Cricket WC2011 – Dhoni’s Googly on Indian Spinners

Today finally Dhoni decided to reveal to the world what is happening in the India camp and giving rest to any speculations. Read the complete article here.

A few highlights and my take on those:

“We are still supposed to give Ashwin a chance, he deserves a place, so he will feature in one of the teams [that will play in the group stages].”

So we know now that Ashwin will get a chance and he is considered deserving. But, the question is is it being too late already? and will he be giving couple of chances just like Chawla has been given

“basically you have to see which was the player that needed this game most, rather than the team needing the player. I felt it was Piyush, who needed this game much more than Ashwin. You want your bowlers to be in a very good mental state in the second half of the tournament, where you play against the best teams and you will be participating in the knock-out stages – that was one of the main reasons why we picked Piyush ahead of Ashwin.”

Now this is a Googly I am talking about and everyone is thinking. Now this is where I see a leader is speaking up. Kudos to Dhoni, but the problem I see here is that he has already taken a huge risk by not giving Ashwin a chance to get valuable match practice. If I look at where India is in Group B, India is most certain to Qualify for Quarter Finals so Dhoni still has two games to try it with Chawla and Ashwin and he can see what works best for the team. The question is should he be experimenting in a tournament such as World Cup? What is all this experiemtn leads to team loosing the momentum or is Dhoni sure that we can get ourselves in the groove for last 3 vital games in knockout stages even with all this shuffling and experimentation?

He is the captain – Lets hope he knows what he is doing there.

 

Cricket WC2011 – What is Dhoni doing?

Mahendra Singh Dhoni of India in action during...

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Last 2 weeks, India got thrashed by England, and we were barely able to fetch a draw which was followed by a fight against Ireland. These two matches could have been easy for India, but they were not because of some decisions that M.S.Dhoni made with his captaincy; a few to name:

  • Continue to persist with Piyush Chawla
  • His assessment of Pitch in Bengaluru against Ireland
  • His defensive field placements against England and Ireland

But, we all understand there are times when they are going to get it wrong. But a third time – now that is a statement. Another match that should been a steeping stone for India to get some momentum behind them before big matches was against Netherlands and this time again Dhoni did many things that one can’t explain.

 

He played Piyush Chawla once again

Sourav Ganguly and some other commentators suggest it is good to see a captain behind young Piyush. But, are we here to groom people or win a World Cup. Piyush Chawla once again was the most expensive bowler in the squad. He was all over the place with his bowling. This also meant was that Ashwin still was on bench. If he gets a go in the match against South Africa, it will be after a break of over a month. That is something we do not want; we wanted some good match practice for him.

 

Tactics wanting to win the match in 20 overs

Sehwag, Tendulkar and Pathan were batting in a fashion as if India team has to be somewhere in a hurry. from 69/0 to 82/3 happened because they all played shots which were not required. A match that India could have won with 9 wickets and with 25 overs to spare went to 37th over with 5 wickets down and many Indians feeling we may loose. By promoting Pathan, it meant that Gambhir who has been a touch out of form did not get batting practice which was required. He came in when there with 2 wickets down and was under lot of pressure.

 

Raina still sits on bench

We have a genuine all rounder in Suresh Raina and this was the chance to see if he is in a good nick. Yuvraj is back in form but Pathan is scoring only 20s and 30s. Even if they are like a super sonic jet, they are not what we would need if we end up needing a consolidation in middle order. This match was a chance where we could have rested someone (Sehwag or Sachin a touch decision) and get a chance to Gambhir and Raina to get a knock in the middle.

 

I am not sure what India think tank is thinking, but it seems there are strategies that will lead us to winning the final. From here on, if India has to win they have to win at least 3 of their final 5 matches. The next matches will be against solid teams – South Africa and West Indies. And once we are in Quarter Finals, we need to be at the top of our game every single match day. One bad day in the office and they are fired and there goes the dream for so many of us.

 

The only silver lining is that no other team looks in solid form; Pakistan and South Africa lost matches in a dismissal fashion. Australia has not been tested and their test in pre-WC matches they crumbled under pressure too.

 

The team that can be focused from here will be the one to take it through, but for me there is no one ahead in this race.

 

Cricket WC2011 – Mid-term assessment

Today in World Cup cricket the 24th match was played, that takes us to just past mid-way of the group matches (total being 42). There are 14 teams which have 10 test playing nations and 4 from the associations and at this stage there are only two teams who look somewhat formidable in this stage. Let us start with Group A.

 

Group A

Pakistan looks quite good sitting at the top of the table winning all the three matches and two of them against the minnows, but their performance against the Sub-continent side Sri Lanka was impressive – and that was not expected. However, Australia who lost one against India in the pre-cup games, is doing quite well winning 2 out of 2 but not against top sides. Their first test of the cup was against Sri Lanka, but then it was washed out. So their only next test before they get into Quarter finals will be against Pakistan late in the schedule. Until that happens no one knows where Australia will be. New Zealand seems to be doing average and most probably will qualify given Zimbabwe, Canada or Kenya wont be able to win against the Kiwis.

 

Group B

This is a more interesting group. Let me start in a very interesting way. India beat Ireland, Ireland beat England, England beat South Africa and South Africa beat West Indies. This does not mean that India is doing best. It simply means that this is a very open group at this point. Ireland is a surprise package, only if they would have beaten Bangladesh they had a good chance of qualify into Quarterfinals. South Africa was doing very well until they ran into spinners from England on a turning pitch. That showed how can they not play spin well. England lost to Ireland and was a surprise win over South Africa; but overall their bowling have been dis-appointing where they gave more than 290 runs in more than 2 occasions and two times it was against Ireland and Netherlands; India was the third occasion. India has not been doing very well either. Their decision to include Piyush Chawla over Pragyan Ojha or Ashwin came back to haunt them against England where he gave away 3 sixesin the penultimate over and India ended up with a draw where they could have won. And then against Ireland he was most expensive giving a boundary in every over he bowled. But, India’s consolation is their batting looks like holding up very well , they are not cracking under pressure. Yuvraj is back in form and so is Sehwag and Tendulkar and Kohli. India’s next big test will be in last 2 group matches against West Indies and South Africa.

 

For me from Group A, Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka and New Zealand will qualify. And from Group B it will be India, South Africa, England and West Indies. However, I do not have a prediction of who will move to the semi-finals yet. Maybe after another 2 weeks when some of the giants have faced each other is when I can make up my mind.