LEAVE IT TO THE YOUNG GUNS…………..


After India’s miserable World Cup 2007 campaign, the BCCI management decided to take some radical decisions. They realised that whereas brilliance could be expected from senior players like Sehwag, Tendulkar, Dravid, Ganguly, Agarkar, Pathan, Zaheer Khan etc, what Indian cricket is looking for is something different, a raw energy that wants to prove something.

Hence a different formula was favoured. There was an unexpected and unprecedented injection of youth in the Twenty20 Cup, which surprised everyone as India thwarted the likes of Australia and South Africa, and defeated a strong Pakistani side in the final.

Today Indian cricket stands on a different pedestal to where it was this time last year. There is a feeling around the team which has permeated towards the BCCI and in turn has touched the entire nation. This is a feeling of belief, of the knowledge and determination to succeed consistently at the highest level. There is a sense of responsibility, of confidence and more importantly than anything else, of professionalism not witnessed in Indian cricket for a long time.

Where the going gets good, every team management faces delicious dilemmas. Tendulkar is not yet a dispensable aspect of India’s top order. He still scores runs consistently and definitely scores a big knock or two when he is provoked by stinging media criticism. Gambhir has proven to be an inspirational find, especially in the ODI arena. There are too many positives about Gambhir to go through in the context of a small mention in an article, but the most impressive aspect of his form is that he is scoring when it matters, under pressure and against quality bowling. Gambhir has managed to provide an odd sense of stability in what was up to now an unstable top order, its general batting genius notwithstanding. Not only is he contributing with match winning knocks, he is also scoring at a very handsome strike rate of 82, this series. It goes without saying that he has been thus far the batsman of the tournament, ahead of the likes of Ponting, Clarke or Tendulkar.

And then we have Ishant Sharma, who could be mistaken for a fast bowler from Punjab across the border. He is tall, fiery, bowls at a good pace, is determined to make a name for himself, and (we have recently discovered) has a bit of an attitude to go ahead with his splendid bowling. Ishant’s imperious form has provided a dilemma to the Indian selectors- would he be preferred over the likes of Zaheer, Sreesanth and Munaf in the coming future?

Uthappa is another fascinating find. If you look at his body language there is nothing to suggest he bears a demon within, which can unleash and destroy any bowling attack in a matter of moments. His recent sixer off Brett Lee, which resembled swatting an irritating mosquito more than flicking the fastest bowler in the world for a maximum, will stay in the memory for some time. Ravi Shastri and Michael Slater pointed out his immaculate defence, which is a rarity for someone who has such a flamboyant style of batting.

Finally we have Praveen Kumar, a deceptive and sly medium pacer who can also bat lower down. The best thing about Praveen is his presence of mind and temperament. He can swing the ball both ways and carries the propensity to surprise the batsman. In this way he is a bit like Fawad Alam from Pakistan, who appears to be a very ordinary spinner at first sight but gets most of his victims out because of that reason. Praveen deserved to in the MOM award today and this will do wonders for his confidence, as he was only playing his third ODI.

An article praising the Indian youngsters cannot go without complimenting their brilliant leader. Dhoni is exactly what Indian cricket has been looking for. He can bat aggressively and defensively according to the situation although mainly he loves to slog. He is an excellent planner, possesses superb temperament and knows the game like the back of his hand. His captaincy is inspirational. He is practical minded and knows exactly about the capabilities of his players. One of his greatest assets has been to utilise those bowlers that are needed most according to the requirements of the situation. He is mature, wise and best of all, very humble, despite his gargantuan achievements ever since he made his debut.

As has been mentioned previously on numerous occasions, India now is a major threat to good teams in world cricket. Perhaps the best illustration of India’s newly-discovered glory is that for the first time in a long, long while, there is a realistic likelihood of India defeating Australia 2-0 or 2-1 in the finals and hence winning the CB Series.

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  1. #1 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 27, 2008 - 4:24 AM

    Good thread and nice observations but, we all have our ways to see and perceive. I believe that the real test for India would be in these two or three final matches that are yet to be played. I have a feeling that India may come out in flying colours and grab the bull by its horns. Because, they are kicking form and peaking up at the right time and playing better.

    Sri Lanka by its own standards have played like a mediocre team and they did not put up a good fight against India. Therefore, I am a bit unsure whether India will carry this winning streak into the finals against Australia or they will crumble?

