India clubs Bermuda into submission ~ Cricket Blog - THE COMMENTARY BOX



Tuesday, March 20, 2007

India clubs Bermuda into submission

The title may sound a little too dramatic but you can't blame me for it. It has become very rare nowadays that I get to blog in praise of the heroics of the Indian team and I had to grab this one. Never mind the opposition. Bermuda, we know, is playing it's first World Cup. Yet the total of 413/5 was a World Cup record and a lot of good things came out of the game. Though the win, if seen alone, is not very exciting some very important consequences have arisen from the match:

- By far the most important consequence of the match is that India's run rate got a crucial shot in the arm and we have now moved ahead of Bangadesh in the points table.

- The next most important thing is that Sehwag scored runs. Of course We still do not know if he has broken the shackles and come out of the bad patch but atleast he has proven something to himself.

- And it was refreshing to see the Indians go about their task with atleast a touch of professionalism. They were not looking to merely rip the leather off the ball right from ball one as they seemed to have tried doing against Bangladesh.

- Yuvraj is doing very well. He is at the top of his game and is striking the ball so well that his bat seems to have no edges. Atleast one Indian batsman who's form is not in doubt.

However, for some reason(maybe the foolish public outrage has shaken him up) Dhoni didnt seem very comfortable. Not that we needed him this time. Also, though Ganguly again got 80+ runs he sure was not timing the ball as well as we would expect him to and Uthappa is suddenly looking very ordinary.

The bowling had to be good given the kind of batsmen they were up against and Kumble's inclusion was, for me, a good thing.

Overall, India's chances of progressing into the super 8 somehow looks a little better. But only time will tell. I am waiting anxiously for the 23rd of March when the we take on the Lankans. We need to beat them and by a good margin too. And hope the Lankans convincingly thrash the Bangladeshis. That would brighten our chances much more.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No matter, whether we like it or not, Cricket is linked to our national pride and the team's performance in field does impact the country's image in people's mind. Cricket is a serious issue to us, because, no matter, what we might want to 'claim', it has become linked to our national pride.

I would like to bring few facts to your attention, which I think are making Indian Cricket go the way Indian Hockey went where our team slid from being world #1 to being a constant national embarrassment.
These are:

1. Performance gap between the team of Australia and India has been steadily widening in place of narrowing that we might have hoped.* This is in spite of great popularity of Cricket in India and in spite of Indian Cricket board being far the richest in the world.

2. Physical fitness of top teams like Australia have greatly improved while fitness of Indian team has remained constant or further declined. Other teams complement their skills with excellent physical strength, agility and stamina while Indian players lose any skill edge because of very poor overall fitness. Only Yuvraj among current players has the skill and fitness players that can match top athletes/players from teams like Australia.


3. Rahul, Sachin and Saurabh have been main stay of Indian batting for about 8 years now. Thy are ageing and tiring yet, there is no replacement is in sight. There are no young batsmen who has shown enough promise, talent and performance to seriously challenge them now and to adequately replace them when they retire. If it remains this way, it can sink Indian team further once this trio retires which may not be that far away.

4. Indian spin bowling resources are running nil! In the country once famous for its spin bowling, today, there is no real replacement for aged Anil Kumble and no real challenge to Harbhajan Singh among young players. This is a matter of national shame and actually, a matter of great urgency. Our greater guiles and greater skills in spin bowling could have helped us make up for our lack in other areas now, quality spin bowling too might become one of our serious lacks. Perhaps, it is a high time to recognize our spin bowling heroes like Bedi, Chandra, Prassana and to start a real spin bowling academy!

5. General fitness level of our players is very poor and to make it worse, they have shown lack of any real motivation to gain and maintain top level physical fitness on their own. This is among the main reasons that we are being left farther behind by the teams much fitter than ours in spite of being more or less equal or better to teams like Australia and South Africa in terms of sheer talents and skills. We need a courageous and bold change*** to change this poor attitude and in order to ensure that our team is fit enough to compete with the best in the world.


With warm regards and best wishes,
Arvind





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* Increasing performance gap between Australia and India
=================================================

In 1985, India won Benson and Hedges cup in Australia without losing even a single match. After reviewing Indian performance, Ian Chapel said that India team was the strongest and most well suited for ODIs and that India might become the #1 force in ODIs.

In 1996, India was favorite to win he World cup but, was eliminated only because of having to bat second against Srilanka on a crumbling wicket Calcutta wicket.

In 2007, India was ranked 6th among ODI teams when entering the world cup.




****Courageous, bold measures are required to ensure that our team has physical fitness level comparable to those best in the field
=========================================================

Board, players and media in general, pay little to no attention to the issue of physical fitness gap between the Indian players and those from countries like Australia, South Africa. Importance of physical strength, agility and endurance in top level sports can not be over emphasized. This is where India lost big time in Hockey and now it has started to slide in cricket too.

Most players have shown little to no interest in maintaining themselves in top physical form and thus, changing it might require courageous and bold action on part of the board and selection committee. Set strict, high international standard fitness parameters, publish them in an open format, set a goal of 2 years and require every player to pass that level in order to play International Cricket for India.

For example, set a time-table of 2 years and require every test/ODI player to be able to run 9 miles in an hour, be able to 200 pushups, be able to throw ball 80 yards for 30 times in an hour.


Similarly, set a timetable, a strict physical fitness goal and require each player to meet them at first class level too and for all age groups. In addition to improving physical fitness level of the national team, this will also greatly change player's attitude towards discipline, practice, training and fitness which will bring great dividend to the team and greater unity and team discipline. Implementing them on first class level for all age groups will improve overall fitness among players in the country and greatly improve its awareness in addition to improving the bench strength.

Granted there will be some exceptions, where a relatively 'unfit' player can make the team because of being immensely talented such as a Shane Warne. However, an effort should be made to treat them as 'exceptions' and to keep these exceptions to a minimum. For example, a minimum of 80% of players in team should meet these criteria.

Among other things, setting open high standard for physical fitness would also provide simple, clear, straight-forward answers to questions like:

- Is Player A fit to play.

- Is player B too old to play.

- Should player C retire or not be selected because he is too old and thus is not fit to play.

If you meet the fitness criteria, you are fit to play else you are not irrespective of your age. Simply meet the criteria and then practice and train to maintaining it and you are fit enough to play competitive professional sports at the highest level for India.