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Friday, January 29, 2010


In the recently concluded Second Test at Mirpur, Bangladesh flattered to deceive with a strokeful 151 by Tamim. At one stage they were one down for 220 + but catapulted to 312 all out with Zaheer finishing with 7 for 87. In the first essay, India declared at 544 for 8 aided by centuries by Sachin (143) and Dravid (111) before he retired hurt. From a position of relative strength to utter disarray in the space of half an hour - that was Bangladesh's story on the final day of the series in Mirpur. From 290 for 3, they lost six wickets for 14.

This win was 5th series win in a row since the loss at Lanka in July 2008 – since then we have beaten Aussie, England & Lankans at home ; Kiwis and Bangla away. Against Bangla, we have played 7 – won 6 – 3 of them by an innings + this one when two were needed.

Zaheer’s impressive 7 in an innings is the 9th instance of Indian fast bowlers taking 7 or more. The legendary matchless Kapil had done in 5 times while Lala Amar Singh, Javagal Srinath and Irfan Pathan have done it once each. Amar Singh had a stupendous 7 for 86 against England at MCC, Chepaum, way back in Feb 1934 in Test no. 232 which England won. Here is the list of best Indian bowling performances in terms of no. of wickets in an innings.

Now India braces up for match against South Africans at home. There will be 2 tests : 1st at Nagpur (Feb 6-10) & Second at Kolkatta (14-18) There also would be 3 One dayers : 1st at Jaipur on Feb 21; Second at Kanpur on 24th and third at Ahmedabad on 27th being a day night affair.

The Indian team has some surprises primarily arising out of injuries of Rahul, Yuvi, and Sreesanth. Tamilnadu batsman S Badrinath is virtually assured of a test debut as he is one of the only 6 specialist batsmen in the squad. Prasanna Wriddhiman Saha, the diminutive keeper comes in for Dinesh Karthik whilst the young Abhimanyu Mithun is in the national squad. Laxman perhaps is carrying an injury.

India squad for first Test: MS Dhoni (capt/wk), Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, S Badrinath, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma, M Vijay, Sudeep Tyagi, Abhimanyu Mithun, Wriddhiman Saha.

The long injury list meant the selectors picked the squad only for the first Test and would reassess the fitness of players and the performance of the replacements before naming the side for the second Test. Dravid fractured his cheekbone after getting hit by a Shahadat Hossain bouncer in Mirpur, was advised three weeks' rest and is out of reckoning for the second test also.

Mithun, had a sensational debut this Ranji season taking a hat-trick in his first match, led Karnataka to the final, and ended as the leading wicket-taker, scalping 47 at 23.23 apiece. Mithun started his cricket career rather late and has been a name in the domestic circuit troubling many batsmen with shortballs, slipping in Yorkers and generating some pace. He bowled extremely well in the semis against UP and in the finals against Mumbai.

Over the past decade, plenty of Indian quick bowlers have made their international debut but most have struggled to keep up their pace. It’s a long long time since we had a Kapil in our ranks – a great bowler even on unfriendly wickets coupled with poor catchers. He was the one who would earn his place in any team with his bowling alone and his hurricane hit was always a bonus. Sad India has not had an allrounder filling his boot after so many years of his hanging his boots.

Hope one day we have another gaggling youngster hurtling pace making the batsmen hurry and contributes with the bat also.

With regards – S Sampathkumar.

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