    Ishant Sharma should keep his head cool and concentrate on his bowling rather than leering at Symonds locks and extensions or the sunblock cream on his lips. If they bowl well then the chances of winning are high because, India’s batting is not bad at all, at least on paper… they are paper tigers.

    The point that I have tried to highlight in the other thread about Tendulkar playing at number 4 was criticized by amit. p. Apart from Ian Chappell even, Sunil Gavaskar has also talked about it now by saying he should bat at number 4, that way there will be more depth to Indian batting rather than remaining only on paper. He did not say “I am agree” with you Javed. But, this is a matter of common sense, I think anyone who has played cricket or who has followed cricket can say what I have said.

    You cannot drop Tendulkar from the final matches, he MUST play and he must play at number 4. Save him for the defence that is needed in case of an early collapse, after him there will still be Dhoni, Yuvraj and Pathan i.e., if Gambhir and Uthappa opens and Rohit Sharma goes at number 3.

    If India thinks that playing 5 bowlers paid off, then they are dreaming because, Munaf Patel is a liability and there is no point playing him or even keeping Sreesanth. The fifth bowler option can be resolved with Tendulkar and Yuvraj or in case Sehwag plays in place of Uthappa he is another option to complete the quota of 10 overs.

    Uthappa hasn’t done much as an opener but Sehwag has a better record and I would anytime play him instead of Uthappa. Not only for his batting but, also for his bowling and Sehwag is not a bad fielder at all – a zillion times better fielder than Munaf Patel.

    A compliment for khansahab:

    The thread you wrote on Under – 19 has now picked up the momentum on other cricket blogs and people want to discuss and debate what we have done and dusted a few days ago. So, congratulations to you on having a good cricket vision. All the best.

  2. #2 by Mohamed Anfaal on February 27, 2008 - 5:59 AM

    Nice thread, but its up to Team India now to put the views expressed by the author in this article into proper perspective by winning the CB series if they manage to do that
    1)Than this thread might be the one which receives the max number of post
    2)The author will be hailed as a great visionary.

    But if they don’t than they have themselves to blame, they would have blown a great opportunity, they owe it to themselves and to the 100 billion people back home to pull this one off,

    I am not saying that the author has been over enthusiastic or over zealous in expressing his views or given credit where its not due, but I tend to be a little apprehensive, sub continent teams in the past as well, have shown this kind of promise and raised the expectations of their fans only to fall flat on their faces when it really mattered.

    I sincerely hope and wish that this turns out be a path breaking thread and it receives the max number of posts and not the proverbial anti climax as the other possibility suggest it could turn out to be.

  3. #3 by khansahab on February 27, 2008 - 8:31 AM

    JAK,

    Thanks for the compliment sir. But Samy gave me the idea to write about U-19. He deserves the real credit.

  4. #4 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 27, 2008 - 6:32 PM

    khansahab

    in the previous thread, I took your word for granted that India and Pakistan will be playing the under – 19 semi-finals. I didn’t bother checking the schedule and today when I saw the news that India after defeating NZ marched into the final, I said, Oye, wait a second what the heck?

    Now, its Pakistan vs SA in the second semi-final and I hope that they reach final and win the cup.

    Its a shame that these matches are not televised live. Whereas, the Mexican or South American under – 19 world cup soccer matches are televised live and here we have a lot of audience who are packed in the French and Latino Restaurants for every single game. Same is the case for ice hockey in North America.

    Without one of the spearheads in the Pak under – 19 team their bowling attack may not be that effective, the poor chap is down with dengue virus and ruled out of the entire tournament.

    Indian batting line up is good specially “TV” Kohlis are good and
    Pakistan’s batting is poor. Anyways lets see how they play against SA and then talk about the finals.

  5. #5 by Amit on February 27, 2008 - 11:16 PM

    Hold your horses- even though India has done magnificently it is still not a very strong side mentally.

    That is all I’ll say for now.

  6. #6 by amit. p on February 28, 2008 - 7:38 AM

    Little bit of exaggeration i think … seems like written by hard core indian fan 😀
    I would like to add few things though.
    Indian cricket was in similar position back in 2003-4 yrs … after arriving in the final in WC they have drawn test series with aus and got defeated in closely fought odi series by 2-3 .. then went to pakistan(much better side than now) and won both odi and test series … then came the crucial moments .. change in BCCI administration and arrival of guru greg .. all these happenings created a sense of hope to go on top … but forget ab’t moving upward they start sliding downward .. here blaming one for that disaster would be foolish but one can clearly say that incoherency crept in the whole management and team.

