Friday 5 October 2007

Hyderabad blues leave fans red

There must be something about Hyderabad’s air that it has produced three of India's most stylish batsmen in M L Jaisimha, Mohammad Azharuddin and VVS Laxman. As if inspired by these illustrious players, the ‘Yuvraj of Chandigarh’ produced a Nawabi innings of similar pedigree in the third ODI at Hyderabad. Alas, it was not enough. Against the champion Australian side it was never going to be!

As Dennis Lillee has often said, to win against the Australians you need all your eleven players ready in a combat mode. Yes, individual brilliance can fetch you an odd win or two on a given day, as Sachin Tendulkar showed on 22nd April and 24th April 1998, but they are as rare as they come.

Indians did approach the series in a combative mood, but of a different kind, and I am not sure if this has helped their game plan. They have already handed the initiative to the opponents by being unnecessarily aggressive; by playing the game Aussies would have wanted them to, from the very start. And Ricky Ponting hit the nail on its head when he said, “The Indians are actually not what they are looking to be. We know them well, and it’s just that they are trying to be a bit aggressive to match up to the situation.”

The loss at Hyderabad was much worse than what the final scoreline suggests. At 13/3, the men in blue were well and truly shunted out of the game, Yuvraj and Sachin’s partnership not withstanding. Even when the two were on a consolidation path, it seemed defeat was just one wicket away. If you let the Aussies a toehold, more often than not, they are bound to gate-crash into your party. And the men from Oz did bang in, in style.

What this defeat does to the moral of the team, and more importantly, to that of the seniors is of vital importance, for, you don’t want a situation where some players (I am not alluding to anybody) are playing just to secure their place in the team. The main reason for India’s success in the Twenty20 cup was they played fearless cricket and more importantly, enjoyed themselves on the field. One can clearly notice the spark missing from this team.

With Australians comprehensively dominating the first three ODIs, Ponting’s prediction of a clean sweep is in real danger of coming true. Even if it doesn’t, Aussies look set for a crushing win over the hapless Indians.

As Bill Woodfull, Australian captain during the Bodyline series, would have, with due apologies to Yuvraj, said - ‘There are two teams out in the middle and only one of them is playing cricket.’

17 comments:

Sumit Chakraberty said...

come on, admit it, you were alluding to tendulkar's 43 in 71 balls, and most of those during the 'powerplay'!

Cricket Guru said...

No Sumit, I did not have SRT in mind when I posted the article. It was a general comment on ALL the seniors who, according to Colonel, were (are) under tremendous pressure to 'perform or perish.'

And as I write this, Ganguly falls to Jmes Hopes. India 91/1.

Soulberry said...

CG, I think India is moving faster than Australia in the mindgames department. In fact, they may have pinned Ricky and the Oz to the mindgames and have themselves vacated the peaty perch to them and flown on.

Uthappa clarified the reasons in a very straightforward honest intreview prior to the 4th match. They were still punch drunk with T20 is what he said.

Yesterday's was a win but I'd like India to register a more comprehenseive and less debatable victory. And I think they can do it.

One good thing was Munaf running in the way he did in the Irani Trophy second innings. he was fairy sprinting in (and I have never seen him run in that way) and was completely unplayable.

With Pathan topping at 137.5, RP at 147 and Munaf the way he was, I think India will have a decent attack once again. There's a prvisio of course...Munaf needs to show it wasn't a one off burst of enthusiasm. Munna isn't in this series but he can't be far away with these kind of performances.

The batting should be settling in now and Tendulkar would like to play an innings to erase the memories of this one.

Badri boost will be good too - batting and fieldingwise.

By the way, Parthiv is back in the thick of it. What do you feel about it?

I thought his glovework was just about there., but he is said to be back as a batsman now.

Stuart said...

It was good to see India fighting back in the last game. It will be very interesting to see how the final few games play out. Here's hoping for an Indian win in the next game to setup the final deciders.

Straightdrive said...

Hi CG

How are you? Long time since we chatted on GVA. Busy? Just few days back myself and SB were disussing about your absence. Find time to join us.

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viklele said...

Hi CG,

Maan, are we busy or what?

I was so much looking forward to your comments on elevation of one of the most respected veteran cricketer of our times to the leader position.

Kumble has made a grand entry as a captain. Lets see how he carries this forward, particularly in Australia.

Straight Point said...

CG,

your posts and insights are certainly being missed mate!!

looking forward to your regular blogging days that will add the value...

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Cricket Guru said...

Hi SD, SP, Vikram

Thanks for your good words and apologies for not replying early.

SD,

Its been a long time I had a chat with you all on GVA. Australian series should be a perfect time to start afresh.

SP, Vikram,

I will try to keep this blog updated, as far as possible.

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