MAKING A MARK DOWN UNDER…………..

I believe the heading of this thread is appropriately titled as the tag of a “2-1 victory” for Australia is somewhat misleading, which is why there is no insinuation of any praise for the Aussies in the heading. For the first time in a long while Australia failed to appear dominating in every session of a Test match. For the first time in a long while Australia looked vulnerable against a simple yet potent gameplan. And certainly, for the first time in a long while a visiting team made Australia toil and think hard on their own soil. We are all entitled to our opinions and some of you may think I am exaggerating India’s performance here, but the truth is that hardly anyone could have contemplated such a competitive series.

At Melbourne, after seizing the initiative on the first day India lost ground and easily appeared to be a lacking team. But the way India fought back in Sydney was a wonder, so much so that many pundits claim that it was the standard of umpiring that led to India’s defeat, not Australia’s ostensible superiority in the pace department. Perth was an eye opener where the Indian pacers outbowled their Australian counterparts whereas Australia received a significant jolt in Adelaide, where India’s first innings score of 526 more or less ruled out the chances for an Australian victory at the venue. The reason why the Aussies played cautiously is because they knew they could not win this Test, and they gave respect to the Indian bowling attack because they knew if they would take chances, as they continuously did in the previous matches, they would lose wickets quickly hence paving way for a possible Indian victory. That would make the series 2-2, which would have unthinkable ramifications for the tag belonging to Australia that says Australia are an “invincible” team.

Sure, on paper India are a weaker side. Before this series no one could imagine that RP, Sharma and Irfan could match or supersede the effectiveness of Australia’s bowling attack. Indian batsmen, though legendary in their reputation and skill, are still vulnerable to the “inconsistency bug”. And India’s fielding is in no way world class. Having said all this and having admitted that the tag of 2-1 victory is somewhat misleading compared to how competitive this series was, it is remarkable how Indians played above their potential. 2 out of the 4 top batsmen in this series were Indians, whereas in the bowling department there is not much of a difference between the performance of RP and Clark; although Clark took 1 more wicket than RP, RP bowled about 30 fewer overs than him, so it is safe to suggest that 2 Indians also featured in the top 4 bowlers in this series. Australia only surpassed the 400 run mark 3 times this series (and may I add, twice in the same match), whereas India although passed the 400 run mark 2 times, both times it scored more than 500.

What is worth greater praise is how the Indian team remained focused and united, especially following the Harbhajan episode. This series has opened a new chapter in the book of many Indians players. Sachin Tendulkar has returned to his late 1990’s form after a long time and is appearing as dangerous as ever to the opposition’s bowlers. Laxman was consistent and that is his biggest asset this series- he scored 1 useful knock in almost every match. Laxman is often kept away from the spotlight because of Ganguly and Dravid but this series has really exposed his unflappable temperament and reliability, which will do wonders for his profile in the future. Amongst Indian bowlers, Kumble was impeccable with his line and length and tested every batsman. He played an immense part in India getting Australia out for less than expected. His batting has also shown as tremendous improvement and now it would be folly to not call him an “all rounder”. It is strange how captaincy can affect an individual’s confidence so much that he can start doing things people don’t normally expect from him. RP was consistent and left a mark in every match. Continued performances like these are likely to elevate him to the status of India’s best pacer soon. Pathan returned to his new-ball form after a long time and looked threatening. He bowled with a gameplan and appeared positive, which is an excellent sign for the future as his body language was not very convincing before this series. If that is not enough, Pathan also played a couple of useful knocks with the bat, averaging 21. Sharma although not garnering many wickets under his belt has nothing to worry about, as he managed to unnerve Australian batsmen and in all honestly, was quite unlucky on a few occasions, too.

Special mention has to be made of Kumble’s captaincy. The only thing lacking in Kumble’s tactics was his occasional defensiveness, although that is a trait seen quite frequently in Subcontinental captains, so perhaps it can be ignored. A captain has to be intelligent, not necessarily in the “academic” or “intellectual” way, but he has to motivate his players, constantly focus and tweak his gameplan according to the situation, and use his resources wisely in order to strike the iron whilst it his hot. I saw a huge difference between the captaincy of Kumble and Ponting. One captain was extracting world class performances from relatively less feared pacers, whereas the other captain mostly failed to swing momentum when the going was getting tough for his team.

Let me reiterate here that this article favours India because I did not expect them to perform in this manner and likewise, I did not expect the Australians to get dominated by India so often. A new glorious era for Indian Test cricket may already have begun, where a bowling coach (Prasad) is appearing increasingly effective, a captain is managing his players extremely well and complementing that with immaculate bowling and useful batting and where a new coach, Kirsten, can’t really ask for more and if anything, will set higher targets for his team to achieve. Yes, we all know the result in 2-1 in favour of Australia, but Australia had to toil, think hard and even appear clueless at times to achieve that result. The mighty Aussies have been wounded in their own backyard and the world will remember the fight for a long time to come. As far as I am concerned, Australia will have sleepless nights and India should relax now, as they have done their homework and have little, if anything, to complain about. Well done team India.

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  1. #1 by hrishi on January 29, 2008 - 2:04 AM

    Good article. You should probably mention that all three of India’s first choice pacemen didn’t play in this series (Zaheer, Srisanth, Munaf) and even RP got injured in the last match. Pathan and Ishant are essentially 5th and 6th choice bowlers for India, at least on paper. Given that, India has done well to do 1-2.

