SEHWAG THE ENIGMA

Sehwag The Enigma

Sehwag The Enigma

“No power of genius has ever yet had the smallest success in explaining existence. The perfect enigma remains.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you look at Virender Sehwag’s profile and his averages as a batsman, there are plenty of other players who have more runs, more hundreds than Sehwag has, yet Sehwag is unique for the double and triple hundreds that he has scored and at the strike rate that he goes on scoring.

He is known to be a raw talent whose footwork and his hand-eye coordination has been discussed by many commentators which they describe it as the least appealing characteristics of his stroke making, yet his strokes with the blunt wooden brush that he uses by standing still on the green canvas and makes the strokes flow like a maestro playing flute. The way he flashes his bat at the speed of light causes thunder and lightening and the crowd starts roaring. Sehwag, Sehwag, Sehwag.

When he started opening for India alongside Tendulkar, as usual the media started comparing him with that genius by saying he is another Tendulkar in the making. Like some people say it may be “half true.”  But, Sehwag is original as Tendulkar is and when it comes to power he is way ahead of Tendulkar.

He is seldom afraid of reaching milestones, au contraire to Tendulkar who gets stuck before reaching a milestone, Sehwag crosses them with ease like some great men say: “we will cross the bridge when we will come to the bridge.” In fact he burn the bridges after crossing them.

The first time I saw Sehwag with some attention was, when he opened the innings with Tendulkar in South Africa during the ICC World Cup and within the first 6 overs the pair produced a 50 partnership and Sehwag was the dominant force and that was not the reason to remember him.

It was then Wasim Akram and Waqar Younus were playing along with Shoaib Akhtar and they all were whacked and Sehwaged for sixes and fours. It was then, I said to some of my friends that this stocky built unassuming character is going to pose more problems for Pakistan than any other player.

He scored his first 300 against Pakistan in Multan in 2004 and his fans started calling him “The Sultan of Multan.” Whereas, the real Sultan of Multan was on the receiving end in that match. Again in 2007 he scored 250 odd in Lahore. And, he is the only player from the sub-continent to score a triple hundred twice.

And the second triple hundred he scored was in Chennai against South Africa, his highest score 319. It is known to be the fastest triple hundred, only in 278 balls. Recently against Sri Lanka he came so close to create a world record of scoring three triple hundreds and was out on 293, once again the strike rate was amazing, he made those 293 in about 240 odd balls.

I don’t see any other Indian batsman besides Tendulkar and Dravid who is maintaining anaverage of 50 plus in test cricket, perhaps there are a few like Gambhir or even Gavaskar.  But, Sehwag’s aggressiveness and strike rate cannot be matched for such long and sustainable period of time and that makes him a unique player.

He is a crowd puller and an entertainer he shapes his shots on the anvil of emotions with such power and ferocity that even the most fearsome of bowlers are afraid to bowl at him when he is on song. It is then they sing together The Sound of Music. “What can you do with a problem like, Veru”?

Now that Sehwag shall be leading the Indian team for the next two ODI’s against Sri Lanka in the absence of Dhoni, let us see if he takes the burden of captaincy on his shoulders or releases the pressure with ease as he always does? He needs to prove that Dhoni was missed for his ‘keeping’ but, not in stopping Sehwag from scoring. Go Sehwag go.

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  1. #1 by Harish on December 19, 2009 - 7:48 PM

    Wasn’t expecting so much praise for Indian cricketers from a Pakistani blog. Good work keep it up.

  2. #2 by Shoaib on December 19, 2009 - 11:15 PM

    Harish,

    This is a cricket blog not a nation’s journal 🙂 cricket has no boundries….welcome here and enjoy yourself

  3. #3 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 19, 2009 - 11:32 PM

    newguy

    The set backs are even now, I don’t mean to draw comparisons between Dhoni and Mathews, but Mathews has played a very important role in Sri Lanka’s team as an all-rounder. Although Sehwag dominated Mathews bowling by attacking him but, in the last two ODI’s Mathews batted well. The mistake he made in the first ODI, he did not repeat the same and played till the end to give SL a win in the 2nd ODI.

    The third ODI is in Cuttack, I am not aware of the pitch conditions there, because it is not one of those cities where India has been playing regularly like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Nagpur, Kanpur Kolkata etc. I think now it is more of a political pressure to give other locations a chance to hold the matches. I dunno if Vishakapatnam & Masulipatnam are well known venues to hold ODI’s? There is one more location in the state of Kerala where Pakistan had to play in extreme hot and humid conditions, I can’t remember the name of that city but, for sure it is in Kerala… is it Cochin? Is this India’s policy to rotate the venues or is it political pressure?

  4. #4 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 19, 2009 - 11:40 PM

    Shoaib

    You are the one who was pushing us for a new thread, so apart from welcoming Harish (that is nice) would you mind writing something in relation to the new thread?

    We might write another one on Pakistan i.e., in connection with its Australian tour. There’s been a lot of talk going around that Pakistan is capable of beating the current Australian team. There is a big difference between, ‘being capable’ and actually beating them. Hence the proof of the pudding is in eating. Seeing is believing, doing is achieving aur, na ghora dooor na maidaan dooor.

    I think, Moulana should try it with double spin attack i.e., using Kaneria and Ajmal both and see if he can catch the OZ’s on the wrong foot. Because, Australians are used too against fast bowlers even though the talk about Asif and Aamir is hot but, that is against NZ and not OZ’s.

  5. #5 by Mohammed Munir on December 20, 2009 - 6:09 AM

    Wow … a great new article on Sehwag !! Nicely done …

    Sehwag, in my books, is definitely much more daring and fearless then most of the other Indian batters and he surely plays his natural game irrespective of how many records he reaches or misses them.

    Harish …

    Welcome to LS.

    As you would have noticed, LS is not about countries, it’s more about CRICKET.

