Fun Baba Fun

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Take the pleasure of winning a Test against the best side in the world in their backyard on a pitch that suits perfectly their style of play. Add to that the joy of bringing down to earth, albeit briefly, the most arrogant group of sportsmen one could ever hope to see. Multiply that by the ecstasy of seeing Team India displaying the heart and the balls to fight back after tumultous events that would have broken lesser sides. And only after doing this, can one even begin to understand how exactly an Indian fan felt as R P Singh’s yorker sneaked through the gap between the blade and the Star Trek pads of Shaun Tait.

The highlight of the Perth Test for me, as I no doubt feel for many others, was that spell. Yes you know the one I mean. Ishant Sharma. Ricky Ponting. The morning of the fourth day. On one hand stands the best batsman in the world, cocky in his knowledge of the conditions and of his own greatness. Despite chasing a historical 413 to win and having lost two wickets, Australia, because they possess an unreal batting line-up, are still very much in the game. Hussey is standing solid like a rock. There is an air of inevitability—-Ricky Ponting will, like countless times before, cut loose , crush the opposition with a big century scored at break-neck pace, the rest of the batsmen will rally around him and the runs will be knocked off.

Against him stands an obviously nervous 19 year old, who has gone wicketless in the last match, in the side simply because the front line of Indian pace bowlers are injured.

The script seems to have already written.

But then something happens. Whether it be a helpful breeze or the angle of the sun’s rays or the effect of a million prayers or the ghost of Curtley Ambrose, Ishant Sharma unleashes a spell of hostile fast bowling which has Punter all at sea. The ball zips about, Ponting does not know which way it is going, and his eagerness to change ends is visible to all. The Australian winning formula depends critically on a facade of invincibility and in those glorious moments, Ishant Sharma tears away this mask and shows to the world that even the best of the Aussies feel the pressure. When Ponting ultimately falls to Ishant Sharma, the game is still open to both sides but the psychological advantage remains firmly with India.

Anything now becomes possible. Including Sehwag bowling Gilchrist around his legs with a vicious spinner.

I do not know about you but victory seems sweeter when it is against opponents like Australia who just hate losing. A cursory glance at the online haunts of Australian supporters reveal a theme: a persistent mention of how manfully the Australians took the two bad decisions against them, unlike the Indians at Sydney (the decision against Sachin at Perth being even worse than that of Hussey’s is of course conveniently forgotten).

Peter English writes in Cricinfo:

Decisions are more likely to go bad for the struggling team, which is something Australia’s opponents have complained about for years. At least there won’t be calls for an umpire to be stood down for the final match of a gripping series in Adelaide next week, and the only boycott will remain an English commentator

Not that it needs repeating, (or perhaps it does) that the principal problem in the Sydney was not simply that all decisions had a consistent bias (which it did) but that the umpires did not bother consulting the third umpire when it came to decisions which might favor India while displaying no such reticence in decisions where Australia would benefit (a possible run-out of Harbhajan was referred to the umpire even though he had long made his ground before the throw came in while close stumpings and illegal catches were decided on the field of play)—actions that cannot be explained away as simple human error. And as to Peter English’s contention that decisions are more likely to go against the struggling team, I wonder why the decisions at Sydney when Australia was on the mat went in their favor or why the decisions at Sydney in 2003 when India was pressing for victory went in favor of the struggling team once again. (Bucknor was officiating in both matches).

There was of course more fun from the Aussie press. Including an accusation of ball-tampering against VVS Laxman , in the best traditions of yellow journalism, on the day the Aussies were unable to counter Indian swing. I am however disappointed that noone has written about how the rays of light reflected from Sehwag’s bald pate distracted Gilchrist and Lee.

But then all fun has to come to an end and with BCCI and Pawar uncle in the wings, how can it not ! Just before the fourth Test, the wise men of the BCCI announce the dropping of Dravid and Ganguly for the one day side, ostensibly at Dhoni’s insistence. What the effect of this sudden decision will be on the morale of these two great players just before a critical match is of course something Jalauddin Niranjan “Shah”-en “Shah” could hardly concern himself with.

Not much surprises me nowadays with respect to decisions made by the BCCI but this one did. To an extent. That’s because based on their performance in the recent Test series, the two representatives of “Gen Next” (Yuvraj and Dhoni) have done little to show themselves worthy of the mantle of their predecessors in games that last longer than forty overs in foreign conditions against the best of opposition. Everytime Yuvraj has come to the crease, he has looked like he was batting second innings, fatigued after prolonged games of shuttle-cock and rackets with a certain actress. And Dhoni has scratched around at the crease, time and time again displaying that he has yet to adjust his technique to Australian conditions. Whatever India has done in this series, batting-wise, has been because of the older generation of players, which in itself is very worrying.

In this context, sending home Dravid (who seems to have played himself into form) and Sourav (who despite a horrible Perth Test excelled in Melbourne and Sydney) is an extremely brave decision. As a matter of fact, there was a strong cricketing case to even keep Laxman for the ODIs considering that he does exceptionally well against Aussies. But that’s not the way Dhoni and the wise men look at it. What they want are “good” fielders (which also includes Munaf Patel) , irrespective of what that does to the batting line-up. Of course it may be argued that it was the chucking out of the old guard that won us the Twenty20 World Cup in South Africa. However ODIs and Twenty20s are totally different cups of tea — Twenty20 papers over many a vulnerability that starts to come into focus as the length of the game increases. (This is precisely what makes Twenty20 so exciting as it evens the playing field between the good and the average). An example of how success in Twenty20 does not guarantee success in ODIs is the case of Gautam Gambhir, who despite being one of Twenty20s most successful batsmen, still struggles to find his footing in the one day game.