    A suggestion for the writer is to include a “Marks out of 10” post where you would rate each individual player from both teams on a scale of 0 to 10. I would give Sehwag and Tendulkar a 9 with Laxman close at 8. I would give a 6 to Dravid and 3 or 2 to Ganguly. Yuvraj and Jaffar get a 1. Dhoni gets may be a 5. RP and Pathan get a 7.5 and Ishant gets an 8.5. Kumble gets an 8 and Harbhajan a 7, accounting for the fact that both scored vital runs on occasion. However, both are no longer the quality bowlers they once were.

    I suggest Khansahab to post a more detailed analysis with his own ratings.

    Overall, the bowlers did much better than the batsmen. The failure of Jaffar and Yuvi is a major cause of concern for future prospects of team India. I expect Tendulkar to continue through 2008 and much of 2009, however, same cannot be said about Ganguly and to a lesser extent Dravid and Laxman. I expect at least one retirement this year in the batting department, may be a couple of more by mid 2009 and Tendulkar’s swan song by end of 2009. India needs to be ready by then. Yuvi and Badrinath are two choices, but who would be the other replacements?? The future is not so great for India’s batting.

    Looking forward to the ODI side, it is good that both in form batsmen (Sachin and Sehwag) are a part of the ODI team. Yuvi and Dhoni need to find form and fast, if India are to have any chance at all.

  2. #2 by amit. p on January 29, 2008 - 9:25 AM

    Well if the “2-1” tag is going to hurt anybody, then it will be indian team more than anybody else … put aside everything from racial slur to umpiring decision to team spirit … they still had the chance to drag a draw until they opened the lottery for aussies in the penultimate over. But they gained many things from that “loss” … specially the character of their captain who was battling out there for more than 2 hours and played himself some 150 odd deliveries. Though they played wonderfully in sydney, they lacked some extra-bit of things that generally win matches. In perth they gathered those extra things that was the dedication in crucial phase of match. How good u play over five days but if u lack fighter instinct in those crucial spells then u bound to loose matches against world champs. They lacked that prolonged fighter instinct in sydney against hussey and hyden and for me there they lost the plot and played themselves in aussies hands. In perth on fourth day morning they bowled their heart out against ponting and hussey (specially ishant) and that first session on day four set the tone for the rest of the day. All in all it was a very challenging series for both teams and viewers must have enjoyed throughout.

    Now the positives for team india … growing stock of pace bowlers and the revival of old saying(in india off-course) that “bowlers win matches”. At the same time management must ponder on the issue of growing injuries in the team. If bowlers of the age of munaf, sreesanth an RP got themselves injured so regularly then how come they sustain in the competitive international cricket? One way to handle this issue is to demarcate test and odi bowlers. This will give all of them much needed desire to perform every time they go in the field, competitiveness and rest off-course.

    Other worry for team india is how to put fresh blood in test sqad without changing the harmony in the team. Whole middle order is aging and often u will see them get injured so they need to think systematic injection of youth rather makeshift kinda policy. Hope team management will address these issues properly and try to elevate team india in the next leap.

  3. #3 by amit. p on January 29, 2008 - 10:06 AM

    … and the news come out … bhajji cleared of racial abuse charge and the 3 test match ban is lifted … hope he will make this count in upcoming SA series in india 😀 . Most importantly he is cleared of the “racist” tag. But the question remains … “could bcci have helped bhajji in not so propagandist manner”? It was apparent from the beginning that bhajji will be cleared from this charge specially after so much bullying by bcci. What they were trying is to put national attention toward cricket and what they achieved is increased viewership of ongoing test-series and promoted their “brain-child” IPL. After all sharad powar is seasoned politician .

  4. #4 by Samy on January 29, 2008 - 1:22 PM

    I guess a 1-1 scoreline would have been a better indicator of how competitive the series really was. What happened in the dying moments at the SCG would still be hurting India, alhough they recovered admirably at Perth. I thought India had a good chance at Adelaide after scoring 500+ and going with 5 bowlers, but perhaps being two bowler short after RP’s and then Kumble’s injury and the bowling of Bhajji ruined their chances. I really hope they don’t make Pathan open the bating again.
    The bowling form of Harbhajan is a matter of huge concern, as is the injury and form of Yuvraj, also Dhoni, Jaffer and even Dravid. Yuvi and Dhoni are key members of the one-day team and India would really need them to fire.
    On the pluses, enough has been said about the emergence of young fast-bowlers, but I feel it’s the way India bounced back in the series after the heart-breaking loss that they should be really proud of. Not too many teams, let alone sub-continental ones can do that.
    It can be said that Aus were without Warne, McGrath etc., but they did beat SL very comprehensively earlier in the season, though they don’t look impressive at all in the spin-department anymore. But still it’s a very good bowling attack, with Lee as the spearhead and Johnson and Clark as the other pacers. Lets see how they cope with the loss of Gilly.
    India will also have big problems of players retiring in the future, but I feel if the seniors stick to only Test cricket, they can still go on for about 3 more years.
    I think the one-day series will not be as competitive as the Tests, but with Tait temporarily retiring from cricket, Aus might have some problems.

  5. #5 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 29, 2008 - 4:34 PM

    khansahab

    well written thread, good analysis.

    About Australia’s domination for so long, as the expression goes ‘all things must come to an end ‘ their domination has to come to an end at some point and it is happening with the retirement of McGrath and Warne.

    Gilchrist’s own form was very poor both with the bat and the gloves and he dropped catches like Kamran Akmal and some people say that the reason of his retirement is his poor form.