    Now we are again in that post-wright era …. arrival of new talents(much larger talent pool this time), plus waiting for new coach to join the team, .. though BCCI administration is same but new ventures like IPL is on the board. Indian cricket should pass all these tests before getting recognized as a greater force in the cricketing world. Till now there performances are bubbly(that is understandable) … lots of high and low .. its interesting to see where they are going to stabilize in future.

  7. #7 by amit. p on February 28, 2008 - 8:19 AM

    The first final is on sydney .. quite a flat track, witnessed in the last match played between india-aus … more than 600 runs were scored .. so i dont think fifth bowler is going to do wonder here .. specially they have seen sehwag and yuvraj bowling well on that track. Only sreesanth position is in doubt … dhoni might go with praveen. Otherwise they will stick to the same playing 11 which played in sydney. Praveen is much smarter than sreesanth and i do prefer praveen’s inclusion. Anyway aussies will go hard on indian attack considering the flatness of the pitch to gain early edge in the finals. Hope it will be a cracker.

  8. #8 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on February 28, 2008 - 1:40 PM

    amit

    I agree with your comments on the Sydney track it is flat and we expect to see big totals once again.

    I think Munna Bhai Patel should be rested in place of an all-rounder and i.e., Sehwag. Because, Sehwag if he clicks then he is on song and no one can stop him. It would be worth taking a chance in the final.

    The rest of the team should be the same that won the match against SL. However, I would still like to see Tendulkar playing at number 4 rather than opening the innings. Sehwag and Uthappa or Sehwag and Gambhir must open the innings. In fact Gambhir will unsettle the bowlers earlier with a left / right opening combo.

    Like Dhoni supported Sharma’s stance, now Gilchrist has supported Hayden’s. There was no need for Hayden to pass those snide comments about Harbhajan, especially off the field through a radio station.

    Its just a ploy to get him emotional and whenever he gets emotional he looses his concentration and becomes ineffective and thats what the Aussies wants to do.

    I reckon Warne and McGrath used to use these pre-match tactics very often by targeting a player and talking about him through the media. That is why they say cricket is not just a physical game but it is also a mental game. And those who control their nerves emerge as winners.

  9. #9 by Rehan Khan on February 28, 2008 - 9:28 PM

    You are being ambitious, if you make India and Australia play 10 matches Australia will come out winning about 8. india has prospered to be a good team, i agree with you there but its still not feared like australia. I agree with Javed that this is the real test for them. If they win the finals then we have something to celebrate about.
    Sri Lanka are not a consistent team anymore. In fact average teams like Pakistan and New Zealand can defeat them.

  10. #10 by Rehan Khan on February 28, 2008 - 9:41 PM

    Man it’s still not accepting my vote! I think loads of people are having this problem. WHen will this be sorted?

  11. #11 by samy on February 29, 2008 - 5:40 AM

    It will be very difficult for India to win even one of the matches of the CB series finals. They have challenged Aus in all of the matches in the group stage, but they still have a long way to go before they can consistently win matches against Aus.
    I feel India have a better chance of winning the U-19 WC than they have of winning the CB series.
    But it will be interesting to see how the Hayden controversy affects them.

  12. #12 by amit. p on February 29, 2008 - 7:38 AM

    Javed,

    In the last sydney match sehwag opened the inning and munaf was not in the playing 11 .. so in that part i dont think they are going to change anything unless conditions are heavily altered by weather.
    Sehwag still finding his feet in odis after his comeback, hasn’t able to score 20s consistently. Interesting to see selector’s stand after this series.
    They just cant rely on the player who consistently get out around 10 and score big(when he scored big last time 😕 ) after 6 7 games, specially as an opener. Infact this is the trend of sehwag in odis from last 2 years or so.
    Gambhir is doing wonderful job at no. 3 and most importantly he is feeling comfortable at this position… no point in sending him at top.

  13. #13 by khansahab on February 29, 2008 - 10:29 AM

    Samy/Amit/Rehan Khan

    I know my article was ambitious but the reason why it was so positive from the Indian point of view is that India has improved so much since last year. What was lacking traditionally with Indian cricket was consistent bowling and fielding but they have really worked hard on that.

