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India’s hunt for consistency

It is also time for India to look beyond Harbhajan singh as it has been many years now and problems in bowling consistency never seem to end. He did jig with the bat which was vital but it is time to give Murali YotYiam, Piyush Chawla, Ramesh Powar etc. a decent run.

Rahul Dravid fought hard to get back into some kind of form. He improved as the series progressed but there is definitely something missing. With this fractured hand, I couldn’t help watching him distributing a stump to his mates to get it signed before the match got over and I get the feeling that he is going to call it quits sooner than expected. I hope I am wrong here but I feel it is weighing on Dravid’s mind.

Kumble was superb with his bowling as usual, fought with the bat and led the side well. He could improve on his field placements, other than that everything about him seemed quite right.

There was a great contest in this series and it also was sour considering the contest was robbed in one particular match and all the inconsistencies of the match referees on meting out dissent decisions and that horrible incident on racial abuse. That incident should have been diffused in 5 minutes and instead turned out to be a clash of two big, powerful, egoistic cricketing boards, both of them unwillingly to back down and admit mistakes and it is all snowballing into something ugly for the times to come.

Until then, let us enjoy the peace and the glorious cricket that was displayed. Congratulations Australia for wining this series… undisputed champions. India perhaps showed the world that the gap isn’t too much now with the Australian team and the rest but there is a gap big enough to clearly differentiate between remaining number 1 and the rest to play the catch up game. However, the core of this Indian team is getting old and it is not much time longer before they all hang the boots. Therefore it is time now to start the test team transition gradually to the younger fitter lot…. Gradually of course! That’s the catch otherwise all will be lost. read more

Balaji’s efforts

Special mention need to be showered on Lakshmipathy Balaji. I was moved to watch him come back and simply bowl a ball in his first match. That by itself was a remarkable achievement for someone with such a serious injury. Perhaps the fiver was life’s way of rewarding good people. I do not know how Balaji can work and figure himself into the scheme of things for India. The magnitude of his injury is devastating and it is not funny having nuts, bolts and wires all knotted up inside your body. He definitely is in no position to bowl in a regular domestic match and would still require a long time of healing and sheer hardwork from this lad. But he has remarkably come this far, hopefully we all will be behind him when he well and truly comes back into action.

On a serious note, some of the experts have remodeled his action due to his injury. However, am concerned that the current open chested action which he has remodeled on, will actually cause him more damage to his lower back. I do hope as he regains strength on his back, he may be able to change his action as the current one does not look feasible to me. His wrist position was always good and he has retained that but there is a clear mismatch between his bowling action and the wrist, as though they are working totally uncoordinated and independent of each other.

A note on the controversies in this tournament:

Coming to the Royal sloshers sore loser maestro, Mr. Mallya himself and all the pot shots he is digging at Dravid. Even though some of these events are not at all nice, perhaps Rahul Dravid thoroughly deserved it. As a fan aptly quoted “Rahul Dravid tried to prove a point to the world. Unfortunately, he used someone else’s money for that and that is not nice”. Accountability seems to have been the mantra now and interestingly this fan who is also a share holder of the UB group, summed it up beautifully. What Mallya did or is doing is not nice but then nor his Dravid. I somehow am losing my respect for him, as it all seem to be evident that he perhaps needs to see a shrink. read more

Clark and Haddin’s wisdom

The wisdom of Australia’s approach to the second innings was ridiculous. Sure, you can’t block for a draw and the best chance of playing out those sessions was in being positive. But their brand of positive cricket was the twenty-20 style of hitting out… when you normally can’t last 20 overs in that fashion, did you actually believe you can survive 140 overs that way? Jeez.

Australia could have saved this one if they had remained positive like Clarke and Haddin and not overdo that positivity.

There are two more tests… they nearly had Bangalore and now they lost this one. The next two are absolute flat-bedders that traditionally spin viciously. Australia can draw the series but if this test is an indication of the strategies and mind-set of the team, then it is going to be difficult.

Mathew Hayden and Andrew Symonds have been the single biggest difference when playing with India. Symonds is out and Hayden may well find the much needed inspiration. It was a pity to see Jacques injured and somewhere in the outback is Shaun Marsh lost amid some strange selection policies.

Peter Siddle bowled decently but there is Doug Bollinger who has been the better performer sitting in the cold. Strange considering he was in the recent ‘A’ tour and did quite well. To say that there is not a single spinner in the ranks is puzzling and perhaps a reflection of how unfair the criticism meted out to the likes of Hogg have gone in emptying the treasury rather prematurely.

Anil Kumble will be back in the next test… the team selection to include the champion will be troubled. The approach to the next two games will be predictably different to this one. Dhoni looks a different player when he is the captain, almost as if he deliberately throws his wicket when he is not at the helm. India look tougher with Dhoni at the helm.

The biggest plus that came out for me with Dhoni on the captaincy was making Harbhajan bowl that off-stump line and he was vicious. How some of us bloggers have been screaming this out! Rocket-science huh? 300 was not to be, but he will in this series. read more

Vaas losing his edge

Chaminda Vaas has definitely lost his edge. Like the cunning and highly under-rated fox that he is, he does shows signs here and there once in a while on why he is still in the country’s Jedi Council. It is time for him to hang up his boots and give way to Maharoof, who is a logical and good choice to lead the new ball.

Sang’s is easily the best batsmen in the world but and it must be difficult for him considering how well he plays whacking all the top bowlers early on to their ancestors in Africa. But that is till Jayawardene is around, after which he is forced to prod around, while the rest takes a walk with their dogs to the pitch and back.

Coming to India, their bowling department specifically their fast swing bowlers all had a good tournament and showed there is enough depth. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about spin and there is huge crunch of quality spinners in India and who in the world would have imagined that happening in India.

Sreesanth got walloped and perhaps now knows what the meaning of fear is and hopefully will shut his dancing mouth issuing grand statements and let his bowling do all the talking.

Ishanth has started sledging already… hate to know where all of this is leading. To be fair he bowled superbly, took some wallops as well but on the whole an exciting bowler for India and exciting is not a word you could use for an Indian bowler. 150ks… blow me down and hopefully, he will not transform himself into a Munaf. Speaking of Munaf, I think Greg Chappell completely ruined him.