    Shaun Tait, as most people thought would play havoc with his pace did nothing, in fact Mitchel Johnson did very well and Stuart Clarke supported him well.

    Indian bowling department would have been more effective if Zaheer had remained in the team, but Irfan bowled well at Perth and he deserved to be the MoM. But, using him as an opener in test is not a good idea, may be in ODI’s or T20 but not in test.

    Expectations from Ganguly were very high after his back to back centuries at home against Pakistan but he did not contribute much in Australia and it is for this reason they have dropped him from the ODI squad.

    Tendulkar, I agree with you that he is back in form and was also playing some good shots. And Laxman did not disappoint his fans and selectors with his stroke play and also his contribution with the bat.

    for a teenager, Ishant Sharma did well for his team, especially he rattled in to Ponting a few times and unsettled him, but Ponting is such a good player that in the last match he corrected his mistakes and played well to build up a good partnership with MJ Clarke.

    MJ is such an unassuming player, he remains in the team absolutely like a “Stealth” bomber and whenever the team needs him, he is there either with the ball or the bat. The tattoo that he carries on his form arm is a mystery.

    Mark Nicholas was asked by his fellow commentator and he said, MJ has sworn him into secrecy and he cannot tell what it is, besides its in a foreign language.For sure its in Arabic as I was able to read a couple of words, but what exactly it is? Can anyone tell this?

    keep it up khansahab, keep the good work going.

  6. #6 by destiny on January 29, 2008 - 10:00 PM

    KHANSAHAB, u didnt mention that lee was the best bowler is the series and best by quite a margin. also hayden was class. ur article is a bit biased maybe, but nevertheless well written.

  7. #7 by khansahab on January 29, 2008 - 10:11 PM

    Destiny,

    I am not biased. I wrote that article from India’s perspective highlighting their achievements as I believe it is a current hot topic.

    Lee is a great bowler and the reason why I rate him above Shoaib Akhtar is because of his control over fitness and his commitment to his country.

    Hayden is a world class batsman, no doubt. His record against India is exceptional and there will be a discernible void left in Australia’s opening slot when he retires. I don’t think he is replaceable for the time being.

  8. #8 by Phil Ackroyd on January 29, 2008 - 11:58 PM

    We have to wonder whether it’s just a fluke that India managed to perform like this or is this a long term blessing?

    What do people think?

  9. #9 by khansahab on January 30, 2008 - 12:02 AM

    ‘Pathetic’ commentary irks viewers
    Staff Report

    LAHORE: The standard of the cricket commentary of the ongoing one-day international series between Pakistan and Zimbabwe has been termed as ‘pathetic’ by the viewers across the country. The cricket lovers of the country have demanded for the experts ‘who should have command of Urdu and English languages’ and must know the technicalities of the game. Just like Karachi and Hyderabad, the commentary by ‘novices’ during the third ODI in Multan on Sunday also let the viewers down. It is pertinent to mention that two Dubai-based TV sports channels, Ten Sports and ARY, have the rights to cover the said series. But both the channels, instead of hiring experts like Ramiz Raja and Sanjay Majrekar, have acquired the services former Pakistan cricketers Zaheer Abbas, Sikander Bakht and Mushtaq Mohammad for the commentary. “The trio represented Pakistan with grace as far as their game was concerned but unfortunately they have failed to impress as commentators,” the viewers in Lahore told Daily Times on Sunday. “We really miss expertise of Ramiz and Sanjay who have earned a lot of respect in this field,” they added. Sources told Daily Times that the current ‘team of experts’ had been hired on the advice of former Pakistan Test cricketer Asif Iqbal. “Asif currently works with ARY channel and he gave a favour to his former teammates and friends without keeping in view the Pakistani fans attachment to the game. The ‘unprofessional and weak’ commentary of Zaheer, Mushtaq and Sikander has made Pakistan a laughing stock.” Sources said Ten Sports was receiving hundreds of emails daily for this ‘horrible and substandard’ commentary. It is interesting to note that a couple of years back the below average cricket commentary on the Pakistan Television was banned under the directives from the President House. “But it is lamentable that the PTV has to show the ‘same comedy’ along with the Dubai channels,” sources

  10. #10 by Rehan Khan on January 30, 2008 - 12:30 AM

    Javed Khan,

    I don’t think Australian domination has come to an end because if they have lost McGrath and Warne, they have gained Clark who is performing as well as McGrath in his prime and Australia have now also benefited from Johnson who is performing. They have lost quality spinner but their main Test spinner is MacGill, who was injured. This guy can bowl pretty well so I don’t think Australia has lost its dominating touch. If you look at Australia’s rating before this series you could see there is a huge gap between it and 2nd placed team, I think Australia is as good as ever. India just played some really good cricket, that is why result was like this. I will tell you, when Hayden goes Australia will be a weaker side because they have lost their main batsman and top keeper Adam Gilchrist.

  11. #11 by khansahab on January 30, 2008 - 11:21 AM

    Khalid Latif has just been dismissed in the 4th ODI. I am not impressed by his technique but I think he was not out, it seemed the ball bounced off the ground just before the fielder gripped it.

    Any comments from anyone?

  12. #12 by Imran Mahmood on January 30, 2008 - 11:57 AM

    khansahab,let me say first i am a gr8 fan of yours since pakspin days.you write with excellent depth and understanding of the game of cricket.please dont think i am buttering, it is really a pleasure to read your comments and i am very pleased you have made a return.i am also extremely thrilled to see javed a khan and awas with you, who were major contributors on pakspin.
    about current thread,i agree india played really well and have left a mark.i dont know whether they will continue the same form.i dont think australia looked positive at all.i also believe after the retirement of langer australia are confused in the opening department.in fact i would agree with learned javed a khan that australian team is not same anymore.

