Ponting is done and dusted

I did realize a few days back that Ponting was being left out by the media after his failures. And then Ponting comes back and says that he should be in the Squad for the experience he brings in and what he has to offer the youngsters.

But, after a fifth failure, the Ausis selectors have decided that time has come for Ponting to move on.

Ponting – we will miss you. Lets hope we see you play in test matches or the IPL

Ponting goes unnoticed

English: Ricky Ponting and Shane Warne

This one is going to be a very short note. I just realized that Ricky Pointing in this series is averaging 2.75 in the 4 matches that he has played.

It is interesting to see that when in test series by this time when Dravid, Laxman and Co. were playing slightly better compared to Pointing every one was talking about their retirement. Somehow, Pointing gets unnoticed.

See the entire list here

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Rotate Sachin? Why? Even Stats are saying otherwise

Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricketer. 4 Test ser...

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Yesterday (Feb 12), was when India beat Australia in a ODI in a decent manner, yet all I felt was disappointment. For the first time, I was not happy that my team had won, I was rather sad how they have decided to treat their master batsman.

India in the recent CB series came up with a rotation policy – they started off by resting Sehwag, followed by Gambhir and on Sunday they rested Sachin. From all the various games I have seen over the years – Cricket, Soccer, Basketball – rotation has been a useful thing when a team is struggling and they managers/coaches/captains need to find a set of players that tick. However, the way India management (including Dhoni) has handled rotation simply makes no sense to me and to experts as well – several articles have been published where people have questions this policy. A few are listed here:

Let’s simply look at how the top 3 have been performing in Australia in recent times (not considering the ODI on Sunday because decision to rotate out Sachin was done before that match) – and I dont have to put forward stats to tell that Sachin has been most consistent. Sachin has not amassed a big score yet has has provided us with consistent starts. Gambhir on the other hand was a complete flop in test matches, but in a few T20 and ODI that we have played he had already played a crucial inning in T20 to take India to a win. Now, lets ask what has Sehwag done – apart from that one inning in Adelade in Test match and that too where he got out to a full-toss.

Understood that we do not want to play all the 3 because that forces us to leave Raina or Rohit out – that makes sense. But, when you have 2 openers – Sachin and Gambhir doing well for you – why rotate them out? Makes no sense to me – does it make any sense to you? What it only does is add extra pressure to the top-3 for India. Where they lived in harmony, not they are playing for a spot (including Sachin and Sehwag). You can call it team work and that everyone understands, but  hear otherwise because Gambhir after scoring a crucial 92 quoted

This XI had that belief that we can beat Australia today. For me this was the best playing XI. It’s not about names, it’s about people who can go out there and have that belief from No. 1 to No. 11. If they have the belief that ‘yes, we can win this game’, that’s the best playing XI. You don’t want names, you want people who can deliver. We have shown it, I think

“We don’t want names, we want people who can deliver…” would I be wrong if I read this as “Sachin is a name” – do you want me to bring out the stats again? Gambhir is a captain – KKR and he could be looking at the vice captaincy in some time. He has to be wise before saying. I can see that he might be under stress with his position in the team not sure at this point especially when Kohli has been doing so well.

To the rotation policy, this is the last thing we want to happen in the team – when one player thinks that the person who has been rotated out is not needed any more. We need to send a clear message if someone is dropped. And then if India team has to drop out Sachin Tendulkar especially in his current form or should I say in Indian team’s current form, does not make fans like me happy. If Sachin is available for selection, I want to see him play. Sachin is someone who knows when the time has come to go and he will go. He if God of cricket and if you have God on your side and you dont play him, even when your other openers are not preforming…..

I have this bad feeling in my stomach since yesterday that tell me, that Sachin maybe has outgrown the game – maybe he should just let go. We all know he loves the game and we know he is still performing, can will continue till he knows he can perform. It is just too hurtful to see our beloved icon, sitting on a bench.

Indian Cricket team in submission

Australia are in trouble at 3/10 when Ricky Po...

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“I think we have nothing to lose at this point in time,” Ashwin said after the first day of the 4th test match between India and Australia. Everyone was expecting what happened on Day-1 where Australia; what no one knew who would shine and it was Clarke and Ponting once again notching up their 100s. We do look for a potential double-hundreds tomorrow.

However, when I was reading this article all I could think of was that these are not words of encouragement – it simply tells send a message that they have resigned. It is natural to say that between two opponents the one who has less to loose generally takes more risks. We have seen many spirited performances from upcoming youngsters in different games. However, for a team of the caliber of India where they have the best test players in the side and are world champions this statement to me reflects weakness than strength.

