46 39 6 588 62 17.81 0 4 14 0

    Bowling averages
    class mat balls runs wkts bbi bbm ave econ sr 4 5 10
    First-class 41 7392 2723 83 5/66 32.80 2.21 89.06 3 0
    List A 46 2106 1500 61 5/8 5/8 24.59 4.27 34.52 1 2 0

    this is one of the players selected for challenger...shocked to see him in over other people like harvinder....is it nair doing his thing for kerela

    By Blogger tombaan, at 17:42  

  • Satyajit Parab


    Player profile

    Full name Satyajit Sudhir Parab
    Born September 1, 1975, Baroda, Gujarat
    Current age 30 years 32 days
    Major teams Baroda
    Batting style Right-hand bat
    Bowling style Legbreak

    Batting and fielding averages
    class mat inns no runs hs ave 100 50 ct st
    First-class 57 96 6 3556 141 39.51 13 13 38 0
    List A 33 31 0 1114 142 35.93 1 7 8 0

    Bowling averages
    class mat balls runs wkts bbi bbm ave econ sr 4 5 10
    First-class 57 281 188 2 1/6 94.00 4.01 140.50 0 0
    List A 33 76 86 0 - - - 6.78 - 0 0 0

    here is more doing his thing for baroda. this guy has consistently failed on national scene whenever shortlisted why is he in?

    By Blogger tombaan, at 17:46  

  • alvin,
    followed up on that link you sent. Gosh, some of those workouts are fit for the military. For eg, the one marked "Terrible 20s" seemed unrealistic to me. No wonder, we dont often hear fitness related problems in the US.
    I wish we had the same culture in India. Even our hockey team is not among the fittest, which is one of the biggest reasons for its debacles in recent times. Talent wise, the INdian hockey players are still up there.

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:49  

  • toney
    hockey also has ass toucher gill still in power inspite of all his failures and screwing up careers of players like danraj pillai

    By Blogger tombaan, at 17:52  

  • tombaan, unfortunately, that alone is not the reason for the fall of Indian hockey. If you look at the players, one for one, Indina players are up there in terms of ball handling skills, dribbling etc.
    But fitness wise, we are a flop. I have heard that players need to be fitter on the more taxing astro turf (no idea why). Which is why, it is all the more important to have some focus on fitness too.

    By Blogger Toney, at 17:54  

  • Munaf was injured last year having a very bad fall while fielding and dislocated his shoulder, which is pretty serious for a fast bowler. His injury is not like the frequent breakdown of our regular fast bowlers in the Indian side. Read that he is back and bowled well in the Buchi Babu tourney in Chennai. He is playing for Maharashtra this year. Switched from Mumbai. If he has a good season may be he can get into the Indian side.

    By Blogger esvee, at 17:58  

  • I too agree with Tombaan..

    No point in arguing individual cases. However unless we reward the true hard workers like Goud, Kale, Yadav, Harvinder( Worma, another case of selecting too early and then forgeting totally about him)etc. Its a qusetion of giving value to the premier competition in the land. Or else just stop this farce.
    Worma...you say Kaif did well aganist Aus, what else do you want? What else do I want?...hmmm much better overall record ( test and odi) for someone who has made his millions without really proving a lot. I don't care too much if you take a 15 year old from a under 15 squad and he scores a hundred. I will still say its unfair on a lot of others. It might happen once in hundred tries, but not worth selecting players directly from junior squads.

    By Blogger mau tor, at 18:01  

  • read this - its quite funny

    By Blogger Tiger, at 18:02  

  • more fun stuff

    By Blogger Tiger, at 18:06  

  • toney....
    I guess everybody is different in terms of professionalism even at that level depending where they are in their careers. One thing that I can definately say about most Ranji cricketers that I have played with is that they do have tremendous talent. For example in under 19 Maharashtra Mumbai match you might face a left arm spinner who will give a four ball every 2/3 overs, a regular Ranji left arm spinner might not give away anything in 5 overs..thats where the difference is. Another aspect is pace. At under 19 level, the fastest would be around 130 kms, where as a lot of well build, seasoned Ranji or international bowlers easily bowl at 135. I once faced Salil Ankola in 94 and he was quick. I mean even 4/5 kms make difference.
    I attended a few Ranji camps for Maharahtra(2 actually) and had great respect for the talent of Abhijeet, Bhave and Sugwekar. Unfortunately..they never got a opportunity. They used to dominate even the div A times in Bombay, Irani, Ranji, but alas..use.