    Anyways, it seems that LS is lately writing only on Indian players, first Tendulkar and now Sehwag. And that too at a time when Pakistan’s own team is busy playing two very important series in New Zealand and Australia.

    Javed Khan …

    I think a new thread on Sehwag is all good, but we should soon have another detailed analyzer on the Pakistan Vs Australia series.

    BTW, I really liked your idea of playing two spinners. You are right, Australian batsmen will be well prepared against AAG (Asif, Aamir & Gul), while our other fast-bowling options in Abdur Rauf and Sami does not seem too promising to me, so why not do something new. That being said, I am not very sure if captain Yousuf will opt for something like that, as he seems to be more conservative and prefers to stick with the basics rather then thinking out-of-the-box and trying any innovative ideas. Plus I think Pakistan should also try to play five regular bowlers, because having only four main bowlers puts a lot of burden on them and they have to work overtime. Regarding bowling, Yousuf should also try to use his other bowling options like Fawad Alam, Malik (if he is playing, god forbid) or Imran Farhat, at least for few overs which will not only add some variety to our bowling but also provide much needed rest to our main bowlers. Yousuf should try to learn from Vettori rather then taking instructions from Multan 😉

  6. #6 by khansahab on December 20, 2009 - 11:27 AM

    The Boxing Day match starts in a week. In the tour match, Butt and Akmal have scored centuries. Yousuf did not play, but the rest of the batsman did OK- maybe Alam’s 33 is a tad disappointing simply because it is so hard for him to get a chance in the XI. But, out of that batting line up if anyone needs to go, it is Faisal Iqbal.

    Let us just hope Malik is not played instead of Alam. I don’t know why Malik does not play many tour/practice matches? Is it because his place in the 1st match of any series is always guaranteed?

    I would go for this line-up:

    Butt
    Farhat
    Yousuf
    Alam
    Misbah
    U Akmal
    K Akmal
    Gul
    Aamer
    Asaf
    Kaneria

    Butt and Farhat have performed better than Manzoor. Malik does not deserve to play Test cricket.

    If Gul is does not perform in the first match, then I would play Sami in this position. Sami can bat too- let us not forget that. I would have never selected him but now that he is in the squad, it is time to give him confidence and it is time for Akmal to start grabbing his catches. I don’t think Abdur Rauf should be selected over Sami- I think the Australians will handle Rauf’s medium pace easily.

  7. #7 by newguy on December 20, 2009 - 3:05 PM

    Javed Khan,

    A good thread on Sehwag. Everything that you said is true, a lot has been already said and written about Sehwag and his methods, so I don’t have anything else to add except that captaincy will not impact his way of batting. Especially since he is only a stand-in captain. We don’t have to wait too long since the next match is up in a day.

    Pakistan-Australia is what I am looking forward to. I will tell this one thing here on record. The challenge for Pakistan will not come only from playing good cricket, I think they will play well given the talents they have, but it will come from on-field altercations with Australian players. If Pakistan comes closer to winning a test match, just watch out for the ugliness Australians will bring out. This is going to be a real test of Yousuf and his leadership. Ricky and his men can get real down and dirty if they are staring at a match losing situation, or they are not able to force a win. India faced this last year when they toured, and lost a Test (Sydney) that they should not have, it is only because of BCCIs clout and muscle that they could come out of it and put the pressure back on Aussies. Eventually they turned the situation around and won a Test in Perth, and since then the Aussie arrogance and their dominance has been down.

    But, watch out for this, they will target the match winners on opposition and try to demoralize and defeat them through all means. If Pakistan as a team and it’s leader do not stand up then they will face tougher problems than just competing with good cricket.

  8. #8 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 20, 2009 - 3:07 PM

    Munir

    The reason for a thread on Sehwag is because of the fact that he has been in incredible form, an almost triple ton in test and then these fearsome knocks in ODI and a good contest between the two teams has prompted me to write something about him i.e., to give him the due without any bias or consideration that he is Indian or this blog is Pakistani. It is a cricket blog and not a country blog and we do give the due where it is needed. We are not PAKSPIN to keep spinning around Pakistan team and Pakistani players only.

    Yes, PK-NZ series has just concluded and a new one with OZ’s has just started and I have mentioned that we shall be covering that with a new thread soon. Although OZ and WI series has just ended and SA-Eng series is still on because we don’t have a variety of bloggers from those countries who would contribute on our blog about those two series, yet we talked about Gayle’s whirlwind knock of 100 in 72 balls and England winning the T20 against SA was also covered.

    Tonight it will be Thakka Thukk tay Khatta Khutt in Cuttack, i.e., because the pitch is more like the one we have seen in *Rajkot*. Both sides would be missing some important players yet, I don’t see the game would be affected due to their absence. Dhoni’s absence is more of a mental thing than real, the players in the team with UV back in the side is good enough on paper to defeat any team. But, SL without Murali, Malinga and Mathews is dafee-neat-ly (as Russel Arnold says) be weaker in the bowling department.

    The famous battle of *Rajkot* shall be remembered for a long time in the history of cricket, just like the real battles of Panipat..

  9. #9 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 20, 2009 - 3:20 PM

    newguy

    You are right about OZ’s sledging but, the good thing is, in the test team there is no Shahid Afridi the hot headed Akhroat and the other very important thing is; THIS PAKISTANI TEAM WON’T UNDERSTAND THE OZ ACCENT VERY WELL. SO THEY WON’T GET UPSET easily. Perhaps they will only understand the F word. 😀

    McGrath is not there, he is famous for targeting key players by staring and saying that can be avoided on a cricket field.

    Ricky Ponting is also not playing the first test at MCG so that is also a blessing, like I’ve said before Ricky talks like a “Cattle Auctioneer” i.e., he talks so fast and chews his words without a break and not a single Pakistani player understands what he is saying.

