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.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

SL series - 2 matches down

It is a fun world out there in Sri Lanka right now with Ganguly having joined the team. He isn't captain; he isn't sure of getting back the captaincy once this series is over; he isn't even sure of making the final eleven.

Many believe that Ganguly would be a relieved man now that his ban has been reduced and he is back in action. However, firstly the Sach judgement was nothing but a compromise and everyone knows that. Ganguly's stand that his ban was unjustified has been rejected and getting an unjust ban (according to him and the BCCI) reduced is no victory. Anyway what is done is done and he is back but the ban has really left him the leader of an army of one.

The media is always sensitive to headline stories whether they exist or not and the game has already started. Pass ur peepers over these two samples -

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/007200508020333.htm?headline=Ganguly~unhappy~at~not~being~selected~for~Asian~XI

Lines quoted from the above article - "In the afternoon in the team hotel Dravid was with the coach Greg Chappell at one end of the table discussing team strategy, while Ganguly sat at the other alone with the Indian think tank refusing to get him into the discussion."

And one from the Indian Express - http://www.indianexpress.com/full_story.php?content_id=75497?headline=Prince~plays~commoner~with~a~smile~and~shrug

And yet another from the Telegraph India -

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1050803/asp/frontpage/story_5068096.asp

I am sure much of this would be masala but one thing is certain; there would be tremendous confusion in the ranks right now as to how Ganguly should be treated. If the BCCI had made t clear (and they haven't irrespective of what u may read as quotes from realiable sources) that Ganguly would be captain once the series is over, then Gangs has to be part of the think tank here. Now that the BCCI has just left it open, it is an awkward situation for Dravid more than Ganguly. For Ganguly, it is a simple matter of nothing being in his hands and just to go out there and play the best he can. For Dravid, the situation is different. His treatment of Ganguly in this tournament would come back to haunt him if Ganguly becomes skipper in the next tournament.

I squarely blame the BCCI for this situation. Either the selectors (Read BCCI) should have made up their mind that Dravid was a stand in captain and made it clear to everyone. Or they should have made up their mind that Dravid was the permanent captain and made that clear too. They have sought to take the safe way out of a sticky situation by simply not saying anything. This gives them the advantage of acting with the knowledge of both Ganguly and Dravid's performance in this series. Good move by the selectors where their own advantage is concerned ... but a bad move where Ganguly and Dravid are concerned.

I look forward to many more stories of how Ganguly was snubbled by the team management or how he was treated deferentially by them. How the players break up into pro-Dravid and pro-Ganguly camps. Etc etc etc. Some people think the media is irresponsible in the way it covers these situations. For me, personally, forming an opinion has less about the headline and more about reading between the words of a hundred different articles. Usually that gives a pretty accurate picture, not to speak of the immense amusement at some of the articles based purely on the writer's imaginations than on anything remotely resembling facts.

If Ganguly plays (and I believe he will play), he should play as opener. Simply put, he was our best ODI bat before he gave up the slot for the Sehwag / Tendulkar combination. The idea there was to try out an idea - Greg Chappell seemingly has a radical approach in trying out ideas but the Gangs / Wright duo tried out a few of their own and due credit should be given irrespective of the result - and now we know that the idea doesn't work, it is time to go back to the old style which did work. Yes, Ganguly of today is two years older than when he gave up his slot and cricket changes a lot over two years but simply, you cannot go beyond without trying him out. I am not saying he will succeed coz over the two years the bowlers might have become better and he might have lost some of his skills BUT ... u cannot look beyond Ganguly without seeing what he can still do. It would be foolhardy to push a Raina or a Rao into a slot just for the heck sakes of trying ... if a 32 year old can do the job better than a 23 or 19 year old, then so be it. Everyone is talking of the world cup and if Ganguly was 35 now I would also call for fresh blood; he is 32 and not too old for the next world cup.

