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Sight Screen

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The Sehwag factor

A fallout of the Zimbabwe imbroglio seems to have been the division of India's cricket media, and fans, into two opposing groups: one that seems to wish India does well so Saurav Ganguly will stay out; the other that wishes India fails so the former captain can come back. Goes without saying that both mindsets are equally unfortunate -- there is no conceivable reason why anyone would want to actively wish a fit and in-form Ganguly out of the side; to wish failure for the team and its component parts is IMHO an equally unconscionable state of mind.
(Oh, before you ask -- I fall into a third category, labelled 'I don't give a damn'; a category that wants to see 11 fit, in-form, hungry players performing prodigies on the field, under the Indian crest, no matter what their names are.)
What prompted this post (outside of the fact that Worma and Ruchir between them have covered all the bases thus far) is this story, specifically, this segment:
A target of 250, though, wouldn’t ever have been beyond reach and the visitors got there with seven balls remaining. Dravid took comfort from the “close finish,” but the national selectors will have to end Sourav Ganguly’s exile if the top order again crumbles as quickly.
Incidentally, vice-captain Virender Sehwag’s disappointing run continued and in 17 ODIs this season, he has only managed one fifty for India — nine matches ago.

The first point is, um, interesting -- is there apparent cause and effect? In other words, did the top order collapse because of the absence of one player or, conversely, is the presence of that player an insurance against top order collapses? Or looked at another way, is the corollary equally true: if the top order comes good in the next game, or next two games, or whatever, does that alone constitute a sufficient reason to keep Saurav out? That is the real danger of such arguments, IMHO.
The other point is increasingly coming into focus -- to wit, Sehwag in ODIs. It's not without a touch of irony -- VS came on the scene as a berserker batsman who could crack open ODI matches with explosive hitting at the top of the order; he now seems to be viewed as a Test batsman who combines longevity at the crease with an appetite for big scores, but who is increasingly out of his depth in ODIs. Why, is a question that doesn't seem to throw up an instantly apparent answer -- you would think if he batted like he does in Tests, even without going into overdrive, he would still be one of the most devastating batsmen in the short form of the game. But no -- that is not how it is working out.
Here, for the record, is his career ODI summary; make of it what you will. What I found especially intriguing is his year-wise or season-wise averages, which seem to indicate that his ODI game is never about consistency (outside of two seasons, his average has never touched the 40s, for instance) but about playing the odd explosive innings. Which was fine, when the team lacked explosive power -- but the emergence of other players who can scatter bowling attacks coupled with a dismal recent run of outings is apt to give the question some immediacy: Where does Sehwag belong in this lineup?
Be good to hear from you on this; meanwhile, will get to work, and drop by again later in my afternoon, by when hopefully there will be more stories to link to.


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    By Blogger Askinstoo, at 11:51  

  • Prem:
    Even lets say the team falls behind 0-3 to SA the worst case scenario SG's selection is not warranted if the cricketing merits are applied while selecting the team. He IMO is advised to play Ranji matches and show his mettle there and prove that he is still belongs at this level. No good sports fan will wish one player bad or hold it against SG not to comeback. SG definetly and no one for that matter is above the game.

    By Blogger ramshorns, at 11:59  

  • Prem - what striking about Sehwag's stats is that India have won about half the matches he has played in and he has twice the average in matches won to matches lost. Obvious maybe, but I don't think it would be true for other players. He averages 42 (with 6 100s and 14 50s) in the 69 matches won and only 20 (with 1 100s and 4 50s) in the 60 matches lost in which he has played. It also means there is a good chance India win when he has a good score. This makes the fact that he only score >50 in 25/129 matches he has played in, very frustrating.

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 12:04  

  • Prem, Telegraph (LPSahi) is indicating...SG will be back...if team fails or goes even 1-2 in first 3 ODIS. IMHO SG is no more intl class player. Even, if he scores a double ton in ranji game (chances are remote)...i don't him in Indian dressing room.

    VS shud be tried in the middle order, if he in not VC...i would have dropped him straight away.
    Then, bring-in GG.

    By Blogger Rajg, at 12:06  

  • hi prem,
    cant say one more top order collapse coz this was the only collapse inlast 8 odi.
    i have no problem with sehwag's 30s and 40s.u can expect lengthy knock but in today's game u can not say making 30s is bad patch.
    Although i would like him to come at 5 for couple of matches and see how things goes.also btw all those order changes its now turn shuffle him just to see how he adapts at deck.it will send some urgency also.
    Another thing prem how players like MK goes on bottom in case of form just after having form of life.
    if u study forms of YS and MK they also never has that consistency just like VS.
    Another move should be is to give Raina some time to bat now.i would even sent him with SRT to open and let viru come down the order.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 12:14  

  • gopalblog,

    25 times 50+ is not bad,check out other contemporary openers with that regard.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 12:17  

  • Prem, I don't think any Ganguly fan wants India to fail so that Ganguly can come back into the side. Even in your blog, there are many die hard Ganguly fans who keep arguing why Ganguly should be back. They may say Ganguly should be back in place of so and so. But I don't think or haven't seen anyone celebrating an India loss. If a reporter writes that Ganguly may be back if India loses by such and such margin, then he/she is analysing the scenario for Ganguly's comeback, not necessarily wishing India to fail. My two cents.

    By Blogger Jai, at 12:17  

  • jai,
    absolutely right,

    By Blogger MAHER, at 12:19  

  • maher/jai:
    even if there are places in the team SG shoild not be the choice. there are more deserving players who can perform at this stage better than SG in ODI's.

    By Blogger ramshorns, at 12:21  

  • Dan is back with the Graeme smith diary.. Hilarious to say the least..