But what has been done is done and whether dropping Dravid and Ganguly is an inspired bit of decision making remains to be seen.

Aah well. At least we shall always have Perth.

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76 thoughts on “Fun Baba Fun

  1. looks like Australia is our bunny when it tries to cross the elusive “16 test wins” barrier :)…. sweet, sweet victory….

  2. @ Arnab
    “Everytime Yuvraj has come to the crease, he has looked like he was batting second innings, fatigued after prolonged games of shuttle-cock and rackets with a certain actress”.

    shuttle “cock”…hehehehe
    Nice win..India had.

  3. Indeed, Laxman, Tendulkar and Ganguly have all looked in tremendous touch right through the series. The Perth performance was from my point of view a huge relief because there is a lot of talent in the side and they were on course to spectacularly underachieving. I’ve been disappointed with Ganguly because he’s clearly timing the ball superbly and looks confident as ever, yet he only has two fifties to show for it. Tendulkar was on his way to a hundred at the MCG before he played on. The bowling has been superb right through except for a session here and session there.

    As for selectorial shenanigans, how about the test series so far? Yuvraj apparently had to play, Harbhajan wasn’t half as effective as Hogg at the MCG and Jaffer has been miserable. Ian Chappell was shouting out loud the value of gambling with Sehwag, given that we were taking a huge chance on the Jaffer-Dravid combo anyway. So our wise men wake up after the series is gone (Australia hold the trophy regardless of what happens now).

  4. The best thing is, we have good fielders like Gambhir coming in – that too in big Aussie grounds – Throws will reach square leg from deep sq leg 🙂

    Rohit Sharma was an utter failure in Ranji – so he has been asked to go back to international series and get his form back..

  5. Yes, Ricky Ponting will have nightmares of that bowling. Ishant’s bowling against Ricky was like watching fine art being made, wonderful stroke after stroke. (I mean ball after ball).

  6. We have to ask selectors, why do they think giving youngsters an experience in Australia will help the young players win world cup in 2011 to be played in subcontinent. Maybe, dropping Dravid and Sourav can help the team in the longer run…we have to wait and watch. Selecting Sehwag and Munaf is also little questionable. Also, selectors have put the gun on Dhoni by saying that it was on his insistence that the players were dropped. So the selectors are now safe again. Also, no answers regarding Yuvraj’s supposed attitude problem…..but who cares lets enjoy Perth.

  7. “Just before the fourth Test, the wise men of the BCCI announce the dropping of Dravid and Ganguly for the one day side, ostensibly at Dhoni’s insistence”

    I don’t think it’s right to blame dhoni for ganguly’s exclusion..it’s just a speculation in the media and that only from TOI, if i haven’t missed it somewhere…but i agree the timing of the announcement is wrong

  8. “Just before the fourth Test, the wise men of the BCCI announce the dropping of Dravid and Ganguly for the one day side, ostensibly at Dhoni’s insistence”

    I don’t think it’s right to blame dhoni for ganguly’s exclusion..it’s just a speculation in the media and that only from TOI, if i haven’t missed it somewhere…but i agree the timing of the announcement is wrong

  9. The win was sweet. Considering all the pre-match hype of the Indians being blown away by the four-pronged Aus attack (including talks of blood on the pitch), and that this was essentially India’s second string pace attack, this victory was wonderful.

    Speaking of GAM(gutter Aussie media), last night,Fox Sports was running a ticker about how events at Sydney ‘affected Australia’s natural game’. Apparently it was a quote by Inzamam Ul-Haq!!!! Even Lou Dobbs wouldnt stoop that low to harp on a non-issue. 🙂 Thankfully, most Aussies I have met are much more sporting and gracious about their defeat (some even loved the Indian win saying it would served Ponting’s team right for their arrogance).

    I dont have much of a problem per se with the dropping of Ganguly, and the non-inclusion of Dravid for the simple reason that these guys are too important for our Test fortunes. Given another hectic calendar coming up, let the youngsters take the pressures of playing this and the thousands of other ODIs BCCI will conjure in the coming months.

  10. The selectors have gone absolutely insane. The idea of creating room for young blood is most welcome but the timing is totally wrong. If they were to revert to Kiran More and Co’s ‘looking ahead’ policies, they could and should have done it while the home series were on against Pakistan and Australia. But at that time they persisted with the seasoned lot as the opponents were mighty and experience was required in the team.
    It was a good decision when seniors were kept out of the team during the Bangladesh tour.
    But against the mightiest of all opponents, right in their den, suddenly exposing the young talented cricketers may turn out to be suicidal. And, it would do no good to the young lads either. Failures in a disastrous CB series can close the doors on many of them forever.
    The old lot should have been phased out one by one by employing a rotation system, instead of suddenly bringing about drastic changes in the team that has been doing well in recent times.
    Fielding is no doubt a very important factor but if the batsmen are not able to put up a good total, a good fielding side is as good as the Zimbabwe cricket team.
    While Ganguly (except at perth where he was sick and had been to the hospital) and Laxman have been playing well and scoring runs quickly, Dravid has shown clear signs of getting his touch back. The timing of dropping the trio couldn’t be worse than this.
    Look at the possible replacements :
    1. Suresh Raina (for Ganguly) : Outstanding fielder, played a couple of good knocks on home soil against England and Sri Lanka but has always exposed weaknesses against quality bowling. Footwork is below average. Has scored a lot of runs in this domestic season. So what? Even Ajay Sharma had done that we all know how he did at the international level.

