Sunday, March 20, 2011

An angry Gavaskar ridicules public opinion - a chinese cut this time : India vs WI - WC 2011



In India, cricket is a passion and it is true that everybody has an opinion.  The coverage starts much before the match starts.  All news channel allot a chunk of time on cricket.  You can hear opinions of many from Harsha Bhogle to your local channelman and then all those who have played cricket in some measure voicing their opinion.

In places like Triplicane, and elsewhere in the Nation,  cricket is spoken in street corners for hours passionately with each one voicing their opinion, backed by the statistics tweaked to their choice.  Now the India WI match at Chepauk is intriguingly poised, with WI steadily chasing an ordinary Indian total.  Once again it was the collapse of the famed batting line up.  With both the teams having qualified, the match’s result may not be extremely significant but………. A match is a match and a win is most sought after under all circumstances – that is the feeling of an ardent cricket fan. 

Indians have won against Bangladesh, Ireland and Netherlands Lost to SA, tied with England and now playing with WI for a result.  Some tall scores have been made – centuries have been made : Sachin (2), Sehwag, Kohli, Yuvaraj one a piece.  The late middle order has collapsed time and again.

But the bowling front has been disheartening.  The bowlers looks incapable of defending whatever be the total.  All the teams have scored freely against us.  At this stage [around 18 overs bowled in India West Indies Match] -- this is what Indian bowlers have performed...



Player
Mat
Overs
Mdns
Runs
Wkts
Ave
Econ
S Sreesanth
1
5
0
53
0
-
10.6
A Nehra
2
13.4
1
87
1
87
6.36
PP Chawla
3
28
0
174
4
43.5
6.21
SK Raina
1*
2
0
12
1
12
6
MM Patel
5*
34.5
0
208
9
23.11
5.97
Yuvraj Singh
6*
41
1
209
7
29.85
5.09
YK Pathan
6*
31
2
149
1
149
4.8
Harbhajan Singh
6*
52
1
235
5
47
4.51
R Ashwin
1*
8
0
36
1
36
4.5
Z Khan
6*
47.4
1
210
12
17.5
4.4


Sreesanth went out of favour with that 5 over spell in the first match.  Nehra is almost out of the tournament after that final over against SA.  Chawla was favoured with 3 and has bled 174 runs in his 28; the much talked man – who was once touted as pacey but bowls less than 140, moves lazily on field, hailed to be economical – Munaf Patel has given away 208 in 35 overs at an average of 23.11 and at an economy rate close to 6.  The main spinner Bhaji struggled to take wicket even on a turner. Overall he has taken 5 being the mainstay – given 235 in 52 overs at an average of 47 and an economy rate of 4.51.

Well, all along, once thought the squad is selected on merits and those in the squad are  eligible to be selected and expected to be good enough to be in the playing XI.  But the master batsman who played for India for long and captained it also has different ideas.  In the tournament, Sreesanth is out of favour, Nehra and Chawla have struggled and almost have driven themselves out, Munaf & Harbhajan are the mainstay but are not doing well.  Suresh Raina has not played a single match – so also is Ravichandran Ashwin – one thought that bringing them would be a natural choice and there are lots of people who seemingly subscribe to this view   but Sunil has added a totally new dimension to this today.

In his column titled “So-called Experts are complicating things” he has to state the following : 


-

Cricket is such a passion in India that every boy and his aunt will have an opinion on it.It is this following that makes for the big bucks that come into the game,for advertisers know that any India match,even if its an unimportant one,will get watched and discussed threadbare.

In such a situation,any product or brand that they are trying to promote will get noticed by the large majority.The game itself lends to advertising breaks which other faster,quicker and more exciting sports dont have,and thats why cricket gets more ad revenue than other sports.What such a following also does is that it makes for plenty of experts who know what is good for Indian cricket more than those whose job it is to run the game.
So the five selectors who are chosen by the BCCI or the skipper who is selected by these selectors dont know according to these experts how to do their jobs.After the loss to South Africa,Mahendra Singh Dhoni,who had not put a foot wrong so far according to most,is now accused of being stubborn and having his own agenda.From now on everything he does will have a negative adjective before it.If India does win the World Cup,then all will be forgiven but the image of Dhoni has taken a bit of a beating.

It all boils down to the non-inclusion of R.Ashwin,who according to all these experts is the magician who will win the World Cup with his spin bowling.That is actually a great spin by those who want him in the team and the pressure on Dhoni is such that he will probably relent and include him in the eleven.Ashwin is a fine prospect,of that there is little doubt.What Dhoni,Kirsten and the seniors (and make no mistake,the seniors have a big say) would be thinking is whether India should have two off- spinners,not to forget Yusuf Pathan who can also bowl decent off-spin himself.The variety they were looking for is in the wrist spin of Piyush Chawla who after bowling well in the warm-up matches has got smashed like the other bowlers whenever India has not been able to defend the total they have put up.Chawla has been singled out because the experts want Ashwin.Remember these experts wanted Greg Chappell as Indias coach too.

Be that as it may,Chawlas days are pretty much numbered because not too many have the courage to go against public sentiment and right now his self-confidence is so low that it makes eminent sense to include Ashwin because he comes across as a pretty self-assured bloke and gives the impression of being able to handle the huge pressure that he will be under.He will be bowling to a West Indian team with a few left-handers,but he showed in the series against New Zealand that he can bowl to anyone.

The ball that is talked about is the carrom ball,which he bowls with a flick of his forefinger.But if he can replicate the ball with which he got the last wicket against New Zealand in Chennai then not just Chawla but even Harbhajan will have to watch out.That was a real fizzer of a delivery that not only looped but bounced and stung off the pitch and the No.11 batsman was hopelessly inadequate to deal with it.It was delivery that would have made that old fox Erapalli Prasanna proud.

It is quite clear now that four seamers is a luxury India can ill-afford in their squad so a nice convenient injury to one of them would give the selectors the chance to bring a left-hand spinner as a replacement in the squad.PMG (today's Times of India)


Dear Sunny – on whom is your ire directed ?  why have a veiled fight – the man whose confidence would have been shattered is the subject of your column – R Ashwin.  Tell honestly, whether Ashwin deserves to be in the line up.  If not, why was he selected in the first place, by the very same selectors of BCCI who have found your approbation now.  And is not common sense or ordinary thinking of ordinary mortals that non-performers would be replaced by the reserve strength. 

There can be talk about commentator burn-out but you want to say that there should not be anything about the players, even if they do not perform.  What a logic, Sir.  In long tournaments the stamina and fitness apart from performance do  ensure selection is common sense. 
Well after all that you wrote, Ashwin was selected finally.  It was not as if all expected that a single bowler would turn the match in a single over.  Not many bowlers are capable and still lesser have come closer to doing that.

The game plan suddenly was to open with hitherto neglected Ashwin and with 1 slip in place.  That was after another shambolic show in the end overs which is now a days becoming a regularity.    Smith and Edwards opened and Ashwin bowled to Smith.  The 4th ball was flicked for a single.  Not a match spinning one but atleast the better first over in the WC for India thus far. 

At the time of posting, Ashwin bowled 8 on the trot, conceded 36 and took a wicket.  Sunil, your straight drive was a treat to watch but some times your words are not so straight or so it appears

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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