Indian cricketers are seasoned performers. They all have played enough seasons in the Sun to convince everyone of their ability to flatter and deceive alternatively. They invite the wrath of doomsayers and make soothsayer cry hysterically in joy, both look for gumption and smile of content of the performance and punctuated by a few tumbling.
They came, they blasted; they exploded.
Morne Morkel was picking up wickets during Indians tour to SAf at aroun11 per wicket was going for couple of boundaries every over. Sehwag played exceptionally well to set the tempo. Tendulkar did better than Sehwag. Mokle and Steyn the best opening bowling pair presently in the business were reduce to shambles for first 10 overs. Indians set the pace and set alight the fire-works, only to be consumed before the innings ended. Tendulkar kept the run rate up and scored and strokeful century with some power hitting, a signature of Tendulkar. He took as single and got his 99 hundred in international cricket. Indians however were left licking their wounds after that. It may prove to be a costly miss. It was amazing to see the mindset of the incoming batsmen. All of them thought they were Sehwag or Tendulkar. I hope no there entertained no thoughts of outdoing Tendulkar or Sehwag.
Gambhir is serious class and very good talent. If he wants to add explosive qualities to his batting, he should look at (Yusuf Pathan or as Harsha Bhogle calls him khade khade) Pathan. Gambhir kept moving around his crease to create angle a-la Nadal wasn’t to be. Steyn saw him moving towards leg side and bowled one a little wider and slower, Gambhir scooped a catch to mid off and the avalanche was triggered. Pathan tried hoicking one over extra-cover where big mouth Smith and took a good catch. Yuvraj played a huge six and then was caught 5 meters inside the boundaries off a Kallis full toss. Indian batsmen left no opportunity to fool themselves, even Nehra and Munaf went for ambitious shots. Dhoni, stranded in the middle perhaps the sign of things to come in the near future. I wonder if he would have promoted himself instead of Pathan.
There were so many similarities to the collapse in the match against England. The other match against the Dutch where the top order blew it up to set a tight match, dew, and Yuvraj saw India though. The end score was in paltry in comparison to projected score between 10 and 15 over. Steyn took five wickets and looked like a hungry bear in a this big bull market, clawed down over bought Indian batting line up and got wickets for his team and changed the course of this match. India would now be at the mercy of other teams as much as it to qualify for quarters. I think its time to go back to the drawing board and add to the mix the fifth bowler. The policy of playing with three & half bowlers won’t pay dividends. Bhajji should consider himself lucky to be in the playing eleven and Yuvraj seems to especially doing well notching up fifties against Netherlands. One among Yuvraj, Virat, and Gambhir has to make way for a specialist bowler that’s the need of the prevailing time.
I was wondering about couple of things one, Dhoni actually winning tosses and then Indians batting first. If we claim out batting to be stronger of the two aspects among batting and bowling, we must chase scores down. But with a tendency of collapsing and bowling getting the stick we see ropes burning pretty fast from both the ends. I hope Indian team isn’t reduced to an awesome looking calls without an engine of the four wheels neither being good enough for bullocks to cart it along.
It’s the partnerships, stupid…
One way of comparing Indian and SAf cricketing style is comparing an orchestra to drum flogging at Ganpati pandals. The Drum beating of Pandals is hysteria little to do with sense, just brawn greeted by loud cheer. SAf mean while represents a perfect classical playing orchestra every note in the right place, team working together to create harmony. There batting is always partnerships, there were a few 50s and few blows in the end, batsmen, all rounder and bowlers form the line up. There is one of the best sides in terms of fitness (fielding & running between the wickets). Even though Smith never fails to get past Zaheer, poor chap. Amla can change gears, De Villers can hit those huge sixes at will, Kallis is still mystery to a generation of Indian bowlers. SAfs crept past India. Their smart partnerships, good positive running did us in. A contrast to way we batted. We got the height but not the distance and SAfs got us in the middle of the field. It is more than worrisome time for Indian team, wicket taking bowler is fast becoming a part of the myth. Zaheer Khan looks good others look like tigers in sheep’s garb hungry and happy to graze grass.
Indians are still to beat SAf in the world cup. Will there be another chance where the two teams would meet again?
Indians have never defeated SAfs in world cup matches, so far.