    2. Rohit Sharma (for Dravid) : Other than a 50 in the T20 semi-final, honestly speaking, I haven’t heard much about his batting. I seriously doubt if he has at all faced any decent bowling attacks. However, he appears to be a good fielder.

    3. Gautam Gambhir (for Dravid/Laxman) : A good fielder and even better sledger but in spite of displaying occasional flashes of brilliance he is yet to put up decent performances consistently at the highest level.

    What could have been an exciting triangular ODI tournament will turn out to be practically an Australia v/s Sri Lanka ODI series.

    BCCI is possibly the only cricket board that announces the team for the next series while the matches of the ongoing series are not yet over. Imagine what these three oldies will have to play in Adelaide with in their hearts and minds. Why do I get ominous signs about the Adelaide test? Are we still in a position to level the test series?

    I think India’s tour down under is just a formality now and it won’t be long before they come back home.

  11. gb:

    why no mention of two of the heroes of perth – pathan and kumble?

    ‘What the effect of this sudden decision will be on the morale of these two great players just before a critical match is of course something Jalauddin Niranjan “Shah”-en “Shah” could hardly concern himself with.’

    don’t know about dravid, but i think it will make dada belligerent. good for him. personally, i agree with both decisions (they will both likely return at a future date!) though bcci screwed up with the timing, but for right now, i feel india needs laxman in australia (at yuvraj’s expense). like you say, let’s see …

    – s.b.

  12. Fielding abilities – I have to agree…what with our best fielder (who can’t even throw the ball from gully to point) Munaf Patel as a standby in case of any injury. And Harbhajan leading the spin attack – why not? we always do have to give 65 runs for no wicket for the 10 over spell he bowls right, just like he has been doing it the past year?
    And Arnab, update me on this – this said actress, I heard is goin around with the hunk in the kapoor family too – her presence in india as well as australia -hmm, multiple locations, multiple presences – one actor, two cricketers – never heard of a triple swingin story; some story this one! 🙂

  13. “I am however disappointed that noone has written about how the rays of light reflected from Sehwag’s bald pate distracted Gilchrist and Lee.”

    I put that up as my gtalk status where chicks would read it & I wouldn’t have to dial 1-900-hottie to get laid ! XD

    I too have the same views of how the ODI squad announcement could have serious conseq. on the batsmen @Adelaide !.. but screw all … we have Perth ! XD

    thanx … lovely literary treat !

  14. Dhoni’s batting hasn’t been as bad as you make him out to be. His ‘scratching’ (pun not intended) in the second innings of the Perth test could well have been the difference between our happiness and sadpiness after that match. Mitchell Johnson’s fiftieth run might have turned “Pay dirt at Perth” to “Piles at Perth”.

    But Yuvraj sucks, I know. Oh wait, I don’t – maybe racket lady knows. (What men, pun not intended. Dutty dutty minds you all.)

    Rohan
    http://daily-humor.blogspot.com

  15. “Just before the fourth Test, the wise men of the BCCI announce the dropping of Dravid and Ganguly for the one day side, ostensibly at Dhoni’s insistence. What the effect of this sudden decision will be on the morale of these two great players just before a critical match is of course something Jalauddin Niranjan “Shah”-en “Shah” could hardly concern himself with.”

    BCCI didn’t have much choice in terms of timing. There is only 3 days gap between the end of fourth test and the T20 match. The odi series starts couple of days later. It would have been hardly fair on the odi players to tell them three days before the series starts that they need to get on the flight to Australia.

  16. I don’t see why the trio couldnt stay in australia as part of the squad and still have youngsters around. The part of coming back just so, amuses me. They could still hang around the team even if they were not “active” players – i mean, this is all about transition, might as well make it the right way. Obviously the money minded mongrel that BCCI is, they’ll never give that a thought.

    The best moment of the test match win was Symonds getting out on a wrong decision. I thought it was just sweet revenge. Serves the monkey absolutely right!

    S

  17. All said and done, Ganguly has been horrendous in the field in the last test. Repeatedly converting Australian twos into threes.

    Still, I see no reason to include Munaf Patel.. what a waste.

  18. Thanx GB- and once again I admire the way you blend facts with the unbridled passion of the man-on-the-street!!!
    No doubt Aussies, inspite of their arrogance and all other les popular qualities, remain a side that is simply SUPER in terms of cricketing excellence. To beat this side convincingly under pressure is SWEET indeed.

    And I agree completely with you on the issue of dropping Dada and Dravid from one day side. Dada was not only consistent till being felled by flu and missing the party at Sidney- but in the first two matched , he scored consistently and at a brisk pace.
    Dravid is a guy you are going to miss everytime you face an opposition like the Aussies i the faster, bouncier wickets- irrespective of the form of game .