In the same article, Ashwin speaks of missed opportunities but does not talk about what they are going to do it. It is like “we know we have to go places, just dont know how to walk”.

Being a fan who wants to see his country do well, I am no longer interested in what was not done and what missed out, I can figure that out myself. I want to know what are you going to do about it when the same thing happens next time. I want to hear messages that give me confidence on the team.

Today, in my life I was checking Australian Open scores and cricket only dawned upon me when I went to cafeteria during lunch, and by then the day was over. Just goes to show no matter how much I love my cricket team, unless they showcase confidence, unless I see them making effort I am not going to be round to cheer for them. Results are important, but I also want to see them working when the chips are down and Ashwin simply does not reflect it in his statements.

 

Update

And then there is media. In an another article they state the following. Really do you think so? Comeon grow up

The captain MS Dhoni was unable to find a way to break through that combination, and he might have been glad of his suspension for slow over rates as he watched Sehwag struggle with a similar scenario in Adelaide.

Goodbye to India’s batting greats | Opinion | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo

That dream now lies in the dust and with no Test series in sight for the next eight months, there seems to be nothing more to achieve for a generation of players who began their journey in the ’90s – the ’80s in Tendullkar’s case – and have formed the most luminous collection of batsmen in the last three decades. It’s cruel that their journey should end on such a low, but when they are gone, they will be remembered for their peaks.

Everything points to them turning up together in Adelaide. But the result and the performances won’t, and shouldn’t, matter. Indian cricket has sunk to the lowest of lows: in another time these very men, as did they so single-mindedly at the beginning of the last decade, would have been relied on to forge a revival. But their time has gone now. Indian cricket has no option but to embrace the future, however uncertain it may seem.

Not all of them will go at once. In fact, there is merit in graduating the next generation under the watch of a master or two. But a line must be drawn in Adelaide. Every player who retains his place for the next Test series must have a clear role to play in creating the future.

But for the moment, push the gloom aside and keep your eyes peeled. Viru, Rahul, Sachin and VVS you might never watch together again, and not in that order. They might or might not stroke a couple of hundreds between them, or put together one of those monster partnerships, but if you care enough to watch, there will still be moments of magic: a murderous scythe through the covers, a picture-perfect drive down the ground, a cover drive that paints the most ornate arc, or a gentle swish that charms the ball to the ropes. It’s the team, and the results, that ultimately count. But invariably it is individual players who leave the fondest memories.

via Goodbye to India’s batting greats | Opinion | Cricinfo Magazine | ESPN Cricinfo.

Yet Another Controversy

Taken at SCG, 3rd Day, Australia vs India, 4th...

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From last week, when the focus for everyone was India and how they need to perform overseas (me included); England just came around to prove that their journey to the #1 might just be as dubious as it was for India. England started off their first test ranked as #1. From what I remember England has always been in the shadows until now. They have never experienced what it means to be champions until they won T-20 World cup a few years ago and now as they are ranked as no#1. So, it meant a lot to them to keep that reputation going. And then came the overseas series. But, England batting was humbled by a young spinner from Pakistan – Saeed Ajmal.

It just goes to prove only one thing – England just like India and many other countries are not comfortable playing outside their own country. But, for now, I am reserving this topic when if England prove me wrong by winning something.

English batsmen were foxed by Saeed Ajmal so beautifully. While the entire world back in July 2011 started to talk about India’s bad performance, this time even before anyone can start a discussion, English (Bob Willis) launched an attack on an upcoming youngster who did heroics.

This is not the first time that these tactics have been employed to avoid what could have been an obvious attack to their performance. During the infamous series in 2011, England was involved in a series of events during the course of 2nd test match and yet again we saw England take the obvious approach of attacking, while the same team (India) showed what character is.

After the 2nd test match during the ongoing Australia-India series, Australian started the trash talk as if the sledging that they do is not enough. Yet, the sub-continent teams continue to let them be. We have seen how Murali was humiliated over the years because of his bowling actions when no one across the seas had an answer to his bowling. And how can someone forget what happened during the 2nd test between these two teams back in 2008.

When will it be enough? IMHO, we have tolerated their baseless attacks for ever. Time has come to say something to nations who think they are bigger than the game itself. We have played this game fair and square even better and if needed we should demand respect.

Where is Indian Cricket Heading

It was in July-Aug 2011, during the Patoudi Series when India lost their #1 ranking to England. They lost the series 0-4 and it was pretty humiliating as it was coming off the famous World Cup win in April 2011. India’s win in World Cup kept India safe from the criticism. However, the dust storm was waiting to unleash itself, yet no one surprisingly saw it. Everyone was hoping that 0-4 loss to England was one off thing. And, then came the Agneepath series (Border-Gavaskar series) and all hell broke loose as India lost first 3 test matches to Australia in a humiliating fashion. As i write this post, yesterday was when India lost their 3rd test match and hence loosing the series as well. And thus started the blame game.

