Observations, deductions and feelings fueled by tequila, tea and tobacco

3 thoughts about the current trip to england

In Rant, Sports on August 31, 2007 at 16:13

1. Dravid is most often in one of two modes – ‘no balls’ OR ‘balls easily lost’. Third test was just another example of the first mode. And 4th ODI was a sample of the second one.

India bowled really well – specially the pacers – grabbing wickets at regular intervals. And then, with the opposition, clearly down and waiting to get beaten, he lost the plot again. He brought on the spinners when batsmen were clearly struggling against pacers. He brought on part timers when full time bowlers were guarding the outfield with overs in hand. It almost seemed that he was sure that england would bat out 50 overs even from 120/7 so was saving his mainline bowlers for the end. Simply said, he came on the field with his balls charging. But once he got the top few, he again went onto the 3rd test ‘hedging’ route, losing his balls, and the match in process.

2. Too many of old batsmen are strong influencers in our cricket establishment. Just look around into the commentary box, the most vocal sound bite providers, the maskots and selectors. For me, this is the sole point that explains India’s weakness in bowling and fielding.

A batsman, when not performing, is commented about as… ‘needs time in the middle’, ‘form is temporary, class is permanent’ and ‘should be given time to get back in form’. Just look at the set of top 4-5 batsmen and they’ve been in the team forever without (almost) ever getting dropped.

Now look at the bowlers. Doubt if many batsmen have performed for country the way Kumble has done over the years. Or the way Srinath did in his best years. Yet, its not too uncommon to see these very batsmen-commentators asking for their heads at the slightest drop in form, stamina or fitness. No one ever says, Harbhajan has class so lets keep him in the team and give him time in the middle to catch up with his form.

And if you need a statistical reference of this – compare the turnover rates of top 5 batsmen for india with those of top 3-4 bowlers.

Ofcourse, this can also be explained by the ‘financial considerations’ parameter that comes up in next section.

3. Why isn’t robin uthappa playing? Why isn’t Gautam Gambhir playing either (even though I hate the chap)? Why are Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Dada (despite all my love and support for him) doing in the team?

This isn’t a really important series in the sport. Just one of many that routinely come and go. It isn’t too important financially as well. Atleast not as important as the world cups and the series against australia, pakistan or sri lanka.

Why are we not using this series to reduce our reliance on those top-3 players and instead bringing in the young blood to play (and maybe, fail) on foreign soil. If its failure we’re afraid of all we need to remember is that ‘failure sows the seeds of success’.

However, I don’t think that its failure on the field that we’re afraid of. Its failure on the balance sheets that seems to be influencing this selection committee. Sachin, Saurav and Rahul are definitely the biggest draws for both the crowds as well as the advertisers. Dropping them might negatively affect some bottom-lines. And this is where they don’t have the balls. I bet, if BCCI and advertisers could have their way, atleast 2 of these three would still be playing in 2015 world cup and India would then be a regular at crashing out in the first two rounds.

The old warhorses don’t wish to retire. And that is understandable. The advertisers don’t want them to retire. Yes, still believable. But BCCI not replacing them slowly just shows their myopic vision. They may earn well today but should the masses start drifting away from cricket (or to ICL), they’ll be the biggest losers around. And they don’t seem to get this!


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