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.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

After 2nd ODI against Pak

The last time I posted was before the third test ended. Frankly, whatever I expected, I did NOT expect a loss. It is so bloody amazing that someone could lose from that position. It is amazing that a team of 11 players had only one man among them who actually made an attempt to go for a very attainable target. It is amazing that players not exactly in the best of nick (Ganguly, Tendulkar) thought they could play out an entire day without trying to score a run. It is hard to score when not in form; it is harder not to score when not in form. People keep saying - "XYZ has played cricket at the top level for 10 years / 12 years / 15 years etc ... he is the best judge of what has to be done" ... how did people who have played for 10/12/15 years not know this simple logic? Are they really the best judges?

The loss is not what pains me. It happens to the best of them and it will keep happening. What pains is the cowardly approach to the task on hand ... the tails between the legs mentality ... the shame of being represented by those bunch of wimps. One way I am glad the BCCI says the team does not represent the Indian cricket team. At least we can pretend we have nothing to do with them; who knows, the feeling of shame might reduce. Who am I fooling here?

The first test where Pakistan took a draw and the third test where they took a win just lends force to a feeling that has been building up over time. I am not saying this coz of this Pakistan series; just that this series lends weight to the argument. It is just a pattern which has consistently emerged over the past couple of years. Ever since the world cup of 2003, the Indian team has stopped learning; they have stopped their march towards the pinnacle of the cricket world. Under the Ganguly / Wright leadership, we were moving towards being a force. That all stopped with the world cup; we didn't fall back a lot but we didn't move forward an inch.

News is that John Wright is moving on. Some say he wants to spend time with his family and some say he would be applying for the coach's job in South Africa. How I hope it is true; either of the two theories; coz it is evident that John Wright has taught the Indian team whatever he was capable of teaching them. The Indian team has absorbed many a valuable lesson from the Kiwi but now the teacher seems to have nothing else to teach. Hence the same, mundane performance time and again and the same, tired excuses. Enough! Time to shelve the old and bring in the new and John Wright is well past his expiry date. After the first test, Wright talked about "India lacking the killer instinct" ... Yep, that was evident to all of us but we even used to talk about it before Wright became coach. The coach righted many wrongs in the Indian team, taught them a lot, brought along a lot of discipline in the team but as he himself said "They lack the killer instinct" ... maybe he should have said "After 4 years of of my trying, they STILL lack the killer instinct ... I have no clue what to do about it."

Blaming the coach for all ills would not be very kind coz he is not the only ailment for a team filled with promise. From the players point of view, the rot starts right at the top where Ganguly holds onto a spot that I could seriously challenge for, if it is to be decided on merit. I am sure I couldn't score less than what he does. A lucky inside edge or two and I might even outscore him.

Ganguly's test career exists today coz he is the captain of the Indian team (or the BCCI team, whichever). Till the time he is captain, India will always go into a match one batsman down. He can talk about a lean patch and scoring runs in the past and not scoring only in the recent test or two ... he can talk all he wants but it is my opinion that Sourav Ganguly will lose his test spot the day he loses his captaincy. It is my opinion that Sourav Ganguly is no longer capable of batting at the test level. That, however, is different from his being the captain of the test team.

The two are different, and make no mistake about it. As an on field captain, he was never brilliant even when results suggested he was the best. His strength lay as the off field motivator / planner / team - builder for which even his critics would not grudge him his due. It may sound cruel but the task is more or less done. When Ganguly took over the captaincy, there was no cohesion and no direction. It took Ganguly 4 long years to build the team that exists today but today it is he that stops it from aiming higher. He has made the structure of the team and that was the hard job. Today the structure is weakened by a Ganguly who takes up a spot in the eleven. Sounds cruel as I write it but the statement also has a ring of soundness to it.

Many argue it is a matter of form and like Ganguly backed Yuveraj / Sehwag / Bhajji etc, it is time for him to be backed. However, it must be noted that none of Sehwag / Bhajji / Yuveraj were captain of the team and none of them were automatic choices in the team. I have nothing against Ganguly battling the contenders for the spot in the eleven ... May the best man win ... but I have every objection to having a man up top who doesn't get his place on merit. The very principle of the argument is incorrect. Bhajji fought his way back; Yuveraj fought his way back; Sehwag did too; Let Ganguly fight his way back ... who objects?

Ganguly's batting has deteriorated over time and it will take time for him to re-discover his talents. He might never do it. One thing is certain and that is that he will not re-discover those talents while day in and day out, he is thinking about declarations, batting line ups, bowling combinations and so on. So backing him today will be of no use unless u give him the time to improve and that time will come only when he is no longer part of the national team. He may become the Ganguly of old or he may not but one way or other, team India will benefit coz they can play an on-field contributor.

