Beer, Chips and Cricket

This is a site about drinking beer, eating chips and thinking cricket. I am not a former player, a television commentaror or a journalist; my qualification to being worthy of hearing is that I drink a lot of beer, eat a lot of chips and think a lot about cricket. The thoughts need not be politically correct and often include colourful language but there will be no deliberate bias towards any player, community or state. I don't care about popular opinion or perceptions and I speak it as I see it.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Keeper and Bangladesh ODIs

It was a good feeling I got when I read about the ODI team to Bangladesh. Yes, it is not going to be a great series or something but it shows some promise of good things to come.

We all wanted to know for some time what MS Dhoni could do. What with Ganguly intent on showing his loyalty to Patel despite repeated horrors and Dinesh Karthik being touted as the next big thing, I was wondering if Dhoni would get a look in without giving Karthik a raw deal. So taking Karthik for the tests and Dhoni for the ODIs sounds good ... Dhoni is supposed to be the dasher while Karthik is supposed to be the more accomplished batsman ... so Karthik for tests and Dhoni for ODIs sounds good, at least when we are in the mood for experimentation. These things are small but so important and so easy to screw up ... I still remember Rahul Dravid making his debut in ODIs and really struggling ... it was obvious to one and all that he had class written all over him but he just didn't cut it in the chances he got. Thankfully for Indian cricket, he did get his chances in test cricket and made the best of them.

S. Sriram is an example of what could have been ... I am not placing Sriram and Dravid on equal terms here but Sriram's strength was supposed to be test cricket and he was considered quite promising at one point of time (not that he is considered bad now ... in fact he is in the ODI team too to Bangladesh where he will no doubt hone his drinks-carrying skills) and went to Australia on a BCCI program etc ... but he made his debut in ODIs, flunked pretty bad in the 5 or 6 chances he got and never played a test. What could have been .... we will never know.

A few people suggested to me that Dhoni will most probably warm the bench in Bangladesh since Ganguly is so intent on playing 7 batsmen. An ODI series elsewhere and an ODI series against Bangladesh are two different things and I have no doubts in my mind that Dhoni will get his chances coz making Dravid keep in these ODIs would just be tiring him out for no reason at all. Hell, they could make Ganguly keep wickets and still win the ODI series comfortably. Laxman's absence will also play a part here coz it is always difficult to have a player like Laxman in the squad and not play him. To be fair to the selectors, Laxman despite his good performances against Australia has never been convincing as a ODI batsman. This gives us a good chance to evaluate Dhoni because all said and done, playing Dravid as a keeper is ok; in fact I have always been an active supporter of the move; the point is the next world cup where Dravid will be no longer as young and fit as he is today. In the recent world cup, he was young enough to take the load; he probably won't be for the next world cup.

Kumble's absence from the squad is another good move; I really don't know if he was dropped or he opted out (reports suggest he opted out but in Indian cricket one never knows) but we all know they will play one spinner in ODIs in most cases and it will be Harbhajan. Kumble has done his bit for king and country this year and meaningless drivel against Bangladesh is best avoided. As suggested by many people, I would even advocate his retiring from ODIs to concentrate on test cricket because really, the past year has been a rebirth for his test career and ODI cricket will not really help. His decision, of course, but I think Kumble's days in ODI cricket are numbered.

Closing note on Tendulkar's batting ... all TV channels seem to be debating on whether he is as good as he was and whether he still is the best batsman in the world etc and it is fun watching these programs if only for entertainment value; what was surprising was that even among Mumbai people, there were quite a few who felt he was past his best etc etc etc. My sister lives in Mumbai and I have no regional bias but I have always believed that a Mumbai guy will only praise Tendulkar, come what may. It was surprising to see fans from Mumbai talking about his waning powers.

To finish off, take a look at this link, if u haven't already seen it. It is a nice one. A couple of things are striking - the drastic change in percentage of shots in the cover / point region which is what gave Tendulkar that classy touch (of course that straight drive too) and increase in on side play and play towards third man. Damn, u don't need to be Sachin Tendulkar to open the face of the bat towards third man. The covers are what u gotta aim at when u r Sachin Tendulkar ... coz that is something not everyone does as easily as he did in his heydeys.

Click this link

BTW, I saw that six SRT hit on the last day of the Kolkata test ... came down and hit it far and long with the ease of old. In the recent past, he has been mis-hitting these more often than not and probably that is why he tries to avoid this shot. I was watching some old match on TEN SPORTS and watched SRT and Sidhu take some bowlers to the cleaners, repeatedly coming down the track to the slow bowlers and creaming them over long on and long off. Sighhhhh!