Frankly, the idea of Sehwag as an opener in ODI has never appealed to me. As a test opener, yes ... as a ODI opener, no. Simply put he hasn't yet mastered the art of the ODI game ... it is just slam bang cricket for him ... and that is not working. His batting average is pathetic for someone with his ability; someone who has proven himself in tests. Someday Sehwag might be a great opener in ODIs but that day is not today. If we have to get the maximum out of Sehwag today, we have to find a slot for him. And it is not opening.

My thoughts on the other opener slot is clear ... VVS Laxman. Otherwise if he has to play, it has to be at 3 and even there if the openers do a good job (and the objective, even if not achieved, has to be a great opening partnership) and Laxman comes in only after the 20th over or so, his usefulness is really curtailed.

Personally I want Sehwag and Dhoni down the order at 5, 6 or 7. India has never had an explosive lower middle order and these guys have the potential to absolutely demolish all opposition in the end overs. Even while chasing, a Sehwag / Dhoni blitzkreig for five overs might just make the difference between losing and winning. From some of Dravid's recent comments, the team management has already started thinking of Dhoni at number 6 or 7 but whether they transition Sehwag is another matter. Hope they do. Also interesting would be Ganguly's take on this if he does indeed take back the captaincy in the next series. Ganguly never has been a fan of Laxman in the ODI scene and he also sees Dhoni being more useful somewhere up top. Lets wait and watch.

From reports in the Telegraph (a site that more often than not turns out accurate), Yuveraj and Zaheer would sit out the match coz of fever and injury respectively and Kumble would make his return, with Bhajji retaining his spot. That leaves one of Raina and Rao to take up the final slot (from Telegraph reports, JP Yadav is not in the fray for the upcoming match) and Raina's bowling might just give him the edge.

Another item of interest was Ganguly not making the squad for the Asia vs Africa series where some of the selectors (Ravi Shastri, Majid Khan among others) reportedly threatened to walk out if pressure was brought upon them to include Ganguly's name in the list. Dravid and Sehwag make the list ... and really, Ganguly is not in the greatest of form but Sehwag ahead of him in an ODI team???? Wierd people, these selectors.

Anyway guys, Sania Mirza qualifies for the main round of yet another good tournament, the Acura Classic where she has the clearest path yet to get a good result. Uptil now her luck has been such that she has run into a Venus, Serena or a Kutzensova in the second round ... this time from what I can see of the draw, she doesn't run into a big name till at least quarter finals or so (didn't look so close ... even could be semi finals). Anyway she has moved to world no 59 and hopefully by the time the US Open gets over, she will be in the 40-50 ranking range. Good going, girl. BTW, just saw that she has cleared the first round at the Acura Classic. Three cheers!!!

Anyway if I think of something worth sharing, I will make a post. Really missing being at home with interesting cricket going on ... the internet can really satisfy one so much.

Chalo cheers

The Chuckster

4 Comments:

  • At Sunday, August 07, 2005 5:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    http://ww1.mid-day.com/sports/international/2005/august/115729.htm

    Ian Chappell is right on here.

     
  • At Tuesday, August 09, 2005 1:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Its high time we stop supporting the Indian players..may be we shud send an under-19 team to represent us. They will be unprofessional but highly spirited and motivates. the current team is a bunch of losers !!

     
  • At Thursday, August 11, 2005 11:14:00 PM, Blogger geekgod said…

    What is Greg Chappel doing? He is not going to be part of the selection of the captain. http://cricket.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1197945.cms. I dont think Wright ever did this.

     
  • At Friday, August 12, 2005 5:57:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ha ha Another farce by Indian selectors to test Ganguly's captaincy against the minnows Zimbabwe which at their loweeeeeessst point.



    http://content.cricinfo.com/ci/content/story/215822.html

    While the selection of Ganguly had been perceived as little more than a formality, the shortness of tenure granted to him means that his form with the bat and the performance of the team under him will be under scrutiny.



    In the last test NZ-Zim
    NZ made 294 on the first day and Zim got all out twice in the same day for 59 and 99
    http://live.cricinfo.com/db/ARCHIVE/2005-06/NZ_IN_ZIM/SCORECARDS/NZ_ZIM_T1_07-11AUG2005.html

    and Ganguly's strength is going to be tested against such a side? idiots!

     

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