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Monday, March 31, 2014

India thumps Australia ~ Ashwin in news for that 4/11 and for long-sleeves

Those days there used to be ‘benefit matches’ for retired players – in such matches and in Test innings when game meanders to draw – have seen some players mimic the action of others … have seen Sunil Gavaskar bowl like Abdul Qadir … !!!   

I have recently posted about – ‘doosra’ which would  mean "second" or "other" ~ the off-spinner's version of the googly. Britons are good speakers …. England’s off-spinner James Tredwell is yet to strike it big - but  reserved his most lethal delivery in a media session raising suspicions on the doosra.  Saqlain Mushtaq  who hit it big early, was successful but some others were reviewed and questioned on the legitimacy of their doosras – they include : Muttiah Muralitharan, Harbhajan Singh, Shoaib Malik, Saeed Ajmal and Johan Botha.  Yesterday against Aussies, Ashwin turned triumphant again – how much one is scrutinized can be gauged by the fact that his wearing a ‘full-arm’ shirt against Bangladesh  is the topic of many discussions !

George Bailey won the toss ….. ‘heads or tails’ and one would simply say 50% one can be right ! ~ that takes us to ‘probabilities’  -  Probabilities are written as numbers between zero and one. A probability of one means that the event is certain. If you toss a coin, it will come up a head or a tail. So there is a probability of one that either of these will happen. A probability of zero means that an event is impossible. If you toss a coin, you cannot get both a head and a tail at the same time, so this has zero probability. So if the probability is say 4 out of 10 and you toss a coin 20 times, still you may not get even once right !! – might startle you but that is real.  For records, it was Dhoni’s first loss of toss in 12 attempts. Odds of winning 12 tosses in a row are 0.0002%

On match stats – India made  159 for 7 (Yuvraj 60) beat Australia 86 (Ashwin 4-11, Mishra 2-13) by 73 runs.  There were some die-hard fans of Yuvraj Singh who wanted him to be picked and hoped that he would score…. India gave him an extra chance dropping Dhawan, bringing in Ajinkya Rahane who simply had to be tried. Sanjay Manjrekar immediately spoke of having a pool to rotate and not drop players ! …  Yuvraj struggled initially, reaching 13 off 21 before he exploded to end up with 60 off 43 ~ then  R Ashwin's wily spin triggered a collapse and sunk Aussies who were already out of tournament. With this win, Indians  have now won six straight matches, making this their longest winning streak in T20 internationals. R Ashwin's figures of 4 for 11 are the best figures by an India bowler in T20 internationals, beating Harbhajan Singh's 4 for 12 against England in the last World T20.


Have also posted on ‘lightning stumps’ – yesterday there was some confusion when MS Dhoni ran Mitchell Starc out-  the stump went ablaze even before he had removed the bail. There was obviously doubt over whether the wicket had been broken even before Dhoni collected the ball. 

Replays showed his arm had come in contact with the stumps before he could collect the ball, but the stumps lit up even though the bail stood its ground. Earlier, Dhoni stood up to Mohit Sharma who bowled Shane Watson – even as the bail came off, Dhoni gesticulated something to the leg umpire…… it was revealed that Dhoni doubted the ball might have hit his pad before ricocheting onto the stumps, the replays showed the ball kissed the top of off before hitting Dhoni, and Watson was on his way out !!

photo credit : cricinfo.com


Whether bowling ‘doosra’ or not, Offies’ actions are under scanner.  Ravichandran Ashwin bowls flicked carrom ball to doosra ~ still he was in news for wearing long sleeves in the match against Bangladesh.  Ashwin reportedly defended his action as an experiment, saying he did not want to "lag behind" bowlers who derived more advantage from long sleeves that allowed them to use their elbows a little more.  In an earlier match, Ash had experimented with a totally different action, akin to Sunil Narine's ~ certainly not common for a star bowler to try and change his style !! .

Ashwin is not athletic, neither a brilliant fielder – still stands slips, drops some, catches some.  May not look a fitness-freak, still is  the fastest Indian to 100 Test wickets, and the fifth-fastest overall. His batting also might lack big hits – still he hits sixers and has scored centuries in Tests.  ~ and in bitter cold, when everyone wears a sweater, Ashwin has bowled in half-sleeves …….  So his wearing full-armed shirt being stated as trying to cover his elbow flexing does not have much punch…..  


it is natural to bowl in half-sleeves but still… Ashwin need not be equated with Shane Shillingford and Marlon Samuels  who regularly wear full sleeves. Samuel’s faster one is much dreaded…. 

In recent form, Ashwin was  dropped for the last three Tests India had played, in Durban, Auckland and Wellington.  Lack of wickets and tougher times perhaps has driven Ashwin to innovate and try out too many things – change his action, bowl in full sleeves and more.  

Against Bangladesh he was the MoM and yesterday, he beat Yuvraj to become the Player of the match again



With regards – S. Sampathkumar

photo credit : youtube

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