    By Blogger mau tor, at 18:09  

  • mau tor,
    thanks for the clarification. I noted the part about the spinners being more disciplined at the Ranji level. But unfortunately, this doesnt seem to be the case at the intl level. The spinners on show dont seem to ever do very well, especially recently. And this is against oppositions who have traditionally struggled against spin.

    By Blogger Toney, at 18:18  

  • http://www.telegraphindia.com/1051004/asp/nation/story_5317110.asp

    Finally...This is the language that those thugs at BCCI will understand...

    By Blogger ilovecricket, at 18:23  

  • I was reading Bob Simpson's views on Australian cricket. According to him, domestic performances (e.g Ranji trophy) are not reliable enough, and it is better to assess youngsters when top players are involved. He says that the most talented players should play above their age group and coming into Ranji's at the earliest. So, the only way to test the bench strength is to play the prospects for India A, Duleep trophy at full strength, ROI matches against the full Indian team. See the "Trouble in Ozland - worma" comments (8) for his coaching methods. I think Greg feels the same way.

    By Blogger IssaicN, at 19:04  

  • Didn't know Kambli still plays

    By Blogger suraj, at 19:23  

  • Prem, I feel that the composition of the sides for the Challenger tournament is perfect.

    Full Team (Seniors) Vs Frustrated probables (A team) Vs Young Guns (B team).

    Analyzing the probabilities :-
    1)Seniors win - No big deal.

    2)Seniors lose - Woo Hoo!!! Hopefully, some heads will roll. Hopefully, this will pave the way for the head's (SG) head to eventually roll...

    3)Exposed - The weaknesses of the likes of Saurav, Zaheer, Agarkar, Yuvraj & Harbajan will be exposed for sure. Interesting to see if those bunch of jokers (selectors) will take any notice.

    4)Exposed - Hopefully, some of the talented youngsters will put up performances for the country to notice.

    All in all a win-win tournament...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 19:28  

  • Reading some of the comments...Somebody expressed that the likes of Balaji & VRV will not bowl at full-steam to SG in the fear that they might not be picked later. Ironic, but, true...

    However, these guys need to realize that they will not be picked anyway ( what with guys like Zaheer, Agarkar & Nehra sitting pretty under SGs rule ). Also, they need to realize that SG's days are numbered and they will need to help accelerate that.

    GO A-TEAM !!!

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 19:32  

  • What do you guys think of Murali Karthik's 96 ? This guy is no slouch with the bat and needs to be groomed. But, alas, he is on the wrong side of SG. He has made some comments like "I perform well under Dravid". Innocent, but, damning...When do these guys learn to be politically correct...Sigh...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 19:34  

  • greg
    karthik is a strong individual of likes and dislikes and was not favored even by sachin...only a straight forward guy like dravid probably would be able to accomodate him

    By Blogger tombaan, at 20:05  

  • g2,

    at least now you are contemplating that seniors may win. That surely contradicts with your yesterday's pronouncement that team A will surely win since they are all hungry! What a turn around! You may start liking SG by tomorrow!

    By Blogger bouncer, at 20:08  

  • tombaan...Karthik was probably not in the fray when sachin was Indian captain. I dont believe Sachin is political...

    I just hope that Karthik gets another fair chance with the Indian ODI team. I am not sure about him as a test match bowler. Also, I bet that he will not be in the playing 11 (or 12) for the challenger trophy (given that SG blindly prefers Bhajji)...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 20:10  

  • Bouncer, I am still predicting A-team will win. However, statics dictate that any one of the 3 teams may theoretically win.

    In any case, it is not about whether a fan like me likes SG or not (even though RSM's latest statement falsely indicates otherwise). It is a question of who is right for Indian Cricket. Unless you are a Pakistan fan, you should agree with this too.

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 20:13  

  • Bouncer, I will really like SG if he magnanimously declares that he is going to step down from captaincy (or) retires...

    No scope for this...is there ?

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 20:15  

  • g2,

    that you need to ask SG. Just say you are not a Pakistani fan and all you want is good of Indian cricket. Though I think you will be regarded as well-intentioned but misguided

    By Blogger bouncer, at 20:21  

  • Prem :- Disagree with your statement "the name of Venugopal Rao equally merits attention, as seemingly now relegated to the ranks of a failed experiment".

