Didnt we see it coming? ~ Cricket Blog - THE COMMENTARY BOX

Monday, January 8, 2007

Didnt we see it coming?

Didnt we see India's defeat coming? When Dravid, the great wall of cricket, goes without a half-century for six consecutive innings, we know something is amiss. And something is really amiss in Indian cricket. Oh no, I am not going to indulge in mudslinging for the defeat. But you could see that lack of surety and severity, couldn't you? And just how many times have you seen Sachin Tendulkar take 62 balls for a paltry 14 runs? Remember we are talking about a batsmen know as the masterblaster. Sounds quite paradoxical. The master blaster has scored 14 runs of 62 balls, goes the newsreader!

Doubts. The Indian cricketer's mind is full of doubts. Will we win this match? What if we lose? You hardly say the word lose and you are lost. Surety and severity. That is what we need. Its there in the younger members of the team. Dhoni, Sreesanth, Kaarthick and co. But with the seniors its a different story. Maybe that's the only difference between the Indian and Australian cricket teams. One is sure and severe. The other mild, timid and unsure. But this is only a passing phase, is what I hope. We will come out of it in time for the 2007 cricket world cup, is what I hope.

One man is sure to bounce back. Rahul, THE WALL, Dravid. And Sachin might have a surprise in store too. But about one other man you can only get down on your knees and pray: Sehwag.


Homer said...

the World Cup is a chimera. And you know what the fun part is? They will draft Yuvraj into the squad as a panic reaction to this loss in SA.. yuvraj has not played active cricket for over 2 months and is yet to completely heal from his ACL injury. But he will play...
So much for all the brave talk from the Team management.

This year, we have the WC, the 20/20 WC, the tour to England and the tour to Australia.

Things will only go pear shaped from here.

Ananth said...

Thats really the fun part. Ushering a player just back from a relaxed holiday into competitive cricket does look silly. But then looking back at previous selections what more can you hope for.
Selections like Parthiv Patel, Suresh Raina, Piyush Chawla and others were based on one or two Ranji series.
All the selectors seem to do is draft in a player and pray to GOD that he does well. No logic. no calculations.

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ugyen said...

Indian cricket is full of surprise, i wonder why Shewag should be playing instead of sending back to India and let him play few domestic matches...i still wonder the World CUP squad of India!!!

Homer said...


Here is a link to something i had penned during India's tour to the West Indies


Here is the relevant portion

How has Rahul Dravid, the batsman's performance, affected Rahul Dravid, the Captain? Is there a co-relation at all? Every sage/pundit/player/commentator worth his two paise will tell you that the captaincy role is divorced from the batsman/bowlers role. But is that a truism? The only captain I know ( and have seen play), whose captaincy and batsmanship did not overlap, was Mark taylor. Even when his batting fell apart, Mark Taylor the captain was an on field genius. No other captain since has managed to compartmentalize his different roles with the same assurance as Taylor did. Did Rahul Dravids 100 in the first essay lead to a more astute captaincy performance today?

Homer said...

having said that, did Dravid's lean form with the bat during the SA tour lead to poor decision making?

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Ananth said...

The captaincy-playing form theory is a nice one, homer. I am no pundit and this looks like a very debatable & delicate topic to me. Nevertheless, considering that captaincy demands a lot of presence of mind (how much ever experienced you are) than anything else and also considering that an out-of-form player is always a worried person, perhaps the link should always be there.

And Homer, I still feel that RD's performance does not have anything to do with form at all. Two wrong decisions and a few edges is all I can see. And his performance as a captain, IMHO, was not bad too. was it?

Homer said...

a 4-0 hammering in the ODIs and a 2-1 series defeat in the tests does not exactly cover his captaincy with glory :).

Here are Rahul's scores in the tests

32, 1, 11, 5, 29, 47

except for the 11 and 5 at Durban where he he was "umpired", he got starts in 3 of the remaining 4 innings and could not consolidate.
He is too good a player to get out in the 20s and 30s.

About the captaincy, Dravid was most fluent and innovative ( as fluent and innovative as Rahul can be) as captain prior to India's tour to the Windies. But between then and now, he has gone more and more conservative and is strictly captaining by the numbers, vide the DLF Cup, the Champions Trophy and the SA tour.