  19. Thew above comment was posted by me…

    I think I was still wondering on BCCI’s decision that Dravid is NOT a reliable fielder and forgot to type out my name

  20. I agree with at least one of the points Debolin makes:

    “What could have been an exciting triangular ODI tournament will turn out to be practically an Australia v/s Sri Lanka ODI series.”

    I don’t care about this ‘building for the future’ dhop. I want to see my heroes do their thang on those big wide Aussie grounds while pataki Aussie babe-shabes lust after them behind their sunglasses 🙂

    I am an Indian consumer. I want what I want & I want it now. I want to drive my car, watch my OSO et al. As long as it has aircondition & Shah Rukh Khan, I don’t want to sweat about long term consequences. Watching Raina & the rest of the never-heard-before promising lot will be like an Australia vs Board President’s 11. Farewell, free sopcasts. It is back to Cricinfo ball-by-ball commentary for me.

  21. Arnab,
    If they had decided the one day team on the merit of domestic performances recently then before the Rohit Sharmas & gambhirs Manoj tewari deserved a birth. But then thats the way BCCI functions isn’t it ?

  22. We shall always have Perth. 🙂

    I really think we should give the young ones a chance. Sadly our batsmen don’t get injured as often as our bowlers do, so there is not much rotation happenning, instead it’s a dog-eat-dog competition.

    There is so much cricket that happens over a single year, that even a straight loss in australia will register as a mere blip in India, barring controversies.

  23. Arnab,

    Succintly put.

    The BCCI obviously has a wrong sense of timing. After all there are no cricketers there.

    The ‘hope for the future’ nonsense is something one should have learned from the Chappelian days. But the BCCI refuses to do so.I guess they are really frightened of the popular clout of the great players. After their success in the test matches vis a vis the young hopefuls, the BCCI could not take another risk in the one dayers. For if the great ones repeated their success in the one dayers, the BCCI would have had to toe their line for a few more years.

    Glory for the nation? Well who cares. At least not the BCCI.

    Looking forward to seeing the BCCI Presidents’XI taking field against the world champs.I only hope that the bloodshed is minimal!!!

  24. For once I agree with the selectors.

    Greg Chappell (for all his ‘sins’), had a vision for the future when he tried to get the non/under performing seniors out of the team.

    We shouldn’t look to this series alone but also the future. If we take the seniors into the side just for winning against Australia, then it will be the same thing for the next series…….and on and on until they retire.

    Surely, at the outset no one will give this young team any chance of winning against Aus. But we have been surprised before in T20.We might be surprised again in Oz.

    It is time for the old guard to withdraw gracefully and let the youngsters build their experience.

    Now…when will the selectors have the courage to drop Sachin when he is not performing?

  25. @Vishal,

    “We shouldn’t look to this series alone but also the future.”
    As far as I remember, SG is the best Indian player for the whole of the year rather than “this series”

    “If we take the seniors into the side just for winning against Australia, then it will be the same thing for the next series…….and on and on until they retire.”

    Exactly right thing to happen, the game is about winning ( it is not an under-30 category like the u-19 , u-16 and all). No senior was dumped to accomodate SG, RD and ST. They were given a chance ( not for their age) and they performed ( SG could not perform the first time and we all know what happened to him for 4 loong years after that)..so let the youngsters come on their own cricketing merit not just because of their age!

  26. As far as i remember right now, Rohit Sharma is having an average of 27 in current year Ranji, Uthappa is also having below 30 in current domestic season. It is Kaif and Tiwari who are doing great, and also Parthiv Patel ( 5 consecutive centuries).

  27. It was fun to see all the Aussie bloggers trying to find reasons for their teams loss, in stead of just accepting the fact that they were beaten by a better team. This one will hurt their egos for a long long long time to come. And that makes the victory even more sweet.

    As for leaving out Dada, Dravid and Laxman, I don’t see any reason why Dhoni would want them dropped. It has to be one of those beautiful minds of BCCI at work. I won’t be surprised if that decision is reversed.

  28. South Indians showed their real strength in Perth test. Laxman, Dravid, and Kumble are the real heroes of Indian win at Perth. This again proved that whenever the opposition is mighty , only South Indians save India, but sadly they don’t find place in ODI team.

  29. “the most arrogant group of sportsmen one could ever hope to see”

    I don’t think that’s true GB. The Aussies play Hard. Period. Maybe that’s why they keep winning almost every time. Its just the failures ie the Indian team and some of the rest who construe this as arrogance to pull them down.

    I can see the Indian team being a lot more cocky if they ever get to the top. Remember, it took just one victory in SA at the t20, one major victory in so many many years, and the team almost went overboard with their celebrations and quotes at press conferences.

  30. It was indeed a quality bowling performance from our bowlers. I hope we get to see more matches in future where the bowlers win more matches then the Batsmen as has been the case traditionally.

    Now for Mr Kishor:-

    Why do you just club them together as just South Indians, why not go a step further and also classify them according to their States, Cities, e.t.c. for your kind information except Ganguly everyone including Jaffer contributed towards this win. How conveniently you forgot the contribution of Irfan Pathan, RP Singh, Sachin, Sehwag and last but not the least the one hour “naach” of the Punter!!
    For once in your life grow up and look outside your region and get rid of this unneccessary bias.

