Monday, December 31, 2007

How far can India push?

Most people can push a car out of their driveway, some are fit enough to push it to the end of the street and hardly anyone has what it takes to push it to the next block. Defeating Australia at home is the cricket equivalent of pushing your car to the next block and India at the MCG didn’t look fit enough to even push it out of the driveway.

Several cricket experts were giving India a serious chance in this series on the basis of India’s recent form-essentially their trouncing of one of the weakest Pakistan side of recent years- and also on their relatively successful previous tour. In that 2003-4 tour, Australia’s bowling was rather weak as Gillespie proved rather ineffective without Mcgrath at the other end, Brett Lee was making a comeback after a long layoff from injury and wasn’t half the bowler he is today and Bracken and MacGill proved rather ineffective as well. Australia today however have an extremely potent pace attack and even though there is a question mark hanging over the quality of spin bowling on offer they haven’t allowed that to be a factor as India have lost early wickets in each innings allowing Hogg to bowl at the batsmen under pressure.

India do however boast one of the most talented batting line ups in world cricket and being dismissed for under 200 undoubtedly had more to do with clutter in the head than any demons on the pitch. Making your best batsman bat at a position where his average drops to half in order to accommodate even an immensely gifted individual like Yuvraj isn’t something that is likely to bring Dravid back into the kind of form India need him to be in to compete against the world champions. By not showing any positive intent at the end of the top of the order, the Indian openers not only ensured maximum relaxation for the ball boys but allowed Ponting to set extremely attacking fields and dictate terms.

This problem could be fixed by a change of personnel or preferably a change in mindset. Sehwag could be brought in but it isn’t clear who he would replace. Sehwag’s innings of late have been likened to Bungee jumping where the excitement of watching his breathtaking stroke play gets the adrenaline pumping but it’s over before you even have the chance to catch your breath. Another option could be to get Yuvraj to open the batting with Dravid dropping down to the number 3 spot. At the end of the day it is Yuvraj who is trying to break into the test side and must be willing to play in any position. With Dhoni not in great form with the bat, Dinesh Karthik could be brought in to open as in spite of a poor series against Pakistan he has been India’s leading scorer in tests for 2007 and has played some gritty knocks in testing conditions. It is unlikely that the team management would be willing to drop their vice captain and newfound youth icon after the 20-20 triumph although on pure cricket merit that could prove to be a smart move.

There was never any doubt over the quality of the Indians spinners and with Zaheer Khan and RP Singh being impressive in bursts it’s up to the Indian batsman to deliver. The Australian mentality is to knock their opponents out once they’re on the mat but some much needed impetus at the top of the innings could be just what India need to push their car till the end of the street if not the next block.

Make your pitch on this post...

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7 Pitched:

  1. obaid said...

    Great post Farees. The Indians have to consolidate fast and I agree with you that Dravid shouldnt be forced to open. He is a proven performer and should be coming in at 3. Yuvraj is suspect against quality fast bowling. specially the short pitched stuff so Im not sure if he will want top open either. India has too many decent batting indviduals who dont seem to be willing to step up and fill a gap - the opening problem in this case.

    The other problem I see is an extremely negative mindsent. Hayden scored a century on the first day, but more than his century, Indian batswen seemd to dwell on his words that this was a terrible pitch to bat on. The slow scoring rate from the start sent a negative signal to the Aussies and you know what they do when they see that :)

  2. Farees said...

    It sounds very cliche but it appears that India and Australia were batting on different tracks, only Saurav and Sachin seem to be playing their natural game. Anyway will be interesting to see whether they manage to compete in the next test.

  3. Straight Point said...

    a very happy new year to you and your dear ones...and keep blogging...

  4. Aman said...

    nice piece farees. hey that rhymes!

    yeah, I think Indian batsman need to bat where they are comfortable. I had no idea why laxman went to 3 because he was batting so well at 6 against Pakistan. But i know there is a problem fitting yuvie in the order. but here goes:
    Jaffer,Yuvie, dravid, sachin, gangs, laxman
    I would persist with dhoni - in England too he took time to adapt to the conditions --- but on his day he is the heir to gilchrist's throne.

  5. Uncle J rod said...


    Good post. Gillespie was ineffectual in 2003/4, but thats because he was injured, he only played because McGrath and Warne were out. He should never have played, but when your replacements are people like Brad Williams, what choice do you have.

    As for Hayden's comments, i think he worked out what sort of wicket it was, hence why he and jacques looked better than pretty much anyone else. In the recent state games, there have been opening partnerships over over 150, but somtimes the teams have still struggled to make 300.

    I agree with you about taking a form line from the Pakistan series, what a joke, possibly the most of out form and injury depleted Pakistan team in a long time and they still only won one nil at home. Fancy thinking that form would hold up against the aussies at the G.

    I'd bring in Kartik, let Dravid bat down the order or give him a rest and hope like hell that Brad Hogg doesn't bowl his first spell when they are 5 wickets down.

  6. Uncle J rod said...

    Oh and what sort of car, cause small cars are not that hard to push.

  7. Anonymous said...

    farees, i am love ur beutifulnes in the writings of cirkets.. if u r the agree we can met at the restrant and make beautiful discushen on the cirkets

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