One-Day Mataram

Deconstructing the gentleman's game

Indian batsmen lose the plot again

In the end, it looked much more exciting than it actually was! Agarkar's late burst could do little to reverse the dwindling fortunes of an Indian team that just did not seem motivated enough to win. The match was, in fact, lost earlier in the day when the Indian batsmen failed to put a high price on their wickets, gifting them away by committing some embarrassingly basic errors! And these errors were compounded later in the day by some inaccurate fast bowling (12 wides!!). The only lot from the Indian side that came away unscathed were the spinners who kept the Indian hopes alive all along. Now the Indians go into a do-or-die encounter against Australia on Sunday... on a Mohali pitch that offers pace and bounce!

Batsmen forget the basics
Invited to bat first, the Indians should have scored at least in the vicinity of 260. Instead, we had Sehwag, Pathan and Tendulkar perishing by playing shots without any movement of the feet. Sehwag, in particular has continued to disappoint in ODIs. Recently, while speaking with a cricket-writer friend of mine, I complained about Sehwag's poor form and the need to drop him from the team. I was told that the justification for Sehwag's presence in the team was his ability to produce a stunning knock out of the blue... and that his average was, in any case, in the thirties. I found this logic quite surprising. Of course one can't produce huge scores in every match or even once every 2 or 3 matches, but the scores between the 'stunners' have to be consistently decent enough to justify your presence in the team. And Sehwag simply does not cut it with his pathetic form and an apparent refusal to consider revising his technique.

If Sehwag, Pathan and Tendulkar were found wanting in their footwork department, Rahul Dravid forgot the basics by showing a lax attitude while running a tight single. He was one more batsman who gifted away his wicket. Only Dhoni showed maturity beyond his ODI experience. His painfully slow start was compensated by some 'seen-to-be-believed' shots later in the innings. In the final analysis 223 was too low a score to pose a challenge to the West Indies.

Wrong selection handicapped Indian attack
I don't really blame the bowlers. There's not much one can do when a batsman like Gayle unleashes his array of shots. The agony gets compounded when he's given a life. Munaf Patel once again showed why he's regarded so highly by his peers in and out of the Indian team. RP Singh, however, was a misfit. I wrote in my pre-match post yesterday that RP looks ordinary without swinging conditions to help him. And he proved me right with a short and wayward spell. Agarkar seemed out of sorts in his first spell but managed to pull it together, to an extent, with his late burst that brought India into the contest once again. Another thing I wrote in my post yesterday was the need to introduce spinners within the first 20 overs. And to his credit, Rahul Dravid did just that! Bhajji, bowling with a dry and hard ball, wove a web of magic around the WI batsmen. It was a pleasure to see him bowl! Sehwag's contribution with the ball was commendable. But that still does not get him off the hook! He's in the team to score runs and if he doesn't do that, let him stay out!!

More 'heart' required
All in all, it was an average performance by the Indians which was in stark contrast to the inspired performance put in by the South Africans and the Kiwis in their matches couple of days ago. Now a determined Australia await India at Mohali... with a potent firepower that suits the Mohali pitch! If Indians cannot go past them on Sunday, they only have themselves to blame for wasting a golden opportunity against West Indies at Ahmedabad!

0 Responses to “Indian batsmen lose the plot again”

Post a Comment