    It’s a pity that we Indians still do not want to learn anything from history and continue still to divide our own people on zillion things.

    Crazydiamond..

  31. I wonder how many times Adam Gilchrist might have watched the replay of his dismissal… bowled around his legs by a part time bald-er. 😀

    Craks me up everytime I picture this…. 😀

  32. People like kishor are either truly ignorant or are those who gets a kick out of seeing some south-indian bashing. His comments have ‘aa bail souht-indians ko maar’ written all over it.
    If his intent is the later, I am glad the other commentators have over looked them as some immature brain farts.

  33. Its time the younger boys learnt to handle things on their own without the big four, considering that in another 2 or 3 years, most of them would have retired (or can we let them? ;)). Besides, relieving them of frequent one dayers may result in better test performances. So this may not be an unwise move after all.

  34. The ghost of Curtly Ambrose. Narayana, Narayana, No! No! Arnab, Curtly Big Bird II Ambrose is very much alive! Maybe he telepathically inspired our own Little Big Bird Ishant Sharma!

  35. @kishor: I am South Indian as well but find your comments ill conceived and distasteful.
    It is

    Legends like Sachin,Sourav et al belong to all India. They have fans in their respective states but it is demeaning to their glorious legacy to describe them with their nativist origins.

    I am glad that I have never once met a Southie who thinks like you do.Did you stop cheering for India when Sourav (our most successful captain) was anoited ? To me, he taught us what it was to win and walk with our heads held high.

    @greatbong: I am torn between the need to give the younger guys a shot versus sticking with the seniors.

  36. Yes, the conquering of Perth will always remain in my memory as that vicious Ishant spell to Ponting. LOL about the Aussies not complaining about Sehwag’s reflective head and Yuvraj’s pre-game prep. While I have harbored feelings of shelving the three old men of cricket for some time now, their performances notwithstanding, for the sake of the future of Indian cricket, the BCCI’s sudden removal of two of them now is very suspicious.

  37. People dissing Kishore:
    Folks, please take a few minutes to go through the man’s comments in countless earlier posts, and cut him some slack…and while you’re at it, look up sar-casm.

  38. O no guys ! some of you are losing it ! :O
    Its honestly a brave decision on BCCI’s part to recruit a total new-look & more importantly, a YOUNG team for the one-dayers .. lets respect that .. coz Hey!, those youngsters haven’t been nurtured in backyards ! .. they are part of one of the strongest Intra-national cricketing circuit in the world ! though its a very aggressive step by the selection committee .. but if the richest board & the most intense cricketing nation in the world wouldn’t dare to take such risks, then who will ?! ..
    I think we should keep some faith in those lads … coz, given the ammount of responsibility they have now, they may just pull something really big off against the Lions & Kangaroos …. similar to what Ishant did against Ponting(mc,bc) ! =)

  39. Not being a cricketing diehard, I’m not familiar with some of these new players. I misread “Ishant Sharma” as Instant Sharma, which is a better name judging by his performance. It was certainly instant kharma for Ponting (who should’ve been nicer !)

  40. I think Selectors have got it right. Ganguly, Dravid and Laxman should not be there in the ODI team. Infact I didn’t want Tendulkar in the team either, but I guess dropping ‘The God’ is going to cost a lot of jobs and create a whole new hysteria all over the country.

  41. We are always carping as to how we need to emulate the Aussies? Well, someone should have a look at the age distribution graph of the Australian team – it hovers around mid 30s, zooming to 37 for Brad Hog(g), coming down to Perth (earth?)only for 25-year old Shaun Tai(gh)t. Why doesn’t the Aussie board look towards the glorified youth. I am sure they have more talented youngsters like lobbied-in Rohit Sharma and smooth refer TV ad)one-match wonder Suresh Raina.
    If you don’t make runs, what will you field to defend? Corollary: You restrict the opposition but go for ducks yorselves. Result: LOSE.
    What’s all this crap about preparing for the World Cup 2011? Aren’t he intervening ODIs in the 3 years in 2008-2011 important? Or can we lose all ODIs next three years, reach the WC semis, and declare ourselves a proud cricketing nation?
    Don’t flame me for being unpatriotic, because cricket is not war. And so, I hope this young band of jokers under Rapunzel-turned-Mogambo realize that 50 overs is just not two 20-20 overmatches and then some….it is a lot more.I am sure the Aussies and the Lankans will be suitable teachers.

  42. VVS Laxman is the greatest batsman in cricket’s history, even greater than Bradman. Bradman was born in Australia and played for the most part of his life in only England and Australia. But Laxman, born in India which is known for only slow and dirty pitches, conqured Australia and all other countries. Not selecting such a batsman for ODI team, that too in Australia, is nothing but harakiri.

  43. The Perth test was indeed sweet revenge. Great way to reply back to all the Sydney/Post Sydney rubbish. Now it is time to win the Adelaide test and square this series.

    As far as selection goes, I do not understand “grooming” youngsters in a crucial series like this. In my opinion , always pick the best available side. Let us see how the toungsters fare. I have bad memories from South Africa last year.

    On a different note. What are your thoughts on playing 5 specialist bowlers at Adelaide. How about we move Dravid back as an opener and move Laxman back to 3. I am sure Bhajji will score more runs than Jaffer !