    By Blogger vishnupavan, at 12:25  

  • Prem

    i am looking forward to see your comments on the cricinfo bolg (harsha started it with some insightful points)

    By Blogger rahul_fan, at 12:25  

  • Prem,
    Honestly, it amazes me to see all this hulaaboo about SG - I don't think anywhere in the world we would hear so much noise about one person's removal from the team...! The amount of alacrity shown by this pro-SG Media lobby is bizarre, to put it mildly. What warrants an SG to be drafted back into the team now...?
    Even if Sehwag had failed, don't we have enough players who proved the fitness and *form* and already waiting in the wings...? When they can't be given a chance - why should SG be given a chance, just because he scored a century in a Test against Zimbabwe and a century in some other local match...? There are number of failures later *already* after those 'glorious' innings to suggest that SG is NOT *yet* into form...!Till he gets into fitness and *Form* as well, we have enough number of more fit and in-form players to be drafted into the team - even if some moron thinks a one-off 'failure' of scoring 250 is an earth-shattering failure of the new system that is being put in place in Indian Cricket.
    Finally, for the Indian team to win matches - we need 11 fit and In-Form players ... not those guys with one-off success behind them.

    By Blogger ravi2206, at 12:26  

  • maher - I did a quick comparison of primarily openers in ODIs for % of matches they score over 50:

    Tendulkar: 109/355=30% (of course not always an opener, but primarily so)

    Sehwag trails the worst other by >5%. Surely he should have similar nos as these others .... right?

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 12:26  

  • ramshorns:
    interestingly SG was all set to sit out coz we were losing badly (in the end he sit out with injury)
    Now as u said we start losing again how come u call the same guy??
    And say we lose badly but the guys who are in team at price of SG are doing good job then??
    Personnaly i wont make major change this setup of 15-16 players whatever result is.
    Only guy i look who doesnt fit well is JP.i dont know how good he is then say Bangar.if he is ditto as Bangar then i will prefer Bangar but in case none of them are match winners.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 12:27  

  • Prem,

    I have been a SG for a long time now. I have celebrated every time he has good and cringed every time he get's out fending the ball. I feel that SG has a lot to offer but i,for that matter anybody, maybe not even SG (just before somebody jumps all over me, just a guess and feeling for what we have seen in the past) would want india to fail so that SG can get back into the team. With VS, i think i agree with somebody here who pointed out that more often his 30 and 40 are quite valuable than 50s of lot of people. At the same time it's quite frustrating to see him get out when he starts to look good. Reminds one of VVS after his calcutta innings when he would effortlessly get into the 30s and invent ways to get out. Maybe it's time VS came down the order and GG open with SRT. However, the question would be who would you drop from the 11.

    By Blogger lukkhamaster, at 12:28  

  • Gopalblog: Not to start a pro/anti SG war here; but can you give the same kind of stats for SG...?

    By Blogger ravi2206, at 12:28  

  • 2206 - I'm going away from computer at the moment but if someone else hasn't come up with these in a few minutes I'll get em...

    By Blogger Gopalblog, at 12:31  

  • Gopalblog
    Suits me ..! About to jump into Gym anyway - be back after an hour...:)

    By Blogger ravi2206, at 12:32  

  • gopalblog:
    so u say 19.5 is way below then all others? my point is we all know he can do better but i wont say he is going badly.btw SRT scored first 100 after 70+ matches.
    amazingly he is ahead of those guys even after 350 matches,there lies his importance.

    By Blogger MAHER, at 12:33  

  • prem: I looked at sehwag's career
    stats (howstat.com.au is brilliant)and some facts are interesting. VS has been playing for almost six years now. That definitely puts him in the seniors category, and naturally, more is expected of seniors than the rest of the team. Also, in the career of any long-serving batsman, the middle 2-4 years are expected to be the peak. Going by this logic, VS is appraching his peak years either now or soon after. But if you look at his career average's progression, it reached mid-thirties in 2002-2003, and is starting to dip a few points now. Does this mean he is past his prime now ? Hard to tell.

    But VS has never scored more than 2 fiftees in any ODI series so far, which is a staggering stat.
    So, perhaps all you can expect from him is that odd fifty or hundred and many many 20, 30, 40s scored at explosive rates. That's him so far, and I don't see why or how that would change after six years.

    One way he can increase his contribution I think is by bowling more, especially when the situation demands. He should be able to bowl 5 overs at a good economy rate, and/or take wickets more often. That way he could become another Jayasuriya-like.
    That would be good for him as well as the team. My several cents!!

    By Blogger ragoth, at 12:33  

  • Guys, I think even if VS is not giving really big scores at the top, we have a problem in replacing him. GG , for all we know is yet to perform in different conditions. Consider how he got out in the last match. All his appearances came in India or against minnows. VS 30-40s are more valuable considering the way they come. Even if VS is not in top form, IMHO I don't think we have a proven alternative. Of course we can try , but I have serious doubts about GG. In the gilcrist mold, what do you guys think of trying Dhoni at the top?

    By Blogger flute, at 12:34  

  • vishnu,
    Thanks for the GrameSmith diary. This Dan guy is really funny.

    By Blogger Poondu, at 12:41  

  • Prem:

    Very interesting encapsulation of how many of the fans are currently divided on the issue.

    However, I do feel that your broad categorization does not do justice to 2 groups of fans, even though they are in a minority.

    There is the group who are either pro-SG or at leats respect SG's contributions. They would like to see a fit and in-form SG back in the team. This group does not see India winning and a future return of SG to the team as mutully exclusive - it is not a zero sum game to these followers of the game - rooting for SG does not mean rooting against India for them.

    Similarly, there is another group which holds SG in no great regard or are indifferent, but lose no sleep over a crusade to see SG being kept out of the team. They want India winning for the win, not because it will keep SG out. And if a fit SG can come back with India winning, so be it.

    Also, I believe the reason the general argument of India wins-SG out, and India loses-SG in, can be directly traced to the numerous mixed signals that the BCCI and the powers that be have spouted out since the GC-SG spat.

    The original argument was prove form and fitness -- SG did that in his first Duleep Trophy game but was not selected. The reason proferred was "don't change a winning combination" -- this made sense but the logic lost lustre when other injured players got a chance to make a comeback even while the team was winning (so the not changing a winning combination argument did not cut ice).

    Without anyone saying clearly where SG stands in the future scheme of things, fans have drawn their own conclusions. To the fervent pro SG group, the conclusion is that he is being kept out as a result of the spat with GC and therefore the only way he can make a comeback is if GC is under pressure --the way that happens is if GC's methods fail or hit a roadblock and India stutters along the way.