    Maybe all of you have been slightly unfair to me in your criticisms, because recently Brett Lee himself said that “India are now the toughest team to beat”. 🙂

    I know the final will be the real test of India’s mental strength. I am really looking forward to it because my instinct tells me India will perform much better than they traditionally have done in finals. Also I feel Australia are somewhat intimidated by India’s presence nowadays and it will be interesting to see their body language.

  14. #14 by CJ Management on February 29, 2008 - 10:43 AM

    Rehan Khan,

    Blogger support have still not responded to our queries about people’s votes not being processed. We have sent them another message. We can’t guarantee whether it will work in the future or not.

    This is a shame considering that more than half of our loyal visitors are unable to vote.

  15. #15 by khansahab on February 29, 2008 - 10:52 AM

    There is nothing wrong with the Pakistan U-19 team, except that the players would suit U-22/U-23 more than U-19.

    🙂

    I seriously doubt some of these players are 19 or under………..

  16. #16 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 1, 2008 - 1:56 AM

    Pakistan U-19 were only 7 balls and 5 runs away from a win on D/L method. Although with 86-2 in 18.5 overs they were at par with that D/L method but, to conclude a match you need 20 overs minimum.

    Now the match will be played on Saturday and I am not sure if the revised target of 252 in 47 overs is a good one? In that case they still need to make 166 in 28.1 overs! I think if the play in a 20/20 style they need 5.9 runs an over. For 30 overs its asking too much for a young team. Therefore, I think it would be difficult for them to score 166 more in 28.1 overs on a rain affected pitch.

    The only good thing is their ace bowler WD Parnel has already bowled his quota of 9 overs and took the two wickets. I don’t think he would be allowed to bowl the 10th over because the number of overs have been reduced from 50 to 47. But, may be they might allow two bowlers to bowl 10 overs and the remaining to bowl 9 or less.

    Sri Lanka’s consolation win is good for them as well as for India, because that will leave Australia high and dry and vulnerable in front of the Indians.

    khansahab lets not discuss this age factor here on this blog because thats a common whining that we hear from the Australians and others that Pakistani players hide their age. Thats all rubbish talk.

  17. #17 by hamza on March 1, 2008 - 12:40 PM

    interesting new look to the site. so an india vs pakistan final was not to be. its sad, but pakistan played well to reach the semi final. one thing i have seen is that SA have also done quite well in U-19 competitions. btw SA have dominated bangladesh in the current test and look like they will win.
    my guess is india will win the CB series for the 2nd time now. its good news for indian cricket, india are very good at sport nowadays.

  18. #18 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 1, 2008 - 12:41 PM

    So I was right.

    Anyone with a little bit of cricket knowledge and experience would have predicted what I did. So, being right is not something great.

    I knew that playing the rest of the match on a reserved day especially on a rain affected pitch is not easy, the tempo is not the same. And, that too with a 5.9 runs per over for 28.1 overs was a bit too much for a team who were two down on 86.

    Apart from that 260 was the highest score of the tournament and Pakistan did not even crossed the 200 mark in any of their matches. So, when the started the cookie crumbled and they all crumbled soon without putting up a fight.

    Traditionally Pakistan’s batting has been week and one of their ace bowlers was down with dengue virus and they were mesmerized by the 260 runs in front of them.

    Anyways, its good that they reached to the semi-finals, you cannot expect them to be in the finals or win the Cup every time. They should learn from their mistakes. And this goes more for the selectors and the management of the PCB than the players themselves as some of them would not be playing for the U-19 again.

    Having said that, has Pakistan been able to find a new Javed Miandad, Wasim Akram or even a batsman like Inzamam ul Haq from this young team? The answer is NO.

  19. #19 by khansahab on March 1, 2008 - 1:20 PM

    Javed A Khan,

    The only impressive players from Pakistan’s squad turned out to be Ahmed Shahzad, Ali Asad and Adil Raza. Even though Shahzad was effective, I expected more from him because there were such enormous expectations from him, so much so that he was termed “Pakistan cricket’s U-19 golden boy”.

    Plus looking at what happened to the U-19 heroes of Pakistan’s last campaign, I don’t think anyone cares much about what happens to these players. This is strange considering the contradiction that the very purpose of U-19 is to groom and harness mentally strong and talented players.

