Monday, October 30, 2006

Pathetic performance by the Indian team

The Indian team again dished out yet another pathetic performance on the field to loose the all important game against the Aussies. I am sure not many people gave the Indian team a chance before the match as they had not beaten the aussies in the one-day format for a long time now. The batting was ordinary after a good start and bowling was pathetic to say the least.

The Indian selectors need to take some harsh decisions and drop people who are not performing and inject some young blood in the team. Irfan Pathan has been bowling rubbish for the last few months and his batting has also hit a all time low, inspite of which he continues to be in the team. The batting of Sachin and Kaif defied any logic and I was not sure what they were trying to achieve by batting so negetive.

Sachin at the start looked clueless against the bowling of Mcgrath and eventually lost his wicket. If Sachin was finding hard to face Mcgrath, he should have made sure that the strike was rotated and he does not have to face the entire over. Mohd Kaif's batting in the final overs was also something which could not be explained. Eventhough I would like to give credit to the Aussies on restricting India,but the batting by the Indians lacked any planning. The batting order started out well but sending Raina before Dhoni was a huge mistake which cost India some valuable runs late in the order.

All in all it was again a horrible performance by the Indian team. The Indian team selection to South Africa brings no surprises, except for the inclusion of Anil Kunble and Zaheer Khan. One more oversees tour and this time there is no expectation on Indian team to perform miracles.

Congrats to the Australian team on yet another title win. They proved once again as to why they the number one team in the world.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Champions Trophy - Interesting contest ahead

The Champions trophy has reached its most important phase where teams battle for the semifinal spot. The favorites have been knocked off and the subcontinent teams have faltered to leave an impression on this tournament. Srilanka and Pakistan have already been knocked out, and India still have a mamoth task of beating Australia to grab the final spot for the semis.

This tournament has been a dissapointment in terms of good tough matches. The only matches which come to mind are Aus V WI, SL V Pak and Ind V WI(Only at the end) as the rest of them have been one sided affairs. The batsmen have struggled and bowlers have enjoyed the conditions, pretty rare on Indian pitches.

With three spots for the semifinal already decided, the India V Australia match seems to an interesting contest. Both the team have had problems with their batting with their bowlers doing a reasonable job. This is the first time I feel in an Ind V Aus encounter that both teams have an equal chance as Australia have been vulnareble with their batting in the last couple of tournaments. It was kind of dissapointing to see the Indian batters struggle once again against the WI.

The Indian batting has struggled since the WI series where they lost 4-1 after having a great run in one-day cricket prior to that. The Indians would be hoping that their most experianced players like Sachin, Rahul and Sehwag would step up to the occasion and deliver the goods on the most important game for India in the last few months.The Indian bowling was a mixed bag against WI with Irfan Pathan leaking lot of runs at the start(may be psychological, playing WI).

I am still unable to get the selection of RP Singh over Sreesanth as the former has not been able to deliver in the last 3 or 4 tournaments. Sreesanth was Indias best bowler in WI and bowled beautifully in the only match he played in the DLF cup. India should realize that we should make use of players who are in form rather than just playing people who they want to succeed. This tournament would be a big confidence booster for India as they visit SA right after this tournament.

Australia on the other hand came to India as the favorites as is the case in most of the tournaments they are involved in. They have had pretty rough time in the champions trophies prior to this and have not reached the finals even once in the previous tournaments. If I know Australia they would want to set the record straight.

I hope that this match provides a great contest and not a one-sided affair like the other matches in the tournament.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The ICC Champions Trophy - India's Chances

After the qualifying rounds and few matches into the main tournament, we already have a team out of the competition. England let themselves down with poor batting displays in both of their games so far(Vs India and Australia). Apart from the early exit of England the other teams in the tournament still remain in hunt for the semifinal berth. All the games in the tournament except for the couple of them have been one-sided contests, the exceptions being WI V Aus and Pak V Srilanka.

The competition has reached the second phase where even the slightest mistake by any of the team could ensure an early flight back home. The Indians would be really dissapointed with the scheduling of the tournament as Rahul Dravid himself expressed in the post match press conference after their win against England. A 10 day break between two matches is little too much and does not do any good for the preparation of team. The Indian batting apart from Sachin looked very much out of form against England while chasing a below par total.

The West Indians though would be flying high on confidence after defeating Australia in their first game in the main tournament. Their win against Australia has thrown the group open with all the three teams having fair chances of qualifying for the next stage of the tournament. India would be hoping for an improved performance from thier batters against West Indies which would make their life little bit easier. The bowling has done exceptionally well in the last couple of tournaments, with Munaf improving with every game and Irfan coming into his own in the game against England. The Indians would be hoping that their batting can recapture the golden run which helped them to have a wonderful season as a one-day team just few months ago.

The Indians would desperately want to win their next game as it would give them the much needed confidence when they face Australia on 29th of this month. Rahul Dravid has lots to think about regarding the composition of the team especially the batting. I would personally prefer Sachin and Sehwag opening the batting with Yuvraj or Mongia coming at one down. As Ravi Shastry said during commentary on India's first game Rahul should bat at no 5, the batting spot where he has performed exceptionally well and also would help in the team balance. Dhoni should follow Rahul followed by the bowlers with Pathan being the floating member in the batting order.

The bowling attack I guess would remain the same with Pathan and Munaf opening the attack with Agarkar, Harbajan and Powar backing them up. All in all it seems to be a cracker of a contest with everything to play for. The Indian team would be hoping for their batsmen to rediscover their form and West Indies would be just wanting to repeat their performance against the world champions. Hope we will see a great contest.