    To the anti-SG group, the only way to prevent SG getting back in the team is to ensure that GC's methods succeed --India does not stutter. This allows SG to be kept out of the team ("maintaining a winning combination") even if SG were, by some chance, to regain and maintain form and fitness.

    Hence the two polarized groups with polarized opinions -- each based on a narrow partisan agenda of whether SG is in the team or not, and if India wins or loses, it is secondary only to the primary goal. Sad, but given the way things have turned out and the way BCCI has handled this issue from the beginning (the epitome of shoddiness), what else can one expect ?

    By Blogger kban1, at 12:43  

  • Flute,

    Agree with you about VS. However, mate, you are not being fair to GG or SL. To call SL as minnows just because we pulled of 6-1 doesn't do either of the justice. Let's just rewind a bit, say till the indian oil cup in SL. At this moment, GG is probably the best bet to open but problem is, who do you keep out of the 11

    By Blogger lukkhamaster, at 12:43  

  • Sehwag when he came in was thought as better than sachin..just like the movies anyone come was thought as a replacement for shahrukh khan be it hrithik salman vivek or whoever....Khan is still there . same goes for sachin kitne aaye kitne gaye par badshah wahi ka wahi .....

    By Blogger tombaan, at 12:43  

  • @Flute, I would definitely not put MSD in Gilly's mode just yet. His weakness has definitely been found out and I don't think good teams will allow him to be that destructive again. Having said that his last innings against SA was short but extremely revealing as far as his temparament was concerned. Starved off his favorite front shots, MSD made a very proactive attempt to increase his run scoring through singles and he was succeeding very well in converting one's into two's. While he is taking this approach, if he works on the short-ball and the swinging ball, he shd be even more destructive than Gilchrist and it might be a perfect lesson to Ganguly on how he shd have dealt with the situation.

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 12:44  

  • Having said that why not try gambhir as opener and drop sehwag...he anyway was not comfortable opening. let him come in place of kaif for a game or two.
    I for one want to see yadav back in next game....

    By Blogger tombaan, at 12:45  

  • vishnu
    good find . looking foreward to read more by him as the tour progresses

    By Blogger JD, at 12:45  

  • Prema,

    I have one simple panacea for the situation. Replace Sehwag with my bf Ruchir Joshi. He's the sexiest man alive on planet.

    Andre Nel is bisexual. We all know what he did with Yuvi the other day........ so he may get distracted with the sexiness of Ruchir and bowl ask Ruchir for sexual favours.:)))
    Ruchir will say "Ok but u have to bowl all ten overs of ur spell underarm".
    India will cash in and make hay.

    By Blogger Sujatha, at 12:45  

  • prem: Another interesting stat is Sehwag's evrage against SA is a bit over 22, his lowest against any country, with only one fifty in 9 matches. His next lowest is against Aus. So, it's quite possible that these two teams know how to bowl to him (or any one for that matter!). But, more than that I think the main reason for the poor performances is that Sehwag's batting is about taking risks, and with these two teams, there is very little marging for error, especially in terms of their fielding and catching. So, perhaps Sehwags is bound to fail against SA more often than we or he himself might like. Of course, all this doesn't mean he can't belt a hundred in the next game! That's the beauty of Sehwag. Here's hoping for one!

    By Blogger ragoth, at 12:46  

  • kban1 :-

    "this made sense but the logic lost lustre when other injured players got a chance to make a comeback even while the team was winning "

    So , you are comparing SG with SRT ??? LOL..it is pathetic for the Indian Cricket.

    By Blogger gangulysucks, at 12:48  

  • gangulysucks:

    You missed the point. SRT was in the team which won the 1st 2 ODI's, so how could he make acomeback and disrupt the "winning combination" ? Ergo, I couldnt be comparing SG with SRT, could I ?

    Kaif made a comeback into the team and when he was selected , the "not changing a winning combination argument was not invoked".

    Hope that helps.

    By Blogger kban1, at 12:51  

  • kban1, leave gangulysucks alone. I was talking to him on another thread and most of the time, he kept on making comments without any sense. Don't bother to explain, he will never get it.

    By Blogger Bhairo Singh, at 12:54  

  • Hey, you guys skipped SG's stats (% of innings > 50)! He is at 29.4%.

    By Blogger Sudip, at 12:55  

  • Giving a chance to player based on the previous performance is really good.

    The Kaif cameback and scored 38* and 13.Also before returning , Kaif scored runs in domestic level after the injury.

    That 38 allowed Team India to win the 6th ODI.

    But SG Crossed that stage. The Only thing i am saying is SG can talk with it's bat in the domestic level. Then No One can deny his entry into the Team India. No one can stop that.

    Without proving his "form", SG does not deserve a place in Team India.

    By Blogger gangulysucks, at 12:57  

  • Regarding Sehwag, I think he was effective till he played with another left hander(Sourav) in the other end. The moment Sachin took over the opening spot at the eve of world cup (from sehwag initially and then from Sourav), sehwag's efficiency (Sourav too) at the top of the order got affected severely. I think it is partly because Sachin and Sehwag are right handers, bowlers are able to stick to same line & length. Though Sehwag is affected, Sachin was not affected because he is a better ODI player.

    To bring Sehwag into form, two experimentations can be done.
    i) Open with Sehwag & Gambhir (or Sourav if he is fit and in form). I would prefer Gambhir because they are very successful in tests and they complement each other well. Send Sachin to No 4 as he did in 2002. Play one full series with this combination and see if Sehwag succeeds.
    ii) Open with Sachin & Gambhir (or Sourav). Play Sehwag at No 4 or 6.

    I would prefer No 6, that will leave india with Yuvraj at No 5, Sehwag at No 6, Dhoni at No 7 - three hard hitters playing in overs between 40-50. we can expect anywhere between 80-120 in last ten overs CONSISTENTLY (assuming in most of the matches, one of them will succeed) which is very rare in Indian cricket for past 3-4 years.

    Even after these experimentations, if he fails to perform, DROP him.
    Making these experimentations would be worthy even if we lose 1 or 2 series because we are talking about make/break of a potential great player. When experimentations can be done to find out whether Rao/Raina/JP Yadav/Sreesanth/RP Singh can become good players based on potential, sehwag has much much more potential which need to be nurtured/utilized fully.

