Sunday, December 23, 2007

Last Week's Round Up & India vs Australia Preview.

I had been thinking that its been ages since I've blogged but when I sat down to post I realised it had only been 6 days, which isn't that long a time but considering all that has gone down in the cricketing world over the last week, it does seem like ages.

I can't speak for the other writers on wellpitched, but for me December has been a very busy month with training programs, conferences, national day holidays, weddings back home in Karachi, and Eid madness here in Abu Dhabi. And it gets busier with my planned new year's trip to Thailand!

That was my schedule. Moving on to cricket, the last week to 10 days saw the Aussies regain the Chappell-Hadlee trophy, the Windies bowl the Proteas out for 54 in a 13-13 game, Dravid opening for the Indians against Victoria, the English get bowled out for 81 and 'save' the last test against the Lankans, and the Windies lose their tour match inside 3 days to South Africa A.

All that in a week? There was more!

Ponting got 2 centuries in the 2 ODIs that produced a result against the Kiwis. He now sits on 25 ODI centuries putting him in 2nd place, equal with Jayasuriya and behind Sachin.

Jayawardene got his double 100 that he missed in the 2nd test. Along with King Sanga he has also had an amazing run with the bat posting 5 centuries in his last 8 tests, with a 195 and 213* in the last 2.

King Sanga's reign was short lived as he moved down to 3rd in the test ratings behind Ponting and Kallis.

Dale Steyn produced one of the finest displays of fast bowling I've seen since Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram. Even though it was only a 20-20 reduced to a 13-13 and the Proteas were defending 54, the 4 beauties that he produced in his first 12 deliveries were a treat to watch!

India's only tour game before the 1st test against the Aussies was washed out but the little cricket that took place showed what India's think tank has in store. Dravid walked out to open with Jaffer and Laxman batted at 3. There was no Karthik and Yuvraj was slated at 6. I believe this is the batting line up that India should walk out with on the 26th.

There has been plenty of debate about whether Dravid should open or not, whether Sehwag should play or not and so on. I think its clear to everyone that Yuvraj HAS to play and the only way that is possible is if Dravid opens. With the kind of form Jaffer is in, he is bound to open thus Sehwag will be warming the bench.

Even though Laxman walked out at 3 against Victoria, I think it should be Ganguly batting at that position given his current form. Recently in an interview Ganguly pointed out that he's missed out on a number of 100s cause of batting at 5 or 6 in tests. Now he has a chance of batting at 3 and the Indian management should give him that opportunity and he should grab it with both hands.

I'm looking forward to the test series, which has the potential to produce 4 of the most nerve wrecking matches. I'm rueing the fact that I'll be missing the first 2 tests cause of my new year's trip, but its Thailand, I can't be complaining. I hope they follow cricket in Koh Samui. Do they?

India's bowling is the weakness and I don't see Kumble & Co. picking up 20 Aussie wickets nor do I see Australia doing the same without Warne & McGrath. High scoring draws? If India's batting line up lives up to its potential that might just be the case cause you can guarantee that Hayden, Jacques, Ponting, Clarke, and Hussey will be pounding 100s throughout the series.

1-0 to Australia is my prediction. Your bets?

Make your pitch on this post...



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14 Pitched:

  1. Ottayan said...
     

    Q,

    New Year in Thailand,I envy you.

    Q, I sincerely believe that Yuvi needs to sit out. This is too big a series to consider dropping any of the Fab 4.

    Neither does fiddiling with the opening slot.

    Ahem, here is my solution, if you want yuvi in.

    Why Dhoni, why not consider DK as
    a wicket keeper. It opens up the middle order doesn't it?

  2. Q said...
     

    Join me in Thailand Ottayan :-) U Indians don't even require visas..hop on to a flight.

    I agree the Big 4 are untouchable. but Yuvi has to be a part of the top 6. He can take the Aussie attack apart and also score faster than any of the other Indian batsmen.

    DK as keeper? U did watch the 3rd test against Pakistan didn't u? Record number of byes..or almost. And Dhoni currently is batting much better than DK. Dhoni's impact at 7 is something India needs.

  3. Uncle J rod said...
     

    If Ganguly bats at 3 against Lee & Johnson, he better hope the wicket is dead, otherwise he may end up deceased.

  4. David Barry said...
     

    I'm tipping Australia 2-1. While I agree that there will probably be high scoring, the idea of three draws out of four in Australia these days is very unusual. Australia's pace attack should be good enough to win a couple of Tests. India's bowling is pretty weak, but Australia should collapse at least once to give India a win.

  5. Q said...
     

    That might well be the case Uncle J but I just suggested that cause Ganguly suggested that he would like to bat higher than 5. I would like to see him live up to his word and walk out at 3, that ofcourse of Dravid opens.

    David - I read somewhere that out of the 4 tests 3 of them will be played on flat decks - if that is the case 3 draws might be a rare occurrence in Australia.

    You must have a lot of guts to claim that Australia may collapse in front of Zaheer, Kumble, and whoever else plays. I can't see it happening. If Australia by some miracle are at a 100-5 then u can be sure that Symonds and Gilchrist will notch up 100s with a 50 from Lee.

  6. David Barry said...
     

    Well we collapsed to Ajit Agarkar last time, so you never know. :)

  7. Q said...
     

    Aaah yes India's upcoming allrounder Agarkar :-)

  8. Ottayan said...
     

    Q,

    I am in the minority. Getting Yuvi in is not of the paramount importance.

    Winning the series is more important.

    There are 2 problem areas in the current line up. One is who is to partner Jaffer.

    Unfortunately, I have no clear answer.

    The other concern is our bowling attack, which sadly apart from Zaks and Kumble are incapable of taking wickets.

    Hereto I have no ready alternatives.

    These problems have been largely ignored in the debate and Yuvi's inclusion has been made a song and dance.

    I hope you understand now why I suggested Karthick instead of Dhoni.

    It was purely to suggest a way out for our obsession with Yuvi.

    Honestly, I feel there is not much to choose between Dhoni and Karthick when it comes to wicket keeping.

    Cheers

  9. Ottayan said...
     

    David,

    Ugharkaar!

    Seriously, yes it could happen.

  10. Q said...
     

    Ottayan, I am honestly surprised by your statements regarding Yuvi and Dhoni :-)

    I thought the 2 men that all Indians wanted in the starting line up were those 2...

    To each his own I guess.

  11. Soulberry said...
     

    My prediction Q? It's :).

    An even wider grin upon hearing about your proposed New Year trip.

    Nice place that...I particularly liked the bike ride to Pattaya from Bangkok on a hired Harley many years ago. (you can hire bikes there)

    Season's Greetings to you all!

  12. Q said...
     

    Hire bikes? Wow :-)...i was in amsterdam over the summer and rented cycles there - had great fun. Maybe this time i'll try the bikes. I'm going to be in Bangkok, Koh Samui, and Koh Pha Ngan...hope i can catch parts of the ind vs aus games there...

  13. Obaid said...
     

    q I envy you... knowing you, what happens in Thailand stays in Thailand... it probably wont make its way to this blog ;)

  14. Q said...
     

    That will definitely be the case Obaid ;-)...your good friends FS and Najia are also joining me.

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