    The scary thing about this current Pakistan side is that after Mohammad Yousuf’s retirement in a couple of years or so, there seems to be no one who can deserve the tag of “a world class batsman”. One world class bowler, Shoaib Akhtar, has reached the end of his career more or less whereas the other, Mohammad Asif, has been tangled in injuries and controversies. In fact it may be the case that whenever Asif makes his return, he is not the same bowler anymore because he has remained out of international cricket for so long. He might suffer a similar fate to Munaf Patel or Shabbir Ahmed.

  20. #20 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 1, 2008 - 1:28 PM

    khansahab has touched the subject of age and even on PakSpin’s latest thread someone has talked about
    Shahid Afridi’s age and claims that he is at least 3 years older than what he claims as his real age. And I have responded to that, you may read my last comment on genetics and how people appear to look younger or older due to genetics and lifestyle.

    Today, March 01, also happens to be Shahid Afridi’s birthday. And whether it is a real age or official age whatever is correct, it is his 28th birthday today.

    When Boycott was commentating some 11 years ago and was told that this kid is only 17 he screamed and said WHAT???? If he is 17 then I am 21.

    That is a real cracker, because Boycott even during his test playing days he used to look like he is in his mid 40’s or early 50’s in fact he is one of those people who never looked young, he always looked very old. Also, the way he used to play, I watched his videos and he is another Gavaskar who cannot hit a boundary.

    My dad used to say that in Indian film industry there is an actor named Ashok Kumar (brother of singer Kishore Kumar. Who as a hero looked old from his very first movie (I don’t know which one!) and I guess if he is not dead then he still plays some character actor, father, grandfather role, thats what suits him I guess.

    To me Boycott has always appeared as an Old Guy. But, looking at Afridi’s early days pictures and u-tube videos and today’s face with a short beard, he definitely has changed from his Cheekoo, Pappoo looks to a matured young man.

  21. #21 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 1, 2008 - 1:42 PM

    khansahab

    Shabbir; as a bowler never impressed me, he never showed any sign of self belief or self reliance in his bowling, besides his action was dubious and he came in the wrong era when Shoaib Akhtar, Sami, Razzaq were in the team and were doing well.

    Asif too, apart from his accurate nagging line and length has not impressed me much, although a thousand times better than Shabbir but he too has shown sporadic brilliance and not been consistent. And you are right that staying away from mainstream cricket will not help him regain his form and his rhythm.

    Gul was pretty ordinary in the beginning but of late he discovered how to swing the ball both ways and in the shorter version of the game especially 20/20 when he was being used in the death overs was pretty effective. But, once again all these bowlers are injury prone and sit on the sidelines for a long period of time PLUS the tours are canceled for whatever reason and they don’t get enough chances to play. Look at India, Australia and SL how many more matches they play than Pakistan!

    Yousuf is already down the hill, so I wonder why you are giving him 2-3 years more? The way he runs on the field is like he is 40 plus man. And when he throws the ball from the boundary line, someone in the middle has to catch it and throw it to the keeper. IMO, he already peaked up in 2006 and broke all the world records in the test arena. So, I reckon him as a goner.

    Younus Khan may play for another 3-4 years BUT he needs to do something to improve his ODI and 20 overs game. In test matches he is OK.

    I have not seen any of the youngsters playing so I won’t be able to comment on them. But, as I said in my previous comment, there isn’t any batsman in the making of Javed Miandad or Inzamam ul Haq from the current or the previous U-19 lot. And thats a real shame.

  22. #22 by Anonymous on March 1, 2008 - 1:58 PM

    if the site is for both pakistan and india fans, than why is your background something like 25% in blue and 75% in green?

    or is it more for pakistan and less for india?

  23. #23 by CJ Management on March 1, 2008 - 2:03 PM

    Anonymous,

    The way this BLOGGER template works, is that the main post bar and bottom sidebar can always only be of the same colour. The top right sidebar, which is in blue, can be of a different colour which is why we have chosen blue. As regards the header and footer, they can also only be the same colour. We tried many colour combinations but in the end this shade of green suited the background the most.

    So it’s not like it’s more for Pakistan and less for India.