    Instructing Sehwag to get fully fit might also do a world of good for him.

    By Blogger muthu, at 12:59  

  • tombaan,

    I got your pt...but please do not compare SRT and SRK :))

    By Blogger rp, at 13:00  

  • I said this in another post yesterday...maybe we should try Sehwag as the super-sub. As it is we are going with 5 bowlers now...so Sehwag as a supersub will be a nudge to him that everyone has to perform to be in the first 11. I think when he opens he tries to be over aggressive and plays too many rash shots when as you suggested if he played like he does in Test matches he would still score freely.
    Again this is just for next couple matches to see how it goes and how Sehwag responds to the challenge...after all flexibility is the mantra nowdays.

    By Blogger ClannZú, at 13:02  

  • Sehwag at 6 is a good idea. With Gambhir coming in at the top of the order and a bowler as the 12th man.. 7 bats 4 bowlers and the 12th man Murali Kartik..

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:05  

  • Jai, Lukkhamaster and others: I need to clarify something here. It is not my intention to suggest that the entire nation is polarized on those lines. I know there is a third group that just wants the team to do well, irrespective of its component parts -- heck, I belong in that group myself. The reason for my bringing up the division was because this third group seems the silent group -- the public discourse is being dominated by the other two, and it is frankly an unedifying spectacle. I pointed out the LPSahi article in that context -- equally in context is the headline, in IE and elsewhere, that reads on the lines of 'Desperate Ganguly keen to do anything to get back'. That, equally, is despicable IMHO -- any player who finds himself out of the team wants to get back, where is the harm in nursing ambition? VVS Laxman has been talking of late of wanting to get back into the side, I dont see headlines calling him 'Desperate Laxman...' though. Or Balaji, or whoever. So why the appellation for Ganguly alone?
    That is the real point I was driving at -- that by framing the whole debate on the pro- and anti- lines, even if only in our choice of headlines or talking points ('desperate Ganguly', 'top order collapse' etc), we are merely muddying the waters, rather than seeking, or finding, any sort of clarity.

    Sujatha: Ooo, too funny. What's the matter, mate, dyspepsia? Or personal ambivalence? One day you want to marry him yourself, another day you want to shove him off on Andre Nel? In any case, will stay on topic here, which is cricket -- your own preoccupations are of course your own business; enjoy.

    Bad morning here, so will have to run out again. Back later.

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:05  

  • Sachin, Gambhir, Raina, Dravid, Yuvraj, Sehwag, Dhoni, Agarkar, Harbhajan, RP Singh, Irfan Pathan... 12th man Kartik...

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:07  

  • @Muthu, that is a pretty astute observation. If this is indeed right, then we shd ask GG to open with VS, with RD, SRT, YS, MK, MSD
    If we were chasing, I wd rather have Sehwag open, give me a quick 50 in 5 overs, reduce the ask for solid guys like GG, SRT, RD and others to milk singles and get us through.
    Clannzu, For this particular series, my thoughts are to have Murali Kartik as the SS. I think I made that point in a couple of blogs earlier on playing to your strengths.

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 13:08  

  • Dileep P., interview about VVS:


    "Even from 50 yards away, you can't miss the relaxed stance and the glorious flourish with which he leans into an off-drive. After crashing a short ball into the side netting, he pauses momentarily to shake his head free of perspiration. Even at 5pm on a November evening, Hyderabad is a warm place, and the net bowlers running in off long run-ups look a little out of puff. VVS Laxman, though, treats every ball with a seriousness that suggests he's squaring up to Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne, and not some teenagers eager to bowl the ball that they will boast about to their grandchildren years from now. "

    By Blogger Rajg, at 13:08  

  • @Shri, it shd be
    H Singh
    RP Singh
    Super Sub: Murali K

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 13:14  

  • Prem,

    The problem, if you could call that, with your blog is that some of the interesting topics get so many comments so quickly, that it becomes difficult to understand if you are going to be able to get to the later stage comments at all.

    In any case, good thing you picked that piece of the article. I did not read the original, but from what you have quoted, it seems clearly that his person is a Ganguly fan. He/She is looking for a way to justify his inclusion and at this point the only weak link he/she can find is Sehwag at the top.

    I think we should start a list tagging which reporters we consider humbug and would clearly disregard their points, which reporters are good and we would love to read their thoughts and which reporters are must-reads. What say?

    That way, we can simply dismiss the first category and get to their articles when we run out of absolutely everything we have to read :-)

    By Blogger RPM, at 13:15  

  • Sauravganguly.. dont its too flash an idea to get SRT in the middle order..I would play raina instead of Kaif for one game in keeping with the rotation policy. Also the fact that Raina bowls some off spin.. Sehwag down the order may just be the tonic for his flash and dash way of batting.. With Yuvraj and Dhoni...

    And the bowling brigade hasnt dont too badly with the bat off late.. :)

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:17  

  • Oh boy we lost one match and the knives are out. We are 7th in rankings and we can't win all.

    By Blogger squarecut, at 13:19  

  • souravganguly, i agree with u fully. sehwag can be asked to open if we chase. and sent to no 6 if we bat first.

    By Blogger muthu, at 13:19  

  • I agree with swapping Kaif and Raina. But, if flexibility is the mantra, SRT, being a team member, shd play at Number 4, to see if VS is successful with Gambhir.

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 13:21  

  • squarecut.. actually i think its a good thig we lost.. nd we lost right at the beginning of the series.. there were a lot of lessons to be learnt and we will be much the wiser for them..Also, if there is a sense of ennui in the team after beating Sl so handily, this was the right kick in the butt...

    But Sehwags form is of concern and unless he plays a substantial innings, the microscope will be on him.. esp with the perform or perish policy in place now.

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:21  

  • and why not ganguly at opening slot if he is fit and in form? that will reduce sachin's individual score by few runs, but he should be willing to sacrifice them if team is going to benefit, why not.

