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Monday, June 22, 2015

India's twin loss at Bangladesh makes fan melancholic !!!

Indian Cricket fan feels badly let down …. Not that losses are new to us – we have seen may downs than Ups  - yet this loss at Mirpur hurts… When the Team was picked up, we expected many youngsters would get chance – but to our surprise, Indian  selectors picked a full strength side for the tour to Bangladesh.  So with the Senior side, Bangladesh have dominated completely and won their first-ever bilateral series between the two sides. They have been more aggressive, more confident, more decisive and more skillful than their higher-ranked opponents.  At Mirpur on Sunday, India did what it does not generally do -  wholesome change -  AjinkyaRahane, Mohit Sharma and UmeshYadav  were dropped and in came Axar Patel, AmbatiRayudu and Dhawal Kulkarni.  The result was no different.  Suddenly, we think, there is none who can change the fortune single handedly – from pace orientation in the 1st ODI to spin in the next !

Bangladesh were prepared to experiment and have been rewarded richly – the 19 year old left-arm seamerMustafizur Rahman who stands on the way of batsman has shown that he is capable of making them move out too.  Now he has 11 wickets in 2 games and is celebrating.  The other bowlers too are celebrating.  Last time, a second string team went and won it 2-0 – the average Indian fan was shocked to see Virat unable to score of a freehit.  In contrast, Bangladesh’s batsmen were aggressive and decisive with their stroke-play. They did not let India’s bowlers settle.

When there is loss, people blame and criticise.  We have said, Greg Chappen was poor and harmed the team; Duncan Fletcher was useless – what will we say of Ravi Shastri, the director who has now lost to Bangla 0-2 ? – the Captain too would be baled.  MS Dhoni has hit back at his critics, saying the captaincy was a responsibility he was given and not something he craved or clung to. In the aftermath of India's successive ODI defeats and subsequent series loss to Bangladesh, Dhoni said he would love to give up the captaincy if that guaranteed a change of fortunes for India."I am really enjoying my cricket," Dhoni said when asked of his captaincy plans, before making plain his annoyance at the media scrutiny. "I know this question was coming.  He may have his own justifications, but two successive losses to Bangladesh rankles and something must be done to stem the rot.  No doubt Dhoni has been one of the best finishers of the game – today, he walked at no. 4, yet India never lifted their game. 

The hosts are really on a roll.  Now they have 10 successive ODI wins at home - five against Zimbabwe, three against Pakistan, and two against India.  Thus far, they have won 5 games against India in 31. Among the top ten sides, Bangladesh have won more often against West Indies (seven out of 28) and New Zealand (eight out of 25). MustafizurRahman took 5 for 50 in his first ODI and 6 for 43 in the second.

Away at Galle, Pakistan won a Test match aided by seven-wicket haul from Yasir Shah.  The score in brief :Pakistan 417 (Shafiq 131, Sarfraz 96, Dilruwan 4-122) and 92 for 0 (Hafeez 46*, Shehzad 43*) beat Sri Lanka 300 (Silva 125) and 206 (Karunaratne 79, Yasir 7-76) by 10 wickets.  On day 4,  Pakistan had been five down and 182 behind Sri Lanka's first-innings total at the time; few could have predicted then that their openers would waltz to a target of 90 at eight runs an over a day and a half later.

In England, brilliant Bairstow lead England to 3-2 series win.  NZ made 283 for 9 but had to defend a lower target by D/L method.  Jonny Bairstow's England debut saw him win a rain-affected ODI in Cardiff in 2011 and on his return to the side here, in place of the injured Jos Buttler, he produced a similar act with his best innings since that day to get England home and take a thrilling ODI series against New Zealand. His unbeaten 83 from 60 balls won what turned into a gripping decider in Durham.England's cavalier cricket has won back the support of the British public during the New Zealand tour but cavalier turned calamitous at the start of their Duckworth-Lewis revised chase of 192 in 26 overs as they slumped to 45 for 5 at the start of the ninth over. This has been an exceptionally high scoring run-riot at England – and they kept saying that runs are scored freely in the sub-continent of Asia.

Getting back to Indian performance, perhaps getting into the side and remaining there is much easier than it was ever before  - the bowling attack was Bhuvanesh Kumar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ashwin, Jadeja, Axar Patel and Raina !  - two left arm spinners playing.  Both Jadeja and Axar are left-arm fingerspinners, but the similarity ends there.  The batting line-up suddenly is too weak, though sounds great on paper.

Rohit, Dhawan, Kohli, Dhoni, Rayudu, Raina, Jadeja, Patel, Ashwin – who is the weak link ?  - but sadly, it is the stars who have not been performing.

Rohit Sharma oozes style and is highly rated.  He has 2 – double hundereds in ODI and has scored the highest.  After 264 against Lanka and that 138 against Aussie in Melbourne – his scores read :  15; 0; 57*; 7; 64 (Ireland); 16; 137 (Bangla in WC); 34; 63 & 0.  Not consistent and not justifying the hype behind him. 
The man with fastest 6000, man compared with Viv Richards [ViratKohli] in 2015 has scores of : 4; 3*; 8; 107 (Pak); 46; 33*; 33; 44*; 38; 3; 1; 1; 23.
The young Axar whom we expect to be an allrounder following his IPL exploits has played in 14 one dayers making 41 at an average of 6.83 and has taken 17 wicketss.  His batting card reads :dnb; 8; 1; dnb; 14*; dnb; dnb; dnb; 17*; 0; 0; dnb; 1 & 0. Another allrounder Sir Jadeja in 2015 has scores of 5; 3; 2; dnb; 13; dnb; dnb; 23*; 16; 32; 19.

While wholesome chopping may never do any good – it is time, players are made to realise that they cannot continue for too long without performing and at least for that sake, some bold decisions are made, giving chance to new young players, who cannot do anything worser than this !  A sad lamenting Indian fan !!

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

22nd June 2015.

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