Steely Dravid steals the show – series heading to a result

November 22, 2010

With a mammoth 191, which could have been a memorable double ton, Dravid stole the show today in a charecterestic fashion. On a day when people waited for Tendulkar’s 50th century and many other bizzarre statistics, Dravid played a watchful hand to take this game out of New Zealand’s reach.

Because I missed the first century of the series, I made sure I watched this one. Got a bit excited after the 50, and more so after the runs started to flow. Once the straight drive from circa 2003 showed up in the innings today, I started to feel that this might be a big one. The late-cut was played to perfection. The signature patience was there. Apart from a few moments of indiscretion which Dravid visibly chided himself over, the innings was one of perseverance. What is very heartening to see is that this wasn’t a scratchy ton like the one from 2008 against SA. It was one played with much deliberation, thoughtfulness and caution perpered with some of the most beautiful late-cuts. The high price he sets over his own wicket has returned; maybe it never disappeared, but the results he got made it seem so. Apparently, the NCA and Kirsten had a lot of do with the preparation, esp against the left armers, (McKay for the day). What was also nice to see was some shots from T20 which one seems him play so well in the IPL.  Pity to have missed out the double ton, though.

Despite all of what’s been said about how Dravid has played this series, and in the last year, I think a lot also has to do with this day when Pujara was sent in at #3. Even that very day, when Dravid came in to bat at 5 after Tendulkar, there was a little less of the visible desperation and a bit of determination rising.

Maybe it is second wind for Dravid! May Bhogle’s prophecy come true.

Congratulations Dravid. Wish you many many more such innings!


Why Ganguly?

September 17, 2008

I cannot help but ask. Why? Why Ganguly? Is it because something had to be done? Someone had to go? Some stop gap arrangement needed to be made to smother the screaming for including young talent? Or is it Peter Roebuck? We’ve reacted to Chappell’s remark on Sehwag before the tour of Australia late last year. So is that the new mantra to selection – listening to the Aussies? But now Ponting is questioning Ganguly’s omission. What do we do now?

The bigger question is this. Is Sourav not even good enough for the Irani Trophy. Well, the condescending talk from some of the “unnamed” selectors does make it seem that way. But then, I have another question. Why Jaffer? What has Jaffer done between his disastrous run in Australia earlier this year and now, to justify an inclusion to the dress rehearsal for the upcoming Aussie series. Or was he an automatic selection given that we are playing Australia at home or because Jaffer plays for Mumbai?

Turning our attention back to Dada, if you asked me, I could argue both sides: for and against the exclusion of Sourav Ganguly from the Irani Trophy squad. The argument against is jaded, so I’ll pass on that. Why does a Ganguly fan think this exclusion is good for him? Because it will wake up the lion in him – thought I’m not sure how many times he needs to prove his worth. Honestly, if he gets selected for the series against Australia, which he should, it will only have helped to have the lion (or should I say tiger) in Ganguly to be awake and growling. But one wonders, how long will he fight this sort of battle?

On the Kirsten/Kumble’s hand in this, I think the media has again sensationalized the story. I suspect it had more to do with Kirsten than Kumble. But maybe that’s just me, for I’ve never hid my dislike for Kirsten.

So why was it Ganguly? There are times like this when being a team man counts for more than anything else; when just that fact that you’ve tried as hard as you could have counts to your advantage. There is something about Ganguly that makes you think he took a situation casually. Maybe it’s his persona. Perhaps it is way he projects the facts. Maybe it is deju-vu from the old “I-don’t’want-to-play-the-new-ball” tactic. This is when you feel a little sad, that someone so gifted has thrown it away, almost arrogantly, like the straight sixes Sourav hits. This is why, I think, Dravid escaped the axe. If Dravid wasn’t the team man that we know him to be, even Kumble could not have saved him. But all isn’t well for Dravid either, for he scored two, yes, 2, in the Buchi Babu tournament in the match against Tripura. For once, I don’t think that’s very good news and feel a bit more apprehensive about this than I have before. If Dravid makes it past Irani, past Ausralia, he will have a good run for a year or so. If not, well yikes! God save Dravid and India.

Most of all this selection for the Irani Trophy seemed to me like the populist union budged this year. It tries to make everyone happy: the senior fans sans the Ganguly fans and the young aspirants. But the inconsistencies are glaring and it has been so through the years. Dravid was dropped from the ODI squad 3 matches after a brilliant match-winning 92 in Bristol. Yuvraj was persisted with after several failures for over a year, not more than 2 innings over 50. But that is Indian cricket for you!


Kirsten, will you shut up?

September 5, 2008

To me, these comments seem like they’re from the Aussie camp. First he says Dhoni is ready to “take over”. This will no doubt induce fear in the senior Indian batsmen for they know what Dhoni’s captaincy will mean. While Kumble himself may not be too much bothered, it does not auger well that a coach is suggesting publicly that a captain must go (sooner rather than later).

As for me, Kumble must captain as long as he is in form and as long as the senior batsmen aka Fab Four are around for it’s is clear that Dhoni cannot and choses not to “handle” the seniors. To me that isn’t a great trait in a captain. A good captain needs to be fair and pick the best available team – senior or junior. So far, he has been lucky in that his team has won, but luck will take you only so far. The victories have largely come as a result of wining crucial tosses or other results going India’s way. Maybe that was a bit harsh on some of the young talent – yes, some are promising, but I suspect most won’t make it. But that is a discussion for another day.

After the captaincy “tamaasha” as Soulberry calls it, Kirsten has been making statements about Andrew Symonds’ absence in the upcoming home series against Australia. Why is Kirsten telling them why Australia should bring him along. Don’t get me wrong, we will miss Symonds if he doesn’t make it. It will definitely take a little out of the spirit that India-Aus has been over the last 5-6 years. But that is no excuse for this.

Fellow blogger Trideep has warned Kirsten thus. But I think there is more drama in store.


Kirsten signs on as India cricket coach

December 4, 2007

Cricinfo confirms the end of India bizarre search for a coach. Personally, I think this is an insult to the 20 odd folks who applied and more so to Lalchand Rajput. Considering his record which includes a World Cup victory (come on, lets not brush the T20 tournament which set the tone for an aggressively fought ODI series against Australia), a fairly good run against the mighty Aussies and an impressive series against Pakistan, any sane board would have at least given him some sort of a contract. Perhaps Rajput would have been considered for coach was if he wasn’t Indian. Meanwhile, the question hangs as to what will become of Robin Singh and Venkatesh Prasad, the fielding and bowling coaches respectively, who till now don’t have any contract from BCCI. In my opinion, the Rajput-Singh-Prasad trio have done better than some of the previous coaches India has had.

The rationale for hiring Kirsten for the job seems to me to be something along these lines.
– We are going to Australia. It would be embarrassing to go there without a coach.
– We are going to Australia, so get a South African
– We need a big name (Shah Rukh Khan, Micheal Jackson, Bill Gates and many others fit the bill here)
– We need a puppet, so get a mild-mannered guy without too much experience
To the BCCI, Kirsten fit this bill.

Maybe if he had refused, they would have gone with Bill Gates; if Gates turned it down, Shah Rukh Khan would have been a front-runner (the minor BCCI-Shah Rukh issue notwithstanding). 🙂

Good luck Team India!