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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Think-tank failure at Oval - playing Pace quartet - dropping 474

How good is your Cricket knowledge – do you remember  Cricketer by name Minal Mahesh Patel – born in 1970 in Bombay– when did he make his debut ?

At Oval in World Test Series, Australia is sitting pretty at 327/3 at close of day 1 – on a bowler friendly ground – and whom would you blame ! – the lacklusture performance of bowlers or the unimaginative Captain Rohit Sharma, who for more part is not involved on the ground happenings  or the non-thinking Coach Rahul Dravid  - and how would you explain keeping out  the World best Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin who has 7 more wickets than the aggregate of this pace bowling quartet that has 467 !!

An attack of Mohammed Shami + Mohammed Siraj + Umesh Siraj + Shardul Thakur, howsoever praised by the commentators certainly does not look any formidable on paper and the performance yesterday was less than ordinary.  Ashwin has troubled lefthanders as also Steve Smith regularly – a line of Khwaja, Warner, Head, Carey, Starc !!

Cricinfo has another article stating that in the final session Travis Head leapt in mid-air to fend off a nasty shooter from Shami, only Head knows how he managed to get out of the way !  will not the Pundits know that Test match is not decided by a single delivery that becomes irrelevant when does not fetch a wicket ! 

Clive Hubert Lloyd’s era was different – in 1983 finals (remember they lost) – he had the best pace battery – Andy Roberts, Joel Garnar, Malcolm Marshall and Michael Holding.  During those years, a bowler who would not be picked in WI team would be good enough to walk into any other Test team – such as their bench strength  

In 1979  WC finals – it was the same famed quartet of pacers (Roberts, Holding, Garner) – instead of Marshall, there was Colin Croft.  Back in 1975, Australian’ pace quartet of Dennis Lillee, Gary Gilmour,  Jeff Thomson, Max Henry Walker was superior to that of  WI – Roberts, Julian, Boyce and Holder.

Test no. 1327 - 1st Test, Birmingham, June  1996,  England defeated India by 8 wickets.  Venkatesh Prasad, Paras Mhambrey, Sunil Joshi and Vikram Rathour debuted for India.  For England – Alan Mullally,  Ronnie Irani and Min Patel !

Earlier Indian’s strength was its spinner.  Subhash Gupte scalped 149 wickets at 29.55, and was rated better than Shane Warne by no less a player than Garry Sobers; Vinoo Mankad snared 162 at just over 32 and also contributed mightily with the bat; while Bapu Nadkarni was the king of thrift, took  88 wickets.  Still the best spinning quartet was -   Bishan Bedi, Bhagwat Chandrasekhar, Erapalli Prasanna and S Venkataraghavan  - but remember none of the Captain thought it fit to play all the 4 of them together, though individually each one of them would walk into any playing X1.

Yesterday at Oval – India strategized to drop its best performing allrounder and best Spinner Ravichandran Ashwin in favour of a pace quarter of Shami, Siraj, Umesh and Shardul !! – the bowling coach is Paras Mhambrey, Captain Rohit Sharma and coach Rahul Dravid.

Paras Mhambrey, a right-arm medium pacer from Mumbai, made his international debut on India's tour of England in 1996 - the same tour on which Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Venkatesh Prasad also made their first Test appearances. However, he was was unable to make the sort of impact made by the other three and his two Tests and two one-dayers on that tour were followed by a sole ODI against Bangladesh in 1998.  In Ranji he was impressive.   After retirement,  Mhambrey  went on to complete his Level 3 coaching diploma from the National Cricket Academy. After two seasons coaching Maharashtra he took charge of Bengal, whom he led to the Ranji finals in each of his two seasons.  Now he is our bowling coach

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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