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Friday, November 1, 2013

India Vs Sri Lanka at Mohali - Oct 2005 – Super Substitute


Digging past into the archive always provides interesting things…. How many of us remember today that a few years ago, an innovative idea of accommodating 12 players into the playing XI was tried at.  Here is how our highly paid Coach – Greg Chappel bungled that day !


Why have a highly paid Coach and intelligent Captain – India Vs Sri Lanka  ODI at Mohali.   – the time when we had Super subs.

Dear (s)
AT Mohali today, India completed an emphatic 8 wkt victory over Lankans.  The victory is nodoubt is a cause for jubiliation but  what will get buried is our inefficiency to use the Super sub. You may be aware that this is the first time Indians are playing with the Super sub rule.  So for your understanding the rule is : Unlike days of yore, cricket is not a game played only by Eleven but 12. according to the new rule - : Each team designates a 12th man before the toss, who can be subbed to bat or bowl at any stage of the match. The substitution will be announced over the PA system and details of the change shown on the giant screen. Once the 12th man is in play, the man he replaced cannot return to bat or bowl..

But how effective is in the hands of the Captain (and Coach) In the first onedayer, it was Murali Kartik for Y Venugopala Rao, who did not bat and thus not utilized effectively.  But today it was a blunder (though this has no relevance on the result of the match) In today’s faux India named S Sreesanth in that role, and then won the toss and inserted Sri Lanka in to bat, thereby ensuring that they gave themselves the least possible chance of taking advantage of a rule which allows a team to utilise an extra resource.

In its current shape, the new rule clearly favours the team which wins the toss, for a team would normally decide on a Supersub assuming it wins the toss. If the idea is to win the toss and field, a batsman as a Supersub ensures more batting depth during the run-chase, while also allowing the team an extra bowler in the field in the first half of the match. The low-risk option is to go for an allrounder, who can contribute with both bat and ball and is hence an asset during the entire course of the match.  Given that India had decided to field if they won the toss in this match, the sensible option would have been to name a specialist batsman - probably Venugopal Rao - as the Supersub. If they won the toss, they would have nothing to complain about. Even if they lost the toss and were sent in, Venugopal Rao would have needed to bat only if the team lost early wickets and needed a specialist batsman to bail them out. If Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Co. continued their form from Nagpur, Venugopal could have cooled his heels in the dressing-room, and India would still have a full bowling line-up to defend a total.

The safer option, and one which would have given them greatest flexibility, would have been to go with Jai Prakash Yadav as the 12th player. With India fielding first, he wouldn't be needed if the specialist bowlers did the job well. If they didn't, he could still come in for one of them, and then stay around to do his bit with the bat as well.  Whichever way you look at it, though, the decision to go with Sreesanth as Supersub completely defied logic and conventional wisdom.. With the resounding win, this may not have any impact or may nor deserve any thinking at all.

But your super sub – a bowler was not called to bowl and if he had bowled even a solitary over, you lost the chance of the specialist batsman which is definitely not the thing, the team’s thinktank would love to have.  Today’s move  it's surely something for Greg Chappell and Co. to mull about before the next match.

With regards
S. Sampathkumar
PS :  Circulated on 28th Oct 2005 and posted on the blog now.

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