Dhoni is suggesting in a correct diplomatic fashion that after this series he will think about getting the right mix of senior and junior players. What surprises me is that in the article and many others comments he has made, yet there is no mention of how we can improve India’s batting and bowling in the nations where we have fast pitches, which evidently is everywhere else except the sub-continent. This has been the crest of India’s problems since FOREVER and even now after another mini-crisis looms, I do not hear anyone talking about fixing that problem. I will not call myself the best cricket judge over all the talent pool we have, yet I am surprised no one is talking about this or atleast I an not reading about it. I just read this article which finds Gavaskar say:

“I think a lot of soul-searching needs to be done. We need to look at first-class cricket structure, pitches that we play, scheduling of matches, it has to be a really long hard look at everything.” – Sunil Gavaskar

“When Tendulkar and Dravid and those boys retire in a couple of years, where is Indian cricket going to be. Are the youngsters coming through?”
Australian opener David Warner is perhaps mindful of Australia’s badly handled transition

This article summarizes quotes from many great players and I would agree with all of those, it simply suggest one thing – Dhoni and selectors have been waiting too long trying to ride the “luck” Dhoni has had. And, yet their Karma has expired finally. Things do not happen on their own, they happen because someone needs to do something about it. Thinking that everyone will keep doing their job which was half as good as Australia did when they were at their peak was calling for trouble and trouble came calling.

I will quote ESPN from an article

Srikkanth, stuck to his belief that the failure of the batting line-up was behind India’s abject performance on the tours of England and Australia, though he said it was too soon for a post-mortem of the series. “It is the same problem that we had during the England series. In the last two series, the batsmen have struggled to find form. I don’t think too much of a post-mortem will lead us anywhere.

In the same article, Shukla said:

all teams had disappointing periods in cricket, and that the Indian team management would take steps to ensure a better performance on the rest of the tour. “We admit that the team’s performance has not been up to expectations,” he said. “But it happens with all teams. Recently, former world champions Sri Lanka were all out for just 47 [43, against South Africa in Paarl].

“We have won on foreign soil in the past. No one says anything then; all this criticism has been raked up due to defeats in England and Australia. Corrective measures will be taken by the team management so that the team does better in the final Test and the ODI tri-series.”

What Shukla said is perhaps right, we do not say a lot when all is going well, and when things start to go wrong everyone feels it is everyone’s right to critisize. And IT IS. We are fans, who view the sports, who make it what it is. We are the ones who make Cricket what it is. If it was not for us, Cricket may have just faded like Hockey in India (which turns out to be our National Game). Yet, Shukla seems worried about the criticism. I wonder if this is because he was also riding Dhoni’s luck.

Enough of criticism; I believe in the philosophy that if you see a problem, bring at least one solution on the table.

India cricket needs a higher calling; they need to work on getting their home in order. Having spin pitches for international matches is not a bad thing. If Australian curators prepare fast pitches to give their team the advantage, India curators should do exactly the same. But, that should not stop us from getting our international team some practice on fast pitches during Duleep trophy and other domestic formats. I am not sure, how many of our international players play domestic format. But, there has to be a way of bringing up the right talent.

Why can we not have specialists for Test Cricket who can have the edge in foreign soil; time is now to find methods that go beyond the conventional methods. We need to reinvent the way we are selecting players. Pace academies have to be setup. Seeing a little of all matches in recent series, I can say with certainty that Australia’s bowling attack was not invincible like in the past. They won because of their consistency. We need to get our bowlers the same set of consistency – bowl 6 of 6 bowls in the same spot and then we will be what others. Lets have different coaches for each division with a head coach (a strategy followed by many American sports). Let specialist focus on the problem to solve it.

Lets hope someone does something. We can afford letting go of all senior players in a flash. We need the right mix of experience and fresh blood. As Anil Kumble said – we need to have a transition plan to make it work. We are already late by 12 months, but we have to salvage all that we can.

Related articles

Where is Indian Cricket Heading

It was in July-Aug 2011, during the Patoudi Series when India lost their #1 ranking to England. They lost the series 0-4 and it was pretty humiliating as it was coming off the famous World Cup win in April 2011. India’s win in World Cup kept India safe from the criticism. However, the dust storm was waiting to unleash itself, yet no one surprisingly saw it. Everyone was hoping that 0-4 loss to England was one off thing. And, then came the Agneepath series (Border-Gavaskar series) and all hell broke loose as India lost first 3 test matches to Australia in a humiliating fashion. As i write this post, yesterday was when India lost their 3rd test match and hence loosing the series as well. And thus started the blame game.

