Wednesday, 3 October, 2007

Fame is a fickle food

After the rain-curtailed one dayer at Bangalore, MS Dhoni said, "Discretion is better part of valour," in an apparent retort to Adam Gilchrist’s charge that Indian team shied away from taking the filed.

“If you play 10 Twenty20s in a row, you can't put money on who's going to win because it's so variable. But in 50-over cricket, the better side will win more often than not,” snapped Gilchrist at Cochin, as if to suggest India’s success in South Africa had much to do with the format than a sudden resurgence in their cricketing prowess.

As the war of words continues, Gilchrist has hit where it hurts India.

But this series has already seen things, that are hurting the game, most.

I felt the pre series Babel typified the Aussie idiosyncrasy. But inside the ring, players from both sides are plumbing new lows. It is one thing to be aggressive and other, to be downright vicious (in your mannerism), given that millions of kids of impressionable age are watching you. If this is what is being dished out at the start of the series then I do not want to imagine how ugly things can turn at the end of it. Someone needs to reign in the players, and fast too.

Aside that, there has been some fascinating cricket, mostly, and expectedly, from the men in yellow. Australians bat deep and inspite of none so good start from the openers, they have managed 300 plus totals in both the matches. It is a tribute to their strength that a player like Brad Haddin has had to wait on the fringe so long. Or perhaps, Michael Clarke and Symmonds should consider themselves plain lucky that they broke into to this champion team in their early twenties.

But for the rain at Bangalore, Australians would have headed to the ‘Charminar city’ with a comfortable 2-0 lead.

Indians have found out how difficult life can be, post world cup win. And as Emily Dickinson would say, Fame is a fickle food. Ask Tendulkar and Dravid, whose heads are almost on the chopping block, coming as it does on the back of a successful overseas tour of England.

With selectors picking the team for the next four one dayers, Rohit Sharma and Virendra Sehwag will most certainly bulldoze their way into the team after the Hyderabad one dayer. The question is at whose expense? Can India afford the luxury of playing the ‘big three’ in all the matches from here on? Even if the selectors defer taking a call on the future of ‘big three’ in the ODIs, can they keep public sentiments at bay?

These are tough questions and it would be most unfortunate if the future of Sachin Tendulkar, Saurav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid is allowed to be dictated by public outburst than common sense. Selectors and the powers that be in the BCCI should talk to these players and chalk out a road map for their eventual retirement from the ODIs, regardless of the outcome of this series.

For the starters though, India must square the series at Hyderabad, failing which, they will need to beat the Australians in next four matches – something the Indian team has never done before.


straight point said...

for SRT and RD i will wait...but SG to me is a goner...

uttapa on current form is better package on batting, running between wickets and one can discount those run-outs which we can only dream from SG...

also i would like Rohit to play especially early in the series to see how he takes the step from 20/20 to 50/50 and socks pressure which comes from playing against 'true' champions..

Cricket Guru said...

Straight Point, I agree it is too early to sack SRT and RD & if I may add, even SG.

Hyderabad will be the litmus test for these seniors. If they, and consequently the team, does not perform well, then I am afraid, selectors will have little choice left. Public pressure will be too much to turn their back to.

I hope they don't fail the team in the third ODI, if only for their own sake. All three have been 'great' in every sense of word and each one deserves a fitting farewell.

straight point said...

and in that scenario too, CG, it would SG who would go first...

dont take me wrong i am a fan of SG but i just dont see him progressing beyond this series...i mean ODIs i.e.

even great have to bid adieu to the game and i see it highly unlikely that SG will quit on his own this is what i feel somehow...

Homer said...

For the Hyderabad One Dayer, one thing is for certain that Powar will have to sit out given that his captain does not trust him enough to bowl out his 10 overs.

Which bring Sharma and Ganguly in contention. One bowls off breaks, the other gentle medium pace.

The last time an ODI was played at Uppal there was early life for the bowlers ( seam and bounce). In these circumstances, I think the Indian team will go with Ganguly because of his ability to seam the ball and his experience.

Golandaaz said...

The onus is on the seniors especially Saurav to give up he ODIs. On current form alone the newcomers have done little to suggest that the replacement will leave India better off. In fact I think we will be worse off without Sachin, Dravid and Saurav; in the short term.

Only a committment to play till the world cup 2011 and that too with consistent performances, can justify their collective desire to continue.

Otherwise, it is better to lose to Australia and Pakistan in the ODIs with a young side than an experienced one.

Soulberry said...

CG, Sreesanth overdid everything. That's not is boorishness.

I beg to differ in the order of replacements. Somehow, SG still brings more utility to the one-day game today than Rahul and today, just a little more than Tendulkar.

His bowling is more useful than ever, his fielding is perhaps the best out of his entire career (well, that may not be saying much but he is just about managing in the ring), and his batting has hit a rare vein of form and determination. Coupled with his experience and the other assets, I feel he is the last out of the big three who should go.

I'll put Sachin in at second spot in the order of retirement. I certainly would retire him from the opening spot and give him the 2-down spot. Gambhir or Uthappa or Sehwag etc can open. The spread filed and slightly older ball will also help him settle in...the frequency of dismissals through the ball snaking in between bat and pad will come down as a result.

Unfortunately, Dravid will have to be the first to go for me. He brings one utility to the playground now...the fielding's fallen away too...he drops too many catches as well. So the prime strength remains for him - batting.

It's a matter of weighing the odds with needs to judge if that's worth continuing with or risk it with a younger player (who may not necessarily be of the same batting class but can deliver the goods).

Australia ran 111 singles (out of a score of 300-odd) in the heat and humidity of Cochin and came back later to field exceptionlly. One-third of their runs came that way and still their main scorers were better than run a ball. It's a stark comparison...India couldn't run the singles nor field as much.

The fielding handicap is going up beyond the 30-odd I had rated them last season. Add to that the singles handicap and we get the picture...India gives away nearly 300 or therabouts each time, they don't look to score off each ball (read singles) or multiply them (twos and threes) they have to bank on 4's and 6's to get them to 300 each time.. That doesn't even work against Bangladesh these days!

India didn't score too many runs in the T20, but did enough with fielding and bowling to restrict their opponents.

They had plenty of run outs and the fielding handicap was rather low. The bowlers were able to concentrate in short spells and the combo worked well.

The clues are all there for the 50-50. Good fielding with breaking up the bowling into three short spells could be the way forward to hold opponents to less than 275. (It's been so long since India has held teams down unless the pitch/conditions were helpful that 275 sounds funny...we are quite used-to now to 290-310 minimum range when the conditions are subcontinental).

Soulberry said...

I particularly like Hope by Emily.

Cricket Guru said...

I would go with Soulberry on the order of retirement.

@ Homer
If Powar reatains his place inspite of mediocre performance, I can't figure what will make him sit out! I agree with you, he will make way for Ganguly, atleast for the 3rd ODI. Gambhir, if he fails at Uppal, will have to make way for Rohit Sharma.

@ Golandaaz
2011 WC is too long a call to take for the seniors. And you spoke my words, when you said, it is better to lose the series against Aus and Pak with juniors in the team than go down with seniors at the helm.

@ SB
I remember your comment on the same topic on Vidooshak's post 'The Aftermath' @ Smart Cricket Talk. I too believe Ganguly should quit tests to make a permanent slot for Yuvaraj and Sachin should retire from the shorter version to enable Uthapa open the innings and Rohit Sharma play in the middle.

Again, it all depends on hoe the team performs at Uppal. A repeat of Cochin will make the job really tough for selectors.

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