  13. #13 by khansahab on January 30, 2008 - 12:03 PM

    Thanks a lot for your comment, Imran Mahmood and everyone else who has supported me.

    I think the standard of commentary in the Pak-Zim series has been pathetic as the news report I have pasted above confirms. Zaheer Abbas does not have a clue what he is saying and Mushtaq and Waqar are also confused.

    They should have requested a few Zimbabwean commentators for this series. 🙂

  14. #14 by khansahab on January 30, 2008 - 12:09 PM

    Building on from my previous post about commentary, Zaheer Abbas keeps saying, “I must say” whereas Mushy Bhai keeps saying “You know like…..”

    🙂

  15. #15 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 30, 2008 - 12:53 PM

    By virtue of the penultimate ball run out, Pakistan has for the first time in this series been able to bowl out the entire Zimbabwean time. Wow, what an achievement!

    For Pakistan, it was only Saqlain Mushtaq in the past who had the confidence to bowl the 50th over in the team without getting slogged and, it was an hounour and a trust given to him by his captain Wasim Akram and even Waqar Younus.

    But, Shoaib Malik being the captain and, after taking 3 wickets got carried away and gave 19 runs in the last over. Perhaps he thought that he would emulate Saqlain Mushtaq? This is the problem with Malik’s captaincy, either he is a timid rabbit or an over-confident sly fox.

    He has no sense as a captain to judge or assess a realistic situation of the game. He ignored his fast bowlers for the last over, especially Tanvir who had an excellent bowling figures of 6-2-14-0, but he used his Captaincy prerogative and paid a heavy price owing to his selfish attitude.

    In one of the World Cup matches in Lahore, Pakistan lost to Australia and Imran Khan was the captain. He miscalculated the overs and finished off his quota of 10 and the inexperienced Salim Jaffer had to bowl the last over of the match to the experienced Steve Waugh who clubbed him 19 runs in that over.

    Pakistan lost that match by exactly 19 runs. Imran miscalculated but, here there is no such thing except for Malik’s over confidence, inflated ego and absolutely no sense of judging the situation.

    He got carried away after taking 3 wickets earlier on. He has already paid a price and I hope its not going to cost the team dearly. Unless Pakistan’s batsmen play sensibly especially the top order there is a possibility that this would be the first time they might loose against Zimbabwe in this series.

    Younus Khan has been dropped but, Yousuf is still in the team. IF he fails again for the 4th time, then the PCB should seriously consider awarding his ODI spot to someone else who is more in form.

    But, I am not impressed with Khalid Latif’s slow batting tactics and Nasir Jamshed should not be that aggressive either, there has to be a balance between the two.

  16. #16 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 30, 2008 - 1:11 PM

    16th time in his “Baby Career” and second time in this series Malik is run out plus a stumped out.

    A serious question about his foot! Is he fit? Or is he simply following in the footsteps of Inzamam?

    I hope the Pundits won’t call this a conspiracy against Malik from the seniors to get him run out! In that case I would say a big LOL before I say nothing.

    37 runs required in 57 balls and Fawad Alam is the “Bait-man” who has been lured in to perform under “pray sure.”

  17. #17 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 30, 2008 - 1:24 PM

    More stick and less carrots, this danda concept does wonders, especially in Pakistan.

    Younus Khan got a stick for not performing and the sword was dangling over Yousuf’s head so he had to run and make runs.

    Steel when tempered with fire becomes harder and stronger than titanium. He got a 100 but still not going to get the man of the match award because the baby got lun out besides he took 3 wickets. So, he will get a feather in his baby cap.

  18. #18 by Rohit on January 30, 2008 - 5:33 PM

    The youth in india’s squad was expected to work wonders but it was the senior batsmen who helped india perform against australia. I agree with posters here that there has to be a systematic injection of youth, not a sudden demarcation. I dont think that sachin will retire for another 2 years but we may not see ganguly in 2009. also dravid is a big question mark. his fitness level is good but lately he has been performing inconsistently a lot. maybe his time is nearing at its end. not that i want these great players to leave our team, but there is a time and place for everything and if dravid is not able to perform the same way he used to previously, then he should not be in.

  19. #19 by Rehan Khan on January 30, 2008 - 5:49 PM

    There is talk of Indian senior players retiring, which will have a huge affect on the Test performance of the team. But today in 4th ODI of Pakistan vs Zimbabwe, commentators were discussing Mohammad Yousuf’s achievements. They said he will play for 2 or 3 more years no problem, and will break all records for Pakistan. But I don’t think like that. Because in the end he was very tired, and did not come to get his match reward because he was tired. He has fitness problem, which is a big one for him because his fielding is so poor.So I think he will not carry on after one more year. Of course this guy surely must have lied about his age. He is a great player no doubt, but I think he will not carry on for long. on the other hand indian players look much more fit to me. Sachin, Ganguly and Dravid all look they can carry on for a minimum of 2 years. First a batsman gotta be fit. Form is something different because you can be fit and be out of form. I dont see these Indian seniors panting or fielding so terribly like Yousuf. after Yousuf’s departure Pakistan will be hurt bigtime.

