Yes, South Africa have got another big win over India. But did you notice those really positive signs for India in this game? ~ Cricket Blog - THE COMMENTARY BOX

Monday, November 27, 2006

Yes, South Africa have got another big win over India. But did you notice those really positive signs for India in this game?

A lot of people who watched the 3rd ODI between India and South Africa would put down India’s performance on the cricket field as abysmal, inexcusable and horrifying. Now, I really cannot disagree. After all conceding 105 runs in the last 8 overs and allowing the opposition to get to 274/6 from 76/6 can hardly be termed as commendable.

But for some strange reason, I thought they were not that bad after all. For starters getting 6 South African wickets for 76 runs was a feat worthy of praise. Specially notable was Zaheer Khan’s almost unplayable first spell. Two quality wickets in the first over (of Smith and Kallis) is ample proof of how good he was. Splendid bowling and a very good sign for the future of Indian cricket's pace bowling department.

Another significant feature of the game was Kumble-the-eternal-matchwinner’s comeback to ODI cricket after a gap of 2 yrs. And what a comeback it was. 10-1-24-0 read his figures. That last column could have been different had some pretty close LBW shouts gone his way. Unlucky. But that is expected in a cricket game.

The other bowlers though were very very ordinary. I still think Agarkar is too inconsistent to be a part of the team. Pathan has no pace and will have to bring in more variations into his bowling. Harbhajan looks ineffective on South African pitches.

As for the batting we had two contrasting players forming a beautiful combination in the middle threatening to take the match away from the Africans. Dhoni and Dravid. Dravid got into his usual role of resurrecting yet another woefully lacking batting effort. He was literally a brick wall, technically sound and amazingly skillful in stealing singles. He was slow but in that situation even the craziest cricket fan cannot and should not expect him to go blazing away.

And Dhoni. Wow! He was breathtaking to say the least. That six that sailed out of the stadium could have as well landed in the sea. 4 huge sixers and 3 immaculately struck fours. Had Loots Bosman not come up with that excellent catch in the deep to dismiss Dhoni the game would have been a different story. But there was one more man who bettered him when it came to hard hitting. And that man was a South African. Justin Kemp, the man who scripted the result of the match. 7 sixers and 6 fours. Very hard not to end up on the winning side with such an effort.

As for the rest of the Indian batsmen, they really didn’t look out-of-form to me. They were not touchy and all that. Sehwag, Sachin and Dinesh Kaarthick did look confident. I think they will provide us some entertainment in the coming matches.

On the whole I must say the Indian team was not as clueless as that scoreboard shows and we are going to have some good games ahead. I promise! You can call that incorrigible optimism. I call it informed opinion!

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