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Monday, June 6, 2011

Indian challenge at West Indies – Port of Spain – Trinidad & Tobago

Have you heard of Calypso, Carnival, Steelpans or Limbo – all part of the local culture !

The only T20 and the first of the Onedayers are played at St. Clair Oval, Port of Spain, Trinidad & Tobago having the pavilion named after Brian Lara.  This is a place with huge Indian population who once backed Sunil Gavaskar to the hilt.  In the late 19th century, there were hundreds of indentured labourers brought in  for the sugar cultivation whose descendents now have become part of the population of the Port of Spain.                                                

It is famous for the annual Carnival; its music of Calypso.  Steelpans is a musical instrument originating from Trinidad and Tobago. The musicians playing them  are called pannists. Limbo is a popular form of contra dancing that originated on the island of Trinidad. The dancer moves to a Caribbean rhythm, then leans backward and dances under a horizontal pole without touching it. Upon touching it or falling backwards, the dancer is "out". When several dancers compete, they travel in single file, and the stick is gradually lowered until only one dancer — who has not touched either the pole or the floor — remains.

Port of Spain is the capital of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.  It houses the  largest container port on the island and is known for exports of agricultural products.  The Republic of Trinidad and Tobago is an archipelagic state in the southern Caribbean, lying just off the coast of northeastern Venezuela and south of Grenada in the Lesser Antilles. It shares maritime boundaries with other nations including Barbados to the northeast, Guyana to the southeast, and Venezuela to the south and west.   

In the only T20 of the Series at Port of Spain, the new look Indian side completed a comfortable win.  Perhaps coming as it did after the lengthy IPL, this match did not attract so much of following !  India had a fresh opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel walking in – sounds illogical – the hero of IPL 4 finals not in the team and Patel who had a scratchy series even as a keeper – the strokeless wonder preferred to open !   India kept losing wickets – Darren Sammy had a  remarkable four for 16 off his four.  At the end of 11 overs Indians were 68/4 – certainly not a comfortable position and a score around 130 could be hoped. 

The fickleness of the game and change an interesting incident could do came to the fore.  After 15, Indians were 87/4.  Nurse completed his quota  and Rampaul came for his second spell.  Rohit Sharma was struggling – first ball he tried a pull, completely misjudged and was hit on the rib off a slower one.  of the 4th, Badri hammered an over pitched one looking to send it crashing – Samuels at cover threw himself in air and plucked the full blooded shot from nowhere. 

The scorecard read 90-5  but……….  the technology came into play ….  Upon replays, Rampaul was seen overstepping a little – planted his left foot just on the crease and on his bowling stride as his right leg went up, no part of his foot was behind the crease – a no ball – batsmen not out and a free hit at that.  Rampaul was nonplussed and Badri returned to have another hit.

The next one – Badrinath got under and hoisted it over extra cover – ball sailed high and for a moment appeared heading for the stars – Nurse at long off ran across, dived full length brought off another stupendous catch even as he crashed on the ground and went skating.  The momentum was taking him further, realizing this – he threw the ball back into the playing field – very smart thinking – but whether he touched the rope was inconclusive and Badri was awarded a four.  To me it should either be a six, if he had had the ball on hand when touching the rope or if it was clean, only those runs the batsmen had run – two. 

At the end of 20, India managed a healthy 159/6 with some lusty hitting by the late middle order.  On a spinning track, first Ashwin and then Harbhajan bowled well, pushing the asking rate high and eventually a comfortable Indian win.  More than the bowling it was also the batting which contributed – no fielder was under pressure as WI never converted singles in to twos or pushed the fielders..

Today, the first of the 5 matches starts – after the West Indies lost the WC in 1983, they thrashed India in the home series 5-0.  Chris Gayle is not in the squad for the first 2 matches.  Raina will lead India whether he will retain Ashwin remains to be seen.  There is Ishant, Praveen, Munaf, Vinay kumar and spinner Amit Mishra.  Who plays today is to be seen ! Dwayne Bravo, Ramnaresh Sarwan, Carlton Baugh and Pollard return to the WI side.

An interesting duel is on the cards.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar

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