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.

 

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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.

 

Being Proud

I had an interesting conversation over a Facebook status; and I do not want to loose it in FaceBook status’; so here is an extract of it:

 

Relax, sit back, listen to your favorite music, feel proud of all the good you have done for this society, have respect for everyone around you, gift a chocolate to a homeless kid outside a temple, give a loaf of bread to a stray dog, lie down on grass and look at the sky and listen to chirping birds.. Believe me you will be happy from your soul, Life is simply too awesome.. Live it UP!!! 😉

 

Ashish Mukherjee I follow many things among these, i almost feed a stray dog everyday, i look up to the sky to relax, i listen to music, etc., but still struggling to find find out something to be proud of which I’ve done good for this society….. it’s a tough job I guess for me….. 😦

 

Kapil Viren Ahuja ‎@Ashish – I dont know you so wont judge; but I can say that all that you do is to be proud off. Because we run for big things; we miss out on smaller ones. Think – if we all would feed 1 time meal to someone say a couple of times a week; how many wont go without food.

 

Ashish Mukherjee

‎@KVA: Hi, mostly i read your posts on Shanu’s posts quiet on a lighter side, but it was great reading an appreciation for what i do, but those aren’t anything which anyone does to feel proud of or keeping in mind that we are doing anything… good, people just do these things when they are missing something probably (not sure), same the case with me, apart from it, when talking about the society, i am feeding the stray dogs, which aren’t giving any such great impact on the society, then….. so in my case, again, still need to struggle lil more to find out that factor, but in any case, thanks a lot, it was good that even these things can be appreciated…. 🙂
Kapil Viren Ahuja IMHO – the reason i feel we should be proud of it is because – there are 99.99% people out there who dont do anything. I am not going to debate the reasons or why.
Ashish Mukherjee ‎@KVA: Kya Kapil Mama, you just ended the topic, it was just great having few words with you… Thanks. 🙂

What I understand is that yeah feeding Stray-dogs is not enough; but what I do like is the fact that Ashish does something; this behavior one day will lead him to do bigger things; it reminds me of Small Steps.