Feb 20, 2006

Hail, India!!

What a week it has been for Indian cricket.. three comprehensive wins against a strong Pak team in one-dayers after doing catch-up for most part of the test series!! A team not so long ago tagged as among the worst chasers, have won 13 games in a row while chasing reasonable targets (280+ on several occasions).

Congratulations, Team India!!
* It is interesting that the teams that we have done well against in the recent past, were rated #2 when the series began (though we didnt defeat SA, we didnt lose it either).

* Sachin's contribution has been immense.. (both with bat and ball); so, all those who wish and assume that Sachin's career would go the same way as Saurav, plz. stop all the rantings and enjoy the show..

* It is only second time that India has won 4 matches in a row against Pak..

* We have now got not one - but two Michael Bevans: both Yuvraj Singh and Mahi Dhoni have been terrific finishers of the game.

* India has jumped from #7 in ICC one-day ranking to joint #3 in a span of 16 matches and 4 months. A good show against England in both one-dayers and tests should push them to #2 in both the formats of the game..

* Time to play more games against Australia, guys.. It has been almost 8 years since we won a one-day against Australia while chasing.

* India's bowlers, though far better than the Pakistanis, still have a long way to go in being consistent and world-beaters. Amazing that our reliability on spinners is almost totally gone and pacers rule the roost.

* This is for girls: India's fast bowlers are handsome hunks now (Irfan, Zaheer, and RP Singh). ;-) I have heard that they rival and even outsmart the Bollywood heroes among college-going fans.

* The upcoming England series is going to be damn interesting.. they are back to near-full strength thanks to the return of Simon Jones. After long time, we can get to see four genuine fast bowlers bowl in India; I cant wait. The mind games have already begun - Nasser Hussain's comment that England should put pressure on India by using the Ganguly issue tells us that they are ready to go to any level to return home undefeated.

* Look at Dravid's facial expression in this foto.. His clenching of teeth and exuberance is so different to the 'cool and calm' Dravid we thought him to be. IMHO, he is a very good, if not better, replacement for Ganguly; his use of super-sub has been a bit baffling but, thank god, the rule is gonna be scrapped. I wish it wasnt; it is an interesting thing to have but it required just one change to make it interesting: So far, the team winning the toss has got the better conditions plus the super-sub advantage; removing one and giving it to the other team would be a nice way to even out. How about the following change? Both teams would name their 12, with a super-sub before the toss. The team that has lost the toss can change the super-sub among the 12. This way, the toss factor can be evened out. It seems that the ICC doesnt have enough innovative advisors.


ada-paavi!!!! said...

finally the teams got its act together, and without saurav, finally the guy is out, and what a chase on sunday, awesome, simplay superb!!!

NaiKutti said...

One of the best chases I have seen in recent days :-). They forced the pakistanis to make (numerous) fielding goof ups...

indian team is def. on the rise... would be good to see how they perform ouside the sub-continent...

and super-sub: yeah that really is biased for the team winning the toss...

Yours Truly said...

Started watching the match coz there was no other go, with my cousins mercilessly snatching away the remote from me, not allowing me to switch over to other channels even during the break.
And after almost a long time (3 yrs I guess), watched from the first over till the last and it was worth it :) At one stage wanted both Dravid and Gambir to be out so that Yuvi and Dhoni could take over :))
Regd, Dravid's expression, exaccccctly my thots!!! If Indians improve their bowling stds and maintain this kinda magic with the bat - clinching the WORLD CUP would definitely be a cake walk :D

Prabu Karthik said...

what was remarkable was the coolness with which they played even when the asking rate was well above 7 at one point.

Dhoni was just incredible.
Dont know what he eats and from which shop he gets it from.

Pak fielding was worstu by any team in recent times.

Nitin said...

great series for India. Yuvraj Singh & Dhoni did a great job, especially Dhoni, he can hit sixers effortlessly, hope this form continues. Its not wrong for Dravid to show his excitement, hes alwayws controlled, but great captain definitly. England Vs.India is going to be fun to watch. Raju,d o you watch it at sportstreams.com?

The Talkative Man said...

It's going to be a slugfest on those lifeless pitches in Windies. So India are on the right track.3 of the 4 venues for the Super Eights are featherbeds. Concentrate on saving 20-30 runs on field from now on. The schedule is such that we will clash with both Aus & SA in Super 8s.

