Day before the second test ... boriiinngggg
Though the "statement" from Ganguly is reflecting only now on all the sites, I read one news article on the Telegraph India (www.telegraphindia.com) site today morning that said the same thing. Of all the sites that carry news / scoops whatever ... I have always found the Telegraph India to have the greatest accuracy rate in its predictions .... probably they have good contacts with the people who matter in the current Indian team management and thus get inside news .... they r not 100% accurate but I will believe the Daily Telegraph more than I believe Rediff or TOI or Hindu. That is my belief.
According to the Telegraph, Agarkar will "most likely" come in for Zaheer ... and that is the way it should be, according to me. Zaheer is the better bowler when in form but when he is so-so, it really doesn't matter .... Aggu's whimsical batting plys his ability to get Langer might be more useful than Zaheer. Yes, if Zaheer gets in his stride by the next series (or whenever) I will always opt for Zaheer over Agarkar ... but right now, Aggu looks the better bet. What a situation when we are actually cheering for Agarkar to be included ... geez, with a fit Zaheer and a in-form Balaji, Aggu wouldn't have stood a chance ... but then jab din aata hai ... tab din aata hai. Aggu has wasted a huge number of chances in his career ... lets see what he makes of this one.
SRT won't play ... and while I had the sneaking suspicion he might play this one, the Telegraph basically says he won't ... so I believe he won't. The official word hasn't come in yet though everyone from the coach, captain to the team bus driver has been quoted as saying it is "highly unlikely" which basically means shit.
So Kaif plays a test ... I think almost after 2 or 3 years .... again, it is a matter of grabbing the chance. Being selected at Number 6, it is evident that when SRT comes back, Kaif will go back to the bench but that is what is the funny aspect of the situation now ... if Yuvi makes 40 as opener and Kaif makes 80 in the middle order, when SRT comes back it will still be Kaif who will be first choice to go out. Anyway, who can see into the future ... grab the chance when u get it, Kaify pal ... at least u will be the number 1 replacement on the bench for the middle order if and when required ... currently it is Yuvi (a bit confusing coz Yuvi is also preferred as opener ... but the way I see it ... whatever position it is, Gangs has Yuvi as his first preference).
Reports also say that Ganguly has indicated that "Dravid will definitely bat at 3 and not Laxman" which is a bit dumb ... it may be plan A but if Yuvi and Sehwag do manage to make a sound start and we are above 150 when the first wicket falls (ok so I like to dream ... sue me), it might really turn the screws on the Aussies to have Laxman go in and play one of his typical innings in which no ball is good enough and no bowler able enough to get past him. Laxman has had a failure in the first match but I am hopeful simply coz guys like Laxman have no fixed agenda ... they can bat beautifully one moment and get out stupidly the next ... so if someone says Laxman is out of form while Dravid hit 60 odd in the second innings in Bangalore, I would just tell them to relax ... normal rules do not apply to Laxman.
Ganguly needs to take a big responsibility in this match ... simply coz India is without SRT and has been hammered in the first test ... truly speaking, his technique against the faster bowlers is not really confidence-inspiring but the guts shown by him frequently make up for it ... example being the first test in Australia. He needs to do one of those again here in Chennai simply coz he is the captain and he has to lead the thrust. One thing is certain ...if India look to be gaining the upper hand, no one better to go in and twist the knife in deeper ... still remember his knock in England (Edgbaston, I think ... where we won) when he came in with India slightly on top but with the possibility of the match going onto the draw and simply smashing the bowlers all over the park and converting the draw chance to a victory for India ... SRT was at the other end (he got a century too) but in my mind I am clear ... SRT's knock was good but Ganguly's knock got us the win. Batting like this just does not win matches in the second innings ... people often start thinking of the time element only from the 3rd day onwards ... the the sooner u put pressure on the opposition, the sooner they can wilt ... u don't always have to put pressure on the last couple of days.
