India at the Compaq Cup 2009: yo yo so far

September 13, 2009

It’s been a while since since we’ve watched India play, so the Compaq cup was rather inviting. Though a  mostly inconsequential tournament, it seems to provide feed to the bored.

While India bowled and fielded well against New Zealand, given our reputation in those areas, but did not bat like the #1 ODI team they became following that victory. I have issues with the ICC ranking system which seems to be playing catch up rather than paint a picture. If you ask me, India were peaking as an ODI side,  just after IPL 2008 and started the downward trend perhaps just after IPL 2009. Australia, on the other hand, have been slumping since late 2007, following the World Cup. That the ratings have taken this long to reflect the fortunes of two teams – India and Australia – seems mocking.

As for the second ODI against, Sri Lanka, India played like a side not interested in the proceedings, barring Tendulkar, Dravid and Harbhajan. The bowlers were straying and spraying. Ashish Nehra’s first over set the tone. Though early in road were made with the wickets of Dilshan, Sangakkara and Jayawardena, Kandamby was allowed to cut loose and cause havoc. Batting woes were bound to follow. Dinesh Karthik promised, but perished and there was no real batting after Tendulkar and Dravid, both of whom looked resolute to prove that they were still as good as one can get. Perhaps it wasn’t a backward move after all to recall Dravid.

The only solace from the loss to Sri Lanka in the 2nd match is the statistics. More often than not, if India won the match leading up the finals (baring semi-finals), they went on to lose the finals. One cannot resist but hope that maybe this is a good omen.


South Africa vs. Australia – too much being made?

March 12, 2009

I understood the euphoria when South Africa won a series in Australia. What I didn’t get was the hype. The media was abuzz that this South African cricket team is the best and is perhaps #1. I had my doubts, but kept it to myself, for criticizing South Africa at that time would have been tantamount to dissing the IPL. There were definitely chinks in their armor. They were too dependent on Smith and Amla. It takes more than just two phenomenal batsmen to forge a team that will consistently and comprehensively beat others. If anything was proved in Australia’s tour of South Africa, it was this.

After Australia  has beat South Africa now, the euphoria has turned. Two newbie Aussie batsmen have been made stars, Phillip Hughes being  one of them is sacreligiously likened to Don Bradman. My issue is not with the analogy but the haste in declaring legends. Why are we in such a hurry? The guy has scored what one century? Ok, he might be young, but I find such analogies – both the likening to Bradman and the “catch ’em young” propaganda – ridiculous to say the least.

Moving back to my original point that too much is being made about South Africa and Australia, that South Africa beat them in Australia, does not mean that they are the best. The Australian victory now over South Africa also does not justify their ICC #1 ranking. The rankings –  like many other things concerning the ICC – need to be drastically revamped, for now it is far too dependent various external factors. Australia are nowhere near as consistent as they were in the last decade, nor are this set of individuals of that calibre. As for South Africa, their side of the late 90s with the likes of Klusner and Donald was certainly special, and would have been the best if only Australia weren’t as good, or some dark elements in that South African side didn’t fix matches.

To me, this Australian victory is nothing other their revenge over the Saffers. It doesn’t mean, prove or justify anything else.