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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Professional coaches - poor performances; Varun Aaron bowls fast... but ..

In the Asia Cup -   the crowd waited for Virat Kohli to reach his 19th ODI hundred, and started heading for the exit soon after he reached the landmark. India still needed 77 from 12.3 overs…. earlier they had batted well and set a target of 280 …. .. ..and that poses a straight Q on the continuance of the man who was earlier a plainclothed policeman and who has dealt with armed robberies, child abuse, and been part of special undercover drug squads.

I have liked watching Karsan Devraj Ghavri bowl [in Buchibabu too] ~ unfortunately, for long he had the ignominy of being the most expensive Indian bowler in Onedayers for that 83 off 11 overs in the inaugural match of Prudential World Cup 1975.  You may not remember Lewis who has the dubious distinction of the most expensive ODI bowler with figures of 10-0-113-0 in that multiple record-breaking 5th One Day International between South Africa and Australia.  In all, there are 5 in that list of more than 100 givers…. Led by Aussie Lewis (113); Tim Southee of Newzealand (105);  BV Vitori of Zimbabwe (105); Martin Snedden of New Zealand (105) and our own R Vinay Kumar (102)  Before we proceed further on the Asia Cup match….the worst bowling performance in a Test innings has been that of LO Fleetwood-Smith in Test 266; playing for Australia he conceded 298 runs; 2nd is Rajesh Chauhan in Aug 97 against Sri Lanka conceding 276; the others in the top 5 are : OC Scott, WI (266); Khan Mohammad, Pak (259) & Fazal Mahmood, Pak (247)


At Fatullah, Varun Aaron was fast and furious but not fearsome… for once an Indian bowler was seen bursting out genuine speed. At  Khan Shaheb Osman Ali Stadium, he maintained an average speed of 88.2mph, and his fastest delivery clocked 93.2mph on the speedgun. That's 149.99kph. He is known to bowl fast and in fact the fastest bowl in Indian soil is his ….. but yesterday, his pace offered enough freedom for the Bangla batsmen to score. In fact, in Aaron's third over, Anamul jumped down the track and clattered him over long-on for six. After the spanking, he ended with figures of 1 for 74 in 7.5 overs. His agony ended as he had to be taken off after bowling two beamers !

I am excited at his speed; as also that of Umesh Yadav – and both go for runs……… yet there are some others in contention for ‘the run giver title’ and they are selected rather regularly.  Statistically, Aaron's spell in Fatullah was the 12th instance of an Indian fast bowler conceding eight or more runs per over in an ODI spell of six or more overs since the start of 2013. Umesh Yadav and Mohit Sharma appear once each on that list. Vinay Kumar and Mohammed Shami, like Aaron, have two entries each, while Ishant Sharma features a staggering four times. All of this, remember, has happened in the last 14 months.

This win ended India's eight-match consecutive winless sequence for ODIs outside India. Their last win in an overseas ODI came in Bulawayo last year against Zimbabwe. To our disconcert, India has bee regularly chasing scores over 300 – not only on sub-continent wickets but also in Johannesburg, Kingston and Wellington. ~ that way the target of 280 was far low – but still you need to remind yourself that the opponents were Bangladesh and not the mighty WI of past with Gordon Greenidge and Desmond Haynes opening. 

The target was achieved with ease was thanks to another great knock by Kohli and his partnership of 213 with Ajinkya Rahane.   Cricinfo reports that Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami bowled the yorker particularly well at death and that was attributed to  first pre-tournament training session, where  India's bowlers practiced  their yorkers against a foam dummy made to look like a batsman !!! Virat Kohli's 136 was his 12th hundred in successful chases in ODIs. Kohli's 19th ODI century brought him level with Brian Lara on the list of batsmen with most ODI centuries. Only seven batsmen have scored more centuries than him in ODIs.

Now back to the primary Q of why have professional Coaches – specialized bowling coach – and what do we do with them after these consistent poor performance.  There are talks that the proximity of the 2015 World Cup is likely to work in favour of Fletcher and Trevor Penney. In Tests, there has been a solitary win in 15 away Tests under Fletcher, though ODI record is decent enough.   The bowling coach Dawes came on board at the end of India's disastrous tour to Australia in 2011-12, seemingly has done little for the bowlers.  In Oct 2009, Robin Singh and  Venkatesh Prasad were unceremoniously sacked but when it comes to foreign coaches, things are much different ~ there are talks of Sanjay Bangar or Bharat Arun coming in likely

Joe Dawes, a 41-year-old Queenslander,  who had earlier worked as a police cop could well find the exit soon.  – whether that applies to bowlers like Ishant Sharma remains to be seen

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

27th Feb 2014.

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