Sir Viv’s record ground to Ashes, Ganguly back again
Posted by Sports Snob on December 1, 2006
So, what’s happening in the cricketing world that is new? India is getting thrashed in South Africa and Nirmal Shekar writes about dishonourable defeats here. Australia beat England, again (will the second test be any different? A better fight, definitely), Ponting scored a century, a deposed Indian captain was brought back a la Azhar and Mohammed Yousuf scored more runs.
Australia beat England as expected in the Gabba test. McGrath and Warne causing havoc in the English line-up and Ponting scoring more runs against the poms, were delivered as predicted. Pietersen played a stellar role in the show of spine in the second innings and delayed the inevitable. 1-0 to Australia.
The lack of form of Hayden and the batting failure of Gilchrist must worry the Australians a little. But service as usual, is expected to resume from these guys in the rest of the series.The batting of Collingwood and Pietersen was the highlight for England. The bowling lacked bite, with the exception of Flintoff. And playing Giles in the place of Panesar was a strange move by the team management. Panesar is not the most athletic of fielders (neither is Giles) or the Gillespie of tail-end batsmen, but he is a wonderful bowler. Old world flight and teasing the batsmen and deceiving them into making that fatal mistake, this lovable sardar should be playing.
England also need the other pacemen to bowl a better line and length and ensure that the Australians don’t score so freely. This was the recipe for success in the previous Ashes and no reason why it shouldn’t be the same again. Day 1 of test 2 has gone well for them. Let us hope for a good contest.
‘Dada’ is back
Sourav Ganguly is not an easy man to forget. And the selectors have added another chapter to the Ganguly saga by bringing him back to the test side. Yes, the test side.I was quite surprised too. His test record isn’t really impressive and the reason he struggled so much was the short stuff dealt out in copious amounts by bowlers around the world. But the ineptitude of the current Indian line-up has left the selectors with no choice. There seem to be very few batsmen in the reckoning and those who have been tried have failed miserably. Wonder what happened to that boy Rayudu.
So, as is the wont of the selection committee, they have decided to make inexplicable changes. They hope that the experience and the grit that Ganguly possesses in ample quantities will save the day. Is this a retrograde move? Well, he was dropped for lack of batting performance and considering he seems to have played very little cricket after that, I don’t know what the basis of this selection was. The selectors made 2 recalls in the last month. I think Kumble deserved to be back and Ganguly should probably get a look into the one-day side and not the test one.
Indian cricket is pretty much back to where it was almost a year back. The batting is faltering in any condition where the ball bounces above the knee level, the much-vaunted youngsters are struggling after the initial honeymoon period, Sehwag is still hunting for consistency, people are wondering if Sachin has any more good years in him, Greg Chappell is going to face the heat. With Ganguly back, wonder how much longer Greg will continue. The bright spot is the return to form of Zaheer Khan. He is a good bowler and it is good to see him opening the bowling.
Is Dravid’s stint as captain over? Can this team pull it back? Dravid’s stint is not over primarily because there is no one to replace him. The selectors would love to get him out of the seat, I bet but then who would you put there? And can this team pull it back? I don’t see too much happening on this tour. There will the usual hundreds from Laxman, Sachin and the ever-reliable Dravid. But if we can’t bat more than two days, there really is no hope. This series is going to be one more drubbing for the Indians in South Africa. Welcome to the real world.
The good Christian
He might no longer be the good Christian, he might claim that Islam is what is bringing him the runs but cricket lovers around the world couldn’t care less. A record that stood for 20 years has been bested. Over 1750 runs in a calendar year with 9 hundreds, how many bet that it would be Mohammed Yousuf who would do this? This space has always maintained that Yousuf is a special batsman and he is showing us how much. Everybody knew he was talented and had the temperament to play long innings. But the consistency was missing in the game. He has now found his focus and the footwork and every shot in the book has fallen into place. Along with Ponting and Dravid, he has been among the most consistent batsmen for sometime now. It is good to see such a good batsman succeed.
A run-making machine that has ground to dust Sir Viv’s record, congratulations Yousuf. We care neigh why you bat so well. Just continue playing this for another year, maybe a little more attractively (?).