Compared to 2007, things have gone relatively smoothly for India — that once-in-a-lifetime tie against England aside. The batting seems to be clicking, as most people expected, but it has emerged as the far stronger side of the team. On the other hand, the bowling has been something of a shame. Perhaps it’s too early to reach any conclusions, as Kapil Dev suggested, but I think we’re seeing the effect of Praveen Kumar’s injuries.
No, I’m not going to bother with statistics to back up my hunch. I’m a huge fan of Kumar’s, and have been since the ODI series against Australia in 2008. He offers India what neither Sreesanth or Nehra or even Munaf can: the ability to get early wickets with a new ball through seam and swing. In the trio mentioned above, we know the usual critiques: Sreesanth is erratic, and only occasionally brilliant; Nehra’s fitness is an eternal concern (and his form has dipped of late), and Munaf can’t field. (That is forgivable in a team with oldies like Tendulkar and fatties like Yuvraj, but still…)
So let me say this: I miss Praveen. Wherever you are, nursing whatever ailment you have, know that at least one cricket blogger is wishing you well.