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Thursday, September 2, 2021

blunders at Kennington Oval !!

 The 4th test began at Oval today – Indian thinktank, Coach Ravi Shastri, startled everyone with some smartest moves ever !!

1.   Ravichandran Ashwin was ignored again

2.   The batting line-up that scored 78 at Leeds remained untouched !

3.   A golden move in the form of a batsman from Palghar ! – who surprises everyone and proves the decision of Coach and Captain by scoring a 50 off mere 31 balls ! – and a what straight drive this !

4.   A novel innovative move to promote Ravindra Jadeja – thereby protecting out of form Ajinkya Rahana and Rishab Pant – and all 3 failing !!

The Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, in the London Borough of Lambeth, in south London.The Oval has been the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club since it was opened in 1845.  It is here, where it all began. The first-ever Test on English soil was played here in September 1880, resulting in an England win over Australia by five wickets, with WG Grace scoring a hundred on debut.

In a year since the Palghar lynching incident, in which two sadhus and their driver were lynched by a mob as Police remained onlooker  - exposing the level of utter lawlessness and police apathy, besides booming morale of criminal-politician nexus in the state. While the so-deceased sadhus met their gory end en-route to attend the funeral of their Guruji in Gujarat, the macabre incident did not stir  the nation’s conscience, they were after all saffron sadhus !!

Earlier India’s bowling coach Bharath Arun said that English batsmen are “wary of Ravichandran Ashwin’s abilities" on tracks with “assistance" !!  - what an assessment !!!  .. ..  Indian fans were really expecting Ravichandran Ashwin to make the cut for the fourth Test at Oval. But, NO NO No , Kohli and the team management had other ideas. With series level at 1-1, India didn’t want wholesale changes, certainly not in the failing batting line-up but they changed two bowlers in Shardul Thakur and Umesh Yadav- playing for Mohammad Shami and Ishant Sharma – batting all rounder Jadeja continuing !

Twitter exploded :  Shashi Tharoor tweeted :  I can't believe they left out Ashwin again, on England's most spin-friendly ground. This team is unbelievable. You pick your five best bowlers, @ashwinravi99 has to be the first or second name. Omitting him & @MdShami11 at the Oval is like a death-wish -- as if you want to lose!

Michael Vaughan : @MichaelVaughan : The non selection of @ashwinravi99 has to be greatest NON selection we have ever witnessed across 4 Tests in the UK !!! 413 Test wickets & 5 Test 100s !!!! #ENGvIND Madness

The batters who have been failing continuously continued the same – this time at 28 both the openers Rohit Sharma and KL Rahul were back – then Cheteshwar Pujara was out in a very similar fashion – then in walked Jadeja and was out at 69/4 – Kohli scored a 50 but Indian team were all out for 191 – mainly because of some lustre hitting by Shardul Thakur

Robinson didn't bowl to Kohli at Trent Bridge but has got him in each of the last three Tests now, conceding 37 runs.   Robinson is a long way clear at the top of the wicket-taking charts for this series while averaging a shade under 18. He's been impressive against Pant in this series as well.

Shardul Thakur hails from Palghar, a town 87 km north of Mumbai, and spent his early cricketing years lugging his kitbag on early-morning trains into the city.  I remember the present bowling coach, Bharat Arun running in and falling down before delivering his maiden delivery in Test Cricket  - he played 2 tests and 4 ODIs taking 4 and 1 wickets respectively.  Then Shardul Thakur, got  his chance 2nd Test, Hyderabad (Deccan), Oct  2018,  against West Indies, relatively an easy chance but managed to bowl only 1.4 overs in International cricket on his debut match, after having had to walk off due to a pain in the groin region. When Thakur's front foot landed on the bowling crease as he delivered his 10th ball in Test cricket, it seemed to buckle and the pain was immediate.

An aggressive quick bowler, who can swing the ball away from the right-handers even while hitting the pitch hard, Shardul Thakur has established himself as the spearhead of Mumbai's attack. Thakur and  Dhawal Kulkarni  combined brilliantly to win Mumbai their 41st Ranji Trophy title in February 2016. Thakur picked up eight wickets in the final against Saurashtra, and his dismissal of Cheteshwar Pujara on the third day, the ball rearing up from a length to hit the shoulder of the bat, was perhaps the ball of the match.

Decades ago in 1982, at Karachi, Kapil Dev hit a whirlwind 50 in just 30 balls which remains the fastest fifty by an Indian .. .. then it was Virender Sehwag’s 32 ball 50 at Chepauk, Chennai against visiting England in 2008 – today Sehwag was eclipsed by a 31 ball 50 by Shardul Thakur. 

Thakur’s batting record reads : Oct 2018 4*; at Brisbane Jan 2021 where India won – a brilliant 67 in the first and 2 in the second.  At Nottingham in Aug 2021, 0 & dnb .. .. and today a 57 !!

If one continues to approach the problems in the same manner, the results cannot be any different ! 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

2nd Sept.2021.


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