    Also, you must have noticed that when he talks to Aleem Dar and Asad Rauf, he has to come very close to them and repeat. Because, whenever he says something from a distance the umpires shake their heads like, “Pls. come again, I didn’t get it, what were you saying?” And, Ricky comes closer to them and talk.

  10. #10 by newguy on December 20, 2009 - 5:56 PM

    Javed,

    It’s not just sledging, they also put umpires under a lot of pressure, sometimes getting decisions out of umpires that they should not be getting. Hopefully they have mellowed down a bit recently.

  11. #11 by Shoaib on December 20, 2009 - 6:10 PM

    Javed 😀

    Thanks for creating a new blog/thread. I checked your comments at work. I wouldnt be able to write much cuz I am a bit ill today but anyway here we go…..

    Virender Sehwag known as Viru among fellow cricketers, people say he’s the second best Player India ever got and some say he’s the all time best. Its achievements stand him out from his fellow players.

    First ever Indian to score 300 runs in a Test innings.

    Involved in the highest opening partnership for a Test played away from India.

    Highest-ever Test score at over a run-a-ball 254 off 247 balls against Pakistan

    Highest individual score by an Indian in Tests = 309.

    He scored 319 runs off just 278 balls in the match, which was also the fastest Triple Century in Test Cricket.

    Sehwag is one of the three batsmen in the world who have scored 2 Triple Centuries in Test Cricket.

    Sehwag has done more than, what I just mentioned. What really makes Sehwag special is not just his strike rate. It is the fact that he’s succeeded on his own terms, rather than blindly follow the cricket training guides/coaches, he has only taken what suited him and in the process created a grammar his own: head still, feet still but eyes lighting quick. What a great batsman he is.

  12. #12 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 20, 2009 - 7:31 PM

    People say the test matches are boring. Yes, some of them are especially when they end up in a draw with huge totals. But, some are thrilling and nail biting and are played till the last ball and ends up in a draw and people say WHAT A MATCH?

    The England SA match ended in a similar fashion, it ended in a draw and the last six balls of Makhaya couldn’t slice the Onions. 😀 In the end it was a very good effort from England and a very satisfying job especially for Collingwood, better than chocolate ! 😉

  13. #13 by khansahab on December 20, 2009 - 11:29 PM

    I was supposed to do this thread on Sehwag, but due to some personal commitments Javed A Khan very kindly did it. The title of the thread I had in mind was very similar to the title of this thread composed by Javed A Khan.

    Sehwag is an amazing player who has no match in international cricket. I suppose the only one who can come in mind is Viv Richards, but Viv did not have such a strike rate. It is unbelievable that this man of normal physique can hit fours and sixes so easily, not necessarily by timing or placement, but simply by hammering the ball with extraordinary hand eye coordination.

    It is this hand eye coordination that sets Sehwag apart from others. He picks up the line and length very quickly, and simply bludgeons the ball. He has this devastating effect on the opposition. He is not a six hitter like Afridi, or a consistent run accumulator like Tendulkar- he is somewhere in the middle, but in terms of how he destroys the morale of the opposition, he has the same if not a greater effect than these players. No one can match Afridi in terms of brutal hitting power and six-hitting prowess, but Sehwag scores hundreds and double hundreds so frequently that he seems on another level.

    I don’t think the world has seen a genius like Sehwag. His only flaw is that his batting carries this risk in that, brutal hitting will never produce consistency. But in form, he is a monster on rampage who can stamp over any Tendulkar, Lara or Ponting. When he hit his first triple century and a few double centuries, I never thought he could manage another triple hundred. But, he did and he managed a few double hundreds after that too. His technique has weaknesses and bowlers have tried to exploit it, but he wrecks the bowler’s confidence so badly that bowlers can never control their line and length when bowling to Sehwag.

    By the end of his career, he will be hailed as India’s greatest matchwinner- bigger than Kapil Dev, Gavasker, Kumble or Dravid. When Tendulkar started creating strokes off balls that seemed impossible to manage, people started saying he is God-gifted. To me, Sehwag is also God-gifted in the sense that, he has mediocre technique and there is nothing outstanding about his timing and neither are his shots exquisite to watch, but he still manages to place the ball to the boundary and makes it look so easy.

    Sehwag has become a legend in Indian cricket. People say there will not be another genius like Lara who can score 400, people say there will not be a genius like Tendulkar who can create a shot off any delivery and whose batting is simply, perfect. The time has now come for people to admit there will not be another Sehwag- someone who has massacred, butchered, slaughtered bowling attacks so often and made gigantic scores in Tests without great technique. And the best part is, he makes it look so easy.

  14. #14 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 21, 2009 - 2:21 AM

    Wow khansahab that is some praise you have showered over Sehwag and his brutality but, what you have written is true. He is a player with mediocre technique but with immense talent and ability with his hand-eye coordination that he massacred, butchered and “Sehwagged” every single bowler without moving an inch from the ground.

    On several occasions he has demoralized the opposition and ruined the confidence of fast bowlers, medium pacers, spinners, known bowlers, unknown bowlers whoever came in his line got whacked and he created that Gabbar Singh effect on them.

    There was a phase in his career when they said the Australians have discovered his weakness and got him out cheaply on many occasions. And, there was a time he was even dropped for lack of form but, then he came back with a bang. A double hundred in Australia and there is no looking back. That is what I wrote, “he burns the bridges behind him.”

    I am looking forward to seeing him batting in Cuttack tonight (my time 3:30 a.m.) like newguy said, he is not going to be bothered about the burden of captaincy because he is a makeshift captain for 2 matches only.

  15. #15 by Mohammed Munir on December 21, 2009 - 8:15 AM

    Faisal or Fawad … who should it be ??

    The two “Fs” from Karachi have a lot in common, beside both of them fighting for a permanent seat into the Test playing elevens.