In the first two ODIs, Ganguly has scored miserably but I do not despair for him where ODIs are concerned. He was the best ODI batsman in the team two years back and if not the best, he can still dish it out. In ODIs, I feeling it is more of a matter of getting him the correct batting slot. Simply put, ODI cricket doesn't require the talents that test cricket does and the deterioration of Ganguly's talents thus don't affect him a lot in ODI cricket. You don't require to be "God on the off side" if the simple plan in ur mind is to step out of the crease and tonk them over covers and point.

My assessment of India's test fortunes is simple - John Wright is right. India lacks the killer instinct. That is all separates this team from greatness ... ok, that might sound exaggerated but lets put it this way - that is all that separates it from being a challenger to Australia. We have good results against Australia (not withstanding the home series defeat recently) but simply put - If India and Australia play 10 matches, I would back Australia to win 8-2 every time ... I know India will have its days ... but I also know Australia will have more. It could be 8-2 for India but for that they need that missing ingredient - killer instinct. John Wright as coach and Ganguly as captain cannot provide it.

They say Greg Chappell is the hot contender for the coach's job. True or false, if an Aussie can't succeed in making this team a winner, no one will.

Wanted to post on Dhoni but just don't have time. Many times I want to say - "Man, his play is so ugly ... whether it be his shotmaking or his stance while keeping" ... but used properly, this guy could be our Gilchrist. I am not kidding here ... Gilchrist is much much much more finely tuned but this guy is a raw diamond ... how he is polished now really depends on him and the team management. Hmmm ... actually it requires a Ganguly ... lol ... naah, it requires a sensible man at the head of affairs. Whoever it is must remember one thing - when one has a sword, one should not try to pluck flowers with it ... one should try cutting steel ... Dhoni should be utilized in the way he is most destructive and not be a project for "lets make a batsman out of him ... lets teach him the leg glance ... lets teach him to defend the ball after hitting a four ... lets teach him to keep bat and pad close together". Basically, we need an Aussie to propel the weapon called Dhoni.

Make no mistake ... Dhoni is no complete batsman ... his technique might be worse than Ganguly's and that is saying a lot ... he scored 148 last match and he might edge the first ball to the keeper in the next. But the combination of his decent keeping and his match winning batting ability makes him a winner in my book ... both at the test and ODI level.

Cheers

The Chuckster

4 Comments:

  • At Wednesday, April 06, 2005 7:24:00 AM, Blogger worma said…

    Hey, first of all let me agree that India played bad cricket on last day of bangalore test. And they lost, enough punishment I would think. And with that went a series they should have won 2-0 in the worst case !

    But I dont agree with most of what else you have said. Briefly, here's why.

    People playing 10/15 years of cricket are the best judge how to act on the field, on an average. Doesnt mean that its true all the time, but it does mean that they give better results than the lesser experienced. I think the general realisation is there in the Indian team that the defensive tactic was not good after all (they should still have played for a draw, but probably in the mould of what Aus did against Ind in the sydney test, so always threatening enough for a victory push such that Ganguly still had to use some defensive fields, and not 10 players around the bat :-)

    Playing for a draw is not always cowardly. Not everyone is Virendra-Sehwag-in-top-form. Most of the players are at different form levels. Aus also played for a draw in Sydney. They are far from cowards. I dont think many teams (not definitely Aus) could have won this match. Not unless they had 4 or 5 such Sehwag-in-top-form players. But thats hypothetical. The approach was wrong as I said earlier.

    What pattern is emerging since the World Cup. Dude once you say that you dont take ODIs as seriously as tests, then you fail to see the developement pattern in tests SINCE the world cup. The Aus series levelling was post world cup, Pak series win was post WC. And we cud easily have won/drawn Aus series at home (not many teams can do that !)Even if we came close, thats a development (forget 2001 series, that kind of stuff is really hard to maintain)

    Tendulkar is not in bad form in test matches, he could (and I would say should) have played the full day. He was in good form if you had seen him bat. Dravid should have been able to. Laxman and Karthik should have been able to support.

    Ganguly is in bad form, but not enough to be sent out of team. Check what I said about this earlier http://worma.blogspot.com/2005/03/so-when-is-dada-leaving.html
    And why should he be given 'less than normal' chances just because he is captain, or is part of team that has bigger batting stars. Yuv/kaif may turn out big stars, but doesnt mean Gang shud not be given a fair run, something which he did to his juniors (yuv/kaif/zaheer/sehwag all had poor runs) They did not get chucked and fight their way back. they fought back into form while in the team ! By your logic of picking best 11 on merit, we may have to keep rotating even players like dravid, saching, sehwag (check out his ODI form before Pak series). How many chances qualify as 'enough' before throwing out ??

