After what seemed like an eternity, India has managed not to lose a match batting 4th. I had mentally written them off and that mostly due to the poor show in Sri Lanka. I’m still trying to tweak Cricinfo’s statsguru to spit me the results of India’s draw percent when batting second. I’m pretty sure this must be low (esp in the last 3 years). From memory I recall only 2 from the last 3 years – the one at Lords (which really shouldn’t count) and one against South Africa.
Going by that, this is an achievement. But what that also says is that the Aussies have lost some of their sting without McGrath, Warne and Gilchrist (behind the stumps). Haddin has a long way to go. Watson, Haddin, Cameron White (who also plays for Bangalore Royal Challengers) don’t really strike me as great Test cricketers. Unless they go the Symonds way with their game, we may see some mediocre results from them in the near future.
As for India, NB from Soulberry’s TCWJ puts so succinctly, what seemed so muddled in my mind. To me, here are the worries:
- Middle order: Granted, we’re getting some stinkers from the umpires from time to time, but the middle order isn’t really on strong footing. There are flashes of brilliance, but only flashes, and that’s causing anxiety. Ganguly seems best of the four at the moment. Doesn’t that tell a story in itself (with due respect to Gangs of course)? Meanwhile at the top order, Gambhir has not had too many answers either.
- Spin bowling: We all know about Harbhajan’s “I-need-a-wicket-to-start-thinking”. That apart, Kumble has been very worrisome.
- Fielding: Allright, we’ve never really been a great fielding side, not even when the Fab four where in their prime. Gambhir’s dropped catches were atrocious! So much for the “young-agile-fielding-sides”
Interestingly this time, both teams have seen some decline from previous glory. Can India put a 300 plus total? Can the middle order post 200 runs by themselves? Can India bat better than Australia? Can Australia take 20 wickets? Will they bowl better than the Indian quicks? Strange how it can become isn’t it?
Maybe we will get only 2 results from this series.
The problem with our middle-order is they are unable to convert their starts into big scores.
…and its not by chance OTT…they are out of reserve by the time they end up getting start…the body waning and mind not concentrating enough…
dismissals of sachin illustrate the point perfectly…gee…even a rookie would be embarrassed of those dismissals…
Let’s hope for Mohali… atleast it is a bouncy pitch which should produce a result.
Thanks VM. I am afraid you are right. There may be 2 results possible in this series. An Indian win looks like a distant dream unless Sehwag breaks Lara’s world record.
As Straight Point put it in TCWJ
“…we all should calibrate our expectations with current state of middle order we have…”
First of all Victoria, thanks on behalf of Bala for linking up.
Then, yes, digging up the stats ovvet the past two years will revel some interesting dirt. I just don’t have the time and energy at the moment….maybe coming weekend.
India has just managed to inch into series wins in the past. That they did is appreciable but there are worrisome signs.
For instance, I can no longer guarantee that what Sachin played yesterday can be a sign of his series form and he will replicate it in a grander scale in the test matches ahead. That is the worrying part – 1) we cannot guarantee any player performance…with even 70% surety 2) while India does not rely on any single person now, it is not in a comfortable way…it is more like “hey, we have thrown the noobs into the pool, now let’s see who can make it to the other side.”
It can be such a sinking feeling that Sri Lanka is no one-off but a definite decline and that the steady decline is no pessimistic mirage one is seeing but actiual reflections in pools very dark.
players like McGrawth, Warne are not easy to replace; Same is true for some of our aging players. And team games which depend on cumulative effort do retrograde when proper replacements are not found in time. Your article reminds me of one thought, ” only skilled players perform consistently and make comebacks. The not so bright ones just languish.
@Ott, why do I see you rather “soft” on seniors around here? 😉
@SP, Sachin has been having this concentration problem for almost a year now. I can recall at least two other occasions (though I can’t recall where) where he got out immediately after a break . Not a good sign.
@NB, you’re welcome. Sehwag crossing Lara’s is a good one! And SP’s suggestion of calibrating our expections seems like a good thing to do, to avoid unnecessary disapointments.
@SB, I actually tried this yesturday. The strange thing is that when I chose matches where India batted in 4th innings, I don’t get the result which India lost by an innings (after batting 3rd). On the contrary, if I choose matches in which 2,3 and 4th innings I’m getting results including those in which India batted first. I’m sure there’s a way to tweak statsguru to get what we want. I need to find some time for this 🙂
Your point about India not depending upon a single player is a good one. I remember the days when Sachin used to fail and it was all over and I used to wish that we weren’t so dependent on one person. One we can’t depend even on a single batsman – Sehwag with his style doesn’t count as a “bank on’ player. That’s more of a psychological “banking”. On a lighter note, we are in such times that the term “banking on” may not be very appropriate, thanks to the subprime mess. It seems like you were right about the middle order in Sri Lanka itself. I had hope then, but its slowly waning.
@ABisht, very true. Yes, Aussies still don’t really have those replacements. Such champions come once in a few generations. I like your thought – I’m not disputing the class or quality of our middle order. In fact until this match I’ve been thinking it was still a form thing. In the back of my mind I’d like to think that I myself doubt the decline. As for our middle order, it is out of sheer class and quality that they’ve lasted this long. There is also this aspect of regular, if not constant, working on their game to increase effectiveness and longevity that has propelled them to greatness. This is missing in the Yuvrajs and Uthappas. Such folk will never get to the top, even they do, they won’t last there too long.
Hey! That is an uncalled for accusation.:)
I still hold on to my view that it is time for them to go – the difference is I have become bored saying the same thing again and again.
Seriously, if you look at their records excepting Sri Lanka, they have averaged around the 30’s.
Ott, I was just pulling your leg and got the very reaction I expected 🙂
I agree, their averages are in the 30s due to the drought last year. I guess England was a precursor to this. We, at least I, didn’t see this coming.
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