    For the recently concluded New Zealand series both had limited chances of showing their full potential, as they both got just one Test match each. Fawad Alam could score a match total of 34 (e.g. 29 & 5), whereas Faisal who played the last Test of the series scored 73 runs (e.g. 6 & 67).

    Coming back to the current Australian series, and luckily both of them got a practice match to hone their batting skills before the all important first Test. Once again Faisal had a slightly upper hand with his scores of 17 and 32 n. o., while Fawad could score 33 and 4 in the match. More importantly, Faisal Iqbal also opened in the second innings of the game and stayed not out at 32, facing 86 balls.

    Faisal have a much stronger backing by way of his famous uncle who also happens to be on the Pakistan Cricket board and he is also more experienced on his side, while Fawad, on the other hand, has bowling advantage to his credit however, it is unfortunate to that Fawad is not given a chance with his bowling skills.

    As it is, we have a weakness with our batting lineup and more so in the middle-order, as other then Akmal brothers and Yousuf, there is nothing much to talk about. Now we know that both of them play in the middle-order and can be easily replaced with each other.

    So the million dollar question would be, if we have to play one of the F, who should it really be ?

  16. #16 by Maza786 on December 21, 2009 - 2:19 PM

    Sewhag has been a true formidability at the top of the order. He is a personal favourite of mine. His strike rate and strokeplay is phenomenal. He is a nemesis like figure for many bowlers around the world. I would like to give credit to the LS administrator, Mr Khan for dedicating a thread in appreciation towards him. Great work.

  17. #17 by Maza786 on December 21, 2009 - 2:22 PM

    My team for the Boxing day MCG test is :

    Butt
    Farhat
    Umar
    Yousuf
    Iqbal
    Fawad
    Kamran
    Aamer
    Ajmal
    Kaneria
    Asif

  18. #18 by Maza786 on December 21, 2009 - 2:24 PM

    Khansahab@13 I agree with what u have said. He is full uniqueness and talent.

  19. #19 by Maza786 on December 21, 2009 - 2:29 PM

    Pak should play 2 spinners because the pitches tend to spin at the MCG and SCG.
    I am sure it will be a good and successful ploy.

  20. #20 by Maza786 on December 21, 2009 - 2:33 PM

    Khansahab@6 why is Misbah in your team ? I am agree to the exclusion of Malik but why not Misbah ? I suppose U are satisfied with mediocrity then………

  21. #21 by Maza786 on December 21, 2009 - 2:54 PM

    What a match was the first test between England and SA. This was gripping action packed drama at its optimum. England dug out well and the players and supporters were delighted with the outcome. This reminded me of the Cardiff test this year in which Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson held out under immense tension to save the test. Noticeably, that was an opening test match as well which started a very compelling heat absorbing series. I hope this series will be equally as good. Paul Collingwood also played an influential role in that test as he did in this one.

    Khansahab did u notice that I backed England to win the ASHES and u didn’t ? Well I was right after all. I forgot to bring it up before. This is a representation of my ability to predict happenings by utilising my knowledge of the game and analysing both side’s strengths and weaknesses. I knew Australia were declining whereas England were emerging but you thought differently.

  22. #22 by Maza786 on December 21, 2009 - 3:26 PM

    Although Pakistan’s chances against Australia have been classified as “beatable” it is not necessarily what I am expecting. Of course I would like it to be though. But above all I want Pak to be a competitive and bold force. I want them to promote their image and credentials to the former NO1 side in the world. I want the Aussies to be challenged and impressed. What I don’t what is Pak to be humiliated and embarrassed like last time they toured in which they were whitewashed. Hard fought action, determination and moments of on field brilliance should be the minimal expectation. The win would have been a dream but an achievable one but the point I am trying to labour is a win would have exceeded expectations not met them.

  23. #23 by khansahab on December 21, 2009 - 8:57 PM

    I am surprised no one has commented at Tendulkar’s match winning 96 not out to help India win the match against SL?

    This is a rare sight in cricket, although Tendulkar has done this before- he has not hit a century, and he has played the dominant hand in India’s victory.

    Maza

    I am agreeable to this point of mediocrity you have raised in your comment. Although the inclusion of Misbah is agreeable to me, I can’t say I am agree with Malik’s selection. That is because, apart from Misbah the only other batsman in the team is Faisal Iqbal, and Misbah made about 40-ish in this tour game. If his utility to the team is 35 runs, then he may well outscore Faisal Iqbal which is why I would prefer to see him.

  24. #24 by khansahab on December 21, 2009 - 9:13 PM

    I was reading some quotes on Tendulkar, and this one struck out as quite interesting. It is a comment from BBC Sports regarding Tendulkar:

    “Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that forget us, even those who play alongside him cannot fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives”.

    What Viv Richards said, “Tendulkar is 99.5% perfect”.

    McGrath- “Tendulkar is the best ahead of Steve and Lara”.

    Mark Waugh- “The pressure on me is nothing compared to Sachin. Sachin, like God, must never fail. That is what the crowd expects from him”.

    Lara- “Sachin is a genius. I’m a mere mortal”.

    How to play Glenn McGrath:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVcpV_38JLc

  25. #25 by newguy on December 22, 2009 - 12:35 AM

    Khansahab,

    You said:
    I am surprised no one has commented at Tendulkar’s match winning 96 not out to help India win the match against SL?

    This is a rare sight in cricket, although Tendulkar has done this before- he has not hit a century, and he has played the dominant hand in India’s victory.

    Actually there wasn’t much to talk about this, he did what was expected of a top order batsman to do, that is to stay at there and hold the innings together. One of them had to do it, it could have been Gambhir, typically Dhoni when he is playing. So it was good to see him not going for the hundred and instead focused on staying there until the end to make sure team wins and there were no hiccups even though the total was sub-par.

    The real impetus was given by Sehwag in the first few overs, he made sure new ball bowlers did not get any advantage and made the run rate come down to 4 an over, after that someone just needed to stay there.