  24. #24 by amit. p on March 1, 2008 - 2:15 PM

    Strangely i do suspect that both afridi and sehwag atleast 3 yrs older than what their certificate age says. By any means sehwag cant be of 29 … though both are agile on the field but their running(during fielding) is much slowed down. Sometimes afridi looks like he cant bend on the field .. i dont know whether it is injury or it is his growing tummy. Both came from those communities (jaat and pathan) which are know for staying physically fit at much older age .. this only enhance my doubt!

  25. #25 by samy on March 1, 2008 - 4:56 PM

    India will feature in 2 finals tomorrow and I hope both the matches will go right down the wire, without any rain delays and other interruptions.
    India will have to produce something special to win the 1st CB series final at Sydney, since the Aussies are renowned for lifting their game in the finals regardless of their past performances, unlike India, who have always struggled to win the final match(es). The batting of both the teams will be the key, as the team that bats first at Sydney goes on to win the match, as has been seen in recent matches played there.
    The U-19 WC final will be a good contest, as the last match between the two teams was quite competitive and India had to work hard to chase down a modest score. An India-Pak final would have been great though. Pak were unlucky with the rain interruption. They could have come close had it been a 50-over match. Anyway, I hope the India-SA final will be just as exciting.

  26. #26 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 1, 2008 - 7:11 PM

    *~*~*~*~*

    amit. p

    regarding your observation on age i.e., in case of Sehwag and Shahid Afridi and then your conclusion that both of them come from a race – Jaat and Pathans – are known to remain fit at much older age. Well, there is an on going debate on Pak Spin which is not new, because it keeps coming back again and again as some people cannot digest Afridi’s achievements and they like to pick on something and, age is the easiest thing for them to pick on. I have said this before that genetics play a vital role in showing or hiding someone’s real age and then the lifestyles. And I would like to repeat what I have written on that blog.

    Regarding “looks and aging,” Harvard and Stanford scientists and researchers have confirmed that the rate of aging is at least in part genetically determined. The Chinese people don’t show aging as much as the Aryan Race.

    Afridi is definitely the product of Aryan race and may be Jaat’s too are Aryan? I would like to quote the results of the study conducted and the participants whose tissues appeared younger than their true age had something – something dearly sought by aging researchers – that made their cells keep activating genes in a more youthful pattern. These genes make up the cellular machinery called, “the electron transport chain,” which generates energy in the cell’s mitochondria.

    In the valley of Hunza, Pakistan people are famous for young looks and longevity (age of 100 years plus is a very common sight) It is the genes that make people look young or old and, the fingerprint of aging can be detected in blood and skin cells, drugs or lifestyle changes can alter aging process. We all know about the bone density test to determine age, so I don’t want to bring that issue or to show my ignorance on that subject, that I don’t know! I do know about that.

    But, the question is: What causes the electron transport chain genes to slow their protein production and why? If tortoises can live for hundreds of years, why do flies self-destruct in a matter of weeks? The distance covered by a fly in a couple of weeks is covered in 60 years by an elephant.

    Reportedly, the cell has a molecular homeowner that keeps up repairs until a predetermined time. The homeowners in tortoise cells stick around for hundreds of years delaying the decay, while those in fly cells move out within weeks. So, apart from genetics, stressed lifestyle, too much of drugs, alcohol and exposure to sun rays can also lead to aging of the skin and the muscles at a faster rate.

    Coming back to Sehwag, he looks a little more than his age due to two reasons, one, his facial structure is broad and squarish which makes people with such facial structure look older than those with small round faces. And second is, he getting bald. Imagine him with proper hair on his scalp he won’t look that old.

    Same is the case with Afridi, one, ALL Pathans have crowfeet marks at the end of their eyes, and they become very obvious when they are around 25. Second reason for his looking a bit older is his beard, imagine him clean shave, he will definitely look younger.

    These symptoms are very common with so many people. Tendulkar at 35 looks younger 5 years younger than Ricky Ponting who is 33 or even younger than Mitchel Johnson who is 26.

    As regards Afridi slowing down, I don’t see any “growing tummy” it is something all bowlers prefer not to bend down to pick up the ball when they are bowling, because they want to conserve their energy and also they want to keep their back straight.

