Sunday, March 13, 2005

The first match gone

Yes, ok we did not win it. But I dont see too much fault here. We dont have the australian bowling lineup to do the cleanup job each time. What is more surprising is the way blame is being laid on the slow third evening progress India made while batting. Amit Varma in his cricinfo article here (also his blog here ) says India lacks desire to win (similar message in Prem Panicker's post in rediff here ). I dont see it that way. Sehwag, in his interview on 3rd evening, made it very clear that the strategy was to have atleast one 'bastmen' left on 4th morning to make big lead. Whatever it may have finally turned out, but that plan looked fine to me. Had India made 60-70 more runs on third evening, they might have lost more wickets, and wouldnt have had Laxman and Pathan to play long innings on fourth morning (which, incidently did not happen, but these were 'Plans' which does not mean execution). And anyway, in the end, Sourav made it very clear in post match interview that India had 97 overs on final morning, 4 Pak wkts to take, and make remaining runs (in the vicinity of 100-150) in around 50 overs. Seemed like a 'very good' situation to be in. I'm sure most of us would have been happy to take that on 3rd evening, when we were finding faults !

Ofcourse one cannot plan for innings like Razzaq/Akmal played. Aus did not do anything wrong in the Kolkata test (well, atleast their decleration wasnt wrong, or we would be saying Steve Waugh was a foolish captain, not one of the best ever in business !!). They just didnt see that Dravid/Laxman innings coming. Nor did anyone else even in India !! Speaking of Aus, another problem I have is this constant comparison with Aus, and India's 'aspirations for greatness'. Well first thing first, Aus did some mistakes in their subcontinent matches in recent past (against India, as well as SriLanka. Lankans were just not good enough to capitalise) Saurav would not make those. He would not 'not play safe'. He ensured that Pak did not have enough time to 'go for a victory'. Who knows if we had batted faster, made 60 more runs, Pak could have given us a target of 250 runs on two sessions. We could have been in 'more trouble' then ! Yes this is the 'what if' variety of logic, but I did not start it, only replying :-) So, Aus were not as great in their strategy. Secondly, we are aspiring to be great. Doesn't mean we 'are' great enough already. We dont have the same bowling strength as Aus (we have a better batting lineup, another complain that I have with critics, but that for another time !), and Saurav, or anyone else captaining Indian team, would have to realise that. Aspirations should not come in way of common sense. You can even call it selfishness on Indian captains part (or the strategy team's part, I dont think Saurav would be alone in this).
So, my point ? Well, we are a good team, better than Pak, and it showed in this match, even when Razzaq/Akmal were batting. I dont think there was resignation at any point of time (another important point missed by many analysts) when many better teams would have given up. Saurav said that he gave up only when it was around 210 lead with 30 something overs to go (a run rate of 7). So, before that the Indians were still hopeful ! Wow. Now, for me, that is a practical step in 'aspiration to greatness' ! So, we were better of the two teams, not just good enough to win this match (umm, consider the time lost on second day also....there is a difference in loosing time towards beginning of innings, when you can still exercise your options better as a strategist, and then deliberately loosing time towards the end of innings, where options are limited, and you've to make best of what you got !)
Yes, we would win the test series, or we should barring inspirational performances like that from Razzaq and Akmal. Or even Inzimam. And 'this' is not prediction. Just analysis of what we saw in the past 5 days.


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December 28, 2006 9:54 AM  

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