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Sight Screen

Friday, November 25, 2005

Overs 41-50

The Indians need to watch, over the next couple of days and repeatedly (like medicine, take it thrice a day before meals) a video of this innings -- what did for them was not so much the grass on the pitch, as the grass they allowed to grow between their ears.

Look at the narrative arc of this innings, and you notice that after the first 12 overs, there was really nothing special about the bowling; nor did the pitch continue to produce the extravagant swing of the early session.

That makes the approach a bit difficult to fathom -- once India lost those three early wickets, the job obviously had to be to focus on batting through, keeping wickets in hand. Yet, barring the one period between overs 21-30, India invariably lost two or more in every ten wicket phase, and the batsmen contributed in fair measure to their own dismissals.

That lack of thought has, here, made the difference between posting a 250-ish score, which on this track was eminently defensible, and being bowled out inside the distance, which frankly is criminal in an ODI.

Agarkar's free swing at a yorker length delivery was a guaranteed innings-ender -- the ball was way too full for the extravagance of that bat swing.

MS Dhoni is predominantly a front foot player; very surprising therefore to see him, in the early part of his innings, sit on the crease and, in the process, miss out on the room, and batswing, he needs for his shots.

The only way to explain the aberration is that he was not sure of the grass, and whether it would produce something extravagant in terms of bounce. The way he played today indicates the team did well in not promoting him up the order; with his footwork awry and hence his timing being less than precise, it was odds-on that his first attempt to loft ended up -- especially given the long straight boundaries here -- in the hands of the fielder.

India bowled out for 188, with 4.1 overs, is an indictment not of the pitch, but of the batting; it will take something approaching the miraculous to pull this one back.

Incidentally, by getting bowled out, India has also let SA out of jail -- what with a preponderance of seamers and an unduly large quota of extras, SA was heading to overshoot its allotted time and, possibly, be docked overs. Bowling India out has given them the escape clause -- and the full 50 overs to chase a target that, if the chasing side only decides to bat through 50, should be a walk in the park.

It's almost a no-brainer to say this, but it needs saying -- whatever slim chance India has depends on the first ten overs; the conditions for bowling will be at their very best then, and unless Pathan and Agarkar can strike hard and often, this game could get over in a hurry.

PS: I need to shower, change, and get to office; early start to my day today. Will likely miss the first few overs of the Proteas chase, as a result; will resume updates from the 11-20 over phase on.

23 Comments:

  • Prem - docked overs? what docked overs... the rule has been changed 3 years ago... heavens sake ,, please edit your post and don't mention docking business... it is just fines and suspension - not docking for slow over rate.

    By Blogger Yacrik, at 07:27  

  • yacrik,
    Although Smith would have been in deep s**t. He was already suspended for 2 games a couple of months ago for a slow over rate-- this time would have been a 6 game suspension I believe.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 07:33  

  • tendulkar out for 2, that's 6 innings in a row.

    dravid has been not at all consistent in the last five matches

    but how come nobody seems to be noticing, eh?

    oh i get it. they are not called ganguly.

    By Blogger achu, at 07:36  

  • By Blogger achu, at 07:48  

  • http://in.rediff.com/cricket/2005/nov/25ranji-bengal.htm

    ganguly scores 159. don't remember the last tendulkar century in first class cricket

    By Blogger achu, at 08:00  

  • Achu: my, my. In an earlier post, this is what I said: "With this dismissal, his form is increasingly in question; it will be interesting to see whether the management backs him for the final game, irrespective of how this goes, or takes the logical, if contentious, option of resting SRT or, interestingly, using him in the supersub slot for that game.

    How come you didn't notice? Didn't suit the paranoia mindset?

    BTW -- when SG scored 14 against Zimbabwe, and two ducks in four balls in the Duleep final, why did you not raise such questions?

    I mean, come on -- people scream about how Ganguly is being discriminated against; surely to post endlessly when he does something good, and vanish off the map when he is out cheap, is equally discrimination, and really does that player no favors?

    yacrik: Thanks, pal -- I owe you one, that is a horrid gaffe.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 08:08  

  • Oh, amazing to see Prem jumping in to stop Achu. He couldn't bear someone actually praising Gang on his blog, eh?

    By Blogger Shan, at 08:17  

  • 159 against Maha attack...wowow..that is classy.

    Even if SG was in this team....zilch would have been the difference in score card.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 08:18  

  • shan: Read the post. The question asked was about SRT's batting and why there was no comment. As for praising Ganguly, a lot of people have been doing just that, for a prolonged period of time, and I don't remember blocking anyone. Like I said, if paranoia is the preferred mindset, good luck to you, mate. Anyways, back to the main page.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 08:22  

  • Achu, to support Prem as well, the reason Tendulkar (or Dravid) have not played first class cricket in a long time is because they didn't need to. Gang needed to to recover his form and confidence. Unlike them, he is not a technical player, he is a form, and touch player, a bit like John McEnroe in tennis instead of the rock solid Samprases and Lendls. So he has to practice more, work harder than the other two greats of the talented triumverate.

    By Blogger Shan, at 08:22  

  • Rajg, congratulations on running the Maharashtra team down so well. Anything to get at Gang, right? Which team should he prove himself against, according to you? I'm sure you don't want him in the national team. So? We should just ignore his achievements and forget about him right?

