Mortaza’s horrendous final over — and the rest of the match between the Deccan Chargers and the Kolkota Knight Riders — can be viewed here. Enjoy.
I haven’t made up my mind yet about either Rohit Sharma or Suresh Raina. They’re clearly talented; witness Raina’s spectacular near-hundred off 50-odd balls against the Rajasthan Royals in the IPL. And Rohit Sharma, despite his inconsistency, still looks very complete: better technique, more formal, an explosive fielder.
But my question is this: will Raina-Sharma turn out to be Yuvraj-Kaif, or Ganguly-Dravid? We’d obviously want the latter pair, but I’d hate to see either of them burn brightly only in the shorter formats without ever earning the respect players only can at the Test level. Who knows, though: they’re still young.
Fairly bold prediction, I know. But I think it’s going to happen whenever Dhoni resigns or retires, even though Sharma can’t hold a solid place in the ODI squad now. Still, his fielding is excellent; his batting classical enough to please the influential oldies (Gavaskar and Shastri) and even Gilchrist says he has a solid brain under his impressively styled hair.
Brilliant stuff. I can’t find a specific video, but Sharma was simply outstanding in the match against Kolkata. Agarkar hits the ball into the covers, Sharma dives full-stretch and stops the ball, pick its up and then, with only one stump to aim at, runs Agarkar out by a mile. Shades of what he did against South Africa in the Twenty20 World Cup.
Well, I’m not yet sure Yuvraj should be dropped yet. He did just score a century recently in his position, but it is depressing how often he gets out in pressure situations (think back to his awful series against Australia in 2007/2008). Of course, in a one-day context, he’s the person you want at the crease during a tight run-chase. I just don’t understand why he won’t come good.
But assume that we’re done with him and he needs to work out his defense technique or whatever. Who replaces him? Some argue for Suresh Raina, because Raina has been prolific of late and has the added bonus of being a left-hander. I personally prefer Rohit Sharma, who, while not as consistent of late as Raina, has far better batting shape and traditional expertise.
Poor Yuvraj, though. I’ve always thought he occupied the worst part of the Indian cricketing chronology, coming right after a brilliant generation that overshadows anything next to it.
My problem with the piece is that Monga may not have made up his mind before he started writing it. As Monga states, in the past few months since Kirsten-Dhoni have combined, Dhoni, Raina, Gambhir, Rohit Sharma, and Sachin have all come in at the position.
Should this matter? On the one hand, Monga says no: “The Indian line-up is imposing with everyone capable of batting anywhere.” On the other hand, however, Monga worries that if things aren’t settled, batsmen will soon lose focus (a critique that was often mentioned after the Chappell-Dravid era). Monga sounds a bit unfocused himself: this is a problem, but it isn’t, but it might be, but it might not be.
A far better approach would have been a think-piece about the value of assigning particular batsmen to particular slots. Continue reading
Ajay Shankar reports on the best prospects for replacing Sourav Ganguly. He finds four possible players: Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, Yuvraj Singh, and M. Vijay. Each one has his faults, but the biggest for all (except Vijay, who’s still too new at the scene for proper assessment) is their lack of consistency.
This also strikes me as the biggest loss the Indian team will face once the Fab Four — uh, Three — go into the sunset. Continue reading
Sorry about the title. Really, I am. But this is an exciting time for the Indian ODI squad: Dravid and Ganguly are out, and it won’t be long before Tendulkar leaves as well and the youngsters can stand up on their own. The bowling order looks complete, but the batting line-up is something else: Sehwag remains forever unpredictable, and the No.3 position — occupied usually by the best in the game (Ponting, Sangakarra, um, Ian Bell?) — is hard to pin down. During the series, the management has tried IK Pathan (silly; he’s a perfect firewall before the tail); Gambhir (better, but still, too early); even Uthappa.
The trouble, as I see it, is Sharma and Yuvraj: Continue reading
As most fast bowlers go, R.P. Singh does not intimidate through appearance: for one thing, he’s no Curtly Ambrose in stature and his dubious decision to neatly part his hair to one side makes me think that his mother still dresses him up in the morning.
Still, when Singh runs into bowl, I have this irrational sensation that he will take a wicket, something like what Australians must have felt when Shane Warne started a spell. Singh’s first over against Adam Gilchrist in the Only Twenty20 did not disappoint: playwrights have acts; novelists have chapters; bowlers have overs. Ideally, a bowler is supposed to “set up” a batsman for his wicket — some outswingers before a deadly one that comes back in; a few fuller-pitched deliveries before a bouncer, etc.
In this over, Singh initially has a difficult time, going for three boundaries on the off- and leg-side until he produces an unplayable delivery that Gilchrist failed to read. Indeed, the fact that the last three balls had been carted must have inflated Gilchrist; on no other occasion would he have tried to swat an in-swinging yorker as he does here. [See video.]
P.S. It’s absolutely hilarious how much applause Rohit Sharma receives from his fellow teammates after his brilliant fielding. If an Australian had done the same thing, he would have been duly noted, but surely, handshakes and pats on the backs would not have been indulged.