    Sehwag
    Dravid/Pathan
    Laxman/Dravid
    Tendulkar
    Ganguly
    Pathan/Laxman
    Dhoni
    Kumble
    Harbhajan
    RP Singh
    Sharma
    Kartik (12th man)

  44. @Sourya,

    In last 10 years India has played 18 matches in Australia, out of which they have won one against them, needless to say that Dravid, Ganguly, Laxman and Tendulkar were all part of the team during this time. So what performance you are talking about. Gangs, Dravid, Lax and Tendu dont guarantee a win or even a decent performance.

    In last 15 years India has won only 7 games in australia, out of which 4 were against Zimbabwe (in the 2004 series, we all know how Good Zimbos were in 2004), 2 against Pak, only one Against Australia. We have lost 10 matches to Aus(out of 11), lost to England, SL and SA in the only match played. Against Pak we won 2 and lost 3.

    So all this talk about Ganguly, Dravid, Lax etc increasing India’s chance of Winning the ODIs doesn’t have whole lot of substance to it.

  45. Also it makes no sense to compare a 37 year old aussie to a 37 year Indian. First of all Generally Aussie Cricketers are physically much stronger and fitter than Indian cricketers, secondly they rarely start their careers as early as an Indian cricketers do (obviously exceptions are there) and lastly they play a lot less International cricket than their Indian counterparts. For Example – Dravid Vs. Ponging – Dravid has played 333 ODIs (Ponting 288), 117 tests (ponting 115) despite making the debut a year later than .

  46. I think this is the right time for Ganguly to retire. I wish a century in Adelaide win followed by the announcement of retirement. Nothing more to prove, even if he makes a comeback hardly any scope to get better than this. He definitely reached some significant goals in dec07 (100th test, eden century, double ton) and was close enough to centuries in both innings.
    On a different note, his post-retirement career is going to be much more successful and illustrious (be it as commentator, coach, selector, administrator, business man or politician) compared to other 3(rahul, sachin, anil).
    Even Rahul Dravid and VVS should follow him with retirement from ODIs. Both of them however can continue to play tests as long as Kumble remains captain.
    I was also surprised with treatment of Pollock in SA.

  47. I knew that one was coming. Ganguly has sort of earned his right on batting alone while one dayers consist of being tight in running between the wickets and fielding as well. And Ganguly has had 10 years to improve but is still the same. I wonder if you have ever written a letter to him asking him to improve his running between the wickets or at least put more effort when it comes to fielding.

  48. @ Ganguly fan:
    Very interesting speculation on Ganguly’s post retirement career. I agree that Ganguly will be a treat as a commentator, more so than the three other.Just to speculate on the triumvirates ideal post-retirement plans-
    Ganguly- Commentator. He is more articulate and wittier than any in the current side. Plus has the ability to say things as they are.Will be fun to catch him and Boycott together on the telly.
    Dravid- Coach. The steely resolve and the correct technique that wannabes will do well to follow. Combine that with a calm and composed demeanour and tendency to shun publicity and shooting off his mouth.Diplomatic and intelligent in cricketing matters.Most importantly- the copybook technique!
    Sachin- Cricket board administrator.Our board has few genuinely great former players calling the shots.And Sachin carries enough weight to take the bull by horns without fearing a fallout. Also commands respect from cricketers and administrators alike.
    Kumble- Bowling coach? Team Manager(going by the way he handled Sidney fracas)? Maybe even a member of ICC panel?

  49. Look at the bright side. India will play around 25 tests in the calendar year. 25! That’s a hell of a lot of tests. And if we all agree that Tests are better than ODIs or that joke called 20-20, we will prefer that Sourav Ganguly play all the 25 tests rather than expend his energy and risk injury playing inconsequential ODIs like the Tri-series in Australia (tri-series have been canceled for the future). After all he is not getting any younger.

    Of course I would have loved to see him play more bilateral ODIs, but if given a choice at this stage of his career, I would definitely like him to play Tests, without a doubt!

    Let Ganguly play tests for the next year at least and then decide to retire. He has become one of our test betting mainstays and India needs him to perform and help the team win tests series now.

    Also, he has nothing to prove in ODIs any more. He is already considered an all time great there. However, (especially biased ones) people tend to dismiss his Test career. This year might be a golden opportunity to cement his place in the Great Indian Test Player pantheon as well!

    [Truly, our greed and expectations from Sourav never ends…] 🙂

  50. @Swati:
    Bingo!!!!!!!!!

    @ Kishor:
    Bradman played in an era when wickets were much more vicious due to improper maintenence. No helmets, no arm-chest-thigh gurads, substandard pads and gloves. Bowlers didnt have one-bouncer and frontfoot-no-ball rules. Try facing the fastest bowler in your “galli/muhalla” with these stipulations and lets see what you think of that. It is always unfair to every cricketer to be compared to another from a different era- no one doubts VVS is a great batsman, but what you said is a bit too much to gulp down.

    @Shan:
    Good perspective. And I say that play Ganguly and Dravid only in important ODI tourneys like ICC championship et al..Maybe even Sachin who has more physical strains( ankle, elbow , hip and wat not).

  51. The above comment was posted by me. I dont know why it says Vishal– however no worries Vishal, am not going to throw the copyright infringement book at you over that 🙂

    @ Everyone:
    ITS OFFICIAL- India is No.2 test side in the world, overtaking Srilanka, irrespective of the result of the fourth test. Thanks to the consistent performance in overseas matches and the Paki-bashing at home. Cheers, India!!

