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Saturday, November 14, 2015

India wins toss puts SA in - after 1974 at Chinnasamy stadium

At Chinnaswamy stadium, Bangalore, India are in a strong position – having bowled out South Africa for 214 – are 80 without loss – Murali 28 & Dhawan 45 playing – giving the best start in recent times.  Do you read anything this from this photo ?

A stats by Cricinfo reveals that 1974 was the last time a captain winning the toss in Bangalore chose to field before Virat Kohli did so in this Test. In each of the 19 Tests after that and before the current one, teams winning the toss had batted first. In fact, this was only the 20th time in 246 Tests in India that a team had opted to field. This is also only the second time in 39 Tests in India since 2007 that a captain has opted to field. MS Dhoni had chosen to field against West Indies in the last Test of the series in 2013-14. 

Reading back that Test no. 745 in Nov 1974, Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi won the toss put West Indies in and lost the match by a huge  267 runs. There were 3 debutants : Hemant S Kanitkar, Gordon Greenidge and Vivian Richards.  Despite scoring a 65, Hemant played just 2 tests – while Greenidge went on to play 108 and Vivian 121 !

The man with a different look [or slightly different !] Ishant with hair neatly tied together was in ~ the team selection was quite illogical.   SA without Steyn and Philander brought in Morkel and Kyle Abbot; dropped Parmar for Duminy.  While India dropped – Umesh Yadav and Amit Mishra – bringing in Ishant Sharma and Stuart Binny.

Shikhar Dhawan who bagged a pair at Mohali got another chance – while it was too harsh on Amit who got 3 wickets at Mohali.  Amit once played a test in Aug 2011 at Kennington Oval, London Test no. 2004 when Indians were defeated by an innings and 8 runs. He had a good 144 run partnership with Sachin, whose missing a century was much talked about.  In that test Bell (235) and Pietersen (175) amassed runs to pile a total of 591/6 decl.  Mishra had forgettable figures of 38-3-170-0.  In the 1st Innings, Indians were bowled out for 300 – Rahul Dravid opening and carrying his bat through for 146. Following on, India lost Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman at 118 and Amit was sent as a night watchman to join Tendulkar.  After battling for long, and when it appeared a draw was the most likely result – Amit got out at 262 making 84; Sachin too followed at the same score having made 91 and India folded for 283…….. and Amit Mishra went into oblivion and not many thought he would play Test again ! –

In the Lankan Series, he took 2/25 & 1/47 and 4/43 & 3/29 ! – he was dropped with Captain and selectors going in for 3 pronged pace attack and relying on Stuart Binny.  Binny was given the new ball too – ended up bowling 3 overs and perhaps may not have any bigger part in the Test ! 

In wake of BCCI president Shashank Manohar's drive to eradicate conflict of interest issues from the Indian board and its affiliates, former India legspinner Narendra Hirwani has voluntarily stepped down as chairman of the Madhya Pradesh selection panel, given his son Mihir is currently representing MP in the Ranji Trophy. Hirwani has become the first official to admit possible conflict after Manohar had presented an exhaustive paper to the board's working committee in October, detailing possible conflict of interest issues that administrators, players and employees at both the BCCI and its affiliates need to avoid.  According to Hirwani he did not want anybody to confront him and ask how he could continue to be a selector while his son was playing for Madhya Pradesh. Binny was one of the few high-profile names that the BCCI axed due to the conflict of interest issue. Manohar had said the BCCI had to drop Binny from the national selection panel because even a perception of conflict of interest would be damaging for his son Stuart's career.

After a couple of overs, Ishant asked for a change of ball – Ian Gould rejected it summarily – but not for long.  The SG ball had gone out of shape and was changed twice during SA innings which did not last even 60 overs and once already in Indian innings – something to do with its quality !  Cricinfo adds that over  the last two or three years, this has been a common occurrence in Test and first-class cricket in India. The SG Test ball has not been holding up as well as it used to.

~ and with 3 new ball bowlers, Ashwin came on to bowl the 7th over of the innings -  had Van Zyl plumb in front with his 2nd ; with his 5th had du Plessis caught brilliantly by Pujara for a duck.

Though Indians are in a commanding position, the picking of team perhaps does not show that they had read the pitch well – and in case you have not observed – the men in blue are all bearded save – Stuart Binny and Ravi Ashwin.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

14th Nov. 2105.

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