    By Blogger muthu, at 13:22  

  • VS shld bat 2 or 3 down. Reasons:
    1)He plays in the air a lot...During powerplays, some of em go straight into fielders hands...better suited when the field is spread...
    2)He is the best player of spinners (right up there with SRT). In middle overs he can be devastating...
    3)He has brute force combined with sublime timing. Can bisect the field big time. I have seen him play shots which reach the boundry before the fielders can move 3 yards. Does not make a difference whether the field is spread or not.
    4)If you saw the way that he played with Dhoni in the third match, you know that he is capable of playing sensible innings as well. Singles at will and boundries of the loose balls. Better than trying to hit all the balls...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 13:23  

  • Prem,
    Sadly a lot in the media(& i would include u too here) seem to be missing the point,& that is SG is not VVS or Balaji.In spite of his limitations,the kind of impact that SG had had on Indian cricket is enormous.And i think a lot of the anti-SG media are doing their best to muddle Indian cricket history by bringing in a personal & parochial dimension to this whole episode.I would say that at this point,any genuine,unbiased cricket lover would want SG to come back & perform once more,before maybe finally retiring from the game.The way he has been treated is really a shame,& it's a pity that very few of us seem to realise this.It's not as if SG had gone out on a match-fixing scandal or something;the least he deserves is some respect for his contributions,which sadly is missing.And one thing that the entire sports fraternity can probably learn from SG is his combative attitude on the field;i am sure they wouldn't learn it even from SRT,genius that he is!

    By Blogger mpb, at 13:23  

  • SG is talking with the bat! His average in Duleep Trophy is 39 in 3 innings. SRT's average in Challenger series was 12.66! As for me,I won't judge seasoned campaigners like SRT, SG by their contributions at the domestic level at this stage of their career.

    By Blogger Sudip, at 13:24  

  • rpm: My work is such, I don't have the luxury, most times, of even keeping comments streams open and responding on the fly. One thing I consistently do except on weekends, though, is late in my evening, I find time to click on each comment field, under each blog post, and read them all, just so I remain au courant with what you guys are thinking, and saying.

    Gym time now, so off for a bit; see all of you later

    By Blogger Prem Panicker, at 13:24  

  • sauravganguly.. SRT wasnt a hppy camper when he had moved down the order... and now that he is re-discovering the ways of the old, might be prudent to continue him at the top of the order.. Since Sehwag has been playing cameos at the top of the order, might as well do it in the middle order... This adding to the firepower in the middle and last overs of the game.

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:25  

  • every thread here seems to be leading back to SG...somewhat like "all roads lead to rome"... For my part, I will refrain from commenting. I think I have said enough...
    Remember prem's question was "where does sehwag belong in the lineup"...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 13:31  

  • @All who want Sehwag to come in the middle: If the opposing team decides to use a medium pacer for VS when he comes into bat, he is gone. Sehwag does better in the opening slot because the ball comes right on to the bat and it is hard enough to race to the boundary. However, with a slow medium pacer, Sehwag has to improvise and VS is not the greatest improviser. I do agree that he is the best to take on spinners.

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 13:33  

  • greg...lol mate...

    By Blogger SHRI, at 13:34  

  • sauravganguly, everytime I have seen VS go past the 15 over mark, he has made a century (or a near big one). Are you saying that he has trouble facing medium pacers ? If you want to see improvisation at its best, watch natwest final (sehwags murder of ronnie irani). That is the best improvisation that I have ever seen...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 13:36  

  • Prem:

    So obviously you don't have the 'email me comments' option on :-) If you have that, you don't need to go to each post and see what is going on. You just check the comments in the email, which come with a link to the original post, in case you want to write back.

    But on the other hand, you will probably need a separate email box just for comments ;-)

    By Blogger RPM, at 13:37  

  • I fully agree with g2r,
    Sehwag should go down the order.. GG should open..

    Kaif also should sit out for next game.. Raina must replace him..
    However All I am hoping is that the next pitch is a turner..
    Play 6 bat + Dhoni + 4 bowlers this time with a bowler as super sub..

    If we bat first, we have six bats.. and in the faternoon, pitch wont have the demons that we faced in Hyd. we also get a bowler when we bowl under lights..

    If we bowl first, as the conditions are dry, we can do away with 4 bowlers + Yuvi + Sehwag + SRT + Raina .. keep rotating them.. 3-4 over spells at max..

    I am not so disatisfied with our bowling performance with our bowlers at Hyd..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 13:38  

  • but greg, that is when he is well-set. there is a difference between a well-set Sehwag who is sure of his feet and where his stumps are and a Sehwag who takes his stance and is forced to improvize immediately.

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 13:40  

  • tc, I was thinking that GG should replace Kaif. Who else can open if Raina replaces Kaif (and we go with 5 bowlers) ? If we go with 4 bowlers, your combination is ideal. Also Agree that in D/N matches the only way to go is a bowling super-sub...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 13:42  

  • i GUESS IN d/n MATCHES, we will have score more if we bat first as dew factor require the first team to score atleast 20-30 more runs that usual.. hence 6 bat in the team initially..

    If we bowl first, on an afternoon pitch, slow bowler should bowl more.. and Karthik is not needed so badly..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 13:44  

  • sauravganguly, good point...my point is, we have not sehwag thrust in #3/#4 slots consistently...no harm trying atleast when we are chasing (because, this guy has a poor record while chasing). Also, one needs to tell him that he is senior player and the team is depending on some runs from him. If you remember the TVS cup match against NZ, all he was doing in the initial overs was running the ball to 3rd man and giving strike to SRT in the initial overs. Then he started murdering and got a big 100 which helped team to set 350+ total to win...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 13:46  

  • tc, what is a good total if we are forced to bat first...I think min 325+

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 13:47  

  • g2r, yeah.. 320+ atleast...

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 13:47  

  • tc, alternatively, we can play 4 bowlers and JPY. In this case, we can even have a batsman as super-sub.

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 13:50  

  • muthu only one experiment is needed, Instructing Sehwag to get fully fit might also do a world of good for him. which i think Dravid and coach have already told him . but Sehwag is going to take his time. and Dravid and coach are being patient with him.

    His fitness is one of the reason he doesn’t perform as well in the second inning of the test or as the series progresses his performance comes down. That’s why he suffers from loss of concentration.

