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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

George Bailey who ? - T20 today at Sydney

Do you remember Test no. 1308 played at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore in Oct 1995 between India and New ZealandIndia won that Test by 8 wickets.

After the lacklustre performance in Tests (India has lost 8 away Tests in a row now) – the venue shifts to the new craze T 20.   Though India won the Championship in 2007, we are not exactly the champions in the shortest form but do possess a good track record.   Statistically, only 216 T20 matches have been played thus far from the first ever T20 International played on 17th Feb 2005 between Australia and Newzealand. India played their first on 1st Dec 2006 at Johannesburg and beat South Africa in the first match. 

There have been widespread criticism after the funeral at Adelaide calling for the quits of the fab batting line up which failed miserably.   The 1977-78 tour to Pakistan sounded the death-knell for the famous spin quartet and the twin tours of England and Australia have exposed the vulnerability of famed middle order consisting of crumbling wall Dravid, Laxman, Sachin, and openers Sehwag and Gambhir. This is not our worst - between June 1959 and January 1968, India lost 17 consecutive away Tests. Yet Adelaide 2012 marked Indian cricket's rock bottom, because a decade of progress was signed off with a staggering paucity of performance.  Remember Australia are not the mightiest – in recent past they have been beaten by England, South Africa and New Zealand !

Will T20 and the following ODI series be different ?  Today India play Australia captained by George Bailey.

Bailey – Who ? – he is yet to play a single International match and would be making his debut as a player and as a Captain.    Bailey is known here as he was part of Chennai Super Kings in IPL, though has not performed.  Way back in 1877 when Dave Gregory led Australia, he was captaining and making his debut – but that was different era and was the time when Australia was playing their first match  -  thus a debutant captaining would certainly be unique.  Baliey, nicknamed Hector,  has replaced Cameron White.  He is a Right hand bat and right arm medium bowler.  The Aussie squad is :  George Bailey (capt), David Warner (vice-capt), Travis Birt, Dan Christian, Xavier Doherty, James Faulkner, Aaron Finch, Brad Hogg, David Hussey, Brett Lee, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Clint McKay, Matthew Wade (wk).  Cameron White has been dumped, there are some unheard names and surprisingly  40-year-old spinner Brad Hogg stands recalled.  The much experienced and stronger David Warner would be the deputy to Bailey.

The Indian Team under pressure has also had some changes – from the Test team out goes :   Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Pragyan Ojha, Wriddhiman Saha, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane  and the replacements are :  Suresh Raina, Parthiv Patel, Manoj Tiwary, Ravindra Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Rahul Sharma, Praveen Kumar.   Raina, who was not part of the Test squad, was  quoted as saying that motivation is good and the new boys would do well.  Andar kuch karne ki tamanna hai [There's a desire inside to achieve something]. Will India bounce back at Sydney will be known in a few hours from now !

Coming back to Test 1308 in 1995 against Newzealand, Lee Kenneth Germon captained the Kiwis, making his debut in Tests.  Tony Lewis  led England on his Test debut against India in Delhi in 1972-73.  when Lee Germon made his debut as player and Captain in that Test, he had played a solitary Oneday International. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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