    I dont think VR is a failed experiment at all. Look. He was pushed up the order just to ensure that he fails at the top and does not contend for a middle order slot. Also, he is supposed to be a decent bowler, but, did not even get a single chance.

    This goes hand-in-hand with GC's theory that SG is constantly badgering middle order batsman...We all know why !!!

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 20:24  

  • huh,
    so much for selection of players .. after all this hog wash, they will simply select the most ponsored players!!
    now that ganguly has very less "shill" value, he is being considered on notice :)) ; LOL ;


    By Blogger idunno, at 20:25  

  • bouncer, I am not in this blog to contribute to endless arguments about SG. If going forward, say, SG turns up with match-winning performances with the bat consistently, I will be the first person to stand up and acknowledge that. However, as an Indian fan, I will never like SG as my captain because of his bloated ego, favouritsm and divide-and-rule policy...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 20:27  

  • idunno, If JD camp wins the election by hook-or-crook (by crook mostly), then, Ganguly is the captain for the next year or so. No doubts about that. This means "Zaheer" is our stike bowler, "Bhajji" is our only spinner and so on and so forth...

    All this "On Notice" cr** is hog wash and the whole country knows that...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 20:31  

  • g2,

    beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. We have had a parade of people coming forward in the last few days both trashing and praising SG. So it may be a question of hearing what you like to hear.

    If sole driver for you is performance, sticking up for Venugopal Rao may not be a defensible position.

    In any case, treat a player like a player. Judge him by his performance on the field. Tear apart SG all you can based on that. But blame him for bloated ego, etc. etc., for all irrelevant personality traits? I don't think you will be asked to go out with him for a glass of beer. So, why bother?

    By Blogger bouncer, at 20:40  

  • ha ha....Bouncer, you are determined to counter everything I say. I welcome that...just to keep the interest alive for the next few days of no cricket...

    You are right. VR did not grab the opportunities presented to him with both hands. He will not prove to be too much of a bother for selectors going forward. However, ask yourself these questions. How many chances were given to him ? Is this the same criteria used for "other" non-performers ? Under what position/circumstances did he get a chance to bat ? Is anybody else in the Indian team (except say, RD, MK & SRT) any good when it comes to handling pressure ?

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 20:49  

  • g2, that is why it is important to shine in first five or six opportunities that you get. It is different from an established player like SG failing, since everyone can point to SG's past record and show what he is capable of. I don't want to go hard on VR. But he scored a 0 coming one down, another 0 opening against Zim, and a 8 in the final coming 3rd or 4th down. Do not blame SG for his failure. Remember Dhoni coming one down against Pak? A lot of people said that was a brilliant move by SG. I am outta here. take care.

    By Blogger bouncer, at 21:01  

  • I was reading this article (http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/220557.html) on cricinfo on reader's view on how to improve test cricket. One guy says that

    "I propose a handicap system. All the big teams like Australia, England, South Africa, India, Pakistan and New Zealand should give a handicap to minnows. For example, in a Test between Bangladesh and Australia, Bangladesh will automatically have, say, 150 runs in their first innings on the board. "

    How Corny is this ? I couldnt help thinking...On the same note, Maybe we should take this idea to minnow players like SG and grant them say, 25 runs everytime they come to bat...ha ha ha...

    Bouncer, I bet you will have something to say, so, say it...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 21:02  

  • Who would like to have a beer with a pathetic person like Ganguly at the first place? May be Flintoff:).. because Flinty likes the beer too much.

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 21:07  

  • TC bro...I will have a beer with you any day...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 21:11  

  • finally someone who makes sense at Outlook..

    By Blogger losing now, at 22:22  

  • Tony,
    I perfectly agree when you talk about getting extra edge. The point here is our folks first need to bat, bowl and field better. I am ashamed of our folks learnability when Javagal Srinath after years of international cricket could not consistently bowl a good slower bowl ( count how many wides and no bowls he bowled in attempt), a good yorker, a good out swinger an our own Anil Kumble could never actually spin the bowl and Agarkar and Zaheer and Harbhajan ( Everyone will agree that he has done nothing since last 1.5 years) , he couldnt bloody get a wicket all day bowling to Zim to reach to 200. Pathetic! and above all there captain SG ( a street bowler would fancy chances against him with a bouncer)

    What edge can you expect from them when they cant do basic stuff right? All thes eguys except SRT, RD and MK paid zillion times more then they deserve. The worst thing is then they all play policket to keep their places in team and youngsters get frustrated.

