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Sight Screen

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Factor X

Imran Khan says here that Sachin Tendulkar could be the decisive factor in the upcoming series. On Cricinfo, S Rajesh lists what he believes are the key battles looming.
If we are listing factors, you might want to consider at least two more: (1) How Mahendra Singh Dhoni performs with the bat at number 7. Because if he can convert his explosive batting style into Test runs from that position, he has the potential to radically alter the game by putting on runs at speed and buying his bowlers time. Also, consistency in this position creates for the upper tier a comfort factor, in much the way Adam Gilchrist does for Australia, and frees the upper half of the batting order of much pressure. (2) The batting of Irfan Pathan at 8. Again, if Pathan can demonstrate skills, and stickiness, at the wicket, he frees Dhoni up. Typically, the wicket keeper serves as a buffer between the batsmen and the tail; if Pathan steps into the batting role and forms that buffer, it gives Dhoni the freedom of playing the role of attacking batsman, knowing there is another competent bat coming behind him to frustrate the bowling, add useful runs, and prolong the tail's longevity.
And isn't it interesting that the analysis thus far does not really consider (1) The form of VVS Laxman and (2) The form, and determination, of Sourav Ganguly? Both factors could have enormous impact on the course of the game, one way or other.

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