And you know why this is all the more galling? because this team makes all the right noises about processes and the thinking behind the game, but flops miserably when implementing that talk.

Ananth said...

i see that you've facts and figures on your side, homer. but what conservative captaincy r u talking abt? He used his bowlers very judiciously. Especially Sreesanth. He made the right bowling changes (though Tendulkar could hav been used more). Good field placements. Attacking and defending as necessary.
I dont know why but I simply am not able to pinpoint any deficiencies in the captaincy at all! Still we lost! Maybe u could enlighten me further with some things u could notice.

Homer said...


Here are a few examples during the third test -

1. Given that Sachin was not stroking the ball, not taking the initiative,"pottered and scratched, padded and swiveled, nudged and tapped and the Indian innings came to a standstill'", what was Dravid doing in the meanwhile?

For a batsman who was well set, the onus was on him to take the initiative. As the captain of the team , it was his responsibility to take the initiative. As a senior member of the side, it was his duty to take the initiative. And he fell short on all three counts.

2.The Indians gave Virender Sehwag a shot at the other end, for an over, then went back to Sreesanth -- who continued to run in with a lot of heart, and even induced two sniks from Kallis in successive overs, both wasted because Dravid had chosen to stagger his slips, posting a first and third and leaving the second vacant.

3. Bowling Munaf Patel in the 48th over, the last over before tea, when all and sundry were crying out for Sehwag to be tried at that juncture, for that over.

4. Playing Sehwag. Virender Sehwag played the Third test ONLY because of Rahul Dravid. It was Rahul Dravid's insistence, in the face of opposition by the coach and chairman of selectors that got Sehwag playing time.

and this is just the third test !!!

How about not finishing off the job when India had SA at 257/8 at Durban or 143/6 in the second essay in the same game?

Or allowing them to comeback from 76/6 to 274-7 at Newlands?

I haven't mentioned any of the batting disasters, bar one, because there is not much Rahul can do to control that. But on the field, where Dravid has more control, he has come up short.

Ananth said...

Some points

I hav always said that the best way to deal with Sachin is to leave him to his schemes. Whatever he does is with a clear knowledge of why he is doing it. Sachin is one of the most knowlegeable and experienced batsmen in cricket manipulating or shielding him is not a very good idea. When you deal with Sachin remain impassive to wat he is doing unless he turns to you for help or support.

Yes, Sehwag and Tendulkar were bowled less. Not only the 48th over but on numerous instances the team would hav been better off with them bowling. Now, understanding this does not need great cricketing acumen, right? When your strike bowlers are not taking wickets you bring in the part-timers so there is a change in variety. Any schoolboy can tell you that. Now, Dravid i'm sure was well aware of his options. But there was some higher cause keeping which in mind he was quite deliberately avoiding the duo. Testing his pace bowlers out? maybe. The role of a higher hand in what looked like a conscious decision is not ruled out either.

And about the slips. The juncture was one where you needed to both take wickets as well as not give away runs. In short it was a losing cause. The kind of situation where u feel 11 players are just too less. The kind of situation where u place 9 fielders and hope for lady luck to smile on you. Indians lost the test due to poor batting and poor batting alone.

And if Sreesanth bowled with a lot of heart and zeal, a lot of credit for that should belong to Darvid. He is the kind of bowler who depends a lot on support and encouragement. And that is what Dravid gave him. He gave him the new ball. He let him know that the captain believed in him. You couldnt have missed Dravid placing himself at mid off and giving Sreesanth a pat on the back every other ball, could you?

And dont you thinking blaming Dravid,on the basis of one test, for sticking on with Sehwag is too harsh? We will have to give it more time. It could as well end up on the lines the Ponting-Symonds romance which paid off handsome dividends in the Ashes after a string of failures.

Ananth said...

the defense rests.....

Homer said...

lol :)

Just one point - Dravid posted himself at mid off/mid on because he could not stand in the slips because his middle finger was broken .

Anonymous said...

How can Yvuraj be fit with a torn ACL?? Our team management apporach towards Yuvraj seems to be very optimistic. I feel yvuraj must have gone for the surgery without wasting the time for come back