Sunday, September 27, 2009

Loss to Pakistan

Perhaps I am going overboard in analyzing Indian team's performance so early. However I can't stop myself from writing after what happened yesterday. It would be too harsh to single out anybody for yesterday's debacle because cricket is a team game. But I think bowling was really pedestrian yesterday. Harbhajan had an off day or may be he performed to the level his previous performances suggest. I have noticed over the years that Pakistanis play Harbhajan very well. In fact they play off spinners very well. So, when India's best bowler failed, disaster was in the offing. R P Singh and Ishant Sharma bowled a very poor line and length. May be the figures don't suggest this but I am talking of not only this match but others also where Indians have failed to adapt according to situation. Pakistan should have been restricted to 260 after we had them on mat at 65/3. Yusuf Pathan continues to struggle in this format and I believe it is the high time we give Abhishek Nayar a chance. Kohli should be given some more chances as it would be harsh on him to judge by one performance. I believe one should play bowler who can perform well and not have notions that 3 pacers and 1 spinner is the norm. I believe Amit Mishra can perform much better than Ishant or R P on any pitch going by their current form.

All is not lost yet. India had some positives from the game and it felt nice to see Gambhir and Raina doing well after all that piffle about short pitch stuff. Indians have always raised their game to new levels when playing against Australia in the past and I wish this team comes out with flying colors tomorrow.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Champions Trophy favorites

The ODIs will surely get some limelight when the Champions trophy begins next week. The ICC tournaments have now become more democratic or may be more 'open' as I think democratic is not the correct word to be used. You cannot say, "Australia will win" and be assured that you will be proved right. Though Australia are currently very close to South Africa, the table toppers in ODIs, they are far behind them as far as performances go. Still, they have mauled a wretched English team (Aussies lead 6-0 at the time of writing). As far as my predictions are concerned, they go like this :

1) India: Dont go by their recent failures in the ICC twenty20. The youth brigade is very capable of turning tables in this form of game. Add to the lot the experience of seniors and the team becomes formidable. Bowling and fielding look weak link but in my opinion both RP and Praveen along with Nehra will prove to be too hot to handle.

2) South Africa: You may call them 'chokers' but the only ICC event they have won is the Champions Trophy. They have the best combination of fielding, batting and bowling units. J P Duminy may turn out to be more dangerous in this form of the game.

3) Sri Lanka: A lot depends on how their batsmen handle the pace and bounce of South Africa. But with their bowling and fielding they look sure to pull out few surprises. Getting to Semis should be easy considering they have only England and NZ to beat.

4) Australia: They are difficult to write off. Especially given the current form of Lee, Ponting, Clarke, White and Fergusson. But it remains to be seen whether they can replicate this form against stronger sides.

5)Pakistan: They have tough group and but knowing the fact that they always raise their game a notch or two against arch rivals India I believe they have a slim chance of making it to the semi finals.

I may sound harsh but I believe England and West Indies are just making numbers and New Zealand have an outside chance of making it to last four

Monday, September 14, 2009

India Sri Lanka Final

As expected India are up against Sri Lanka in the final of Compaq Cup. What was unexpected is the debacle of India against some quality bowling by Lankans. This is the second batting collapse in last two tournaments. what is disappointing for Indian fans is the fact that all the top four batsmen had starts and they frittered it away. The pitch was difficult under lights but after being set they could have carried on to have at least a face saving loss.

Today is the final and I want to see India victorious in the finals in Sri Lanka after a long time. At least I don't remember any recent victory of India in Sri Lanka in any tournament involving more than two teams. Despite the loss I still believe India is a better team than Sri Lanka and some good bowling up front backed by some spine in batting may see India through. I hope Dhoni gets lucky today with toss.