    Bowlers actually won the match, especially spinners. The way SL was batting 400 was on the cards at 20 over stage. But I think the problem SL is having is they do not have a plan, whether they are chasing or setting, they just go about trying to make as many runs and in the end lose the plot. Dilshan is in super form, so everything he does is coming off well, other than him Sangakkara is in good form too, and Thranga seems to be doing well too. But none of the other batsman seems to be able to have a serious impact. All 3 matches this was the case, if you get Dilshan and Sangakkara then SL is done.

  26. #26 by newguy on December 22, 2009 - 12:48 AM

    In fact when Tendulkar was on 70 odds Gavaskar was in the commentary box and he bought up the century possibility, he was saying Tendulkar need 29 to get a hundred and India need 45 to win so it is possible. Up until that time no one mentioned it and there was no need to mention it, Tendulkar getting a hundred was not at all important in the context of this match, it was all about going 2-1 up in the series, in fact they should have been discussing how to approach the next games for both teams if they had nothing else left in this game to talk. Instead, he started blabbing about Tendulkar getting a hundred every over, then it became every other ball. He kept saying oh now he needs only 15 runs, it is still possible, Dinesh Kartik should give Tendukar strike, he should call for power play so he can go over the top, he should hit a six, etc.

    It was very annoying, Ravi Shastri in fact replied once that it is not important Tendulkar getting a hundred since the focus is on wining match, to which Gavaskar replied, yeah but I don’t want him left on 96 not out, it is exactly what happened 😉 Towards the end DK hit a six and then a four and Tendulkar having chance of getting hundred became very hard and Sagakkara bough field spread to prevent it.

    I think in the end it was irrelevant, what does another ODI hundred mean to Tendulkar? nothing, how many has he got, a lot if anyone bother to check, and it doesn’t matter anymore. Test hundreds is different, I would prefer him play big innings in Test matches and help India set up Test wins, and in ODI just do what he is doing now, that is hold innings together, there are many more big hitters in the team now, and I don’t think Tendulkar will match the likes of Sehwag, Youvraj, Raina, or Dhoni for big hitting powers.

    Gavaskar was simply being Bakwaskar like Javed Khan says 🙂

  27. #27 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 22, 2009 - 2:26 AM

    khansahab & newguy

    Actually the match was very one sided and ended as expected. The only interesting moments were the first 22 balls of the match i.e., when Sri Lanka scored 50 in 3.4 overs. That is the fastest fifty any team has scored against India and it appeared that Dilshan will lead SL towards the possibility of a 400. But, it does not happen often that one batsman can make runs like a machine and the same team scores 400 every other day. Dilshan was out on 41 with 10 boundaries in it and the match was over after Sangakara was out.

    The SL team is like the West Indies team. When Gayle, Chanderpaul, Sarwan and Bravo are out the team surrenders likewise, when the four top order players are out in SL team i.e., openers, Sangakara and Jayawardena, the team goes into its shell.

    As regards Tendulkar’s 96, IF there is anyone to blame, then it is only him to be blamed and not Karthik. I was watching the match live on TV and Tendulkar got plenty of opportunities to go berserk when he was in his mid 80’s but he was going slow. 25 runs were needed in 60 odd balls and 7 wickets in hands he should have taken that chance and gone for big hits. Karthik couldn’t help hitting the six or the last ball 4.

    In fact Karthik was a bit disappointed by himself to see the winning shot he played as a leg glance that went for a four, his body language explained everything. He was apologetic towards Tendulkar, but Tendulkar himself was not seen unhappy, he was smiling but, there was a kinda blushing on his face. He was telling Karthik not to worry and he seemed happy that India won the match very convincingly. Perhaps there will be another opportunity for Tendulkar to score a hundred.

    This is the 18th time Tendulkar remained in the 90’s and 17 times he was out but, this is the only time he remained not out on 96 and the good feeling he found was, India won the match because of the century that Tendulkar did not score.

  28. #28 by Mohammed Munir on December 22, 2009 - 5:59 AM

    Maza786 @ Comment No. 17 …

    Sorry Maza, I do not agree with your aforementioned team selection.

    Frankly speaking, playing two spinners is fine, but going into a Test match against the world’s best team with only four bowlers and that too only two pacers on an Australian (pacers-friendly) pitches ? Who do you think will be bowling the first change, do you want to bowl Ajmal or Kaneria in the 13th/14th over of the innings ?

    I know our relative strength is in bowling department, but that doesn’t mean that we should ‘kill’ them too. All our bowlers, specially the fast-bowlers, are already over-worked from the NZ series and we had seen Aamir having some problems in the last Test. Secondly, we are at the start of a long series, rather season, and we have to manage our existing resources appropriately, as we can not risk injuries to any of our main bowlers. Furthermore, we do not have Razzaq or other medium-pacers in the team, while Yousuf doesn’t seem to be in favour of allowing Fawad Alam or other part-time bowlers any chances, so going in a Test with only two fast bowlers does not make much sense to me.

    Playing two spinners should be a good idea only if we are playing with five regular bowlers in the team.

    One more point is that playing Faisal Iqbal in place of Misbah will be another mistake. I know Misbah is not in the best of forms, but who is ? And Faisal is not much better batsman then Misbah is, at best, they can be at par with each other.

    With these reasons in mind, I would like to have the following team for the first Test …

    Imran Farhat / Salman Butt
    Fawad Alam / Faisal Iqbal
    Mohammed Yousuf
    Umar Akmal
    Misbah-ul-Haq
    Kamran Akmal
    Mohammed Aamer
    Umer Gul
    Saeed Ajmal
    Danish Kaneria
    Mohammed Asif

    BTW, if we still insist to play an extra batsman and one bowler less, then I think there is no need to go in with two specialist spinners and one spinner should suffice, and play with three regular pacers in (Aamir, Asif, and Gul). If Gul is not performing in the first Test, then we can always give chance to Sami or even Rauf (as he bowled well in the practice game).

