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Posts Tagged ‘India’

Rankings and Reality

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The test series between South Africa and India were considered as the fight for the world no:1 position for both teams. After the end of the first test, South Africa have gained an almost unassailable edge over the host – Team India. If South Africa manages to secure a draw or a win, they will be at the helm. For India, nothing less than a win will secure their top-spot. Australia, who are currently in the third position, is playing impeccable cricket on the other side of the globe, infact in all forms of cricket. So does this ranking system makes any sense for the spectators and others in the cricketing fraternity?

In the last 12 months, Australia have played 14 test matches, won 8 matches, drew 3 and lost 3matches. In the Same period, India have played 9 test matches, winning 5, drawing 3 and loosing one. South Africa’s performance is – Played 8 tests, won 3, lost 3 and drew 2. So the Winning percentage of Australia, India and South Africa is – 57.14, 55.55 and 37.50 respectively. That means according to the winning percentages, Australia stays at the top, then comes India and the South Africans are way down! According to the ICC Rankings, India have a rating of 125, followed by South Africa with a rating of 120 and Australia at the the 3rd position, with a rating of 118. Australia have played 5 tests against England, 3 each against Pakistan, South Africa and West Indies. India have played 3 each against New Zealand and Sri Lanka, 2 against Bangladesh and 1 (so far) against South Africa. South Africa have played 3 against Australia, 4 against England and 1 (so far) against India.

So, after seeing the aforementioned stats, Does this ranking system makes any sense? The points and ratings are given of the basis of the win/loss at home/away criteria.That’s simply absurd. If a team is playing against comparatively weaker opponents like West Indies, Bangladesh and New Zealand, the chances for getting all the points are much high. Instead, If the ICC implements a weightage system, then it would add some credibility to this ranking system, if they are really serious about this. In the weightage system, teams will get lesser points, when they play weaker oppositions like Bangladesh and will get higher points, when they play Australia. Based on the past 1 year’s performances, teams can be alloted specific weightage and review it after every season. This would make the ranking system more competitive.

Why India can’t produce genuine fast bowlers?

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
The bowling speed of the players who compete in the Duleep Trophy is a clear indication to India’s lack of ‘fast bowlers’ in the domestic circuit, despite having a state-of-the-art pace bowling academy in the form of MRF Pace Foundation. During the Duleep Trophy final, none of the bowlers could clock above 130 KMPH. Irfan Pathan, though picked up 5 wickets in the first innings, was bowling around the 110 – 125 mark. Dawal Kulkarni was bowling around 115-120 KMPH, though he swings the ball laterally. Shane Watson and Jaques Kaliis, the best allrounders of present, bowls at 140 mark. So What’s the real problem with the Indian bowlers .Let’s see some of the common issues.
‘Lifeless’ wickets
This has been a real problem for the fast bowlers, right from the legendary Kapil Dev. When India prepares for a test match, the first instruction given to the curator is to make a strip that turns from day 1. For that you really need a curator? Avoid rolling for a week and make it a dust bowl. It will have variable bounce and will turn sharply from day1. Winning in these kind of wickets will earn any appreciation?, rather the ground will be blacklisted and will be stripped off from conducting further test matches. When India outplayed the Aussies at the Perth in 2008, it was acclaimed as India’s one of the greatest win. Why it was considered like that? Simply because, It was played on one of the quickest and bounciest wicket on earth. So it is pretty clear that the temperament of team will only be tested, when they play on a sportive wicket. For a fast bowler, nothing more is annoying and demoralizing than playing on a wicket where the ball doesn’t bounce above the knee-roll. So, when you prepare decks that wont bounce and are graveyards for fast bowlers, then how can you develop genuine quicks?

Too many matches
Fast bowlers are prone to injury than spinners and slow bowlers. So we have to use them wisely and make sure that they get sufficient rest. Australia, now, have 8 fast bowlers in the reckoning, whom can be rotated. All these 8 bowlers have the ability to bowl at more than 145 KMPH. See the case of India. They have just 4 or 5 guys that too only 2-3 guys with some international exposure and the other factor is that India plays more international cricket than any other team! The result is India carrying a team of fatigued and injured bowlers, who are forced to play again and again despite being unfit.

So, If we have to come up with genuine fast bowlers, then we will have take a closer look at these factors and take necessary decisions. BCCI has ample money to provide facilities so it is up to them to make a move, otherwise we will be forced to go back to that time, where part-time bowlers ball with new-ball to take off the shine in the ball, before the spinners are introduced.

Battle Resumes for the Arch-Rivals

Friday, September 25th, 2009
Hard to choose the winner....

Hard to choose the winner....

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan captain has started the verbal-battle by saying that Sachin Tendulkar is not as threatening as he was in 2003. In that match, Sachin single-handedly demolished the Pakistan attack that included Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akthar.

India- Pak matches has always been real feasts for the spectators due to the hype it creates and the quality of players in both teams.  Pakistan had the edge in ODI’s in the 70’s, 80’s and till the mid 90’s, before the arrival of the Little Master (perhaps, the little demolisher) Sachin Tendulkar. The primary reason behind the success was their quality pool of fast bowlers, which India had lacked greatly.