Dhoni is suggesting in a correct diplomatic fashion that after this series he will think about getting the right mix of senior and junior players. What surprises me is that in the article and many others comments he has made, yet there is no mention of how we can improve India’s batting and bowling in the nations where we have fast pitches, which evidently is everywhere else except the sub-continent. This has been the crest of India’s problems since FOREVER and even now after another mini-crisis looms, I do not hear anyone talking about fixing that problem. I will not call myself the best cricket judge over all the talent pool we have, yet I am surprised no one is talking about this or atleast I an not reading about it. I just read this article which finds Gavaskar say:

“I think a lot of soul-searching needs to be done. We need to look at first-class cricket structure, pitches that we play, scheduling of matches, it has to be a really long hard look at everything.” – Sunil Gavaskar

“When Tendulkar and Dravid and those boys retire in a couple of years, where is Indian cricket going to be. Are the youngsters coming through?”
Australian opener David Warner is perhaps mindful of Australia’s badly handled transition

This article summarizes quotes from many great players and I would agree with all of those, it simply suggest one thing – Dhoni and selectors have been waiting too long trying to ride the “luck” Dhoni has had. And, yet their Karma has expired finally. Things do not happen on their own, they happen because someone needs to do something about it. Thinking that everyone will keep doing their job which was half as good as Australia did when they were at their peak was calling for trouble and trouble came calling.

I will quote ESPN from an article

Srikkanth, stuck to his belief that the failure of the batting line-up was behind India’s abject performance on the tours of England and Australia, though he said it was too soon for a post-mortem of the series. “It is the same problem that we had during the England series. In the last two series, the batsmen have struggled to find form. I don’t think too much of a post-mortem will lead us anywhere.

In the same article, Shukla said:

all teams had disappointing periods in cricket, and that the Indian team management would take steps to ensure a better performance on the rest of the tour. “We admit that the team’s performance has not been up to expectations,” he said. “But it happens with all teams. Recently, former world champions Sri Lanka were all out for just 47 [43, against South Africa in Paarl].

“We have won on foreign soil in the past. No one says anything then; all this criticism has been raked up due to defeats in England and Australia. Corrective measures will be taken by the team management so that the team does better in the final Test and the ODI tri-series.”

What Shukla said is perhaps right, we do not say a lot when all is going well, and when things start to go wrong everyone feels it is everyone’s right to critisize. And IT IS. We are fans, who view the sports, who make it what it is. We are the ones who make Cricket what it is. If it was not for us, Cricket may have just faded like Hockey in India (which turns out to be our National Game). Yet, Shukla seems worried about the criticism. I wonder if this is because he was also riding Dhoni’s luck.

Enough of criticism; I believe in the philosophy that if you see a problem, bring at least one solution on the table.

India cricket needs a higher calling; they need to work on getting their home in order. Having spin pitches for international matches is not a bad thing. If Australian curators prepare fast pitches to give their team the advantage, India curators should do exactly the same. But, that should not stop us from getting our international team some practice on fast pitches during Duleep trophy and other domestic formats. I am not sure, how many of our international players play domestic format. But, there has to be a way of bringing up the right talent.

Why can we not have specialists for Test Cricket who can have the edge in foreign soil; time is now to find methods that go beyond the conventional methods. We need to reinvent the way we are selecting players. Pace academies have to be setup. Seeing a little of all matches in recent series, I can say with certainty that Australia’s bowling attack was not invincible like in the past. They won because of their consistency. We need to get our bowlers the same set of consistency – bowl 6 of 6 bowls in the same spot and then we will be what others. Lets have different coaches for each division with a head coach (a strategy followed by many American sports). Let specialist focus on the problem to solve it.

Lets hope someone does something. We can afford letting go of all senior players in a flash. We need the right mix of experience and fresh blood. As Anil Kumble said – we need to have a transition plan to make it work. We are already late by 12 months, but we have to salvage all that we can.

 

Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth: David Warner’s blazing ton destroys India | Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day Report | Cricket News | ESPN Cricinfo

India once again failed to cope with the swing, seam and disciplined line of the home attack, comprising Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc. Upon his dismissal of Laxman, Siddle sank to his haunches, in a sign of how much a hot day in Perth had drained Australia’s bowlers despite their regular wickets, and he did not re-emerge after tea.

via Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth: David Warner’s blazing ton destroys India | Australia v India, 3rd Test, Perth, 1st day Report | Cricket News | ESPN Cricinfo.