Days of our Lives!

February 19, 2006

India 4, Pak 1 (a la D/W)

Filed under: Sports — Santhosh @ 8:44 PM

It’s Endulkar now. Dravid’s captaincy lacks imagination. Yuvraj and Sehwag have feet stuck in cement. Dhoni cant last 2 games. The bowling is one dimensional. India down and out. India cant play swing. India cant play seam. India cant play pace. India cant play cricket.

Two weeks hence!

Sachin scored 237 in three innings at better than run-a-ball. Sehwag slammed a 67 before pulling up his shoulder. Yuvraj and Dhoni aggregated 563 runs between them, with averages of 172 and 219. Even Pathan chipped in with a 65. The Pakistan bowlers (the balanced ones too!) had no clue as to where to bowl.

India’s much-maligned bowlers picked up 45 wickets to Pakistan’s 25, bowling out the opposition thrice, and were largely responsible for the momentum shift that transformed this series. This with two kids in Sreesanth and R.P.Singh and without Bhajji too!

And the fielding! Boy! The amount of improvement that India has made in this dept is outrageous. I guess India now has the best inner circle with Kaif, Yuveraj and Raina prowling away. And then we have the usual safe hands of Sachin, Dravid and Sehwag. Dhoni’s keeping seems to be improving as much as his humongous sixes clear the stands. In the 2nd odi there were as many as 4 runouts. The stumps were flattened at almost every throw.

And compare this with the Pakistani fielding. At times, it seemed that more catches were dropped than there were people in the stands and more balls were fumbled than there are people in Pakistan. Throws were backed up in much the manner Brutus backed up Julius and as a collective, fielders became India’s 12th, 13th and 14th men on the field. The Indian batsmen gleefully took the pass, tapping straight to fielders and blindly, sans calls, running because even in the unlikely event of the ball being picked up clean, the stumps weren’t going to be struck. They seemed to be throwing regularly at an imaginary set of stumps in Multan when they were in Lahore and at Karachi when they came to Multan.

Pakistan now have problems aplenty with all their aspects of the game. The search for a pair of openers to replace Anwar-Sohail still continues. Inzamam’s captaincy with the batting order is stupid to say the least. The bowling in the absence of Akhtar lacks bite. And the appointment of Jonty Rhodes as a fielding coach might just be applying band-aid to a bullet wound.

All this with a captain whose cricketing education seems to be completed with packing the kit bags. In the England series he was out bcoz he tried to get out of the way of the throw. Here he was out bcoz he batted away the throw. Man! His comments of leaving a bad taste in that big mouth of his maybe coz his own foot was firmly in it. The appeal was as genuine as the one Pakistan made when Sachin was run out at Eden Gardens in 1999, another dismissal that sparked debate about the spirit of cricket. Sachin appeared to have grounded his bat before colliding with Akhtar, inadvertently causing him to lift his bat when the bails were dislodged and being given out; Pakistan could have withdrawn the appeal given the accidental collision but chose not to, which was their right. In Inzamam’s case, the decision didn’t even involve considerations of a collision as a loophole.

For all the controversies and hullabaloo that have followed this team everywhere in recent times, you simply can’t argue with Dravid’s captaincy record – 12 wins from 16 against three highly-rated teams. And boy, can they chase!


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