    And India does not lack killer instinct in general (well not any more than any non-Aus team). Why do you judge by B'lore last day. If lacking killer instinct means being second best test team (well almost, had they been better on b'lore last day ) then we should take it.

    You say 'My assessment of India's test fortunes is simple'...well India's fortunes are pretty good, and if we keep growing at same path in tests (Wright/Chappel or whosoever) then we are pretty good. You forget that the growth of test team has been pretty well....we drew few good series, then started winning....and now its time when we can say that any home or abroad test series of India would be, at the least, well competed. This is a huge statement for any team of today, and ofcourse in context of earlier Indian team, this is heaven !

    You say "Make no mistake ... Dhoni is no complete batsman ... his technique might be worse than Ganguly's and that is saying a lot .." .....so now Ganguly's technique is bad...after making so many runs...not only his form, but his 'technique' is also bad ??? What do you say about Sehwag's technique ?? And what would you say about it if he hass 20 test innings failures (I mean no century for 20 innings, which seems to be the Indian failure criteria !!)

    I feel it was a bad judgement on last day of Bangalore, and price paid. Nothing more. This is a team dedicated to play for winning more than any other Indian team. Lets hope that they maintain that focus. Nothing more needed.

     
  • At Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:40:00 PM, Blogger triplehdanny said…

    Hey Stupid Peoples, Cricket all waste, just playing, im Danny here from INDIA, Bangalore city..
    Cricket is totally waste u know, it's really boring, just hiting the ball, n cating, shit man, what a waste time, especialy, the indian fuckers, i mean, cricketers, ofcoz im an indian, i born in the garden city of indian, the Bangalore city, im saying this, ok.. im danny infront of wrestlng, there's nothing.. u take THE WORLD HEAVY WEIGHT CHAMPION TRIPLE H, HE'S THE BEST GUY, I VE BLASTED EVERYBODY, BECOZ HE WANT THE BELT, C GUYS, INDIAN PLAYER SHUD PLAY LIKE TRIPLEH, I DO ACCEPT HE DOES CHEAT ALL THAT, BUT IN THE MAIN EVENT, FOR THE WORLD TAINAL MATCH, HE'S LOSSES HIS BLOOD, FOR BELT, N HE WILL BE THE GAME OF WINING THE GAME THE TRIPLEH, HE'LL RETAIN, HIS WORLD CHAMPION, SO BE LIKE TRIPLEH, NOT LIKE INDIAN BLEDY CRICKETS.. BASTARD.. FUCKERS.. REGARDS, INDIAN DANNY, IM FROM INDIA, FROM BANGALORE CTY.. EMAIL ME AT triplehdanny@yahoo.com

     
  • At Wednesday, May 25, 2005 10:41:00 PM, Blogger triplehdanny said…

    Hey Stupid Peoples, Cricket all waste, just playing, im Danny here from INDIA, Bangalore city..
    Cricket is totally waste u know, it's really boring, just hiting the ball, n cating, shit man, what a waste time, especialy, the indian fuckers, i mean, cricketers, ofcoz im an indian, i born in the garden city of indian, the Bangalore city, im saying this, ok.. im danny infront of wrestlng, there's nothing.. u take THE WORLD HEAVY WEIGHT CHAMPION TRIPLE H, HE'S THE BEST GUY, I VE BLASTED EVERYBODY, BECOZ HE WANT THE BELT, C GUYS, INDIAN PLAYER SHUD PLAY LIKE TRIPLEH, I DO ACCEPT HE DOES CHEAT ALL THAT, BUT IN THE MAIN EVENT, FOR THE WORLD TAINAL MATCH, HE'S LOSSES HIS BLOOD, FOR BELT, N HE WILL BE THE GAME OF WINING THE GAME THE TRIPLEH, HE'LL RETAIN, HIS WORLD CHAMPION, SO BE LIKE TRIPLEH, NOT LIKE INDIAN BLEDY CRICKETS.. BASTARD.. FUCKERS.. REGARDS, INDIAN DANNY, IM FROM INDIA, FROM BANGALORE CTY.. EMAIL ME AT triplehdanny@yahoo.com

     
  • At Thursday, September 20, 2007 12:29:00 AM, Anonymous aquabot said…

    Still I believe that India's fortunes are pretty good, and if we keep growing at same path in tests (Wright/Chappel or whosoever) then we are pretty good. You forget that the growth of test team has been pretty well...There's definitely be an improve performance in the next games....

     

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