Posts Tagged Gautam Gambhir
2008 was a spectacular for the Indian team. We are now approaching the end of the year and India is ranked no 2 in Tests and 3 in ODI’s, being only marginally behind the 2nd placed South Africans. This thread will consider those individuals who made this possible for India, and also those who were not that impressive.
In ODI’s, the three best batsmen of India were the openers Sehwag, Gambhir and Dhoni, averaging 50, 47 and 58 respectively. However special mention must also be made of Suresh Raina who clobbered 680 runs in 19 matches at a striking average of 45. In fact, it won’t be wrong to say from the ODI batting point of view, this year belonged to the left handers Gambhir and Raina who were not as impressive before this year. From the batting point of view the two disappointments have to be Rohit Sharma and Robin Uthappa. Waqar Younas famously said, “This Robin, he is a good Batman” but that was not the case in 2008 because Robin only averaged 20 from 13 matches.
Sharma was touted as the next big thing of the Indian batting line-up, but he could only muster an average of 25 in 28 matches.
On the bowling front, Zaheer Khan was the key bowler taking 17 wickers at an average of 20 and strike rate of 30 balls per wicket. However Ishant Sharma was the pleasant revelation for India, being the leading wicket taker with 27 wickets from 19 matches at a wicket per every 33 balls.
Praveen Kumar also deserves mention for his 21 wickets in 14 games.
In Tests, India’s most successful batsmen were again unsurprisingly, Gambhir and Sehwag.
Gambhir averaged 71, which has to be one of the highest averages of all time in a calender year. Gambhir has provided some sense and stability to the Indian top order which India had been looking for some time. His consistency this year was unbelievable and he smashed 3 hundreds and 6 50’s. The best aspect of Gambhir’s technique is the way he can switch very easily between attack and defence. Sehwag averaged 56 in 2008.
Tendulkar was the 3rd most successful batsman of the Indian line-up, showing some consistency this year and fans will be hoping this consistency remains. He averaged 48 with 4 hundreds and 3 50’s.
Rahul Dravid was a disappointment this year, with many
people including Sunil Gavaskar calling for his retirement. Dravid averages 31 this year but more than figures, what was saddening to see was his slow reflexes and vulnerable defence. He did strike a century in India’s last Test of the year, but it remains to be seen whether that will save his place in the team.
Ganguly was also not brilliant this year but he has retired from international cricket as one of the best batsmen to ever play for India and the best captain India produced.
India bowled very well in Test cricket this year and all the leading bowlers have negligible difference in stats. India’s leading bowlers were Harbhajan,
Ishant, Kumble, Mishra and Zaheer. From this list, Mishra should be considered in some detail because he made his debut this year. Mishra bowled in the right places, applied pressure and took wickets when they mattered. India did not miss the legspin of Anil Kumble because the new kid on the block, Amit Mishra, is very good and he left everyone behind.
Speaking of Kumble, 2008 also saw this legend’s exit from the game. Kumble was India’s greatest match winner, and the travesty is that he never got appreciated for it. Appreciation or no appreciation, his name was always be mentioned amongst the legends of Indian cricket.
No bowler playing a reasonable number of matches disappointed for India in Tests, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why India is placed at no 2 in the world today.
So many names to mention and so many astounding performances; this was an amazing year for the Indian cricket team. The world order in international cricket definitely seems to be changing and it seems soon there will be 3 top sides in the world as opposed to just 1. India is quite busy in 2009 and the way things are going at the moment, it is very likely we will sing the same praises for the Indian team this time next year.
The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium has been a welcome venue for the Indians. India has won its last 7 Tests at this ground and the captain Kumble has picked up 55 wickets at this venue in 6 Tests at an outstanding average of 15.71.
Kumble has to be the spotlight of this preview, because his performance of late has not been anything to write home about. Although Kumble is fit and raring to go at his favourite ground, he was not the captain in the previous Test where India registered the famous record victory. It has been reported that Kumble is quite confident going into the 3rd Test, but even his most ardent supporters admit he is feeling the heat, more so because of Mishra’s revelation in the 2nd Test.
Speaking of Mishra, he may well have to lose out due to Kumble’s inclusion. The Mohali Test has presented the Indian team management with almost a delicious dilemma. As of now, there can be no question of dropping Kumble because he is the captain. Yet, Mishra’s performance at Mohali warrants a place. Harbhajan is stuck in the middle and at the moment it is unclear whether the toe injury he sustained in the Mohali Test has been cured. The slight problem India may have is losing some of the psychological advantage that is present when Harbhajan is playing against Australia, if Harbhajan has to sit out.
The curators have attempted their best to produce a spin friendly wicket for Kumble. Keeping this in mind Kumble may want to gamble and play the third spinner instead of either Laxman or Dravid. However historically speaking the Indian team management has never liked to compromise on batting. An interesting statistic about the Kotla is that spinners on this ground have taken nearly two-thirds of all the wickets that have fallen, so this may be something Kumble perhaps would want to consider.