    Going one step further and under the most ideal situation (fishful thinking, as Javed would like to call it), Shaid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq should have been part of this Test squad, because if they were in the team, we would not have had this dilemma as they can both bat as well as bowl.

    Following would have been Pakistan’s most appropriate Test Team, if I was the chief-selector … 😆

    Imran Farhat / Salman Butt
    Fawad Alam / Faisal Iqbal
    Younis Khan (he should be forced to play)
    Mohammed Yousuf
    Umar Akmal
    Kamran Akmal
    Shaid Afridi
    Abdul Razzaq
    Mohammed Aamer
    Saeed Ajmal / Danish Kaneria
    Mohammed Asif

    Umer Gul can be used as a reserve to replace any of Aamir / Asif, if their performance is below the required. While there was no need for Malik, Misbah, Manzoor and Rauf, and they can easily be sent back to Pakistan.

    With this team, we have our three pacers/ medium-pacers, along with at least two main spinners with Imran Farhat/ Fawad Alam as our sixth bowling option. More importantly, with the coming back of Younis Khan, Afridi and Razzaq our batting line-up looks much stronger and can be effectively extended with having 8 regular batsmen.

    Any comments ?? 😉

  29. #29 by Mohammed Munir on December 22, 2009 - 8:20 AM

    Sachin Ki Sanchiry … Jo Miss, Balkey ‘Mess’ Ho Gaee !!

    Here are my 2 cents on the issue.

     India won the match very very easily with more then 7 overs (44 balls) remaining, so there was absolutely no damn rush of any sort.

     There is no bonus-system in this tournament for getting higher points by winning a match in 43rd or even 48th over, so what was the hurry ?

     Only three Indian batsmen got out, and India won by 7 wickets, and there was no risk of any dramatic changes in the match result.

     Sachin played quite fast with a decent SR of 92.30, scoring 96 in 104 balls with 12 boundaries, so he did not waste much balls and wasn’t slow.

     Karthik played much faster to my liking with a SR of 112.50, scoring 36 runs in 32 balls hitting 5 fours and one six, what was the rush ?

     Karthik, who hardly got a chance to play as Dhoni was out, what did he wanted to prove and to whom ? by denying Sachin a chance to reach another century ?

     Karthink is from Madras (Chennai) South India while Sachin is from Mumbai, was this the reason ?

    Sachin is the senior most, highly respected, truly talented and God-like persona in India, and therefore Karthink SHOULD have “helped and assisted” him in reaching his one more century. I agree that this ‘one-more-century’ would not have made or break Sachin’s career (he is much above that), but it would have certainly given him added personal satisfaction of reaching a century along with the Indian win.

    From the Pakistani prospective, I would like to say, suppose if Afridi was reaching a century and Shoaib Malik would have played the role of Karthink, then we would have believed that Malik did not want Afridi to score a century, and absolutely similarly, Karthik DID NOT WANT SACHIN TO REACH HIS CENTURY.

    All in all, and in my own opinion, I think Karthik would have been much more respected for allowing Sachin to reach his century then denying it !!

  30. #30 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 22, 2009 - 3:22 PM

    Munir;

    It seems like you have not watched the match Live on TV, at hindsight anyone can say or try to justify using IFs and “Butts” theory. The truth is an opener playing till the end has more chances than a new comer at the crease. Tendulkar opened the innings, his run rate in the end seems good, but that is his average strike rate. Karthik’s strike rate went up because of the six earlier and the last ball four, otherwise he was giving enough chances to Tendulkar to score his century. He was constantly talking to Sachin and Sachin was not able to execute big shots, only once he tried and the field placement was such, he couldn’t get through.

    At the end of 32.4 overs the score was 169/3 and Tendulkar was 64, in 77 balls and 17.2 overs were remaining and 71 runs needed to win, couldn’t he score 37 runs?

    When 34 runs remained to win Tendulkar needed 19, he was on 81. Still there was a lot of chance for him to score his hundred but, he wasn’t able to connect or he was playing in singles. Then some how he managed two fours both of Malinga in different overs and in between Karthik dispatched a six of Randiv.

    The last ball which I thought was a leg glance 4 by Karthik is actually given as a 5 wide. Therefore, it is not Karthik’s fault.

  31. #31 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 22, 2009 - 3:25 PM

    On Sehwag’s captaincy:

    There was nothing much in the one sided match, however from my observation Sehwag made one mistake and that is when he started bowling himself. IMO, he should have called Jadega who took 4 wickets at a good economy rate. Whereas, Sehwag himself wasn’t bowling well BUT he was very, very lucky to have Sangakara stumped by Karthik on the second attempt. But, its good that he changed himself after that. So, apart from that one mistake, overall it was fine.

  32. #32 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 22, 2009 - 3:36 PM

    Munir

    On your team selection, its not just you but, many people that I know (including myself) we have been saying that keeping Younus Khan, Afridi and Abdul Razzaq away from the test team is a big mistake. Also, Gul should not be in the test team along with Misbah and Malik.

    If you include those three players in the team, your team has a strong batting line up and up to number 8 your players are capable of batting.

    My ideal team would for the test matches in Australia would have been:

    1. Imran Farhat
    2. Fawad Alam
    3. Younus Khan
    4. Mohammad Yousuf
    5. Umar Akmal
    6. Shahid Afridi
    7. Kamran Akmal
    8. Abdul Razzaq
    9. Mohammad Aamer
    10. Mohammad Asif
    11. Saeed Ajmal

    I am including Imran Farhat purely on the basis of his past two scores that includes a century.
    I am including Saeed Ajmal in place of Kaneria because, Afridi is a leg spinner, a better batsman and a thousand times better fielder than Kaneria.
    Younus Khan should have been played, because one good innings from him would bring his form back.