    By Blogger J, at 00:22  

  • I am glad that every ones talking about how AR is not in the team.He is simply too talented.I remeber Robin Singh when hew as coach that AR as a batsman has aproblem that he doesnt really respect the bowlers.And in fact dropped him to let hin know that.Following that he had a fantastic debit season for Andhra.However the shift to Hydreabad was sad.He should be groomed simple enough.I wonder if someone like Laxman should take on a mentors role.After all this is a man who when he was dropped scored so many runs that if he had not been selected there would have been a outcry.As far as Dheeraj jadhav,he has looked very good and composed and think should be given a chance.Gambhir has lots of talent,but doesnt have the necessary application.For his slot and more specifically grip he needs to let the ball come to him.However regulary we see him going hard at the ball.Also tends to work even the straight ball square.Jadhav should get a lookin.As far as Harvinder Singh he needs to be a given a continuos run.Has a lovely action good yorker and can reverse it.Also for soem one who has to change his action due to back injury and for a Indian fgast bolwer he has remained fit and bowled well.Hope he gets a recall!!

    By Blogger bulchee, at 01:49  

  • I am little surprised about Sree kumar selection about .He has been consistent performer for Kerala team.Also bowls more regulary than the so called guys who claim they bowl a lot in domestic tournaments.His records:
    atting and fielding averages
    class mat inns no runs hs ave 100 50 ct st
    First-class 41 61 2 2139 147 36.25 3 16 25 0
    List A 46 39 6 588 62 17.81 0 4 14 0

    Bowling averages
    class mat balls runs wkts bbi bbm ave econ sr 4 5 10
    First-class 41 7392 2723 83 5/66 32.80 2.21 89.06 3 0
    List A 46 2106 1500 61 5/8 5/8 24.59 4.27 34.52 1 2 0

    Considering the fact that he bowls and bats that is a good record.Y a record that an allrounder should have.Similar is the case with Vidyut.It is more of a selection for the oneday where such players are required.Hope he does well

    By Blogger bulchee, at 02:08  

  • guys
    where have players like sodhi or laxmi ratan shukla gone? or have we forgotten that their careers were finished the momnent the media touted them to be the next kapil dev. i guess our selectors have short memories.
    on a removed note, good to see SG has been given a full team to fuck up with. that way he atleast cant say that he dint have the necessary fire power to win the challenger series. and now with his tennis elbow i guess he wont need to provide an excuse for nto getting runs." kya kare even sachin couldnt score freely with his tennis elbow so why shoul i be any different " will be the response.

    By Blogger K-Slice, at 03:09  

  • prem, worma,
    does anyone know for sure whether sairaj and munaf will be playing for maharashtra this season or is it still just speculation? innitially i had heard that nilesh k will be moving the maha but he has been named in the mumbai probables. i read an article today where powar was talking baout how chnadrakant pandit and sai wont make much of a difference. good to see the mumbai vs maha batlle heating up again. hopefully it will be like 90/91/92 when maha actually had a team with enough ballz to compete with mumbai.
    this gives another of my ideas a huge fillip. a few friends of mine and me have decided to go watch maharashtra play whenever they play in poona. use up all our sick leave if we have to but make sure they get support from locals. should be fun!!

    By Blogger K-Slice, at 03:14  

  • Hmm ya they always had a decent batting order.It was thrie batting that has let hen doen.Now with Sairaj and Munaf it might make it interesting.Also would like too see how Kale performs this season.He impressed me when he played agaisnt England .Batted fantsatically well against an good attack on a what was a seaming wicket.Also it wasnt a defensive innings but an innings filled with strokes.He was unlucky not to get greater recognition.This year he should prove a point to every one by scoring heavily.Intersting to read about Dheeraj Jjadavs comments about Roi performance.He mentioned the fact that there wasnt enough applaiction shown by the fellow batsmen.By the way whats Raina doing in the ROI tea.He had a very avarage season for UP in Ranji.Admittedely he performed well in onedayers for them.But that doesnt mean he walks into the ROI team.Rayudu has a far better record in First class and should have been selected.

    By Blogger bulchee, at 04:07  

  • k-slice,
    Both Sodhi and shukla were really bad players at international level. They figured that out themselves. Sodhi was a good bat but rank bad bowler. had only gentle inswingers in his armory.

    LRS was neither a good bat nor a good bowl and hence could not fly as an all rounder.

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