  20. #20 by Awas on January 30, 2008 - 6:00 PM

    Javed – “the baby got lun out”

    Hau khai…sharam nee aati? I hope some young boys don’t read this thread ;)-

    I know some people who think MalUk is the best captain Pakistan has ever had. So could you behave please…;)-

  21. #21 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 30, 2008 - 8:20 PM

    Awas

    That must be a typo. Besides the babies do speak like that “totla” ker, don’t they? So for them it won’t matter. Even the Japs and Chinese pronounce R as L.

    There was an American journalist he goes to one China after the Tianamen Square debacle and in a coffee shop, just to get an idea about the political consciousness of the masses, he asks one of the guys there. “How often do you have elections?” The reply was, “evely molning.”

    Back to Malak, did you see his picture? Its on cricinfo where he is lying on the ground and giggling like a baby and Lawson is tickling him. What a graceful captain!

  22. #22 by hamza on January 30, 2008 - 11:15 PM

    a very interesting series. i m luking forward to this CB series. it will be very competitive cos sri lanka is also playing. ODI’s are less predictable. india will be lookin to win many matches cos their confidence level is high. sri lanka has some exciting players. also rehan khan, i dont think yousuf will go in 1 year. if you think about his form in past 2 years, it has been similar to this but he has pressed on. the guy can play for 3 more years and inshallah win break many many records. what a player.

  23. #23 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 31, 2008 - 5:54 AM

    Its hard to say which team will win the CB series. Remember last year Australia dominated the Ashes series in Australia but England won the ODI series.

    Sri Lanka can be a very dangerous side with Jayasuriya, Jayawardene and Sangakara plus Murali and Vaas combo.

    The Australians, as I said are on the decline and their confidence is not as high as it was during the WC when McGrath was playing, but we might see Gilly at his best b4 he says good final bye to his folks in his country. But, this is just a hope. He has not performed well against India through out the test series.

    India is definitely banking more on Sehwag and Tendulkar because, Yuvraj has used his knee instead of something else while playing with Padukone. I dunno whether she was playing with Dhoni or Yuvraj or both?

    Reportedly their new coach Garry Kirsten has corrected Sehwag’s batting technique by advising him to take guard for the off stump and let the ball go when it is outside the off stump and don’t attempt to play a shot, which he normally used to by chopping it over the point and the Aussies kept a deep point for him and got him either there or in the gully region.

    I noticed in his second innings
    he did not play any shot in that region and he played well, definitely better than anyone and, Tendulkar’s run out was suicidal.

    I dunno how Robin Utthappa will play in Australia, because his best shots are walking shots i.e., he starts walking and then he plays a shot, in Australia the wickets are bouncy and if Gilly comes behind the wickets for Stuart Clarke he can stop him from walking out of the crease to play that shot.

    Usually when a player is tied down like that which is his strength, then he tries something new and gets out. So, one needs to see how well Utthappa adjusts himself. If he gets going he is unstoppable till he scores 50-60 runs.

    IMO, Sehwag and Gambhir should open and not Tendulkar, because the Indian team (except Sehwag) plays very differently whenever Tendulkar is out cheaply. I recommend Tendulkar should play at number 3 or 4.

    Dhoni and Yuvraj’s batting has won so many matches for India especially in the recent past, but whether Yuvraj is fit to play is a question that needs to be answered and we might see in the T20 match tonight. And Dhoni’s performance so far in Australia is nothing great from his own past performances but again that is test match and it could be different in the ODI’s.

    They should play Chawla to see if he can upset the Aussies with his spin bowling like he did at home.

    And by not bringing Murali Karthik is a big mistake, he is very good against the Aussies. Anyways thats India’s selection problem which is not different from Pakistan’s.

  24. #24 by hamza on January 31, 2008 - 10:19 AM

    i think a change occurring in indian team has been this new captain kumble. have you noticed how india’s performance has improved in bowling since kumble took over. i know the coach is doing well but i think when a bowler is captain, he can handle other bowlers much more smoothly. even though kumble is a spinner since he took over Zaheer, RP, Irfan etc are doing really well.indian batting is so experienced that the spinner captain does not really need to discuss batting strategy with his batsmen.

  25. #25 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on January 31, 2008 - 2:16 PM

    hamza

    for ODI Kumble will not be the captain it will be Dhoni.

  26. #26 by Samy on January 31, 2008 - 3:14 PM

    I think the Indian team clearly looks the weakest and most inexperienced team on paper out of the 3 teams, so it won’t be surprising if India do not feature in the CB series finals.
    In tomorrow’s T20 match too, not having Yuvraj will be a big blow, so a lot would depend on players like Rohit Sharma and whoever replaces Yuvraj (Raina or Karthik). And Dhoni has a lot to prove too. It would be interesting to see how they perform, in the field and with the bat, in the big Australian grounds.
    Aus would be the favourites for tomorrow I think, because of their superior batting lineup and more experienced bowling attack.
    For the CB series too I think the finals will have Aus and SL and any team can win the trophy from there.

  27. #27 by Imran Mahmood on February 1, 2008 - 12:05 AM

    adam gilly gilchrist is retiring from cricket. what a truly great player who revolutionised the art of batting and keeping. we will all miss you gilly.

  28. #28 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 1, 2008 - 12:26 AM

    Who is this ugly duckling jiskay comments deletay gaye? Anyways, its good to see some admin action on the blog. If someone tries to post stupid comments you should not only delete but ban the IP address.

    In about 6 hours from now we are going to see the T20 between Australia and India. Expecting a lot of exciting cricket.