    There are 3 fast bowlers and 2 spinners in the team. If need be Fawad Alam and Imran Farhat can bowl as part timers.

    If Malik had payed any heed towards the suggestion of opening the innings and scored 30-40 runs obviously one of the openers would have been out and he would have been in. But, Malik wants to play politics and not cricket.

  33. #33 by JAVED A. KHAN on December 23, 2009 - 1:16 AM

    Injury prone Yuvraj is out of the current ODI’s, even his inclusion in the Bangladesh tri-series is doubtful.

    Actor wants a comeback
    , what a joker he is.

    Younus Khan wants to end controversies. The question is, who creates these controversies? Its all in Akhroat mind and he is the one who creates them. He should be eating Almonds.

    ‘If you have any variety you can survive. If do not have variety you cannot survive in international cricket,’ said the Pakistan’s off-spinner. Ajmaleinstein

  34. #34 by M. Y. Kasim on December 23, 2009 - 1:54 AM

    This blog is getting more Indo-oriented than a Intrenational cricketing Blog.

    For example, there was not a single reference about Eng-SA test series.

    It proved once again that Saffers are Chokers. They were so near yet faltered at the last hurdle.

    Any comments?

  35. #35 by Mohammed Munir on December 24, 2009 - 4:47 AM

    Javed Khan …

    Please check this picture:

    http://www.cricinfo.com/indvsl2009/content/image/440662.html?object=430888;page=1

    This is a post-match photo and I think it says it all. Just see the expressions in Sachin’s face and look at his frustration and agony at not reaching his century, while on the other hand, look at the embarrassment and ‘Jhaimpoo-pun’ on Karthik’s ‘Bootha’. Sachin who normally is a calm and mostly expressionless person is looking obviously unhappy on missing his century.

    Now putting words in Sachin’s mouth, I would like to think this is what he was saying to Karthik in above picture …

    “What the fcuk … Bhainchod, Main Kiya Gaand Marwanay Kay Liye Aayaa Huwa Hoon Yahan Per ? Salay, Harami, Bohat Shana Bun Raha Thaa, Dekha Nahin Meri Sentury Miss Hogai, Aur Tu Apni Hoshyaari Jamaa Raha Thaa. Kuttay Kay Bachay … Aglay Match Mein Teray Baap Ko Bhee Jaga Nahin Milay Gi”. 😆

  36. #36 by khansahab on December 24, 2009 - 9:45 AM

    Omer

    The wickets in Australia can be varied between sporting and flat. I don’t think Rauf has a chance on the flatter tracks. Australians are used to playing medium pace swing bowling. If you consider the bowlers who have troubled Australia in the recent past, they are spinners like Harbhajan or very fast bowlers like Akhtar and some West Indian bowlers.

    So from that perspective, I would definitely go for Umar Gul as opposed to Rauf. Gul is not good with the new ball so Aamer and Asif can open the bowling. Asif can trouble the Aussies despite not being very quick because his line and length is exceptional and he has very good control, which most bowlers in the world don’t.

    So for me, the first choice is Gul, then Sami, then Rauf.

    As regards Kaneria over Ajmal, I don’t think there should be any argument over this one- Afridi is not in the squad, so I would definitely play Kaneria. We know how Harbhajan has been effective against the Australians, so I think it all boils down to whether Ajmal can spin the ball so much as Harbhajan can, or whether he can exercise the same level of control. In this NZ series Ajmal was not very effective, and unless the pitch report provides signs of crack formation or something like that, I don’t think Ajmal ought to be played.

    This is a serious problem with Pakistan cricket, that in the very recent past it has not been producing Test level players. When players have shown some talent, or some kind of improvement (Alam, Afridi) then due to politics they are not given chances to perform. Umar Akmal is very lucky because he is from Punjab and his brother is a bigshot in the circles. So, he has talent and sources to see him through. If he can keep on performing like this it will, of course, only be good for Pakistan cricket.

  37. #37 by khansahab on December 24, 2009 - 9:54 AM

    Munir sahab

    I think the equation would be very simple if we were chief selectors and all players were available for selection. You would separate the Test calibre players from the mediocre players:

    Younis, Afridi, Alam, Yousuf, Ahmed Shahzad ?, Kaneria, Asif, Aamer, Gul, U Akmal….

    These are the Test calibre players.

    Malik, Misbah, Butt, Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Khurram Manzoor etc. These are the mediocre players.

    The best strategy for selection is to just group together the match winners who might be inconsistent (Younis, Afridi) with those players who show grit and have shown the ability to play the moving ball (Alam). Other than that, consistent run accumulators (Yousuf, U Akmal) should also be played. These are your Gambhirs and Tendulkars in the team.

    I would just group these players and allot roles to them. So, Afridi and Alam can open for a few matches. If they don’t work, maybe Alam and Younis can open.
    Perhaps the best strategy is to get your best players in the XI, and keep swapping them round until the best combination is reached. I can guarantee having these players in the team will yield better results in the long run than having people like Malik and Misbah. Butt, Farhat- these players don’t know anything about opening outside Pakistan- they will only perform when the ball is not swinging.

  38. #38 by Mohammed Munir on December 24, 2009 - 9:59 AM

    Omer …

    My reason for prioritizing Gul over Abdur Rauf was Gul’s younger age and much more experience, while Rauf at 31 (too mature for a fast bowler) have played only 2 Tests and 4 ODIs. Secondly, yes you are right about Gul leaking runs, but unfortunately Rauf’s economy rate (Tests, ODI, and even his first class career) is also quite high. That being said, I still think that Rauf seems to be in good touch and have performed well in the practice match against Tasmania and so he should get a chance in second or third Test, provided Gul is still not able to perform in the first game. But don’t forget, we also have Mohammed Sami waiting for a place and he is coming in the team with some special recommendations, so he will have to play.

    I fully agree with you on Kaneria, he has already proved himself in NZ.

