Sunday, January 07, 2007

New Year Gift not to be at Capetown

At the end of 1st day at Newlands, Capetown, SA - there was a talk stating that Rahul Dravid had given his team a New Year Gift by winning the toss. Also there was a talk of similarties between matches played in past and especially the one played in Sydney

But looking at the comparision, one can definetely feel that the similarities failed to exist since day 1
Day 1: In sydney India scored 284 for 3 In SA scored 254 for 3 (a loss of 30-40 runs)
Day 2: India ended the day @ 650 for 5 In SA were bowled out for 414 (a loss of 200 runs)
Day 3: India decl @ 705 for 7;Australia 342/6 In SA, the home team is bowled out for 373 (a lead of 200 )
Day 4: Australia 474, India 211/2d, Australia 10/0 In SA India bowled out for 169, SA score 55 for 2
Day 5: Australia survive @357 for 6 SA canter to Victory @ 211 for 5

Hence feel India lost the script since day 1 and squandered the 'golden' chance to win a series in SA.

Personally feel India missed the bus in SA due to

1. Slow Scoring Rate - ended the day 1 short by 30-40 runs
2. Middle Order Failure - there was no defining partnership in the middle order
3. Bowling - Bowlers not bowling well on the pitch considered to be in India's favor.
4. Selection process - playing Munaf instead of Harbhajan. Would India have played 3 fast bowlers on a Indian Pitch? Answer known to 'Indian Think Tank'. Why was Virendra Sehwagh persisted?

Rain has alway played a 'defining' factor in deciding the results of a game or fortunes of a political parties in elections.

Every team travels with all the help of technology and support staff whose duty would be to keep track of things happening outside the cricket field. Indian cricket team is no different and was surprised to hear no one was watching or hearing the weather channel after India's batting started crumbling on day 4. If weather report was predicting rain for day 5, a message should have gone out the Indian Tail-enders to stay put as long as they can and give Kartik ample support. History repeats itself again, India had to playout few minutes (not even sessions) in the last test match against WI in WI before a downpour could have drawn the match and given them a chance to go home smiling.

There was another incident that would have caused India a wicket and a embrassing defeat that would have definetely raised another 'furor' in the minds of the politicians of the country. Sachin was away for 18 mins on the 3 rd day during the SA innings and could not come out to play till 18 mins were gone in India's 2nd innings. This point should have been definetely noted by the support staff and pointed out to the Indian Captain.

It would be interesting to note if BCCI would take action against the support staff for such 'performance' lapses.

All said and done, it was not a NEW YEAR GIFT the INDIAN CAPTAIN would have liked giving to his team...

INDIA needs to gear up and come up with some tricks for the WC2007.

Friday, January 05, 2007

SA hold the upper hand at Capetown

At the end of the 4th day's play SA seem to be holding the upper hand in the duel at Capetown.
The glow on the SA faces must have have dimmed a bit with the fall of Amla at the end-of-days play. But they would be overall excited and anxious to wrap the match tomorrow on a canter.

But the Verdict from Dileep Premachandran in Capetown clearly says it all... India dig their own grave

Whatever happened on the 4th day has been written and debated for many years now in the books of Indian cricket. It is the same old story, that keeps getting repeated like any other Bollywood masala movie storyline.

From the heart of a true-Indian, would luv to see India win and create history tomorrow. But in reality,odds definetely favor SA clinching the match and series.

If India pull out a miracle tomorrow, they will definetely come back home with lots of fanfare. And also prolong careers of some of the so-called stars

And if they loose, the think-tank definetely will have lots of questions to answer and may even see the Aussie mentor pack his bags.

As a bystander and well-wisher of Indian Cricket would like answers for the simple questions

a) Knowing the state of the pitch, why did we not play Harbhajan?
b) Knowing Viru's form, why did they send him as opener in the second innings?

Well, these questions will never be answered or may not be even asked depending on the outcome of the match tomorrow.

And as they say nothing can be said till the last ball is bowled.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

An Interesting Duel at CapeTown

An interesting duel is in offerring at Capetown,SA between India and SA.

It is interesting to note that all the experts have been going gaga over the pitch and claiming it to be an Indian twin. But surprisingly, Indian Think Tank thinks otherwise and have decided to play only one spinner in the match. Personally, have been harping on playing Bhajji in SA since the beginning and feel India have missed a trick or two here again. With SA also playing a spinner, India had all the signals required to play two-spin attack and try clinching the rubber. Time will only tell, if Jumbo would be good enough for SA team.

Personally feel India is 70-100 runs short in the first innings. On a pitch like this India should have scored 500 plus and made sure that they only bat once in the match. Other factor that may go against them was the slow scoring rate. In modern times, a score of 300 or more in a day is common and gone are days when you could count yourself safe by a slow grind.
And let us not forget in the recent Ashes series, we had a result even after the team batting 1st scored 500 runs.

As the situation stands, SA have given a positive response. Smith and Amla have shown no signs of any fear against the pitch behavior.
Anything can happen from here on, SA can pile up a good score or India can run thru the SA fragile middle-order.

But as they say...Cricket is a funny game and you cannot predict till the last ball is bowled.