    Why he is more successful in test then one day, Sehwag himself said when bats in test his mind is uncluttered by thoughts of achieving certain target so he feels a certain freedom but as we all know and he said himself in one day you have target to achieve whether you bat first or second and that’s crowds his mind and curtails his feeling of freedom which lends him in trouble. The day he starts fielding well and concentrate for more than 13 balls consistently we will know he has been working hard on his fitness and getting the benefit of fit body which is fit mind able to concentrate for longer period of time.

    By Blogger team, at 13:51  

  • lukkhamaster, sorry for the late response, but just to clarify, I did not say SL are minnows in my comments. Please note the 'or' in my post. GG either played in India OR against minnows overseas.

    If SG is fit, if SG shelves his captaincy ambitions, if SG is in decent form(not top form mind you), I think SG & Sachin to open with VS at no 6.

    For this scenario, SG will have to accept mentally that he has problems with short ball, stop harping on his past records and focus on his present batting form, put some real, real hard, honest effort into his cricket and regain his spot in playing 11.

    All the above SG related ifs are really really big ifs. Not sure if that is ever going to happen. I mean this bloke had all these issues even while he was playing/captaining and did precious lil to rectify the situation.

    By Blogger flute, at 13:56  

  • team, I did not see much problem with his fitness...his hit-every-ball-out-of-the-park attitude seems to be the only problem in ODIs...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 13:57  

  • guys, this was the last match at Banglore..

    it was in the month of november.. so conditions are likely to remain similar..

    if you note, pitch is a belter in the afternoon.. also note that we ended up making 286 under lights.. and last 14 ball, we made only 9 runs as match was already lost.. so we can assume that that 300 is easily chasable here..

    but in order to put pressure on the team chasing, team batting first needs to make a 320+ score...

    as you also note that spinners are not having freat success.. either bowling first or bowling last.. so JPY may be a better supersub...

    all other D/N matches on this ground, didnt happen at this time of the year..

    Only concrete conclusion is, pithc is a belter in the afternoon..

    By Blogger Thanks Chappel, at 14:00  

  • Off topic,
    Any of you guys know of any other sites as cheap as sportingstreams that stream the games?

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:01  

  • I feel that one good fall out of this 'pull out SG card from the shelf' media/BCCI is that SRT,RD & GC and others will have that extra motivation to perform in the coming ODIs. -:)

    Good for Indian team

    By Blogger flute, at 14:01  

  • i dont think dew will be a big factor in B'lore...Any B'lore folks out here who can comment ???

    Also, is it still raining in chennai ?

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 14:03  

  • Why "Desparate Ganguly" comment is appropriate?

    Simply because he has been misleading and lying.

    SG says he has taken 14/15 wickets and scored a 100.

    The fact is he has taken only 9 wickets. 7 are tail enders (#9,#10th wicket).
    Where is the other 5-6 wickets coming from? Why mislead??
    What about he failed in 3 innings straight after scoring
    a hundred. Even his hundred he struggled initially -
    against a good attack he will not have that luxury and
    get out quick.

    By Blogger Yacrik, at 14:03  

  • tc,
    Bangalore is Dravid's home ground-- ought to know the conditions pretty well and will trust him to make the right decision should he win the toss (not entirely sure that chasing is the way to go as many are saying due to dew factor).

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:04  

  • sahir, if dew is a factor, then, it is safer to chase. Also, in the recent few matches, we seem to be doing well in chases...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 14:05  

  • greg2rescue,
    I agree that dew won't be as big a factor in Bangalore. From what I understand, dew usually is there because of the vast contrast in daytime and nighttime temperatures. Bangalore has a pretty temperate climate.

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:06  

  • sahir, also, dew is due to humidity in the air. I know for sure that B'lore does not have much humidity...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 14:07  

  • With all due respect, i think we have seen enough of ganguly. He has been a good player when in form and led the country well in troubled times.

    But enough is enough, whats with this craziness over one individual. Why does he deserve to be back in the team? if public sentiments from a certain city or past glory is the criteria then why not bring back Sunil gavaskar and Kapil dev and the whole World cup winning 83 squad (if still alive).

    Since the argument SG supporters give is nothing better than the one i just mentioned. Its time for them to come to their senses and stop whining and wake up to the reality that Indian cricket needs to move forward with a new captain and younger replacement.

    By Blogger rahul_fan, at 14:09  

  • greg2rescue,
    I don't think the RSA attack will be affected as much by bowling with dew around. They rely almost entirely on seamers and the pitch definitely offers more pace under lights, with some movement available as well. If we put them in, I don't see how we restrict them below 280 on a belter. That would be a difficult total to chase agaisnt that attack under lights. Not to mention, the electric fielders will likely be more of a factor defending a total. But, as I said earlier, nobody probably knows the conditions better than Dravid-- I'll go with whatever he decides!

    By Blogger Sahir, at 14:10  

  • sahir, yeah...my bet is, this time around the pitch will have something for spinners rather than pacers...having said that, I think SA has prepared adequately to counter spin (the way kallis, prince & kemp played).

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 14:12  

  • also, i think SA's pace bowling is not that great...Agreed that they bowled a tight line and length in the initial phase on a conducive pitch. See how they went after pitch flattened out...I hope they dont make the stupidity of preparing friggin green pitches anymore...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 14:14  

  • rahul_fan, it is time to ignore "SG come back" mantra. The SG fans are not going to listen to any reason, facts or statistics...why bother...

    Also, if he does come back it will be good for India cricket because, he will be gone as soon as he gets a chance. This is because he will be under tremendous pressure and under the microscope...we know how our ex-captain performs under pressure (except maybe kenya, bangladesh...)...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 14:17  

  • they are saying that he may be back for the calcutta ODI just so that the crowds dont create trouble...hullo ??? We have just about enough of the calcutta crowds...I guess one more issue with crowd behavior, then, eden gardens could become a permanent soccer ground...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 14:23  

  • The saga of ganguly and his fans continues. Looks like Ganguly is more important than the team and all kinds of lobbying is going on to bring him back ...at what cost? The team. While Sehwag's failures are true and should be addressed...why replace him with a player who averages as much as Sehwag in the last 4 years (since the bouncer rule was introduced)....and here is a player who cant field, who cant run, who cant play short-pitched balls.....and his presence is going to create issues with in the team. Time to move forward...and not move backward. Wake up people.