The Kotla is also a friendly ground for the aggressive Indian openers Gambhir and Sehwag, both of whom hail from Delhi and are very comfortable with the local conditions. They are expected to set some fireworks at this ground.
The Indians have hit Australia where it hurts and it appears Australia will have to play out of their skins to win this one. One change is likely to be made in the Australian line up, with Stuart Clark replacing Peter Siddle. One might cynically consider if that is likely to make any difference keeping in mind that Siddle was not particularly bad in the Mohali Test. Australia is missing a quality spinner on these types of tracks and for the first time perhaps the fact that there is no Warne to bamboozle the opposition is showing in Australia’s performance.
Cameron White is a prospect but he needs more experience as this Indian attack has the potential to handle him pretty comfortably.
Ponting demanded his seniors to perform and with good reason. Hayden has expressed devising a new strategy to counter Zaheer Khan and Clarke has also pledged to bat with more responsibility. Australia have been pushed back and most pundits are already predicting an Indian win, but this is an excellent opportunity to see just how much juice is there in the Australians after their humiliation at Mohali. It is interesting how both the captains of the opposing teams are under pressure to perform. Speaking from Australia’s perspective, their strength is pace bowling and they will have to pick up early wickets. As for their batting, Hayden & Co will have to attack and show positive intent. Otherwise we will probably bear witness to yet another humiliation for Australia.
Khansahab analyses India’s record victory against the Aussies…..
Did we see it coming? Many would say, not. Yet India did seemed to do the unthinkable by beating the Aussies by a margin of 320 runs, which is India’s biggest ever margin of victory in terms of runs.
The noticable aspect of this victory was that we saw a rare team effort from India which completely demoralised the Australian pscyhe. Dhoni’s captaincy deserves special mention, but not for the first time.
Mahinder SIngh Dhoni has provided India with a fresh and delicious change which Indian cricket had been finding for more than a decade. Dhoni’s calmness, commitment, professionalism and above all, motivational skills took India to victory against the strongest team in the world. One had to observe and almost celebrate the look of resignation and submission on the face of Ricky Ponting, whose visage was nothing like the usual confidence and brashness it usually exudes.
Never in the past two decades has this question been more appropriately asked- “Is this the end of Australian domination in world cricket?” And never have we felt so compelled to answer in the affirmative.
Amit Mishra exceeded all expectations and bamboozled the Aussies. Mishra seemed to be the essential replacement for Anil Kumble, whose captaincy has come under the scanner and whose bowling seems to have lost its potency. There have been subdued calls for Kumble to quit for over a year, but now it would be the right time for the spinning legend to call it a day.
In fact, Mishra is not the only competitor for Kumble. Ojha is another spinner who has been knocking the doors of selection for some time and has lost out due to Kumble’s presence. India’s recent successes have been most attributable to the injection of youth; why should the spin department be bereft of talented youngsters? There are already calls to keep Dhoni as captain for the remainder of the series and Kumble is definitely feeling the heat.
Gambhir was effective and showed his good form with a commanding century in the 2nd innings. However, Sachin Tendulkar’s 88 was very special, not because it helped set the momentum of the Indian innings and was scored at an impressive strike rate of almost 80, but because he broke Lara’s record and became the leading run scorer in Tests. Tendulkar’s record breaking seemed to convey a mystical effect to the Indian pysche- it was a feeling of domination, a feeling of conviction and a feeling of genius almost, which actually has epitomised Tendulkar’s batting over the years, but much more so when he was at his enviable peak.
No batsman has played Australia better than Tendulkar has and even though Tendulkar is often criticised for lacking pressure handling skills, it takes a lot of guts and determination to raise your game level against the best in the business. Tendulkar has verily been Australia’s nemesis. For various reasons, Tendulkar is commonly perceived to be the most accomplished batsman in the history of cricket and this fact in itself has helped the Indian team to raise their confidence and feel pride in themselves.
Other than Tendulkar, Ganguly’s superb century also deserves to be applauded. Mishra has already been praised but Harbhajan also deserves mention for his 5 wickets in the test. Indian commentators have always spoken about the need for the whole team to contribute, and this test is a testament to that suggestion. There are many positives to take from this test- where does one begin? The opening was solid, the middle order of Tendulkar, Ganguly and Dhoni clicked and the bowling was penetrative and consistent. It goes without saying that the pair of Zaheer and Ishant complement each other very well and both have a lot of firepower within them, able to rattle any batting line up.
To conclude, this was a memorable test in many respects, not least because of Tendulkar reaching a milestone and the margin of victory. The cricket world is coming to terms with India’s resurgence and Australia’s vulnerability. Every tide has an ebb, and this is surely Australia’s ebb. Australia has been pushed to the ground, but because of the aggressive nature of the Australian psyche and mental strength, the remaining two tests are likely to be competitive.