Friday, June 17, 2011

West Indies vs India – Series Review

An interesting series indeed! Rather than dawdle towards a predicted 5-0 whitewash, given how useless the West Indies are on paper, they showed some serious mettle and turned in a respectable 3-2 loss. India, sending in a B team, will be happy with the series win, but at what cost? Lets review the highlights.
Pace and Bounce!
Lo and behold not every pitch is a dead batting track! What a difference it makes when Roach and Russell are steaming in with a purpose, threatening to bash a few helmets and rip out a few fingers. We saw glimpses of the good old days, and the Indian batsman, barring few, were absolutely clueless.
The likes of Dhawan, Tiwary and Badrinath are big scorers back at home, here they look like school kids, fending away nervously and having neither the technique nor the temperament to survive. We saw this in the World Twenty 20 last year, and we saw it again. Give them a real pitch with real bowlers, and they have no idea.
Some West Indies Batting Spunk
Well its about time we saw a couple of young West Indians throwing the bat around and digging themselves out the rot. Some preferred to keep batting in slow motion (Samuels, Sarwan), but those who took some initiative a la Lendl Simmons and Andre Russell, really pulled the West Indies out of the moat. Russell in particular is a real delight to watch, a young whippersnapper with the right attitude and plenty of that famous West Indian swagger. A big future prospect.
The Michael Jackson of cricket is born. © Associated Press
The New Spin Doctors
Amit Mishra topped the wickets tally for both sides with a great economy rate of 3.98. He made the West Indian top order look extremely silly, and with Bhajji and Ashwin contributing next to nothing with the ball, he could well have cemented himself a spot. A new boy in the West Indies, Anthony Martin also made his mark with eight wickets and some hilarious press conference swagger. “Nobody destroys me on my pitch” he says, and its about time!
The Report Cards
And so The Cricket Musings will now play headmaster and grade the performances.
West Indies
Lendl Simmons – (7). A real trier, as he showed against Pakistan also. This puts him above most of his peers already.
Kirk Edwards – (2). Absolutely woeful, and should never be seen again.
Adrian Barath - (no score)
Ramnaresh Sarwan - (7). Somehow ended up with the most runs with an average of 54. He is nowhere near the old Sarwan but started to find his prime in game five.
Darren Bravo – (6). A frustrating player given that he is supremely talented. One hopes that he only needs time to become one of the moderns greats.
Marlon Samuels – (5). Good to see him back but only showed glimpses of his talented self. Needs to convert his starts.
Kieron Pollard – (6). Has the potential to become the West Indian Flintoff, if he just gets his priorities in order.
Carlton Baugh – (6). Gets more points for trying to at least build an innings and stick around. Formed some crucial partnerships and was handy with the gloves.
Darren Sammy – (3). As a bits and pieces player, he is contributing far too little and is quickly becoming a dead weight.
Andre Russell – (9). The find of the tournament. Not only did he belt more runs than most of the ‘batsmen’, he chimed in with eight wickets and lively pace. Another star in the making, we hope.
Dwayne Bravo – (2). Turned up for two matches when he needn’t have. Go back to the IPL.
Danza Hyatt – (1). Two innings and one run. Goodnight.
Ravi Rampaul – (4). A mixed bag before being strangely rested for the remainder of the series.
Anthony Martin – (7). Eight wickets and a great attitude to boot. Another good find.
Devendra Bishoo – (5). Showed us how useful he is after a good world cup, but needs more game time.
Kemar Roach – (6). Didn’t get many wickets, but Roach was key in getting the Indians hopping around.
Parthiv Patel - (5). Showed that he is handy at the top, but starts are not good enough.
Shikhar Dhawan - (3). Was awful with his ‘defend-or-slog’ mentality. Should not be seen again at this level.
Virat Kohli - (7). Lack of UDRS and the constant hailing as ‘the future of Indian cricket’ didn’t help him. Be quiet and let the man bat.
S. Badrinath - (2). Atrocious technique against the short ball, again a huge reminder of the gap between Ranji Trophy and real cricket.
Manoj Tiwary – (2). Equally bad, will not make runs outside of India.
Rohit Sharma – (8). A huge learning curve and without him, India could have lost this 5-0. He needs more chances.
Suresh Raina – (3). Irresponsibly poor shot selection in crucial stages. Certainly no leader with the bat.
Yusuf Pathan – (1). Shocker. Badly needs a reminder that not every match is the IPL, and maybe some meditation.
Harbhajan Singh – (6). Steady with the ball and hard to get away. But as usual no wickets.
Praveen Kumar – (6). Really gets the ball to talk, and will be a good foil for Zaheer Khan.
Amit Mishra – (8). Great bowling, ensuring that the clueless West Indian top order could not build a solid total.
R. Ashwin – (4). Disappointing show, and completely outclassed by Mishra.
Munaf Patel – (8). Had my doubts about him, but he proved me wrong with accurate, no-nonsense bowling.
R. Vinay Kumar – (no score)
Ishant Sharma - (2). Is this really the same Ishant who had Ponting hopping around? A ghost.
So just for fun, lets average out these scores:
West Indies – 5.01 / 10
India - 4.64 / 10
Conclusion: These are two seriously bad teams.
It is wishful thinking, but by some miracle the poor standard of cricket might inspire the cricket boards and lazy players to actually turn up next time and make this the showpiece event it could have been. But given recent events, anything of the sort is only a distant dream.
A dream where Gayle isn't just a spectator with bad hair. © AFP
Contributed by Varun Prasad
Original Post: The Cricket Musings

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