Tuesday, 5 February, 2008

Rain Match


There aren’t many things in India, that would relegate cricket off the newspaper headlines. Sania Mirza’a dramatic withdrawal from the Bangalore open almost threatened to do that. Sania’s announcement may be a culmination of number of factors, but it had a huge lesson embedded in it - be prepared to be damned, doesn’t matter how successful you are.

The young Indian team selected for the Commonwealth Bank Tri series may not have been subjected to the same moral and cultural policing as Sania was, as yet, but make no mistake, it was a team under enormous pressure. It took all of one Twenty20 tie and half a limited overs match for the critics to draw their daggers out. Suddenly, the ‘men’ who won us the T20 world cup were ‘boys’ who could never stand the rigours of a tough Australian tour.

Incongruous as it may sound, the youngsters must have welcomed a shift in focus, whether in form of Sania, or the disturbing happenings on the streets of India’s cricket capital, Mumbai, or the scheduling of match itself - on a busy Tuesday, unlike the opening one on Sunday when whole of India seemed focused on Brisbane.

Brisbane has been a low scoring pitch in recent times. The average score for a side batting first in past 5 ODIs was 233 runs. Even that looked imposing when first four wickets fell for fewer than hundred runs.

But what a good performance Gambhir and Dhoni came up with thereafter!

I must confess I was never a big fan of Gautam ‘flashy’ Gambhir. He is that sort of batsman against whom the slip cordon will always fancy their chances. While Hussey and Ponting forgot the cardinal rule to stay awake yesterday, it was Sangakkara’s turn to doze off today. To Gambhir’s credit, he hung on and importantly, made it count. If this innings has cemented his place in the team, he knows whom to thank for.

But I am most impressed with MS Dhoni. He may not possess the best batting technique, but has a temperament of gold, in that he is inert to most pressure situations. As a captain, he has adamantly preferred a young team to the experienced one, which puts the onus of team’s success squarely on him. How remarkably well did he shepherd the Indian innings today!

At lunch break, 267 looked like an eminently winning total.

And then, it rained…

10 comments:

Straight Point said...

he should by a bar or two to sangakara...no simple drinks wont do...

i will wait till CB series is over to form any opinion on GG or for than matter other young batsmen...

gg batted brilliantly but he is offering chances early in his innings and it wont happen everyday that he will catches someone dozing off...

Golandaaz said...

Why is it that we took to Sachin as a nation but make villians out of the Kambli's and Sania's. It sad.

Soulberry said...

Sad about Sania. Sometimes I feel India doesn't deserve its achievers, whom it never helps develop anyway.

Dhoni has a good temperament, he cannot change his game, but he can use the attributes he has to add to his game...to grow.

He'll need to improve his test performances for 1) transitioning as overall India skipper and 2) to solve the middle order problem for India which already exists and is likely to be aggravated. We cannot have two talented players in Yuvraj and he, manning the middle, who struggle because they failed to add and grow.

Straight Point said...

"Sad about Sania. Sometimes I feel India doesn't deserve its achievers, whom it never helps develop anyway..."

yes SB, we really don't deserve...we will always try to bring them down to our ugliest level and then laugh about it...

we really don't know how to treat our heroes (or heroins in this case) ;-)

scorpicity said...

What was the issue thrown in at Sania? jeez am lost... Anyone? What happened?

Cricket Guru said...

@ SP

Even if they fail big time, I am inclined to give them another chance. These are the men most likely to step up once the famed four call it a day.

@ Golandaaz

I guess India of early 90s was not ready for an aggressive and somewhat brash kind of person that Kambli was. He might well have been an icon today!

As for Sania, well, she is a Muslim, a woman, good looking at that and above all, successful. Fortunately she is playing a largely individual game. So in a way, she is the master (nay, mistress) of her own destiny!

@SB,

Well said. I believe it will take few more years for us to mature as a society and be more tolerant.

On Dhoni, I agree, Indian middle order looks very fragile. Dhoni at number 5 or even 6 is not a long term solution. Tiwary, Sharma, Pujara along with Raina and Yuvraj are the potential bats. THe question is how soon they develop as complete cricketers.

@Scorpi,
Sania has been adviced by her managers, Globosport, to withdraw from the Bangalore open tournament
owing to the controversies that seem to dog her consistently for last few months. She even contemplated retirement during/before the Australian Open.

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