Thursday, March 17, 2011

No Pace = No Peace !

My last post was my most serious ever. That emanated from the fact that I am depressed with the way Team India have struggled during this cup. But looking back, I gave India no chances of winning at all.
From the day Munaf got that Man of the Match award in South Africa, I knew India were doomed. Why do I believe so ? Just look at our opponents from that series. South Africa are playing this cup without the man who got more wickets and bowled much better than Munaf during the same match and the same series.
Why do I dislike Munaf Patel ? As much as the Team members, Captain and Selectors repose faith in him, I strongly believe Munaf is not the guy we need in our campaign if we want to win. And why do I ‘believe’ so ? Let us look at Munaf’s repertory.
What He is: Decent line and length bowler. Can keep it in the corridor with the new ball.
What He ain’t: At best a trundler. No Pace. No Yorker. No Bouncer. Not much Reverse Swing. Regularly bowls length balls at death. Can’t run to save his own life or that of his wife. Batting is a single digit lottery; you win once in one million chances.
How can India depend on a bowler who depends upon the pressure created at the other end or by huge scores to survive ? He has got 9 wickets to his credit so far. But at what cost ? Except the Bangladesh match, he has consistently gone for runs when it mattered the most. People remember Nehra went for 13 runs in the last over. But they have forgotten Munaf went for 14 in the 48th over against Saffers. He also bowled a pathetic last over against England.
Unfortunately the wise men in the garbs of Selectors left Team India with no other options. Dhoni’s zeal for Piyush Chawla is tough to understand. That boy hasn’t played any meaningful ODI Cricket for ages. The selectors should have known with the “Handle with Care” tag that both Ashish and Zaheer come, we should have had one more Pacer in the 15 member army.
Piyush Chawla will go down in the history as the costliest blunder ever by a bunch of Selectors. I am not being wise in retrospection. I have from the beginning believed Nehra, Munaf and Piyush were misfits and said so.
We are now facing a possibility of a second successive first round exit at the World Cup. Many people believe India have already qualified for the Quarters. But that is far from true. There are so many possibilities.
Imagine England beat West Indies by a big margin tonight. West Indies then rout India on Sunday, again with a big margin. And Bangladesh upset Saffers, India will probably be pipped to the post by England. How do we like that ? Though there are a lot of ifs, it isn’t impossible.
And if that happens, we needn’t worry about our combination for the next round. Our highest paid players can straightaway start preparations for IPL-4. There is some relief. Only an Indian Team will win IPL, come what may !
What is the Carry Home message ?
Australia have Lee, Johnson and Tait; all doing well.
Saffers have Steyn and Morkel, the best pair in the business today.
England have a ready Pace replacement for every Pace bowler that gets injured.
Pakistan have Aqthar, Gul and Riaz and a factory of Fast bowlers.
Sri Lanka have Malinga and a bunch of disciplined medium pacers.
West Indies have Roach, Russel and a number of support bowlers.
New Zealand have Southee, Mills, Franklin and many slow medium pacers.
What do India have ?
Zaheer Khan !
Don’t even mention Nehra and Munaf. We already have seen them, discussed them and done with. Sreesanth ? He doesn’t have the confidence of his own Captain.
So the situation is simple…
No Pace = No Peace !
That is “The End” !
Govind Raj Shenoy for DieHard Cricket Fans

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