    Nevertheless, I still think playing only four specialist bowlers (3 pacers and Kaneria) is not enough against Australian batting, and that too when we do not have any other dependable bowling options, as Yousuf doesn’t seem to be in favour of bowling Fawad or Farhat. So yes, an all-rounder like Afridi or Razzaq would have been great.

    Anyways, tell me what do you think about playing 5 bowlers, such as three pacers in Aamir, Asif and either of the third from Gul, Sami, or Rauf (in this order) and two specialist spinners in Ajmal and Kaneria ?

    This may weaken our batting, but as it is, how many matches our batting is winning us ? So why not strengthen our strong areas and play 2 spinners at least in the first two Tests as the wickets at MCG and in Sydney are expected to be a bit slower then the last match.

    Pakistan is unfortunate not to have all-rounders like Afridi/ Razzaq in this team, while Fawad and Farhat are not given bowling oppurtunities.

  39. #39 by Mohammed Munir on December 24, 2009 - 11:22 AM

    Khansahab …

    I fully agree with your categorizations of the Test caliber and mediocre players.

    I am also happy that you rightly put Faisal Iqbal among the mediocre’s list, he sure is one of them.

    I think the one of the reasons for few of these mediocre players still playing at Test levels is unavailability of Younis Khan and Shahid Afridi, beside another main issue, which we all know … right ? 😉

  40. #40 by khansahab on December 24, 2009 - 11:28 AM

    Shane Bond has retired from Test cricket. He only played 18 Tests, but what an impact he made! Apart from 2 Tests he did not bowl well in against Australia, he made an impact on EVERY ground in EVERY Test.

    Surely, a great bowler. However, this was expected in the light of many injuries which ruined his career.

    I rate him higher than Akhtar, simply because he did well in 16 Tests out of 18. And he did not let his weight or personal life affect his career- it was only his shoulder, back, ankle etc injuries that ended his career prematurely.

    All the best in limited overs cricket, Shane. You are a great servant to New Zealand cricket and you were a true match winner in Tests.

  41. #41 by khansahab on December 24, 2009 - 12:39 PM

    The lights have fazed out at Kolkata- how embarrassing for the BCCI, or whoever is the managing organisation for Eden Gardens?!

  42. #42 by Maza786 on December 24, 2009 - 2:09 PM

    The team balance in undoubtedly affected without an all-rounder.

    YK would have been as asset here. His bowling has been very impressive. He is capable of bowling 10 odd overs in an innings and of course is a batsmen primarily.

  43. #43 by Maza786 on December 24, 2009 - 2:10 PM

    -Spin holds the key for Pak.
    -The fielers must hold on to their chances.
    -The openers must be retained for the full duration of the test series. Then we know where they stand.
    – Ponting and Clarke’s wicket will be crucial. Pak should get them early.

  44. #44 by Maza786 on December 24, 2009 - 2:13 PM

    Pak and Eng have agreed to play 2 t20s in February next year in preparation for the 2010 t20wc. The Pakistani selector had commented that he will take this as an opportunity to experiment in some new players and give them exposure to international cricket. I feel this is great news because Pak have now got several fixtures in stock for 2010 which has been a rarity in past years due to security concerns. Let me also bring up this point that Pak have won 7 consecutive t20s. If they win the next one they have overtaken a record.

  45. #45 by Maza786 on December 24, 2009 - 2:15 PM

    Khansahab, Shane Bond was an underachieved cricketer.

  46. #46 by khansahab on December 24, 2009 - 2:24 PM

    Maza

    I am agree he could not play many Tests, but I am not sure what you mean by “underachieved cricketer”?

    He achieved a lot in the matches he played and batsmen from all over the world feared him.

  47. #47 by khansahab on December 24, 2009 - 8:27 PM

    WOW, matchwinning Gambhir smashes 150 in 137 balls and seals the series for India.

    Look at the effect of Gambhir on Kohli- how well he guided Kohli and how his sublime batting display gave the confidence to Kohli to attack and turn a difficult chase into an easy one.

    Sehwag, Tendulkar, Gambhir, Dhoni, Dravid (in Tests)- what a batting line up….

  48. #48 by Maza786 on December 25, 2009 - 10:10 AM

    The first test at the MCG is just hours away. Pak team are sleeping currently and dreaming of a successful tour one shall ponder. 2 spinners must play. It’s an attacking move and in order to do well against Australia you have to play attacking cricket. Many people have questioned that 2 pacers in insufficient as the first change bowler will then have to be a spinner but whats wrong with that? Both of the Pak spinners are world class bowlers and therefore the skipper should have full faith and confidence to introduce them into the attack under most circumstances. Good captains don’t sit back, they attack.

  49. #49 by Maza786 on December 25, 2009 - 10:32 AM

    Key factors to watch out for:

    -Johnson. ICC player of the year 09. Top bowler, a wicket taker and can score priceless runs lower down the order.

    – Sledging. A tendency or culture of the Aussies to get a psychological advantage and get into the skins of the opposition. Its aggression. Pak must not let this dominate their mindsets. BTW, watch out for Faisal Iqbal if selected. It’s in his nature to be mouthy!

  50. #50 by Maza786 on December 25, 2009 - 2:39 PM

    If we play 5 bowlers we would lack depth in our batting. After all that is our area of weakness and struggle.

  51. #51 by Maza786 on December 25, 2009 - 2:49 PM

    By “underachieved” I mean he didn’t fulfil his capability and potential. He didn’t have any such disciplinary problems and was mainly out of the action due to injury. Therefore, it was disappointing in that sense as he didn’t have any such off field issues but still in despite of that was unable to accomplish himself. He had immense talent. Also, had he not joined the ICL he could have played more test matches. As for my opinion I feel he should have quit limited overs cricket and concentrate on test cricket because that’s the real deal. Anyhow NZ will undoubtedly suffer with his absence in the foreseeable future.

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