Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Why Does India try to Sledge?

A week ago my call was 0-4 for India, and at 0-2 the whitewash is on!

Credit where it is due, India have competed quite well at times and in fact inexplicably threw away the Adelaide test which they should have at least drawn. How was that for a brain explosion, it was almost West Indies like. Nonetheless I have been impressed by Murali Vijay and Kohli, and expected worse.

Along came Brisbane, a place where Australia never loses and once again they didn't disappoint. But some hilarity stuck out, in particular India and their new found love for sledging.

Sledging is a cricket exclusive term, or as Steve Waugh termed it... "Mental Disintegration". The Aussies of old used it beautifully to defeat the opposition with mind games and end contests before they even started. Just ask any England team pre-2005 or Daryll Cullinan.

But it is important to realize the most important ingredient the Aussies had, the batting and bowling riches to make it work. The wonderful oxymoron Glenn McGrath is the best example, hurling expletives in the opposition's faces and yet delivering the same dour ball at the same generous pace patiently waiting for the batsman to crack.

Which brings us to India who it seems have adopted the same tactic, hey it worked for them why won't it work for us? This problem is, they are hopeless at it.

So what happened in Brisbane?

  • Ishant Sharma, after being utterly thumped all day throws a few f-bombs when removing Steve Smith.  Note that Smith was yet to be dismissed in the series so far and was on 133. Note also that this is one of the most useless bowlers in the game today and it wasn't even a good delivery.
  • Rohit Sharma and Superstar Virat greet Mitchell Johnson to the batting crease with some foul mouthing off, followed by some "bouncers" and "fast bowling" of the Indian variety. He proceeds to belt them for 13 fours and a six and then shows them how it's done with the ball including both Kohli (1 run) and Rohit (0 runs).

"Economy rate less than 5, in your face!"

Ladies and gentlemen, this is *not* how it's done.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Farewell Gambhir, Sehwag, Yuvraj & Friends

And so while India are being thumped by Australia (4-0 coming your way folks), they also announced their 30 man squad of World Cup 'probables'

Hang on a minute, thirty probables!? There are eleven members in a cricket team plus a water carrier, add four or five reserves and we have a touring party. What is the point in naming a probables list double the size of the group that will actually show up?

Here's why, its confirmation of who will not show up.

India's list of omissions is a strange one.  Sure I can understand the concept of 'out with the old and in with the new', but in Indian cricket? Not exactly spoiled with young riches are they?

Lets examine the miss list:

Zaheer Khan - Is very unlucky. This is the best fast bowler India has had since Kapil Dev, with the exception of maybe Srinath. He was a huge reason as to why they won the last world cup (more than Dhoni) and the other options are average other than maybe Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.  What was Zaheer's mistake? Not playing for the Chennai Super Kings?
Selection Credibility - 9/10

No love guys?

Yuvraj Singh - Another unlucky original from the famous 2003 campaign (and the famous2003 world cup final flop). He is still a class batsman and experience counts especially in alien conditions. They could have easily brought him back for one last hurrah a la Craig McMillan, but alas this is probably the end.
Selection Credibility - 8/10

Friday, December 5, 2014

Blame the Bouncer?

Every now and then, an event occurs within the confines of sport that transcends far beyond the normal boundaries. 

Sport exists to entertain, it has no other purpose.  And yet here we are faced with the tragedy of losing Phillip Hughes, a young man primed to become one of the senior Australian batsmen in the years to come.

Sadly we will never know what heights he might have scaled, it was surreal and hard-hitting to see the 'died' section on his Cricinfo page.

Understandably there has been a lot of talk and debate surrounding this tragedy. 

It is natural to seek an avenue of blame such as:

  • Should the bouncer be illegal?
  • Is the batsman protected enough?
  • Is the bowler at fault, or perhaps fast bowling in general?