Monday, December 20, 2010

Smith Pissed off in Victory..



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Reading Graeme Smith's remarks at the press conference, it felt like he was more pissed off than happy. But with the press reports these days one can't be sure of what exactly transpired. What it seems like is that the "going down fighting" story emerging out of this test isn't sitting well with Smith. He prefers the narrative of a one sided victory in a battle among contenders for the title of top test sides.

The excuse of the first day's wicket being too difficult to bat on seems to be grating. In addition, Tendulkar's 50th has overshadowed Kallis, Amla and ABDV's partaking of a sumptous run feast laid out by the Indian bowlers in press coverage. I think that's somewhat natural, although it appears unfair to Smith. The MoM award was rightfully given to Kallis.

His jab at Tendulkar was also somewhat out of normal. I welcome it though, because honesty is sometimes more important than political correctness. We must think about whether or not it was wise of Tendulkar to take a run of the fifth ball and exposing Unadkat to a full over. Perhaps, he was thinking that this will help Unadkat gain real test experience since the test was lost anyways. Perhaps he didn't believe in the symbolism of making SA bat again even if it was to score one or two runs. I think it was more the latter. I remember being critical of Tendulkar during the monkey-gate test for not upping the pace a notch and farming the strike more.

From my stand-point, this test only proves that India cannot compete with great fast bowling on sporting tracks. What's new? Regardless of India's batting pedigree, the lack of regular practice against good fast bowling shows. The more experienced Indian bats were able to "manage" without dominating, save the enterprising innnings from Dhoni. It also proves that Steyn is the best fast bowler of the new generation and that he is a genuine successor to Alan Donald. The furious spell of bowling in which he accounted for Dhoni was as good a spell as any that Marshall, Imran or Waqar may have bowled during my lifetime of watching cricket.

I also think, this proves that the AB arrival is complete and that he is going to be the difference maker in a number of future test matches for SA. Add me to his fan club.

Having gotten used to Tendulkar I am no longer expecting him to bat to score points. He isn't a warrior. He is a competitor, but not a warrior. Sure, he said that India made a statement on day four, but Smith thought Tendulkar needed to make a statement too. Tendulkar chose not to make an individual statement on the last day. Tendulkar used to make such personal statements with his bat such as the one against Warne in 1998.

Maybe he thought that what was done on day four was enough of a statement and it was time to return to civility. Smith sees Tendulkar the same way many others do, including the way I used to (until Gol set me straight once). They see him through their own prism of sport as a substitute for battle and see sportsmen as fighters, gladiators and warriors. Too bad that for such fans that Tendulkar doesn't see it that way.

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24 comments:

Golandaaz said...

I am with Smith. 2 100+ partnerships does not make a "fightback". I am just as pissed as he is. What fight back? Sorry I don't see it.

We lost by an innings under 4 days. That's reality.

And the news is all about SRT's 50?. Its like we are changing the conversation from talking about being #1 to being all about SRT.

And what's with SRT saying "its just a number" like the media is all making it up? So if the media decides to celebrate the 1000th time Shaharukh Khan has takes a dump in is life; will it be a story.

Does the man have no sense of context. Does he not know the significance of scoring 50 100s? Was I a fool to spontaneously stand up and clap even while I watched it on TV?

How would you feel if Usain Bolt said 9.69 is just a number. If Roger Bannister after blowing his lungs said the 4 minute mile is just another run?

SRT reduced his 50 just just another 100 in defeat for India.

Ganesh said...

Well,Sachin's 'bizarre' act in 5th day,will help Sehwag escape criticism for getting out to a rash shot twice.
And his 50th Hundred celebrations too may make people forget the loss of the match.
I won't blame him entirely for it.

Golandaaz said...

I am not sure about blame, but its the right questions being asked? What was his strategy? He didn't seem to have any

elegantstroke said...

I think its quite the opposite of what you're stating in the first paragraph. What did not go well with Smith was the fact that India did not put up a fight on the last day. He expected the fight and was surprised it did not turn out that way. Except for the 4th day during the phase of Dhoni-SRT partnership, SA dominated this match throughout.

Frankly, there wasn't much SRT could have done to change the course, given an entire day was left and an SA victory was inevitable.

Everything else is just media noise and filling up space by creating controversy, Smith has provided the fodder.

Our bowling is a major weakness when it is away conditions and our batting's strength diminishes considerably under the scrutiny of genuine fast bowling. That is the bottom-line.

S.Ganesh Kumar said...

On Smith,I think he just said-"I must be honest I was a bit surprised he made life so easy for us this morning. That did surprise me a little bit."
He didn't seem to directly accuse Sachin of 'exposing' the tail-enders.
But,even if he did;I want to know what does he think of Amla's strategy in Kolkata,where he exposed Morkel,Parnell et al,making them bat the entire over too;in fact the tail-enders occupied crease for 27 of 55 overs Amla spent with them.