    As expected Malik has dropped Afridi from the 5th ODI to give a chance to the new comers. Why can’t he drop himself and give a chance to his new deputy Misbah? After all Misbah also needs to gain some confidence to lead the side. It is possible that Malik may put his foot in his mouth once again after losing a couple of matches against Australia, in that case Misbah needs to be groomed from now!

    But, Malik is a very selfish player he does not deserve to be a captain of the team. Lets see if he plays at number 3 against Australia and also bowl the last over of the game against them!

  29. #29 by khansahab on February 1, 2008 - 12:28 AM

    Dear friends,

    Now that Pakcric is back online, we just wanted to share with you a few reasons why you should visit this blog and discuss issues. We have mentioned some of these before but this has been a rebirth for Pakcric, so we want to set the terms straight.

    1) We will pay heed to your suggestions regarding what to create a thread on. For instance this current thread was suggested to us by Rehan Khan. Although we will try our best to honour your request, please understand that we are human and have full time jobs. This means that we cannot grant everyone’s request but we can always do our best 🙂
    2) Pakcric was created so that you can post freely without any length restrictions. As long as what you are posting is not offensive to any caste, colour, religion or nationality, your post will be allowed. The objective of Pakcric is to encourage healthy debate and discussion on the current hot topics of cricket.
    3) The threads we have and will compose are genuine. We have and will spend time and effort in writing articles. Unlike some other sites, we don’t want to paste a newspaper/website column and then expect you to respond to that. If you, the blog members, are taking time and expending effort to respond to threads, then we should also have the decency to compose threads ourselves.
    4) The posts on our threads are and will be genuine. Unlike other sites we will not create fake posts to give the false impression that there is activity on our blog and entice the blog members to come and post.
    5) We are of neutral mindset and this is a major reason why you should all contribute on Pakcric. We do not have any biased agenda where we want to praise or speak against any particular caste, creed, religion or nationality. We know how to keep our natural biases and affiliations under control. This explains why we want our blog to also focus extensively on Indian cricket and why we have spoken for India (and at times against Pakistan) on Pakspin and also on other media. Similarly, we do not want to promote any regional biases or grievances on this blog. We can allow complains and concerns, but when the expression transgresses from being merely a “complaint” or “concern” and becomes “biased agenda” or “regional propaganda”, we cannot allow that.

    The above rules are not meant in a constrictive way. We would be lenient and liberal enough to allow you to express yourselves as freely and openly as you like as long as you do not go beyond the boundaries of general decency.

  30. #30 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 1, 2008 - 12:08 PM

    India vs Australia T20 a lopsided match.

    What a pathetic batting display by the Indians, they never seem to have gained control over the game after Sehwag was run out on the 3rd ball. This is the second time in recent times I have seen Sehwag getting run out in this fashion, assuming he is home and before his landing gear touches the ground, BOOM! That’s too lazy and lethargic of him to run like that.

    None of the Indian batsmen went into double score except for Pathan 26 and they got out in 17.3 overs for 74 was really pathetic in front of the crowd of 84,041.

    What more pathetic was there were only 3 fours in the whole of Indian innings. Whereas, Gilly and MJ heaved the ball over the fence a couple of times.

    Earlier I thought that Ponting’s absence might make the difference and India will definitely have an edge but, they failed in all the departments of the game. MJ lead the side well and deserved to be the MoM. His fielding and batting was superb.

    I hope the Indians play better in the ODI at Gabba with Tendulkar in the team, he should have played this game but obviously he has his own preferences. The presence of a senior player especially without the much assumed superstar of T20 Yuvraj not there, Tendulkar’s presence would have made a big difference.

    See, even in a T20 game which is so full of action if you induct ALL new and young players, most of the time the result is like this. If they win its called, “sporadic brilliance,” when they don’t they are lacking in experience.

    While on the subject of T20 and low scores and averages. I remember reading somewhere on another blog where the dimwit dolt owner of the blog was defending the decision of the PCB jokers ooopsss… selectors not including Asim Kamal in the T20 WC by saying, the reason Asim Kamal was not selected is because his average in T20 is only 25 runs.

    And, according to this dimwit dolt he thinks it is nothing so he does not deserve a place in the team. In my opinion for T20 its a decent average especially when the team totals are like this or if you take the averages of 10 or more matches its around 120 runs and in that if an individual’s average is 25 then it is fairly good. Especially if the individual is batting in the later part of the innings and does not get enough balls to play and if his strike rate is good then he is a good player for that form of the game. Asim Kamal’s strike rate is 136. Which is better than many!

    Salman Butt is an opener who ruins the start by playing slow and then by getting out cheaply. His average is only 17 at a strike rate of 94. And Younus Khan who plays at no.3 his T20 average is only 26 at a strike rate of 124 and both of them have played more than twice the number of matches Kamal has played.
    The reason I compared these two players with Asim Kamal is because both of them are not bowlers like him.

    If Asim Kamal gets equal number of opportunities, he could also score more and also improve his average. I know he is not a big hitter but his strike rates proves his worth.

  31. #31 by Rehan Khan on February 1, 2008 - 10:13 PM

    Poor show by India! They need to get their act together before the CB series……..

  32. #32 by Rohit on February 1, 2008 - 11:12 PM

    one thing seen so commonly in indian cricket is the complacency of the players.after a good performance against australia in test again india made mistakes in the t20 game. there was no planning and the players looked subdued by the surroundings.
    oh and btw khansahab i like the modifications to the site!!!!!

