Walking Back From The Pavillion

Excuse my very spotty posting of late; August is vacation-time in America, and even though I’m a student without any immediate hope for employment, I went on vacation. To South Africa. Which is very, very far away.

Much seems to have happened: India keep slipping in Tests, even as they ascend in ODIs. It’s a puzzling situation, but also a deeply political one. Mickey Arthur, South Africa’s coach-cum-provocateur, praised India’s strategy of “one country, two teams” recently, but it’s hardly a product of thought. Think back to the roots of the problem: we have on the one hand an aging group of superstars, very able but also very old. Greg Chappell arrives on the scene, quickly diagnoses the problem, and tries to infuse youth into the dying corpse. He leaves in disgrace, but most in power seem to agree with him.

But what are they to do? If they get rid of, say, Ganguly — as they tried to, and eventually did under Greg — protests and furies result. If they leave the gang in there, they watch as fielding suffers, as well as running between the wickets and just plain oomph. So, we have a compromise: Dravid and company are driven off the main stage, which, as far as I can tell, only Ganguly seems to resent. 

The two paths, however, also appear to be converging again. India haven’t played their best in Test cricket (which, for most in the public, doesn’t really matter), drawing against South Africa at home (quelle scandale!) and losing horribly to Sri Lanka away. It looks like the series against Australia will be the final hurrah for many in the team, with Kumble — out of form, and apparently out of touch — bound to head off.

Of course, predictions are never wise. Who else would have thought that Kevin Pietersen’s England would almost be on the verge of reaching No. 2 in ODIs? Who knew England even knew how to play ODIs? I’ll talk a bit more about rankings later, but for now, let me just say: a strong India, a strong England, and a strong Australia — that’s the right axis of cricket.

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3 thoughts on “Walking Back From The Pavillion

  1. Homer says:

    Pourquoi quelle scandale?? A much younger India lost 2-0 at home in the year 2000 to a much inferior Protea team ( Nicky Boje was their lead spinner then and not one Protea could read, let alone play spin from that lot).

    And what is it about us Indians that we are perennially negative about everything?

    In Sri Lanka, we were caught short by a mystery spinner, one we had no exposure to before – think Monty and his first series in India. As then, so now, we got progressively better the more we played Mendis ( and Monty).

    And as regards retirements and some such, the Gods are kind to us – India plsys Australia, England Pakistan and New Zealand this season. Our next test series is in November of 2009. The New Zealand tour concludes in April of 2009, thus overlapping our domestic season.

    This gives us ample time to arrange for a swan song for the tried and the trusted and also gives us the cushion to usher in the new players. For India, Raina and Sharma need one more season of domestic cricket to get their games in order – too often there seems to be a lack of concentration creeping into their games and a season of Ranji should be the panacea. Badri is ready for the step up and I dare the Kiwis to roll in the kind of wickets they did in 2003 again against our bowling lineup.

    Let the Fab 5 play out the Kiwi series after which we can take stock of who plays and who goes. My guess is that RD and SG, along with AK will be the first ones to go ( with Amit Mishra, S Badrinath and Suresh Raina making the step up).

    We are a good test side, resilient and attritional.. Let us celebrate that, coz we have come a long way baby!!

    And welcome back 🙂

  2. duckingbeamers says:

    Thanks for the comment, Homer.

    Are you sure there won’t be another Test series until November 2009? Because Cricinfo lists 4 Tests against Australia (Sept.-Nov.); 2 Tests against England (Dec.); and 2 against New Zealand (next year).

    As for criticizing India, I suppose I am a bit harsh. It’s actually a paradox: political scientists and historians agree that a regime is at its most vulnerable when expectations are rising, not when things are worst. I criticize India precisely because we have come a long way, and this isn’t the 1990s any more, and Australians are finally coming back to the pack.

    So, look at it like this: who will take over the throne? There are only 3 candidates: South Africa (whose Test side might very well shake Australia in a few months); England (if Kevin Pietersen, the center, holds); or India. (Sri Lanka are good, but I’m still not convinced yet.) At this point, every mistake becomes magnified, and so does the criticism.

  3. Homer says:

    Our next series after the Kiwi tour .. sorry if I conveyed otherwise..

    Cheers

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