There,they succeeded almost,here they got out immediately and the blame falls on Tendulkar.
If they survived those deliveries then,I don't think Sachin would have certainly tried to face more deliveries,than his partner(s).

Golandaaz said...

Exposing the tail enders gradually is the norm. Steve Waugh and VVS are perceived to be the best batsmen to bat with the tail. Considering the position they batted in No 6, they must have some experience doing it.

What does seem odd is that Sachin did not try to secure the lead and instead exposed the tail enders right away.

Agreed the match was effectively lost when ABDV went beserk but a 10 wicket loss sounds better than an innings defeat.

As for whether Smith has the right to question the tactics because his own team member employed it in the past is irrelevant. Don't you think

Nishant said...

I have a feeling too much is being made out of Smith's statements.
Day 5 turned out to be pretty anti-climatic for us perennial optimists. So after the 50th century something was needed to to keep the talk going for another day.

Mahek said...

Gol, Laxman does the exact same thing as SRT did at Centurion. I remember having a lengthy debate about it with Ach & SP during the Galle test earlier this year.

Personally, I would like to take as much strike as possible if I'm batting with the tail. I don't agree with the way Laxman and SRT do it. However, the team management seems to have bought into the idea of having confidence in tailenders. The media that is roasting him for exposing the tailenders praised Laxman for doing the same thing at Mohali. They specialise in doing a turncoat anyway so it's best not to give much attention to them.

Coming to SRT's 50th, it's not as big a number as his 35th because he broke someone's record when he scored that 100. He's pretty much on his own now. The analogy with Usain Bolt clocking 9.69 secs is a bit crude because while Bolt would have to run faster than he's ever run to break that barrier, SRT doesn't have to bat any better than he has to score his 50th, or any other hundred for that matter.

Golandaaz said...

MAhek, the least he could have said is, yea, I never thought I could score 50....seems a lot ain't it...

Mahek said...

Who knows? Maybe he was just being politically correct like he always is. Maybe he genuinely thinks it's just a number. It's not something I'm interested in tbh, my concern is how easily we got rolled over at Centurion and I'd rather talk about what we need to do in order to try and wins this series.

Golandaaz said...

i guess you are right. as for the series...I was thinking 0-2 would be par for where I felt we were as a team compared to SA in SA. I am now thinking 0-3

likeatracerbullet said...

First of all, Smith was being himself during the press conference...look up most of his media interviews..he loves to rile his opponents... nothing new about it..
As for Sachin, cut him some slack...the match was beyond gone, when he reached his century...he did his best to reduce the deficit, but one man cannot do everything by himself...as for turning over the strike, when Laxman does the same thing, and it works out well, no one complains...
finally, why is everyone so surprised by the result..it was always a given, that they would struggle in the first test of an away tour...if they continue to struggle in the remaining tests, then i will be concerned...

Vidooshak said...

Great comments from all.

Unlike Kapil who decided to blaze four sixes to avoid the ignominy of following on, even though the match was as good as lost, Tendulkar didn't feel it necessary to make SA bat again. The average fan wants to see something like that. Tendulkar doesn't play like that.

As for Laxman, he did guard Ishant when the latter didn't feel comfortable facing Johnson. So there is a shade of grey here. Tendulkar didn't feel it necessary to guard Unadkat from Steyn or Morkel. Neither did he feel that if the match is lost, he might as well try to get India out of an innings defeat by going after the bowling.

Tendulkar doesn't play like that. And that makes some fans sad or annoyed or upset or frustrated or ....whatever.

Golandaaz said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fusw4po3YLE

Great memories....

I remember we lost big but Azhar and Kapil made it less painful

seher said...

"going-down-fighting STORY" is right, because losing by an innings minutes into the 5th day of what should've been the most evenly-matched test of the year can only be considered "going down fighting" in a story.

seher said...

btw, any who believe tend thinks the 50 100s thingy was just another # should take a 2nd look @ how he celebrated it!!!

Golandaaz said...

seher. absolutely he clearly had become emotional. For a minute i thought he would tear up

Anonymous said...

SRT's century celebration in a losing cause mirrored AA's celebration in similar circumstances at lords!

Golandaaz said...

Perhaps its a Bombay thing?

Anonymous said...

perhaps = perhaps not

our 'main man' in the 80s - shastri was down and depressed after a wonderful 'naabaad' knock at the end of the tied test with Aus...

colonel Venky had an amazing naabaad ton but cried in the Ranji final at the loss to haryana....

kambli was naabaad but cried in the WC SF at the loss.... (ok that is a bad example, and he had anyway not contributed in the game..)

Golandaaz said...

ok...perhaps not :-)

i say they should ban such celebrations if the team is in a losing situation.

seher said...

okay, but sachin should know better than agarkar types, come on.

Chanakya said...

seher, you are expecting too much from Sachin yaar...

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