  33. #33 by Rehan Khan on February 1, 2008 - 11:43 PM

    We have mentioned positives mostly. One thing India will be worried about is the lack of solid opening batsman. I mean Gambhir is good player, why wasnt he selected. I dont think JAFFER is the future for India. He has a poor record on foreign tracks it seems, i think Khansahab or Javed A Khan pointed it out. He was good in first few matches but he needs to get his act together now. He is a kinda liability to the team.I would go with Gambhir anyday of the week over Jaffer.One concern for India also is, what will happen when Anil Kumble retires? Who to pass the responsibility? Knowing Indian expertise with spinners maybe this Chawla kid will become the next Kumble? Although now its asking too much.

  34. #34 by Rehan Khan on February 1, 2008 - 11:49 PM

    Javed Khan sahab,

    Asim Kamal for Twenty20? No way. The guy got no future in Twenty20 format. He is a test player. Not even selected for Twenty 20 domestic competition? He is good improviser and he has good temperament and I admit selection have been unfair to the guy , but i dont think he can play T20. Afridi, Imran Nazir, etc they are T20 players man.

  35. #35 by Rehan Khan on February 1, 2008 - 11:53 PM

    Yaaron what happened to Rohit Sharma and Uthapa? Man they are too good players with excellent T20 credentials. It was awful to see india fail like this, now how the youngsters pick them up in ODI’s, will be waiting to see that. i know the indian team doesnt look strong but also the australian team is not that strong as sri lanka also looks inconsistent. however i think australia will still win but india vs sri lanka will be good competition.

  36. #36 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 2, 2008 - 12:19 AM

    rehan khan

    I have mentioned in my last post that if you induct ALL new players this is what happens. Apart from Sehwag and Harbhajan they are all relatively new.

    The way Sehwag was run out was pathetic and there weren’t enough runs on the board for Harbhajjan to contain the Aussies. Pathan did his fair share in batting by scoring 26 which is more than 1/3 of the team’s total.

    India are lucky to have surpassed the lowest T20 total of 73 by Kenya and scored 74 all out under 18 overs. And Australia nearly made it T10 by winning the match with 9 wickets.

    It reminded me of recent Bangladesh match against NZ in which New Zealand scored 94 runs in 6.5 overs to win the match.

    Like I said, had Tendulkar played along with Yuvraj things wouldn’t been this bad. They would have perhaps still lost but not with such brutal force.

    And that comment about Asim Kamal is for khansahab and he knows what I mean by that.

    Btw, its time to move to a new thread about the CB series and also some points on the 5th ODI between Pak and Zim.

  37. #37 by Samy on February 2, 2008 - 4:55 AM

    This will happen if they include only youngsters who are touring Australia for the first time.
    Yes, Sachin should have been included in the T20 match.
    The grounds in Aus are very big, so the shots that normally go for 4or 6 in India or SA are caught by the fielders in Australia. This is where we could see the inexperience of the Indian batsmen. India will miss Dravid or Ganguly who have played here many times in the past.
    It won’t be surprising if the Indian team performs like this in the CB series.

  38. #38 by amit. p on February 2, 2008 - 8:09 AM

    Reckless .. that i can only say ab’t indian batting … everybody was coming on the pitch …. looked confused .. then one reckless shot …. gone in the dugout. More than anybody else i think selectors were furious coz they have dropped dravid and dada .. and feeling pressure out there.
    Uthappa and karthik looking clueless for sometime now. Raina should get a chance in the first odi in place of uthappa … and karthik giving way for sachin. My preferred order for first odi is ..
    sachin
    ghambhir
    sehwag
    raina
    rohit sharma
    dhoni
    pathan
    P. kumar
    bhajji (/chawla )
    sreesanth
    I. sharma

    Chawla can be a wicket taking option on hard n bouncy wicket since he is a wrist spinner … but he wont be preffered ahead of bhajji in initial matches. After all bhajji himself reduces to an odi bowler. Bowling seems to be ok .. at least on paper .. big worry is how young guns are going to handle their nerves specially after t20 debacle.

  39. #39 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 2, 2008 - 3:05 PM

    To me the present Indian ODI team appears to be very weak without Yuvraj.

    The T20 WC champions had two good innings from Yuvraj against Australia and England. And Pakistan had two unlucky innings against India from Misbah and the results went in India’s favour with a very, very narrow margin.

    Therefore, there is no clear distinction between the Champions and the rest. However, the way the Australians are playing now they seems to have an edge over India in the CB series.

    Sri Lanka and India may have a close contest but the Lankans are facing another problem and i.e., the hurling of eggs and booing that they are getting everywhere in Australia . So, they may be thinking about that and may be they are demoralized. However, a win could change the whole scenario and uplift their morale.

    At MCG when Harbhajjan came in to bowl in front of the 84 thousand odd crowd, it was the first time after he was cleared by the ICC, so they booed at him like hell, that did not deter Harbhajan Singh from bowling good deliveries, unfortunately there was no total to defend.

    I still stand by my earlier opinion that Australia are now down the hill after Gilly’s retirement, which means from their own standards they are not the same team, but for this CB series they are definitely the favourites to win.

    A word on Pakistan’s win.

    This was expected from the nation if they had made 4-1 big questions would have been raised about the team. Now, the selectors will brag about their experimentations by saying it was very successful and they have discovered a few new players.

    That should not be the criteria because playing against Zimbabwe is not the yardstick or a measure. They are definitely one of the weakest teams in the world.