  52. I must say that I am a bit surprised. I knew that Rahul was gone, and that Saurav would go this year sometime, but I cannot see why he was not being considered for this series. There are plenty of ways to look at this issue. However one thing that emerges from various media reports is the fact that the current captain and vice captain of odi side, Dhoni and Yuvraj had a say on this. I do not believe that the selectors alone could have taken this decision.

    No one would argue that both SG and RD do not deserve a place in the 20-20 format. But in the 50 over format, the young lot will have to justify their selection. If India have to beat Australia, they have to outbat them. Australia’s batting in ODI’s since 2000 has perhaps been the best of all time. A bunch of good fielders who make 20s and 30s will make this outfit like a typical 90s New Zealand ODI side, who hardly ever let the opposition get 300 against them, and then struggled to get 200 themselves. Well, most of the time. It has been said that Ganguly’s average dipped a bit in the latter half of last year. But so did almost every other player’s against Australia. If there are questions regarding his fielding, fitness and running between the wickets then we have to analyze 2 strands of thought:

    1> That his fielding/running/strike rotation has worsened since 3-4 years back. Or international fielding standards have exponentially risen worldwide. The former doesnt seem to be true. Ganguly wasnt exactly a great fielder ever. And if anything, he looks for keen and fit than ever. The latter is true only for subcontinent teams, although marginally.

    2> That there is a batsman comparable to Ganguly’s abilities who is a better fielder. Again, his replacement Raina is a very ‘attractive’ package, but seems to lack the substance. I think paeans about Raina, a touted talent, have consumed more newsprint than say a performer like Hussey. But I have not seen anything earth shaking in his batting. And on current evidence, he is far from being ready for Test match cricket. I don’t think that Raina is anything more special than say Hemang Badani or Dinesh Mongia, former discards. But the way people are talking about this guy, it seems that he is the new Brian Lara. But then what do I know? I don’t have the special insights of that great ex-Indian coach who started a Win 2007 movement from 2005. A talk of a similar movement is being whispered in corridors nowadays. Filled with incredulity, I looked at the calender to see if I was really that inebriated last new years eve to have a hangover lasting one /2 years. If that is the grand plan, then I wish that the denouement lasts more than 3 matches, as it was this time, including an ignominious loss to Bangladesh. Remember guys, no one has even talked about 2011 WC yet! So with this kind of pro activeness, we will walk over other sides then!

    I think Dhoni had Yuvraj may have felt that with seniors, they cannot so easily drop them in the middle of a series or make them do a lot of things. A senior less team affords them much lesser constraints and freedom. This freedom has 2 components- one which is valid, ie, is beneficial from a cricketing perspective; and one which is invalid, as it only leads to affecting the team performance adversely at the expense of autonomy. If I was a selector, I would have pushed for VVS Laxman too for the CB series. He would have batted at no. 3. There is something psychological between Laxman and Australia. Even in the last tour, VVS perturbed them in ODI’s. Ganguly and Laxman would have been horses for courses choices for this tough ODI series. Remember, Sri Lanka is almost as strong as Australia. The intrepidity of youth to take on the world is admirable, but the rationality of the decisions are questionable. If someone argues that CB series is the best place to blood youngsters on Aussie pitches in ODI’s, then it would seem that the CB series itself is not that important and therefore a worthy laboratory for experimentation against the top 2 sides in ODI cricket. Of course, neither selectors nor captain can remove Sachin Tendulkar, as of now, and well lets face it, in spite of criticizing him again and again, we have seen that there are no replacements for him among the youngsters. However in a 20-20 format, most can be swapped by many.

    Ultimately, Ganguly fell due to the fact that he could not score an ODI hundred last year. His failure at Perth also paid a little bit of role (he batted beautifully at MCG and SCG. This should be a pointer to him that even in Tests, he should be getting big from time to time. 100 is different from a great 70, and more so in the senses of the selectors and public). He made many 80s and 90s in ODIs last year and if he would have had converted even half of them into 3 figures, the subcontinental mentality of reverence of 100s would have meant that he would not have had to miss the team bus. As it is now, he will have to take the flight back to India. But the CB series is really insignificant compared to what lies ahead next weak, a classic test match. A win at Adelaide would be really a watershed achievement of sorts for Indian cricket considering what else happened on this tour and the quality of the opposition. Matches like Sydney (barring its sad moments) and Perth are what make cricket appeal to the subconscious mind. India play 18 tests this year (amazing, I don’t think even Aussies ever played so many in a year. BCCI is really a thoughtless organization. 1 practice match in Australia, hardly any tests in one year and 18 in another!). Ganguly therefore would do well to concentrate on his Test batting as the doors of ODI seem to have shut on him. Or has it? You never know with Indian cricket. If the youngsters fail, there will be several panic buttons pressed and anything is possible. At least I hope that if the current combination fails, then plenty of other youngsters and other talents who will be unearthed during the course of a cornucopia of 20-20s, domestic millions dollar tournaments etc. scheduled for 2008 are given their chance. This should be done without fear or favor, and without seeing if the player is from Assam or Mumbai. Come what may, with so many international matches, the top bowlers and batsmen of the domestic circuit deserve an outing. We have seen many 14th men and standbys fade into oblivion. Just as we have seen many ‘talents’ given an extended rope which they did not merit/deserve.