    By Blogger G285, at 14:35  

  • Ganguly should go the SONIA way.

    Sonia Gandhi deserved no respect and she gained respect by opting out of the PM position.

    Ganguly deserves every respect for what he did in the past and by continuing to stay, not perofrming and playing politics he is losing all the respect.

    By Blogger G285, at 14:36  

  • g285,


    By Blogger gangulysucks, at 14:38  

  • btw, VVS has no lobby. Here is a guy whose strike rate in one-days is as good as Ganguly, VVS is a better of the two bad fielders and better of the two worst runner between wickets....Yeah Ganguly scored more runs cause he played 300 matches and VVS has played 80 matches.

    Most important thing is VVS is not selfish and he can stand up and play pace bowling.

    Why not VVS?

    By Blogger G285, at 14:39  

  • greg, I am a SG fan. But I have moved on accepting two facts: SG does not deserve his place in the side currently and just like there are pro-sg factions that simply want him back, there are anti-sg factions that just don't him back regardless of his form. There is no point arguing with either of these two sides and just causes unnecessary acrimony.
    That is why I am sticking to the current team and discussing what it needs to do to win.
    When we discuss replacements for VS or GG if they happen to be inadequate after sufficient opportunities, then I will come back to the SG argument ;-)

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 14:40  

  • And by the way, if you scroll throughout the blog, you will not even find a single argument proposing SG shd be in the team. Then why so many anti-sg messages if all of us have decided to bury the issue and move on.

    By Blogger sauravganguly, at 14:44  

  • g285, I am from AP and I am not sure if VVS has no lobby. I see so many ill informed, emotional news reports regarding VVS, all these reports talk as if great injustice has been done to him. VVS too talks a lot about 'bad luck', not enough chances etc.( he is probably terming lack of longer rope/fewer chances as bad luck etc).

    But, you know what, all this 'bad luck' is not gonna help him. This bloke got to improve his cricket in terms of fitness,ODI style batting etc.

    Coming to VVS selfless batting, you should have seen the ODI in Aus in 2004. Overs 40-45 were wasted by him just so he could finish his century. In end , I felt we lost that match b'coz of VVS inspite of his century.

    By Blogger flute, at 14:50  

  • greg2rescue next time look at Sehwg then tell me he is fit . and I mean by fit as a cricketer , a sports person not a lay person like you [ I don’t know if you are a spotman] or me, though even we require basic fitness to be healthy in mind and body . a fit person is also emotionaly fit, that is he is able to control his emotional reation beter.

    By Blogger team, at 14:54  

  • g285,
    Sonia gained respect from opting to not be PM? I thought she just bought a remote control.. Anyhow..

    By Blogger Toney, at 14:56  

  • team, i do agree that sehwag needs to improve on his temparament. I have seen many instances of bowlers have a chat to him and then he gets out immediately afterwords by playing some wild shots...remember afridi & mcgrath doing this to him...

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 14:57  

  • Prem,
    Is this really U? On Sehwag..
    What I found especially intriguing is his year-wise or season-wise averages, which seem to indicate that his ODI game is never about consistency (outside of two seasons, his average has never touched the 40s, for instance) but about playing the odd explosive innings. Which was fine..
    From a man who who has been bashing AGARKAR for the slightest of inconsistancy !
    What about the Agarkar's exlosive powers? he is the leader for India when it comes to taking 4 and 5 wickets per match. A much better ration than Sehwag in bowling department.

    He had been explosive when he came on scene ( still unbeatable world record) he has been exposive this year.. one of the top three at world level.. and he had been more than decenet for all those years in between..
    It is my guess that Agarkar will go ahead of Warne and McGrath at 250 mark.

    Prem, I knew that all along.. OK, you did have to know it all but IMO, you have done substantial damage to an excellent bowler on this blog and even in last three months I do not think you have shown courtsey to stand up and correct yourself.

    MAHENDRA Dhoni - in your article in India Abroad, you spelled his name Mahinder..is that a typo or there is more to this than a layman would know?

    thanks for your response.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 14:59  

  • Flute - It does not really matter to me if you are from AP or not. Not that I am a VVS supporter. But this dude has a better attitude than Ganguly.

    Talking about slowing down before a century. Ganguly has done that for every century.

    U think we lost this match because VVS batted slowly? Are you sure?


    By Blogger G285, at 15:10  

  • greg2rescue Yes I do and many other instances. I know dravid understands him and will have different expectation from him as well give him different role but sehwag knows dravid will also want him to perform in that given capacity , if he dosent do even that consistently then I don’t think dravid will treat him differnetly then other young players. like dravid will never think sehwag is in the test team to save the match or give respectable total to the team in one dayer if the team in danger but dravid dose expect him to work hard , get fit to do what he can do. Whether as opner or middle order , bat hard yes but give bowler respect first , then the day is yours .

    on Ganguly , i think he is fun as he gives us chance to show even we can become captain of India and play for India as even we have 5 or 6 years good cricketing years remaining and really who could be more motivating and aggressive , never say die then us battle harden die hard cricket lovers. We can look in Steve eyes and say we are not afraid of you in 2001 better then him , what’s more in 2004 we can do it to Adam and Ponting too. We should have been captain then . if only Dalmiya had read our blog.

    By Blogger team, at 15:13  

  • While watching live India's bowling last match, I was surprised to see RD continuing with SRT. He was bowling so badly that every over had 2 full tosses and 1 long hop. RP, Veeru and YS were bowling better but we continued with SRT. That was poor captaincy. I hope it was only an aberration and RD takes right decisions in future

    By Blogger J, at 15:15  

  • Agarkar Again!

    Crickinfo has a recent stat on an ODI bowler taking a particular batsman out..

    It is headed by Waqor taking Jaisurya 13 times in 45 Innings ie. Mere 28%

    But Agarkar took Jaisurya 9 times in 18 innings. A stagering 50 %

    This is only bettered by Bob Willis who got GM Turner 8 times in 11 matches.

    Agarkar also has taken Gilchrist and Campbell 6 times each - the left handers.

    Smith should watch out..

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 15:16  

  • team - what have you written? Others - did you get it?