    Prem, my comment was more tongue in cheek than you figured. I was just surprised to see you suddenly jump in the fray and retort that way. Maybe I should've added a smiley? :)

    PS: Oh, sorry but I admit I still think Gang should be in the team based on his talent. Let's agree to disagree on that.

    By Blogger Shan, at 08:26  

  • wow a reply from prem himself to me. this is a special day.:).

    the lsat time that happened ws sometime in maybe 2001 when i was just getting hooked on to him on rediff.

    to answer you prem i have been through thivk and thin on the gang issue on prempanix for a very long time. i have even mentioned that i think chappell is right in giving a frank assessment of gang's talent. but i have raised this tendulkar issue for some time now for a simple reason.

    people have gone after gang and his weakness for short stuff. but nobody in the lsat decade or so has commented on upon weaknesses in tendulkar's temparament. remember how you agreed that the double century in australia on the last tour was really unworhty of the great man. and the reason dravid had to declare SRT on 194 was this reason that we stood a chance in the fourth test in australia but were done in by the great SRT's scoring rate. if he knows he can't spot the slower ball and keeps getting out at mid-on, mid-off he should have worked upon it. but instead in the last five matches he has been out because he has either missed the pace or the line or both. sorry but the great SRT is relying too much on his famed reflexes and not his technique.

    ditto for ganguly.

    except SG is crucified.

    By Blogger achu, at 08:42  

  • Will be interesting to see some experimentation while bowling too....smith is going strong but we still are sticking to standard bowling options....how abt having bhajji or kartik before its too late...they are already within 150 runs..

    By Blogger Rakesh, at 08:49  

  • Prem was always biased against SG. RD is a fraud as captain (and his performance as batsman being skipper sucks . India's performance on a neutral wicket at Hyd'bad and Kolkata make the picture clear. Bangalore performance and matches against Lanka does not count, as those kind of one-sided wickets will never get provided in other countries.Even RD batting has been exposed in this series (scored 2,8,6)and in World team against Australia.

    By Blogger Southie_joker, at 09:08  

  • Prem's assessment of the wicket: "The Indians need to watch, over the next couple of days and repeatedly (like medicine, take it thrice a day before meals) a video of this innings -- what did for them was not so much the grass on the pitch, as the grass they allowed to grow between their ears."

    That should answer all and sundry crying hoarse about anti-national bong curator planting landmines.

    By Blogger SS, at 09:09  

  • IMHO, if you take out the SL series, then RD sucks in recent ODI performance. Actually it is now time for him to redeem himslef as an ODI bat against some good attackes like PAK, ENG etc. But flat wickets will not help.

    By Blogger SS, at 09:10  

  • If India keep losing I dont see why our Selectors should think of RD as Captain till World Cup 2007. The world cup will be played outside India and there is no way this team packed with greenhorns under RD can hope to play well. Also GC's performance should be assessed objectively in coming months against quality opposition.If he cannot deliver abroad he should be booted out. We need SG back as ODI captain minus GC.At least we reached WC finals under SG in South Africa..

    By Blogger Southie_joker, at 09:11  

  • souhtie...

    I think you are thinking too fast! the team is playing well and have lost very fewmatches since RD took over. He needs a little more time to prove himself.

    There is no chance of SG as captain. The politics in command will not let that happen.

    By Blogger SS, at 09:13  

  • finally hear hear!

    achu's desparate pleas for some fairness and sanity in the selection process seems to be finding voice. many belive that that SG is a persnal crusade. sorry guys SRT is my favourite player after kapil. but SG still has something that SRT has lost maybe opening too many restaurant and ferrari doors - spunk, guts, and the will to withstand fire

    By Blogger achu, at 09:23  

  • Let us try RD out till Pakistan series. If the team keeps losing get SG back as captain. Winning at home on favorable pitches dont count....

    RD is abysmal as captain under crunch situations, losing both matches against Pakistan earlier this year after taking over from SG at 2-2.As vice-captain of World team against Australia he showed no leadership or batting skills. Now 2,8,6 against SA.... the guy is an embarassment as India captain when compared to Graeme Smith.

    By Blogger Southie_joker, at 09:23  

  • Prem's favorite RD scored 6 runs off 33 balls today .Does he imagine he is playing test cricket.He also failed to get into double figures against SA in last 2 innings.RD does not deserve a place in ODI team as a batsman any longer . This guy is also an embarassment as India captain when compared to Graeme Smith(50 runs off 54 balls).

    By Blogger Southie_joker, at 09:31  

  • http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/content/story/227286.html
    thats the link to the new chappel controversy

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 14:36  

  • Dear all,

    Let us not be too harsh on RD. Being the Indian captain is not an easy task. If you remember, SG used to average nearly 50 in tests before he became captain. Let us wait and see how Dravid, our best batsman in recent times, shoulders the pressure and how SG, free of it, and with a chance to retrospect and work on his game, delivers at the international level.

    RD would also do well to remember that even in his prime years, he has averaged 17 as Indian captain over 5 tests. The ball is in his court now, just as it is in SG's in a different way.

    By Blogger oldmanblues, at 16:31  

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