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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Indian Cricket - what is missing ?

So, it is the end of another Cricket tournament and India have turned out a cold-turkey performance once again. They barely made it to the final by struggling to defeat a depleted Windies squad and in the finals, they were beaten square and hollow by a wonderful Sri Lankan squad. No wonder that Sri Lanka are known as tigers at home. I don't want to discount the fact that Sri Lankans had a distinct home advantage, but what bothers me is that in this new season, I don't see any palpable changes happening. We have a new coach with very interesting and unique ideas, we have the same people who are training very hard but unfortunately the results are the same everytime - we lose from situations where a professional team would never lose, we tend to choke when there is no need to do, we don't know how to defend a small total, we drop important catches, we miss run-outs etc and etc. No, I am not saying that the Indian cricketers must be super-human but at least they should get the basics right. Or are we to believe that the cupboard of players is totally bare and those who are playing are the best that we have among the billion of people that we have in India. I refuse to take that as an excuse. Of course, all cricket experts will have their 2 cents of advice. I am no expert but I still have some advice :)

  1. Hunt for the elusive all-rounder - The basic problem with the Indian team today is that it does not have an all-rounder especially in the 1-day internationals. Although there are players such as Sehwag, Ganguly and Yuvraj, who can all turn their hands, but none of them is close to being called an all-rounder in the Flintoff or Kallis or even Afridi category. A person who can bowl his quota of 10 overs and who can be reliable to score at least 40+ runs and who is not a liability in the field. India definitely did the right thing in taking in 3 new bloods - Raina, J.P and Venu but what baffled me was the selection policy for the final team. J.P was never given a match to play. Raina and Venu were played but they hardly bowled. What this means is that at the end of another 1-day tournament, we are back to square one - we still do not have an all-rounder and that, I believe, is going to be the difference between us and the rest of the world during the Caribbean World Cup in '07.

  2. Check the flow of runs in the initial overs - I think, this area has seen some improvement in the last few games. Traditionally, our Indian pace bowlers have been guilty of leaking away far too many runs and that too in extras (wides, no-balls). This just releases that extra bit of pressure on the batsmen who then breath freely and start scoring. I mean, when is it that you have seen any of our opening bowlers go for 30 odd runs in their 10 overs and also taken some wickets. I can't think of any occasion actually ! Now check out Chaminda Vaas - he comes back from a break of 5 games, bowls at a time when Veeru is going berseck and yet finishes with 2 for 38 in 10 overs. That, my friend, is good bowling. He is not fast or terrifying but he is extremely accurate. I know it is not easy to build speed but what does it take to improve one's accuracy ? - after all, what are the nets for?

  3. Indian fielding is never perfect - although we have some fantastic fielders in Kaif and Yuvraj (Raina and Venu are also good), but there are others who are just liabilities in the field. Nehra is always slow to react to the ball, VVS Laxman and Saurav are just embarrasments to the team. In fact, Dhoni also dropped so many important catches during the finals. That is just totally unacceptable. The old adage still holds true - catches win matches. If you drop Jayasuriya twice in the same match and still expect to win, you must be kidding !

  4. Draw out a long term policy for some players - I am amazed that some of the senior Indian cricketers still want to continue to play even though they don't have a future in the 1-day games. Anil Kumble is a prime example. He is 35 years of age and though, he is extremely fit, I don't see him playing an important role in the World Cup in '07. I mean, we already have a fantastic spinner in Bhajji - if we really need to use a spinner, we can use Murali Karthik. Kumble should just take it easy and play an important role during tests - just look at Shane Warne - that is the way to go !

  5. Finally, PLAN PLAN PLAN ! - of course, that is easier said than done with the Indian cricket team. You have a year and a half to go for the World Cup in 2007. India plays around 40 1-dayers each year. So, that makes it 60 1-dayers to go before the World Cup. So, the time is really ripe for us to groom a new all-rounder. Whoever it may be - Raina, Venu, J.P - each of them needs to be given an extended run. I am sure that one of them will at least click and probably be our trump card in the World Cup. The Indian cricket team totally lacks balance - especially with the 5th bowler and the 7th batsman. We need a person who can fit into both the roles easily and we need that real fast.

Well, there you go - hopefully, Indian cricket team will get wiser after this tournament. We need to think ahead and the faster we do, the better it is for the Indian cricket team.

A hopelessly optimistic Indian cricket fan


At 1:41 AM, Anonymous shital said...

Why do we need all-rounders?
If Dhoni just learns to keep, Saurav learns to protect his rib cage and Pathan figures out his in-swinger then it should be enough. But ofcourse none of them can do even their primary job with any consistancy. So back to basics, do your own job and don't try to be an all-rounder.

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