    By Blogger Rakesh, at 15:20  

  • cricktip - AA has done well from SL ODI series but he has issues. I want to see how long he continues before breaking down and also how consistent he is in slog overs. he is been doing well and hopefully should continue to do so but your Aggy pooja is becoming an irritant. You are making him as if he is better then the best but the fact remains that he is not even a world class bowler at present

    By Blogger J, at 15:21  

  • g285, even if it doesn't matter to you if I am from AP or not, I thought it will help the matter we are discussing. Since I am from AP, I think we can safely assume that I will tend to know more about this guy's lobby or the lack there of , since I will already read local media, newspapers etc. Hope you will pay more attention to my comments before responding.

    BTW, my comments were purely based on VVS's attitude & performance and were not in comparision with SG. To answer you, yes I do agree that VVS comes off as better than SG in technique & talent, but I am still not sure if he deserves a place in playing 11. Also, VVS comes across as someone without a killer instinct/determination etc. which is so much required in ODIs.

    By Blogger flute, at 15:21  

  • After the departure of Robin Singh, we didn't have a good #6 or #7 - until Dhoni. When Sehwag-Sachin-Saurabh were playing musical chairs for the top two spots, I thought it makes more sense to open with the working combination of Sachin-Saurabh and bring in Sehwag at 5 or 6 as the slogger. Poor Kaif used to be in that position and his game is not cut out for the last 10 overs. It still makes sense - open with Saurabh and Sachin (I do think that Saurabh is much more valuable in one dayers than tests), Kaif as the "regular" #3, Yuvraj and Dravid at 4 & 5 (Dravid can play at #5 a tad more effectively than Yuvi) and bring in Sehwag and Dhoni at 6 and 7. Now that batting line up can win the world cup!

    By Blogger RV, at 15:26  

  • g285, btw, I watched every ball of the ODI I mentioned and VVS really slowed things a lot during the end overs.

    By Blogger flute, at 15:26  

  • j,
    I do not read ALL comments.
    Hope it is possible for you to do the same.

    By Blogger CrickTip, at 15:29  

  • Prem always wants to take a morally high position, and perhaps consciously, tries to position himself away from the, "masses".

    When Ganguly was playing and captaining, he did all sorts of surgeries like a doctor from donation Medical College, on Ganguly's merits and more on demerits, and what not. He argued that SG is unfit to play, in different words.

    Now SG is out as he desired. When SG is not making a comeback, Prem talks about taking a neutral position. Why this switch in position!!

    I can imagine what Prem's position will be if and when Ganguly comes back -- Say that BCCI is back to politicking; Dalmiya and Co. placed Ganguly in the team; Try to undermine him with him impeccable 20/20.

    There are enough ppl to follow his view and create ruckus. Good job!!!

    By Blogger dust bowl curator, at 15:58  

  • Prem,
    Surprised to see you waste your breath (or your digital flexors in this case) on an article by a known Ganguly crony....anyhoo...I thought RD/GC (its funny how I always think of them as a team) missed a trick in the first ODI...knowing fully well that SA would plan for SRT and VS in the opening spell, I was kind of expecting to see GG open with IP or YS (2 lefties) or even RD (righty-lefty combo) in this game to throw SA completely off their game plan....also considering that India ended up batting first, the saner thing would have been to protect SRT and VS from the moving ball and have a true opener like GG play out the first few overs....in this particular scenario with the dew having a major impact early on, I am in favor of Ranatunga's policy of saving your best batsmen for the middle...

    As for SG coming back into the ODI setup...the only way I would support that idea is if SG can improve his fielding and running between wickets to above average levels, and become a good hooker/puller...all this will, imo, impossible to accomplish at this career stage for SG...comments welcome

    By Blogger The Straighter Neo, at 16:01  

  • on a bigger picture it does not really matter as I assume that your comments are unbiased. When I talk about lobby, I talk about lobby from Dalmiya, President of BCCI and others who lobby for Ganguly. I am not talking about lobby at the news paper level. For that matter, the level of lobbying for VVS (including the lobby at the official level) is nothing compared to Mr. Politician Ganguly.

    To be honest with you, I will not have VVS and SG in the one-day team simply for their lack of fielding, catching and running skills. Thou, I will be tempted to play VVS against the aussies. But as of today, between the two, I will go with VVS simply because team chemistry will not go down with his presence and VVS is one guy who can play better against quality bowling.

    I watched every ball of that match too. We lost the match due to several reasons....and not because of VVS slowing down. Anyday 290 is a winning score in a day-night game in Australia...rain and last over six screwed up India.

    As I said...there are countless matches in which ganguly would slow down to get his century.

    By Blogger G285, at 16:06  

  • In current team, apart from Veeru everybody slows down while reaching century including SRT and RD

    By Blogger J, at 16:10  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger greg2rescue, at 20:47  

  • I find it amazing that lot of guys are after JP Yadav's head... in the limited opportunity that the guy has got he has proved to be a decent player with bat, ball & in fielding...

    no team has 11 match winners all in a team, even australia have the ian harveys, mike husseys, shane watsons to do a bit of all and gel the team... but here in India we want to hand out injustice to a player a second time... sad i must say...

    Also from the recent mutterings from the SG camp it looks like they want to inject him into the team before the BCCI elections... well everything seems to be setup right, selections due before Kolkata ODI, India have lost a match, all the talks have begun... For the sake of cricket lovers in India hope he is kept out...

    By Blogger Swamy Cricathmanandha, at 06:03  

  • I agree.. With the increased murmur of SG's return & Sehwag poor form, the one person, whose place in the team in jeporady will be Sehwag.. I won't be surprised if VS fails in the next 2 ODI's, SG will be back to team up with SRT as opener!!!

    By Blogger spintl, at 07:05  

  • I have a question: In this era of Supersub, there is no 12th Man anymore? What if a fielder gets injured, who replaces him - supersub? If that is not the case, then I would rather have VVS, than SG in the lineup - when we have a collapse like the one in the last ODI.. VVS is much better equipped to play fast bowlers than SG...

    By Blogger spintl, at 07:09  

  • spintl
    it does not have to be the supersub to do the normal subs work. anyone in the 15 can do it

    By Blogger GK, at 07:18  

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