Saturday, July 30, 2005

0-1 already

Ok, here's my take on today's game : Obviously there was not enough momentum in the batting. And that is a problem. Now the mistakes made by most of our batsmen should not be overlooked once they score one big innings. Sehwag (maybe Yuv and Kaif also) would sure have one big innings, same with Dhoni. I hope they are still made to understand that its not about when the click...its also about what they do when they 'don't' click. E.g. trying to survive even in dire the other 3 seniors do (Sachin, Gang, Dravid). It doesn't make sense that you get out of jail because 'pitch was bad' and then score big once in 6-7 innings.

About Dravid...well its difficult to analyze with one game. Few things that struck me (and I'm keen to observe for rest of the game): team composition..why go with 3 seamers (and only 4 regular bowlers). Looked like a very Ganguly-ish team to me (not that that is wrong in itself)Its been overdone quite a lot, and I hope the flexibility mantra, being linked to Chappel, is extended to this also. About using the part-timers..dunno if its better what he did (attack in beginning and middle)...shud wait for it to succeed (or fail) for a longer term. Its anyway a good test of captaincy how to utilize the part-timers, esp in case of defending small totals.

Positives..Rao, Pathan's return, tailenders batting with sense (Khan's runout was nonsensical, though).

I am still not in favour of Dhoni's opener status on ANY pitch as a regular strategy.

Here from Dileep Premchandran's review of the game on cricinfo

"But unlike Tendulkar and Ganguly, who could pace an innings and accelerate effortlessly, the suspicion remains that both Sehwag and Dhoni are too rooted in the full-throttle approach to succeed consistently against the new ball."

Full article here

Wonder if it makes sense to move atleast one (Dhoni) down the order, and even both (when Sachin, Gang return). You know, if you look carefully, Sehwag is not really a hit at the top. Its a common mistake to mix his test match success with his ODI effectiveness at the top of the order. Maybe time to rethink that strategy as well ? Atleast its another item for Chappel to input in his processor.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

The build-up

So India is starting a new season. And lots of interestig developments to look upto, if you're an Indian cricket fan. The biggest is "life with Chappel". How the team grows comfortable with the new coach, and what are the distinct Chappel trademarks that we get to see in the coming season.

The SL trieseries is the first peep into the working methods of Chappel, and how they translate on the field. India has played a practise match, and are scheduled to play one more today (btw when was the last time we saw India play 5 practise matches before starting their season ! Remember the teams played together 3 times at home during the end of camp. Surely better than having lazy net sessions!)

Some early indications, as Prem Panicker also pointed out, are VVS being made to open, Pathan being brought as first change bowler, and possible use of 5 bowlers in the team (with Pathan and JP Yadav bringing in additional batting strength). From Dileep's article (in mid-day) it was also known that flexibility is the main idea Chappel is preaching. And rightly so. One of the main weaknesses that I noticed in the Indian (ODI) setup in the past couple of seasons was that the team took the field with the pre-conceived notions. There has to be dashers in the beginning. Yuv and Kaif are for rescue act only. We need 4 bowlers only, part-timers are always good as fifth bowler. Keeper needs to be good enough as a standalone batsman. 3 pacers most of the time..etc.etc. I hope Chappel is bringing flexibility in all these aspects.

But as of now, lets wait and watch for his methods to take root. It wont happen over the period of one series. Just like Woolmer's method are slowly showing effect in Pak (ahh but there, across the border, all changes are reversible :-) ) And thankfully the legacy left behind by Wright is so much better than what most other Indian coaches had to inherit (Ajit Wadekar was the only one in recent memory who inherited a good team viz. a Sachin Tendulkar in full flow..almost as good as a decent team..winning matches single handedly. And also making Azhar's captaincy record look much better than reality). 30th July is the starting point. I would hold my breath for this one. I genuinely believe Chappel would work wonders for our team.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

On Hold

Blogging on hold. I refuse to invent so called 'stories' around Indian cricket in the off season. I think our mainstream media is anyway doing more (much much more) than enough in that field !

And the lack of cricket has made me wait eagerly for what should normally turn out to be a very ordinary ODI tournament in SL. What with the predictability of SL games, the weak WI team etc. Still the new players in Indian team should do enough to retain interest. Also the first chance to look at the methods of Chappel.

Now time's coming to hunt for live feeds etc :-)

Update : And since everyone remotely associated with cricket in India has to go through the 'About Sachin' exam, let me state, for the sake of records : No he is not at his best. Yes he is still good, great, not best, not GOD. Yes he can still become best, maybe. And NO I don't get into Sachin debates anymore ;-)