Will be very interesting to see what the Board does for Eng Tour - Nagpur, Mohali, Mumbai are all fast pitches. Grass will be shaved off for sure.

tt_giant said...

Wonderful show by our team!. I saw the highlights for the first 4 matches in google videos. Yuvraj is in the form of his life!

BTW, is India #4 or #3 in ranking?.

Raju said...

Vatsan, yeah.. all the rubbish talk on a divided team, unhappy unit etc. have been put to rest. Though there is still plenty of room for improvement, it is good that we have pretty tough assignments in the next few months. The upcoming tour to West Indies would by no means a cakewalk; we should remember that we lost there last time in 2002.
Karthik, yeah.. that our team without Sachin, Sehwag, Irfan and Harbhajan can pull off such a resounding win is very heartening.. A clinical execution.. Surprised to find two 'fives', thanks to Pak misfields.. It is high time we give due credit to Greg Chappell, his coaching methods and the stress on fitness.
Yours truly, lucky you.. could watch the match. I had to rely on cricinfo scores; would watch the highlights on google videos sometime..

You are not alone in wishing top order batsmen to get out, in order to watch Yuvi and Dhoni. With the flexibility of our batting order and the form of our batsmen, I can see a better future for the team.

Raju said...

Prabu, yeah.. they make it all look so easy. In fact, the ask rate crossed 8 before the onslaught began. I think the English team would pose tougher challenges than what Pak did. If we can win this series hands down, we are destined for greatness. (not that we arent already..) :-)

Dhoni has got tremendous raw power.. more than anything, his cool head is the best thing to have happened to our team... and the flexibility that he provides. Now with super-sub gone, the teams have to be very careful and the alrounders are back into reckoning. We having 2 genuine alrounders is a huge plus.
Nitin, Dhoni's ability to find holes, in a field spread out and on ultra-defensive is amazing. It is one thing to go hammer and tongs when the field restrictions are on (like what Gilchrist, Afridi, Sehwag and Jayasuriya do); but to punch those killer blows at the end of an innings with old ball is terrific.
The talkative man, yeah.. it would be the bat vs bat in the WIndies... except may be in Sabina Park and Bridgetown. I have the hope that India would qualify for the semifinals; beyond that... mm.. it would be anybody's cup.
Deepak, I saw those highlight videos too.. thanks to Google, we get to see our performances, albeit a bit late. I also agree that this is the peak of Yuvraj.. Hope he continues to impress.

India is ranked fourth, though having the same no. of points as the third ranked NZ.. so unless they differ in the decimals, I would put India in the joint third position.

kaushik said...

hi nice analysis:
agree with the super-sub thingy..
and yup...tht was a great point abt chasing...i remember how we used to worry about chasing totals like 220 etc in the late 90s....
azhar had only one mantra...win the toss and bat first....
dravid too seems to have win and chase

Me too said...

Are you sure the picture is not graphics enhanced Dravid? :) Unbelievable!!
How is it that every time India and Pak play, one wins the tests and the other one-dayers?!(Edho ennale mudinjadhu!)

mitr_bayarea said...


Great show by the Indians. Surprised to see Dravid all pumped up like this.

visithra said...

Jay! dravid! - the only thing i like about cricket ;p hehe

Raju said...

Kaushik, thanks and welcome here!!

yeah.. we have even floundered 220-240 run chases on numerous occasions.. Well, not only Azhar, even Ganguly had similar mantra.. not to blame them, since we were notoriously bad in chasing. As I said, if you discount Sachin's hundreds which helped us chase Aus totals twice in 1998, we have to go 10 years ago to Bangalore during Titan cup when Srinath and Kumble batted unbelievably well to win a match vs Aus..
Aparna, no graphics.. Original picture.. (I almost yelled 'namba mudiyavillai!!!' in Kamalhaasan style-Singaravelan)

Ippadi kundakka mandakka yosikka koodathu.. In 2004, we won both tests and One-dayers, last year Pak levelled the test series and won the one-dayers.. so, match-fixing adhu idhunnu kuttaiya kuzhappakoodathu..
Mitr, Dravid seems to be intent showing everyone that he is not what the Indians believe him to be.. Inside this soft-and-cute personality lies a strong and passionate cricketer. I like that.
Vis, LOL.. no more Ganguly admirer, huh? :-)

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