  53. “Everytime Yuvraj has come to the crease, he has looked like he was batting second innings, fatigued after prolonged games of shuttle-cock and rackets with a certain actress.”
    I am sure no pun was intended. 🙂

  54. sid:

    I’d pick Dravid as the coach – of India under-15 and under 19 sides. That is the time where his knowledge of technique and shot selection (except for one at Perth!) will actually make a difference. Those who make it to the national team have already picked a style to bat in – you aren’t going to tell Sachin (whatever age he is) to shift to a ‘normal’ grip from a bottom-handed one!

    Instead, if Dravid gets hold of the kids and teaches them how to not get out then it will be a foundation from which they can learn to play their shots – just like Dravid himself did to get himself back into one-days.

    Ganguly would make a good no-nonsense commentator just like the one man who adores the ‘Prince of kaalkoota’ the most, the man whose grandmother could hit most bowlers in the world for six! 😀 Then he will become head of CAB and then be banned by Sharad Pawar’s grandchild from cotnesting BCCI elections.

    Kumble for national coach. The way he handled the Bhajii / Symonds / Hogg / Ponting affair without losing his cool, by selecting the perfect lines to say (“Only one team played in the spirit of the game” was genius, it picked out the one Aussie line and hit them where it hurt them the most, leading to everyone snipping the Aussies’ most potent weapon). And he has shown himself to be adept at strategy and tactics. With him as coach the captain has little to think of when not on the field.

    Tendulkar… will start a cricket academy. He’s much too nice to be an administrator.

    Laxman will start a restaurant which will have the best Hyderabadi Biryani in the whole world…

    …any Aussies visiting will have two tablespoons of extra chili powder added to their plate. He will torment them for generations to come 🙂

  55. I like Sid and Aditya’s ideas about the future careers !

    Dravid junior team coach, Kumble senior team coach, Ganguly commentator and Sachin the President of the BCCI. He probably has made enough money to buy out the BCCI by now!

    The other thing is that VVS who sems to have a very good eye should try and be an umpire. He will be better than “Buckc#$dnor” anyway.

  56. @Aditya:
    With you all the way on Dravid n Kumble. Rahul for the National Cricket Academy headcoach!!
    LOL–thats a very plausible career chart for Ganguly.Only thing is if his getting banned from BCCI coincides with my visit to my hoemtown Kolkata, I run the risk of getting stranded in a strike for weeks!!
    About Tendulkar, I think its about time nice guys with good experience of cricket at the highest level need to take over from the current grumpy old men of BCCI.
    And what about Ponting?He can become an umpire considering his penchant for showing the finger to rival batsmen 😉 He should be made to officiate World Cup matches between Haiti and Papua New Guinea

  57. @Aditya
    Continuing Ganguly’s career chart after BCCI ban:
    Then he gets South Kolkata CPM ticket for Loksabha. Anyway I like left’s outside support in center which is Gavaskar type consulting – dont get ur hands dirty, have ur cake and eat it too:). Well thats gonna change when Ganguly comes to picture as he becomes instrumental in stitching the nth 3rd front. Rest will become history. Once left is in center who will remove it??
    On Jan 26, 2047 President of India Mr.Yadav (yes oppositions still talk about the false charge framed against him some 40 yrs back on new yr) awards Mr.Ganguly with Bharat Ratna, the most prestigious civilian honour in India. Mr.Ganguly becomes 1286th person to receive this award.

  58. PTI:

    Rival skipper Ricky Ponting was also surprised not to see the Bengal left-hander in the one-day squad.

    “I am surprised and shocked that he is not in the side because right through this Test series, he has certainly looked good with the bat,” he told NDTV.

  59. Dravid must go. I won’t defend Dravid using some twisted logic like Bong was defending Ganguly when he was not performing.

  60. @RichAndFamous

    Dravid must go? Twisted logic or not, I do believe, like many other Indians, that Dravid has a calming influence on our batting line up when there is a flurry of wickets. True, he has not been performing up to standards in the recent past. But totally axing him is probably not the right solution at this point. And that too right before a key test match.

    I believe the selectors should have handled this situation in a much more mature fashion.

  61. nothing wrong with having a different line up for the 50 over version. lets see how it goes. this will be the real test for dhoni…was t20 a fluke, or does he really hv it in him. im eager to know.

    dada and dravid are ok for 5 day matches, though not sure if scoring a fifty once every 5 matches is a good enough reason to be in the nationl team

  62. @NS-
    Dude, everybody has an opinion on whether ganguly and Dravid should be in ODIs or not and you are welcome to have one. But since you mention they have been scoring 50s every 5 match, would suggest that you look up ganguly’s scores in the last 10 test innnings he played, and for that matter the last 10 ODIs he played…..

  63. Dhoni seems to have a clear idea of what he is doing….and the fielding and running between the wickets was in sharp contrast to some of our elder statesmen….besides….even in 2003 with all our batsmen in the form of their life we could only manage a solitary win (in a league game) against australia so how much worse could the new lads do?
    I thought the decision to play youngsters with a clear idea that they should play at least 80-90 games before they go up fpr selection for next world cup was brilliant…and how about a tip of the hat to our captain courageous for that?

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