Cheers

The Chuckster

6 Comments:

  • At Friday, December 03, 2004 5:22:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No matter what others say, Tendulkar is still genius. The shots to thrid man shows his maturity. He is growing with age. We are yet to see the best of him !

    Frank

     
  • At Friday, December 03, 2004 5:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I hope that Dhoni gets his chances to prove his skills. One has to get atleast 10 overs of batting to display some skills and it is difficult to see a no.7 or 8 coming by the 40th over when B'desh bowls; but, let me not get ahead of myself. Anything is possible in Indian crikcet.
    Selecting Sriram in the one day drinks carrying squad is a farce. He is too perfect a bat for tests and his career is almost killed like many a TN bat of the past -for example - Sharath (still stroking 100s by the bucket in Ranji) and Abdul Jabbar (probably the most useful bat produced by TN). I never understood, why they can not select Ramkumr, the TN left arm spinner. He has been taking 5 wickets in almost every innings he bowls for the last 2 years..as usual, another anti TN act..
    Kalyan, Houston, USA

     
  • At Sunday, December 05, 2004 5:30:00 PM, Blogger kappax from Oz said…

    Hey Anon,

    Looks like I am the only other person who seems to be noticing B Ramkumar's performance... check my "bench strength" blog at http://cricketpoliticsandlife.blogspot.com/

    Where is Tanveer Abdul Jabbar now??? seems to have vanished completely.. I too have heard quite a bit about him.. has he also gone to play for some other state like Vasanth Saravana who is playing for Assam...

    methinks Dhoni will play most of the ODI's & Dravid days as keeper are over... lets see.. will blog about why I think that way soon...

    cheers,
    kappax

     
  • At Tuesday, December 07, 2004 6:12:00 PM, Blogger Ray Romano said…

    Good blog there and I agree on your comment on Tendulkar. He is past his best and true fans of Tendulkar would be pained to see him bat the way he has been at it the last few months (couple of years).

    About Kappax and Anon's comment on TN players - one of the issues that I have often noticed about TN players is their aloofness while being picked for the Indian side. PArt of the reason could be their lack of conversational skills in Hindi and partly cultural. TN guys tend to maintain a distance (WV Raman, Robin Singh, Ramesh are just a few examples - Krish Srikkanth being the notable exception) and this could also be a reason why these guys get picked and then dropped almost immediately.

    Networking is crucial in Indian cricket - you got to do that when you get selected for at zone level, under-19 under-25 and India A levels. That usually gets people to talk about you even when you are not playing. The Indian captain would also then notice you.

    Let us hope Kaarthick utilises his chances and improves - he has not been spectacular so far but is showing signs of improvement. Not very sure about his batting though.

    Ramkumar is one who does not get the required media exposure. Very similar to one Sunil Subramanian of the TN Ranji team who used to pick wickets by the bucketful.

     
  • At Wednesday, December 08, 2004 8:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Ray Ramano's comments about TN Players are very appropriate. You can look at the reason why someone like Sriram never moves up the ladder because he looks a typical introvert. I am not saying that social skills alone are going to get them there but it certainly helps to have them especially when there is a boderline selection issue. Most selection issues in recent years are for one or 2 players only (with the rest getting themselves selected) and hence one needs every kind of ace up their sleeve to clinch those sundry spots. I thought that Balaji (who thankfully does not appear to the average dour Madras boy) made up some of these skills during the Pak tour but his injury has certainly not done good to his chances. Coming back to the Jabbar issue, I was talking about ABDUL JABBAR, who single handedly championed TN batting for a decade and not Tanveer Jabbar, who played for a few matches here and there.
    MS Dhoni seems to be a great pick. He has the knack of clattering big scores from his early cricketing days and I hope that he gets his share of luck. I also feel that Dinesh Kaarthik did some damage to his own cause by batting too slowly in Cal. What happened is that he was perhaps scared with his place on the block and went into a shell. If only he has scored a quick 80 or 90, which was not impossible with the straightforward SA bowling, he would have defintely become the keeper in both versions..
    Kalyan, Houston, USA

     
  • At Tuesday, December 14, 2004 2:18:00 AM, Blogger ananth said…

    welcome back chuckster!
    infact got bored of checking in for ur posts that I stopped peeping in and suddenly found a few posts..hmm..way to go..(remeber ur promises of being a good boy after marriage - not only to her to us too!)

    abt tendul - I feel all our frustrations are very right..he is not the same self that we got to see few years back! am sure he has temporarily lost his class(form?) or is hiding some real bad injury..either way he is not doing justice to the game nor viewers/fans..

    or a wild chance that he might be forced by some "penalty clause" by his rulers aka sponsors;-)

    as for wright - and may I include gangs here..they both have done wonders and deserve a top place in the annals of cricket but now they should move a few feet from the dresing room - to the press box or commentary box!

     

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