Monday, October 24, 2011

Back to Winning Ways

My last post on 14th August pointed out reasons for India’s loss in England, so if a cricket fan is there to point out the mistakes of his team and criticize their performance then it’s the duty of a fan to also appreciate good performance and bring out the good points
First of all congratulations to Team India on the winning series, although the captain cool MS Dhoni is saying that this is not a payback series or a revenge series but as a cricket lover this series was a matter of lost pride. A loss here would have really created doubts on the commitment of the team and especially the loss would have come after the champion’s league which would have again given a chance to people to criticize IPL and CL T-20. This series loss would have also affected the morale of Team India. Although I feel people are actually not appreciating this performance of the team, as they feel it’s because of home conditions that India is winning, but then consider that even England had home advantage. It’s like when you are expected to win a series your performance isn’t appreciated but if you lose such a series then people are ready to cut heads off and abuse players so I feel team should be given its due credit and the performance should be appreciated. It’s like when you win against a weak team like Zimbabwe then it’s no big deal but when you lose against them then it’s bad, why not appreciate each and every win. A win is a win and will always be a win. And winning is a habit which is good to cultivate. And I feel India’s performance in the ODI series in England was good, weather played a spoil sport in all the 5 ODI’s, and it was always to the advantage of the host team.
So now to the points where I feel India have done well in this series.
1) Fielding and Catching: Team India’s fielding and catching in this series has been outstanding. I can hardly recollect Indians misfielding or dropping a catch. It’s the most important aspect in ODI Cricket specially, and if you look back at India in England we were lacking behind in this aspect. A old saying catches win you matches still holds a lot of truth, and I can’t recollect team fielding so well in recent past.
2) Selection: Selection in this series has been good. Unfit players are not been drafted in the team, out of form players have been dropped irrespective of their seniority. Dropping of Harbhajan singh gives out the message to other seniors as well that no one can take his place in the team for granted and it’s the performance that gets you in the team and it’s the performance which helps you cement your place in the team. This would benefit India in long term. Although I feel Harbhajan singh will be back for the West Indies tests. I feel the problem with Harbhajan is the lack of patience, so I feel he should play only longer version of the game for some time to get that flight and guile back. So I feel he should stop playing limited over game for some time and concentrate only on 4 day Ranji cricket and Test cricket. Longer version of the game will help him get his guile and flight back. Selecting Umesh Yadav and then selecting Varun Aaron will also benefit the team in times to come and giving Rahane/Parthiv pair a longer duration to settle is also a good sign for the team.
3) Initiative: The Indian batsmen in the series have not thrown away the initiative. If a batsman has got into rhythm then he has made sure that he will finish the match. Be it Dhoni in the 1st match while setting the score or Gambhir and Kohli in 2nd match and in 3rd match after good innings played by Rahane and Gambhir, Dhoni sealed the match for India. Raina played beautifully to set up the match for Kohli to end the match convincingly in 4th odi at Mumbai. So batsmen who have got in have tried to finish the game off on their own. Especially Kohli has learnt a lesson and rectified his mistake of throwing away a good start after 1st match where he threw away a good start; he rectified his mistake by remaining not out in 2nd and 4th match and finishing the game off in style for India. Indian batsmen failed to grab the initiative and didn’t convert the good start to a big score during England series especially during tests.
4) Margin of Wins: The margin of wins especially in the 1st two ODI’s have actually affected the English morale and has given confidence to team India and their morale is high after such big wins in 1st two odi’s. The high confidence level can be seen even while chasing 300 in 3rd odi at Mohali the team didn’t succumb to pressure and after losing 3 early wickets in 4th odi the batsmen who followed were attacking from the start specially Suresh Raina. This is what confidence does to a team it’s like virus that spreads quickly and to everyone in the team.
5) Team effort: This series win has been due to complete team effort it’s not that only one player is playing well and rest of the team isn’t contributing. Everyone has performed well at some given point, be it Raina and Dhoni will the bat in 1st odi or Kohli and Gambhir in the 2nd or Rahane in the 3rd and Kohli/ Raina combination doing the duty in 4th odi. Even the performances of bowlers have been outstanding. They have done well to bundle out England for low scores. Jadeja, Ashiwn, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav and new boy Varun Aaron have bowled well throughout the series. For me Ashwin is the most exciting bowler in world cricket today, he looks like he will pick up a wicket every ball he bowls. He is someone like Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka who looks of taking a wicket every ball.
This series would help India unearth a few younger players which would serve Indian team for the times to come. This series is followed by the 3 Test’s and 5 ODI’s against West Indies which should again allow the selectors to give chance to younger talent. Wish to see Varun Aaron in longer version of the game against the West Indies; with his pace and ability to get the ball reverse he would be a handful against the touring West Indians. I feel Ajinkya Rahane, Varun Aaron, R Ashwin, Manoj Tiwary and Abhinav Mukund should be given a chance in test team.
England has also helped the Indian team by not selecting the right set of players. Not selecting Ian Bell in any of the matches is shocking. Ian Bell is one of the few players in English side that plays spin well and he was in good form against India during the tests but still was not selected to play. In fact England team is having the same problems that team India had during the England tour.
India didn’t select right set of players during tests and odi’s and England have done blunders in their selection
India struggled with their bowling and England has been no different. I feel where England have suffered the most is the form and performance of Gramm Swann he was their trump which has not worked for them and their batsmen have thrown away good starts, haven’t made a huge score.
So in the end it’s nice to see India back to winning ways, be it at home. A Win is a Win and will always be a Win. It’s so much relaxing to see India back to winning ways.
Ricky Singh for DieHard Cricket Fans

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