Post 2000 saw the dominance of India as they evolved drastically under the helm of Sourav Ganguly.  They outplayed Pakistan in majority of the matches including India’s undefeatable run in the World Cups against Pakistan. India became much stronger after 2005 and they managed to win the majority of the matches against Pakistan. The Epic win at the inaugural edition of the T20 World Cup reaffirmed India’s dominance against Pakistan.

It’s after 14 months that the arch rivals are locking their horns again and we can’t ask for a better place than the Super Sports Park at Centurion. The memories of the 2003 match will be big confidence booster for India, while Pakistan would be looking for turning things this time around. A win will not only change their fate against India at the big-stages but also seal a place in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy.

Combating The Rattling Pace

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

Indian batsmen are known for their diverse batting skills and their ability to adapt to alien conditions. Considering all these factors, the incompetence against quality fast bowling or precisely short-pitch bowling still remains a mystery. This is not a new issue, this is prevailing since India played their maiden test. Indian cricket has contributed legendary players like Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Sachin Tendulkar and several other phenomenal players to the global arena. But when India plays against a quality fast bowling team, they succumb to it. There is no question about the talent and skills these players possess. Let’s see some of the roadblocks being faced by the Indian team.

Sluggish home tracks

This stands as the main barrier for India’s success against short-pitched bowling. India plays most of their home matches on spinner friendly wickets and this makes it difficult for them to counter short-pitched bowling on seamer-friendly foreign tracks. The counter point to this would be our bunch of quality spinners. This factor worked in the past since our pace battery was weak. We didn’t had any ‘Fast Bowlers’ apart from Kapil Dev and Javagal Srinath. Now the scenario is totally different. We have some world-class seamers like Zaheer Khan, Ishant Sharma and RP Singh followed by some real performers who are waiting for their turn. It is quite simple; India doesn’t rely on spinners any more! If India wants to be the world-beaters, then our domestic wickets need revamp to make it sportive. This will also provide encouragement for young fast bowlers.

Backfoot Skills

For combating short-pitched bowling, basic quality required is foolproof backfoot shots especially, the cut, the pull and the hook. Without proper training and techniques these shots cannot be executed successfully and would end up in dismissal. VVS. Laxman is considered as a better player of pace amongst the Indian batsmen. His back foot shots and wrist work are really impeccable and that was the reason behind his success against Australia Down Under.

Positive mindset

This is required for success in any form of life. Indian batsmen need to bat with the mindset just like they bat in the Indian conditions. Mindset plays a pivotal role as we have seen the example set by Australia in mind game. Similar strategy should be adopted by India in their pursuit of success against short-pitched bowling.

In short, when all these factors are incorporated, the solution is found for battling the short-pitched bowling. Neither batsmen nor bowlers hold the edge in cricket. It is the competencies of each that lock horns. If your basics are good and have a positive frame of mind then your chances are high to succeed in the International arena, irrespective of bowling or batting.

Dhoni to be blamed?

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

The T20 World Cup ’09 was a disappointing tournament for the Indian fans. The expectations were at the peak. But the unexpected early knockout of the Indian team really made the fans show off their anger.

Winning and loosing are all parts of the game, like two sides of a coin. When we toss the coin, we can’t predict which side will come up. The same is the case with cricket; especially the T20 version.

But let us take a look at it from media perspective. Media has come up with a discussion on “Who is to be blamed for the failure?”. This kind of discussion, although not necessary, will help to identify the pros and cons of the team.

There are many hot discussions going on. The most common one is, whether the skipper has to be blamed for his poor performance and co-ordination. As we all know, Dhoni is a talented player and very efficient as a skipper. But this time, he had a clash with the media on Sehwag’s much spoken injury. Many senior players have come up with the opinion that Dhoni needs to manage the media with more care. This incident might have indeed made some sparks inside the dressing room, which in turn made the players to deviate from the game.

Another hot discussion is on Sehwag’s absence. Many questions arise on this context. How much did India miss Virender Sehwag, with the kind of opening and the spontaneous start he gives? Did his injury bring down the confidence level in the team? India did not have an alternate option on who could give a sparkling start to the Indian innings together with Gambhir?

The after-effects of IPL matches is yet another important aspect. The players could have been drained and tired after the IPL as matches were played on consecutive days with a total of 59 matches! This can be considered a reason for the world cup failure indeed. But still, a vital question arises. What about the players in the other winning teams, as most of them have also played in IPL? Many players are of the opinion that IPL matches gave them a real opportunity to tune their strengths for the world cup.

Anyway, India’s T20 world cup dreams for the year 2009 has come to an end. Still we can hope(as usual) that they will come back with real energy for the upcoming West Indies tour and the biggy, ICC world cup.

World Cup matches moved out of Pakistan

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Pakistan has been stripped of hosting rights for the 2011 World Cup because of the “uncertain security situation” in the country, the ICC said.
“It is a regrettable decision (but) our number one priority is to create certainty and…deliver a safe, secure and successful event,” ICC president David Morgan said in a statement.
The ICC added that Pakistan was unlikely to resume hosting any cricket at all until 2011. It also said the World Cup secretariat would be moved out of Pakistan to a location to be decided by the organising committee. India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, the other co-hosts, will now share the 16 matches that were to be held in Pakistan.


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