Category Archives: RP Singh

Untangling the Duncan Fletcher Factor

Is Duncan Fletcher behind India’s recent selection decisions? Since the BCCI has erected an electric forcefield to keep him from the media, we can only speculate. Take it away, King Cricket:

Umesh Yadav is a Fletcher bowler and we’ll doubtless be seeing more of him after he took 3-23 in West Indies’ first innings. As England coach, Fletcher erred towards the workmanlike spinner, but he’s blessed with more options in India and both Pragyan Ojha and R Ashwin have done enough to justify Harbhajan Singh’s exclusion. Was that another Fletcher move?

A couple of things have irked Indian fans lately. First: why drop Praveen Kumar after his solid performance in England? And second, who the hell is Rahul Sharma? I’m not sure what I feel about either (Is Praveen really a Test bowler? Would he be able to swing it all that much in Australia?). But the question left unresolved thus far is what exactly Fletcher (and the Indian think tank) learned from the England 4-0 debacle. Was it just a freak breakdown unlikely to ever be repeated? Was it just that the English planned better? Or was it simply that we need to manage injuries better?

It’s hard for Fletcher — or anyone — to believe that the Indian batting line-up will fail as woefully as they did in England. Even if he does belief that, Fletcher can’t change the batting line-up at this point (since Dravid/Tendulkar/Laxman/Sehwag/Gambhir/Dhoni all pick themselves, leaving just one spot to fight among Raina/Yuvraj/Rohit Sharma/Badrinath?/Pujara?/etc). He does have some leeway with the bowling, which explains the current experimentation with Ohja/Ashwin (instead of Harbhajan) and Yadav/Aaron instead of (or as part of an attack featuring) Ishant and Zaheer. Picking Yadav so soon into his career seems strange, until you realize that this is just the way Indian selectors work. Why waste young fast talent on crappy Indian pitches, when shiny ones beckon in Eng, S.A. and Aus?

All things said, as long as the Indian team doesn’t ruin Yadav/Aaron the way it ruined Ishant and Irfan Pathan and RP Singh and L Balaji (and so on), this team has a fighting chance. It helps that the Australian team isn’t nearly as good as they used to be (and they’re certainly not as good as England at home). There’s hope for you yet, Fletcher.

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I Miss R.P. Singh

We’re all set for one of the great Test series of the year, India v. England. I’ve started obsessively watching clips from India’s last tour to England four years ago, and the videos have forced me into a bout of R.P. Singh nostalgia. I don’t know what happened to him or why he was dropped, but I always loved his action:

An Indian Decline, Or Just A Hiccup?

Why do South Asian teams go from brilliance to embarrassingly low depths in a week? More specifically, what is going on with India? On the one hand, you want to blame a ridiculously non-stop schedule (who scheduled this ridiculous series anyway?) and dismiss India’s 2nd ODI performance as nothing more than a blip. On the other hand, there are the usual worries: is Rohit Sharma cut out for the big leagues, or will he only prosper in the Twenty20 format? What’s wrong with Gautam Gambhir? And who knew R.P. Singh could play defense so well?

Don’t have many answers, I’m afraid. I’m relatively happy with the current team, and I’ll give them as much space and time they need before the 2011 World Cup. Thank goodness this flare-up isn’t happening too close to the event.

Did Indian Players Fail The ‘Indian’ Premier League?

Now that the IPL circus is over, we can look at which players performed (and earned their price-tags), and which didn’t.

First off, I think Uncle J Rod was correct about Rahul Dravid, ex-captain of the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Over $1 million earned and he produced 271 runs at an average of 22.58. His silly parting shot in the final — an attempted flick off the legs, even though fine-leg was near — helped his team lose an eminently winnable match. Continue reading

R.P. Singh’s Lovely Action

I’ve written recently so far about Botha and Kamra’s possibly dubious actions, so I thought it might be worth spotlighting an action I do like. R.P. Singh, India’s former premier fast bowler, has such a flowing follow-through it looks almost effortless. Surely better than Michael Holding’s, no? See some Singh highlights below:

Rebuilding The Team, The Australian Way

I understand the Australians aren’t superhuman gods, whose manners and traditions we should blindly follow, but still: if they know the secret to fire, we might as well try and steal it.

Like the Indian team, Australia faced some difficult selection issues in the runup to their Test series against Sri Lanka. Without Justin Langer, Damien Martyn, Glenn McGrath and Shane Warne — and that’s quite a list — Australia had to go about filling in some opened voids in their lineup.

Unlike the Indian team, however, Australia took a sensible approach. Continue reading

Take 1, Action!

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.

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