Sep 30, 2005

Suuuuuuuuuuuuper series

“Moral policing” seems to be the recent hot topic among Tamil bloggers. Enough has already been said wonderfully by a lot of them. So, let me write something about cricket.

Next week, some of the greatest players of the world would be under one roof, playing with enormous pride and passion, for the eagerly awaited ICC super-series. For my non-cricketing readers, it is the face-off between the best team in the world (now Australia) and another team of bests (called ICC XI, comprising outstanding cricketers across the world). Three one-dayers would be followed by a 6-day test, which would hopefully be enough to force a result, rain gods willing. Sachin is not playing, so that’s already a big disappointment for me.

The point of contention is the team selected for the ICC XI. To think of it, I saw three ways of choosing the members of the side to take on Australia. One – by picking the players according to the players’ rankings. Second – by picking those players who have excelled in Australia. Third – by selecting from the teams that have really managed to trouble Australia in the recent past and even beat them.

The first method would bring all the superstars into the game, which is pretty much the case for the current team selected. The second method would bring a select band of players who raise their games to the highest level when playing against the champions in their own backyard, but may not have done so against lesser teams. The third method, though similar to second, would bring in the players who ‘know’ what it takes and how it is to defeat the champions.

14 for the ODI’s and 13 for the tests have been selected, with Pollock being the captain for the former while Smith is the captain for the latter. My team (from the picked squad) would be, in the batting order:

ODI’s: Shahid Afridi, Chris Gayle, Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara, Jack Kallis, Andrew Flintoff, Kevin Pietersen, Kumar Sangakkara, Shaun Pollock, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shoaib Akhtar. Super-sub: Daniel Vettori. (Left out: Sehwag and Ntini).

Tests: Virender Sehwag, Graeme Smith, Rahul Dravid, Brian Lara, Jack Kallis, Andrew Flintoff, Mark Boucher, Shaun Pollock, Steve Harmison, Shoaib Akhtar, Muttiah Muralitharan. (Leftout: Vettori and Inzamam).

Dream-team, you would say? I felt so too, initially, but I don’t agree with the selection of one or two players. First, on the captaincy. Both the captains are South Africans, and have had only moderate successes, especially against Australia and in the recent past. So, ideally, I would have liked to have Michael Vaughan as the captain for the test team. It creates huge competition for the middle order and opens a vacant spot in the opening.. So, Graeme Smith and Jack Kallis go, making way for Andrew Strauss and Michael Vaughan. Instead of four South-Africans, you would have four Poms, which makes sense, since they were the only team in the recent past to defeat Aus. (which satisfies the ‘third method’ I discussed earlier).

And, may be VVS Laxman for Jack Kallis? VVS is the second most-feared batsman by Australia and he has done very well against Aus as well as in the epic series in 2001 (which satisfy both the ‘second’ and ‘third’ method). Hope Murali doesn’t get booed by the Australian crowd and is allowed to play his best natural game. But, considering the thing he has with the crowd and also that he hasn’t played quite a while in Australia, wouldn’t it have been more apt to have chosen Anil Kumble in his place? That would have satisfied, again, the second and third method of selection.

Last, I would have preferred the fast and furious Shane Bond in place of military medium-paced Shaun Pollock in both the test and one-day teams. He is one unique character, the Aus haven’t seen him quite a while, and he almost won an important match for his team in his last encounter with the Aussies.


tt_giant said...

Yea. I am waiting for the series to start. Not very often does a one day game get me excited!.

Shaun Pollock - I dont know why he is in the team. I agree. Shane Bond would have been better.

Kallis - most boring batsman in today's cricket. He is enough to make sure the match is drawn.

Sangakaara - again.. not sure. He may be a good player, but in the all-star league. DOnt think so.

Boucher - another bore. But I think they did not have any other choice.

SRT's absence would be big. I feel Sehwag and Pietersen would play a big role.

*rubbing my hands with glee*

Raju said...

This is going to be one hell of a competition, hopefully. I would subscribe for the LIVE streamcast.

Shaun Pollock was very good until a couple of years back and would have walked into World XI without qn. But, now, with some pace lost, he just depends on his experience, variation and accuracy and is most likely to be a containing bowler rather than a wicket-taking one. Another attacking bowler like Simon Jones would have been apt for the tests.

Kallis- true. From a dashing and exciting batsman and alrounder, he has been reduced to a slow collector. Should bat lower down the order if the top order does well, so, hopefully the 6 days of the match would suffice him. :-)

About wicket keepers, the best wk is with 'them'. And there is no one better than Sangakkara and Boucher in the world. So, gotta live with them.

I wish Sachin had agreed to play atleast the test, now that he is willing to play the challenger trophy.

Narayanan Venkitu said...

NIce post, nice analysis.

IMHO - I am glad Sachin and VVS are out. I believe that their hey-days are gone.!! Especially Sachin. VVS, Yes he did do well in Australia. But his current form is debatable. And he is also lazy in the field.

Shane Bond - Yeah, I will miss him definitely.

Its going to be a great game.! I look forward to watching it in Dish Network.!!

Raju said...

Thanks Narayanan..

About Sachin and VVS, I think both have still some good cricket left. Their recent dip in form, I would love to think, is temporary.

Ram.C said...

So, Rahul and Sewhag are there....

Will they make a mark again? Need to wait and watch, right... let us see.

Raju said...

Ram, they are sure to be there for the tests. Selection of Sehwag for the one-dayers seems a bit doubtful.

Both contributed well in today's practice game vs Victoria, especially Dravid. Let us keep our fingers crossed.
Hope they make India proud.