Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Where Art Thy Bowler?

India and Sri Lanka. Two very similar sub-continental teams, both going through the same problems. If you look carefully, both these teams in the test arena especially were built around these key ingredients:
1. One quality spin doctor.
© Getty Images, AFP
2. One quality left arm quick.
© Getty Images, AFP
3. One seriously flat deck.
© Getty Images, AFP
The bowling recipe quite literally went as far as this save for a few dopey missed selections (Mendis, Zoysa, M.Kartik) and some early unwanted retirements (Malinga). Hampering the situation are those who didn’t retire when they should (Harbhajan), flash-in-the-pan players (Sreesanth,  Fernando) and an assortment of other rubbish (Agarkar). Inevitably, the whole job was left to the number one spin man and his able deputy. And so the game plan became quite literally:
  • Post 500+
  • Take the game to the fifth day.
  • Toss the ball to the spinner.
  • Bring out the champagne.
Of course this didn’t work very well overseas, but lately they at least manage to secure drawn results and push their way up the rankings.
But times have changed! Injuries to Zaheer, the retirements of Kumble and Murali, and the ignorance of Vaas have turned the tables. England and Australia have begun to expose this, showing us all that once the ageing batting machines misfire, there is almost nothing left to save the day. As I write, Sri Lanka are on the verge of a series loss to Australia at home, and India are going through a series in England without a single victory.
Why? Because these teams owed so much to the lion-hearted efforts of these four. Manfully they would toil away on dead pitches single handedly, without regret and often with less credit than they deserve. Especially Kumble, he was just as important as any Tendulkar or Dravid. And now that they are gone, the blind optimism that the backup bowlers could take over the mantle is being shown for the ridiculous notion it is. They have neither the mettle nor the skill.
To what do we owe this? The batting tracks don’t help for once, neither does the rise of Twenty 20 cricket and the IPL. Nobody seems to want to grow up and be a quality bowler from these two nations, and the results are beginning to show. Cricket is a simple game, there is a team consisting of batsmen, bowlers, and a wicket-keeper. If you go in with no bowlers, expect to lose.This is a salute to the heroes who didn’t get their due credit. At The Cricket Musings, you are gone but not forgotten, remember the only guarantees in life are death, taxes and a Chris Martin duck.
Contributed by : Varun Prasad
Original Post : The Cricket Musings

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