  27. #27 by amit. p on March 1, 2008 - 8:40 PM

    Javed,

    My observation was not due to looks but due to their running on the field and reduced sharpness …. going by the looks afridi doesn’t like older by any means. By looks someone hide his/her age but it is very hard to hide age factor on the field.

    e.g Hayden … he is very sharp in the slip cordon .. doesn’t look like 37 yrs old chap .. but when he starts chasing the ball … his age suddenly pops out .. seems like throwing his body in his running. Same with sehwag .. he is still very sharp in closing field ( i rate him much sharper than yuvraj) … slip or point or short cover … but his chase is slowed down drastically, though he worked very hard on his fielding in recent time specially after his exclusion from the team. Same with afridi, he is slowing down rapidly. May be he is not enjoying his fielding anymore or as u said he is preserving his energy for bowling… it was just my observation. I wud be very happy if my observations were wrong.

  28. #28 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 1, 2008 - 9:35 PM

    amit.p

    Au Contraire to your belief, I have found Sehwag very swift in the out field too, there were some shots played with tremendous force and everyone thought its going to be a definite four and Sehwag some how managed to run fast dived and stopped the ball, anyone else would have given up hope.

    On one occasion he was standing at long-on, almost touching the rope and it was SA’s big hitter Justin Kemp he went on to hit a straight shot, Sehwag stood there waiting and waiting and then he jumped in the air at the right time and took a stunning one handed catch. It was definitely going over his head for a SIX. Kemp couldn’t believe it, he kept looking back a few times when he was walking towards the dressing room and finally he was able to see it on big screen that Sehwag’s landing was perfect.

    And mind you, Sehwag is barely 5 ft. 8 inches tall but, his alertness and his judgment in that case was amazing. A lot of people from the Indian Community here used to call him “Mottoo” i.e., after he got married and suddenly put on weight. But, he is not Mottoo anymore.

    And I dunno if you remember Shahid Afridi’s stunning catch in the covers, was it A B de Villiers or someone else in the T20 WC and in that match Afridi was MoM too, can’t remember who the batsman was, anyways when Afridi was asked to comment on that flying catch, he replied, “Oh, the catch !!!! I still can’t believe myself, how I held it.”

    I don’t think neither of them have slowed down in terms of fielding but in terms of batting YES, they both have not scored as many runs as they used to. Sehwag scored a century after a long gap and Afridi is yet to score one after his Kanpur Massacre.

  29. #29 by Tauqeer Malik on March 1, 2008 - 11:50 PM

    afridi looked 20 when he made debut, sehwag looks 32 to me. but who knows?
    i expect a thrilling encounter betweeen india and australia. my bets are with aussies because they have lot of mental strength and expertise in big games. i think so it was symonds who average 50 in finals and ponting and other master batsman average 40+ in finals.

    so no hope for india.

  30. #30 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 2, 2008 - 6:04 AM

    tauqeer malik

    beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    or

    a mind can only see what it is prepared to see………..

    i.e., exactly what appears to be in your case, in fact you are not sure in your mind thats why you said, “but who knows?”

    amit. p has said:

    “going by the looks afridi doesn’t look older by any means.”

    What I don’t understand is why and how people pass on judgments when they aren’t sure about what they are thinking!

    With make-up Aishwariya Rai looks 25 and, without make-up she looks like 35. What is her real age? I just made up this observation to make a point, that doesn’t make much sense but I still made a point. So howzatt?

  31. #31 by khansahab on March 2, 2008 - 11:51 AM

    Firstly I want to thank Mohammad Anfaal for his good wishes in response to this thread.

    India dominated Australia today and Tendulkar engineered a superb run chase. His placement was impeccable and he played some outstanding shots. Batting wise this was yet another feather in his cap as he scored his first century in an ODI in Australia.

    Rohit Sharma demonstrated a very positive attitude and calm temperament. He never let the Australians pacers dominate him. It was the presence of Tendulkar at the other end that gave him the confidence to play his natural game.

    A very professional and spirited bowling performance was also seen from the Indian youngsters. There are definitely some gaps in the Australian batting and Indian pacers have so far been successful in exposing them.

    In the end Tendulkar, the hero of today’s game, managed to prove his critics wrong who state he can’t play aggressively while chasing.

