Monday, July 28, 2008

Time to Praise the Spinning M&Ms

Arjuna Ranatunga has blamed 20-20 cricket for India's huge defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the 1st test of the ongoing series.

Which 20-20 cricket he's talking about, he doesn't say.

Either its the IPL or its the T20 internationals.

If he's talking about the latter, then his claim makes no sense.

Firstly because the number of T20Is on each tour is restricted by the ICC so definitely there isn't any overdose.

And secondly, India's big 4 - Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, and Ganguly - do not play T20Is.

So its the IPL he's talking about I guess.

But then even that makes no sense.

Apart from Sehwag and Gambhir, who were the IPL's best opening pair, none of the other batsmen of the test XI played a major role in the 20-20 league.

Not only that but none of those players is even considered a 20-20 player.

Sachin Tendulkar sat out more than half the IPL due to injury and in the matches he played, he played one good knock of 50+ if my memory serves right. So he's definitely not suffering from a 20-20 hangover.

VVS Laxman also missed out more than half of the IPL matches due to injury. Even though he played several cameos in a few matches, Laxman was mostly found wanting in the 20-20 game. So no hangover there either.

Rahul Dravid played all the matches in the IPL and by the end of it seemed to have gotten the hang of the game. However, its no secret that Dravid didn't enjoy it and that he would rather be playing test cricket any day. Even though he adapted well to the IPL, that in no way could have affected his natural instinct of being a test player. No 20-20 hangover here either.

Saurav Ganguly had a fairly successful IPL with some good knocks and is probably more suited to the 20-20 game than the above 3. But then Ganguly has been a natural ODI and 20-20 player throughout his career who has always adapted to test cricket. During the last 2 years, his test performance has been brilliant and since his comeback he has been one of India's mainstays in the middle order. He's always adapted well so no 20-20 hangover here either.

Coming back to Sehwag and Gambhir. Following the IPL, the 2 openers translated their 20-20 form in ODIs, and there's no reason why they can't do it at the test level.

Sehwag has always played the way he did in the Colombo test, which according to Ranatunga is like 20-20 cricket. Well, in the past Sehwag' 20-20 approach got him 2 triples in test cricket and a number of 150+ scores. He can fail once in a while.

As for Gambhir, he looked better than most of India's batsmen in this test and yet he was the best Indian batsman of the IPL. Gambhir is making a comeback to the test side and with his talent he will definitely do better going forward.

So why excactly is 20-20 cricket being blamed?

Ranatunga can probably answer that better because I certainly don't see it.

My message to Ranatunga as well as all my fellow Indian bloggers is that there really is no reason to be pointing fingers at the failure of the Indian batsmen in the Colombo test.

They were up against quality spin bowling to which they had no answers to. Even King Sanga thinks so!

Maybe its time that the focus is shifted from blaming 20-20 cricket and the failure of India's powerful batting line up to Praising the Magic of the Spinning M&Ms.

Make your pitch on this post...

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17 Pitched:

  1. SledgeHammer said...

    "Arjuna Ranatunga has blamed 20-20 cricket for India's huge defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka in the 1st test of the ongoing series."

    Q, I think it's more appropriate to say that Ranatunga has blamed India for approaching the Test like a Twenty20. I guess there is an indirect implication on Twenty20 itself, but it is mostly India and its players that he is blaming.

    But you are right, India were simply outclassed by the Spin Kings.

  2. Anonymous said...

    I do not want to take credit away from M&M's they did bowl well, but what Ranatunga is saying is also not wrong.

  3. Anonymous said...

    Well said, Q! While, I share your thoughts on the fab4 on the IPL T20 and on this failure of India's, the T20 approach that Ranatunga refers to, seems like a desire to get it over with soon. There's nothing T20-ish abt that, its good old fear and dread.

  4. Soulberry said...

    Brilliant stuff from Mendis and Murali.

  5. Q said...

    Wasim, why is not wrong?

    The thing is that if anyone could have approached it as a T20 game, it could have only been Sehwag and Gambhir cos the rest are anything but T20 players...

    Plus Sehwag has always approached test matches in this manner... He was doing it even before T20 came into being..

  6. Q said...

    Thanks VM and spot on.

    Good to see you here again SB!

  7. Q said...

    Sledge I see your point.

    In the past it was "too much ODI cricket is affecting test matches" - I agree with that cos there is too much ODI cricket... but at the moment there isn't that much 20-20...

    Its on its way there but not there yet..

    Though Ranatunga said the Indians played it like 20-20, he in the past has said that 20-20 is not good for the game.. in effect blaming the form of cricket for luring players in the wrong direction and so on..

  8. Som said...

    I think Ranatunga meant wish they played it like T20. None dared to step out and hit out.

  9. Miriam said...

    M&Ms! I like that.

  10. Anonymous said...


    The way they were batting and lost their wickets, all those T20 style ugly swipes and heaves can only be justified in a T20 match.
    M&M were a factor but lack of application was also a big factor.

  11. Q said...

    Haha.. thas right som ;-)

  12. Q said...

    Int that one of ur nick names too miriam?

  13. Q said...

    But Wasim my point is that the only players in India's test XI who play 20-20 like it should be played are Sehwag and Gambhir... the other batsmen have never played 20-20 like 20-20.. know wat I mean?

  14. Anonymous said...

    valid point q... and the comments by our friends here match a good argument... am gonna wait for this test series to be over before I have a say on this amazing spin duo.

    The important point here on this test match is that 600 runs were conceded and many relatively unknowns scored big runs. What harbhajan is doing in that team doesn't speak of their will to try out some options. Perhaps the obsession is in the off spin variety where India has none in the ranks. Time to break away and play your best spinners in the country.

  15. Anonymous said...

    You got a valid point Q.

  16. Q said...

    Scorps -I believe there is a strong case for Ojha to be in the test XI. Maybe even Chawla / Amit Mishra.

  17. Miriam said...

    It's very nearly my nickname "Mims", yes!

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