Mendis propells Sri Lanka to lift Asia Cup 2008

Ajantha Mendis was the reason for me to watch the Asia Cup final. Though I wished the result went the other way, it was an interesting cricket match to see, unlike several other matches in same tournament and the recently concluded Kitply Cup; also a good lesson learned for the Indian batting line-up and Dhoni.

To me, death-by-spin was bound to happen to this Indian batting line up. While Q states here that Mendis ran through a line-up known as the best players of spin, I say that while that is historically true, it isn’t of this batting line up. This Indian line up with “I-don’t-play-spin” Yuvraj and inexperienced youth like Rohit Sharma and Uthappa, who in my opinion lack soundness in technique that has thus far embodied Indian batting, is far from deserving of the “best players of spin” tag. Historically, India earned the tag because the batsmen had a chance to play against the some of best spinners. That is no longer the case. Other than Kumble and Harbhajan Singh, there isn’t too much of interesting stuff in India’s spin closet. And no, Piyush Chawla, though seemingly effective, has a long way to go.

As for Yuvraj, if I were captain, I wouldn’t know what to do with him. He’s doubtless got talent, but I’m of the opinion that you can’t play spin, you don’t belong in the middle order. Perhaps he can open the innings – something that if I recall correctly, he has reservations about. Even better would be to pack him off to play Ranji – and he isn’t the only one who should be going. So much for a guy who’s upset over not making to a Test XI.

Meanwhile, our “anti-Ganguly-Dravid” friend Ottayan (I took the liberty of branding you that, Ott) suggests that this web around the batting line up is likely to heighten voices “clamoring for Ganguly and Dravid” in the ODIs. Yes, Ott, it might do just that. Though I must say you surprised me with your comment as  “..itself is not a bad thing”. Guarded though it was, it was defense for “the Arms”, as Soulberry calls them. Yes, Ottayan, I will resume my own clamoring though I have done that time and again. 🙂 Thank you for egging me on.

Honestly, if were allowed to pick only two seniors, they would be Tendulkar and Dravid, who will play at the cost of Yuvraj and Sharma(?), at #4 and #3 respectively.

So what of Dhoni’s captaincy in the final? Well there isn’t much one can do if you pick Uthappa in place of a bowler. RP Singh has been off color and Irfan Pathan seems lost. These are folk, who along with Rohit Sharma (who I have lost patience with) that I will drop. The youngsters need seasoning and there is nothing like good hard Ranji for that.

Going back to Mendis, a star is truly born. He still has to a lot to prove, but judging by what we’ve seen so far, he augurs well for Sri Lankan cricket and for spin bowling.

This will make India’s upcoming tour of Sri Lankan more watchable. Mendis or not, I was interested in the ODI series for the Tendulkar-Ganguly-Dravid against Murali foremost and umpire-challenging second. But the ODI series is now spiced up with Mendis being a definte inclusion. If he is picked for Test, then all the merier.

Bring it on! I can’t wait for this tour!

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10 Responses to Mendis propells Sri Lanka to lift Asia Cup 2008

  1. Ottayan says:

    I am still of the opinion bringing back the seniors to the ODI team is a retrograde step.

    Why not bring in Badrinath for Yuvraj Singh and Venugopal Rao for Rohit Sharma?

  2. rs says:

    Yuvraj may have benefited if he had been sent to Ranji a long time ago. I think losing his wicket 2 balls after Sehwag set the tone about how everyone panicked against Mendis. Uthappa needs to cut down on showmanship and needs to have happen to him, what should have happened to Yuvraj a long time back. Not sure if it is right thing for Rohit as yet – I feel he and Raina will learn fast. But I think the bigger concern has to be the bowling – we are not leaving Asia till end of this year atleast – can the bowling handle that? And it seems odd that BCCI did not take up Warne’s post IPL offer of helping the spinners?

  3. Apurv says:

    It was interesting to listen to Ian Chappels comment on the Indian batting line up. “Yuvraj “, Chapell said , “couldnt play Hogg in Australia. How can you call him a great player of spin bowling.” As rightly observed by you VM , Sharma, Utthapa and Raina dont seem to posses the technique to play quality spin at the moment. Lets hope they learn soon.

  4. its only yuvi who jokes he is a test match player… :))

  5. vmminerva says:

    @rs, can the bowlers handle it? Good question.

    @Apurv, did Chappell say that? I must have missed that. Somehow I don’t see Uthappa learning. Success seems to have gone to his head.

    @SP, joke is a good way to put it. 🙂

  6. vm: sehwag -gambhir starts will make or break this tour. outright attack on lankan spinners is the key – barring the openers, who are a roll, wonder who will take them on? when things go bad, it’s usually one guy in the middle order who stands out, when it’s good they all make merry. india will be playing the hype around mendis more than the bowler. suspect sehwag and gambhir will have to demystify him, before the biggies can sink their teeth in. Like Sidhu took Warne on many moons ago, and SRT followed.

  7. vmminerva says:

    @Gaurav, I think the middle order will chip-in a bit more than before. Esp, “ODI-outsted” Ganguly and Dravid. Laxman will be his normal self. For me, between Sehwag and Gambhir, the odds for success are even. Sehwag on high gear can rattle any bowling line up and Gambhir is probably the better player of spin among the young lot. Good point about Siddhu vs. Warne. The openers will have to set the tone.

  8. scorpicity says:

    bang on… this is certainly;y not a team that can play even average spin… in the case of yuvraj, am afraid… that guy can’t play a swinging ball for nuts and so is dhoni… so if you can’t play spin or swing… it just means you are pretty much useless for all the talent that they may possess.

  9. vmminerva says:

    @Ott, while I prefer the seniors, I’m for your proposition too. Badrinath certainly deserves a spot more than Yuvraj.

  10. […] ever since the IPL ended (to be honestly about half-way thru the IPL), and almost feverishly after that Asia cup final which gave Mendis instant […]

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