Of Dhoni, Yuvraj and the Commonwealth Bank ODI Tri-series

February 17, 2008

Took a rather unplanned blogging break since early Feb. Catching up with mundane things and what not. Ok, on to cricket.

I had written earlier that India would get thrashed in the Tri-series. Well, thrashed may not be the right word, considering that the rain gods played their part to wash out of couple of matches; however, till date, I stand correct and predictably so with my hunch about this batting line up.

What I didn’t expect was the success of the young seamers. Ishant has become the man of the Tour carrying his dream Test form to the ODI series, scalping crucial wicket at important junctures, making the Aussie batting line up look the weakest I have ever seen (given their standards).

With Yuvraj fizzling out as fast the Reliance Power IPO and the Dhoni-Yuvraj pact that seems to be going on, I think captain Dhoni needs a rap on his head (not to say that today’s match hasn’t done that). To persist with an out-of-form Yuvraj and making adamant media statements that he will play in every game seems like an emotional (not instinctive) decision to me. Rewind back to the ODI series against Australia in India in late 2007, an out-of-from Dravid was benched and then hideously shown the door as far as the ODI team is concerned. Isn’t it fair to expect similar stands taken with Yuvraj also, or rather the other way around, shouldn’t the team management have persisted with Dravid? Old questions being asked again and again, on the face of every Indian defeat. To me, the equation is as follows:

1 out-of-form Yuvraj + a thin as ice batting line up = -2 batsmen OR 3 out-of-form Dravids

Pick your worst. If you are anti-Dravid-ian, my guess is you would pick the second one. As for me, any day, I would pick 3 out-of-form Dravids over an out-of-form Yuvraj.

As a result of today’s match, many questions will be asked of Dhoni. Picking Munaf over Sehwag, promoting Pathan, selecting Uthappa who hasn’t been among the runs even in the Ranji matches, not playing Dinesh Karthik or Piyush Chawla and many more.

As for the rest of the series, I don’t think this Indian batting line up deserve to make it to the final. Actually what would be entertaining would be to see a toss up between the Sri Lankan batsmen and the Indian pacers headed by Jayawardena against the Aussies. Now that would be a match to watch!


Top 10 reasons to watch the Tri-nation ODI series

February 3, 2008

At the outset, it seems like a fairly boring series. In fact, after the 20-20 World Cup, I’m finding the 50-over version to be a rather predictable and boring affair which takes too much time. Granted there is some entertainment in this form along the lines of batsmen getting centuries and stuff, but other than that, the 50-over version is losing its charm. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t completely bought into the T20 mania; the new ultra-short version is undoubtedly entertaining, but has its drawbacks. I think Test cricket on good pitches still rocks like none other.

Back to the point I was going to make; yes, the Commonwealth Bank Tri-series featuring India, Sri Lanka and Australia. I still feel compelled to watch parts of the series for the following reasons:

10. Bret Lee

9. M S Dhoni – media-handling 😛 after being defeated (I expect this to happen a good number of times with the “thin-as-ice” batting line up)

8. Lasith Malinga – bowling and hairstyle 🙂

7. Mahela Jayawardena – captaincy and batting

6. Murali’s bowling

5. Sanath Jayasuriya

4. Kumar Sangakkara

3. Ishant Sharma bowling to Ponting

2. Adam Gilchrist’s final ODI series

1. Sachin Tendulkar in sublime form

Cheers!


Should the sub-continent teams think again?

February 3, 2008

After a hostile series and more interest in off-field action, this tour of Australia will perhaps go down in history as the one of the more infamous in the history of the game, perhaps second only to the Bodyline series (based on what I have read about Bodyline).

I think it all started with the Aussies getting chucked-out of the T20 semifinals, that scar is still red and burning. Added to that was India’s aggressive on-field behavior ala Sreesanth and off-field salvos fired ala Uthappa seen during Australia’s recent ODI tour of India; throw in a few Indian victories, and you have a desperate Aussie side, plotting revenge at any cost (something that I think they need not do with the quality of cricket they play). So the Bhajji issue was raised. Arrive the Lankans, and the eggs and abuse are hurled.

Fellow blogger Ottayan suggests that in the wake of such hostility, it is better to call off the series. I ask why not re-think the whole idea of sub-continent teams touring Australia, at least for the moment?