Anyway, some faint reportings on the pitch have been finally heard ... but nothing more helpful than "it is expected to have better bounce and carry than Bangalore".... so ... what???? What is that mean? Will it bounce? Will it spin? Two fast and two slow bowlers or 3-1 in favour of spinners??? [Don't even mention 3-1 for fast bowlers as a possibility ... I just ate]. Traditionally we have had exciting matches at Chennai ... and personally, win or lose, if we get excitement till the 5th day, I will be happy ... happier if India wins but not sad if we lose. The game must be alive till the last session on the 5th day (ok, so if India wins in 4 days I won't be sad ... but that is as likely to happen as Mallika Sherawat acting in an art movie).
Other tidbits .... Lehmann is quoted as saying that if and when Ponting comes back into the team, one of him and Clarke will have to make way for him and he personally would never take Clarke out. Hmmm ... I don't know what to make of this one ... either he is extremely noble or extremely dumb, I really can't decide which. But frankly, I don't think he has a choice coz the selectors are not gonna select him or Clarke based on what Lehmann thinks .... personally I would pick Clarke anyday (particularly after seeing Lehmann's wild heaving against the Indian spinners in the first test ... he didn't look to have a clue) but then hey, let them look after their own headaches.
Seems like the Indians are looking to a documentary on Lance Armstrong for inspiration ... u know ... the cycling champ who came back from cancer and won 6 or 7 consecutive Tour De France thingies ... I am not a cycling fan but hey, u can't be wired onto the internet and not know who Lance Armstrong is or what importance the Tour De France has in the sport of cycling. Anyway, I dunno what this thing is about the Indian team constantly needing inspiration is ... During the world cup, Sandy Gordon provided the much needed motivation ... even when we went to Australia for the test series, Gordon was inducted for a session or two ... now many "experts" (personal opinion, 90% of these experts are idiots who display their stupidity the moment they open their mouth ... and many of them are found in the commentary box) are already advocating some kind of psychological help. And now the team management is seeking to inspire them by the example of Lance Armstrong .... Hey, what did I miss here ... those lakhs and lakhs of rupees in terms of match fees and contracts (when do they sign the damn things anyway? it has become like the loch ness monster ... everyone knows about it but no one has actually seen it) and playing for their country etc etc etc ... what more inspiration do they need anyway? Agreed we should learn from everyone, be it Armstrong or Legstrong but are the chappies that weak in their minds? See, the documentary as a source of inspiration is ok ... but u know, things like this can be of value at all times, good times and bad times ... one doesn't have to get destroyed in the first test of a series to watch this thing. If all it takes for the boys to get depressed is a test defeat, we r in big trouble here. SRT can't play ... we r depressed ... we lost the first test ... we r depressed ... hey I broke a nail ... I am depressed. Sheesh!!!
Enjoyed reading about the Australian fans stealing their beer from the team hotel ... heh heh ... one of them claimed to be Gilly's brother, in order to fool hotel staff but finally some of them ran away and a couple held by hotel staff ... the beer was returned and officials decided not to press charges.
Anyway, signing off now ... if I get more news before I leave office, I will put it in ... but the rate at which news has been trickling in, I don't have too much of hope.
Refreshing google news talks about the possibility of three spinners and a quote from Ganguly about "if two fast bowlers play then Zaheer will play" ... not sure what to make of this one. Lets wait and watch ... can't write more.
Ok Ok another last note I can't miss out ... those of u who read my blog and post comments ... thanx for that, I appreciate that a lot. I can't always answer any queries / comments etc but I do read all comments posted on my blog ... or at least I try to ... u can't make out without actually going through them as to whether they r new or ones that have been read ... blogspot really oughta give some way of marking stuff as "read" and keeping the rest as "unread". To the gal who said she liked my blog a lot ... ;-) ... me too .... and the guy who wondered how he hadn't found my blog before, well, its been less than a month since I started it. Yeah, the counter stands above 5000 hits but I guess I just got lucky .... an article of mine came on Rediff and carried this URL ... and a gentleman named Amit Varma from Crickinfo gave me a link from his blog 23 Yards. Thanx, mate ... I owe u one for that.
If I manage to keep this up for the next year, I will be happy that it is a regular thing ... but till then, lets just treat this blog as an experiment that seems to have started out well.