    Nasir Jamshed should change his style. He started with a bang and wants to slog every ball that he faces like Afridi does. In the first two matches he was able to score fifty plus but in the last 3 his scores are not worth mentioning and the opening conundrum continues they have not been able to find a new opening pair.

    They have to stick with two players for a very long time irrespective of their performance, but before that they need to spot them and their qualities and prerequisites of an opener.

    The number 3 spot should also be thrashed out. Malik cannot do this yo-yo-ing. He has to stick like Ricky Ponting and lead from the front by playing at number 3 and that is his spot. As a captain he must have this confidence in himself, even if he gets out cheaply for a few times that doesn’t matter, he should stick to that spot and thats it.

  40. #40 by Mohamed Anfaal on February 2, 2008 - 4:19 PM

    pakcric is back,Khansahab where have you been.To be quite frank I noticed the return of pakcric on Thursday itself but couldnt post,This is the first opurtunity I had and here I go. Great post Khansahab could’nt agree with you more.I have to mention this felt quite humbled whilst reading your previous post”Pakcric Returns”
    1)Aussie players to complain to CA on their handling of the Harbajan issue
    2)Eggs being thrown at Murli by aussies.
    3)Pak whitewash zims 5-0
    Three points on which lots of discusion is either underway or they are on peoples mind foremost but the two points recently which stick to my mind and stink a mile
    1) Exclusion of Ganguly from the oneday side
    2) PCB central contracts.

    For the first three points we can come to a conclusion as to why. There might be differences of opinions but still swalowable.

    The next two surely beat me.sorry guys cant swallow these two

  41. #41 by khansahab on February 2, 2008 - 6:45 PM

    MY Kasim,

    Sir, in response to your query regarding who forms the PAKCRIC management, it is myself, Javed A Khan and Awas.

    Thank you for your support on Pakcric.

  42. #42 by Rohit on February 2, 2008 - 10:08 PM

    is the pakcric management going to cover CB series and review of pakistan and zimbabwe?

  43. #43 by Awas on February 3, 2008 - 12:53 AM

    Due to some pressing commitments, I have not been able to contribute in the last month or so, even though I was itching to write.

    Firstly, I think Australia have really squeezed the lemon out of India in the T20 match. A lot was expected from the world champs but it was disappointing to see India never got into the groove in this game. The absence of some of the star players whether by injury or enforced changes, was never going to help India but then again T20 is meant to be for young legs and for some bright future prospects. This game proves, a good player is a good player in any format of the game and experience is priceless. I just think this T20 defeat will cause India big psychological damage in the VB series.

    This brings me to another point I was making on another blog with the blog owner where we were having a debate about bringing new faces in Pakistan team for the ODI series against Zimbabwe. It was suggested that a lot of new faces should be introduced by Pakistan suddenly. I was opposed to this idea as a couple of new youngsters brought in the first two ODI’s were, I thought, the better strategy than wholesale changes. Having bagged the series, a lot more changes in the last ODI were more sensible than if it had been done from the first outing. It is funny that the same blog owner when talking about India is now saying “India should play a mix of youth and experience” but was talking about giving a chop to Pakistan’s experienced players. This is how people’s perception changes after having got beaten in the T20. Hindsight is a very good thing that makes people smarter after the event.

    No matter how week an opposition, you do not discard your experienced players immediately and all at the same time. Australia would never do something like this. Even when they play Bangladesh, they play with their best players.

    A 5-0 was a good result after all no matter how week the opposition you still have to beat them. Pakistan has a habit of making bloopers in dead rubbers but not this time. Remember how they got beaten by Bangladesh in the World Cup in England when Wasim Akram made a blooper by saying after the end of the match “its ok, we only lost from our brothers”. Due to that event Bangladesh was awarded a test status that ICC regretted afterwards.

    Javed A Khan made a good point about Malik making number three position his own. Many will disagree though as Younus is doing well at that position as well. In my views Younus will equally do well at number six position.

  44. #44 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 3, 2008 - 6:17 AM

    The CB series have just started and right now its a petite break due to rain. Up till now India has played very poorly. Not a single player has displayed any confidence while batting. Sehwag was undone by Nathan Bracken and Sachin had no clue how he got out and was asking the umpire and wasn’t very satisfied. I am sure after seeing the replay he must have realized what he did.

    Gambhir played some good strokes but he was riding on the stroke of luck, twice dropped in the same over in the slips, once by Hussey and 2 balls later by Ponting.

    Manoj Tiwari never looked settled and neither Utthappa both got out cheaply. About 14 overs are left and India are 128/6 and Dhoni along with Pathan trying to rebuild the innings. Lets see how he rain is going to affect the game.

    The series between Pak and Zim is over but, I am not at all impressed with any of the youngsters or the new comers who played, neither the bowlers nor the batsmen. There is no zing, no nothing.

    Nasir Jamshed played first 2 matches in which he scored fifty plus but in the remaining three as I have mentioned before has done nothing significant. In fact he was trying to play out like Afridi and Imran Nazir that is not a good thing to do.

    Pakistan needs aggressive but sensible openers who can control their shots and not go all out for hitting sixes and fours from the outset.

    I don’t see any potential in any of the fast bowlers there is no future Wasim or Waqar among these players who have so far played. Therefore, the future of Pakistan team is not so bright at least not with this current lot of newbies available right now.

    rohit

    whether the avatar of the blog creates a new thread on the CB series or not, you are always FREE to express your own views and you will get a response from people. But, I am sure he will start a new thread soon.

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