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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What is cooking at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica

Historically, India fares badly on the first match of the Tour and coupled with the history at Sabina Park where India in 20 innings have crossed 300 only  times – the highest being 444 made way back in Mar 1953 – the present performance is good. 

After making a paltry 246, Indians have now a handsome lead thanks mainly to the debutant Praveen Kumar slicing the middle order.  When a 5 for.. beckoned, he was done by his poor run –up.  He ran three times on to the danger area and was kept away from bowling anymore in the first innings.  Ishant bowled well.  In the second, India lost Murali Vijay for a duck, Mukund for 25 and VVS failed to trouble the scorers.  It would be an ungainly sight when Laxman gets out as he would look at the bowler and proceedings as if wonder-struck and would regain his memory only after a few seconds. 

After only two days, the test is intriguingly poised and Indians are hopeful of a victory looming large.   In some ways, Praveen was in only as Munaf Patel pulled out for yet another time.  This is becoming a phenomena.  Munaf would go with the party play a couple of matches only to announce that he is unfit – as if a tear away pacer getting injured in action……

Invidious are the comparisons to Kapildev  - the greatest of cricketers India ever produced performed so well outside Asia against tough opponents and carried the burden lonesome.  The new crop thrives only on tailored wickets.  Kapil could walk to these teams in the merit of his batting alone – not to speak of his fielding and throwing abilities.  A true genius. 

Munaf, operates  at speeds of 120 to 130 kmphs and sort of selects his matches – the luxury which none of his predecessors had.  Besides being a liability on field, his fitness issues are public knowledge: his ankle injury restricted him to only one Test innings throughout the tour of South Africa last year. He was then sent back from Bangladesh because of a back injury. Later, after having spent time at the MRF Pace Academy, he said he was fit and was selected for the one-dayers in England. Now he is out of the First Test at WI again.

An Indian win would perhaps outwit many lacunae and when India wins at Sabina Park, it should do the Team a World of Good.

Regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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