  32. #32 by Mohamed Anfaal on March 2, 2008 - 1:54 PM

    Khansahab, Thank you very much,

    Not trying to get into a mutual admiration society here , but really value you views and think they are the most balanced and fair,

    Well, half the job done and very well done at that, your views regarding Sachin well taken,
    Sachin does not need to prove himself to anybody he went beyond that stage probably years ago and I don’t think praise or criticism bothers or effects him to any great degree, now his battle is with himself,
    What he did today he has done on numerous occasions in the past but we live in a negative sort of society, People generally remember the times when he has not done so .Fair enough, But when and why do people tend to do that, Reason we want him to do that every single time,
    Most emphatic point made is regarding Rohit Sharma, He stands out not that I am implying he’s more talented than Yuraj or Uthappa, everyone’s talented, everyone knows how to bat but the point is to deliver when it matters, to play the big games, that is the difference between flashes of sheer brilliance and calmness, surety and solidity, I don’t know of others but I would take calmness, surety and solidity any day,
    Going ahead Ishant has hurt his Middle finger that will definitely hurt India if he does not make the second final, my advice get that middle finger repaired ASAP and let the aussies have it by the time the game gets over.
    They say well begun is half done
    But I say it ain’t done till it’s done.
    Come on Team India let the Author of this thread be hailed as a great visionary

  33. #33 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 2, 2008 - 2:00 PM

    khansahab

    yes India played well especially Tendulkar and Rohit and because of them India won.

    As regards silencing his critics that he is not good when chasing runs is a fact, one good innings or a few good ones in 416 matches is not what will change the mere facts. Read what S. Rajesh of cricinfo wrote about his run chasing ability.

    http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/magazine/content/current/story/340239.html

    Secondly, in 9 matches so far he scored one hundred and another one was a 63 against Sri Lanka.

    Having said that it doesn’t take away the sheen, the gloss and the beauty of his strokes or the title of Maestro that he got. It is his form under criticism and one should not expect Tendulkar to be playing perpetually or eternally, after all he is a human being and how long can he play?

    What matters for India is, he played an innings when India wanted it most. Ponting did the same a few matches ago, he too was struggling like Tendulkar and went on to score a hundred.

    The second final would be even more interested now.

    The U-19 final is being played once again on a rain affected ground and with curtailed overs. SA is at advantage due to a low scoring match. But, they do not have nerves like their elders and they might crumble, may not get ALL out but may not be able to score 44 runs in 30 balls, which is what the requirement is at the moment. Although they have 5 wickets in hand but a chicken’s heartbeat to play big shots.

    Lets say how it fares, I want India to win this U-19 Cup and definitely not SA.

    Go India………….. Go

  34. #34 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 2, 2008 - 2:23 PM

    14 runs needed in 2 balls, Even Jacques Kallis cannot make it.

    Bravo, imo India made history today!

  35. #35 by JAVED A KHAN, MONTREAL, CANADA on March 2, 2008 - 2:26 PM

    A great day for India.

    Their seniors won against Aussies and their U-19 has won the CUP.

    congratulations to ALL Indian supporters.

    What a way to finish, Kaul got 2 wickets in his last 3 balls.

  36. #36 by Rehan Khan on March 2, 2008 - 3:12 PM

    I agree with Javed (as always). Congrats to India team and fans……

  37. #37 by samy on March 2, 2008 - 5:08 PM

    Today was a wonderful day for India, with both the senior and junior teams winning important matches.
    India beat Aus at the SCG for the first time ever, thanks mainly to the brilliant partnership between Sachin and R.Sharma. Sachin especially played a fantastic innings today when India needed it the most. Rohit too batted well & played some good shots, and yes, having Sachin at the other end did wonders to his confidence. The Indian bowling was reasonably good today and P.Kumar, Harbhajan and P.Chawla all bowled well, esp. Bhajji, who got rid of his two best friends.
    However, India will have to maintain this level of focus and determination in the all-impotant next match. The Gabba pitch will support the fast bowlers, so India will need Ishant and Pathan to fire and Yuvraj will be needed as well. Hope it will be another good match.

    Meanwhile, in the U-19 WC the Indian colts managed to keep their nerves and won an exciting match. All the players have chipped in when required throughout the tournament and same was the case today as well. The coach Dav Whatmore seems to have a Midas touch as most of the teams he has coached have gone on to do well in major tournaments. It’s puzzling why the BCCI did not appoint him as the national coach when they had the chance. However, his experience has been of great benefit to the U-19 team and he has guided the youngsters really well. The BCCI has announced cash awards for the winning team, which is good, but I hope the young players do not get carried away by all this and concentrate on achieving bigger and better things.

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