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Monday, December 31, 2007

The (In)Tense Indians

Firstly, I offer my apologies for a late posting. I was just recovering from the rather bad display of cricket from India. The first test is wrapped up in less than four days and Ricky Ponting has not even arrived as yet. If I were to analyze it to death (I cant help it; it comes with Indian blood), I would think there are a few basic areas that Australia out-played India;

First and foremost is the Aussie intensity. This is the first time I saw with my own eyes the intensity of Aussie players in field. Whether they are batting, bowling or fielding, they are always busy with one thing or the other. With the day simmering at 40 degrees, and if an Aussie fielder doesn’t get a ball to run after(With India batting, that is a very high likelihood), he will be either stretching at inhuman angles or shining the ball for the bowler or simply erupting in a sprint back and forth. On the contrary, Saurav Ganguly will be asking for a physiotherapist within his first hour of batting. He probably shares his match fees with Dinesh Karthik who is always on in his stead in the field. The rest of the fielders are upto no good either. We do have Yuvraj Singh who is a reasonably decent fielder but that is where the list ends. The only real intense player is probably Anil Kumble who just keeps coming at you irrespective of the hour of the day or the opposition. Australia, on the other hand, has a long list starting with Hayden, Symonds, Ponting, Stuart Clark and even Mitchell Johnson.

The second area would definitely be the batting. I think our bowling was pretty disciplined, the pitch was fairly neutral and we lost this match because of our mediocre batting. This is when we have four of the world’s top batsmen in our team. But they simply could not be bothered. Only batsmen who played better, relatively that is, are Laxman, Sachin and Ganguly. Any talks about revitalizing Indian team with fresh blood can go for a heavenly toss; Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni could not bat if their lives depended upon it.

The third area will be the captaincy. Anil Kumble has simply not been able to galvanize the team into action. He just hasn’t been able to influence, be it the idiotic batting order, or simply the lack of his match-winning ability (He is a talented player but he cannot win us matches). I also have serious concerns about a bowler being a successful captain. We actually thought about all kinds of bowler-captains and could not think of a single guy who was really successful. Unfortunately, our two lead contestants are a bowler and a wicket keeper, hardly much of a choice.

The 29th night was an interesting night where I came face to face with the legend Erinc Ilkehan. His stories have been doing rounds in Singapore for ages now with some aftersparks in Malaysia as well. Funny and full of life, he showed us some of the night life in Melbourne more of which is covered at footnotesonpage4.

We are now in Sydney for the second test and of course the new years eve. Before heading out, we spent a nice afternoon playing Beach Cricket in Melbourne. I surprised the folks and myself with some nice bowling. Ganji claimed I was chucking. I pointed out the similarity between myself and the world's greatest bowler (arguably) which disappointed a few Srilankans into whacking me for big sixes. That was the end of my rather short-lived bowling career.

The new year beckons and offers a clean slate yet again. Lets see what India does about it. We have the tickets to a nice party close-by and are looking forward to it. To all of you folks, Happy Days.

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