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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Monty Panesar spins closer to a victory at Wankhede

The ardent Indian fan is crying ~ 31 runs lead with 3 wickets in hand – the result a foregone conclusion.  Losses are not new to India – for one following Cricket ever since 1975, there have been very many dismal performances, poor displays, Series losses and more…………. but this one at Wankhede is different for sure !

Before the match, there were reports that Dhoni wanted a dreaded turner and that match should be over by 3 days ~ it was almost achieved, with a difference, Indians at the receiving end.  The score card reads 117 for 7 on an Indian wicket – the star-studded Indian team caving in  the spin of Monty Panesar.

When Ashwin threw his bat only to be caught at Cover off a skier, the commentator remarked – what is this : Ravichandran Ashwin C Patel B Panesar ; an out involving a Gujarati and a Singh ~ that comment apart, the Indian batsmen played without application and without spine.  A performance of Sehwag 9; Pujara 6; Sachin Tendulkar 8, Virat Kohli 7; Yuvraj Singh 8; Dhoni 6 & Ashwin 11 : 9-6-8-7-8-6-11 ~ telephone numbers by those earning crores. 

MS Dhoni cannot take further down – Indians have lost series; but everytime a Series was lost Overseas, the Captain head was chopped and some more players were dropped, most of them never to be recalled.  that was the fate of Bishan Singh Bedi in 1978 followed by the unceremonious sacking of S. Venkatraghavan, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dec, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sachin Tendulkar, and ……..  Never had a Captain lost 2 away series 4-0; a continuous 8 Test loss cumulative of England and Australia ~ and now when everyone talked to a revenge whitewash, India on the verge of losing a Test at homeland.

Why have him as skipper and why pay money to a Coach – Duncan Fletcher, it cannot go worse than this and the Coach deserves to be sacked this evening.    We have been too sentimental in treating players and dear Sachin, perhaps time to say, that you are not in the XI for the next test.  It may not be foolish to chop many players from the present XI – Sachin, Kohli (yes make him sit for a couple of matches); Zaheer for sure; Ashwin, Harbhajan – and play the next Test with a fresh team under a new Captain. 

The cupboard is bare and there clearly has been no strategy.  Alistair Cook gets out only when he scores more than 150 and Pietersen plunders at will ~ on the same track, we crumble, telling that Panesar is spinning and bowling beautifully. It was hailed that it was a great tactic which has not happened in recent past – India opening the attack with 2 spinners – Ashwin and Ojha.  In the olden days of the spin Quartet, we used to have 1 medium pacer and somebody else bowling 4 or 5 overs, the ball would be rolled and rushed on the surface from deep before Bedi, Prasanna and Chandra came on to bowl.  They were effective most times is a different issue.  It was stated that Pakistan had opened with 2 spinner in 1967 Trent Bridge ~ who opens or who bowls is a non-issue, when we gift so much to the opposition and lose wickets in a heap in a pitch tailor-made to suit Indian spinners. 

Today Monty Panesar stands tall with a 10 wicket haul – there was a minor controversy when Jonny Bairstow was adjudged caught just before lunch.  The batsman walked – it was stated that the  ball had hit Gautam Gambhir's helmet before he completed the catch.

Some reports suggest that Andy Flower, approached the match referee, Roshan Mahanama, to ask for the decision to be reversed. Mahanama informed him that as Bairstow had left the field of play, the decision could only be withdrawn if India's captain, MS Dhoni, withdrew his appeal on the umpires' request. Dhoni, with the support of his coach, Duncan Fletcher, chose not to do so.  Remember at Trent Bridge during the last series,  Ian Bell was reinstated during the tea break after being run out.  The crowd jeered at Indians. 

At Wankhede, the score card reads :  India 327 and 117 for 7 (Gambhir 53*, Panesar 5-61) lead England 413 (Pietersen 186, Cook 122, Ojha 5-143) by 31 runs.  It was a great innings played by Kevin ~ it was back to olden days as the emphasis was on spinners – it was Panesar and Swann all the way.   England started with a lead of 86, which could have been easily wiped out – Panesar drew Sehwag and Pujara was out for a first failure this Series.  Sachin raised the anxiety only to succumb sooner and Virat Kohli buckled under the pressure. England, holding a lead of 86, made an impression, Panesar drawing Virender Sehwag cagily forward and Swann taking a catch at gully. Cheteshwar Pujara, England's scourge, was caught at short leg off an inside edge as Swann followed suit in the next over.

In 2004,  India defended a low target of 107 and won against Australia by 13 runs ………………..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar  [feeling sad and let down by the poor performance of India]

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