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Saturday, January 22, 2022

India - winning in One-dayers !

                            While some Captains, some Coaches would be challenged & criticized !  – none has uttered any word on how Rahul Dravid has ushered in freshness and changes in thought and action.  There were so many hailing him as the shrewd brain and a man capable of bringing changes – a team that had been winning is now struggling !!

Another  frustrating day for die-hard Indian fan .. .. statistically, India has thus far played 998 One day matches – won 518 and lost 430 – tied 9 and 41 no results !! India’s first ever win in One day Internationals came in ODI 24 on 11th June 1975 against lowly East Africa at Leeds.  Gavaskar and Farokh Engineer chased with ease.  Venkatraghavan was the Captain.  Their next win came at Quetta, against Pak in Oct 1978, when Mohinder Amarnath was the man-of-the match.  

Balochistan is an administrative  province of Pakistan, bordered by Afghanistan to the north and north-west, Iran to the south-west, the Arabian Sea to the south; Quetta is the capital and largest city of Balochistan. The main ethnic groups in the province are Baloch, Pashtuns and Brahuis, and there are relatively smaller communities. During the period of the British Raj from the fall of the Durrani Empire in 1823, four princely states were recognised and reinforced in Balochistan: In  1883, the British took control of the Bolan Pass, south-east of Quetta, from the Khan of Kalat.  In 1893, Sir Mortimer Durand negotiated an agreement with the Amir of Afghanistan,  to fix the Durand Line running from Chitral to Balochistan as the boundary between the Emirate of Afghanistan and British-controlled areas.  

It was ODI no. 54 at Quetta on 1st Oct 1978, when India led by Bishan Bedi played Pak and won by 4 runs.  At Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad on 16th  Oct 1978, Pakistanis and the World were to witness a rare spectacle – a bouncer from Indian pacer, and Sadiq Mohammad calling for a helmet !  In that one dayer Kapil Dev made his debut alongside senior Chetan Chauhan and Surinder Amarnath.  Mohinder Amarnath’s 51 and 2 wickets fetched him man of the match.  Kapil had figures of 8-0-27-1; Karsan Ghavri 35/1, Bishan Bedi 2 for 44 and Srinivasan Venkatraghavan 8-0-14-0 !  

India had to wait patiently as their 3rd win came at Melbourne on 6th Dec 1980 against Australia; 4th came 3 days later at Perth against New Zealand; next came in that same series against NZ at Adelaide .. For long, India was not good in chasing. India had to wait an year more for their first win at home, that came in ODI 131 on 20.12.1981 at Jallandhar – it was a  brilliant 88 by MoM Dilip Balwant Vengsarkar in a 36 over match !  

Time reminisce old memories – searching for Indian wins, as the present series in South Africa offers no happy memories.  Stand-in captain KL Rahul was asked before the South Africa series if that concern was addressed in team meetings. "We have talked about this and we have some ideas, some plans, and we want to try those in the coming series," he said. "That will give us an indication about whether we're doing things right, and if our strategies or tactics are right."  .. .. so what was the strategy of new coach Rahul Dravid and the Captain  KL Rahul !  

Clearly, whatever India tried didn't work as their new-ball woes haunted them again during the second ODI in Paarl. Chasing 288, South Africa cruised to 66 for no loss in the first ten overs. On a surface that was supposed to make batting difficult in the second innings, they registered their highest successful chase since 2017.  

India in recent times has relied too heavily on Rohit Sharma – who kept succeeding .. and without him, the line-up is impaired.  KL Rahul scratched throughout never looking convincing, was dropped twice and was fortunate to survive a double messed run-out !  the man who was blamed by Gavaskar and everyone else – played a great innings of 85 striking ball at will.  Though it would be premature, Venkatesh Iyer – the success of IPL is found wanting ! – on the bowling front India woes were fully exposed.   Bhuvneshwar Kumar looks a pale shadow leading 67 off 8 as Ashwin struggled to have 10-1-68-0.  

What was baffling is – Indian line up is not struggling against Thomson – Lillee; Andy Roberts, Holding, Garner, Marshall or Dale STeyn, Donald, Pollock – not even Lungi Ngidi and Kagiso Rabada – yesterday it was big burly Sisanda Magala, who kept bowling half-volleys – a medium pacer known as Andile Phehlukwavo, spinners Tabraiz Shamsi, Keshav Maharaj and more .. .. a part-timer Aiden Markram !!  

Finding nothing much to write about, let us search back Indian wins on earlier occasions relishing how we comfortably beat East Africa in World Cup 1976 when Bishan Bedi has figures of 12-8-6-1. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
22nd Jan 2022.

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